-->''Hold my beer. Watch this...''

Someone does something that puts them, or the people around them in a bad or unpleasant situation. Hindsight reveals that although they had good intentions, their actions were not in their best interests.

If questioned about why they did it, they'll often respond with the reason for everything that has ever been done by anyone at any time and any place: "It seemed like a good idea at the time!".

This is also used sometimes as an explanation for ChaoticNeutral or ChaoticStupid actions. Contrast IDidWhatIHadToDo, which does the same as in this case, but for LawfulNeutral or LawfulStupid actions and their moral, rather than strategical, consequences. Often goes hand in hand with AlcoholInducedIdiocy for obvious reasons. If the plan somehow still ''works'' -- and is stated or implied to work not despite but ''because of'' how ridiculous it seems -- that's RefugeInAudacity.

Compare the situational trope, NiceJobBreakingItHero, as well as DidntThinkThisThrough.



* In one commercial for Jameson's Irish Whiskey, Advertising/JohnJameson leaps overboard when one of his barrels of whiskey is lost in a storm to retrieve it, and while he's down there narrator says "In hindsight, that probably wasn't a good idea" when he sees a [[SeaMonster giant octopus]] start reaching towards him. Viewable [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOydQFJdx1k here]].
** In another, as a fire ravages Dublin, he grabs an ax when the fire reaches his distillery. The narration says "John Jameson devised a brilliant plan. But there was simply no time, so, he devised [[TimeForPlanB another, less-brilliant plan]]." Said not-so-brilliant-plan is chopping open a sluice gate of a giant, stone dam to flood the city. Full version [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6orZrn-WrY here]].

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* The scientists of the Open Sado Project in ''Manga/SevenSeeds''. One of them discovered a new type of Lizard Ant, who seem partial to the energy bars that the scientists eat themselves. One of their later hologram-recordings mentions that the ants escaped their original glass nest and are roaming around freely, with some of the scientists hallucinating. It's not exactly clear how many years passed between this event and when our protagonists finally encounter it, but by the time they do, the facility is a mess of huge holes, filled with these and other ''huge'' ants and even larger earthworms and they all suffer from hallucinations which makes them disorented. And this is all cause the scientists were doing their job, trying to continue regular life of scientists in a facility meant to replicate the world for the protagonists whenever they awaken after TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt.
* Anime/PokemonTheFirstMovie. Maybe don't create the world's strongest pokemon to use for your own personal gain/ world domination without any way to control it. Also see GoneHorriblyRight

* This explanation gets used a lot in ''{{Nodwick}}''. Especially by [[CloudcuckooLander Yeagar]], who has the wisdom of a lemming.
* Said word for word by Story!Loki in issue #16 of ''Comicbook/LokiAgentOfAsgard'' when their best (and only) friend began to question ''why'' they turned her soul into a piece of magical jewellery. Come to think of it if you apply this reasoning to most of young Loki's plans they begin to make a strange amount of sense... [[RefugeInAudacity sometimes they even work]].

[[folder:Fan Fic]]
* From ''Fanfic/AttackOfTheTeacherCreature'':
--> '''Hobbes:''' I'll pass, thank you. I'm not interested in that stuff. I didn't [[DealWithTheDevil sell my soul to the devil.]]
-->'''Calvin:''' Neither have I.
-->'''Hobbes:''' [[NoodleIncident Yes, but you nearly did once.]]
-->'''Calvin:''' Well, it seemed like a good offer!
* The main plotline of the fic, [[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8544839/1/It-Seemed-Like-A-Good-Idea-At-The-Time "It Seems Like A Good Idea At The Time"]] by Livin4Jesus. It features Clint and Tony getting drunk and doing dumb things.

