Fix-It Felix: You don't know what it's like to be rejected and treated like a criminal!Someone is frustrated and makes a hard statement, or asks a question that, if not rhetorical, is not meant to have an obvious answer to it. It might even be intended as an Armor-Piercing Question. But somehow, the other person responds with an answer that is poignant and, usually, succinct. The response causes the questioner to drop their guard, not ready to face the reality of what was said. When there are other characters in the scene, expect them to be surprised as well. Tends to also be a Wham Line. In some cases the question and answer are brought up by the same person, as a one-two punch. May sometimes lead to an Eureka Moment. Can be used alongside Blunt "Yes", Rhetorical Question Blunder, Brutal Honesty, Little "No", Things Man Was Not Meant to Know and You Are Not Ready. Compare Wisdom from the Gutter for when its the responder who's shocking (because they aren't considered a wise figure) rather than the response.
Wreck-It Ralph: Yes, I do. That's every day of my life.
Wreck-It Ralph: Yes, I do. That's every day of my life.
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- An old U.S. anti-drug PSA has a boy who is confronted by his father after his mother finds drug paraphernalia in his closet. His father asks him "Who taught you how to do this stuff?" and the kid replies "You, all right! I learned it by watching you!" The father is stunned by this knowledge. Watch it here.
Anime & Manga
- In Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works], Archer and Rin have to take on Caster alone because Shirou is injured and Saber was taken by Caster. During the battle, things turn very badly for Rin when Archer betrays her and willingly goes over the Caster's side. It takes a Big Damn Heroes moment from Shirou to save her life. After the battle, Rin berates Shirou for being stupid enough to try to fight with a serious injury, adding that she can tell that he has to be in significant pain. Shirou counters that it's nothing compared to the pain that Rin is in due to Archer's betrayal, shattering Rin's facade.
Rin: I can't believe it. A boy made me cry.
- In the final battle of Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, Wufei asks Treize Kushrenada "How many people do you think have died for you?!" Treize's response is a scarily-accurate number, even calling his advisor, Lady Une, to find out how many soldiers have died in the current battle. This shocks Wufei, who suddenly realizes that his opponent is intentionally carrying a very heavy load on his shoulders.
Wufei: How many people do you think have died for you?!
Treize: Do you really want to know? As of yesterday, 99,822 people.
Treize: Lady, how many fatalities today?
Lady Une: We have confirmation of 82 White Fang soldiers and 105 of our own.
Treize: I see. Give me their names later today.
- In One Piece in the Fishman Island Arc, when Fukaboshi ask why Hody Jones hate humans so much that he is willingly to destroy Fishman Island and kill thousands of fishmen, Hody's answer made Fukaboshi realize that the negative environment that he grew up in taught him to hate the humans, who didn't even do anything to him personally.
Fukaboshi: What have you experienced in your past?! Just what have humans done to you?!Hody Jones: Nothing. We have to bestow judgement upon humans. We've been chosen by the heavens... and granted power!!
- In the first part of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, after Dio Brando becomes a vampire, we get this famous exchange between him and Will A. Zeppeli.
Zeppeli: Tell me! To undo your injuries, how many innocent lives did you consume?Dio: How many loaves of bread have you eaten in your lifetime?
- In World Trigger, Miwa hates all Neighbors because they caused the death of his sister, and at the end of the failed Black Trigger Retrieval, when he's spouting off his beliefs about how those who haven't lost loved ones to various Neighbor assaults can't understand how dangerous Neighbors are, he finally gets it thrown right back in his face: the Tamakoma branch, composed of those who believe peaceful relations with Neighbors is possible and all of whom Miwa regards as traitors, has as one of its strongest members Jin, who has lost not only his own mother, but the man who mentored him as a Border agent as well, to Neighbor assaults.
- Elma from Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid gets one from Kobayashi when she calls her rude.
Elma: You're being very distracting, Human!Kobayashi: Thats quite the attitude from someone who just destroyed my home. Please follow our laws before you try protecting order in this world. Even Tohru wouldn't do something like this. Probably.
- In Kingdom Come, Superman desperately tries to comprehend what happened to the world and to people's attitudes during his temporary retirement, until Batman breaks it down to him in the most blunt, Batman-like manner: "You quit." Superman is visibly shocked and disoriented by this answer for a while.
- At the climas of the story, Nite-Owl and Rorschach confront Ozymandias and ask him when he was planning on implementing his deranged plan to kill millions in New York City. Ozymandias calmly tells them that he already did it when he saw them approaching his base.
Adrian Veidt: I'm not a Republic serial villain. Do you seriously think I'd explain my master-stroke if there remained the slightest chance of you affecting its outcome? I did it thirty-five minutes ago.
- The exchange remains mostly the same in the film adaptation though in a more meta nod, the line is changed to "I'm not comic book villain."
- Later, Ozymandias gets this from Dr. Manhattan; when he asks the doc if he did the right thing and all worked out in the end, Manhattan's answer leaves him visibly shaken.
Doctor Manhattan: "In the end"? Nothing ends, Adrian. Nothing ever ends.
- Similar to the Kingdom Come example, when Dan and Rorschach are reminiscing about their time as crime-fighting partners:
Dan: Those were great times, Rorschach. Great times. Whatever happened to them?
Rorschach: You quit.
- At the climas of the story, Nite-Owl and Rorschach confront Ozymandias and ask him when he was planning on implementing his deranged plan to kill millions in New York City. Ozymandias calmly tells them that he already did it when he saw them approaching his base.
- At the climax of Joker, the titular character is engaged in the usual brawl with Batman. During this, he engages in a The Reason You Suck speech where he attempts to deconstruct Batman dressing up like a monster and inspire fear. After going on about that, Joker asks why Batman leaves his chin uncovered, allowing a glimpse at the man beneath the suit and thus showing that despite the appearance Batman isn't a monster. Batman responds, "To mock you." Joker immediately flips out.
