Didn't Think This Through

So...how exactly are you gonna get out now with that Goomba in the way, genius?

Sonic: I was just trying to protect you!
Tails: How? By putting me in more danger?
Sonic: The plan had holes!
Sonic Boom, "The Sidekick"

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 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. Sometimes 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 It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time and Missing Steps Plan.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & 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. Since he wasted the last of his remaining power in the blast he used to cut Gohan's tail, he's unable to dodge. Not long after a crushed Vegeta is sitting in a crater, struggling to crawl to his ship.
    • Vegeta gets another moment after he forces Dende to heal him to give him a power boost to fight Frieza. Not once did he put into account that Dende would refuse to help him since Vegeta slaughtered an entire village's worth of innocent Namekians earlier in a search for the Dragon Balls, and leaves him to die. Piccolo talks him into doing so, only because they NEED Vegeta to even stand a sliver of a chance against Frieza.
    • Vegeta tends to be a victim of it more than anyone thanks to underestimating the power of his opponents. After Dende heals him, he starts fighting Frieza himself, only to severely underestimate Frieza's power in his final form. He thinks training in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber boosts his power enough to defeat Cell only to allow the villain to transform into Perfect Cell, with help from Vegeta, and 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 his eponymous 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 actually lose.
    • This is a key reason why Gohan's warning to Cell about his hidden power backfired; Gohan failed to consider that Cell, being a big-time Blood Knight, is the kind of person who wants him at full power for the sake of a good and challenging fight.
    • Babidi has this happen three times. First, he tries to keep Piccolo from killing him by pointing out without someone to seal Majin Buu away, he'll destroy the world. Piccolo points out that's what Babidi intends to do anyway, so the end result would be no different and bisects him. Babidi gets Buu to heal him, and threatens him into compliance after, with the threat of sealing him away. When Goku challenges them, he tries to repeat the threat only for Buu to point out that if he does, Goku would kill Babidi easily. Luckily for him, Buu is willing to fight Goku anyway. The last time proves fatal, as trying to control Majin Buu through the fear of a spell falls apart when Buu simply crushes his windpipe, rendering him unable to speak, and kills him.
  • InuYasha: The ogre witch Urasue steals Kikyo's remains and brings her Back from the Dead in a clay body, planning to use the resurrected Kikyo as a slave to gather the Shikon Jewel shards. Instead, the very first thing Kikyo does upon revival is use her spiritual powers to blow Urasue up; Urasue obviously never considered the possibility that the resurrected Kikyo would turn on her, let alone immediately after her resurrection.
  • 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:
    • As Jinbe says during the Impel Down Arc, the World Government's decision to execute Ace and have their Navy go to war with Whitebeard was extremely thoughtless. Not only would they be Awakening the Sleeping Giant, but even if they did succeed to kill Whitebeard and Ace, the immediate not-so Evil Power Vacuum turn the seas into a bloodbath, as islands under Whitebeard's protection would become open targets for hungry pirates. When the Navy wins the Paramount War, this does happen. And to make things worse, the war cut their own forces down by more than half.
    • 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 ax 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.
    • The key factor in Doflamingo's strategy to conquer and then hold onto Dressrosa was also the biggest flaw - Sugar. Her incredibly dangerous Hobi Hobi no Mi Devils Fruit Power could turn anyone she touched into a toy-like automaton, stripping away his memories and free will, also making it near-impossible to fight or even get close to her. This made it easy enough to conquer Dressrosa and keep any would-be dissenters in line, especially with a guy like Trebol as her bodyguard. One problem: if she ever was killed or even knocked out, the No Ontological Inertia trait common to all Devils Fruit would be a big problem. And it certainly was. When this finally happened, every single victim over ten years was cured, simultaneously restoring all the lost memories associated with them. This resulted in a mass panic throughout Dressrosa, as families reunited, pirates looted, and wild beasts ran amuck, causing Doflamingo's hold on the kingdom to crumble, almost overnight.
    • 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.
    • Hody Jones assumed that once he became king of Fishman Island he'd be able to go to the Reverie and slaughter all the members of the world summit there. That's only if the World Government had accepted his rule — they could just as well send some agent of theirs (such as an admiral) to utterly destroy him and his army and install a local government sympathetic to their causes instead. And even if they had accepted his rule, a high-class event such as the Reverie would should surely have top-notch security to prevent any potential global incidents. This is of course, ignoring the fact that Hody was about to send 100,000 pill-popping underlings against both the New World and the World Government, when they stood no chance against a single pirate crew. This lack of foresight is to illustrate the depths of Hody's inexperience, which ultimately proved to be his undoing.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Is the Order a Rabbit?:
    • 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.
    • In the special short Gotta Dance!, Meowth invented the Pokébaton, a device that would force any Pokémon listening to its music to dance. Unfortunately, he and his comrade Pokémon are just as susceptible to its powers as any other Pokémon.
  • In Koufuku Graffiti, Akira, Ryou's aunt, attempts to surprise her in episode 12 by grabbing her arm as she opens the door to her apartment. However, Ryou is understandably shocked and scared, so her first instinct is to slam the door in the face of the person grabbing her arm. Akira apologizes and sports a bandage on her face in the next scene.
  • Rose of Versailles has pretty much every single important character:
    • The most egregious example is the pissing match between Marie Antoinette, at the time merely the dauphine (wife of the heir to the throne), and the Countess du Barry, former prostitute who married into nobility and had become the mistress of king Louis XV. Marie Antoinette, coming from the sober Austrian court, refused to aknowledge a former prostitute's right to be at Versailles and snubbed her for almost two years, not realizing it could be constructed as an offence to the king himself and cause a war between France and Austria (when this was pointed out to her she was properly horrified and finally talked to her in public). Du Barry didn't realize she had engaged a pissing match with the future queen of France while her own power derived from being the lover on an old man that could die soon (and in fact died less than two years after Marie Antoinette had to recognize her presence at Versailles) and started to fear for her own life when this was pointed out to her, making her try (and fail) to improve their relationship (in the end the only reason Marie Antoinette didn't do anything to her was that the King's confessor managed to get the countess exiled first, with the new queen merely confirming the exile). And the king's daughters, who hated du Barry, physically dragged away Marie Antoinette when she first tried to talk to the countess, not caring at all of the possible consequences (luckily, Marie Antoinette was able to get another chance).
    • The lone exception is Oscar, with her actions during the above conflict showing it the best: at first she just wanted to enjoy the show from a safe distance (it was well before she became friend with Marie Antoinette), when forced to take a side she choose Marie Antoinette because, as much du Barry could be powerful, any victory of an old king's mistress against the future queen was bound to be reversed the moment the king died (we're even shown her thinking about that before taking her decision), and when du Barry, unable to be satisfied by her victory over the dauphine, tried to frame Oscar's mother for murder she went and delivered a scathing speech in which she pointed out the idiocy of challenging the future queen of France when du Barry's power came from her influence over an old man, getting away with holding the king's mistress at swordpoint in her own apartments. Oscar even sees the French Revolution coming, but, sadly, she's completely unable to prevent it.
  • In a dubbed episode of Digimon Adventure 02 ("Cody Takes a Stand"), the trope is humorously activated when Cody attempts to stop Black War Greymon (one of the season's strongest villains) from destroying a Destiny Stone.
    Cody: Don't take another step or else!
    Blackwargreymon: Or else what?
    Cody: Um...I haven't figured that part out yet.
  • Kill la Kill: Satsuki's main reason for destroying Nudest Beach's home base was to remove stragglers from her upcoming assault on Ragyo, stating that any group which cannot defeat her Life Fiber-enhanced army would be useless against Ragyo and COVERS. Not only does her rebellion fail in epic proportions, but she later discovers that Nudest Beach had a secondary base on standby, and it plays a major roll in Ragyo's downfall.
  • Lala in Daily Life with Monster Girl visits Kimihito alone. Hoping to avoid everyone trying to fit into his hospital room, or causing a scene. Good thinking, too bad she didn't realize her detachable head, and boasts about being the grim reaper might cause a panic.

  • 1973's The Watergate Comedy Hour starts with President Nixon doing a press conference à 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.

