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I Warned You
aka: I Told You So
A character is (sometimes, quite specifically) warned of the horrible things that can happen if they do Action A
. They blow off the warnings
. After the terrible things happen, The Cassandra
then informs them they have no-one to blame but themselves.
That statement, whether or not it uses the Stock Phrase
"I Warned You" or "I Told You So" is this trope, provided the warning took place
. If it did not, due to Poor Communication Kills
, Not Now, Kiddo
, or the warning not reaching its intended recipient, but the Stock Phrase
is dropped anyway, the trope has been inverted, not played straight.
Generally — though not always — Played for Drama
if played straight. If Played for Laughs
, expect The Cassandra
to be an exaggeratively smug
in using this trope (a likely consistent trait that lent to no-one listening to them in the first place) and at least one indignant victim to try and silence them (usually by yelling a bitter "Oh Shut Up!
, The Cassandra
has every opportunity to say "I warned you!", but doesn't even bat an eye
Contrast Poor Communication Kills
, Not Now, Kiddo
, where the information doesn't reach its intended destination. Compare Cassandra Truth
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Anime & Manga
- Gohan says this to Cell in Dragon Ball Z, after the Cell Juniors torturing the other heroes and Cell murdering Android 16 causes Gohan to go Super Saiyan 2. Gohan did warn Cell about his hidden power, and that Cell shouldn't try to awaken it, but those pesky Blood Knight tendencies Cell inherited from the Saiyans just would't let him turn down the challenge.
- Kaworu kept advising Shinji in Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo not to go through with pulling the two lances out of "Lilith"'s body as Kaworu suspected a foul play by Gendo, but Shinji ignored him and once again caused an Impact for the second time in his life.
- In HeartCatch Pretty Cure!, Erika attempts to warn Tsubomi that Itsuki isn't whom she thinks Itsuki is. When Tsubomi learns the truth, Erika tells her that she warned her. Many times. Including the fact that she was asleep in class when Itsuki was first around her.
- Just before an iconic scene in One Piece, a drunk taking a leak outside MockTown finds the latest wanted posters. He finds Luffy and Zoro's, and the amount they're worth sobers him up fast — these were the same pair the bar's patrons, egged on by the Bellamy Pirates, mocked and abused earlier! The drunk goes to warn Bellamy, but the pirate merely dismisses the issue. Those two from before didn't fight back, and anyway, some pirates print up fake wanted posters to bluff others. However, Luffy shows up for completely unrelated reasons and puts a knuckle-shaped dent in Bellamy's cheekbone. As the sheer weight of what happened sinks into the onlookers, all the drunk can say is, "I told you so."
- Variable Geo: In her first match, Kaori tries to warn her unnamed opponent that she had no chance of winning, according to their statistical fight data which showed Kaori had her thoroughly outclassed in every area. She even offers her the chance to withdraw without having to suffer the penalty, since the match was set at level-1. Her opponent didn't listen. Mere seconds later, she wished she had.
- In The Lord of Lorn and the False Steward, the mother when they receive the letter telling what happened to their son.
When the Ladye of Learne these tydings heard,
O Lord! shee wept soe biterlye:
"I told you of this, now good my lord,
When I sent my child into that wild country."
- In Bone, Lucius warns the regulars at his tavern not to be taken in by Phoney Bone's Mystery Cow scam. They don't listen to him (or rather, they do, but Phoney tricks them all over again), so after the race ends and the con is exposed, the townsfolk want to lynch Phoney, but are held off by Lucius, who later points out that they have no-one else to blame but themselves for being swindled;
Lucius: But I warned ya! I told ya you were bein' played for a buncha saps, but ya didn't listen to me, did ja? Huh? Did ja? that's right! An' when Gran'ma Ben won that race, I was the only one who bet on her! Me an' Gran'ma coulda split that pot, but noooooo... We felt sorry for ya! All bets were off an' we let ya have yer livestock back! All told, I'd say you girls got off easy!
- In their college years, Reed Richards warned Victor von Doom that he made a few miscalculations that would cause his new invention to malfunction. Victor didn't listen and the machine blew up in his face. Literally. Victor's oh-so-reasonable response was to drop out of college, build a suit of Powered Armor, take over a country, and spend the rest of his life trying to ruin the lives of Reed Richards and his loved ones in revenge for causing the failure.
- One rather long series of Peanuts comic strips starts with Charlie Brown volunteering for the school spelling bee. Violet (who's sitting behind him) whispers, "Don't do it, you'll just make a fool of yourself!" Charlie Brown doesn't listen, and sadly, he messes up royally in the first round, (his love of baseball causes him to accidentally spell his word, "maze", M-A-Y-S). Violet tells him, "I told you you'd make a fool of yourself. (And the day only gets worse for poor Charlie Brown from there...)
