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[[quoteright:330:[[Literature/AmeliaBedelia http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/catsandogs_9863_6832.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:330:[[{{Pun}} Be careful. Don't step in a poodle!]][[note]]There's a real case when it's [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rain_of_animals literally raining animals.]][[/note]]]]

->'''Rocket:''' [Drax's] people are completely literal. Metaphors are gonna go over his head.\\
'''Drax:''' Nothing goes over my head. My reflexes are too fast. I would catch it.
-->-- ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy''

A literal-minded person just [[BluntMetaphorsTrauma doesn't get figurative speech]], instead interpreting instructions, idioms, {{understatement}}, {{sarcasm|Blind}}, and so forth completely literally.

Some of the ways this trope is played:

* BotheringByTheBook and ExactWords, where somebody deliberately uses a literal interpretation in order to gain an advantage, make a point or "win" an argument, perhaps using ObfuscatingStupidity. Often used in LoopholeAbuse.
* LiteralGenie, who can do this [[JackassGenie maliciously]].
* MathematiciansAnswer
* To set up EntendreFailure.

Characters who have this as a primary characteristic will occasionally be TheComicallySerious. Compare LiteralMetaphor, ShapedLikeItself, and DoubleMeaning. Frequently results in ComicallyMissingThePoint. Compare and contrast LiteralistSnarking.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* One ''Manga/AstroBoy'' story has Astro succumb to this when Ochanomizu says he'll find the authorities who sent Astro to be scrapped and "grease their palms". He then uses a rapid-fire sequence of these to make a computer [[LogicBomb implode]].
* ''Webcomic/AxisPowersHetalia'':
-->'''France:''' Just shake your ass at them or something.\\
'''Italy:''' Oh, oh, Japan! Want to see my bum?
* ''Webcomic/TowerOfGod'': When the dwarvish Evan complains about the BigGuy Kurudan looking down on him, he literally gets down on his belly (and still reaches to Evan's hips).
* One ''Manga/AzumangaDaioh'' episode had the main characters planning for an event and running behind schedule. Chiyo comments that she wishes they could turn back the clock. Cue [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} Osaka]] standing on a chair trying to wind the clock backwards.
* Sumomo/Plum from ''Manga/{{Chobits}}'' can only take questions literally, according to Shinbo, due to her lack of processing power as a "laptop" Persocom.
* Tetsuma Joe from ''Manga/Eyeshield21'' always follows directions. Exactly. When his coach warned him not to overeat before a game, he didn't eat for three days. And at one point, The Kid tells Joe "wake me up in about three hours". Exactly three hours later, and despite the fact that Kid is nowhere nearby, Joe ''[[SuperWindowJump leaps out the window]] of a moving bus'' just to go find Kid and wake him up. On another occasion, Kid asks Tetsuma to get him up at eight AM. So Tetsuma actually counts down the seconds until 8 AM IN HIS SLEEP.
* Sagittarius from ''Manga/FairyTail''. At one point, Lucy asks him to make a fire, but he replies that he doesn't have pyrokinesis. A few minutes later, he figures out what she really wanted and makes a fire by launching his arrows at some machines and making them explode.
* Sōsuke Sagara from ''LightNovel/FullMetalPanic''. His literal-mindedness provides a lot of humor in quite a few serious situations (as well as not-serious situations). One particular SugarWiki/{{Funny Moment|s}} in the novels comes during the Behemoth arc. Sōsuke defeated Takuma, which is supposed to result in a TearJerker moment, where the dying Takuma moans, "I lost, sister. Why'd I lose?..." Sōsuke proceeds to take the question ''literally'', and tactlessly attempts to explain to Takuma why he failed so miserably in an "I-told-you-so, but did you listen?" sort of way. Needless to say, Kaname tells him to shut up, and Tessa tries to repair the dramatic atmosphere.
* Used in ''Manga/GunslingerGirl'' for their CreepyChild moments, as they've been brainwashed to obey their handlers without question. When one [[TheHandler handler]] first starts instructing a girl, he's annoyed at her inability to hit the target (actually because she's not become used to her cyborg implants) and tells her not to leave the range until she can consistently hit the target. The next day it's pouring down rain and the handler grouches that he hasn't seen any sign of the girl he's supposed to be teaching. He's told to go to the firing range where he finds her cold and shivering, still trying to hit the target as instructed after practicing all night.
%%* Nia from ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann''.
* ''LightNovel/ThePetGirlOfSakurasou'': When asked for the reasons behind her actions ("What are you thinking?!"), resident IdiotSavant Mashiro (who is [[WordOfDante often seen by viewers as autistic]]) answers instead with ''exactly'' what is she thinking at the moment: ([[NonSequitur "Of the Earth"]]).
%%* Otonashi in ''Anime/AngelBeats''.
* In an episode of ''Anime/SuitePrettyCure'', Kanade tells Ellen, who's getting ready for her first day of school (ever), to write her name on the board big so the others can see it. She writes her name on the board '''big''', taking up the entire board.
* A popular form of joke in ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'', however, in the English dubs some jokes get LostInTranslation.
* Goku from ''Manga/DragonBall'' was like this as a child, like thinking that Bulma really turned into a turtle because she was moving too slow.
* Isshin Matoi, the [[DisappearedDad deceased father]] of protagonist Ryuko from ''{{Anime/Kill La Kill}}'' is said to be this as an explanation for his [[GiverOfLameNames terrible naming sense]] as he founded an organization called Nudist Beach (made up of, guess what, [[NakedPeopleAreFunny nudists]]) and named an invention of his the "Rending Scissors" because they're a pair of scissors that... [[ShapedLikeItself rend]]. This even applies to his daughter, where [[http://sushiobunny.tumblr.com/post/76850838550/its-interesting-to-note-that-ryuukos-name-has one potential meaning]] for her name [[NameThatUnfoldsLikeALotusBlossom of many]] is [[spoiler:abandoned girl]], which is distressingly spot on once we learn more about her history.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Various Characters in ''ComicBook/ChickTracts'' are literal-minded, but we're supposed to agree with them on every single issue in Literature/TheBible. But then again, Jack Chick is a [[TheFundamentalist Fundamentalist]] IRL.
* Franchise/TheFlash: Bart Allen alias Impulse/Kid Flash is pretty literal-minded, though it could be justified in his case: not only is he from the future, but he grew up in virtual reality.
-->'''Franchise/{{Superman}}:''' The Pope was very understanding -- especially when you wondered if he was Catholic.\\
'''Bart:''' A lot of people I know keep asking!
* ComicBook/{{Supergirl}} Kara Zor-El suffers from this at the beginning of ''Comicbook/ManyHappyReturns''. Justified because she is a very innocent kid who has just been stranded in another planet and can barely speak English. Sarcasm, jokes and idiomatic expressions tend to go over her head.
-->'''Linda:''' Oh, I get it now. You're cute. Reaaaally cute.\\
'''Kara:''' Do you think I am cute?
* ''ComicBook/{{Werner}}'' has lots and lots of examples of this, even whole stories based on being literal-minded. However, most of them are impossible to translate to English for demonstration purposes.
-->'''Hörni:''' Say something!\\
'''Kalli:''' Something!\\
'''Hörni:''' You shall not say something, you shall say something!\\
'''Kalli:''' Something!
* One ''ComicBook/ArchieComics'' story was about a new foreign transfer student attending Riverdale High. The concept was that every time a character used a figure of speech, she would confuse it for what it would mean in a literal sense.
* The ''ComicBook/{{Viz}}'' character Mr Logic takes everything said literally. For example when he is asked to boil the kettle he points out that the kettle is made out of stainless steel and he can't produce a temperature high enough to boil stainless steel.
* Also from ''ComicBook/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'', Rocket Raccoon occasionally encounters this problem, especially when he tries to pun, as in his own miniseries:
-->'''Rocket:''' Nah, I'm not buying [your suggestion] this time.
-->'''Sale:''' I'm afraid I don't understand. Have I tried to sell you something?
* ''Comicbook/LaffALympics'': Upon reading from a cook book that he must add a "can of tomato paste", Huckleberry Hound literally throws an unopened can into the pot.
* ''WesternAnimation/StuntDawgs'': As far as Badyear in concerned in the comics, to hog-tie someone means to tie a hog to someone.

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* Zero in ''ComicStrip/BeetleBailey'' lives this trope. Honorable mention:
-->'''Sarge:''' Zero, take this report to the General's office, and step on it!
* In one ''ComicStrip/SnuffySmith'' comic, Snuffy landed a PrecisionFStrike when asked to swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, then lampshades this trope after being reprimanded:
-->'''Snuffy:''' Consarn it, Judge, you're the one who told me to swear!
* ''ComicStrip/FoxTrot'':
** In a strip, [[BumblingDad the dad]] sits in front of the family computer for a moment, then slowly pushes it away from himself until it falls off the desk. Because someone mentioned it "needed backing up."
** In a similar situation with the computer, Roger complains a program he installed isn't working. His son, Jason, points out the program is the Windows version and they don't have Windows. Roger being Roger points to an actual window and says "Are you nuts? There's a window right there!" Cue Jason facepalming.
* ''ComicStrip/PearlsBeforeSwine'' has a RunningGag that's sort of an inverse as this trope: [[TheDitz Pig]] will use a figure of speech but he means it literally, and another character (usually [[OnlySaneMan Goat]]) will take it figuratively. There's an example [[http://www.gocomics.com/pearlsbeforeswine/2012/09/27 here]].
* ''ComicStrip/{{Garfield}} '':
** [[http://garfield.com/comic/2013-06-11 Believing that "You can't know someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes", Jon's Uncle Forrest had three hundred pairs when they caught him.]] Garfield said, "That's about a seven on the creepy scale."
** [[https://garfield.com/comic/2010/10/04 When Jon asks Irma what's new on the menu]], she describes the new stains on it.
* ''ComicStrip/USAcres'': [[http://garfield.com/us-acres/1993-12-31 Bo once went ice fishing and caught a block of ice]].
* Done sometimes by Wally Wood's ''[[ComicStrip/SallyForthWood Sally Forth]]'' whenever it's funny.
---->'''Dahl:''' Battle stations! Strip for action!\\
''(Sally quickly undresses)''

