Finn: Just don't take credit for ideas that aren't yours.Bob and Alice have a problem. Bob has a brilliant solution and tells Alice. Alice reacts as if she had thought of it herself. Bonus points if Alice first criticizes the idea before stealing it. Further bonus points if Bob and Alice are members of a Quirky Miniboss Squad and Alice returns ownership of the idea to Bob after the plan goes Wahoonie-shaped. A common variation has Alice acting as though she has not heard Bob's suggestion at all, and then repeating it word-for-word as though she had just thought of it. This variation is important: without it, the character who's "glad they thought of it" technically isn't lying - they did think of it, as a consequence of someone else's voicing the idea; what they're lacking is the acknowledgement "... because you said it", and that lack is the essence of the trope. If Alice honestly hadn't heard the plan before independently suggesting it, it's a case of Strange Minds Think Alike. To add insult to injury, any other participants to the plan will often be quick to bestow fawning praise on Alice for "her" brilliant idea... even if they had also been present to hear Bob suggest it. Compare with Glad You Thought of It, which is to suggest subtly an idea in a way that lets someone else take credit (and perhaps honestly believe that they thought of it themselves), making them more likely to accept and act on the proposal than if you directly advocated it yourself. People prone to this are also prone to Never My Fault.
Bufo: Oh... okay.... Good idea.... Glad I thought of it....
Bufo: Oh... okay.... Good idea.... Glad I thought of it....
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- Used in a Dominoes' commercial. Donald Trump receives a cheeseburger pizza from a delivery guy... and then acts like the cheeseburger pizza — its invention, not ordering it, which was probably his secretary's idea from his reaction — was his idea. And his yes-men compliment him on it. The delivery guy is the Only Sane Man, of course.
- A commercial for FedEx featured a boss repeating an underling's suggestion verbatim but making a hand signal while saying it, which is apparently enough to make it uniquely the boss's idea.
- A commercial for NBATickets.com featured a son showing his dad how another family used the site to get tickets even though the game was sold out. The dad immediately takes credit for finding the site, and buys tickets for the two of them.
Dad: Your dad's a genius!
- In one MAD "The Lighter Side" feature, one editor at a magazine (apparently Mad itself) pitches an idea his coworker thought up while noting that he has reservations about it. The head editor approves it, and the editor who mentioned it claimed that he had supported it all along.
- A Running Gag in Series Four of The Lion King Adventures. The Interceptor suggests several ideas to Shocker, who then takes credit for them as his own.
- This occurs between Jack and Sheila in Calvin and Hobbes: The Series.
- In the Death Note fic A Cure for Love during his Memory Gambit Light discovers a lead as to how Astraea and Kira might be killing when he finds a reference to a Book of Death the Nazis were searching for that is mentioned in an old fairy tale. L dismisses it as rubbish... and then steals Light's research.
- Turnabout Storm: Trixie gets Phoenix to explain a hole in her case and then immediately takes his theory as hers. True to character, the Judge is completely oblivious to this.
Judge: You sure are very bright, deducing something like that, Miss Trixie.
Phoenix: *Inner Monologue* Argh! That was my deduction!
- In part 4 of Hard Being Pure, Haeten blatantly steals Astrex's plan.
Astrex: I say we get in, cover both of her houses and grab her as soon as we see her.Haeten: I SAID SHUT THE FUCK UP!!
Ok, here's the plan. We get in, camp at both houses and the first one to spot her kidnaps the girl.Astrex: I call plagiarism on my plan. It's not because you changed a few words that it makes it yours.Haeten: You have something to say about my plan?!Astrex: Not anymore.
Films — Animated
- From "The Reign of Mega Mind," (a video comic extra):
Minion: Sir! You- You listened to me?
Megamind: No... Something you said just happened to make me take action on a plan of my own. Which bore a similarity to your suggestion, but was entirely of my own making.
- Invoked in Brother Bear 2 when Rutt explains to the female moose that he was a "hoof man". This prompts Tuke, who had been ditched by said females, to say this:
Tuke: "Hoof man"? Why didn't I think of that?
- In the Disney version of The Prince and the Pauper, this is one of the two things the prince tells Mickey to say in order to pass himself off as a ruler. (The other one is "Guards, seize him!")
- Timon does this to Pumbaa in The Lion King, the sequel, the Interquel and Timon & Pumbaa. Pumbaa never notices. Well, sometimes he does, but he promptly shrugs it off
Pumbaa: Maybe he'll be on our side.Timon: That's the stupidest thing I ever heard! Maybe he'll... Wait, I've got an idea! What if he's on our side?
