This is the description for Schmuck Bait. Do not read this, or else... You would have to be an idiot to go near schmuck bait. Things like the Big Red Button with the dire warning signs; the dark alley in Vampire Town; the conspicuously untouched treasure chest; the room full of frighteningly realistic statues, or the room full of "statues" that twitch every thirty seconds. Making schmuck bait irresistible is a good trick. Often it takes advantage of the inherent appeal of Forbidden Fruit. Or a Curious as a Monkey character will ensure it gets taken. Often in spite of warning cries from other characters. See also Briar Patching, Genre Blindness, Too Dumb to Live, Idiot Ball, Distress Ball, What Does This Button Do?, Press X to Die, Reverse Psychology, Who Would Be Stupid Enough?, The Window or the Stairs, Don't Touch It, You Idiot!, and Tempting Fate. If taking the bait doesn't hurt you, it's a Fake Trap and possibly a Paranoia Gambit. If taking it does something good, it's Violation of Common Sense. If that something good is being able to progress, it's Stupidity Is the Only Option (Trap Is the Only Option for the non-video game version). If someone fell into a Schmuck Bait one day but understandably didn't noise about it, he may be subject to Oblivious Mockeries. Not to be mistaken for Snark Bait, Clickbait Gag, nor for something that actually baits your schmuck. Note that this term is used differently by screenwriters. It most commonly refers to Like You Would Really Do It, and can also simply refer to any sort of audience misdirection. More information on this can be found here.
- Anime and Manga
- Card Games
- Comic Books
- Newspaper Comics
- Animated Films
- Live-Action Films
- Live-Action TV
- Myths and Religion
- New Media
- Tabletop Games
- Video Games
- Web Comics
- Web Original
- Western Animation
- Real Life
open/close all folders
- One former GEICO ad campaign featured a cartoon guy who brought the full brunt of some Obvious Traps onto himself. But some of them look too good to resist!
- To launch a new television network in Belgium, TNT placed a button in a quiet square with a label that read: "Push to add drama."
- "How 'bout a nice Hawaiian PUNCH?!"
- The old jingle for Chiquita bananas warned consumers that they should never refrigerate bananas because they're a tropical fruit that hails from warm climates. What happens if you do it anyway? The skin darkens a bit, but the fruit stays fresh for a substantially longer time. The people selling them obviously don't want that, because then you're not running out to buy more as frequently.
- The Rape Tunnel, an art installation by Richard Whitehouse. Exactly What It Says on the Tin: If you enter this tunnel then the artist will attempt to rape you. It's a followup to his other piece, The Punch-You-in-the-Face Tunnel. They were both fabricated stories, and the actual Schmuck Bait was to see who would take the story seriously and how; in this regard, it was successful if not predictable in light of this entire page.
- Also from the art world, there was a controversy some years ago about a Danish exhibition that featured ten blenders, each containing water and live goldfish, with an invitation to the viewer that they could press the button if they wanted to. At least seven fish were pureed.
- The Writing on the Wall has a large, fortified, heavily built structure surrounded by metal spikes with warnings in dozens of languages written inside. Clearly, its builders were very concerned about deterring tomb robbers. Too bad it isn't a tomb, and the warnings of danger were all too real. The structure in the story has never been built in real life precisely because of worries over it being schmuck bait.
- A rather chilling example from the RWBY fic "Redemption." During the Mountain Glen mission, Coco comes across a bag personalized with Blake Belladonna's name, and returns it to her. Blake insists it isn't hers, but opens it to try and figure out where it came from.
- In Robb Returns, Jon Arryn suckers Littlefinger into wearing as much heavy armor as possible and then hands him a heavy axe, before dropping him into the sea as part of his trial by combat.
- In Sort the Dragon, the Hogwarts heads of house spend some time trying to figure out a way to warn students not to mess with Harry Potter without tempting them to do so. Snape even remarks that most Slytherins view "Do not do something" to mean "Do not get caught doing it". In the end, they institute a zero tolerance policy towards bullying and each head individually warns their house members to "Leave. Potter. Alone." Snape warns his Slytherins that if they still cross Harry, he won't bother punishing them as what happens will be on their head, though he is glad one of his prefects asks for clarification as to whether Potter is to be isolated or whether they aren't to antagonize him.
- Duncan Shiek's "Barely Breathing" is about a guy who has fallen for a woman whom he knows... he knows... will end up being bad news and likely breaking his heart and ruining his life. He knows he'll get hurt if he stays with her, but he's "thinking it over anyway." Schmuck Bait on a cracker.
- The Airborne Toxic Event's "Sometime After Midnight" ends with the lines "You just have to see her/You just have to see her/You just have to see her/You know that she'll break you in two", which is definitely close to schmuck bait.
- The "dance remix" of Perfume's Polyrhythm leaves in the song's bridge.
- In the music video for "Do Not Push", Pomplamoose's mashup of "Call Me Maybe" and "Someone That I Used To Know", a couple gets mailed a literal Big Red Button labeled "do not push."
- Every single time The Rock asks somebody a question, he cuts them off before they can give him an answer.
The Rock: How dare you little jabroni come on The Rock's show and not even have the class to introduce yourself? What is your name?
Chris Jericho: I told you—
The Rock: IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOUR NAME IS!
