Created By: Sketchpad on May 23, 2013 Last Edited By: Sketchpad on July 21, 2013
Troped

Blunder Correcting Impulse

You're so terrible, I'll do it just to make you stop.

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Trope
A character is trying to do a certain task, but they're absolutely terrible. They're so terrible, it's almost painful to watch them, and the other character can't take it any more, so they take over the task for them just to make the pain of watching them stop.

Blunder Correcting Impulse typically takes one of the following forms:

  • Alice asks Bob to do something for her and he refuses, so she tries to do it herself and does so badly that Bobs changes his mind and does it instead because he can't stand watching her.
  • Alice asks Bob to do something and he refuses, so she turns to someone else (Usually The Rival, The Ditz, or the Cloudcuckoolander) and Bob quickly changes his mind because he doesn't want either of them to do it.
  • Alice insists on doing it herself, but Bob can't stand how badly she's doing so he does it for her.
  • Bob sees Alice struggling and takes pity on her, so he volunteers to do it instead.
  • Bob actually asks Alice to do something (Or maybe she asks him if she can and he gives her permission), but she does such a terrible job that he regrets his decision and does it himself.

This is often Played for Laughs or used to lighten up a really intense situation, though it can also be Played for Drama. Blunder Correcting Impulse can occur with just two people, or a group. This trope is also a key component of the Xylophone Gag. Keep in mind, however, that this is not the same thing as Reverse Psychology, as the character isn't trying to make someone else do it by intentionally being so incompetent.

Sometimes this is a way to show a Jerkass character as not so much of a jerk. They want to help, but they don't want to admit it, so they offer help in the least nicely way possible by pointing out how much they suck at it (Which may or may not be true). It can also be the also mark of a Tsundere showing their gentler side.

Related to Fence Painting, Stop Helping Me!, and possibly Do Wrong, Right. Blunder Correcting Impulse will often overlap with Suckiness Is Painful, though the nature of the reaction for each trope differs. See Reverse Psychology for if Alice intentionally does badly or asks someone else specifically to coerce Bob into co-operating, and Obfuscating Stupidity for the invoked version of this trope.

Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime and Manga]]

  • In one anime episode of Urusei Yatsura, Ran has a bad cold, and Lum comes by to help out. Among other things, she tries to cook some food, only to have the first dish overspiced. Directed to follow a recipe from "365 Recipes for the Terminally Ill", Lum finds it way too bland and tries to "improve" it. Ran catches her, and sees that Lum is not very good at vegetable chopping either. Soon, Ran's taken the whole cooking chore over, working herself back into exhaustion.
  • Double Subverted in Space Brothers: Nanba's team is assigned an engineer for a rover design competition that has to do with their astronaut training. The engineer, Pico Norton, thinks they don't have a chance to win and doesn't want to help. You expect he'll help after being impressed by Nanba's ideas for the rover, but then it turns out he helps because they were going to screw up setting up the parachute that delivers the rover.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Comics]]

  • In this Peanuts strip. Linus has taken over for Charlie Brown as the pitcher for their baseball team. When Charlie Brown sees that Linus is trying to pitch while wearing his blanket over his head, he comes out and takes over the pitching again.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film]]

  • In U.S. Marshals, the local sheriff is attempting to set up a dragnet for the missing prisoner, but his plan is so inept that Gerard repeatedly interjects to offer suggestions. Eventually, the sheriff asks him, "What do you think?" and Gerard immediately lays out his own plan.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live-Action TV]]

  • In the episode "A Landmark Story" of Elementary, Sherlock forces Joan to break into a funeral home with him to perform an autopsy on the murder victim. Joan refuses, so Sherlock attempts to perform the autopsy himself. After getting frustrated with Sherlock's evident lack of medical training, she grudgingly performs the autopsy herself.
  • In an episode of season 3 of Game of Thrones, during the funeral of Lord Hoster Tully, Edmure Tully was charged to end the ceremony by firing a flaming arrow at the floating pyre. After he missed three times in a row, his uncle Blackfish took over and hit on the first try.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Others]]

