Character A wishes Character B, usually a parent, was dead. Often times Character B is a total jerkass and Character A tells them to "Drop Dead" in a heated exchange. Character B then dies, or contracts a deadly disease, or has a horrible accident. Cue the angst as Character A then broods believing that they somehow are responsible for the tragedy even if Character B had seemingly no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
Character A is typically a child. Often they also Never Got To Say Goodbye, so even more drama ensues. Usually lasts only one episode but can be milked indefinitely as the character acts more and more irrational/self-destructive. You can also milk it for drama by making Character B not die, but become deadly ill for an episode. The wisher will learn a lesson, and the status quo will resume. Even more classic (and Truth in Television) is children blaming themselves for their parents divorcing.
Aesop: Be Careful What You Wish For, though obviously the granting of the wish isn't really caused by the wishing, most of the time.
See also It's All My Fault. If a character says this out of grief for a third party, see You Should Have Died Instead. Can be a Parting Words Regret.
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In a Digimon Adventure 02 flashback, Ken as a child is seen resenting his older, more popular brother. He spitefully wishes for him to "disappear". The next scene shows him being killed by a car, which was the first in a chain of events that led him to become the Digimon Kaiser.
In YuYu Hakusho, after being irritated once again, Keiko shouts at Yusuke, "Why don't you just die?" Shortly thereafter, Yusuke gets hit by a truck while saving a child; Keiko's resultant breakdown is part of what convinces him to work his way back to life.
Variation in Valkyrie Profile: Yumei shares the story of how her parents died with a boy from a fishing village. When her tears turn into a cerulean lapis, a gem that grants wishes, the boy wishes that Yumei could be with her parents again. Naturally, this means sending her to the next life, but Lenneth cannot wrap her head around it.
In a series where bad ends are the norm, one arc of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni takes this trope to a near-superpower level. To clarify, the hero, Keiichi, had decided to murder the abusive uncle of one of his friends, and soon after wishes death upon a nurse who suspects his involvement in the crime, a police officer who is a jerk to him, and the doctor whom he confided in when he realizes that the doctor thinks he's crazy (he is) and is planning to sedate him. All three are soon reported dead. At the end, after things get even more out of hand, as he falls from a bridge into the river, he wonders how things went so wrong and wishes for the destruction of the entire town. Cut to a TV screen detailing the Hinamizawa Gas Disaster; the entire village died in one night, leaving Keiichi as the sole survivor. TIPS reveal that after that, Keiichi has basically lost his mind and believes himself to have God-like powers. When he feels that a reporter is being rude, he tells him that he'll die in water. It's noted that, years later, the reporter died in a fishing accident. The twist? It's all coincidence. Keiichi doesn't have God-like powers, and one of the first three people is Faking the Dead.
Somewhat subverted in Death Note when Teru Mikami's past is revealed: after being bullied to increasingly dangerous levels, his mother tells him to give up his high views of justice out of concern for him. Mikami, in turn, stops thinking of her as his mother and wishes that this new obstacle to justice would be taken care of. What happens? She gets run over by a stolen car that the people who bullied him were driving; she dies, and they all get life sentences. Instead of being miserable over this, Mikami is delighted, thinking that a higher sense of justice has prevailed and eventually linking the event (perhaps wrongly) to Kira.
In this case Tenma knows he isn't responsible, and the reason he goes after the patient later was because he saved him; it's the police that think he's involved in the deaths.
At the beginning of the HetaliadoujinSilencer, America says angrily to England that he should just disappear if he argues with him. After that, England is nowhere to be seen and no countries other than America remember him. Ultimately subverted, as it's revealed that the reasons for England's disappearance are far more complex than that...although you'll probably wish that theyweren't.
In Change 123, Motoko said this to her mother as a child. Immediately after she said it, a load of steel I-beams just happened to fall off a truck and onto her.
In Sakura Gari, Masataka wishes for his boss Souma's death (by then he has a lot of reasons to want it, since Souma was forcing him to work off his brother's debt with sex... but said brother was dead, and Souma hid that from him.). Souma, who is madly in love with Masataka (but very bad at expressing it), takes it literally and slashes his wrists, much to Masataka's dismay.
In the manga Subaru, the titular character yells at her mother that she's sick of all the attention being given to her twin-brother and "wishes he weren't there anymore"! Shortly afterwards, his condition turns critical and he dies. Subaru thinks it's her fault, although Mana thinks it's her fault, as Mana kept Subaru away from him with dancing.
