To err is human. Most people are aware of this, and recognize that we are all prone to the occasional act of clumsiness. Hence, when someone accidentally spills a drink, or steps on a foot, or knocks something over, most people are willing to forgive and forget if an apology is given.

This also means that people can, on occasion, do something generally mean-spirited to someone else in public, and potentially get away with it if it appears to have been a mistake. Of course, sometimes the person doing this ''wants'' everyone, particularly his or her victim, to know it was done very deliberately, and will communicate this by issuing an insincere or flat-out [[SarcasmMode sarcastic]] apology.

Whether or not the character engaging in this behavior chooses to cover it with a sincere apology may depend on whether or not the character believes his or her audience will sympathize with the action. For example, if Alice is a particularly vicious and foul character who is not well liked, Charlene might choose to issue a sarcastic apology after dropping a plate of tartar sauce on her cleavage; her audience will smile because they all know that Alice had it coming, and they are pleased with Charlene's courage, knowing full well it wasn't really an accident. On the other hand, if Bob is a major JerkAss who is not especially well liked, he may attempt a sincere apology after "accidentally" tripping the much kinder and sympathetic Charlie; he knows that those watching don't like him, and the apology works as a pre-emptive defense. Of course, if Bob is very powerful, he might decide not to put any effort into making the apology sound sincere, since he really doesn't care what everybody thinks since there's nothing anybody can do about it.

This type of deliberate accident is often motivated by spite or revenge, although not always. Sometimes it's a necessity to [[WeNeedADistraction divert someone's attention]], ''gain'' someone's attention, plant a TrackingDevice, [[PercussivePickpocket steal something]], or just get someone worked up. The key to this trope is that an action is being presented as a mistake on the part of the person doing it. Since there's no point in holding up such a pretense if alone, this is something that will be done in public, even if all that's available is an audience of one.

Usually this action is more of an irritant than anything that's likely to cause serious injury or death, but not always.

Common variants of this trope include, but are not limited to:

* '''The Drink Spill''': A character spills a drink or some kind of food onto another character or him/herself.
* '''The Foot Crunch''': A character steps on another character's foot or spears it with a cane.
* '''The Fragile Object Knock-Over''': A character bumps or pushes something brittle and sends it crashing to the floor.
* '''The Trip''': A character sticks out a foot and trips someone.
* '''The Finger-Slip''': A character "accidentally" pushes a button or some other device that activates a device that should not be activated.

See also: The BeQuietNudge, in which a character punches or kicks someone and pretends it was an accident, in order to get the other character to stop talking.

This trope bears no relation to the SitCom ''Series/AccidentallyOnPurpose''.



[[folder: Anime & Manga ]]

* A non-comedic example of this is in ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam00'' wherein the ChildSoldier Nena bombs a wedding party, killing almost everyone there. When questioned about it, she [[CuteAndPsycho giggles]] and says she accidentally pressed the wrong button. The reason she bombed the party was because [[MoralEventHorizon they were having more fun than her]].
** [[spoiler: In Kozo Omori's manga adaption, however... it WAS an accident, and the setup and aftermath from Nena's perspective was actually treated comedically, although everything else remained serious.]]
* In ''Manga/KitchenPrincess'', the heroine has made friends with a rich girl who also happens to be a rich model. Her name is Akane, and she seems nice, but she's actually a BitchInSheepsClothing. While eating lunch together, she purposely knocks the heroine's lunch onto her dress, then [[WoundedGazelleGambit gets upset and causes her friends to turn on the girl]].
* In a second season of ''Anime/DarkerThanBlack'', one scene shows the depraved Genma having his partner Mina conduct [[ moxibustion]] on him, which is the "payment" for using his powers. He makes a perverted comment, and Mina, who DoesNotLikeMen, accidentally-on-purpose burns him.
* In the third episode of ''Anime/SamuraiChamploo'' Jin and Mugen have left Fuu to fend for herself, she wanders through an alley where two men are watching her, they stick out a vase to make her bump into and break, she apologizes and they tell her to pay up and she tells them she doesn't have any money, they then proceed to kidnap her and stuff her into a sack.
* In ''Manga/DragonBall'', Shin weaponizes this sort of behavior, seemingly accidentally dodging everybody's attacks while inflicting damage through perceived incredible clumsiness, attributing his outcomes to amazing luck. He makes it to the last rounds of the World Martial Arts Tournament and defeats Yamcha but is then taken out in the semifinals by Piccolo, after breaking his façade by using a DangerousForbiddenTechnique--he entered the competition specifically to stop Piccolo because he knew Piccolo was a threat. [[spoiler:Shin is actually the deity Kami possessing an ordinary businessman as a disguise and is strong enough to not have to take any of his opponents seriously until Piccolo.]]
* ''Manga/SoulEater'': As Death the Kid holds a practice battle against Black Star and Soul, the latter two injure each other and make up with a [[MundaneMadeAwesome ridiculously drawn-out]] ManHug. Annoyed, Kid shoots them both, then sarcastically excuses himself with "My finger slipped".


