Won't Take "Yes" for an Answer
aka: Ptitle3653u1meowi 3
Alice has something to ask of Bob. Maybe it's to borrow a cup of sugar, maybe it's to ask him to baby-sit, maybe it's if he's interested in going out for drinks. Whatever the favor, Alice wholly anticipates that Bob will turn her down—she anticipates it so thoroughly that the moment Bob gives his answer, she launches into a spiel designed to hector or persuade him away from saying "no", completely missing the fact that Bob in fact said yes! It may take several moments, or several interruptions from Bob, before it catches up with her that he's actually agreed.
A Comedy Trope
that is sort of verbal Double Take
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Anime and Manga
- In Haiyore! Nyarko-san, Nyarko is asking her friend Tamao for romantic advice on how to move things along with her love interest Mahiro. Eventually Tamao says "Why don't you just kiss him?" Nyarko says that she already did, and Tamao first reacts as if she said something like "No way, I'm too embarassed!" and starts thinking of an alternate idea before the realization sinks in and she gives a Big "WHAT?!".
- In Gundam Build Fighters Try, Sekai and Fumina confront Miyagi, president of the Model Building Club, to convince him to let Yuuma join their Gunpla Battle Club. Miyagi's agreement flies right over their heads, and Sekai is just about to challenge him to a fight when the realization sinks in. In this case, they expected resistance because Miyagi had been a Sitcom Arch-Nemesis in the previous two episodes, but didn't realize that his getting a girlfriend (fellow Model Club member Eri Shinoda) would completely mellow him out.
- This exchange between Laurie and Jon in Watchmen:
Laurie: My whole life's a joke. One big, stupid, meaningless... aw shit...
Jon: I don't think your life's meaningless.
Laurie: Oh no, well, obviously that's what you're going to say because anything I'm stupid enough to believe is true, you just disagree with it and... uh... you don't?
- In Paul Jenkins' Sidekick, Night Judge threatens goons with a punch in the face if they don't answer him truthfully. Even if they fess up, he punches them anyway mid-sentence. Night Judge repeatedly winds up with a room or alleyway full of thugs on the floor without gaining any information, then promptly looks for another place where bad guys hang out to beat up.
- In FoxTrot, Peter's first attempt to ask Denise out is like this. He launches into a prepared speech about she probably doesn't remember him, completely oblivious to fact that she keeps telling him she knows who he is. She eventually tells him to put down the script.
- In Dungeon Keeper Ami, Ambassador Camilla, as a representative of the Shining Concord Empire, brings a list of requirements before Mercury. These requirements (for the Shining Concord to consider establishing any kind of diplomatic relations with the newly-minted Empress) include a lavish embassy that turns out to be a scaled-down model of their own imperial palace, built at Mercury's expense. Mercury is floored when she realizes that the total cost is greater than eight dungeon hearts (who are implied to cost approximately one ton of gold- each). Camilla is so certain that she will refuse to build such a costly embassy that she is initially confused by Ami's simple agreement.
- In In Flight, Uzume asks Shirou to heal her Ashikabi, not expecting Shirou to simply agree. To be fair, Shirou has been building a reputation for being ruthless and doing whatever it takes to win, to the point where even his own Sekirei are surprised by his immediate acceptance.
Films — Animation
- The Chief Blue Meanie from Yellow Submarine will not take "yes" for an answer. All his yes/no questions must be answered with "no."
Chief: Are the troops in readiness?
Max: No, your Blueness.
Chief: The Bonkers?
Chief: Snapping Turks?
Chief: Anti-music missiles?
Chief: The dreadful Flying Glove?
Chief: Splendid! Today, Pepperland goes blue-ey!
- In Hotel Transylvania, Mavis Dracula is practising a speech for her father on her 118th Birthday (in front of a mirror, despite the lack of reflection, and literally pacing around the room, including walls and ceiling) that he has promised to let her out of the castle when she turned 118. Dracula walks in, and Mavis starts her tirade for real, not noticing when her father calmly says "ok". However, it's all a trick. He wants Mavis to see the human world for real and decide to stay at the castle of her own will by creating a fake human village with his zombie lackeys dressed as humans with torches and pitchforks.