- In Lex Luthor: Man of Steel (by the same writer and artist as the above), something similar happens with Lex Luthor. After a typically complex scheme to undermine Superman and sow the seeds of distrust in the public towards him, Lex confronts Superman with a "The Reason You Suck" Speech about how Superman is too far removed from humanity to see the truth about what they're really like, and how for all his powers and abilities he can't see into Luthor's soul and so will never understand him or what it is to be human. Unfortunately for Lex, he's not prepared for Superman to come back with just seven words that not only completely undermine his whole speech, but his confidence in his whole philosophy:
Superman: You're wrong. I can see your soul.
- In Batman/Huntress: Cry for Blood, Huntress, a.k.a. Helena Bertinelli, sneaks into the home of Don Santo Cassamento and confronts him at crossbow-point with a photograph of him in flagrante delicto with her mother. She demands to know what they were doing together. His reply devastates her:
Huntress: Sit down, Don Cassamento. You raise an alarm, I'll kill you. Look at the photograph, please. Take a good look... and then tell me what you and Maria Bertinelli were doing in that hotel room together.
Santo Cassamento: F.B.I. took this?
Huntress: Answer the question.
Santo Cassamento: Must've been the feds. Franco would've killed me if he'd known about it.
Huntress: I said, answer—
Santo Cassamento: Isn't it obvious? Your mother and I were conceiving you, Helena Rosa. Now put that crossbow down before you accidentally murder your father.
- In The Boondocks, after Huey's efforts at social justice report go nowhere, leaving him depressed, his grandfather gives one to him. Huey's still upset, but has to admit that his grandfather has a point.
Huey: I got a right to be hostile, man! My people's been persecuted!Grandpa: (walking by) And I suppose you'll find justice in making yourself miserable.Huey: (sullenly thinking) I hate wisdom.
- The Child of Love: Shinji broke up with Asuka because he thought he could not protect her, ergo he was unfit to be her boyfriend and her child’s father. Nothing anybody said managed to change his mind… until this exchange:
Asuka (walking towards him):"Why are you running away from us, Shinji?"
Shinji:"I...I'm not able to protect you, you already know that."
Asuka:"And what's the matter with that? I'm strong. I can take care of myself. I don't need your protection. However, I need something else from you."
- Ghosts of Evangelion: Asuka does not believe Shinji when he confesses he loves her... until Hikari and Touji tell everyone thinks it's obvious he does:
Hikari: Shinji confessed to her this morning.
Touji: And that's bad?
Hikari: She doesn't think he means it. She thinks it's an act or something, to make sure the doesn't cause anyone any trouble.
Asuka: That's exactly it! If you could only see the way he acts toward me…
Touji: Uh, Soryu… Look, you know I'm not exactly your biggest fan and all, but I think you're kinda off base here.
Asuka: Then you're an idiot.
Touji: No, seriously, what you're saying doesn't make sense. I spend more time with the guy than anyone, apart from you I guess, and he never talks about you embarrassing him or anything. He just wants to make you happy.
Asuka: Of course he does. If he makes me happy he'll get praise, and then he'll feel like he's worth a damn. Same old Shinji.
Hikari: Asuka, that's a really cynical way to look at it.
Asuka: What are you talking about?
Hikari: Well, it's true that he's always a little concerned or upset when he's talking about you, since that's just the way you two are... but even so, when he talks about something good that happened between you two his face just lights up, like he—
Touji: Yeah! He'll get this stupid grin on his face, like he's the happiest guy on Earth.
Asuka: That's… that's insane. You guys are just defending him!
Touji: You think it's just us?
Hikari: Everyone knows about it. It's, ah… it's kinda obvious.
Asuka: No, he's just… I mean, it's Shinji, he… Everyone?
- HERZ: When UN Inspector Kurumi walks into Misato’s office to accuse her of breach of trust, theft and fraud and Kaji’s murder and vow making her to pay for her alleged crimes, Misato’s reply stops her tirade abruptly.
Kurumi:"You'll pay for your crimes. I'll see to it."
Misato:"I have no doubt in your abilities, Cpt Kagero. But understand that if you persist in your crusade, it will be Shinji and his family who will pay the price for your foolishness."
Kurumi:"What!? What does Shinji-kun have to do with all this?"
Misato:"Everything, Kurumi. Everything."
Misato:"He is the Alpha and the Omega. The Beginning and the End."
Kurumi:"I don't understand."
- The One I Love Is: In chapter 6, "Friends", Asuka is dissing one of the friends of her boyfriend:
Shinji:"Hey! Touji's a nice guy!"
Asuka:"He's just a pervert like you!"
Shinji:"I didn't know you liked perverts..."
- Scar Tissue: When Rei is angry and upset because Asuka abused Shinji and Shinji does not want her harming Asuka, Ritsuko reminds her that Gendo abused Shinji in worse ways for YEARS, Rei knew about it and she did not care back then.
Rei:"I am… so angry. [...] What Sohryu has done… it-"
Ritsuko:"It's no worse than what his father did to him his whole life, Rei, and you knew all along."
- In the Naruto Fan Fic The Lives Worth Saving, Might Guy expounds on the virtues of springtime, but a disguised older Naruto says he prefers autumn.
Guy: How could you? Spring is the stage of life where every ninja starts to grow their roots! We can show our springtime of youth to the world as we begin to flourish!
"Haruki": Yeah, but once we reach autumn, we've led a successful enough life that we've managed to see half of it.
- Kushina attempts to give an Armor-Piercing Question to Naruto in Eroninja about how he can possibly love the Kyuubi after what she did, only for Naruto to calmly turn it back on her.
Naruto: "Can't you see how she felt?"Kushina: "How she felt?! After what she did?! She-"Naruto: "Was a prisoner." [Stunned silence] "She was sealed away for almost a hundred years and when she finally got free, one of the first things she saw was you and dad trying to imprison her all over again."
