Swiper, No Swiping!

The villain is merely told to stop his evil scheme, and he does. Usually, this is a way to teach the audience a lesson about the importance of communication, and sometimes it stands as a testament to the hero's badassery, but just as often it's Played for Laughs due to the sheer unlikelihood of the idea.

It's the moment of truth. The villain, cackling, stands before his Doomsday Device. His finger hovers unsteadily over the Big Red Button, and you know he's enough of an asshole to push it. All hope seems lost... but then, the hero kicks open the double doors and bursts into the room. He looks at the villain straight in the eye, points his index finger at him, and says:

"Stop it! Stop it! What you are doing is wrong!!"

The villain concedes. He powers down the machine and turns himself in. Battle over. Everyone lives Happily Ever After. If done well, it may establish the speaker as someone with greater authority than other characters (e.g., a parent, teacher, police officer), or that there are hidden factors only the character can indicate to makes the villain quit, or simply that the villain still has enough of a conscience to be shamed into doing the right thing. However, if handled poorly (which is usually the case) the viewer may left thinking, "Worst! Anti-Climax! Ever!"

Compare Talking the Monster to Death, where the hero has to put some more significant, speechifying effort into breaking through the villain's personal Jerk Justifications; Shaming the Mob where it is done to a large group; and Verbal Judo where words are used to calm a conflict that wasn't necessarily going to get physical anyway. Contrast Unhand Them, Villain! where the villain obeys the hero's Exact Words in a way not intended.


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  • Sometimes, the Hamburglar from McDonald Land succumbs to this.

    Anime And Manga 
  • Tried and failed by Yu on Final Fantasy: Unlimited. Possibly tried by other characters as well.
  • The ending of Digimon Savers. Though the final enemy puts up more of a fight than season two's infamous Talking the Monster to Death sequence, it still ends with the villain finally listening to what the heroes had been yelling at it for three episodes straight. It came off as something of an anticlimax anyway - it was like "so, you really, really don't want me to destroy the world? Oh, okay. [Leaves]"
  • Dragon Ball Z had Mr. Satan befriending Majin Buu when all the rest of the characters were utterly focused on killing him. It turned out that Buu honestly didn't understand that wanton destruction and murder were bad things, and when Mr. Satan tells him this, he immediately promises to stop. Of course, his evil side soon separates from him and becomes the villain, because they needed someone to have epic drawn-out fights with.

    Films — Animated 
  • In Recess: School's Out, during the final confrontation, Gretchen asks the villain to stop his huge machine that would destroy summer. He asks if anyone honestly thought that would work after all of the work it took for him to get there. Mikey asks if it would work if they added "please", but it still doesn't work.
  • Discussed and averted in Sleeping Beauty as the fairies are trying to find a way to stop Maleficent from making good on her curse on Aurora. Fauna suggests that they try to reason with her. The others quickly dismiss the idea and it's never brought up again.
    Fauna: Well she can't be all bad.
    Flora: Oh, yes she can!

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the faux utopian future of Demolition Man, the local populace are so pacified that this strategy is the only resource city law enforcement has to fall back on. Funnily enough, it seems to work most of the time, until one unfortunate officer tries using it on Simon Phoenix, an unfrozen Ax-Crazy mass murderer from the 20th century.

  • According to some stories, werewolves can be completely cured simply by scolding them. Talk about a Weaksauce Weakness.

  • In The Horse and His Boy, brave peasant lad Shasta and his companions are menaced by a lion the entire book. When it finally attacks them, he jumps down from his horse and, in his panic, yells "Go home!" at it. The lion instantly checks and runs. Subverted later, when we find out it was the Big Good, Aslan, inflicting a little Laser-Guided Karma.
  • Relativity is a superhero series. In spite of that, most of the heroes and villains don't have any superpowers. One of the first villains the team encounters who has any supernatural abilities is Rune. However, he's secretly in love with Melody, so when she tells him to leave the heroes alone, he does.