Oshikko: Sure I will. Keep in mind, you suggested I do so.
Films — Animation
- At the end of Chicken Run, after the chickens have escaped, blowing up the pie machine and making a huge mess of the farm in the process, the only thing Mr. Tweedy has to say to Mrs. Tweedy is a gently-reproachful "I told you they was organized!"
- In Disney's Robin Hood, this is Sir Hiss's usual rebuttal to Prince John's traps always failing, as well as details that the Prince is too spoiled to acknowledge.
Films — Live-Action
- The Book of Eli: In the first fifteen minutes of the movie, when the raider shoves Eli.
Eli: Touch me with that hand again and you're not getting it back.
- The Dark Knight
- Fantastic Four: Ben Grimm rubs it in while he helps free Reed Richards from being frozen by liquid nitrogen, courtesy of Victor von Doom.
Ben Grimm: Victor ain't that bad, huh? He's just a little larger than life, right? Maybe next time you'll listen to me before— (the lights go out and Doom tackles Ben)
- Ghostbusters: Walter Peck orders a Con Edison worker to shut off power to the Ecto-containment grid despite warnings from Egon Spengler, Peter Venkman, and the Con Ed worker.
Venkman: If you shut that thing off, we won't be held responsible.
Peck: On the contrary, you will be held completely responsible. (to Con Ed worker) Shut it off.
Venkman: Don't shut it off. I'm warning you.
Con-Ed Man: I never seen anything like this before. I don't know...
Peck: I'm not interested in your opinion. Just shut it off.
(later, at the Mayor's office)
Stantz: Everything was fine with the system, until the power grid was shut off by dickless here.
Grandfather: With Mogwai, comes much responsibility. I cannot sell him at any price.
- Randall Peltzer acquires a mogwai anyway. Warnings about them are ignored and the gremlins run wild.
Grandfather: I warned you. With mogwai comes much responsibility. But you didn't listen.
- Ironically, the warnings were heeded. The mistake came from trusting an analog clock that turned out to be stopped because the evil Mogwai (later Gremlin) Spike had sabotaged it. The "do not get them wet" rule being broken was an accident.
- Men In Black: After K shoots Jeebs:
K: I warned him. You warned him.
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Tim the Enchanter warns King Arthur about the deadly Rabbit of Caerbannog but Arthur doesn't believe him. During the battle three of Arthur's knights are killed by the Rabbit, including one who has his throat ripped out.
I warned you! I warned you, but did you listen to me? Oh no, you knew it all, didn't you? Oh, it's just a harmless little bunny
, isn't it?
- The Goonies: After realizing they're dealing with the wanted Fratelli gang.
Chunk: See, you guys! You never listen to me! I said there was gonna be trouble, but you didn't listen to me! You guys are crazy! You know, you guys are self-destructive! There's a funny farm that has your names written all over it!
- I Robot has "Somehow, 'I told you so' doesn't quite say it." when the robots start rebelling. Or words to that effect.
- In the first of The Mummy remake when the Americans find Imhotep's tomb and one of them reads the warning etched on it. Their guide (and Dirty Coward) Beni runs off yelling to beware the curse. They don't believe him thinking he's being superstitious. Of course Imhotep gets loose and starts draining the life of those that opened the casket. One of the Americans manages to escape but with his eyes and tongue taken. As the surviving American rests at a hotel, Beni (now working for Imhotep) tricks said American into meeting with a healer who is really Imhotep in disguise. Before the American is drained, Beni tells him that he did warn them not to open the tomb.
- Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows has Moran say this after he shoots a soldier who is blocking his line of fire as he is trying to shoot Watson. Inverted in that there was no way for the soldier to hear the warning. Moran was simply commenting.
- The Vice President in The Day After Tomorrow gets this served to him by a geologist after ignoring the warnings of global warming by Sam Hall (and likely costing millions of lives by refusing to take any action in time).
- Professor Xavier says this to Logan in X-Men: The Last Stand after Phoenix escapes, having been awoken by Logan before Xavier could bring Jean Grey back to normal
- Played for laughs in Hot Shots! Part Deux during the flashback. A station hand cries out "Board! Board!", a man reading a newspaper ignores him... until a construction worker walks by with a 2×4, smacking the man and knocking him out. The other person's reaction? "Warned you. Warned you twice."
- In Kick-Ass 2, when The Motherfucker tries to rob a store while holding his guns Gangsta Style, an old man tells him if he doesn't hold his guns properly, the recoil will make the guns fly back into his face. Motherfucker fires, and exactly this happens. The old man tells him off for not listening to him.