    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.
  • During James Robinson's Fantastic Four run, the Quiet Man kicks off a massive plot to turn the public on the FF, aided by the Psycho Man. The Quiet Man plans to open portals to other worlds to flood Earth with demons and alternate heroes and then be seen as the big hero himself by shutting the portals down. Reed tells him to go right ahead and do it...and he can't. As the Quiet Man stands stunned, Reed points out that it may not have been the best idea to hand ultimate power over two worlds to THE PSYCHO MAN.
  • 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 flash-fried, too. Doc Ock flips.
  • Supergirl: Some of her adventures provide good examples:
    • In Red Daughter of Krypton, Supergirl used her heat vision on a blood maelstrom conjured by Atrocitus, and accidentally burned half city down instead of destroying the maelstrom.
    • In Supergirl Cosmic Adventures In The Eight Grade, villain Belinda Zee uses her "Superior Vision" on Streaky (Supergirl's pet cat), and accidentally turns him into a sabertooth tiger.
      Superior Girl: That was not my best plan.
    • In Supergirl Volume 5 #3 Supergirl decides to fight Lex Luthor alone. Quickly she realizes her plan is not a brilliant one.
      Supergirl: Two seconds and I know. I'm in way over my head.
    • In Supergirl #20 -tie-in to the reviled Amazons Attack storyline- she explains that she and Wonder Girl hijacked Air Force One because they thought they could end the war by making the President sit down in the same room with the Amazon Queen. When things went south very, very quickly she realized that it was a big mistake.
    • In Supergirl Annual #2, Brainiac 5 was analyzing how a mystical statue reacted to different kinds of energy, and he accidentally turned it into a kind of super-bomb. He admitted that it was not a very good plan.
      Brainiac 5: It’s a ten-thousand-year-old Brocian hunting statue! Rumored by natives to have "magical" properties when struck by lightning, so I was analyzing its reception to other kinds of energy!
      Supergirl: Okay! So what did you hit it with?
      Brainiac-5: Uh, I opened the timestream and bombarded it with chronon energy.
      Supergirl: WHAT?
      Brainiac-5: Obviously that wasn't the best of my ideas!
      Supergirl: So what's it doing now?
      Brainiac-5: Based on my readings, I'm pretty sure I just created a magical time bomb. And if my calculations are correct, we've got less than four seconds to live.
  • Superman:
    • Krypton No More, super-villain Protector wants to defeat Superman... so he bursts into the Fortress of Solitude and attacks both Superman and Supergirl. He gets his butt royally kicked and has to run away at the first opportunity.
    • In War World:
      • Alien overlord Mongul blackmails Superman into retrieving a special key. Superman intended to play along, retrieve the Key and then try to thwart Mongul. Unfortunately Superman had no a plan ready to handle him.
      • When Supergirl and Superman face up to the super-weapon Warworld, Superman decides to play decoy to test Warworld's missiles' power. Right before being hit by one of them, Superman realizes that massive thing can kill him.
  • 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.
  • Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog: At the end of the Mega Man crossover, Eggman is so outraged that Sonic has ruined his plans for the Super Genesis Wave that he deliberately interferes with Sonic's Reset Button attempt, declaring that he would rather let reality be destroyed than let Sonic restore it to the way it was. Not only does his interference directly result in a Cosmic Retcon, but the residual energy left behind by the Super Genesis Wave ends up ripping the planet Mobius apart and awakening Dark Gaia, leading into a Sonic Unleashed adaptation. With all of this, Eggman admits that his actions were "a bit hasty."
  • 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, involving her plan to steal Scrooge's #1 Dime, which (as the first money earned by the world's richest man [or duck, whichever]) is the final ingredient in a Midas Touch amulet.
    • In "Of Ducks, Dimes and Destinies", Magica travels back to the day Scrooge earned his #1 Dime because she thinks it'll be easier to steal it back then. She gets the dime before Scrooge does- before realizing that, now that she stole it, it is no longer the first money earned by the world's richest man.
    • 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 #1 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, since he will no longer be the world's richest man.
  • At the end of the first arc of the Powerpuff Girls comic by IDW Publishing, Mojo Jojo plans to hide in a space pod for several months until he's ready to return to Townsville. He then realizes that he forgot to install a bathroom, which leads to him actually saying that he didn't think this through.
  • Ghost Rider villain Blackout is a half-demon murderer who, in addition to his Casting a Shadow powers, had metal fangs implanted in his jaws to cultivate a vampiric look. In an early encounter with the Ghost Rider, he tried to bite him. Ghost Rider is a flaming skeleton, and the attempt ended with Blackout getting his face badly burnt.
  • Subverted in Paperinik New Adventures with the Evronian's master plan to defeat Xadhoom and turn her into a eternal power source for their empire, as they would have to keep her trapped long enough for the Entropiothron to work and Xadhoom is a Physical Goddess who wants them all dead... Except they know she's a mutated Xerbian who hates them for destroying her homeworld and they're using all the survivors as hostages to force her to comply. Then Double Subverted when the Evronian Emperor realizes they've grossly underestimated the fact Xadhoom is the greatest genius of an entire world of scientists with extreme control on her power means she has the mental strength, self-control and willpower to resist the Entropiothron's attempts at making her explode, and then again when the Xerbian hostages, including the finest minds of a planet of scientists who had years to study how to reverse the effects of Coolflamization (an emotion-draining process that turns the victim into a mindless slave), do just that on every single Coolflame on Evron's Planet Spaceship, the end result being that there's now nothing to keep Xadhoom compliant. That was the last day of the Evronian Empire.
  • Superman villain Doomsday was created through this - his creator, the scientist Bertron, sought to make the Ultimate Life Form and spent three decades constantly murdering a baby and having it cloned over and over again. He honestly had no idea what to do when he actually survived to reach that level. Or the fact that its deaths were genetically imprinted into him and he sought revenge.
  • The undoing of many Diabolik one-shot villains, as their plans tend to have a flaw that Diabolik or Ginko can exploit. Case in point, the copycat who recycled Diabolik's plans and had them executed by lesser thieves: while he had planned for Diabolik to track him down planning to kill him he completely forgot about his accomplice and lover Eva Kant (who, while he was gloating he was about to get rid of Diabolik and take his place, had snuck behind him with some poisoned needles), or that Diabolik rarely reuses old plans because next time Ginko will be ready (he had got away so far because the targets weren't worth of Diabolik, but after establishing the existance of the copycat Ginko was preparing for him).
  • In the Siege miniseries of Secret Wars (2015), Lady Kate Bishop from the 1600s deliberately gets arrested so she can be sent to the wall and join the Watch for adventures. She later gets hit by a magically-induced epiphany, realising that she's a girl with pointy sticks and she's facing terrible armies that scare God-Emperor Doom himself. And said armies are coming for her through a now disappeared wall...

    Comic Strips 
  • Dilbert:
    • This strip has someone order Dogbert to bribe an Elbonian leader and also get rid of any evidence directing the crime to their company. Dogbert replies that it can only be possible by bribing and killing the Elbonian leader at the same time.
    • In this one, the CEO announces Employee Fitness Month, and says whoever loses the most weight will get a week's paid vacation. He likely shouldn't have given them a three-week warning before the first weigh-in...
  • Calvin and Hobbes: Calvin is quite prone to this. Of course, he is six years old.
    • In one comic, Calvin creates "the world's biggest snowball" and comments that he can't wait to throw it at somebody (Susie)...until Hobbes asks him how he's going to pick it up.
    • In one arc, Calvin's attempt to lock his babysitter out of the house succeeds. However, he doesn't take into account what would happen when his parents get back home or how much trouble he would get in.
    • In one comic, Calvin ties a water balloon to a string that's tied to a tree branch, so that if the water balloon misses, it'll hit the target as it swings back. It misses Susie, but as it swings back, she simply catches the balloon, takes it off the string, and throws it at Calvin.
    • One arc has Calvin time-travel two hours into the future to pick up a homework assignment when it was done. When he gets there, he finds out that his future self did not have the story, since he went to the future instead of writing it. Both Calvins then decide to go strong-arm the Calvin from 1 hour into the future (from Past!Calvin's perspective) into writing the story, but are thwarted when he points out that since they're the same person, whatever they do to him, they're also going to do to themselves.
    • In another arc, Calvin decides that he refuses to inherit Earth (as it's too polluted) and he's leaving. Hobbes then asks him where he planned to go.
      Calvin: You know, sometimes you're a real load to have around.
    • In one strip, Calvin's mom tells him the all-too-common parental threat that making faces too often would cause his face to freeze that way. She should have known better than to try that with Calvin. It actually encouraged him to do it more.
  • Garfield:
    • Garfield once caught a bird and attempted to throw it up in the air and catch it in his mouth, completely forgetting that birds can fly.
    • When one of Garfield's shows is interrupted for breaking news, he calls a television station to give them a piece of his mind. The plan goes sour when he forgets that all he can say is "Meow".
    • In a similar strip, Garfield hears about a radio station contest offering a new house for the first caller to answer a question. When he discovers that "Meow" is the answer, he gets through and wins the prize. Garfield is thrilled...until he finds that he has to give his name and address over the phone as well.
      Announcer: Uh, and how do you spell your name, Mr. AAARRRGGHH?
  • In the Zits comic seen here, Jeremy's parents buy a "teen tracker" app, forgetting, apparently, that they don't know jack about how to use them, and have to ask Jeremy to activate it.

