Wiki Headlines
We've switched servers and will be updating the old code over the next couple months, meaning that several things might break. Please report issues here.

main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Oh Crap: Real L Ife

  • In driver's education class, where police officers and insurance agents are frequently guest speakers, they will explain that in many investigations of fatal accidents, where the victims (or not-so-innocent drivers) are killed outright, they can often be seen with their hands in front of their faces, as though they were trying to shield themselves against flying glass, the steering wheel, the dashboard, etc. that would be flying into their bodies and crushing them to death. "Oh crap!" expressions are also often locked in their faces.
  • The expression of Nguyen Van Lem (a member of the Viet Cong) during his 1968 execution is "Oh crap!", forever documented on film. The infamous image was captured by photojournalist Eddie Adams.
  • A seal, about to get eaten by a shark. Turns out that the facial expression for "Oh crap, I am about to get eaten by a shark," is exactly the same between seals and humans.
  • Nicolae Ceauşescu, Communist dictator of Romania who gunned down his own people to stay in power, had one of these during the revolutions of 1989. With nearly every other Communist government in Eastern Europe swept away, he held a rally to encourage support for the government... only to see the expected cheers of the crowd he was trying to address dissolve into boos and hisses. The look of complete incomprehension on his face is still one of the most memorable images of the Hole in Flag revolutions. Here is a video of the rally, with English subtitles and commentary.
  • Bobby Fischer once said that his favorite part of chess was the moment when his opponent realizes that he has lost.
    • This is especially pronounced if they had previously thought they were winning.
  • The Nazis underwent a pronounced series of these. The first to twig was Fritz Todt in 1941. He was asked to chair an investigation to see if Germany's industry could supply it with the arms to win a war against the British Empire and the U.S.S.R. He found not only that it couldn't even come close to beating Britain alone, but that if the USA entered the war then the Third Reich was completely screwed. No one listened to him. It just went downhill from there.
    • In a more humorous example along the same lines, the US Army's mostly Japanese-American 442nd Infantry had great fun convincing prisoners in their custody that Japan had switched sides and was sending troops to fight in Europe, eliciting this reaction.
  • According to those who were present, the Soviet Foreign Commissar Vyacheslav Molotov and their Ambassador to Germany, Vladimir Dekanozov, had these when told about the the outbreak of Operation Barbarossa.
    • Molotov certainly - at the end of Ambassador von der Schulenberg's speech he whispered: "Do you really think we deserved that?" But, at least according to von Ribbentrop, Dekanozov showed the briefest glimmer of surprise, then made a reply in flawless diplo-speak, which was followed by a defiant This Is Unforgivable! threat.
    • The German ambassador, von der Schulenberg, also had one of these when he found out about the planned invasion. The poor man had devoted his most of his career to improving Russo-German relations, and knew nothing of the invasion plans until he received his orders from Ribbentrop a few hours beforehand. He was so disgusted by the Nazi plan that he joined the resistance, and would have become Foreign Minister had the July 21st plot succeeded.
  • This hockey picture.
  • A Who Wants to Be a Millionaire contestant (at 0:27 of the vid), when she jumped on an answer without reading them all fully, and realized her error right after validating her answer.
  • It's said that when Maximilien Robespierre, head of the original Reign of Terror, realized that his own insanely strict policies were being used against him, you could see LAYERS of Oh Crap expressions on his face as he realized what was going to happen.
  • Man gets hit by Port-Oh-John. "Oh, crap" indeed.
  • Kasparov makes a wrong move playing against Anand. His Oh, Crap face and body language are priceless.
  • Shortly after GPS became available/known to the general public, a reporter covering the development closed out a report, reading from the teleprompter in normal TV-reporter-voice, "for instance, if I were to wear a helmet containing a GPS transmitter, my bosses at {network} would be always able to tell my location, within 3 meters, anywhere in the world." A split second later, just before the camera breaks off, you can see him realize what he just said— the look is priceless.
  • BBC weatherman Tomasz Schafernaker gave a sarcastic newsreader the finger, realising a split-second too late that he was live on air.
  • BBC News accidentally put prospective IT hire Guy Goma on the air after mistaking him for technology expert Guy Kewney. The look on his face when he realizes he's live on air has to be seen to be believed. He then proceeds to successfully fake his way through the interview.
  • One firefighter described an occasion where he was in a hot, smoke-filled, burning building, and felt something hot against his inner thigh. Let's put that into perspective: he felt something hot against his inner thigh, through several layers of material designed to allow him to work in a burning building. A close inspection of the object revealed it to be a scalding hot pressurized oxygen tank. He described the ensuing physical response as a "Pucker Moment", where every part of your body capable of puckering tight, does.
  • From Apollo XIII, the immortal line: "Houston, we've had a problem."
  • According to The Sun, several chavs were breaking into vans on a council estate... only one happened to be manned by 4 SAS operatives. Full story here.
