troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Not in My Contract
Short for "That's not in my contract."

This Stock Phrase is something you'll hear said by a character who is Only in It for the Money. He isn't doing it for the evil thrills or to find a Worthy Opponent, he just wants a paycheck and doesn't really care if it's the good guys or the villains who pay. The character usually says this Stock Phrase when his boss asks him to do something that is not in his contract, such as a fight during off hours, chasing The President's Daughter, or if he's moral enough, killing someone.

On other occasions it may be phrased differently, such as a question about just where in the contract does it say that the character has to do something, or a clause that states the character can refuse to do something. Particularly amoral examples may rely on an Exact Words interpretation of their contract ( la "You said I had to deliver the MacGuffin. You never said it had to be in one piece.")

As such, this can be a form of Zeroth Law Rebellion for an evil minion who has standards he won't violate. Or who is just too darn lazy to take initiative on things that, though not explicitly in his job description, would make his master's life much easier.

Of course, all the feigned apathy tends to go out the window once he extorts a juicy pay raise or concession by haggling with his boss over a price for his new job duty.

Compare Against My Religion, Bothering by the Book, Jerkass Genie, and Rules Lawyer. If the dispute is a serious conflict over goals and methods rather than a petty squabble over duties and compensation, it's Not What I Signed On For.


Examples:

Comic Books
  • In one of Scrooge's treasure hunts, Huey, Dewey and Louie scared away Rockerduck's guards by dressing as ghosts. Their excuse for abandoning their boss was that fighting ghosts wasn't in the contract.

Film
  • Alien. The crew is woken up and told to check out a distress signal.
    Parker: "I hate to bring this up but, uh, this is a commercial ship, not a rescue ship... and it's not in my contract to do this kind of duty. Now what about the money? If you wanna give me some money to do it, I'll be happy to, uh, t-to, you know, oblige."
    • He is promptly reminded that ignoring a distress call voids the contract. No money.
  • Backdraft: The scene takes place in a morgue.
    Rimgale: (waves McCaffrey over toward a corpse) "McCaffrey, come on over and give us a hand."
    McCaffrey: "No, I don't think so. Not in my contract."
    Rimgale: (throws medical gloves at him) "I just rewrote your contract. Come give us a hand."
  • In Major League, prissy third baseman Roger Dorn points out to Coach Lou Brown that his contract specifically says that he [Dorn] doesn't have to do calisthenics. In response, Brown literally pisses on Dorn's contract, then orders Dorn to do the calisthenics.

Tabletop Games
  • In the First Edition Dungeon Master's Guide, it is stated that expert hirelings (like carpenters, miners, engineers, alchemists and so on) will recognize when they're assigned to hazardous duty and demand up to 30 times their normal pay before they'll perform it.

Literature
  • During Galaxy of Fear, an Anzati is once hired to take out an assassin before she can kill the protagonists, who are in a very dangerous place. He does so, and since they run when they see him feeding on her he takes the trouble to catch up to them and explain, but then refuses to help further and departs, saying he was hired to take out the assassin and that is all.

Live-Action TV
  • In one episode of WKRP in Cincinnati, Johnny Fever is asked to assist with a Public Service interview program. He loudly retorts, "I don't do Public Service... it's in my contract." When he's reminded that he doesn't have a contract, Johnny responds, "Well, if I did have a contract, I'm sure that would be in there somewhere."
  • In Babylon 5, Michael Garibaldi invokes this trope while complaining about the restricted nature of the food available on the station, and why he spends a lot of his own money importing his own cuisine:
    Garibaldi: "You know, I've been stuck in this tin can for three years. I haven't taken a vacation. Okay, okay, it's my fault, I had the leave coming, I just didn't take it. And the pay sucks, I knew that when I signed on! And nobody said I'd survive the job! Now, I give you all that. But where in my contract does it say I have to eat the same food... every day... for three years."
    Sheridan: Paragraph 47, subsection 19, clause 9A, you can find it in the index under S.U.A.E.I.
    Garibaldi: S.U.A.E.I?
    Sheridan & Ivanova: (in perfect unison) Shut Up And Eat It.
  • Used in the TV version of Stephen King's The Stand, when Dr. Dietz is explaining to Stu Redman that he doesn't have the superflu:
    Dr. Dietz: (enters Stu's room in a full isolation suit, carrying a guinea pig in a cage) "I'd like you to meet a friend of mine. Meet Geraldo."
    Stu Redman: "Geraldo, huh?"
    Dietz: "Um-hmm. Now, the virus your fellow townspeople contracted passes easily from human to guinea pig, and vice versa, presumably. But Geraldo has been breathing your air, via convector, for the last three days. And Geraldo is fine and frisky, as you see. I'd call that rather comforting, wouldn't you?"
    Redman: (looks the doctor up and down, obviously taking in the isolation suit) "I see you're not taking any chances."
    Dietz: "That's not in my contract."

Video Games
  • In World of Warcraft, one of the vocal emotes a Warlock's imp will say when you order it to attack is "This was NOT IN MY CONTRACT!"
  • The Omnicrone you face in Guardia's dungeon in Chrono Trigger remarks "they don't pay me enough for this" and retreats after you land a few hits. If you have the SightScope equipped, you'll see he takes off before his health even reaches the halfway point.

Web Comics
  • Schlock Mercenary had fun with this (what would you expect from mercenaries?):
    Captain Tagon: Commodore, if you wanted us to prop up the faction of your choice you should have put that in the contract.
    UNS Commodore: You might have found our choice... objectionable.
    Captain Tagon: Then we would have asked for more money.
    UNS Commodore: Mercenaries...
    Captain Tagon: You get what you pay for.

Western Animation
  • One of Dr. Drakken's plans to defeat Kim Possible is to create an army of clones. He initially wants to clone Shego, but she emphatically reminds him about the "no-cloning" clause in her contract. He tries to do it anyway, causing her to leave for the rest of the episode.
  • The Simpsons: In "Sweets and Sour Marge", sugar was banned from Springfield and Homer went to an island. to get some from pirates. When the Captain tried to collect money for that, Homer fled while shouting it wasn't in the contract. The Captain then reread the contract and found out Homer was right. He then wondered who wrote that.
  • In an episode of Garfieldand Friends, Jon is trying to get Garfield to chase mice but he refuses as usual. Done in song:
    Jon: You work for me and you've got a job to do!
    Garfield: It's Notin My Contract(hands it to Jon), see Paragraph 2.

Real Life
  • Truth in Television, but the only people who think it makes you a bastard are those who've never worked on contract — it's hard to say just why giving a client an hour's work for free is guaranteed to make them want ten more hours for free, and just as certainly get pissed off when that free work doesn't materialize, but it is far, far more the rule than the exception.
  • During an interview just after the release of the Goblet of Fire film, Emma Watson was asked about the future possibility of making out with either Daniel Radcliffe or Rupert Grint onscreen. Her response: "Oh my God, no, no chance, no chance. That's not in my contract!"
    • Considering she then had to do both (Radcliffe in DH Part 1, Grint in Part 2), this statement is Hilarious in Hindsight.
  • Unionized employees occasionally pull this. As do non-unionized contractors.

Not in My Backyard!Stock PhrasesNot in the Face!
Not in Front of the ParrotNarrative DevicesNot My Driver

random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
18623
30