- In The Lie I've Lived Harry uses the Sorting Hat to understand why he keeps remembering things he's never done, leading to an interesting exchanged.
Harry: "How are my father's memories in my head?"Sorting Hat: "Maybe the question you should be asking is, 'Why are my memories in my son's body?'"
- In The Vow, when Shen is told that his former fiancée Lianne didn't turn her back on him when he was exiled 30 earlier like he has believed, but saved him from execution by asking him to be exiled, he demands her confirmation of it. After getting it, he asks her why she has allowed him to treat her with hatred after his return and imprisonment of her. Her answer leaves him stunned and leads him to let go of any hatred towards her, allowing his love to resurface.
Shen: Why did you never tell me?! All these years, I have hated you as much as I wanted you! You let me be so angry with you, you let me treat you this... Why would you let me do that?! Why didn't you tell me?!Lianne: Because it was what I deserved.Shen: What?Lianne: It was my fault any of this happened. I pushed you, and I then banished you, I humiliated you, I forced you to hate everyone you ever loved. I committed such a crime against you Shen... but, your anger and hatred for me was a fitting punishment. I would much rather have that then see you dead. And after everything... it is the least that I deserve.
- Do You :REmember?: Two in chapter 9. First, when Hide is explaining that Kaneki, Touka, and Hinami are benevolent ghouls who only kill humans when they have to, Akira tells him to explain why they killed her father Kureo; in response, Hide points out that Kureo killed Hinami's parents in cold blood right in front of her, and Touka and Hinami were only defending themselves because he attacked them first.
- In Adamantine Mist, Akane finds it hard to believe Ranma is serious about training her in martial arts and ponders why she doesn't believe him.
Akane: Why haven't I ever been able to trust you?
Ranma: Did you ever really try?
- In Thousand Shinji, it happened twice in the same conversation between Shinji and Asuka. When Shinji demanded to know why Asuka was full of pain and anger, she confessed that her mother died, which rendered Shinji speechless. Then he replied that he was also an orphan, making Asuka see him in a new light.
“Momma died!” Asuka shrieked, clutching her head in agony and shame.
There is a pause before Shinji says, “So? Everyone in our class at school has a dead mother. Including me.”
This revelation was like a slap in the face to Asuka, who looked up at Shinji through tear stained eyes, seeing him in a new light.
- In Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide, during an argument, Asuka screams that Shinji wasn't trying to protect her in the last battle. Why would he want to protect someone whom he hates? Shinji's reply renders Asuka speechless (and it eventually leads to their Relationship Upgrade):
Shinji: It was going to hurt you… I just couldn't stand by and do nothing. I couldn't let it hurt you.
Asuka: Liar! You hate me, why would you want to protect me? You care for Wonder Girl more than you care for me! Everybody cares for her more than they care for me! You hate me because I am not your doll, and that's fine with me!
Shinji: I don't hate you! I… tried to protect you because I… I care about you!
- In Tales of the Emperasque, LIIVI (a human assassin who fell in love with the Eldar farseer Taldeer, who now lives with her at her Craftworld) gives the Emperor one of these, and it's noted that the Emperor doesn't really have a response to it. The Emperor was trying to get him to see the Eldar as just untrustworthy xeno enemies of humanity (in short, as "not people"). LIIVI responds:
“When you have witnessed an Eldar mother shrieking in horror and regret after seeing her child fall out of a car and die without wearing a soul stone, knowing with certainty that his innocent soul is feeding Slaanesh, it becomes difficult not to see them as people, my Lord God.”
- In One Year, Yu Narukami does this to his old friend Kenji, while Kenji's in the middle of a falling out with their mutual friend Kaoru. When Kenji points out that he was actually jealous of Kaoru for having a dream, Yu notes "And yet, you didn't fully understand what it felt like to have his hopes dashed," forcing Kenji to admit that he didn't realize how his words came off to Kaoru.
- In This Bites!, when a Marine tries to convince Kashi and Oimo that Cross is lying about Broggy and Dorry being free rather than in Impel Down and is using Soundbite's powers to fool them, Cross admits it is possible but there's just one problem.
Cross: Just tell me... when we could have gotten their voices.
- When he learns Ace truly is alive in Embers and Frost, Luffy gets pissed off against Law for keeping it secret and scoffs when the Heart Pirate claims Ace would rather see Luffy safe than being free.
Luffy: You don't know that! You don't know what Ace would want! How would someone like you know about being a brother?Law: I was one!
- When talking about how to deal with some government mercenaries that tries to kidnap Kara in Not In Kansas, Willow and Xander are aghast at her suggestion of killing them.
Willow: But we don’t kill humans.
Kara: Why not? You kill vampire, demons and other sentient creatures.
Xander: They’re not human.
Kara: Neither am I.
- In Promises of a Wandering Hero Shirou/Keitaro informs the tenants that the hot springs will now have a weekly schedule of mixed and gender specific bathing, and shoots down Motoko's and Naru's attempts to deny him. When Motoko demands to know "what gives [him] the right to ignore the majority's (really just her and Naru) decision", his response stops them cold.
Shirou: I don't really know, Aoyoma-san. It may be on the grounds that I'm a resident, the manager and, more importantly, the owner of this dorm? ... It's not really your choice to begin with. You can either adapt to what the new management has decided or find yourself another place to live.
- A Brighter Dark has this lovely little exchange.
Azura: I would never say the inhabitants of Hoshido have accepted me as one of theirs, but they at least understand that Mikoto considers me to be one of theirs...
Corrin: Oh, well, that explains why you weren't at dinner, with the rest of your family.
- In Influenced Out of Normality, Xander is talking to his father Tony Stark on the phone about how Buffy and Willow are trying to cut him out of slaying and their jealousy at him having other friends, causing Tony to remark that they don't seem like very good friends, especially since they've been acting this way all year. Xander opens his mouth to defend them before realizing he can't, which makes him realize the two actually aren't good friends.
