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[[quoteright:350:[[WesternAnimation/GeneratorRex http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/uev42kz.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Not shown: the tank-sized KillerBunny.]]

->''"I wanted it to go smooth. Why don't it ever go ''smooth''?"''
-->-- '''Malcolm Reynolds''', ''Series/{{Firefly}}''

%% One quote is sufficient. Please place additional entries on the quotes tab.

A {{Sitcom}} plot where the characters are trying to pull off some kind of easy, straightforward operation; throw a surprise party, open a restaurant, or pick someone up at the airport. Either a series of things go wrong, they screw up through their own natural laziness, cheapness, or stubbornness; or one solitary thing goes awry and ThePlan falls to pieces.

Once things have disintegrated, the characters go to ludicrous extremes to fix them, and a FawltyTowersPlot or IndyPloy evolves.

A phrase often invoked in the formulation of these plans is: "What's the worst that could happen?" or "WhatCouldPossiblyGoWrong" -- which, if you are GenreSavvy or familiar at all with the concepts of FinaglesLaw or TemptingFate, is a sure sign that [[RuleOfDrama things are going to go wrong in the worst way]], often with a GilliganCut to the protagonists running from angry bikers or such.

Contrast with ZanyScheme. When the end goal goes through despite this trope, you have DespiteThePlan. When the character expected circumstances to arise and improvised about them, he's playing XanatosSpeedChess. When the character scraps the initial plan and goes with a new one, the character has decided it's TimeForPlanB. PlethoraOfMistakes is this trope applied to crime thriller fiction, and involves everything going wrong for the sake of going wrong in order to teach the {{A|nAesop}}esop that crime doesn't pay. A plan revealed to the audience tends to fail miserably due to the UnspokenPlanGuarantee.

In more serious stories, anything described before the fact as an "in-and-out" operation is almost certain to fall into this trope.

[[IThoughtItMeant Not to be confused with]] the [[Film/ASimplePlan film of the same name]], which [[PlethoraOfMistakes used a related trope]]. Also not to be confused with [[Music/SimplePlan the band of the same name]].


[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]
* ''Anime/HeavyMetalLGaim'': ''All'' that Daba wanted in the first chapter was to deliver a cash card to a stranger. But somehow he got involved in a rebellion against TheEmpire and a war that spanned five planets.
* ''Anime/MazingerZ'': In episode 46 [[BigBad Dr. Hell]] had a pretty simple plan: send two MechaMooks to infiltrate into the [[HomeBase Institute]] and plant several nukes in [[HumongousMecha Mazinger-Z's]] launching dock. Everything explodes, he wins. However that simple plan meets complications due to his {{Robeast}}s and his troops running into abandoned babies, suicidal mothers, and at one point they get involved in a manhunt through the woods.
* A lot of the {{Filler}} in ''Manga/MermaidMelodyPichiPichiPitch'' used this, especially to show the character decay of Caren, Noel and Coco.
* Chapter 97 of ''Manga/MyMonsterSecret'' starts with Rin doing shopping to make hamburg steaks for dinner. It ends with her, Aizawa, Shiho and Akane defeating [[Literature/JourneyToTheWest the Ox Demon King]] in a remote mountainous country. [[MakesJustAsMuchSenseInContext Don't ask.]]

[[folder: Comic Books ]]
* ''ComicBook/{{Asterix}} And The Golden Sickle'': Asterix and Obelix go to Lutetia to buy a new golden sickle for Getafix. They soon become involved in a mystery involving a gang of golden sickle traffickers, and end up being arrested by the local Romans several times.
-->'''Asterix:''' To think we only came for a golden sickle!
* The Creator/DarkHorseComics Crime anthology ''Noir'' was full of them, but special mention should go to the final story: "The Bad Night", about a [[InsuranceFraud staged robbery]] that goes [[GoneHorriblyWrong mythically wrong]].
* A ComicBook/DisneyDucksComicUniverse story about Scrooge [=McDuck=] has Scrooge, deprived of his pick-me-up "nutmeg tea," decide to quickly go to the place where the nutmegs grow, grab a bagful of nutmegs and scoot back home again with "no fuss, no muss and no rough stuff." He does get home again, but has to hide the metal collar and chain until he can find someone to cut it off him.

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* ''ComicStrip/ThePhantom'': In the 1947 story arc "Romance", the Phantom goes to buy an engagement ring so he can propose to Diana, which leads, by a series of steps each straightforward in itself, to the Phantom trapped on an abandoned ship that's about to be blown up, and Diana swearing never to speak to him again.

