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What Would X Do?

"Sir, look outside, do you see that man sitting in the green car? That's my dad. Let me tell you a story about a dream, a boy's dream: A man promised to buy his son a car if I brought up three A's and two thousand dollars. I already have the two thousand and two A's. Your B minus? Poof! Dream gone. Kaput. Now sir, ask yourself... what would Jesus do?"note 
Sam Witwicky negotiates for an A- and a car, Transformers

When a character quotes someone's advice or asks what that person would do in a situation similar to theirs. That someone can be a religious figure of choice, mentors, or someone they idolize in general. Some characters have a tendency to do this all the time, as much as Once an Episode.

Because of the "What Would Jesus Do?" material in Christian homes, and other serious uses of the idea, this is an Undead Horse Trope. Opposite of Hitler Ate Sugar.

Serious Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga  
  • Arika in Mai-Otome, quoting her grandmother
    • In Sifr, Shirow, who is strongly implied to be Arika's father, does the same thing for his grandmother.
  • Himawari from Himawari!, quoting Denzou from her favorite TV show
  • Tohru from Fruits Basket, quoting her mother
  • The protagonist of Change 123 always thinks of the advice of his favorite hero Kamen Raider when a tough situation (or temptation) comes up.
  • In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, many decisions are influenced by what the characters believe Kamina would do in that situation.
    • Admittedly, the first time this happened, the conclusion was "blunder into an incredibly obvious trap".
  • Gaara wonders in Chapter 465, "What would Naruto do?" with regards to Sasuke; he has a desire to save him due to their being Not So Different, but his duties as a Kage compel him to bring Sasuke to justice.
  • Julian in Legend of Galactic Heroes would often think of how Yang Wen-li, his guardian and role model, would solve the problems he was facing at the moment after he took over command in the wake of Yang's death.
  • Hikaru in Hikaru no Go would think about how Sai would play in his situation when he did not have a good move.
  • Throughout the anime of Trigun, Wolfwood watches Vash work through every situation in an idealistic cloud, naively trusting people he shouldn't and avoiding lethal attacks in gunfights, nearly getting killed consistently yet always solving the problem with a minimum of bloodshed. Near the end, facing his own deadly situation, Wolfwood decides to try this method of doing things. He gets killed.

     Comic Books  
  • Current Blue Beetle Jaime Reyes frequently tries to work out what the past Blue Beetles would do, to the point of having WWTKD (What Would Ted Kord Do?) on his bedroom wall. Jaime is kind of adorable.
  • While it's debatable whether he was being serious or not, The Question once asked himself, "What would Rorschach do?"
    • Kill anyone who annoyed him. Duh.
    • There was an issue where the Question decides to take the Rorschach approach to crime fighting. He concludes that the Rorschach approach sucks.

     Fan Works  
  • In Kyon Big Damn Hero, Kyon gets his sister to go home by asking her, "What would a defender of justice do?". It actually worked.
    • Fish Story reference?
  • In Winter War, Lieutenant Iba figures out how to defeat Rubadon by asking what his mom, the former lieutenant of Third Division, would have done about it: use kidou.
  • In this Glee fanfic, Kurt walks into the choir room only to find that Mr. Schue and a few of the glee club members have been taken hostage by a crazy kid with a gun who intends to play Russian Roulette with them. Kurt asks himself, "What would Sue Sylvester do?", and then proceeds to snark and manipulate the kid into giving up the gun.
  • In Not Quite Heroes, Shego is at a loss to track down Dr. Drakken after he gets kidnapped, so she kidnaps Ron and watches Kim to see how she does it.