[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* The drink spill variant was done in ''ComicBook/{{Thorgal}}'' by some random viking, to humiliate the protagonist, who is a beggar at that time (due to AngstComa after he thinks his wife and child have died) and can't defend himself.
* This was done twice in one issue of ''ComicBook/TopTen'', both times by [[RidiculouslyHumanRobots Ferro-American]] DeadpanSnarker Joe Pi:
--> '''Joe Pi''': with typical machine clumsiness, I seem to have disabled my inbuilt audio taping system. This mean that if, for instance, a fellow officer should suggest something illegal, I won't have a record of it.
** A few pages later, after he "accidentally" convinces a fugitive suspect to [[BetterToDieThanBeKilled commit suicide]] instead of surrender and [[PrisonRape be treated as a sidekick-molester in prison]], he then says:
--> '''Joe Pi''': We have to get back to the station. I have to report my poor performance as a siege negotiator.
* [[{{Superman}} Clark Kent]] does this all the time. Usually it's to save someone without compromising his secret identity.
* Aaron Stack in ComicBook/{{Nextwave}}:
--> I am a clumsy robot, and [[ItMakesSenseInContext the longer I hold this dress]] [[ShameIfSomethingHappened the greater the chance something will damage it.]] Oops. My blowtorch unit seems to have accidentally lit.
* In an old Disney comic (by Carl Barks), in which Scrooge and Donald Duck go to Saudi Arabia, a bad guy bumps into a sheik (who, not surprisingly, looks like a duck), slipping a listening-bug onto his robe. (The bad guy apologizes, and the sheik says, "You're a clumsy oaf!")


[[folder: Film -- Animated ]]

* ''Disney/{{Pinocchio}}'': Honest John gets Pinocchio's attention by tripping him up with his cane.
* ''Disney/TheEmperorsNewGroove'': As Kuzco and Pacha try to get the potion that will turn Kuzco human, Yzma knocks over the other potions so they can't tell which is which, saying "Oops, clumsy me!" as she does.
* ''Disney/OliverAndCompany'': When Jenny discovers that Oliver is missing, Georgette takes Oliver's dish and drops it in the garbage with a sarcastic "Whoops!"


[[folder: Film -- Live Action ]]

