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Storm In A Teacup
A standard sitcom plot. One or more of the characters are trying to get something apparently urgent done - they've broken someone's favorite vase, the wedding has to be just right, they're looking for that perfect gift to give to a girl. Hilarity Ensues.

Their efforts usually culminate in catastrophe, and they reveal what they were trying to do amidst tears - only to find out it wasn't such a shaggy dog after all: The vase was a gift from a hateful aunt, the wedding can be done on the backyard, one of their friends plays in the girl's favorite band. They're relieved, everyone laughs, cue the credits. The Aesop is usually "Things will be fine if you ask for other people's support".

See also Poor Communication Kills, Milholland Relationship Moment, Fawlty Towers Plot.

Examples:

  • Every other episode of Doug.
    • This seems to happen a lot on Nickelodeon and Disney Channel.
  • There was an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch where Salem the cat accidentally breaks a special mirror. He spends the episode meticulously putting it back together, finally succeeding and dragging it back up to the attic at the end... and someone else breaks it while he's dragging it up the stairs. And then it turns out that they had another mirror just like it and don't care about it being broken.
  • In CLAMP's Wish manga, Angels are running around terrified of what God thinks of their romantic entanglements. Turns out God isn't as Smitey as characterized.
  • Played for Laughs in the Spongebob Squarepants episode "Wet Painters", where Spongebob and Patrick panic when they get paint on Mr. Krabs first dollar, only to be told that the supposedly irremovable paint can be easily removed with saliva.
  • Most decidedly not Played for Laughs in Guy de Maupassant's short story "The Necklace": A woman borrows her friend's diamond necklace for a fancy dress party, only to lose it and buy a new one, using loaned money that takes her a decade to pay back. Near the end of the story, she runs into her friend (whom she hasn't seen since the party) and reveals the truth. The friend, tears welling up in her eyes, reveals that her necklace was merely "paste" (costume jewelery), and didn't cost a fraction of the replacement's price tag.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has "Lesson Zero", the third episode of the second season. Twilight Sparkle goes mad with worry when she realizes she's forgotten to send her weekly friendship report to her mentor Princess Celestia. This culminates in half the town of Ponyville fighting over Twilight's favorite childhood toy after a botched attempt to "make a friendship problem".
  • In an episode of The Fairly OddParents, Timmy's parents buy an antique vase and warn Timmy and Vikki about how fragile it is. At the end of the episode, Timmy's stopped Vikki from breaking the vase, then breaks it himself. Just as Vikki starts to gloat, Timmy's parents begin laughing, it turns out the vase was ten dollar junk from a garage sell, but it was insured for a few thousand dollars and they were banking on it being broken.
  • In the Danger Mouse episode "Ee-Tea!," Penfold uses the phrase in a series of bad puns relating to tea as he and Penfold try to fathom who is commanding the spaceship they're in that is stealing the world's tea.
    Penfold: Well, maybe this is the scout ship for a planet of intergalactic tea bags...who have been driven off course by a storm in a teacup. And are going stir crazy for a pound of tea leaves. And if tea leaves, then so can I. (tries to leave but DM grabs him)
    DM: No you don't, Penfold! Now come on, before I lose my temper and give you three lumps!

Stop Saying That!Comedy TropesStraight Man

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