[[folder: Fairy Tales ]]
* ''Literature/JackAndTheBeanstalk'': All Jack's mother wanted him to do was sell the family cow. However, this simple plan turns out to have plenty of unintended ''gains'', namely the contents of a giant's castle.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''Fanfic/ACrownOfStars'': The plan to free [[ShrinkingViolet Shinji]] [[BattleCouple and]] [[BrokenAce Asuka]]’s timeline was relatively simple, even if the goal was a campaign with low to no casualties: sending a massive force to talk the locals into surrendering peacefully. And then they ran into a complication: a jealous, angry and overprotective Rei Ayanami shutting the dimensional gate and cutting them off.
* ''Fanfic/TheVow'' (a ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda'' fanfic): A gang of criminals band together with the intention to kidnap Lady Lianne (the only child of a powerful noble, who's at the time in Gongmen City and courted by Lord Shen), ransom her back to her father for an insanely large price, split the spoils and leave China. They kidnap Lianne in brought daylight right in front of [[RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething Shen]] and his wolf guard while they're in the city, but several of them die while one is captured and forced to reveal the hiding place. Before being rescued, [[DefiantCaptive Lianne]] even tells the bandits' leader how flawed the entire plan is.
* ''FanFic/TheTotallyAmazingSpiderMan'': The plot kicks off when Spider-Man arrives in Beverly Hills. Jerry, concerned about Spider-Man's aims, orders [[WesternAnimation/TotallySpies the spies]] to detain him for questioning. Unable to keep up with him naturally, the spies stage a mugging - with Sam playing the victim and Alex and Clover playing the thugs- in an attempt to lure him out. Unfortunately, he proved to be far more formidable than they expected. Clover was [[AllWebbedUp stuck in Spidey's web]], Alex is sent running for her life, and Sam had to stall for time so Alex could get out of sight.

* Creator/TheCoenBrothers have almost made this a trademark of their films, be they comedy or drama:
** ''Film/TheLadykillers'': Attempt to rob a casino, and silencing the only witness.
** ''Film/IntolerableCruelty'': Some GoldDigger seeks revenge on a lawyer who prevented her from making a killing.
** ''Film/TheBigLebowski'' ("The beauty of my plan is... its simplicity"). The meat of the movie comes from the fact that several groups of people have simple plans, [[GambitPileup and they all run afoul of each other]].
** ''Film/TheHudsuckerProxy'': A bunch of [[CorruptCorporateExecutive shady executives']] plot to take over a company after their boss abruptly commits suicide: hire some dope whose bad ideas will lower the company's stock, allowing them to buy it up. [[SpringtimeForHitler But their dope had a pretty good idea]].
** ''Film/TheManWhoWasntThere'': A blackmailing scheme gone wrong.
** ''Film/BloodSimple'': Hiring a private detective to kill your [[YourCheatingHeart philandering wife]] isn't as easy as they say.
** ''Film/{{Fargo}}'' is probably their best example: Hire two crooks to kidnap your wife, and get your cheapskate Father-in-law to pay the ransom. WhatCouldPossiblyGoWrong
* ''Film/SuicideKings'' follows a similar plot to Fargo complete with ASimplePlan gone wrong.
* Played straight in the movie ''Film/ASimplePlan'': what starts as a plan to split up a huge sack of money found in the woods ends up leaving a trail of bodies [[spoiler:including two of the three guys who found the money]], and at the end of it all, [[spoiler:[[ShootTheShaggyDog the money is marked anyway, and has to be burnt]]]].
* ''Film/HaroldAndKumarGoToWhiteCastle'' has it right in the title. The titular duo want to go eat dinner at White Castle, but events quickly conspire against them.
* The poster for the 70's classic ''Film/DogDayAfternoon'' even describes the trope as its plot: "The robbery should have taken ten minutes. 4 hours later the bank was like a circus sideshow. 8 hours later, it was the hottest thing on live TV. 12 hours later, it was history."
* Neatly done in ''Film/QuickChange''; the complex, intricate bank robbery that the protagonist and his friends have planned goes off without a hitch. However, what ''should'' be the incredibly simple matter of driving to the airport to make the getaway turns into a convoluted, mishap-ridden nightmare.
* ''Film/PlanesTrainsAndAutomobiles'' is about a guy who just wants to back home from New York to Chicago for Thanksgiving. A whole fiasco erupts from this.
* ''Film/AdventuresInBabysitting'': Chris is babysitting when she gets a call from a friend who is stranded at a city bus station and in need of a ride home. Chris takes the kids (and their tagalong neighbor) along rather than leave them unattended while she's supposed to be babysitting them. Matters quickly fall apart from there.
* The film ''Film/{{Inception}}'' plays a tune from its official soundtrack as they plan their mission into Fischer's subconscious mind: "A Simple Plan." When they enter the dream and find that [[spoiler:Fischer's subconscious mind has been weaponized and attacks the team]], the entire mission has to be improvised. Not to mention that Cobb's dead wife is still haunting his own subconscious...
* ''Film/PlanB'': The plan is for Bruno to win back his ex-girlfriend by seducing her new, bisexual boyfriend, causing them to break up. Things start getting complicated when the FauxYay [[BecomingTheMask stops being so fake...]]
* ''Film/ShaunOfTheDead'': Shaun's zombie survival plan.
-->''We take Pete's car, go round Mum's, [[ShootTheDog deal with Philip]], then we grab Mum, pick up Liz, go to the [[LocalHangout Winchester]], have a nice cold pint, and wait for all of this to blow over. ''