    Fan Works 

  • 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 immortalnote . 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 only way to contain 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".
    • Piccolo dives in front of a blast to save Gohan only to realize too late he had plenty of time to simply push him aside and they'd both survive.
  • Early in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, Mokuba laments his poor foresight upon realizing 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.
  • 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.
  • 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"
  • In The Reluctant Father Universe, this is one of Xion's character flaws. In the first story, she considers shaking a Pepsi bottle until the lid pops off through carbonation. Ignoring that fact that that's not quite how carbonation works, she doesn't seem to realize how much of a mess this would result in.
  • 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 message. 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 glamour 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. Her stumbling around half-naked leads to her being repeatedly mistaken for a hooker who's either high or drunk, much to her annoyance.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness:
    • Early on in Act III, Rason acquires a Holy Lock from Heaven and uses it to seal Tsukune's ghoul form away; however, it doesn't occur to him that the Holy Lock was never explicitly made with the intent to seal away a ghoul, let alone one that was infused with massive amounts of energy from Kokoa's overcharge, until after it's revealed that the chain is cracking under the strain of Tsukune's full power.
    • 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.
    • In Act III chapter 16, after the group is stated to be heroes who fought off Fairy Tale, Kokoa and Felucia proceed to brag to the other students that they'll protect the school, whipping the crowd into a big frenzy:
    Kokoa: I didn't think they'd go this crazy.
    Kurumu: More like "didn't think!"
    • In Act III, it's revealed that Kiria planned to harness Tsukune's ghoul as part of his Evil Plan. At the very end of the fic, Tsukune deliberately takes off the Holy Lock and unleashes the ghoul, which promptly pounces on Kiria and tears him into Ludicrous Gibs with his bare hands; obviously, Kiria never once considered the possibility that the ghoul would do just that.
    • 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, who did take Luna and Falla's presence into account, goes with a Divide and Conquer tactic instead by holding Tsukune's family hostage.
    • 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 is powerful enough to incinerate his entire compound, and there are several people right in the middle of its blast radius. When Ceal points this out, Fang Fang's only response is a sheepish "Oh, right."
    • In Act VI chapter 51, Falla uses her time powers to cheat at Hex's game, forgetting that Hex is a Reality Warper and thus would easily be able to tell. Hex even mockingly asks her if she actually thought he'd fall for it.
  • In the Neon Genesis Evangelion Gag Dub Evangelion: ReDeath, 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.
    Kaji: Aw, crap!
    [cue Third Impact and Ritsuko in her underwear]
  • 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 it didn't occur to her at the time that Majora would try to have Zelda killed.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Sekirei? Is that some new species of little sister?, a random Muggle kicks the back of Naruto's seat and tells him and Xanna to shut up. Even if the two weren't gods, both are over six and a half feet tall, have claws and fangs, and Naruto's built like a damn bear. Said muggle realizes his mistake the moment they stand up and tower over him.
  • In The Fifth Act Cloud tends to make hasty decisions without any good plans. He shows up on the Wutai Front but didn't bother to check if Sephiroth was even there, he tries to bribe terrorists but without an advocate he goes nowhere, he joins Shinra but has no plan to get at Hojo, etc etc.
    • Yuffie, who randomly wanders into dangerous situations and continuously insults and steals the materia of powerful Shinra SOLIDERS. It's a good thing everyone is so indulgent with her due to her youth.
  • In The Promise Hinata tries to break up Naruto and Hanabi by introducing legislature that requires Naruto have children by multiple women (so his descendents can defeat Kaguya if she ever returns) in order for him to become Hokage. She believes that either they'll agree, causing Hanabi to resent Naruto and break up with him or they won't agree, causing Naruto to resent Hanabi for destroying his dream and they'll break up. She never once considers that Hanabi would be willing to share or that Naruto would love Hanabi enough to happily give up his dream for her, as evidenced by her shock when Naruto tells her to "go to Hell".
  • Konohamaru learns the flaw in his plan to defeat his grandfather and become Hokage in A Drop of Poison when Naruto asks him what's to stop someone else from defeating him and becoming Hokage immediately afterwards?
  • Andrew realizes he forgot a few steps in his plan to expose Xander as Ranma Saotome in Halloween and a Half by dousing him with cold water after a very angry (and very female) Xander demands to know what the hell he's doing.
  • When Saito suggests someone might be using "sleep potions" to continue poisoning Tabitha's mother in Soldier of Zero, one of the servants angrily declares that she taste tests everything sent to her first and takes a swig of said potion. She has just enough time to state she probably didn't think that through before she passes out.
  • In Hero System when Xander, Willow, and Jesse hop into the Harry Potter universe, Willow chooses a higher difficulty to earn them more points and so she can play as Tonks while still being in the same year as Xander and Jesse. Unfortunately, Jesse is playing Harry Potter and the higher difficulty made his life even worse than canon, to her immense regret.
  • In The Infinite Loops Twilight Sparkle invokes this when she's as an alien on earth in an X-Com Loop and wants to disarm the public with adorableness. "So in the words of friendly aliens from your fictional works live long and..." looks at her raised hoof, "Huh? Didn't think this one through."
  • In Guardian, teenage Lulu manages to distract a fiend from Yuna by chunking her moogle doll at its head... whereupon it turns its attention to her. Thankfully, Kimahri shows up a couple of panels later.
  • A recurring theme in For Love of Magic is Harry Potter taking some action and realizing later he didn't think things through enough. Runes that age him faster also kick start his libido, causing him to fantasize about his foster mother, and never stop aging him which leaves him looking roughly seventeen when he's thirteen. A rune designed to hide his mind in darkness from legilmency leaves him open to being corrupted by said darkness after he murders Peter Pettigrew. The latter is particularly dangerous as it nearly turns Harry into a dementor.
    • A narrowly averted example comes when Harry decides to crowdsource an arithmancy problem by posting it online as a mathematics problem. While he does get a solution, someone also warns him that the muggle government is aware of magic and they keep their eye out for such things, which can land him in very hot water.
  • Lampshaded in A Teacher's Glory when Orochimaru wonders after the fact why exactly he ordered a team of Sound genin to kill Sasuke. Even if they succeed, they might damage Sasuke's eyes.
  • Two examples in Mortal Kombat Vs Marvel Universe in regards to The Exiled Kombatants:
  • In With The Old Out With The New has Kano rape Cassie after she wins a fight for her freedom. Unfortunately for him, Sonya goes apeshit on him in their final battle.
  • The Macross Delta fanfic How Roid's Plan Could Have Backfired Horribly is a series of one-shots that this actually happened in canon by having one of the many holes in Roid's plan backfire, starting with Windermere's triumphal broadcast of Heinz's coronation and their claim to be the heirs of Protoculture be intercepted by someone who should never hear such a claim: a Zentraedi Main Fleet, whose commander remembers the time the Zentraedi were the Protoculture's Slave Mooks. Per Word of God, the only time the backfire wasn't caused by this trope is the one of chapter 6, as he could have had no idea that the Protodeviln felt in debt with the NUNS and would come to the rescue when their enemy started messing with the Fold
  • In the My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic oneshot How to Kidnap a Princess, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie want to show Twilight just how lax her castle's security is by kidnapping her. Apparently it never crossed their minds that despite their good intentions, kidnapping a Princess is considered high treason and that both Princess Celestia and Princess Luna would elect to hunt them down personally with a full regiment of the Royal Guard in tow.
  • The Vain Rose's Garden:
    • Urd puts on a strip show for some of Keiichi's friends but keeps her crotch covered with a pasty that she used some stuff she found to keep on. She later learns she used super glue.
    • In a later chapter, a demon tries to cause a scandal by sending Tyr pictures of his wife Ansuz kissing another man. Not only was Tyr fully aware of it (the two have an open relationship), but he and Ansuz sit down and discuss their recent relationship problems.
    • During a game of strip volleyball, Ansuz takes off her top at one point. When the crowd falls silent, she asks what the problem is and one of the spectators is foolish enough to declare it's not very exciting since she's nowhere near as busty as the other players. She throws the volleyball into his groin as payback.
  • Dead or Alive 4: The Devil Factor: Helena's endgame after taking down the corrupt members of DOATEC is to step down as President and then have her half-sister Kokoro inherit the company, believing such a sweet and all-loving girl will be able to make the company honest again. When Dante learns about this, he is annoyed and points out the flaws in this plan. As a sheltered and naive teenage girl, Kokoro has no business training or experience, and likely wouldn't be interested in running a company anyway.
  • In Enter the Dragon, after Harry Potter becomes a dragon and starts living in a cave near the Forbidden Forest at Hogwarts, the nearby centaur tribe offer one of their maidens as a sacrifice to appease the Great Wyrm. Months later, said centaur maiden's father Bane hears his daughter is alive and that the Great Wyrm can change into a small human child. When he sees his daughter being ridden "like a common mule" by a human child, he angrily attacks and is promptly reminded that said child is really a dragon.
  • When Harry confronts Dumbledore in What Was Your Plan? over him being a Manipulative Bastard who's controlled every aspect of Harry's life in order to eventually kill him, Dumbledore calmly takes apart his claim. Such a plan is needlessly convoluted compared to simply killing Harry from the start, and if needs to die at a specific point in time, then clearly someone who's managed to manipulate so much of Harry's life would have contingencies in place in case Harry ever found out. In other words, either Harry's wrong and looks rather foolish or he's right and there's nothing he can do about it. Harry was right.
  • Urd attacking Ranma Saotome for being rude in Hell is a Martial Artist is shown to be a colossal mistake on her part. Not only is attacking a mortal (with deadly force no less) for any reason but self-defense a very serious crime in Heaven, but interfering with a mortal for reasons other than wish granting means said mortal is now fair game for both sides. And unfortunately for Urd, Hild is rather interested in the young martial artist.
  • In Robb Returns, Illyrio Mopatis realizes too late that giving Viserys a false dragon egg may not have been the best idea.
  • In This Bites!, a dramatic example occurs when Cross finds a way to potentially save Merry by having her eat a Devil Fruit. Namely, he has no idea how to let her eat it. Fortunately, a solution is presented.
  • As she finally figures out how to switch places with objects in Dodging Prison and Stealing Witches, Ginny unthinkingly casts the spell only to realize a moment too late she's about to switch places with an egg on a shelf in a muggle store.
    • Dumbledore planting a book on dark magic as part of his attempt to frame Harry for murder fails because the defense notes the publication number states it was printed less than three weeks before Harry allegedly wandlessly cast a spell in the book. According to an expert, learning to cast a spell wandlessly in six weeks is an impressive time, with ten weeks being average; it's outright impossible to manage in the time between when the book was printed and when Harry allegedly cast the spell.
  • Palpatine, in an attempt to learn more of Ranma's secrets in A Horse for the Force subtly convinces some of Padme's handmaidens to watch Ranma spar with Obi-wan and Kit Fisto and record it. Unfortunately, he didn't consider that healthy young women like them would be more interested in filming the sweaty muscular men's physiques than recording the actual spar.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Iron Giant: Mansley, singlemindedly 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, at the cost of his life.
  • The Incredibles: Syndrome's Evil Plan involved the Omnidroid, a robot programmed to adapt to techniques used to defeat it in order to beat opponents. The plan was that he would order the Omnidroid to attack a city, and then defeat it in order to set himself up as a superhero. He fought the robot using a remote control. Unfortunately for him, the Omnidroid, following its programming, realized that the remote was a threat and immediately acted to remove it. Without the remote, Syndrome went down pretty fast, leaving the real heroes to stop the Omnidroid.
  • 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.
    • Jafar attempted to have Aladdin killed when he was still in his prince disguise. At that point, Jafar was still under the impression that Aladdin was actually a prince, which means he willingly tried to off someone who could have been a member of a real foreign royal family. Considering the types of beings that live around Agrabah, for all he knew, Ali could have been the son of a sultan who was the equivalent of Genghis Khan.
    • Aladdin too. He gets the genie to turn him into a prince and win the heart of Princess Jasmine. He didn't think about the fact that with Jasmine came the throne of Agrabah. The look on his face says it all.
  • Gill's plan to escape to the sea in Finding Nemo succeeds past the audience's expectations. Too bad he didn't account for the fact that they'd all be stuck in plastic bags when they got there.
    Bloat: Now what?
  • 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 snow days, which would probably become the new summer vacation anyway.
    • Or that summer itself isn't the primary cause of summer vacation, at best those vacation days would be rearranged, not removed. In fact TJ outright says this to him as "You might get rid of summer, but you'll never get rid of summer vacation", but by that point he'd gone so far without realizing the pointlessness that he just went ahead 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.
  • Quest for Camelot: After finally obtaining Excalibur, Ruber fuses it with his arm to make sure nobody would take it from him—despite knowing that Excalibur is a sword that, once stuck into a certain stone, cannot be removed from it by anyone other than the rightful King.
  • In Shark Tale, Oscar takes credit for killing shark, thus reaping much fame. It doesn't occur to him until much later that the other sharks might take offense to this showboater bragging about how he killed one of their own.
    Angie: YOU LIED! EVERYBODY THINKS YOU "SLAYED THE SHARK"! How could you lie to me, Oscar?! ME?!
    Oscar: Ang, please! Don't take it personal! C'mon, I lied to EVERYBODY! Alright, look, I'm sorry. I totally betrayed you. But listen—I just got one little problem I gotta take care of.
    Angie: Oh, really? And what's that?
    Oscar: SHARKS! Are COMING! To GET ME!
    Angie: And they should! I mean, really. What'd you expect? You just take credit for killing a shark, and then everything be fine and dandy for the rest of your life?
    Oscar: Uh...yeah. Pretty much.
  • In Toy Story, Woody lights the rocket strapped to Buzz as a last resort to get back to Andy and this realization hits him seconds before it goes off.
    Woody: Wait a minute, I just lit a rocket. Rockets EXPLODE!
  • In The Rescuers, Madame Medusa is so obsessed with getting the Devil's Eye and is using Penny, who is small enough to get down there, to get it regardless if it's high tide and Penny drowns. However, if Penny died, so would've Medusa's chance of getting the diamond, which is all she cares about.
  • Shrek 2 Harold's promise to the Fairy Godmother that his daughter would marry her son so he could become king. However, when they are brought together, he sees that Fiona is genuinely in love with Shrek and that nothing is going to change her mind. He even laughs at how absurd it is to think you can force someone to fall in love.
  • Storks: Junior says it word for word after he stuffs the baby machine full of letters, thus creating millions of babies.