In the third volume of Dramacon, we see Beth talking to Christie and Matt, and at the same time, we see Beth's mother who is driving down the road...
Beth: I hate her.
(Beth's mother is at a stoplight.)
Beth: I hate her so much!
(Beth's mother looks alarmed.)
Beth: I wish she'd d—! (sobs)
(cut to Beth's mother's car being crashed into)
Thankfully, it's subverted— Beth's mother survives and they make up.
An unintentional and unknowing version occurs in One Piece's tenth movie Strong World where Xiao and her mother are relieved that Shiki was finally going to leave their village alone and go to East Blue, not knowing that Shiki intended to destroy the entire area with his army of beasts. Nami, who hailed from East Blue, happened to hear them excitedly wish that Shiki would leave for East Blue sooner. When they found out, they immediately expressed regret over their words and apologized.
A Cruel God Reigns: Jeremy repeatedly wishes for Greg's death, and often tells him during the abuse, however, he does not feel bad about it when Greg actually does die. He does feel bad when Sandra dies though.
There's an Archie Comics story in which Reggie gets so frustrated with Moose that he wishes he'd break his leg. Sure enough, Moose does break his leg, and Reggie feels so guilty about it, he helps get him to the hospital.
Helena and her mother in MirrorMask. Her mother falls ill and has to be hospitalized and Helena's guilt over it is a motivator.
Subverted in Zathura. One of the brothers, shortly after having an angry argument with his brother, gets a free wish from the game. Their older companion warns him not to wish his brother would disappear because that's how he got stuck in the game. The kid wishes for a football.
In Labyrinth, in a fit of frustration, Sarah wishes that the Goblin King would come and take her little brother Toby away. Naturally, he hears and obliges.
In Music of the Heart, one of the students tells another to "drop dead" during a heated argument. Some time later, the other student gets shot and killed, and the one he argued with blames himself for telling him to drop dead.
In the film Home Alone, Kevin wishes that his family would disappear. They do - they mistakenly left him behind when they went away to France on vacation, but he thinks they no longer exist. He's happy about this, but starts missing them after a while.
The voice-over for Eve's Bayou starts with the main character, Eve, as an adult, saying, "The summer I killed my father, I was ten years old. My brother Poe was nine, and my sister Cisely had just turned fourteen." The story of that summer then unfolds, revealing that the main character believed her father had molested her sister and asked a voodoo practitioner to kill him. She eventually changed her mind and tried to have the voodoo stopped, but her father was still shot to death. Interestingly, in this case it is Eve's own actions (telling her father's lover's husband about the affair) that lead to her father's death, making her more "responsible" than most instances of this trope. Near the end, Eve finds a letter where he denies the accusation. The ending of the theatrical version makes it pretty clear that his version of the story was true, though the director's cut is much more ambiguous.
In Dead Friend (aka The Ghost) Eun-jung wishes a ghost would take her sister away. Guess what happens not five minutes later?
In Repo! The Genetic OperaShilo is told by Rotti to capture the Repo Man to get the cure to her blood disease. When she actually DOES confront him and finds out that he's actually her father, Nathan, she's furious. It doesn't help that a hologram shows up on the wall behind them, revealing that her godmother, Blind Mag, has been murdered. "Don't help me anymore, dad. You are dead, dad, in my eyes! Someone has replaced you. Dad, I hate you! Go and die!" Guess what happens about five minutes later?
Used a few times in Agatha Christie novels. The conviction of young characters that they "caused" the deaths of disliked relatives leads to them becoming murder suspects.
Literary example: Amaranta Buendía goes through this twice in One Hundred Years Of Solitude. The first time, she was a teenager caught in a vicious rivalry with her stepsister Rebeca. She prays for something horrible to happen and keep her from killing the other girl; soon after, their sister-in-law Remedios has a fatal miscarriage. The second time, Amaranta was an adult, and her Dogged Nice Guy Gerineldo Márquez was in jail. She made a flippy remark about his possibly being in line for execution when Amaranta's mother tells her to marry the guy. Some days later, Colonel Márquez is marked for death via firing squad, and only Amaranta's older brother (Colonel Aureliano)'s threats save him from execution.
The book A Gift of Magic: Nancy wishes that her sister would stay with the family instead of going off to ballet school. Unfortunately, Nancy has ESP, and her wishing causes her sister to fall down a flight of stairs and injure her foot permanently. When she realizes what she's done, she uses her powers to reverse the damage.
