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Didn't Think This Through

Somehow, I don't think you thought your cunning plan all the way through.

Mr. Krabs: Plankton! You knew I would never distrust a dollar!
Plankton: That's right, Krabs! Now hand over the Krabby Patty secret formula!
Mr. Krabs: (beat) Or what?
Plankton: I don't know. I never thought I'd get this far.

A situational trope. One character will develop a plan designed to solve a certain problem they're encountering. However, due to their failure to plan ahead, there is a massive gaping flaw in their plan that they, and also perhaps the audience, missed. As a result, they are now in a situation where, rather than winning, they are stuck with either a stalemate or an outright loss. As indicated by the page quote, this may occur because the character never thought that their plan would actually progress as far as it did in the first place.

A more comedic, simple version of Didn't See That Coming. See also And Then What?, when the flaw is not knowing what to do if the plan succeeds. (Also an issue for Who Will Bell the Cat?) If the person pointing this out is sufficiently annoyed, this can lead to What Were You Thinking?. May also lead to a This Is Gonna Suck for the schemer when he realizes how screwed he really is. Compare Missing Steps Plan.


Examples!!

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     Anime and Manga 
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • Vegeta during the Saiyan battle after Gohan turned into a Oozaru. Escaping being crushed multiple times, he did seem proud of himself for a moment after cutting off the boy's tail, thus shrinking him to normal size. Given that, while Vegeta has taken a considerable beating fighting the various heroes, Gohan was the last one strong enough to present any kind of threat to him, it seems that he's won. Then comes the brief realization that Gohan is still semi-gigantic, not maintaining his place in the air and now falling towards him while semi-gigantic. All of this happens in about a second, leaving Vegeta no time to dodge. Not long after a crushed Vegeta is sitting in a crater, struggling to crawl to his ship.
    • It's a running theme in this series that characters usually don't think their actions through, and end up suffering for it.
    • Vegeta tends to be a victim of it more than anyone thanks to underestimating the power of his opponents. He forces Dende to heal him to give him a power boost to fight Frieza only to severely underestimate Frieza' power in his final form. He thinks training in the hyberbolic time chamber boosts his power enough to defeat Cell only to allow the villain to transform into Perfect Cell who proceeds to beat the crap out of Vegeta. He also plans to take advantage of Babidi's brainwashing to increase his power to fight Goku only for the energy released to repower Majin Buu. Even his attempt to sacrifice himself to destroy Buu fails because he severely underestimates the creature's regenerative abilities.
    • Goku himself falls into this during his plan to pit Gohan against Perfect Cell; while Gohan is the strongest of them all, Goku failed to consider that Gohan is half-human, doesn't have the same love of fighting as his father, and above all else, is Just a Kid. It's only when Piccolo points this out to him that Goku realizes how badly he may have screwed up.
    • Cell himself is subject to this in that saga; his goal is ultimately to force Gohan to awaken his hidden powers by forcing him to watch as his friends get beaten up and a pacifist android is killed right in front of his eyes. Cell eventually gets exactly what he wanted all along, but he never stopped to consider the possibility that he might LOSE.
  • Almost happens in Mahou Sensei Negima!. The cast are discussing ways to retrieve Asuna and the Great Grandmaster Key from the Big Bads, and get the idea to use Natsumi's artifact (which makes the enemy completely unable to sense your presence) to get close for an ambush. Unfortunately The Anti-Magic field coming from Asuna would make that plan useless. They almost go with the plan until Ako realizes the flaw. Cue Yue coming up with a workable solution, and a Crowning Moment of Awesome for everyone involved.
  • One Piece has the "Fake Straw Hat Pirates" based in Sabaody Archipelago after the time-skip. Since Monkey D. Luffy has attained even more infamy than ever before due to his part in the War at the Summit, one guy going by the name "Three Tongued" Demalo Black got the bright idea of posing as him and setting up a crew to pose as the Straw Hat Pirates, usually getting his way by relying on Luffy's fame to threaten people and recruit fearsome pirates into his crew. Unfortunately, around the time they were recruiting, the real Straw Hats came back, and it got steadily worse when they try to recruit a pair of Ax-Crazy pirate captains who intend to kill the Straw Hats for more fame, and then Marines show up with Pacifistas, with a Marine Captain personally knocking out Demalo Black with his axe for trying to talk smack to him while pretending to be Luffy. Because he forgot that when you're one of the most infamous pirates on the planet, lots of actual strong people want to kill you.
    • During the Paramount War, the heroes expend an extraordinary amount of effort to get Luffy to Ace's execution platform. Only after he gets there does he, and everyone else, remember that Sengoku is standing right next to their goal.
  • At points in both the first and second seasons of Strike Witches, Minna pulls a gun on Mio in order to try to stop her from getting herself killed in battle. Mio is quite aware of the flaw in this bluff, and it doesn't work either time.
  • Harumi Kiyama in A Certain Scientific Railgun plays this both ways. On the one hand, she's the only villain who realizes the damage her plot is causing, and actually creates a way to reverse the effects harmlessly once she's finished. On the other hand, she failed to account for what would happen if people randomly fall into a coma—such as if they're driving a car.
  • So you got a Stand that lets you keep status within a single timeframe, How's that dust tasting after fighting Stray Cat's Bites The Dust?
  • In Girls und Panzer, the Oarai student council revives its Tankery program in order to compete in a national tournament which is a lie to cover up the fact that the school will be shut down, but they have made a deal to prevent that if they win. Unfortunately, the student council overestimated how many tanks they had left over, i.e., the ones they weren't able to sell, assuming that the school would have many in reserve from its past participation in tankery. Student Council President Anzu admits that her assumptions were faulty, but she couldn't think of any other way to keep the school open, and at least wanted them to have hope.
  • Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka?:
    • In episode 3, with it raining harder and harder, Rize says she'll call for a cab to take Sharo home. Chiya, remembering Sharo exclaiming she didn't want Rize to know where she lives, instead volunteers to take her. However, she attempts to carry her home, and collapses a short distance from the Rabbit House.
    • In episode 7, the girls work on a large jigsaw puzzle. As they get closer to finishing it, Chiya asks where they're going to place it. The girls are then stumped because they didn't consider what to do with it when they were done. In the end they have Chino's father put it up in the coffee shop to replace another picture of a rabbit.
  • Pokémon: For his eighth Indigo League badge, Ash finds himself facing off against Team Rocket, since the real gym leader (Team Rocket boss Giovanni) was away on "business", and assigned the trio as his substitutes. Ash fights Jessie on a platform that's rigged to electrocute him whenever his Pokémon take damage during the battle. Of course, when Ash pulls off his Heroic Second Wind, it turns out James also rigged Jessie's own platform to electrocute her whenever her Pokémon take damage; when Jessie demands to know why he did so, James admits he didn't think it would matter either way because he didn't think they would lose. Also counts as a moment of Genre Blindness and general stupidity, because Ash beats them all the freakin' time.

     Comic Books 
  • In the climax of Northwest Passage, Montclave reveals critical information to Simon in the hopes of permanently turning him against his father, Charles Lord. The information is that Simon's parentage is a Luke, I Might Be Your Father situation, since Montglave raped Simon's mother at the time of conception. Unsurprisingly, Simon takes a rather dim view of this knowledge and promptly blows Montglave's brains out.
  • Batman villain Warren "Great White Shark" White successfully pleaded insanity to escape embezzlement charges. He was sent to Arkham and wound up at the mercy of Gotham's worst psychopaths. Oops.
  • Doctor Octopus's plan in the Spider-Man storyline Ends of the Earth. With the evil doc dying, Doc Ock plans to flash-fry the Earth, leaving approximately .08 percent of humanity to live on and remember him as the greatest monster that ever lived. However, Spidey points out a glaring flaw in this plan: they'll live. Brain dead, their brains flashfried, too. Doc Ock flips.
  • In one issue of the Batman: The Brave and the Bold comic, Nightwing leads the Robins from other points in time (Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, Damian Wayne and Carrie Kelly) to one of Ra's al Ghul's bases in order to use a Lazarus Pit to save Batman's life. When they encounter the League of Assassins, Damian leaps out, demanding that they stand down as is his birthright as an al Ghul. The assassins look at each other, then charge at the Robins. Damian then remembers that he's not born yet.
  • In an episode of Bruchbach Serenade, Rick has just finished his summer job at city hall. In order to maximize his earnings, he had made the mayor give a speech that made fun of the audience and incorporated Nazi phrases, so he could sell the audience rotten tomatoes. Now the people in charge refuse to give Rick a certificate for the job.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: Dr. Eggman realizes that trying to stop Super Sonic's Reset Button attempt was "a bit hasty" on his part. When he finds a gigantic purple crack on Mobius' surface, he's quick to upgrade it.
  • In Runaways, during their first battle against Excelsior, Chase Stein decides to create a distraction by attacking with the Leapfrog's lasers... which quickly drains the Leapfrog's batteries, forcing the Runaways to flee with their highly distinctive vehicle fully exposed (because without battery power, they can't activate the vehicle's stealth mode) making it easy for Excelsior to track them down.
  • During the Civil War arc, Jennifer Walters was outed as She-Hulk (again) by a New Warriors hate site. On the way into her office through an angry mob to help some former New Warriors keep their identities hidden from the public, one of the mob recognized her, grabbing her by the arm and ripping her shirt, proudly exclaiming "I've got She-Hulk!" Jen shifted and hoisted the guy up by his lapels.
    She-Hulk: Alright, you've got She-Hulk! Now what?!
    Angry Citizen: I... uh... guess I didn't think this through...
  • Magica DeSpell in at least two Don Rosa stories.
    • In "Of Ducks, Dimes and Destinies", Magica travels back to the day Scrooge earned his Number One Dime because she thinks it'll be easier to steal it back then. As she's about to depart back to present time, she realizes that taking the dime with her from the past will prevent it from having the power that makes her want it in the first place.
    • In "A Little Something Special", Magica teams up with the Beagle Boys and Flintheart Glomgold because she sees no overlap in their goals: she wants Scrooge's Number One Dime; the Beagle Boys want the rest of his money; and Flintheart Glomgold just wants to drive Scrooge into poverty and steal his title as the world's richest duck. As Scrooge later points out, his first dime will be of no use for Magica once he's broke.