    Film 
  • The main character of Woody Allen's film Play It Again Sam takes his life lessons from Casablanca. Humphrey Bogart's character from that movie appears as a Spirit Advisor.
  • Maverick always quoted his Pappy. And his Pappy calls him out at the end for the fact he didn't say half the stuff Maverick says he did.
  • Captain Jack Sparrow of the Pirates of the Caribbean films advises whelpish William Turner to think like him, Jack, in order to manipulate people and get his way. William does so to increasing degrees. Later, when Jack is in over his head, he mutters to himself, "Think like the whelp."
  • A similar thing happens in the 1997 remake of That Darn Cat!. In order to rescue Patti, Kelso must follow DC's nightly route; hence, he must think like DC.
  • In Attack of the Clones, Anakin wants to put the ship down after Padmé falls out instead of continuing to pursue Dooku and try to save the galaxy. Obi-Wan gets him to relent by asking him, "What would Padmé do were she in your position?"
  • In Monsters vs. Aliens, one of the men at the conference, after the robot lands, literally says "It's times like this when we ask ourselves, 'What would Oprah do?'"
  • One of the taglines for Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay is "What would NPH do?"
  • From A Time to Kill:
    Ellen: Buckley presents his shrink tomorrow and I need a way to bring him down. I keep asking myself "What would Jake do? What would my father do? What would Lucien do?"
    Harry Rex: That's your problem right there. You should be asking yourself "What would Harry Rex do?"
    Ellen: What would he do?
    Harry Rex: Cheat. Cheat like crazy.
    • And it WORKS.

    Literature 
  • The 1897 novel In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do? is mentioned in The Other Wiki as the source of the modern usage of the phrase. In the novel, the pastor of a church in the railroad town of Raymond challenges his congregation to stop and think "What would Jesus do?" before doing anything, for a full year.
    • The song of this name by Big Tent Revival was the Trope Codifier for the revival of the phrase in the 90s.
  • In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck always gets down on himself, thinking that Tom Sawyer could do it better. However, once Tom arrives on the scene, his overcomplicated, grandiose plans just make the situation worse.
  • In Stephen King's After the End novel The Stand survivors are guided from all over the US to a gathering spot by prophetic dreams. Along the way one survivor, Larry, gets so used to following the signs and example of another survivor, Harold, who had passed along the route first (and come up with clever solutions to problems) that Larry later admitted that when he encountered obstacles he started wondering "What would Harold do?"
  • Candide frequently mulls over how 'if Master Pangloss were alive, surely, he would find a reasonable explanation for this.'
  • History book The Mongol Art of War concludes with a chapter explaining how modern military has been influenced by the Mongols. The author suggests that modern military commanders should consider WWCD, or What Would Chinggis (Khan) Do? The fact that majority of the answers would constitute war crimes today doesn't make the advice any less applicable due to the brilliant tactics utilized by the Mongols.
  • A chapter of the Doctor Who Eighth Doctor Adventures novel The Gallifrey Chronicles, in which Trix finds herself facing an alien invasion on her own, is titled "WWDWD?"
  • Sword of Truth - Terry Goodkind has stated he wants his readers to approach real world morality by considering what Richard would do. You can start screaming now.
  • In Discworld's The Last Hero, Ponder Stibbons had to come up with an emergency solution to an Airship flight problem. Problem is, the senior wizards all want to help. To come up with a way to divert their attention, his line of thought went what would Lord Vetinari do? And it works; he suggests they form a committee, and get back to him once they've decided something, which is how Vetinari got rid of people offering their opinions earlier.
  • In the Lord Peter Wimsey book Have His Carcase, Harriet Vane discovers a dead body and thinks: What would Lord Peter, or Robert Templeton (the detective in the books she writes) do?
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, all the Lannister siblings have moments where they think back to their father, Tywin, and how he would handle the situation, usually acting accordingly. Jaime and Tyrion occasionally think this way about each other as well, indicating both their closeness and how their opposite skill sets compliment each other.
  • In the American Girls book Felicity Saves the Day, the title character has to convince her father's runaway apprentice Ben to turn himself in. When her grandfather asks her how she managed it, she tells him, "I said what I thought you would say."
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's novel Citizen of the Galaxy, a Colonel states a couple times that when faced with a difficult situation, he thinks of his former commander and asks himself "What would Col. Baslim do?"
  • Rand, Perrin, and Mat from The Wheel of Time are all of the opinion that they will never be able to understand women, yet each one thinks that the other two understand women perfectly. It was a common thing in the earlier books especially for one of them to end up in an awkward and/or unpleasant situation with a woman and try to figure out what the other two would do if they were there.
  • When faced with the prospect of breaking up with his pregnant, loveless girlfriend or aborting their would-be child, Lane Dean wonders what Jesus would do.
  • Late in Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor, Luke draws strength from considering how Obi-Wan would act in this situation.
  • Will's mantra whenever he comes to a difficult decision in Ranger's Apprentice is asking himself, "What would Halt do?"
  • In Red Dwarf: Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers, Rimmer, on discovering he has minus twenty minutes to prepare for his exam, asks himself, as he always does in a crisis "What would Napoleon do?"
    Something French, he decided. Probably munch on a croissant, and decide to invade Russia. Not strictly relevant in this situation.
  • The Prince: Chapter XIV: To ensure his success, a prince must choose a model that he admires and follow his actions to be like him (but obviously, dont follow his errors).
    But to exercise the intellect the prince should read histories, and study there the actions of illustrious men, to see how they have borne themselves in war, to examine the causes of their victories and defeat, so as to avoid the latter and imitate the former; and above all do as an illustrious man did, who took as an exemplar one who had been praised and famous before him, and whose achievements and deeds he always kept in his mind, as it is said Alexander the Great imitated Achilles, Caesar Alexander, Scipio Cyrus. And whoever reads the life of Cyrus, written by Xenophon, will recognize afterwards in the life of Scipio how that imitation was his glory, and how in chastity, affability, humanity, and liberality Scipio conformed to those things which have been written of Cyrus by Xenophon.
  • In Jack Campbell's The Lost Stars novel Tarnished Knight, Iceni, in the first space battle, thinks in frustration that Black Jack would have done something different — then she realizes he would change the odds.
  • At one point in the Harry Potter saga, Harry tells Ron that what they need to do is, "... think like Hermione."
  • In the Faction Paradox series, the tendency for people to think this is treated as invoking the people or characters they want to act like. As such, it's a key part of the Faction themselves and the Remote colonists.
  • In the Death of a Dude Nero Wolfe's sidekick Archie Goodwin encounters a redneck sheriff, who modelled himself basically upon Wyatt Earp, with a twist - when he confronted any problem, he asked himself "What J. Edgar Hoover would do?"
    The product was a personality mess that couldn't have been made any worse even by a trained psychoanalyst.

