Subverted Catch Phrase

"I stand for truth, justice, and... other stuff."
Clark Kent, Smallville, "Drone"

A character appears to be setting up their Catch Phrase, but instead says something completely different. Almost always a comedy trope, where the humor comes from subverting the audience's expectations.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • This is common on Pokémon where, quite often, Team Rocket will set up as though they're going to say their usual catchphrase, then replace it with a variation or completely different wording.
    • In XYZ28, when Team Rocket ambush Pikachu, the latter immediately tries to fry them,. After several jolts, they were just about ready to cry "WE'RE BLASTING OFF AGAIN!!!" but Pikachu, due to a Heroic B.S.O.D., doesn't have enough juice to send them flying. The Rockets immediately lost interest in him...
  • In, Gintama "Zura ja nai, Katsura da!" gets subverted plenty of times, always for laughs.
  • In the series finale of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
    Timeskipped!Simon: Of course! Who the hell do you think--
    Young Boy: [too busy drinking from a coconut to notice him] Yum-mee!
    Timeskipped!Simon: Heh... no, I guess I'm nobody.

    Comic Books 
  • An unusual, very serious example, in Marshal Law. Marshal Law's usual catchphrase is "I'm a hero hunter. I hunt heroes. I haven't found any yet." At the end of "Kingdom of the Blind", he's standing in front of the dismembered corpse of his sidekick Kiloton, who was murdered by the villain.
    Marshal Law: I'm a hero hunter. I hunt heroes. I guess maybe I found one.

    Fan Works 
  • A list of riffs on Angel Investigations "We help the hopeless" slogan (second one down).
  • In the original Dante's Night at Freddy's, when preparing to beat Freddy with his own severed arm, Dante asks, "You ready, Freddy?"
    • In Animatronic Boogaloo, he gets two. When he asks the other animatronics who it is who trapped their souls in the pizzeria in a petty revenge scheme, he says, "It's not me." and hands the Marionette over to them to kill. Later, when delivering the mother of all threats to Freddy, he states, "You're. Not. Ready."

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Last Action Hero:
    • Early on, when Jack still doesn't believe he's in a movie.
      Jack Slater: I'll be back! Ha! You didn't know I was gonna say that, did you?
      Danny Madigan: That's what you always say!
      Jack Slater: I do?
    • And later in the same film:
      Jack Slater: You've seen these movies where they say "make my day," or "I'm your worst nightmare"? Well, listen to this one: Rubber baby buggy bumpers!