     Live-Action Television 
  • A sort of Bottle Episode of The Cosby Show featured the cast as characters in a story by little Rudy. The nice meek townsfolk get overrun by the greedy jerks next door (led by Rudy's rival for cuteness, Kenny). The climax of the story has Rudy (as the princess or what-have-you of the nice folks) just going up to the mean folks and telling them to STOP. And they do. Rudy mentions that someday, when she's the President, she'll just tell everyone to get rid of guns and be nice to each other. Her parents are skeptical but impressed by their daughter's faith that people will listen to reasonable authority figures. The episode ends with them turning on the news for a quick run down of all the violence and crises going on. Cliff yells upstairs to Rudy that she had better hurry up, looks like they need her.
  • This is actually one of the tools that Patrick Jane employs on The Mentalist. Not that he really expects it to work on its own, but it's all part of the psychological games that he uses.
  • In The Big Bang Theory the guys are on the way to an out-of-town con when they stop at Kirk's Rock. While posing for pictures (they are cosplaying as Star Trek: The Next Generation characters), Leonard's car gets stolen and Sheldon tries to get the car thieves to stop by telling them to stop and what they are doing is illegal. It doesn't work.
  • The hokiness and lack of believability in After School Special episodes can sometimes be due to an excessive faith in this tactic. Particularly notable is one video against sexual harassment in schools where a group of boys ogling girls are stopped by another boy shouting "This school has rules!"
  • In one episode of The Middle, the Glossner siblings sneak into the house. After Sue and Brick try several tricks to get them out, which backfire hilariously, Sue asks Derrick Glossner to leave and take the others with him. He does so because he has a crush on her.
  • Actually done in a justified and entertaining fashion in Babylon 5; After three-and-a-half seasons of manipulation escalating into planet-shattering war, the Vorlons and the Shadows admit that the whole millennia-spanning conflict is a simple philosophical dispute - the Vorlons believe that imposing discipline, order and a little guidance without direct interference are the best ways to get the younger races to evolve, while the Shadows believe that stirring up the younger races to fight each other so that strong winners emerge is necessary. Sheridan shuts the whole thing down by stating that both parties are just "parents arguing in front of their children" and that the younger races have been reduced to pawns in the dispute in order to prove one of the two ideologies right. He says the younger races don't need them anymore, and then orders both the Vorlons and Shadows to "Get the hell out of our galaxy!" It does take a few ships Taking the Bullet for the point to get across, but it was Sheridan's denouncement that pretty much ends the Shadow War.
  • In the 1971 Sesame Street animated segment "Cowboy X" (narrated by Jean Shepherd), the title character is "terrorising" the town of Sniddler's Gulch by tagging everything he can with a branding iron in the shape of an X. Though the townsfolk claim to have "tried everything" to get him to stop, that apparently doesn't include just asking him to stop, as when this is suggested, it is deemed "just crazy enough to work". And it does - sort of. Cowboy X simply re-names himself Cowboy O and tags everything with a new, O-shaped branding iron, and the townsfolk "lived happily ever after, because they weren't very smart."note 
  • Doctor Who has a variation: the Doctor tells his foes exactly who he is and asks if they really want to make an enemy of him. His reputation is such that this sometimes makes the evil monster back off without a further fight rather than risk the Doctor's wrath. The Eleventh Doctor was particularly fond of this tactic. He handles the Atraxi by asking them to look him up in a database and scares off an entire intergalactic fleet by challenging either race to attack him first. Do note, he certainly earns his influence in-between boasts.

