- Modern Family:
- In one episode, Luke's line "I got scared because the cabinet didn't fall down".
- In "The Wow Factor", Cam admits to the camera that he gets his way on the house he and Claire are remodeling by proposing something more lavish than he really wants so she'll settle for the latter, which he calls "Trojan Horsing". Later, he correctly guesses Claire's counterstrategy of drowning her argument in meaningless numbers when she accidentally gives him the quantity "forty-twelve" of something. Claire then accuses him of what he's been doing, producing this exchange.
Cam: I can't believe you would accuse me of Trojan-horsing you.
Claire: You actually had a name for it?
- Inverted in "Dollar Days", during the fourth season of The Middle. Frankie, after a fruitless day of job interviews, asks her kids for one word to describe her. They offer "lazy", "angry" and "tired", prompting Mike to defend her:
Mike: The reason your mother is tired, lazy and irritable is because of you kids.
Frankie: No one ... said ... irritable (walks offscreen).
- Used several times by Sue about her secret crush on Derrick Glossner in "Sleepless in Orson" the next season.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- Xander is often guilty of this. However he is so seldom normal that many of his friends ignore it anyway.
- Also, Anya does this in the episode "Sleeper", when Spike catches her snooping through his room while trying to find proof that Spike has been killing people. After being caught, Anya tries to cover it up by seducing him.
Why else would I be here? I mean, it's not like I'm snooping around looking for proof that you're some sort of wacked-out Serial Killer
- Likewise Anya when she tries to convince the Watchers that she's certainly not a demon, and does a suspiciously specific assurance:
Quentin: Excuse me miss? Do you work here?
Anya: Yes I do. Ever since I moved here from South-Eastern Indiana where I was raised both by a mother and a father!
Anya: (in a later interview) Anya Christina Emanuella Jenkins, twenty years old. Born on the fourth of July, and don't think there weren't jokes about that my whole life, mister, 'cause there were. "Who's our little patriot?" they'd say, when I was younger, and therefore smaller and shorter than I am now.
Watcher: (taking notes) So, you spell it A-N-Y-A, yes?
Anya: (sheepishly) Yes.
Watcher: Fine, now we can get to the questions.
- When Buffy thinks Angel had read her diary, she is sure to mention that "hunk" could have any number of meaning, that "penetrating" eyes don't mean what he thinks, and "A" certainly doesn't stand for "Angel".
- Giles in awkward British mode is quite susceptible to this.
Giles: [greeting Buffy after a mauling has occurred the previous night] It's good to see you! Um... no need to panic.
Oz: Just a thought... Poker: not your game.
- And of course there's the Sunnydale news, which is very clear on the fact that "Mayhem Caused: Monsters Definitely Not Involved".
- Blackadder has several examples:
Cpt Blackadder: (after having discovered he will face a firing squad for shooting dead a carrier pigeon) If anyone asks, say we did not get any messages, and I definitely did not eat this delicious plump breasted pigeon.
(later, when General Melchett has arrived to question why Blackadder and his men have not joined the push)
Pvt Baldrick: We did not get any messages, and Captain Blackadder definitely did not eat this delicious plump breasted pigeon.
Gnl Melchett: YOU SHOT MY SPECKLED JIM? AAAHHHHHHHH!!!
- "Well hello, ladies; we were not just playing with a hand laser from Galaxy Wars; won't you come in?"
- In iPsycho when Nora is confronted by Gibby she says "There's no one in my basement."
- Victorious: "We were NOT just watching you kiss that girl!"
- Also, when it turns out the the in-universe equivalent of google maps has a satellite image of what looks like Jade picking her nose, Jade tells everyone to keep it to themselves. When news break, she asks her friends one by one if they did it, at which point Cat says "I told people NOT to look!" This results in Beck having to hold Jade and yell at Cat to run.
- The League of Gentlemen. "We didn't burn him!" This being announced to a police officer investigating a missing person. While he was walking out the door.
- Invoked in Babylon 5, when Sheridan wants the other races to allow the White Star fleet to patrol their borders and head off conflicts. He tries to talk them into it, and is rebuffed. So he changes tactics, and makes Ivanova state on the Voice of the Resistance that, at a specific time, in a specific region of space, absolutely nothing happened. This is perfectly true — at that time, in that region, nothing at all happened — but the Suspiciously Specific Denial plus a White Star shooting at asteroids at another time makes the other races think he's covering something up. A series of similar ploys convinces them that Sheridan is hiding the existence of some terrible threat, and they demand protection by the White Stars.
- Played straight in the RPG background material: to make clear how the Blue Berets unit of Earthforce is secret, their description start with "The Blue Berets do not exist. True, the Russian Consortium and several other militaries and intelligence services once employed telepaths, but that was over a century ago, before the Psi Corps was founded. Of course, now the Psi Corps controls and regulates all telepaths and ensures they are protected and not used in any military operations. There is no unit of rogue telepaths, nor are there descendants of those original military telepaths who have never found their way into a Corps testing centre", immediately followed by the explanation of their job as the counter against a possible Psi Corps rebellion (that actually happened).