    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, Bedevere (who came up with the plan) doesn't remember to mention that they're supposed to get inside the rabbit until after it's been taken into the castle. Of course, given the French knights' predilection for catapulting every animal they can find, actually getting into the rabbit might have been even worse.
  • 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 as 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. Just before the deed is to be done, Woody realizes that he is going to be the one to experience the drunken sex with a guy. Also counts as an Oh Crap! moment.
  • Hilariously subverted in Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Movie with Crow's plan to tunnel out of the Satellite while it's in orbit. As it turns out, Crow did think it through, but as he puts it: "I calculated the odds of this succeeding against the odds I was doing something incredibly stupid and... I went ahead anyway."
    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!
  • In The Rundown, the sidekick's "Thunder and Lightning" attack never works. He becomes dumbfounded 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: The Curse of the Black Pearl 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).
  • Zigzagged in A New Hope with Luke and Han going to rescue Leia from the Death Star detention center. On one hand, their "plan" was rather ill-conceived (going into a place they knew nothing about, not planning a way to get out, cutting off their escape route, and setting off an alarm, escaping only because Vader wanted to let them go and follow them). However, on the other hand, they didn't exactly have time to think of anything better. One could consider Vader's gambit as this, since it doesn't take into account how dangerous it is to let the heroes escape with the Death Star's blueprints, but Star Wars villains tend to suffer from terminal overconfidence and never seem to cotton on to their exploitable weaknesses anyway. Of course it nearly worked since Leia, having worked out the ship was being tracked... proceeded to head directly to the Rebel base anyway.
  • 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.
  • Subverted in Goldfinger 007 thinks that Goldfinger hasn't thought his plan through, and points out to him that even if he used his nerve gas on the whole population of Fort Knox, he'd never have enough time to transport the gold from the vaults before military reinforcements came. What he doesn't know is, as Goldfinger explains to him, stealing it isn't part of the plan; his true goal involves detonating a bomb to render the gold in Fort Knox radioactive and unusable, thereby making the value of his personal foreign holdings in gold skyrocket. (In short, Goldfinger's scheme was intended to be an insider trading scam, taken Up to Eleven.)
  • In Cinderella (2015), when the Fairy Godmother decides to transform a pumpkin into a carriage, Cinderella has about enough time to point out they are inside a shed before the expanding pumpkin pins them against the wall. They manage to escape just as the completed carriage destroys the shed. Ditto for turning a goose into a coachman for said carriage; as the goose quickly points out, he has no experience when it comes to driving.
  • Jurassic Park; Grant grabs a road flare to distract the T. Rex that is attacking the kids' car. The T. Rex roars at Grant in response, which causes him to falter slightly. He recovers quickly when he realizes that the T. Rex is seeing the flare and throws it off and watches as she follows the thrown flare.
  • In The Devil and Miss Jones, Joe O'Brien protests inside his former place of work, and handcuffs himself around some pipes convinced that security will have to cut through them to get him out. But they easily slide the handcuffs up, freeing Joe; the pipe has an end to it, not continuing to curve around somewhere else like the others. Should've looked, Joe.
  • In WarCraft, Llane orders Garona to kill him so that she may gain respect among the orcs and thus a chance at forging a peace between the two species. This part works without a hitch, but Llane didn't count on Lothar coming back to reclaim his body and thus finding Garona's knife in Llane's back, pretty much ensuring that the human side won't wish to negotiate.
  • Space Camp: The NASA robot JINX never stops to consider in his rush to give his friend Max his wish to go into space that sending him up in a barely-ready shuttle that doesn't even have enough oxygen to make it to reentry could be detrimental to his health.

