That Wasn't a Request

Freakshow: It seems... I need your help.
Danny: You miserable freak! Why would I help you?!
Freakshow: I'm sorry, did I say "need"? I meant demand.
Danny Phantom, "Reality Trip"

Usually a Stock Reply to "No!", with a hint of threatening sarcasm. A popular phrase with villains when heroes just won't cooperate. Precedes use of force to get the object of the not-a-request.

May also be worded as "That wasn't a suggestion/question" or "I wasn't asking."

Not to be confused with That's an Order!, which is said by a commander to a subordinate to show that they're pulling rank and that things are not up for discussion. "That wasn't a request" is said by people who have no official command over others but, for the moment, are ordering them around anyway; there is no reason for the person to cooperate except that the person giving the order is about to use force to back up their demand, whatever it may be.


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     Anime and Manga  

  • In the English dub of Digimon Adventure, Myotismon tells Kari to hand over her newly acquired Applied Phlebotinum:
    Kari: No!
    Myotismon: That wasn't a request!
  • The English dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX:
    Adrian: Come with me, Echo.
    Echo: I don't want to go with you, you're scaring me.
    Adrian: That wasn't a request!
  • In the English dub of Dragon Ball Z this is how Piccolo takes Gohan away for training.
    Piccolo: I'm taking this boy for training to prepare for the Saiyans' arrival.
    Roshi: I can understand why, but you'll have to ask his mother.
    Piccolo: I'm not asking! I'm telling!
  • In Hamtaro, Boss demands something of the other hamsters, who are hesitant to do it. Boss cracks his knuckles and asks "Did you see a question mark?"
  • One Piece:
    • Don Krieg's attempt to get the ocean-going restaurant Baratie to serve him and his crew food goes something like this. The chefs know that Krieg will attack the Baratie once they're done eating, but Krief makes it clear that refusal is one thing he doesn't tolerate. Then Zeff hands him a sack of food and tells the other chefs to get ready for a fight.
    • Happens again to Sanji in the Zou Arc; He's invited to a wedding hosted by Big Mom as the groom. When he refuses, the messenger tells him that when Big Mom asks you to come to one of her parties, it's in your best interests to come- or else.
  • Seri Awashima in episode 5 of K, to the principal of the school, telling him to hand over data about a student they suspect of a crime. Of course, while they're having this discussion, her subordinate just goes and hacks the school's computers...

     Comic Books  

  • Watchmen:
    Dr. Manhattan: Pay attention. You will all return to your homes.
    Protester: Oh yeah? And what if we don't, ya big blue fruit?
    Dr. Manhattan: You misunderstand me. It was not a request. [Teleports all protesters to their individual homes]
  • Joss Whedon's run on X-Men gives a rare inversion when a Breakworlder points a gun at Kitty and Colossus.
    Alien: Rasputin and Pryde. You will come with us.
    Colossus: It's unlikely.
    Alien: Your translators are primitive. It is not an order. We are asking. We are asking for your trust.


     Films — Animated  

  • Disney's Beauty and the Beast:
    Beast: (to Belle) You will join me for dinner! That's not a request!
  • Also appears in Disney's Frozen:
    Anna: I want you to take me up the North Mountain.
    Kristoff: I don't take people places.
    Anna: Let me rephrase that. (tosses bag of supplies at him) Take me up the North Mountain... please.

     Films — Live-Action  

  • Played with in The Guyver when Mizky is held hostage by Zoanoids:
    Sean: Let her go!
    Lisker: [Laughs] Is that a request?
    Sean: [Activates Powered Armor] I said, "Let her go."
  • The Devil Wears Prada:
    Miranda: You have no style or sense of fashion.
    Andy: Well, I think that depends on -
    Miranda: No, no. That wasn't a question.
  • In Kill Bill, The Bride demands that Hattori Hanzo give her a sword. When he tells her that they are not for sale, she answers "I didn't say sell me".
    • Snatch.: Brick Top gets in on the action too.
    Of course, fucking of course. I wasn't asking, I was telling.


  • The heroes of David Eddings' Belgariad are quite fond of this; one such example is as follows:
    Ce'Nedra: In the absence of King Belgarion, it appears that I must act in his stead, and I need your advice on how to proceed. I wish the transfer of power into my hands to go as smoothly as possible.
    Rhodar: (after a bout of incredulity) An interesting proposal, your Highness. We have, however, made other arrangements. There's a long-standing precedent in the matter. We thank your Highness for her gracious offer nonetheless.
    Ce'Nedra: It wasn't precisely an offer, your Majesty, and any previous precedents have been superseded.
  • Discworld's Thud!: Vimes is attempting to investigate the death of a prominent dwarf community leader, but is being stymied by another dwarf:
    Helmclever: "I refuse to comply with your request!"
    Vimes: "It wasn't a request."

