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If I Wanted X, I Would Y
"If I wanted a joke, I'd follow you into the john and watch you take a leak."

If I wanted to describe If I Wanted X I Would Y here, I would go to TV Tropes... wait a minute.

A common put-down of a work/activity/food/etc., by naming a prominent aspect of that thing, and claiming that aspect is better in another thing, usually in the form of "If I wanted (aspect), I would (other thing with that aspect)."

This will almost always be said in a snarky manner, and often has a Take That on either side of the line (or both).

A Sister Trope with Better by a Different Name.

Compare X Called; They Want Their Y Back, I Like My X Like I Like My Y.

Not to be confused with If I Wanted You Dead....

In-Universe Examples Only

    open/close all folders 


    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • From Planes, Trains and Automobiles:
    Cab Dispatcher: Where are you going?
    Neal: Chicago.
    Cab Dispatcher: Chicago?
    Neal: Yeah, Chicago.
    Cab Dispatcher: You know you're in St. Louis?
    Neal: Yes I do.
    Cab Dispatcher: Why don't you try the airlines? It's faster and you get a free meal.
    Neal: If I wanted a joke, I'd follow you into the john and watch you take a leak. Now are you gonna help me or are you gonna stand there like a slab of meat with mittens?
    (the cab dispatcher punches him in the face)
  • Goldeneye:
    Bill Tanner: Seems your hunch was right, 007. It's too bad the Evil Queen of Numbers wouldn't let you play it...
    (M walks in)
    M: You were saying?
    Bill Tanner: No, no, I was just... just um...
    M: Good. Because if I want sarcasm, Mr Tanner, I'll talk to my children, thank you very much.
  • From Dragonheart, after Draco wonders about the ethics of their scam:
    Bowen: If I wanted my conscience pricked, I would've stayed with the priest!


    Live-Action TV 
  • Real Time with Bill Maher
    "Technology businesses must cut the baby talk. It's 2007. You're a rapacious, multi-billion-dollar corporation, not a stuffed animal. This week, Yahoo! announced a deal with Bebo, which will help it compete with Google. I had to Wiki Bebo to find out it's kind of like Friendster and Woofy. Gosh, I hope they can all band together and save Fuzzleton Village from the evil Snorgs! Grow up! If I want to see uncaring money-making machines with cutesy names, I'd go to a strip club."
    • Bill does this a lot in his book, New Rules: Polite Musings from a Timid Observer.
  • Firefly, "Objects in Space":
    Mal: If I want medical jargon, I'll talk to a doctor.
    Simon: You are talking to a doctor.
    • Also, quoth Jayne, "Hell, if I had wanted schooling, I would have gone to school!"
  • In one episode of Friends, Phoebe is dating two men at once — a teacher and a fireman. She's out with the teacher when they see a car catch fire, and he's confused when her response to the sound of sirens is to run away (so he doesn't find out about the fireman).
    Phoebe: If I wanted to see a fireman I would date one!
  • In Sherlock, when Irene Adler shows up naked to meet Sherlock, Sherlock merely says "If I wanted to look at naked women I would borrow John's laptop."
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Out of My Mind", Riley thinks Buffy won't want to be with him if he's just a normal man, and she responds with, "Do you think that I spent the last year with you because you had super powers? If that's what I wanted, then I'd be dating Spike." (This becomes Hilarious in Hindsight about a year later.)
    • Subverted rather cruelly by Giles against Spike: "If I want your opinion, Spike, I'll— I'll never want your opinion."
  • Parodied in Fist Of Fun: During a discussion about water pollution Stuart Lee asks Richard Herring if he wants to swim in raw sewage. Herring replies "Stuart, if I wanted to swim in raw sewage I'd..." and then details a highly developed plan to break into the local sewage works. Lee quickly realises that yes, he really does.
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "That Which Survives", after major seismic tremors and loss of contact with the Enterprise:
    Sulu: Could it be the Enterprise hit the planet? Once in Siberia, a meteor flattened whole forests
    Kirk: If I wanted a Russian history lesson, I'd have brought along Mr. Chekov.
  • Dr. Kelso pulls this one out a lot on Scrubs, along with the similar; "I'll tell you the same thing I told X, '[related pun]'."
  • The Golden Girls when Dorothy is working on a kids' show.
    Director: If I wanted this kind of abuse,I'd be directing the Roseanne Barr show.
  • 30 Rock:
    Liz: Don't you know the Postmaster General?
    Jack: I do, but we had a falling out over the Jerry Garcia stamp. If I wanted to lick a hippie I'd just return Joan Baez's phone calls.