Films — Animation
- In Turner Features' Cats Don't Dance, after the fiasco on the set of "Li'l Ark Angel," Sawyer pointedly asks Danny, "Why do insist on making a fool of yourself?" This is followed by a look expectant of an answer. Danny gives one: "I just want to do the thing I love. Doesn't everyone?" This response takes the wind out of Sawyer's scolding, reminding her of why she herself came to Hollywood.
- In Frozen, Elsa's refusal to bless Anna and Hans' marriage leads to this exchange, in which Anna lets out her frustration over Elsa shutting her out for years in order to protect her:
Elsa: Anna, what do you know about true love?
Anna: More than you! All you know is how to shut people out!
[Elsa is visibly shocked]
- Anna follows it up with an Armor-Piercing Question, and this causes Elsa to snap and reveal her ice power to everyone in the room.
- In Wreck-It Ralph, the main character, Ralph, comes from a video game where he plays the role of the villain. Despite being actually a pretty decent person, the other inhabitants of the game are scared of Ralph and don't let him go inside the apartment - the only exception is the game's hero, Fix-It Felix, who seems unaware of Ralph's plight. This situation ultimately results in Ralph being so fed up with it all that he goes on a quest to find a proof that he can be a hero too. When Fix-It Felix decides to try to find him, the resulting chain of events ends up getting his affections rejected by a woman he falls in love with and being thrown in jail. When Ralph finally arrives to rescue him, Felix complains to Ralph about what it was like to be treated as a criminal, only for Ralph to state that it was like that for him every day. Then Felix realizes the nature of the game. He's always the hero who saves the day and gets all the praise. It just never occurred to him that Ralph is literally a Punch Clock Villain. It's his job to be the bad guy. He apologizes for being so inconsiderate and they grow closer as friends as a result.
- The Lion King II: Simba's Pride: After Kovu's exile, Simba insists to Kiara that just as Kovu was chosen to follow in Scar's pawprints, he's following in his own father's, to which Kiara tearfully responds, "You will never be Mufasa!"; Simba is visibly shocked to hear that.
- Astrid does this twice in rapid succession when talking to Hiccup in How to Train Your Dragon:
Hiccup: Why is this so important to you all of a sudden?
Astrid: Because I want to remember what you say, right now.——Hiccup: Three hundred years, and I'm the first Viking who wouldn't kill a dragon!
Astrid: First to ride one, though.
Films — Live Action
- Played for Laughs in Galaxy Quest, as Sir Alexander Dane is refusing to debase himself by appearing at another convention.
- In the Daredevil film, Matt is talking to a priest at confessional after going Vigilante Man on a mob boss who was accused of rape, and whom Matt feels got Off on a Technicality (he was the lawyer for the prosecution on that case). At one point, Matt asks the priest a theoretically rhetorical question, and the priest's answer is enough to lead Matt to take an entirely different outlook on what he is doing:
Matt: Is justice a sin?
Priest: Vengeance is!
- In The Matrix Revolutions, near the end of the Final Battle, Neo's answer to Smith's "Why do you persist?" rant is simply "Because I choose to." Cue Smith's Villainous Breakdown.
- In Annie (2014), Ms. Hannigan asks Lou why he keeps treating her so well when she treats him so poorly. Lou's response is that under her angry, cynical exterior, she's still a Nice Girl. This causes her to take part in the Heroic B.S.O.D. song "Who Am I".
- In Mike Leigh's film Life Is Sweet, Nicola, a young woman with bulimia, spends the entire film bitterly lashing out at her family and calling them "Fascist!", "Capitalist!" etc. After her boyfriend dumps her, she becomes even more isolated and angry until her mother Wendy finally confronts her and asks her why she never gets involved in all the political causes she claims to believe in. After spending the entire film in a tense stand-off, Nicola and Wendy have a massive row in which Wendy confronts Nicola with things like her ingratitude towards her dad for working in a job he hates (industrial chef) to support his family, and the fact that everyone is worried about her. Nicola, who is emotionally imploding, asks her mother why they're so worried about her if they hate her so much. Cue the bombshell:
Wendy: We don't hate you! We bloody love you, you stupid girl!
- In Captain America: Civil War, Tony gets one of these when Steve tries to explain why he won't abandon Bucky despite the fact that he killed Iron Man's parents.
Steve: Tony, he didn't know what he was doing... He's my friend.Tony: So was I.
- The last line of dialogue in Judgment at Nuremberg. It comes after war crimes trial judge Dan Haywood visits Tragic Villain and former Nazi judge Ernst Janning in his cell. Janning, who'd undergone a Heel Realization late in the trial, admitting that he unjustly sentenced a Jew named Feldenstein to death for the crime of sleeping with a 16 year old girl, tries to justify himself and practically begs Haywood for a measure of forgiveness.
Janning: Those people, those millions of people. I never knew it would come to that. You must believe it.
Haywood: (with sorrow) Herr Janning...it came to that the first time you sentenced a man to death you knew to be innocent.
- The film version of Divergent adds in a scene where Tris lets slip to Four that she's not going to pass the final test after Al's suicide.
Four: Why do you say that?beat.Tris: You know why.Four nods, confirming he knows she's a Divergent.Tris: And as soon as all the others find out, they're gonna kill me.Four: I am not going to let that happen.
- X-Men: Days of Future Past has Erik and Raven arguing with each other about whether to join forces. Raven just wants to kill Dr Trask and stop his experiments on mutants, whereas Erik wants to declare war on the humans.
Erik: Killing one man isn't enough.Raven: It never was for you.
- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has a couple, firstly from Lex Luthor to Superman, as part of his Breaking Speech and revealing he's holding Martha Kent hostage.
Lex Luthor: I think you will fight, fight, fight for that special lady in your life.Superman: She's safe on the ground. How about you?Lex Luthor: Close, but I was not talking about Lois. No. Every boy's special lady... is his mother.
