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What An Idiot: Live-Action TV
The audience watching at home can see it coming...and yet, for some reason, the characters in the show can't, and proceed to do that "dumb thing" anyway. Way to go, geniuses.

Shows that have their own page:


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    Live-Action TV A-F 
  • The Adventures of Superman:
    • "Double Dose": Two villains get caught by Superman. One tries to shoot him, to no effect. Superman demands to know, "What have you done with Jim Olsen?"
      You'd Expect: The two cooperate, hoping that this scary invulnerable guy recommends their cooperation as grounds for leniency during sentencing.
      Instead: One tells the other to "give [Jim] the current." And the other listens.
    • Two crooks who have captured Perry and Lois (and who have previously said that they are going to kill all four members of the ''Planet'' staff) ask Perry how he'd describe the route if he were telling Jimmy how to get to that house.
      You'd Expect: Perry realizes that the only reason they'd ask this is to record his voice for a trick phone call to Jimmy.
      Instead: He describes the route. Jimmy is almost killed when his acid-eaten brakes give out. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.
  • In American Horror Story: Asylum: Lana manages to escape from Bloody Face's shackle and inject him with his own paralyzing agent.
    You'd Expect: That knowing he'll be unconscious and helpless for a while, she either kill him or shackle him using the shackle she just opened and which was a foot from his body and call the police. She doesn't even have to be there when they arrive, all they need is to find his Torture Cellar and Wendy's body and he's cooked.
    Instead: She runs away on foot, failing to so much as steal his car or figure out where she is first. After nearly getting run down on the road, she winds up picking a ride with a suicidal misogynist, who kills himself, wrecks the car, and gets her caught and sent back to Briarcliff. Threadson awakes and destroys all the evidence in his house.
  • Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined):
    • In the much-reviled episode "The Woman King," Helo meets this doctor working in the Galactica's refugee camp who's prejudiced against Sagittarons. His reason for this is almost understandable, in a way, since he's a doctor and all and the vast majority of Sagittarons apparently fear modern medicine, so the antagonism is mutual.
      You'd expect: He would have a hearty respect for the Sagittarons who go against their people's superstitions and seek his care, since that's clearly the only thing about the Sags that he finds objectionable. In time, word of mouth from the patients he's cured might start to bring other Sagittarons around on the idea.
      Instead: He develops a policy of murdering Sagittarons who seek treatment from him. Yes, that is correct: he hates Sagittarons, and his plan for correcting this is to kill all the ones that aren't suspicious of doctors, which coincidentally would give all the other Sagittarons a pretty damn good reason to be suspicious of doctors, wouldn't it? His fancy Colonial med school neglected to teach him anything about basic logic.
    • The frightening thing about that episode is that that people like that exist in real life. He didn't hate them for being suspicious of doctors. He hated them because during the Cylon occupation of New Caprica the Sagittarons, as a group, wouldn't do anything to help the resistance.
    • In the "Exodus" arc during the third season, the story culminates with Lee Adama swooping in with the Battlestar Pegasus to save the heavily-battered Galactica from being destroyed while the people on New Caprica evacuate. The Pegasus is a bigger, more heavily-armored and tactically superior Battlestar, and Lee (and his executive staff) stay behind to fend off the Cylons while the rest of the population escapes (which only takes minutes).
      You'd Expect: That Lee would jump the ship out after everyone escapes New Caprica. After all, the first time Lee took command, it was against three Cylon basestars who continually pummeled the ship with nuclear weapons - and they escaped. The Pegasus has also been able to outright destroy Basestars if it has the advantage of surprise (something that was shown twice in the series).
      Instead: Because the Status Quo Is God, Lee decides to evacuate the Pegasus and ram it straight into a Basestar for no discernible reason (he even thought up the plan several hours before!). Sure, it looked cool, but the Colonial Fleet sacrificed a very valuable tactical advantage (the ability to make new Vipers at will) and their most powerful ship for the sake of leaving the Cylons with a couple less Basestars. Great work, Lee.
    • In "The Plan", Giana O'Neill has just learned that her dead husband Simon was a Cylon and has reasoned that he must have been in contact with other Cylons and killed himself rather than follow instructions from someone.
      You'd expect: Her to put two and two together and realize that Brother Cavil can't really be Simon's childhood priest because Simon didn't have a childhood, and thus Cavil must be a Cylon himself.
      Instead: It apparently slipped her mind.
  • In an episode of The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon comes up with an extension of Rock-Paper-Scissors called "Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock," played the same way except with five choices instead of three. However, every game ends with a hung decision because everyone always picks "Spock".
    You'd expect: One of them to catch on and choose "paper" or "lizard", the two things that beat "Spock".
    Instead: It's a sitcom, so they don't. Also, everyone wants to be Spock more than they want to win.
  • The Brady Bunch: Several times, alleged by Robert Reed in his negative critiques of various episodes. As published in "Growing Up Brady: I Was a Teenaged Greg" (which published three of those critiques):
    • "The Practical Joker," wherein Reed suggests that the tag scene – Alice thinking that an ink stain on one of her uniforms is a gag stain placed there by Jan, and ends up tearing and ruining one of her uniforms by trying to pull the "gag stain" off – makes Alice out to be an idiot. Reed suggests that Alice, as reasonably intelligent, should have been able to tell whether the stain was real and that perhaps a pen (with its cap left off) would have been noticed before placing the uniform in the washing machine.
    • Various aspects of "And Now a Word From Our Sponsor," most notably:
      • In a scene after two competing laundry detergents are tested (to determine if the Bradys will accept an offer to star in a TV commercial for one of the soaps), Alice forgetting which pile is which (as she forgot to mark down which pile corresponded with which). Reed also takes the writers to task for having Mike and Carol turn their kids loose and damage their clothing (with paint, motor oil and so forth) before the washing the clothes to test the soaps, saying no level-headed parent would do such a thing.
      • Mike claiming to not be able "to make sense of this legal double-talk"; Reed says that, as Mike is an adult in business and therefore capable of understanding contracts. (Although it could be argued that even "an adult in business" who is "capable of understanding contracts" should consult an attorney, as the script suggests.)
      • Carol's "We'll have to wait until Mr. Brady gets home" comment after a delivery truck brings dozens of crates of laundry detergent, the thank you gift for starring in the commercial (Reed suggests she could have called a number printed on the delivery receipt).
    • In Reed's famous critique of the final episode "The Hair-Brained Scheme," he references an earlier episode, "Two Petes in a Pod," where Peter (Christopher Knight in a dual role) meets his exact double, Arthur, at school. Reed was irritated that the earlier episode's script suggested that even Mike and Carol are fooled by the "faux Peter," and that even with such an exact resemblance they would or should be able to tell who this boy was. (Note also that Mike and Carol never say anything as Arthur literally gropes Jan at the kitchen table as he helps her with a homework assignment, and Jan doesn't even speak up about why "Peter" seems so fond of her today.)
  • Canada's Handyman Challenge: In the final challenge, building a deck, with the guest judge being Mike Holmes, Chris sacrifices building the structure to code (or any acceptable standard at all) in order to focus on his artistic vision.