     Live-Action TV  

  • This exchange in Firefly:
    Badger: I thought we might have a bit of a sit-down.
    Mal: I'd prefer a bit of a piss off.
    Badger: I'm very sorry, did I give you the impression I was askin'?
    • Mal himself is fond of the expression:
    Simon: I'm not sure that's such a good suggestion...
    Mal: Best not mistake it for a suggestion.
    • Seen more dramatically in "Out of Gas", when Mal orders Wash away from Zoe's bedside after she's critically injured.
    Wash: I'm not leaving her, Mal! Don't ask me again!
    Mal: I wasn't askin'. I was tellin'.
  • In Doctor Who, the Doctor tells a woman who wants to fight the Silurians to hand over a weapon. She refuses, and he tells her that right now "he's being nice".
  • The Italian from Leverage says this through a translator in her first appearance.
    My employer wishes you to understand that that was not a request. We will not be providing warrants. You will provide us with all the files you have on Nathan Ford, or you will find yourself under state, federal, and international investigation.
  • According to Max Headroom, any request falls under this trope.
    Max Headroom: Asking is just polite demanding.


  • Fiddler on the Roof: When Perchik and Hodel tell Tevye (Hodel's father) of their engagement and he blusters that he won't allow it:
    Hodel: You don't understand, Papa.
    Tevye (patiently): You're not listening. I say no. I'm sorry, Hodel, but we'll find someone else for you, here in Anatevka.
    Perchik: Reb Tevye.
    Tevye: What is it?
    Perchik: We are not asking for your permission, only for your blessing. We are going to get married.

     Video Games  

  • Transformers: Fall of Cybertron has this exchange between Megatron and Optimus:
    Megatron: No one leaves without my permission!
    Optimus Prime: I wasn't asking.
  • Turns up in Dawn of War.
    Inquisitor Toth: Colonel Brom, the Captain and I must attend to matters of faith. If you would leave us, please.
    Colonel Brom: But surely this involves me as-
    Inquisitor Toth: Forgive me for being unclear on the matter. I said "please", when in fact I meant "now".


     Web Original  

  • A slight variation on the format in Dragon Ball Abridged:
    Freeza: I have a question for you though.
    Piccolo: What's that?
    Freeza: Die.
    Piccolo: That's... not a ques- [gets punched into a mountain.]
    Freeza: That's because I don't do requests.
  • This exchange in Grandmaster of Theft
    Gale: Seeing as you've concluded your business with her, you should not be pressed to conduct some with me now, would you? I've just a couple of questions to ask.
    Cassidy: It's an attractive offer, but I've no interest in discussing such matters on top of a train.
    Gale: I'm sorry to say that was a rhetorical question. The rest of these won't be. If the setting is not to your liking. I could always arrange to take you elsewhere where you'd be more willing to chat.
  • Théo from Aventures does this when Grunlek's mechanical arm malfunctions.
    Théo: Grunlek, can you fix your arm?
    Grunlek: Yeah, sure, right away.
    Théo: (raising his sword) Can you fix your arm?
    Grunlek: (scared) Yes!

     Western Animation  

  • The 90s X-Men series had Cyclops kidnapped underground by the leader of the Morlocks, Callisto:
    Callisto: (Caressing Cyclops' face) You agreed to stay.
    Cyclops: Sorry, not interested.
    Callisto: That wasn't a request!
  • The Simpsons episode, "Strong Arms of the Ma" has a rather unsettling example when Marge takes up bodybuilding and wants to have sex with Homer the night before a contest:
    Marge: (aggressively throws Homer right side up, and pins herself on him) Let's do it.
    Homer: (giggles nervously) Err, listen my bulky flower, I have a long day at work tomorrow..
    Marge: I wasn't asking.
  • Freakshow does this to Danny in the Danny Phantom episode "Reality Trip":
    Freakshow: It seems... I need your help.
    Danny: You miserable freak! Why would I help you?!
    Freakshow: I'm sorry, did I say "need"? I meant demand.
    • And Fright Knight also does it in the episode named after him.
    Fright Knight: You have released me. Return to me my sword so my reign of terror can begin anew!
    Danny: I-I can bring the sword back by midnight... but the reign of terror's kinda a deal breaker.
    Fright Knight: It was not a request, whelp! It was a demand!