  • Get anywhere near a wild rabbit and it has this reaction. Justified, as there's always something looking for a tasty smeerp.
  • Whilst filming Monty Pythons Life Of Brian, the extras for the 'Biggus Dickus' scene hadn't been told anything except "stand there and look serious" so their laughter was genuine. One of the extras has a clear "oh crap" face at the line "he has a wife you know..."
  • The moment the Second Tower was hit on September 11, 2001, and we all realized that no, this was not a random accident - this was a deliberate terrorist attack.
  • The moment when you, playing Preferans, claim mizer, take the prikup and it is revealed to be two aces.
  • Happens to nine out of ten pedophiles in To Catch a Predator the moment Chris Hansen walks in the door.
  • Everyone West of the Oder river had one when the Ivans lofted Sputnik.
  • Aeroperú flight 603. "We are impacting water!!!".
  • Many students, upon looking a test or exam over and realizing that they don't know the material quite as well as they thought they did.
    • Or when they realise that the due date for that essay they haven't started is tomorrow morning.
    • Both of these pale in comparison to that moment when, during a multiple choice test, you marked the right answer in the wrong line...and you just did the next 26 lines...
  • Rick Perry during the November 9, 2011 debate during the run for the Republican nomination, forgets one of the three cabinet level departments he wants to cut.
  • This poor punter from the University of Michigan takes a snapped football off the top of his helmet. note  Watch his reaction here.
  • Four words you never want to hear during The Weather Channel's coverage of a hurricane in the U.S., especially if you know he's in your neighborhood: "Jim Cantore has evacuated."
  • One of the most famous video clips of George W. Bush - the expression on his face when he was informed about the 9/11 attacks while visiting an elementary school classroom full of children.
  • At the end of Bill Grundy's notorious interview with the Sex Pistols, he appeared to mumble 'oh shit' under his breath. 'Oh shit' indeed - the profanity-laden interview turned his name to mud overnight.
    • The Sex Pistols' manager, Malcolm McLaren, himself something of a shit-stirrer, was "death-white" after the interview finished, thinking everything had just gone to pot. Inverted the very next day, however, when he realised it was free publicity for the Pistols, and that the band had been goaded by Grundy into cussing on air.
  • The Normandy Invasion in World War II used DD Tanks, a very early amphibious model which had a skirt that extended up higher than the turret, providing buoyancy. They weren't as effective as hoped, and on Omaha beach almost all of them sank before reaching shore, but the first to actually reach Juno beach looked out and later shared their view:
    I was the first tank coming ashore and the Germans started opening up with machine guns. But when we came to a halt on the beach, it was only then that they realized we were a tank when we pulled down our canvas skirt, the floatation gear. Then they saw that we were Shermans. It was quite amazing. I still remember very vividly some of the machine gunners standing up in their posts looking at us with their mouths wide open. To see tanks coming out of the water shook them rigid.
    • One feels a certain degree of sympathy for the first German sentries at Normandy who looked out from their bunkers one clear June morning to see the combined might of one of the largest fleets in human history laid out on the horizon.
    • At Midway, the scout Catalina's co-pilot the day before the battle proper happened.
      It's the whole damn Jap Navy!
      • I thought that was what they wanted?
      • It's one thing to know what you are looking for, and it's another thing to realize you have found it. Also consider that the Catalinas were very slow, lightly armed, and could do little to defend themselves against the Japanese gunners and fighter screen other than trying to hide in the clouds. Finding a large force of the enemy could be very dangerous for a scout plane, even if it is their whole mission.
      • Also, unlike many examples under All of Them, it wasn't much of an exaggeration. The four heavy carriers were all that Japan had, and represented the majority of her naval offensive power.
    • And later, as the crews of the Japanese carriers were watching the anti-aircraft and fighter cover massacre the low flying torpedo bombers, somebody finally looked up to see the American dive bombers rolling into their dives.
    • In the famous Marianas Turkey Shoot, there were so many aircraft in the air that one could not tell which planes were Japanese and which were American. During the battle, the Japanese commander happily reported via radio to say that the American aircraft were being decimated and falling into the sea. A moment later, however, he had this reaction when he realized most of the falling planes were actually Japanese.
  • If your hard drive starts beeping, it has a bad problem such as stuck spindle or bad heads. This will probably be your reaction.
    • Or the infamous "click of death".
    • The lack of a single, short beep upon powering a computer. It means something (hopefully fixable) is wrong.
    • When powering on a PC that was working just fine previously and all you encounter is this screen. You better hope it's just a boot problem and your entire hard drive hasn't been wiped clean.
      • Hell, anything on that blank black screen. "Operating System Not Found"? Well, bowel control not found either!
    • The infamous "Blue Screen of Death." Sometimes it's a fixable problem, but if not, then say goodbye to your computer cause it's days are numbered.