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In the ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' fic ''Fanfic/TwilightsList'', Rainbow Dash shows some signs of this, believing that pruning apple trees is some sort of strange excuse for Applejack to not come watch her new stunt because apple trees don't grow prunes. She also is confused by metaphors, though that may also be an outgrowth of her [[ShapedLikeItself lack of ability to construct proper metaphors herself.]]
* In ''Fanfic/KyonBigDamnHero'', Kyon starts chatting with Sasaki, who brings up that most of his events were most probably organized by someone else. His PDA, being able to learn and adapt, brings up his event planner immediately. He then tries to avoid meetings with her with lame excuses that Skynet (his PDA) obligingly fills his schedule with as it doesn't understand Kyon is lying.
* Inverted in [[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/3946501/8/Thousand_Shinji Chapter 8]] of ''Fanfic/ThousandShinji'', Rei is asked by Asuka, "Aren't you hot wearing all that??" To which Rei replied, "Yes. Very. Thank you." It took Asuka couple seconds to figure out what Rei had said, then she became more specific.
* From ''Fanfic/CalvinAndHobbesTheSeries'':
-->'''Tracer:''' ''[narrating]'' That night, when I got home, I received a call from Mimi Dejour. She said she wanted to meet me at the club right away. Since I had no idea where the Club Right Away was, I suggested the Club Flamingo. She agreed.
* In the ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex'' fic ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6825798/1/Clash_of_the_unlikely_lovers Clash of the unlikely lovers]]'', Accelerator and Vento of the Front have sex, with Vento eventually screaming, "My pussy is on fire!" Last Order, who was outside, is traumatized, thinking Vento was talking about an actual cat that was on fire.
* In ''Fanfic/EquestriaAHistoryRevealed'', the LemonyNarrator certainly fits this well. She tends to analyze minute details behind word choice in an attempt to find some hidden meaning. However, this is not always the case, as sometimes she ignores the literal meaning for a more symbolic one. She really tends to go either way depending on what supports her way of thinking the best at the moment.
* In the ''Series/{{Sherlock}}'' fanfic ''Fanfic/BakerSchoolBlitz'', Sherlock will answer all of John's hyperbolic questions literally, without fail. He'll also deliver nothing but facts when questioned, something John discovers is a mixed bag.
* ''WebAnimation/TurnaboutStorm'': Every metaphor [[Franchise/AceAttorney Phoenix]] uses inevitably flies over [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic Pinkie's]] head. For example, she says she missed the part where [[TheStoic Sonata]] was [[DeathGlare throwing daggers out of her eyes]], and wishes she could do that.
* In ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6690487/18/Growing-Up-Kneazle Growing Up Kneazle]]'' Harry, thanks to being raised by a Kneazle pride, had a tough time with human idioms, to the point where Hermione commented "Harry, sometime we really need to discuss your literal interpretation of life."
* In ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9285638/3/Leftovers Leftovers]]'', when Kurenai wakes Naruto up at 6 AM, he mutters, "This better not be about that Jesus guy. I didn't even look for him the first time."
* Godzilla Junior in ''Fanfic/TheBridge'' only barely grasps figurative meaning in a lot of sayings. Hilarity ensues.
* Frederick the Deino in ''[[FanFic/PokemonMysteryDungeonReflectingBalance Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Reflecting Balance]]'' occasionally has moments of this, such as responding to a comment about having difficulty "breaking the ice" with someone by recommending fire or fighting moves, or when he responds to Azure commenting that she has an itch for adventure by asking if said itch is in a spot she can't reach.
* In ''Fanfic/TheEarthAdventuresOfMonStar'', when Star's parents told Star to go "hunting for a suitable prince", they didn't mean that she ''literally'' hunted one down, especially an Earth human who wound up there by accident.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* ''Disney/TheLionKing'': Pumbaa and Timon occasionally. In fact, this becomes a plot point in ''Disney/TheLionKingOneAndAHalf''; Rafiki advises Timon to "go beyond what you see" in order to find "Hakuna Matata", and Timon interprets this to mean he should leave home to find a place where he'll be happy. Timon's mother is understandably annoyed when she finds out what happened:
-->'''Timon's Mother:''' You used a ''metaphor'' on Timon?! Don't you know he takes everything literally?
* The main character in ''There Lived Kozyavin'' who takes the order "go this way" literally and ends up walking quite a distance.
* Lightning [=McQueen=] in ''WesternAnimation/{{Cars}}'', particularly during the part where Doc Hudson tells him some advice: turn right to go left. Lightning, after [[SarcasmMode sarcastically thanking Doc]], proceeds to turn right, and [[EpicFail guess what happens]]. It later turns out this is literally true in the original context (racing on a dirt track).
* In ''[[Franchise/DisneyFairies Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure]]'', when Terrance is telling Silvermist about how Tink lost her temper at him, at first she thinks Tink literally exploded.
* In ''Disney/{{Hercules}}'', when Hercules gets knocked around by Nessus, Phil tells him to use his head to fight back. Hercules then sends Nessus flying with a charging headbutt.
-->'''Phil:''' All right! Not bad, kid! Not exactly what I had in mind, but not bad.
* Max in ''WesternAnimation/MaryAndMax'' has this, due to [[spoiler: his Asperger's Syndrome]], as detailed in the RealLife section.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLEGOMovie'':
** Emmet, upon being told to act like a stool, barges into a saloon and loudly declares that the patrons should come sit on him.
** In the climactic scene, while Emmet is trying to [[spoiler:make peace with Lord Business]]:
--->'''Emmet:''' My secret weapon... is ''this''.\\
''[Emmet extends his hand]''\\
'''[[spoiler:Lord Business]]:''' What is it? Is it really small? I don't see anything.\\
'''Emmet:''' It's my hand. I want you to take it.\\
'''[[spoiler:Lord Business]]:''' You want me... to take your hand off?\\
'''Emmet:''' No. I want you to join me.
* In ''Disney/{{Frozen}}'', when Anna tells Kristoff and Olaf to give her a minute alone with Elsa, Olaf starts counting.
** Bonus Points: We next see Olaf exactly one minute after he starts counting too.
* Baymax from ''Disney/BigHero6'' is a somewhat limited artificial intelligence. When he startles Hiro and Hiro snaps "You gave me a heart attack!", Baymax prepares to fire up his built-in defibrillator.
-->'''Hiro:''' It's just an ''expression!''
* At one point in ''WesternAnimation/PenguinsOfMadagascar'', Corporal the polar bear mistakes a part of Classified's ultimate plan as a knock-knock joke.
-->'''Classified:''' At 22:02, knock-knock.\\
'''Corporal''': [[ComicallyMissingThePoint Who's there?]]\\
'''Classified:''' The North Wind.\\
'''Corporal:''' The North Wind who?\\
'''Classified:''' The North Wind who doesn't have time for knock-knock jokes because we're too busy ''taking down Dave''!
* The Boov from ''WesternAnimation/{{Home}}''. In just one example, Oh finds a cookbook as he sets up his housewarming party. He cooks it.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* This kickstarts the entire plot of the 1994 version of ''Film/AngelsInTheOutfield''. Roger asks his DisappearedDad when they'll be a family again, to which his dad replies "I'd say when the Angels win the pennant."[[note]]At that point in-universe, the Angels were in last place in their division and on a 15-game losing streak[[/note]] Roger takes this literally, praying to God for help. [[spoiler:It turns into a TearJerker later when Roger finally figures out his dad was being sarcastic, which only happens when Roger's dad forfeits custody of him to the state.]]
* ''Film/FreddyGotFingered'': "You must get inside the animal."
* ''Film/{{Zoolander}}'': "The files are ''inside the computer''..."
* ''Film/{{Spaceballs}}'': President Skroob orders his minions to "comb the desert" to find the heroes; cut to the {{Mooks}} dragging a gigantic comb through the sand. Colonel Sandurz [[LampshadeHanging asks if they aren't being too literal]], and [[CaptainErsatz Dark Helmet]] responds "He said comb the desert, so we're combing the desert!"
* In ''Film/TempleGrandin'' we see the autistic Temple's interpretation of idioms (Temple's Aunt: "We wake up with the chickens around here!" Temple: (after imagining her relatives perched on a fence in their [=PJs=]) ''*laughing*'' "That's ridiculous!"). This gets her in a bit of trouble when she builds a hugbox and a psychiatrist asks her if she gets a release from it and she says yes (because if there wasn't a release lever she couldn't get out). Unfortunately she doesn't clarify that part and her hugbox gets taken away.
* In a Swedish movie called ''In Space, There Are No Emotions'', the (autistic) main character, Simon, states during a monologue that he dislikes people who speak in sayings and metaphor.
-->'''His Boss:''' Come on, get to work now, Simon! Time is money!\\
'''Simon:''' ... ''[yelling, as his boss walks away]'' No, it's not! Time is time! Money is money!
* Peter in ''Film/FindingNeverland''. At the very least, he can't (or won't) imagine that a dog is a bear, for instance.
* This memorable dialogue from ''Film/{{Star Trek IV|The Voyage Home}}'':
-->'''Interrogator:''' Okay, let's take it from the top.\\
'''Pavel Chekov:''' The top of what?\\
'''Interrogator:''' Name.\\
'''Chekov:''' My name?\\
'''Interrogator:''' ''[sarcastically]'' No, my name!\\
'''Chekov:''' I do not know your name.\\
'''Interrogator:''' You play games with me mister, and you're through!\\
'''Chekov:''' I am? May I go now?
* In ''Film/WhatAboutBob'', Bill Murray's character literally walks in small steps when presented with Richard Dreyfus' psychiatrist character's published "Baby Steps" approach to life, and seems to think it's helping.
* In ''Film/WhoFramedRogerRabbit'', Eddie visits the Ink and Paint Club and orders a Scotch on the rocks, and one of the penguin waiters returns to him with a glass of Scotch... filled with rocks. ''Despite'' GenreSavvy Eddie having told the penguin that he ''meant'' ice.
* ''Film/TronLegacy'': Kevin Flynn orders Clu, a computer program, to create the perfect system. Living beings aren't perfect.
* ''Film/{{Airplane}}'' abuses this trope very frequently:
-->'''Dr. Rumack:''' Captain, how soon can we land?\\
'''Oveur:''' I can't tell.\\
'''Dr. Rumack:''' You can tell me. I'm a doctor.\\
'''Oveur:''' No. I mean I'm just not sure.\\
'''Dr. Rumack:''' Can't you take a guess?\\
'''Oveur:''' Well... not for another two hours.\\
'''Dr. Rumack:''' ''[{{beat}}] You can't take a guess for another two hours?''
* ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'':
** [[BloodKnight Drax]]. As mentioned in the page quote, his entire species is Literal-Minded and have difficulty understanding metaphors, which goes to show that while Drax is a big intimidating warrior, he's just as nuts as the other members of the team.
** Gamora has a moment herself when she thinks people having sticks up their butts meant somebody had literally inserted said sticks, rather than them being uptight. Of course, in this case she has no choice but to be literal-minded because she has no familiarity with Earth's specific idioms.
* In ''Film/TheAppleDumplingGang'', dim-witted crooks Theodore and Amos are scouting out the bank, making plans to steal the gold. This exchange ensues:
-->'''Theodore:''' It's a piece of cake.\\
'''Amos:''' You mean it ain't gold?
* In ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheLastCrusade'', Indy and his father Henry Sr. are flying in a biplane when they see some Nazi fighter planes approaching.
-->'''Indy:''' ''[shouting]'' Eleven o'clock! Dad, eleven o'clock!\\
'''Henry:''' ''[checks his watch]'' What happens at eleven o'clock?\\
'''Indy:''' ''[gesturing]'' Twelve, eleven, ten! Eleven o'clock, fire!
* In the short film ''Film/FallingLeaves'', a woman is [[IllGirl dying of consumption]]. The doctor mentions that she will die "when the last leaf falls". Her [[ChildrenAreInnocent kid sister]] misunderstands this and decides to die up the leaves in their backyard so that her older sister doesn't die. [[spoiler:The young woman ends up saved by a new vaccine]].