- "It doesn't matter" is something of a Catch-Phrase for The Rock, to go along with his many, many others.
- Another repeated schtick: "Oh god, my opponent has thrown a chair at me! HA HA, I caught it you dumb *kicks chair into the face*"
- A general rule of thumb: if the resident Heel is offering to shake your hand, don't.
- Likewise, if "Stone Cold" Steve Austin is offering to shake your hand to seal a truce...you're about to eat a Stunner.
- Using an aerial maneuver against Randy Orton. Try it! You'll be very lucky not to be on the receiving end of the RKO
- In almost any tag team match between heels and faces, the heel team will do something to get the face outside the ring to come after them. 99% of the time the face falls for it and gets the ref's attention, allowing the bad guys to double team his poor partner.
- In Dino Attack RPG, the secret black operations Antarctica mission was explicitly said to be a secret mission because, if word ever got out that Mutant Dinos were invading Antarctica (not to mention that Shadow and Viper agreed to this mission behind Digger's back), the consequences would be dire. Unfortunately, Atton Rand was Wrong Genre Savvy and believed that PeabodySam wanted players to spread word about the mission, and so with the help of newly-created NPCs Cam O'Cozy and French Fries, he let Zenna spread the news that there were Mutant Dinos in Antarctica and realists were going behind the backs of idealists. Needless to say, dire consequences followed.
- Jeff Foxworthy mentions such a scenario in one of his routines, where he and his family were standing in line at the movies and Jeff's mother forgot her hearing aid.
Jeff's Mom: [shouting] DON'T LOOK NOW! BUT THE MAN BEHIND US IS CROSS-EYED AS A BAT!Jeff: [Face Palm] [to audience] One, you're embarrassed to death. And two, when someone says something like that...YOU GOTTA LOOK!
- In Pokémon Live!, Giovanni's plan is to lure trainers to his Gym by offering a one-on-one battle for an exclusive badge, allowing MechaMew2 to learn every Pokemon attack in the world. He comments that he's learned 75 attacks total by the end of his first scene, and his commercial's only been running one day.
- In Guys and Dolls, it's illustrated in the advice Sky Masterson got from his father;
"One of these days in your travels, a guy is going to come to you and show you a nice, brand new deck of cards on which the seal has not yet been broken. This man is going to offer to bet you that he can make the jack of spades jump out of that deck and squirt cider in your ear. Now son, you do not take this bet, for as sure as you stand there, you are going to wind up with an earful of cider."
- Later, when Nathan cons him into betting that he could take Sister Sarah to Havana, Sky looks up and says, "Daddy, I got cider in my ear."
- A lot of myths claimed that gel or rubber bracelets for teens are a sexual signal and the guy who can break one from a girl would get her compelled to have sex with him. Other myths claim if the guy can take the pull tab intact from a girl's can of beer or soft drink she will kiss him, and if he can remove the lid from the can she will have sex with him. Cue the poor guy try to break with bare hands the rubber which is designed specifically to not break easily... or remove with bare fingers the factory-crimped and rolled lid from an aluminum beer cannote .
- Some Japanese urban legends are based around the victims taking the bait. A common one is Kashima Reiko, in which that if you read the legend, she'll appear before you. The legend itself is about a girl who got cut in half and rips other people's legs off in anger, if they knew about her or the legend based on her.
- Many urban legends/games centered around summoning ghosts or spirits, like Bloody Mary or the Midnight Game, claim that dire consequences follow anyone who plays the game and doesn't adhere to a very strict formula. Many will specifically warn readers against even trying it.
- In Disgaea Infinite, one path allows you to possess a Geo Symbol. If you do this, you get destroyed, triggering one of the Bad Endings.
- Corpse Party: In Chapter 2, you are warned not to read the Victim's Memoirs to their conclusion. You may think "Tch! In Chapter 1 I was warned not to read that newspaper, but I had to in order to reach Chapter 1's True End. Let's take a look." Enjoy having Yoshiki realize that he's killed Ayumi and resorted to cannibalism.
- Eroge! Sex and Games Make Sexy Games: Near the end of each girls' route, giving into temptation from Reina, Miki, Tomoko, and Lemon from Nene's, Iori's, Kisara's, and Momoka's routes, respectively, with grant you their bad endings.
- "This Doki Doki Literature Club! VN just looks like some cutesy, saccharine Dating Sim. But why is there a blatant Content Warning on the Steam page about disturbing content? And why are the Steam tags full of stuff like "Psychological Horror", "Dark", "Violent" and "Gore"?"
- In Zero Time Dilemma, the Healing Room segment ends at a big blue button circled by a flashing red message which reads "Warning: Do not push this button!" Phi is convinced that this trope is in full effect, whereas Sigma thinks it's a standout case of Reverse Psychology. Sure enough, Phi's absolutely correct - pressing it blows up the entire facility.
- The "Footnotes" section of our Text Formatting Rules page demonstrates the [[labelnote]] links with a "Don't click me!" link. The "code" paragraph shows the hidden text as "Click the example below to see the real text," tempting the user into clicking it. Doing so expands the note: "We call that Schmuck Bait here at TV Tropes."
Highlight only in case of emergency: Not now, you idiot! I said only in case of emergency!