- In an episode of 8 Simple Rules, Bridget and Kerry are basically running away from home because they are mad at their mother. They call Kyle, who was unceremoniously dropped off at a sandwich place earlier and made his way to their house. He is told by their mother not to let them know he is with her. He answers the phone, saying something along the lines of "Hi Kerry. I am alone at home and we are not looking for you."
- A sketch in John Cleese's How to Irritate People has two airline pilots mischievously causing trouble with random denials. "There is no cause for alarm. The wings are not on fire."
- Supernatural, in the episode "The Monster At The End Of This Book", Castiel suggests Dean a way of thwarting Lilith this way.
- Best Friends Whenever:
Cyd: Is that my real hair? Did you get this from my brush?
Shelby: Well I certainely didn't yank it out of your head while you were sleeping like a hair-plucking nutjob!
- Chuck has a variation: Chuck is trying to get a message to Casey in front of his family at Thanksgiving dinner. His sister asks him to say what he's thankful for.
I'm thankful that Bryce Larkin is dead and is not in my room making out with my girlfriend. (Casey excuses himself from the table) Ellie:
Wow, Chuck, that was... dark. Captain Awesome: And specific
- 3rd Rock from the Sun
- From an episode in which Dick is distraught because Mary once posed nude:
Dick: This is about someone I'm deeply involved with.
Pitman: Dr. Albright?
Dick: How did you know? Have you seen the pictures?
Bug: What? Pictures of Dr. Albright?
Dick: There are no naked pictures!
- Another example:
Harry: Also we're not aliens from a spiral galaxy millions of light years away. (gets shoved by Dick) What? I said not!
- Harry is guilty of this fairly often. In another episode, he assures the rest of the aliens that he definitely didn't lose their mission statement by leaving it on the bus.
- Nina explains the concept of social climbing:
Nina: You know, you try to fit in with a group of people by pretending you're just like them. You talk like them, you act like them until they think you're one of them. You know what that's like.
Dick: [panicked] No! No, I don't! And neither does Tommy, Sally, and Harry! No! We're not social climbers; we're humans!
- When the Solomons get audited by the IRS, they worry that their lack of paperwork will expose them as aliens:
IRS Agent: Here on Schedule E —
Dick: [wistfully] Schedule E. Yeah, I remember the first time I saw Schedule E. It was around 1992. I was right here on Earth, as carbon-based as the next guy.
- Monty Python's Flying Circus
- In a sketch about Nazis hiding in England:
This is Ron Vibbentrop. Mr Johnson:
Oh, not Von Ribbentrop, eh? "Ron Vibbentrop": (shouting)
Nein! Nein! (calms down)
Oh. Ha ha. Different other chap. I in Somerset am being born. Von Ribbentrop is born Gotterdammerstrasse 46, Dusseldorf Vest 8... so they say
- In the "Expedition to Lake Pahoe" sketch, the expedition itself was primarily to investigate reports of cannibalism and necrophilia in... The expedition itself was primarily to investigate reports of unusual marine life in the as yet uncharted Lake Pahoe.
Sir John Cunningham: May I take this opportunity of emphasizing that there is no cannibalism in the British Navy. Absolutely none, and when I say none, I mean there is a certain amount, more than we are prepared to admit, but all new ratings are warned that if they wake up in the morning and find toothmarks at all anywhere on their bodies, they're to tell me immediately so that I can immediately take every measure to hush the whole thing up. And, finally, necrophilia is right out.
- From "Cycling Tour":
Grip: Come with us, please.
Pither: Oh, who are you?
Bag: Well we're not secret police anyway.
Wallet: That's for sure.
Grip: If anything we are ordinary Soviet citizens with no particular interest in politics.
Bag: None at all. Come with us.
- From the episode "Live from the Grill-O-Mat"
Welcome to a new half-hour chat show in which me, vis the man what's talking to you now, and Brooky, to wit my flat-mate — and nothing else, I've got to emphasize that...
- The entire smuggler sketch.
- In "Mr. Neutron", Captain Carpenter wears a shirt saying "Nothing to do with FEEBLE" on his back. Also, he continually refers to Teddy Salad as a US Ballet organizer, despite everyone seeming to know he is ex-CIA.
- On "Ethel The Frog", documenting the career of a crime syndicate, Luigi Vercotti is interviewed at his place of business which he insists is a high-class nightclub, and not a cheap clip joint for picking up tarts. The phone rings:
Yes, we'll have the watch ready for you at midnight. ...The watch. ...[under his breath] The Chinese watch! Right, good night! ...Mother.
- Half of the named rules in the Bruces sketch are "No poofters!"
- From "Nudge Nudge":
Him: Are you insinuating something?
- "The Ant, an Introduction", at the end of a complaint letter:
P.S. I have never kissed the editor of the Radio Times.