* The schoolboy protagonist of the novel ''Vintage Stuff'' by Creator/TomSharpe. When told to descend by flying fox and then come straight back to the top of the cliff, he descends on the flying fox and then climbs back up along the cable.
* The generics in the ''Literature/ThursdayNext'' series have no personality, and hence no grasp of anything other than perfectly formal, literal language. Even just saying "sorry" when not apologising confuses them.
* The protagonist and title character of the ''Literature/AmeliaBedelia'' books by Peggy Parish is the patron saint of this trope and the former namer. It's her entire shtick and the entirety of the plot: her employers give her a list of instructions and then leave, and by the time they're back she's dusted the furniture (with dusting powder), dressed the chicken (in a gingham dress), and drawn the curtains (quite a decent likeness)... Fortunately for her continued employment prospects, she's a [[GeniusDitz very good cook]]. Except for that one time that she made a date cake by ''cutting dates out of a calendar.'' And a sponge cake with an ''actual cut up sponge.'' On the other hand, her "tea cake" ([[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin a cake made with brewed tea mixed into the batter]]) turned out to be quite a success at her boss lady's luncheon.[[note]]This is not surprising: ''bara brith'', or tea bread, is cooked ''exactly'' this way in North Wales and is a local delicacy. Think of a sweet fruit-laden bread made with stewed tea. Delicious.[[/note]]\\\
Herman Parish recently launched a prequel series featuring the adventures of her as a schoolgirl. Her literal-mindedness has some charming results, such as the time when she wanted to earn enough money for a bike and took a series of odd jobs, resulting in fiascoes such as when a customer at a restaurant told her that he wanted her to get a pie "and step on it!"
* ''Literature/TheCuriousIncidentOfTheDogInTheNightTime'': Nearly every conversation Christopher has involves some of this.
* Some of Creator/IsaacAsimov's stories have a robot interpreting insufficiently-precise orders in inconvenient ways as a major part of the plot.
** For example, in "Little Lost Robot", an exasperated researcher tells a potentially-dangerous experimental robot, "Go lose yourself!" The robot immediately hides among a consignment of identical-looking, but harmless, robots that are due to be shipped elsewhere, then starts to go insane from the stress of maintaining the deception. The robot was going crazy more because his First Law protections were deliberately, but incorrectly, weakened. He was angry at the guy who'd yelled at him and was proving his superiority by staying lost. Later stories have more intelligent robots intentionally becoming literal-minded when it served their purposes (to better serve humanity).
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'':
** Dwarfs from the Discworld, and by extension Dwarf-by-adoption Carrot Ironfoundersson. In one case this proves fatal; fortunately, the victim deserved it. Though Carrot hadn't yet developed the ObfuscatingStupidity that defines him in later books, it's ''possible'' he purposely misinterpreted Vimes's order for the good of the city. It's equally possible [[AlternativeCharacterInterpretation Vimes purposely gave him orders]] that Carrot would likely misunderstand.
** Similarly, never tell Cohen the Barbarian that you would "rather die than betray my emperor". He will be all too happy to oblige.
*** At one point, the Silver Horde run into a guard named One Big River. When they ask him if he'd rather die than betray his emperor, he [[TooDumbToFool can't grasp the metaphor]] and says "I tink I rather live". The Horde bring him along, because a man too stupid to think the way the Empire wants its people to think could come in handy.
** Ankh-Morpork citizens are known for a certain amount of this, if not so much as the dwarfish race in general is. ''Discworld/TheLightFantastic'' mentions former Patrician of Ankh-Morpork Olaf Quimby II, who tried to legally enforce accuracy in idioms, like figuring out how bad a poke in the eye with a blunt stick could be, or establishing a standard recipe for the pie to which something "as nice as pie" is compared. He was killed in a duel with a disgruntled poet while testing "The pen is mightier than the sword".
** Current Patrician Havelock Vetinari is endeavoring to put a crimp on clichés and idioms. Current Ankh-Morpork law states that any form of expression must have some basis in reality. If a face "launched a thousand ships", he'll expect the appropriate manifests, for example. But, this being the Discworld, things have a way of resolving themselves (like the Pork Futures Warehouse seen in ''Men at Arms'', which stores semi-existent pork that will become real later).
** Golems tend to follow all instructions literally. In some cases, it's because they don't think the way living people do (they're typically portrayed like computers or robots -- one in particular becomes a Watchman and starts using lines out of ''Franchise/RoboCop''). In other cases, it might be because they're rebelling against their owners.
** Death and the Auditors are frequently prone to this trope, having only a limited grasp of human quirks and psychology.
** Stanley Howler from ''Discworld/GoingPostal'' is highly susceptible to this trope, particularly when following official Post Office procedures. While trapped in a burning building, he took the safety-manual instruction to "Remain calm" literally and hence, wasn't frightened.
** The ''TabletopGame/DiscworldRolePlayingGame'' explains this from the dwarves' point of view, to help players with dwarf [=PCs=]. Dwarves find the human tendency to speak in metaphor to be both confusing and annoying. You ask a human how long until the explosion, and instead of a useful answer you get a little meditation about the beauty of flames and the fragility of life. The books explain it: precise language is a useful survival trait in as dangerous a profession as mining. It also provides a "Literal-Minded" disadvantage as an option when creating characters, dwarf or otherwise.
** The tendency for people to take metaphors literally is a common humorous element in the series. One of the early novels actually justifies it in that the Discworld's ''de facto'' instability of reality and a history of high-powered {{Reality Warper}}s duking it out have actually severely bred out the capacity for imagination.
** Used for BlackComedy in ''Discworld/CarpeJugulum'' when the de Magpyrs claim there's no way that their ancestress could have [[BloodBath bathed in the blood of 200 virgins]] -- because, as they've tested, the bath starts overflowing after 80 virgins have been bled dry into it.
* Bubba in ''Literature/TheSookieStackhouseMysteries''.
* In Creator/JohnCWright's ''[[Literature/TheGoldenOecumene The Golden Transcendence]]'', a character coming to with amnesia is told he consented to forget what, exactly, he had consented to. He asks how he can know this is true, and the computer answers that in fact, he doesn't know it.
* ''Literature/TheMortalInstruments'':
** Jace once told Clary; "If there were such a thing as terminal literalism, you would have died at birth."
** Alec has a tendency to misinterpret sarcasm.
* Shows up several times in ''Literature/ThePhantomTollbooth''. When Officer Shrift (who is also the judge and the jailer of Dictionopolis) is asked if he can give Milo a short sentence for causing a mess in the Word Market, Shrift replies "How about 'I am'? That's the shortest sentence I know."
* Lenny in ''Literature/OfMiceAndMen''. [[TheWoobie Poor guy...]]
* ''Franchise/StarTrekNovelverse'':
** Torvig Bu-kar-nguv from ''Literature/StarTrekTitan''. His experiments to determine the truth about "gut feelings" in one of the novels consisted of introducing nanites into his crewmates' food, so as to monitor their intestines.
** In the ''Literature/StarTrekVoyagerRelaunch'', Dr. Sharak is sometimes like this. Interestingly enough, the problem results from the comparative lack of literal reference in his own language. Because his native tongue is constructed around metaphor, he's had to adapt to the direct references of Federation Standard and so takes idiomatic expressions at face value. It seems he's learned ''too'' well how to think and express himself in a non-Tamarian manner.
* ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' Ax had this from time to time, mostly because he didn't understand human humor.
** In ''The Hork-Bajir Chronicles'', Dak Hamee (whose species is significantly less intelligent than humans, though he isn't) draws a picture of his friend Jagil, and tries to explain how it looks like him. Jagil merely gets confused that Dak is saying the picture is him: "That is not me. I am me."
** Towards the end of the series, several of the Animorphs start to suspect that Ax has caught on and is now just doing it to troll the kids. A RunningGag of the series was TwoOfYourEarthMinutes dialog he would engage in, followed by the response "They're everyone's minutes". In one instance, Ax gives a distance in "Two of your miles" and when he gets the expected response, promptly points out that a lot of people on Earth use Kilometers.
* In ''Literature/WarriorCats'', the ditzy kittypet Fuzz, who appeared in a short story in ''Secrets of the Clans''. He asks Barley's name, and Barley, taken by surprise, responds, "Er... Barley." Then when he calls him "Erbarley", Barley says "No. Just Barley." So Fuzz proceeds to call him "Justbarley" for the rest of the story.
* In the ''Literature/JunieBJones'' books, Junie B. can be this sometimes, such as in ''That Meanie Jim's Birthday'', when Grandma Helen Miller tells her that Jim is trying to "get her goat."
* Everything in ''Literature/WinnieThePooh'', being based on children's logic. For example, the idea that Pooh living "under the name of Sanders" means that he has the word written above his door.
* The main character in the ''More Than Human'' series was prone to this, being an android designed to look like a teenager. When a classmate commented that a particular teacher would be giving them a ton of homework, he asked if she'd deliver it in a truck.
* This leads to the BittersweetEnding of ''Andy Bucket's Robots''. To elaborate, [[spoiler: Andy has returned from a desert island with the help of robots he built. They are in a rowboat when Andy sees people, tells Supercan (who's rowing) "Wait a minute," gets out of the boat, gives a speech, and discovers Supercan waited sixty seconds and continued rowing]].
* ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive'': Jasnah says that Cryptics should be called "Liespren" but [[InsistentTerminology they don't like the term.]] Pattern, Shallan's Cryptic, considers anything spoken that's not literal truth (exaggeration, euphemisms and figures of speech, humor, sarcasm, etc) to be "a lie," and is fascinated by how many different kinds of lies humans have come up with.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/OurMissBrooks'': In the episode "Public Property on Parade", Miss Brooks gives Bones Snodgrass directions, using the fateful phrase, "take the traffic light to the right". Bones takes the traffic light to the right off the pole, brings it back to Miss Brooks, and requests further instructions.
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'': In one instance, several employees of the Wolfram & Hart were reported to have been sacked with actual sacks, and Knox mentioned that on at least one occasion they literally fired an employee. As mentioned by Harmony, there are also non-Human resources.
* GameShows:
** ''Series/{{Password}}'': Following a celebrity accidentally giving the Cashword as a clue on ''Super'', Bert asked the producer what they did in that situation. Upon being told to "throw it out", he [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Nv8UMIWmPE#t=3m21s picked up the Magic Toaster and threw it behind him]], asking what to do next as he did so. The Toaster the show's nickname for the container which held the card on which the Cashword was printed broke as it hit the floor. Cue an OhCrap look on Bert's face when the celebrity informed him that he broke the Toaster.
** ''Series/ThePriceIsRight'': How some contestants interpret the explanation of a given game's rules. While examples do exist from the Bob Barker era, these have become somewhat more frequent since Drew Carey took over as host. It remains debated whether these explanations are due to poorly worded instructions or the contestant being unable to interpret figurative language.\\\
One frequently cited example occurred on the June 1, 2011, episode, where a contestant playing the Race Game -- where the objective is to match four price tags with their correct prizes in a 45-second time frame, and correct any mistakes if time allows -- was told by Carey to "throw" the tags in front of the prizes she thought they matched. Carey meant, "place them quickly on the podiums, because you have just a short amount of time to play this game," but the contestant literally interpreted the instructions and threw the price tags on the floor in front of the prizes. When confusion reigned, it was ultimately decided that the contestant should be given the benefit of the doubt and was given all four prizes.
* In the live/puppet series ''Diver Dan'', Baron Barracuda, who hates being called "Boss" by his dim-witted {{Mook|s}}, constantly retorts "Call me 'Baron' [epithet]!", only to have him respond "Sure, Baron [Epithet]."
* ''Series/SmallWonder'': Vicki the robot/child. Much of the show's humor comes from her literal interpretation of simple instructions.
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'':