    You'd Expect: Since anyone who has ever seen Mike Holmes knows his Berserk Button is not having something meet building codes, that Chris would say some excuse like the time and material constraints meant he couldn't get it to meet code and complete his ambitious design, but in real life he'd of course make sure it was done properly.
    Instead: Chris makes a comment that as he understands it building codes are merely suggestions and can be ignored. The other judges stare at him in disbelief, look at Mike, and then laughingly scramble back to make room for Mike to explode.
  • Canada's Worst Driver: Scott from Season 6 has done some very illegal things, like drinking and driving, driving on a suspended license, driving uninsured, etc. etc. By the way, Cam Woolley, one of the four judges on the show is a former Ontario cop, who has some obligations left, and he will fulfill them, as he did when Season 2 candidate Colin deliberately tried to fail every challenge on the show while bragging about his own criminal acts.
    You'd Expect: Scott to keep his mouth shut about his activities; at most, maybe give some vague hints that he's done some less-than-admirable stuff in the past, and that he wants to move forward and become a better driver.
    Instead: He brags his head off about them, even leaving his nominator in visible disbelief, and Cam duly contacts the police in Scott's hometown with this information. Fortunately for Scott, bragging about illegal activities on live television isn't considered acceptable legal evidence in Canada, meaning he'll almost certainly never be prosecuted for them, but it pretty much guarantees he'll be punished much more harshly if he ever does get charged with any more automotive offences.
  • Caprica 1x02 "Rebirth": Amanda has just found out about Zoe's involvement in the bombing that sets off the plot, at a memorial service for those who died in said bombing.
    You'd expect: Amanda to sit on this information, or talk to Daniel about it, or destroy it, or almost anything other than what she does.
    Instead: She tells the entire collected populace, all of whom are bereaved family members mourning the loss of their loved ones, what she has learned. And then is almost surprised when the mourners turn into a mob. This doubles up as a What An Idiot moment on the part of Daniel as well, for allowing Amanda (who was already behaving erratically even before she found out about Zoe's role) to walk around the memorial unsupervised, which led directly to the event described above.
  • Castle: On one episode of Castle an obsessed killer is stalking Beckett. After it seems the killer has killed himself and the danger has passed Castle discovers that it wasn’t their killer that died and the real killer is still out there. In the scene immediately before this it's revealed that the killer was planning on killing Beckett with a bomb that’s activated by her using her cellphone.
    You'd expect: That Castle would go there in person or use an alternative means of contacting her in order to warn her she's still in danger.
    Instead: He calls her on her cell phone.
  • Charmed: The Charmed Ones are helping the half-demon Cole redeem himself by preparing a potion to remove his demon side and make him fully human. They complete the potion, but before he gets to drink it, Cole's former mentor shows up and uses magic to take control of his demonic side, forcing him to kill someone the sisters were protecting.
    You'd Expect: Them to give him the potion, to make sure this doesn't happen again.
    Instead: They destroy the potion in anger and end their friendship. Obviously, this does not end well.
    • In fact, let's consider this the general pattern. Cole's entire arc revolves around his relationship with Phoebe. Said arc lasting about two and a half years. Keep in mind she and the sisters have known he was half-demon since his eighth episode.
      You'd Expect: The Halliwells, or at least Phoebe, would understand that Cole, having been a trained assassin for about a hundred years who was once hand-selected into the elite group of his profession by the series equivalent of Satan himself, wouldn't become a boy scout overnight. Even that notwithstanding, you would also think they'd remember from their own experiences that anyone can go evil for a day with the right magical hit. Acting on this, they would treat Cole with healthy doses of both caution and empathy (not the power, the emotional quality) to allow him the chance to earn his way into the family while keeping him honest and guiding him into his new life as a good guy.
      Instead: They shun him anytime he even begins to take a moral step backwards. And out of fear, anger, and/or hurt, Phoebe, who otherwise throws herself at him when things are good, is usually first in line. She basically yanks his chain based on her feelings, with no one else ready to correct her if it's not to judge him in the process. This usually only makes the situation worse than it already is.
      The result: Naturally, after he's eventually possessed by the Source of All Evil, they vanquish him thinking he became the new Source of his own volition despite being just about told otherwise (although the vanquish may have been unavoidable in any case). He later comes back with a new mess of powers from the demonic wasteland. Between his return foiling Phoebe's attempt at a rush divorce and the Charmed Ones' run-in with a mermaid, Phoebe ends up going mermaid for awhile herself — not because she hates him, but because she loves him and yet she's scared of him at the same time. For these same reasons, he gains hope that he can regain her trust and her love while she's dead set that they can never be together again.
      You'd expect: that now she and the sisters would try to help Cole move on, keeping an eye on him in the meantime. If they're lucky, maybe he'll actually see that he can still be good as his own man without Phoebe's love as the measuring stick. At the very least find some way to contain those acidic powers of his while he's still coming to them, remembering what happened to Prue when she was given a power that was never meant for her to have.
      Instead: their response to his attempts to earn Phoebe's love back by playing superhero with these powers usually consists of telling him that it's a fancy concept to think he'll ever be anything but evil.
      The result: months of the woman he loved and the family he counted on as his foothold to good treating him almost like he isn't even a person combined with his powers messing with his brain finally sends him off the deep end into a Face-Heel Turn that lasts until they have to kill him again in an alternate reality. It takes being eternally tied to a cosmic void for him finally think for himself and come to peace. Meanwhile, Phoebe fast progresses into a Jerk Sue for a year and a half, which comes back to bite her all the way into the end of the series.
  • Chuck: The titler character's sister and brother in law are kidnapped by evil CIA agents who demand a dangerous computer virus in exchange for them. Casey and Beckham agree to give them a fake one since giving them the real one is obviously too dangerous.
    You'd expect Chuck to go along with the plan and hope to rescue them at the trade.
    Instead Chuck steals the real virus from his team, and goes ALONE to the trade WITHOUT ANY BACKUP (keep in mind he doesn't have the intersect anymore). Because he can obviously trust these villains to not kill them once they get what they want. As a result, the bad CIA agents end up getting the virus (which is later unleashed to the general public) and Chuck nearly gets killed because of his carelessness. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero
    • What's worse is that Sarah actually agreed to hand over the real virus and he still went behind their back!
  • Cold Case
    • "Justice". The brother of the girl you raped is holding you at gunpoint.
      You'd expect: That you are acting meek as hell until you get the gun away from him. You are a psychopath, not stupid.
      Instead: You call his sister a great lay that asked for it. Really, at this point it is not so much a murder as it is assisted suicide. (It may be implied in the episode that the detectives were actually goading the brother into giving a fake version of events to make it sound more like self-defense than murder because they didn't want to arrest the brother for the killing. Also, remember that the brother was just fourteen or so at the time; even if the flashback was true, when a little boy is holding you at gunpoint, it may seem like a good idea to scare and confuse him, making him run away in tears.)
