Assurance Backfire
Something that was meant to sound assuring ended up sounding bad.


(permanent link) added: 2011-08-04 04:18:04 sponsor: HiddenFacedMatt (last reply: 2012-09-04 18:07:12)

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Bolt: Calm down, cat. You're with me.
Mittens: That's the problem!
--Bolt

The opposite of Threat Backfire, this is for characters saying things that are meant to sound assuring, but those it's being said to perceive as bad.

In other words, Assurance Backfire is to Threat Backfire as Compliment Backfire is to Insult Backfire.

Can be related to Bad Omen Anecdote. (If, for example, one uses as an assuring analogy something that actually ended horribly.) Often related to Analogy Backfire.

Compare/Contrast with False Reassurance, wherein the person doing the reassuring is deliberately misleading.

Examples:

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[[folder:Film]]
  • Bolt has the above quoted dialogue, wherein Mittens doesn't exactly trust Bolt to know what he's doing.
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[[folder:Literature]]
  • In Witches Abroad, Magrat is feeling deeply embarassed and uncomfortable about having to pose as Emberella at the ball. The other witches try to help.
    "Don't worry," said Granny, "We'll be there too."
    "And that's supposed to make me feel better, is it?"
  • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry is worried for his sanity because he suddenly sees skeletal horses pulling the Hogwarts carriages, and nobody else can. When Cloud Cuckoo Lander Luna Lovegood tells him that she can see them too and he's just an sane as she is, he is less than reassured.
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[[folder:Webcomics]]
  • In The Order of the Stick, after Haley's been left behind in (the now overrun by goblins) Azure City, Elan tries to jump out of the boat and swim to her until everyone reminds him that she has a much better chance of survival than him. Then one of the minor characters points out that she has Belkar watching her back causing him to panic again.
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[[folder:Western Animation]]
  • In The Simpsons Lisa is feeling depressed after seeing an unflattering caricature of her. Marge attempts to cheer her up by singing "there once was an ugly duckling" but then Lisa says "so you think I'm ugly then?" and Marge hastily says "no, you're one of the good looking ones...who makes fun of the ugly one".
  • In the Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "The Cave of Two Lovers", a cave-in splits up the party in an underground tunnel, and Sokka ends up alone with a group of singing nomads. As Sokka tries to dig his way through the debris, the nomad leader comments, "Yeah, it's no use. We're separated. But at least you have us!" Sokka's response is to scream in despair and start digging more frantically.
  • Jonny Quest TOS episode "The Sea Haunt". The Quest team is trapped on a ship with a terrible monster and Team Pet Bandit is frightened.
    Hadji: Don't worry, Bandit. Nothing will happen to you that won't happen to the rest of us.
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