Not That There's Anything Wrong with That
"All right, Vegeta, I'm going to be totally honest with you. This is sounding really gay! ...Not that there's anything wrong with that."
There are some shows that make it apparent that "queers ain't welcome around these parts", while other shows that scream "Gay is O.K.
". And then there are shows with this trope.
One is hard-pressed to find a show without at least some example of this trope, especially in comedy, because, after all, gay jokes are funny
Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That is what happens when homosexuality is painted in a negative light by words or actions from characters just to be portrayed as completely normal. Usually invoked as a weak saving throw
and an attempt to prevent losing fans and coming across as a bigot. The subtext tends to be ‘I’m a homophobe, but I don’t want to be one.’
Alternatively, ‘I don’t want to deal with the stigma of homosexuality,’ or simply, ‘I want women to hit on me, not men.’
This can be played straight
as in: "Dude, I always thought you were gay... Not that there's anything wrong with that" or played for laughs when a rather effeminate
character proclaims to an obviously straight character "That's kind of gay... Not that there's anything wrong with that."
This trope is used often for laughs by having a male character defend his sexuality while not coming off as homophobic. I.e. "I'm not gay!...Not that there's anything wrong with that". Alternatively, it can result from someone making a careless remark
and clumsily trying to apologize
. Often a way of asking Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?
This trope may not apply exclusively to homosexuality. It can be applied to any instance where People Group X are degraded only to have the writer or character make up for their intolerance with a weak defense, often immediately after the remark. Bonus points for also invoking Some of My Best Friends Are X
It is a frequent joke type found in Cringe Comedies
, where a character digs himself into this situation over the course of a short conversation, usually very efficiently.
Note: For this trope to be in effect the phrase "Not that there's anything wrong with that" doesn't necessarily have to be said.
The opposite of this trope is And That Would Be Wrong
, where a character proposes something bad as if it were good, leading to a hasty retraction.
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Anime And Manga
- One of the short stories in Aoi Hana revolves around two girls named Maeda and Nakajima. At the start of the tale, Maeda receives homophobic letters from several of her classmates, which causes Nakajima to get offended on her behalf and claim that she shouldn't put up with such "slander". After Maeda reveals that she is in fact gay, she asks Nakajima why she thinks that being called gay would be such an insult. Nakajima becomes flustered and tries to clarify that she didn't mean there's anything wrong with liking other girls, at which point the narration reveals that Maeda only put her on the spot because she loves her.
- The comic Cable & Deadpool has used this phrase in refrence to Nate and Wade merging their DNA — a completely non-sexual situation, but considering the relationship between the characters....
- Lampshaded in Ex Machina, where Journal quotes the line after suggesting the public will suspect Mayor Hundred of being gay.
- In the Ultimate Spider-Man series, Spider-Man is occasionally accused of being a mutant, to which he always responds, "I'm not a mutant!... Not that there's anything wrong with that."
- Yorick from Y: The Last Man remembers to say this even when he's pretty much being tortured. And, you know, the last man on Earth....
- Parodied in this I'm a Marvel... and I'm a DC episode.
- Dragon Ball Abridged
- Zarbon, after being Mistaken for Gay by Vegeta, mistakes Vegeta for gay and says this word-for-word.
- Subverted in the same series
These aliens are scary. Especially that one in the front. Looks like a total FAG
What? A F
enotype. What did you think I meant? Gohan:
Oh, I thought you were calling him a derogatory term for a homosexual. Krillin:
That thing's a guy?!
- Inverted in an episode of Gantz Abridged which involves a gay bully planning to rape a main character, leading to this exchange:
Side character: (paraphrased) You know that guy, Donovan?
Kato: The gay guy? Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Side character: Yeah, that's the one. And I hear he's not just planning to beat your ass, if you get my drift. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Kato: Um, I think there is.
Side character: Hey, what are you, a homophobe?
Kato: No, I just don't want to get raped.
Side character: You know, you and I ain't always gotten along, but I never had you pegged for a bigot.
Kato: There's nothing homophobic about not wanting to get raped!
Side character: Yeah, whatever. Hatemonger.
- In The Second Try Toji -very awkwardly- tries to ask Kaworu if he is gay:
Toji: "Hey, you know... the way you're moving and talking... and that smiling... you're not... I mean not that I'd have anything against it... but still..."
Kaworu: "I am afraid I do not know what you are referring to."
Toji: "Yeah, sure, never mind."