* Inverted in ''Literature/TheAdventuresOfHuckleberryFinn''. Breaking Jim back out of slavery would be an almost effortless operation for Huck and Tom Sawyer, but Tom insists on doing outlandish things like sneaking tools in through Jim's lunch, trying to dig an entrance hole into the (unguarded and unlocked) slave quarters with pocket knives, and trying to scare the Phelpses into staying inside so they can kidnap Jim without fear of getting caught. All on top of the long process of forcing Jim to keep a prison diary.
** This is even more cruel (and hilarious) than it seems, since [[spoiler:Jim has been legally freed by his owners days earlier, and could just walk out at any time. Tom doesn't tell him until later because he wants an adventure.]]
* Donald E. Westlake likes to use this trope. ''Literature/TheHotRock'' and, of course, ''What's the Worst That Could Happen?'' are two examples. ''The Worst'' is interestingly the one Dortmunder book in which the plan went ''perfectly''.
* Getting the Hrum gold in the Literature/FarsalaTrilogy. It starts as a plan so simple it could probably be described in less than a sentence and evolves into about a third of ''Forging The Sword''.
* Not at all played for laughs in ''Literature/{{Gladiator}}''.
* Exceptionally common in the Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse, since both the Empire and Republic ''du jour'' are generally [[WeAreStrugglingTogether riven by internal strife]] and ambitious individuals are all too happy to latch onto any plan more complicated than "go to the next room and get a drink" for their own benefit. The most impressive:
** ''[[ComicBook/XWingSeries Wedge's Gamble]]'': Wedge Antilles and his [[AcePilot crack pilots]]-[[DoAnythingSoldier slash-infiltration team]] are told to bring down Coruscant's planetary shields. They intend to do so by inserting a programming hook in the planetary computer system that will let them simply tell the computer to turn them off. This will be simple, they reckon, because a Rebel sympathizer controls the factory that makes hardware for the system. [[TheMole This plan doesn't go to spec]], so Wedge ends up [[IndyPloy furiously improvising]] a strategy that uses an orbital mirror satellite, a giant floating construction robot, and a bunch of black-market starfighters. It works.
** ''Literature/{{Shatterpoint}}'': Mace Windu intends to sneak into the Confederate-held system of Haruun Kal, [[SendInTheSearchTeam and find his renegade ex-Padawan]], ostensibly in charge of a local partisan movement, who may have gone a little ''Literature/HeartOfDarkness'' on them. Once he finds her, he'll just call in a Republic cruiser that will punch into the system, send down a shuttle, and jump out; no muss, no fuss. This plan goes to hell in the most direct way imaginable when the whole system [[spoiler: is a Separatist trap]] and Depa's AxCrazy associates decide they ''want'' the war to continue. Mace ends up winning, of course, but not in the way he would prefer.
** ''[[Literature/NewJediOrder Rebel Dream]]'': Perhaps the simplest of them all: all Wedge Antilles (again) has to do is not get killed defending Borleias from the Yuuzhan Vong. ([[spoiler: Well, the Advisory Council [[TheUriahGambit would prefer he die]], just not right away.]]) Between his stubborn refusal to listen to a stupid order and his [[XanatosSpeedChess particular brand of tactical genius]], he manages to not only hold the system against the unstoppable alien horde for months and withdraw in good order, rather than being overrun, he [[spoiler: sets up a quasi-independent resistance movement to take over when or if the Republic collapses]] and manages to kill one of the top Vong generals in the bargain.

