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An example from Batman: The Animated Series that WASN'T planned by The Bat: An industrialist who is secretly going broke themes his new casino after The Joker, while all the time denying the connection. He expects this to infuriate the Joker, who will come destroy the place, which will trigger the casino owner's multi-million dollar insurance policy. Unfortunately, Batman tells the Joker all this mid-rampage (when the Joker has set up a roulette-wheel style Death Trap designed to blow up the casino and Batman at once), and the Joker decides a better revenge is confronting the industrialist "man to clown" as he says, and then take over the place. "But that doesn't let you off the hook," he tells Batman, before altering his device so it only disposes of Batman. (And true to Bond Villain Stupidity form, he leaves, letting Batman escape.)
Another such gambit involves a gangster and rival of the Joker dying and willing him $250 million. On paper. What really happened was that only $10 million of the inheritance was real. The rival (who saw this as the perfect way to get even with the Joker before he died from his illness) was banking on the Joker's massive ego not allowing him to admit to being fooled, which makes things hard for the Joker when it's time to pay inheritance tax.
When Supergirl and Batgirl teamed up against Poison Ivy, Livewire and Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy threw some seeds at Batgirl, knowing Supergirl would vaporize them with heat vision, releasing a toxic gas.
Poison Ivy: You are so predictable.
In Superman's show episode featuring Mxyzptlk was basically a series of Batman Gambit's on the part of Clark to get the fifth dimensional being to disappear almost as soon as he arrives. (The final one took a little longer, but Superman gets credit for apparently having thought up a rather clever one pretty much on the spur of the moment.)
In Justice League, The Joker pulled a pretty slick one, courtesy of the Royal Flush Gang. He broke them out of a top-secret government research facility and used them to keep the Leaguers busy looking for the 26 bombs he'd placed on the Las Vegas strip. Meanwhile, he broadcast the whole thing on live television, pulling in huge ratings...
Joker: And that was the point all along; this whole thing was a stunt to get as many of you watching as possible—and it worked! My Royal Flush Gang provided the conflict, the Justice League brought the star power. And I brought the shocking surprise ending; Everyone watching the show right now is witness to my greatest joke ever."
In Jackie Chan Adventures, when Jade is accidentally banished to the Demon Netherworld, and her family races to Shendu's portal to free her, the Demon Sorcerers head to the portal as well, their brother having claimed he could use it to free them all. It looks bleak for her when they catch her, Po Kong even wanting to EAT her! But Jade, having been informed by Uncle that Shendu was bluffing, revealed this fact to the demons, and uses the confusion caused by the fighting over who gets to escape to get through the portal herself! Crowning Moment of Awesome, anyone?
In W.I.T.C.H., Nerissa uses a Batman Gambit to gain control of Kadma, one of the former Guardians, along with Kadma's Heart of Zamballa. After Will and Kadma have cornered Nerissa in a quarry, Nerissa allows Kadma to defeat her in a brief battle. Kadma then goes for Nerissa's Heart of Meridian, and this enables Nerissa to take both Hearts and gain control over Kadma's mind.
This is also how she gained control of the Heart of Meridian - as Trill, she gave Elyon a jewel said to be from her long-lost mother, though enchanted to steal her power. All Nerissa had to do was wait until the power was inside it to make Elyon angry over said jewel, tossing it away - a Heart can only be transferred willingly and when Elyon gave it up, it became Nerissa's.
The last episodes of the second season of WITCH are revealed to be a Batman Gambit devised by Will. The gambit consisted of enlisting Phobos's help to take the Seal of Nerissa (after making him swear on the power of Candracar that he wouldn't keep it), and then, after his predictable betrayal, maneuvering him into attacking Candracar, at which point (because of his broken vow) he would forfeit the seal and everything he'd gained by it.
Of course, this plan failed due to one small snag - Phobos' right hand man, Cedric, having enough of Phobos' crap and eating him and the power right then and there!
Sideways, agent of Unicron and thus chaos in Transformers Armada is a master at this. First he encourages Hot Shot's already cocky nature, leading to him going to the Decepticon base on his own and getting captured. Then he works on Starscream's lack of self-esteem and Megatron's paranoia about his position to make them fight each other. The only error in his plan was that for all his manipulations and prodding of egos, Megatron never killed Starscream.