  • The punchline of Bill Cosby's "Chocolate Cake For Breakfast" stand-up bit. His wife wants him to make breakfast for the children, and he ends up giving them chocolate cake. He implies that it was Obfuscating Stupidity to get the Unishment of going back to bed.
  • Comedian Jon Richardson has a skit in his Funny Magnet show regarding his flat mates tendency to do the washing up in front of him to impress him.
    Flate Mate: I'm going to do the washing up!
    Jon: Yeah... So am I, five minutes after you think you've done it

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation]]
  • In an episode of American Dad!, Stan tries to give a rousing speech to some of his neighbors, who have formed a rebel alliance against the neighborhood watch committee. However, he keeps stumbling over his words until he's reduced to awkwardly repeating the word "bosom." Haley then takes over for him out of pity.
  • In an episode of Family Guy, paraplegic Joe Swanson gets a leg transplant and is able to walk again, almost instantly becoming as athletic as he ever was and soon becoming very cocky about it, abandoning his old friends (who can't keep up with him in his newfound interests) and eventually about to walk out on his wife Bonnie. Bonnie says she wants her old Joe back and pulls a gun, trying to shoot his spine and reparalyze him. She keeps missing and wounding him in other places, until he finally yells "STOP, I'LL DO IT MYSELF!!!" He then takes the gun and shoots himself in the base of the spine.
  • Derpy Hooves in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is this in her one speaking role. While setting up decorations it's implied she's responsible for serious damage to city hall, knocks over a support beam and, when Rainbow Dash begs her to just sit there and do nothing, she breaks the floor she sits down on.
    • In another episode of My Little Pony, Spike insists on being Applejack's helper to repay her back for saving his life, but he's so terribly bad at everything she asks him to do that she is immediately forced to figure out how to let him go.
  • There is a variation in an episode Beverly Hills Teens, where Jett quits the band. In the end, the rest of the gang take her to Gig's solo concert. Seeing how badly he manages without her, she goes back. As she says "I can't handle all this humiliation. Even when it's someone I despise".
[[/folder]]
Community Feedback Replies: 69
  • May 23, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Possibly related to Do Wrong Right.
  • May 25, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    Western Animation

    In an episode of Family Guy, paraplegic Joe Swanson gets a leg transplant and is able to walk again, almost instantly becoming as athletic as he ever was and soon becoming very cocky about it, abandoning his old friends (who can't keep up with him in his newfound interests) and eventually about to walk out on his wife Bonnie. Bonnie says she wants her old Joe back and pulls a gun, trying to shoot his spine and reparalyze him. She keeps missing and wounding him in other places, until he finally yells "STOP, I'LL DO IT MYSELF!!!" He then takes the gun and shoots himself in the base of the spine.

    (Note: I think this is close enough, anyway--Bonnie didn't ask Joe to reparalyze himself, although if she had initially it's pretty likely he would have refused. But he still ended up doing it himself because he was tired of her shots missing the mark and hurting him elsewhere, I suppose--her incompetence was literally painful in this case.)
  • May 25, 2013
    Mouser
    A very specific form of this sets up the Xylophone Gag.
  • May 29, 2013
    MorganWick
    Needs a better title, but all I can think of are lines of dialogue.
  • May 30, 2013
    Sketchpad
    Well, any suggestion for a better title will work. That was all I could think of, and I haven't come up with anything better.
  • May 31, 2013
    Duncan
    The punchline of Bill Cosby's "Chocolate Cake For Breakfast" stand-up bit. His wife wants him to make breakfast for the children, and he ends up giving them chocolate cake. He implies that it was Obfuscating Stupidity to get the Unishment of going back to bed.
  • May 31, 2013
    Sketchpad
    I think that might be closer to Reverse Psychology, but I'll include it just in case.
  • June 1, 2013
    sgamer82
    • Derpy in My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic is this in her one speaking role. While setting up decorations it's implied she's responsible for serious damage to city hall, knocks over a support beam and, when Rainbow Dash begs her to just sit there and do nothing, she breaks the floor she sits down on.
  • June 5, 2013
    Alvin
    This seems close to the Bill Cosby example above: Live-Action TV: I think an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond has Ray advise his brother Robert to pretend to be incompetent at anything his fiancee Amy asks Robert to do so eventually Amy will stop trying and doing things herself. I think Ray then demonstrates this trick on Debra.
  • June 6, 2013
    captainpat
    Please rewrite the description without the Alice And Bob scenario. That's an Example As A Thesis. You don't need an example in your trope description when you have an example section right below it.