* In the 80's movie ''Film/JustOneOfTheGuys'', the JerkJock dumps an entire tray of food onto the lap of the male protagonist, the main course of which was spaghetti, and gives him a sarcastic apology. The victim, in this case, was wearing a brand new outfit.
* A jealous call girl in the movie ''Film/{{Coffy}}'' spills an entire tray of drinks onto the lap of the title character's white dress, then sincerely insists it was an accident when called out on it. A big CatFight ensues.
* In ''Film/MissionImpossibleIII'', a kidnapping target is spilled on, to force him into the bathroom. He is then abducted through the vents.
* ''Film/K20LegendOfTheMask'': Yoko tries to delay Akechi by pretending to trip and spill a plate of food on to him. Akechi offhandedly catches the plate and the food on it without looking.
* Cliff Secord does in ''Film/TheRocketeer'', when he's at the South Seas Club, where his girlfriend Jenny is with Neville Sinclair, who's looking for the rocketpack. He "accidentally" spills some champagne on Jenny just before she tells Neville about him and how he's got the rocketpack.
* ''Film/NotAnotherTeenMovie'' plays with this classic "teen movie" trope. Janie is in a dress, already wet from falling the pool, and the AlphaBitch, Priscilla, sarcastically feigning clumsiness, spills a glass of ''water'' on her. Janie reacts with humiliated tears, and other characters react similarly:
-->'''Random Party-goer''': That's gonna stain!
* In the ''Film/TheKarateKid2010'', Cheng knocks over Dre's lunch tray and then says "Sorry!"
* In the movie ''Film/{{UHF}}'', one of the {{jerkass}}es from the competing television station trips the camera man for the title station, and sarcastically chimes "Oopsie!" after. Later, the victim of this action enacts his revenge by doing the same thing to the {{jerkass}}, except this time, the trip ends in a mud puddle.
* The first ''Film/BackToTheFuture'' has an example of the "accidental" trip; Marty [=McFly=] trips Biff Tannen when they're in the diner in 1955 Hill Valley, UsefulNotes/{{California}}.
* Used in ''Film/RomanHoliday'', with not even an attempt to disguise it, along the lines of "Oh, look what you just did to yourself."
* In ''Film/GosfordPark'', after a man posing as a servant reveals himself to be an actor and moves from "below stairs" to "above stairs". To punish him for his deception, one of the maids spills tea in his lap. Her fellow servants quickly hide their smiles, his fellow nobs shrug and keep on keeping on.
* A variation is seen in ''Film/AFishCalledWanda'' when Otto, angry with Wanda, picks up a framed photo of her and smashes it with his fist. He then hands it to the owner, and flatly says "Oh, sorry".
* A human deliberately steps on Rumbo's tail in ''Fluke''. Fluke bites his leg as payback.


[[folder: Literature ]]

* In ''Literature/SorceryAndCecelia, or, The Enchanted Chocolate Pot'', Cecelia disposes of [[spoiler: the titular chocolate pot by pretending to "accidentally" spill it]]. It helps that she already had a reputation for clumsiness.
* In Creator/RobinMcKinley's ''Literature/{{Chalice}}'', one of the primary antagonists uses a very malicious form of fake clumsiness to set the demesne's Master up for a MortonsFork: he "trips" within the Master's reach, forcing the Master - a former priest of elemental fire - to choose between catching and involuntarily burning him (an insult) or letting him fall (also an insult).
* In the book ''[[{{ComicStrip/Dilbert}} Dogbert's Clues for the Clueless]]'', Dogbert examines the conundrum of being seated in public next to a man who spreads his legs too much. Dogbert recommends "accidentally" spilling a drink in the offender's lap. "Oops! Something bumped my leg."
* In ''[[Literature/AuntDimity Aunt Dimity and the Deep Blue Sea]]'', "Harry Peters" [[spoiler: Peter Harris in disguise]] knocks over a table in an Erinskil pub, spilling Lori's tea into her lap [[spoiler: so she won't blurt out his real name when she recognizes him]].
* Late in ''Literature/ABrothersPrice'', Jerin has been disarmed and his lockpicks confiscated. He "accidentally" blunders into the woman who took his derringer and palms it with sleight of hand while she [[EatingTheEyeCandy enjoys it]], then repeats the "mistake" with the woman who took his lockpicks.
* In the fourth book of ''Literature/ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents'', this happens to Klaus (the tripping kind). However, [[spoiler: this turns out to be a trap to let Count Olaf make his next move]].
* In ''Literature/{{Millennium}}'', Louise tries this for two reasons, by spilling coffee onto a tape recorder: she wants to divert attention from the tape being played and is hoping to do enough damage that information she wants hidden can't be retrieved. It doesn't work, for either.


[[folder: Live-Action TV ]]

