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Sorry I Fell on Your Fist
"Wow! How powerful a man do you have to be to be able to shoot somebody in the face, and have that guy go: 'My bad!'"
Jon Stewart, The Daily Show

As Collateral Angst states, "Some stories make things even worse by having the casualty apologize for being hurt. They will use phrases such as "being a burden" or "letting you down" to express their guilt.

They are the Butt Monkey, The Woobie, and/or the Chew Toy, and they apologize for it. When dangerous weapons are involved, thus pushing this trope Up to Eleven, it can don the name "Sorry I Fell Into Your Fire" or "Sorry I Bumped Into Your Bullet".

Compare and contrast Guilt Gambit. Compare Why Did You Make Me Hit You? and Apologizes a Lot. My Fist Forgives You is the inverse of this.

Note: This is not when a character merely comments that "I hit him in the tray with my face." This is when the person being attacked apologizes for being attacked.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga  

  • Princess Sakura in Tsubasa Chronicle. She can't fairly be held accountable for the burden she imposes on the crew, as she didn't choose to go on a dimension-hopping quest and can't help her drowsiness seeing as her heart literally broke into pieces and flew away. Her lack of combat ability is also understandable, given that she was a princess with an overprotective big brother. Later on she does get to kick some ass, until her soul leaves her body again.
  • Pet Shop of Horrors has Chris, who often apologizes for his very existence (his mother was a Death by Childbirth case) and feels that he's a burden on his family, even when he's been rendered psychologically damaged and unable to speak.
  • Tohru Honda of Fruits Basket does this quite a bit too, not wanting to burden anyone with her troubles despite those troubles being pretty drastic. This is best seen in the beginning of the series, where while her grandfather's house is being renovated, she resorts to living in a tent, rather than bother any of her friends by staying with them.
    • Also Ritsu Sohma. The two of them occasionally get in to apologizing contests.
  • Scrapped Princess... the title character does this quite often. Apologizing to her older siblings for always having to protect her, wondering if the world would be better off without her, etc. And, of course, she's never really done anything wrong - apparently, she threatens the continued existence of the world simply by living. And, apparently, by dying. Girl just can't catch a break.
  • Sakura from Naruto did this before she Took A Level In Bad Ass.
  • Baccano!!'s Jacuzzi Splot is prone to this due to his tendency to be a Martyr Without a Cause. On the low scale, he'll apologize for pretty much anything, up to and including being shoved. At the other side of the spectrum, he's blamed himself personally for the death of three men he encountered the day before — not because he killed them, but because his gang took them down (against his protests) while they were trying to murder him.
  • Keitaro of Love Hina has been known to do this at times.
  • Yukinari of Girls Bravo.

     Comedy  

  • Billy Burmingham's Wired World of Sports 2 includes Rugby League commentary in which a player is "headbutted in the elbow". The commentators sympathise with the player as he falls over in agony, blood pouring profusely from his elbow.

     Comic Books  

  • In an issue of the Marvel G.I. Joe comics, Lady Jaye and Zarana get into a Designated Girl Fight (more of a Cat Fight, really) while several male Joes and COBRAs watch before finally pulling them apart. Afterwards, Zarana's fellow Dreadnoks compliment her performance, one saying "I especially liked how Zarana kept hitting the soles of Lady Jaye's boots with her face!"

     Fan Works  

     Film  

  • An auto-collision version occurs in Analyze This. After Dr. Sobol rear-ends the mobsters, Jelly tells him "it's all right; it was our fault for being in front of you like that. Forget about it!" Then again, Jelly didn't REALLY think it was their fault; he was just trying to get rid of Dr. Sobol before he noticed the kidnapped mobster in the trunk.

     Literature  

  • Used sarcastically by Lando Calrissian in one of the Star Wars Expanded Universe novels; some corrupt cops rough him up, then drag him to the equally corrupt governor, where he is charged with many crimes, including assault on a law officer. Lando snarkily admits yes, he attacked the officer's fist with his stomach.
  • She's not directly apologizing to her attacker, but after Lady Sybil is briefly taken hostage in The Fifth Elephant, she apologizes to her husband for "letting him down." It's more an apology for being tearful and shaken about it than an apology for being taken hostage, but it's enough to seriously freak him out.

     Live Action TV  

  • Red Dwarf, "Demons and Angels", when the High Lister has been fatally stabbed:
    High Lister: Forgive me, brother. I appear to have stained thy knife-end with my blood. A thousand apologies. [dies]
    High Rimmer: Brother, permit me to furnish you with a fresh knife.
  • In the third season of Angel after fighting a heavily pregnant but still vampiric Darla, Gunn quips that he and Wesley "tried to stop her by hitting her fists and feet with our faces".
  • The MST3K version of Hamlet covers the death of Polonius like so:
    Hamlet: Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool!
    Crow (as Polonius) Oh right, it's my fault you killed me!
  • In the first episode of the third series of Black Books Manny has fallen out with Bernard after an argument that led to his hand being shut in a sandwich toaster and as a result, Manny is now working in their competitor, Goliath Books. When things go wrong with his new job, Manny comes home crying to Bernard that "It's my fault you toasted my hand!"
  • One of the Pete and Dud sketches involves Peter Cook upending a bowl of spaghetti over Dudley Moore's head. Dud: "I'm sorry, I seem to have spilt my spaghetti."
  • Desperate Housewives: Gabby finds evidence suggesting her soon-to-be ex husband, Carlos, could be on the verge of getting a very well-paying job. She decides she's going to woo him back so she can take him for even more money. They sleep together. He then reveals that he planted the fake evidence with the full knowledge that she'd steal it, read it, and then try to rob him blind. Outraged that she's been proven beyond all reasonable doubt to be a lying, manipulative, whorish bitch, she pushes Carlos out of the upstairs window. He survives with no damage lasting beyond the end of the episode. The closing narration still tries to suggest that Carlos was in the wrong, and that he feels guilty for being so cruel to Gabby.
  • Downton Abbey: Daisy often apologizes for Mrs. Patmore's mistakes.
  • When How I Met Your Mother's Barney gets into a fight with his Canadian side (It Makes Sense in Context) he smashes a vase over Canadian!Barney's head. Canadian!Barney apologises for the thickness of his skull and offers to split the cost of replacing the vase.
    • Marshall took Robin to a Canadian bar. Unbelieving they were surrounded by her countrymen, she tests one by bumping in to his back. The man apologizes to Robin and offers to buy her a donut.