  • The Hobbit:
    • To enable the dwarves to escape from the Wood Elves, Bilbo secures them inside barrels so they can float away downriver. (Not that being packed into a barrel himself would have been an improvement. Getting out again wouldn't have been easy.)
      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 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 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 that 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. Fisk was not impressed. 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 realize that they have no idea where the Slytherin dormitory is. Of course, said thoughtfull preparations were thought of solely by Hermione, so it's possible she knew where the dorm was, but her transformation went wrong preventing her from joining the boys and distracting her from telling them.
    • 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... but even that might not have worked, as Dobby would have likely intercepted or destroyed the letters to keep Harry from returning to Hogwarts, which kind of begs the question why Harry didn't tell any of the staff about Dobby.
    • 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.
  • In Stephen King's short story The End Of The Whole Mess, this is Bobby Fornoy's Fatal Flaw. His brother reminisces about 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 was high in the air and ended 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 that 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 and Halo: The Thursday War, the Elites are in a civil war between a faction who still worship the Forerunners and a faction trying to create a new, more progressive society. Humanity's Office of Naval Intelligence thinks that it would be a good idea to support the zealots even though A.) most of them really hate humans and B.) the progressive faction are dedicated allies of humanity. As it turns out, most of the zealots end up joining a fervently anti-human Covenant remnant whose primary goal is to Kill All Humans.
  • 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...and 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 Sawyer 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 Aesop's 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". 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, saying that he'll pull the goat out after. The goat does this and is abandoned by the fox. When called out, the fox says to the goat that he should have thought before jumping in.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Given the Gambit Pileup nature of the story, this is a Fatal Flaw for a depressing number of characters, leading to many a Pyrrhic Victory and petards a-hoisting. Most (if not all) viewpoint characters display some form of Wrong Genre Savvy, Stupid Good, Stupid Evil, Lawful Stupid, Chaotic Stupid, Selfish Good and/or Selfish Evil tendencies leading to various brands of Not Quite the Right Thing for the circumstance (or Not Quite The Right Wrong Thing, depending on the character), all of which come back to bite them in the end. Funny how that one little angle you hadn't stopped to think about suddenly has very big consequences if you're a leader with insufficient reality checks on your power and you can't shift gears fast enough...
  • Scarlett, of course, has this many times in Gone with the Wind. She rushes into a marriage with Charles Hamilton to save face in front of those who (correctly) thought she was pining away for Ashley Wilkes. Reality hits her as early as their wedding night, as he approaches their bed and she suddenly realizes what's going to happen. She's only able to put him off by pleading timidity and fear. Then when he dies after only two months, she realizes that between her marriage, widowhood, and impending motherhood, that she's never going to have the fun she had as an unattached girl, being forced to wear mourning for years and shun all social events.
    • Later, when she tells Rhett that she doesn't want any more children (translation, they will now have a Sexless Marriage), he simply shrugs and nonchalantly declares that he'll seek sexual pleasure elsewhere. Only then does she realize what she's given up—late night conversations, him comforting her after a nightmare, etc.
  • The Walter Lantz adaptation of The Pied Piper of Hamelin diverges in a few ways from the traditional plotline. Here, the Piper traps the rats in a cage instead of just drowning them. The townsfolk skimp on the Piper's bill, thinking there's nothing he can do about it. The Piper then opens the cage...
  • In Wings of Fire: The Dark Secret, Flame and Ochre (two of the replacement dragonets) are tasked by Morrowseer to try and kill Starflight. While he hides behind a NightWing guard, they go up to her and ask her where a NightWing dragonet was so they could kill him, hoping they would help. Instead, the guard roars at them for this, roaring an alarm that strange dragons have come to attack their dragonets, and Flame and Ochre get thrown into prison.
  • In Dictator, the third book of the Imperium trilogy, Caesar's assassins show courage and cunning in planning and carrying out the assassination—but they make no plans whatsoever for the aftermath, simply assuming that the Republic will reassert itself and things will go back to normal with Caesar dead. Cicero repeatedly bemoans the failure of the conspirators to take out Antony as well as Caesar, or to take any other measures to restore republican government.
  • In Shaman Blues, Witkacy's plan for luring a wraith into entrapment circle involves cutting himself with its focus object and let the blood bring it in. The gaping flaw in the plan is that he forgets about binding power of blood, and as a result is almost dragged into the afterlife along with the wraith.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Catelyn Stark's Mama Bear tendencies sometimes drive her to rash actions.
      • She arrests Tyrion for the attempted murder of her son because she was told the assassin used his dagger, but is stumped when Tyrion asks the obvious question of who would be dumb enough to arm an assassin with their own blade.
      • Although Jaime was in mortal danger and Catelyn couldn't trust anyone else, the odds of Brienne successfully escorting Jaime through a war zone, conducting a prisoner exchange, and returning with two girls without backup were very low.
    • Balon Greyjoy's main flaw as a ruler. He first rebelled on the assumption that Robert had not reconciled with his former enemies, but by making himself a threat to all he brought ruin on himself and strengthened Robert's regime. In Season 2, he proves he hasn't learned his lesson and tries the same thing again and although he is more successful this time it only lasts until the other factions actually turn their attention toward him in Season 4.
    • This is Lady Olenna's appraisal of Renly's bid for the throne since he had no legitimacy. Granted, it's in the Tyrells' interest to speak this way when they are supporting those who consider Renly a usurper.
    • Brienne embarks on a quest to protect the Stark girls with a Lannister-customized sword, a Westerlands squire, and a southern accent. What Could Possibly Go Wrong??
  • 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:
    • In the final episodes of Season 4, Spike schemes to break up the Scoobies by exploiting the existing tensions between the group, and then planting evidence to lure Buffy into a trap as part of Adam's plan. However, after all is said and done, Adam points out that Spike gave Willow said evidence, and Willow won't be speaking to Buffy now; Spike quickly goes out to rectify it.
      • Amusingly enough, the WRITERS didn't think it through either: by their own admission, they didn't realize the flaw in Spike's plan until they'd moved on to writing the next episode.
    • 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 and another, Dana, having been driven Ax-Crazy thanks to a psychopath kidnapping and torturing her as a child.
  • 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 defense 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.
    • The Series 9 finale "Hell Bent" has a justified example with the Doctor's Driven to Madness plan to save Clara from her already-happened death, which falls apart over 1) him basically hoping it doesn't destroy the universe and 2) Clara's own objections to it, especially when she realizes he'll take away her memories of their time together and leave her with an ordinary Earthly life.
  • 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.
  • In the Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide episode "Lost and Found", Ned locks Moze in an outdoor enclosed space to keep her from stopping him from getting a pair of sneakers autographed by NBA player Carmelo Anthony that were in the lost and found, only to realize that he locked himself in with her, preventing his prospects of claiming the sneakers.
  • 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 motor home 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 windshield 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.
    • One of their car vs. X races had James and Hammond in a plane James was piloting racing Jeremy in a car along the ground. Sounds like a good plan, but by the time James had completed all the pre-flight checks Jeremy already had a considerable head start, which was a problem since they were in a small, single-engine plane that was barely faster than Jeremy's high-performance car. And then, to top it all off, they had to land at dusk, since James wasn't checked out on night flying, and finish the race on public transit. An amused Jeremy lampshades it when he hears about that part:
    Jeremy: He really hasn't thought this through, has he?
  • 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.(Specifically, if he knows that Sheldon can't lie convincingly, why didn't he just lie to Sheldon too?)
  • (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-qucik 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.
  • Scrubs:
    • In the season 5 episode "My Big Bird", Elliot finds out that a man she had a brief fling with was married, Elliot having mistakenly believed that the man's wife had passed away by said man's Exact Words ("She wasn't with us."). She angrily tells him to go tell his wife what happened... but since she doesn't go with him she doesn't realize until it's too late that she allowed him to spin the story anyway he wanted and put all the blame on her. The end result: after spending most of the rest of the episode running for her life, the Woman Scorned ultimately catches up to her and duct-tapes her to the wall.
    • In the season 8 finale (JD's last day), Sunny helps trick Dr. Cox into admitting that he thinks JD is an exceptional person—within earshot of JD. 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.
    • In "Parallels", When Worf asks Troi if she could become Alexander's surrogate mother, legally available to care for Alexander should anything happen to Worf. Troi asks what that would make her to Worf, and he says the Klingon word for this relationship, soh'chim, has no exact translation but the closest equivalent is stepsister. Deanna's response? "That would make my mother your stepmother."
    Worf: (look of shock) I had not considered that... (beat) It is a risk I am willing to take.
  • The "Enjoy the Ride" story line 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.
  • 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.
  • 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...
    Gob: I've made a huge mistake.
  • 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.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: One sketch has an inept extortionist who claims that he has set a bomb on an airliner and thinks he's got it all figured out...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."
  • Charmed: When Chris asks Phoebe for help getting Piper and Leo back together in time for his conception (Chris is Piper and Leo's Kid from the Future), Phoebe points out that Chris is the one who separated Piper and Leo in the first place. Phoebe insists it's not her fault that Chris didn't think things through, though she does eventually agree to help him.
  • The Flash (2014): Eobard Thawne's entire plan is this trope incarnate. He wants to get back to his timeline by altering events so that the particle accelerator will be built earlier than intended. What he fails to realize is that if he goes back, his future will not be as he remembers it.
  • Happy Days - Richie is antagonized by a bully - he asks Fonzie for advice, who tells him to stand up to the bully and he'll back down. Richie stands up to the bully - he doesn't back down. Richie asks what's gone wrong, and Fonzie adds that for this to work he needed to have beaten somebody up before and have a reputation - Richie hisses "That's a big thing to leave out!!"
  • On The Office (US), most of Michael Scott's schemes end up as this. For instance, it's shown that he once promised a group of third graders that he would pay for their entire college tuition. Ten years later, when it's time to pay up, Pam calls him out on this.
  • In Yes, Prime Minister, Sir Humphrey plans to thwart a plan of Prime Minister Hacker's to move selected military units Oop North by discrediting the Employment Secretary, who came up with the plan, and making it seem like he's after Hacker's job. It works like a charm — until the end, when the Employment Secretary's gone and Hacker realises that there's now nothing left to stop him implementing the plan and taking all the credit for it. Humphrey realises too late that his plan involved attacking the Employment Secretary so much, it didn't actually do anything to discredit the plan itself.
  • In Backstage, Kit has a Hannah Montana-esque Secret Identity called DJ Diamondmind whose tracks are renowned. She used her alter-ego's tracks to audition for Keaton School for the Arts; when this gets out, Reality Ensues: She finds herself accused of plagiarism and faces explusion (it works out, but it's still a pretty big oversight).
  • In the Enemy at the Door episode "Jealousy", a woman anonymously denounces her sister-in-law to the German police as a black marketeer, justifying it to herself as saving her brother from a woman who (in her opinion) doesn't deserve him. The Germans confiscate the entire family's papers as part of the investigation, discover an irregularity in the brother's birth certificate, and deport him. Any consolation the sister might have got from having at least succeeded in separating him from his wife is lost when the Germans decide at the last minute to deport his wife along with him.
  • The Kicks episode "Breakaway" sees Devin being punished by her parents for sneaking out in the previous episode. They give her three punishments: Loss of her cell phone for two weeks, loss of her computer for two weeks, and loss of television priveleges for two weeks. Thus, in order to do her homework, she needs to use her mother's computer in a room where she can be monitored. Only after this is enforced does anyone realize the problem: Since the living room is adjacent to the room where Devin is working, they aren't able to watch television either because it would distract her. Also, her mother finds herself unable to use the computer when she needs to because Devin is using it.

  • 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, 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?"
  • In the Mozart opera The Abduction from the Seraglio, the hero Belmonte gets captured by the Pasha, who already holds his betrothed Constanza captive. He says that his father can pay a generous ransom for them, only to be informed that said father is a mortal enemy of the Pasha's. Oops.
  • The children's song There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. She keeps swallowing creatures to catch the last thing she swallowed.
    She swallowed the cow to catch the goat, she swallowed the goat to catch the dog, she swallowed the dog to catch the cat, she swallowed the cat to catch the bird, she swallowed the bird to catch the spider that wriggled and wriggled and tickled inside her. She swallowed the spider to catch the fly, but I don't know why she swallowed the fly. I guess she'll die.
    There was an old lady who swallowed a horse. (Beat) She's dead, of course!
  • The Dethklok song "Bloodrocuted" tells of an electrician being chased through the woods by bounty hunters because he just so happens to look exactly like a wanted criminal with a large bounty on his head. He stumbles upon an electrical substation and manages to kill the bounty hunters by cutting his arms and electrifying a puddle of his own blood for them to step in. He then realizes that he has no way to patch himself up and will therefore bleed to death very soon.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In The Epic of Gilgamesh, the gods created humanity so that they would 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...until they realized that there was no one left to feed them, nor anything to eat...
  • In the Greek myth King Midas and the golden touch, a greedy king named Midas makes a wish from Dionysus that everything he touches would turn to gold. He gets the wish, and is overjoyed... Until he realizes too late that this means he can no longer eat or drink anything...or touch his daughter. If he had thought more carefully (or just listened to Dionysus' warning that it was a stupid wish), he might have instead just wished for the ability to turn stuff into gold (but not every single thing he touched.)

    Pro Wrestling 
  • The matches regarding the Pure Wrestling Title belt 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.
  • CM Punk's dormant "feud" with Delirious started back up in IWA Mid-South with Punk in pursuit of Delirious's Light Heavyweight Title, but when Punk challenged and beat Delirious, he didn't win the belt because he was above the weight limit.
  • Chris Hero mocked Bryan Danielson for this in 2005 when he answered Hero's challenge for an ROH World Title match by signing a contract and then sending it to Hero at CZW so he could sign it too. See, Hero could have just as well have had anybody sign the contract.
  • At the 2009 Slammiversary, Jeff Jarrett said he had no desire to win any TNA titles, he only cared about making sure Mick Foley dropped his. Yet Jarrett repeatedly sabotaged AJ Styles' efforts to defeat Mick Foley, even though AJ winning would have meant Mick would 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 Ohka instead.
  • Frankie Kazarian and Christopher Daniels are accusing AJ Styles of getting a 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 someone I have no desire to wrestle" mistake. In this case, it was Dean Ambrose who answered.