Simba: All right, it worked!Nala: We lost him!Simba: I am a genius.Nala: Hey, genius, it was my idea.Simba: Yeah, but I pulled it off!
- From the same film:
- In The LEGO Movie, when the heroes are trying to work out an escape plan after Cloud Cuckoo Land is attacked by Micro Managers, Emmet rather meekly suggests that they go underwater and is ignored. Batman then loudly suggests the same idea, to immediate and very enthusiastic agreement.
- A chain of these happen in Strange Magic. One of Roland's minions suggests using a love potion which Roland's insulted by, since he thinks it implies he can't woo Princess Marianne successfully. When he thinks of other ways to woo her, he "comes up with" the idea to use a love potion. He then tricks Sunny into coming up with the love potion idea and encourages him to make one.
- In Pooh's Heffalump Movie, Roo proposes the "expotition" to capture a heffalump. Rabbit agrees that it's a great idea, takes credit for it, then bans Roo from going because it's too dangerous for little kid like him.
Rabbit: Oh, yes, the first heffalump expedition in history. Splendid idea. Glad I thought of it.
- In Inside Out, when Riley has fallen asleep and they need to get the Train of Thought moving, Sadness suggests waking her up. Joy criticizes the idea, not seeing how they'd do it, then sees Dream Productions and repeats the idea.
- In the classic "Duck Rogers in the 24 1/2th Century," Eager Young Space Cadet (Porky) suggests following a string of planets marked "A," "B," etc. to find Planet X. Duck ridicules the suggestion, then says:
Duck Dogers: Hey, wait a minute. I'll just bet that if we follow those planets, we'll find Planet X. (Dramatic turn) Gad! How do I do it?Space Cadet: I, ah, di-don't know!
Films — Live-Action
- Used in Hook, when Smee convinces the good Captain to try to get Peter's kids to love him.
- Occurs in Miss Congeniality when Gracie suggests to Eric how he should run his op. Eric immediately orders his team to follow those exact steps and follows it up with "Yeah, now I'm thinking!"
- Used in Ocean's Eleven, when Danny and Rusty are discussing whether Saul will join their team.
Danny: You could ask him.Rusty: Hey, I could ask him.
- Spider-Man 2: Jameson seamlessly believes he has come up with the name Dr. Octopus himself moments after Hoffman suggests it to him.
- The Airplane! make a Running Gag out of the following dialog:
Character 1: Character 2, shouldn't I do X?Character 2: (to first character) No, why don't you take care of it?
- Variation from the 1984 Dune adaptation:
De Vries: Now, as instructed, I have enlightened your nephews concerning my plan—Baron Harkonnen: MY plan!De Vries: ...the plan to crush the Atreides.
- In Inception the plan centers on invoking this in the mind of the mark. While in the mark's dream you present him with an idea that he will suborn as his own upon waking up. The key is to make the mark truly believe that he came up with the idea on his own. This is much harder than simply stealing an idea.
- Used as a Chekhov's Gun in The Brady Bunch Movie. Jan suggest entering herself and the other kids in a performance contest in order to raise enough money for the family to save their home, but is rejected. Much later, Marcia does the same thing and immediately everyone agrees with her... except Jan, who unlike other uses of this trope, calls them (and specifically Marcia) out for blasting the idea when she originally thought of it first. This also winds up being the last straw for her after constantly being treated as The Unfavorite and causes her to run away.
- Used multiple times in the Danny Kaye film version of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, with Mitty's boss claiming all of Mitty's ideas as something he'd already been planning.
- It's the driving plot of the movie Working Girl. Secretary proposes an idea to her boss, who shoots it down and then later submits it as her own.
- Said by Brer Fox a couple of times in the "Tar Baby" sequence of Song of the South.
- Regarding the upcoming Pan film, the director has stated that "Peter (Pan) has a tendency to claim other people's ideas as his own when they work, and claim they weren't his when they don't."
- A variant is used in Anna and the King after the king of Siam discovers that the English Prime Minister has referred to him as an "uncivilised savage." The king wants to go to war over the insult (which would have been a disaster for both him and his nation considering England's overwhelming military superiority over Siam) but Anna goes to the king and cleverly manipulates him into realising that diplomacy is a better solution. In a subversion, the king immediately realises that he's been manipulated by Anna but is also wise enough to not only agree with her but also to ask Anna for her advice in a way which makes it superficially seem as though she's guessed his method of diplomacy while she's really telling him the best method to use.
- In the James Bond film The Living Daylights, Bond and the Girl of the Week (a cellist) are escaping when she insists that they go back for her cello. Bond is adamant that they can't risk it, but she gets her way. Later, when they need an improvised sled:
Bond: "Glad I insisted you bring that cello!"