- Death Wish 4: The Crackdown: at the end of the movie, the fake Nathan White kills Paul Kersey's girlfriend, and all he can say is that he warned him that he would kill her. This proves to be the last thing that he ever says.
: "I told you...I warned you I'd kill her! I warned you! I'd kill he-" [Kersey fires a grenade, obliterating White
- The Cat in the Hat Movie narrowly averts but still plays with this trope when the Fish appears just as the Cat himself has finally been sent away by the understandably angry Sally and Conrad for completely destroying their home. However just before he can go through with saying anything snide, he quickly backs off and leaves the kids alone.
Fish: Good Riddance! Now this may not be the time for "I told you so" but...
- In Codex Alera, thanks to being Mindlink Mates, Tavi and Kitai preempt the other saying this because they can feel the smug amusement on multiple occasions.
- Twice, pretty much word for word, in Darkness Visible. The second time is a callback to the first.
Lewis: You will see me in this office again, Wilson, even if it is only for sufficient time to say "I warned you" before the world ends!
Lewis: "Very well then, Wilson, stay and gibber in your precious office," I told him crossly. "But if we fail, consider this as me saying 'I bloody warned you'!"
- Polly to Digory in The Magician's Nephew after he falls for the Shmuck Bait that wakes up the White Witch. In Prince Caspian, when it turns out that Lucy was right about the route the group should have taken and they'll have to go back the way they came, Peter congratulates her on pointing this out without saying "I told you so."
- Rayford Steele, near the end of Glorious Appearing in the Left Behind book series, tells his wife Irene, who has been warning him about Jesus' Second Coming and the Rapture, that she is entitled to "one cosmic I-told-you-so".
- Vanessa Michael Munroe: In book two, The Innocent, Munroe is about to be gang-raped by two men, who fail to heed her warnings and get their asses handed to them on a platinum platter as a result.
- In Andy Griffith's Just Crazy, Andy tries to warn his father that he's only locked outside naked because their dog Sooty has gone crazy and taken his towel. His father doesn't believe him, but when Sooty spies his towel...
Andy: "I hate to say I told you so. I mean I really hate to say I told you so. (Deep breath) But I-"
Andy's Father: "Shut up!"
- In Selfie, Eliza warns Henry about cyber-stalking his ex-girlfriends, saying its no good. Henry assures her he won't. He does, and it causes problems. When he tells her, he knows this is coming and tries to head her off.
Eliza: I don't wanna say I told you so,
Henry: But you told me so. There, that's done.
- Babylon 5: In the episode "Severed Dreams":
Delenn: (addressing the Grey Council)
Three years. For three years I warned you this day was coming
, but you would not listen. Pride, you said, presumption. And now the Shadows are on the move. The Centauri and the younger worlds are at war, the Narns have fallen, even the Humans are fighting one another.
- Coach: Hayden go to say this over and over after his wiser wife Christine finally makes a mistake and gets arrested after a rowdy bachelorette party by not listening to him.
- Doctor Who:
- From the episode "School Reunion":
Mickey Smith: You see, what's impressive is we met her nearly an hour ago and I still haven't said "I told you so" yet.
Rose Tyler: I'm not listening to this.
Mickey Smith: Though I have prepared a little "I was right" dance which I can show you later.
- The Doctor also plays this line for drama all the time. Especially Ten. It goes with his "I'm giving you a chance" mantra, which the Monster of the Week almost invariably ignores.
- He says it verbatim in "Runaway Bride" after blowing up and drowning the last of the Racnoss.
The Doctor: I warned you. You did this.
- Revolution: Subverted Trope. In the episode "Home": Miles, after Dixon shoots at Monroe and hits Emma instead, killing her. Miles just turns around and calmly shoots Dixon dead.
- Stargate SG-1: In the episode "2010", Jack O'Neill is very much in "I told you so" mode from the beginning; if they had listened to his warnings about the Aschen ten years ago, they wouldn't need to Set Right What Once Went Wrong now by using the Stargate as a time machine.
- The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon complains that he has said it so many times (of debatable merits) that from then on, he will say "i informed you thusly" .
- In Season 7 of Dexter, Louis Greene was threatened by Dexter to stay out of his life, however Louis did not heed the warning, prompting Dexter to take actions that cause Louis to lose his job and girlfriend Jamie. With revenge in mind, Louis continued to pester Dexter by attempting to mess with Dexter's boat. Louis was ultimately murdered by Isaak Sirko by simply being "involved with Dexter".
