"Groups are out. Four-piece groups with guitars particularly are finished."Anachronisms are funny. As are "prophecies" uttered by people who are in a position to lose a great deal of influence, money or credibility if they are wrong. The best thing about Alternate Universes is that they have things we can't possibly imagine being true. Why can't the reverse also fit? Oftentimes, be it a medieval setting or anything else where things we know about have no business existing, something abundantly familiar to our modern audience is put forth as a hypothetical. The punchline is that no one thinks it could possibly be popular, allowing us to laugh at how wrong people's predictions of the future really are, and pat ourselves on the back for being so clear-eyed. Compare Call Forward and Who Would Want to Watch Us?, which refers to the show itself, and Historical In Jokes that re-interpret the past in terms of the show. Contrast I Want My Jetpack, where our present makes a wrong prediction about the future. Note that this is also Truth in Television, as many things/people that are now legendary were considered potential failures: neither Elvis Presley nor the Beatles got good reviews when they were obscure, and many people couldn't see any use for a home computer. The polar opposite is This Is Going To Be Huge. Contrast to Audience-Alienating Premise for when the work sounds so strange, unique, or boring that it interests no one. This trope does not cover cases where a person simply doesn't like something that later turns out to be popular. Nearly every book in print today was rejected by several other publishers, and every famous actor has been rudely dismissed from an audition at least once. This is not necessarily short-sightedness; perhaps the actor simply wasn't right for that role, or hadn't yet matured into the person we know and love today. This trope comes into play when the rejection (or begrudging acceptance) is accompanied by a blanket statement that proves to be spectacularly wrong. People reinventing things that did catch on didn't know It's Been Done. Not to be confused with Hilarious in Hindsight, but examples of this trope are very often that as well. Contrast Cassandra Truth, where no one believes the dissenting voices who say that some new famous or trendy product, idea or phenomenon is wrong. See also And You Thought It Would Fail. Also compare Oblivious Mockery, when someone asks "Who Would Be Stupid Enough? to try that," unaware that the person next to them actually did it.
— Dick Rowe, Decca Recording Company executive, 1962 (turning down The Beatles)note
- Real life examples can be found here
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- Renault invoked this trope in one famous ad; each time they introduce a new car, somebody says "ça ne marchera jamais" (it will never catch on) but all cars of this ad were commercially successful.
- The National Football League did a series of commercials for several years lampooning wild predictions made by fans and pundits.
- A series of radio ads for a local towing company on Vancouver Island plays with reenactments of how a call would have played out a century ago between a customer and the company. In one, the customer says, "I tell you, these trains will be running long after they stop using these new fandangled automobiles!" The trains stopped running on Vancouver Island several years ago.
- This Israeli ad. Son tells his father that there is 200 mega internet now, father says "why would you need that". Son says "that sounds familiar". Cue flashback to son saying they need 15 mega because of this thing called "Facebook". Father says "it won't catch on". Son says "that sounds familiar". Another flashback (probably to mid 90-s, judging from the Macarena) with dad dismissing the idea of e-mail, stating they already have a fax.
- A 90s UK ad set in a Victorian schoolroom, where rows of posh young boys are being taught how monopolies work and that they're a good thing because "you all want to make lots more money". One boy pipes up "Please sir? Wouldn't it make rather a good board game?" and everyone laughs at him.
Anime & Manga
- The following exchange between Ed and his father in the 2003 anime version of Fullmetal Alchemist:
Hohenheim: Haven't you studied Einstein's theories?
Ed: No-one believes him.
- Which at the time that episode took place in was mostly Truth in Television. Certainly some believed him by then, but relativity was still controversial enough to be passed over by the Nobel committee.
- In the Crayon Shin-chan episode "Concerto in the Key of Butt Minor", Shin's father remarks that DVD was a passing fancy upon getting a videotaped invitation to Ai's piano recital. Erm, no.
- One Piece has the seven warlords remark that they don't consider Blackbeard a threat; since he has no reputation and will never be respected as a pirate. Guess who's the new Big Bad of the series, some hundreds of chapters later?
- Bakuman。: Fukuda claims that Crow will never be a hit manga while working as Eiji Nizuma's assistant; claiming it will get canceled after introductory three chapters. Over the course of the first season and the first arc of the manga, dozens of chapters are ordered and an anime is commissioned; leaving Fukuda bewildered at the success of Crow.
- Bob Newhart's early '60s routines "Nobody Will Ever Play Baseball" and "Introducing Tobacco to Civilization" end in this.
- Groo the Wanderer: "Mightier Than The Sword" follows the growth of a newspaper in the fantasy world of Groo. At one point a man, drawn like a scruffy version of the way Sergio draws himself, comes into the printers suggesting that he could draw funny images with text that they could print in their publication. After a beat panel the printers burst out laughing and the man walks out chiding himself for such a silly idea.
- Archie Comics: The "caveman" segments of often bring up futuristic technology. Jughead once drew pictures of a telephone and a car; the girls scoffed at his nonsensical pictures. They would also have characters use modern words and slang in spoken sentences, and then have other characters inquire just what those words meant.
Caveman Reggie: (after an accident) Look what he did! He rubbed all the greasy kid stuff out of my hair!
Caveman Jughead: What's a greasy?
Caveman Archie: What's a kid?
- The Sandman:
- In "August", the Emperor Augustus says "That will not last" about the names of the months July and August, named after himself and Julius Caesar. note
- In "Men of Good Fortune" (Sandman #13), Hob Gadling says that there'll "never be a real demand" for printing. The same early Tudor encounter also has an elderly man complaining that chimneys are a bad idea, and it was much healthier when houses were full of smoke. In the 18th century the Sandman, however, correctly predicts that the Bowdlerized versions of Shakespeare's plays will not have any lasting popularity.
- Shakespeare himself winds up creating the famous Guy Fawkes Night rhyme, then remarking that it and the holiday itself will be forgotten in a few years.
- Watchmen (which is set in an Alternate History of when it was written in 1987) has the editor of The New Frontiersman react to a possible run for the presidency by Robert Redford by saying, "This is still America, goddammit! Who wants a cowboy actor in the White House?" In the film, he leaves off the actor part and just says "cowboy".
- In All-Star Western, Dr Amadeus Arkham is rather taken aback by Nighthawk and Cinnamon, masked vigilantes who stalk the night in New Orleans. He's glad there'll never be any call for that sort of thing in Gotham City.
- Monica's Gang: Way before an apple fell on Sir Isaac Newton, another one fell on "Pitheco". He tried (and failed) to pitch the idea. Isaac Newton probably didn't go around dropping apples at people's heads.
- In League of Extraordinary Gentlemen side-story Nemo: Heart of Ice, inventors Frank Reade and Jack Wright are very dismissive of their colleague James Swyfte's most notable invention, an electric rifle, and scoff at his claim that one day some variation of it will be used by police officers all over the world. When we actually see him use it, it's clear that Swyfte's rifle is a precursor to the modern taser, which obviously is used by police officers all over the world today.
As it happens, James Swyfte is based on Tom Swift; in real life, the taser was not only inspired by, but named after Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle. As it also happens, Jules Verne's 1869 novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, which predates Tom Swift by 40 years and from which Alan Moore purloined Captain Nemo, already showed him using rifles firing (lethal) electric bullets that can be seen as precursors to tasers.
- Early in the comic book adaptation of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, Indy says that he considers continental drift a nutty idea (although still more plausible than the existence of Atlantis.) In the 1930s, this was the standard scientific view. Of course, later in the story, he ends up in... well, look at the title.
- There's a short, parenthetical page in Asterix and the Soothsayer explaining what soothsayers are. It concludes they're all charlatans after showing one describing modern-day skyscrapers (depicted by an actual photograph, so we get the point).
- At the end of Asterix and the Actress, Caesar has a small golden statue of himself which he offers Asterix as a reward. Asterix says the eponymous actress is the one who actually earned it. Caesar goes along with this, but can't help thinking that giving a woman a golden statuette for acting is a bit ridiculous.
- In Marvel 1602, Sir Richard Reed is, like his 616 counterpart, a scientific genius who is constantly coming up with inventions and ideas that are decades and even centuries ahead of their time — such as, in this case, batteries and modern chemistry. It's played with, in that while Count von Doom might be willing to exploit those innovations that have some practical use for him, he's skeptical and irritated when Reed speculates on a nonsensical idea (to Doom) that light might have a constant speed.
- B.C. used this one all the time. In an early strip, one of the girls is getting B.C. to try on a new outfit she's designed; he comes out wearing a three-piece suit and says "It'll never sell." An early running gag is that the wheel will never catch on.
- Sir Roger of Lockbramble in Prince Valiant has devoted a large part of his castle gardens to growing an exotic herb called tea. Valiant and Gawaine can't imagine the English people drinking it.
- In a What's New? with Phil and Dixie strip in The Duelist talking about Cyberspace, a science fiction writer is shown telling a friend "Okay ... try to imagine a network of computer connected machines all over the planet, see? And when you stick in an I.D. card, it'll give you money." The person he's talking to replies "Yeah, yeah, and they'll have spray cheese in a can."
- In Back To The Future Prequel, Marty mentions a friend dismissing his idea of Superman going back in time as stupid. Four years after the fanfic's setting, Superman came out, and guess what happened?
- Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series has a reference to Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, having Tristan say that "In the future, card games will be played on motorbikes." when asked why he's riding one. Yugi comments that it had to be the dumbest thing he's ever said and scoffs at the idea. Then it cuts to a picture of the promotional poster to drive the point home. It became Hilarious in Hindsight when, during the debut panel for the 5Ds dub, the voice of Yusei was revealed to be Frank Frankson (Tristan's VA from episode 11 on).
- From I Won't Say It, during a staff meeting in the Underworld:
Possibly the only interesting item had been a job request from a set of personifications in the east. It hadn't exactly been easy, but they had been told to come back when they could come up with a better name.
In [Hades'] opinion, a name like "the Seven Deadly Sins" was never gonna sell.
- In the Five Earths Project Superman fanfic "Target: Clark Kent", set in 1985, an ex-con is working on creating his own video game. Superman isn't impressed.