Possibly a subversion, considering that Nancy's sister was also skipping meals in order to lose weight, and may have fallen because she wasn't eating enough.
It should be mentioned that this second interpretation is what most of the characters in the book believe, including those who know about Nancy's powers. They are also aren't inclined to credit Nancy with the healing, believing that her sister's foot healed naturally, as the doctors said it might.
In Colleen McCullough's novel of ancient Rome, The Grass Crown, nine-year-old Servilia angrily curses her uncle, aunt, mother, and stepfather by saying, "I hope you all die before I'm old enough to marry!" They all do. Servilia is happy that they died.
Jon Snow of A Song of Ice and Fire, after having a minor argument with his uncle, briefly imagines him lying dead in the snow. His uncle goes missing not long after.
Warrior Cats: Lionblaze's hatred towards Heathertail grows throughout Eclipse, until towards the end of the book where he has a dream about finding her mangled corpse, at which point he thinks she deserves what she got, though he quickly grows to realize how completely psychotic this is. However, throughout the next book, he is tortured by very graphic nightmares of himself killing her violently and, you guessed it, angsts about it.
In the novel version of Contact, David Drumlin dies during an explosion while diving to save his old student Ellie. They'd both been candidates to go on the Machine, and her first thought as she realized that he was dead was I can go, they'll have to send me, there's nobody else, I get to go. She immediately is aghast with herself, and while soul-searching she realizes this.
Gradually she discovered that there was a part of her that had wished Drumlin dead - even before they became competitors for the American seat on the Machine. She hated him for having diminished her before the other students in class, for opposing Argus, for what he had said to her the moment after the Hitler film had been reconstructed. She had wanted him dead. And now he was dead. By a certain reasoning - she recognized it immediately as convoluted and spurious - she believed herself responsible.
In Darth Bane: The Path of Destruction by Drew Karpyshyn, it just so happened young Dessel had been wishing his abusive father to die and imagining it happening all through the night on the night when his father's heart really stopped. It's not until much later when he's adopted the name Bane and being trained to become a Sith Lord because of his exceptionally strong connection with the Force that he realises it probably wasn't a coincidence. The realization that he may have been directly responsible for his father's death prompts Dessel to feel guilt and remorse for the last time in his life — it gets so bad that his connection to the Force is badly weakened. Sadly, he gets over it.
In the third book of The Power Of Five series, Jamie recounts the events of the night his foster father Ed died: His twin, Scott, told Ed to go hang himself. Both twins are telepathic. Needless to say, Ed immediately did just that. This is why Scott and Jamie don't usually use their powers with anyone but each other.
In The Lord of the Rings, Denethor wishes that his second son Faramir had died instead of his first son Boromir, and sends him on a suicidal charge to "redeem" himself. When he's brought back, apparently dead, Denethor succumbs to despair and burns himself alive.
Brutha from the Discworld book Small Gods was beaten by his grandmother every morning, because, even if he hadn't done anything wrong at that point, he surely would during the day. One day, he yelled after her, "I wish you were dead!" She died the next day.
Paul Auster once asked the audience of NPR to send in short stories under the one condition that the story had actually happened (which makes this an example for the Real Life section as well). He published the best ones in his book "I thought my father was God". The titular story is told through the eyes of a young child watching her father confront a neighbour like this: "Why don't you just drop dead?". The guy actually does, leaving the author with the impression of her father having god-like powers.
There's a version in A Brother's Price. Standing outside of the theater where her older sisters and abusive husband were watching a play, Princess Halley discussed said husband with another sister, and as she stood in the door, delaying going back in, she said "I wish Keifer was dead." A moment later a bomb went off in the theater. While Halley and her surviving sister miss their family and Halley becomes driven to find out who planted the bomb, they're not at all broken up about Keifer.
Aishiteru has a character wishing her little brother would die. If he didn't, there wouldn't be a show.
In Little House on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls's jealousy over a newborn baby brother turns to guilt after said brother dies. Thinking she was responsible, Laura runs away from home and climbs a mountain — and we are not talking here about a childish exaggeration of 'hill' — to get "closer to God." She hopes that she'll bring about a miracle by doing so. (The true miracle may be that she was able tofinda mountain in Minnesota.)
Played with in Arrested Development when Lucille prays to keep Buster from going to Iraq, and a seal bites off his hand. When she says it's all her fault, Michael simply responds, "God's not going to listen to you." GOB then says it's his fault for releasing a seal that had tasted mammal blood when he fed it a cat; Michael says he makes a better case.
