Tragically Misguided Favor
Doing an uncalled-for favor for your loved one leads to a disaster.


(permanent link) added: 2012-12-29 05:19:48 sponsor: Koveras (last reply: 2013-09-21 13:44:40)

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When one character loves another, who has a problem in his/her life, and the former decides to decides to fix it, without asking the latter whether this is a good idea (or even in spite of his/her explicit request not to interfere). After his/her elaborate plan succeeds, however, it turns out that by doing it, he/she ended up ruining his/her relationship with the other character or even their very lives.

A cornerstone of Romantic Comedy but can also result in a form of Tragic Hero or even Tragic Monster. Compare Rhetorical Request Blunder, Stupid Sacrifice, Senseless Sacrifice. Related to Poisonous Friend.

An inherently spoiler-y trope, so be warned!

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • In Code Geass:
    • The Anti-Hero Lelouch starts a world war in order to make a new world where his blind, crippled sister Nunnally could live happily (his real motivations are a bit more complex, but that's at least what he declares them to be). In the end, it turns out that Nunnally was perfectly fine with being blind and crippled all along, as long as Lelouch was there to take care of her.
    • In season 2, Lelouch ends up telling Rolo twice not to resort to killing anyone while in civilian guise to protect his identity. The one time he is not around to say no to him doing so is the most tragic: Rolo kills Shirley. Subverted in that it was because Shirley knew about Nunnally and wanted to reunite her with Lelouch, an idea repugnant to Rolo, who wanted to be Lelouch's only brother, and feared he might be discarded after the two true siblings were to be reunited.
  • Played straight and subverted in the original series and the second season of Lyrical Nanoha, respectively:
    • In the Back Story of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, the Evil Matriarch Precia Testarossa spent so much time at work to provide for her daughter Alicia, that she couldn't be with Alicia when she died. She then does the same mistake again, mercilessly using her other daughter, Fate, to find means to resurrect Alicia—as it turns out, what Alicia wanted the most from her mother was a little sister.
    • Happily subverted in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, whose "villains", the Wolkenritter, carry out a ritual which they believe will save their Mistress Hayate from paralysis and which Hayate explicitly forbade them to do. It turns out, the ritual would have actually killed Hayate and the knights themselves, but thanks to Team Nanoha's intervention, the worst case scenario is narrowly averted.

Film
  • A less tragic variation takes place in Hitch. Hitch himself starts dating Sera, and things go fine at first. Then Hitch decides to surprise her by taking her to the Statue of Liberty, thinking it would be a nice gesture to show her the Statin Island immigration records, showing her the ancestor that brought her family lineage to America. Sera starts to cry and storm off, pointing out that just being reminded of ancestor's name reminds her of how he was an infamous serial killer. Hitch spends a good part of the movie trying to rekindle their relationship.

Literature
  • In Jonathan Strange And Mister Norrell, the Gentleman with Thistldown Hair sets out to find Stephan Black's true name for him. He is greatly astounded when Stephan Black kills him before the gentleman can tell it to him.
  • Non-romantic example in one of the Brother Cadfael stories. An old lady has a devoted pair of servants, who kill an Old Retainer when they think she might spill the beans on a secret their mistress doesn't want let out. She is horrified, as she never would have ordered the retainer's death and the secret is out anyway. The two run away before the law can catch up with them.

Live-Action TV
  • In Arrested Development, George Michael decides to throw a 16th birthday party for his cousin, Maeby. He finds her address book and invites everyone in it. However, she had been posing as someone much older in order to hold down a job as a film studio executive. By inviting the people from her address book, George Michael unwittingly exposed her true age to her coworkers and got her fired.

Oral Tradition
  • In Finnish, the term for this kind of thing is "karhunpalvelus", or "bear's favor", which comes from a folk tale about a man with a pet bear. One day when the man was sleeping, a fly landed on his nose. The bear tried to swat it away, but ended up smacking him in the face with its paw, killing the man.
  • A joke goes that a knight comes to his king and reports that he's spent the last year defeating the kingdom's enemies to the south, the west and the north.
King: What?! I don't have any enemies to the north!
Knight: Oh. Well, you do now.

Video Games
  • Caius Ballad in Final Fantasy XIII-2 executes a centuries-long plan to stop Yeul's (a Waif Prophet he is charged to protect) cycle of reincarnation that leads to her being killed over and over again by her own prophetic gift. Towards the end of the game, it turns out that Yeul is Not Afraid to Die, and all she ever wanted was to spend her lifetimes with Caius and Noel—a dream that Caius himself ruined by his quest.

Visual Novels
  • In the Bad Boys Love route of Hatoful Boyfriend, Shuu promises Kawara Ryuji to help the his son Ryouta if anything happened to him (such as dying). After a disaster abroad, Shuu next meets Ryouta in an orphanage that just witnessed a human-sympathizer attack and decides to grant the boy one wish: to stop the fighting between humans and birds. To this end, Shuu began experimenting with a virus that would instantly kill humans without them even knowing through Nageki, and after his suicide, implant Nageki's liver in Ryouta to continue his plan to end the fighting between humans and birds... by eliminating the humans. His first victim? His childhood friend Hiyoko, a hunter-gatherer human girl.

Western Animation
  • On the Sponge Bob Square Pants episode "The Lost Mattress", Mr. Krabs has trouble sleeping because of his lumpy mattress, so SpongeBob and Patrick buy him a new one and throw the old one away. Unfortunately, the reason the mattress was so lumpy was because Mr. Krabs had all his money inside, and he goes into a catatonic shock while SpongeBob, Patrick, and Squidward (who took all the credit) look for the mattress at the dump.

Real Life
Will go under Poor Communication Kills and Mistaken for Index.
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