- In Season 4 finale of Game of Thrones, Tyrion, aiming a crossbow at his father Tywin, warned him not to call Shae a "whore" again, below are the conversation between the two
Tywin: She was a whore.
Tyrion: Say that word again...
Tywin: And what? You'll kill your own father in the privy? No. You're my son. Now, enough of this nonsense.
(some more conversation)
Tywin: We'll go back to my chambers and speak with some dignity.
Tyrion: I can't go back there. She's in there.
Tywin: You're afraid of a dead whore?
Tywin: You shot me.
- Will and Grace: Grace's mother actually had an "I Told You So" dance that she used when it was revealed that Grace was dumped by Nathan. Grace ends up getting angry, yells at her, and storms out.
- Scrubs: Elliot has an "I Told You So" dance with a song that consists of her repeating the phrase. It's a little different all three times she is shown doing it.
- In the musical Woman of the Year, two characters sing a song about how great it is to be able to say "I Told You So."
- In L.A. Noire, Cole is planning on investigating Elysian Fields which McKelty, the captain of the Arson desk, finds that unacceptable.
Cole: We're about to visit Elysian Fields Development.
McKelty: You're about to do what? Leland Monroe, he's a personal friend of the Mayor and the Chief. Are you out of your mind?! I'm warning you, Phelps.
- Heavy Rain would have this case when Norman is planning of accusing Blake of being the Origami Killer.
Norman: I think you're the killer, Carter.
Blake: Watch your fucking mouth, Norman. You're about to make the biggest mistake of your life.
- In Space Quest, you can use the hand icon on the change machine. The first time gives you a warning from the narrator, "Banging on the change machine will only activate its self-defense mechanism!" Trying again electrocutes Roger Wilco, who flops over dead, and prompting the narrator to say, "You were warned NOT to try to break into the change machine... but DID YOU LISTEN?!"
- In Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Claudia's Jerkass (former) boyfriend Ducio (who Ezio beat the crap out of for abusing her) makes a return as a ship captain that got his hands on three of Da Vinci's paintings that Ezio needs. Ducio, who has no idea that Ezio has become a master Assassin, begins mouthing off, thinking that his crew will back him up. Ezio drops a rather ominous "I am warning you...", and Ducio, not taking the hint, begins trashing Claudia. Ezio decks Ducio with a punch to the face and proceeds to mop the floor with him and his crew. Much fun is had for the player.
- After two games of having his/her warnings ignored, Commander Shepard gets a few opportunities to say this in Mass Effect 3. However, it is up to the player whether to gloat or to simply get down to the business of saving the galaxy without recrimination.
- A common complaint was that you didn't get enough chances to say it.
- In World of Warcraft, Kil'ruk the Wind Reaver says this if the player wipes on the Paragons of the Klaxxi boss fight, in reference to his saying that when the Old God Y'Shaarj returns, Kil'ruk, the rest of the Mantid, and anyone else with any sense would join him..
Kil'ruk: I did warn you, Wakener.
- The tablet that activates hard mode in 'La-Mulana'':
Thou are forbidden from again laying eyes on this marker. Those who heed not this warning will suffer the pain of death.
Mongrel who disobeyed the warning. Taste bitter death. (Giant glowing red skulls appear and smash.)
- Ben 10
- One episode starts with Gwen warning Ben against playing around with the Omnitrix when he doesn't understand it. After accidentally breaking off a part and trying to fix it with gum, it starts changing him into counterproductive alien hybrids. In a Running Gag, Gwen refuses to make the expected "I told you so" speech, which drives Ben crazy waiting for it. And then she yells it in his ear once the debacle is over.
- Ben 10: Alien Force episode "Vengeance of Vilgax: Part 2"
Ben Tennyson, I warned you of the consequences of tampering with the Omnitrix
. Ben Tennyson:
I was just trying to... Azmuth:
Defy my instructions. Well, you have succeeded! The escape geno types... Ben Tennyson:
. They will perish if they aren't restored to the Omnitrix in 24 hours
. And if they do, their powers will be lost to you forever
- In Ben 10: Omniverse episode "Ben Again", Eon want Professor Paradox's chrono-navigator so he can rule all of creation. Paradox warns him that only he can use the navigator, as in anyone else's hands it could damage casualty. When Eon does get it and things go wrong...
- Spoofed in Adventure Time episode "All Your Fault" with the two Lemongrabs:
Lemongrab: We warned you!
Lemongrab 2: We warned you about us!
- Sealab 2021
- A Running Gag in the episode "In the Closet", in which Murphy sucker-punches everyone who enters the utility closet they're locked in, declaring "I warned him," when the closest he comes to a warning is "stop it," and then only half the time.