    • "That Woman" The new member of the chastity club discovers the dirty secrets of the other members, later after a meeting she discovers they all wrote "Carrie must die." in the messager jar. Sometime later, one of those members comes to her house and asks her to go the woods with him.
      You'd expect: That she would turn him down and call the police, since he mostly likely wants to kill her.
      Instead: She doesn't and goes with hin to the woods. Result? she is stoned to death by the club members.
  • Criminal Minds:
    • In one episode, JJ and Reid go to talk to a witness. When they get there, the witness denies having called the cops and claims to know nothing. JJ and Reid realise that he's one of the UnSubs, and know they need to do something. The rest of their team knows where they are, but without cell phone coverage, they can't call for back-up, and the 'witness' knows that they know who he really is.
      You'd Expect them to go investigate together, or try departing from the scene and come back with a lot of backup.
      Instead they split up. JJ ends up in a barn with three ravenous dogs who have killed a woman, and Reid ends up knocked out and imprisoned by the UnSub. Brilliant.
    • Agent Elle Greenaway has rejoined the team after spending months away from work, recovering after being shot in her home. She has become distant and hypervigiliant, and has shown signs of PTSD. The team is working on a case where a man is raping women in their homes, and they get to the point where they need someone to go undercover.
      You'd Expect that as they are working with police, they'd get a female cop to go undercover, or maybe get JJ, since they have more than one female agent on their team.
      Instead they send Elle, and everything goes wrong, as anyone with a brain would have expected.
    • Frank Breitkopf, a serial killer, has been cornered at a train station. He has demanded the return of his girlfriend, Jane, who the FBI have in custody. At the end of a long talk, he manages to talk Jane back into coming with him, despite the fact that they are surrounded by federal agents with guns.
      You'd Expect that the agents would do something, anything to stop Frank. Shoot him, cuff him, get Jane away from him, anything.
      Instead, all of them just stand around and watch as Frank and Jane leap in front of an incoming train. Because apparently that's what federal agents do.
  • Dark Angel
    • Max comes across a transgenic who can see into the future. At one point he tells Max several actions he can see her taking in the near future, then is shocked when he sees her die as a result of these actions.
      You'd Expect: The guy would warn Max that she'll die if she does all the stuff he just told her about.
      Instead: He keeps quiet and just starts crying, leaving Max to assume she's supposed to do what he just said. He ends up dying because of his own idiocy when he throws himself in front of the bullet she would have taken.
  • The Demon Headmaster:
    • In the second episode, Lloyd, Dinah, and Harvey end up in trouble when Harvey starts up a snowball fight, the Prefects punish them by making them shovel snow, even after they manage to make a pile of snow, Rose and the Prefects take the punishment further by pushing them into the snow, not caring that Harvey has asthma, Dinah is not happy about this.
      You'd expect: That Dinah would wait till they got home and talk to Mrs. Hunter about what happened.
      Instead: She goes and yells at the Headmaster, and as a result the Headmaster hypnotizes her into telling a completely different story
  • In the second to last episode of Desperate Housewives season 6, Lynette finds out that Eddie, the strangler's mother, has been killed. she arrives at Eddie's house, and Eddie tells her that he just spoke with his mother and he's running away to Florida to see her.
    You'd expect: Lynette to play dumb as it appears she is ACTUALLY DOING at first, then get out of there and CALL THE POLICE.
    Instead: Lynette says that then that must not have been his mother, and Eddie now knows that she knows and the episode ends with her being held hostage as Eddie closes all the blinds.
  • Downton Abbey: Sybil is about to give birth to her child. Two men - Doctor Clarkson, the professional, and Sir Philip, a knighted Doctor from Harley Street - are both there to help. When problems occur, arguments begin.
    • You'd expect - that Robert, Sybil's father, would side with his wife, Cora, and listen to THE FREAKING PROFESSIONAL WHO HAS KNOWN SYBIL FOR ALL OF HER LIFE AND WILL BE ABLE TO SAVE HER!!!!
    • Instead - Robert sides with Sir Philip. Sybil gives birth. Everything APPEARS to be fine... then, Sybil has convulsions and dies from Eclampsia... as Doctor Clarkson said she would unless they operated. Cue the almostdivorce between Robert and Cora.
  • In the Drake & Josh episode "My Dinner With Bobo", Dr. Favisham has locked the boys in his closet to keep them from saving Bobo. He asks to see their cellphones to prove that it has Bluetooth.
    You'd expect: That Josh would see through this, keep his phone away and try to get him and Drake out of there while Favisham was distracted.
    Instead: When Favisham opens the door, he holds his phone out, and Favisham takes it then proceeds to lock the door again. Seriously, you can immediately tell that things are going to go bad right when he opens the door. Drake even lampshades this by saying, "Yeah, nice going, BLUETOOTH!"
    • Also, in "Alien Invasion", the titular characters had enough of Megan's pranks on them that they decided to get even with her by making her believe that there are aliens.
      You'd expect: One of them should keep a close eye on her just in case if she tries to make any backups on this.
      Instead: They just prank her with all they got. Megan gets back at them by hiring someone to dress up as an alien.
    • In "Peruvian Puff Pepper", the titular duo and Megan are taking part in a Salsa contest, it soon turns out that Megan is apparently using a Peruvian Puff Pepper for the contest.
      You'd expect: In the case that Megan might be using it for a bigger plan, and especially after the part where they find out the Peruvian Puff Pepper is only available in "South Amarika", That Drake and Josh would throw it away or sell it to somebody else taking part in the contest.
      Instead: They decide to use it in their Salsa, and when it's revealed that the Peruvian Puff Pepper causes kidney failure and archapped lips, they are disqualified.
      Thus: Megan wins once more.
    • Also, in the movie "Drake & Josh Go Hollywood", Drake and Josh are kidnapped and held in a private room. Josh pulls out his phone.
      You'd Expect: For Josh to keep quiet, wait, and then use his phone to call the police to save himself and Drake.
      Instead: He doesn't hide his phone, and one of the bad guys walk into the room that Drake and Josh are in, takes his phone, and walks out. Wait to go there, Josh.
    • In a No Fourth Wall moment in episode, "Helen's Surgery", Drake can't tell a story so he called in Josh, who refuses to tell him his story because he might steal it. Therefore, he tells him that he need an idea so the latter ended up telling his story. Then, the former puts down the phone, obviously he's going to steal his story.
      You'd Expect: That Drake should turn off his phone after the call. Even if he attempts to use Josh's story, it can't be traced back to him.
      Instead: He ended up leaving his phone on while Josh can hear what he is planning. Drake ended up being tackled by Josh as a result.
    • In "Two Idiots and a Baby", Drake and Josh have to look after Josh's Dad's Boss' infant son. At one point, they, along with Megan, must change his diaper. They are about to put a clean diaper on him, when he pees all over their faces.
      You'd Expect: They would find some paper towels and use them to wipe their faces with.
      Instead: They wipe their faces with the baby's diapers.
      The Result: They don't have any clean diapers to put on the baby. They resort to using the kitchen curtains as a diaper. It's also implied that the baby used them at the end of the episode when Audrey asks Drake and Josh why her kitchen curtains smell like pee.