And in Transformers Animated, Optimus Prime pulls one of these. In "Decepticon Air", he tells Jazz (out loud) to get to the control panel and turn the decontamination chamber into a freezing one so they can lure the attacking 'Cons into it, but as he speaks, his shoulder badge flashes multiple times. Obviously, they overhear. Sentinel gets held hostage, and Optimus tells the jet twins to surrender and trust him, getting them all herded into the chamber. Turns out, similar to the Superman II example above, the flashing badge was "optical code" for Jazz to wire it so that everything outside the chamber is frozen. If the 'Cons had just used stasis cuffs, instead of deciding to be arrogant and mock Optimus, or if Sentinel hadn't shouted out that order, persuading the 'Cons to use him as a hostage, it all would have gone to the Pit.
And in "Endgame, Part 1", Megatron uses one for his three Omega Supreme clones. Knowing that with his personality, the clones would probably overthrow him, and also knowing that Starscream would try to get the activation code himself to use the clones, he bet on Lugnut pouncing on Starscream to stop him. It went perfectly - Lugnut got the codes, and Megatron got three walking, flying weapons of mass destruction (in more ways than one, it turned out) controlled by his most fanatically loyal Decepticons.
Long before either examples, in "Autoboot Camp", Shockwave (a.k.a Longarm) pulls one off. He knows that Bumblebee overheard his conversation with Megatron and that Bumblebee has asked for his help in exposing the spy: Wasp. After providing more evidence towards Wasp's "treachery" while guiding Bumblebee along the way, Shockwave plants evidence in Wasp's locker, setting him up take the fall. In the end, Wasp is arrested for treason, and Shockwave goes on to become Head of Cybertron Intelligence. If Bumblebee had told Sentinel about the possible Decepticon spy, things wouldn't have gone as well as they did.
In Beast Wars, Megatron's plan to reactivate the Nemesis to destroy the Maximals and the dormant Autobots is dependent on Tarantulus being his usual treacherous self, fixing the ship by himself in an effort to escape from Prehistoric Earth and leave everyone else behind. The plan would have failed if Tarantulus had not been killed with the Vok and had taken the ship himself, or if Tarantulus had never found the ship in the first place and repaired it.
Using the Nemesis wasn't Megatron's plan before Tarantulus was killed. Megatron was investigating Tarantulus's ruined lair for something that would be useful, since Tarantulus always had something up his sleeve that Megatron could use to his advantage. That something just happened to be the Decepticon Flagship
In the American Dad! episode "Failure Is Not a Factory-Installed Option", after a car salesman messes with Stan's head to make him buy a car he doesn't want, Stan goes insane and starts living on the streets, depriving his family of their sole source of income (his paycheck). This forces them to shop at the same discount grocery store as the car salesman. Seeing the devastation his aggressive negotiations have caused, the salesman is shamed into giving Stan a much better deal on a car. Stan then whips off his crazy homeless guy clothes and reveals this sequence of events was all part of his master plan to get the better of the salesman. The fact that this plan led to his family nearly starving and his daughter prostituting herself for grocery money doesn't seem to concern him.
Considering how many cars he had been tricked into buying, it might have been more humiliating for the family otherwise.
In a later episode, "Widowmaker", Francine wishes Stan was more open with her like her neighbor Julie did with her husband Craig, who has been missing for three weeks. After some "therapy" with Roger, Stan becomes very open with Francine, including the fact that he killed Julie's husband for being a blabber-mouth by order of the CIA (and going into graphic detail). Then Francine accidentally tells Julie and has to knock her out so the CIA doesn't decide to kill Stan for the same reason as Craig. Then it all turns out this a plan by Stan and Craig so Francine will quit bothering Stan, and so Craig can get away from having to talk to Julie by moving to a tropical island and taking a new wife. God, Stan (and Craig) is an asshole.
In "The Scarlett Getter", Stan meets an old flame from his CIA training academy and he starts to re-develop feelings for her and ignore Francine. Francine is so irritated by this hookup, she tells Roger to put on a disguise to steal Scarlett from Stan. This works, but Stan wants to break up Roger and Scarlett and hires an alien hunter to capture Roger. Stan and the hunter arrive at the cabin where Roger and Scarlett are planning to have sex, where it turns out that Scarlett is an alien hunter herself. She knew Stan had an alien in his house before their "chance" encounter each other and used Stan to get to Roger and dissect him.