    Literature 
  • Played for drama a few times in Animorphs, mostly as a case of OOC Is Serious Business. One notable example: when Ax, after getting some orders from Andalite commanders after being stranded alone on Earth for a long time, decides to follow them instead of staying loyal to his new human team. When he realizes that this was a mistake, he reaffirms that Jake is his prince, and the only leader that he should be following. He's expecting Jake to respond with "don't call me Prince," their usual running gag. For the first (and possibly only) time, Jake doesn't.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The A-Team: Hannibal is prone to saying, "I love it when a plan comes together." In the episode "Skins", B.A. (who has crippling aviophobia) insists initially on going on the plane without sedative, not wanting the client, who he's falling for, to think he's afraid. However, mid-flight, he freaks out and the team has to sedate him anyway, whereupon Hannibal gives this variation on his catchphrase:
    Hannibal: I love it when B.A. comes together...to sleep.
  • Fez of That '70s Show is prone to saying "Good day", to which another character protests, "But, Fez..." and he replies, "I said, 'Good day'" and storms off. On a few occasions, however, he subverts the expectation by either not responding to the "but" line in the same manner, or else replacing "good day" with another phrase, often something to do with candy or women.
  • Barney from How I Met Your Mother did this once.
    Barney: You are legen—wait for it—daddy, legendaddy.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Upon entering the TARDIS for the first time, most characters feel the need to point out that it's "bigger on the inside." A few don't: Clara calls it "smaller on the outside", Wilf "thought it would be cleaner", Rory figures out that "it's a different dimension", The Brigadier insists it's an illusion and scolds the Doctor for wasting UNIT funds and equipment, etc.
      Doctor: Well, Sergeant? Aren't you going to say "it's bigger on the inside than it is on the outside"? Everybody else does.
      Benton: Well, it's...pretty obvious, isn't it?
    • The episode Tooth and Claw features an appearance by Queen Victoria, and Rose spends a large portion of the story trying to get her to say "we are not amused". The inclusion on this list should be some indication of her success at this.
    • Used for heartbreaking effect in "Hell Bent" when the Doctor sees Clara's message for him on the TARDIS blackboard. It starts with 'Run you clever boy...' but ends with 'and be a Doctor' instead of 'and remember. This is especially sad because the Doctor has lost his memory of Clara and will never be able to remember her.
  • A serious version occurs in Kamen Rider Wizard when the title character defeats Phoenix, a villain with Resurrective Immortality, by subjecting him to a Fate Worse Than Death: "For you, there is no finale."
  • In the Supernatural episode "What Is And What Should Never Be" (S02, E20), the Sam in the Wishverse does not respond with "jerk" when Dean calls him "bitch". Instead, Sam seems hurt and then confused when Dean tells him what he was supposed to say.
  • Occasionally done for laughs on Jeopardy! when someone hits a Daily Double. Instead of saying the typical "I'd like to make this a true Daily Double", one contestant said, "I'd like to solve the puzzle." The requirements for answers being a question have also been abused for jokes, such as "What be ebonics?"
  • Contestants on other shows have to be reminded that they're not on Jeopardy! (Gambit, Win Ben Stein's Money) after answering a question in the form of a question. Ben Stein makes a causer of this infraction wear a dunce cap.
  • Late in the run of Classic Concentration, contestants started saying "I'd like to solve the puzzle" once the board was at a position where the rebus was solvable.
  • During the "Precious Roy Home Shopping Network" segments on The Sifl and Olly Show, the main characters' pitch for the product usually has the following exchange:
    Sifl: Oh, dude, you know the problems I've been having with X.
    Olly: Yeah, you've got some serious-ass X problems.
    • One time, during a segment advertising "Chicken Flavored Air Conditioning", this happened instead:
    Sifl: Oh, dude, you know the problems I've had being stuck in the back seat of a police cruiser.
    Olly: Yeah! [Beat]
    • And another time, when Olly is suffering a nervous breakdown during an advertisement for a "Disaster Suit":
    Sifl: Hey, Olly...Olly! You know the problem's I've been having with natural disasters!
    Olly: [still crying] ...you're doomed!
  • The first season finale of Letterkenny does this to the town greeting of "How's it goin'?" "Good'n'you?" "Not's'bad".
    Wayne: How's it goin'?
    Tanis: Good'n'you?
    Wayne: *beat* Deadly.

    Video Games 
  • Normally, Strong Bad's bad movie character Dangeresque says that things are not dangerous, they're Dangeresque! In Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, Dangeresque sees some objects on the floor that people could possibly trip over. He's asked if it seems...dangerous? His response? "I would say they are dangerous. Yes."
  • Telltale Games typically emphasize player choice and underscore decisions that might come back to haunt the player with "[Character(s)] will remember this" notifications.
    • Midway through The Wolf Among Us, one encounter with the drunk and furious Grendel ends with Gren passing out, marked with the notice:
    Gren won't remember this.
    • Tales from the Borderlands sees Telltale playing a lot with their signature notices, e.x. marking the action of slapping an NPC with "Shade's face will remember that" and one of giving an order to Rhys's Loader Bot with "Loader Bot will store that in memory".
    • Minecraft: Story Mode parodies it as well — after you create a Secret Handshake for your team, you get a notification that "No one will remember that."
  • Played for drama in Metal Gear Solid 4. "The world needs only one Big Boss!" has been a catchphrase of his clone sons Solidus and Liquid Snake in their infighting for the past 4 games. As he lays dying in the final clone, Solid Snake's arms, Big Boss himself says:
    The world needs only one... No, the world would be best without Snakes.

    Web Animation 
  • In the French series Les Kassos, Dark Papy is a Darth Vader parody, so he naturally tends to say "I am your father...", generally to his daughter Leya Sodo, at every opportunity (because he's quite senile). This annoys his son-in-law Yann Sodo considerably. In one episode, however, when the Sodos present their son to the social worker, Dark Papi starts saying to Yann "You are not his father!" instead. (The fact the kid growls like a wookie might be a hint.) However, he is interrupted by Leya punching him.