    • In "The Demonator", Drake, Josh, and Megan are trying to ride the titular roller coaster and get back home before their parents do so they'll never know they rode it. They were already forced to the back of the line once when Josh had to go to the bathroom. When they get close to the front of the line again, behind them are a mother and her bratty young son, and a guy in a costume of the park's mascot, Milford Mouse. The boy yanks off Milford's tail.
      You'd Expect: Josh not to get involved. That way, the boy would get punished and he, Drake, and Megan would still get to ride the Demonator.
      Instead: Josh takes the tail away from the boy and tells him not to yank it off of Milford.
      The Result: The guy in the Milford costume thinks Josh ripped off his tail and attacks him. Drake tries to break them up, and park security forces them to the back of the line again, while the boy gets off scott-free.
      To Make Matters Worse: When Megan is asked by park security if she's related to Drake and Josh, she lies to them, telling them she isn't. Thus, she gets to ride the Demonator without her brothers.
  • The Dukes of Hazzard: Exercised several times by Boss Hogg and Rosco:
    • An episode from the series' final season – "When You Wish Upon a Hogg" – is built around this premise: two people so naive, child-like and stupid they are unable to question what's going on. Here, Boss' unethical, corrupt nephew, Hughie, has convinced Boss and Rosco into believing that an antique oil lamp contains a genie, who will help grant them wealth and a way to get rid of the Duke boys once and for all. The whole scheme is the result of Hughie's insight into his uncle and right-hand stooge (gullible individuals with the mentality of 10- and 7-year olds, who can be tricked into believing anything with little to no convincing). Sure enough, everything unfolds exactly as Hughie plans, as the shockingly beautiful Trixie (Hughie's girlfriend, who played the seductress "genie") plays her part perfectly. Boss and Rosco – who should know that Hughie is corrupt and would normally have thrown him out of the county immediately – are so convinced that Trixie is legit that Bo and Luke can't even talk them out of taking the bait ... and the final steps toward their doom.
    • Of course, beautiful seductresses have caused plenty of trouble for Boss and Rosco before. Three years earlier, in "New Deputy in Town," Rosco fails to notice a simple FBI alert about a pair of criminals wanted for bank robbery and murder, one of whom is a beautiful, shapely, 20s-something woman named Linda Mae Barnes. One day, after Bo and Luke easily outwit Rosco for the day, Linda arrives and, impersonating a police officer, easily captures the Duke boys. An impressed Boss is SO turned on by Linda (as is Rosco) that he hires her on the spot ... neglecting to perform a simple background check that would have revealed many red flags. Coincidentally, Linda's arrival comes just as her boyfriend is scheduled to arrive for an overnight stay at the Hazzard County Jail... and it is left to Bo and Luke to do what Boss and Rosco should have done.
    • Even Enos – easily the most competent, honest lawman on the Hazzard County Sheriff's Department's force – has fallen into this trap several times. Most notably, he (along with Bo and Luke, surprisingly enough, and Boss (not surprisingly as all)) fail to immediately identify a criminal who exactly resembles Rosco as an imposter in "Too Many Roscos." Setup: Rosco had gotten into another accident during his usual daily cat-and-mouse game of the Duke boys, but this time, he is kidnapped by a trio of bank robbers, the ringleader being a man named Woody, who exactly resembles Rosco (James Best in a dual role). Days after Rosco is declared "dead," he is seen again and there is much joy and jubilation in Hazzard. Later, Rosco bungles simple facts, all while remembering in exact detail information about an expected armored car delivery to Hazzard Bank. When the fake Rosco talks about the armored car delivery, Enos – knowing that the phony had just bungled several facts about Bo and Luke – fails to call out Woody and instead begins to cry at Rosco's "weird" behavior; Bo and Luke, who normally would be very suspicious by "Rosco"'s unusual preoccupation on the armored car delivery, instead chalk it up to amnesia and a concussion and don't suspect a thing.
  • Extant: After Ethan goes missing in the woods John gets angry at the Sheriff postponing the search for the morning. After the Sheriff questions the need to search for a robot he punches him and ends up getting not only himself but also his stepfather thrown into jail for the night. Enabling the ISEA to get to Molly without any interference.
  • Falling Skies: Tom Mason, who was a history professor before aliens came down and killed almost everyone, was on an alien ship. The Big Bad cites Hitler, Pol Pot and other dictators as examples of humanity to justify the aliens actions.
    • You'd Expect: That Professor Mason would point out the opposites of those, or at least cite a few visionaries who have overcome odds and lead in peace, helping their citizens. Ghandi. Nelson Mandella.
    • Instead: Tom stammers a bit and drops the ball.
  • In FlashForward (2009), there is a group called the Blue Hand. None of the members have had flashforwards, implying that they will die between the present and the time of the flash forward.
    You'd Expect: They'd try to find out when they will be killed, and orchestrate events so that everything will be as they want it when they die, possibly using the Mosaic site or even the other members of the Blue Hand to put their plans on fast-track. In short, doing what Demetri is doing. Or they'd even consider possibilities like being asleep at the time flash-forwards were showing.
    Instead: They start committing suicide together. Self Fulfilling Prophecy, anyone?
    • The people who did have flash forwards weren't much smarter. The flash forwards are all of the same 2-minute period, and they're all consistent with each other, i.e. if you saw yourself discussing work in a london office with a co-worker, the other co-worker had a flash-forward of themselves discussing work with you. Plus, thanks to everyone putting their flash-forwards into the FBI's Mosaic database, you don't have the Prophecy Twist excuse either; the details as well as the exact date/time of the flash-forward period should be available to everyone. Some people had bad flashforwards that seemed to predict horrible, tragic or life-altering events.
      You'd Expect: As far as Screw Destiny goes, this is the easiest one ever. To stop your flash-forward from coming true, just make sure that on April 29th, you are as far away from wherever you saw yourself at the time. Only Olivia seems to comprehend this when she suggests to her husband Mark that the family move to a different house to avoid the flash-forward of her being involved with Lloyd (and effectively separated from Mark).
      Instead: Through various contrivances, most everyone who didn't die is exactly where they should be to have their flash forward vision or some approximation of it including Olivia who doesn't sleep with Lloyd but kisses him anyway. This isn't You Can't Fight Fate, it's "You didn't even try".
  • In Fort Boyard, there's a game ("Ventouse" in French; "Burglary" in English) in which the player has to cross a room containing ladders, hammocks and tables without letting anything touch the floor. If at any time anything touches the floor that shouldn't, game over, the player gets locked in. Also, the key they need to get is inside a sealed container, which can only be opened using a suction cup carried with them.
    You'd expect: The lock-ins to be caused by the genuinely hard final obstacle, the unstable hammock, or the time running out.
    Instead: Quite a few times, once they get the key out, they suddenly forget the floor is alarmed. They throw the suction cup on the floor, alarms go off, locked in. It gets worse though. One player in 2006 thought that the first (about half-meter) jump onto a table couldn't be done straight, so stuck the suction cup onto the wall, began to swing from it, and looked genuinely shocked when he realised that the suction cup (that was only supposed to lift up a bit of plastic) couldn't take his body weight, it popped off, and so he dropped to the floor in what was probably the quickest lock-in ever.