Films — Live-Action
- Emily Crachit (Miss Piggy) does this to Scrooge (Michael Caine) when he's talking to Bob (Kermit the Frog) in The Muppet Christmas Carol.
Scrooge: And therefore, I intend to raise your salary!
Emily: And therefore, I'm gonna raise you RIGHT off the pavement and... pardon?
- In Tommy Boy, Tommy does an unbelievable sell... then the guy he's selling to says he'll buy from Tommy, and Tommy starts to act like he says no, then both he and business partner Richard do a Double Take and yell "What?"
- A variant in Iron Man 2: Tony tells Pepper he wants her to run the company for him, and Pepper angrily replies that she's trying to run the company, but she can't because he's never there.
Tony: Pepper, I'm trying to make you CEO. Why won't you let me?
- Tom in Royal Wedding quotes this trope about the captain of the ship after agreeing to his pleas for a performance.
- In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Hagrid does this when trying to defend Harry in Dumbledore's office (while waving a dead rooster he happened to have on him). Only the film version, however, includes the actual verbal backstep part.
Hagrid: It wasn' Harry, Professor Dumbledore! I was talkin' ter him seconds before that kid was found, he never had time, sir!
(Dumbledore tries to interrupt)
Hagrid: It can't've bin him, I'll swear it in front o' the Ministry o' Magic if I have to—
Dumbledore: Hagrid, I—
Hagrid: Yeh've got the wrong boy, sir, I know Harry never—
Dumbledore: Hagrid! I do not think Harry attacked those people.
Hagrid: Oh. Right. I'll wait outside then, Headmaster.
- A non-comedic version of this is what basically sets the plot of The Demolished Man into motion. The protagonist is so convinced that a hated business rival will refuse his offer to merge their firms that he literally cannot see that the coded answer he gets is actually an agreement and thus starts to plot the man's murder. Different from most other cases here in that the misunderstanding is only cleared up weeks after he has already succeeded.
- It's more complicated than that. His mental disorder makes him think the answer is no in order to justify doing what he wanted to do, kill his father.
- In the Relativity story "Bajo el Muérdago," one of the subplots involves Ravenswood and Melody being given a chance to purchase some delicious South American coffee for their shop; the downside is that it will involve going into a partnership with the dictator who runs the country. Melody is so sure that establishing ties with a dictator would be a bad move, that when Ravenswood tells her they should she at first thinks he actually said no.
- Seinfeld exchange between Kramer and Elaine on the episode titled "The Millenneum":
Kramer: (pleading) Elaine, you can't go to Newman's Newmanniun [party].
Elaine: (neutral) Okay.
Kramer: (frantic) No! No! No! You gotta spend New Year's 1999 with me and Jerry!
Elaine: (neutral) Fine.
Kramer: (frustrated shout) Oh COME ON!!
- Full House when D.J. is petitioning for her own room.
Danny: All right, I've made a decision...
D.J.: Dad, that's so unfair!
Danny: You haven't even heard what it is yet.
D.J.: Sorry, just a habit.
- Variation: An episode of Dharma and Greg has Greg running for office. Dharma readily agrees, but he seems reluctant, after a while, Dharma says "Wait... you had a big convince Dharma speech planned didn't you?"
- Played a good deal more seriously in a later episode of Frasier. Niles has a minor tooth ache which he mentions in jest has a very small chance of being caused by a severe heart condition. When a series of increasingly improbable occurrences keep happening around him, he becomes paranoid that he may in fact have a problem, though this fear is initially played for laughs. When he goes to get a check up, he seems afraid right up until the doctor gives him his results, when he immediately seems to relax and mention how relieved he is... until he realises that the doctor has just told him that he does have a heart condition, and will require serious surgery.
- In The West Wing, Blonde Republican Sex Kitten Ainsley Hayes has been invited to the White House to meet with Chief of Staff Leo McGarry. Expecting she's going to be chewed out for having beaten Sam on a talking-heads TV show, she begins defending herself, not stopping to notice that Leo has just offered Ainsley a job. When she does figure that out (lampshaded with Leo's "here it comes..."), she starts objecting to the offer. Despite wanting it pretty much more than anything else in life:
Leo: Don't you want to work in the White House?
Ainsley: Oh, only since I was two. It has to be this White House?
- Used in the first episode of Yes, Prime Minister, newly elected Jim Hacker speaking with his Chief of Defense:
Hacker: It's going to be very unpopular with the armed forces, but... there it is. I intend to cancel Trident.
Chief: Good idea.
Hacker: Now, hold on! It's no good trying to talk me out of it, because once I've made up my mind, I... what did you say?
- In a NewsRadio episode, Matthew asks Dave if he's being fired, and after Dave says no, Matthew doesn't hear it that way. As he begins to leave, he realizes his mistake and asks, "Were you just going to let me leave?" Dave nods mischievously, having fully expected him to not listen (he is the Spaz, after all).
- Stargate SG-1
- In the episode "The Broca Divide", Daniel is trying to argue to General Hammond that they should spend more time on their latest contacted planet, even though there's nothing to be gained militarily. Having clearly lost several rounds of this argument already, he's so determined to make his case that it takes him a minute to realize that this time the General is saying yes.
- This happens to Daniel a few times when he underestimates the General's Genre Savvy-ness. In another episode, he's ready to go in with rhetorical guns ablazin' to convince Hammond to act on a tip he got from a Prophetic Dream, when the General agrees instantly on the basis that that's hardly the weirdest thing he's heard while in command of the SGC.
- One episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine features Odo telling Quark that he has no choice but to do something. Quark protests "That's not fair." Odo points out that he hasn't said what it is yet, and then makes Quark a temporary deputy. Quark again starts to say "That's not fair!" but only gets halfway through before reacting.
- One episode has Radar reacting this way when he asks a new nurse to go out with him, and she agrees to.
- An earlier episode has half the camp coming down with the flu, including Colonel Blake and Major Burns. At one point Major Houlihan tells Hawkeye that, as ranking officer among the well, she should be in charge rather than him. Hawkeye agrees, but she keeps stating her case, leading him to invoke the trope name.
- In the final moments of Popular, we see Brooke storming out of a restaurant with Sam, saying "This isn't what I wanted", concerning an unseen-by-viewers decision by Harrison over who he's going to take to the prom. This prompted viewers to assume that he had picked Sam. Even the Television Without Pity recap said as much, although it also said that others argue that it could have been the other way. Ryan Murphy later revealed that this was (would have been?) the case.
- In the second season finale of Parks and Recreation, Leslie goes to Chris to argue in favor of holding a childrens' concert in spite of budget cuts. Leslie has barely begun her points before he agrees with her. She then explains she wasn't expecting him to say yes so quickly, so he lets her go through her carefully-prepared argument anyway.
- Variation: In an episode of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Jack is displeased with Jordan for not making her approval known during a pitch meeting. She interrupts by saying she's not going to bid on the show, and Jack carries on for a few more sentences before realizing she's already said she's not bidding at all.
- Fringe: Broyles calls Olivia on this at one point:
Broyles: Dunham. I came in here to begin making the calls I'm going to need to make in order to get the interview that we both agree is necessary. And I would also request that you stop cutting me off every time I'm about to tell you to stop drilling, you've struck oil, as I was going to do when we first came through that door.
- White Collar has a paired example in "Burke's Seven":
Peter: You make that deal, a killer walks free. Neal, you can find your revenge in the justice. It's there.
Neal: I know.
: You're not listening to me. *pause* You are listening to me.
And then later:
Peter: A con.
Neal: Nothing illegal. But if we—
Peter: All right.
Neal: Just hear me out— *Peter smirks* I saw what you did there.
- Patito Feo has a 15 years old girl, "Patito", and two distanced parents, Carmen and Leandro. Patito's boyfriend will go to Spain and wants to take her. Carmen is completely opposed to let her daughter leave the country, being still a child. She's sure that, without her authorization, Patito would seek Leandro's. So Carmen go to see him first, who does not know anything and does not understand what is she so angry about. And once she has explained, so angry because he would authorize Patito, he says "it's crazy!". Climatic music gets interrupted, and Carmen suddenly does not know what to say. Leandro agrees with her: it would be crazy to let a girl his age to leave the country just with a friend.