    Tabletop Games 
  • One Paranoia mission introduces the new Mandatory Bonus Duty of Executive Officer, who (in addition to being the Team Leader's Number Two) gets a brevet promotion for the purpose of wearing a higher-clearance uniform — the idea is that Commies will mistake him for the Team Leader and concentrate their fire on him instead. As usual for Paranoia, The Computer failed to consider what might happen when others made the same mistake:
    Green-clearance Team Leader: All right, men, let's go!
    Random bystander: Hey, why are you letting him boss you around?
    "Blue"-clearance Executive Officer: Hey, yeah! [shoots the Team Leader] All right, men, let's go!
  • In one Time of Judgment scenario in Werewolf: The Apocalypse, the Silent Striders decide to join the Wyrm's forces and goad the Wyrm's servants into attacking Grandmother, in the hopes of weakening both the Wyrm and Grandmother. They do so by passing through the Black Spiral Labyrinth, which hopelessly corrupts them. Instead of fighting Grandmother, the corrupted Silent Striders attack the Garou Nation.

  • In Pokémon Live!, one trainer that challenges MechaMew2 has his Electrode use Selfdestruct in the hopes that the move would be returned... overlooking the fact that using the move made his Electrode faint.

    Video Games 
  • BioShock Infinite:
    • About midway through, 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...
    • They end up solving it by shifting to a reality where the rebels already have the guns. Roaring success! Too bad in this reality nobody has any idea what the hell they're talking about when they say there was a deal.
  • 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 there's 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". 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, who beats the daylights out of him and Kyurem in defense of their rescuer.
  • In 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 and follow the paragon path Shepard had—only to find out that they're hosed upon learning that 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. What's worse is this applies to their entire culture, failing to remember the same mistakes they made long ago despite the rest of the galaxy being able to remember and tell them. For example uplifting the Krogans: First they uses the Krogans to wipe out the Rachni. Then the Krogans revolt because their naturally brutal nature combined with their natural healing abilities and high birth rates (which is why they were chosen to fight the war in first place) forces them to start pushing onto other inhabited planets by force. Seeing that their one-time soldiers can't be stopped by force they use the Genophage to drop birthrates to controllable levels. Eventually the Salarians find an even more violent and strong species called the Yahg, who killed the parties first sent to meet them, and think they will be a great idea to uplift.
    • The leviathans in their plan to create an AI that would stop conflict between organic and synthetic life and preserve that at any cost. Given such a command, the AI naturally came to accept that creating the Reapers, which exterminate all technologically advanced organic life every 50,000 years clearly fits the bill. So no wonder the existence of the leviathans is akin to believing in the Loch Ness Monster with all of their stellar empire wrecked and forgotten by the galaxy.
  • 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 pursuit of the 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 Adventure, Tails modifies his plane so he and Sonic can fly up to the Egg Carrier. This seems to go smoothly until Tails realizes he forgot to equip landing gear just as they're about to land the plane.
  • In Sonic Unleashed, Orbot called out Dr. Eggman 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.
  • In Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, Sigurd has a bad habit of dealing with his problems by stabbing them in the face with little regard for the consequences. It ends up being his Fatal Flaw; his recklessness allows the corrupt nobles to use him as an Unwitting Pawn and throw him away when they no longer need him.
  • In Super Mario Galaxy, Bowser's plot is to steal Grand Stars to recreate the galaxy to revolve around his Sun in a new EvilEmpire. However, despite that he's happy to endanger innocent lives, mutilating the order of the Galaxy is exceedingly risky and possibly might end up destroying the entire galaxy and him with it, not just any innocent lives he's open to endangering and leaving the rest of the galaxy for him to rule. And that actually makes him MORE of a threat to the galaxy, whereas kidnapping Princess Peach to make her rule alongside him unwittingly makes him at least a bit LESS of a threat as it at least partially led to Mario defeating him and saving the galaxy.
  • In Reflections on the River, the plot is triggered by the player character, Zheng the Witch, kidnapping a prince or princess to use as leverage (the king having refused to pay the actual agreed price for a witch's service). As even the captives can see, however, it's really just going to make things worse.
    Prince Shun: That did not go as smoothly as it could have. [...] I once believed witches to be quite wise.
    Zheng: What's that supposed to mean?
    Prince Shun: How would kidnapping me help you in any way?
    Zheng: Look, I was in a hurry, and I had to think on my feet.
  • This is very much the modus operandi of Nate in Uncharted, his most famous quote being "I didn't think that far ahead". On a small scale he often carries out solutions to problems without thinking about the consequences of the aftermath; one moment in the second game has him quoting the trope verbatim as he uses a train car to bust out of a repair shed, alerting all the enemies in the area. On a larger scale this is his overall theme throughout the series; other characters often point out that he's often going up against incredibly dangerous people for the treasures he seeks, which always lands him in their bad blood and frequently sends him to jail. The third and fourth games even have the backstories themselves construed to warn him of the danger, yet he doesn't think anything of it and plows ahead on the adventure, putting him and his loved ones in constant peril and biting him in the ass later.
  • King's Quest (2015): In Episode 3 Graham runs off on a well, guess, with naught but an engagement ring to a tower to find his future wife/one true love, because a magic mirror told him so. Once he gets to the top (and after getting rejected by both of them) the princesses imprisoned therein ask if he's got any rope. He was actually hoping for Rapunzel Hair.
    Princess Vee: You're a bit of a ropelesss romantic, aren't you?
  • In Pokémon Sun and Moon, as you invade Aether Foundation's headquarters, you encounter Faba, who has the key to president Lusamine's office. He had allowed you to defeat him so he cause gather more Aether employees to defeat you, Hau and Gladion. When Hau asks if he had the key and Faba responds in the affirmative, Hau pointed out that if he had just stayed hidden, they would have been stuck forever. Faba is gobsmacked at being outsmarted.
  • In the canon ending of Five Nights at Freddy's: Sister Location, Ennard successfully enters the protagonist's body. The hidden cutscenes for completing the Custom Nights show why choosing a corpse for a hiding spot isn't exactly the best of ideas.

    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!
  • DSBT InsaniT:
    • Happens in the first episode 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.

    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 harmless conditions, like Elliot's Gender Bender problem, and so ends up compelled by his oath to kill Ellen, who is hardly a monster (even when she tries).
    • Abraham also claims to Raven that he tried everything he could to destroy the Diamond. Right away, Raven suggests he throw it in a volcano, and Abraham's reaction shows that he clearly didn't try everything.
    • When Tedd proclaims the use of his Battle Mode Gauntlet and finds an entity he might be overpowered by, and is utterly unprepared to face.
    Tedd: Oh man I did not think this through.
    Tedd: Just to, ah, clarify, "battle mode"? Just the name of the setting. It doesn't necessarily imply that I want to—
    • The Emissary of Magic. While you could argue that trying to communicate through Grace's dreams (if you didn't know, it's really hard to remember dreams even if you're actively trying to) was on orders from The Will Of Magic, his reaction to Pandora's entry was entirely his own doing. The first thing he does is threaten her. The first thing he should have done was ask her why she was there. Lampshaded in The Rant:
    Imagine if it had worked. "She's gone! VICTORY IS MINE! And I have no idea why she was here in the first place! Or if she'll come back! Or if maybe her intentions were as noble as I believe mine! Or... Huh."
  • 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.
  • Belkar in This appropriately-titled The Order of the Stick strip. He's spent a lot of time trying to goad the Knight Templar paladin Miko to kill him, as doing so would make her Fall from paladinhood. He assumed that his teammates would resurrect him afterwards. V then points out that the Raise Dead spell requires 5,000 GP of diamonds to work- diamonds that they don't actually have.
  • 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.
  • In the Oglaf story "Chronotherapy", a wizard agrees to go back in time and avert a deadly plague before it's even got started. He is successful; so successful that the people who hired him to do it, although well-intentioned, don't believe he did it.
    Wizard: [suddenly appearing] I have reached through time itself to cure the plague before it has even got started. The thousands who fell to its taint now live, as if it never was.
    Queen: Sorry, what plague is this?
    Wizard: I...fuck. Shit. ...There was a plague and you were going to give me a reward if I could cure it.
    Queen: Well... I don't really...
    Wizard: [crestfallen] No, that's fine. I wouldn't believe me either.
    Queen: What was the reward?
    Wizard: [Facepalm] Marriage to the princess and a dukedom.
    Queen: Well, that's not possible. But I can arrange for a handjob and a hot meal if you like.
    Wizard: That'd be great, thanks.
  • 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.
    • Concatenated example, as that, in turn, was just the excuse his brain came up with to turn against the person in question who he approached without any kind of protection... to deliver a medicine made to prevent her from releasing chemicals that made everybody who gets near her want to kill her.
  • Messenger: Eldora is a brave Chio. Not necessarily a bright Chio, but a brave Chio.
  • Far to the North: Kelu charges up the side of a mountain, without a coat, to vent her Mama Bear rage on the goblin that almost killed her nephew. Only when it appears right behind her does she realize she never figured out what she was going to do when it showed up.

    Web Original 
  • In The Salvation War, after the demonic general Abigor hears of the defeat of (most of) his cavalry attempting to charge a ridge line 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Noob, there was a period during which the guild's Only Sane Man leader decided to basically take time off and gave command to the guild's de facto Lancer. Unfortunately, the guy is a misogynist who can't stand stupid people and all the other members of the guild are three women and a not very bright guy. When complaints arise, temporary command gets transferred to the senior member among the women...AKA the guild's Manipulative Bitch and The Scrooge.
  • This post on Facts from a Cardboard Box. The writer had gotten a Vaporeon, a Jolteon, a Flareon, a Leafeon, and a Glaceon and he was training the three Eevees he had left...on Route 20. For context, in Pokémon X and Y, that's where the Moss Rock is. If an Eevee levels up near a Moss Rock, it evolves into a Leafeon. Luckily, getting new Eevees isn't particularly hard in that game (assuming you know where to look) and Wonder Trade meant they weren't outright wasted.
  • The CollegeHumor video "The iPhone 7 is Just Worse" skewers Apple's introduction of iPhone 7, specifically how it removes the 3.5 mm headphone jack, without realizing that this creates many new problems for users.
    Tim Cook: It's all about simplicity, everything will run through one port. Now, you might be asking yourself, "What if I want to charge my phone... (in realization) while listening to music?" Shit!

