Alice confronts her husband Bob about an affair with Carol. Bob cannot refute her, so he says something that he knows will make her angry at someone else, then proceeds to watch while Alice rants or gets in a fight.
Bob has just played Rage Judo
on Alice. Basically, this trope is when two people are quarreling and one gets the other mad enough at a third party to escape any consequences. Manipulative Bastards
tend to be fond of this, and Bob may be pressing Alice's Berserk Button
—but carefully enough that she doesn't go off on him
. Compare Apple of Discord
, which can achieve this less immediately but in greater scale.
- Jack does this in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest:
Do excuse me while I kill the man who ruined my life. Will Turner:
Be my guest. Jack Sparrow:
Let us examine that claim for a moment, former Commodore, shall we? Who was it that, at the very moment you had a notorious pirate safely behind bars, saw fit to free said pirate and take your dearly beloved all to hisself, eh? So whose fault is it really
that you've ended up a rum-pot deckhand what takes orders from pirates? Norrington: Enough! [Jack somersaults off roof, Norrington turns to Will] Norrington:
Unfortunately, Mr. Turner... HE'S RIGHT!
- Standard operating procedure for Harry Dresden of The Dresden Files. He usually smarts off to things much more powerful than he, pissing them off so they'll act in anger and make a mistake or give him an opening to work with.
- In one of the side stories, Harry is facing off against a Grendelkin, and manages to win by pissing off a horde of Malks and aiming them at the monster by casting an illusion spell on Grendelkin to look like Harry.
- In one episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Warren pushes his sexbot's berserk button and aims her at Buffy by claiming to love Buffy.
- On Friends Ross & Monica start telling on each other to their parents, each one-upping the other on their outrageous behavior, in a back-and-forth, continually failing version of this trope.
Monica: And Dad, y'know that mailman that you got fired? He didn't steal your Playboys! Ross did!
Ross: Yeah, well, Hurricane Gloria didn't break the porch swing, Monica did!
Monica: Ross hasn't worked at the museum for a year!
Ross: Monica and Chandler are living together!
Monica: Ross married Rachel in Vegas! And got divorced! Again!
- Scrubs: JD says something to anger Carla, but before she gets to yell at him, he turns it around on Dr. Kelso, who's very confused by it.
J.D.: It's not like nurses know everything.
J.D.'s Inner Monologue: Uh oh
. Carla's gearing up to explode. Save yourself. Attempt the casual side switch. [J.D. discreetly steps closer to Carla, looking innocent, and turns to face Dr. Kelso]
And, you're there. Now, angry at Kelso.
J.D.: Bob, how dare you!
- In Legend of the Five Rings, one of jester's class abilities is provoking people into a fight. This can be as simple as making an enemy archer angry enough to enter close combat, but a jester can potentially provoke a person without bringing his wrath on himself—starting a fight he doesn't have to take part in.
- In some of the Final Fantasy games, there's a skill called Provoke that effectively functions as an inversion of this trope: Making the enemies angry at you to keep them away from other party members.