- Used dramatically in Animal Farm. Napoleon criticizes Snowball's plan to build a windmill, then claims he thought of it himself after he runs Snowball off the farm.
- Used intentionally by Ehren ex Cursori in the sixth Codex Alera book First Lord's Fury. He manages to convince the current (usurping) First Lord to expose himself to a dangerous (and eventually fatal) situation and think it was his own idea.
- In Perloo The Bold, Gumpel suggests that Berwig put Senyous at the head of the army, which Berwig accepts with a "how clever of me to think of that."
- Mentioned in the last Protector of the Small. A very green female knight running a refugee camp, Keladry of Mindelan can't always just give orders and have all of them obeyed immediately, and one of the things she figures out is how to phrase suggestions in ways that let her people think they came up with ideas. It might not be satisfying, but Kel's always been less interested in ego-stroking, more in results.
- Used by Cao Cao numerous times in Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
- The Russian Space Navy admiral in Harry Harrison's Starworld is known by his subordinates for his little tolerance to criticism (and love of vodka while on duty). As such, his Number Two tries to find ways to contradict his admiral in such a way as to present it as the admiral's own idea, usually with phrases like "Haven't you told me once..." The one time the subordinate openly criticizes the guy, he gets slapped for his efforts.
- Thomas Cromwell invokes this trope in Wolf Hall. He'll make deferential hints to Henry about an idea he has, and a week later Henry will say, "Cromwell, don't you think we should...?" Cromwell doesn't care about credit so long as he has permission to carry out "Henry's" proposal.
- Our Miss Brooks: Mr. Conklin uses this trope from time-to-time, usually at Connie's expense. However, being a Dead Pan Snarker, Connie doesn't let this go without remark.
- Jim from The Office (US) uses this trope sarcastically a couple of times, usually to point out the ridiculousness of said plan. For instance, during a meeting in the episode "Did I Stutter", Andy proposes to add a bit more zing and pep to their answering machine message in order to energize the company. Jim responds by saying they should add a newer message with even more zing and pep.
- Colonel Klink does this all the time on Hogan's Heroes. Colonel Hogan regularly takes advantage of it to manipulate him, often complimenting Klink on the brilliance of his plan.
- Schemer does this in an episode of Shining Time Station.
- Moe of The Three Stooges did this all the time.
- Friends, Rachel is looking for a roommate and Phoebe's roommate just moved out. "Well maybe I could be your roommate, Pheebs." "...Hey, maybe you could be my roommate!"
- In Get Smart, Agent 99 will often suggest a plan, after which, Max will re-quote the plan in the same exact words as if it were his own idea... Agent 99 will usually pause for a bit before deciding to humor Max.
There is also a variant when Max is asked to explain how or why his brilliant idea will work. He chides the questioner... then asks 99 for the explanation. When 99 supplies it, he closes with something to the effect of "that's how/why my brilliant idea will work".
- Black Adder Edmund often does this to Baldrick throughout the series, most notably in the first season where Baldrick is portrayed as smarter than Edmund.
An example occurs in the very first episode. Edmund, having become a Prince of the Realm after the death of the previous king, decides to adopt a new nickname. His initial idea is The Black Vegetable. Baldrick suggests that something like The Black Adder might be more awe-inspiring. Edmund then proclaims that he has an even better idea: The Black Adder.
- In the Are You Being Served? episode "The Think Tank", the Ladies and Gents' staff are trying to think up ways of boosting sales in the department. Captain Peacock suggests an in-store fashion show, which Mr. Rumbold summarily rejects and then appropriates as his own idea.
- Happened Twice An Episode in Wonderbug, the first usually boiling down to "Let's get Wonderbug to help", the second being "Let's put on goofy disguises", and the second one usually having a variation. In fact, in at least one episode, the roles of Susan (who usually suggests the idea) and Barry (who steals the idea) are reversed, leaving Barry confused afterwards.
- A running gag in the Mash episode "Rally Round the Flagg, Boys".
- Doctor Who
- In the serial The Stones of Blood, Romana tells the Doctor to get on with finding the next segment of Key to Time. The Doctor starts to leave, turns back, and tells her that he's decided to go find the location of the next segment of the Key to Time.
- The Fourth Doctor seems particularly prone to this, as he does the same to Leela in The Invisible Enemy. She spends the episode telling him to blow up the enemy, only to become indignant when he congratulates himself on his brilliant idea of...blowing up the enemy.
- To Romana again in City of Death, discussing Paris:
Doctor: It's the only place in the world where one can relax entirely.
Romana: Mm. That bouquet.