- Arrested Development:
Lucille: I don't know where the flight records are!
Michael: You know Mom, it would be best to deny that after I asked.
- Michael finds himself reassuring a woman he's just met that he isn't going to track her down and kill her in the style of Jack the Ripper. While this is true, that he brought it up at all isn't comforting.
- Similarly, he did not kill Kitty and dump her in the harbor, but he probably shouldn't have volunteered that scenario. (It turns out the police knew all along that she wasn't dead anyway.)
- For a while, Michael would say "and I'm okay with that" anytime someone mentioned his brother's relationship with a specific girl.
- One Friends episode has several of these, related to why Joey is napping at Monica's, not at his:
"[The duck] did not get sick somewhere in there, and it was immediately found and properly cleaned up."
"[The couch] is not one of the places the duck got sick."
"[The duck] did not eat your face cream..."
- When Monica and Chandler hook up, and want to keep it as a secret:
Joey: Have you seen Monica?
Chandler: I'm not seeing Monica!
Chandler: I wasn't trying to open your closet, I wasn't trying to open your closet, I swear!
Joey:...Wow. Monica runs a pretty tight ship around here, doesn't she?
- Reno 911! after Weigel and Rizzo get trapped in a trailer:
"There's nothing going on between me and Rizzo. Nothing happened in a trailer between the two of us. He has never put his penis inside of me, that I can recall. We have never made out, and he has never, never, fucked me from behind. It seems specific, you're thinking, and it is, but I have a photographic memory."
"So you had sex?"
"Yeah, we did."
- In Green Wing, this is the only kind of denial Dr. Alan Statham seems to know how to make.
- For instance:
Alan: You're probably thinking that in some bizarre way that my playing the recorder has caused, erm, an expansion down below.
Boyce: I wasn't thinking that, but I am now.
- Subverted when a reporter finds him checking out a dead body (it's that kind of show) and Alan just can't come up with a denial at all.
Alan: Erm... you may be thinking that I am comparing my penis to that of a corpse. (awkward pause, walks off)
- Played straight again:
Alan: "I DIDN'T KILL HIM!" [everyone in the waiting room stops and stares at him] ".... said the man... in the novel... about killing people. NOT DWARVES!"
- Family Matters:
- In the That '70s Show episode "Moon Over Point Place", when Jackie buys a paper bag of (what is strongly implied to be) marijuana in order to prove to Hyde that she's not just some preppy cheerleader. Unfortunately for her, a cop shows up while they're arguing.
Cop: Everything all right here?
Hyde: We're fine, officer. Right, Jackie?
Jackie: There's nothing in the bag!
- Fez is weirdly fond of this trope. In a classic example, he walks in on Hyde and Jackie making out in the begining of season 5, who manage to hide it in the last minute. Hilarity Ensues.
Fez: What is going on here? You guys look sweaty and guilty. (Hyde and Jackie stare at him looking sweaty and guilty)
Jackie: No. What candy?
Fez: Nothing. There is no candy. And I have no candy hidden in the garage. (pause) I'll be at the garage...
- A running gag in Fist of Fun. Richard Herring would say something; Stewart Lee would point out it was nonsense, ending with a rhetorical reducto ad absurdum such as "Or do you want to swim in raw sewage?" Richard would then reply "Honestly, if I wanted to swim in sewage then I'd..." and proceed to outline a highly detailed plan for breaking into his local sewage plant during the guard's teabreak.
- They also have a sketch about ethical vampires, who wait for people to accidentally cut themselves.
Rich But what happens if none of your friends have cut themselves?
Vampire We have to bend the rules a bit, really... we'll hang about near local accident black spots and hope for the best. We don't try and cause accidents, though, you know, putting oil on the road and leaping out in black capes, or anything. Oh no.
- Used on This Is Wonderland. A white woman beats up a black man, thinking he was trying to rape her. He takes her to court, and she is so expecting the race card to get played that the following conversation ensues:
Crown Prosecutor Kaye:
Or was it just because he looked like a rapist? Defendant:
This has nothing to do with him being black! Crown Prosecutor Kaye:
Black? I just said he looked like a rapist
're the one who attached "black" to "rapist".
- On the Mama's Family episode "Child's Play", the kid they are babysitting, Eugene (who, by the way, is the son of the Reverend at their church) sits down to dinner with the Harper family. Thelma proceeds to say grace with her eyes open, because Eugene had caused more than a little damage around the house prior to dinner. He nitpicks enough to get Thelma to say the grace with her eyes closed, at which point he puts some hot sauce in the stew. When everyone gets up and starts running for water, this little exchange happens:
Thelma: (suspicious tone) Eugene...?
Eugene: (hastily) I didn't put anything in that stew!
- In The A-Team episode "Holiday in the Hills", the plane the team is in crashes somewhere on North Carolina, and they have to pretend they're still in Guatemala (where they came from) so that B.A. doesn't realize they put him on a plane.