** Spock from ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries''.
** In the early years, Commander Data on ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' (though he was generally wise enough to question the idiom before actually implementing such an order).
** Also, the computer from ''Next Generation''. It was a small running gag for Geordi in particular to have difficulty with the computer, given the casual way he would address it. Then there was that time Geordi accidentally created a super-powered artificial intelligence by asking the computer to create an opponent worthy of Data's skills...
* Mork of ''Series/MorkAndMindy'' does this a lot, especially in the first season.
* Played with in ''Series/StepByStep'', involving Cody's homemade ice cream sandwiches.
* The aliens of ''Series/ThirdRockFromTheSun'' are sometimes like this, especially in the earlier episodes:
-->'''Mary:''' Are you seeing anybody?\\
'''Sally:''' I'm looking at you, aren't I?
* Hymie the robot from ''Series/GetSmart''. It was unwise to tell him "Kill the light".
* Waldo Faldo from ''Series/FamilyMatters'' is like this at times. For example, when Carl mentioned he knew a celebrity and Eddie said "get out of here!" in surprise, Waldo said "You can stay, Mr. Winslow."
* Kyle from ''Series/AllTheSmallThings''; it's one of the autism-like symptoms he displays.
* Teal'c of ''Series/StargateSG1''. Take an episode where the team encounters a society who can create energy via heavy water and want it to wage war.
-->'''Daniel:''' Their planet is on fire and we're offering them gasoline.\\
'''Teal'c:''' We are in fact offering them water.\\
'''Daniel:''' I was speaking metaphorically.\\
'''Jack:''' Well stop it. It's not fair to Teal'c.
* Ziva from ''Series/{{NCIS}}'', on occasion. Once, the team had to come in on a Sunday, and Tony joked that Gibbs was wearing a suit because he was getting married again:
-->''[Tony gets up and heads for the victim's home; Ziva stays]''\\
'''Gibbs:''' ''[angrily]'' Are you waiting for an invitation, Officer David?\\
'''Ziva:''' ''[clueless]'' Oh. So you really ''are'' getting married?\\
'''Tony:''' He means you're with me.\\
'''Ziva:''' Oh!
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'':
** Anya is very much like this.
--->'''Anya:''' That's so very humorous. Make fun of the ex-demon! I can just hear you in private. "I dislike that Anya. She's newly human and strangely literal."
** Willow is also this. "Music/{{KISS}} Rocks? Why would anyone want to kiss-- oh."
** Also a giveaway for robots.
* ''Series/ArrestedDevelopment'':
** The Literal Doctor (a.k.a Dr. Wordsmith).
--->'''The Doctor:''' It looks like he's dead.\\
'''Lucille:''' Oh my God!\\
'''Michael:''' [[GenreSavvy Just to be clear]], it ''looks'' like he's dead, or he ''is'' dead?\\
'''The Doctor:''' It just ''looks'' like he's dead. He's got, like, blue paint on him or something, but he's going to be fine.\\
'''GOB:''' What is wrong with you!?
** In another instance:
--->'''The Doctor:''' We lost him.
** When [[spoiler:Buster loses his left hand]], the doctor said he would be all right.
--->'''Lucille:''' But you said he's going to be all right.\\
'''Dr. Wordsmith:''' Yes. He's lost his left hand, so he's going to be "all right".\\
'''Lucille:''' You son of a bitch! I hate this doctor!\\
'''Michael:''' He's a very literal man.
* ''Series/{{Bones}}'':
** Temperance "Bones" Brennan. Oh Lordy!
--->'''Bones:''' It's not a spaceship.\\
'''Booth:''' Well, if it smells like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck...\\
'''Bones:''' Then it would be a duck, not a spaceship. Your point escapes me.
** Zack Addy had shades of this too.
---> '''Cam:''' Well, it's a pickle. The platform's a crime scene, but we need to access it to investigate the crime.\\
'''Angela:''' A "cake and eat it too" situation.\\
'''Zack:''' Is it a cake or a pickle?\\
'''Hodgins:''' [[TakeAThirdOption It's Schrödinger's Cat.]]\\
'''Zack:''' ''That I'' understand. Cakes and pickles meant nothing to me.
* Bernard in ''Series/YesMinister'' could be a tad slow to realize something was not intended literally, although not quite as serious as most examples.
-->'''[[TheBarnum Sir Humphrey]]:''' I'm taking the director of the bank to lunch, we might manage to cook something up.\\
'''Bernard:''' Why don't you go to a restaurant -- oh... I see what you mean.
* ''Series/TheBigBangTheory'':
** Sheldon. Sometimes so is Leonard.
--->'''Penny:''' I give up, he's impossible.\\
'''Sheldon:''' I can't be impossible, I exist. I believe what you meant to say is, "I give up, he's improbable."
** Another example:
--->'''Leonard:''' For God's sake, Sheldon, do I have to hold up a "sarcasm" sign every time I open my mouth?\\
'''Sheldon:''' ''(intrigued)'' You have a sarcasm sign?\\
''[[spoiler:(a few moments later, Leonard actually made the sign)]]''
* There was a sketch on ''Series/TheAmandaShow'' about a family with this condition. Naturally, they were named "The Literals".
* [[OurAngelsAreDifferent Some of the angels]] on ''Series/{{Supernatural}}''. While most of the angels encountered -- notably Zachariah (surprisingly), Anna (who had been human) and Gabriel ([[spoiler:the Trickster]]) -- seem to understand sarcasm and are often sarcastic themselves, others have more difficulty -- particularly Uriel and especially, ''especially'' Castiel:
-->'''Dean:''' Your buddy Lucifer--\\
'''Uriel:''' Lucifer is no friend of ours.\\
'''Dean:''' Try New Mexico, I heard [God]'s on a tortilla.\\
'''Castiel:''' No, He's not on any flatbread.
** And, in a moment of HoYay for many fangirls:
--->'''Dean:''' You know what, blow me, Cas.\\
''[cue a slightly confused expression on Castiel's face]''
** Also from "Mommy Dearest":
--->'''Dean:''' Why's it always gotta be me that makes the call, huh? It's not like Cas lives in my ass, dude's busy!\\
''[Bobby and Sam give Dean a disbelieving look]''\\
''[Castiel shows up an inch behind Dean]''\\
'''Dean:''' Cas, get outta my ass!\\
'''Castiel:''' I was never in... your... ''[awkward looks]''
* From an episode of ''Series/{{Bottom}}'':
-->'''Eddie:''' Shit your pants, did you? Cry, did you?\\
'''Richie:''' No, quite the opposite, actually.\\
'''Eddie:''' What? You sucked water ''in'' through your eyeballs?
* Frequently, Mr. Rumbold from ''Series/AreYouBeingServed''.
* Subverted in an episode of ''Series/ICarly'': Carly, Sam and Freddie knows a dead man had hidden a recipe inside his computer, but fail to find it. Turns out it was ''inside'' the computer, so the kids had failed to follow the literal logic of the owner.
* ''Series/KeepingUpAppearances'' episode "Iron Age Remains" had this dialogue (though Onslow was only pretending to not understand):
-->'''Rose:''' I'm at the crossroads!\\
'''Onslow:''' You wouldn't be passing an off-license, would you?\\
'''Rose:''' I mean the ''big'' crossroads! Do you continue with your life, or do you just give in?\\
'''Onslow:''' Could you go to the off-license first, then struggle with your life?\\
'''Rose:''' ''[to Daisy]'' Your Onslow is such a pleb.
* The [[BlankSlate dolls]] in ''Series/{{Dollhouse}}'' are often like this. For example, Alpha's Handler suggests he watch his step when he gets caught coming onto Echo. Alpha does exactly that: he walks away by staring at his feet.
* Franchise/{{Terminator}}s are naturally ripe for this joke. In ''Series/TerminatorTheSarahConnorChronicles'', a Terminator is searching the schools for John Connor by posing as an FBI agent carrying out a drugs investigation. The school administrator asks him "Look me in the eye and tell me you've never smoked a little marijuana." The terminator does just that (it is, after all, true!).
* ''Series/ElChavoDelOcho'': El Chavo does this when Don Ramon is explaining him how to play [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3bXH6Befu0 bowling]] (starting at approximately 2:23)
* K9 did this once in the ''Series/DoctorWho'' episode, "The Pirate Planet";
-->'''The Doctor:''' There we are, K9, we got the first segment to the Key to Time, piece of cake.\\
'''K9:''' Piece of cake. Radial segment of baked confection, relevance to the Key to Time nil.\\
'''The Doctor:''' Like I said, piece of cake.
* On ''Series/{{Leverage}}'', Parker often is often this way.
-->'''Nate and Sophie:''' ''(discussing their current con)'' [[ViolinScam The Fiddle Game]].\\
'''Parker:''' I don't know how to play the fiddle.
* At the end of an episode of ''Series/GraceUnderFire'', the title character laments to Nadine on how her ex-husband is behind on his rent payments. She explains that they agreed on the exact amount to be paid "under the table"... then suddenly says "Oh no. [[WhoWouldBeStupidEnough He couldn't be THAT stupid.]]" She then reaches under the table they are sitting at and finds an envelope full of money.
-->'''Grace:''' Maybe next time I should say it's "on the house" just to see what happens.
* Gary Bell from ''Series/{{Alphas}}'' tends toward this, [[JustifiedTrope as a result]] of having Autism. He gets the ''concept'' of metaphors and sarcasm, but he doesn't always recognize them... or understand them when they're used.
-->'''Bill:''' Who's manning the fort?\\
'''Gary:''' It's not a fort, Bill; it's a bad metaphor. Forts have ramparts and cannons.
* Seen in ''Series/LostInOz'', as Alex tries to explain to the Wicked Witch that she didn't mean to be involved in what was going on.
-->'''Alex:''' I was told that if I freed that little girl I could go home. I don't have any part in this, I'm just stuck in the middle.\\
'''Witch:''' You poor girl... stuck in the middle... ''[brandishes knife]'' Allow me to illustrate what that phrase means to ''me''.
* On ''Series/TheITCrowd'', Moss is very literal minded. An early episode has him read "Stand upright" on a fire extinguisher and take a moment to realise that it doesn't mean him.
%%* Latka and Jim on ''Series/{{Taxi}}''.
* Rose on ''Series/TheGoldenGirls'' is very much this way -- it seems to be common to people from [[CloudCuckooland St. Olaf]].
* In ''Series/ShaunMicallefsMadAsHell'', Shaun interviews Mick Onk to try and figure out the symbolism of carrying a puppet of Tony Abbott wearing a blindfold at a protest of Abbott's climate change policy (or lack thereof).
-->'''Shaun:''' I'm interested in the message behind your protest, namely, if Mr. Abbott is, as you portray him, a puppet, who is controlling him?\\
'''Mick:''' Me and Dirk.\\
'''Shaun:''' No, symbolically, though, who is controlling Mr. Abbott?\\
'''Mick:''' Oh. Big business?\\
'''Shaun:''' Okay, and so, is it big business that's put the blindfold on him?\\
'''Mick:''' Nah, me and Dirk.
** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ce3qkZ3P07o It goes on like this]], eventually culminating in:
-->'''Shaun''': Is your point that Mr. Abbott has blinded himself to these climate change facts, or has someone else done it? Ie, who put the blindfold on Mr. Abbott? [[StopSayingThat And if you say "Me and Dirk" I will arrange to have you injured]].\\
'''Mick''': ...Someone else did it?\\
'''Shaun''': Alright, well presumably whoever controls him.\\
'''Mick''': Yeah, me and Dirk.
* ''Series/{{Blackadder}} II'': Blackadder is writing letters and decides they should be [[CouldntFindAPen written in blood]] to make them more intimidating; rather than shed his own blood, he calls his BumblingSidekick Baldrick:
-->'''Baldrick:''' Will you be wanting me to cut anything off? An arm or a leg?\\
'''Blackadder:''' Oh, good lord no - a little prick should do.\\
'''Baldrick:''' Very well my lord, I am your bondsman and must obey. ''(pulls open the waistband of his pants and starts to [[GroinAttack lower the knife]])''\\
'''Blackadder:''' Oh for God's sake, Baldrick! I meant a little prick on your ''finger!''\\
'''Baldrick:''' ''(looks at hand, worried)'' I haven't got one there!
** The same episode had a similar gag where Blackadder asked Baldrick to get the door; cue the off-screen sound of a door being torn off its hinges as Blackadder {{Face Palm}}s.
* Frequently done by Manuel on ''Series/FawltyTowers'', although he has something of an excuse for it because he doesn't speak much English.
* A lot of the jokes in ''Series/AngieTribeca'' come from a character taking cop slang or everyday figures of speech literally. One example is a perp bargaining for immunity, and then getting a vaccination shot (along with a lollipop).
-->'''Mrs. Parsons:''' I just really hope you catch the animal that did this.\\
'''Angie:''' Thank you, ma'am, but we think it was a human who did it.
* This trope is exploited in ''Series/TheAdventuresOfPeteAndPete''. Young Pete and his two friends are called into the Principal's office for being troublemakers and is about to give them detention before another issue takes his attention. Before he leaves, the Principal tells the trio to not leave his office but forgets about them and goes home, leaving Pete and his friends in school for the whole night. After having an adventure in School during the night, the trio returns to the Principal's office before he arrives in the morning. When the Principal asks them what they are doing in his office, the trio reply he told not to leave his office so they did. Shocked that they did what he told them and unintentionally locked the kids at school, the Principal decides to not give them detention and allows them to take the day off.
* PlayedForLaughs and at the same time {{Justified|Trope}} in Spanish science-fiction comedy ''El inquilino''. Chubi was a ditzy alien that had found itself stranded on Earth. Although [[AliensSpeakingEnglish Chubi could speak Spanish fluently]], it obviously wasn't its native tongue and the meaning of many idioms would go over its head, to the point that the show made a RunningGag out of cutting to an ImagineSpot depicting the literal meaning of whatever idiom Chubi had just heard.
* "The Literals" skit from ''Series/TheAmandaShow'' is about an entire family who of literal minded individuals.
* In ''Series/AdventuresInWonderland'', all the Wonderland characters tend to be literal minded, with Alice often having to explain figures of speech to them. [[CloudCuckoolander The March Hare]] is especially prone to this.

