Created By: mythbuster on December 5, 2012 Last Edited By: bulmabriefs144 on April 4, 2013

Autopilot Agreement

Agreeing without paying attention to what you're agreeing to

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
When trying to shut up a questioner or impress a date, a common tactic is to just agree with everything they say. This quickly turns into a problem when one then realizes one agreed to something that has no basis whatsoever in reality.

Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
  • Seina from Tenchi Muyo! GXP gets so engrossed in his dinner table conversation with his family that he doesn't even notice that his sister and mother were physically writing out an application form for the Galaxy Police with his own hand. By the time he notices the pen in his hand, the application form has already been filled out and given his signature.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comics]]
  • One Calvin and Hobbes strip has Calvin ask his mom (while she's reading a book) what time it is ("Go look at the clock and see"), if it's cold outside ("Go step outside and see"), and how fast their car can go ("Go... nice try.").
  • In The Wizard of Id, Spook is pestering a tired Turnkey again. Having been in jail for a long time after insulting the king[[note]]calling him a two bit, four flushing, dirty, lowdown, indiscriminate clod, to be precise[[/note]], he asks questions like "Is the grass still growing?" and "Does the brook still babble?". This is followed by wondering "Is the king still a fink?", to which Turnkey responds "Yep.". They are then both seen hanging in chains.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
  • In Menace II Society, Caine is interrogated by a cop and asked wether he was at one specific place while the robbery the cop investigates took place, to which he hesitantly replies "yes" (a lie). Later, he is asked wether he was in some other place, and confused he also replies "yes" (another lie), and at this point the cop tells him he's screwed.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
  • Discworld has an example in The Fifth Elephant, where Sybil chacks to see if her husband is listening to her list of things they need to take to Uberwald instead of concentrating on the murder (that he can't work on, being sent to Uberwald). She adds a stuffed alligator to the list, he distantly agrees, but a few seconds later he frowns and asks why an alligator.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
  • Charlie on Two and a Half Men lampshaded this by explaining to Alan that he doesn't always mean he "understands" when he says "I understand" in a conversation -- that he often says that as a way to get through a boring conversation with someone while pretending to listen, usually with a woman he's dating, but sometimes with Alan as well.
  • One ''Seinfeld episode uses this with the Girl of the Week, who speaks such that nobody can understand her.
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[[folder:Videogames]]
  • Dawnof War II: Retribution presents this when Ork leader Kaptin Bluddflagg comes to a conclusion about the big bad's location. His first mate Mister Nailbrain nods, agreeing with the captain but not quite getting what he is getting at.
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[[folder:Western Animation]]
  • In All Grown Up!, Tommy hits it off with a Jewish girl by noting how much they and their families have in common, but then accidentally said that his (Christian) father was a rabbi.
  • There's been many a variation where a husband (henpecked or not not) leaves a recording of his going "yes dear" and generally agreeing to his chattering wife while he flees rapidly. Donald Duck did it to Daisy talking about a social gathering on the phone, but she quickly figured out he'd gone in the hammock.
[[/folder]]
Community Feedback Replies: 30
  • December 5, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    No New Stock Phrases

    Also I don't just mean if this is renamed it's fine. "The issue isn't using dialogue to name tropes. The issue is whether we want articles about specific bits of dialogue in the first place." This doesn't describe one thing or even a handful of similar things; the "idea" could go a lot of very different ways. Exhibit A: the lone example does not match the laconic definition. I am not familiar with that work, but suspect this is about the line of dialogue (cliche) and not the meaning (trope).

    I am happy to be proven wrong, but this is starting in the wrong direction, would need to be reworked I think. There might be something novel here.
  • December 5, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    Live-Action TV

    Charlie on Two and a Half Men Lampshaded this by explaining to Alan that he doesn't always mean he "understands" when he says "I understand" in a conversation--that he often says that as a way to get through a boring conversation with someone while pretending to listen, usually with a woman he's dating, but sometimes with Alan as well.
  • December 5, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Title debates aside, sounds like a trope to me. Often in the form of a kid asking their parent a series of questions and the parent just rattles off "yes, dear" to each question, so the kid asks something truly outrageous to see if the parent is actually listening.

    Wait, what? I think I'm on the wrong wavelength.
  • December 5, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    Ok, maybe it doesn't have the problem I described, exactly, but it seems pretty vague*. What do a kid checking if his parent is listening, a guy smile-and-nodding to get through a boring conversation, saying your actually-Christian father is a rabbi, and agreeing to something outrageous because you weren't paying attention have in common?

    * I don't mean "it's too big". The scope may be quite broad, but the idea should be described more specifically.
  • December 5, 2012
    aurora369
  • December 6, 2012
    Frank75
    One Seinfeld episode, with the Girl Of The Week who speaks so nobody can understand her.
  • December 6, 2012
    Arivne
    Another situation where this occurs.

    Bob is reading the newspaper while Alice talks. Every once in a while Bob says something vaguely positive like "That's nice, dear" to make Alice think he's listening to her.
  • December 6, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
  • December 6, 2012
    Chabal2
    Not quite Just Smile And Nod.