- In the Star Trek: Voyager uber "The Last Kiss Goodbye", Kathryn Janeway is a Private Eye in 1940s Hollywood. On hearing that the Hollywood studios are resisting the advent of television because it might steal their audience, she scoffs at the idea. She later discovers the Evil Plan of her client, Canon Bragger, a rogue producer for Paramount Pictures.
"Millions of sets in homes throughout the United States of America. And beamed to them all, weekly serials filled with gratuitous action scenes, plot cliches, lousy continuity, non-existent character development, and women with large breasts in highly revealing costumes!"
- In the Sonic 2 adaptation "Rising Star", this is Sonic's reaction upon hearing about an upcoming video game dealing with his exploits.
Tails: "They're gonna call it Sonic the Hedgehog Kicks Butt on Evil Dictator Dr. Robotnik. Though I think they're thinking of just shortening it to Sonic the Hedgehog."Sonic: "A video game about a fast blue hedgehog smashing robots? Hah. It'll never catch on."
Films — Animation
- In Ice Age, Manny passes a Stonehenge-like structure and remarks, "Modern architecture. It'll never last." Later, he scoffs at Sid's ridiculous notions of "global warming".
- When Merlin in The Sword in the Stone reminisced about the advent of flying machines, his owl familiar chides him for his crazy ideas of men ever being able to fly about in such things.
- Both the film and comic of Asterix in Britain have Asterix introduce tea to Britannia. However, the film ends with Getafix declaring it will never catch on.
- The later film Asterix Conquers America has a scene where Asterix, Obelix and Getafix are offered a peace pipe by one of the natives. Asterix remarks that he hopes it never catches on before taking a draw! All three end up passing out; one can wonder what was actually in that pipe.
Films — Live-Action
- Evelyn: One scene has a bartender trying to adjust a TV antenna to watch a TV interview with Desmond. After fiddling with it for the longest time with no luck in improving the picture, he gives up, muttering how TV will never catch on.
- In Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks and Charlie Chaplin are hanging around the Hollywoodland sign talking about the new sound movies, or "talkies", which Chaplin believes will never catch on. This was Truth in Television for Charlie Chaplin. As a physical comedian, he was one of the great resisters of talkies. His Tramp movies had international appeal, which would be severely reduced by adding an English soundtrack. Chaplin continued to make silent (or near-silent) movies long after the rest of Hollywood went for sound, producing the final Tramp movie - Modern Times - in 1936.
- Forrest Gump doesn't seem too impressed by the "fruit company" Lt. Dan suggested he invest in, which we see is really Apple Computers, now Apple Inc.
- The Passion of the Christ has a scene of Jesus building a dinner table at a modern height, to be used in conjunction with an upright chair, in contrast to the Roman habit of reclining beside low tables. Mary doesn't think it'll catch on. This is actually anachronistic, as standard tables have been around for thousands of years, while the Roman style of reclining was only a recent invention at the time.
- In Titanic (1997), Rose's fiancé isn't impressed with a painting by a then-obscure Picasso, and doesn't think he'll become famous. Spoofed hilariously (along with the rest of the movie) by RiffTrax:
"Good Lord, but I certainly am shortsighted and wrong about everything, aren't I? Now, hand me those shares of AT&T, I'd like to blow my nose on them."
- There was a hilarious example in the film Molière involving the capitalist son of an idle aristocrat. He comments on how production of a good would be more efficient in Spain than in France as you can pay the workers less there. This leads his father to remark sarcastically something like, "The next thing you know you'll be talking about moving production to China."
- Shanghai Noon gets a few miles out of this trope;
- Its sequel, Shanghai Knights, practically runs on it:
"John Wayne? That's a terrible name for a cowboy!"
"Hey Chon, you're lucky I didn't invest in that ridiculous 'auto-mobile' idea. Yeah, that's gonna make a lot of money."
- In the second example, he is also claiming that zeppelins are going to be huge after investing a substantial amount of gold into it (interestingly, Zeppelin did not begin construction of his first airship until 1899, and the movie takes place in 1887).
- And, after giving Arthur Conan Doyle the idea to write detective stories, Roy says this:
Ron: Sherlock Holmes? That's a terrible name for a detective!
- Its sequel, Shanghai Knights, practically runs on it:
- In Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, while hanging around Hamlet's castle, Rosencrantz independently discovers Newton's principle of reaction, observes that objects of different weights fall at the same speed, invents a rudimentary steam engine, creates the world's first hamburger, and even constructs a paper model of a biplane with little propellers. Outrageous fortune, however, attends and ruins all his attempts to display these discoveries to others.
- The Back to the Future trilogy:
- The original film:
- Marty meets the future Mayor of Hill Valley, Goldie Wilson (a black man), working in a diner. When Marty says that Wilson is going to be Mayor, Wilson's boss just scoffs, "A colored Mayor? It'll never happen."
- And, of course, Doc's hilarious tirade after Marty informs him who the president of the U.S. will be in 1985. ("Ronald Reagan! The actor? Then who's vice-president, Jerry Lewis?")
- And the Doc's surprise at finding out that all the best cars and electronics are made in Japan.note
- In an early draft of the script, the Doc refuses to invest in the Xerox company, wondering aloud, "How are they going to sell a product if you can't even pronounce the name?"
- Back to the Future Part III:
- When Marty goes by the name "Clint Eastwood" in 1885 Hill Valley, Bufford Tannen replies, "What kind of stupid name is that?"
- This quip when Marty has to face Buford in a shootout or else he'd get branded a coward: "Everybody everywhere will say that Clint Eastwood is the biggest yellerbelly in the West!"
- Again when the men in the bar scoff at Doc Brown's predictions that people will run for fun in the future. In the same scene, they also dismiss him predicting the invention of the automobile. Actually, primitive automobiles already existed in 1885, though they wouldn't be well-known to the general public until ten or twenty years later.
- The original film:
- The DVD Bonus Content for Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy included an "audition" of Ron Burgundy for ESPN.
Director: It's sports.
Ron: Around the clock? Sports all the time?
Director: That's the concept of the news...
Ron: That's never gonna work. That's ridiculous. That's like a 24-hour cooking network or an all-music channel. Ridiculous, that's really dumb. Seriously, this thing is going to be a financial and cultural disaster. SportsCenter, think about that. That's just dumb.
- In the film of Stephen King's Riding the Bullet, set in what seems to be the late sixties, two characters remark that the rock gods of the time will never grow old and will be around forever — they simply can't, they're rock gods. Sure enough, they cite Jimi Hendrix as an example.
- In Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Judge Doom reveals that the goal of his master plan is to own land that will be used by the city in a massive construction project called a freeway. Eddie Valiant is rather skeptical of all this.
Judge Doom: Eight lanes of shimmering cement, from here to Pasadena. Smooth, safe, fast. Traffic jams will be a thing of the past. (Big laughs when the movie played in Southern California)
Eddie Valiant: So that's why you killed Acme and Maroon? For this freeway? I don't get it.
Judge Doom: Of course not. You lack vision, but I see a place where people get on and off the freeway. On and off, off and on, all day, all night. Soon, where Toon Town once stood will be a string of gas stations, inexpensive motels, restaurants that serve rapidly prepared food, tire salons, automobile dealerships, and wonderful, wonderful billboards as far as the eye can see! My God, it'll be beautiful!
Eddie's comment after The Reveal about Doom's character:Eddie Valiant: That lame-brained freeway idea could only be cooked up by a Toon.
- In Gypsy, the characters see Jack Benny perform a stand-up comedy act in the 1920s. Mama Rose remarks: "He'll never get anyplace." A major plot point is the Mama's inability to predict coming trends, like her insistence that vaudeville will never die.
- In the satirical comedy Bullshot:
- The 1930s hero scoffs at the idea that the future world economy will be based on oil, or that England could ever be run by a woman (despite England having already had several queen-regnants, when the monarch was actually a position of power).
- Also despite the huge role already then played by oil companies in the world economy at the time, the way British policies towards the Middle East, and the importance of oil during World War One.
- At the beginning of Singin' in the Rain, everyone at a party among movie people scoffs when shown a demonstration of "talking pictures" and predicts that Warner Bros.' new talkie will flop. Of course, when it becomes a huge success, all the other studios quickly install their own sound equipment. Cosmo lampshades it when, in response to someone saying it would never catch on, he says, "That's what they said about the horseless carriage."
This is somewhat truth in television. According to the 1980 documentary series, Hollywood: A Celebration of American Silent Film, many people believed that sound film was going to be a fad and looked at sound as just a "plaything". In fact, silent films continued into the late 1920s with sound and silent versions of films as early talkies were pretty poor quality and no one knew what was going to happen to the industry.
- Goodbye Lenin features one of these in a deleted scene. The movie takes place in 1989, but one character, an amateur filmmaker, is wearing what seems to be a Matrix t-shirt, with the green data pattern from those movies (1999-2003). In the deleted scene we find out why: it turns out he has a friend, also a filmmaker, who was telling him about his idea for a movie where humans are kept in an artificial reality by robots. He remarks that he likes his friend's design sense but thinks his movie idea is ridiculous and doomed to fail.
- This is used a bit in The Wedding Singer, which was filmed in the late 1990s, but set in the 1980s. One example combines this with Analogy Backfire. The protagonist's lecherous friend talks about how he modeled himself after John Travolta, and he's been a growing failure at keeping up the image as he's aged, just as "[Travolta's show] got cancelled!" John Travolta, of course, famously ended up having a big comeback with Pulp Fiction.
- Boss Tweed in Gangs of New York mocks the short sleeves worn by a Chinese card dealer to show he's got no cards up his sleeves, saying "Let's pray that never becomes the fashion."
- A Credits Gag in Night at the Museum 2 shows a World War II serviceman reverse-engineering Larry Daley's lost cellphone, interrupted by his mother calling his name: "JOEY MOTOROLA!!" In fact, Motorola has been around since 1928, with one of their first commercial products being car radios. Starting in 1940, they picked up quite a few defense contracts, culminating in the production of the AM SCR-536 hand-held radio - which was vital to Allied communication during World War II.
- Jimmy Fallon's character in Almost Famous: "If you think Mick Jagger will still be out there trying to be a rock star at age fifty, then you are sadly, sadly mistaken."
- Julie & Julia had several examples, probably based on real life anecdotes:
- The head of the Cordon Bleu Institute tells Julia Child that she is a terrible cook.