     Fan Works 
  • In A New World, A New Way, this is Arceus' main character flaw.
  • All You Need Is Love: L's plan to expose Light as Kira hinges on Light trying to kill him but Light doesn't need to kill L. All he has to do is kill Watari and L's system collapses.
  • Voldemort Goes Back To School: in a state of panic, Voldemort creates massive wards on an abandoned classroom door that only Dumbledore or Grindelwald could hope to break in the hopes of avoiding further interactions with Harry and Draco. He realizes the gaping flaw in his plan when he begins to worry that McGonagall might get around his wards if she were to transfigure the door into something else and as it is Harry circumvents the door and all of his carefully laid warding altogether by dropping in through the window on his broomstick. And because he's so heavily warded the door he's essentially locked himself in.
  • One of the antagonists of The Nuptialverse story Families is an Immortality Seeker who riled up a huge anti-Princess group and took Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash, among others, hostage in order to force Princess Celestia to divulge the secret of her and Luna's immortality. Celestia's response is to laugh in his face and point out all the holes in his plans, such as having no way to avoid royal retribution after everything was done, almost certainly not having Power Limiters strong enough to hold Twilight, and (accurately) stating Rainbow is useless as a hostage because she would never want Celestia to risk all of Equestria for her sake alone.
  • First Try Series has Sasuke realizes this during his confrontation with Itachi during the Search for Tsunade arc. Namely Sasuke notes that Itachi used to be in ANBU before becoming a criminal on the run and he's been a Genin for little over six months. Right before he gets hit with a Tsukuyomi he says the trope name verbatim.
  • Neji in The Darkest Light realizes this after he tries to have Hinata "manhandled" by hiring Naruto/Naruichi to give her a massage. Not only does Naruichi have an acceptable explanation for what Hiashi walks in on, he also has the receipt saying he was hired by Neji.
  • In Of White Trees And Blue Roses, Rhaegar's abduction of Lyanna blew up spectacularly. Also, the Knight of the Laughing Tree participating in the Tourney of Harrenhal.
  • Oops has this happen for Harry's (accidentally made) horcrux. It gets Harry to brew and drink a luck potion of the "May you live in interesting times" variety by making him think it was a good luck potion. After Harry calls the horcrux out on not only how messed up his luck usually is but that he's already in Britain during World War II, the horcrux admits that it didn't think things through but in its defense, Harry rarely does either and it is a portion of Harry's soul.
  • Webwork: The Yokai races all fled to the dimension known as the Emptiness in order to escape humanity's growing dominance of Japan. However, the Emptiness was lacking in food, and all the Youkai were too chaotic to coexist without humanity as a common enemy, so they all ended up turning on and feeding off of each other.
    • Jade, now a Jorogumo, puts on a human glamor in order to sneak around San Francisco and recruit minions. However, not only is she out of practice only using two legs, but she chooses to only wear a Badass Longcoat... and nothing else. So, her stumbling around half-naked leads to her being repeatedly mistaken for a hooker who's either high or drunk, to her annoyance.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness:
    • In Act III, Gin runs to Dark and convinces him to hide him after stealing Apoch's underwear, apparently forgetting that Dark is a well-known Wife-Basher Basher. As soon as Dark finds out, however, he throws him to Apoch and Astreal.
    • Throughout Act IV, Tsukune and co. expect Hokuto to pull off a full-scale attack on Yokai Academy to capture Moka, as per what happened in an Alternate Timeline. However, they fail to consider the fact that Luna and Falla, two Time Masters, were not present in said Alternate Timeline, and are completely unprepared when Hokuto goes with a Divide and Conquer tactic instead.
    • In Act VI chapter 22, to deal the finishing blow to a monster Ceal had grounded, Fang Fang summons a phoenix, forgetting that he's doing so in the middle of his own backyard, the phoenix's fire is hot enough to incinerate the entire compound, and Sun, Arial, and Complica are right in its blast radius. When Ceal points this out, Fang Fang's only response is a sheepish "Oh, right."
  • In the Neon Genesis Evangelion Gag Dub Evangelion Re Death, Kaji is trying to get to the bottom of what Gendo is up to. It's something to do with the Prince song "1999" being played after the year 1999 to attain ultimate cosmic pimp power, but Kaji needs to know more, so...
    Kaji: I found the original CD of Prince's Greatest Hits, so I gave Gendo the disc he needed so I could discover the truth behind his plans.
    Misato: But you gave him the disc!
    Kaji: Yeah, it was the only way I could get close enough to the truth!
    Misato: But you gave him the disc.
    (beat)
    Kaji: Aw, crap!
    (cue Third Impact, and Ritsuko in her underwear)
  • In The Nighthawk Chronicles, Raven finally works up the courage to tell admitted demon-hunter Xander that she's half-demon, hoping their friendship will keep him from killing her on principle. Xander reminds her that they're all cartoon characters where he's from, he already knew she was Trigon's daughter.
  • In the The Legend of Zelda fic Blood and Spirit, after Zelda calls her out on making Link hide his corruption by Majora from her, especially since said corruption nearly caused him to kill Zelda, Terminus admits that at the time, it never really occurred to her that Majora would try to have Zelda killed.
  • In Origin Story, after watching Alex Harris toss around The Avengers like they were dolls, several SHIELD agents try to dog pile her. It doesn't work out for them at all.
  • In The Demesne Of The Reluctant Twilight Sparkle, Twilight has to get a lot of gold from the Ponyville train depot to her new royal bank across town, preferably in secret to avoid looters, and doing it by cartload takes uncomfortably long. Her solution? Telekinetically use the gold bars to construct extra tracks to the bank and levitate the train along them, picking them back up as they go. Sensible enough except that it goes through the middle of town, so secrecy is right out.

     Films - Animated 
  • The Iron Giant: Mansley, single-mindedly obsessed with destroying the Giant, personally orders the Nautilus to launch a nuke at the Giant after the military realizes he tricked them, failing to realize at that moment that the missile was locked on to the Giant's current location; as the Giant is standing right in the middle of Rockwell at that very moment, the nuke will take out the entire town, including Mansley himself, when it hits. Fortunately, the Giant intercepts the nuke itself and saves the town.
  • In Aladdin, Jafar is defeated when Aladdin tricks him into wishing to become an all-powerful genie. Jafar either forgot or was not aware that genies in this setting are bound to a magic lamp and obliged to grant wishes by nature.
    Genie: It's all part and parcel of the whole Genie gig. PHENOMENAL COSMIC POWER! ... Itty-bitty living space.
    • Actually, it's even worse. Right when he makes the wish, Jafar angrily addresses Genie as "slave" — which is what he becomes in turn.
  • Gil's plan to escape to the sea in Finding Nemo which succeeds past the audience's expectations only to run into a snag at the end.
  • A Strange Minds Think Alike style gag in Meet the Robinsons often said to Bowler Hat Guy. When a CEO, a frog and a Tyrannosaurus Rex think your evil plans need work, you aren't doing that well.
    "It's just, I have this big head, and little arms. I'm just not sure how well this plan was thought through!"
  • The last line on Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, spoken by the Mayor, who is adrift at sea after eating the food boat he was escaping in.
  • Recess: School's Out: Why did Prickly call the villain insane? Maybe because creating another ice age to end summer vacation forever would bring forth The End of the World as We Know It?
    • Or because of the fact that nobody told him about snowdays, which would probably become the new summer vacation anyway.
  • Kung Fu Panda 2: Po's plan to rescue the Furious Five where he admits he hadn't thought what he would do when he got close enough to do that. Mainly due to the fact he didn't expect to make it this far.
  • Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas: After braving many dangers, Sinbad and Marina finally make it to Tartarus and come face to face with Eris, the goddess of discord. The faces they make really show that they didn't have any plan whatsoever past that point.