    • There's been many a variation where a husband (henpecked or not not) leaves a recording of his going "yes dear" and generally agreeing to his chattering wife while he flees rapidly. Donald Duck did it to Daisy talking about a social gathering on the phone, but she quickly figured out he'd gone in the hammock.
    • Discworld has an example in The Fifth Elephant, where Sybil chacks to see if her husband is listening to her list of things they need to take to Uberwald instead of concentrating on the murder (that he can't work on, being sent to Uberwald). She adds a stuffed alligator to the list, he distantly agrees, but a few seconds later he frowns and asks why an alligator.
  • December 6, 2012
    MrRuano
    • Dawnof War II: Retribution presents this when Ork leader Kaptin Bluddflagg comes to a conclusion about the big bad's location. His first mate Mister Nailbrain nods, agreeing with the captain but not quite getting what he is getting at.
  • December 6, 2012
    StarSword
  • December 8, 2012
    Chernoskill
    I can only think of one example:

    In Menace II Society, Caine is interrogated by a cop and asked wether he was at one specific place while the robbery the cop investigates took place, to which he hesitantly replies "yes" (a lie). Later, he is asked wether he was in some other place, and confused he also replies "yes" (another lie), and at this point the cop tells him he's screwed.
  • December 8, 2012
    DRCEQ
    • Seina from Tenchi Muyo GXP gets so engrossed in his dinner table conversation with his family that he doesn't even notice that his sister and mother were physically writing out an application form for the Galaxy Police with his own hand. By the time he notices the pen in his hand, the application form has already been filled out and given his signature.
  • December 8, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    These example suggestions continue to be inconsistent with each other. What is this supposed to be? The description is ambiguous.
  • December 9, 2012
    mythbuster
    It's supposed to be a situation where the speaker is either board, distracted or trying to please somebody, and so agrees with the other person without actually paying attention to what he's agreeing to, and winds up agreeing to something that either has no basis in reality or something he really doesn't want to do.
  • December 9, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    Ok. "No basis whatsoever in reality"? May want to dial that back to just "bizarre" or "false" or something. Also most of the suggested examples don't fit that, which implies the description should be elaborated on.
  • December 9, 2012
    McKathlin
  • December 10, 2012
    Chabal2
    One Calvin And Hobbes strip has Calvin ask his mom (while she's reading a book) what time it is ("Go look at the clock and see"), if it's cold outside ("Go step outside and see"), and how fast their car can go ("Go... nice try.").
  • December 10, 2012
    Debatra
  • December 11, 2012
    mythbuster
    That sounds good.
  • December 12, 2012
    Bisected8
    • Ciaphas Cain often uses this tactic. This backfires in "The Emperor's Finest" when he accidentally agrees to marry a noble (giving him a choice between upsetting a Clingy Jealous Girl with fairly good marksmanship skills or being branded a deserter and most likely shot).
  • December 13, 2012
    Arivne
  • December 13, 2012
    Telcontar
    Autopilot Agreement is good with me. I've folded the examples, including this one, into the description.

    • In The Wizard Of Id, Spook is pestering a tired Turnkey again. Having been in jail for a long time after insulting the king[[note]]calling him a two bit, four flushing, dirty, lowdown, indiscriminate clod, to be precise[[/note]], he asks questions like "Is the grass still growing?" and "Does the brook still babble?". This is followed by wondering "Is the king still a fink?", to which Turnkey responds "Yep.". They are then both seen hanging in chains.

    The description also still needs a lot of help. As Rodney said, it needs dialling back, and content beyond the Example As Thesis -- what impact does it normally have (varying; normally Played For Laughs)? how does it characterise the person who sets it up (devious)? what are some related tropes (Parrot Expo What; Duck Season Rabbit Season depends on the same absent-mindedness
  • December 13, 2012
    bulmabriefs144
    " No New Stock Phrases.

    Also I don't just mean if this is renamed it's fine. "The issue isn't using dialogue to name tropes. The issue is whether we want articles about specific bits of dialogue in the first place." This doesn't describe one thing or even a handful of similar things; the "idea" could go a lot of very different ways. Exhibit A: the lone example does not match the laconic definition. I am not familiar with that work, but suspect this is about the line of dialogue (cliche) and not the meaning (trope). "

    The trope refers to a specific action, not a specific set of words. A rename is fine.
  • December 14, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Autopilot "Agreement" does not work; the character is merely responding/answering somebody (like the Calvin And Hobbes example), not necessarily agreeing. How about Answering On Autopilot?
  • December 15, 2012
    Debatra
    Seconding Answering On Autopilot or similar.
  • December 15, 2012
    randomsurfer
    A sketch on the old Zoom tv show had a husband and wife at breakfast. The wife prattles on and on while the husband sits reading the newspaper saying "Yes, dear...no, dear...whatever you say dear."
  • March 31, 2013
    Telcontar
    Related to Politeness Judo.
  • March 31, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    Not sure if this fits, but in Real Life it can be common when someone is faced with a few pages of boilerplate legalese in a contract (or online, a "user agreement") to just sign it or click "I agree" without looking at (or understanding) all the legalese. It is possible this could come back to bite the signer/user in the ass.
  • April 4, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    ^ That scenario occurs in an animated feature.

    Film Animated
    • When agent Farley Wink offers newcomer Danny Cat the chance to appear alongside Darla Dimple in Cats Don't Dance, Danny is thrilled. Farley then instructs Danny to "Just sign here ... and here ... and here ..." for about fifty pages.

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