- Paul Child consoles his wife upon the rejection of Mastering the Art of French Cooking: "You could have a television show!" This cheers her up, but she laughs at the idea.
- Babes In Arms begins with a vaudevillian being warned that vaudeville might soon be eclipsed by the motion picture. He, of course, laughs off this warning.
- The character of Virge in Memphis Belle (set in 1943) is obsessed with hamburgers and will tell anyone who will listen (and everyone else as well) about his idea of starting a chain of hamburger restaurants, all with the same architecture, producing burgers to the same specifications. Most people simply laugh and tell him that no-one wants to eat the same food everywhere they go. However, White Castle dates back to the 1920s.
- Early in the classic film Some Like It Hot (set in The Roaring Twenties), Joe tells Jerry he's going to bet their paycheck on a single greyhound with a hot tip, despite owing a lot of money and being practically penniless. When Jerry asks Joe what happens if the dog loses, Joe assures him that they'll still have keep their jobs — playing in a speakeasy's band. When Jerry asks him what'll happen if they lose their job, Joe snaps with, "Suppose you got hit by a truck! Suppose the stock market crashes! Suppose Mary Pickford divorces Douglas Fairbanks! Suppose the Dodgers leave Brooklyn! Suppose Lake Michigan overflows!"
- The board members in The Hudsucker Proxy think Norville Barnes' Hula Hoop invention is utterly worthless, but go ahead with mass production of the item for the sake of a massive stock scam. They are subsequently ruined when the product is a hit.
- Early in Kevin Smith's Jersey Girl, Ben Affleck's publicist character scoffs at the idea of Will Smith being cast as the protagonist in Independence Day, doubting that anyone could take the Fresh Prince seriously as an action star.
- In Goodbye, Mr. Chips, one of the masters is reading a novel and replies to another who asks about the author: "It's his first. He'll never come to anything. He's too fantastic." The novel is The Time Machine and the author is H. G. Wells.
- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
- Among Caractacus Potts' not-quite-working inventions in his lab are a vacuum cleaner and a TV antenna.
- Going by the style of the car, and the steamship and so on, the film is set in the mid 1920s to early 1930s. Vacuum cleaners were available at least since the 1880s (although ones that were small enough to carry around, as opposed to parking them in the street on a cart, weren't available until the early 1920s), and the earliest television sets went on sale in 1928.
- A deleted scene in Sherlock Holmes has Lestrade express exasperation and incredulity when Holmes suggests that he employ a photographer to record a crime scene.
- In the Czech film Císařův pekař - Pekařův císař, Emperor Rudolf sees Edward Kelly smoke tobacco (a novelty from the New World) and says that it will never catch on. Other items that get dismissed in a similar manner include the kaleidoscope and peanuts.
- A very unsubtle example in Abraham Lincoln. One of Lincoln's cousins, present at the birth of Abe, says "Shucks, he'll never amount to nothin', no how!"
- In the 2006 French film The Tiger Brigades (set in 1912), one of the detectives demonstrates a new invention by a friend of his: handcuffs! His boss ridicules the idea when he's easily able to pick the lock (a problem faced by some modern handcuffs too).
- The 2009 Japanese film Fish Story has this with the eponymous track. It's a catchy punk piece with Word Salad Lyrics, but in 1975 it just wasn't mainstream enough. The band knows that it won't sell, but they decide to record it anyway.
- Silent film star George Valentin in The Artist insists that sound motion pictures are just a fad. This attitude all but destroys his film career.
- In State Of The Union, the characters expect that Harry Truman will be defeated in the 1948 election, which is why they want the Republican nomination. The film was released after Truman won.
- In Super 8, this is the sheriff's reaction to the Walkman cassette tape player that the gas station attendant is listening to.
- Played for drama in Boogie Nights, when Jack Horner refuses to convert to from shooting his movies on film to VHS because he believes that he's Doing It for the Art. Unfortunately, the industry he's working in is the pornographic industry, which makes it abundantly clear that it cares very little for the art...
- In The Queen, Queen Elizabeth refuses to fly the palace flag at half-mast in homage to the recently deceased Princess Diana, to much controversy. Her husband, Prince Philip, concurs, saying the furor surrounding the Royal Family will just "blow over" by the end of the week. But then...
- Jackie Treehorn in The Big Lebowski expresses disdain for the fact that porn migrated to video; he can't afford to invest in things like story. However, he goes on to say that he would be willing to try something electronic. The Dude responds like so: "I still jerk off manually."
- The 2013 CBC movie Jack, about Canadian politician Jack Layton, shows numerous people throughout Jack's career underestimating how much of an impact he or his ideas could make.
- SLC Punk! inverts the trope. A wealthy punk in the 1980s proudly shows off his cutting-edge laser disc player. The film was made in the 90s, by the time laser discs had utterly flopped.
- In Around the World in 80 Days (2004) (the one with Jackie Chan), the Royal Academy of Science is very arrogant and close-minded, dismissing various people's inventions as nonsense. These include Phileas Fogg's inventions like roller skates and jetpacks. One unseen man invented a slinky, but the Academy not only mocked it, but threw the guy in the asylum. One Academy member shows himself a Hypocrite by playing with the slinky later in the movie.
- At one point in Get On Up, a young James Brown is bumped so that the then-unknown Rolling Stones can play the last set on a music show. When James becomes angry, his manager assures him that the Stones are talentless hacks who will be forgotten within a year. Mick Jagger was one of the producers on the film, so this might double as a bit of Self-Deprecation.
- That really happened, actually, at the TAMI (teen age music international) Show in late 1964. Mary Wilson of the Supremes mentions the backstage angst between Brown and the Stones in her autobiography: "How did the Stones think they could follow Soul Brother Number One? The stones weren't quite sure they could do it, and James Brown was pretty sure they couldn't!"
- In a deleted scene for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at the very end, April O'Neil and Danny Pennington go to a comic book publisher with April's sketches of the Turtles and use them to pitch a new series. The man they're meeting does seem to be impressed by the pictures, but concludes that a series starring the Turtles would be "farfetched".
Michelangelo: "Farfetched?!" Sheesh!
- Towards the beginning of Jumanji, the young Alan Parrish is shown a sneaker prototype by Carl Bentley in 1969, and isn't very impressed by it. It accidentally gets destroyed by Alan, and gets Carl fired. However, after the game ends in 1995, with the entire timeline rewinding to 1969, Alan gets the opportunity to save Carl's job and make the sneaker successful.
- Happens several times in Straight Outta Compton, with various characters espousing the belief that either gangsta rap or NWA in particular will never make it big. In one particular scene, a record exec passes on the group while telling their manager to call him when he finds the next Bon Jovi instead.
- In the sci-fi novel The Cross-Time Engineer, one character tells a bartender that women in bunny outfits (à la Playboy bunnies) will help business. Also something of a subversion, in that the bartender takes his advice, but eventually has trouble finding new employees when the girls keep running off to get married.
- This joke is done a lot in the Discworld novels.
- In one scene in Witches Abroad, the witches discuss whether they could fly people about on a "really big broom" in a manner reminiscent of commercial airline travel, alluding to the names of several Roundworld airlines in the process. Naturally, they decide it'd never catch on.
- Mad Scientist Leonard of Quirm has developed sticky notes, espresso (or "very fast coffee", as he calls it), and the bicycle, among other things, but is never quite sure if the devices he invents will catch on. Leonard of Quirm tends to do this most often with his weaponry designs. He will often devise a weapon capable of annihilating whole armies or destroying mountains, but is naive enough to believe that no one would build or use such a destructive weapon.
- Leonard seems to be learning, however; in Jingo he designs an underwater war machine then reconsiders and destroys the design... but only after Nobby Nobbs has spent nearly the entire book pointing out to him the ways it could be used in war.
- Leonard also invents an encryption machine (at Vetinari's request) which he calls something long and convoluted.note The initials of its name work out to Enigma, a real-world encryption engine used by the Germans in WW2. Leonard's inventions are brilliant, but the names never catch on. In the same vein, he calls the previously mentioned underwater war machine affectionately the boat, in lieu of calling it the Going-Under-The-Water-Safely Device. He points out, that he came up with the convoluted name after considering that the boat is submersed in a marine environment.
- Rincewind in The Last Continent: "What kind of idiot puts beer in tins?" Also the practice of hanging corks from a hatbrim to keep flies off. People he meets disbelieve that this could work, because surely someone would have thought of it by now.
- Rincewind in Sourcery: "Telling stories in a harem? It's not bloody normal! It'll never catch on!"
- The Science of Discworld does this as well, especially in that the book is basically about the development of our world from the perspective of Unseen University's faculty. First they thought that planets are no place for life to form, and then that the sea is the best place for intelligence, and so on and so forth. At one point, they decide that the "BIg lizards" are terribly boring and that historians of Roundworld will just skip over them in their recollections.
- Done in Good Omens with Agnes Nutter, a precognitive witch. She is considered mad for her belief in such bizarre health ideas like washing up and jogging. On the other hand, Agnes also does predict some things that really DID never catch on. (Doe Notte Buy Betamacks.)
- In Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities; first when Darnay gets yelled at for suggesting that George Washington will become better known than George III, and again, played for irony, when Monsieur the Marquis remarks that the line of Kings Louis of France will continue for eternity — and he says this during the reign of Louis XVI, of course.
- Edgar Allan Poe used this in his 1845 story "The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Scheherazade". It is written as an epilogue to the Arabian Nights, in which Scheherazade makes the mistake of putting modern (for Poe's time) inventions in one of her stories, causing the disbelieving sultan to have her executed.
- Marc Acito's novel How I Paid for College, which takes place in the 1980s, has a few of these, but the one that stands out is one character claiming that "Madonna's a flash in the pan. She'll never last."
- In the Marcus Didius Falco series, Falco, a Hardboiled Detective in Ancient Rome, writes a play, The Spook Who Spoke, whose plot is remarkably similar to Hamlet. The actor he describes it to instantly rejects the idea, as ghosts don't speak in plays. On another occasion Falco encounters a Gaulish cook, which he finds ridiculous, as that country will never be famous for good food. He runs into a group of Christians, and dismisses them as just another cult targeting middle-class idiots, and who'd want to worship only one god anyway?
