Stan: We have to do something!
Kyle: We tried, but that fat bitch won't let us!
Mrs. Crabtree: WHAT DID YOU SAY!?
Kyle: I said 'Rabbits eat lettuce!'Generally speaking, Lame Rhyme Dodge is the result of someone having a Did I Just Say That Out Loud? moment, but doesn't want to/is afraid or embarrassed to admit to having said what they said, or, it's a case of someone trying to dodge having heard what somebody else just said to them. It's the little sibling trope to Last-Second Word Swap. Frequently used by guys who are tongue-tied around women, or teenagers trying to dodge teachers or other adults. The way both parties try to dodge this situation is to come up with a word that rhymes or sounds similar to the operative word in the sentence. Unfortunately, this usually results in a sentence that makes no sense at all. A common variant is to have someone dreaming/daydreaming about something, then they're awakened from their reverie by someone saying "What did you say?" and realize they've been saying everything out loud. They proceed with the clumsy cover-up. Compare Freudian Slip. Not to be confused with Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion.
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- Examples from the Calvinverse:
Nublar: Hi Bob. We were just on our way to the weaponry mph, murp snirk skittle.
Galaxoid: He means the cafeteria. He feels that getting enough to eat is like arming yourself with weapons! Isn't that hilarious?Hobbes: The one millionth time you've failed a water balloon attack.
Hobbes: I said, dinosaurs lived a million years ago, but McDonald's still fail to make water balloon Big Macs.
- In Uninvited Guests:
"Yeah, and also the focus that makes you have more casualties than any other three divisions put togetherï¿½" Hitsugaya muttered under his breath.
Zaraki put his hand on his sword. "What was that?"
"The park is a good locus to casually discuss the weather." Hitsugaya said promptly.
- Harry & the Mysterious Curse of the Girl Who Lived:
McGonagall: ...But a few weeks ago, you mentioned a [Philosopher's] 'Stone' to me - do you recall that?
Harry: Um. No, no, not at all, ma'am. Perhaps what I actually said was... Tome. As in the Tome of Women's Magic. Have you ever heard of that, Professor?
Films — Animated
- The Lion King: When Banzai grumbles about Mufasa, earning an enraged "What did you say?!" from Scar, he nervously replies "I said, uh...que pasa?". Since "mostaza", "mustard" in Spanish, rhymes with "Mufasa", the Mexican dub renders it as "I said, uh... with mustard!". Which is funny, because they could have just continued to use "¿que pasa?" since it was already in Spanish.
- Even The Land Before Time gets one, in the 7th sequel, The Stone Of Cold Fire:
Littlefoot: (referring to the travelling dinosaurs entering the valley) They know they can find food here, and then be on their way.Cera: Yeah, with a belly full of our treestars!Petrie: Only if you not eat them all first..Cera:: What did you say?!Petrie:: Er...me say..."oh gee, that sure be the worst!"
- The Curse of the Were-Rabbit: Wallace tries to stop Lady Tottington from noticing Hutch when he answers the door for her.
Hutch: Geronimo!Tottington: Huh, Wallace?Wallace: (snatches Hutch) Uh, hang on a mo.
- In Return To Never Land Hook orders his reluctant pirates to search the shore for Peter Pan.
Hook: Step softly, you worthless dogs! Set your sights for Peter Pan!(Crew groans)Smee: Aww! Oh, goodness. Haven't we searched the island a thousand times before?Hook: (anger steadily rising) I beg your pardon, Mr. Smee?!Smee: Uh, I-I-I s-said, uh, "searching for Pan is, um, uh... fun galore?"Hook: (facepalms) There'll be no rest till we have that boy in our hands!
Films — Live-Action
- Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
Dr. Evil: Son, wouldn't you like to see what daddy does for a living?Scott Evil: Blow me.Dr. Evil: What?Scott Evil: Show me.
Dr. Evil: Son, wouldn't you like to see what daddy does for a living?Scott Evil: Bite me.Dr. Evil: What?Scott Evil: Might be - fun.
- And cleaned up for broadcast tv:
- Inverted in the remake of Ocean's Eleven, Rusty is talking to a bartender, only it's too loud in the bar for them to hear each other. Rusty begins the conversation with something like, "Longest night of my life" When the bartender looks up, wondering what Rusty said, he says, "I'm running away with your wife," and the bartender just nods and smiles.