On Fawlty Towers, Basil was always making comments like this to his wife specifically in the hope that some tragedy would befall her.
"Try not to drive over any land mines on your way over, dear."
Defense Lawyer: Hell of a railroad job on what he said in the heat of the moment. I mean, thinking about the fights with my wife, what people might say... sometimes I want to kill her. Alex Cabot: If she dies, then you've got a problem.
When Dawn is captured by Glory near the end of Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 5, Buffy goes into Heroic BSOD mode. In her mind, she repeats the same images over and over again; one of them was her placing a book back on the shelf in the Magic Shop. She explains to Willow (who has gone on a journey to the center of Buffy's mind) that, in that moment, Buffy gave up on saving Dawn and wished she would die just so the fear would be over.
This happens in the first part of an episode of Sledge Hammer! but it isn't the main plot. When the show's Cowboy Cop protagonist watches a used car dealer's TV commercial, he expresses disgust, and wishes he was dead... And then the guy dies of a heart attack. He quickly regrets saying it, thinking he made it happen, and eventually, to convince him otherwise, his partner shows him some recent obituaries to prove that this happens to people in that profession all the time. (It convinces him, but then they realize that all of them died suspiciously, and via a similar means, making them suspicious that a serial killer is targeting used car salesmen, leading to the main plot.)
Oz. When Father Mukada is falsely accused of molestation by inmate Timmy Kirk, he prays for Kirk's death. The next day Kirk is murdered by a crazed inmate who believes he's carrying out God's will, whereupon Mukada tries to convince himself that God doesn't carry out that kind of request.
Subverted on Seinfeld, of all places, in the episode "The Betrayal" when Kramer spends the entire "backwards" episode finding ways to protect himself from Franklin Delano Romanowski's birthday wish, which was for Kramer to "drop dead."
This troper recalls an episode of Grey's Anatomy that Kay Panabaker guest-starred in, where she and her sister that apparently cannot stop fighting for more than a few seconds are brought into the hospital. Something is apparently more wrong with the older sister than meets the eye, and she is wheeled off to ICU. The last words her sister says to her? "I hope you die!" A short time later, blood starts coming out of the girl's nose and her eyes are shut. So...
The X-Files. A man dying of yellow fever in the 19th century captures a glimpse of Death and avoids its gaze, hoping it will take the nurse who's been trying to help him stay alive. It does so, cursing him with immortality because he missed his chance. "People should be careful what they wish for."
Boy Meets World did this in an early episode. Fortunately for Cory's conscience, Mr. Feeny recovered.
Slight inversion of the 'My parents got divorced because of me' version, Zoey of Eureka is visiting a retirement home (as community service), and two former scientists are trying to explain nuclear fission (I think). She asks them to dumb it down (just for the trope apparently, since she does belong in the town) and they use the analogy of her parents' divorce. She processes this for a moment before asking if they intended to imply that she was the cause. They glance at each other and fervently try to convince her that wasn't their intent. It's never brought up again.
On How I Met Your Mother, Lily gives her estranged father her "You're Dead To Me" look, then regrets it when she discovers a complete stranger she gave the look to had died.
In an episode of 3rd Rock From The Sun, Mary tells Dick that she wishes insufferable professor Martin Crane were dead. Later, he died of a heart attack, causing Dick to cheerfully declare "Dr. Albright, you got your wish!"
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air had an episode where Will told off his uncle's Jerk Ass political mentor-turned-rival, including a "drop dead." Seconds later, he has a fatal heart attack. Will attends the funeral out of guilt, only to learn that he was pretty well universally hated - most of the "mourners" are there just to make sure he's really gone. Will admonishes them for their callousness, causing one to ask who he is; when he responds "I'm the dude who killed him," he gets a standing ovation. "Tough crowd."
In one of his stand-up comedy specials, comedian Louis C.K. has a bit about his friend telling him he should never say things like "I hope your plane crashes" because "wouldn't [he] feel terrible if it came true". His pithy response is that he actually thinks it would be pretty cool: "Are you kidding? I would gladly sacrifice your life for knowledge of my super-power!"
In the Lost episode "Not in Portland", Juliette says she wishes her boss would get hit by a bus or something...and you know how the trope goes. She didn't have the kind of power alluded to in the Louis C.K. example above - it was simply Played for Laughs at the expense of her boss, who probably wasn't really a bad guy.