     Live-Action TV  
  • Tendou in Kamen Rider Kabuto ("Grandmother said this...")
  • Despite The Middle Man being almost entirely Affectionate Parody, Lacey is sincere when she asks "WWWWD? What would Wendy Watson do?"
  • There's a throwaway line like this in Power Rangers Operation Overdrive for the series' 15th anniversary Reunion Show, when Alpha Six wonders "What would Zordon do?!" (The answer is "Observe the viewing globe and let the Rangers figure it out," of course, but the whole reason Alpha is there is because the Rangers are absolutely useless in this situation.)
  • NCIS uses this with Gibbs a few times. Partly because most of the cast think of him as a Physical God and partly because he's just about psychic.
  • Life. At the end of one episode, a young woman finds out her father killed the park ranger who was her mentor. She promptly aims a rifle at him. When Crews asks her "What would [mentor] do?" she promptly replies "Kill him." Crews then asks "What would he want you to do?" (Beat) She lowers the gun.
  • One episode of Stargate Atlantis has John Sheppard ask himself "What would McKay do?"
  • In one episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Salem got cat-napped by a little kid who wanted a pet. A couple scenes later, Salem is trying to figure out how to get back home.
    Salem: What would MacGyver do?
  • In the Adventures of Shirley Holmes episode "The Case of the Mysterious Message," Shirley gets herself locked inside a safe while looking for her grandmother. Her friends Bo, Bart and Alicia think she's been kidnapped and set out to look for her, and to decide how to go about this, they wonder "What would Shirley do?"
  • In the final episode of The West Wing outgoing Chief of Staff CJ gives her successor in the new administration, Josh, a post-it note with "WWLD?" on it: "What Would Leo Do?"
  • In House of Anubis, one scene has Amber asking "What would Victoria Beckham do?"
  • In Part One of the Leverage season one finale, Nate and Sophie know that Sterling has them figured out, and pull off the rescue by asking "What would Hardison/Parker do?" They decide they would use electronics to blow out the mooks' eardrums and jump off a really tall building, which do seem like very Hardison and Parkerish plans.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode The Freshman:
    Xander: When it's dark and I'm all alone and I'm scared or freaked out or whatever, I always think "What would Buffy do?" You're my hero. Okay, sometimes when it's dark, and I'm all alone I think "What is Buffy wearing?"
    • Became a Memetic Mutation during and after the series run, many fans saw this as a popular philosophy, What Would Buffy Do?
  • Weeds: "What would Vic Mackey do?"
  • Suits frequently features Mike asking "what would Harvey do?"
  • Doctor Who. (The Visitation) Tegan asks "What would The Doctor do?" to start The TARDIS. He pounds his fist on the console and The TARDIS starts up. Later, when the TARDIS is malfunctioning, The Doctor hits it in the same spot.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, "Pen Pals", Captain Picard places Wesley in charge of a routine geological survey as an educational experience for him. At one point, when Wesley's confidence is down, Riker advises him to ask himself, "What would Captain Picard do?"
    • In "The Best of Both Worlds", Picard is captured and assimilated by the Borg. Riker is placed in command. One of the first things he does is walk into the now-his Ready Room, look at the chair and ask "What would you do?" Then walks in Guinan and tells Riker that he has to think for himself now, as the Borg now know all of Picard's tricks.
  • In the Supernatural episode "Devil May Care" (S09, Ep02), Dean asks, "What would Sam Winchester do?"
  • An episode of Farscape has Moya being threatened. Only Rygel is small enough to fit through a hole and save the day. However, being former royalty, he is unwilling to risk his life. Then Zhaan asks him "What would Rygel I do?", referencing an earlier conversation in which Rygel was talking with pride about his distant ancestor. Without a word, Rygel walks into the hole.

