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Anything But That!
Well, would you want to taste his armpit?

There's nothing too embarrassing
I'll honestly do anything
But wear white after Labor Day
'Cause baby, I perform this way
"Weird Al" Yankovic in his parody of Lady Gaga's "Born This Way"

Standard response when someone is threatened with something. It tends to come off as a bit of an overreaction, since the speaker must know that there are far worse things that could happen, but might be justified if it is their worst fear and/or a Fate Worse than Death. Often played for comedy when the threat is relatively minor.

Classic reaction to when family or the Band of Brothers are threatened. For many heroes, someone they love being hurt because of them is literally the worst punishment they could possibly receive at the hands of a villain.

Sometimes the reaction to a Cool and Unusual Punishment and Suckiness Is Painful. See also Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?. When the speaker wants or needs whatever he or she is being threatened with, it's Briar Patching. Frequently paired with "We Have Ways of Making You Talk". See also I Take Offense to That Last One.

Commonly found in Room 101.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Code Geass R2, this is how Kallen reacts to Suzaku interrogating her with Refrain. Understandable, since Refrain would cause her to give up the Black Knights' secrets. More importantly, her mother has been addicted to the drug for years, so Kallen is understandably terrified of being subjected to its damage.
  • Used humorously in an episode of Pokémon. Team Rocket demand that Misty hand over a water-type, when this happens:
    Jessie: Give us a water-type Pokemon, twerp!
    (Psyduck pops out of its Pokeball, with its usual dumb look)
    James: NO! NOT THAT ONE! Please don't make us take Psyduck!
  • In A Cruel God Reigns this is Jeremy's response to the laundry rope line that his stepfather uses to tie him up while he whips/rapes him, and not to the necessarily to the abuse itself (although he doesn't want that either.) In his defense, that is the rope with which Greg's first wife Lilya hung herself and Jeremy knows this.
    Jeremy : Anything but that rope! You strangled Lilya with that rope!
  • In Fairy Tail after Team Natsu comes back from an illegally taken quest, everyone is told they are going to be given a punishment only referred to as "that", with the exception of Erza who 1.) Was the only member of the team allowed to take such a mission, and 2.) Because she's the one sent to collect the rest of the team. Everyone responds appropriately, except Lucy, who is terrified of what they're in store for and is begging everyone to tell her what it is. It's soon revealed to be a simple smack to the head (and, in Lucy's case, her ass). (The anime, on the other hand, keeps it a mystery.)

    Fan Works 
  • In The Lion King Adventures, Zazu fears being tickled more than anything.
    Zazu: Oh, no, sire, not the monkeys! They always know what the best spots to tickle are!
  • In the Bleach Crack Fic Please Stop Eating The Hell Butterflies, Yamamoto promises to give the Vizards an official apology, publically and in writing. Hell, he'll even give them a hundred years' worth of backpay as compensation for the troubles Soul Society has caused them, but for the love God he does not want them joining the Thirteenth and Three Quarters Division! They end up joining anyway.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Angels in the Outfield "Anything, but nachos."
  • Parodied in The Kentucky Fried Movie.
    Dr. Klahn: The CIA thinks they can infiltrate the Mountain of Dr. Klahn!
    CIA Agent: You can't scare me, you slant-eyed yellow bastard!
    Dr. Klahn: Take him to... Detroit!
    CIA Agent: No! No, not Detroit! No! No, please! Anything but that!
  • Kalifornia
    Carrie Laughlin: Please don't let them be as boring as Brian's friends. Anything but that.
  • Spaceballs: Rico's "Oh, shit! Oh, no-no-no-no! Please, no-no-no! No, not that!" followed by Dark Helmet's Schwartz-assisted Groin Attack.
    • "Yes. That."
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).
    Indy peering into the Well of Souls: "Why snakes? Why did it have to be snakes? Anything else."
  • Invoked in Max Keeble's Big Move: "I'm going to mete out a punishment to you that is so severe, future generations will refer to it as "The Keeble." They will beg on bended knee— "Oh, please, sir! Not the Keeble, sir. I swear I'll never misbehave again, if you'll just spare me... The Keeble."
  • In the 1932 Bela Lugosi film White Zombie, when the evil zombie-master, Murder Legendre, suggests to the planter Beaumont that he can gain the heroine's affections by changing her into a zombie, Beaumont recoils shouting, "Not that!" He repeats the remark later, when learning that Lugosi has an avian familiar: "You! The vulture! No, no! Not that! Not that!"
  • In 1940's Crimes at the Dark House, the Dastardly Whiplash Villain Protagonist Sir Percival Glyde (Tod Slaughter) declares to the blackmailing lawyer, Isidor Fosco, "Oh, I've been longing to sink my fingers in your fat, greasy little throat!" to which Fosco replies, "No! No! No! Not that! Not that!"
  • In Mary Poppins, when Mr. Banks is being drummed out of the bank, as the younger Mr. Dawes prepares to flip his umbrella inside-out, one of the board members cries out, "No! Not that!"
  • In 1980's Flash Gordon, Princess Aura utters the immortal line, "No! Not the Bore Worms!"
  • From The Wicker Man remake: "No, no, not the bees!"
  • Hairspray (2007): You almost miss it, but Penny shrieks "Not the jump rope!" as her mother threatens her.
  • In Warren Beatty's Dick Tracy, Big Boy Caprice tells his rival Lips Manlis that he looks dirty... he needs a bath... And as his men drag the luckless gangster away, he's screaming "Not the bath! Not the bath! Big Boy, not the ba-a-ath - ". Understandable, since the "bath" entails being drowned in concrete.
  • Mrs. Shwartz during the famous soap scene in A Christmas Story, presumably referring to her son saying the F-word.
  • In Ghostbusters, the form that the Destroyer takes;
    Ray Stantz: It's the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man!
  • Renfield In Dracula: Dead and Loving It.
    Renfield: "No! Not another enema!"
  • J-Men Forever. Spy Swatter is being tortured by Those Wacky Nazis.
    Evil Nazi: "Welcome to the Hot Hitler Disco, where the beat never Gestopos. If we can't spring some info from you, we'll make you listen to Donna Summer all winter, until you fall."
    Spy Swatter: "Anything but that, fiend!"