Batman: Martha... Why did you say that name?Lois Lane: It's his mother's name.
- There's also one from Lois Lane to Batman, breaking the Dark Knight out of his Unstoppable Rage and finally allowing Bruce to see Clark as more than just a potential alien threat.
- V for Vendetta generally has V being an articulate anti-hero, able to justify his actions in a way that causes Evey to consider her own worldview. But as the climax approaches and she goes through her own personal revelations (with V's help), she gains insight on what compelled him to start his one-man fight against Sutler and his government. Once she realizes this, she manages to hit him back with something that causes him to pause.
Evey Hammond: You were in the cell next to her. That's what it's all about... you're getting back at them for what they did to her... and to you.V: What was done to me created me. It's a basic principle of the Universe that every action will create an equal and opposing reaction.Evey Hammond: Is that how you see it? Like an equation?V: What was done to me was monstrous.Evey Hammond: And they created a monster.V: (Silent, looking away almost with shame.)
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: After trying to kill the Guardians along with the universe itself. Star-Lord is keeping the Big Bad distracted while Rocket and Groot put a bomb in his brain. Realizing he's bitten off way more than he expected and scared for his life for once, he tries to reason with Peter.
Ego the Living Planet: If you kill me, you'll be just like everyone else!Star-Lord: What's so bad about that?
- Atlas Shrugged: From the very first line people are asking, "Who is John Galt?" as a memetic shorthand for a question or a problem that no one can answer, so why bother the effort of trying? The man is Shrouded in Myth with multiple fantastical possible answers to the question proposed, all of which are Metaphorically True. John Galt finally reveals himself to the world by hijacking a radio broadcast from the US President, delivering a speech over several hours detailing the moral failings of the predominant altruist philosophy and announcing that he has been responsible for the collapse of society by convincing the globe's prime movers to go on strike while proposing that if the people listening wished to survive, they would need to realize the philosophic principles necessary to do so, i.e Objectivism.
"Are you beginning to see who is John Galt? I am the man who has earned the thing you did not fight for, the thing you have renounced, betrayed, corrupted, yet were unable fully to destroy and are now hiding as your guilty secret, spending your life in apologies to every professional cannibal, lest it be discovered that somewhere within you, you still long to say what I am now saying to the hearing of the whole of mankind: I am proud of my own value and of the fact that I wish to live."
- At the end of The Dagger and the Coin series, the heroes are trying, and failing, to negotiate a peaceful end to the war between Antea and Elassae, believing that, although Antea had committed terrible crimes against the Elassans, letting the Elassans take revenge would just start a Cycle of Revenge. The Elassan commander, however, is having none of it, and understandably wants revenge, and doesn't see why the war should end just because the Anteans are now losing. Finally, however, the young Antean king, Aster, who was innocent of his country's crimes (the regent and the spider priests were the real culprits, and Aster did not have any actual power), speaks up and takes full responsibility, saying that it was his fault because he was not strong enough to stop it. He concludes by saying "If the [Elassans] feel that there has to be more blood, say so. You can kill as many of us as you need to make it right. Give me a number, and I'll bring them to you. I only ask that you start with me....I'm sorry that I wasn't strong enough to stop this sooner." At this, the Elassan commander can only bring himself to say "Well...shit." And that was the end of the war.
- Edgedancer (a novella of The Stormlight Archive): At the climax, when Lift says the Third Ideal out loud, Nale thinks she's babbling incoherently and asks "What?" She tells him what she just realized - "You were trying to prevent the Desolation! Look behind you! Deny what you are seeing!", and when he does look, he dives headfirst into Villainous Breakdown.
- The Witchlands:
- Underplayed in the first book; after Aeduen attacks Leopold, the latter replies with "You aren't the demon your father wants you to be", stopping Aeduen in his tracks for a few moments.
- In the second book, after Merik and Cam have an argument, he sneers that the only reason she's stressed out is because she's hiding the fact that she's a girl. She replies with "Did you really think this was about that?! (...) You see only what you want to see!"
- In "The Surgeon", the first book in the Rizzoli & Isles series, Detective Jane Rizzoli blasts her partner Thomas Moore for beginning a relationship with the main victim/witness in their case. Ostensibly, this is because it's grossly unprofessional, if not outright forbidden for a cop to get involved with a victim/witness, but in truth, Rizzoli hates the other woman for being beautiful when she herself isn't, and is herself in love with Moore and hurt and angry that he's never given her a second look. When she offers a crude opinion of their relationship, "You've fallen for the same thing every guy falls for. Tits and ass.", an angry Moore not only blasts her for hating the woman for something she has no control over, he fires back by asking, "What guy is going to like you when even you don't like yourself?", thus indicating that it's her unattractive personality that repels men, not her plain looks.
Live Action TV
- In Burn Notice, after Michael decides to join James' organization:
Sam: Okay, the CIA may not be perfect, but they gotta answer to somebody, right? Who does James answer to, huh? Nobody, 'cause he makes up his own rules!Michael: What's wrong with that?Sam: Tell that to Nate.
- Game of Thrones: Davos delivers a rightfully furious one to Melisandre, who is stunned into a brief silence and ends the rest of her pleading to Jon Snow with much less confidence than before.
Davos: If he commands you to burn children, your lord is evil!
Without question? No. I'd ask how much.
- After Tyrion sends Janos Slynt to the wall for (among other things) carrying out a massacre of Robert's illegitimate children, he asks Bronn whether he'd obey a similar order without question.
- In How I Met Your Mother, Barney started up a relationship with Nora, who asked him to lay out all the lies he has ever told women to get them in bed, and once Barney agreed to her conditions he confessed everything. When he was done she mentioned being disgusted, and when Barney jovially asked for another date she said, "What makes you think you would have a chance with me after all that?" and Barney replied without hesitation, "'Cause you stuck around." She didn't have to spend what could have been six hours listening to him, but she did anyway because she found him interesting.