B.A.: It doesn't look like Guatemala to me!
Murdock: Well, it ain't South Carolina.
- The Drew Carey Show:
Kate: What are you doing here?
Lewis: Well, I'm not freezing my penis, that's for sure!
- The Middleman:
The Middleman: I'm more like an independent contractor.
Wendy:' What's that mean? You build strip malls? You kill people? What?
The Middleman: I never build strip malls... I solve exotic problems.
- Angel, from the episode "She":
Girl: Nice sweater. Handknit?
Wesley: Certainly not by me!
- From "In the Dark":
Doyle: Manny the Pig said he didn't know anything about a vampire called Spike.
Doyle: So he said that before I mentioned anything about Spike.
- From "Bachelor Party":
Harry: Richard said having the former husband present was some sort of tradition. I was just wondering...
Aunt: Well, they're certainly not going to eat your ex-husband's brains (long pause) for instance.
- Parodied on Psych:
Lassiter: Relax, I'm not shooting anybody.
Gus: Why didn't he say anything about knifing people?
- Played straighter in "Earth, Wind, and...Wait for it..." in Season 3.
Conrad: Can you please just tell me why you think it's Dan?
: Well it's not like I stole his cell phone or anything. 'Cause I mean I don't do that sort of thing. Although I'm sensing someone did; I'll solve that later. No, this, this is just deeply-rooted psychic vibe-age.
- And somehow, Shawn gets away with that one—most likely because he's just so weird that the others have learned to tune it out.
- When Troy and Pierce receive their letters of Valentine's Day, Troy states, "Yeah, they're definitely not fake."
- And when the dean lets Señor Chang recruit security, Chang says, "You won't regret this unless I rise up against you. I don't know why I said that."
- In "Critical Film Studies", Troy gets a twofer when he lets his not-so-well-concealed jealousy over Jeff taking Abed out for dinner on his birthday get the better of him. The first time, no one's actually suggesting Troy is jealous. The second, no one's even talking, period.
- From Analysis Of Cork Based Networking, the song/dance that Chang leads at the end of the episode.
"There's a brand new dance based on an old phrase
It's called the Fat Dog and it will amaze
You've heard this expression your entire life
It's not made up! It's not made up!"
- In "App Development and Condiments," the middle-aged party animal Koogler states that everybody thinks he's cool and "not that old."
- In 2009, British illusionist Derren Brown successfully predicted the UK lottery numbers (a 1-in-14,000,000 chance), and on the follow-up show he offered three possible explanations: a) he faked a lottery ticket; b) he genuinely predicted the results, or; c) he fixed the draw. He immediately dismissed a), and spent most of the episode on b). At the very end of the episode, he denied c) in a hilariously specific way, even going so far as to show the weighted balls that they didn't get made, concluding that if he had done it that way, which he didn't, he wouldn't admit to it. The actual answer, however, is probably d) split screen to hide the person putting the balls with the "predicted" result into the stand as they're drawn. They did try to hide it with some artificial camera shakes (as most split screen needs a static camera), but the fact that Derren staying well away from the stand during the draw is a big hint, and people going through it frame by frame noticed one of the balls moving upwards as the pre-recorded side of the split screen disappeared, as on the live stand one of the balls wasn't placed correctly.
- Have I Got News for You discussing Sir Alan Sugar.
- Corner Gas:
- In one episode, Oscar buys an outboard motor from Hank using money he "borrowed" from Emma. So Emma decides to go after Hank and we get this little gem:
Emma: We need to talk.
Hank: No, no we don't. No, talk to Oscar. He's the one that stole the money from your nightstand last Thursday while you were out with the church ladies getting ready for the bake sale, I don't know nothing about it!
- In another episode:
Karen: I didn't sleep with Hank!
- The Day Today did this absolutely brilliantly by informing the British public that if the Prime Minister were to die, they'd be the first to break the news. At least once every 5 minutes.
- In a sketch on You Can't Do That on Television, the mother confronts her son about something he's done. When he finds out what it is, he says, "Oh, thank god!" His mother, unfortunately, is quick enough to pick up on this.
- In Star Trek: Enterprise, T'Pol drops one of these on Commander Tucker in the process of talking him into submitting to a Vulcan relaxation technique. When he asks if it has even been tried on a human, she responds "The risk of paralysis is minimal."
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: "Oh, it's just Garak. Plain, simple Garak" (in response to Bashir's probing questions). If there are two words that should never, ever be used to describe Garak, it's "plain" and "simple".
- In Season 6 of 24, Russian Consul Markov insists he doesn't know where Dmitri Gredenko is.
- Castle, "The Double Down":
- In "The Final Nail", the very first thing a suspect says when he's caught trying to run from the cops: "Yo, if this is about that damn rich lady, I don't know nothin'!"
- The Two Ronnies, "Death can be Fatal":
Taxi driver: (struggling with a heavy trunk) Blimey! Whatever have you got in there?