* ''American Outlaws''
-->'''Jesse James''': A war against the railroad... what the hell was I thinking?
-->'''Frank''': Well, I'm sure it seemed like a good idea at the time.
* ''Film/{{Hannibal}}'' has this exchange where Mason Verger explains how he ended up in his current state, with some help from some drugs Lecter gave him during one of their "therapy sessions":
-->'''Mason Verger''': The good doctor approached me with a piece of broken mirror and said...[Flashback: Lecter is holding a shard of broken glass]
-->'''Hannibal Lecter''': Try peeling off your face...
-->'''Mason Verger''': ...and feeding it to the dogs. [Flashback: Verger peels his face off.] Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
* ''Literature/JesseStone: No Remorse''. Jesse Stone suggests Dr. Dix take up fishing.
-->'''Dr. Dix''': I hate fishin'.
-->'''Chief Jesse Stone''': So do I.
-->'''Dix''': So why'd you suggest it?
-->'''Stone'''': Seemed like a good idea at the time, doesn't cost me anything.
* The 1975 comedy film called, ''It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time'', starring Stephanie Powers and John Candy.
* ''Film/LiveFreeOrDieHard''
-->'''Lucy [=McClane=]''': Daddy, you're out of your mind.
-->'''John [=McClane=]''': What're you talkin' about?
-->'''Lucy [=McClane=]''': You shot yourself!
-->'''John [=McClane=]''': [groaning] It seemed like a good idea at the time.
* ''Film/TheMagnificentSeven'':
-->'''Calvera:''' What I don't understand is why a man like you took the job in the first place, hmm? Why, huh?
-->'''Chris:''' I wonder myself.
-->'''Calvera:''' No, come on, come on, tell me why.
-->'''Vin:''' It's like a fellow I once knew in El Paso. One day, he just took all his clothes off and jumped in a mess of cactus. I asked him that same question, "Why?"
-->'''Calvera:''' And?
-->'''Vin:''' He said, "It seemed to be a good idea at the time."
* ''Film/{{The Mummy|1999}}''
-->'''Evelyn''': By the way, why did you kiss me?\\
'''Rick''': I don't know. I was about to be hanged. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
* In the ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'' movie, Crow attempts to escape the Satellite of Love by ''digging a tunnel'' through space. When asked why he decided to bore a hole through the hull of the ship, he responds, "I calculated the odds of this working vs the odds that I was doing something incredibly stupid and... I went ahead anyway."
* ''Film/WithoutAPaddle''. Del Knox has spent 30 years in a cabin after partnering with D.B. Cooper in his famous skyjacking.
-->'''Jerry Conlaine''': But you could've left! Why'd you stay up here all these years?
-->'''Del Knox''': Seemed like a good idea at the time. Know what I mean, kid?
* ''Film/{{Solaris 2002}}''
-->'''Chris Kelvin''': Why did you kill yourself?
-->'''Gibarian''': It seemed like a good idea at the time, now I think I made a mistake.

* ''Literature/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy'': Everything Zaphod Beeblebrox ever does, except when caught up in a {{plan}} related to finding out who really rules the universe in later volumes. [[spoiler:Of course, this seems to have been the main reason Zaphod pulled said plan on ''himself'' by altering his own memories; even he questions his own judgment on this one.]]
* In the novel ''[[Literature/KnightLifeSeries Knight Life]]'' by Peter David, Merlin says any question can be answered by one of three statements: "Everybody has to be somewhere," "God told me to do it," and "It seemed like a good idea at the time."
* In ''Literature/OryxAndCrake'', where pigs are spliced with human DNA in order to create ultra-large pigs who grow multiple human organs that are used for transplants. Some of them even have some human brain tissue, which makes them viciously intelligent. Of course, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
* Similarly to the ''Literature/OryxAndCrake'' example, in the ''[[Literature/RevelationSpaceSeries Revelation Space]]'' universe an intelligent species of "hyperpigs" exists due to genetic manipulations conducted to provide transplant materials. While things are rocky for a long while, a hyperpig ends up being vital to saving all humans and hyperpigs from the Inhibitors.
* Any of Chris's antics during his college career in ''Literature/ThePaleKing''.
* In the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' series, Nanny Ogg's primary method of functioning is explicitly described as, "Nanny's philosophy of life was to do what seemed like a good idea at the time, and to do it as hard as possible. It had never let her down."
* A nonfiction book by Bill Fawcett cataloging such events in RealLife uses the trope as its title.
* [[Literature/TheDresdenFiles Harry Dresden]] cites this word for word when he admits that he may have kinda thrown himself out of a moving car. He had a plan. Sort of.
* In the opening quote for one of the chapters in TheGrimnoirChronicles, this is the defense offered by the people who accidentally caused the Dust Bowl by magically altering the weather.