- In Wet Hot American Summer, camp chef Gene tends to accidentally mention his odd fetishes and then offer up a lame rhyme dodge:
Gary: You said you were going to... fondle your sweaters.Gene: Ah, uh - no I didn't. I said... fondue the cheddar... I was thinking about making fondue with cheddar cheese for dinner tonight.
- An unusual version of this happens in Hot Rod when the main character changes his sentence into something worse instead of something innocuous when he suddenly backtracks on his brief moment of having enough nerve to compliment the girl he likes.
"You look pretty.""What?""Uh, I said you look shitty."
- Pretty Woman
Old Lady at the Opera: Did you like the opera, dear?Vivian: It was so good, I almost peed my pants!Edward: She said she liked it better than The Pirates of Penzance.
- Cruel Intentions
Sebastian: Then I fucked your daughter.Woman: What?!?!?Sebastian: I said, would you like some water?
- All of Me
Schuyler (Roger's Boss): Women just started throwing themselves at me!Roger: You must be joking.Schuyler: What was that?Roger: I said, "I must be choking."
C.D.: [shouting through the front door] Ten more seconds and I'm leaving!Roxanne: [opening the door] What did you say?C.D.: I said, ten more seconds and I'm leaving! Wait a second! What did you think I said?Roxanne: I thought you said, "Earn more sessions by sleeving."C.D.: Well, what the hell does that mean?Roxanne: I don't know. That's why I came out!
- In Up the Academy, Major Liceman trying to get some action at a dance:
Liceman: Tickle your ass with a feather?Woman: What?Liceman: I said, uh, it's particularly nasty weather...we're having.
- Mannequin has Switcher quickly substitute "Nice hall" when Felix overhears him calling him an asshole.
- In A Fish Called Wanda, Archie cries out "Wanda!" while she is on the stand, drawing suspicion of why he is being so familiar with her. He tries to turn it into "I wonder..." but is so fazed that he has a lot of difficulty getting there.
- This happens in the Popeye movie as Olive is showing him the spare room:
Olive's father Cole Oyl: Ugly, huh?note You owe me an apology.Olive: What?!Popeye (muttering): I wonder who shoved a feather in his ear?Olive: What did you say?!Popeye: Sure is nice weather you have here.
- Wayside School Gets A Little Stranger:
"And you're a maggot-infested string bean," muttered Louis."What?" asked Mr. K."I said, you're a magnificent human being."
- Redwall's The Legend of Luke; two characters insult each other's cooking.
"That wouldn't be hard to do.""What did you say?""I said the sky's far up'n'blue, mate!""There's worse cooks aboard than me.""What was that?""I said the sky's as blue as the sea."
- In Goosebumps #41: Bad Hare Day, the protagonist's sister tells their parents that she and her brother have a secret. When their parents ask what it is, the protagonist says that his sister was saying that she wanted a "wee pet", claiming that she was practicing her Scottish accent.
- In Lolita, when Humbert Humbert is sitting on the porch of the hotel where he's just arrived with his preteen lover, he has the following somewhat unnerving dialogue with a mysterious stranger who had spoken briefly with him and Lolita earlier:
"Where the devil did you get her?""I beg your pardon?""I said: the weather is getting better.""Seems so.""Who's the lassie?""My daughter.""You lie— she's not.""I beg your pardon?""I said: July was hot."
- Hum kind of hallucinates a bunch. Or maybe just lies. They could have been having either conversation. Or neither. Or the man might not exist. It's that kind of book.
- Appears in the Doctor Who Eighth Doctor Adventures novel The Taint, introducing soon-to-be companion Fitz, who's working in a shop and alternating between pretending to be French and insulting the customers:
'You old bag, you're so ugly...' he muttered.The woman's face hardened. 'What did you say?'Fitz looked up, his grey eyes wide and innocent. 'This bag. It fits him snugly. Au revoir!'
- Bill Crider's "My Heart Cries for You":
Worst of all was the time I thought, Gee, I wish I had me a brewski. It made my palms sweat, and my hands slipped on the smooth brown leather of the shoe I was trying to force onto the foot of a woman who obviously should have asked for a much larger size.