- In an episode of the 1978 Battlestar Galactica, Starbuck leaves a helpless pilot on a frozen moon with a Cylon base and a weapon capable to destroy Galactica. To stop this, the crew devises a plan in which the computer must find an adequate team for the rough terrain. Starbuck goes in the computer room, tricks the only tech there to leave him alone with the machine, and inserts his name there, hoping that as he's not the volunteering type, nobody will ever guess. When confronted that he does not belong there, having no low-temperature survival skills, the following dialog occurs:
Boomer: Why don't you just tell the commander you're not qualified for this mission?
Starbuck: You talk like I programmed that computer myself.
- In Just Shoot Me!, Finch is trying to encourage his dad (a retired firefighter) to press on and uses his dad's heroism at the old lumber mill fire as an example.
Dad: What the hell were you doing at the lumber mill?
Finch: I wasn't looking at porn and shooting bottle rockets, if that's what you mean.
- Doctor Who
- How I Met Your Mother:
Robin: Who gets trapped under a fake boulder at the mall?
Ted: Not me in Ohio when I was nine, that's for sure.
Barney: (muttering) Snakes.
Ted: Did you just s-
Barney: I do not recall saying snakes.
- This becomes a Running Gag throughout that episode, with Ted employing it himself when he switches sides on the issue of knocking the building down.
Ted: Were you guys planning an intervention for me? What was it for? The Crocs? The hair product?
Marshall: Not Stella.
- In Barney's video resume, the singer in the recording booth has his eyes blacked out and a label reading "Not Barney";
This isn't Barney Stinson singing this song! That would be really lame!
- In the Seinfeld episode "The Reverse Peephole", when Elaine wants to talk to Newman, who has a crush on her:
Elaine: Newman, um, I wanted to talk to you about something.
Newman: This isn't about my opening your mail?
Newman: Because I don't, never have, anything I read was already open.
- The Big Bang Theory
- The episode "The Griffin Equivalency" shows Raj answering his parents video chat with, "Hello mommy and daddy, good to see you. I'm not drunk."
- In The Pork Chop Indeterminacy:
Penny: Sheldon's sister's pretty cute.
Leonard: I wasn't staring!
- Sheldon defends his mental status with this gem: "I'm not insane. My mother had me tested."
- In the episode "The Spaghetti Catalyst", Sheldon is told that he cannot hang out with Penny since she's Leonard's ex. Trying to hide the fact that he has already made dinner plans with her, he sits down to eat with the guys. When asked if he wants the last dumpling, he thus says: "Certainly. It's not like I have to moderate my food intake because I'm planning on eating again very shortly."
- In "The Desperation Emanation", Bernadette brings up a pact she made with her coworkers after a petri dish of genetically modified super-virus went missing.
Bernadette: That day we made a pinky swear never to admit we crossed Ebola with the common cold.
Howard: Why the hell would you cross Ebola with the common cold?
Bernadette: We never did. That would be a terrible, terrible thing.
- In "The Holographic Excitation", Stuart says too much when he talks to a cute woman dressed like a Hot Witch at his and Raj's Halloween party. She compliments their monster food as it looks fun.
Stuart: I like to think of fun things like that. Because I'm fun. I'm not clinically depressed at all.
- Penny to Sheldon: "Congratulations for your award, Sheldon! I have brought you a cake from the restaurant. To celebrate, not because someone has sneezed at it..."
- When Amy is trying to cure Sheldon's OCD:
Amy: How does that make you feel?
Sheldon: Okay, like any normal person. Not like I want to rip my own face off and tear it into tiny pieces of Sheldon's-face confetti.
- Sonny with a Chance:
Zora: Where is Sonny?
Connie: Well she's definitely not with Chad!
Zora: She's with Chad!
- In the April 8, 2001 episode of Royal Canadian Air Farce, a Canadian Customs Official asks a man the purpose of his visit to Canada. He replies, "I am not going to blow up the embassy." The same episode has:
Sandie Rinaldo: Mr. Martin, are you sure there's nothing bothering you?
Finance Minister Paul Martin: Oh no, no, no. The government doesn't even keep a second set of books.
Paul Martin: (after being told the interview's over) Thank goodness. Our secret is safe.
Sandie Rinaldo: What secret?
Paul Martin: Nothing! No secret! What recession?
- Home Improvement:
Jill: I don't like that look. What's going on?
Randy: Dad's not doing anything.
Jill: What exactly is Dad not doing?
Brad: He's not rewiring the vacuum.
- Mock the Week:
Mark Watson: Room to let. No-one's died in it. No-one.
- Lampshaded on Mystery Science Theater 3000, in the episode "Manhunt in Space" (from the Rocky Jones, Space Ranger series from the 50s), when one supporting character was identified as a traitor to the Space Rangers, siding with the evil alien queen. At one point, when Rocky says hello to the character, Crow cries out, "I'm not a traitor!" Later, when Rocky leaves, Crow answers, "See ya, Rocky. I'll just sit here and, uh, not be a traitor."