- The anti-drug PSA example in Advertisement above is parodied in Scrubs when J.D. has an Imagine Spot regarding his coffee addiction about finding a coffee machine in his son's room.
- Battlestar Galactica (2003) has one that comes two seasons after the question. Adama and the Cylon defector Sharon are having a conversation where he asks her why the Cylons hate humanity so much. She brings up the question he asked in the pilot regarding their potentially genocidal war with the robotic Cylons, "Humanity should have asked itself why we deserve to survive," which he asked as a means of examining his and humanity's own sins. Sharon then has this rejoinder of an answer: "You said that humanity never asked itself why it deserved to survive. Maybe you don't."
- In Torchwood, season 1, "Countrycide", after stopping a village of cannibals from eating them and other people, Gwen asked the patriarch why they cannibalized people. The patriarch's response? "Cause it made me happy". It shell-shocked her, to the point that she starts a sexual relationship with Owen in order to find some solace, because she's unable to tell her husband Rhys the experiences she went through in her job.
- At the end of the first season of The Wire, D'Angelo Barksdale is convinced by his mother Brianna to be the Fall Guy for his drug kingpin uncle Avon, because Avon's activities support their entire family. The result is D'Angelo getting sentenced to 20 years in prison and while he's in prison Avon's more ruthless partner decides that D'Angelo is too much of a liability, has him killed and has the killer make it look like a suicide. When Detective McNulty finds out about the death and quickly concludes it was no suicide, he goes to D'Angelo's girlfriend to tell her about his suspicions, and never visits Brianna. When Brianna finally hears about this and comes to McNulty for answers, including why he never approached her with his suspicions, McNulty's response leaves her devastated.
Brianna: Why go to her first? Why not come to me?McNulty: Honestly? I was looking for someone who cared about the kid. I mean, you did make him take the years, right?
- Babylon 5: In the episode "Comes the Inquisitor", the inquisitor Sebastian asks Delenn whether she'd ever considered she might be wrong about her role in the great cause she's taken on. With virtually no hesitation, she replies "yes", which actually shakes him up slightly. Later, she finally ticks him off by responding to his tortures by basically calling him out as The Bully, lashing out at her because he was himself deemed unfit. Sebastian's response was not too pleasant.
- Better Call Saul, when Jimmy asks Chuck why he's sabotaging his lawyer career, Chuck responses is a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to him which results in Jimmy abandoning Chuck saying he no longer wants anything to do with him.
- In The West Wing, a tense meeting between President Bartlet and Vice-President Hoynes prompts one of these when Hoynes erupts and demands to know why Bartlet always treats him poorly. He's not prepared for Bartlet to bluntly reveal the answer:
Hoynes: What did I ever do to you? Where, in our past, what did I do to make you treat me this way? What did I ever do to you except deliver the South?
Bartlet: You shouldn't have made me beg, John. I was asking you to be Vice President.
Hoynes: [Slightly taken aback] Due respect Mr. President, you had just kicked my ass in the primary. I'm fifteen years younger than you. I have my career to think of.
Bartlet: Then don't stand there and ask the question, John. It weakened me right out of the gate. You shouldn't have made me beg.
- Bartlet himself gets one from his middle daughter Ellie during an argument after Ellie approaches reporters with a statement in support of her godmother, the Surgeon-General, who has made some politically inconvenient statements about the benefits of marijuana that make it likely that the President will have to fire her. Bartlet furiously accuses Ellie of doing it deliberately to spite him, and when she denies it he shouts "Well, you certainly didn't do it to make me happy!" This prompts the normally shy and nervous Ellie to bitterly snap back "I don't know how to make you happy, Dad, for that you have to talk to Zoey and Liz [Ellie's sisters]." This clearly touches a nerve with Bartlet.
- A religious talk show host attempts to quote Leviticus at the president. Bartlett proceeds to quote several Bible verses which state religious laws that are no longer practiced before concluding with this.
- Bartlet's on the receiving end of one from Will Bailey during the build-up to a State of the Union address, which is coinciding with an outbreak of ethnic cleansing in a Rwanda-like nation in Africa that his administration is dragging its feet on dealing with. Having stopped by Will's office to discuss the State of the Union with him, Bartlet's thoughts drift to the ethnic cleansing, and he rhetorically asks why it seems like a genocide in Europe (or a similarly 'white' area) seems more important to him and his government than one occurring in Africa. He's not prepared for Bailey to bluntly reply "I don't know, sir, but it is."
- In the Frasier episode "Frasier's Edge", Frasier ends up giving one to himself. Frasier's mentor, Dr. Tewksbury, is trying to help him through a crisis of confidence, and advises him to diagnose himself as if he were a caller on his own show. Frasier tries to stall by bringing up numerous exercises, but Tewksbury pushes him to deal with his feelings. Finally, Frasier breaks down:
Frasier: But I don't know what he wants!Dr. Tewksbury: Then why do you keep trying to bury him in psychiatric exercises?Frasier: Because that's all I have![long pause, Tewksbury looks at him sadly]Frasier (whispering): ...I'm sorry, caller. I can't help you.
- Castle: In the fourth season finale "Always", Castle, unable to convince Beckett to give up her obsession with her mother's murder, announced that he was done with her, and never wanted to see her again. After Beckett's Love Epiphany, she showed up at Castle's door.
Castle (coldly): Beckett, what do you want?
Beckett: You. (Cue the Big Damn Kiss)
- ER. Doug Ross blasts his abusive father for his hellish childhood and cites that he now embodies his worst traits, declaring, "I'm you". His father's response?
- Star Trek:
Geordi: No, the first thing I did was...wait a minute...