  • Friends
    • Ross is known to do a lot of stupid things due to being more interested in being proven right than getting along with people, but the whole "we were on a break" saga probably takes the cake. When their relationship is strained, Rachel suggests they take a break (from the relationship), which Ross understands as a breakup since he's already convinced himself she's been cheating on him anyway. He is very upset and gets drunk, and wakes up with the girl from the copy place. He seems remorseful and doesn't want Rachel to find out or it'll ruin things. Eventually, Rachel finds out.
      You'd expect Ross to say something like "I was so upset over losing you that I got drunk and this just happened. I'm sorry."
      Instead he claims he was completely justified and it was all her fault.
    • Rachel eventually then decides to write a very lengthy letter to Ross, telling him that if he accepts full responsibility for his actions, she can start to trust him again.
      You'd Expect Ross to simply forget about trying to justify his actions in the past and move on so he can be with Rachel. Even Joey and Chandler point this out to him!
      Instead, Ross, during sex with Rachel while she gives him credit for manning up to his mistakes, wants to prove that he isn't fully responsible for what he did. He screams "WE WERE ON A BREAK!" and then proceeds to admit that never read the letter before accepting its terms simply because it was too long and when he did finally read it, he didn't agree with it because he feels the break up wasn't all his fault. Ross and Rachel promptly break up and proceed to make each other miserable as possible for the next season or two as revenge.

    • Phoebe in "The One with the Cop" finds a police badge in the coffeehouse.
      You'd Expect: Phoebe to hand the badge over to a police precinct so they can find the owner.
      Instead: Phoebe uses the badge to pretend to be a cop. In case you're unaware, this happens to be illegal. She eventually gets caught by a real cop who is the owner of the badge. You'd also expect the cop to arrest Phoebe for impersonating him, but he decides to ask her out on a date instead.
    • In the season 9 finale, Chandler uses Ross' laptop to check his e-mails. Chandler, being knowledgeable about computers and the internet, should know about the pitfalls about e-mails from strangers.
      You'd Expect: Chandler to not open strange emails, especially ones promising free porn.
      Instead: Chandler opens the e-mail anyway and gets Ross' laptop infected with a virus, which deletes Ross' keynote speech that he had typed up. This would have gotten Ross in trouble since he had to make a speech the next day but Charlie managed to help him recreate the speech.
    • In "The One with the Sharks", Monica walks in on Chandler masturbating to porn; When she enters the room, Chandler jumps up and quickly changes the channel to a shark documentary.
      You'd Expect: Monica to understand that Chandler simply changed the channel away from his porn when he heard her come in.
      Instead: Monica thinks that Chandler has a shark fetish.
    • In "The One with Ross's Grant", Ross is a finalist for a big scientific grant, but unfortunately, the grant is being administered by Benjamin Hobart, the ex-boyfriend of Ross's girlfriend Charlie. Hobart asks Ross to break up with Charlie. When Ross refuses, Hobart sabotages him during a group interview with all the finalists, then informs Ross that the grant is his if he'll break up with Charlie.
      You'd Expect: Ross to file a formal complaint against Hobart, whose actions constitute a major ethics violation.
      Instead: Ross's only action is to tell Charlie that her ex-boyfriend sabotaged him because he's still in love with her. Charlie finds this notion romantic and gets back together with him. And even after losing both the grant and his girlfriend, Ross still does nothing.

    Live-Action TV G-L 
  • Game of Thronesnote 
    • Ned and Catelyn Stark are trying to figure out who put a hit out on their son. Their investigations lead them to Tyrion Lannister, who happens to be A: the son of Tywin Lannister, who's probably the most wealthy, powerful and influential lord in Westeros, and B: the little brother of Jaime Lannister, one of the most skilled swordsmen on the continent, and the guy who made the choice to kill the last King of Westeros.
      You'd Expect: Ned to go directly to Robert with the details as soon as he could and Catelyn to not do something so foolish as kidnap the son of the richest and most ruthless man in Westeros with no plan for what to do next, even if she did think he had tried to kill her child.
      Instead: Catelyn takes action as soon as the Starks have all the information they think they need, and arrests Tyrion as soon as she gets the chance. Tywin, regarding this as an affront to the Lannisters, has The Mountain lead a Rape, Pillage, and Burn campaign against the Riverlands (Catelyn's homeland) in retaliation. Jaime, not taking kindly to this either, challenges Ned to a duel, and later joins his father's war in the Riverlands.
    • Viserys Targaryan has made a deal with Dothraki leader Khal Drogo: Viserys will give Drogo a wife in the form of his sister Daenerys, and in exchange, Drogo will provide Viserys with an army of Dothraki, which he can use to conquer Westeros. Several weeks after the wedding, Drogo has yet to fulfill his part of the deal, since Viserys did not specify a date for when he wanted the army.
      You'd Expect: Viserys to arrange a meeting with Drogo and ask him to provide the army as per their deal, while at least trying to be polite about it. It also wouldn't hurt to not try and provoke the barbarian warlord in question.
      Instead: Viserys gets drunk, storms into Drogo's tent, makes impatient demands of the Khal, and threatens to murder Drogo and Daenerys's unborn child, assuming that he'll be safe from retaliation due to the Dothraki being forbidden from spilling blood in their present location. Drogo subsequently ends him.
    • Ned has just sussed out the secret that got his mentor, Jon Arryn, killed and someone tried to kill his son to protect. Namely that The king's son and heir was sired by the queen's twin brother.
      You'd Expect: Since he knows people have killed for this secret, he'd keep a lid on this secret until King Robert gets back, then tell him in private and let him handle it.
      Instead: In an effort to "spare the children", Ned tells Queen Cersei that he knows and advises her to vamoose before Robert returns, expecting her to be shamed into leaving. Unfortunately for him, Robert returns with a fatal hunting wound, leaving Ned unwilling to tell him the truth. What follows is a series of Lawful Stupid decisions, ultimately leading to Ned's execution at the hands of one of the "children" he tried to spare.
    • In season 4, during Oberyn Martell's duel with Gregor Clegane he repeatedly accuses him of murdering his sister Elia Martell's children before raping and murdering her.
      You'd Expect: Gregor to focus on their duel.
      Instead: While he does win the duel and kill Oberyn, he also shouts very loudly that he did exactly what Oberyn's accused him of. While in front of a crowd of VI Ps including more than a few of the Martell family's servants and sworn lords. And the Martells are a powerful family that the Lannisters desperately need at least neutral in Westeros affairs while Gregor is just a useful killer. Really, even if Oberyn hadn't poisoned Gregor with one of his weapons and gotten in several life threatening wounds Gregor would still definitely be facing death one way or another.
    • End of season 4. Tywin Lannister is on the privy when he's confronted by a would-be assassin with both a crossbow, and ample reason to want him dead: his son Tyrion. The assassin decides not to shoot Tywin immediately.
      You'd Expect: Tywin to try and avoid provoking the assassin until either help arrives, or he gets an opportunity to talk the guy out of killing him.
      Instead: Tywin refers to the assassin's dead girlfriend as a whore multiple times, despite the assassin warning him not to do so. He gets shot and killed as a result.
  • Glee: In "Preggers", Finn's strongly Christian girlfriend, the president of the school's Celibacy Club, informs him that she's pregnant thanks to an incident involving his little problem with extremely premature ejaculation and a hot tub (while they were both fully clothed).
    You'd expect: That he'd do a little research and find out that that's not physically possible, and ask Quinn what she's so afraid of that she feels the need to tell such a huge lie.
    Instead: He believes her without question. By the time "Ballads" rolls around, he decides that the best thing to do is to tell Quinn's even more conservatively Christian parents about her pregnancy. By singing 'You're Having My Baby' to her. At their dinner table. The first time he has been formally introduced to them. The scene ends with Quinn's father giving her thirty minutes - by the microwave timer - to pack her clothes and get out of the house, and is it any wonder?
    • In "Born This Way", Santana Lopez accuses David Karofsky of being gay, her proof being that she saw him check out the bottom of Sam Evans, a boy who was getting a drink of water from a fountain.
      You'd expect: He'd either deny any memory of it, or he'd claim that he was thirsty and looked to see who was at the fountain. All she really had was that she saw him look at a person who was getting a drink.
      Instead: He claims he was just looking to see what type of jeans Sam had on. Ironically, if Kurt Hummel, an openly gay teenager, had said that he was checking out the clothes another boy was wearing rather than the boy himself, it would've likely been true and many people would've had no trouble believing him. However, when a macho athlete who has never shown any sort of interest in fashion tries to use such an excuse, then, yeah, it's going to ring some bells. Or to quote Santana, "Like that's any less gay."
  • Good Luck Charlie: "The Curious Case of Mr. Dabney". A football from the Duncans' ends up outside the door of the Dabneys' house. Gabe sends P.J. to sneak over and recover it. When he gets to their porch, as he is about to pick up the football, he hears Mrs. Dabney calling out from inside the house.
    You'd expect: That P.J. would immediately grab the football and get the hell out of there, rather than listen to her babbling.
    Instead: Freaked out, he jumps behind the fence, then tries to camoflauge his face with bush. Mrs. Dabney looks outside, then goes back in. After P.J. leaves, she comes back outside and pokes the football with a grilling fork, de-inflating the air out of it and making it useless.
  • Greek: The main sorority house is given a national consultant, Lizzi, who's there to oversee the house's recovery after a newspaper scandal takes them down a few pegs. In a slightly passive-aggressive fashion at the first meeting, she intimates that she does have disciplinary power over the house.
    You'd Expect: Casey, the president, would at least work with Lizzi, or even confront her when some decisions Lizzi makes might not get the house's damaged social standing back.
    Instead: Casey sulks silently to Ashleigh and lets Lizzi run roughshod over the house without actual protest. What power she does have is that which goes behind Lizzi's back, with nearly disastrous consequences...nearly every time.
  • Hells Kitchen has a lot of small-to-medium screw ups each episode, but some moments of idiocy stand out:
    • In the first episode of Season 6, Ramsay commented that Melinda's spaghetti looked undercooked, which prompted her to throw the whole batch in the trash instead of just cooking it for a bit longer. This is a big enough What an Idiot moment in of itself, but then Ramsay leafed through the trash and found a huge amount of spaghetti that she had wasted over the course of the night.
      You'd expect: Melinda to admit fault on throwing away the undercooked spaghetti, but point out that the reason why she had to ditch most of the other spaghetti was because Tek kept ruining the scallops, which required the entire dish to be recooked. Additionally, she wasn't even the person who wasted most of the spaghetti; that was Lovely, who had abandoned her station for a snack break five minutes beforehand.
      Instead: She spends the next five minutes with a deer-in-the-headlights expression on her face and acts as if she's totally unaware of the fact that Ramsay is yelling at her and trying to extract an explanation. This proved fatal as, despite Amanda and Lovely making far worse mistakes in the service, Ramsay eliminated Melinda that night for her spaced-outness and the amount of spaghetti she supposedly wasted.
    • The following episode saw both teams lose. Gordon asks Joseph what two members on his team were picked to be removed and why.
      You'd expect: Joseph to give a clear cut answer.
      Instead: Joseph says in a snotty tone "They know who they are. They can speak up for themselves." This pisses off Gordon and he has to scold Joseph several times before he can get an answer from him. After that, Joseph snaps, gets in Gordon's face, and calls him a bitch while threatening to kick his ass while also telling the other chefs to fuck off when they tell him to chill out. This naturally got him kicked off the show and he was not even picked for elimination that night!
      Furthermore: He also states on the Confession Cam that anyone would be proud to have him work in their kitchen. Now, he'll be lucky if he can sweep floors for a living.
    • In the fifth episode of Season 7, the red team loses the service, and Fran is named the Best of the Worst, giving her the task of picking which two chefs should face elimination that week. It looks as if she'll have an easy choice to pick Maria and Scott, who screwed up badly in this and previous services, but Scott corners her in the dorms and tells her that chances are Ramsay will eliminate both him and Maria if they're nominated, which will leave the team down two members.
      You'd Expect: Fran to realize that Scott is just trying to save his own neck, and tell him to fuck off. Alternatively, if she was worried about a double elimination occurring she could have nominated Siobhan rather than Scott, as she had screwed up badly enough to justify being nominated, yet had done sufficiently better than Maria that she likely wouldn't be eliminated.
      Instead: Fran nominates Maria... and Nilka, who had been the team's best performer in most of the prior services. This move not only makes her look like a gullible idiot and leads to Ramsay rejecting her nominations (calling up Scott and Maria anyway, the latter of whom got the boot), but alienates Nilka and completely shatters the team's morale, leading to an even more lopsided defeat the following episode.
    • In episode 2 of season 8, Vinnie serves as an assistant maître d’, while Raj is in charge of sides. Vinnie does not have faith in Raj being able to handle his station.
      You'd Expect: Vinnie to just get on with his job. It's not like Gordon will yell at him if Raj screws up.
      Instead: He suggests to the customers that they don't order sides. When Gordon finds out about it, he's furious.
    • In episode 7 of that season, Hell's Kitchen decides to have a Family Night, with members of Gordon's family in attendance. Their order includes a risotto, which Vinnie's in charge of preparing.
      You'd Expect: That, given how angry Gordon gets whenever the chefs try to serve substandard food to people NOT related to him, Vinny would make sure not to cock this order up.
      Instead: He tries to serve a risotto that was prepared a few minutes earlier. Cue Gordon going Papa Wolf on him.
  • Heroes
    • At the end of Season 1, the Company captures Sylar. They inject him with a virus that suppresses his powers. That's a pretty smart idea. But then there's the question of what to do with him afterward.