- Parodied in an episode of The Randomverse series After Hours, when Wolverine accuses Superman of being an "anti-mutite" because Superman Returns stole the director of the X-Men movies. Superman insists he has mutant friends, but when pressed can only name Spider-Man:
Spider-Man: (indignantly) Hey, I'm not a mutant! (everyone stares at him, Wolverine with special hostility) ... Not that there's, you know, anything wrong with that...
- Note also that, among other uses, mutants in the Marvel Universe have been frequently used as a metaphor for homosexuality.
- Used in Sonic For Hire, which also includes a reference to the Seinfeld example later on this page:
Tails: I'm not gay!
Sonic: Not that there's anything wrong with that... (lower tone of voice) That's from Seinfeld...
- Played straight in "Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality".
Harry: "Snape and Dumbledore?" Then Harry heard the words that had just come out of his mouth, and hastily added, "Not that there's anything wrong with that -"
Films — Live-Action
- This is subverted in the movie In & Out, where the protagonist making these protestations discovers he is indeed homosexual.
- Kirk, in the novelization of Star Trek The Motion Picture, says something like this about himself and Spock. Except he is so ambiguous in what he says that it can actually be interpreted as him confirming his gay/bi-ness just as easily. The relevant line is: "As for myself, though I have no moral or other objections to physical love in any of its many earthly, alien and mixed forms, I have always found my best gratification in that creature woman." As many people have pointed out, "best" is a relative term, which would indicate that Kirk has, at some point, had sex with someone who isn't a woman. (See here for a breakdown of the whole quote.)
- In Bend It Like Beckham, when Jules is explaining to her mother that she's not a lesbian, she ends it by saying there's nothing wrong with being a lesbian anyways. Her mother, who is in tears and had just thrown a fit over her "discovery", quickly composes herself and adamantly agrees.
- In the commentary for The Seventh Victim, film historian Steve Haberman discusses the lesbian undertones present in much of the movie, and ends with this trope.
- Minor example from Imagine Me And You:
Heck: (Trying to set her up with his best friend) Anyway, are you married? Been married? Ever going to be married...
Luce: Umm... no, no, and maybe now when the law has changed.
Heck: How do you mean?
Luce: I'm gay.
Heck: (laughs at her joke; realizes she is not joking)...hmm...lovely. Well done!
(Cue Luce's confused WTF-face, and Heck quickly excusing himself)
- In The Negotiator, the best negotiator the Chicago Police have, Danny Roman, takes some hostages after being framed for corruption. A rookie negotiator named Farley tries to talk to him, and Roman starts giving the rookie lessons on why you should never say no to a hostage taker, then begins asking Farley awkward questions, culminating with whether Farley ever dresses up like a naughty schoolgirl and gets spanked. (More on the quotes page)
Danny: You ever... dress up like a schoolgirl and get your ass spanked? [Farley tries and fails to come up with a way to say no without using the word] Jesus... I got nothing against you dressing up like a little girl, but I did not know that about you, Farley.
- In Speed Zone, one of the Van Sloan brothers has a conversation with a French passenger on a plane. The Frenchman then starts making what appears to be a gay sex proposition. After dodging the request a few times, Mr. Van Sloan finally says "Look, I don't have a problem with it. It's just not my thing, okay?" It turns out the poor Frenchman was simply offering him food. note
- The quote in question comes from the Seinfeld episode "The Outing", where Jerry and George are mistaken for gay lovers. The origin of the quote came about because during the writing of the episode, the writers were afraid the script was coming across as homophobic, which was entirely the wrong impression that they wanted to give. Then in a completely unrelated conversation, somebody used the phrase "Not that there's anything wrong with that," and Larry David realized that was what the episode needed to work.
- In Smallville, Chloe sometimes backtrack like this regarding Clark's alien heritage.
- The Office (US):
- Michael Scott inadvertently outed Oscar, and later fell directly into the second form of the trope, culminating with him kissing Oscar in front of the entire staff. One of his lines in this episode, said about gay porn, sums this trope up beautifully: "There is nothing wrong with this. I'm not into it myself, but I can definitely see the merit." (An interesting fact about that scene was that Carell actually improvised it- kissing Oscar was not in the script, which made Oscar's incredibly uncomfortable expression even funnier.)
- Roy also has his own one of these moments when he's talking to Pam after his outburst towards Jim. "I just thought you guys were really good friends, or...maybe he was gay or something. [remembers that he is on camera] Not that that's wrong."
- Scott's inspiration, David Brent in the UK version of The Office, also dealt in this trope a great deal. One notable example had him make a mildly homophobic joke to a colleague, trip over himself after suddenly realizing that the colleague might be gay, and end up counseling him with advice on safe gay sex. The colleague wasn't gay, incidentally.