[[folder:Live Action Television]]
* ''Series/YoungIndianaJones'' episode "Demons of Deception" ("Verdun" and "Paris")
-->'''Remy Baudouin''': I can't believe you actually did that. You could have ended up in front of a firing squad!
-->'''Indiana Jones''': They'll never figure it out.
-->'''Remy Baudouin''': But still, you lost your courier's job, and you put yourself back in the mud. You're crazy!
-->'''Indiana Jones''': It seemed like a good idea at the time. Some men got to live another day.
* The producers of ''Series/TheAmazingRace'' have been quoted as saying this about the [[SeasonalRot Family Edition]].
* On ''Series/AttackOfTheShow'', they tested [[VinceOffer the Sham Wow!]] and [[Creator/BillyMays the Zorbees]], and used substances such as [[{{Squick}} vomit]]. Kevin nearly threw up on camera.
** And then they tested the SlapChop on sheep eyes...
* Comes up in almost each plan by John in ''Series/{{Farscape}}''.
* ''Series/GossipGirl'' episode "All About My Brother"
-->'''Lily van der Woodsen''': Really, Rufus, what were you thinking? You threw her a surprise birthday party and had her face painted on a cake with a tiara?
-->'''Rufus Humphrey''': It seemed like a good idea at the time.
-->'''Lily van der Woodsen''': So did flannel and acid wash-jeans, but they weren't flattering either.
* ''[[Series/LoisAndClark Lois & Clark]]: The New Adventures of Superman'' episode "Tempus Fugitive"
-->'''Clark Kent''': Glasses, secret identity... seemed like a good idea at the time.
* On an episode of ''Series/NightCourt'', Macís bigoted grandfather canít accept that his grandson has married an Asian woman. So Harry orders his grandfather arrested and locks him up in the same cell with Macís wife, so the two of them can get to know each other better. Mac is aghast when he finds out, and a crestfallen Harry gives the trope name word-for-word as his defense. Mac responds, ďWell, sir, Iím sure human sacrifice seemed like a good idea at the time!Ē
* In ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'', Spock's father, Sarek, gives this as the reason why he married Spock's human mother:
-->'''Spock:''' (about his mother) "Emotional, isn't she?"
-->'''Sarek:''' "She has always been that way."
-->'''Spock:''' "Indeed. Why did you marry her?"
-->'''Sarek:''' "At the time it seemed the logical thing to do."
* ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' episode "The Emperor's New Cloak".
-->'''Quark''': I still don't understand why you'd want to come here in the first place.
-->'''Zek''': Simple, really. I came to find new financial opportunities for the Ferengi people.
-->'''Rom''': In the [[MirrorUniverse alternate universe]]?
-->'''Zek''': Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
** The StockPhrase is also used in "The Way Of The Warrior Part I", when Sisko is rather surprised to find Dukat on the side of the Cardassian Civilian Government instead of Cardassian Military. Facing a revolution, Dukat had to consider what was best for... well, Dukat.
--->'''Sisko''': In other words, you saw which way the wind was blowing and switched sides.
--->'''Dukat''': It seemed like a good idea at the time.
* ''Terry and the Pirates'' episode "Deadly Species" (1952)
-->'''Terry Lee''': Good timing, Major.
-->'''Major Ellis''': Oh, it was quite simple. All I had to do was follow the baskets you chaps so thoughtfully pushed off the truck.
-->'''Terry Lee''': It seemed like a good idea at the time.
* ''Series/TrailerParkBoys'' episode "Propane, Propane"
-->'''Bubbles''': You're not really marrying Lahey's ex-wife are ya? [snip]
-->'''Ricky''': Look Julian, I was baked out of my mind, it seemed like a good idea at the time alright?
* One stand-up comedian says that this is the reason why men do so many stupid and idiotic things, because guys aren't thinking about the past or the future and are only concerned with having a good time right now. He uses UsefulNotes/BillClinton as an example, and claims Bill would have gotten off scott free if he had just told the truth.
-->"Mr. President, are we to understand that she just walked right into your office and started...well, you know."
-->"Seemed like a good idea at the time!"
* ''Series/ICarly'' episode "iSell Penny Tees":
-->'''Unnamed child''': You already pre-paid us. For the whole month. (holds a wad of cash up to Carly and Freddie)
-->'''Carly''': (to Freddie, who looks at her weirded out) ...It seemed like a good idea at the time.
* On ''Series/ParksAndRecreation'' a young grade-school girl visits the office on a class assignment to learn about government, and finds Ron Swanson to talk with. He happily shares his disapproving views on the government and taxation, and gives her a going-away present of a Claymore mine, telling her "Protect what's yours." Her mother later visits, furious at her daughter being given ordnance, and Ron utters the trope phrase.
* ''Series/AirCrashInvestigation'': The root cause of some of the disasters caused by pilot error. "Kid in the Cockpit" concerned a famous Russian case where a senior airline pilot allowed his teenaged son to take the controls of a brand new Airbus A310. The teen inadvertently disabled the plane's autopilot and the flight crew, unfamiliar with the state-of-the-art aircraft, failed to bring it back under control. [[HilarityEnsues Tragic hilarity ensued]]. An especially needless tragedy given that the investigators found that everything would have been fine if [[ForWantOfANail they had just let go of the control column]].
* In the 2nd episode of ''Series/MalcolmInTheMiddle'', when Malcolm's Mother ([[spoiler:who had been interrogating Malcolm and the boys believing that they were responsible for the destruction of one of her dresses]].) finds out how the boys had been survive her punishments, Malcolm and the boys get desperate and they attempt to flee once they get found out by creating a tunnel. When their mom (who had calmed down) goes to re-confront them. She finds their room completely destroyed, while Malcolm putting the icing on the cake:
--> '''Malcolm:''' (''[[BreakingTheFourthWall turns to the viewers]]'') "I swear to god! On paper, this was a great idea!"

* The song [[TitleDrop A Good Idea At the Time]] by OkGo both expresses SympathyForTheDevil and is an [[ShoutOut explicit homage]] to the RollingStones song ''Sympathy for the Devil'', portraying Lucifer as simply a guy after a good time who keeps winding up causing horrific situations throughout history, usually because of [[ItSeemedLikeAGoodIdeaAtTheTime this trope]] and the consumption of [[AlcoholInducedIdiocy ludicrous amounts of booze]].
* The narrator of Music/WeirdAlYankovic's "The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota" quotes this trope verbatim while speculating why the titular twine ball was built.

[[folder: Radio Show]]
* True to its tendency of turning sayings into titles, ''Radio/ThisAmericanLife'' has done an episode ([[http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/306/seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time #306]]) that's flat out titled "Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time."

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/DanAndMabsFurryAdventures'', the cubi race are mentioned to be the kings of this, due to their emotion reading talents making them very emotional. Fights with them are compared to fighting someone who's blind drunk.
* ''Webcomic/ColourWheel'': This is why [[http://colourwheelcomic.com/comic/page-8/ Red gave his robot lasers.]]
* ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive''
** Daniel Elliot Shive, the author, says this when asked about the comic's name.
** He also claims Elliot will likely feel this way about "[[GenderBender her]]" decision in [[http://www.egscomics.com/?date=2011-06-03 this comic.]] As promised: [[http://www.egscomics.com/?date=2011-06-24 "It honestly seemed like a good idea at the time."]]
* In ''Webcomic/CommanderKitty'', while the line itself is never said, [[http://www.commanderkitty.com/2012/01/01/seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time/ it's the title of a strip where the truth comes out about Zenith Central...and in light of what's been revealed so far, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.]]
* In ''{{Webcomic/Namesake}}'', Selva [[http://namesakecomic.com/comic/it-made-sense-at-the-time/ explains]] her plan to prevent people from being brainwashed by poppies, mainly turning them into inanimate objects (since your head can't be infected by poppies if you don't have a head) in these terms.
* In ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'', Haley [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0959.html says this]] about her tendency in older strips to both [[{{Stripperiffic}} dungeon delve with a bare midriff]] and get into {{Designated Girl Fight}}s "while hurling offensively gender-charged insults".

[[folder: Web Original]]
* In the Literature/ChakonaSpace 'verse, chakats are mentioned to be highly susceptible to this.
* ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'', in episode 52 ''Have We Met?'':
-->'''[[spoiler:One of the many Churches:]]''' So, what ''did'' you do?\\
'''[[spoiler:Yellow Armor Church:]]''' Aw, man, it seemed like such a good idea at the time!
* This is a running gag in ''Webcomic/{{Prequel}}'', where it's referred to as a "BEST IDEA." Highlights include dismantling a swinging pendulum to use it as a weapon.
* WebVideo/WhatTheFuckIsWrongWithYou is full of these moments.

[[folder: Video Games]]
* In ''Videogame/{{Portal 2}}'' you're given the opportunity to remove BigBad GLaDOS' control over the facility and replace her with Wheatley, a cheery, kindhearted robot that's done nothing but help you. Seems like a great idea, right? [[spoiler:Turns out whoever is put in charge of the facility is driven insane, good job turning your only friend into a [[FaceHeelTurn homicidal maniac]].]]