  • June 8, 2013
    Arivne
    Comic Strips
    • The Peanuts strip for June 3rd, 2013. Linus has taken over for Charlie Brown as the pitcher for their baseball team. When Charlie Brown sees that Linus is trying to pitch while wearing his blanket over his head, he comes out and takes over the pitching again.
  • June 8, 2013
    Skylite
    I know it's a beloved fandom name, but Derpy is really kind of an ableist turn of phrase, mocking those with mental issues.
  • June 8, 2013
    Sketchpad
    It is? D: I didn't know. What should I replace it with?
  • June 9, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^ Nothing. Even though the name can be considered somewhat controversial, Derpy Hooves is the canon name of the character.
  • June 9, 2013
    Sketchpad
    I'd still rather change it than risk offending someone. :(
  • June 9, 2013
    ClockStopping
    • In another episode of My Little Pony, Spike insists on being Applejack's helper to repay her back for saving his life, but he's so terribly bad at everything she asks him to do that she is immediately forced to figure out how to let him go.
  • June 10, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^^ Our job on this wiki is to list and analyze tropes of fiction, not to work as a censorship bureau. If someone finds the name offensive, then they should complain about it to the author and not to those who use the name.
  • June 10, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    We have a trope called Suckiness Is Painful. I wonder if it's related or if that trope covers this one.

    EDIT: To add, there was an ancient Dilbert strip where Alice's coworkers had suffered from "strategic incompetence". Alice angrily asks Dilbert what strategic incompetence is, only to hear that he had the notes on it, but lost them.

    I also read an ancient Sponge Bob-themed humor book where one directions/advice page written by Squidward said "Pretend you're too stupid to do anything, including take out the trash. People will think you're dumb but that's much better than having trash on your hands".

    Strategic incompetence may be a different trope entirely, though.
  • June 12, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    ^ Suckiness Is Painful is definitely related with regard to incompetence provoking reactions from onlookers. The nature of the reaction is different for each, though they may overlap.