Doctor: What Paris has, it has a life, it has an ethos, it has ...
Romana: A bouquet?
Doctor: ...a spirit all its own. Like a wine, it has ...
Romana: A bouquet.
Doctor: It has a bouquet. (Beat) Yes.
- The Sixth Doctor did this to Peri also.
- Paul does this to Barry a lot in ChuckleVision.
- In the Swedish children's show Dr Mugg, this is a running gag. Captain Filling, the hero, will ask out loud what he can do to stop Dr. Mugg's latest plan. His love interest will propose an idea. He will hijack the idea. She, fawning all over him, will ask how he comes up with such brilliant plans. He will announce "Simple! I just use my brain!" and point to some completely random part of his body.
- Subverted in The IT Crowd when Moss has a good idea but decides its stupid until Jen repeats it and he congratulates her on having a good idea, while Jen confusedly thanks him.
- Used a lot on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The gang likes to pull this trope on Butt-Monkey Sweet Dee.
- Invoked in an episode of Blackadder the Third. The Prince refuses to sponsor Dr. Samuel Johnson's Dictionary and insults the man on the way out, but Edmund promises Johnson he can change the Prince's mind in a few minutes. He does so by telling the Prince that pretending to hate the Dictionary while actually loving it was a brilliant joke, which causes him to instantly adopt this attitude (the entire episode is predicated on the Prince's desire to convince people that he was witty and sophisticated).
- Also a Running Gag in Dad's Army. Sgt Wilson would suggest a good idea, then Captain Mainwaring would say, "Yes, I was waiting for you to say that, Wilson."
- Power Rangers Zeo: This is what happens when Finster suggests Lord Zedd used the Power Rangers against Gasket. "That's a brilliant idea, Finster! I'm glad I thought of it!" (Yes, Zedd actually says it word-for-word.) Finster doesn't mind in the least that Zedd takes the credit, because his suggestion is being acted upon.
- The Aquabats! Super Show!, in the cartoon segment of "Uberchaun!":
Ricky Fitness: Commander! What if we shrink ourselves and fight them from inside Jimmy?
MC Bat Commander: Maybe, (discards crowbar) or even better! We can shrink ourselves and fight them from inside Jimmy!
- Horatio Hornblower, "The Even Chance": Horatio has his first midshipman command. He's supposed to board a taken French ship from a food convoy and bring her to England. He orders his men to put the Frenchmen in irons and assigns them some work. Matthews, his most experienced sailor and The Reliable One, suggests they need more hands and that they should make the Frenchies do it. Horatio agrees and says it was of course his intention. Now, of course it was. However, he smiles as he says it which indicates he gives Matthews some credit.
- Another good natured example occurs in Babylon 5. Commander Ivanova appropriates an extremely obvious solution to a problem that she missed and Dr. Franklin suggested (they need a strong power source, and the planet they orbit houses an immensely powerful machine controlled by an ally), but she is clearly embarrassed that she could miss it, and Franklin is playing along to make her feel better.
- While he doesn't say this exactly, Archie of All in the Family lives up to the spirit of this trope in Archie Eats and Runs when Mike suggests they check to see if Edith served poison mushrooms for dinner, only to immediately have Archie dismiss it and then repeat the idea verbatim to Edith not a second later.
- In the Swedish comedy show Kenny Starfighter the titular hero often responds to his kid sidekicks' suggestions of "How about we do X?" with a "No, let's do X". Although he's such a Cloud Cuckoolander that it's not clear if he consciously is trying to steal their ideas, or if he didn't listen to a word they said to begin with.
- El Chapulín Colorado has as one of his catchphrases "That's exactly what I was going to say" whenever someone comes up with a good idea.
- In Wolf Hall, Thomas Cromwell asks Mary Boleyn to get him a real job in Henry's court and says Keeper of the Jewelhouse might do. Shortly afterwards, Anne says that she's decided he should have a job: Keeper of the Jewelhouse. Then, while walking back to his room tipsy, Henry tells Cromwell that he's decided to make him Keeper of the Jewelhouse.
- Dilbert and his co-workers have taken advantage of the Pointy-Haired Boss' habit of doing this several times — suggest something ridiculous, wait for him to steal the idea, try not to laugh in PHB's face.
- In one strip, Dogbert was helping a guy who wanted a career belittling other people. Dogbert suggested that he pursue a career in management and decided to give him the management aptitude test. The guy instantly declared, "Hey, I have an idea! I should pursue a career in management!" Dogbert, of course, replied, "Congratulations, you just passed the management aptitude test."
- In another strip, when PHB does this to Dilbert's idea, Dilbert attempts to steal it back, to which PHB replies angrily "I steal that idea to infinity."