* ''TwoBrokeGirls'': Caroline "accidentally" spills a bowl of borscht on a girl who took a shirt Max was interested in at Goodwill.
* A non-trivial one in ''Series/BreakingBad'': Walt "accidentally" swerves Hank's car into oncoming traffic to stop him from investigating a laundromat for meth operations.
** In ''Series/BetterCallSaul'', Mike hires Saul to spill coffee on a detective so Mike can swipe his notes.
* In ''Series/BurnNotice'', this happens a lot. Usually it's done to create a distraction or plant a bug.
* Used [[RunningGag all the time]] by ''ElChapulinColorado'', who claims "all of my moves are throughly thought!" whenever he gets hurt ([[SlapStick Which is often]]).
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** [[Recap/DoctorWhoS28E10LoveAndMonsters "Love & Monsters"]]: Jackie Tyler used the drink-spill variant rather overtly to try and get Elton to stay over for the night.
** [[Recap/DoctorWhoS29E9TheFamilyOfBlood "The Family of Blood"]]: [[spoiler:The Doctor]] uses it against the titular Family, [[spoiler:pretending to still be human while covertly setting their ship to self-destruct.]] The Family fall for it because they see all humans as idiots.
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'':
** Pycelle intentionally drops a message to force Tyrion to pick it up in "Mhysa".
** Arya drops a coin to catch an enemy off his guard when he stoops to get it in "Mhysa".
* In an early episode of ''Series/{{House}}'', the title character decided to make a point about how he's treated as a handicapped person by jamming his cane into a woman's foot as he passed her. He apologized in a sincere fashion, and watched as the woman apologized back for snapping at him.
* On ''Series/JustShootMe'', Jack gives Dennis an ugly vase he made in pottery class. To get rid of it, Dennis "accidentally" drops it, but the vase proves to be indestructible.
* ''Series/{{MASH}}'':
** In TheStinger of an episode where Hawkeye, BJ and Charles were on a promotion committee, they evaluated prospective promotees and gave their recommendations. Private Igor, who works in the mess tent chow line and was not promoted, tosses a scoopful of mashed potatoes on BJ. "Oh, I'm sorry. But what do you expect from a dumb private?"
** A flashback in one episode showed Father Mulcahy "accidentally" tucking a tablecloth into his belt and upstaging the meal of a visiting general who was causing a holdup in the mess tent.
* Parodied along with ShameIfSomethingHappened in one episode of ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus''. A couple of [[TheMafia Mafia types]] try to shake down an army base commander, eventually leading to the famous [[BreakingTheFourthWall fourth-wall breaking]] line "Stop that! It's silly!"
* An angry Prince George does this to his brother, King Richard, in ''Series/ThePalace''. They're practicing cricket. George pitches the ball really hard, hitting the door behind Richard. "Sorry. Sorry -- slipped from my hand." The second time, he hits Richard in the arm before revealing his annoyance in words.
* ''Series/SabrinaTheTeenageWitch'': In the pilot episode, AlphaBitch performs the drink spill variant to Sabrina. Later, when she does it again, Sabrina uses her magic to make the drink tilt back towards her.
* In one episode of ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'', Elliot was in a crabby mood and tossed her drink on the ground right in front of Janitor, sarcastically saying "oops" as she walked past.
* On ''Series/TheSopranos'' Paulie Walnuts drops Valery's universal remote and gives a sarcastic oops after Valery tells him sternly (in his thick Russian accent) that "remote goes on docking station".
* ''Series/TheSuiteLifeOfZackAndCody'' has one episode where the winner of Employee of the Month will get an all-expenses-paid trip to a Tipton hotel of their choice, anywhere in the world. This causes no end of trouble born from competing employees, including one instance where Maddie's cart collapses, spilling candy everywhere. Patrick, the waiter for the hotel restaurant, denies doing anything to sabotage an employee, and then (looking down to see where his feet (in the middle of the spilled candy) are positioned) begins stomping on the candy while screaming "Never! Never! Never!" Maddie, being one of the [[OnlySaneMan only sane people]] in the hotel, isn't fooled.


[[folder: Newspaper Comics ]]

* One ''{{ComicStrip/Dilbert}}'' strip had Dilbert at a cocktail party and two women holding an impromptu "spill stuff on him" party. The final panel shows Dilbert back at home wearing the rags of his shirt, after they'd hit him with lighter fluid.


[[folder: Radio ]]

* From ''Radio/HelloCheeky'':
-->'''Barry:''' Our next record is an offering from...Max Bygraves. ''({{beat}}, crash, mock-horror voice)'' Oh no! Look what I have done! I have accidentally dropped Max's record, and ''stamped'' upon it, by mistake!