- The phone call between Cordelia and Willow regarding Harmony's odd behaviour in Angel probably counts:
Ohhh! Harmony is a vampire? That's why she— (beat) Cordelia:
Oh, my God, I'm so embarrassed. All this time, I thought she was a great big lesbo...! (beat) Cordelia:
Oh, yeah? Really? Well that's great. Good for you! (Willow then sarcastically thanks Cordelia for the affirmation.)
- A demon misunderstands and thinks the "Fred" Gunn loves is a guy. He doesn't judge, though.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer has another Mistaken for Gay scene involving Willow.
Ms. Kroger: Oh, so you live with another woman.
: Oh! Oh, it's not a, a gay thing, you know, I mean, well... she's gay, but, but we don't ... gay.
Not that there's anything wrong with that...
- The IT Crowd: Roy doesn't think there's anything wrong with homoerotic sexuality, he just personally doesn't want to be slapped in the face with it. This is said while watching a homerotic production of Gay!: A Gay Musical.
- Scrubs: Dr. Cox doesn't hate the gays, really.
Dr. Cox: I like their music, I like their sense of style, I especially like what they've done with Halloween.
- Malcolm in the Middle has an episode in which Jessica convinces each of Malcolm and Reese that the other is gay. They have a long conversation, using sandwich fillings as a metaphor, in which each attempts to explain that he supports the other one but is not gay himself.
- There's also an episode in which feuding classmates photoshop Reese, Malcolm and Dewie's heads onto men in a gay porn movie. In the process of freaking out, Malcolm mentions that it wouldn't be offensive if they were gay lovers, but the problem is they are not.
- The title (priest) character in Father Ted is flustered to realise the man he's talking to has a gay partner but then adds "not that there's anything wrong with that sort of thing" (the writers have confirmed the deliberate Seinfeld homage). The other character responds that he thought the Catholic church thought it was inherently wrong, leading Ted into an embarrassed ramble where he suggests it must be fun to have boyfriends if you're a man ("not the... you know... but the nightclubs and the general rough and tumble of homosexual activity") and that the Pope "says things he doesn't really mean — sure we all get things wrong. Even the Pope."
- Saturday Night Live had a "Weekend Update" segment where Chris Parnell began a rap song about having a crush on Demi Moore, which quickly morphed into a song about how, if he were bisexual, he'd have sex with Ashton Kutcher. Near the end he interrupted the song to say, "Let me reiterate, I am a heterosexual man, and I'm extremely attracted to Demi Moore, as I have been for 20 years. I am in no way sexually attracted to Ashton Kutcher... BUT IF I WAS..."
"Ashton, I don't roll that way / But if I did, I'd surely eat at your buffet."
- Flight of the Conchords
- An early episode of Friends has Chandler nearly hooking up with another guy via coworker. This was slightly shocking to him, when he learned that most of his friends assumed he was gay.
- A Sex and the City episode also involved Miranda getting set up on a blind date with an actual lesbian woman named Sydney. Although she naturally had to turn her down and explain the situation, they ended up friends. Later in the episode Miranda pretended they were together to get her boss's notice. And ends up kissing the blind date in the elevator to check if she herself might be gay without knowing. Interestingly enough, the actress who plays Miranda is now, after being with men all her life and having two children, engaged to a woman.
- On 30 Rock, Jack set Liz up with "Thomas", a friend of his. Turned out to be a lesbian named Gretchen Thomas. Liz was upset with Jack for assuming she was gay, but hit it off with Gretchen; Liz proposed that if they were both still single in 25 years they could get together, insisting that she's still not gay but "you could do stuff to me."
- Given that just about every lesbian alive has had a massive crush on Stephanie March, who played Thomas, since she swaggered onto the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit set, it was the greatest moment in American television history. For lesbians.
- Sugar from Sugar Rush says these exact words to some customers when she's explaining that she's not gay... whilst manning the till in a lesbian sex shop...
- The real estate agent in Being Human mistakenly thinks the two men she's selling the house to are gay. After mistakenly making a homophobic insult, she tries to furiously backpedal, culminating in her saying that she sees no problem with it, but would be unable to do it herself because "like [the two men], I just like dick too much".
- An episode shows McGee doing something stereotypically feminine (a running gag), and Ducky assuring him that "there is nothing homosexual about doing that. Er... not that there would be anything wrong with that, either."
- This phrase is used more often when Tony is talking about Gibbs working on his boat while getting drunk. Frequently said when Gibbs appears out of thin air after the initial comment.