     Films - Live-Action 
  • In Monty Python and the Holy Grail, when King Arthur's knights attempt to copy the Trojan Horse ploy with a giant wooden rabbit, none of them remember that they're supposed to get inside the rabbit until after it's been taken into the castle.
  • Lampshaded in ˇThree Amigos!. Dusty Bottoms has found Carmen in her place of imprisonment.
    Dusty: We have a plan.
    Carmen: What is it?
    Dusty: First, we break into El Guapo's fortress.
    Carmen: And that you've done. Now what?
    Dusty: Well, we really didn't expect the first part of the plan to work, so we have no further plan. Sometimes you can overplan these things.
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Roger pulls a pretty boneheaded move when he tries to "convince" Eddie to protect him from Judge Doom's weasels: He uses a pair of handcuffs he finds in Eddie's closet to cuff them together. Eddie calls him an idiot, telling him, "I don't have any keys to these cuffs!" and when the weasels do show up about five minutes early, actually keeping them from finding Roger requires some very fast thinking on Eddie's part. To summarize, when the weasels force their way in, Eddie pretends to be washing his laundry in the sink while holding Roger underwater, continuing to do so while one of them interrogates him and the others search the place; however, because he has to let Roger breathe a couple of times, he has to wait for the leader to be distracted each time, coming within a hair's breadth of being discovered.
  • Hermione says this very thing to Harry in the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban movie, when she saves their past selves from the werewolf... by luring it over to their current selves.
  • The Dark Knight
    Fox: Let me get this straight. You think that your client, one of the wealthiest, most powerful men on the planet, is secretly a vigilante who spends his nights beating criminals to a pulp with his bare hands. And your plan is to blackmail this person? ... Good luck.
    Reese: *beat* ... Keep that...
  • In It's a Boy Girl Thing Woody (in Nell's body) decides to get her a reputation for being easy. So he decides to have her sleep with this really sleazy guy. The Didn't Think This Through example occurs just before the deed is to be done when Woody realizes that he is actually going to be the one to experience the drunken sex with a guy. Also counts as an Oh, Crap moment.
  • Done hilariously in Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Movie with Crow's plan to tunnel out of the Satellite while it's in orbit.
    Crow: Oh, wow, this is confusing! Hey, Mike! Can you hand me my calculations? [paper flies into his mouth] Thank you! Oh, well, look at that: "Breach hull, all die!" Even had it underlined!
    • Then lampshaded with his explanation:
      Crow: Well, believe me, Mike, I calculated the odds of this succeeding against the odds I was doing something incredibly stupid and... I went ahead anyway.
  • In The Rundown, the sidekick's "Thunder and Lightning" attack never works. He becomes dumfounded when it does work and needs a moment to think up the next stage of the attack.
  • The Avengers. Tony Stark slaps around a gigantic killer flying alien turtle-thing by detonating a bunch of small missiles in its face, getting it to attack HIM instead of the bystanders: "Okay, we've got its attention. What the hell was step two?"
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean Elizabeth stabs her host/captor captain Barbossa with a knife. It somehow slipped her mind, that even if she'd succeeded, she would still be on a ship full of vicious pirates, whose captain she just killed, in the middle of the raging sea. Lampshaded by Barbossa: "I'm curious. After killin' me what was it you were plannin' on doin' next?"
  • At the climax of Ghost Rider, Blackheart absorbs the souls of the damned of San Venganza, which makes him incredibly powerful and incredibly susceptible to the Ghost Rider's Penance Stare (which he had shrugged off in their previous encounter).
  • Dog Day Afternoon practically runs on this. It was supposed to be just a quick bank robbery. But Sonny - the so-called mastermind - never thought to double check the information about the cash shipments. The vault's supply has already left for the day, and there's almost nothing left. Sonny attempts to black out the security cameras (he was too short to really reach them) only after the robbers had been inside, unmasked, and glove-less for nearly five minutes. Then he tries to cover his paper trail by lighting the traveler's check register on fire...which causes enough smoke to alert people outside that something strange is going on. He didn't think far enough ahead to consider hostages, getting a full layout of the building, the possibility of one of his cohorts backing out of the plan a few minutes in, or that his remaining partner was too psychologically unstable to handle the ensuing standoff with the authorities. He even tells people his real name, his background as a bank teller, and his service in Vietnam, thus making it very easy for the authorities to figure him out. These problems are just the start of Sonny's horrendously botched heist and his desperate attempts to get everyone out of it alive.
  • In X-Men: First Class, Sebastian honestly believes that he can convince Erik to join him, despite having murdered his mother to activate Erik's powers, and knowing that he has spent his entire life hunting him down. Magneto even says as much:
    Magneto: I'd like you to know that I agree with every word you said. We are the future. But, unfortunately, you killed my mother.
  • Godzilla (2014):
    • Some soldiers open fire on Godzilla in Honolulu. They quickly realize the pointlessness and give a face that says this trope.
    • The female cocoon is taken to a nuclear deposit. Serizawa realizes that was a mistake when checking the data for the male's communication.
    • The military underestimates the speed of the male and it makes it to the nuke well before it goes off. The nuke is taken to the middle of the city and a plan has to be hatched to get it out.
  • Interstellar has NASA choose astronauts for the long term Lazarus missions that have no strong relationships with people on earth, so they aren't leaving anyone behind when they leave and potentially never come back. This results in one such astronaut, Doctor Mann, being willing to endanger the mission, and by extension all of humanity, because he has no one he values over his own survival.
  • Little Giants: Danny actually thought he could keep Spike and his Dad from finding out he's not the "Coach O'Shea" they're looking for.
  • Carried over from the Grimm version of the story, in Into the Woods Cinderella's stepmother mutilates her daughter's feet to fit the golden slipper. Really? You think your daughter's future husband - or anyone else, for that matter - won't notice at some point, or care? Worse, she repeats the process with the second daughter after the first one is caught.

     Literature 
  • The Hobbit: To enable the dwarves to escape from the Wood Elves, Bilbo secures them inside barrels so they can float away downriver. Unfortunately:
    It was just at this moment that Bilbo suddenly discovered the weak point in his plan. Most likely you saw it some time ago and have been laughing at him; but I don’t suppose you would have done half as well yourselves in his place. Of course he was not in a barrel himself, nor was there anyone to pack him in, even if there had been a chance!
    • Not that being packed into a barrel himself would have been an improvement. Getting out again wouldn't have been easy.
    • Not to mention the entire journey itself. The one weak spot in the dwarves' scheme to get their gold is that Smaug is still sitting on it, and a baker's dozen of dwarves are no match for the dragon, which is why Gandalf insisted that they rely on burglary. However, Bilbo, seeing the size of the hoard he's supposed to steal, states that they should have brought an army of burglars, as there's only so much he can steal at once. Then Smaug smugly asks Bilbo how he's supposed to get his share back home. Only a series of lucky breaks (for a given definition of luck) keeps the adventure from going to waste.
    • The movie works around this by planning to have Bilbo fetch the Arkenstone, which can be used to convince all the armies of the six other dwarven settlements to come to Thorin's aid.
  • Twice in Kitty Goes to Washington. Kitty had good reason to banish Elijah Smith back where he came from, but she didn't consider that this would mean the collection of vampires and lycanthropes under his control would then be out of control. Cue chase scene, followed by calling in backup to deal with the fallout. Later, Kitty tries to distract the guards on the first floor of a building by throwing rocks at the upstairs windows, hoping they'll investigate the crash. She realizes belatedly that if they instead put two and two together and look out on the street, she'll get caught red-handed. (Luckily, they're typical guards.)
  • In the Knight and Rogue Series, when told he must, in order to regain his legal rights, capture a murder suspect he released from jail and become his brother's steward, Michael sets out to bring the criminal to justice. Upon learning she's innocent he decides to not even bother with bringing her to trial, opting to be tattooed as a horrible criminal instead. It's not until afterward that he realizes this will make people hate him by default and take advantage of him due to his being unable to go to the law for help. Bonus points for his father forcing the situation on him in the hopes that only his oldest son will hire Michael for a stable job if he's marked, as he apparently didn't notice that Michael spent the whole past year funding his adventures by stopping for the day in random towns and doing odd jobs for people who don't need to see the area on his arm where he gets marked.
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: The Trio devises a plan to impersonate students from House Slytherin, so that they can sneak into the Slytherins' dorm and hopefully uncover some information about the titular Chamber. They spend a month concocting an extremely advanced shapeshifting potion, and make some thoughtful arrangements, like stealing appropriate robes and preparing drugged cupcakes to put said students out of commission for the duration of their foray. Finally, everything is ready, and they perform the transformation... whereupon they realise that they have no idea where the Slytherin dormitory is.
    • In the same book, Harry and Ron miss the train to go to Hogwarts, and in order to get there they steal Mr. Weasley's flying car. They promptly get seen by about seven Muggles across England. As McGonagall points out to them, they had an owl and perfectly legitimate reasons to be late, so they could have just sent a message to be picked up.
    • There's also Viktor Krum's ill-fated transfiguration during the second task of the Triwizard Tournament in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
  • A Stainless Steel Rat Is Born: Young Jim diGriz gets himself imprisoned so he can meet other criminals and learn from them. The problem is that the criminals he finds in prison are the ones who were dumb enough to get caught.
  • On Stephen King's short story The End Of The Whole Mess, this is Bobby Fornoy's Fatal Flaw. His brother reminisces when he was a child and developed a glider, not figuring out that the backwoods of his house were too dense to fly such a thing until he's high in the air and ends up crashing. The story itself showcases Bobby finding out a way to create world peace via a natural water-borne calming agent he discovered... and not detecting until it's too late that the agent triggers early-onset Alzheimer's. Oops.
  • One Relativity story has, in the climax, all of the heroes trapped at the top of a "parachute" carnival ride. Dark Flame suggests they each get into a gondola and cut the cable, and then they'll be lowered safely to the ground by the parachutes. It isn't until after her cable is cut that she realizes that it's just a carnival ride, the gondolas were designed to be lowered by cables, and the parachutes were just decorative.
  • In Halo: Glasslands , the elites were in a civil war between a faction following the old covenant religion and the ones trying to create their new society. ONI thinks that it would be a good idea to support the zealots even though they intend to Kill All Humans. If the zealots win then they will start another war with humanity. If the new covenant win then they'll find out about ONI supporting the enemies they were fighting and go to war against humanity.
  • There exists in the Firekeeper Saga an entity called the Meddler. His trademark is, as his name suggests, to meddle in the affairs of mortal creatures and many of the books' events are discovered to be a result of his trying to escape a prison he had been sealed in by getting key figures moving. However, he pays little heed to the consequences of his actions, best illustrated in a legend told of him in which he helps a pair of young lovers forbidden to see one another by the boy's father. However, the father reveals after they've run away that they're actually half-siblings and that the boy was aware of this, while the girl was not.
  • In Lieutenant Hornblower, Acting-Captain Buckland is persuaded to follow the secret orders to attack a nest of Spanish privateers, so he just sails the ship up a channel between the fortifications, hoping to blast them apart with the ship's cannon. Turns out they can't get the right elevation; then the ship runs aground while the Spaniards happily pound away with heated shot. It's all they can do to escape intact—Bush reflects later that taking a wooden ship into a situation where red-hot cannonballs can be fired into her was pretty foolish. (The writers of the television series apparently thought it was so bad, they had the mad Captain Sawywer do this as a Death Seeker.)
  • In Pact, Blake Thorburn binds Pauz, a minor demon, into a book, but fails to account for the small army of corrupted animals that Pauz had assembled, which promptly attempt to kill him, resulting in him nearly being gored by a deer. Later, he challenges Conquest, Lord of Toronto, to a wargame in exchange for his freedom, but fails to account for Conquest's willingness to damage the city and its citizens, leading to a moment of My God, What Have I Done?.
  • Examples from Aesops Fables:
    • Averted in one version of "the Frogs and the Well". Two frogs search for a new place to cool off after their marsh dries up and they find a well. One of the frogs suggest they jump down here as it's wet and would be good for them. However, the other frog prevents him from doing so, asking how they'd get out if the well dried up. An alternate version plays the trope straight when the other frog jumps into the well before he hears the other's argument.
    • Played straight in "the Fox and the Goat" where a fox trapped in a well tells a goat to come into the well for its excellent tasting water. The goat does so and finding itself trapped, asks how they'll get out. The fox asks to get a boost up from the goat's horns so he can climb out and then he'll pull the goat out after. The goat does this but is then abandoned by the fox. When called out, the fox says to the goat that he should have thought before jumping in.