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]
* ''Series/OurMissBrooks'': "The Birthday Bag" sees Miss Brooks' friends try to throw her a surprise birthday party and buy her an alligator skin purse as a gift. HilarityEnsues.
* Frequently occurs in ''Series/HappyEndings'', even when it's not due to a ZanyScheme. For example, the season two episode "Party of Six" starts with simply having a birthday dinner and spins progressively out of control when "the curse of Penny's birthday has struck again."
* This is what ''Series/{{Frasier}}'' generally does when it's not doing something from the MistakenForIndex. Lampshaded at one point when Martin scoffs at yet ''another'' Simple Plan that Niles and Frasier have devised (sharing an office as psychiatrists):
--> '''Martin''': The book you two tried to write together; ''that'' was a bad idea. The restaurant you opened together; ''that'' was a bad idea. But ''this''... no, that restaurant was still the dumbest.
* As indicated above, it also happened frequently in ''Series/FawltyTowers''.
* Frequently occurs, and is {{lampshade|Hanging}}d, in ''Series/{{Farscape}}''. As Aeryn puts it to John "Your plans never work! Not the way you detail them!" Eventually he admits this when an [[UnspokenPlanGuarantee unspoken plan]] actually works as planned, "Yeah, it's a first, isn't it?"
** There is even an episode subtitled "A Not So Simple Plan".
* A frequent ''Series/{{Seinfeld}}'' plotline.
* Played painfully straight on the ''Series/MySoCalledLife'' episode "Life of Brian" where the simple plan is to go to the school dance. One kid changes dates, which sets off a chain reaction of people changing theirs, until nobody is happy with what results. Despite sounding comedic, the episode showed what it would be like to actually have to deal with that in real life.
* The collapse of "simple plans" was a common plot point in ''Series/{{Firefly}}'', although usually due more to bad luck than anything else. This led Mal to gripe in the episode "Safe," upon finding himself in yet another shootout, "Why don't it ever go smooth?"
** He suffers this to the point where it's made into a character trait ("Things Don't Go Smooth") in the ''Film/{{Serenity}}'' RPG. Mal has the severe version of this trait. Player-made characters can take this drawback as well, giving the GameMaster an excuse to ensure that HilarityEnsues no matter how well the players plan their various hijinks.
* Many an episode of ''Series/DrakeAndJosh'' uses this trope, memorably one where their attempt to deliver a cake to their elderly aunt's wedding leaves them stranded in the middle of nowhere and blowing up the car they borrowed.
* ''Series/CurbYourEnthusiasm'' spreads this trope out over entire seasons.
* A somewhat common theme in ''Series/{{Leverage}}''. Of course there's a reason it takes five of the world's best thieves to pull these cons off. Even the simplest plans have potential to go all to hell for reasons as simple and unpredictable as a mook of the bad guy calling his cousin or as large as someone trying to crash land the plane they're on to run a con.
** In "The Gold Job," Hardison gets the chance to run a con and comes up with a ridiculously complex scheme that's basically a big land deal. However, just as it's about to go through, the marks get tired of all the hoops and quit. Luckily, Nate has a back-up scheme to take them down for supposed insurance fraud. Afterward, Nate tells Hardison that the problem with such large complex plans is that you can never predict exactly how a mark is going to behave. Thus, Nate starts with the "simple and ugly Plan G" that will work when all else fails and moves onto more complex schemes from there. As Nate states, the simplest plans ''always'' remain the best.
* {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d to a degree in ''Series/TheMentalist'', a drama. Patrick Jane refers to one of his schemes as being a "simple plan" and Lisbon says that she likes it simple. It's when he starts getting out the costumes and such that she gets worried.
* On one ''Series/{{Friends}}'' episode, the plan is to throw Rachel a birthday party. Things start getting messy when the parents refuse to be in the same room and two parties get planned and then...
* Happens all the time in ''Series/StargateSG1'', nicely {{lampshade|Hanging}}d in the episode "Off the Grid" after a plan has gone pretty badly wrong:
-->'''Jackson''': Uhh…I have a question: Why would we make the Gate magically disappear BEFORE we had a chance to escape through it?
-->'''Worrel''': Bad timing?
-->'''Jackson''': Th-that's got to be the single stupidest thing I've ever heard.
-->'''Worrel''': Do things always go according to plan in your world Dr Jackson?
-->'''Jackson''': [beat] No. Not usually, no.
* When not forming their [[ZanyScheme zany schemes]], the study group in ''Series/{{Community}}'' has come up with some great ones:
-->'''Jeff:''' "So, what, to even the score I have to drunk dial her? Isn't that absurdly simplistic? Would it even work?"
* Virtually every episode of ''Series/ItsAlwaysSunnyInPhiladelphia'' revolves around the gang hatching some sort of plan. Usually involving monetary gain or revenge.
* ''Series/DoctorWho''. Any time the TARDIS lands and the crew has something relaxing or normal planned--going to the beach, visiting their family, maybe just picking up some milk--will end up with them all running for their lives. ''[[OncePerEpisode Every. Single. Time]].''
** In "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS32E4TheDoctorsWife The Doctor's Wife]]", the TARDIS, temporarily put in a human body, says that she doesn't bring the Doctor to where he wants to go, but where he ''needs'' to go.
** By the time of the Eleventh Doctor, however, references start to appear more frequently concerning trips that ''don't'' go horribly wrong.
* The ''Series/MythBusters'' have often come across myths that, on the surface, seem easy enough to test...and then some factor they hadn't counted on makes it a nightmare.
--> '''Adam:''' You should ''never'' expect Plan A to go off without a hitch! Me and Jamie, [[TimeForPlanB it's usually Plan D]].
* In Season 3 of ''Series/{{Justified}}'' a corrupt prison guard and his prison nurse buddy have the great idea to break Dicky Bennett out of prison, have him lead them to the $3 million his late mother hid away and then kill him. They do not count on the fact that they will have to take [[TooDumbToLive Dewey Crowe]] with them or that US Marshal Raylan Givens will suspect them right away. They also do not realize that most of the money is already gone or that the person holding the rest of the money feels honor bound to keep Dickie alive and is much deadlier than they are.
** Robert Quarles plan for Kentucky starts of as this. He comes in from Detroit and fully backed by the Detroit Mob he takes over the Dixi Mafia operations in the state. He then establishes a series of "medical clinics" where crooked doctors issue prescriptions for Oxycontin that is then bought from pharmacies by various local junkies and petty crooks. The buyers get some of the drugs as payment and the lion's share is shipped north where it can be sold for massive profits. He never thought that a local criminal like Boyd Crowder would have the guts to oppose him or that their conflict would bring in US Marshal Raylan Givens who would love to lock everyone involved up for a long time. To counteract all this interference, Quarles is forced to sponsor a crooked election for sheriff and starts cutting deals with other factions in the area. A VillainousBreakdown soon follows.
** In "Over the Mountain", Dewey was supposed to take Wade Messer to a secluded location in the woods and have him dig a hole, under the pretense that Dewey hid money in the ground. After Wade dug a deep hole, Dewey was to shoot him dead and bury the body in the hole. Naturally, Dewey screws it up. Wade's tiny shovel was insufficient for the task, Dewey shot him prematurely, a struggle ensued that resulted in Dewey getting lost and injured, and Wade wandered off before dying out in the open where law enforcement found his body.
** Drew Thompson witnessed up-and-coming mob boss Theo Tonin murder a federal informant and fearing for his life he decided to steal $2 million in drugs from the Detroit Mob and then fake his death. The plan was to recruit a petty criminal as his partner, load the drugs into a plane and fly away. Then Drew plants his ID on his partner and pushes him out of the plane with a faulty parachute. He then parachutes down over some wilderness and while everyone assumes that he is dead, he can get away and start a new life in another coutnry. The first problem he encounters is that he is forced to shoot Theo Tonin during the getaway and Tonin loses an eye as a result. This means that Theo will never let the matter go. Then Drew breaks his legs while landing and has to use his entire stash of drugs to buy protection and shelter from Bo Crowder and Arlo Givens. Once he heals up he has no money and has to stay in Kentucky where he [[spoiler: becomes a police officer]]. However, Arlo kept some of the evidence and decades later tries to use it as a get-out-of-jail-free card. Soon Drew has the FBI, the US Marshals and most of the Detroit Mob looking for him.
* What drives most plots on ''Series/BlackBooks''.
* ''TopGear'':
--> ''' How hard can it be? '''
* Happens often in the series ''SanfordAndSon'' when not a ZanyScheme. In an example, one episode begins with Lamont bringing in an old Revolutionary War rifle to restore and quickly leaves the title characters wondering if they have accidentally murdered a neighbor.
%%* Two words. (Or, rather, one word, twice:) Series/AlloAllo. Used quite often. Also [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] when René says "Simple plans are always the best!"
* Subverted in ''Series/TheMiddleman'', where the bad guys always start their villainous monologues with "You have to admit, my plan was sheer elegance in its simplicity" no matter how ridiculously convoluted it really was. Generally, what went wrong was some minor thing that had little to do with the broader, overly complicated scheme.
* ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'': Snarkily lampshaded for a new Inhuman recruit:
-->'''Lance Hunter''': This is how S.H.I.E.L.D. works. You make a plan, plan turns to rubbish, we make a new plan. Oh, just to be crystal clear, this is the part where the plan turns to rubbish.
* [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] and [[DiscussedTrope Discussed]] by Captain Cold in ''Series/{{The Flash|2014}}'' episode "Infantino Street":
-->'''Snart:''' "There are only four rules you need to remember: Make the plan. Execute the plan. [[DeadpanSnarker Expect the plan to go off the rails.]] [[IndyPloy Throw away the plan.]]”
* This was the plot of the TV movie that came before the ''Series/OneHundredThingsToDoBeforeHighSchool'' series. CJ convinced her two friends to help her release a raccoon the science teacher had caught. This leads CJ and Fenwick being late to their first class, accidentally destroying the new principal's office that was still being constructed, and missing their entire sixth period class when they hid in CJ's mother's car and go to her house.

