Sometimes you screw up, and you know it. Your girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse, roommate, sibling, parent, or partner in crime is mad at you, and with good reason. How better to say "I'm sorry" than with a heartfelt gift?
Sometimes the gift is meant as proof of your sincerity . . . sometimes it may stem from a sense that just words aren't enough to make up for the wrong. Either way, when you give someone a gift as part of an apology, you're following a time-honored storytelling tradition.
There are a few standard apology gifts that show up consistently in media of all times. For couples, flowers (particularly roses) are a standard gift for a man to give his romantic partner when he's done wrong. If someone has REALLY screwed up (or has a lot of money to throw around), jewelry may be offered instead of flowers. Food is also a popular apology gift, especially homemade food or, in a romantic relationship, chocolate
. But of course, there are other gifts that may be offered instead. A common gag based on this is a spouse being given a gift automatically assuming (often correctly) that their lover's about to admit to something serious.
Compare Buy Them Off
, in which the apology is not sincerely intended. If the screw up is one of epic proportions and requires considerably more than roses or jewelry to make up for it, see Must Make Amends
or Redemption Quest
Anime and manga
- In My Daddy Long Legs, after Jervis hurts Judy's feelings by harshly criticizing her novel, he shows up outside her dorm with flowers . . . twice, because she wasn't there the first time. Persistent fellow!
- In Haibane Renmei, in the Crystal Dragon Jesus festival near the end of the series, baubles of different colors are given to people, with yellow signifying an apology.
- Nest Heads strip for July 19th, 2013. A guy gives his girlfriend flowers and a balloon with the word "Sorry" on it after having a spat with her over their relationship.
Live Action TV
- Happens in the end of the Labyrinths of Echo novella "A Talkative Dead Man": a stranger who accidentally broke Sir Max's favorite cup earlier pops up unexpectedly and presents him with a new one. It quickly turns out that nobody except Max recalls ever seeing this man and that the cup once belonged to the legendary King Mönin.
- In Boundary Madeline gives a gift of chocolate and hand-made artificial flowers to Joe as an apology after they have an argument. She acknowledges that it's Gender Flipped from the traditional format, but she's not aware of a traditional gift for a woman to give a guy as an Apology Gift.
- In Season One of Arrested Development, Lucille Bluth reveals that most of the items in her jewelry collection were gifts George Sr. gave her after she discovered his various affairs.
- Happens twice in Dexter.
- In season 4, when Rita is annoyed that Dexter doesn't spend time with his family, he buys them all presents. Astor gets a small laptop, Cody some video game, baby Harrison a geeky item of clothes and Rita a home oven for baking bread. Dexter says they are always out of bread, but it only makes Rita angrier — she would have to bake it. She also thinks that presents cannot fix everything that is wrong in their relationship.
- In season 6, Dexter asks the clerk at the donut shop "What's good for an apology?" when he needs to patch things up with his sister. (FYI, the clerk recommended a cruller.)
- After Angel spends half a season being Darker and Edgier, driving away his friends, he eventually comes back, tail between his legs. However, Cordelia doesn't forgive him until later, when she discovers that Angel had bought her a bunch of nice clothes.
- In an episode of I Love Lucy, Fred tries to play peacemaker between a quarreling Lucy and Ricky, by having a boquet of roses and a box of candy delivered to Lucy on Ricky's behalf.
- In one episode, Hawkeye and Trapper try to butter Frank up with a handful of wild flowers, after they secretly drew a pint of blood from him to give to a wounded POW; Frank is touched, but then they kill the moment when Hawkeye says, "Glad there's no hard feelings Frank, because there's a new heart procedure we'd like to try, and you're just the right type."
- During a company picnic, Margaret gives Frank the cold shoulder since he won't loan her money to buy her sister a wedding present; Frank tries to butter her back up with a balloon, only for her to pop it with a hairpin.
- In another episode, Frank tries to make peace with Margaret (this after she had gotten engaged earlier in the season), by presenting her with an American-made Japanese umbrella; of course, Frank isn't able to curb his lust, and Margaret throws it at him as he runs out of her tent.