  • In a shining example of internet jackassery, some 4chan users managed to apparently trick a kid into deleting a key system in his father's computer. Rather than talk him through repairing the error, they intentionally give him false information that ends up bricking the computer's hard drive. You can almost see the kid's reaction in the end when they admit to their nefarious deed.
  • Likely the reaction of the first German soldiers to see a tank approaching their trench line at the Battle of Cambrai in November 1917, which was leading over 476 tanks. Let's put it into perspective shall we? Up until then, the Allies would send a handful of tanks to support the infantry advance, which could be taken down with a concentrated artillery barrage... now the spotters were facing HUNDREDS of tanks... and probably not enough ammunition to kill them all before they hit the trench line. The Germans still had exactly zero tanks of their own, which meant they'd be relying heavily on that artillery, which, again, may not be able to stop all of the tanks. To add insult to injury, the leading edge of the advance were carrying a bundle of logs to drop into the tank ditches (meant to stop tanks from crossing). Once those tanks were over those lines, it went downhill from there.
    • This of course turns into a second oh crap moment for the allies when the surviving tanks start BREAKING DOWN. Although, the battle was still significant as it was the first time that tanks would be the brunt of a major assault, rather then just a supporting arm of it.
  • The reaction of the Germans during the Battle of Mons when they reported to their superiors that EVERY BRITISH SOLDIER WAS ARMED WITH A MACHINE GUN. In fact, it was simply British Soldiers doing the Mad Minute-firing 15+ shots in 60 Seconds with their Lee Enfields.
  • Anytime you're saying things you don't want someone else to hear, and then quickly discover they heard the whole thing.
  • This dog.
  • A burglar broke into the home of rapper and actor LL Cool J. One can imagine said burglar getting this look once all 6'2" of LL proceeded to kick his ass, leaving him with a broken nose, jaw and ribs by the time the cops showed up. "Mama Said Knock You Out" indeed.
  • Anytime you get in trouble for something you know you did.
  • Imagine the expression on the face of the Russian sniper who shot Simo Häyhä in the face... and then saw him get back up.
  • Misha Collins' reaction to finding out that his old McDonalds commercial is lurking out there on Tumblr (because "everything's on Tumblr") has to be seen to be believed.
  • Liam Neeson gets a fun one when meeting his first confirmed fan in The Graham Norton Show. At first he thought she was someone else...
  • This squirrel.
  • The likely reaction of Gerald Farrier, chief firefighter of the USS Forrestal, when a WWII-era 1,000-pound bomb split open during the infamous 1967 fire aboard that ship. Seconds later, the explosion killed Farrier and almost all of the trained firefighters the ship had.
  • In 1835, Richard Lawrence fired two pistols at President Andrew Jackson. Or, he intended to fire two pistols at him — both misfired. One can only conclude that this trope was Lawrence's reaction when a pissed Old Hickory bore down on him with his cane.
  • Republican Party bosses got Theodore Roosevelt Kicked Upstairs to become William McKinley's Vice President, hoping to shut up the fiery, Progressive, Governor of New York. Then McKinley got shot.
    RNC Chairman Mark Hanna: I don't believe it! The goddamn cowboy's president!
  • These photographers, who apparently disturbed a black bear. Bears Are Bad News, and abandoning likely multiple thousand dollar gear is probably the best of all potential outcomes here.
  • In May 19, 2013, KSN, a television station in Wichita, Kansas, was covering a tornado near their area. As the storm gets closer, you can hear the wind banging louder and louder in the studio before you see the meteorologist starting to pull away from his green screen and another fellow meteorologist telling him a very frightening phrase: "Y'know, JD, in twenty years I've never said this, but I think it's our time to go." See it here
  • Quadruple cop killer Maurice Clemmons, moments before he was shot dead by a Seattle police officer.
  • In the Zulu War of 1879, the British Army's catastrophic failure at Isandhlawana was due to the design of the standard ammo box, where a sturdy copper band secured the box and had to be physically chiselled off. Even after that, nine large screws secured the lid and had to be individually removed. At this point the "Oh Crap..." moment set in... that not many men had been issued the correct screwdriver. Or indeed any sort of screwdriver. Even after that there was another "Oh Crap" moment, as many screws had rusted in storage. And even after that, many minor military bureaucrats, even with the Zulus pressing hard on them, insisted the correct procedure for issuing and accounting for the ammo - in writing, on the correct Army documentation - had to be followed to the letter....
    • The British could hardly have been unaware of the drawbacks of this storage, issue and recording procedure. It is not very well known that in an earlier campaign in West Africa, a British Army trying to subdue the fierce Asante tribe of the Gold Coast had been wiped out in extremely similar circumstances, running out of ammo under pressure from ten times their number of tribesmen. Indeed, the woes of that army had been compounded when they opened the ammo boxes only for their last "oh Crap" moment. As the boxes had been packed in error - with biscuits. The British general responsible was captured by the Asante, beheaded, and his skull turned into the victorious chief's drinking vessel.