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time:
    • In "Her Parents", Jake decides to invite Lady Rainicorn's parents over to the treefort so they could finally met him. Thing is, there apparently was a war between rainicorns and dogs, and since Jake is a dog himself, Finn fears that Raincorn's parents might not let her see him again.
    Jake: Nah... that could never happen...
    Finn: You didn't think this through enough. IT COULD HAPPEN!
    • In "What Was Missing", Princess Bubblegum explains to Finn that they used to lock up Door Lords, but they broke out, 'cause they're door lords.
    • In "Lady and Peebles", as Princess Bubblegum explains to Ricardio the Heart Guy:
    Bubblegum: See, I know a thing or two about making a body out of biomass, and you DON'T leave your heart exposed!
  • In The Adventures of Puss in Boots, after failing to answer the riddles of the Sphinx to win the Hourglass of Eurythion, and being overpowered by her when he tries to fight her instead, Puss settles for momentarily distracting the Sphinx to make a quick getaway with the Hourglass. As the Hourglass is nearly as big as Puss is, he doesn't get very far at all.
  • 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.
    • In one episode, Stan arranges for a bunch of Serial Killers to be imprisoned in glass cells in an effort to make his haunted house scarier. After Francine points out that they're not scary behind glass, Roger sets them loose in the house to rectify it. After he's done so, Stan and Francine point out that now that the prisoners are loose, they're going to come after the Smiths and kill them.
  • 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?
  • 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 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 Red Lotus becomes very guilty of this by seasons 3 and 4. Their plan to kill Korra was botched because they didn't take to account how powerful she was. Even as a berserker, she was still too strong for them. They also failed to realize that trying to free Vaatu was a very bad idea. And finally, their assassination of the Earth Queen in order to bring true freedom only resulted in an even worse regime taking its place. And to add insult to injury, their would be victim spells this all out for Zaheer as he is chained up in prison, being the last one of his group to survive the ordeal. The look on his face shows that he realizes that she's absolutely right.
  • 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 Mjölnir, and Thor reveals that he can now control Absorbing Man just like he does Mjölnir, and starts hitting people with him.
  • Balance: Five men identified only by the numbers on their back are precariously perched on a platform that tilts around a balance of support at the center. They are fighting over a music box, their only possession. #23 kicks the last of his companions, #51, off the edge of the platform and now he has the music box to himself. But he had to leave the music box on the other side as a counterweight so he could march to the edge and kill #51. Not until he's done that does he realize that he has no way to get back to the music box, and in fact has marooned himself on the side.
  • 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.
  • The Cleveland Show: In the episode "Yemen Party," Cleveland disguises himself as an Arab woman named Fatima to infiltrate Donna's woman support group. While there, "Fatima" ends up accepting an invitation to dinner at the Brown house to meet Cleveland, and it's only when he's standing at the doorstep to his own house as Fatima and Donna calls for Cleveland to answer the door that Cleveland realizes the obvious flaw in that plan.
  • The Dark Lord Chuckles The Silly Piggy from Dave the Barbarian has a tendency towards this that puts even those of Sheldon J. Plankton and Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz to shame.
  • In Dexter's Laboratory, this was very often one of Dexter's fatal flaws despite being a genius.
    • In "Morning Stretch", he used a time-slowing helmet to turn thirty seconds into thirty minutes, allowing him the time to get ready for school. He failed to realize that the slowed time would prevent him from properly taking a shower or making breakfast, and his homework ignited from Friction Burn when he tried to finish it. Not to mention that it was a snow day.
    • "The Continuum of Cartoon Fools" consists of Dexter trying to keep Dee Dee out of his lab permanently. He gets desperate enough to destroy every conceivable entrance and eventually resorts to locking the front entrance behind his bookcase and eating the key, not realizing until it's too late that this course of action would also prevent himself from entering the lab.
    • The episode "Comic Stripper" has Dexter discover that Mandark has been beating him by patterning their mecha battles after the comic book Mister Misery. Dexter attempts to beat Mandark at his own game by buying every copy of the comic's next issue. As Mandark points out to Dexter at the end of the episode, it didn't occur to him that Mandark wouldn't be able to buy the next issue of Mister Misery if it was sold out, so Mandark instead chose to copy the events of a different comic called Dangerous Duck.
  • DuckTales:
    • In one episode, 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 episode "Allowance Day" Hewey, Dewey, and Louie want to buy an on-sale scooter, but don't get their allowance until the day when the sale ends. They trick Scrooge into thinking it's the day they get their allowance, which leads to Scrooge convincing his business associates that it's one day later than it is. Not only does this cause mass confusion but it also causes the store to end their sale and the price of the scooter to go back up.
  • 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??
    • In "Knock Knock Who's Ed?", the Eds' plan to create a cube of gelatin and let kids swim in it falters when they find that it's not viscous enough to swim through, as Ed dives into the cube and immediately sinks to the bottom.
    Edd: I must have overestimated the viscosity of the gelatin.
    Eddy: The greatest scam in the world! Gone.
  • 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—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.
    • Timmy's main flaw when he makes a wish, he doesn't think them through most of the time when he tries to improve his life. Wishes like being an adult, having Christmas everyday and being alone with his crush usually end up turning against him because he didn't foresee a usually obvious flaw. Even by season 10, he still hasn't realized this, claiming that thinking doesn't solve anything.
  • Family Guy:
    • In the episode "Blind Ambition", there is clip of one (or both) of Peter's 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.
    • In "Don't Make Me Over", Peter, Quagmire, Cleveland and Joe form their own rock band after a successful karaoke night at the Drunken Clam. They get together to perform their first gig at a prison and this gaping mistake hits them just as they're about to perform...
    Peter: Oh my God, we don't know any songs!
  • Fanboy and Chum Chum: In the episode "Chimp Chomp Chumps," Fanboy and Chum Chum buy the last three tickets for a Chimp Chomp movie, intending to give one to their friend Oz only to find he can't make it. When Boog asks for the last ticket, Fanboy and Chum Chum use it to their advantage to force Boog to do all manner of humiliating favors for them, since the entire time they were waiting in line for the tickets, Boog relentlessly tormented them. When all is said and done, Boog takes solace in the fact that while watching the movie, he'll be able to bop the boys senseless as payback. Fanboy and Chum Chum quickly come to this realization:
    Fanboy: Why didn't we think of that?
    Chum Chum: We really should've thought of that.
  • Played with and then subverted in an episode of Freakazoid! Dexter Douglas' mother, father and brother are held hostage by a supervillain in a secure fortress, so Freakazoid teams up with his friends to save his alter ego's family and take down the mastermind. The infiltration goes well until they actually have to escape from the prison, at which point Freakazoid announces he has a plan, and then calls the supervillain and proceeds to tell him exactly where he, Freakazoid is and what he's doing, while insulting the villain like a third-grader. When asked what his plan from there is...
    Freakazoid: *beat*... okay, I know you're going to be mad, but I forgot the rest of my plan.
    Everyone else: (groans)
    Freakazoid: But let's do ''this'' instead!
    Cut to new plan
    • In "The Freakazoid", Freakazoid realizes the superhero code he's been following is false when he notices the Lobe Industries copyright note at the code book. When confronted about this, the Lobe admits he shouldn't have put it there.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & 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.?
  • 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 Cloudcuckoolander 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. Copperhead decides not to reenact the scorpion and the frog. "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?"
  • This happened to Bonnie Rockwaller in the Kim Possible episode, "Number One," where after she finally manages to become the MHS-cheerleading captain (with the surprise of Kim supporting her), and she comes to the (at least for her) crushing realization that she's going to have to continue doing the hard work she had done to gain the position. Ron figures that Bonnie will only last about a month while Kim figures two weeks at the most—by the time all the cheerleaders are seen together again, Kim's back to being the captain.
  • 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.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes: Alexis sics her personal robot on Superman, who immediately slices it apart with his heat vision.
  • In the Mighty Max episode "Cyberskull II: The Next Level", Cyberskull tried to steal all the Earth's electrical power and use it to activate a giant robotic shell for him to inhabit. When Max succeeds in bringing down Cyberskull's robotic shell, Cyberskull attempts to retreat into cyberspace, only for Max to point out to the villain that stealing all of the Earth's electrical power also shut down all computer networks, so there was no cyberspace for Cyberskull to escape to.
  • The 1961 Mighty Mouse cartoon "Cat Alarm" has the underground cats staging an emergency news bulletin that the Cheeseville Dam has burst, sending Mighty Mouse into town and ushering the mice population out of the city. The cats send the mice into a "shelter" (actually their hideout), but they did not count on Mighty Mouse rushing to save the dam and seeing that it was still intact. Cue face-off with and beatdown of the cats.
  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic:
    • In "Bridle Gossip", Applejack, who has been shrunken by Poison Joke, catches Apple Bloom going off into the Everfree Forest in search of Zecora. She tags along by hiding in her mane which seems to work until she demands for her sister to turn around. Apple Bloom then leaves her on a branch and in response, Applejack threatens to tell Big McIntosh on her. Since she's only a few inches high, she then realizes it won't do any good.
    • Applejack has another in "The Best Night Ever". She brings her home cooking to try and raise money for Sweet Apple Acres, despite the party having free hors d'oeuvres laid on for the benefit of the attendees in the first place and the "hoity-toity types" like the nobility not being likely to buy such food anyway. She realizes this just as the Gala winds up.
    • Celestia's plan in the 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.
    • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Friendship Games and Crystal Prep's Principal Abacus Finch's plan to win the titular games. Blackmailing the very shy and insecure Twilight Sparkle of that world into competing in the games. Then, upon finding out that Twilight has been unintentionally collecting the lingering Equestia magic with a magic amulet, pressuring her to use it to win the games. What could go wrong? Well two things actually. 1) The contest deals in both academic studies and physical challenge. So while Twilight passed the first one, no problem, and give her school an early lead, she's near useless during the second event because she's not an athlete in the slightest. and 2) Oh, how about Twilight losing all control of the magic, being transformed into a force of evil that's willing to destroy the universe!