- A months-long plotline in For Better or for Worse revolved around Elly trying to save the local theatre. Eventually, she gave up and took her young son Michael along to pack everything away. Michael, amazed by all the costumes, proclaims they could throw the biggest Halloween party ever. Elly immediately hijacks the idea and helps organize a big celebration, inviting the local officials for a big shin-dig... only for adults, no children allowed. When one of those officials then declares the theatre a local icon and saves it, he proclaims "I've been lobbying for this for months!", leaving Elly gobsmacked and shocked that somebody would take credit for her idea.
- In an early Thimble Theatre comic, Castor Oyle (Olive Oyle's father) is annoyed that the political cartoonist for the newspaper he owns hasn't actually thought up a cartoon in several days. Castor suggests a cartoon showing the mayor as a vulture (a scandal was brewing during this) carrying off sheep, representations of the townspeople. The cartoonist derides this as stupid, before coming up with a comic portraying the mayor as a vulture carrying off sheep. Castor is not amused.
- The very last multi-day Calvin and Hobbes storyline involves Galaxoid and Nebular, two aliens who Calvin sold the Earth to, complaining about the cold Earth winter and demanding Calvin do something about it. Hobbes removes their Christmas stockings from the fireplace and gives them to the aliens, to which Calvin vehemently protests, since now "Santa can't fill 'em with loot!" Hobbes reassures him that Santa knows they did a nice thing and will work something out, to which Calvin replies, "Hey yeah, I did something good!"
- Pretty much every higher-up in The Men from the Ministry will take their employees and subordinates good ideas and claim credit for them, only to blame them if it goes wrong.
- In 1776, Franklin exploits this so that Richard Henry Lee will get approval to propose independence from Virginia, without Franklin and Adams having to ask him directly and then owe him a favor. It works magnificent-LEE.
Franklin: If we could think of a Virginian who could go down there and persuade the House of Burgesses...
Lee: DAMN ME IF I HAVEN'T THOUGHT OF SOMEONE!
- A non-malicious example arises in Persona 4 as the heroes are all discussing the latest developments in their murder investigation, what they signify and what they should do about it. Chie's only been half-listening to the discussion while thinking it over, and then, as the conversation concludes, she suddenly announces that she's got it all figured out - and proceeds to recite almost exactly what everyone else had just said. It doesn't seem to have been intentional, though she's still immediately called out for it.
- Inverted, surprisingly enough, in the Sith Inquisitor storyline in Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Inquisitor: (Force Persuade) "How about you just give me the chip now?"The Veil: "Please, Lord, let us join your cult and give you the chip."Inquisitor: "Excellent idea. I wish I'd thought of it myself."
- Grisaia no Kajitsu: Michiru, a character whose intelligence is nowhere near where she thinks it is, does this on occasion. This tendency of hers is summed up during a conversation in which she tries to give nicknames to her classmates:
Makina: "Look, we've all got diff'rent impressions of each other anyway. How about we just play around with th' name instead?"Michiru: "That's it! Brilliant! We'll play around with his name instead... Heheh, I'm just full of ingenious thoughts today!"Yuuji: "Most of them seem to be shamelessly stolen from Makina."
- An unusual variant occurs in this Schlock Mercenary strip where time travel allows a character to steal an idea from a future version of himself prompting him to say "I'm glad I will have thought of it"
- 8-Bit Theater:
Mob Boss: Good idea. Glad I Thought of It.Mob Underling: That's why you're the boss. You're not afraid to go vaudeville on a guy.
- In RPG World, Evil Soldier #347 suggests that Galgarion join the heroes in disguise. Galgarion promptly fires him... and then brings up the brilliant idea of joining the heroes in disguise!
- In Erfworld, one of Wanda's methods of getting Stanley to do what she wants is to make him think it was his idea.
- A repeated gag in Kickassia By episode 3, this has become a habit, to the point where Phelous can count down the seconds until the Critic repeats his idea. By the end of the series, they've done tons of different variations on that gag including the Critic preemptively stealing an idea and having to wait for Phelous to finish his sentence, the Critic hypocritically blaming Phelous for coming up with a bad idea, and Phelous tricking the Critic into suggesting his own beating.
Phelous: Hey guys, uh, I got a idea. This might seem like a shot in the dark, but what if we'd just used weapons?Phelous, sarcastically: Gee, does it involve using weapo-?Critic, very hammy: It involves using weapons!
- Inverted in Marik's Evil Council of Doom #2: Marik refuses to accept that there was anything wrong with his failed evil plan until reminded that Bakura thought of it.
- As seen on Not Always Right, a customer wants to buy a 20-foot piece of wood. As the store does not have them, the shopkeeper suggests buying two ten-foot planks. The customer rejects this idea, but instead offers to buy two ten-foot planks.
- The Thwomps:
Thwhomp 1: What we need to do is to gather all thwomps, and take over!Thwomp 2: That's a stupid idea. What we need to do is take over, by gathering all the thwomps.
- The Most Popular Girls in School: When Shay becomes Head Cheerleader in the middle of Season 3, her strategy is to wait for Mackenzie to say something brainy, then steal it for herself. And each time, Mackenzie is not amused. This trope is lampshaded in this fanart.
- The Super Mario World episode "Gopher Bash" has Cheatsy Koopa suggest to Koopa that they steal the cave people's crops, forcing them to get food from Koopa. Slight subversion in that Koopa considers it a brilliant suggestion, but he still remarks "Glad I thought of it".
- Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines: In "A Plain Shortage of Planes", Klunk suggests to Dick Dastardly that the squadron buy an airplane to replace the planes that crashed. This is also probably the only time Dastardly did not ask Zilly to translate.
- In the Looney Tunes short "Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century", Porky (the eager, young space cadet) decides that the best way to find the elusive Planet X is to follow a row of planets marked A, B, C, etc. Daffy (Duck Dodgers) first laughs at the idea, and then immediately claims it as his own.
- Darkwing Duck: Darkwing does this all the time. He will dismiss his daughter or sidekick's plan. Then he has a great idea that, word for word, repeats the plan he just heard. His daughter Gosalyn will often call him on this. When it's Launchpad's idea, he'll usually get away with it, as Launchpad is too much of a fanboy to realize that it was the exact same plan he just suggested five seconds earlier.
Launchpad: We could follow this trail of latex that leaked out of the tank, DW.Darkwing: Unless of course, we follow this trail of latex that leaked out of the tank!Launchpad: Whoa! That guy's amazing!
- DuckTales, "Where No Duck Has Gone Before". Seconds after Launchpad suggests that one of them should play sick as a distraction, Courage announces that they'll use "the old sickness ploy" to escape from the aliens. Notably, Launchpad doesn't say anything, but unlike with Darkwing, his smirk indicates he knows Courage did not come up with that idea on his own.
- SpongeBob SquarePants
- "Welcome To The Chum Bucket" with Plankton and Karen.
Karen: To get to the Spongebob, you must show him compassion and understanding. Then he'll give you what you want.Plankton: Will you be quiet, I'm thinking! I've got it! To get to the Spongebob, I'll show him compassion and understanding. Then he'll give me what I want.
- This becomes a Running Gag in the series. Anytime Karen suggests something, Plankton will act like he doesn't understand or it's not important, then say the exact same idea.
- In another episode:
SpongeBob: How about we help you?Mermaid Man: No, no, that would never work. But how about you help me?
- 20,000 Patties Under the Sea:
Squidward: Well, since you can't bring any customers into the Krusty Krab, have you ever thought about bringing the Krusty Krab to the customers?Mr. Krabs: Quiet, Squidward, I'm brainstorming! Ooh, ooh! What if instead of bringing customers to the Krusty Krab, we could bring the Krusty Krab to the customers?
- "Welcome To The Chum Bucket" with Plankton and Karen.
- Care Bears
- In the 1980s cartoon, Shreeky does this to Beastly as a Running Gag. Here's an example from "The Most Ancient Gift":
Beastly: A-ha! We could grab those camels and make a getaway!Shreeky: I've got a better idea! Let's grab those camels and make a getaway!Beastly: Oh, why didn't I think of that?
- Grizzle does this in an episode of Care Bears: Adventures in Care-a-lot. UR-2 suggests that he get the Care Bears to like him, and Grizzle falls on the floor laughing. UR-2, unfazed, continues explaining that if the bears like him, they'll trust him, and Grizzle puts the rest of the pieces together. He claims the plan as his own, ignoring UR-2's objections.
- In the 1980s cartoon, Shreeky does this to Beastly as a Running Gag. Here's an example from "The Most Ancient Gift":
- In the Talespin episode "Captains Outrageous", Don Karnage sends Mad Dog and Dumptruck into Cape Suzette to kidnap a rich kid and hold him for ransom. When Mad Dog hears about a "super secret anti-pirate weapon"...
Mad Dog: We can get the kid * and* the weapon. Ooh, wait till Don Karnage gets a load of this...*Mad Dog gets on the radio to explain to Karnage*Don Karnage: Two for one...I like it! I like it so much, I must have thought of it myself.