  • Ask a racing driver what his reaction was when he realized that his car left the ground. It's likely some variation of this.
  • This video holds some pretty good ones. There's subtitles, but they're probably not needed.
  • Two robbers in Australia had this reactions while trying to go after a group of elderly citizens, who happened to know where to find... the group of bikers in the next room.
  • "Would any doctor or nurse on board please identify themselves to a member of the flight crew?" You've had a couple of drinks already, certainly more than you'd usually dare to let yourself have even HOURS before turning up to work... and suddenly for all you know, you're the only doctor 38,000 feet above the ground, with who knows what emergency waiting for you. Do you do your duty before Hippocrates and thumb the call button? Or do you lay low, rationalising that your judgement is impaired and praying that there's someone more sober (and more senior) than you who gets to it first?
    • This goes double for such subspecialists as normally aren't expected to deal with acutely ill patients at all, and whose last hands-on clinical experience might have been decades ago.
  • Likely reaction of the Austro-Hungarian Navy captains and admirals in four encounters with Italian navy incursors, due to what happened:
    • the first time saw a pair of MAS (basically large speedboats with torpedoes strapped on them) penetrate Trieste's harbour and sink a coastal defence ship whose sorties had been crucial into attacking Italian troops near the coast;
    • the second saw the same pair of MAS, plus a third one, penetrate Buccari Bay, the most easily defended harbour in the world due the extremely narrow entrance, fire torpedoes, and run after leaving a mocking message. This wasn't because of any loss (the ships were protected by torpedo nets just in case), but because the captains thought the surveillance was good enough to see them coming and sink them;
    • the third time the same pair of MAS stumbled on the Austro-Hungarian flagship SMS Szent István and sank it. The scare was so great that the whole Austro-Hungarian navy, that was sortying to try and break the Otranto Barrage, ran back into harbour;
    • finally, in the last days of war, two incursors with the first manned torpedo ever penetrated Pola's harbour and sank another battleship, just to prove they could. Then they apologized, as Pola and the battleship had been ceded to the newly-formed State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs by the government of the now collapsing Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Italians didn't find out until too late.
  • At the end of World War I, the fate of the war was already decided, and the German general staff was planning to fight through the winter to get better peace conditions while Austria-Hungary negotiated peace. Then the Italians, surprising even their own allies, launched their final offensive, nearly annihilating the Austro-Hungarian Army and triggering a sequence of these:
    • The first was from the Austro-Hungarian government when they saw their army collapsing, causing them to surrender unconditionally before noting that the Austro-Hungarian Army was reforming as a combat-effective force.
    • Then the Austro-Hungarian government had another when they noticed the Italian victory had jump-started the collapse of the Empire.
    • A third came from the officers of the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, one of the countries forming from the collapsing Austro-Hungarian Empire, when Italian incursors sank a battleship in harbour the very day the State was proclaimed and the Austro-Hungarians ceded them part of their fleet, as it looked like the Italians wanted to conquer them too and they didn't have an army yet. Turned out the incursors had left for the attack before the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs was proclaimed, and couldn't be warned to return home.
    • And finally, the German general staff had another when they found out the armistice conditions imposed to Austria and Hungary was free passage through their territory, meaning the Italians were free to invade from the undefended southern border and they had nothing to send there. Cue the general staff and the kaiser's decision to abdicate and run while a republican government arose and made peace.
  • The look someone gets on their face the split second before they fall off their chair is widely considered to be the funniest thing ever.
  • On January 2, 1967, a scramble order was issued to North Vietnamese Mig-21 pilots to go up an intercept a formation of American F-105 Thunderchiefs penetrating the airspace en-route to their targets. When the first of these Migs breached the cloud layer, there wasn't a single F-105 to be found.... but there WAS a four-ship of very eager F-4 Phantoms led by Col. Robin Olds just waiting to dine on them like a shark to blood.
    Mig 21 Pilot: "Those aren't thuds, THEY'RE PHANTOMS!"
  • This quote from Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto of the Imperial Japanese Army, after realizing that the Pearl Harbor attack did not accomplish the intended goals, and lead the United States into World War II.
    "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."
  • French general Auguste-Alexandre Ducrot came up with a literal example during the Battle of Sedan, the decisive battle of the Franco-Prussian war:
    General Ducrot: Nous sommes dans un pot de chambre, et nous y serons emmerdés. (We are in a chamber pot, and we're going to be shit on.)
  • This is what happens when you fire an anti-tank missile that falls short of its target.

My Little Pony: Friendship Is MagicOh, Crap    
National Geographic ChannelImageSource/Live-Action TVNCIS

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy