That's why he gets the big bucks!
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. If she honestly hadn't heard the plan before independently suggesting it, it's a case of Strange Minds Think Alike
Compare with Glad You Thought of It
, which is to subtly suggest 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
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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.
- 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.
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.
- Inverted 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?
Nala: All right, it worked.
Simba: We lost him. I am a genius.
Nala: Hey, genius, it was my idea.
Simba: Yeah, but I pulled it off.
- 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.
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 Oceans 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:
Now, as instructed, I have enlightened your nephews concerning 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!"
- 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.
- 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.
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."
- 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?
- 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 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 will often call him on this.
- Sponge Bob Square Pants
- "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, Karen? I'm trying to think. 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?
- 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 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!
- 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.
: In the name of the earth ponies, I think I'm gonna name this new place...uh...DIRTVILLE! Applejack
: How 'bout "Earth"? Pinkie
: EARTH! Congratulations to me
for thinking of it!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 and Dick Dastardly have 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.
- 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 worlds fair bid and the Alternating Current/Direct Current War. But was later awarded the Edison Medal for his accomplishments.
- 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 Comittee" — 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.