     Video Games  

  • In Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, the heron prince Rafiel is like this. He's exceptionally weak in combat (he seriously can't even do damage (without using spell imitating items) but has a fantastic support ability), due to a paralyzing illness, which leaves him unable to fly, despite his massive wings and so soft-spoken that Ike says he's "afraid that he'll kill him if he shouts too loud." He apologizes when Ike calls him out for it. (If his allies fail to protect him in combat and he falls, he apologizes for that, too...but then, several of the characters do that, very dramatically.)
  • Inverted in Punch-Out!! for the Wii, where one of Mr. Sandman's lines is "Tell your face... to leave my fists alone."
  • Similar to Tohru Honda, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask gives us Anju, owner of the Stock Pot Inn, who apologizes constantly out of nervous habit.
  • Colette of Tales of Symphonia has this habit. Considering that the "troubles" she feels like she's burdening people with are almost invariably not her fault, but also occasionally life-threatening, this frustrates everyone else to no end.
    Lloyd: Stop apologizing for everything!
    Colette Oh, sorry...
  • Pokémon has Audino. Many players go out of their way to hunt down these pokemon, as they give insane amounts of experience when knocked out. At level 35 and above, some Audino will actually heal the player's pokemon while getting the tar beaten out of them by said pokemon. Several tropes come to mind.

     Webcomics  

  • Karl from Emergency Exit apologizes for being useless after he gets his face torn up while saving Sal's life.

     Web Original  

  • In Dept Heaven Apocrypha, Nessiah's lack of self-confidence makes him apologize to Milanor incessantly (read: whenever the topic arises) for Milanor having to take care of him, no matter how many times Milanor insists that he's doing it because he wants to. Nessiah also still blames himself for the abuse he's suffered at Hector's hands, which isn't helping him too much mentally...

     Western Animation  

  • Chris from Dan Vs. has so far apologized for being drugged, and therefore needing to be carried, more than once. He also apologizes for being heavy...and eating.

     Real Life  

  • US Vice-President Dick Cheney accidentally shot Harry Whittington, a wealthy campaign contributor, while they were hunting together in Texas. Whittington apologized to Cheney. Then again, the accident occurred at least partly because Whittington was standing somewhere he wasn't supposed to... And Cheney was shooting there without checking. This is the source of the page quote.
  • It's almost universal in Britain (don't know about elsewhere) for someone who's been bumped into to begin to apologise profusely. We don't like confrontation...
    • Maybe not profusely, but it's common practice for Americans to apologize, too; both the bumper and the bumpee.
      • Particularly if they are school-aged. Many American schools have a policy that anyone involved in a fight is punished. You can literally get expelled for being attacked, even if you don't fight back at all. This has caused many students to reflexively apologize for brushing against someone out of fear that the other person will get angry and start a fight. Obviously, the habbit persists outside of a school environment.
    • In which case, the assumption is generally that someone wasn't paying attention to their surroundings. Nine times out of ten, it was both, so both are at fault.
    • Canadians often fit into this, too, due to our infamous politeness (see the joke below).
  • It's actually quite common for victims of assault (especially when it's unexpected) to apologize profusely while it's happening, only to wonder later (or even at the time) why they would do so. It doesn't seem to be explicable by personality traits like a "lack of confidence" or whatever.
    • Possibly justified in that instance, as it could be a way of trying to mollify the assailant so they'll stop.
  • Joke: How do you get a Canadian to say "I'm sorry"? Punchline: You step on his foot.
  • In the U.S., at least, some schools that decide to "crack down" on fighting adopt a policy where everybody involved in a fight automatically gets punished, and the definition of "fight" covers pretty much any physical altercation, no matter how one-sided — so kids have been given detention, suspended or even expelled literally for the crime of being hit by someone else, sometimes while trying to run away from the assailant.
    • Once you get expelled you have to go to an alternative school; and it goes on your permanent record. Other than the hassle of finding a new school, colleges won't want to accept someone who got expelled for fighting. If you can't get into a good college it's much harder to find a job with a decent salary. You probably won't live long. Yup, someone hitting you can have a massive conundrum on the rest of your life. It's not wonder kids have been conditioned to profusely apologize at even the slightest bump.
    • Or, in other schools, Inverted as people are allowed to beat the crap out of someone if they so much as bumped into them, as "self-defense" is often seen as justification for a fight. No matter how little the attack was.


Rejected ApologyIndex of ApologiesSorry I'm Late
Son of a WhoreCharacterization TropesSour Prudes

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