* Music/AmandaPalmer in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJhDV0MMPAs "Vegemite (The Black Death)"]]:
-->''As though it wasn't bad enough, you also eat this shit for lunch, which means we can't spend any time together.\\
What kind of relationship is that?\\
The choice is yours. My heart is in your hands.\\
Please wash your hands, you just had vegemite for lunch.''
* Music/WeirdAlYankovic's "Albuquerque":
-->Okay, like, one time I was out in the parking lot trying to remove my excess earwax with a golf pencil, when I see this guy Marty trying to carry a big ol' sofa up the stairs all by himself. So I say to him, I say, "Hey, you want me to help you with that?"\\
And Marty, he just ''rolls his eyes'' and goes "''Nnnnoooo'', [[SarcasmMode I want you to cut off my arms and legs with a chainsaw]]!"\\
...[[SarcasmBlind So I did]].\\
And then he gets all ''indignant'' on me! He's like, "Hey man, I was just being sarcastic!"\\
Well that's just ''great''. How was ''I'' supposed to know that? I'm not a mind reader for cryin' out loud! Besides, now he's got a really cute nickname: Torso Boy! So what's ''he'' complaining about?!
** Followed immediately by this:
--->Say, that reminds me of another amusing anecdote.\\
This guy comes up to me on the street and tells me [[AmbiguousSyntax he hasn't had a bite in three days]].\\
Well, ''I'' knew what he ''meant'', but ''just'' to be funny, I took a big bite out of his jugular vein!\\
And he's yelling, and screaming, and bleeding all over, and I'm like "Hey, c'mon! Don't ya ''get'' it?"\\
But he just kept rolling around on the sidewalk bleeding and screaming, "AAHHHHH!! AAHHHHH!! AAHHHHH!!", y'know, completely missing the ''irony'' of the whole situation.\\
Man, some people just can't take a joke, y'know...
* Music/TheLonelyIsland's ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAYL5H46QnQ&feature=related Threw it on the Ground]]'' has this gem:
-->I was at the farmer's market with my so-called "girlfriend."\\
She hands me her cell phone, says it's my dad.\\
Maaaan, this ain't my dad. This is a cell phone!\\
[[HairTriggerTemper I threw it on the GROOOOOOOOOOOUND!!!]]
* Music/{{Knorkator}}'s ''Wie weit ist es bis zum Horizont'' (How Far Is It To The Horizon): Turns out the solution to this problem is the Pythagorean theorem, which results in an average distance of 4650m for a person whose eye level is 1,70m above the ground.
* Music/TheyMightBeGiants, "Hey Mr. DJ, I Thought You Said We Had a Deal":
-->I could never sleep my way to the top\\
'Cause my alarm clock always wakes me right up
* In "Changeling Tale" by Music/HeatherDale TheFairFolk are portrayed this way. Either due to ignorance of human language or pure malice, the fairies give an infertile woman a child when she asks for one. The child however cannot age as her ExactWords were for an infant.
-->''A babe was all she'd asked for, and their promises they'd kept''
* "Lizzie Borden" from ''New Faces of 1952'':
-->Now, it wasn't done for pleasure and it wasn't done for spite,\\
And it wasn't done because the lady wasn't very bright.\\
She had always done the slightest thing that mom and poppa bid.\\
They said, "Lizzie, cut it out," and that's exactly what she did.