"What's the matter with you, fella?" she said. "Trying to feel me up?"
"You wish," I said. It slipped out. Honestly.
"What did you say, buster?"
"I...uh... said this shoe ish sized wrong. I'm shorry."
She looked at me with a great deal of suspicion, but she let it pass. She didn't buy any shoes, though.
Live Action TV
- Men Behaving Badly (paraphrased):
Deborah: I'm glad you've become so much more mature, Tony...what are you staring at?Tony: I was just wondering what colour your bush is.Deborah: Pardon?Tony: I was just...wondering...what car rubbish...is.
- A sketch on The Two Ronnies features Ronnie Corbett's character doing this with every sentence, ie: "Tickle your botty with a feather tonight" is changed to "Particularly grotty weather tonight." Eventually the people around him figure it out and he admits that he's doing it to try and to drum up his trade: he sells deaf aids.
- Drake & Josh uses it in a way that's WORSE than what it was before. Drake agreed to pay for Josh's speeding ticket so their father wouldn't find out.
Josh: Thanks, Drake! You're really saving my butt!Megan: How is Drake saving your butt?Josh: Oh, I didn't say he was saving my butt! I said Drake was... (realizes he can't think of anything else) shaving my butt...
- Mystery Science Theater 3000: In Soultaker, there's a needlessly long slow-motion scene where the female lead gets undressed while her mother, possessed by a soultaker, spies on her from the doorway. Crow gets something in his eye at a critical moment and has to leave the theater and look for some eye drops, Missing the Good Stuff.
Tom Servo: Sh-sh-she's turning around!
Crow: [offscreen] Did you say she's turning around?
Tom Servo: No, no, Crow, I said she's spurning a clown!
Crow: Well, I like that too! Where's the Visine?
- One from Home Improvement:
Lucille: Wait a minute. Are you saying that before they got married, your mom and dad lived together!?Randy: Oh, no, no. What I said was that before they got married, they loved good weather. See?
Tim: There's nothing wrong with two kids having a nice race down Dead Man's Curve.Jill: Down what!?Tim: Fred Man's Curve!
- And another:
- Merlin (2008)
Arthur: Now remember, in here, you're not my servant. I'm just a simple peasant like everyone else.Merlin: The simple part's right.Arthur: What?Merlin: I said, 'The sun is very bright.'
- From an early episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when Sunnydale Syndrome was still firmly in place:
Xander: (to Buffy) You're in love with a vampire?! What, are you outta your mind?!Cordelia: What?!?Xander: (to Cordelia) Not vampire... (to Buffy) How could you love an umpire? Everyone hates 'em!
- On Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson once remarked that newsreader Fiona Bruce had "a nice bottom." When she was a guest on a later episode, he claimed to have said "Oxford-educated newsreaders wear cotton."
- That's So Raven: Raven calls Alana a "sneaky boyfriend stealer", but when Alana asks what she said, she gives the pseudo-German phrase, "shneaky shnoyland shneiler".
- Rumpole of the Bailey: Rumpole, given to muttering to himself, uses this constantly on his wife and in court and always gets away with it.
- In the second season of the series Misfits, Shaun the probation worker walks in on the Misfits plotting to rob a bank so they can ransom Kelly who has been kidnapped by Tim and asks them what they're doing. Nathan informs him that they're going to have a wank and starts extolling the benefits of communal masturbation. Shaun, as always, decides that he doesn't want to know.
- In an episode of iCarly. Mr. Howard rants about how he hates Principal Franklin, calling him a "weak, spineless fool". Later, when Principal Franklin confronts him about the insult, he tries to save face by saying that he actually said "sleek, stylish, cool".
- A Little Night Music:
Fredrick: You must meet my wife.Desiree: Let me get my hat and my knife.Fredrick: What was that?Desiree: I must meet your wife.
- Avenue Q
Nicky (talking to Brian and Christmas Eve): I do believe my roommate Rod is a closeted homosexual.Rod (overhearing): WHAT!?!?Nicky: Er, I do believe my roommate Rod...has an undescended testicle.