- In The Movie of the series, which riffed on This Island Earth, one of the characters makes an embarrassing reference to "your composer" when speaking of Mozart. Tom Servo promptly breaks in: "Uh, I'm NOT an alien!" Followed minutes later by "And then I ram my ovipositor down your throat and lay my eggs in your chest — but I'm not an alien."
- MST3K really enjoys this trope. In the Tormented episode, the protagonist is startled by a door opening moments after allowing his former mistress to fall to her death. Crow imitates his reaction by yelling, "I didn't kill her!"
- One episode of Survivor Vanuatu had the women's tribe faced with a general accusation that not enough work was being done. Mia, the one contestant who did absolutely nothing, immediately protested that she specifically was doing plenty.
- In one episode of Guatemala, Judd earns a clue to the location of the hidden immunity idol, essentially telling him that it's not on the ground. So what does he tell the others?
Judd: That thing is definitely, by far, on the ground.
- The main gag in Saturday Night Live's parody of Christine O'Donnell's infamous "I'm not a Witch" ad spot:
O Donnell: I promise to fly straight down to Washington — on a plane! — and do exactly what you would do: Not Spells.
- Also, this cold open with the Clintons:
: Most of that money, about fifty million dollars, was made by Bill doing what he loves
to do best... talking to people. Bill
: That is what I love
to do best... talk
to people. Nothing more.
- Another example occurs during the "Final Days" sketch with Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi as Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, respectively:
Nixon: You know I'm not a crook, Henry. You know that I'm innocent!
Kissinger: (Looks away) Vell, uh....
Nixon: I am, Henry! I had nothing to do with Watergate, the bugging of Watergate! I had nothing to do with the cover-up! Nothing to do with the break-in of Daniel Ellsburg's psychiatrist's office! Nothing to do with the guy who was killed in Florida!
Kissinger: Vhat guy who vas killed in Florida, Mr. President?
Nixon: You mean you don't know about the....the young Cuban who was run over by the....Never mind, Henry. (Drops to his knees, pulling Kissinger with him) Get down on your knees and pray! Pray with me!
- In the Eureka episode "Welcome Back, Carter", Carter's been fired, so he isn't allowed to know anything about classified information such as the specialties of particular Global Dynamics personnel. Since he's trying to solve a mystery anyway, Allison eventually breaks down and says she can't tell him that the scientist he's looking for is Dr. Leonardo, nor that Dr. Leonardo has a lab on South Goddard Street.
- When Jon Stewart of The Daily Show caught Brian Williams on Chatroulette, Brian was definitely doing a journalistic report. He wasn't, like, cruising.
- In the Red Dwarf episode "Future Echoes", Lister catches the Cat holding a strainer, standing suspiciously near Lister's tank of robotic fish. The Cat stammers "Uh, uh, um, I... I was just making sure your fish were OK! I wasn't going to eat them!"
- In an episode of A Different World, a distraught Whitley confides in her friend Kim that her fiancé Dwayne has cheated on her. As they sit in the cafeteria, Whitley points out various women, wondering if she's the one. Kim tries to reassure and placate her but finally gets fed up and screams, "IT'S NOT HER!". Whitley suddenly wonders how Kim can be so sure—as it turns out, Kim saw Dwayne with the other woman but was giving him the chance to confess to Whitley.
- Smith Comma John is a human American presidential candidate, and not an advance scout for the Barconians, a race of superintelligent amphibians. Who would say such a thing?
- A person caught on To Catch A Predator had a letter saying, in essence, that he certainly wasn't there to liquor up or have sex with a minor. In a subsequent interview segment, a police officer told Chris Hansen that these "alibi letters" are a frequent occurrence.
- Boy Meets World: When Morgan runs into the room where Cory and Shawn are making illegal bets, Cory yelps that he's "not doing anything illegal!"
- Mal successfully inverts this to deflect suspicion on Firefly. When an Alliance officer boards and asks the whereabouts of a brother and sister, Mal volunteers, "We don't have any children on board." "I never said they were children," which both of them already knew, since the brother and sister in question are Simon and River.
- Inara also falls into the trope after kissing Mal and getting a dose of the drug that knocked him out on Our Mrs Reynolds.
- Frequently seen on police reality shows from suspiciously acting people asked mundane questions by the cops, such as this brilliant mastermind from Campus P.D.:
Cop: Sir, what are you doing in this neighbourhood?
Man: What are you talking about? Black people don't go robbing other black people!
- My Wife and Kids: After Michael discovers he taped over the video of Kady's first steps by accident and Junior walks into the room.
Junior: What are you doing?
Michael: I ain't erasing anything!
- The Late Late Show had a version of the Doctor Who song with lyrics that was performed for the audience but pulled from broadcast at the last minute because the rights hadn't cleared.
: I sure hope it doesn't leak onto the internet!