    Music 
  • Alan Jackson's song "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere". The X here is Jimmy Buffett, who then joins in to sing the next refrain.
    Buffett: Funny you should ask, Al. I'd say, 'Pour me something tall and strong ...'
  • Bruce Robison's song "What Would Willie Do" is both a parody of WWJD and a tribute to Willie Nelson. ("He loves all the people, no matter their races / Hell, he even made a hit country song with Julio Iglesias")
  • Cult satire punk band The Causey Way with their album WWCD. The C here stands for Causey.

     Video Games  
  • Mass Effect 2 has both Tali and Garrus drawing heavily on their experiences with Shepard, using his/her example to guide themselves in life during the two years that (s)he's dead. Incidentally, by following Shepard's example, Tali decides to blow stuff up, and Garrus builds a team of experts and starts shooting bad guys on his own. Shepard taught them well.
    • And in Mass Effect 3 you get several more like this: Jack, Tali (again), Garrus (also again), Jacob, and Kaidan/Ashley. To be more precise, anyone still alive from the first two games, if they weren't already leaders or important, has become a leader/important, because that's what Shepard would do. And because Krogan have to do it bigger than the other races, Grunt takes his cues from both Shepard and Urdnot Wrex (himself having taken Shepard's example to heart and begun trying to save his race).
  • X-23 in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 would say this when activating her X-Factor:
    X-23: What would Wolvie do?
  • In World of Warcraft, after the Battle for the Undercity, with the Horde facing war with the Alliance, Thrall wonders what his old friend Grom Hellscream would do in that situation. Varok Saurfang, who had recently lost his son, approaches Thrall and tells him that Grom would tell him to lead his people, giving him some small measure of relief.
  • In Final Fantasy Tactics, Ramza, after killing some deserters who, while not necessarily evil, are intending to collect the bounty on his head and use it to gain a pardon, wonders what his father would have done in that situation.

    Visual Novel 
  • In Ace Attorney Investigations, Edgeworth is able to put the final pieces of the puzzle in the last case together by thinking to himself (paraphrased) 'That man who could turn around victories from the brink of defeat...what would he do?' This makes him realise that he needs to 'turn around' his thinking, and thus that the blood on the Samurai Dogs pack might not be from the victim, but that it could be - and is - from the murderer.

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 
  • In Worm, at one particularly critical juncture in Interlude 26b the superhero Golem asks himself what Weaver does, though in this case its because her tactics are similar to those of the enemy he's fighting, and it gives him an insight into what Jack's second power is.