- An early clip on Sesame Street had Ernie going over to his neighbor Herbert Birdsfoot to borrow his vacuum, and starting to muse on how Herbert usually takes a bath about this time. He worries about Herbert getting mad over having to get out of the bath and answer the door, and will probably bad-mouth him to his friends, etc. By the time Herbert does answer the door, completely dressed, dry, and in a good mood, Ernie's too worked up to notice.
Herbert: "Hello. Ernie, what do you want?"
Ernie: "Oh yeah? Well, if that's the way you feel about it, you can just keep your rotten old vacuum cleaner" (marches off, leaving Herbert very surprised.)
- On an episode of Top Gear, after giving an ultimately negative review of the Aston Martin Virage (which was tested at the Nurburgring), James May turns to Jeremy Clarkson and this happens:
May: "Right. Is this gonna be a five minute argument, or do you want the full half hour?"
Clarkson: "No, because I actually agree with you."
May: "No, for God's sake, look the point is, Aston already make the DBS, and the Vantage S for people who are enthusiasts of the Nurburgring. But why haven't they thought that there might be somebody who wants a faster Aston, but maybe has, I don't know, back ache, for example."
Clarkson: "Yes, I agree with that."
May: "Oh, shut up, man! Do you not realize this could have been that car, and it isn't, and that's a tragedy!"
Clarkson: "I know."
May: "You are such an idiot, honestly."
- Variation in Merlin. Gwen has been kidnapped and Uther refuses to send a search party for her. Morgana starts hassling Arthur, calling him a coward and expressing disbelief that he would leave a friend to die...while Arthur is clearly packing to go after Gwen. It takes several tries before Arthur can get Morgana to stop yelling at him long enough to realize that he's already on her side.
- Ōkami: Issun does this when Amaterasu agrees to help people, but only for things that Issun really doesn't want to do. He makes out that if "his boss" (i.e. you) says no, his hand are tied, and instinctively assumes you said no until he realizes what you said. This happens three times.
- Given that Shion blew off Allen's requests for a date in the first two chapters of XenoSaga, he's rather surprised when she agrees in the third.
- In Star Wars: The Old Republic, when the Bounty Hunter's first companion asks to come along, if the player chooses to say "yes" immediately, she launches into her prepared speech before realizing what you said.
Bounty Hunter: Then saddle up, kid, let's go.
: I...I'm good with a blaster, and Braden
was like a father to me, so it's not fair for you to... did you just say yes?
- On the Republic side, the Smuggler has a similar dialogue with Guss Tuno.
Smuggler: Grab a bunk and come along. Should be good for some laughs.
Guss Tuno: No no no, just listen. I know Rogun. I could help you with... Did you say "yes"?
- It's a bit different from most examples, but happens once in Ace Attorney Investigations case 4 when Gumshoe asked Edgeworth if he had proof that there were other people in the hallway. Edgeworth said yes. Gumshoe's response:
Gumshoe: As if you could! I mean, what are the chances of that... Wait, you do...?
- In Katawa Shoujo, Misha and Shizune often try to get Hisao to do work for them on the Student Council in the routes besides Shizune's, in which Hisao joins as a member. In Lilly's route, the following exchange happens.
Misha: Since we're just two poor little girls that need help with all the work we've been given just before the holidays begin~...
Hisao: Sure, I can help.
Misha: But Hicchan, we're really nee- What?
- In Taketo Kanzaki's "Happy Ending" in Class Trip Crush, Taketo confesses his feelings to the protagonist and tells her he wants to go out with her. However, he's convinced that she's in love with his twin brother Yasuto, and he gets a good ways into a speech about how he understands that she doesn't return his feelings and he just needed to get them off his chest before it gets through his head that she just said 'yes'.
- The Order of the Stick
- Our heroes are sued after accidentally destroying a Gate holding back the Sealed Evil in a Can. Fortunately, they manage to get a "not guilty" verdict, though it's clear they weren't expecting it. Amusingly, while the rest of the cast does manage to take "yes" for an answer once they get over the Double Take, Haley Starshine, temporarily cursed to be The Unintelligible, launches into a detailed rant about why they should have been found guilty under any sane legal code.