- In Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place this happens after Johnny accidentally suggests that The Boys of Fire Island was a perfect film for fire fighters like Pete and him:
Sharon: What are you guys going to see?
Johnny: Not gay porn!
- One episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show has Phyllis worried about her brother and Rhoda spending a lot of time together. She reasons that saying anything to dissuade them will probably just bring them closer together. To prevent that from happening she resolves to be "passive, even kindly," and when Rhoda walks into the room a moment later...
Phyllis: "Rhoda...I want you to know, dear...that I am not sick to my stomach over you and Ben."
- In Cracker, Fitz is interviewing a suspect and asks her what her father did. The woman responds that Fitz is talking nonsense and her father certainly never abused her. Fitz replies that he only meant what did her father do as a job.
- In Soupy Norman, Soupy Norman arrives obviously drunk out of his mind on every occasion. Once, he says I haven't been drinking even though nobody accused him of being drunk (although it is obvious to the viewer, the nature of the show means the characters don't necessarily think he is).
- At the opening of one show of Soul Train, host Don Cornelius comes on to announce that there is a vicious, untrue rumor that he had died of a heart attack after a drug overdose and that he was going to have his lawyers find out where it came from. What is interesting is Cornelius never stated that he didn't do drugs, all he said was the rumor that he had died of a drug overdose was untrue.
- On White Collar, at the mention of a palladium mine in South Africa, Peter turns to Neal to ask him something. He immediately responds "I've never been near that mine." Peter just wanted him to give an Infodump about palladium.
- Also invoked in Need to Know, with Neal's political strategy. He tells the senator to deny that he has been involved in any talks about building a stadium in a specific location instead of a children's park. There never were any plans to build a stadium.
- From Front Man:
Neal: Whatever I did, I have proof I didn't do it.
- The show really likes the trope in all its variations, especially since Neal has the rule never to lie to Peter. For example in "What happens in Burma" Neal details how difficult it is to steal rubies from there. Seeing Peter's look he ends with the assurance that he never did it (which is technically true, but only because I never got around to do it). And in "Book of Hours" he wants to borrow Peter's FBI jacket, assuring him that he would never disguise himself as an FBI agent (Mozzie is the one doing it for him).
- Lampshaded in Misfits when Alisha greets Simon normally and from her perspective completely out of the blue he answers with:
Simon: I'd never do anything to hurt you.
Alisha: Really? Because that makes it sound like you're going to do something to hurt me.
- Played straight or for laughs when Abbey finally meets the owner of a scarf she had been smelling all episode:
- Also, this conversation from early season 2, after Nathan skips his community service work to go to a pub:
Shaun the probation worker: Somethin' you wanna tell me?
Nathan: Look, if it's about all the booze going missing from the kitchen, I don't know anything about that!
- Played for laughs on the January 12, 2012 episode of The Colbert Report. Stephen Colbert signed over Colbert Super PAC to Jon Stewart, who promptly renamed it "Definitely Not Coordinating With Stephen Colbert Super PAC".
- Men*Doll ~Ikemen Idol~:
Kuu: We finally found you.
Kai: I wasn't thinking that ray is cute, not at all!
Gangster: Hey, have you seen a girl wearing some crazy clothes?
Riku: We haven't, have we?
Kai: I haven't seen a girl wearing frilly clothes, no. Have you?
Kuu: I haven't seen a girl wearing pink, no.
- In the Ellen Show, she has the "Most Certainly Not Rigged" Wheel that can give out a million dollars. It certainly isn't rigged.
- In the It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode "Frank Reynolds' Little Beauties," Frank is roped into organizing a beauty pageant for preteens. He spends the whole performance assuring his audience that he is categorically not attracted to the little girls. At all. And that's the way it is.
- The guy Frank arranged the pageant with was arrested for paedophilia, so while Frank is actually telling the truth in an attempt to distance himself from the other organizer, it very definitely comes off as this.
- In "The Gang Saves The Day," Dee has a fantasy about being a famous actress married to Josh Groban. During her fantasy, Josh Groban repeatedly stresses that Dee is beautiful, but not like a bird, like a beautiful woman, nothing like a bird.
- In one of the few surviving clips from the pre-Goodies show Broaden Your Mind, Dr. Findish describes a "little-known, but very nasty disease":
Turgonitis is just one of the many new and exciting diseases developed by us here at the British Institute Of Applied Science And Technology And Not Germ Warfare.
- PS: Sugar Motta's daddy is not in the Mafia...
- Also, Coach Sylvester most definitely did not tell Brittany to record the New Directions' rehearsal.
Will: Brittany, what are you doing?
Brittany: (puts down phone) Coach Sylvester did not tell me to do this.
- Quoth Jack, in an episode of 30 Rock, when Liz asked who the man she just had a one night stand with was: "He certainly wasn't a Swiss prostitute that Martha Stewart recommended to me."