      You'd expect - That they would keep him in a cell in one of their facilities, with armed guards, scientists to run tests on him, and security systems that would work to prevent his escape, and inform them if he succeeded.
      Instead - They put him in a shack in the middle of nowhere with absolutely nothing to prevent him from just walking out, and only one guard. She proceeds to have her own What an Idiot moment when she carefully demonstrates her powers of illusion to the psychotic power-stealing serial killer, then does nothing as he acts threateningly towards her and shortly attacks and kills her. Finally, the Company apparently has no way of telling whether Sylar has escaped, as he is able to walk away from the shack for three days without any pursuit.
    • Near the end of season 1, where Mohinder has captured Sylar (whom he knows is a multiple murderer), taken what DNA information he needed from him, and then tried to shoot him in the head. Sylar stops the bullet, escapes, tortures Mohinder... Then, later, Peter shows up, and in the confrontation, Sylar and Peter are both rendered unconscious.
      You'd expect - Mohinder would use this opportunity to put a few bullets in Sylar's brain, like he already tried to do.
      Instead - Mohinder scoops up Peter's unconscious (seemingly dead) body and just leaves Sylar there, to eventually wake up and resume his killing spree.
    • Also Heroes, Season 2: Peter stands before a giant door, with a needlessly complicated lock mechanism, behind which lies a deadly virus he's intent on destroying. Adam, who Peter's been working with, claims to have the same goal, but really wants Peter to open the vault so he can release the virus. Peter has been warned repeatedly by people he logically should trust, including Hiro —who helped him save New York before.
      You'd expect - Since Peter can phase through walls he would just do so. By leaving everyone else outside, and destroying the virus himself, he could have completely eliminated trust as a factor. Or used telepathy to read Adam's mind to confirm his intentions.
      Instead - He uses telekinesis on the lock, almost squeezing his brain out in the process. Because phasing through the door would have been less interesting. Adam subsequently walks into the door and Peter blindly waits outside the door for him, not bothering to verify he's going to destroy the virus.
Furthermore - Adam's only power is immortality. How did Peter expect him to destroy the virus - stab it with his sword?
  • Again in Season 3: Tracy and Nathan come to see Suresh, and Tracy shows Suresh her power. Suresh knocks them out with a sedative, but they're not the idiots. Later on, Nathan and Tracy are strapped to operating tables. When Mohinder says he feels like he's becoming a monster, Tracy offers her hand for comfort...
    You'd expect- Mohinder to use the marvelous intellect he used in acquiring a degree to deduce that Tracy isn't just trying to comfort him.
    Instead - Dr. Suresh reaches out for Tracy's hand and falls to the floor actually surprised when she freezes his forearm.
  • The ending to Season 3, to the point of being completely ridiculous. Sylar kills Nathan, but is then tranq'ed. Everyone is now in a room with an unconscious Sylar and a dead Nathan.
    You'd expect - HRG to say "Hey, Claire has magic bring-dead-people-back-to-life blood. I should know, seeing as it did so for me. Let's inject Nathan's body with some and toss Sylar into a wood chipper."
    Instead - The group decides to have Matt hypnotize Sylar into being Nathan and just pretend that Sylar is dead.. Naturally, this works exactly as well as you expect.
  • Season 4 - Peter has stolen the Haitian's power neutralizing ability and uses it to get the drop on Sylar, managing to nail-gun his hands to a table. Peter has Sylar dead to rights and knows that he killed Peter's brother and father and Claire's mother and untold others.
    You'd Expect: That he'd put a nail into Sylar's brain and then pitch him into a volcano.
    Instead: He tries to bring Nathan's personality to the surface even though Sylar already proved in that season alone that it couldn't take.
    Bonus! He completely neglects using the Haitian's memory-wiping powers to suppress Sylar again, which would make a tragically idiotic plan only largely idiotic. Or at least not to stop erasing Sylar's memories until there is nothing left, which the Haitian did in Season 1 with the guy that attempted to rape Claire.
    Double Bonus! "Nathan" realizes he can't control Sylar and decides to commit suicide. He does this by jumping off a building despite knowing that Peter/The Haitian's power only works in close proximity and Sylar has super-healing. Naturally, Sylar regains his powers mid-fall and survives it, walking away to mock Peter.
  • A less serious example: Hiro discovers a man about to jump off the roof of his company's building because he was fired for copying his butt at a company party.
    You'd Expect: That Hiro could just intervene normally to get the guy re-hired at the company that Hiro owns.
    Instead: Hiro keeps traveling back in time to physically prevent the guy from copying his butt, but the guy just does it a week later.
  • Highway To Heaven, "Close Encounters of the Heavenly Kind". Johnathan and Mark drive their car into a crater left by a falling meteor, then walk out of the crater. A young boy, whose grandfather believes in aliens asks them if they're aliens.
    You'd expect: That being an angel would make you prone to telling the truth. In which case, Johnathan should have said, "No. We crashed our car in the crater."
    Instead: Johnathan tells the boy that they're aliens and gives the boy a piece of meteorite and tells him it has magical powers. Later in the episode, the kid gets into trouble with other kids because he thinks he has magical abilities, but realizes he doesn't have the rock with him. The Aesop: believe in yourself.
  • House of Anubis, in one Season 3 episode, the Big Bad of the season Robert Frobisher-Smythe was found in Fabian's room on the floor, dying and begging for Fabian's help.
    • You'd expect: Fabian to see through this obvious trick as he knows Frobisher-Smythe is evil, and abandon him in the room while he goes to get help.
    • Instead: Fabian agrees to help him, and takes Frobisher-Smythe to the gatehouse, where people are turned into sinners.
    • And then: Then, Frobisher-Smythe asks him to complete his research when he's dead. Fabian is delighted and agrees, seeming to forget completely that he's talking to the Big Bad...and then, Frobisher-Smythe ends up revealing his evil nature, and tricks Fabian into expressing the sin of pride, which of course gets Fabian turned into a sinner.
  • iCarly: In the two part special, iPsycho, the trio has been held hostage in a small sound booth with nothing to do, except eat Chinese food at the time. While Nora goes upstairs to get some props to show them, Sam has been gnawing on a duck bone, and she manages to use the sharpened end to unlock the door. So they run out, and...
    You'd expect: That Carly, Sam and Freddie would hide in the small room that their bags are in. Or grab their phones, or do SOMETHING.
    Instead: Upon seeing Nora with her evil mask and real axe, they scream in horror and run back into the sound booth, only to have her immediately lock it again. Despite that, she claims to be unable to stay mad at them.
    • In the episode, iGive Away A Car, the trio is contacted by a boy who tells them their father, who owns a car dealership, wants to give away a car on their show, and sets the competition to be the first person who solves a certain riddle..
      You'd expect: Carly, Sam and Freddie would go see the father, call him, do anything that proves that this father exists, that he has a car, is willing to give it away and to come up with a better competition than a stupid riddle.
      Instead: They don't bother verifying the prize, and proceed to give away the car on the show. Nevel, their Sitcom Arch-Nemesis has set the whole thing up and due to a certain law, they risk losing their webshow. They eventually check with the owner of the car dealership, who doesn't even have a son.