- On another occasion, a group of Jewish slaves want to hire him to find one of their religious artifacts lost in the Roman sack of Jerusalem. Falco, of course, has no intention of working for the pittance they could pay him, and the whole thing is undoubtedly a wild goose chase anyways.
- Two examples in Neal Stephenson's The Baroque Cycle: Enoch Root's friend thinks tea is too esoteric for the English to ever warm up to, and Eliza mocks Jack's butchering of thaler into dollar.
- In The Night Angel Trilogy, King Logan says he wants to write a book about words. Not with words, about them. Telling what they mean. A Dictionary. Kylar doesn't buy it.
- In Jericho Moon, set shortly after the Trojan War, a Canaanite prince excuses his never having learned Greek, because nothing worth reading ever has been, or likely will be, written in that language. Also, a caravan drover is considered crazy for insisting that his camels are "the ass of the future": everyone knows that those over-sized, smelly, bad-tempered beasts can't be domesticated.
- The Wheel of Time does this once or twice, since it's hinted that it takes place in a past/future Earth. The funniest comes in The Great Hunt (not direct quotes, but close enough.
- In Gathering Blue, Kira sees indoor plumbing for the first time, but thinks of it as impractical, since she sees simply going to the river easier.
- In Mary Renault's The Praise Singer, Historical-Domain Character Onomakritos gets caught forging prophecies. A few are described. The one about a lightning-flash from Macedon which would burn the Great King's throne is obvious nonsense, but the one about Atlantis rising in the west and aspiring to rule the moon, sending up heroes in flying chariots, is crazier still.note
- Gerald Kersh's Comrade Death. The main character, tractor salesman turned Arms Dealer, is laughed at by his first client and friends because the idea of a weapon salesmen is ridiculous at the start of the 20th century.
- In the final Time Scout novel, one unpleasant downtimer goes on a misogynist rant when he encounters a female uptime reporter. He particularly laments that women are taking mens' jobs, usurping respectable professions like the secretary, polluting the office with their wanton ways.
- In the first Dragonology book, Dr. Drake comments that he thinks the designs the Wright Brothers are experimenting with are impractical and unlikely to ever work. Considering that he's an expert on DRAGONS, there may be some overlap with Arbitrary Skepticism.
- In An Officer and a Spy, Col. Picquart sneers at the notion that the Franco-Russian alliance, meant to protect France against a German attack, might instead draw France into a war between Germany and Russia. This is exactly what happened in 1914.
- In Resurrectionist, Mad Doctor Colonel Hyde makes several remarkably correct predictions about the future of medicine, forseeing such things as organ transplants.
- In the Diogenes Club short story "Sorcerer, Conjurer, Wizard, Witch" (set in The Thirties), Edwin Winthrop is perplexed that Dr Shade is so paranoid as to have "an ingenious hobbling device" padlocked to his motor-cycle, as if something so hard to fence would be stolen.
- In The Heroes, a novel in The First Law series, one scene has various Northern barbarians eating bread and cheese at their camp. While the rest rip off chunks of bread to eat with the cheese, the cloudcuckoolander Whirrun of Bligh takes his Thunderbolt Iron Cool Sword and slices the bread with it, and invents the sandwich. The others are not impressed.
- In the second Dinotopia book, Arthur builds a flying machine. But both Bix and Will think flying machines will never rule the skies.
- In Leviathan, which takes place during an Alternate History World War I, Otto Klopp briefly muses on possible alternatives to the Mini-Mecha that dominate warfare. But war machines on treads? Like farm equipment? Ridiculous.
- In The Help the zip code is treated as such.
- In Dictator, Cicero badly underestimates Octavius. This eventually leads to Cicero's destruction and the destruction of the Roman Republic.
Cicero: If he goes to Rome he'll cause problems for Antony. He'll split their faction.
Tiro: And if his adventure succeeds?
Cicero: It won't....He's a nice boy...but he's no Caesar—you only have to look at him."
- Our Miss Brooks: In "Wild Goose Chase", Miss Brooks jokes about T.V. being a temporary fad. This episode aired just a few years after some viewed television as a form of entertainment that would never catch on.
- In Auction Kings, The gasoline-powered pogo stick was briefly somewhat popular. Until a bunch of kids hurt themselves and it was banned.
- Doctor Who:
- In the episode "Vincent and the Doctor", it is shown that no-one in Vincent van Gogh's time likes his paintings. At the end of the episode the Doctor takes him to the future to show him that his art is among the most loved art of all time. This one is mostly Truth in Television, though perhaps not quite to the extent the show played the trope.
- Episode "The Unicorn and the Wasp" features the Doctor and Donna travelling back to the twenties and meeting Agatha Christie who proclaims that her books "will be never be loved by anyone".
- Don't forget: "Oh, Tricky Dicky, they are never going to forget you." (To Richard Nixon early in his presidency, referencing, among other things, Watergate)
- There is an incredibly prophetic example of this in the Classic series. The First Doctor story "The Chase" opens with the companions (Barbara and Ian from 1963, and Vicki from the 2400s) using a machine to view various events from history. Both Barbara and Ian are surprised when Vicki chooses to look up the Beatles playing "Ticket to Ride" live on Top of the Pops, but she assures them that she learned about them in their monument in Liverpool (but had no idea they played "classical music"). This was presumably intended as an ironic joke for the contemporary 1965 audience who saw them as a Boy Band, but they have monuments in Liverpool to them already and their music has been analysed like (and found worthy of standing with) classical music. Even more amazingly, the footage she views of them playing is footage that was lost due to the BBC's policy of "junking" old footage, meaning she'd have a good reason to want to see that specific performance again. (The footage used of it in Doctor Who is the only clip of it that exists.)
- In "Deep Breath," Madame Vastra calls advertising in newspapers a "distressing trend."
- Each installment of the Saturday Night Live Steve Martin sketch, "Theodorick of Yorik, Medieval (Barber|Judge|Dentist|etc)" ends with the title character stepping forward to make an optimistic speech about how, in the future, perhaps their backward systems will be replaced by ones based on rigorous scientific method rather than barbarism. Then, he dismisses the whole thing with, "Naah."
- The docudrama Pirates of Silicon Valley is chock full of these moments as everything we take for granted about personal computing is scoffed at by the executives of major computer and office equipment firms. (Things like desktop PCs, the Graphic User Interface, the mouse, etc.) In fact, Xerox PARC (the Palo Alto Research Center) is infamous for the sheer number of innovations they came up with that were discarded or dismissed by management, only to become huge successes later. "I just made a program that plays blackjack." "Why would anybody want that?"
- Eddie Izzard has a bit with an inventor in caveman times saying he's going to be famous, his invention (which involves twiddling sticks together until sparks and warmth happen) will change the world, and they won't have to eat salads all the time. But his wife says It Will Never Catch On. "Jeff Fire, you are not gonna be famous!" ("Oh yes I am, Sheila, and do you know what I'm gonna call it? I'm gonna call it: Jeff.")
- In Life On Mars:
Gene Hunt: There will never be a woman Prime Minister as long as I have a hole in my arse.
- Most of Sam's suggestions about what the future will hold are bluntly shot down by his 1973 colleagues as being ludicrous; of course, Sam knows exactly what the score is, because he's from the future. One of Gene Hunt's memorable responses to Sam's hints:
Mind you, in the same year in Real Life:Margaret Thatcher MP: I don't think there will be a woman Prime Minister in my lifetime.
Nelson: What's that?
- Another time, Sam suggests installing a TV in a pub so people can watch the upcoming horse race.
Sam: It's a television.
Nelson: ...In a pub?
Sam: You know nothing about football! I used to go to football with my dad. United and City fans used to walk to the match together. Our next door neighbour, he had a City flag up in his window. Kids used to play together in the street — red and blue. But then people like you came along and you took it away from us.
- And it's not always comedy.
Peter Bond: A good punch up's all part of the game! It's about pride. Pride in your team. Being the best!
Sam: No it isn't! This is how it starts, and then it escalates. It gets on the telly and in the press, and then other fans from other clubs start trying to out do each other. And then it becomes about hate! And then it's nothing to do with football any more! It's about gangs and scumbags like you roaming the country seeing who can cause the most trouble. And then we overreact, and we have to put up perimeter fences and we treat the fans like animals! Forty, fifty thousand people herded into pens! And then how long before something happens, eh? How long before something terrible happens and we are dragging bodies out?
(The answer to that last question is 16 years.) Obviously that is probably a rather specific reference, but 12 years also stands out.
Peter Bond: What's this?
- And in that same episode:
Sam: It's chicken in a basket.
Peter Bond: Where's me plate?
Sam: You don't need a plate, it's in a basket.
Gene: A word... Chicken? In a basket?!
- In one episode of the American version, Sam tries to talk down a jumper who lost all of his money investing in "portable telephones." Ray is absolutely baffled by the concept — "Who wants to carry around a phone?"
- Revisited in Ashes to Ashes series 2, as Gene and Chris discuss the advent of long-running TV show Countdown:
Chris: It's proper ambulance-chaser telly. It'll never last.
Gene: Of course it won't... it's for students with greasy hair and the clinically insane.
Chris: And my Auntie Irene. Mind you, she is insane.
- Late in the first season of Lost, a flashback has Christian saying, "That's why the Sox will never win the Series." Of course, a month after Christian's death, they had done just that. Later on, when Ben and the Others have Jack captured, they use a clip of the Red Sox's World Series victory to prove to Jack that they had contact with the outside world (he had previously scoffed at their claim for this reason).
- Played With in a sketch on That Mitchell and Webb Look sketch, with the joke being that the inventions won't catch on because they're peripherals for things as yet not invented - a wooden computer mouse, a windscreen wiper ("the device for wiping clean a screen that, in as yet obscure circumstances, would shield one from the wind"), a can-opener ("the device for extracting food that has somehow become encased in metal"), anti-viral software (a long scroll of ones and zeroes, which he no longer remembers the purpose of), and a Sky Digi-Box.
- This was a major Running Gag on the short lived show Do Over.
- The protagonist is a 34 year old man who is reliving his high school years. About Once an Episode, his mom would present an invention of hers that was almost exactly like something that's popular today. His dad would then claim that it would never catch on for a reason that sounds idiotic to a modern audience.
- And when he tells his dad to invest his money in computers, his dad instead invests in Beta VCRs, saying computers are just a fad and beta machines are the wave of the future.
- Played with on M*A*S*H.
- Despite Klinger's urgings, Dr Winchester refuses to invest in commercial production of both the Hula Hoop and the Frisbee.
- In another episode, Colonel Potter is writing to his wife and expresses skepticism about whether or not television will catch on. This is of course a throwaway line on a television show.
- When BJ tells him that he bet on Emil Zátopek for the 1952 Olympics marathon race, Hawkeye expresses deep skepticism, pointing out that Zátopek had already run the 5,000 and 10,000 meter races and wasn't rested. Zátopek won and set a record.
- In one episode, the P.A. announcer is reading the news and mentions, "the French Army today predicted it would bring a swift end to the Vietnamese War." This aired at a time when The Vietnam War was still happening.
- The Wild Wild West
- In one episode the two heroes, trapped at the bottom of a dry well, toss rocks into the well's bucket to lower it and escape. Artemus Gordon suggests that this might be the basis for an enjoyable game: "bucketball!" Jim West vetoes the idea.
- And in "The Night of the Big Blackmail", Gordon speculates that entertainment using the newfangled kinetoscope could be profitable. West scoffs.
- One episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, in which the witches are particularly long-lived, has an investment bond mature. She'd bought the bond for a really low price initially because nobody thought hygiene would catch on.
- The Community episode "Digital Estate Planning" revolves around a 16-bit video game that Pierce's father had begun developing in 1979. It contains a spiteful message from just a few years prior to The Great Video Game Crash of 1983, where Pierce's dad remarks that with many arcades closing and game sales plummeting, it's clear that video games were just a passing fad destined to be forgotten. Obviously, he had no way of knowing that video games would experience a massive resurgence of popularity in the late 80's and early 90's, leading to them becoming the juggernaut industry they are today.
- In Galavant Sid comes up with the idea of a series of interlocking metal teeth positioned around the groin of trousers that can be zipped open and shut to make going to the bathroom easier. Galavant and Isabella tell him to stop being ridiculous. Also, Gareth proposes developing a standardized system of telling time based on the rotation of the Earth in relation to its position to the Sun and the Moon. King Richard dismisses this, saying that Gareth is talking like a witch.
- The Nanny:
Max: It was about a bunch of pussy cats singing in a garbage can! What would you do?Fran: Two words, Mr. Sheffield: still running.
- In a flashback episode Fran scolds her mother for making up stupid ideas like "frozen yogurt". Another flashback had Sheffield scoffing at the notion of a Broadway play about singing cats; this became a Running Gag as people would constantly bring up how he had passed on Cats and he would continue to voice his bewilderment over its success.
- In the same episode, Fran rejects a date offer from her geeky neighbor...Steven Spielberg.
- In another, while Max and C.C. are developing a T.V. show, C.C. at the end pitches another idea for another show, and the producer (played by Hal Linden) says that it sucks. She basically described Barney Miller.
- Cats wasn't the only play Max rejected. He also rejected Hair and Tommy.
- In an episode of That '70s Show, Red and Kelso are fixing the Atari Pong game:
Red: Congratulations, son! You have seen the future!
Kelso: Yeah, yeah, you're so right, Red! Home computers! That is the future!
Red: No, no, no. Not computers! Soldering! The future is soldering! Computers...
It looks like Red will add another to his list of disappointments and broken dreams.
- In an episode of The Middleman, a cryogenically frozen-in-1969 previous Middleman (Kevin Sorbo, for the record) cracks a joke about "Beam us up, Scotty." He then apologizes for the obscure reference, "Cancelled TV show, you've probably never heard of it."
- Black Adder:
Blackadder: People are smoking them, building houses out of them... they'll be eating them next!
- Used in the second series episode "Potato". Of the eponymous tuber:
Vincent Hanna: Has your party got any policies?
- Blackadder The Third mixes this with Values Dissonance:
Ivor Biggun: Oh yes, certainly! We're for the compulsory serving of asparagus at breakfast, free corsets for the under-fives, and the abolition of slavery.
Vincent Hanna: Now, you see, many moderate people would respect your stand on asparagus, but what about this extremist nonsense about abolishing slavery?
Ivor Biggun: Oh, we just put that in for a joke! See you next year!
- In another episode of Blackadder the Third, Samuel Johnson meets with Prince George, eager to hear his opinion on his book — the dictionary. George finds the idea of a book without a plot absolutely ridiculous, and doesn't see the point of the thing anyway.
- In an episode of the short-lived Western Police Procedural Peacemakers, two men who struck it rich decide to invest in the latest invention of a fellow called Thomas Crapper: the flush toilet. The town sheriff is visibly skeptical of this. Note: like The Other Wiki article lists, Crapper did not, in fact, invent the flush toilet. He did, however, tweak the design into the sort of float valve thingy that was used in flush toilets up until lo-flo became the rule.
- Once an Episode in Murdoch Mysteries someone will dismiss something out of hand, usually either the new technology Detective Murdoch just brought in or a suggestion from Constable Crabtree. Murdoch himself isn't immune, often dismissing something Crabtree just bought. One instance in particular is from the episode "Still Waters", where Murdoch tastes coffee for the first time. Revolted, he demands, "Who would drink this when they could have tea?" Who indeed.
- Paul Whitehouse and Harry Enfield did a sketch for 2009 BBC Comic Relief spoofing Dragon's Den (another BBC show where entrepreneurs try to persuade a panel of investors to back their business idea) by doing an early Victorian era version with the hopefuls (played by the original show's businessmen) pitching ideas like flush toilets and toothbrushes. Inevitably the "Dragons" dismiss the ideas as nonsense, with one character saying that he wishes for a "big metal bird" to fly around in, but that isn't going to happen either.
- Legend. A woman tells the protagonist Ernest Pratt her life story, which sounds remarkably similar to Gone with the Wind. When Pratt's friend says it would make a good story for the dime novels he writes, Pratt replies that it would never sell. No doubt there are other examples in this series, which had a similar Anachronism Stew approach to the Wild West as The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr..
- A few examples in the Star Trek franchise:
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. A serious example occurs in "Far Beyond the Stars", when Captain Sisko starts to hallucinate that he's a science-fiction writer in the 1950s. He submits an excellent story about a space station called Deep Space Nine, but his editor tells him to drop the idea of a Negro captain as it's "too unrealistic". However Played for Laughs with a note from the editor pinned to Armin Shimerman's desk, rejecting one of his story ideas. "No-one would ever believe that a cheerleader could kill vampires." However another note correctly states that "Four Laws of Robotics are one too many."
- In Star Trek: Enterprise, Travis says that Starfleet should consider putting families on starships, as he grew up on a freighter and families are especially prevalent in the cargo service. Malcolm, the British Military Brat tactical officer, naturally believes this to be a terrible idea. After all, what's next? Having a psychologist on the bridge?
- Everybody Hates Chris:
"What's next? A store that sells nothing but staples? Or a store that sells everything for 99 cents?"
- Has one where Greg's dream of owning a store that sells nothing but coffee is squashed by the Guidance Councilor.
- Another episode has Chris' uncle who is always trying some get rich quick scheme selling tapes from his car, and nobody wants to buy them. The tapes are of Beastie Boys, Run DMC, Public Enemy and a few big 90s rappers.
- Chris's brother tells Doc about sushi being brought to America and suggests that they should start selling some in the store. Doc laughs at the idea. Chris narrates that Doc later went broke.
- In yet another episode, a lady describes her boyfriend as a film director who will never be a household name. The director's name? Spike Lee.
- In ANOTHER episode, Julius declines on investing in the George Foreman grill.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000 lampshades this in the episode where they riff on Revenge of the Creature, which features a young Clint Eastwood in his film debut as a lab assistant in an uncredited bit part, which causes Crow to make the following remark.
"This guy is bad. This is his first and last movie."
- In the French show Kaamelott, set in Arthurian times...
- A Burgundian translator says it about languages: "Originally, I wanted to learn Modern Greek, but there was no place left. All that was available was Burgundian and English. English! But that's even less common..."
- In another episode, when Merlin tries out "modern medicine" instead of magical healing, King Arthur tells him it will never catch on. (Though that's understandable, considering the best Merlin could come up with was throwing salt in an open wound...)
- The short-lived show Thanks has the younger girl whose entire purpose was to predict future discoveries and/or habits, such as the presence of bacteria (and the need for sterilization) or "no smoking sections"
- In 227, the old lady once mentioned she knew a man from Kentucky who wanted to open a restaurant after leaving the military, to which she said, "Who would buy fried chicken from a white man?!"
- "The Colonel" also appeared in an episode of Little House on the Prairie as a southern gentleman who arrives in Walnut Grove pitching an idea for a restaurant that serves only one type of food. Mrs. Oleson promptly dismisses him, quite pleased with herself for having the good sense not to get involved with such a ridiculous notion.
- Siroc in Young Blades discusses the possible invention of cleaning detergents and adding milk to coffee, only for his fellow Musketeers to go... well, you know.
- The Arabian Nights miniseries has Aladdin's wish for a flying machine dismissed by the genie:
"A flying machine? So we can fly around the world? We can order drinks and someone can serve us peanuts? A flying machine! Maybe you should stick with the money."
- In the All in the Family flashback episode "Mike and Gloria's Wedding" (set in 1970) Archie tells to Mike: "Nixon make a trip to Red China? Never in a million years, buddy!"
- An episode of WKRP in Cincinnati has a brief flashback-like scene that takes place back in the 1950s, where a young Les Nesman says of the VW Beetle, "It's just a fad, like television."
- In The Apple in Hercules The Legendary Journeys, Iolaus invents the idea of surfing, to which Hercules replies "Do you really think this is going to catch on and become popular?" Then at the end they see a bunch of kids trying to stand on wooden boards in water. Iolaus looks at Herc and sarcastically tells him that it'll never be popular. Dude! That's like so totally lame! Then again, surfboarding was never common outside of Hawaii, and by World War II, was all but forgotten. Its revival in the early 50s was a complete fluke, surprising no-one more than the Hawaiians.