* A Real Life example for VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim. Introducing paid mods into a passionate, decades-old community with no prior warning wasn't the most well-thought out plan. Insisting it was for the best intentions didn't help. The feature was removed amid intense backlash mere days later.
* Another real life example. Back in the 1988 Nintendo wanted to develop a CD peripheral for the SNES. They first partnered with Sony, but after discovering the deal gave Sony unprecedented control over the games on it, they bailed and partnered with Philips. This made Sony none too happy at the betrayal. The SNES never got a CD add-on, Philips got temporary rights to misuse Nintendo IP, and Sony got busy preparing for the formal announcement of the Playstation. NiceJobBreakingItHero indeed.
* In ''VideoGame/RuneScape'', if you tease the bandit "Narf" about his name, he mocks yours (your username) in return, and your character replies that [[NoFourthWall it seemed like a good idea when they were signing up!]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Milked for all its comedic worth in ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy''. Adam West rolls around in nuclear waste in order to gain superpowers -- and gets lymphoma. The doctor who he explains this to is taking this all in, and concludes that Adam West is an idiot -- much as someone would do were this same feat attempted in RealLife. The catch? Earlier in the story, the Griffins had gained superpowers in a manner quite similar, and Adam West's rolling around in the waste was part of a desperate plot to put a stop to their evil dominion over the town. Of course, he still succeeds -- the Griffins feel extremely guilty realizing that Adam West got lymphoma just because they were using their superpowers to be [[EvilIsPetty petty jerks]].
** By technicality that would also make this moment an UnintentionalBackupPlan.
* ''TheAmazingChanAndTheChanClan'' episode "The Gypsy Caper". Suzie, Alan, Anne and Tom are exhausted, Tom spots a hive and suggests they partake of the honey as a natural energy source. Unfortunately, the bees aren't too thrilled about that and the group ends up getting a second wind by ''fleeing'' and diving into a lake.
* In ''WesternAnimation/JackieChanAdventures''
** Jade destroys Shendu after they beat him at the end of season 1. Unfortunately this allows other forms of evil beings to come forth, since the world NEEDS a balance of good and evil. The only reason it seems things float towards the good side of things is because said evil is sealed, NOT destroyed.
-->'''Uncle''': I said ''face'' the dragon, not ''waste'' the dragon!
** It happens when Jackie destroys the talismans. He had hoped that their power would be destroyed and would end people misusing their powers, but unfortunately their powers can't be destroyed only their hosts (which were the talismans at the time) can. So now their powers seek out new hosts and he inadvertently started the talisman hunt all over again.
* In ''WesternAnimation/DrawnTogether'' episode "Breakfast Food Killer", that hiding the UCP codes up his butt seemed like a good idea at the time. Though he didn't really have any other place to hide them.
* In the episode of the Nickelodeon cartoon ''WesternAnimation/{{Rugrats}}'' entitled, "Chuckie is Rich", Drew stupidly invests all of Chaz's new money into some stupid invention. He uses this as his excuse.
* ''WesternAnimation/DastardlyAndMuttleyInTheirFlyingMachines'': Every idea Klunk comes up with for the Vulture Squadron to catch Yankee Doodle Pigeon seemed like a good idea at the time. Once it's implemented, EpicFail is imminent.
* ''WesternAnimation/BobsBurgers'' - Tina is backed into a corner when classmate Tammy blackmails her with the threat of reading Tina's 'erotic friend fiction' to her crush Jimmy Junior - her mom reassures her, and tells her to take control of the situation and read her fiction herself to the whole class. It's only after she repeats her advice to Bob that she sees what a bad idea it is.

