Would Rather Suffer
I'd rather get a root canal than go out with you!
Tropeworthy? Better Name Needs Examples Better Name Motion To Discard

(permanent link) added: 2014-01-21 09:46:44 sponsor: CaveCat (last reply: 2014-02-14 21:03:58)

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You want me to describe another trope? I'd rather drink the Brain Bleach!

A character expresses his displeasure for an idea by claiming a preferred alternative — except that alternative is clearly something the average person would find unthinkably undesirable, usually subjecting oneself to pain. This is mainly a Comedy Trope, deriving humor from the exaggerated, ridiculous description of unusual torture.

Commonly used to respond to the advances of an Abhorrent Admirer or Casanova Wannabe.

Compare I Have to Wash My Hair and I Need to Go Iron My Dog as more mundane excuses. Contrast Fate Worse than Death as a more serious comparison. Anything But That! is another negative (over)reaction, though usually to threats.


Examples:

Comic Books
  • A Hellblazer comic subverts this: a couple are arguing, with the man saying that he'd rather shove red-hot needles in his eyes than talk to her family any more. A while later, due to demonic influence, he does just that, and tells her in a completely normal voice that he was wrong: this is much worse.

Film
  • From Shrek the Third, we have a pair of college girls having a conversation, with one of them saying, "And then I said, 'I'd rather get the black plague or get stuck in an iron maiden than go out with you!'"
  • In Ever After, Maguerite and her mother make plans for her to wear a dress which belonged to Danielle's deceased mother to the masquerade ball. After walking in on Maguerite about to try on the dress, Danielle angrily declares "I would rather die a thousand deaths than to see my mother's dress on that spoiled, selfish cow!"
  • In George of the Jungle, Ursula's mother is trying to drive George away from Ursula.
    George: So you no want Ursula to love George?
    Mom: I'd rather have my tongue nailed to this table every morning at breakfast.

Literature
  • In A Christmas Carol Scrooge suggests that the indigent go to prisons or workhouses instead of him giving to charity. The person he's talking to says "Many can't go there; and many would rather die."

Live-Action TV
  • In Happy Days, Potsie asks a girl to do something romantic with him, and she retorts, "I'd rather catch diptheria!"
  • Burn Notice: Andre Dekker, one of the Villains of the Week in "Unpaid Debts" and a black market courier, tells Michael he would sooner cut his own throat than allow anyone to interfere in his deliveries.
    "Do you think I would hesitate to cut yours?"
  • Babylon 5: At the end of the first season, faced with going into the council chamber and and ceding all claim to a sector of space to the Narns, Londo comments, "I think I'll go stick my head in the station's fusion reactor, it would be less painful. And after a while, I might even come to enjoy it."
  • In an episode of The Big Bang Theory, Raj is about to lose his work Visa and is in danger of deportation, so Sheldon offers to let Raj work for him. (Not with him, for him.) Raj says he'd rather swim naked across the Ganges River with paper cuts on his nipples and die a slow agonizing death from infection than work with Sheldon. Then he takes the job.

Music
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic's "One More Minute," singing about an ex.
    That's right, you ain't gonna see me crying
    I'm glad that you found somebody new
    'Cause I'd rather spend eternity eating shards of broken glass
    Than spend one more minute with you.

Newspaper Comics
  • Jon has gotten this repeatedly in Garfield. It was a kind of Running Gag for a while.
  • Similarly, Michelle does this to Curtis sometimes when he asks her out.

Web Comics

Web Original
  • A regluar occurance with The Angry Video Game Nerd, often in a profane matter. For example, in the first Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde episode, he advises to destroy the game instead of playing it, saying, "You'd rather super-glue your asshole shut than play that game. You'd rather drown in gasoline."

Western Animation
  • In the Arthur episode "Arthur And The Square Dance", after Arthur spends the entire episode believing that he and Francine are in love, this exchange follows:
    Arthur: You don't want to kiss me?
    Francine: Are you kidding?!? I'd rather get head lice!
  • Montana Max's relationship with Elmyra from Tiny Toon Adventures is like this. In the episode, "Prom-ise Her Anything", Monty tells Elmyra he'd rather get a lobotomy than be her date. In "It's a Wonderful Tiny Toons Christmas Special", he tells her he'd rather eat dog food than kiss her Under The Mistletoe. Both times, he doesn't just say this to her, he yells it to her, really loudly.
  • In Animaniacs, a businessman sitting next to the Warners, who pester him and want him to be their "special friend", tells them that "I'd rather be stranded on an island and be eaten by cannibals than be your 'special friend'!" Which is exactly what happens to him at the end.
    • In her debut cartoon "Meet Minerva Mink," Minerva listens to her phone messages, one of which is from a nervous Lawrence, asking, "I was wondering if you'd like to go out with me?" Minerva, Breaking the Fourth Wall, replies, "I'd rather chew aluminum."

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