- The Spectacular Spider-Man does this as well, with J. Jonah Jameson both criticizing and selectively hearing Peter Parker's suggestion that photos of Spider-Man would sell papers.
- In the story "Dare Duck" from PB&J Otter, Peanut, Jelly and Flick are lost in the woods and Jelly gets the idea to follow a stream downhill in order to return to Lake Hoohaw. Peanut says it's a great idea and Flick agrees, "Great?! It's perfect! Glad I thought of it!"
- In an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Robin deduces that Crazy Quilt is going to break into STAR Labs. Batman replies "Of course! He must be going to break into STAR Labs!" The implication here isn't that Batman is stealing Robin's idea, it's that he simply isn't listening because he still thinks of Dick as the sidekick.
- Jimmy Two-Shoes: Whenever Heloise comes up with a good idea, Lucius begins taking credit for it usually before the pitch is finished.
- In Aladdin: The Series, this often happens to Beleaguered Assistant Haroud. Abis Mal will often dismiss his ideas then come up with the same idea himself, although sometimes he'll rephrase it.
- The joke goes full circle with the wizard Bufo in Adventure Time.
Finn: You don't have to quit your job. Just don't take credit for ideas that aren't yours.
Bufo: Uh, good idea. Glad I thought of it.
- A variation from My Little Pony: A Charming Birthday:
Minty: I didn't understand Kimono at first of course, I mean, who understands her at first? "Unity often makes tasks easier to conquer," who understands that?
Wysteria: We give Kimono one charm bracelet instead of eight?
Minty: See, I didn't get it either. But then I did! We give Kimono one charm bracelet instead of eight!
- This was a Running Gag with Mr. Big, Boris and Natasha's boss in early episodes of The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle. A plan that worked was always his plan until the moment it started to flop, at which point it was Boris' plan. (And he always let Boris know that.)
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- The episode "Over A Barrel" could also be a variation, Pinkie Pie's suggestion of sharing and caring is insulted by the warring factions' leaders early on, but after this proves to be the right solution to the problem, Twilight Sparkle paraphrases her idea as the day's Aesop.
- Also happens in "Hearth's Warming Eve", although it was part of a Show Within a Show.
- Happens several times in The Simpsons, often with Bart and Lisa or Homer and Lisa.
- American Dad! episode when Stan is hosting a telethon to raise the money to pay for the terrorist torturing devices. Roger actually came up of the idea of a telethon, but Stan thought it was stupid until it's a great idea and takes it as his own. Roger plots revenge by sabotaging the stage as the Phantom Of The Telethon.
- In the same episode, it's revealed Roger went though the same thing with Jerry Lewis.
- An episode of Arthur in which the Tibble Twins annoy DW by imitating the characters from a Power Rangers-esque show they accidentally watched without permission has her complaining about it to Arthur, who suggests that DW just tell them that they're annoying her and her friends with their actions. The next scene has DW explaining the plan to one of her friends, who asks DW if her mom gave her that suggestion to which DW says that she came up with it all on her own.
- Halvar, the father of Vicky the Viking incurs in this trope in every episode after his son's brilliant plan saves the day. Played somewhat for laughs since Halvar is a rather rustic chieftain.
- Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends had an episode where Frankie had to buy groceries and her suggestion that they ordered pizza was rejected. When she came back, Mr. Herriman, who rejected her idea, told her it took her so long for her to come back the imaginary friend who moved in at the beginning of that episode suggested ordering a pizza.
- In Phineas and Ferb Across The Second Dimension Candace decides that as an adult, she's too mature to beg her mom to bust her brothers, leading to this exchange;
Stacy: The irony is that as an adult, you don't need to tell your mom. You can just bust them yourself.Candace: That's it, Stacy! I'm old enough to bust them myself!Stacy: That's what I just said.
- In the Iron Man: Armored Adventures episode "Heavy Mettle" we have this exchange between Smug Snake Titanium Man/Justin Hammer and his Voice with an Internet Connection Sasha, when Hammer sees Iron Monger/Obidiah Stane kidnapping Pepper:
Justin: Look at that, Stane has gone completely loopy! Who needs remote control? I can just sit back and watch the fireworks.Sasha: Yes, but if you save that little girl, imagine the press. You'll be a hero and they'll give you the military contract. Forget Mandroids, think about an entire army of Titanium Men.Justin: And then I could buy out Stark International! Sasha, do you know who the real brains behind this operation is? Me! Hahahahaha! What an ingenious plan I just came up with! Sasha, you could learn a thing or two from me.Sasha: *eyeroll*
- Blatantly lampshaded in one episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987). After Rocksteady and Bebop screw up again, Krang yells at Shredder for what "your stupid mutants" did, and Shredder responds by asking, "Why is it whenever they do something wrong they're my stupid mutants". Later in the same episode, the pair manage to actually steal the fuel needed to power the Technodrome, and Krang remarks that, "for once my mutants did a good job!"