  • From Just Hold Me by Maria Mena
    But if I wanted silence I would whisper
    And if I wanted loneliness I'd choose to go
    And if I liked rejection I'd audition
    And if I didn't love you, you would know

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Calvin and Hobbes, where Calvin explains why he does not like organized sports:
    "I hate all the rules and organization and teams and ranks in sports. Somebody's always yelling at you, telling you where to be, what to do, and when to do it. I figure when I want that, I'll join the Army and at least get paid."

  • In an episode of I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue, there was a round of Closed Quotes which specialized on comebacks. Among these comebacks was the lovely "If I wanted to hear from an arse, I would have farted."

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • Lewis Black on the tax code:
    "If I wanted to be bored by 6,000 pages of unreadable dreck, I'd read War and Peace four times."

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Magic: The Gathering card Stifle has flavour text:
    "If I wanted your opinion, I'd have told you what it was."
    —Pemmin, Riptide survivor

    Video Games 
  • An example from Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time:
    (Present Toadsworth is freaking out)
    Past Toadsworth: (...) Really, if I wished to witness myself embarrassing myself, I'd belch in front of a mirror.
  • During a Zerg mission in Brood War, we have this exchange when Fenix, Jim Raynor, and Arcturus Mengsk are discussing an eventual betrayal by Kerrigan.
    Arcturus: If you ask me, she's completely untrustworthy. But so long as she'll help me retake Korhal, I'll work with her.
    Raynor: If I wanted your opinion, Arcturus, I would've beaten it out of you! And in case you forgot, you're the reason she became what she is in the first place!

    Web Original 

  • Schlock Mercenary: When I want your opinion I'll mind-rip it out of your shattered skull, thank you

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!:
    • From one exchange between Steve and Stan:
      Steve: Dad, can we go to Graceland?
      Stan: Steve, if you want to pay your respects to a fat man who died on the toilet, we can visit your Aunt Mary's grave.
    • A variant on "Not Particularly Desperate Housewives": When Francine wants to adopt Fussy the dog, Stan says, "Forget it! We already have something girly and annoying in this house. It's called Roger."
  • This was a frequent trope in Hanna-Barbera cartoons of the early 1960s. For instance, in one episode of The Flintstones, Fred says, "If I want laughs, I'll call Yogi Bear."
  • Archer:
    • From one exchange between Archer and Malory:
      Archer: Don't you want a grandkid?
      Malory: Well, if I did, I'd just scrape all your previous mishaps into a big pile and knit a onesie for it.
      Archer: Jesus Christ!
    • And another:
      Archer: If I wanted to look at your bare feet, I'd sneak in and do it when you were asleep.
    • One more:
      Malory to her chauffeur: If I wanted to sit around all day going nowhere, I'd become a teacher!
  • The Simpsons: After Bart is caught shoplifting at Try 'N' Save, the security guard dismisses his offer to pay for the stolen video game with, "If I wanted smoke blown up my ass, I'd be at home with a pack of cigarettes and a short length of hose!"
  • Beavis and Butt-Head respond to music videos involving text with "If I wanted to read, I'd go to school!"
  • Help! I'm a Fish: "When I want your opinion I'll give it to you!"
  • The Mr. Men Show: Often done by Mr. Grumpy.
    If I wanted to wear my dinner, I'd have gone to Mr. Messy's.

    Real Life 
  • Used in a pro-choice slogan: ‘If I wanted the government in my uterus, I'd fuck a senator!’

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