     Live Action TV 
  • In The Wire, Detective McNulty's cunning plan to fake a serial killer in order to get money for an investigation into a murderous drug crew becomes a textbook example of this. Although command showers him with resources, people gradually get wind that he's giving overtime out to people for different cases, so he ends up getting blackmailed into giving people overtime to go and play golf in Florida. Because the eventual bill runs into the millions, McNulty makes himself liable for not only firing, but serious jail time. Because the case becomes a political football, he ends up having to bullshit the entire police command staff and all of city hall. And because McNulty hadn't thought what he'd do when the drug crew were busted, leaving him with a non-existent "serial killer" to catch, he ends up having to find a way to de-escalate the thing rapidly. For a while, you think he'll manage to stay on top of things. He doesn't. The wheels come off. Spectacularly.
  • An episode of Blake's 7 plays this for laughs with its justification: when Vila asks Tarrant if he can actually dock their tiny ship into the Liberator that they have just reclaimed from Servalan, the following exchange occurs. (Incidentally, it's just a throwaway gag, since the very next scene has them already back on the Liberator safely.)
    Tarrant: I hadn't really considered it.
    Vila: What?
    Tarrant: I thought we'd be dead by now.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Spike schemes to both break up the Scooby Gang and plant evidence to lead Buffy into a trap. It takes the Big Bad he's working for to point out that he's given Willow the evidence, and Willow won't be speaking to Buffy now.
    • Apparently, when she had Willow activate all Slayers worldwide, it never occurred to Buffy at that moment that not all of the newly empowered Slayers would be willing to use their powers for good, with one Slayer in particular, Simone Doffler, becoming a terrorist and obsessed with killing her.
      • There's also Dana, the crazy (by virtue of being tortured for several years) Slayer who shows up in Angel and kidnaps Spike.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "World War Three", the Slitheen get into 10 Downing Street, and chase the Ninth Doctor, Rose and Harriet Jones. The Doctor activates a defence mechanism that means there is 3 inches of thick metal between them and the Slitheen - or any way of escape.
    The Doctor: They'll never get in.
    Rose: But how do we get out?
    The Doctor: ... Ah.
  • In a Saved by the Bell episode, Zack has detention on the day of a trivia contest for a trip to Hawaii. He sends Screech in his place, who comes back to ask him a question. Mr. Belding explains only those in detention can talk to others there, so Screech purposely gets in trouble. When he sits down, Zack tells him the obvious problem with that plan.
  • On an episode of Seinfeld Kramer is at a department store when he decides to sell the clothes he's wearing to another customer. When he's left naked in the store's changing room with nothing to put on, he whimpers, "I didn't think it through!"
  • In an episode of Top Gear, there was an amphibious car challenge, Hammond's car looked like a boat (with the steering wheel near the back) with an upper portion for the "girls in bikini to go," which he then noticed was so high up he couldn't see over while driving.
    • Then came Jeremy Clarkson's mobility scooter in Season 18, which was arranged so that the drive wheels had nothing actually pressing them against the ground.
    • The motorhome challenge: Clarkson designed a three story home on top of his car. It was barely able to clear overhead passes, and proved to be top-heavy, nearly tipping over several times on the road, and finally did during a very windy night.
    • None of their cop car vehicle-stopping devices proved well planned. Richard neglected to consider that cars can turn; James neglected to consider that cars have windscreen wipers; and Jeremy neglected to consider that a car's axle can handle only so much stress. The net result was that none of them managed to stop the Stig and as an additional bonus one of Jeremy's wheels ended up a substantial distance from his car.
  • The Big Bang Theory shows Leonard trying to slip out to meet his then-girlfriend and getting Sheldon to cover for him. Given that Sheldon cannot do this convincingly, Leonard almost immediately wonders why he didn't think this through.
  • (Also counts as a Real Life example) The Tonight Show - Johnny Carson would often have non-celebrity regular folks as guests (often the most interesting and entertaining part of the show) - one was a self-styled "idea man" who came up with get-rich schemes, none of which really panned out. He had high hopes for his latest - shaving his head and painting advertising on it (this was way, way before shaved heads were commonplace). Johnny commented that, coming on this show, he must have been able to charge some pretty high rates - and the guy froze...he never thought of that. Johnny tried to keep the tone light, but the guy spent the rest of his time there looking like he'd swallowed a foul-tasting bug.
  • In one episode of 30 Rock, Kenneth pitches an idea for a game show he had to Jack: a show like Deal or No Deal where the contestants must find out which briefcase has a million dollars of gold inside. While filming it, the contestants only need to look for which model is having difficulty holding her briefcase. The show is then quickly canned. Kenneth even lampshades it:
    "Ooooh, gold's real heavy, innit?"
  • In the opening to an episode of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Zack wins a bet against his brother, Cody, and now the latter owe him smoothies, which he now has to make.
    Zack: Did not think that through.
  • In the season 8 finale of Scrubs (J.D's last day), Sunny helps trick Dr Cox into admitting he thinks J.D is an exceptional person - within earshot of J.D. Once Cox is done gagging, he has this to say:
    Cox: You realize that even though he gets to leave, you have to stay?
    Sunny: I didn't think that out.
    Cox: No. Ya didn't.
  • Rome. Brutus and his fellow conspirators kill Caesar, justifying it by declaring him a tyrant. However Marc Antony points out that if Caesar is a tyrant, then by Roman law all his previous acts are void, including the appointment of the conspirators to their positions of power. Rather than risk an election (given that Caesar was well thought of by the common people) they're forced to make a truce with Antony (giving him time to rally the mob against the conspirators with his Rousing Speech at Caesar's funeral).
  • The episode "Attached" of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Picard and Dr. Crusher are abducted by a xenophobic faction of an alien world, another faction of which is applying for Federation membership. They were abducted because it was believed they would lead to more contact. When Riker points out that not returning them will result in more ships and very uncomfortable scrutiny, the look on the alien minister's face indicates she didn't consider the ramifications.
  • The "Enjoy the Ride" storyline in Hollyoaks has a tragic example of this. Jono and Ruby reunite after splitting up, but Jono is about to be deployed with the army. They decide to elope to Gretna Green so Ruby will be allowed to live with Jono at the barracks. Ruby's family panic when they discover she's gone but, as her foster dad points out, Ruby and Jono will not be able to get married even if they reach Gretna Green - they haven't given the appropriate notice to get a marriage licence. Ruby and Jono hadn't even thought about this, and steal a minibus to drive themselves and their friends to Gretna Green; which causes a crash that kills four people, including Jono.
  • In the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode featuring Space Mutiny, Crow and Tom find, hijack and wreck two hyper warp escape craft imitating the dogfight scenes in the movie. When Mike points out that "maybe we should have used them for escape purposes?!", it takes Crow and Tom a moment to realize they could have escaped from the Satellite of Love with them.
  • On Friends, Chandler finally gets tired of all the things he has to do for his company while working in Oklahoma, so he quits. When Phoebe asks him what he's going to do now, he says the trope by name.
  • On Arrested Development, Gob comes up with a magic performance in "Key Decisions" where he is locked up in the same prison where his father is doing time and escapes. His plan is to swallow the key to the cell, pass it, and unlock the cell door. When it comes time to do so...
    Gob: Hey, dad. Is there, like, a private bathroom I can use?
    George: Um...(taps the in-cell toilet with his foot) You're looking at it.
    Gob: No, no. I can't use that. I, uh, I need privacy. Yeah, I've always been that way.
    George gives him an "I'm serious" look.
    Gob: Come on, dad! If I'm gonna pass this key, I can't do it in front of all these other guys!
    George: Well, we could ask them all to leave but, um, there's this thing. They've been locking the doors lately, so...
  • Hannah Montana: Miley fails her driving test and doesn't want to wait for two weeks as required by DMV regulations before retaking the test so she takes it as her alter ego. It doesn't occur to her that "Miley" can't use "Hannah's" license until she has to show it to a cop.
  • The Monty Python sketch of an inept extortionist who claims he has set a bomb on an airliner thinks he's got it all figured out. That is until the pilot tells him that he'll be killed in the explosion along with everyone else.
    I'll tell you where it is for a pound.