[[folder:Pro Wrestling]]
* After Wrestling/JimCornette prevented Wrestling/ChristopherDaniels and Wrestling/AJStyles from taking physical retribution against Wrestling/GailKim for repeatedly attacking them to preserve the Wrestling/{{N|ationalWrestlingAlliance}}WA TagTeam Title reign of America's Most Wanted, Styles and Daniels decided they'd just hire a very large woman to take out Kim instead. Sirelda took this job literally by forcibly carrying a protesting Kim out of [[Wrestling/{{TNA}} the Impact Zone]].
* When [[Wrestling/HunterJohnston Delirious]] debuted for Elite Wrestling, he tried to eat Cheeseburger his opponent, for the night (who had been nicknamed such by [[Wrestling/TheWorldsGreatestTagTeam Charlie Haas]] on the grounds [[HollywoodThin he needed to eat one]]).[[/folder]]

[[folder:Puppet Shows]]
* ''Series/TheMuppetShow'':
** The Swedish Chef is often this way, such as when he makes chocolate mousse by rubbing chocolate on a moose, and his "chicken in a basket" involves him bouncing a chicken and then throwing it through a basketball net.
** In addition, Gonzo. Once, when asked by Joel Grey if he wanted to go for a spin, he began spinning.
** JustForFun/{{Statler|AndWaldorf}} can be like this. When Waldorf decided it was time for a tea break, Statler knocked the tea cup off the edge of the theater box, breaking it.
** Animal. In the Zero Mostel episode, there's a knock and Kermit asks him to "get the door". Animal responds by ripping it off its hinges and bringing it over to Kermit.
* Played with but averted on ''Series/SesameStreet'', during a "News Flash" segment involving Old King Cole:
-->'''King Cole:''' Bring my my royal pipe, and step on it!\\
'''Kermit:''' At this point you probably think we're going to make a cheap joke. But we're not.
* Derryn the {{dog|sAreDumb}} from ''Series/TheFerals''.
-->'''Modi:''' We've got to use our brains.\\
'''Derryn:''' But how do we get them out of our heads?\\
'''Modi & Mixy:''' ''DERRYN!''

* ''Radio/OurMissBrooks'': Mr. Jensen, the school custodian, makes a few radio appearances. He insists on interpreting figures of speech and phrases literally. Thus, to Miss Brooks' consternation (i.e. ''School Safety Advisor'') any attempt at conversation with him quickly becomes a chore.
* Denis Norden did a piece on ''My Word'' about "Literalism", a condition he suffered from, and which could lead to embarrassment, for example upon seeing a sign reading "Urinal out of order. Please use floor below."
* Mr. Lamb in ''Radio/TheMenFromTheMinistry'' is prone to these.
-->'''Mr. Youngblood:''' These accident figures. Have you noticed that in greater London a man breaks his leg every fifteen minutes?\\
'''Lamb:''' He must be getting sick of it by now.