"Bar Mitzvah Hustle" shows what happens when one goes awry. Steve plans out a very Oceans Eleven-esque present heist in order to discredit the guy who stole his girlfriend. Things go smoothly, as he is able to use a decoy heist in order to get his target's attention off his real goal: the money he's been receiving for his bar mitzvah (Steve is trying to cause his target to become paranoid and reveal he's just a greedy little boy for being so concerned with his presents). His plan is to use Snot as an unknowing patsy to get the money out of the party by slipping it in his coat and provoking him to leave by spilling juice on his shirt. This almost works but Snot comes back right at the critical moment and unintentionally reveals he was carrying the money. Steve even notes how his plan is almost foolproof unless that exact thing happens.
In the penultimate episode of Danny Phantom, Valerie tricks Danielle into leading her to Danny so she can capture "two Danny Phantoms for the price of one."
That one was nothing compared to the one Clockwork the Time Ghost pulled in The Movie, The Ultimate Enemy. Knowing everything that would happen, he manipulated events which lead to Danny encountering the evil monster he could become so he could overcome it, change his future, gain his sister as a confidant, and develop his most powerful ability 10 years early, while at the same time, pull his evil self out of time so he couldn't harm his own timeline anymore. The only side effect is now that if he ever gets loose, he'll be free to travel into Danny's time without anything to teether him.
In the third-season opener of ReBoot, Mainframe security forces have been shot out of the sky by Megabyte's military and Dot needs the few remaining to return to the Principle Office. To get enough time to lower their shields and get the survivors back inside, Dot tells them to move into a single file line to approach the hanger bay. Such a tactic would be insane, but Dot knew Megabyte's military tactics. The enemy forces took position on both sides of the allied forces and prepared to shoot them down in the crossfire. With the enemy fighters in neat little groups of their own, the good guys were able to lower shields, gun down the attacking forces with the base turrets and bring in the survivors all in one move. It didn't work out quite as clean as on paper, though.
Bugs Bunny demonstrates his mastery of the Batman Gambit in many cartoons, but rarely comes up against a worthy opponent, and will inevitably use simple tricks, like misdirection and "pronoun trouble", to manipulate his enemies.
Cecil Turtle used a Batman Gambit against Bugs Bunny during their second race. He does this by tricking Bugs into thinking that having a turtle shell, actually increases running speed. Meanwhile, Cecil dresses in a rabbit costume, because he knew that a pro-rabbit gang would target him so he couldn't win the race again and embarrass the rabbit species. Instead, the pro-rabbit gang targets Bugs Bunny in his turtle costume, while helping Cecil Turtle to the finish line.
Magneto brilliantly pulls 95% of one in X-Men: Evolution's Season 2 finale "Day of Reckoning", manipulating four different factions — the X-Men, the Brotherhood, Bolivar Trask's private army, and his Acolytes in order to: reveal to the world the existence of mutants, out Trask's group and destroy their Sentinel prototype, brand the X-Men as fugitives, and severely drain his enemies' resources. Only one unaccounted-for factor — his daughter, Wanda Maximoff — prevents it from going perfectly.
In the G.I. Joe, "Mass Device" story, GI Joes stages a phony internal message telling of their supposed surrender to Cobra, successfully banking on their enemy intercepting it and being fooled by what they are listening in on. As a result, Joe buys itself enough time to hunt down the last of the elements it needs; however, Destro, although fooled himself to a degree, is not taking any chances and proceeds to retrieve the same materials himself.
Zuko's attempt to use this Gambit against Azula in the Grand Finale is subverted. He attempts to bait the already insane Azula into shooting lightning at him so he can redirect it back at her. Azula, still being Dangerously Genre Savvy in spite of her mental breakdown, chooses instead to shoot the lightning at Katara instead.