[[folder: Web Comics ]]

* In the first few pages of ''Webcomic/{{Ratfist}}'', Ricky throws his wine all over Gina so she won't notice that he's turning into a rat.
* In ''Webcomic/MegaTokyo'', Kimiko performs the drink spill variant on ''four people at the same time''. Although her motive is more justifiable than most, there is a small measure of revenge in [[ her actions]].
** A more malicious example happens later, after Kimiko unwittingly gives herself a serious popularity boost in the otaku community after defending fanboys on a radio interview. She goes to work to find the place mobbed with fans, and Piro disguises himself as a busboy to help her out. As the night goes on, he realizes that the fanboys are using carefully-hidden cameras to catch upskirt pictures of Kimiko. He proceeds to "accidentally" kick the cameras out of the way while waiting on the tables, leading to the fans realizing that he too is a "fanboy" (since otherwise he wouldn't realize what they were up to) and believe that he's "selfish" in keeping them from [[ImEntitledToHaveYou them all having access to Kimiko, as they believe they're entitled]]. To get back at him, one of the fanboys trips Piro so that he lands under Kimiko's skirt and then self-righteously accuses him [[{{Hypocrite}} of trying to be a pervert towards her]]. Since Kimiko finds one of the hidden cameras immediately after, she's not fooled.
* In {{Webcomic/Homestuck}}, Kanaya threatens Vriska with such an unfortunate accident of spilling a load gaper (their filthy commoner speak for "toilet") over Vriska's head if she doesn't make ramps for Tavros to travel around his house.
* In ''Webcomic/SlimyThief'', Azamat "accidentally" spills a bucket of water on Aisha for being too helpful to a customer by pointing out flaws in some of the products. Aisha doesn't buy it for a second and promises him a spanking later.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Endtown}}'', two waitresses do various stunts with insincere apologies in order to torment their new co-worker.


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* The "accidental" spill variant was used by Vicky the babysitter in ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents''. She doesn't just spill a drink, though. It is a significant amount of water, enough to drench the other girl. The reason for it was one of the little men in her brain, "Jealousy", was doing his job by being a petty asshole.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** In "There's No Disgrace Like Home", the family is supposed to solve their problems with electroshock therapy. At the beginning of the exercise, Bart accidentally-on-purpose shocks Lisa, claiming his finger slipped. Lisa shocks him back saying, "So did mine."
** Bart also uses the "My finger slipped" excuse in a "WesternAnimation/TreehouseOfHorror" episode, where Lisa's science experiment turns into a miniature civilization.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Freakazoid}}'' had a villain named Arms Akimbo who ran an [[ProtectionRacket "Oops insurance"]], "accidentally" knocking things over with his elbows until the owners give in. The damage gets more and more ridiculous with each scene, until we see StockFootage of a building blowing up, followed by Akimbo saying "Oops!"
* On ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'', after seeing Jillian's boyfriend accidentally trip a waiter and immediately spring into action to prevent him and his drinks from spilling over, Brian tries to do the same in order to impress his former girlfriend, by deliberately tripping the next waiter to walk by. The waiter falls, his drinks crash, and he questions why Brian would do something like that. Adding insult to injury, the waiter had just recovered from recent hand surgery, and was told he should not have come into work that day, but Jillian's boyfriend massages his hand and makes it better.
** Also this exchange:
--> Meg: I heard a noise! Is something wrong? Are we being robbed? What's going on?
-->(''Peter stares at Meg for a good 3 seconds, then hits her with his baseball bat'')
--> Meg: AHH!! WHAT THE HELL?!
--> Peter: Oh, Meg, you startled me!

** Or where the [[Film/TheWizardOfOz Tin Man]] [[FantasySequence finds out he's gay]]
-->Tin Man sways unsteadily from side to side before landing on top of the Scarecrow
-->Tin Man: Oh, look what happened by accident!

* In the ''WesternAnimation/DuckDodgers'' episode "The Fowl Friend", Dodgers is insanely jealous of how efficient his own RobotBuddy is, and plots his death. When Roboto makes a HeroicSacrifice, Dodgers seems to have learned his lesson, until IQ High says WeCanRebuildHim, and Dodgers blatantly throws Roboto's brain on the ground and ''jumps'' on it, while saying "Oops! Clumsy me!"

* ''WesternAnimation/{{Kaeloo}}'': In one episode, Stumpy trips Kaeloo by sticking out his leg during a game of musical chairs so he can reach the chair first.