* Music/BarenakedLadies: "Bank Job".
--> But how do you plan for
--> A bank full of [[NunsAreFunny nuns]]?
--> Well I guess we panicked
--> We all have taboos
--> And they were like zebras
--> They had us confused
* The aptly named "It Was Supposed To Be So Easy" by The Streets. The guy has to return a DVD to the video store, withdraw some money at the ATM, give a message to his mother on the phone, and grab the rent money from his house. Simple enough, right? He takes the DVD case back to the store only to discover that he's left the disc at home; he waits at the ATM but his account has insufficient funds; his cell phone battery is dead so he can't call his mum; and the money has disappeared from his living room. He laments:
--> Today I have achieved absolutely nowt
--> In just being out of the house, I've lost out
--> If I wanted to end up with more now
--> I should have just stayed in bed like I know how

[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]
* The RPG ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'' has a dramatic example: as penalty for their actions in overthrowing the Primordials, the Sidereal Exalted, Heaven's bureaucrats, were cursed so that whenever they get together in large numbers to create a plan, it usually goes horribly, horribly wrong. How horribly wrong? Well, seeing as their last great get together resulted in the death of Creation's god-kings (mind you, [[WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity they kind of deserved it]]) and could be indirectly blamed for an apocalyptic disease, an invasion by TheFairFolk, the fall of a Golden Age of magic and technology, and untold amounts of Creation's landmass dissolving back into the Wyld, they can only go up from here.
** And that's not even mentioning how the rebellion against said god-kings broke a constellation.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Fiasco}}'' is pretty much "A Simple Plan: The Game". Its tag line is "A game of powerful ambition and poor impulse control".
* This sort of nonsense is de rigueur in ''TabletopGame/{{Paranoia}}'', but occasionally, you can get a [[http://www.paranoia-live.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6166 subversion]].
* The introduction of the TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}} Fourth Edition rulebook has an experienced runner asserting that the scariest words in the world are not "trust me" (since many people in this CrapsackWorld learn young not to trust others), but [[TemptingFate "It'll be easy."]] Then goes on to detail a supposedly easy corporate espionage and sabotage mission that, due to a double-cross by [[spoiler:the Johnson's Humanis-connected assistant]], ended with two of the narrator's team being fatally shot, as well as the team [[spoiler:almost being responsible for the mass murder of a sizable amount of the ork and troll population because of the assistant's poisoning of the stuff that was supposed to go into the rival company's drink to make it taste bad]].