In Sound Horizon's song "Sacrifice," the singer (who, if not actually The Unfavorite, certainly feels like she is) wishes death on her little sister, who promptly comes down with a nasty case of the plague that's going around. The singer, feeling guilty, takes her wish back, and her sister recovers... only for their mother to die instead, leaving the singer Promoted To Parent.
In Adventures in Odyssey a young boy wishes his baby brother would never come. His mother then miscarries, and he spends most of the rest of the episode feeling guilty about it.
Second Conservative: Okay, now I feel kind of bad...
In Final Fantasy X, young Tidus wishes (in a Flashback) that his Disappeared Dad would never return. When his mother tells him that Jecht might be dead, Tidus' reaction amounts to Fine!.
In Valkyrie Profile, one character wishes that Yumei (one of the recruitable characters) can live happily with her parents just like she wanted. Thing is, Yumei's parents are dead, so he basically wished that she would die so she'd be with her parents.
A wish which, by the way, doesn't come true, since it's only result is to have the Valkyrie recruit her. The implication may be that Yumei's parents are in Valhalla, and by becoming an Einherjer, Yumei is destined to be reunited with them eventually, but this is never explicitly stated in any way.
In Touhou, Yuyuko Saigyouji, is literally described as being capable of "Invoking death as she wishes." This trope may have factored in her suicide. Fortunately, she's too polite to use this power nowadays...well, usually.
After the first set of murders in the first arc of Umineko No Naku Koro Ni, Battler pleads to the hypothetical Beatrice through Maria, asking that, if Beatrice is going to kill anyone else, to do it in a way that is impossible for anyone else, if only so he wouldn't be forced to suspect his friends and family. Not long after, Eva and Hideyoshi are found in a Locked Room Murder with very occult-looking stakes drilled into their foreheads. Maria's response?
Maria: Uu~ Satisfied?
Tales of Monkey Island: Sort of: At the end of Chapter 4, as Elaine is sharing her Last Kiss with the fatally wounded Guybrush, LeChuck taunts him by saying, "Aren't you dead yet? I've got wedding plans to make!" As if on cue, Guybrush dies in her arms and leaves her heartbroken and angry. Cue the Informal Eulogy.
Somewhat subverted in Chapter 5, when Guybrush (as a zombie) confronts LeChuck, who tells him, "I do wish you hadn't made such a pest of yourself. I wanted you alive to see me marry Elaine!"
Averted in Disgaea. Aside from surprise, Lahral's reactions to his father's death are wishing he had been the one to killing him, and in the anime, berating him for dying by choking on food. He also once states "I'll kill you!" only for Etna to remind him the king is already dead.
Covered in an episode of Daria in which Daria and Jane joke about a Jerk Jock dying. He's immediately crushed by a goalpost, and Jane frets that they may have caused his death.
Nobody dies, but in the My Little Pony episode "The Prince and the Ponies," the First Tooth Babies are jealous of the Newborn Twins and hope for bad things to happen to them. They eventually find out that the Newborn Twins were only invited to the palace so the Duchess's daughter could take them as her pets.
"That what we hoping would happen to them." "Only now, me not feel good 'bout hoping for it."
A variant from Animaniacs (specifically the "Randy Beaman Kid"): "Okay so this one time there was this bully that kept bugging Randy Beaman, and so this one time Randy Beaman told the bully to get lost, and he DID, and nobody ever saw him again. Creepy huh? Okay, bye!"
There was an episode of Rugrats where Tommy wished the worst thing ever would happen to Angelica. Angelica goes home, but Tommy finds a statue of her and is racked with guilt, thinking his wish had turned her to stone.
One episode of The Grim Adventures Of Billy And Mandy featured a three wishes genie. Mandy gets annoyed and wishes that "everyone in the whole wide world would just go away." They do. She is approximately as pleased as she always is.
In the South Park episode "Pinkeye," Stan gets so upset with Wendy because she wore a Chewbacca mask for Halloween instead of dressing up like Raggedy Ann (he dressed up as Raggedy Andy), that he says he wishes she was dead right to her face. Later he feels guilty when he and the other boys discover Wendy is a zombie (albeit until Kyle kills head zombie Kenny).
Inverted in an episode of King of the Hill when Luanne, arguing with the ghost of her boyfriend Buckley, tells him "I wish you weren't dead!"
After giving up his seat on a charter flight, Waylon Jennings jokingly told his friend Buddy Holly, "I hope your plane crashes!" It did. The words so tormented Jennings that, for years, he felt personally responsible for Holly's death.