     Music 
  • Have you heard the story of Bottleneck Bob? He tried to rob the train with cattle, but evidently forgot they needed to be corralled somehow: "The cattle ran all over the place / And there was Bob with the longest face"
  • In Eminem's "Stan," the title character - furious that he still hasn't heard from his idol Eminem - is about to drive off a bridge with his pregnant girlfriend trapped in the boot of his car and drown them all, and narrating the events onto the tape he'll send Mr. Mathers. The major flaw in his scheme doesn't occur to him until just before he goes over the edge...
    Well gotta go, I'm almost at the bridge now/Oh shit! I forgot! How am I supposed to send this shit out?

    Mythology & Religion 
  • In The Epic of Gilgamesh, the gods created the humanity so that they will work and feed the gods, allowing them to live in leisure. Then, the gods couldn't stand the noise people made, so they tried to exterminate them a few times, culminating with The Great Flood. It was apparently successful, but then they realized there is no one left to feed them, nor anything to eat...

     Newspaper Comics 

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The matches regarding the Pure Wrestling Championship in Ring of Honor were often anything but, as the rules were loose enough for wrestlers to do many, many unintended things. It did achieve the goal of having matches unlike any other promotion was having at the time though, so they just went with it.
  • Chris Hero mocked Bryan Danielson for this in 2005 when he answered Hero's challenge for an ROH World Championship match by signing a contract and then sending it to Hero at a CZW so he could sign it too. See, Hero could have just as well have had anybody sign the contract.
  • At the 2009 Slammiversery, Jeff Jarrett said he had no desire to win any TNA titles, he only cared about making sure Mick Foley dropping his. Yet Jarrett repeatedly sabotaged AJ Style's efforts to defeat Mick Foley, even though AJ winning would have meant mick would have have lost his title.
  • At nCw Femme Fatales, Mary Lee Rose had been very open with the fact she had no desire to wrestle Cheerleader Melissa, which is understandable. However, she still spent a lot of time harassing Melissa, interfering in her matches and such. Mary Lee Rose did want to wrestle someone eventually, so she issued an open challenge. Not only was Cheerleader Melissa the first person to accept, but she couldn't help but point out how dumb Rose was for not realizing that would happen. Unfortunately for Melissa, Mary Lee Rose's manager, Madamoiselle Rachelle, lobbied to stop the match from happening and pitted Melissa against Yumi Oka instead.
  • Frankie Kazarian and Christopher Daniels are accusing AJ Styles of getting binge drinking crackhead pregnant. Well, the show is called TNA but what is AJ's response to this? Challenge Christopher Daniels to a match on the stipulation he will admit to being the father if Daniels can beat him but will take a paternity test to find out for sure if he beats Daniels.
  • In WWE, Seth Rollins made the exact same "Open challenge even though I've been antagonizing somone I have no desire to wrestle." mistake. In this case it was Dean Ambrose who answered.

    Recorded Comedy 
  • 1973's The Watergate Comedy Hour starts with President Nixon doing a press conference a la The Tonight Show. When a reporter gets too close for comfort asking about the Watergate break-in, Nixon confers with his second banana, "Doc" Kissinger:
    Nixon: Doc...Doc...it looks like I'm up against it. What do we do?
    Doc: Well, mein herr, it looks like we need a fall guy.
    Nixon: But I've used up so many already.
    Doc: We need someone in the public interest. Someone close to you yet someone they would never suspect.
    Nixon: Yes, but who?
    Doc: Your wife Pat.
    Nixon: My wife Pat?! You can't be serious. You don't think for a moment that I would ever entertain the thought of sacrificing someone near and dear to me for the sake of political expediency. No, no. There must be someone else.
    Doc: Only you.
    Nixon: (after a beat) Uh, it can now be revealed that my wife Pat conceived and led the Watergate affair. I am truly shocked and saddened. Of course I had no prior knowledge of this illegal act, for you see, Pat and I have never spoken.

    Video Games 
  • About midway through BioShock Infinite, Booker makes a deal to get an airship out of Columbia, which in fairness was done right after he woke up from being bashed unconscious.
    Elizabeth: (incredulous) You can get us out of here?
    Booker: Yes! I just need to... (audible wince) supply enough weapons to arm an entire uprising.
    • After Booker and Elizabeth risk life and limb to get to gunmaker Chen Lin's impounded tools, they realize that the "tools" are more like machines — way too big and numerous to be transported anywhere, let alone all the way back the way they came from the shop.
      Booker: Well we sure as hell aren't gonna be able to carry all this back to the shop. God we didn't think this all the way through...
  • A frequent experience in Bomberman: Place bomb, walk into alley, realize alley is a dead end because of said bomb...
  • World of Warcraft:
    Draenei Male: Step one, we land the Exodar. Step three, we defeat Legion and go home. There is only one detail missing...
  • Done Twice in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle. If you have a stand that keeps you locked within a single timeframe (or dimension), who's going to stop you but a Stand that can rewind time? Even worse, against a Hamon user?
  • In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Larxene is trying to cheer Namine up about the plan. Namine replies that they want part of Kairi to replace Kairi in Sora's memories so that he'll forget Kairi. Spot the flaw in this plan.
  • Something you can do in Smackdown vs Raw 2011 ladder matches. Have you and your partner both climb up a ladder. The opponents get up and realize they could just tip the ladder over. Cue doing just that.
  • Much of the "fun" in Dwarf Fortress comes from the player neglecting to think things through, such as forgetting to make a proper drainage system for your water (or magma!) devices, cooking all the fort's seeds so they have nothing to plant for crops, building a prosperous fort without regard for thieves, knocking the last support out from under your megaproject...
  • Name a Stealth Game, any Stealth Game, where a player gets impatient and decides to do something such as enter an unknown area without scouting ahead, shoot/stab someone in plain view, or run past a guy thinking "he won't see me if I'm fast about it." Load previous save and hopefully learn from your mistake.
  • Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 has a fabulous example from Ghetsis, surprisingly. He orders Kyurem to attack the player character directly, rightly expecting this to force N into action to stop the attack, so he can steal N's legendary dragon and fuse it with Kyurem, which he controls. The thing he didn't take into account? N's actions did save the player character...
  • In the Mass Effect 3 Citadel DLC Shepard is targeted by someone who wants to be Shepard. No, not Conrad, it turns out a plan to Kill and Replace Shepard by a Shepard clone. Turns out they're a Bad Boss, worse than pure renegade Shepard and a xenophobe. If the idea is to become the legend then they'd need to gain crew loyalty for the suicide mission, follow the paragon path Shepard had only to find out they're hosed upon learning Shepard's love interest is an alien. This is consistently lampshaded, with Shepard noting that a good friend and contact such as Admiral Hackett won't be fooled for a minute.
    • In general, this is the Fatal Flaw of the Salarians. Their short lifespans seem to make it hard for them to think out their actions on a long-term scale.
  • In the Borderlands 2 expansion Mr. Torgue's Campaign of Carnage!, one side mission you get from Mr. Torgue involves a contaminated batch of beer being served at the tournament (a diseased midget fell in the vat). Mr. Torgue hires you to do a "product recall", and by "product recall" we mean "storm the bar the beer went to, kill everyone inside, and get the beer back so nobody gets hurt by the contaminated beer." Only when you've completed the mission does Mr. Torgue realize that what he just asked you to do "MADE NO SENSE G*D DAMNIT!"
    • He later hires you to go kill people with Torgue guns so he can use footage of it in an advert for Torgue guns. A radio advert. This time he doesn't realize it.
    • He lives this trope in general as in his pusuit of Rule of Cool , he ends up doing many short sighted things, like trying to blow up a planet that he was on.
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, the Republic has a top-secret prison on the planet Belsavis, where they send people who will never be allowed back into the galaxy again. Unfortunately, they never thought about what would happen when a closed population inevitably started having children, none of whom had ever been convicted of a crime, yet were still considered prisoners. Eventually, these descendants started a movement to gain their freedom, which left them open to the Empire's offers...
  • In the bonus route of Puella Magi Madoka Magica Portable, Homura spends all her efforts to save everyone individually from their despair and/or death, and prevent Madoka from making a contract. Great! Then Walpurgisnacht shows up, and they're not ready to fight her as a team. Homura gives up and bails before the battle even starts.
  • In the Flash game Mastermind: World Conqueror, you play as the evil mastermind with a goal to destroy the world. When you finally succeed, you see the world explode from your space pod.. and are then offered a small menu of cheesy lines you can say with no-one to hear you and your oxygen running out.
  • This is more or less the defining trait of Wheatley in Portal 2. As a particular example, in one scene after Chell escapes from a deathtrap, Wheatley calls to her to come back. If you actually go back, Wheatley realizes that he cannot reset the trap and he has no other trap prepared, and apologetically resorts to asking you to throw yourself down an obvious pit.
  • In Sonic Unleashed, Orbot called out Dr. Egmman for his habit of acting hastily, like reawakening Dark Gaia before it was mature, resulting in it being unable to sustain itself due to its own weight and collapsing, and discarding the Chaos Emeralds along with Sonic.