- Nearly every competitive reality TV program enforces this trope full stop. Every time a problem occurs and people are looking for the responsible party, you can bet that the offender will deny everything.
- In the Warehouse 13 episode "Around the Bend", Artie tells Claudia that she is a valued member of his team and no one is going to erase her memory or dispose of her body in a vat of acid. She hadn't found that last one on the list yet.
- In Only Fools and Horses, the Trotters are heading to the countryside to poach salmon. When a policeman asks them what they're doing with fishing rods on the roof, Del casually mentions they might do a bit of fishing. "No salmon though", adds Grandad.
- A mainstay throughout the Frasier's run.
- Roz swears that she did not use Frasier's opera glasses to peep on a muscular neighbor, which leads to this hilarious pun from Frasier:
Frasier: I refuse to squint through Pagliacci while you're trying to watch The Magic Flute!
- Roz: "Going to a wedding with your boss is like going to the prom with your brother." Frasier: "Niles and I did NOT go to the prom together!"
- Often, while the Cranes are talking about something in the apartment, Daphne tosses out her own opinions, speculations and stories while going about her duty... a lot of which give the impression that this happened in her childhood. Sometimes she even finishes with a line like "Oh, I miss <insert family member>."
- In Fresh Meat, Vod did not throw a human head in the garbage. It just has the size and shape and weight of a human head, but it's not a human head. It's the head of a wax sculpture of Russell Brand.
- The Whitest Kids U' Know has a sketch about a restaurant named "It's Not Kittens, It's Chicken", with the logo being a chef winking (the sketch starts off by having an investigator for the FDA show up).
- In Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:
- In discussing the right to remove embarrassing links from internet searches, John plays a clip of one news commentator citing (paraphrased) "running over a squirrel on a bike while naked and drunk" as something one might want removed. John concludes that the commentator must have done this in his youth, as it is too bizarrely specific not to have been something he is personally familiar with.
- In another episode, he points to the Miss America Organization's phone line stating that they are the "world's largest provider of scholarships for women" as an example of this, comparing it to "Walter White saying 'Hello and welcome to this regular carwash that's definitely not laundering money from our meth lab.'"
- Sports Night: When Jeremy expresses concern for Casey (because of Casey's bizarre insistence that there is a fly in the studio that nobody else can see, among other things), Casey assures him that everything is fine. Casey then says, "I'm not obsessed with Dana," when Jeremy never even mentioned Dana.
- At one point on Arrow, Oliver and Felicity have to swing across an elevator shaft together.
- One example from Never Mind the Buzzcocks; Noel Fielding is relating a story about a piece of ginger that looked like a hand.
Noel: And I went home...and I did not touch myself with it.
- Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
- "I wasn't rapping."
- Lillian on why high heels poke through the floor: "Not because it's just painted dirt. This is a real apartment."
- Rev. Wayne tells the women he's trapped in his doomsday bunker that the sounds they heard were not him arguing with a pizza man.
- Happens a number of times as the lawyers in The Good Wife parse the law, but one non-legal example is:
Peter: "I'm not sleeping with her now."
- My Family: "Owed To Susan" has several examples including this little beauty:
Vanessa: I was just passing by. It's a coincidence really. It's not like I looked you up and waited outside for HOURS, watching your every move through the window; (Beat) because that would just be plain psychotic.
- Magnificent Century: Balı Bey wasn't following her.
Armin: You… are you following me?
Balı Bey: Not a bit. Why would I follow? I'm not following.
- Fuller House: in the episode Secrets, Lies and Firetrucks, Fernando did not just literally drop innote .
- Top Gear: In one episode, the presenters have to get their cheap Alfa Romeos into a Concours d'Elegance competition; Hammond's Alfa died on the way there and cars were only allowed to enter if they did so under their own power. They sneak in under the eyes of the marshalls by driving their cars bumper to bumper. May, in front, towed Hammond's Alfa at the rear of the group, with the tow rope hidden under Clarkson's car in the middle. Hammond at least tried to come up with an excuse but Clarkson just couldn't be bothered...
Hammond: We always travel together, so if you don't mind us sticking together, that would be kind...
Clarkson: No tow ropes here. Nothing to see here.
- In Rake, Fuzz Greene intentionally invokes this as a sort of indifferent confession.
Cleaver Greene: Where's your mother? I know you must have some sort of tracker.
Fuzz Greene: I am deeply offended and I categorically deny that I know both your whereabouts at all times.
- That Mitchell and Webb Look: The "Cash for Gold" advert takes a moment to remind viewers that the Cash for Gold service is a reputable multinational company (complete with a graph of profit projections) and not a transparent front for a greedy dragon. They're just offering cash (which is easily burnt) in exchange for gold (which doesn't). Likewise, the similar "Cash for Plutonium" advert reminds viewers that they're also a reputable company, and not a transparent front for a crazed Bond villain.
- In one episode of The Donna Reed Show, Jeff greets an order to "come over here" with "I didn't do it, and anyway it was an accident!"