Sometimes, be it in a realistic universe or in a World of Badass
, there are actions that are deemed ridiculously dangerous, totally stupid or downright impossible
to pull off. Nothing to be really proud of in any case. The characters talk about such actions and, soon enough, Alice will wonder out loud (probably sniggering) − "Who Would Be Stupid Enough
to do that?"
What she doesn't know is that Bob, to or in presence of whom she said it, actually did
the stupid thing in question. Whether he succeeded or failed miserably, he will either not answer anything or pretend to agree with Alice with an embarrassed expression; he may even be personally proud of it. If the viewer
knows it, A Smile Ensues
: it's a form of Continuity Nod
. What makes this trope funny is the fact that Alice says it totally innocently, without any clue she is mocking someone within hearing range. Hence the Oblivious Mockery. In some cases, Bob may reveal out-loud that he did said action, and may or may not try to justify himself. Basically, this follows this kind of pattern:
Alice: Did you know some people actually try to cook the rice without adding water first?
Bob: Oh come on, that's a urban legend, nobody can be that clueless and incompetent! Right, Carol?
Er… yeah, totally, I can't imagine anyone doing that… ahahaha… hem…
Can overlap with an in-universe Old Shame
Compare Oblivious Guilt Slinging
, Insult Friendly Fire
and I Resemble That Remark
. Contrast Noodle Incident
, where the characters vaguely talk about an event they know but the viewer doesn't. Contrast and compare Who Would Be Stupid Enough
, when Alice tempts fate
and is proven right away that someone is
stupid enough, and Schmuck Bait
The inverse trope is Right Behind Me
, when Alice talks dirty about Bob without knowing he's, well, right behind her. Compare I'm Standing Right Here
, where the person is still right there, but the mockery is less oblivious.
Anime and Manga
- There's a Blue Beetle comic where Batman shows Jaime the Brother Eye satellite which went berserk and created an OMAC army in Infinite Crisis. Jaime asks what kind of person would build a machine like that, and Batman asks him not to let Green Arrow hear him say that (Batman was the one who built it).
- In chapter 23 of Recnac Transfaerso (Link here) Ron, who doesn't know what Harry did with his Triwizard Tournament winnings yet, has this dialogue with him:
Did I tell you about their private investor in their joke shop? Some bloke gave them a bunch of money. They won't tell us who though, said he wants to remain anonymous. What moron would give those two money? Harry:
Hmm, sounds like a good investment to me.
- In Sunset Boulevard, writer Joe Gillis complains to the producer Sheldrake that Betty Shaefer, a script reader, would have turned down Gone with the Wind; only for Sheldrake to reply "No. That was me".
- In David Weber's The War Gods series, Baroness Hanatha Bowmaster asks her daughter Leeana if she tried to ford the river, and Leeana says that no one would be stupid enough to try that with the river 20 yards out of its banks. Hanatha admits that she did, though tries to defend herself by saying the river was only 15 yards out of its banks at the time.
- Several gags in Curb Your Enthusiasm rely on this. Typically, someone tells Larry David how rotten they think George Costanza is or how a plot of Seinfeld was unbelievable because nobody would act that stupidly. They don't realize that George was based on Larry and that many "unbelievable" Seinfeld plots were based on things Larry actually did.
- Played with in Friends: Rachel & Monica discover a message on Ross's answering machine from Emily, Ross's ex-wife. Emily is having second thoughts about her upcoming marriage to someone else. They debate whether or not to erase the message - Monica wants to, Rachel doesn't.
Monica: All right, look. She's obviously unstable, okay? I mean, she's thinking about running out on her wedding day.... (In the first episode, Rachel ran out on her wedding) Okay, fine, but... I mean, look at the position she's putting him in. I mean, what's he going to do? He's like... Ross is going to run over there on the wedding day and break up the marriage? Who would do that? (Rachel did this when Ross & Emily were getting married).... Okay, fine. All right? But that's... you know, that was different. Although it did involve a lot of the same people.
- From Get Smart:
Max: But even if they do get a man into the Pentagon, that's not saying he'll be able to get out. I remember one of our own agents was lost in there for three days.
Chief: Three days? Max, no agent could be that confused.
Max: Well, let me see now. I went in on a Friday...
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Xander mocks Spike by saying that only a nutcase or a complete loser would sleep with him...in the presence of Buffy who's done just that the night before. The comment gives her an added incentive not to confess what's happened to her friends and forestall her Destructive Romance.
- Also in ep. 519, where Ben is being fired for not turning up for work for two weeks, this dialogue happens with a supervising doctor.
Ben: There's an explanation for this. Which I can't exactly give you. I... Can I just tell you it's not my fault?
Doctor: Sure. You can also tell me that the dog ate your homework, or maybe eating Twinkies made you do it, or ... maybe yeah, that there's really a wicked demonic creature living inside you that takes control of your body and forces you to do its bidding. Take responsibility for your actions, Ben!
- In Doctor Who, when the Doctor and Donna try to solve a murder mystery with Agatha Christie, Donna states how unlikely this scenario is by comparing it with: "meeting Charles Dickens, on Christmas, while surrounded by ghosts." Which is something that happened to the Doctor, before he and Donna met.
- In one episode of QI Alan is talking about how grated cheese tastes better than un-grated but if somebody where to, hypothetically speaking, work for a catering firm and steal a massive bag of grated cheese it tastes awful.
- In the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney games, a museum worker says that any intelligent person would think that the writing on an urn belonging to a clan whose founder was Ami Fey would say "Ami," and would reassamble the urn to say that if they broke it. Unknown to her, a little girl who broke the urn and is standing with her reassembled it incorrectly such that the name was spelled wrong.
- In Jay's Journey, Omelio wonders aloud what sort of pirate would be dumb enough to deliberately blow up his own ship... in the presence of the pirate who did exactly that.
- In Super Effective:
Brock: You know, some people actually come here choosing fire as their starter Pokemon. Crazy, huh?
- He says this while standing next to Red, who just happens to have chosen fire.
- Schlock Mercenary has a few, such as this:
Mob soldier: I think some idiot decided to store a stack of hull-plates in that chamber.
Ms. Damicco: Oh, that was me. Those are leftovers from another project.
Mob soldier: Correction: that room is a great place for hullmetal barricades. Lull the enemy into a false sense of security!
- Early in the Ben 10 What If? episode "Gwen 10", Gwen gets the Omnitrix stuck on her wrist and turns into Heatblast. Ben, who remembers going through this before, warns her about the danger of using fiery powers in the middle of a forest. She immediately responds that only an idiot would set the forest on fire. Naturally, that's exactly what Ben did in the first episode.
- In one episode of Daria, Daria lets Trent talk her into getting her navel pierced. When Jodi finds out, she thinks it's pretty cool "As long as you didn't do it for some guy." causing Daria to say "Uh, no, that would be wrong."