     Video Games 
  • A very good example in Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura, this is one of the options you have to stop the Big Bad. Though to do this your character must be intelligent enough, persuasive enough and they must have experienced a certain situation to use it as an argument against the enemy.
  • An inverted example in Mega Man 7; Dr. Wily, about to be shot by Mega Man, brings up the fact that robots can't harm humans, and Mega Man just stops. In the North American version, he proceeds to say "Die Wily!"... and do absolutely nothing.
  • Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters: The titular Ur-Quan generally attack and kill anyone who is not either an Ur-Quan, or a 'Battle Thrall' in their service, owing to a huge (and fairly well-justified) sense of paranoia regarding any sentient species other than their own race. However, one of the tenets of their shared philosophy involves the Question; if one of their enemies does ask in the proper way, the Ur-Quan captain has a moral duty to stop firing and explain the Ur-Quan's history and the reason why it has them killing and/or enslaving every sentient race in the universe. (Interestingly, once you hear it, they're actually surprisingly sympathetic overall.) However, once they've finished explaining it, they'll get right back to shooting at you.
  • The main plot of RosenkreuzStilette revolves around Spiritia fighting against her colleagues for the whole Swiper, No Swiping! deal of convincing them that fighting against the Holy Empire isn't exactly the way to go about the whole "fear and persecution" stuff. But without knowing that the Empire didn't really persecute the magi of RKS at all but actually wanted Iris dead as Iris was planning to have RKS fight against the Empire For the Evulz.
  • A lot of solutions to problems when going Paragon (and even a few Renegade solutions as well) in Mass Effect are just a well-chosen remark that makes the other guy see things your way. In fact, a lot of neutral responses have the same effect. You kind of have to make an effort to make things get out of hand, sometimes.
    • In fact, if your Charm or Intimidate scores in the first game are maxed, you can talk The Dragon into shooting himself in the head rather than fight him.
  • In Iji, Dan's plan to get rid of the Tasen and later, the Komato, is to have Iji do this to their respective commanding officers. It doesn't work the first time because the Tasen commander is a major General Ripper. It does work the second time on General Tor, but only after Iji has given him a thorough ass-whooping.
  • In the opening of Spyro: Gateway to Glimmer, Ripto and co. steal the orbs from Hunter, Elora and the Professor. Elora tells Hunter to do something about it.
    Hunter: "Hey, give that back! (no response) Well, I tried..."
  • In Fallout: New Vegas with a high enough speech skill, you can actually talk the Big Bad Legate Lanius into calling off his attack on the NCR and going home without a fight.
    • You can do this with a high enough Barter skill (in both cases you must have them maxed out). You can either convince him that he won't be able to hold on the already conquered territory if he tries to occupy new territory with his weakened army, or lecture him about economics to show that his logistics are not good enough to invade. Seriously.
  • Convincing President Eden to stop the Enclave in Fallout 3 consists of basically telling him "This has to stop, and only you can do it."



    Web Original 
  • Dora the Explorer: The Search for the Infinity Orb, used as the money line at the end. (Unfortunately, this isn't real, it's just a fake trailer, albeit a really well done one, with Ariel Winter as Dora.)
    • This fake trailer led to the creation of a mini-series, with part one here, part two here, and part three.
  • The Sword of Good has an inversion, where the villain gets the hero to betray his allies and join him just by asking. Note that in this case it's helped by the fact that the "villain" is entirely rational and in accord with fact, and the hero comes to the conclusion on his own that the "villain" isn't actually evil and in fact supports equality, while the hero's allies aren't anything close to good, but in fact care nothing for the less fortunate and are fighting the war solely to consolidate their own power, even though it wouldn't cost the White Mage any effort to use his magic to heal the dying or shield people from harm to begin with.This is what clues the hero in to the fact that he was just an Unwitting Pawn, a realization which lets him tap into the Sword of Good's true power and smite the real Big Badhis own allies. Of course, from the Lord of Dark's point of view, it's played straight.