- In a surprisingly competent localization, appears in the English release of Resonance of Fate when Leanne is wearing a Sexy Santa Dress:
Leanne: Ah, this skirt's too short!Zephyr: Now all we need is a trampoline.Leanne: What did you say?Zephyr: I said "the hem looks really keen."
- Ratchet & Clank Ratchet pulls one when meeting the Plumber, or rather his posterior.
Ratchet: (to Clank) Look, Plumber's Crack.Plumber: What did you just say?Ratchet: Err, I said, look! The plumber's back!
- Penny Arcade Adventures Tycho pulls one in the Cloying Odor Asylum, when the receptionist won't let the heroes through.
Tycho: (Whispering) There's no pleasing this old hag.Receptionist: What did you just say?Tycho: Err, I said, "Have you seen my book bag?"Receptionist: Oh. I haven't.
- Leisure Suit Larry: Larry Laffer can say this to the librarian Victorian Principles before transforming her:
Larry: Tickle your ass with a feather?Victorian: What did you say?!Larry: Particularly nasty weather?Victorian: Oh. Right...
- Torin's Passage: The Queen of the Escarpa, Di, often quips sarcastically and harshly to her husband Rupert. Each time, the king assumes he has misheard his wife and asks her to speak up (this time with his full attention on her), to which she almost always replies in a softer and more supportive manner in a manner that rhymes with her previous quip. He instantly believes her each time.
King Rupert: Di, my dear? Why don't you give this boy (Torin) a piece of your jewelry? That way, Leena (their missing daughter whom they wish Torin to find) will know that he represents us?Queen Di: (Sullen voice) Oh brother, aren't you right in his pocket?King Rupert: What was that?Queen Di: (Chipper supportive voice) I said, "Tell her, mother send her this locket."King Rupert: Oh yes. Good idea!
- Inverted in this The Order of the Stick strip.
Belkar: See, this is more like it, now.Miko: What did you say?Belkar: I said, "I'm looking forward to cutting out your pancreas, you fascist cow."
- Sluggy Freelance gives us two in one strip. Being it's Sam trying it, it doesn't work very well.
Dr. Schlock: What in God's name are you?Sam: I'm a vampire! Oh, wait, that's supposed to be a secret. I mean "umpire!" I'm an umpire!Dr. Schlock: Umpire, got it.Sam: Now, tell me what's going on or I'll drink your blood! I mean, "Flink your mud"! Is "flink" a word?Kiki: Oh, I like it very much!
- Subverted in this El Goonish Shive strip. Catalina doesn't even bother with trying to make her response rhyme with her earlier rapid fire insult and relies on an innocent and submissive act instead. It works and Principal Verrückt accepts it without any doubt.
- Satan and Me has this between Satan and a guy who looks uncannily like the archangel Michael (and happens to share the same name).
Satan: Fuck, I just really hate looking at your face.Michael: What'd you say?Satan: Uh, I said I'd like to visit outer space.
- Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog - Billy has this problem.
Billy (in a daydream song): That's the plan, rule the world,you and me, any day.Love your hair...Penny: What?Billy: [stammers] No, I...love the... air. Ha!Billy (continuing): ...Anyway.
- Berserk Abridged has this between Casca and Guts.
Casca: I can't believe I'm going to sleep with you in three episodes.Guts: What was that?Casca: Uh, I said if we could just find a sheep then we could make lamb burritos!
- Sid Meierís Alpha Centauri has one as a diplomacy option. For example;
Morgan: "Null and void!? Svensgaard, do you truly intend to turn your back on our years of friendship!?"No: "Heavens, no! I meant to say 'full of droids.'"
- American Dragon: Jake Long Jake normally doesn't, but he was self-conscious about molting at this time.
Rose: Jake!Rose: [moments later] Jake? I was calling you.Jake: Oh, did you say Jake? I thought you said ...steak.Rose: Why would I say steak?
- Another Jake Long example. Spud, disguised as a member of the Huntsclan sees Jake get knocked down and apparently killed by the Huntsgirl. He calls out "Jake!" and then realising that he's surrounded by Huntsclan trainees, changes it to "Cake! Which is what we'll have to celebrate the death of the dragon."
- Danny Phantom: Vlad accidentally said in front of Maddie how he wanted to kill Jack. How he fixed it? 'Flapjacks'.