%%* Grumio from ''Theatre/TheTamingOfTheShrew''
* Sheridan's ''Theatre/TheCritic''. The Lieutenant responds to Tilburina's impassioned "I see...) (in her mind's eye) speech with "The Spanish fleet thou can'st not see/Because... it is not yet in sight!"

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/DieAnstalt'': When told that he is an eagle by a motivational tape, Kroko really attempts to fly. The help guide even lampshades this: "The patient's infra-logical-predicative thinking hinders him to decipher metaphors."
%%* ''VideoGame/ArcRiseFantasia'': Ryfia.
* ''VideoGame/EternalSonata'': Polka, judging by the first two cutscenes with her in it. Good job, Solfege.
* ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'': Auron (in the Underworld of the Colosseum), final plot-mandated interaction, assuming he's not just messing with Sora to prove a point.
-->'''Auron:''' I suppose I should thank you.\\
'''Sora:''' [[ThinkNothingOfIt Not at all.]]\\
'''Auron:''' Fine.\\
'''Sora:''' I mean, sure, you could thank us a ''little''...\\
'''Auron:''' You should say what you mean.
* In ''VideoGame/LEGOIsland'', when Mama Brikolini is asked what it was that brought her to the island, she replies "The boat, silly."
* PlayedForLaughs in ''VideoGame/RuneScape'' with Farli, a dwarf who seems to have little to no understanding of sarcasm, leading questions and the like.
* ''VideoGame/TalesOfTheAbyss'': [[WhiteMagicianGirl Tear]] [[AloofDarkHairedGirl Grants]]. She at one point takes Luke telling her she "hasn't changed" in reference to her still donning her uniform after the timeskip.
* ''VideoGame/TalesOfVesperia'': Estelle. She gets (mostly) better.
-->'''Yuri:''' You won't beat me in 100 years!\\
'''Estelle:''' Because you're so old?
* ''VideoGame/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaAsPortable: The Gears of Destiny'' has Levi the Slasher, the [[DumbMuscle Material of Power who prefers to leave the thinking]] to [[TheSmartGuy Stern]] and [[NobleDemon Lord Dearche]]. When Fate explains to her that the dead Alicia is now "beyond the skies", she interprets this to mean that she's currently abroad in another world.
* Youmu Konpaku from ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' has some shades of this going for her. Considering that her mistress is Saigyouji Yuyuko, {{Cryptic Conversation}}alist and {{Obfuscating|Stupidity}} {{Cloudcuckoolander}} extraordinaire, taking things at face value is likely an adaption/resignation to the fact that poor Youmu has seldom, if ever, been able to understand what she is told anyway and, as such, has given up on even bothering to read into what's being said.
* In a scene from ''VideoGame/TearsToTiara2'', after a heartwarming YouAreNotAlone moment with Hamil, Tart tells him that eventually he has to be able to shoulder her weight as well. Hamil smiles and say that's quite a burden. Tart replies saying how can Hamil be so weak when the little girl Charis can do it, surprising Hamil who was just wondering a moment ago where Tart and Charis were. Cuts to Charis shaking and limping up the rest of the mountain. She said she could, and in a moment of Literal Minded Tart has Charis carry her up the mountain. And The PluckyGirl actually tried, and evidently got quite far. And she remained as cheerful as ever, determined to get stronger so next time she could do it all the way, leaving Hamil to {{facepalm}} and [[IThoughtEveryoneCouldDoThat explain to the Goddess the actual physical limitations of a human girl]].
* Dekar from ''VideoGame/LufiaIIRiseOfTheSinistrals'' and the remake ''[[VideoGame/LufiaCurseOfTheSinistrals Curse of the Sinistrals]]'' completely fails to understand Idura's taunts, and in both versions takes Idura's "nameless master" comment to mean that Idura's master ''literally has no name''.
* Strong from ''Videogame/{{Fallout 4}}'' is a mutant who has heard about the "Milk of Human Kindness" and believes it to be an actual beverage.
* Early in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV'', you go visit a baker with companions Jonathan and Walter, and Walter asks the baker for loaves that are "still kicking", i.e. fresh. The baker responds by saying that he doesn't know of any "bread that kicks".
* Lampshaded in a cutscene from ''VideoGame/SaintsRowGatOutOfHell''
-->'''Jezebel:''' I want to punch my father in the face!\\
'''Johnny:''' We're going to get along just fine.\\
'''Narrator:''' Of course, Jezebel was speaking metaphorically, but Johnny didn't notice.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* In ''[[VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorney Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Trials and Tribulations]]'', this results in [[spoiler:Pearl Fey]] pouring a roast's gravy on a picture, as she was ordered to "gravely roast" (i.e., in Hell) the person it depicted [[spoiler:-- and she was too young to understand]]. This is a {{Woolseyism}} -- in the original Japanese, [[spoiler:the order is something along the lines of "Give Misty Fey magnificent burial rites" -- in kanji. Pearl can't read kanji very well, because she's only eight, so she reads "magnificent" as "curry" (they're pronounced the same) and covers the picture in it]].

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* In ''WebAnimation/IfTheEmperorHadATextToSpeechDevice'', [[spoiler:Rogal Dorn]] is so literal it hurts, and completely oblivious to the fact, driving the Emperor crazy.
-->'''Emperor:''' You could fortify me from all the shit that's happening in the galaxy and threatens to spill into my throne room.\\
'''[[spoiler:Rogal Dorn]]:''' Fecal matter does not have mental capacity. You do not require fortifications.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* An early ''Webcomic/OneOverZero'' strip has Manny ask Tailsteak to create a running gag for the comic. The gag, however, turns out to be literal -- it's a character that looks like the word "gag" and runs around. Tailsteak usually doesn't take ''everything'' literally, but he acts this way just to be a smartass. And then attempts to catch the running gag became... [[RunningGag take a wild guess.]]
* Dr. Wright in ''Webcomic/CaptainSNES'' is quite literal-minded, much to the chagrin of the other characters who must deal with him.
-->'''Mega Man:''' Are you dense?!?\\
'''Dr. Wright:''' What does my mass-to-volume ratio have to do with anything?\\
'''Dr. Wright:''' No, I'm Doctor--\\
'''Mega Man:''' DON'T ANSWER THAT!!
* In ''Edmund Finney's Quest to Find the Meaning of Life'', we have [[http://eqcomics.com/comics/literal-lord-werriam/ Literal Lord Werriam]].
* The Sphynx from ''Webcomic/{{Subnormality}}'' also seems to [[http://www.viruscomix.com/page535.html suffer from this]]. But let's be fair, who wouldn't go looking for the Fire Department when they want to heat their house?
* ''Webcomic/CyanideAndHappiness'' does it all the time. [[http://www.explosm.net/comics/1878/ Also]], furries.
* ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}'':
** Criminy has something like a bullet-proof glass wall between him and [[http://www.sinfest.net/view.php?date=2009-06-14 any]], even [[OrAreYouJustHappyToSeeMe the most corny]] innuendo. He [[http://www.sinfest.net/view.php?date=2002-09-06 doesn't even notice]] anything is amiss when they fall by scores. Including his own AccidentalInnuendo. [[http://www.sinfest.net/view.php?date=2007-07-19 Even during a discussion]] of his ChasteHero status.
** God can be one [[http://www.sinfest.net/view.php?date=2009-05-30 too]].
* In ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'', Gil is revealed to have invented a robot for picking up girls. [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20120314 As in grabbing them and lifting them up into the air]].
-->'''Gil:''' Well, when I was a kid, we heard some of the older guys talking, but we were kind of... um... unclear on the concept, and, well...\\
'''[=DuPree=]:''' That is so just like you... soooo pathetic.
* In ''Webcomic/BobAndGeorge'', [[http://www.bobandgeorge.com/archives/000615c Megaman interprets a comment about his being an idiot to mean that is his function.]]
* In ''Webcomic/{{Lovelyss}}'' Johnny Teflon isn't really familiar with idioms.
-->'''Johnny:''' It's as if I'm looking for a very small thing amidst a large amount of identical, equally small things.\\
'''Marcy:''' Like a needle in a haystack.\\
'''Johnny:''' What's a haystack?
* Parodied ''Webcomic/SaturdayMorningBreakfastCereal'': "In this part of Manhattan, 'Kill my mom' was slang for 'Kill my dad.'" (This was what someone took too literally.)
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'': Thrym, the Frost Giants demigod, takes a metaphor Hel makes about "pulling their own weight" literally.
-->'''Hel:''' Well at least ''somebody'' is pulling their own weight around here.\\
'''Thrym:''' Not fair! He's very tiny, his weight is a lot less than mine!

[[folder:Web Original]]
* [[http://redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/warriorshtm/android.htm The Android]].
* [[http://wiki.rpg.net/index.php/FATALReviewRebuttal An attempted rebuttal]] of the ''FATAL'' review, painfully so.
* Wiki/TVTropes: Most trope names are confusing for many reasons and might get different interpretations (usually literal ones) from readers. This is partly why the IThoughtItMeant page exist.
* {{Creator/Egoraptor}}'s short [[http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/529003 Mr. Literal]] is about this type of character.
* ''WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall'':
** Linkara has an... interesting definition of "alcohol abuse". Cue 30 seconds of insulting a beer bottle.
** In a later episode, told to "deck yourselves with boughs of holly" by a Christmas comic, he hits himself in the face with a wreath.
* Creator/{{Tobuscus}} has a series on Website/YouTube about adding lyrics to trailers. The lyrics themselves are about what's happening in the trailer.
* WebVideo/TheAngryVideoGameNerd in the ''Bible Games 3'' episode, when he decides to "give his heart to Jesus". You can guess what happens.
* When Peter tries to question Roy and Karen in ''[[WebVideo/TheCartoonMan Return of the Cartoon Man]]'', they take expressions like "the elephant in the room" and "cut to the chase" literally. {{Visual Pun}}s ensue.
* Sparadrap from ''Series/{{Noob}}''. A guildmate mentioning a PickUpGroup will conjure the image of a pick-up ''truck'' to his mind. In addition, he has trouble understanding that the same word can have a very different meaning in {{M|assivelyMultiplayerOnlineRolePlayingGame}}MORPG and real life.
* The rule of funny in several WebOriginal/EddieAtTheLMV [[LiteralMusicVideo musical cover videos]]. A particular one is in the ''[[Music/LadyAntebellum Need You Now]]'' video, in which the lyric "Another shot of whiskey" has a visual of Eddie pointing a pistol at a man (presumably called Whiskey).