- In a live-action TV adaptation of The Scarlet Pimpernel, the Pimpernel (played by Richard E. Grant) is an avid cricket player. He delivers a bomb to a hard to reach area in the modern traditional overarm manner. A companion suggests he should try that in his cricket games as a variant to the traditional underarm bowling. He says it'll never catch on. Either method of delivery was perfectly acceptable (although underarm was phased out in the late 19th century) until the 1980s, when underarm bowling was banned.
This is played with in the same episode, when Percy hires a young unknown painter, Joseph Turner, to paint a landscape of his house and the surrounding gardens. Percy's friends are skeptical by the finished product, but Percy himself loves it and assures Turner that he's going to go places. This is Truth in Television; landscapes were relatively uncommon and it was in a large part Turner's work which elevated their status.
- Mad Men:
- A subversion: An old buddy of Pete Campbell's has the idea of introducing professional jai alai to the United States. Don literally says, "it will never catch on." As evidenced by the fact we have to link to The Other Wiki, he was right. What gives the episode extra points is that there was really a time when people though that jai alai was the next big thing, and for a while it was - in Florida. Its popularity peaked in the 70s before it bombed in the 80s. The "Patxi" referenced in the same episode is also a real jai alai star, Patxi Churruca.
- Mad Men plays this straight a lot, too, especially in its first season. Don Draper knows someone stole his research report because, "It's not like there's a magical machine out there that copies things." Sterling Cooper gets a Xerox machine next season.
- Roger Sterling says of psychiatry in the second episode (1960) that it's "just this year's candy-pink stove." By the opening of Season 6 (December 1967), he's seeing a shrink.
- Happens in an episode of It Ain't Half Hot Mum. The two officiers are discussing what they plan to do after the war. One is planning to invest in television, while the other has a plan for a building with a lot of washing machines where people can come to do their washing (he plans to call it a 'laundrodrome'). Each has this reaction to the other's idea.
- In The Big Bang Theory:
- During a flashback to when Sheldon and Leonard first became roommates, Sheldon chides Raj for getting an iPod, saying "You're going to be sorry once Microsoft come out with their mp3-player."
- In the same episode this trope is inverted, with Sheldon setting a mandatory Firefly viewing time, saying something to the effect of "it'll be on for years to come".
- Happens a lot in Leonardo:
Leo: Maybe one day we'll all wear clocks. Round our necks, in pockets, on our wrists!Cosimo: The things you think of, Leo! Santa Maria!
- In the Hercules The Legendary Journeys spinoff Young Hercules, Cora starts serving a new foreign drink that she describes as heated beans strained through water (in other words, coffee). Hercules is rather put off by that unflattering description and is further unsettled when he notices that Cora is incredibly jittery from drinking so much of it.
- In an episode of Yes Dear, Jimmy tries to pitch a movie idea to Greg's boss, only for him to shut it down. The crestfallen Jimmy decides to forget about making movies, but Greg tells him to pitch the idea to another studio. Apparently, his boss thought Spider-Man would never make it.
- In the Noir Episode of Boy Meets World, which is set in a Casablanca-like setting and time period, the Jack counterpart who is a bar pianist overhears someone say "Forget your troubles, come on, get happy" and says "That could be a song!" then pauses and says "Naah". He later overhears someone say "Hit me baby one more time" and has the exact same reaction.
- In an episode of Sir Arthur Conan Doyles The Lost World, the protagonists find themselves transported to WWI era Fulham and meet Winston Churchill himself. At one point he responds to the outrageous claims of the protagonists with "That's about as likely as me becoming Prime Minister!"
- In early seasons of the American version of The Office, Michael and Dwight, and some members of Corporate, treat internet sales as a passing fad. Ryan himself comments on how Dunder Mifflin's executives are unwilling to adapt to a changing marketplace.
- In a 1989 flashback in Psych, Henry pulls a rare quadruple one: When Shawn asks if he can get a home computer, Henry replies it's "another passing fad, like rap music, Madonna and L.A. Law." Doubles as a Take That Me, as Corbin Bernsen was the star of LA Law.
- Married... with Children: Al didn't believe Japanese cars would catch on. Or that someday TVs would come with something to allow people to change channels without walking to the TV every time.
- In Brazilian comedy show "Sai de Baixo", there was one episode where it was revealed Vanderlei "Vavá" Mathias gave up investing in computers because he didn't believe they'd catch on. His sister believes this to be the reason they caught on.
- The whole point of the Cavemen sketches on You're Skitting Me. Krunk makes consistent attempts to civilise his fellow cavemen, with ideas of modern technology from paper, to soap, to social networking, but his attempt are always futile as another caveman always ends up rejecting his ideas.
- After a young Lucky Luciano is arrested in Boardwalk Empire, a cop tries to doctor him saying that delinquents like him never amount to a thing nor are remembered.
- Ellery Queen:
"Ed Sullivan? That stone-faced zombie won't last two weeks!"
- In the pilot episode, Inspector Queen grumpily refers to the television set in the victim's apartment and mentions a friend of his who is constantly pestered by guests who want to visit him and watch his new set. Ellery reassures him that TV is a novelty that will never last.
- When Flannigan's TV show is cancelled in "The Adventure of the Hard-Hearted Huckster", one of the execs suggests that they instead do a Variety Show with Ed Sullivan as the host. Flannigan scoffs at the notion.
- Happy Days:
- In the pilot Potsie expresses disbelief that Alaska will become a state.
- In another episode, Richie and Ralph are watching a Chicago Bears game. Ralph argues that the team's quarterback, George Blanda, is "washed up" at 30, while Richie counters that he's still got "two or three good years left". Blanda, by then aged 48 and with the Oakland Raiders, had just finished playing his 26th and final NFL season when the episode aired in January 1976.
- In an NCIS episode's flashbacks to 1991, a young Vance's suggestion that the U.S. will be heavily engaged in the Middle East in the future is dismissed by a veteran agent, who insists that's old news and the Cold War with Russia will soon be starting up again.
- An incredibly dark example in Breaking Bad: back in the 80s, Gus and Maximo ("Los Pollos Hermanos"), a would-be distributor and cook of crystal meth propose having their goods sold by the Juárez Cartel to its current leader. The leader rejects the idea of crystal meth being worth selling, calling it "poor man's cocaine", and when the cook tries to argue otherwise the leader has the cook murdered on the spot. Cut a couple decades later and the cartel... is still around, selling crystal meth like everyone else, and is a main competitor of the aforementioned distributor.
- In the first episode of Joey, Joey is offered the lead in a show called Nurses about male nurses. Joey passes on it in favor of another show thinking it will never be a hit. The show ends up being an immediate hit, while the show Joey chose (a very violent cop show) is quickly canceled.
- In an early episode of Gotham, Alfred tells James Gordon that his employer, Thomas Wayne, requested that his son Bruce be allowed to live his life in whatever manner he sees fit. Upon hearing that Bruce is free to choose his own future, Gordon remarks "Sounds like a recipe for disaster."
- A Whole Episode Flashback from Workaholics shows Adam saying that the internet is a fad, and that internet porn will never catch on because people are too used to DVDs and magazines. Which just serves to illustrate that Adam is a complete dumbass, since the episode takes place in 2008, when both the internet and internet porn had already been well established for years.
- With a heavy dose of Self-Deprecation, Agent Carter scoffs at Howard Stark's idea of making movies based on comic books.
- In an episode of Mr. Robot, we see a flashback to 1994 where Mr Robot is looking through movie options and says, “Pulp Fiction? Never heard of it.”
- George Gershwin's They All Laughed is almost exclusively this trope. Among the concepts ridiculed by the mysterious "they": Christopher Columbus claiming the world was round, Thomas Edison's recordings, the Wright Brothers' airplane, Marconi's wireless, the creation of Rockefeller Center, Eli Whitney's cotton gin, Robert Fulton's steamboat, the Hershey bar, and the Model T Ford. Needless to say, the singer's relationship, to which he compared the above, was a similar success.
- Rule of Funny obviously applies here, as practically none of these concepts actually caused laughter and ridicule. Also, everyone already knew the world was round by 1492. The reason Columbus may or may not have been laughed at was because he thought the world was far smaller than it is. They were right, too - the only reason Columbus succeeded was dumb luck.
- One of the versions of Chester See's music video Whistle While I Work it is framed by a man and two boys watching the music video on a phone. At the end, the man is disappointed by the hip-thrusting "dance" and leaves, saying it will never catch on. Meanwhile, behind him, the boys are already copying it.
- According to the liner notes of his first Greatest Hits Album, Alan Jackson thought that "Chattahoochee" was too dependent on a localized reference (the Chattahoochee River on the Alabama/Georgia border) to become a hit. His worries were for naught, as it was the biggest country song of 1993.
- Macaela Mercedes made this joke about Madison Eagles in regards to wrestling in the USA after defeating her, years before a little promotion called SHIMMER popped up and Eagles became its third champion.
- In a Worked Shoot, Gabe Sapolsky relentlessly buried CZW Ironman Champion Chris Hero on commentary, saying he never had him booked for the promotion till Bryan Danielson gave him a shot because he didn't deserve it, among other things. In another year or two, Hero would come to be synonymous with Ring Of Honor while teaming with Claudio Castagnoli in the Kings Of Wrestling and later joining up with Larry Sweeney.
- Jimmy Jacobs had this to say about Ring of Honor fan boy Michael Elgin after he finally got a spot on the active roster. Nine years later, he admitted to being wrong when Elgin unseated Adam Cole for the ROH World Title.
- Sweet Saraya said this about herself in 2011, believing she was seventeen years too late to worry about finding a spot in the USA and only went to SHIMMER to ensure Britani got over. Britani did, but Saraya did find a spot, as SHIMMER's champion.
- According to Bruce Santee, his entire career had been plagued by a long string of this, to the point "I've caught on" was more or less his whole drive as Ring Warriors Grand Champion.
- In one episode of Dinosaurs, after traumatizing the Baby with a scary story, Robbie is forced to pacify him with candy. However, the Sinclair household is out, so they go to a neighbor's;
Old Dinosaur: What is this... a trick?
Robbie: No, it's a treat, for the baby.
- The old dinosaur then rants on the absurdity of the two going to his house on October 31st, begging for candy, and slams the door on their faces. Robbie then wonders if they should have worn costumes...
- Robbie also once dropped a candy bar into a jar of peanut butter and after pondering the result for a moment dismissed it as idiotic.