- A running gag has the two main characters (who are brothers) being Mistaken for Gay. At least once, such as when they were pretending to buy a house together, the person making the mistake accidentally said something they thought could be misconstrued and backpedaled furiously. Worth noting, that during the house-buying incident, the boys eventually just gave up and went along with it.
- The show itself, which has faced accusations of homophobia due to this running gag has had a few of these moments, such as "outing" a pair of cosplayers going as Sam and Dean. That doubled as a nod to the fandom, where the Sam×Dean pairing is immensely popular.
"They know we're brothers, right?"
"It doesn't seem to matter..."
- In the BBC series Sherlock, first episode, after Holmes declines having a girlfriend (which are "not really his area"), Watson asks him "Do you have a boyfriend? Which is fine by the way." Holmes answers simply, "I know it's fine." and keeps staring unmovingly at him, needing another repeated prompt to actually answer "No." to the question. John's next comment (that they're both single) is misconstrued by Sherlock as him hitting on his new flatmate, prompting Sherlock to inform him that he's flattered, but married to his work. John reassures him that "I'm just saying... that it's fine. It's all fine." And a ship set sail.
- The trope is namedropped and eventually averted in an episode of The West Wing where a right-wing blogger decides to "out" the decidedly straight CJ after discovering that she played high school basketball.
Reporter: Are you a homosexual?
CJ: You know what? I spent the last 14 hours being snickered at by United States senators, being ostracized on the World Wide Web, having my own colleagues question my ability to do my job. And I let it get to me. So I don't think it really matters whether I'm gay or straight or just the best damn women's basketball player in Ohio Valley history. No one should be treated this way.
Reporter: You didn't answer the question.
CJ: That's right, because it's none of your business.
- In The Nanny episode "Oy Vey, You're Gay!", Fran is led to think that Sydney Mercer, Maxwell's new publicist, in love with him, so she decides to wish them well as a couple, until Sydney mentions that she's gay, and therefore not a threat. Fran's reaction is absolutely priceless:
Fran: You're gay? Oh, thank God!
(Fran hugs Sydney and then stops when she thinks about how that sounds)
Fran: Um, I'm letting go and you're not?
Sydney: Aren't you gay too?
Fran: Me? No!
Sydney: I just assumed. You're over 30, never been married, there's no man in your life...
Fran: Oh, honey, I'm not gay. I'm just pathetic!
- The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. When Will's aunt comes to visit and brings her unexpectedly white fiancee, the adults in the family seize on the fact that he is "tall" to avoid sounding prejudiced in front of the children. They are quick to point out that they have no problem with tall people, though.
- On All My Children, a frustrated Erica Kane declares that she's done with men. The reporter interviewing her assumes that Erica is coming out of the closet. Erica laughingly dismisses this possibility, while being quick to quote this trope word for word, clarifying that she's just taking time off from relationships in order to get her life together. (The "Funny Aneurysm" Moment is that a few years later, Erica's daughter Bianca revealed herself to be a lesbian. Erica's reaction, while not homophobic, was most certainly NOT to quote this trope)
- The Bowling for Soup song BFFF:
"You'll tell the world I'm gay when you hear me say that I really and truly feel this way... not that there's anything wrong with being gay."
- The chorus of the Nigahiga song Bromance
Bromance. Nothing really gay about it. Not that there's anything wrong with being gay.
- Stephen Lynch humorously inverts it and plays it straight with "If I Were Gay", the premise of which is "If I were gay, I'd happily date you, but I'm not, so for the love of God, stop flirting with (and molesting) me."
- Dusty Rhodes suspected The Midnight Express and Jim Cornette to have more than just a professional relationship but said his mindset was "To each his own." until he believed they were getting in his business.
- HHH was doing a lot of this while calling Kurt Angle gay for crying on the podium at The Olympics in 1996.
- Tyler Black got chants of "You Are Gay!" from the AIW fans, which were first ignored until Johnny Gargano answered "He is pretty gay, isn't he?" but changed the subject, as his problems with Black had nothing to do with his supposed sexual orientation.
- During a mixed tag team match on Raw involving Carlito, Trish Stratus, Lita and Edge, who were still very sore on the latter two for some off set hijinks, broke into a chant of "Edge Is Gay!". Jim Ross commented "I think Lita would disagree with that."
- Before Carlito wrestled Eddie Kingston, he accused Kingston's tag team partner Black Jack Marciano of being gay but said he was only bringing it up to inform him of a new law in New York that would allow him to settled down with Eddie if he reciprocated.