    Also, the idea of "strategic incompetence" sounds just like Obfuscating Stupidity, which might be worthy to go in the description alongside Reverse Psychology.
  • June 12, 2013
    Duckay
    She was called 'Derpy' in one episode, but after the response, the episode was re-edited to remove the name, so there is no 'canon' name for the pony.
  • June 13, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^ It is stated on the Why Fandom Cant Have Nice Things page, that her official name is still Derpy Hooves.
  • June 14, 2013
    Aerorater
    Fast Eddie is painfully incompetent.
  • June 14, 2013
    Sketchpad
    Would you mind elaborating on that with a few examples and what he's from?
  • June 14, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    It's a flame and/or joke. Fast Eddie is one of the TVTropes admins.
  • June 14, 2013
    Sketchpad
    Oh. Well, I feel like an idiot now. XD
  • June 25, 2013
    randomsurfer
    re Peanuts: There are no new Peanuts strips being made, so the one from June 3 2013 is a rerun from who-knows-how long ago.
  • June 26, 2013
    Sketchpad
    I edited the description a bit, if that helps. :)
  • June 26, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    I don't know if you did it just for the work phase, but remember to cut the Circular Links before launching.
  • June 29, 2013
    DAN004
    IDK, but the name "Painfully Incompetent" kinda doesn't sound spot on with the description. I'd suggest the name "Let Me Do It, Stupid" or "Helping The Incompetent".
  • June 30, 2013
    Sketchpad
    I knew the name didn't exactly fit, but I have the creativity of a tree stump when it comes to naming things. D: I was hoping someone would come up with a better name since my brain is essentially a dead battery. I like "Let Me Do It, Stupid", so I'm going to change it to that if you don't mind. :) Thanks a lot for the suggestion.
  • June 30, 2013
    dvorak
    "let me do it stupid" is a dialogue title, which we don't allow.
  • June 30, 2013
    Paradisesnake
  • June 30, 2013
    Sketchpad
    D: Awww. Oh well.
  • July 1, 2013
    SKJAM
    • In one anime episode of Urusei Yatsura, Ran has a bad cold, and Lum comes by to help out. Among other things, she tries to cook some food, only to have the first dish overspiced. Directed to follow a recipe from "365 Recipes for the Terminally Ill", Lum finds it way too bland and tries to "improve" it. Ran catches her, and sees that Lum is not very good at vegetable chopping either. Soon, Ran's taken the whole cooking chore over, working herself back into exhaustion.
  • July 5, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Why in hell did you change the title to yet another stock phrase?
  • July 5, 2013
    Sketchpad
    Because apparently I'm an idiot with the memory of a goldfish. Sorry about that! I'll change it right away.
  • July 5, 2013
    DAN004
    Um, could you explain what the phrase "snatching the reins" mean? Is it an idiom? (My first language isn't English)
  • July 5, 2013
    Sketchpad
    Where I live, when someone passes a task to someone else or someone else is forced to take over a task in another person's place, it's referred to as taking the reins. The title is a variation of that, where instead of being given the task, they take it away from someone else.

    The title is still basically a work in progress and may change in the future since I've been having a really hard time coming up with something good. If this counts as a stock phrase too then I give up.
  • July 5, 2013
    xanderiskander
    ^It's not a stock phrase. It's just not a very clear title. Although I can see why this is hard to think of names for

    We should probably use a title that emphasizes that it's an urge to fix/prevent the other character's mistakes. Maybe something like Blunder Correcting Impulse/ Mistake Correcting Impulse or something to that effect.
  • July 5, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Seconding those.
  • July 5, 2013
    Sketchpad
    Those are great! Thanks!
  • July 5, 2013
    StarSword
  • July 6, 2013
    xanderiskander
    organized the examples and set up folders for them.
  • July 6, 2013
    Sketchpad
    Oh wow, thanks! I wasn't sure if there were enough examples to warrant using folders, otherwise I would have done that. D:
  • July 6, 2013
    Sketchpad
    Okay, so I just noticed this now has five hats. What should I do now?
  • July 6, 2013
    xanderiskander
    ^I'd say try and get some more examples for now.

