Alice does something nice for Bob out of the goodness of her heart. Bob's response to that is to go "Oh, you did it wrong. But that's okay, I forgive you." Alice bristles at his audacity.
In a variant, instead of using the Stock Phrase
, Bob may just let Alice know he doesn't blame her for something because it's not her fault she's useless at whatever she was trying to do in the first place.
Sometimes there is genuine misunderstanding somewhere in there. Sometimes Bob is just taking Alice too literally
. Sometimes he's really that clueless
. Sometimes he just thinks he's being funny
. Sometimes he's genuinely being a Jerkass
. This doesn't need to be intentional— it's only necessary that Alice interpret it this way: he has no authority to "lift blame" off her when whatever happened was not her fault in the first place, or it's something that's not even a real offense. That's why it's funny
Other times, if the person being "forgiven" actually did apologize to the "forgiver", this could be used as a passive-aggressive way to accuse someone of Backhanded Apology
. Done the right way, this form of forgiveness is one to which the recipient can't
take offense without ipso facto
admitting that their apology was insincere
Compare with Backhanded Apology
and Stealth Insult
. It's Forgiven But Not Forgotten
if the forgiveness is more grudging than sarcastic. See also Forgiveness
open/close all folders
Films — Animation
- Monsters vs. Aliens: After dumping her earlier, Derek returns to Susan to forgive her, because "it wasn't your fault you got hit by a meteor and ruined everything."
Films — Live-Action
- In Discworld, Granny Weatherwax has a way of graciously not blaming Magrat for things that were clearly not Magrat's fault (and may have been Granny's).
- In Book Two (Fool Moon) of The Dresden Files, Lt. Karrin Murphy shoots in Harry's direction to save him from some crazy who was about to kill him. Harry, who was facing the opposite way at the time, hadn't seen his attacker and thought she shot at him instead, because she doubted his loyalties. However, he had previously betrayed her trust, so he decides he can't blame her for thinking him a bad guy and he forgives her for shooting him. Murphy thinks he's a big idiot for thinking that way, and lets him know it.
- Hazel to Anne in Anne Of Windy Poplars in her parting letter.
- From It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia:
Dee: Okay, I did try, it just didn't happen to work out.
Frank: It's not your fault, sweetie. You're just not pretty enough.
Dee: Wow, thank you! That's my dad, everybody.
- From Sherlock:
Because you're an idiot. *John opens mouth to retaliate*
No no no, don't be like that, practically everybody is
- In Life on Mars, after a prisoner dies in his cell, Sam sees Annie crying and reassures her that it wasn't her fault. She can't believe he thinks she needs to be told that.
- In The West Wing, after Josh and Amy have spent the episode in one of their usual semi-political-semi-personal power struggles, he comes up to tell her he forgives her for her side of it. She starts to take offense, but then Abbey prompts her to accept it for the sake of keeping the peace. She says in a monotone, "Thank you for forgiving me, Josh, I appreciate that," and then mutters, "Jackass."
- A darker version is used in Ibsen's A Dolls House. Nora Helmer has borrowed money to send her seriously ill husband Torvald on a trip that saves his life. Unfortunately, the man who lent her the money (who is Torvald's employee) blackmails her that he'll tell her husband unless she gets him a promotion. After some complications, Torvald finds out what she did and snaps at her because the blackmail and her actions reflect badly on him (especially since she had committed forgery at some point). Then he finds out that the other man changed his mind about blackmailing him. He generously "forgives" her and gives her a good deal of the "you didn't know better" part of the trope. Nora coldly thanks him, but then she proceeds to give him "The Reason You Suck" Speech and leaves the house. The exit scene is described as the most dramatic doorslam in the history of theatre.
- In the Simpsons episode, "The Nedliest Catch", Homer convinces Ned that Edna's previous sexual encounters should not break Ned and Edna up when they were such a perfect couple. Ned invites Edna over to his place to apologize for freaking out, and then announces his forgiveness. They come down to a Make Up or Break Up and...that's the end of the season. The viewers vote for which happens. The viewers voted that they should stay together.