    Western Animation 
  • The Trope Namer is Dora the Explorer.
    • Dora would often stop Swiper the fox from stealing something (usually of little value) from her or her friends by putting her hand in front of his face and repeatedly chanting the trope name at him, making him say "Oh, man!", although it didn't always work. In fact, she would ask us to do that for her.
    • In an ironic twist, it's subverted in the Yet Another Christmas Carol episode when Swiper himself tries it on his future self. Future Swiper just laughs at him, tells him it doesn't work anymore, and swipes the object in question anyway. Turns out that Swiper was just being polite and listening to Dora, when he got put on the Naughty List, he stopped listening and swiped so much stuff that the future Dora angrily tells the present Swiper there's nothing left to steal.
  • In the first season of Superfriends, there wasn't any actual violence in the show. Everyone had their powers, but there was no beating people up. To top it off, every villain had good intentions. This being said, you would see a scene where Superman would throw the giant metal gate to the villain's lair completely aside, but then he would talk to the villain of the week and convince him to try a different, less-villainous solution. In those few cases where it wasn't a well-intentioned extremist, they just dismantled the plan and left, but not before giving the villain a "The Reason You Suck" Speech. Note that this was only true in the first season. After that, most baddies were Card Carrying Villains. The Legion of Doom wouldn't have known a good intention if it bit them in the shin.
  • Police Sgt. Mike Cosgrove from Freakazoid! can stop any criminal from carrying out his act by looking at them straight in the eye and saying, "Hey. Cut it out." The fact that this works on The Warners speaks volumes about how effective it is.
  • In Family Guy, Peter watches The Passion of the Christ and states that if he were Jesus, he wouldn't have taken the Romans' cruel treatment so lightly. Cut to Peter's imagination, wherein he, as Jesus, orders a Roman sentry to stop whipping him by standing up and yelling, "No, no! Stop it, stop it!" in a stern, parental voice.
  • In Adventure Time, Finn stops a "bazooka goblin" from shooting him and Jake by shouting, "Don't do it, man!"
  • Go, Diego, Go! (a Spin-Off of Dora the Explorer) "Freeze, Bobos!" in response to the antics of the Bobo Brothers, the two monkeys who are always causing trouble in the series. Though to be fair, unlike Swiper, they're not trying to cause trouble, so telling them to stop and them listening makes more sense. What doesn't make sense is that, also unlike Swiper, telling the Bobo Brothers to freeze makes them stop, even in midair, to apologize (Oops. Sorry!). This means that Diego (and the viewer) isn't just telling the Bobos to cut it out, but also the laws of physics.
  • Done in The Powerpuff Girls when a Godzilla-like monster rampages in Townsville. Blossom believes in strategy to take it down while Buttercup believes in brute force. Both tactics fail and Bubbles, getting fed up with her sisters' bickering, just flies to the monster and politely asks it to stop. It works. (Though more than likely the monster was getting tired of Blossom's and Buttercup's arguing as well.)
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Dragonshy" Fluttershy gets a dragon to stop generally being a violent prick by way of a motherly scolding. She makes him cry of shame. This is a particularly epic version due to the size difference involved, as she gives the scolding while pacing on his snout. A small portion of his snout, and is smaller than his irises. Admittedly, the dragon was not purposely causing harm (just its presence nearby caused smoke to block out the skies), and Fluttershy's eyes appear to have mystical powers.
  • Happens in the "Weird Man" sketch of Uncle Grandpa despite the fact the addressed is armed with a knife.
  • In an episode of The Amazing World of Gumball Richard's passive nature eventually leads to his house being full of rude and destructive people who rejoice that his kindness makes the house "Rule Free". When Nicole arrives however, she simply tells everyone "You're going to clean this place until it looks better than when you arrived. Then you will leave and Never come back." It works. Although It might have something to do with the fact that the one person who protested saw the souls of tormented dead in her eyes.
  • In the South Park special "Imaginationland", Butters tries this on terrorists. It doesn't work, and the denizens of Imaginationland are not shy about telling him how idiotic an idea it was (although with far more profanity than that).
  • One episode of Eek! The Cat has Eek become a superhero. He confronts a pair of robbers and says, "Didn't anyone ever tell you stealing is wrong?" They're shocked and say, "No, actually no one ever did." Eek says, "Oh. Well, it is!" They give the money back and apologize.
  • On Dragon Tales, the titular wizard of "The Mefirst Wizard" is a selfish wizard who doesn't know how to take turns and therefore takes over whatever you're trying to play on and won't let anyone else have a turn. He can be banished, however, with the rhyme "Mefirst, Mefirst, go away. That's not the way friends play." Though it has to be said two words at time between those that are there, taking turns.
  • Parodied in Animaniacs as Slappy Squirrel expresses her frustration with modern cartoons by showing a Green Aesop cartoon as an example where a robin pleads with a wolverine to stop cutting down trees in the forest. He promptly does and apologizes saying he didn't know what he was doing was wrong.

    Real Life 
  • People expect this to happen a lot in life. How many times have you insulted a person, knowing that that wouldn't stop them? People, especially immature kids, do this constantly and never get anywhere.
  • On the flip side, police do sometimes get this trope. Crooks may be fine stealing from little old ladies (provided they don't carry mace or another weapon in their purses), but when a guy with a badge and a gun shows up, they might just reconsider and decide it's better to go quietly than to risk a struggle with someone more powerful. It's normally inexperienced or reluctant criminals who do this, as those who know they've got a mile-long rap sheet may decide they'd rather go out in a blaze of gunfire than to live life in prison.
    • This is also part of the reason tactical snipers like their laser sights: seeing that little dot on his chest or his partner's face (and knowing exactly what it means) often convinces an enemy that it's in his best interests to comply, as things will get messy if he doesn't. It's more the threat of violence than the force of the commands which yields compliance, but if the sniper never has to take a shot, it certainly appears to be this trope.
  • Happens with children being chastised by parents or teachers all the time.

Oh, man The Stinger!