Vlad: They're here, kill Jack.Maddie: What was that?Vlad: I said... Flapjacks! Mm-hm, pancakes. I have pancakes.
Danny: She must've gone after Skulker.Maddie: What was that?Danny: I said...I'm so upset about Jazz leaving that I'm going to...skulk her.
- Done again in another episode after Danny's parents tell him Jazz ran away from home, and he soon realizes why.
- Used all the time in South Park, between Stan and the crabby Bus Driver (as quoted above), and even subverted at one point:
Stan: We're not getting on, you fat bitch!Mrs. Crabtree: WHAT DID YOU SAY?Stan: [contritely] I said, 'we're not getting on, you fat bitch'.Mrs. Crabtree: [pacified] Oh. Okay, then.Kyle: Dude!Stan: I always wondered if that would work!
- Another subversion, this time from South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut:
Cartman: How would you like to suck my balls?Mr. Garrison: What did you say?!Cartman: Oh, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. What I mean to say was *gets out a megaphone* "How would you like to suck my balls," Mr. Garrison.
- Another subversion, this time from South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut:
- Happens in The Simpsons, when Mr. Burns was dreaming of his lost teddy bear:
Burns: Bobo... Bobo... [wakes up]Smithers: Who's Bobo, sir?Burns: Hm? Bobo? Er... no, I said... Lobo! Sheriff Lobo. They never should have cancelled that show."
Marge: Am I coming?Mr. Burns: Of course. We wouldn't think of going without the bait— uhh, that is, the bait-thing beauty. The bathing beauty! I covered that up pretty well.
- And parodied immediately after when it cuts to Homer who actually is shouting about Sheriff Lobo.
- Done by Mr. Burns a second time in "Treehouse of Horror III":
Moe: Wait a minute! I didn't use that much poison!(everyone gasps)Moe: I mean, I didn't use that much poi, son, at the royal luau.
- The episode "Tales from the Public Domain" contains a parody of Hamlet where Bart (as Hamlet) tries to trick Moe (as Claudius) into confessing that he poisoned the King (Homer) by having Krusty reenact by moment of the King's death.
- In The Critic, Jay was so deluded that he interpreted his producer Gary Grossman's opinion of his script in this way.
Jay: All right, it's just you and me. Now what did you think of my script?Gary: It was excrement.Jay: Did you say "it was excellent?"Gary: It was crummy.Jay: Did you say "it was yummy?"Gary: It was an awful piece of junk that made me want to puke all night.Jay: Did you say "it was an awesome piece of spunk that you want to shoot tonight?"Gary: It was a bilious piece of dirt that made me cry out in pain.Jay: Did you say "it was a brilliant piece of work, and you'll fly me to Spain? Where we'll meet King Juan Carlos and drink sangria all night?"Gary: You piece of blech.
Jay: (mumbling) Beauty and King Dork...Valerie: What?Jay: I said, "how useful is the spork!" You know, that spoon/fork thing you get at Kentucky Fried Chicken? (aside) I covered that up pretty well!
- In the pilot, after Jay falls out of a Daydream Surprise about the woman whose movie he's reviewing...
Jay: I wonder what she looks like naked.Jay's Brain: You idiot. You just said that out loud, you'd better cover.Jay: I mean uh... I wonder what she cooks like naked.Jay's Brain: Uh, nice going.
- Done a third time:
- Clone High
Joan of Arc: Abe, I'm so mad at you I could kiss you!Abe: What did you say, Joan?Joan of Arc: I said, I'm so mad at you I could piss glue.Abe: Really? It sounded like you said "I could kiss you."Joan of Arc: No, I said: "I could piss glue." It's a very common expression.
- Happened all the time on Sonic SatAM between Dr. Robotnik and his nephew Snively:
Snively: Your stupidity will ruin everything, you ugly boil.Dr. Robotnik: What was that, Snively?Snively: I said the doomsday machine is going to need more oil, sir.
- Family Guy:
Stewie: I love you.Brian: What?Stewie: Uh...I said...olive juice...Brian: Olive juice?Stewie: Olive juice you too.
Stewie: Well, dog if you have extra sensitive hearing, hear this. [mouthing] Fuck you.Brian: I'm telling.Stewie: Wait! I said "vacuum"!