* ''Theatre/CyranoDeBergerac'': Being a {{Farce}}, this play has enough simple plans to qualify for a GambitPileup, obviously, none of them work:
** De Guiche plans to [[ArrangedMarriage marry]] Roxane to [[TheBeard De Valvert]] to bully her into being TheMistress.
** De Guiche plans to [[BuyThemOff buy off]] Cyrano with [[ScrewTheRulesIHaveConnections an offering from his uncle, Cardenal Richelieu]].
** Christian intends to learn enough of Cyrano to stop PlayingCyrano and woo Roxane [[BeYourself himself]].
** De Guiche plans to visit Roxane instead of going to war.
** Roxane plans to deceive De Guiche so he will let the Gascon Cadets out of the war by telling him this would be the best {{Revenge}} against Cyrano because WarIsGlorious.
** De Guiche plans an UriahGambit with Christian and a LastStand for all the Gascon Cadets while he is safe behind lines.
** Christian plans to force Cyrano to tell the truth to Roxane. Even if he loses Roxane’s love, [[IJustWantMyBelovedToBeHappy his best friend and Roxane can be happy]].
** Le Bret and Ragueneau plan to leave Roxane unaware of Cyrano’s mortal wound when they leave the nunnery to attend him.

[[folder: Video Games ]]
* The Playstation game ''VideoGame/IncredibleCrisis'' revolves around a day in the life of the Tanamatsuri family. The Simple Plan is to get home in time for grandmother Hatsu's birthday party, but the other members of the family get involved in one bizarre misadventure after another. To name just a few: Taneo, the father and a grade-A {{Salaryman}}, gets chased around by a giant globe that fell off a statue, and at one point ends up going the wrong way down a busy highway on a stretcher; Etsuko, the mother, gets kidnapped by robbers and eventually ends up piloting a jet fighter into battle against a giant rampaging teddy bear; Tsuyoshi, the son, gets shrunk by weird alien rays, and has to dodge insects while trying to make his way home safely; and Ririka, the daughter, has to protect a tiny UFO while helping it reunite with the "mother" ship.
* There is of course ''VideoGame/ConkersBadFurDay'' where Conker's plan of simply going home after a night of drinking doesn't work at all.
** The real-life development of the game is an example, since the development team started out with the goal of making a generic cute-animal [=3D=] platformer. Quite a lot of delays later, it didn't quite turn out that way.
* The plan in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' is very simple. Cailan leads the main force at the darkspawn horde, Loghain [[HollywoodTactics comes around the flank and hits them in the rear as soon as they're fully engaged]]. [[WhatCouldPossiblyGoWrong Easy, right?]]
** [[spoiler:Loghain's plan is even more simple: [[TheUriahGambit He doesn't]]. And it works perfectly. It's a bit more complicated of course, since the original plan was also Logain's and had pretty clearly failed before he retreated due to underestimating the enemy numbers (the army is still coming out of the woods, they don't ''have'' a flank) making following the original plan a StupidSacrifice.]]
** All of Loghain's plans go this way. He tries to have a rival quietly murdered and it somehow turns into a zombie uprising. He seeks the aid of the Mages, and then his emissary goes nuts and starts a demonic invasion. He sells the poor into slavery, not realizing that he has helped his most hated enemies with a source of cheap but powerful sacrifices. He hires an assassin to take out the heroes, the assassin ends up joining them instead. He tries securing his daughter's rule, and his methods end up leading her to oppose him. He tries pinning the disaster of the battle on the Grey Wardens, and it turns out a few of them not only survived but now they're gunning for him personally.
*** The Awakening Expansion has dialogue from [[spoiler:Loghain's chief advisor's daughter]], who immediately decries [[spoiler:her father]] as an cruel, power-hungry lunatic, implying that [[spoiler:his chief advisor thought up every plan, subtly tricked Loghain into believing that he was the one who thought them up, and then hired the worst possible crew to do each task in the worst way ever - all to burn most of Ferelden to ashes so that he could have the largest piece.]]
* The plan in VideoGame/NeverwinterNights is incredibly simple. Retrieve the four reagents so that the clerics can assemble a cure for the plague, everyone lives HappilyEverAfter. [[WhatCouldPossiblyGoWrong Easy, right?]]
* The plan in ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'' is ridiculously simple. Find Bastila, find a ship, and get off Taris before you are discovered. [[WhatCouldPossiblyGoWrong Easy, right?]] ([[Creator/BioWare Could this possibly be a trend?]])
* From ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas'': "[[MostAnnoyingSound ALL WE HAD TO DO, WAS FOLLOW THE DAMN TRAIN, CJ!]]"
* The main plot of ''VideoGame/GrimFandango'' is the result of two Simple Plans colliding:
** Hector [=LeMans=]: Defraud deserving souls of their golden tickets, sell [[spoiler: fake]] tickets to rich people, (un)live in luxury [[spoiler: actually keep all the golden tickets to balance out his many crimes and get him to the Ninth Underworld.]]
** Manuel Calavera: Steal a colleague's work order in order to break a slump and maybe work off his time in the Land of the Dead a little faster.
*** About ten minutes after Calavera's plan is put into action, a chain of events is touched off that completely reshapes the underworld.
* From ''VideoGame/Borderlands2'' you have the mission ''Wildlife Preservation''. The plan is simple enough: Find Mordecai. Get upgrade to Claptrap. However things ''really'' don't go well in the end [[spoiler:thanks to Jack kidnapping, doing horrible experiments on, and then killing Mordecai's beloved bird Bloodwing in incredibly cruel fashion]].
* In ''VideoGame/ShadowWarrior2013'', Lo Wang's task is simple -- buy an old sword called the Nobitsura Kage from a {{Yakuza}}-connected collector named Mizayaki for two million dollars. Things waste no time in going right straight to hell, especially when the demons that also want the sword come calling and [[HellOnEarth invade the place]].

* ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance''": After a relatively simple plan to steal a MadScientist's Displacement Drive Vehicle goes awry and ends up destroying the vehicle and scientist's entire island complex, Torg learns the experience. So, when he decides to try and take down Hereti-Corp [[http://sluggy.com/comics/archives/daily/20100303 he figures the best way]] is to pretend that ''they'' have a Displacement Drive Vehicle, too, try and steal it, and cause so much unintentional pandemonium that it brings the whole company down.
** "I just wanted a ''Good'' plan! Torg, that's nigh-foolproof!"
* The tendency for simple plans to go horrible wrong is [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] in [[http://wapsisquare.com/comic/asimpleplan/ this]] ''Webcomic/WapsiSquare'' strip. Said simple plan results in being shot at and bringing down a group of smugglers in Cairo.
* Asher of ''Webcomic/GetMedieval'' gets a little GenreSavvy (and joins Neithe in LeaningOnTheFourthWall) when [[http://get-medieval.livejournal.com/297093.html planning a breakout attempt]], though it may just be his general pessimism combined with sarcasm.
* The plot of ''Webcomic/ProblemSleuth'' starts because Problem Sleuth wants to ''go outside''.
* In ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'', Tagon's Toughs are smart enough that if told something should be simple, they immediately start planning for the worst. And not even senior members of the Toughs are allowed to say "[[WhatCouldPossiblyGoWrong What's the worst]] [[TemptingFate that could happen?]]"
* Happens with such frequency in ''Webcomic/LegostarGalactica'' that [[TheCaptain Captain Smith]] has started viewing it as little more than a mild, entirely routine annoyance, sighing "of course it is" whenever he's informed of some new, bizarre, unpredictable development.
* In ''WebComic/StandStillStaySilent'', Reynir got himself hired as an unpaid kitchen helper on a merchant ship in hope to be able to get off at the ship's destination, which he turned out to not be allowed to do for safety reasons. He then noticed that the ship was delivering food supplies, assumed that they were going where he wanted to go and hid in one of the crates. These crates were for a military crew exploring the ForbiddenZone and the safety reasons mentioned earlier mean that he's stuck with them until their own safe ride comes to pick them up. In a few weeks.

[[folder: Web Original ]]
* Most [[WebAnimation/HomestarRunner Strong Bad Emails]] are like this. A simple e-mail asking if he's ever been on a road trip leads to him and The Cheat being stuck in the car all day, and a pretend pizza place to meet some girls results in an actual, well-reviewed pizza place.
* ''Roleplay/SurvivalOfTheFittest'' has an ongoing subplot about escape that is quickly going in this direction.
* [[http://www.kongregate.com/games/Trickysheep/anikas-odyssey Anika]] just wanted to get some water for her parents. Then an eagle mistook her toy for lunch.

[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* A villainous example appears in the ''WesternAnimation/{{Jem}}'' episode, "Broadway Magic" in which using a forged letter from "Rio", the Misfits are able to lock Jem in the crown of the Statue of Liberty. However, the Misfits are unaware that Jem's earrings are part of a illusion-creating computer. The show plays this trope straight in many episodes.
* Subverted in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/StormHawks'', where the plan to infiltrate a Cyclonian prison base is (to the audience) simultaneously planned out and executed thanks to {{Flash Forward}}s, thereby invoking the spirit of an UnspokenPlanGuarantee.
* Every episode of ''WesternAnimation/RegularShow'' so far has fit this trope to an extent.
* ''WesternAnimation/SkysurferStrikeForce''. Jack Hollister has a simple plan: go talk to the expert who possibly installed Cybron's AI brain. The guy's in prison, so this should be easy. Right?
* Played with in ''WesternAnimation/GeneratorRex''. Noah makes a very detailed plan to have the perfect prom night with a girl that's out of his league. He takes into account her friend's hilariously bad luck and invites Rex, knowing that he could survive any accident she may cause by her clumsiness. What he ''doesn't'' take into account is that Rex is being harassed by a giant monster bunny that wants him dead. This ends with all of them inside a tank trying to get rid of said bunny while on their way to prom.