    Web Animation 
  • In episode 8 of RWBY, Weiss falls out of the sky. Jaune leaps up and catches her in his arms. He manages to look badass for a moment, then realizes that they are now both in midair with no landing strategy. He crashes, but at least provides Weiss' landing cushion.
    Weiss: My hero.
    Jaune: My back!

     Web Comics 
  • An early strip of Sluggy Freelance starts off with Riff and Torg talking about how Zoe has a date with this guy she has a huge crush on. Riff then mentions that he is going to visit his ex-girlfriend Gwynn at her apartment, which she shares with Zoe. Torg is surprised that Riff going to see her alone like that. Riff insists that they're not alone, that Zoe will be there... at which point he realizes that even though he was aware of both of these pieces of information he only just now realized that they were related.
  • El Goonish Shive
    • Referenced, but averted by discussing the plan before trying it, allowing someone else to point out the flaw ahead of time.
      Female Immortal: I hate being invisible and intangible; it feels like cheating.
      Male Immortal: We can't exactly claim to be "everyday students" and expect to pass unnoticed in Elliot's house.
      Female Immortal: We could pretend to be burglars! That would make sense, right?
      Male Immortal: ... I don't think you've thought this through...
    • Abraham. Almost everything he ever did and we know about, starting from an enchantment Gone Horribly Wrong for which he became infamous. He (among other things) swore to destroy every creature created by his botched enchantment, the Dewitchery Diamond, on the assumption that the Diamond would be used against curses, thus creating monsters. He hadn't accounted for the Diamond being used to rid people of relatively harmless conditions such as Elliot's use of it to cure his Gender Bender problem by creating Ellen, an (mostly) innocent Opposite-Sex Clone. At one point, he claims he did everything he could to destroy the diamond, which failed. Within ten seconds, someone is able to think of something he didn't: Chuck it into a volcano. Maybe it wouldn't work, but c'mon, it didn't even occur to him? Even if that didn't destroy it, nobody's going to be able to use it for a good long while.
  • Webcomic/webgame Wicked Awesome Adventure points out how often this befalls adventurers in the course of escape and exploration.
    • J.E.T. enlists the help of a wounded and unwilling Candimp to disarm a trap.
    • Rhys solves a puzzle to access a new area of the Haunted House for exploration- opening a trap door, too.
  • Girl Genius got a few examples. Like this guy.
  • This appropriately titled Order of the Stick strip.
  • Fontes' Rants: Fontes uses the Life Note, a parody of the Death Note which creates a life form he writes in it, to create an Ax-Crazy Marty Stu character. When he recovers after inevitably being knocked out;
    Fontes: ... I really shouldn't have made him able to summon firearms...
  • Spinnerette has two groups trying to clone Adolf Hitler and Robert E Lee so they can lead their respective people again. Dr Universe, the scientist who promised to do the cloning, only did so because he knew the plan would fail, because nobody would follow a clone of Adolf Hitler or Robert E Lee.
  • From Super Stupor, this strip, after Punchline explains why The Anarch's plan is really just Suicide by Superhero:
    The Anarch: I may have made a slight error in my calculations.
    Punchline: When you were adding up the numbers, did you remember to carry the stupid?
    The Anarch: Yes! ... no.
  • In Schlock Mercenary, the UNS tries to use a court case to trick a nearly all-powerful AI into admitting that he has been performing morally questionable actions (specifically, "disappearing" problematic people).
    Kerchak: And then what?
    Breya: I... haven't thought that far ahead.
    Kerchak: I'll bet you a bushel of pureed bananas he has.
  • In The Wotch, the Uricarn Demon killed all the other members of his species. He didn't think it through.
    Uricarn: I enjoy being your bit of controlled chaos. Beats just wandering aimlessly finding cheap thrills like I was doing after exterminating the rest of my kind... Which was kinda stupid in retrospect. Probably should have let myself grow up a bit before making that decision...*
  • In Commander Kitty, Nin Wah tries to turn herself over to the Triple-I by teleporting herself to one of their ships... while CK is busy shooting them down.
  • In Questionable Content, Angus, Marigold, and Faye get drunk together. Faye asks Marigold if she has ever dated anyone (she hasn't). She says that she think she has a chance with someone and looks at Angus as he returns to the couch. Faye, feeling incredibly awkward walks out and goes home. Thing is, Angus likes Faye (which Faye knows) and Faye may like Angus. Angus doesn't like Marigold like that, but she left them together drunk and alone. When Dora points out the obvious, Faye has the appropriate reaction.
  • In Ménage ŕ 3, during a Girls' Night Out Zii notices that every man in the bar is buying DiDi drinks and decides to intercept them. Problem is that she does so by drinking them down herself, not the best move especially considering that DiDi has at least 50 pounds on her.
  • The first story arc of The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! climaxes with Bob volunteering to save Ahem by fighting a monster. He reassures Voluptua: "Trust me, I know what I'm doing!" The monster appears, and it's a horrific thing with mandibles bigger than his whole body, and he realizes suddenly, "No I don't!"
  • 8-Bit Theater - During their battle with the Lich King, the Light Warriors manage to remove his soul from the earth orb - and then realize they have to get it back in him.
    Red Mage: In other words, we've only succeeded in making the invincible king of death even angrier at us.
    Thief: Y'know, I really hadn't planned this far ahead in the scenario. I presumed we were going to be dead about five minutes ago.
  • Dr Mcninja realizes only after the fact that someone on a murder spree for unknown reasons just contacted him to make a particular substance, and he proceeded to make exactly what she was asking for and give it to her.
  • In one Two Guys and Guy comic, Wayne's bad pickup line actually succeeds in getting a woman's attention, and he has no idea what to do next.