    Live-Action TV 
  • Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman episode "Top Copy".
    Mayson Drake: [after Lois saves her life] Keep that up and we may have to start liking each other.
    Lois Lane: [smiling] Anything but that.
  • Not exactly the same wording, but when Jesse proposes a sing-off with Finn for Rachel's heart in Glee, Rachel's horrified, breathy little "No!" expresses a similar sentiment.
  • In Torchwood: Children of Earth, this is used in a huge tearjerker moment when Jack cries "Not him!" when the 456 expels its deadly virus into the air, infecting Ianto.
  • "No, not the mind probe!" line from the Doctor Who special "The Five Doctors".
  • In Scrubs, this J.D.'s reaction to Turk preparing to give him a pink-belly. Apparently Turk is capable of giving the greatest pink-belly in the world and signed it, knowing full-well that because it was so painful, J.D. wouldn't be able to wash it off for several days.
  • In Shining Time Station, Schemer punishes his bratty nephew by straightening (or cutting off) the kid's Schemer-curl (the spit-curl unique to the Schemers). "No, not the curl!" "Oh, yes, the curl."
  • "The comfy chair!"

    Literature 
  • Played horrifyingly straight in 1984. " DO IT TO JULIA!!!"
    • And spoofed brilliantly in Mystery Science Theater 3000's version of "High School Bigshot" when the smart kid gets caught writing a paper for the pretty girl "She's guilty of thought-crimes! Put the rat mask on her!"
  • Br'er Rabbit is possibly an ur-example (at least in American folklore) — then Subverts it. Turns out, he's quite at home in the briar patch.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Changeling: The Dreaming: young Nockers are advised, when bargaining with a Sidhe, to start out asking for sex in return for whatever invention or creation they are selling. The Sidhe will likely reply with this trope, whereupon the Nocker can ask for what he actually wants - which will strike the Sidhe as extremely reasonable in comparison.

    Music 
  • Meat Loaf would do anything for love. Yes he would do anything for love. Oh he would do anything for love...but he won't do that.
    • Arguably subverted, the only thing he won't do for love is betray his lover's trust. Or more specifically, he won't: lie to her, forget the way she feels, forgive himself if they don't go all the way, do it better than he does it with her, stop dreaming of her, forget her, or screw around. Most people don't realize he gets so specific about what he won't do.
    • The Milk Chocolate M&M, aka "Red" in his 2013 commercial sings the song to Naya Rivera of Glee, and then HIS list of things he won't do are: get into a pinata, be part of a sundae, be a brthday cake topping or baked as part of a cookie. Though this list began when she licked the back of his head and he got an Oh, Crap moment. Then her other girlfriends enjoy savoring Red and he goes, "It hurts but I kinda like it!"
  • The Judge's final words in the Trial sequence from The Wall evoke this.
    Since, my friend, you've revealed your deepest fear, I sentence you to be exposed before your peers:
    TEAR DOWN THE WALL!
  • In addition to the above quote, "Weird Al" Yankovic wrote a song called "Don't Wear Those Shoes", where the singer pleads his spouse to do several terrible and annoying things because he can't stand the thought of her wearing shoes that he apparently finds atrocious in appearance.

    Theater 
  • Pontius Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar:
    But since you come from Galilee, then you need not come to me
    You're Herod's race! He's Herod's case!
    • In the 2000 version (the one with Rik Mayall as Herod), Mary Magdalene gives a Big "NO!" expression at the mention of King Herod.