     Western Animation  
  • In his Batman: The Brave and the Bold version Jaime's hero worship is directed differently, so it's "What would Batman do?" instead.
    • That might change after he found out about Ted. He even ends the episode by saying he tries to do the right thing, just like Ted.
  • Sheen from Jimmy Neutron always asked "What Would Ultralord Do?"
  • An episode of Justice League Unlimited has Captain Marvel admitting part of his crimefighting style is based on asking himself, "What would Superman do?"
  • In Looney Tunes: Back in Action Daffy Duck asks "What would I do? What wuld Damian Drake do? What would Duck Dodgers do?" before realizing that he was Duck Dodgers.
  • In Transformers, the egotistical Sky Lynx suggests that others say this about him. "Before you do anything, think, 'Is this what Sky Lynx would do in my position?', and you will not go far wrong."
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
    • When Twilight Sparkle tries to distract a hydra she wonders what a brave pony like Rainbow Dash would do. The answer she thinks of is to directly charge at the hydra.
    • In another episode, this gets an Ironic Echo when Rainbow Dash wonders what a smart pony like Twilight Sparkle would do.

     Real Life  
  • Common in Moral Philosophy. Many thought-experiments are based on some variant of "What would The Omniscient do?" or "What would a totally impartial person choose?"
  • Common in lay religion. Protestant Christians ask themselves what Jesus would do, Catholics ask themselves what Jesus or the appropriate saint would do, Buddhists ask themselves what Buddha or the appropriate Boddisatva would do, and so on.
    • Although it was pointed out by Catholic apologist Jimmy Akin that the inverse question ("Would you want to do X in Jesus' presence?") is slightly irrelevant, as most devout Christians would want to do nothing other than fall on their knees and pray in Jesus' presence.
    • The inverse question is also a bit of a moot point, as according to most orthodox Christian doctrine you're always in Jesus' presence. That's how omniscience and omnipresence work. Feel free to either rejoice or shudder at the implications according to your preference.
  • Probably common way of analyzing various conundrums among anyone with a bit of imagination. Pick your favorite idol or fictional character (from published works, or the Mary Sue of your own Fan Fic) and ask yourself what she would do.
    • The problem there, of course is "What if your favorite character is The Joker or The Master or someone?"
  • There was a canonical movement involving bracelets with the shield, inviting teenagers to ask "What would Superman do?"
  • In Pastafarianism there's "What Would the Flying Spaghetti Monster Do" (and the less common "What Would a Pirate Do").

Parodies and Subversions

     Anime and Manga  
  • Black Lagoon has a conversation between Revy and Eda about what gun Jesus would use "as he walked through the valley of the shadow of death".
    Eda: Alright, the Good Shepherd. What's his weapon of choice?
    Revy: Huh?
    Eda: Psalm 23 verse 4, "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death." But what I wanna know is, what would you take with you, you know, if you were him.
    Revy: Hmm, I'd say a Jericho, 941 FBL.
    Eda: That's a pretty limp-dick gun for Jesus...
    Revy: You're the nun. What's your fuckin' answer?
    Eda: **Holding up her Glock 17L by its holster** Isn't it obvious? This guy here.
    Revy: You're full of shit. I mean he was Jewish, right? Of course he'd have an Israeli made gun.
    Eda: Goddamn heathen. You're out of your league when it comes to this shit.
  • In Bleach there's a point where Kenpachi is in trouble fighting Tōsen and tries to imagine what his three main minions would do in this situation:
    Yachiru's advice: "Cut with your instinct!"
    Kenpachi: "I tried that already."
    Ikkaku's advice: "You could try that "see with your mind's eye"-thing."
    Kenpachi: "If I could do something like that, I wouldn't need you to tell me about it, stupid!"
    Yumichika's advice: "If it was me, I'd probably... give up... in a beautiful way!"
    Kenpachi: "Go die."

     Comic Books  
  • From issue #1 of the Roger Rabbit comic book, when Roger thinks his new neighbor, who's a weasel, is out to get him:
    Roger: What would Eddie Valiant do?
    [An hour later...]
    Roger: ...And then he'd have another cuppa coffee and look at the sports page again! Gosh, Eddie's brave—

    Commercials 
  • And, of course, one of the ballsiest parodies was a reasonably successful series of commercials for Subway: What Would Jared Do? (This is made even funnier by the fact that Jared is Jewish.)
    • Another Jewish variant: there are "WWJD?" T-shirts where the J stands for Jon. Jon Stewart.

    Fan Works 

    Film 
  • From The Waterboy, Henry frequently quotes his mother's inaccurate information or bad advice.