- Star Trek: The Next Generation: In "The Mind's Eye", Geordi was traveling to Risa when he is abducted and brainwashed into a Manchurian Agent by the Romulans, who implant false memories of Risa to cover up his torture. In the end, Troi tries to help Geordi piece together everything that happened by asking what his last memory was prior to the abduction. Geordi's response about the Romulan ship comes out almost automatically, as if he didn't even have to think about it. And it's at complete odds with his implanted memories, and is the first step toward unraveling what was done to him.
- In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode 'Heart of Stone', the B-plot is about the Ferengi teenager Nog seeking Captain Sisko's help to become the first Ferengi in Starfleet. Sisko can't possibly work out why Nog would want to pursue a career with no potential for profit in it (Ferengi culture revolving around making profit above all else) and after testing Nog's determination while he tries to work out what Nog's scheme is, he eventually confronts the boy and asks him straight up why it's so important for him to get into Starfleet. Nog's angry, almost tearful answer shocks him to the bone: "Because I don't want to end up like my father!", a man who could have been at the top of his field as an engineer but followed cultural expectations and went into business (which he has no skill at) instead.
- In the final episode of Malcolm in the Middle, when Malcolm finds out that Lois has planned out his entire future for him, up to and becoming president of the United States:
- In the season finale of Spaced, Tim and Daisy argue about Tim's decision to get back together with his ex-girlfriend Sarah, interspersed with cutaway shots of a game of Tekken:
Tim: I think I am big enough and ugly enough to make my own mistakes!
Daisy: Well, Sarah obviously does!
- Played for Laughs in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy when the great computer Deep Thought, after 7.5 million years of intense computation, declares that the Answer to the Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything is "42," making the questioners realize that they never bothered to properly formulate what the Question actually was.
- In Hooters, Ricky and Ronda are stuck outside on the beach after Ricky's attempts to seduce Ronda's friend Cheryl backfire and she ends up bedding his friend Clint instead. Irritated by the whole thing, Ricky takes out his frustrations on Ronda, and after finding out that she dropped out of college, decides to badger her to learn why, until she finally screams at him that her father had a stroke. That shuts him up for a few minutes.
- In Danganronpa's fourth case, Togami is visibly shaken by his own being wrong about the culprit, and he demands to know how Naegi was able to solve the case when he couldn't. Kirigiri steps in to answer.
"You still haven't realized? We don't all act according to calculations and cost-benefit diagrams. That's what makes us so complicated. That's what you don't understand, and that's why you couldn't solve this case. (Byakuya is speechless) See? Didn't I tell you? When you dismiss other people's feelings, it'll always come back to bite you in the end."
- Katawa Shoujo: Rin answers a question from Hisao, leading him to realise something worrying about himself:
Hisao: Remember that sketch you made of me? How you said I looked grim and gloomy or something? I'd like to know what you meant by that.Rin: Well, you see... We've known each other for two weeks and I've haven't seen you smile even once.
- World of Warcraft: In the short story "Cut Short", when Gelbin Mekkatorque tells his Evil Former Friend Sicco Thermaplugg that his designs had severe flaws that Gelbin worked out, while allowing Sicco to take the credit, prompting Sicco to ask Gelbin why he would do so. Gelbin's answer gives Sicco pause for a moment, before he declares that the gnomes should be using their superior weapons to conquer the world.
Sicco: What? Lies! If my work was so shoddy, then why let me take credit for the guns?Gelbin: Because you were my friend.
- Mortal Kombat X gives us this gem, courtesy of Mileena and Johnny Cage.
Mileena: Repulsive human!
Johnny Cage: Sleeping with Baraka's repulsive.
Mileena: WHO TOLD YOU THIS?!?!
- In Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, as Marche tries to restore the world of Ivalice to normal, one of those opposing him is his younger brother Doned, who suffers from an illness that requires him to use a wheelchair, take medicine every day and go to the hospital regularly, but is fully healthy and mobile in this world. During Marche's final confrontation with Doned, Doned tells Marche about everything he's gained since coming to Ivalice, leading to the following exchange, at which point Marche drives home that Doned receives more of their parents' attention because of his condition, which Marche had to live with, and which Doned ultimately took for granted.
Doned: What then? What don't you have!? Don't tell me you want more!Marche: (angrily) I never said I "wanted" anything! I gave all the "I wants" and the "I don't wants" to you!
- In the Overwatch short "Dragons", Hanzo has just discovered that his brother Genji, who he thought he had killed in a dispute years before, is still alive in the form of a Cyber Ninja. As Genji is leaving, having told Hanzo that he forgives him and that Hanzo needs to take a side in the change approaching their world, Hanzo angrily berates his brother for thinking they can just reconcile so easily (the circumstances echo a story their father told them about two dragon brothers), only to be stunned by Genji' response:
Hanzo: Real life is not like the stories our father told us! You are a fool for believing it so!Genji: Perhaps I am a fool to think there is still hope for you. But I do.
- The Exile in Knights of the Old Republic II can give one to Master Atris. For their entire encounter Atris berates the Exile for leaving to fight in the Mandalorian wars when the Jedi Council forbid it, and accusing them of falling to the dark side. Regardless of how untrue that might be. The Exile can defend their own actions, while calling the Council and her out, without a single aggressive or threatening line.
Exile: Our teachings do not mean we should stand by and watch others die.Atris: There was no guarantee that marching to war would have saved the Outer Rim. In fact, quite the opposite.Exile: We could have waited, but defeating the Mandalorians after they had won would have been difficult.Atris: There are victories other than physical ones: the real victory lay in th-Exile: The triumph of the Jedi teachings is a cold thing when there is no one left alive to appreciate them.Atris: You do not kno-Exile: You are correct- I do not know. And neither do you.Atris: (Enraged) How dare you? The Mandalorian Wars should have been your grave and Malachor V is where you should have died!Exile: Your anger... is it because you secretly wish you'd had the strength to follow me to war?Atris: (Flustered) What? What do you mean?Exile: I can see it in you - you wanted to fight by my side, but you were too scared to defy the Council.
