Assurance Backfire

Bolt: Calm down, cat. You're with me.
Mittens: That's the problem!

The opposite of Threat Backfire, this is for characters saying things that are meant to sound assuring, but those it's being said to perceive as bad.

In other words, Assurance Backfire is to Threat Backfire as Compliment Backfire is to Insult Backfire.

Can be related to Bad Omen Anecdote. (If, for example, one uses as an assuring analogy something that actually ended horribly.) Often related to Analogy Backfire.

Compare/Contrast with False Reassurance, wherein the person doing the reassuring is deliberately misleading.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Magic Knight Rayearth, when Mokona suddenly whisks the trio high into the air on a flying device, Fuu tries to calm them down by pointing out that if they did fall, they would be sure to black out long before the moment of impact. Umi, unsurprisingly, is not pleased by this.

    Films — Animation 
  • Bolt the dog expects Mittens the cat to be calmed down by being reminded she's with Bolt, but she evidently doesn't trust Bolt to know what he's doing.

  • In Witches Abroad, Magrat is feeling deeply embarrassed and uncomfortable about having to pose as Emberella at the ball. The other witches try to help.
    "Don't worry," said Granny, "We'll be there too."
    "And that's supposed to make me feel better, is it?"
    • Also Discworld, from Hogfather:
      Sidney: There's not going to be any more violent deaths, are there. I just can't stand the sight of violent deaths!
      Teatime: Don't worry. I'm on your side. A violent death is the last thing that'll happen to you.
    • And it is!
  • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry is worried for his sanity because he suddenly sees skeletal horses pulling the Hogwarts carriages, and nobody else can. When Cloudcuckoolander Luna Lovegood tells him that she can see them too and he's just as sane as she is, he is less than reassured.

    Web Comics 
  • In The Order of the Stick, after Haley's been left behind in (the now overrun by goblins) Azure City, Elan tries to jump out of the boat and swim to her until everyone reminds him that she has a much better chance of survival than him. Then one of the minor characters points out that she has Belkar watching her back, causing him to panic again.
  • In Ménage à 3, this happens when Gary's attempt to console would-be therapist, Kiley, who suffers from a comedic case of A-Cup Angst, backfires.
    Kiley: (crying over phone) My IQ's smaller than my breast size!
    Gary: (soothingly)' Oh, don't cry — I'm sure your IQ's much bigger than your breasts!

    Web Original 
  • In Worm, Weaver's attempt to reassure Cuff that wearing metal won't make her vulnerable to Behemoth's lightning attacks doesn't come out so well.
    Weaver: I don't think you're any safer or worse off than anyone else. His lightning doesn't follow regular channels. We're all lightning rods to him.
    Wanton: Not reassuring.
  • In Red vs. Blue, although it's more a case of Donut being an idiot.
    Donut: He has amnesia! Tucker, don't worry. You are safe. We're the reds, we are your mortal enemies. Wait. That didn't sound right.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Simpsons, Lisa is feeling depressed after seeing an unflattering caricature of her. Marge attempts to cheer her up by singing "There Once Was an Ugly Duckling," but then Lisa says, "So you think I'm ugly, then?" and Marge hastily says, "No, you're one of the good-looking ones... who makes fun of the ugly one."
  • In the Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "The Cave of Two Lovers", a cave-in splits up the party in an underground tunnel, and Sokka ends up alone with a group of singing nomads. As Sokka tries to dig his way through the debris, the nomad leader comments, "Yeah, it's no use. We're separated. But at least you have us!" Sokka's response is to scream in despair and start digging more frantically.
  • Jonny Quest TOS episode "The Sea Haunt". The Quest team is trapped on a ship with a terrible monster, and Team Pet Bandit is frightened.
    Hadji: Don't worry, Bandit. Nothing will happen to you that won't happen to the rest of us.
    Jonny: Now there's a happy thought.
  • From an episode of Dynomutt Dog Wonder:
    Dynomutt: Dog Wonder never makes the same mistake twice!
    Blue Falcon: I know. You seem to come up with a new one every time!
  • In the Paramount Jeepers and Creepers cartoon "Busy Buddies," Creepers is trying to raise some money to pay his income tax, which he does by winning a boxing match. But now he has to cough up on the money he just won, so Jeepers enters him in a rodeo. Creepers is understandably panic stricken:
    Jeepers: Don't worry, pal. I'll be right behind you!
    Creepers: (to us) That's just what I'm worried about!
  • The debut episode of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, "What A Night For A Knight" has this at the on set, when Shaggy and Scooby hear a noise in the bushes and Shaggy tells Scooby to see what it is.
    Shaggy: Don't worry...I'm right behind you.
    Scooby: (sarcastically) Thanks a lot.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Family Appreciation Day" features this, when Apple Bloom is worried about feeling embarrassed when her grandmother shows up at school.
    Applejack: I'm sorry Apple Bloom, but don't you fret. Granny Smith's got no shortage of entertaining stories to tell.
    Apple Bloom: I know. That's what I'm worried about.