- CM Punk said this verbatim while mocking The Miz for being a "hollywood pretty boy". After Miz bragged about how he took out John Morrison and R-Truth, Punk asked, "Took them out? What, on a date? Not that there's anything wrong with that..." In real life, Punk is a gay rights supporter and the line was Played for Laughs.
- The comedy musical Avenue Q. The song "If You Were Gay" is sung by a character trying to convince his flatmate that there's nothing wrong with being gay, but is careful to repeatedly mention that he, himself, isn't gay.
- The online game Forum Warz has a random E-Peen™ (a type of achievement) called "I'm Gay!" The description: Not That There's Anything Right With That!
- Monster Hunter Tri has a slightly odd version: one of the villagers will tell you that they've learned a "terrible secret"... they heard strange noises coming from your house one night, so they peeked through the door... and saw your Felyne servant dressed as a dog, looking in the mirror and barking! Not that there's anything wrong with that.
- Word of God is that Benimaru from The King of Fighters is Camp Straight. Instead of a direct translation, the English version dances around the subject and adds in this statement just in case you didn't get it.
- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials And Tribulations game has a rather sneaky variant.
This place is so fruity
That's not a bad thing.
- In Spore's Galactic Age, there's a greeting from another empire that goes something along the lines of "We were wondering where that handsome galactic explorer had gone to! Wait, I didn't mean it like that. Not that there's anything wrong with that."
- In Dragon Age: Origins, if a male Warden is romancing Leliana and Zevran at the same time, Leliana will say this word-for-word when clarifying that she's upset that the Warden is cheating on her, not that he's cheating on her with another man.
- In Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, if you send Otacon pictures of the Marine Commandant, he'll say this almost word-for-word occasionally when the pictures of the Commandant come up during image review.
- Superdickery had this as part of their Seduction of the Innocent gallery.
- This quote from the short film The Flying Car (starring Dante and Randal of Clerks):
"What are you, some kind of homophobe?"
"No... I just don't want to be diddled by some insane German scientist and his friends after they've hacked my foot off!!"
- From The Church Of Blow's viral hit Youtube is my life:
"Your video is gay. Therefore, you must also be gay because you made a gay video, and only a gay person would make a gay video. Not that there's anything wrong with being gay that's all right with me — no! I just don't have the bigot mindset..."
- That Guy with the Glasses does this in his Joker sketch for humour, as the Joker feels the need to specify that his "high school sweetheart Jamie" is a girl. As The Nostalgia Critic, he gave a serious note of it when reviewing Masters of the Universe.
- The Nostalgia Chick did it in her She-Ra: Princess of Power review, where she's trying so hard to be accepting and not act like the Critic did in his version.
- She says the trope word-for-word regarding furries, then a caption comes up immediately proclaiming, "Yes there is!" The Critic instead opted to admit that furry fetishism is an over-generalization, rather than going for this trope.
- In his autobiography Things Can Only Get Better, comedy writer John O'Farrell recalls how, when he went on a door-to-door canvas for Labour, he was met with a old woman who demanded Labour do something about "the gays". O'Farrell responded with a spirited defence of homosexual rights, but was careful to finish with "And my girlfriend agrees with me."
- According to Producer Garry Marshall, The Odd Couple's opening sequence was written and produced that way to make sure everyone knew the roommates were not gay (per a request by the network). Jack Klugman once referred to it as "that cockamamie [silly, ridiculous] opening".
- Jeff Nimoy and Quinton Flynn were Mistaken for Gay due to walking into a yaoi film, not knowing that it was one at the time, so they decided to set the record straight. "No we're not saying there's anything wrong with that; just for this other team, we simply do not bat..."
- "Not Gay (but supportive!)" is sometimes expressed in Real Life as "Straight but Not Narrow" — one symbol used is a greyscale rainbow.
- "I love Skittles, but I don't taste the rainbow" also works.
- The first time a politician at state or national level came out as homosexual in Germany was when there were rumors that a newspaper would report that one of the contestants for the office of Governor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, was gay. Instead he called a press conference and made the announcement himself, famously saying "I am gay, and that's perfectly fine". Nobody really cared and he ended up winning the election and was reelected for a second term. Since then, many public figures outside of the show business have come out with rarely causing any controversy.
- Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King, who made an announcement that they weren't gay, but could understand why people would think they were, as the English language didn't have a word for that kind of bond between women. Mercilessly mocked by Stephen Colbert, who hoped that it would inspire more not-gay people to make announcements like this. Hannity and Colmes still haven't.
- Averted with Johnny Galecki. He had a lot of gay accusations and, although he was straight and had a girlfriend, never answered or denied them. When an interviewer asked why, he responded, "I didn't feel a need to defend myself about something that's not offensive".