In the Christmas Episode, Santa Claus pulls off a beautiful Batman Gambit, delivering a device to Doofenshmirtz that would enable him to brand all of Danville as Naughty, while at the same time sending Perry the Platypus a CD with a note sharp enough to shatter said device. When all of Danville is branded naughty, and it looks like Santa Claus won't put in an appearance, Phineas, Ferb, and their friends team up with a couple of elves, who have come to investigate why a whole town would be labeled as naughty. It turns out to be a deliberate act to allow everyone to get their Christmas wish. Doofenshmirtz finds a reason to "hate" Christmas, a villainous area he felt he was deficient in; Buford performs a selfless act, thus allowing all of his friends to see him as nice; Baljeet delivers a gift to a cute girl, thus earning a kiss from her; Candace finds out that she really does know Jeremy quite well, as she got him the perfect gift; and Phineas got to be just like his hero, Santa. (Ferb gets a harmonica, but it wasn't really intrinsic to the Gambit.)
On Johnny Test, Johnny himself has managed to pull off a few Batman gambits, such as going without bathing just so his family, after multiple failed attempts to get him cleaned up, will give in just so he can get a water park for his best friend's birthday, or the time he wanted to get his sister's time machine so after failing the first time, he had Dukey in the future take it while the family was having dinner then come back to pick him up. Dukey even notes that he's not as dumb as you might think.
2003 Leonardo: If there's one constant in The Multiverse, it's the Shredder's big fat ego!
Ed, Edd n Eddy has this in the episode "Mission Ed-Possible". Ed and Eddy catch wind of the fact that Edd is delivering their straight-F report cards to their parents, and they're relentless in chasing him to secure the report cards for themselves so that they can change them. But when they finally manage to outsmart Edd and get their hands on his satchel, they find out that before the chase began, he had given the report cards to Rolf so that he could deliver them while he drew Ed and Eddy's attention.
In the two-part pilot of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, main character Twilight Sparkle's mentor, Princess Celestia, sends her to Ponyville to make some friends, right after she warned her about an ancient prophecy of doom. Turns out, her mentor predicted this. Thanks to her understanding of friendship in the second part, Twilight and her new friends saved the world.
Princess Celestia continues to use some variant of this in pretty much every major appearance thereafter, reasons varying from trying to teach Twilight and friends something, to using Twilight and friends as pawns to get out of having to sit through a boring soiree.
To playing pranks on inattentive waiters to screwing with the animal lover's head (but at least she made the bird apologize)... she really loves this trope.
And let's not forget the second one she pulled. She figured Discord would break out, so she had Twilight Sparkle stay in Ponyville, writing letters to her, explaining what she learned about friendship. When Discord comes and takes over Ponyville, Celestia sends all the letters to Twilight Sparkle in order to snap her out of her Heroic B So D. Put simply, it works. Though it seemed the plan was more of a "if all else fails" plan, since she had Twilight and the others try to find the Elements first and see if they can seal Discord with that.
In the season three finale it's revealed that pretty much all of Twilight's life after becoming Celestia's student was one big Batman Gambit so that Twilight would become an alicorn princess that surpassed even Celestia in power, something that was slightly hinted at in "Cutie Mark Chronicles", and in fact Lauren Faust has suggested that there is more to Princess Celestia than has been depicted of her in the series. She said, in relation to the events of the flashback in that episode, Celestia sensed that Twilight Sparkle is connected to the Elements of Harmony and arranged the dragon-hatching test for her.
In Spawn: The Animated Series, we find out during the third and final season that Al Simmons is the victim of a Batman Gambit by Maleborgia. Instead of being used to lead hells army, he's actually used as a sperm donor to impregnate Wanda with a demon seed - who'll be the real human general of hells army.
In The Simpsons episode "Sideshow Bob Roberts" Lisa figures she can get Sideshow Bob to admit he rigged the election by insinuating he was a lackey to Birch Barlow.
Bob: Only I could have executed such a masterpiece of electoral fraud. And I have the records to prove it! Here, just look at these — each one a work of Machiavellian art!
In the South Park episode "Spookyfish", the boys meet the evil Eric Cartman from a Mirror Universe. Being the opposite of the real Cartman, he is kind and helpful. Cartman rips off his counterpart's beard after he finds out that Stan and Kyle are going to send him to the other universe in favor of evil Cartman. When Stan and Kyle are trying to decide which Cartman is the one they want to get rid of, one insists that they both have to go for the greater good. They zap the other Cartman because they know the real Cartman would never say that. However, it was the regular Cartman who said that; he knew that they would fall for it.