[[folder: Real Life]]
* [[UsefulNotes/RichardNixon Watergate]]. Ye gods, Watergate.
* "Everyone has a plan, until they get punched in the face." --Mike Tyson.
** Paraphrasing Helmuth von Moltke the Elder: "No plan of operation survives contact with the enemy."
* Germany's pre-WWI deployment/'war' plans[[note]] The document known as 'The Schlieffen Plan' explored the feasability of ''Aufmarsch I West'', the deployment plan for an isolated Franco-German war. It determined that even with Germany's allies providing forces and the entire Germany army being deployed in the west with no time-constraints for their operations, victory was far from certain and a 'quick victory' (two months or less, say) was completely out of the question. ''Aufmarsch I West'', ''Aufmarsch II West'', and ''Aufmarsch I Ost'' were developed under Chief of the German General Staff Schlieffen while he was in-office (retired 1905). ''Aufmarsch II Ost'' was developed under his successor, Moltke 'The Younger'. While each of these is just a deployment plan and not an operational/campaign plan, each deployment is only good for one or two operations/campaigns. [[/note]] To wit:
** ''Aufmarsch I'' - isolated Franco-German war, perhaps with Germany's allies helping her out (Italians attack on Franco-Italian border and both Italy and Austria-Hungary send forces to Germany). France will be on the defensive because she will be grossly outnumbered, so to bring about a (favourable) end to the war Germany (and her allies) will have to attack her. ''Operational Plan'' after the deployment of the entire German Army in the west is to launch an offensive through Belgium-Luxembourg with most of the German Army and rely on the Austro-Hungarian and Italian forces to HoldTheLine on the (pre-war) Franco-German border. ''Aufmarsch I West'' looks less and less likely to be used as strength of Franco-Russian alliance is made clear and Britain aligns herself with France, making Italy unwilling to support Germany. It is scrapped as it becomes cclear that an isolated Franco-German war is an impossibility, and that Germany's allies won't help her even if it did happen somehow.
** ''Aufmarsch II West'' - War between Franco-Russian Entente and Germany, with Britain maybe assisting the Entente and Germany's allies (Austria-Hungary, Italy so long as Britain doesn't join France) maybe helping her. 80% of German Army in west, 20% in east. France and Russia will attack because they have the larger force, so Germany will be on the defensive in at least the first operation/campaign of the war and execute a counter-offensive against the French offensive when it comes - but instead of pursuing retreating French force, 1/4 of German force in west (20% of total German force) will transfer to east to launch counter-offensive against Russian offensive. ''Aufmarsch II West'' becomes the main German deployment plan as Germany's strategic situation worsens in the immediate pre-war years. '''Aufmarsch II West is implemented in August 1914''' [[note]] but Chief of the General Staff Moltke (the younger) orders the western force ''onto the offensive'' and ''only 1/16'' (5% of the total German forces) of the German force in west is transferred to the east after the initial victory against France. Consequently Germany fails to destroy significant French forces because they use friendly rail lines to retreat faster than the Germans can pursue on-foot and on horseback (a feat impossible in German territory), and fails to destroy significant Russian forces either because the eastern force is too weak to execute a proper pursuit of the retreating Russian force. [[/note]].
*** ''Plan XVII'' is a 1911 French plan designed to counter ''Aufmarsch II'', in which the French launch an offensive with c.50% of their forces into Luxembourg and Belgium and thereby either meet the Germans coming the other way (if the Germans launch an offensive) or they push through and invade Germany (if the Germans are on the defensive). A Russian offensive into East Prussia is timed to co-incide with the ''Plan XVII'' offensive.
** ''Aufmarsch I Ost'' - War between Franco-Russian Entente and Germany, with Britain maybe assisting the Entente and Germany's allies (Austria-Hungary, Italy so long as Britain doesn't join France) maybe helping her. 60% of German Army in west, 40% in east. France and Russia will attack because they have the larger force, so Germany will be on the defensive in at least the first operation/campaign of the war and execute a counter-offensive against the Russian offensive when it comes - but instead of pursuing retreating Russian force, 1/2 of German force in east (20% of total German forces) will transfer to west to launch counter-offensive against French offensive. ''Aufmarsch I Ost'' becomes a secondary deployment plan as it's feared that the French offensive will succeed if it's not countered more quickly (as in ''Aufmarsch II West'').
** ''Aufmarsch II Ost'' - isolated Russo-German war, with France neutral at first but maybe attacking Germany later. If France helps Russia then Britain may join them, and Germany's allies (Austria-Hungary, Italy so long as Britain doesn't join France) might help her in turn. 60% of German Army in west, 40% in east. Russia may launch offensive because she has a superior force (and counts on eventual French involvement), but if she doesn't then German forces will launch offensive instead. After battle(s) against Russian force is/are won German force in east will remain in east and pursue retreating Russian force. German force in west will execute a defence, perhaps including a counter-offensive, without reinforcement. ''Aufmarsch II Ost'' becomes a secondary deployment plan as it becomes clear that an isolated Franco-German war is an impossibility and it's feared that the French offensive will succeed if it's not countered with more force, albeit slower (''Aufmarsch I Ost''), or more quickly and with more force (''Aufmarsch II West'').