- Mostly Played for Laughs but this happens in this Schlock Mercenary comic :
The Captain is grilling his ship's AI for disobeying a direct order and taking actions on his own "because it was the right thing to do"
Captain Tagon: The right thing to do at the time? You're acting like I'm paying you to think!
Ennesby: Technically, you don't pay me. And technically, most of what I do is "think".
Tagon: I...rrr... umm.
Ennesby: And when you get down to it, I'm better at it than you are.
- In Girl Genius this little argument between father and son :
Klaus : Do you know that every single woman I've ever known who had the spark has tried to kill me? They're dangerous!Gil : Father - maybe it's you.
- In Cucumber Quest, Cucumber and Almond get into an argument about an earlier confrontation with the Nightmare Knight that almost ended in disaster.
Almond: You're blaming me?
Almond: You're saying it's my fault he attacked us? Is THAT it?!
Cucumber: Almond, calm down—
Almond: Shut up! I guess EVERYTHING is just MY fault, huh?!
Cucumber: Yeah. I guess so. If you hadn't treated this like a game back when we had the chance to prevent it, we wouldn't even be here at all, so, yeah. I guess it is your fault.
- In Worm, Interlude 27b
- The question: Why do Endbringers exist? Why do they attack?
- In Lovely Little Losers, when Peter tells Costa that he slept with Jaquie, hoping to get himself kicked out of Doctor Faustus, Costa's response disarms him, both figuratively and literally.
Costa: I forgive you.
- In JackSepticEye's Pants On Fire video, Felix, administering Jack's lie detector test, asks Jack if he thinks he's a better Youtuber than him. Jack responds 'no', which is flagged as a lie. Before shoving a cream pie in Jack's face as punishment for lying, Felix decides to interrogate him first:
Felix: Oh wow, what is it? What, you think 'cause you have green hair, you're better than me?
Jack: (deadpan) I didn't turn off the comments [on my Youtube videos].
(Felix stares at the camera in stunned disbelief for a couple seconds before wordlessly shoving the pie into Jack's face)
- Justice League Unlimited:
- When Batman confronts Amanda Waller about Project Cadmus, she breaks it down to him just how exactly the world governments feel about an army of metahumans and their downward-pointing Kill Sat. Batman is so staggered by this answer, he even forgets to do his usual Stealth Hi/Bye shtick.
- Justice League Batman argues with Justice Lord Batman, his alternate universe Knight Templar counterpart, calling him out on being a tyrannical and oppressive dictator. Lord Batman points out that under said dictatorship, no eight-year-old boy ever has to fear seeing his parents gunned down in an alley. League Batman immediately drops his Batarang and sadly declares "You win".
- Justice League Batman gets back at Justice Lord Batman later. When a man is arrested for pretty much complaining about his restaurant bill, the former sarcastically points out that Mom and Dad would be proud of him for what he has helped create.
- General Wade Eiling takes a Super Soldier serum and mutates into a Hulk expy so he can publicly defeat Superman. To provoke Superman into appearing, Eiling attacks a parade headed by Justice League Badass Normals while ranting about how superheroes are unbalancing the world and superpowered beings are a menace. The parade's audience stand up to defend the heroes and point out to Eiling that he's the only one present with any superpowers. Eiling concedes that he's become everything he hated and leaves.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: This exchange that exposes the villain's Evil Plan in "A Canterlot Wedding":
Impostor!Cadance/Chrysalis: Why does she have to ruin my special day?
Cadance: Because it's not your day! it's mine!
- Steven Universe:
Steven: Everything I do shoves me finally towards the end! The more I know, the more I know that I don't know! I can't live like this! Why did you tell me about future vision? What's going to happen to me on the roof?
- In "Future Vision", after Garnet explains the eponymous power, Steven becomes terrified of what the future has in store for him. Garnet assures him that while she can't be around to protect him all the time, he's still in control, and that he shouldn't go onto the roof, no matter what. He defies her advice, goes up to the roof (in the middle of a thunderstorm), and resigns himself to whatever comes next. When Garnet tries to convince him to come down, he refuses:
Steven: Wh... what?
Garnet: I knew you might do this if I told you about my power. I saw this, and I told you anyway.
Steven: But... Why?!
Garnet: I took a risk at your expense! There was a chance you'd understand it so we'd be closer! (takes off glasses) Steven, I see so many things that can hurt you! I should never have let one of them been me!Peridot: I won't do it! I can tell you with certainty that there are things on this planet worth protecting!Yellow Diamond: What do you know about the Earth?!Peridot: APPARENTLY MORE THAN YOU, YOU...YOU CLOD!!Yellow Diamond: *Face contorts in pure rage*
- Season Two of Bojack Horseman has this exchange of armor-piercers between Mr. Peanutbutter and Bojack.
PB: All I ever wanted was to be your friend. And you treat me like a big joke. You think I don't notice? Why don't you like me?
Bojack: Mr. Peanutbutter-
PB: No, tell me.
Bojack: Because... I'm jealous.
PB: Of what? Diane?
Bojack: No. Of everything. Everything comes so easy for you.
PB: (Incredulously) Oh, and it doesn't for you? You're a millionaire movie star with a girlfriend who loves you, acting in your dream movie. What more do you want? What else could the universe possibly owe you?
Bojack: I... want to feel good about myself. The way you do. And I don't know how. I don't know if I can. I'm sorry, Mr. Peanutbutter. I can't tell you how sorry I am.
- The Simpsons: In "Scenes From The Class Struggle In Springfield", Marge tries her best to fit in with the rich socialites of a country club and begins to ostracize her family, snapping at them to just be good (Aka don't speak your mind, don't talk to anyone, etc). This includes even Maggie. She only realizes what she's become once Homer sadly says:
Homer: You kids should thank your mother. Now that she's a better person, we can see how awful we really are.