In the episode Scott Tenorman Must Die, Eric Cartman sees several of his revenge schemes against the titular older bully fail only to see a much grander, more complex Batman Gambit succeed when he manipulates Scott Tenorman into eating chili made from the corpses of his own murdered parents. The scheme is a particularly good example of a Batman Gambit in that, after Cartman sets the ball rolling, the chain of events necessary to bring the plan to fruition occurs because everyone involved acts according to their character, exactly as Cartman predicts. His shocking success in this plan prompts Stan and Kyle to agree: "I don't think we should ever mess with Cartman again."
"Here Comes Fatty Doo Doo" Token produces a reality TV show about Cartman by tricking Kyle into filming what he thinks is a documentary. When they find out, Cartman gets a cease and desist letter, but the pilot had already aired. Token "admits" that they didn't do very well in the ratings because they were scheduled against Honey Boo Boo. Cartman, angry that he lost to "that bitch," gets rid of his lawyer and agrees to do more shows with Token.
Doug has one in "Doug's Big News". Roger gets everyone kicked off the news show by taking credit for the video tribute the class made for Mr. Bone. They figure getting him a present wouldn't help them get back in his good graces because Roger would take credit for it again. Doug takes advantage of this and when Roger takes the next gift, Roger gets in trouble for giving Mr. Bone pink underwear.
In the Duck Dodgers episode "Corporate Pigfall", the Eager Young Space Cadet becomes CEO of a Mega Corp., and Dodgers's new cadet is Egghead Jr. Dodgers then enlists Egghead's help in getting the Cadet back. The Cadet eventually quits Macrovast, and ensures his position is vacant by making Egghead Jr. the new CEO. The final scene is of Egghead writing on his notepad "Exactly as I planned."
In one episode of The Cleveland Show, Donna breaks her leg and guilt trips Cleveland into taking care of her and the household. Cleveland does everything he can to please Donna and she takes advantage of his by making him come up to her room for every little thing she wants. Cleveland's friends notices how soft he has gotten and they confront Donna, thinking she's not really disabled at all, and try to prove she is faking it by pushing her down a flight of stairs. Donna turns out to be just fine as she got up at the last minute and admits she is pretending to be crippled because she knows that Cleveland will push himself to take care of her since he feels guilty about not helping out more. However, Cleveland knew all along that Donna was faking her injury and was working hard to make her feel guilty about having him do all the work. Once Donna got "better", she sees Cleveland is still busting his ass to please her, so she demands to resume being the housewife of the family. Cleveland pretends to agree and once Donna is working hard at home, she then realizes she was being played with all along.
In Gargoyles, the entire scenario with Derek Maze, Elisa Maza's brother, was one big Batman Gambit by David Xanatos. There were many times Xanatos plans for Derek could have failed. All Derek really had to do was trust and believe in his own sister's warnings about him. Elisa even gets Fox on tape admitting that Xanatos had shady plans for her brother. She gives the tape to Derek, but he clearly doesn't listen to it. Episodes later, (after the damage was done) Derek/Talon finds out the hard way he was nothing but a science experiment, and a personal stab at Elisa Maza. David Xanatos, himself, even criticized his scientist, Anton Sevarius, for being a bad actor - something Derek should have noticed being an ex-cop. "You always overplay your hand, Anton."
Slade forces Robin to be his apprentice in Teen Titans. He does this by infecting the other Titans with Nanoscopic Probes, which he can activate if Robin doesn't obey. When he is about to destroy them, Robin decides to infect himself with the same probes. He tells Slade that if he loses his friends, Slade loses his apprentice. Slade angrily destroys the controller.
In an episode of Arthur, Arthur refused to take D.W. to a science museum. The next day, D.W. shows off her own science exhibit... which includes such explanations as "H₂O can be made by combining O (oxygen) with H (a hose)" and "the sun turns off at night." So, Arthur and the Brain finally take her to prove her wrong, but D.W. reveals that her whole plan was to be taken to the museum.