    Literature 
  • There's also "What Would Sethra Do?" and "What Wouldn't Zeus Do?"
  • Is It Just Me Or Is Everything Shit? has a chapter for Homophobic Christians, which suggests that if Jesus were alive today, what he would in fact do is walk up and down the high street carrying a placard that says "GOD HATES FAGS".
  • In the Star Trek novel Sarek, Peter Kirk is kidnapped by the Klingon Ambassador, who had a grudge against his uncle Jim Kirk. While locked up, Peter tries to think of what his famous uncle would do in this situation. The notion he comes up with (And dismisses scornfully) is to seduce his jailer, the ambassador's niece. Amusingly, he eventually ends up doing this for totally different reasons, and this does help him escape.
  • Don Quixote: Parodied when Don Quixote invokes Achilles in His Tent in the Sierra Morena, he asks himself What would two Knights in Shining Armor do? The catch is that being a deconstruction, Don Quixote must choose between the Knight in Shining Armor played straight (Amadis cries and prays for days because his lady Oriana doesnt want to see him anymore) and the Knight in Shining Armor deconstruction (Roland went mad and killed humans, animals and plants when he discovered princess Angelica slept with Medoro).
  • In The Apocalypse Codex by Charles Stross, Persephone has a "WWLJD" bracelet. The fundamentalist Christian cultists she's infiltrating naturally assume it stands for "What would Lord Jesus do?" Actually, it's "What would Leeroy Jenkins do?"

     Live-Action TV  
  • Supernatural:
    • In one episode, an inept wannabe ghost hunter says "What would Buffy do?"
    • Later Sam motivates a reluctant hacker to go through a dangerous mission by asking her what Hermione would do.
  • On Friends when the gang finds out that they're gonna have to keep Rachel's mom and dad from discovering the other one at Rachel's party:
    Chandler: Okay, think. What would Jack and Crissy do?
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000:
    • One episode has Crow wearing a "What Would Buffy St. Marie Do?" bracelet... followed by a bracelet with a lot of Ws that stands for, well, a lot of names with two Ws: "What Would the World Wrestling Federation, Woodrow Wilson, Wet Willie, Wesley Willis, Wade Wilson, William Wyler, Wendy Waserstein, Walt Whitman, Willy Wonka, Wim Wender..." (gets interrupted).
    • In another episode, Mike (speaking for a struggling song writer) asks "What would Liberace do? ...Hmm, better not do that."
  • In one of the breather episodes of Xena: Warrior Princess, Gabrielle is thrown into a prison cell by Joxer to protect her from Joxer's evil brother Jet. Gabrielle tries to think of a way out and asks herself "What would Xena do?" She then suddenly has a revelation, picks up a round plate, and tosses the round plate at the cell door Xena-style...only for the plate to ricochet off the prison cell door and hit Gabrielle square in the face, knocking her out.
  • "I don't know. What would Bennet do?"
  • "What does your bracelet say?" "WWMD." "What would Madonna do. Outstanding."
  • In the episode "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II" of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Guinan points out to Riker that he can't follow his natural inclination to think like Picard. Indeed, since Picard has been assimilated by the Borg, the Borg could easily repel any plan that Picard could devise.
  • From The Office:
    Dwight: "Whenever Im about to do something, I think, Would an idiot do that?, and if they would, I do not do that thing..."
  • From the Scrubs episode "Our Role Models", Turk gives a pep talk to JD:
    Turk: You are John Damn Dorian, so ask youself, "What would John Damn Dorian do?" W.W.J.D.D.D.D?
    Surgery patient: Too many "D"s.
    Turk: Why are you still awake?
  • In Community episode Comparative Religion Jeff eventually asks himself "What would Shirley do?" when confronting Mike. He initially reasons that she'd seek a peaceful resolution. However, when Mike throws this peaceful approach back in his face, he receives confirmation of what Shirley would actually do from the source herself:
    Shirley: Jeffrey, kick his ass!
    • Earlier in the same episode, Shirley hands out bracelets with the letters WWBJD ("What Would Baby Jesus Do?") to the whole group.
    Annie: WWBJD?
    Pierce: If this stands for "What Would Billy Joel Do?", I'll tell you right now; he'd write another crappy song.
  • Saturday Night Live:
    Queen Latifah as Gwen Ifill: How will you solve the financial crisis by being a maverick?
    Tina Fey as Sarah Palin: You know, we're gonna take every aspect of the crisis and look at it and then we're gonna ask ourselves, "What would a maverick do in this situation?" And then, you know, we'll do that!
  • In ventriloquist Jeff Dunham's Comedy Central special Spark of Insanity, he and his Grumpy Old Man puppet Walter talk for a couple minutes about an argument Walter had with his wife.
    Walter: I thought to myself, "What would Jesus do?" So I tried to turn her into a fish. (beat) Begone, Sataaaan! Hello, Shamu.
  • Oz. A corrupt prison guard coerces one of the born-again Christian inmates into committing arson. "Now is not the time to ask, what would Jesus do."
  • When Brian Potter is stuck on his stairlift in a powercut in Phoenix Nights, he asks himself 'What would Thora Hird do?'