    Web Original 
  • The Nostalgia Critic does this a lot.
    • Every once in a while, instead of his normal catch phrase ("I remember it so you don't have to."), he'll say something else instead, generally indicating the covered work is really bad instead of just plain old bad. One example comes at the end of his review of A Kid in King Arthur's Court, where he hits himself with a book in an attempt to forget the awful movie. As a result, he finishes by saying "I remember it so you don't Blue's Clues." Perhaps his most extreme example is The Garbage Pail Kids Movie, where he just holds his face in his hands.
    • Another example occurs in his top eleven lists ("Why top eleven? Because I like to go one step beyond.") In Top 11 Disney villains: "Why top eleven? If you don't know by now, kiss it." And in Top 11 Coolest Clichés: "Why top eleven? Because I have my own cliché that'll never die."
    • His "Top 11 Most Awkard Christopher Walken moments" contains one, too, where his catchphrase is finished by a clip of Walken in a gypsy hat muttering "beyond", which leaves the Critic momentarily stunned.
      Nostalgia Critic: You know why.
    • NC has gotten a lot of use out of a clip of M. Bison turning around and shouting "OF COURSE!" whenever mention is made of taking over the world. When he dons Bison's trademark outfit in Kickassia, Chris Larios asks if he's planning to take over the world, and he turns and shouts, "NATURALLY!" However, after a few more tries, Larios does get him to deliver the line he wanted. But only by asking him if the outfit gets him laid.
  • Atop the Fourth Wall:
  • In Two Best Friends Play: Captain America: The First Avenger, Matt spends the entire video avoiding his "AMERICA!" catchphrase despite Pat's goading, to the point where he even avoids saying Cap's name. Until the very end, that is.
  • Welcome to Night Vale has a subverted Phrase Catcher example. To wit, local farmer John Peters is referred to as "John Peters — you know, the farmer?" almost every time his name is said- except once:
    Cecil: John Peters — you know, the impostor?

    Western Animation 
  • On an episode of Regular Show, Muscle Man subverts his "MY MOM!" catch phrase:
    Benson: Muscle Man, have you seen Pops at all today?
    Muscle Man: Yeah, and you know who else has seen Pops today?
    Benson: [dryly] Who, your mom?
    Muscle Man: I wasn't gonna say that! Why does everyone always think I'm gonna say "my mom"?
    • And a Double Subversion, when asking if they know who taught High Five Ghost his mechanic skills:
    Muscle Man: You know who taught him? My Uncle John. He's a mechanic [...] You know who taught him? MY MOM!
  • At least once on Adventure Time, Finn and Jake have subverted their "What time is it?" "Adventure time!" exchange.
  • In the Pinky and the Brain episode "That Smarts", the Brain's attempt to make Pinky smarter eventually leaves them both stupid. They attempt their usual So Once Again, the Day Is Saved:
    Pinky: What are we gonna do tomorrow night, Brain?
    Brain: The same thing we do every night, Pinky...I have absolutely no idea.
    Pinky: Poit.
    Brain: Narf.
    • There are also two or three occasions when Pinky actually is pondering what Brain is pondering, instead of giving his usual response of "I think so, Brain, but..."
  • In episode 10 of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, Scooby is locked up in an animal asylum, framed for attacks made by a robotic lookalike. Shaggy is despondent, so Velma attempts to cheer him up by wolfing down a sandwich and saying "Relma Delma Doo!"
    • In the cold open for the movie Scooby Doo And The Witches Ghost, when a horror novelist (and Expy for Stephen King) helps the Scooby Gang take down a crook in a ghost mask, the crook grumbles, "And I've have gotten away with it if it weren't for that meddling...writer!"
    Velma: At least he didn't call us 'kids' this time.
    Fred: Yeah, that's gotten old.
  • Phineas and Ferb does this almost Once an Episode.
  • Futurama sometimes does this with Farnsworth's "Good news, everyone", instead having him say something like "Bad news, no one" or "Good news, no one".
  • Quest from World of Quest subverts his "X. I hate X."
    Quest: If you hadn't saved him, we wouldn't have needed his help.
    Nestor: I...I...
    Quest: A runt without words. I like a runt without words.
  • In the 2 Stupid Dogs cartoon "Love", Mr. Hollywood only delivers the first half of is catchphrase "Isn't that cute? But it's wrong!" He then makes an Aside Comment pointing this out.
    Hollywood: Hah! Bet you thought I was gonna say it was wrong, didn't ya?
  • At the end of one episode of Celebrity Deathmatch, Nick Diamond, who seems unhurt despite a tumble from the announcers' booth (a Call Back to a previous episode) asks Johnny Gomez if he can say the closing line this time. (Which is, "Good Fight, Good Night.") Johnny approves, but Nick is clearly a little dizzy from the fall and instead says, "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!"

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SubvertedCatchPhrase