     Web Original 
  • In The Salvation War, after the demonic general Abigor hears of the defeat of (most of) his cavalry attempting to charge a ridgeline with "cowardly mages throwing mage bolts, with mage-bars in the ground and silvery snakes in the ground that cut up demons and their steeds alike" (paraphrasing here), his plan for the second day of fighting is to extend his lines by thinning them — by the time he was done, an almost-fifteen-mile-long front! — so as to outflank and envelope the enemy, while ordering massed use of demonic bolt "fire" to suppress the mages. Too bad he didn't realize that he would only be able see a small portion of the battle at any one time, and thus would have to keep riding back and forth along the lines, until he was already on the front lines in the midst of the carnage, with multiple rockets headed his way... they missed him, but he immediately and correctly intuited that he had been personally targeted.
  • Kevin Murphy puts the exact phrase into the mouth of the Scott Ian-looking Geat who makes a spectacularly failed attempt to charge Grendel in the 2007 Beowulf RiffTrax.
  • In Dragon Ball Abridged Gohan suddenly realized mid sentence that his decision to challenge Recoome to a fight after Recoome had already wiped the floor with Vegeta, a much more powerful fighter, was a bad idea.
    Gohan: I'm not going to back down. I might be younger than you, smaller than you, weaker than you, and much less experienced, but I learned more about peach farming than yo-I think this was a horrible decision.
    Recoome: Recoome agrees.
    • In Dead Zone Abridged, Garlic Jr's plan was to have his minions kill Kami to avenge his father...then use the Dragon Balls to become immortal.note  After Kami points this out, Garlic is honestly surprised and is glad his minions are "so incompetent".
      • Later on, he tries to kill everyone by summoning a portal to the Dead Zone... i.e. the perfect prison for an immortal like him. When the plot is revealed to be a movie pitched by Krillin, the latter admits he had "written [himself] into a corner with the whole immortality thing".
  • Early in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, Mokuba laments his poor foresight upon realising that using a Bedsheet Ladder generally only works if the sheet is long enough to reach the ground floor. Fortunately for him, he's a cartoon.
  • The Spoony One puts this in the mouth of the main villain of Highlander: The Source when he gets the Quickening at the top of a tall tower.
  • The plan that Leeroy's raid group comes up with for taking on the Rookery in the Leeroy Jenkins Video ignores two key facts:
    1. Scattering the whelps of the Rookery only keeps them off you for a few seconds and will likely bring more to bear on you — you really want to hatch as few of them as possible. Fear rotation is rather pointless in the Rookery anyway due to the rate at which the eggs respawn.
    2. The paladin ability Divine Intervention does not allow a protected character to use any skills and is very much wasted on mages (who primarily rely on skills such as AOE attacks) and has the added "bonus" of killing the paladin who uses it, removing a character with the ability to tank and heal from the general fight.
  • Marble Hornets: Half of what Jay does. For example, breaking into Alex's home. He drops his flashlight, and then runs into the Operator.
  • Invoked Trope in Death Note: The Abridged Series (kpts4tv):
    Light: Wow, a book that drives people crazy when they touch it! (*touches the notebook*) Death Note? What is this like an advanced calculus notebook or something? I'm so gonna walk around and touch everyone with this and drive 'em... oh, right. I didn't think this one through.
  • Happens in the first episode of DSBT InsaniT when Koden sends Killer to kick Bear, Snake, Duck, and Balloon out of his house.
    • Also in 'Beach Brawl' when Kerry impulsively throws Shovel at frozen Cell, thinking that would shatter him.
      Bear: "Even I saw that one coming a mile away."
  • Lampshaded in this Occupy Richie Rich post, where Richie demonstrates a button-activated safe-opening system - and the button is not protected at all.
    "richie m’boy I don’t think you thought this through very well"
  • At the beginning of Achievement Hunter's GO! series, Geoff reveals that he would pay for a pizza party for every person who gets five wins. By the end of the twelfth episode, the scoreboard is reading 3/3/2/2/2 and Michael points out that, pretty soon, he's gonna be hosting back-to-back pizza parties. Geoff just looks at the scoreboard in total disbelief.
  • In Ten Little Roosters, Lindsay tries to save Ryan from a puma (don't ask) by calling to it like a cat. As the puma gets closer to Lindsay, she realizes that it's a really big cat and it's moving quite quickly towards her. She ends up getting mauled for her troubles.
  • This happens on a fairly regular basis in the Yogscast Minecraft Series. Examples include Duncan Jones not planning for a return trip from the Moon to the Overworld (causing Lewis Brindley to loudly berate him), Duncan trying to build an in-game golf course despite not knowing how it would be played (causing Simon Lane to then berate him), Simon building TNT bridges over lava, and many more.