    Music 
  • According to Mitch Benn:
    If you got a problem,
    And you don't know where to turn,
    And nobody's advice is helping you,
    Don't run round like a chicken,
    Don't fall into despair,
    Just ask yourself:
    What would Elvis do?
  • The Axis Of Awesome wrote a song called "What Would Jesus Do?" making fun of this trope - it points out that most people CAN'T do whatever it is that Jesus would do.

     Newspaper Comics  
  • In Dilbert, Dogbert advises Ratbert to live by the philosophy "What would Dogbert do?"
  • In a couple of strips of Footrot Flats the Dog is trying to take care of the farm while Wal is away and whenever something goes wrong he asks himself what Wal would do.
    The Dog: Oh no! A weta snatched a baby duckling! Wal's not here. What would he do?" "YA &#^%@& WETA!!!"
    • Another one, involving large numbers of stinging insects, had him conclude that Wal would...hide in the outhouse with the newspaper.

     Video Games  
  • In Kingdom of Loathing, if you're in a clan with a "Mr. Klaw" crane game in their clan hall, you can win a "What Would The Naughty Sorceress Do?" bracelet, along with similar bracelets for the three patron heroes of KoL: "What Would Boris Do?", "What Would Sneaky Pete Do?", and "What Would Jarlsberg Do?"
  • Left 4 Dead 2 pulls this off in The Passing when Ellis is nervous about meeting Zoey again later on. Rochelle tries to be helpful but since she forgets Ellis goes on a long winded conversation anytime he mentions Keith, it wouldn't end well if Coach hadn't stepped in:
    Rochelle: Ask yourself, what would Keith do?
    Ellis: Oh! That reminds me of the time Keith—
    Coach: Girl, what are you doing?
    Rochelle: I-I wasn't thinking!
    Coach: * sigh* Look. Let your guard down for a minute and we all pay the price.

     Web Comics  

     Web Original  
  • The scabrous and comically macho celebrity news site What Would Tyler Durden Do?
  • WTFWSLJDMF, or What Would Samuel L. Jackson Do?
  • There's a LiveJournal user icon that asks WWR2D2D?
  • This. Probably not meant to be hilarious, but it so is.
  • In addition to the semi-serious "What would Harry do?", A Very Potter Musical also has, "What would Zac Efron say at a time like this?"
  • The Daily Victim gives us What would Solid Snake do?
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series episode 38 has Jean-Claude Magnum, who is a idiotic Scientologist member of the "Church"-whose-name-shall-not-be-typed who tries to kidnap Mai after she beats him in a card game. This ends with Mai dangling from a flagpole with Magnum crying "She's going to fall to her untimely death! What would L. Ron Hubbard do?"
    • Much earlier Yugi asks Mokuba what his brother would say about him stealing things. He has to amend this to what he would ay "if he wasn't a complete douchebag" after Mokuba imagines that Seto would tell him to steal something from Joey too.
  • Appears adorably in Awkward.:
    Lester: When times get tough and I don't know what to do, I think to myself... what would Link do?
  • The Comics Curmudgeon's merch includes "What Would Margo Do?" wristbands.
  • What Would Chuck Do? (it's rather obvious)
  • In the Homestar Runner cartoon "A Dumpy Tale", Coach Z tries to insert characters called "The Dancing Brothers" into Strong Sad's story unsuccessfully. Later, when he (falsely) believes he's killed Strong Sad, he starts to panic and wonders what the Dancing Brothers would do. After thinking for a moment, he does exactly what the Dancing Brothers would do: sing a cheerful song and dance away from the scene.
  • Parodied and then played straight in Dragon Ball Z Abridged.
    Goku: What would Yamcha do?
    (Clip of Yamcha dying)
    Goku: Um, um, what would Tien do?

