Not Even Bothering with an Excuse

Someone in the show has a problem or asks a group of his friends for a favor. However, helping him out would result in something awkward or uncomfortable, so everyone makes an excuse to get out of it. This trope is not about the excuses made by the friends; we have other tropes for that. This trope is about the one person who says, "I just don't want to help." There are many reasons for them to do this, maybe their friends took all the good excuses. Most of the time, however, it's because they want to be brutally honest, or they're a jerk; more likely the latter.


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     Live Action TV 
  • Lampshaded on Frasier when Niles realizes that he's no longer a Drop-In Character and has a legitimate reason to see Daphne now that he's involved with her.
    Martin: Hey Niles, it's 82 in Florida!
    Niles: Here to see Daphne, Dad.
  • On NCIS, Jimmy comes into the office with an allergic reaction to henna on his back and asks for help to apply ointment. Tony's and Ziva's responses?
    Tony: I have to go to lunch.
    Ziva: I need to get the hell out of here.
  • In the pilot episode of Friends, Joey asks Phoebe whether she wants to come help them put together Ross' new furniture. She replies
    "Oh, I wish I could, but I don't want to."
  • In Just Shoot Me!, Dennis excuses himself from listening to one of Nina's stories with:
    "Oh, I just remembered: You're boring, and my legs work."
  • On Scrubs, Dr. Kelso pulled this one in response to Carla trying to organize a group photo:
    "Blah, blah, blah, I'm not going."
  • Frequently happens in House, by the title character mostly, but also by others.
  • On Buffy the Vampire Slayer Spike didn't help fight the monster of the week once because he was "paralyzed with not caring very much".
  • Victorious:
    • On one occasion Beck starts to form an excuse, then gives up halfway and leaves.
    • More commonly Beck (and the rest of the cast) come up with some sad excuse for an excuse, and Jade just tells the person off or reveals that their excuses were lies.
    Andre: Oh hey, it's that... guy.
    Tori: Wait up... guy!
    Jade: There is no guy.
  • In the Press Gang episode "A Night In," Lynda is handing out "yellow slips" which mean that the recipient has to work on Saturday evening. Cue a round of excuses... and, when the round gets to Kenny, a wry look and the question, "Can you tell me which excuses haven't been used yet?"
  • Two and a Half Men has Charlie do this in the first season when he's really hungover at Jake's soccer game after coming home from Las Vegas and speaking to two mothers asking him questions about Alan and Judith's divorce. Once Alan arrives with coffee, Charlie just says "If you'll excuse me... screw it, I don't need a reason." and leaves.
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • One episode has Sheldon anxious at the prospect of giving a speech at an awards banquet. His friends offer to help him work through his anxiety in different ways. Leonard offers to do a therapy session with him, Raj says he will teach Sheldon some Indian meditation techniques, and Penny agrees to take him to buy a new suit for the occasion. Sheldon asks what contribution Howard will make, and Howard replies, "My contribution is to pretend I give a damn about your piddly-ass problems. And that's 24 hours a day, buddy." Sheldon appreciates his honesty.
    • Sheldon does this a lot to his friends, saying things like "I don't want to do that because it doesn't sound like fun." And when he walks away from a conversation, he freely admits that he's leaving because the topics of conversation don't interest him.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • Robin is into Barney because she thinks he and Ted were in a fight. She asks him out, but then when she finds out he wasn't, she tries to think of a reason she can't go out with him.
      Robin: (backing out of the room) Oh, I just remembered, I've got that uh... that uh... that... uh... (closes the door)
    • When Robin is wondering if her friends have watched her early morning news show, Barney repeatedly says that he hasn't seen it, while Lily, Marshall and Ted are trying to convince her that they watch it.
  • On Corner Gas, when asked to help out at a senior's home, Emma and Karen weasel for a few seconds, then grudgingly accept. Oscar just gives a flat, "No." Then he turns to the other two: "See how easy it is?"
  • Jerome does this once on House of Anubis, when everyone is leaving the sit-down strike, and Victor threatens to expel them. At least the other students had genuine reasons why they didn't want to stay.
    Mick: Thing's this sports scholarship. I need a good...reference from the school...
    Mara: And there's a class on Sea-cows I really want to take. Sorry, Patricia.
    Alfie: Yeah, my parental units would kill me if I got expelled from yet another school.
    Jerome: I'm out too. It was a dumb idea anyways.
  • On 30 Rock, Kenneth is preparing a party, something that only Liz has attended in the past. When he invites Jack, Jack tells him "I could make up some excuse, but I have too much respect for you. During your party, I'll be home listening to some Schubert, and uh, ironically viewing some Canadian pornography."

     Video Games 
  • One sidequest in Borderlands 2 involves inviting people to Claptrap's birthday party. Zed, Scooter and Moxxi at least try to make some sort of half-assed excuses. Marcus, however, just laughs and says, "No."

     Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • A Dragonball Z Abridged special video has Nappa and Krillin together performing a parody of "Born This Way" called "Bald This Way". When they expected Tien to join, he refuses.
    Nappa: Why—
    Tien: F*** you, that's why.

     Western Animation 
  • Combined with Rule of Three to make a minor Running Gag in one of the Nigel Planter-centric episodes of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy; whenever Nigel starts singing and playing with a puppet, two characters make up excuses to leave, while the third doesn't bother justifying themselves.
    Grim: I, uh... I have to meet somebody.
    Billy: I left the oven on.
    Mandy: You're weird.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic second season episode "Baby Cakes", four of the ponies asked to babysit have an excuse for not helping (promise to picnic, sorting out her friendship reports, harvesting race against caterpillars, Wonderbolts show). The fifth one, Rarity, just outright refuses.
  • In Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated as part of a plan to lure a monster out Scooby and Shaggy are dressed in drag. Shaggy wants to know why Velma and Daphne don't do it themselves. They insist they have a very good reason: They refused.
  • In Ugly Americans Callie clones an Evil Mark so they can win a bowling team. When Grimes finds Mark in the closet, Evil Mark tries to come up with an excuse, but simply gives up and shoots Grimes in the knees.
  • Family Guy:
    • An episode ends with people opening a door to find Peter embracing a bag of his wife's liposuctioned fat. After a second, Peter replies "This is exactly what it looks like."
    • One scene has Stewie running through a mall naked as part of a bet with Brian, then collecting the money while still naked.
    Brian: Cold?
    Stewie: Nope, just really, really small.
  • In one episode of Phineas and Ferb, Fletcher gets memory-wiped by accident. This causes Major Monogram to recall Perry the Platypus from his current assignment—with Dr. Doofenschmirtz visibly put off when Agent P won't tell him why he leaves even before foiling Dr. D's plan.