     Western Animation 
  • In one episode of Justice League, Copperhead attempts to gain leverage for an escape by jumping onto Hawkgirl's back, positioning his poison fangs near her neck, and ordering her to fly him out. She flies up a few hundred feet and stops. When Copperhead demands to know why, she notes that his threat is no longer as effective, since if he bites her neck she'll fall to the ground and they'll both die. "Didn't think this through, did you?" After she touches down, Green Lantern congratulates her on the bluff; her reply is a deadpan "Who's bluffing?"
  • Legion of Super Heroes: Alexis sics her personal robot on Superman, who immediately slices it apart with his heat vision.
  • Invader Zim:
    • Zim has this as a personality trait; as The Other Wiki once described him, "Zim has a crafty sort of intelligence, but he tends to think precisely one step ahead of his current problem". For instance, Zim builds a stasis-field device in one episode which subsequently explodes, but the fireball is slowed by the stasis field until it's expanding at less than walking pace. However, it will eventually grow to the point where it'll consume Zim's base along with the entire city. The Tallest might call back soon and Zim really doesn't want them seeing an embarrassing screw up like this (though they don't really give a crap). Basically Zim has to get rid of the explosion, do it in a way that doesn't destroy his base, and do it quickly. Zim's brilliant plan to handle this problem? Simple. He'll just cancel the stasis field under the assumption that once the field is canceled, the explosion will be gone forever. This is true, but this will also annihilate his base and the whole city. Despite being warned by his computer, and even his Cloud Cuckoo Lander sidekick, that this is a really, really bad idea, he goes ahead with it. Hilarity Ensues.
    • The Tallest also seem to suffer from this, resulting in conquered planets being turned into massive parking lots because they didn't know what they'd do with the planet after conquering. They also ordered enslaved races to build weapons for them, resulting in the Megadoomer needing a massive extension cord and cloaking everything but the pilot and said extension cord.
  • Family Guy: In the episode "Blind Ambition", there is clip of one of Peter's (or both his) Siamese twin ancestors each fighting opposite sides in the Civil War. The one who fought for the Union killed the other, who continued decomposing until he was a skeleton. "Nope... Did not think that one through," he said to a bartender who asked about the skeleton.
  • American Dad!: The episode where Francine gets poorly-aimed Laser-Guided Amnesia, she runs off to Burning Man with Hayley's boyfriend. This exchange happens when Stan meets up with Hayley at Burning Man:
    Hayley: Mom stole my boyfriend!
    Stan: Your boyfriend stole my wife! Let's get back at them by dating each other! Wait a minute. Daddy didn't think that through.
    • After Roger releases a bunch of murderers to make Stan's haunted house more scary, he admits that he never thinks things through.
  • In the first episode of Lazer Tag Academy, Draxon Drear travels back in time to capture his ancestor who invented the Starlyte (which he used to travel back in time) and threatened to kill her if the authorities in the future did not surrender. The flaw in his plan should be self-evident.
  • Sponge Bob Square Pants:
    • For a copepod who goes to college and makes highly elaborate plots to get the Krabby Patty formula, Plankton can be a little slow when it comes to thinking ahead of his goals. For example, a robot made to look like a customer enters the Krusty Krab. Eugene Krabs, smelling an obvious trap, takes the place of the register. To his astonishment, the robot just asks for coral bits and even pays him money after it's given its order. Suddenly, Plankton, who somehow managed to hide inside the dollar bill (even for someone his size, there must have been some hammerspace in there), pops out and gloatingly orders Krabs to hand him the secret formula. Krab's response: "Or what?" Plankton: "I don't know. I never thought I'd get this far." Krabs: "Well then, allow me to suggest your next move" (flushes him down the toilet).
    • Mrs. Puff falls victim to this in the episode "No Free Rides." Sick and tired of having to go through SpongeBob's chaotic driving tests, she comes up with a bogus extra credit test to just give him his driver's license and get him out of her classroom. It's only after she does so that it hits her that she has just given SpongeBob free reign to drive on public streets and wreak havoc there.
  • The Fairly OddParents: In "Timmy's Secret Wish!", Foop, having become a lawyer, exposes the secret wish Timmy made to freeze the world in Comic-Book Time so he would be able to keep Cosmo and Wanda forever, as part of his latest plan to get rid of Poof, as, since Poof only exists because of a wish Timmy made, he would be undone like all of Timmy's other wishes. Foop succeeds, but it's only afterwards that he remembers that, as Poof's Evil Counterpart, he would be undone as well.
  • The Jimmy Two-Shoes episode "The Big Drip" has Lucius destroying every washroom in Miseryville to torment Jimmy during a Potty Emergency... including his own.
    • And pretty much any plan Jimmy and Beezy devise (alone or together) without outside input.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Zuko, such as when he kidnaps Aang in the North Pole (alone, in a blizzard, with the closest fire nation ships all being hostile) in the first season finale or when he tried to steal Appa from Lake Laogai. He gets better, eventually.
    • Zuko's so bad with it that it's contagious.
      Zuko: I thought you thought this through.
      Sokka: I thought you told me it's okay not to think everything through!
      Zuko: Maybe not everything, but this is kind of important.
    • Aang and Sokka write a letter to Katara from Toph in hopes of reconciling them when they're squabbling. Katara, not fooled, reminds them that Toph is blind and can't read or write. The next plan is to write a letter to Toph from Katara, before realizing that's going to run into a similar obstacle.
  • In The Legend of Korra, this is a notable character trait of Korra's for most of the first season's run. And Amon takes advantage of this at every turn.
    • In the third season new airbenders start to appear, and naturally Korra and Tenzin want to collect them to rebuild the Air Nation. Their approach is to go to these airbenders and ask them to become air nomads. Somehow, the offer of leaving their homes and families to live a monastic, vegetarian life of meditation on a mountain does not get many takers. Or any.
  • The Bugs Bunny cartoon Jack Wabbit And The Beanstalk has Bugs challenging the giant to a duel. "Take twenty paces, toin, and fire. Got that, shorty?" As the giant takes his paces, he disappears into the horizon and Bugs thinks he's outsmarted the giant. But then the giant reappears over the other horizon—the twenty paces were enough to circumnavigate all the way back.
  • From the "Dog Of Death" episode of The Simpsons:
    Homer: I've figured out an alternative to giving up my beer. Basically, we become a family of traveling acrobats!
    Marge: ... I don't think you thought this through.
  • From the "Her Parents" episode of Adventure Time
    Jake: Nah... That could never happen.
    Finn: You didn't think this through enough. IT COULD HAPPEN!
  • Turned into a Running Gag with Mojo Jojo in The Powerpuff Girls. To the point where when a spree of robberies occurred in Townsville, the girls quickly ruled him out as a suspect because it was too well thought out.
  • Wacky Races - Every single time Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat. It's never enough that he is ALWAYS miles ahead of every other racer, he not only has to stop to lay a trap, but also stays behind to see the payoff, which ALWAYS puts him in last place. The most absurd example was the episode where he got stuck in the mud, and pulled out by a farmer with a donkey. He decides to buy the donkey, thinking that the farmer will no longer be able to pull the other racers out. Never mind that 1) almost half the racers have some gimmick that allows them to get out on their own, including a dragon that can dry it up completely, 2) the farmer OBVIOUSLY has several beasts of burden besides the one he sold and 3) Just what the heck will he do with a frickin' donkey?!
    • 4) after Dastardly's first opponent (Penelope) crossed the mud (with help from the farmer), he actually waited until all others passed before trying to resume his racing.
    • In answer to 3, he rode the donkey to the finish line because the donkey destroyed the Mean Machine.
    • Lampshaded in the unaired pilot for Wacky Racers Forever, where after Muttley pointed out that they're close to the finish line, Dick pointed out that they're villains, and thus, have to cheat in the race.
  • In The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes Absorbing Man occasionally absorbs things he really shouldn't. When fighting the Hulk as metal, he absorbs rock. The Hulk promptly breaks his arms off. The metal form might not have let him win, but was at least keeping him in one piece. Much later he absorbs Mjolnir, and Thor reveals that he can now control Absorbing Man just like he does Mjolnir, and starts hitting people with him.
  • In an episode of Rugrats the babies imagine shrinking down and traveling into Chuckie's stomach to take out a watermelon seed he accidentally swallowed. Angelica however reveals her intention to actually water the seed so it grows and causes Chuckie to explode. She succeeds and gloats evilly, until Tommy points out it's going to explode with her inside it.
  • In Aqua Teen Hunger Force, after mangling his neighbor's body and several false starts, Frylock rebuilds Carl by giving him a military suit and arming him with weapons of mass destruction. You know just how bad of an idea this was when it's Shake who calls him out on it:
    Frylock: I give you the ultimate in military hardware complete with laser cannon, indestructible titanium exoskeleton and motion-activated plasma pulse rifles.
    Shake: And you're gonna plug him in!?
    Frylock: You're right. Damn, what the hell was I thinking?
  • In the Thundercats 2011 episode "The Forest of Magi Oar," the young hero Lion-O begins to recognize and lampshade his own lack of forethought. When he uses his gauntlet's grappling hook to latch onto a retreating Giant Flyer Viragor, Lion-O has just enough time to realize "maybe this is a bad idea" before he gets violently dragged along for the ride. Shortly thereafter, he faces down the charging a Giant Flyer after tossing his weapons aside. Again, he muses, "probably another bad idea," seconds before it grabs him in its talons. The latter gamble pays off, since, on a hunch Lion-O is betting Viragor proves Dark Is Not Evil.
  • In an Animaniacs Pinky and the Brain short Brain devises a plan to infiltrate Fort Knox and make off with all of its gold. The duo actually succeed in getting into the vault, but Brain forgot about them having to carry the gold, and since they're mice you can see where this is going.
  • In one episode of DuckTales, the Beagle Boys manage to get inside the Money Bin and trap Scrooge outside. When they call Glomgold to gloat, Glomgold points out that they have no way to transport the money ("What are you gonna do? Carry it in your wallets!?") and that Scrooge will have an army ready to take his Bin back.
  • In the South Park episode "Summer Sucks", after fireworks are banned, the Mayor attempts to glorify the use of ash snakes with a giant sized one for the Fourth Of July. It works and creates an enormous display of ash... and keeps going... and going. The now somewhat nervous Mayor asks the creator when it will stop, he explains that he has no idea since he never made one this big, leading him to quote this trope to the exasperated Mayor.
  • In Dexter's Laboratory, this was very often one of Dexter's fatal flaws despite being a genius. Justified seeing that he was only about eight years old, and so he was bound to make mistakes.
  • In Sym-Bionic Titan, In order to contain a mutated and violent Ilana, Octus traps her inside the barrier that is his body. However, he failed to consider that it would allow her to attack his "head", and pretty much names the trope.
  • Phineas and Ferb: Doof tried to drill a tunnel to China and forgot about the lava from the center of the Earth. Doof falls into this a lot.
    • In the Second Dimension movie, Doof mentioned that he once tried to use an army of robots to conquer Danville, and put the self-destruct buttons on their feet so no one could reach them. You can guess what happened when they started walking...
  • In the Transformers Animated episode "Sari, No One's Home", Sari gets trapped alone in the Autobot base with Mixmaster and Scrapper. Unable to contact the Autobot team (her cellphone was broken), she decks herself out with a helmet, roller blades and a hockey stick to drive them out herself. As soon as the eight year-old human attacks the two story robot, her hockey stick breaks.
    Sari: Okay. That's as far as my plan got.
  • Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja: In The McHuggers Games, the Ninja stole a McHugger from Hannibal McFist before the product was available in stores. Knowing the Ninja, like every other highschooler in Norrisville, would be attracted to the publicity event created to advertise the McHuggers, Viceroy sent a robot to the event and programmed it to attack whoever was wearing McHuggers, thinking the Ninja would be the only one. He forgot that, given the publicity campaign's goal, the spokesman would be wearing one as well.
    • In another episode, McFist made Viceroy make a giant robot that was just like an armadillo after watching a documentary. Armadillos have very poor eyesight, so until Randy showed up to destroy it, it was mostly flailing around blindly.
    • McFist fall into this a lot. Randy and Howard can be a bit impulsive as well.
  • In an episode of Xiaolin Showdown, Omi wishes to use the Sands of Time to return to the past. Only, his older self took it when he returned to the future. So Omi uses an alternative, tried-and-true method that lets him effectively travel forward in time (freezing himself for a few decades) so that he may retrieve the Sands of Time from his older self. You may have spotted the flaw in this plan already: with Omi frozen, there was no Omi left to grow old.
  • Celestia's plan in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Season 4 finale fails at every step. Send Discord to capture Tirek? They become allies. Transfer all the alicorn magic to Twilight? She trades it for hostages. Prevent Tirek from knowing about Twilight? He just has to look at the stained glass window and ask Discord about it. Tell Twilight not to let her friends in on the plan for their own protection? They immediately suspect that something's wrong, and get captured by Discord soon afterward. The only way Twilight was able to win was by unlocking the Harmony Box, and it was Discord, not Celestia, who told her how to open it.
  • Sonic Boom
    • In "The Sidekick", Sonic fires Tails as a sidekick after he gets hurt and decides to get a new one to protect him. The auditions utterly fail because not only does Tails comes back to audition for it again, Eggman decides to do so as well (The rules had a lot of Loophole Abuse) and, in desperation, decides to put the two through a massively dangerous race that Eggman hijacks by bringing in a (rightfully-named) Burnbot to attack. After Sonic rescues Tails again, Tails calls out Sonic for the whole thing, forcing Sonic to admit the plan had holes.
    • In "Translate This," Tails charges into Eggman's base to rescue his Universal Translator. Unfortunately, he didn't quite think through how he was going to make Eggman give it back.
    Tails: Give me back my robot!
    Eggman: Or what?
    Tails: ...That's a fair question.
  • "A Clue For Scooby-Doo" has Shaggy and Scooby underwater (with scuba gear, of course) trying to ward off the ghostly sea diver (the ghost of Captain Cutler) with a cannon on the deck of a sunken ship. Shaggy tries to ignite the cannon's fuse with a match, then forgets matches don't light underwater.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: Aside from Pride and Greed, this is Eddy's signature flaw. If there's a way for him to get something he wants RIGHT NOW, he'll leap without thinking of the problems. Kevin's grounded and can't retaliate? Taunt him! Sarah sends Ed to buy fudge for her and Jimmy with her allowance? Spend it on Jawbreakers instead! What Could Possibly Go Wrong??
  • The Grim Adventuresof Billyand Mandy: In The Secret Snake Club vs. P.E., all the boys work on a plan to try and eliminate Gym class for good so none of them have to work out. However, none of they realized that all the girls had a completely different opinion of P.E., finding it as a proper outlet for their own aggression. So when the boys completely trash the gymnasium, the girls promptly beat them up.
    Mandy: Did you idiots even stop to think that we girls want P.E.?
  • In the Teen Titans Go! episode, "Puppets, Whaaaaat?" Robin, tired of his teammates not listening to him, makes a deal with the Puppet Wizard to "make the other Titans as easily manipulated as [Robin's] puppets." This turns all the other Titans into puppets. The one flaw in the plan? Robin is turned into a puppet too. Robin admits he didn't think this through too well.

Alternative Title(s):

Did Not Think This Through, ptitletxhiqoj 2, Bad Idea