- From the episode "One If By Clam, Two If By Sea":
- The Cleveland Show:
Donna (wryly): Oh, believe me, there's plenty of room for three in this bed.Cleveland: What?Donna: Uh...I said, 'There's plenty of room for Clee in this bed!'Cleveland: You never call me 'Clee.'Donna: Of course I do! I love you, Clee.
- In Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child's take on "Thumbelina," the mole is played by a fruit bat, who shows Thumbelina his collection of pinned butterflies. Seeing one she recognizes, she exclaims, "Mario!" which she tries to pass off "Marry you, I can't wait to marry you."
- Somewhat of a subversion in Phineas and Ferb's Musical Cliptastic Countdown: Dr. Doofenshmirtz does this with his plan to control people using his MIND-CONTROL-INATOR. When he realizes that all of what he just said was on-camera, he quickly says, "I meant, 'Mimes control my gator!'" Cut to two mimes and an alligator.
Dr. D.: See? And you thought I was just making it up!
- Then he starts going off on his plan to Enslave the Tri-State Area... I mean... Engrave my pie-plate carrier!
Dr. D.:(pulls out a pie tray) "It's silver!"
- Happens between Doofenshmirtz and Monogram again in the character commentary on Chronicles of Meap. Subverted when, instead of using this trope, Doof flounders and says the same exact thing again.
- Happens to Candace in "Spa Day" due to the fact that she doesn't seem to understand that no matter how loudly she speaks and the person is standing right next to her, they can still hear what she's saying. Jeremy even goes to point this out, leading to the truly horrible rhyme dodge while talking to Stacy:
Candace: "Look, I don't want him to know about the whole spa thing. He'll think all I care about is myself."Jeremy: "Candace?"Candace: (to Jeremy) "Uno momento por favor!" (turns back to Stacy) "Look, we'll go help people for like fifteen minutes and then we'll go to the spa."Jeremy: "Candace!"Candace: (to Jeremy) "Your call is very important to us and will be answered in the order received." (turns back to Stacy again) "We'll still be able to make it to our spa day!"Jeremy: "Candace, if you'd rather have a spa day..."Candace: "Oh, you heard SPA day? Because I said HURRAH DAY!"
- Then he starts going off on his plan to Enslave the Tri-State Area... I mean... Engrave my pie-plate carrier!
- In the Pound Puppies (2010) episode "Nightmare on Pound Street," the main characters are discussing a puppy whose ugliness has kept him from being adopted:
Niblet: It's so sad. I mean, just because he's creepy-looking—
Freddie: *overhearing* What do you mean 'creepy-looking?'
Niblet: Um...did I say 'creepy?' 'Cause I meant *thinks for a minute* 'sleepy!' Yeah, I meant sleepy-looking.
- Blinky Bill did this a lot, in one case setting up the plot of the episode by changing "Have you ever seen such a silly face?" to "We're practicing for a heavy race". He then proceeds to give Mayor Pelican the idea for a cross-country race to raise money for a new hospital.
- Deputy Dawg had a bad time from a bird visitor that does imitations. Mimicking Deputy Dawg's voice, he yells out "Hey, sheriff! How'd you like a lumpy lip?" The sheriff zips back angrily to D.D. with his fist balled up and yells "WHAT DID YOU SAY??!" Deputy Dawg sheepishly says "Er...I said, don't have a bumpy trip!"
- In Gadget Boy & Heather, it was a Running Gag for Spydra's pet vulture Boris to insult her and then make up a phrase that vaguely sounded like his insult when she got angry. Boris himself is given one by Spydra's henchman Mulch in "Boris for President".
Mulch: Just wait until Spydra catches up with you!Boris: What was that?Mulch: Er, I mean, I'll use catsup to do it!
- The Loud House: In "No Spoilers", when Lincoln has Leni make new clothes for him as part of a plan to keep the notorious blabbermouth from spoiling a surprise party.
Lincoln: My sisters owe me big time.Leni: What was that?Lincoln: Uh, I think we need to redo the hemline.
- Happened (reportedly) to Pierre Trudeau once. No microphone picked up what he actually said on the floor of Parliament, but he hastily claimed it was "Fuddle Duddle".