- In the same episode, however, the trope is played straight when Marco warns Sparks that the door is broken.
) It's not broken, you just...
(the door fails to open
You just press the... you ju... The door's broken
. Wha-wha-wha-what the hell? Marco: Idiota! Cabeza de piedras!
- The Simpsons
- "Lisa the Vegetarian", after Lisa has twice questioned the use of meat and her teacher/Lunchlady pressed the "Independent thought alarm."
Skinner: Oh oh. Two independent thought alarms in one day. The students are overstimulated. Willie! Remove all the colored chalk from the classrooms.
Willie: I warned ye! Didn't I warn ye?! That colored chalk was forged by Lucifer himself!
- From, "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bangalore":
Bart: So, Mr. Burns, you're saying my dad has gone insane, and thinks he's a god, and broken off all contact with the outside world?
Smithers: I told you Simpson was a poor choice, sir.
Mr. Burns: You know, Smithers, "I told you so" has a brother. His name is, "Shut the hell up"!
- In American Dad!, Stan once framed his wife for murder just so he wouldn't have to hear her say "I told you so." This episode is even titled "Four Little Words". He realized, though, that he could circumvent this by admitting his guilt before Francine has a chance to say it. It doesn't make her any less enraged, though.
- Psycho, the minion Seer of Dr. Killemoff in Toxic Crusaders usually says this after his Cassandra Truth gets blown off by Killemoff as ridiculous and the good guys win.
- In Wakfu season 2 episode 5, Sadlygrove tries to warn Yugo, Amalia and Evangelyne of the dangers of the Dragon-Pig's lair, as he's the only one with experience in Dungeon Crawling. They pay him no heed, used to ignore the Idiot Hero... until the three are struck with a Baleful Polymorph. Grovy then admonishes them with the page quote.
- Brainy Smurf manages to get in a few of these in some episodes of The Smurfs when he chides his fellow Smurfs about certain actions they failed to take that end up in disaster for the village.
- Codename: Kids Next Door
- In the first of many confrontations, Numbuh Five has a candy stolen by her former candy-hunting partner now rival, Heinrich. And tracks him to a temple where he wishes to use said candy in a ritual to become the king of sweets (it's an odd series). Before he does, he disregards the hieroglyphs, in which Numbuh Five enters and warns him that if he is greedy the candy will taste like asparagus. Heinrich doesn't believe her and proceeds with the ritual. Once it's done, of course, the curse mentioned takes effect and he blames her. She retorts she did warn him, not that it does her any good. (Ironically, in a much later episode, it's revealed that the incident in Guatemala that started their rivalry was also caused by him being selfish. That seems to be Heinrich's defining trait.)
- In "Operation: F.L.A.V.O.R.", when the Delightful Children find the sacred Fourth Flavor, Numbuh Five frantically tells them not to put jimmies on it before tasting it (knowing that putting toppings on ice cream like this would be sacriledge). They ignore this warning, and bring the wrath of the ice cream gods down upon them. (One of many examples of Stupid Evil that has caused their plans to fail, although just like all the other times, they fail to learn from it.)
- In an Ozzy and Drix episode, the villain Strepfinger corners Ozzy inside the lungs with a pistol-like weapon; Ozzy warns him not to fire it, saying that if he misses, he'll blow a hole in the wall and they'll both be blown out. The villain smiles evilly and says, "Well then, I'd better not miss..." Unfortunately for him, he does.
- Phineas and Ferb: Doofenshmirtz is once about to lose his home for not paying the mortgage. When Agent P suggests him to ask his ex-wife for money, he refuses, in order to avoid the trope. She warned him not to spend money on the gargoyle statues.
- King Julien from The Penguins of Madagascar hates being told "I told you so!" when he does something wrong. But when he causes chaos to erupt in the zoo in one episode, Skipper has this to say to him:
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): In the first episode, when the other three Turtles discover that Mikey was actually right about the Kraang being alien brains in robotic suits, Mikey spends the rest of the episode griping about how they didn't listen to him in the first place.
Mikey: See?! It's a brain-thing! I told you! I told you!
- In every episode of Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch Scrambles (the youngest member of the Chopper Bunch) constantly tries to warn Chopper that his plans to bully Wheelie won't work, but Chopper never listens.
"I told ya, I told ya!" "I know!" "I told ya, I told ya!"...
- In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Asajj Ventress and two of the Nightsisters attempt to assassinate Count Dooku. Ventress warns the Nightsisters not to underestimate Dooku, but they assume they have it in the bag because Dooku is old and in their culture, men are inferior to women. Dooku defeats and throws the three out of his home. The Nightsisters express surprise at how strong he was, and Ventress points out that she warned them.