Consolation Backfire

When a character has suffered some humiliating setback, and tries to console himself by saying that at least he has something or someone still likes him, this is often a cue for that someone to leave them or that something to be destroyed.

A variation has the character reporting a sob story to a friend, who tries to cheer him up by saying what happened wasn't so awful, only for the story to progress from the merely disappointing on to the truly horrific.

A subtrope of Tempting Fate.


Examples:

Film
  • In UHF, the protagonist George discovers at one point that he is broke, can't pay the rent, and has just run his uncle's business into the ground, with no hope of being employed by anyone in the city (as he's already been fired from every business and his uncle will certainly not offer him another job after he's ruined his TV station). He recalls his girlfriend, saying, "Well, at least I have Terri..." Cue phone call from Terri calling to tell him that he is an insensitive creep for failing to show up at the birthday dinner he promised, and that she never wants to see him again.
  • In The World Is Not Enough, a caviar factory owned by James Bond's former enemy turned ally Valentin Zukovsky is the site of a lengthy battle between Bond and several mooks. While surveying the damage done to the factory after the battle ends, Zukovsky comments to his assistant that, "we may not have a roof, but at least, we still have four good walls." Seconds later, all four walls simultaneously collapse.
    Valentin Zukovsky: The insurance company is NOT going to believe this!
  • At the climax of MouseHunt, the Smuntz's last attempts to drive the mouse away result in the house getting flooded and several walls being destroyed. And this happens in the middle of the auction to sell the house. All the would-be buyers start to leave...
    Ernie Smuntz: Hey! Don't go! [waves an arm at the flooded house] A demonstration of how durable a LaRue really is! Now you know this house will last forever!
    [As if on cue, the house collapses.]
  • In The Room, after Johnny's suicide, Lisa, leaning against Mark, sobs, "Johnny's dead, but I still have you, right?" This is a little too soon after Johnny's death for Mark (they're standing over his corpse), and he recoils in disgust, saying that she doesn't "have him".
  • In The Fifth Element, Corbin Dallas is eating lunch when he gets a message. He points out to the window-to-window chef that the last two messages were from his wife, who was leaving him, and from his lawyer, who was also leaving him with his wife. The chef responds with some words of wisdom: "Grandfather say, 'it never rains every day'. This one is good news! I bet you lunch!" Of course, his next line as he reads the message is "You are fired". At least Corbin got a free lunch?

Literature
  • One Dave Barry column offered this Parody Commercial for a soft drink:
    (The scene opens up with a boy in a Little League uniform, looking very sad. His father walks up.)
    Father: What's the matter, Son?
    Son (bursting into tears): Oh Dad, I struck out and lost the big game. (Sobs.)
    Father (putting his arm around the boy's shoulders): Forget it! Let's have a nice cold can of Bite the Wax Tadpole!
    Son: And then I murdered a policeman.

Live-Action TV
  • Hell's Kitchen: In season 11.
    • When Susan's team considered her for nomination because of her failure on the steaks, she defended herself by saying she felt like she was a huge contributor to the team. She then said that was her opinion and she didn't know if anyone else agreed with her. She waited for someone to confirm her belief. Nobody did.
    • After being completely lost during the first service due to her inexperience in the brigade system, Danielle ranted about how so few restaurants used a brigade system. She then rhetorically asked the dorm how many cooks there ever cooked in a brigade system. Cue almost every cook on the blue team raising their hands.
  • In one episode of Full House, Joey has a lucky day. First there's a newspaper strike, delaying publication of a review of a disastrous comedy show the night before, he wins two tickets to a concert after getting a call from a radio station and correctly getting the answer right, gets a date with the attractive cable lady who also installs a channel the household didn't have, free of charge, and he is given the opportunity to audition to replace a longtime children's TV show host. However, Joey doesn't know that the host Hates Being Touched and after he's hired gives him a big hug, after leaving the host tells Danny that Joey is fired. This then starts his bad luck, as the newspaper strike is settled, he doesn't qualify for the prize tickets due to a relative being employed at the radio station, the cable lady has to uninstall the free channel and breaks off their date upon hearing that he can't have the tickets, which gets Joey to mention to Danny that he at least he got the job that he's unaware he was fired from, right before Danny breaks the news to him.

Theatre
  • In Once In A Lifetime, when George's movie appears to be a fiasco, May tells him that "we've got a gold dinner set, anyway. A hundred and six pieces, and every piece with your initials in diamonds. That's not bad for two months' work." This is the cue for two pages to appear, carrying said dinner set out.

Video Games

Web Comics
  • Men In Hats:
    • Jeriah tells Gamal a story about finding a quarter and losing his book of poems that only gets worse despite Gamal's attempts to reassure him:
      Jeriah: Actually, the quarter turned out to be a worthless iron shard.
      Gamal: Oh, well... At least you still have your health.
      Jeriah: The shard gave me tetanus.
    • In this strip, Gamal talks about fantasy novels. After Aram gets bored and leaves him, he tells the fantasy novel at least it still likes him. "Actually I don't," the novel says.

Web Original
  • Naruto The Abridged Series:
    • In episode 11, after being put down by Kakashi, Sakura comments, "At least I still have my fans." Sasuke immediately interjects "What fans?"
    • In episode 13, after being ignored by all the other characters, Kabuto consoles himself with, "At least Orochimaru still loves me." Cut to Orochimaru saying, "You're creepy, go away."
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, after Yugi and the others leave Mako Tsunami (and call him a "freaky fishguy"), Mako comments, "At least the ocean will never leave me. Right, Ocean?"

Western Animation
  • In a Halloween episode of The Simpsons, after an army of Homer clones destroys Old Gil's farm, Old Gil sighs and says "At least I still have my health." Cue the Homers eating him alive. His skeleton is left behind to say "Awwww..."
  • At the end of Daffy Duck's Quackbusters Daffy is completely bankrupt and can't pay his rent, and a repo crew come in to take all his stuff. Daffy then says "One thing's for sure, I've got nowhere else to go but up!", then a wrecking ball crashes in his office.
  • Transformers Prime: In "Operation Bumblebee Part 1", the kids try to make Bumblebee feel better about the loss of his vehicle mode by playing a racing video game.
    • And when that doesn't work, they decide to watch TV...
      Commercial Announcer: The new Urbana 500. It won't just rock your world...it will transform it.
    • And when Raf tries telling 'Bee that he's "just as amazing without wheels," Jack and Arcee roll in from a drive.
      Jack: Personal best, Arcee! You hit 120, easy!
      Bumblebee: *Death Glare*
      Jack & Arcee: Oh / Uh-oh.
  • The Weekenders:
    Tino: Um, is this dinner or a science experiment?
    Tino's mom: Go on. It won't bite you.
    Tino: That works out nicely, since I don't plan to bite it either.