    Webcomics 
  • In Let's Destroy the Shagohod!, Tatyana threatens Sokolov to give information, lest she used the Lipstick Gun (she's kidding). The result...
    Sokolov: No, anything but the Lipstick Gun, AAAAAAAAAA!!!!

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Danger Mouse episode "The Odd Ball Runaround"
    Danger Mouse: I'm taking the direct approach.
    Penfold: Direct approach! Oh no, no no! Not that! Anything but that, please!
  • Used in the Robin Hood episode of the ALF Tales cartoon, when King Richard sentences Prince John and the Sheriff to 200 Hours of Watching the Home Shopping Channel. They are dragged off kicking and screaming, "No! No! Anything but that!"
  • Looney Tunes: "NOT HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! NOT HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!"
    • This was a recurring gag in the Looney Tunes shorts It's Hummer Time and Early To Bet, both directed by Robert McKimson. The unnamed cat protagonist is put by his bulldog antagonist through a series of bizarre punishments, each of which he recoils from with a "No, no! Not that! Not '________'! Not that! NOOOOT THHAAAATT!"
      • In the second one, the cat is subjected to them as "punishment" after losing at gin rummy, which the cat can't resist playing because of a malicious Gambling Bug. Eventually, the dog refuses to play with him anymore, because he's afraid the cat is going to hurt himself. In the end, the Gambling Bug gets a taste of his own medicine:
      "No! Not the Post!" (Gets squished with a newspaper)
    • Superman: The Man of Steel #3 featured a dark Shout-Out to these cartoons when Magpie's version of "Happy Birthday" had a lit dynamite stick in a mook's mouth, as another mook sobbed the above line.
  • In an episode of Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, Tails is rescued from Robotnik's clutches by Sonic, but wants to stay and help fight off the baddies. Sonic convinces him to leave by threatening to tell everyone his real name is Miles if he doesn't. A mortified Tails screams, "NO!! NOT THAT!!" before flying away THROUGH the nearest wall.
  • The Futurama movie Bender's Game had a scene where Bender, believing himself to be a knight of yore, started firing silverware at Fry, Leela's family and Zoidberg.
    Zoidberg Not the SPORK!
  • In a Dexter's Laboratory episode featuring a James Bond style photo-workshop villain, one of his female henchmen reacts thus to a punishment of... being blinded with a camera-flash producing eye.
  • Bugs Bunny in the spoof of 1001 Arabian Nights. As they prepare to throw him in boiling oil he says that's quite fine, but just as long as they don't throw him down that deep, dark hole. The hole is his way out of the place and he escapes once they throw him in.
  • When Peter Venkman of The Real Ghostbusters encounters a phase-shifting ghost in "Drool, the Dogfaced Goblin", he sees a giant cockroach. Even after all the beasts he's encountered, cockroaches are still the only thing that terrifies him. (Then again, we are talking about New York...)
    • Extreme Ghostbusters later revisited the concept with "Fear Itself," a being that caused one's fears to actually materialize. Again, the creature wasn't evil: When the Ghostbusters cornered it, they found a wizened, bug-eyed thing cowering before them. They decided to leave it alone.
  • Ms. Wakeman says this in the My Life as a Teenage Robot episode "Puppet Bride" after Little Acorn threatens to sing "the song" over and over.
  • In the Fairly OddParents episode "Spaced Out":
    Guard: For your final task, you must EAT the chocolate bar!
    Timmy: Sure! I mean, not chocolate! Anything but that! PLEASE don't make me eat it!! ...*chomp* Hey, there's peanuts in it!
    Everyone Else: AAAAAGH!!
    • The joke being that, to the Yugopotamians, chocolate is one of the most toxic substances in existence, and they never knew very much about humans before Timmy showed up.
  • The Trix of Winx Club begged for any punishment, as long as they weren't inflicted the overdose of happy and cute things reserved for the inmates of Light Rock.
  • On the first Screwy Squirrel cartoon, Screwy is listening to Sammy Squirrel drone on about his Ridiculously Cute Critter friends and goes "Oh, brother! Not that! Not that!", then takes Sammy behind a tree and beats the daylights out of him. It is said again by Screwy, Meathead and their twins when Sammy appears at the end.
  • The Beatles episode "Chains" has Ringo daydreaming he's Captain Bligh aboard the H.M.S. Bounty, and he orders John, Paul and George to climb the ship's riggings to the crow's nest. They genuflect to Ringo:
    John: Anything but that!
    Paul: No one's ever made it to the top and lived!

    Real Life 
  • Put a phobic person with the thing they fear.


Agony BeamA Tortured IndexBeing Tortured Makes You Evil
Grudging Thank YouStock PhrasesAre We Getting This?
Answering EchoDialogueApologizes a Lot
Writing Around TrademarksImageSource/Comic BooksW.I.T.C.H.

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