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheAmazingWorldOfGumball'': Bobert, a robot, will always take literally everything he is told to do, getting to be dangerous. When he's told to follow the laws, he follows even the most useless ones, like threatening a man for slurping soup, and then yelling off-key (which are both real laws, respectively in New Jersey and North Carolina). Then, when he's told to not follow laws, he steals a woman's purse and runs away. When he's told to protect all life, he stops a car so a family of ants can pass though the road.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheGrimAdventuresOfBillyAndMandy'': In "The Secret Snake Club", Irwin says that the reason he joins the macramé club is to "meet the chicks". Billy, being the goofball that he is, imagines himself dancing with baby chicks. In the same ImagineSpot, the chicks leave while Billy continues to dance.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Rugrats}}'', since they're babies and haven't yet learned how to use metaphors and similes.
* The William Clone in Season 4 of ''WesternAnimation/CodeLyoko''. He's an artificial intelligence, and his programmation clearly never covered figures of speech.
-->'''Delmas:''' Well, Dunbar, my boy, I am glad to see your fever has broken and you're feeling well!\\
'''Clone William:''' Eh... did I break anything else?
* ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'':
** Ron Stoppable suffered from this occasionally.
** Hego of ''Team Go'' also:
--->'''Electronique:''' I twist the power of Team Go to bring Go City to its knees.\\
'''Hego:''' But... um, cities don't have knees.
** Also, Warmonga:
--->'''Drakken:''' Warmonga! Show her the door!\\
'''Warmonga:''' If you guide your vision to the left of our after-reactor corner, you can see our primary entrance.\\
'''Drakken:''' No, Warmonga, I meant: Make her exit through the door.\\
'''Warmonga:''' Oh. ''(grabs Shego and lifts her overhead)''\\
'''Shego:''' Hey! ''(Warmonga tosses her through the door, [[ThereWasADoor blowing a hole in it]])''\\
'''Drakken:''' Yes, well... I didn't mean literally ''through'' the ''actual'' door, but...
* Happens more often than not to Starfire of ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans''.
* ''WesternAnimation/BobbysWorld''. Granted, he's 5 years old.
* The title character of ''[[WesternAnimation/KaBlam Life with Loopy]]''. When told to go make a new friend, she "makes" a RobotBuddy out of old electronics. When her parents joke that thunder is caused by Mother Nature going bowling, she tracks Mother Nature down and challenges her to a bowl-off in order to put a stop to a rainy day.
* ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'':
** Brian's human girlfriend Jillian is like this.
** At a Renaissance Fair, a woman hits on Peter by asking if he wants to "take a gander under [my] frock"; confused, he gets a goose and shoves it under her dress.
** In an early episode, he promises Lois he'll set up an extravagant party for Stewie's first birthday, including (among other things) a "big-ass pinata". Later on, we find out that he did manage to get one, but...well, to quote Brian, "I sure hope ''candy'' comes out of that."
** Peter in general tends to think with a literal mind and acts on it.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}'':
** There's that one episode when Yakko is the king. He suggests a polka-dot new flag (among other things, since this was the episode's RunningGag). Then someone is sure to ask: "Polka-dot?" and cue to the person dancing Polka with Yakko's sister Dot.
** And in one particularly [[Radar/{{Animaniacs}} notorious incident]], the Warners are involved in an Creator/AgathaChristie-type investigation, and Yakko tells Dot to dust for prints. She finds Music/{{Prince}}. As in the singer.
--->'''Yakko:''' No, no, no, ''finger''prints!\\
'''Dot:''' ''[looks at Prince]''\\
'''Prince:''' ''[grins]''\\
'''Dot:''' ''[frowns]'' I don't think so. ''[tosses Prince aside]''
** The Warners tend to be this when in school with their SternTeacher: they demonstrate literal "eyes in the back of their heads" (with Wakko having 9 eyes as opposed to 2), interpret a "pop quiz" as a soda taste-test challenge, and when asked "Are we clear?" demonstrate the difference between opaque and clear.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Doug}}'' can become this at times, such as in the episode "Doug Gets His Ears Lowered" when he told Skeeter he was getting a haircut, to which Skeeter told him he was "getting his ears lowered" (hence the episode's title). Doug then looks at his reflection in the glass of a building and sees himself with his ears literally lowered down to his cheeks right before Skeeter tells him what the phrase really means.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'': Homer is usually prone to this.
** In "New Kid on the Block", Homer watches a dating game show where a guy says he loves a girl who makes bacon on the beach. Homer imagines himself literally doing that.
** Subverted in "E. Pluribus Wiggum" when he imagines what a Think Tank might be... namely a group of executive people having a discussion.
--->'''Homer:''' ''[to the baffled Marge and Lisa]'' What? Can't I get one right at least?!
** In "A Hunka Hunka Burns in Love", Snake threatens to PistolWhip Homer, which he imagines is using a pistol to eat whipped cream.
* Duck in ''Literature/LittleBear'' does tasks too literally when she following Hen's steps in preparing a strawberry shortcake such as icing the cake and separating the eggs.
* Pops from ''WesternAnimation/RegularShow'' seems to be an inverted case.
-->'''Mordecai:''' Pops, you said you had a British taxi!\\
'''Pops:''' British taxi? I thought you said brownish taxi.\\
'''Mordecai:''' But that taxi's yellow.\\
'''Pops:''' Yellow? My taxi is no coward; I guarantee you that!
* ''WesternAnimation/DuckTales'':
** Fenton Craskshell (Gizmo Duck) is literal-minded. Scrooge wants Fenton to liquidate his assets, except that he puts all of Scrooge's money in the lake.
** Gyro Gearloose is one as well. In one episode, to increase the budget for a cheap sci-fi show as part of a way of reinventing it, Scrooge has Gyro build a new spaceship that he wants to be as realistic as possible. Gyro's response? Make it an actual working spaceship. He proceeds to do something like this again in the "Super Ducktales" 5-parter: after recovering his money from the above example with Fenton, Scrooge asks Gyro to build a security guard for his money bin that won't let anyone get to the bin. Gyro again takes him too literally and programs it to not let ''anybody'' get to the bin, Scrooge included.
* Fred the squirrel from ''WesternAnimation/ThePenguinsOfMadagascar''.
-->'''Skipper:''' We need you to take a look at this squirrel artefact.\\
'''Fred:''' ''[looks at the artifact, then goes away]'' Okay then. Later, guys.\\
'''Skipper''' Fred!\\
'''King Julien''' The key! What about... the key?\\
'''Fred''' What about it?\\
'''Kowalski''' Well, we were hoping, you can tell us something about it.\\
'''Fred''' Oh, tell you something about it? You said just look at it.
* The Creator/TexAvery cartoon ''WesternAnimation/SymphonyInSlang'' is about a recently deceased man at the Pearly Gates, explaining his life story with incomprehensible slang terms. The angels interpret the whole thing literally, turning it into a {{Hurricane of|Puns}} {{Visual Pun}}s.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' episode "Crippled Summer", Nathan and Mimsy try to sabotage Jimmy's team in an athletic competition, but because Mimsy is Literal Minded, their plans backfire. For instance: [[spoiler: they make a fake map for a scavenger hunt that leads to a hostile Indian reservation, and Nathan tells Mimsy to "switch the map, switch the map". So he switches the maps twice, leaving them with their own fake map]].
* [[TheDitz DeeDee]] in the ''WesternAnimation/DextersLaboratory'' episode "[[FunWithAcronyms G.I.R.L.]] Squad" takes the "lick" part of "lick crime" too literally.
* ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants''
** Inverted in the episode "Dying for Pie". Squidward does whatever [=SpongeBob=] wants for the day because [[MistakenForDying he thinks SpongeBob is going to die from eating an exploding pie]]. When this fails to happen, Squidward angrily tells him "You were supposed to explode!" [=SpongeBob=] then proceeds to ''metaphorically'' "explode":
-->'''[=SpongeBob=]:''' '''''GARY!''' YOU ARE GONNA FINISH YOUR DESSERT, AND YOU ARE GONNA '''LIKE''' IT!'' ''[laughs]'' Now it's your turn.\\
'''[=SpongeBob=]:''' Ooh, good one.
** In "Squid on Strike", [=SpongeBob=] takes Squidward's words about "dismantling the oppressive establishment" to heart and destroyed the Krusty Krab.
** In "Sailor Mouth", [=SpongeBob=] believes that Mr. Krabs will punish him and Patrick for swearing by giving them 40 lashes (with a whip). Patrick then imagines him being given exaggeratedly full eyelashes.
** In ''WesternAnimation/TheSpongeBobMovieSpongeOutOfWater'', Spongebob says hypothetically that the only way that he and Plankton could possibly fix the scrape they've gotten themselves into is go back in time and stopped the events that happened in the first place. Plankton tells him to "hold that thought". He proceeds to grab the thought bubble over his head and hold it like a balloon.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'':
** Applejack slips into this for a couple of jokes. In "Sweet and Elite", she thought a garden party was about actual gardening.
** Pinkie Pie does this a lot. Consider this exchange from "The Last Round-Up":
--->'''Rainbow Dash:''' We gotta get her to spill the beans.\\
'''Pinkie:''' What?! She has beans?! Ugh! I ''told'' her I was snacky!
** In "The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone", Rainbow Dash is trapped in an abyss with an injured hoof. She tells Pinkie Pie to toss her a rope, but she throws the entire coil of rope at her without tying the end to anything, making it pointless.
** Pinkie's sister Maud is an extreme example; she remarks that Applejack's apple cider "tastes like apples", and after stating that she is only interested in expressing herself through fashion (as opposed to fashion in general), when Rarity asks her what her frock is saying, she states in her usual placid monotone (though with a skeptical look), "It doesn't talk. It's a dress."
* Mr. Herriman in ''WesternAnimation/FostersHomeForImaginaryFriends''. In "The Big Cheese", he's told to enter "a random number" as the password to the house's new security system, and ''literally'' punches in a random security code for the new security system (he turned around and didn't even LOOK at the number he was punching in, which was why Herriman did what he did). The result: he can't remember the password and everyone, imaginary friends included, is locked out of the house.
-->'''Herriman:''' The instruction said to enter the numbers at random.\\
'''Frankie:''' ''[looks at instructions]'' Not "random" ''every single time!''
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/DangerMouse'' has Penfold deliberately invoking this after DM addresses the situation at hand:
-->'''DM:''' We must act quickly.\\
'''Penfold:''' ''[rapid-fire, gesturing]'' ''Tobeornotbethatisthequestionwhether'tisnobler\\
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Archer}}'': Krieger has successfully implanted a mind-control microchip into a rabbit.
-->'''Archer:''' Could you put it in a person's brain?\\
'''Krieger:''' It'd suffocate...\\
'''Archer:''' Not the rabbit, idiot! The microchip!\\
'''Krieger:''' Oh. Yes.\\
'''Archer:''' Without killing the person?\\
'''Krieger:''' ...maybe?
* In ''WesternAnimation/HollyHobbieAndFriends: Surprise Party'', when Holly says that old man Scranton's "bark is worse than his bite," Amy thinks that Scranton bit Holly.
* Madison from ''WesternAnimation/ClassOf3000''. She brought fleas to a flea market and a garage to a garage sale.
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' revolves around the Ice King trying to stop a ProfessionalKiller he hired, because he just wanted the assassin to ''literally'' hit Finn and Jake (punch them in the stomach), not murder them.
* ''WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy'':
** In "Urban Ed", when Jonny steals Eddy's money jar Eddy tells Ed "Do something!" Ed asks "[[CloudCuckoolander Can I cater a party?]]"
** In "Home-Cooked Eds", when Eddy tries to push the Kankers' trailer off his lawn he asks Ed to give him a hand, so Ed gives him Double D's hand.
--->'''Ed:''' Found one! ''[chuckles]''\\
'''Edd:''' [[DeadpanSnarker This joke is older than my Mesozoic fossil collection, Ed.]]
* Queen Delightful from ''WesternAnimation/The7D'':
-->'''Doc:''' When we arrived home, we realized our front door was ajar.\\
'''Delightful:''' How can the door be a jar? It's a door! ''[pulls out a jar of pickles]'' '''This''' is a jar. Of course, it's a pickle jar, and I do adore it. So maybe you're right.
* In [[EvilTwin Evil Jim's]] introduction in ''WesternAnimation/EarthwormJim'' he proclaims to Jim "I am your exact opposite! Everything that you love, I hate! Everything you hate, I love!" Later on Jim confronts him again with this exchange.
--> '''Jim''': I've been thinking a lot about this "exact opposites" thing. If I hate losing, then you must ''love'' it! So why don't you give up right now?
--> '''Evil Jim''': [[LampshadeHanging Oh don't be so literal-minded]]. *knocks Jim through a wall*
* ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'': All of the Gems sometimes fall into this trope, especially Pearl.
--> '''Steven''': Why did Pearl throw butter out the window?
--> '''Amethyst''': You did ''what?''
--> '''Steven''': [[{{Pun}} To see a butterfly!]]
--> '''Pearl''': ''[genuinely hurt] '' I never did that! Steven, are you telling lies?!
** [[SixthRanger Peridot]] takes this UpToEleven, as unlike the rest of the group she only arrived on Earth very recently and has even ''less'' knowledge of human figures of speech than the others do. Her [[CharacterBlog official Twitter account]] has her unable to understand what a pizza delivery man means when he says the pizza is 'on the house' because it's in her hands and decides to 'run with it' because she doesn't know what else to do. She promptly runs around the countryside holding a pizza for two days.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheNewAdventuresOfWinnieThePooh'': In the episode "Sorry, Wrong Slusher", the judge in a dream sequence literally throws the book at the characters.
-->'''Judge''': I find you guilty of first degree causing noise, and I'm throwing the book at you! ''[throws book]''\\
'''Pooh''': It's too bad I can't read...
* Star Butterfly from ''WesternAnimation/StarVsTheForcesOfEvil'' is prone to this:
** The first episode, "Star Comes to Earth", has this exchange:
--->'''Star:''' Ludo! How did you know I was here?!\\
'''Ludo:''' Hee hee hee, wouldn't you like to know?\\
'''Star:''' ''[completely earnest]'' [[RhetoricalQuestionBlunder Yes, that's why I asked]].
** In "Matchmaker", Marco tells Star to "dance around the issue" while asking her mother for help, and Star eagerly responds "I'm a ''great'' dancer!"
** In "School Spirit", when Marco says the Silver Hill Warriors are going to "slaughter" the Echo Creek Awesome Opossums in an upcoming football game, Star thinks the game is going to be an actual battle and booby-traps the field.
** In "Sleep Spells", when Marco tries to do an inkblot test on Star and asks her what she sees, she says "An inkblot! I win!"
** In "My New Wand!", Star's mother tells her that in order to "dip down" and use magic without the wand, she will have to put "everything you have" into it. Star interprets this as meaning she should load everything she owns into a catapult and launch it at the door she was trying to open. Also, this exchange from the same episode:
--->'''Glossaryck:''' Imagine the universe as this big old cauldron, and magic is the bubbly stew inside, and your wand is the spoon.\\
'''Star:''' My wand isn't a spoon. It's a wand.\\
'''Glossaryck:''' It's a metaphor, Star.\\
'''Star:''' No, it's a wand.\\
'''Glossaryck:''' Fine. It's a wand.\\
'''Star:''' Now you're getting it.
** In "Mathmagic", Star bursts out laughing in math class when Janna tells her the ChickenJoke. [[SternTeacher Miss Skullnick]] demands to know "What's so funny?!", and Star [[DontExplainTheJoke tries to explain what makes the Chicken Joke "classic anti-humor"]].
* ''WesternAnimation/TopCat'': In "Rafeefleas," T.C. wants to know why Benny is late for a meeting, and Choo Choo explains it's because Benny was at the museum:
-->'''Choo Choo:''' He was standing in front of a display with a big sign that said "Watch This Space."\\
'''T.C.:''' So?\\
'''Choo Choo:''' So, Benny was just standing there, ''[T.C. joins in]'' watching the space!
* Dr. Doofenshmirtz on ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'' engages in this a few times; in one episode he tries to get a green thumb by dumping green paint on himself and paints everything but his thumbs due to the way he was holding the can. In another, he's repeatedly told the saying "don't make a mountain out of a molehill", which he takes as a challenge and invents a device that can quite literally transform a molehill into a mountain.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Kaeloo}}'':
** In the episode "Let's Play Prison-Ball", [[TheDitz Stumpy]] takes the term "prison" in "prison-ball"[[note]]Prison-ball is a game similar to dodgeball, except if a player gets hit they are sent to a space at the back of the court called the "prison"[[/note]] too literally, for example yelling "I didn't do a thing! Society's the one to blame!" and trying to dig his way out with a jackhammer.
** In another episode, when the main four get into a fight with their own MirrorUniverse counterparts, Stumpy throws books at them and yells at them to "eat books". While everyone else fights, AlternateUniverse!Mr. Cat, being the opposite of [[TheSmartGuy normal Mr. Cat]] and therefore a complete idiot, sits there eating books.
** In one of the earlier episodes, when the main four are setting up their own news channel, Stumpy is tasked with being a news reporter. When he asks what to do, Mr. Cat says "Hit me with the news!" Stumpy responds by picking up a newspaper and throwing it so it hits Mr. Cat in the face.
* Omi from ''WesternAnimation/XiaolinShowdown'' is like this when reacting to a slang term. [[RunningGag This happens pretty often.]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* If speaking on a very general level, people with UsefulNotes/AspergerSyndrome and [[UsefulNotes/HighFunctioningAutism autism]]. Even after being taught to distinguish metaphors and idioms from normal conversation, they will still tend to think of the literal meaning before interpreting it, just as one would with a foreign language. Many people with Asperger's have been fascinated/obsessed with learning the meanings of different idioms at some point in their lives.
** For someone with Aspergers, "I was being polite" will eventually come to mean "ILied"
** It can also be frustrating to ask rhetorical questions to someone with Aspergers because they will think you were asking a normal question. They just don't know when a question is rhetorical or not.
** Another thing that trips Aspies up is when a person keeps saying "It's ok" or something in that vein just to be nice, and the aspie thinks that the person really means it. It makes the eventual blowup seem to come out of nowhere and come off as a form of KickTheDog.
* Schizophrenics have been noted in making errors with the meanings of metaphors and irony -- typically that they do tend to take things literally.
* Religious fundamentalism is defined by strict adherence to literal readings of their holy texts and orthodox theology.
* Young children, particularly preschoolers, are extremely literal-minded. They lack both the life experience and the reasoning skills to understand figurative speech. It's one of the reasons why you have to be careful how you word things in order not to confuse or terrify your child. Example: When Aunt Maude passes away, you shouldn't tell your 4-year-old she's just "sleeping." You end up with a child who is terrified to go to bed, for fear it could happen to them. Also part of the reason why Disney is able to [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar get so many innuendos in their movies]] without compromising the minds of young children. Parents get the figurative speech, the kids don't.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Work-to-rule Work to Rule]]. In totalitarian societies like the old Soviet Union, literal interpretation of laws may be one of very few ways people can express discontent with them, since following poorly-chosen laws and thus becoming an inefficient worker will make the case that the laws have to be changed; this can also be seen on a smaller scale with workers in private firms.\\\
In communist/totalitarian economies, minimizing one's workload is often the only functional incentive, and Work-to-rule can be a way of achieving it. PJ O'Rourke's humorous example involving a Soviet shoe factory: "If they tell you to make 5,000 shoes, you make 5,000 left-footed baby shoes. If they tell you to produce 2,000 pounds of shoes, you make one giant concrete overshoe."
* A computer will do exactly what you told it to do, [[BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor whether you want it to]] [[AIIsACrapshoot or not.]]
* This can happen to confused foreigners with limited understanding of a language, thus lacking knowledge of proverbs, slang and such. For example, one may respond to "tell me about it" by explaining the subject at hand.
* Likewise, you'll probably get this reaction when trying to translate directly into a foreign language an expression or idiomatic with no equivalent in said language, and thus that can only be interpreted literally.
** For example, a Canadian paper about bilingual traps in business mentions you shouldn't translate the expression "at the end of the day" to francophones, as they are likely to understand the task at hand is to be finished before nightfall.
** Similarly, when in a French TV series a character tells another "you missed an episode," they're not breaking the fourth wall. It's just a common French expression to say someone is out of the loop.
*** Though the double meaning of the literal meaning ''and'' the expression can be used deliberately as a {{Pun}}.
* Also still on the Foreign Language track, even when people perfectly understand what was said, the sentence can be a idiom in one language but not in another. As example, "How are you?" does exist in a wide range of languages. But while the British recognize it as a polite idiom and will reply with "Fine, thank you", a German doesn't and will think you're actually interested in their current situation and mood, thus telling you in ''every detail'' about how things are currently going. Equally, a lot of empty phrases that Japanese use are often misinterpreted because of this by foreigners (such as the infamous cases of Japanese using "Yes" when being asked a question).
* For fun, go ask Creator/TroyBaker for a ShoutOut next time you see him at a convention.
* Text in its purest form can easily fool people when taken at face value. Sarcasm or other types of figurative speech can easily be lost when there's no voice behind it or any punctuation that indicates that the phrase is not literal. Many people within online forums tend to end their posts with a "/s" to indicate they were being sarcastic, though most do it just out of jest rather than being CaptainObvious about it.
** This was incidentally the source of the original version of PoesLaw; if you don't make it clear there's no way to tell if you're parodying a position with a more extreme version or just actually more extreme. That being said, many trolls will respond with literal minded replies just to rile people up.