    Anime And Manga
    • Double Subverted in Space Brothers: Nanba's team is assigned an engineer for a rover design competition that has to do with their astronaut training. The engineer, Pico Norton, thinks they don't have a chance to win and doesn't want to help. You expect he'll help after being impressed by Nanba's ideas for the rover, but then it turns out he helps the other team members because they were going to screw up setting up the parachute that delivers the rover.
  • July 7, 2013
    GuyIncog
    Film
    • In US Marshals, the local sheriff is attempting to set up a dragnet for the missing prisoner, but his plan is so inept that Gerard repeatedly interjects to offer suggestions. Eventually, the sheriff asks him, "What do you think?" and Gerard immediately lays out his own plan.
  • July 7, 2013
    JoeG
    • On an episode of Modern Family Haley invokes this trope on purpose. She has to bake some cupcakes for the school bake sale, and deliberately does a bad job knowing that Claire will swoop in and make them for her rather then watch her do such a terrible job. Claire eventually realizes what's going on, and after finishing baking the cupcakes she throws them in the trash and tells Haley to use what she's learned watching Claire bake to do a better job.
  • July 7, 2013
    xanderiskander
    ^ Not totally sure, but since it's deliberate. I think that actually belongs on Reverse Psychology or Reverse Psychology Backfire.
  • July 8, 2013
    Omeganian
    • There is a variation in an episode Beverly Hills Teens, where Jett quits the band. In the end, the rest of the gang take her to Gig's solo concert. Seeing how badly he manages without her, she goes back. As she says "I can't handle all this humiliation. Even when it's someone I despise".
  • July 8, 2013
    TonyG
    This is a key component of the Xylophone Gag. The xylophone (although it's more often than not a piano) is set to explode when a certain note is played. Naturally, the intended victim keeps missing the lethal note, until the villain has had enough and plays the piece properly, thus getting hoisted by his own petard.
  • July 10, 2013
    QuantumReality
    There are also numerous Real Life versions of this, whose origins range from true incompetence to purposely fudging so the more experienced person will get frustrated and "just do it", allowing the other person to escape doing something they don't want to have to do.
  • July 10, 2013
    Speedchesser
    • In Elementary, when Sherlock and Watson are investigating an alleged heart attack that M claims is murder, Sherlock breaks into a morgue and tries to get Watson to do an autopsy. She refuses, so he starts it himself, but after he makes a few mistakes, she takes the knife he's using and does it herself.
  • July 11, 2013
    DAN004
  • July 12, 2013
    sketchpad
    I'm ready to launch this baby. :D Any objections?
  • July 14, 2013
    ginsengaddict
    ^ Nope.

    Another TV example:

    In an episode of season 3 of Game Of Thrones, during the funeral of Lord Hoster Tully, Edmure Tully was charged to end the ceremony by firing a flaming arrow at the floating pyre. After he missed three times in a row, his uncle Blackfish took over and hit on the first try.
  • July 14, 2013
    DAN004
    Is it just me or this ykttw lost a hat?
  • July 14, 2013
    Sketchpad
    It did. It probably needs more examples before it's ready to launch or something. It'll probably get that last hat back eventually. :)
  • July 17, 2013
    Arivne
    Comic Strips
    • Beetle Bailey strip for July 17th 2013. General Halftrack threatens to do this when Ms. Buxley is slow finishing a job. He realizes it was a bad idea when she dumps the work on his desk and asks if she can watch him do it.
  • July 18, 2013
    ryanasaurus0077
    ^^ Maybe someone was frustrated that you didn't add their Xylophone Gag example?
  • July 18, 2013
    Sketchpad
    But the Xylophone Gag is already mentioned in the trope's description, and although this trope is a staple for it, they're not the same thing.
  • July 18, 2013
    ryanasaurus0077
    Oh. I guess I didn't read the description closely. D'oh.
  • July 19, 2013
    AyriannahOllivandra
    Often an effect of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder/ OCD-like issues.

    Schmidt from New Girl does this a few times, as well as Sheldon from Big Bang Theory.
  • July 20, 2013
    Sketchpad
    Could you provide a more specific example so I can add it to the examples? :D
  • July 20, 2013
    Methadonepretty
    Comedian Jon Richardson has a skit in his Funny Magnet show regarding his flat mates tendency to do the washing up in front of him to impress him. 'I'm going to do the washing up! ' ' yeah... So am I, five minutes after you think you've done it' http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=q3uepnpjHLs&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Dq3uepnpjHLs
  • July 21, 2013
    RoseBride
    Sometimes this is also a way to show a Jerkass characters as not so much of a jerk, they want to help, but they don't want to admit it, so they offer help in the least nicely way possible, by pointing out how much they suck (which may be true or not) at it, so it's either a trait of the Jerk With A Heart Of Gold or Character Development
  • July 21, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Often also mark of a Tsundere showing their gentler side.
  • July 21, 2013
    Sketchpad
    Well, it's back up to five hats. Should I go ahead and launch it?
  • July 21, 2013
    DAN004
    Go go go. :D
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