     Western Animation  
  • What would Scooby do?
  • In the "Jesus vs Santa" short, the prototype of South Park, the children ask "What would Brian Boitano do?" and fail to come up with an answer. In the South Park feature film, they sing a song about the subject, listing the feats of Brian Boitano, which lie on the absurd level of a Memetic Badass.
    • Speaking of Brian Boitano, he now has a show on Food Network called "What Would Brian Boitano Make?". It's exactly what it says on the tin.
  • In one episode of The Simpsons, Homer is fleeing a duel with a southern colonel. He wonders "What would Zorro do?" and pictures the swashbuckler being shot by the colonel a la Indiana Jones. Cue Homer's anguished cry, "Zorro!!!"
    • In "Barting Over", Homer had a bracelet that said "WWJD", but when Lisa told him what it meant, Homer complained he thought it meant "What Would Geppetto Do?".
    • Rod and Todd's film choices are influenced by the church movie guide "What Would Jesus View?"
    • In "Dumbbell Indemnity", Homer imagines what Marge would say about getting involved with Moe's car insurance scam:
    Marge: Homer, I insist you steal that car!
    • In another episode, Moe tries to convince Homer to give him money. Homer imagines what Marge would say, giving us an Imagine Spot of Moe dressed as Marge, encouraging him to give Moe the money. Then the real Marge enters the bubble and asks what's going on, causing Marge-Moe to hurriedly pull the bubble closed.
    • In "Wedding For Disaster", when the top church minister comes to Springfield, Moe sells buttons and other trinkets with suggestive, (sac)religious messages like "Who Would Jesus Do". Yeah, he's uncouth like that.
    • In "Hungry Hungry Homer", when Homer exposes the Springfield Isotopes' owner's plot to move the team out of Springfield, the owner sics Duffman on him. Homer tells Duffman that this is his chance to do the right thing and fight for the little guys. Duffman feels conflicted and asks himself "What would Jesus do?" A second later Duffman beats the crap out of the Isotopes' owner.
  • A spot for Space Ghost Coast to Coast had SG in line to renew his superhero license and his talk show host license. As he ponders which of the two separate lines to get into first, he wonders "What would Burt Ward do?"
  • When Zuko wonders what his uncle Iroh would do, it usually results in an Ice-Cream Koan. He also once wondered what Azula would do, apparently just to be contrary with himself.
  • Lucky from King of the Hill, an avid nature show watcher, has a simple philosophy: "What Would a Monkey Do?"
  • In Family Guy, when they find the trailer of The Passion of the Christ 2: Crucify This (a mix of The Passion of the Christ and Rush Hour) in the house of Mel Gibson, we see that Jesus' car license plate is WWID ( What Would I Do).
    • Given the potential mashup with another well known parody, it could just as easily be What Would I Drive.
  • Omi's advice in Xiaolin Showdown: asking people to think at what he'd do.
  • In "Call of the Primitives", an episode of the original Transformers cartoon, famed Autobot Sky Lynx once said, "Now remember, before you do anything, think, 'Is this what Sky Lynx would do in my position?', and you will not go far wrong." Sound advice.

     Real Life  
  • The Chinese Cookie asks WWCS? or What would Confucius say?
  • A joke: A man walks into a store selling WWJD hats for thirty dollars. He asks what WWJD stands for, and is told ot means "What Would Jesus Do?" To which he answers "Well he certainly wouldn't have paid thirty dollars for that hat!"
  • What Would Kira Do?
  • There was a fairly thriving Browncoat fandom thing of having bracelets which said 'WWMRD' or, 'What would Malcolm Reynolds Do' (be awesome, and shoot people mostly)
    • Fans at Dragon-Con loved it when Jewel Staite gave that advice to Nathan Fillion.
  • WWJD: Who wants Jack Daniels?

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