- In "The Winchester Tapes", Charles apparently had upset Radar, and insincerely brings him an entire case of grape nehi to butter him uip in order to contact his former commanding officer to get him transferred back to Tokyo General Hospital
- The Big Bang Theory:
- Episode "The Shiny Trinket Maneuvers"'s A-Plot revolves around Sheldon attempting to make up with his girlfriend Amy via "empty financial gesture" after he insults her work and devalues a career milestone she reached with his usual level of tact. At first Amy is entirely unimpressed with him for even attempting this, but then she opens up the bag and sees he got her a tiara. She switches gears and begins freaking out with glee.
- In another episode of Big Bang, Sheldon apologizes to Howard (Sheldon's responses to an FBI agent's questions led Howard to not get security clearance to work on a big project) by giving Howard his spot on the sofa, which he demands back again before the end of the episode.
- Home Improvement: This gets lampshaded in an episode where Tim buys the flowers ("Tail between legs Taylor Special" and Tim is a fairly known customer at the flower shop) before making his wife angry. Hilarity Ensues and Tim ends up trying to sell the flowers to his neighbor.
- In The West Wing, Leo tries to make up for his Forgotten Anniversary with an elaborate dinner and evening at home, including a very beautiful pearl necklace. Sadly, the problems in his marriage can't be made up for that easily, since the incident was the last straw for his wife, who couldn't endure him being Married to the Job.
- In the Dénouement of the Doctor Who serial "Robot", the Doctor realises that Sarah Jane is angry with him (for being suddenly different, trying to leave in the TARDIS without her, going off to fight despite being in a manic post-regenerative state, and killing a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds that loved Sarah) and tries to talk to her. When she doesn't respond positively he takes a bag of sweets out of his pocket and rather awkwardly asks her "Would you like a jelly baby..?" Amazingly, this works, and offering jelly babies to people becomes one of his standard Obfuscating Stupidity moves ever after.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- After yet another Magic Misfire in "Something Blue", Willow bakes cookies for the Scooby Gang. And has to detail Giles' car.
- Xander ends his Snark-to-Snark Combat with Cordelia (their relationship broke up after he was caught cheating) by paying for a prom dress she can't afford. Angel uses the same trick in his spin-off series, as mentioned above.
- Firefly. The crew of Serenity are surprised when Jayne buys them an expensive bushel of apples. Only Mal is aware it's a belated apology for betraying them in the previous episode.
- In a flashback on Arthur, we see the evolution of Francine and Muffy's newfound friendship: Muffy copies Francine's answer, but claims innocent to protect her name and reputation, leaving Francine to take the punishment; later, Francine sees a fruit basket and a balloon Muffy left on her desk in detention, to which Francine pops the balloon, and throws the basket into the trashcan.
- In an episode of Family Guy, Peter tries to regain the respect of his kids after he said that he hated them, but his attempts at doing so failed. This prompts him to buy all of them an Xbox, and the kids automatically love him again.
- Shows up a couple of times in Spongebob Squarepants
- In "Squidville", Spongebob and Patrick went to find Squidward in Tentacle Acres while bringing a cake which the word "sorry" was engraved on with frosting in compensation of destroying his house, although they never really done it since both are confused on which Squidward-like characters is the real Squidward.
- "Good Neighbors" had Spongebob and Patrick giving Squidward a similar "Sorry For Bugging You So Much" cake as an apology for ruining Squidward's relaxing Sunday. However, Squidward did not accept it, so the situation only got worse.
- Kung Fu Panda Legends Of Awesomeness: One episode involves Po accidentally attacking the reformed criminal Hundun and his waiters when he's forced to investigate Hundun's noodle shop to satisfy his paranoid dad. When he finds himself proven wrong about Hundun trying to get after his dad, Po decides to give the rhino an apology basket full of pears(Which both Hundun and his dad agree can never have too many pears). Subverted when it's revealed that Hundun really is still evil and planned everything to get back at Po for breaking his horn
- The The Fairly OddParents episode "Fairy Idol" had Timmy give his fairies apology cookies because he had been overusing their magic at the beginning of the episode. Cosmo, being The Ditz, accepts the apology, but Wanda does not accept until a later scene where Timmy cries because he thinks that they are dead.
- The Simpsons: In "Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy", Grampa tries to give Homer a bouquet of flowers as an apology for calling him an accident. Homer slams the door in his face, so he pushes the roses through the mail slot.
- This runs a lot in relationships when words fall short. A proverb says "An action is worth a thousand words" (still this is from the "a picture is worth a thousand words").