[[folder: Real Life]]
* The colonization of New England. Most of the British colonies in North America were set up either as trading posts or as cash cows for profitable crops. New England, on the other hand, was Britain's dumping ground for social misfits and religious dissidents - basically anyone they didn't know what to do with. Massachusetts in particular was a hotbed of political radicals and religious whackjobs for most of the 18th century. Less than a century after its initial colonization, New England became the center of a secessionist movement that would eventually become UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution. Maybe putting all the crazy people in one place wasn't such a great idea...
* Mary Renault on the burning of Persepolis by Alexander the Great:
--> "Like many happenings at a very successful party it seemed like a good idea at the time."
* This was the reason given for the production of ''Film/TheDayTheClownCried'', a movie about a Holocaust-era clown.
* On Aeroflot Flight 593, the plane's captain took his two children into the cockpit to let them sit at the controls of the brand-new and impressive Airbus A310. The captain's teenaged son, [[CaptainObvious who had no idea how the plane really worked]], inadvertently disabled the autopilot. The flight crew, unfamiliar with the state-of-the-art autopilot, were unable to regain control of the aircraft. Flight 593 crashed, killing all 75 people on board.
* Eating large quantities of food, e.g. as part of a contest, may seem like a fun thing to do...until the food coma and wooziness kick in less than an hour later.
* The mega-popular image hosting site Imgur instituted paid advertisements in June 2015. The first company to attempt it was Warner Brothers Records. The WarnerBrosRecords account had dropped to almost -60,000 reputation in less than a week. They made three whole posts before the account was reset due to this intense negative reception. This was mere days after the forced removal of NSFW comments (which in no way was related to the incoming advertisers, trust us), that sparked a mini-revolt by the community at large. Imgur reinstated NSFW comments as an option that was off by default.
* [[IWasQuiteAFashionVictim Fashion trends can sometimes be this, when you look back and realize how dumb you looked.]]