- Clyde Crashcup from The Alvin Show takes credit for inventions his assistant Leonardo does.
- In Garfield's Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving dinner is seemingly ruined so Garfield tries to get Jon to call his grandmother since she's the only one who could potentially salvage things for everyone. Unfortunately, none of the hints he's giving Jon are getting through to him. So finally, Garfield shoves a picture of Grandma Arbuckle in his face.
Jon: I know! I'll call Grandma! John, you're a genius!Garfield: ...If he had a brain, he'd be dangerous.
- A Lampshaded variation pops up in Gravity Falls.
Stan: Soos, this hall of mirrors is your best idea that I'm taking credit for yet.
- Fred Flintstone has done the old 'I'm glad I thought of it!' gag at least once.
- This exchange in The Beatles episode "Boys," between the executive of a movie studio and an associate, who pitches the idea of a contest to find a "Mr. Hollywood":
Associate: They held a contest to find Scarlett O'Hara.Executive: It was a failure.Associate: They held a contest to find a new Tarzan.Executive: It was a failure.Associate: Okay, what do we do? How will find Mr. Hollywood?Executive: We'll hold a contest.
- In the second episode of Budgie The Little Helicopter, Chuck wants to take part in the fete but Lionel shoots down all of his ideas because of the downdraft his rotors would cause. Then Budgie pitches in an idea:
Budgie: He could fly around the outside of the field, Lionel. Then the folks could see him.Pippa: Yes, good idea!Lionel: Yes, thank you Budgie, I'll decide what he can do. You can... you can, uh, fly around the outside of the field.
- On Wallykazam!, Bobgoblin does this to Hattie several times in "The Explorers Club" when she's part of his club. She gets tired of this and his bossing her around, but doesn't quit simply because she wants to find out what will happen as far as the "chickephant" animal they've been chasing.
- This trope is Captain Flamingo's entire "superpower" in a nutshell. He thinks he has a Spider-Sense-like power in the form of a voice in his head that tells him the best course of action, when it's really just his best friend/sidekick giving him suggestions. He's either too deep in thought, too arrogant, or just too stupid to realize the suggestions are coming from her. Meanwhile, she thinks he knows the suggestions are from her, and she has a crush on him, so she's quite flattered to be referred to as his superpower. Of course, she can't take all the credit. He usually badly misinterprets her suggestions and does something totally different, which ends up causing some Rube Goldberg style chain of events that works out perfectly for him by sheer dumb luck.
- Shimmer and Shine: When Zeta is running out of the magic carpet dust she uses to make her scooter fly, her pet dragon Nazboo suggests using flying flour instead. She claims to be the one who thought about it.
- Inverted for a laugh in "Crimes of the Hot," an episode of Futurama. After discovering that the world's robot population is responsible for the massive buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, Richard Nixon's Head decides to destroy all of them with an EMP cannon. He sends a message to all of the planet's robots inviting them to a big party on the Galapagos Islands; when the Planet Express crew receives it, Zoidberg loudly puzzles out what it could mean before declaring that it must be a deactivation trap. No one responds, and Leela remarks that the ruse is so painfully transparent that everyone saw through it immediately. So Zoidberg is trying to take credit for an idea that no one bothered to say. The poor guy really can't catch a break.
- Thomas Edison is reputed to have done this several times, mostly notoriously to Nikola Tesla. Of course he had to be a bit more forceful, seeing as people don't like seeing potentially incredibly profitable inventions stolen. This really bit Edison on the butt because Tesla managed to beat Edison in the World's Fair bid and the Alternating Current/Direct Current War. However, Tesla was later awarded the Edison Medal for his accomplishments, which is kind of like getting the last laugh.
- It's not unusual for some people with Asperger's or autism to do this without realizing it, because in memory the storage of information is more likely to be disconnected from the source of the information.
- Josef Stalin, when this was politically expedient, brought up in a slightly changed form ideas condemned when they belonged to the rivals or formulated proposals as products of his "counseling with comrades". According to his once-secretary Bazhanov, few minutes after reading the draft of new Party Charter the first time he introduced it to Lenin as a result of development by "we here in the Central Committee" — of course, this does sound better than "comrades here found one young man with a good project".
- Can be done by politicians when presenting a new bill, which is little more than an old rejected bill written by someone else with a new presentation. The difference can be the times, the wording, the party, who's in charge, etc.
These are all good examples; glad I thought of them.