In an episode of King of the Hill, Peggy and several other Arlenites get scammed and put together a plan to scam their money back but it doesn't work because of the conman's Genre Savvy. At this point, Hank finds out through Bobby and rushes in to help Peggy by threatening the conman. In his haste, the man stows his ill-gotten money in his room safe, then gets rid of Hank, only to discover that the safe is gone. "The Econo Lodge doesn't have room safes," as the front desk clerk explains. It turns out, this was Peggy's plan the whole time, because she knew Hank would come to her rescue when he heard she was in trouble. Definitely one of her Crowning Moments of Awesome.
Doubles as a Xanatos Gambit since she had also planted a valet to park the conman's car ("The Econo Lodge doesn't have valets either."), presumably to use his car as leverage to get their money back.
Adventure Time had Finn use a Batman Gambit on himself in "The Real You". While made super-intelligent by magical glasses, he created a black hole, went insane, and tried to kill dozens of people until Princess Bubblegum removed the glasses and normal stupid Finn destroyed the black hole through sheer recklessness. Smart Finn planned every single step ahead of time. Even the part where he went insane.
A double subversion occurs in the Samurai Jack episode "Jack and the Swamp Monster". At first, it appears that Aku is using this strategy to lure Jack into a trap, using a Paper-Thin Disguise that makes the viewers question Jack's intelligence (and his sanity). As it turns out at the end, however, Jack was never fooled for a minute, and was using a Batman Gambit of his own to lure Aku into his trap.
In Archer, Malory had killed the Prime Minister of Italy who was responsible for the death of a man, who might be Archers biological father. So she shot herself, make up a story of armed thugs ,and called Archer and everyone in ISIS to dispose the body. She even called the police on herself to make it look real.
Episode 2: Leo and Raphael allow a minion to overhear their plan to use the minion's van to bust into the Kraang facility. The next night, the van busts into the Kraang facility, and the Kraang are there to greet it. Except the van was a diversion, and the Turtle were scaling the wall.
Episode 24/25/26: The Kraang put a mind-control device on April's father and allow the turtles to rescue him. They then use him to get April to leave the lair to help the Turtles and leads her into an ambush by the Foot Clan. The mind-contolled Kirby O'Neal then informs Splinter of this, and informs him that she is at Shredder's headquarters. Splinter arrives and takes out the minions, but April is just a hologram, and Shredder had already traded her over to the Kraang. Ultimately, they both got what they wanted: Shredder got Splinter out in the open, and the Kraang got April.
Episode 26: Shredder reveals to Splinter that Karai is actually Miwa Yoshi - Splinter's daughter, who he believed to have died. Furthermore, he raised her believing that Splinter killed her mother. In other words, if Shredder kills Splinter, he'll always have Karai as a memento of his victory. If Karai kills Splinter, he'll always have the satisfaction that Splinter was killed by his own daughter. If Splinter kills Shredder, Karai will want Splinter dead even more. And if neither of them kill each other, he has the knowledge that he stole Splinter's daughter, and that she'll grow up cursing his name.
Ren does this to Stimpy in The Ren & Stimpy Show short "Space Madness". Driven mad by the titular infliction, Ren (as Commander Hoek) forces Stimpy (as Cadet Stimpy) to watch over "the History Eraser Button". Despite being Exactly What It Says on the Tin, he drives Stimpy mad with curiosity and he pushes the button.
Double subversion in the Codename: Kids Next Door episode "Operation: U.N.D.E.R.C.O.V.E.R." One of the Delightful Children becomes a Reverse Mole, making Sector V think he's helping them destroy the other DCFDTL's coffee supply, when it's actually a trap to steal the team's top-secret plans. As it turns, out, the KND are pulling a Batman Gambit of their own; the briefcase they steal actually has a bomb, and after the Delightful Children spring their trap, the heroes get the last laugh and manage to destroy the coffee supply anyway.
In Barbie And The Secret Door, Malucia employs one in her bid to capture the Queen Unicorn. She lets Nola go and tell the others that she's planning to capture the unicorn so they'll move her, but is secretly lying in wait to ambush them.
Dick Dastardly pulls one in the Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines episode "Home Sweet Homing Pigeon." Muttley, Klunk and Zilly are to be discharged, so Dastardly asks them to sign his memory book. They actually signed re-enlistment forms for four more years.
Dastardly: (to us) Sometimes I'm so sneaky, I hardly trust myself!