- Also happens in the prequel book On the Origin of PCs, when Roy is trying to hire party members in a tavern. After receiving a "No" from at least thirty adventurers, comes Haley Starshine. Roy begins thanking her for listening and saying he understands, before realizing she actually said "Yeah, OK."
- From A Miracle of Science, the scene where Mad Scientist Dr. Haas is explaining his plan to conquer the solar system with robots and institute a technocratic rule. This conversation is particularly apt because Dr. Juruna is trying to have a romantic dinner with Dr. Haas.
Dr. Haas: Robots will be teachers, police, bureaucrats... an industrial chemist would be free to pursue works of the intellect without worrying where the rent or food money are coming from.
Dr. Juruna: That sounds wonderful, Virgil.
Dr. Haas: YOU JUST THINK ITS STUPID BECAUSE YOU HAVEN'T... did you just say it's a good idea?
- From Roxxor University, here.
- In Tweep, Milton is a spoilsport.
- Happens in Something Positive here.
- In Absurd Notions, Biff's telemarketing job makes him prone to this.
- Homestuck: Caliborn.
uu: HELLO DIRK IN THE PAST.
uu: LET'S PLAY A GAME.
uu: DO NOT EVEN FuCK WITH ME.
uu: I WANT TO PLAY A GAME WITH YOu. AND A GAME IS EXACTLY THAT WHICH WILL BE PLAYED BETWEEN uS.
TT: I said I'd play.
uu: DIRK. I WANT YOu TO DRAW ME SOME PORNOGRAPHY.
TT: You got it.
uu: IF YOu FAIL TO DRAW ME SOME PORNOGRAPHY.
uu: THERE WILL BE CONSEQuENCES.
[He continues in this vein for quite some time.]
- A variant in Gunnerkrigg Court: Parley and Andrew spend a whole strip congratulating Annie for being chosen as the new medium. Reynardine is the only person who seems to notice the headmaster said Andrew.
- In DM of the Rings, the Éowyn scene is parodied as the players (especially Aragorn) are more than happy to welcome her to the party, but the DM insists otherwise. He eventually just retcons the scene by explaining that Éowyn was just some crazy chick. She later shows up in the Final Battle, to the confusion of many.
- In Freefall, during a discussion about robot personhood:
- Truth in Television, as anyone who has ever worked with the general public can attest. You tell a customer that yes, they can have whatever freebie they've asked for, and they'll still spend 20 minutes ranting about how they deserve it before they click that you've said yes. Browsing Not Always Right will reveal more than a few of these.
- Or when two people are arguing, and neither of them realizes that the other is actually taking the same side as them. Sometimes pointed out as "I think you two are in violent agreement".
- Another variant happens when a person gets "yes" when asking for a permission but is so afraid of being scolded for it by someone else that they will keep asking multiple times until the person gets annoyed - possibly to the point of threatening to say "no" if they ask even one more time.
- Another customer variant is to refuse to listen to information that will actually save them money, and insist on paying a higher price because everything an employee says is clearly an attempt to "rip them off." For example, taking something that was under one sign but on sale for a lower price and demanding the price on the sign.
- The overexplainer, the customer continues to tell you what they want after you already told them you have it and may have been on your way to lead them to it.
- A common example on Not Always Working is the cashier who keeps telling the underage customer (or of-age customer who's forgotten to bring ID) that they can't buy alcohol, even though the customer is not actually trying to or has already agreed to put the beer back on the shelf.
- Another Not Always Working example is when an employee is so used to having a customer ask for something for free that they keep trying to "explain" to the customer that they can't, for instance, get a free replacement phone because water damage is not covered by warranty, not registering that the customer has said they don't want a free phone, they want to buy a new one.
- Then there are ones where the employees are so used to complaints, and so unaccustomed to being thanked or complimented, that they can't even process the concept of being praised by a customer. It takes them several seconds to comprehend that the customer isn't complaining and doesn't want anything — they're just taking the time to commend them. It's actually quite sad.