- An episode of the Public Radio International magazine show This American Life involved the reminiscences of a man "with a negative ability to identify trends". At various points in his life, he had: watched a Detroit nightclub performance by a pre-record-deal Madonna and assumed she would never make it big because she couldn't sing worth crap, reviewed and rejected a manuscript submitted to a publishing house entitled Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus because it was trite and misogynistic, and turned down a job with a Japanese company that was working on a major precursor to the public Internet because only losers would talk to people through a computer terminal.
- The BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play The Tobacco Merchant's Lawyer, set in 1780, has the lawyer deeply sceptical of a fortune teller who predicts the housing bubble, that Glasgow will be razed and replaced by tall tenement blocks so the poor may have water closets, and that one day everyone will have a box-shaped recepticle in the drawing room that shows plays and the town-cryer. Also, when his company's ships are supposedly lost to piracy, his only consolation is the thought that "the dread Pirates of the Caribbean may presently be enjoying a degree of infamy, but in the centuries to come their exploits will be forgotten as surely as a shipwreck at the bottom of the ocean".
- In the French play (and later movie) Les Palmes de M. Schutz, the title character tells in substance that they should give up on this "radioactivity" thing, as it will lead them nowhere... to Pierre and Marie Curie.
- In The Musical of The Wedding Singer, Glen is told of a coffee shop from Seattle, and retorts that "no one will ever pay three dollars for a cup of coffee," then turns around and buys stock in New Coke.
- The Strawman Political patriarch in An Inspector Calls (written in 1945, set in 1912) has a speech early on that consists almost entirely of this, including such claims as: Germany isn't serious about going to war, economic prosperity will be unlimited (except for Russia, which will always lag behind the rest of the world), and modern technology has created an "absolutely unsinkable" ocean liner.
- In the Gershwin musical Crazy for You, the residents of Dead Rock, Nevada are skeptical of a suggestion of building a casino. "Who would come to Nevada to gamble?"
- In the Kaufman and Hart play Merrily We Roll Along, Cyrus Winthrop, inventor of cellopaper, has by 1934 become a millionaire and is busy investing his profits in art. In 1922, when his name was Simon Weintraub, he wastes his time pitching his invention to a couple in the paper and twine business, who tell him the public won't buy it, "like that radio thing over there." There is also a scene where a producer says that he's turned down the melodrama Broadway because he expects "the play won't get a nickel." In The Musical, set four decades later, the producer is approached by a waiter who wants him to invest in his new invention, the answering machine, but he sees no profit in it because answering services already do the same work for people like him; the inventor, of course, reaps millions in time.
- Cabaret. In possibly the only use of this trope for Tear Jerker effect, Herr Schultz's prediction that the rise of the Nazis will pass soon enough. Particularly tragic since he is Jewish.
- This is a recurring joke in Walt Disney World's Carousel of Progress.
- In World of Warcraft, one of the silly jokes for gnomes: "I had an idea for a device that you could put small pieces of bread in to cook, but in the end I really didn't think there'd be much of a market for it."
- In Mafia II, in one of the missions you can overhear one guard talking about how he bought a television set and the other guard demeaning television as "just a fad", and perhaps a waste of money because only cartoons can be seen on those channels. The discussion evolves into a crazy concept where the viewer could manipulate the cartoons, such as pressing a button to have him walk, and another button to have him shoot, something that is technically ridiculous.
- In one of her radio calls in Metal Gear Solid 3 Para-Medic pitches the idea that the future will have "movies where you control the characters yourself." She also mentioned an early VCR and the potential for "records with movie film etched onto them instead of music" — Snake is astonished at all these concepts, but doesn't consider any of them realistic.
- Funnily enough, critics of the Metal Gear series often derisively compare the games to movies due to their unusually long cutscenes — Para-Medic thus also predicted one of the more common complaints about the game she's in right now.
- Another radio conversation in the game has Snake and resident weapons expert Sigint speculating the potential success of a walking, nuclear-equipped battle machine... specifically, the eponymous Metal Gear, whose designer Snake had just met and spoken to at length. Sigint thinks it's just about the stupidest thing he's ever heard, explaining in detail the flaws in the idea, and hopes the designer was joking.
- Peachi lampshades this in her comic adaptation of MGS3 by having Snake grin at the audience and a Rimshot play after this conversation.
- Snake also scoffs at the idea of human cloning after Para-Medic tells him about Invasion of the Body Snatchers; every other Metal Gear Solid game features clones of Snake as major characters.
- And another: Before the events of the game, Snake had no idea smoking was unhealthy.
- When calling Sigint about the XM16E1 rifle, Snake seems to think the addition of a three-round burst fire mode to the gun is a rather stupid idea. While his statement makes sense given the timeline (US military doctrine for firing weapons in combat at the time was, basically "you fire in full auto or you don't fire at all"), the M16 eventually shook off most of its infamy from The Vietnam War with the A2 version, which replaced the full-auto fire with a three-round burst.
- Subverted when Major Zero talks about James Bond, having recently seen From Russia with Love — he, being a huge Bond fan, liked it so much that he thinks they'll make 20 more movies. Snake doesn't really say anything about it, but when the game was released there were exactly 20 Bond movies (including this one and the previous Dr. No), and four more have come out since.
- In The Witcher, while Kalkstein is considered crazy by many people (and he might very well be), he has a theory (among others) that is the basic idea of the atom.
- Destroy All Humans: Path of The Furon has main character Crypto considering starting a high-stakes poker tournament filmed for television a few decades before it actually happened: his companion Pox dismisses the idea, outright saying that televised no-limit Texas Hold 'Em will 'never catch on'.
Scientist: I'm working on something called the Internet, but I'm worried it'll never catch on.
- Done again in the very same game, in which Pox and Crypto discuss the future possibilities of video games. Crypto pitches ideas for the very successful franchises of Mario, Sonic, and Halo. Pox quickly throws each pitch to the waste bin, and thus pitches the idea for movie-based video games, many of which are considered horrible.
- In the first game, one thought from a German Scientist can be:
Dr. Orlov: You are having excellent hand-eye coordination. You should trying computer game I am being developing.
- And in the second game, Crypto gives one after a conversation with Dr. Orlov:
Crypto: Games? On a computer? You're wastin' your time doc, it'll never catch on.
- Which is ironic given that pretty much the whole cast knows they are in a game, and lampshade this at every possibility.
- In Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, judging by the gossip, Larzuk the barbarian smith appears to be on the verge of discovering (and using against Baal's hordes) hot-air balloons and powder weapons, but all the other village inhabitants consider these ideas silly or even slightly insane.
- Nihlathak even suspects him of dark magic because he was the only one in town not to catch some generic illness. The real reason? He washed his hands before meals. Given Nihlathak winds up being evil and using spells from the Necromancer's tree when you fight him...
- Suikoden features a brilliant inventor adding an engine to a boat. Flik's response? "A machine that runs on oil? Sounds ridiculous."
- In RuneScape, in the Meeting History quest, you go back in time, and talk to a young man named Jack. He mentions that some druids have started calling themselves "wizards" and are constantly locked away in their studies, figuring out new uses for runes. He laughs, and tells the player that they've also started wearing robes and pointy hats.
Jack: It will never catch on. It's a stupid look.
- In the BioShock 2 Minerva's Den DLC, you can find an Asteroids-esque game called Spitfire, created by Rapture Central Computing's engineers. Next to it is an Audio Diary where the lead designer claims their boss called it "a waste of time" (a rather odd sentiment considering Rapture's ultra capitalistic and entrepreneurial society).
- Early in the main game, you can find an audio log recorded by Prentice-Mill, the owner of the Atlantic Express railway. He laments losing a lot of business to personal bathyspheres, but is confident that personal transportation is simply a passing fad and that he's set to bounce back at any moment. Becomes a major Tear Jerker later on when you find another log of his at a small memorial shrine dedicated to him, where he reveals that Ryan talked (or perhaps forced) him into sinking his cash reserves into Rapture's failing banks forcing him to sell the Express to a bathysphere company who immediately proceeds to decommission it, leaving Prentice-Mill broke, alone and heavily implied to be about to commit suicide.
- The L.A. Noire DLC "The Consul's Car" has Cole and his partner discuss how the Navy is making 3D movies. His partner insists it will never catch on, but in a twist on this trope, Cole thinks it will, pointing out that people said the same thing about talking pictures and color.
- Nazi Zombies: Tank Dempsey, when acquiring a sniper rifle in the Moon map, wonders aloud if anybody would ever make a a fully automatic sniper rifle. A few people did just that.
- In Red Dead Redemption, John isn't impressed by the bureau's automobile:
- Marston: So much for this automobile of yours. If this is the future, God help us all... I can walk faster than this piece of shit! Give me a horse anyday!
- Applied to the game as well: Rockstar San Diego were apparently told that they were crazy to make a game set in the Wild West. They revealed this tidbit upon being awarded the Game of the Year.
- In Undead Nightmare, the Film Maker tells Marston that the ongoing Zombie Apocalypse could make a great movie. Marston asks what kind of sick person would watch such a thing and the Film Maker gleefully replies "The lowest common denominator!"
- In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, when Mario signs up to fight in the Glitz Pit, Grubba, the manager, decides that 'Mario' is a terrible name for a fighter, and gives him the stage name of 'The Great Gonzales'.
- In From Russia with Love, when Bond is in MI6 headquarters getting his gadgets from Q, he steps into the lift with two MI6 scientists who scoff at the idea that there will be a "personal computer" in every home in the near future.
- In the Sam & Max: Freelance Police episode "The Tomb of Sammun-Mak", set in 1901 New York, Sameth and Maximus (Sam & Max's great-grandpas) pitch the idea of Monopoly to elves working for Kris Kringle. They reject the idea, saying kids aren't into capitalism anymore. Slinkies are also rejected. Point-and-click adventure games get them weird stares.
- In Captain Morgane and the Golden Turtle, "some idiot" convinced Anita to get some matchbooks made with her bar's name on them. Anita thinks it was a terrible decision, and may be right about that, but in a different era, it was common enough that a trope arose from it.
- In Company of Heroes, the leader of the German Volksgrenadier squad muses to himself that the STG44 will never really be successful. Of course, the assault rifle has become the primary weapon of infantry forces the world over.