    • In the season 5 finale "The Cutie Remark", Starlight Glimmer concocts a revenge plan against Twilight by traveling to the past where Rainbow Dash preformed her Sonic Rainboom and stops her in one form or another to keep the rest of the Mane 6 from becoming inspired and receiving their cutie marks at the same time, thus preventing them from coming to Ponyville later in life and forming their friendship. That's what Starlight pretty much wanted with the endgame of her plan. However, she didn't take into account For Want of a Nail. In the original timeline, the Mane Six had been integral to the defeat of several major threats to Equestria. Them not becoming the Elements of Harmony meant there was nobody around strong enough to stop the major villains of the series from running rampant, resulting in alternate timelines where Sombra, Queen Chrysalis, Nightmare Moon, Tirek, Discord, and even the Flim Flam Brothers take over Equestria with little to no opposition. When Twilight finally shows Starlight first-hand the result of her meddling in the past, Equestria has been reduced to nothing but a barren wasteland devoid of life.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • Doof falls into this a lot. Once he tried to drill a tunnel to China and forgot about the lava from the center of the Earth.
      • 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...
    • Phineas and Ferb themselves sometime fall into this by not considering the implications of their inventions.
    Phineas: "A brain booster: in hindsight, not our best idea."
  • 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 general, Brain's plans to take over the world tend to be thwarted by something he failed to consider when they're not being thwarted by Pinky's stupidity. One example was when he planned to star alongside Pinky in a popular children's show and then go in suspended animation so he would awaken in a future where the show's fans would be fully-grown and accept him as their leader out of nostalgia. Unfortunately, the show's fans end up resenting Brain for unexpectedly leaving them so many years ago and promptly turn on him.
  • 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. Case in point: in the episode "Monkey See, Doggy Two," he re-uses his old Anubis Dog Head plan to turn the world into dogs under his control, but he doesn't turn the girls themselves into dogs because he believed that was the Fatal Flaw in the original plan. Instead, the still-human girls just beat the crap out of him, causing the plan to fail even worse than before. What makes this plan this trope even more is that Mojo Jojo did think this through - he solved the original problem by protecting his rear with a metal plate. He just thought hard enough that it circled back around into this trope when he opted to not turn the girls into dogs.
    • In the episode "Bought and Scold", Princess Morbucks ends up bribing The Mayor into making her the Mayor of Townsville. Her first order is to make crime legal and crimefighting illegal to prevent the Powerpuff Girls from stopping her schemes. The girls are lost as to what to do before the realize that the crime being legal thing also applies to them and Princess. So, the Powerpuffs sneak into Princess' home and steals everything, forcing a panicky Princess to approach the girls to get her stuff back. They're able to trade her stuff back for getting the law repealed and the Mayor back into his position. When she finds out that they were the ones who stole her stuff, she demands their arrest before Blossom points out there's no Grandfather Clause to the law, thus they get away scott-free.
  • 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.
  • Rugrats:
    • In the episode "The Inside Story", 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 "All Growed Up", which later led to the show's spinoff All Grown Up!, a pre-teen Tommy Pickles is coerced into taking his father's lucky medallion and giving it to Angelica so she can convince Samantha to reciprocate Chuckie's feelings for her. He tries to deceive his dad by replacing the missing medallion with a fake one made by wrapping gold paper over a dog treat, but the phony medallion ends up eaten by Spike because he was able to smell it, resulting in Stu freaking out over his medallion missing.
  • Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!: "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.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: In the episode "The Horrible Herd," Scooby and the gang hatch a plan to dispose of the eponymous herd by luring them into the ocean. It's only when the plan succeeds that the gang remembers that Professor Pericles used piranha DNA in the herd's creation, and thus, the monsters can swim. The episode ends with Shaggy and Velma dreading the long-term consequences.
  • A Filmation animated Shazam story had Dr. Sivana displaying a particularly stupid version of this trope: he tried using a machine that would make the Marvel Family in their normal forms forget their magic word, "Shazam" to become their Marvel forms. However, despite being warned by Mr. Mind, he completely forgot that Freddy Freeman says "Captain Marvel" to trigger his change into Captain Marvel Jr. and so is able to smash the machine.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Dog Of Death":
    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.
    • In "Lisa the Simpson", Homer gathers together all the relatives he can find to try to prove to Lisa that Grandpa's "Simpson gene" theory is absurd. Unfortunately, his plan only proves the opposite, because all the male family members are bigger losers than he is. (As Bart tells him, "Probably should have researched this first, huh Homer?") Fortunately, he inadvertently does manage to get Lisa her confidence back, as the female family members are very successful and intelligent; as one of them explains to Lisa, the Simpson gene is in the Y chromosome.
    • In "Trash of the Titans", Homer runs for the position of Springfield's sanitation commissioner, but after being elected, he ends up spending his entire year's budget in one month because he didn't realize how expensive his campaign promises would actually be. Then he figures he'll solve everything by just forcing the garbage collectors to work without pay - until the mayor makes clear there's no way in hell they're going to stand for that.
  • Sofia the First:
    • In "Once Upon a Princess", Cedric tricks Sofia into using a sleep spell that'll make everyone around her sleep so she'll have to give him the Amulet of Avalor in Exchange for the counter-spell. By the time he realizes he should stay out of the ballroom to avoid being affected by the spell, it's too late.
    • In "When You Wish Upon a Well", Amber saw how the wishing well twisted her second wish and yet doesn't expect any twists when she uses the third one to wish Sofia was no longer "a purple cat".
    • In "Cedric Be Good", Cedric finally steals the Amulet of Avalor but, by putting it on, he subjects himself to its rules, which means he'll be cursed for doing bad deeds like stealing the amulet. The curse he receives as punishment for the theft indirectly causes the destruction of the potion that would enable Cedric to use the amulet's blessings without putting it on.
  • 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.
    • In "New Year's Retribution", Eggman builds a slow-motion device to invoke Time Stands Still, putting Sonic at normal speed. However, everything else is slowed to a crawl- including Eggman's weapons. (Eggman, for some reason, is unaffected by it, which is of little comfort to him)
  • 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. When Krabs responds, "Or what?", Plankton admits he never really thought the plan would get as far as it did; Krabs responds by flushing Plankton 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.
  • This is the stock in trade of one Steven Universe.
    • In "Bubble Buddies", his plan to get him and Connie out of the bubble is to get hit by a roller coaster. Obviously if it works, they'll get run over, but Steven doesn't seem to realize that.
    • In "Fusion Cuisine" he has to bring one of his adoptive alien mothers to a dinner with his best friend's family. Each of them has both positive and negative traits for the role - Garnet is cool but isn't good with people, Pearl is very motherly but finds eating repugnant, and Amethyst is fine with eating but is a goofball to the core. He thus concludes, having spent just a bit too long ass deep in magic, that the correct response is to get them to fuse together, meaning he shows up with a six-armed giantess and is bewildered at the concept that this may not be the most subtle.
    • In another episode, Connie wishes she had more time to practice sword training. Steven gives her Rose's sword, not once considering that Connie's parents may object to their daughter owning an actual sword, which becomes a plot point in a later episode.
  • 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 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.
  • Teen Titans Go!:
    • The 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 that he didn't think this through too well.
    • The episode "Boys vs. Girls", Robin tries to break up Beast Boy and Cyborg's new respect for Raven and Starfire by infecting them with a disease named after the Cooties. He intends to have the two admit boys are better than girls if they want to be cured. His plan failed because, as they point out, they could just infect him to make him give the cure.
  • 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 the premiere episode of Time Squad, the trio discover that instead of the cotton gin, Eli Whitney created an army of flesh-eating steampunk robots that have ravaged a town and bit the flesh of several villagers. When asked why he created such machines, Whitney says he wanted to create something to benefit mankind. When Otto asks what is the logic of how and why these robots would be beneficial, Whitney admits he has no idea and didn't think things through.
  • 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.
  • Verminious Snaptrap, the leader of the evil organization D.O.O.M. from T.U.F.F. Puppy is a constant victim of this trope. Nearly all of his evil plans have some flaw in it that could have been avoided had he put more thought into planning. Some, however, are just plain dumb; one example includes heating up the Corn Belt with a space laser to make and sell popcorn as high-priced movie theater snacks. Among all of the flaws with that plan, the biggest is that the laser will destroy the Earth in the process. The Chameleon calls him out on the absurdity of his plan, and it is even lampshaded by Snaptrap's henchmen that this is a common occurrence.
    Chameleon: Wait a minute. This is your plan!? You do realize that the laser's going to blow up the planet, right?
    Snaptrap: Okay, where are you going with this, Chameleon?
    Chameleon: I am not going, I am already there! This is a crazy plan! You haven't thought this through at all!
    Ollie, Francisco, and Larry look down distraught
    Ollie: (sighs) Welcome to D.O.O.M.
  • Wabbit: A Looney Tunes Production: Wile E. Coyote tends to go for a more complex solution to simple problems, with "Aromatherapest" showing why it's not a good idea. He and Bugs are sprayed by a skunk, but instead of going with tomato juice, he argues that concrete mix would get the smell off faster. He covers himself with it and... you can guess what happens next.
  • 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 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. To be fair, though, he was probably hoping for a Stable Time Loop.
    • Jack Splicer also runs into this problem a fair amount of the time, one of them is even with a very similar time travel issue. With Wuya free they all decide the only reliable way to defeat her would be to seal her in another puzzle box, but the only way to get one would be from Grand Master Dashi in the past. Jack happily reveals that he already has a time machine but never used it because he could only generate enough power to go back in time 2 seconds. The team then lends him a Shen Gon Wu that produces unlimited power letting him run the machine to its full potential and they happily send Omi back in time to get a new puzzle box. It's only after he's gone that Omi realizes that they never talked about how he's supposed to return to the present and Jack realizes that his machine doesn't even have that capability at all since it's only ever worked for 2 seconds before so he never needed to care about returning forward.

Alternative Title(s): Did Not Think This Through, Bad Idea