- Parodied in the Half-Life 2 webcomic Concerned here.
- The "Imperial Rome" theme of Irregular Webcomic! use it here. (And, to an extent here.)
- This Palindramas strip is about a movie executive who doesn't believe in ET.
- In the alternate Europe of Girl Genius, where Zeppelins from Another World are king, everyone thinks that heavier-than-air flight is a silly idea, and Gil's experimental aircraft is referred to derisively as a "falling machine". To be fair, the machine was falling at the time; fortunately, Gil was able to get the engine started before they hit the ground, at which point it worked very well.
- In his Top 10 Worst Songs of 2012, Todd in the Shadows puts "Scream and Shout" by Will.i.am and Brittney Spears at #5. He says that he would do a full review on it, but feels that the song will be long gone from the pop charts by the time he gets the chance. After two more months of the song continuing to stay in the top 10 of the pop charts, he caves in and does a full review, poking fun at himself for his hilariously wrong prediction.
Todd: See, this is why my friends call me Nostradamus
- He also indicates in his Top 10 Songs of 2011 that, back in 2009, he chalked up Adele as a flash-in-the-pan retro soul jazz singer who we'd never hear from again after her debut album. Cut back to the present, and her second album, 21, has become one of the biggest selling albums in recent memory and she's the biggest artist in the world.
- This article by Film School Rejects that depicts what the response to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan would be like if the internet existed in 1982.
- In his review of the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Timeless", SF Debris mentions that the date of that review was 15 years since the episode originally aired, and 15 years since he wrote his first review. He then brings up the following hypothetical conversation of what was happening in 1998:
George Lucas: Yeah, what is it, Steve?George Lucas: Yeah, yeah, glad to see you're putting it to good use. We were hoping to use it to realize concepts never achievable on film, you make friggin' Babes in Toyland and punk some ants. What do you want?Steve Jobs: Look, I know you're unhappy about how Pixar's a success and that we're working with Disney now...Steve Jobs: So, I wanted to help get you in on the same kind of great deal, get in on the ground floor of this new project of mine. See, these guys at FingerWorks have started up with this "touchscreen technology." If we bought them out...George Lucas: [dismissively] Yeah, that's nice, but I'm a little busy making The Phantom Menace, aka "The Greatest Movie Ever Made"!Steve Jobs: And we're all really excited about that, George, but just think! We could have a phone...with a touchscreen! It'll be huge!George Lucas: ...sure, Steve. Yeah, I'm going to invest in your super-duper phone, that's where the future's at. Listen, I don't want to keep you from your hemp-tasting contest or whatever it is you're into, so I'm gonna let you go and get back to working on my speeches for all the Oscars I'm about to win, okay?!
- In the Honest Trailer of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, it ends with the narrator saying "Wow, this movie's bad! But at least it's not Marvel! Those guys will never figure out how to make movies!"
- Ultra Fast Pony. In "Faith to Faith", Twilight complains about the episode's plot (waiting in line for apple cider) and Spike points out that things could be worse: they could be watching paint dry. Twilight scoffs that even the writers of this series wouldn't make an episode about that. Spike bets $50 that the cast will be watching paint dry sometime in season 3, and Twilight takes him up on that bet.
- In Code Monkeys, which takes place in the Atari era, Mr. Larrity shoots down ideas for games that have become big in real-life (like God of War and Doom), pitched by young versions of their creators. Also, Dave thinks home computers will never be successful.
- Not only does he think home computers will never be successful, he thinks video games will be a sure investment, which was technically correct in the long run... except that the series is set in the years just before The Great Video Game Crash of 1983.
- Also in Code Monkeys: Dave sells his movie ticket to ET to a young M. Night Shyamalan so he can go to the strip club. Dave blows the kid's mind when he says: "Do you think this is a good idea for a movie? A guy doesn't know he's a ghost until the very end."
- Subverted when one of the programmers creates an 8-bit version of Halo that would have launched the Space Marine genre. Larrity admits it could have been one of the best-selling games of all time, but won't publish it because it was created by a woman and he's a first-class misogynist.
- In Jimmy Neutron, Jimmy's dad reveals that he could have invested in the local Burger Fool years ago but declined. Jimmy, scheming to be rich, time travels and convinces him to. It turns out he'd actually refused so he could buy Judy an engagement ring.
- In a Gummi Bears episode, Sunni competes in a fashion contest on Folly Day, a costume holiday where she wears a variant of 1980s Cyndi Lauper costume. The audience and even the MC laugh derisively at the sight of a girl apparently dressed as a Gummi Bear in a ridiculous costume and all Sunni can do is protest "Someday, everyone will be wearing this!"
- Used extensively in the syndicated series of Hercules. For example, during a crossover with Aladdin, which has Pain and Panic traveling to Agrabah and wearing their clothing:
Panic: What do they call these again?
Pain: Ermmm... "pants."
Panic: I like! No drafts!
Pain: Eh, it'll never catch on.
- The Simpsons
Krusty: Hey, boys and girls. Only four days till my anniversary show. Twenty-nine years. And when I came on, they said I wouldn't last a week! And you know where those reviewers are? All dead! How you doin' down there, fellas? Huh? Huh?
- Professor Frink, in a flashback, states that computers in the future will only be owned by the five richest kings in the world and will be the size of a baseball stadium. (In-joke to a quote attributed to Thomas J. Watson of IBM, "I think there is a world market for about five computers.")
- In an episode where Smithers is taking a leave of absence to star in a musical based on the Malibu Stacy doll, Mr. Burns thinks it's ridiculous, "A musical about a doll? Why not one about the common cat? Or the King of Siam?" This isn't a flashback; Burns is just that out-of-touch.
- In "That 90s Show", a young Comic Book Guy is heard declaring, "and that is why Lord of the Rings can never be filmed!"
- Spoofed in an episode where, during Homer's youth (in a sequence parodying Stand by Me), Carl asks if the others have heard about this "Internet" thing... only to reveal he's talking about the inner "net" lining they're starting to put in swim trunks.
- During Super Bowl III, Abe Simpson says "If people don't support this thing, it might not make it."
- In the 1991 episode "Bart Gets Hit By A Car", the devil tells Bart "you're not due (in hell) until the next time the Yankees win the World Series." That would be 1996. And they've won it four other times since then.
- "I Love Lisa" had an in-universe example. Krusty the Clown had this to say about his original detractors:
- This was brought up in The Critic (in a scene which is a parody of The Graduate):
Franklin Sherman: Son, I've got one word for you: Snapple.
Jay Sherman: Oh, Dad, you and your made-up words.
- This is used twice in the Looney Tunes short What's Up, Doc? First, when Bugs is considering plays to appear he, he flings aside Life with Father saying, "Eh, this will never be a hit"; Life with Father went on to become (and still is) longest-running non-musical play on Broadway, ever. Later, he is sitting in a park with a number of out-of-work caricatures of some of Hollywood's biggest variety stars, Al Jolson, Jack Benny, Eddie Cantor, and Bing Crosby — of whom Elmer says to Bugs, "They'll never amount to anything."
- The Mummy: The Animated Series:
- Alex, almost word-for-word, when some island tribespeople try and teach him to surf.
- It's also uttered by the father in response to an early TV set in a "World of Tomorrow" exhibit.
- The Venture Bros.: In one episode's flashback, Dr. Venture was listening about one of his dorm-mates talking about going into robotics after seeing a new film, Blade Runner. Dr. Venture then tells him that there is no future in robotics, and that he might as well major in Betamax.
- In one episode of TaleSpin, kooky scientist Dr. Zibaldo tells the main cast about this idea he had for "radio with pictures: TELEVISION!" The main cast, of course, laughs him off.
Rebecca: "What an odd little man."Baloo: "Yeah! And what a dumb idea."
- The trope is lampshaded by the iris out of the episode being a classic television test pattern.
- This a rather strange example, considering motion pictures existed already, and, indeed, the characters watch a Frankenstein style film in a theater at the beginning of the very same episode, making their skepticism of moving pictures with accompanying sound rather odd.
- Baloo had the same reaction when Buzz invented the helicopter (and didn't know whether to call it a helicopter or a Cuisinart). Ironically, Baloo was able to fly it, barely, although he also crash-landed it into Shere Khan's office. This despite the fact other episodes depict helicopters already being in existence, although they're referred to by other names ("roto-scooter" in particular).
- On Arthur, Muffy tries her hand at fashion design. Her chauffeur Bailey, off-hand, comes up with the idea of multicolored plastic shoes with holes in the top. Muffy says it's too ridiculous to work.
- In an episode of The New Batman Adventures, Killer Croc reveals a newspaper with Bruce Timm's picture on the front, along with the headline "B.T. Quotes: DVD the Next 8-Track." That's a swing and a BIG miss there.
- In the TV Christmas Episode of Ice Age, Manny assures Sid that Christmas trees will never catch on, instead using Christmas rocks.
- Pinky and the Brain: There was one episode set at the time television was being recently invented. Brain didn't believe it would ever replace the radios.
- Also, in a Star Wars parody, during one of those "Are you pondering what I'm pondering?" moments, Pinky pondered about a series about two lab mice trying to take over the world and wondered who'd watch that.
- In an episode set during the silent film era Brain, after an attempt to take over the world using movies, stand in front of the projector and laments "There's no way a mouse will ever have an impact on the silver screen". A man clearly meant to be Walt Disney sees Brain's silhouette on screen and sketches it down.
- In a Godzilla parody, Brain doesn't believe the miniaturization of electronics in the lab where he and Pinky are residing will catch on, claiming that big things are the wave of the future.
- Garfield and Friends: In one episode where a Wild West tale was being told, a Wild West counterpart of Garfield said Television would never catch on.
- In a case of Leaning on the Fourth Wall in one episode of Darkwing Duck, Darkwing writes a comic book about his career as a superhero, but his editor hates it. As he leaves the guy's office, he says to a character named Running Gag, "Come on Running Gag, let's take this to Disney... Maybe they'll make a cartoon out of it or something..."
- The Fairly Oddparents: In one episode, it was revealed one of Timmy's ancestors (Ebenezer Turner) could have become a railroad tycoon but refused because he thought trains would be just a fad. The job was taken by Orville Buxaplenty.