    • iThink They Kissed, In the B-plot of this episode, Spencer gets a job at a prison teaching prisoners on sculpting and a few of them try to take advantage of this to break out of prison. In the end they carve a giant pair of pants, which they hide in as Spencer brings the giant pants back to the apartment. When Carly, Sam & Freddie discover them, Freddie says they will have to call the police and one of the prisoners asks for some duct tape.
      You'd expect: That the kids would refuse to tell them about the duct tape and go through with their threat of calling the police.
      Instead: Freddie actually tells them where the duct tape is and the prisoners tape the group together on the couch and make their escape! Even Carly and Sam are left dumbfounded by why Freddie would choose to do that.
    • iToe Fat Cakes: Carly, who has her toe stuck in the faucet, has managed to make a rope to pull a chair that holds her phone, and some more clothes, on it. She pulls the chair over to her and grabs the phone.
      You'd expect: That Carly would hold her phone above the clothes while texting, to keep it from falling into the water and breaking.
      Instead: She holds it above the water, and needless to say, it slips out and breaks, leaving her unable to use it.
    • iPear Store: While Spencer is working for the fire department, he is about to get them chili, but when he tries to take the pot with a cloth, he sets it on fire.
      You'd expect: That Spencer would use the sink right near him and put out the fire on the cloth with water.
      Instead: He keeps flailing it and puts it right near some kitchen accessories, causing the alarm to go off. Thanks to another weird move of his, the fire extinguishers are now all outside, and when they try to get them out, they end up locked in. The place ends up on fire, and the fire department indefinitely leaves Carly and Spencer.
  • Kamen Rider Kiva has a character named Taiga who was mourning the loss of his fiance, Mio, thinking that the titular rider did her in and vows revenge for her death. Next to him is Bishop, the true murderer, who aims to have Kiva destroyed.
    You'd Expect: Bishop would keep his mouth shut or even encourage Taiga to kill Kiva, thus eliminating him.
    Instead: He tells Taiga that he killed her. Taiga then beats the crap out of him.
  • Kamen Rider OOO. One time, Eiji falls in love with a sister of a celebrity who's manipulated by a Yummy. He goes lovesick to the point where he didn't bother to transform when there's a Greeed in front of him.
    You'd Expect: Kazari to take advantage of this situation and try to kill Hina, Eiji and Ankh while he has the chance.
    Instead: He just sits there, dumbfounded and bored because Ankh told him to wait, causing Eiji to transform.
    The Result?: Kamen Rider OOO gains an additional medal, and a new combo to boot.
    • Uva (in his human form) has claimed to have a medal he would give Ankh.
      You'd Expect: Ankh to simply avoid Uva, or least suspect he would be lying to him and wait for backup (OOO or Goto) to arrive. After all, this is the guy who was able adapt to Earth's modern technology in a short amount of time and figured out Kazari's plan with with nothing but an iPod.
      Instead: He just waltz into him and then demands for the medal. Uva then beats the crap out of him and takes a chunk of his medals.
    • Elsewhere, Eiji is trying to fight a Yummy with the ability send objects flying to people, Ankh demands him to come to his location.
      You'd Expect: Eiji to finish off the Yummy he was fighting with a Scanning Charge (which are effectively a One-Hit Kill) or least use his Tora Claws to rip it to shreds. In case you didn't know, the few times a Scanning Charge ever failed is either because of humans get in his way or if his attack is weakened in any way.
      Instead: He doesn't, and thus the above with Ankh getting beaten by Uva happens. He would've been mincemeat if weren't for Goto.
  • Kenan & Kel
    • "Girl Watchers" has Melissa making a getaway while Kenan is looking for a picture of Eric to get her to remember him. Kel noticed this.
      You'd Expect: He'll tell Kenan about this problem.
      Instead: He just wave goodbye as soon as she leaves.
    • In "Foul Bull", while drinking orange soda, Kel spills some of it on the floor at Rigby's. Suddenly, Ron Harper shows up in the store.
      You'd Expect: Kenan would take an advantage of this to distract the crowd while he gets a mop and clean this mess up.
      Instead: He gets distracted by him to do it. As soon as Ron looks around the store, he slips on the orange soda. All of Chicago blames Kenan and Kel for this.
    • In "Attack of the Bug Men" Kenan's house gets robbed by fraudulent bug men after Kenan left the door open against his parents wishes and he goes to the place they're eating dinner after the cops get involved.
      You'd Expect: Kenan would tell his parents they got robbed, but leave out the fact they left the door open and claimed he thought they were legitimate bug men.
      Instead: He tries to stall them as long as possible
      Later: The cops find the bug men but they need Kenan and Kel to come back to pick out their stuff (as these men had robbed several houses) so they decide to stall longer by making Kyra order the largest thing on the menu.
      You'd Expect: Kenan would realize it will take them hours to eat the entire thing and excuse himself so he and Kel can go home to make sure they get the right stuff.
      Instead: He dumps the entire dish onto his family and makes Kel go alone to get his stuff. Knowing Kel it's not hard to guess what happened.
  • Kitchen Nightmares:
    • The infamous "Amy's Baking Company" episode. Tired of the "cyberbullies" trying to bring them down on their Yelp page over how bad their food is, restaurant owners Samy and Amy Bouzaglo, who own the ABC cafe in Scottsdale, Arizona, call in Gordon Ramsay and the show to help prove those "haters" wrong. After reacting horribly to a Yelp review a few months earlier, they bring in Ramsey's staff to set up for filming and let them watch a dinner service. A pair of customers, who have been waiting for over an hour for their food, complain to Samy about the terrible service and threaten to leave.
      You'd Expect: That Samy and Amy would do their best to avoid causing a scene, particularly as they're being filmed for a television show. They could either reassure the customers that their food will be coming or just let them go.
      Instead: Samy harasses the customers and refuses to let them out unless they pay for their food which they never even received. Amy overhears this and threatens calling the police to arrest them if they don't pay up. This goes From Bad to Worse when the customers make their way to the door but Samy blocks their exit, physically preventing them from leaving. A stagehand has to break up the fight while Amy dials 911. The police arrive and force the restaurant to close for the night. Nobody is arrested but the producers wind up paying for everyone's meals.
      Later On: Ramsay shows up, enjoying a sample of their baked goods (which were actually bought from another store). He then tastes the rest of the food, which he finds to be terrible, and witnesses how deplorable these two are to both customer and employee (to the point where Amy fired their only waitress because she asked a simple question and when Samy tried to get her back, she walked off, tired of their crap). Having seen enough, Gordon demanded that they meet back here the next day to try to patch things up.
      You'd Expect: During a moment without the stresses and watching Ramsay tear into them, Samy and Amy would realize that they were too harsh and maybe need serious help from both a psychiatrist and an anger management counselor. At the very least, Amy would take Gordon's criticism of her cooking into consideration, on the basis that a guy with nearly thirty years of culinary experience and fourteen Michelin stars probably knows what he is talking about.
      Instead: Amy completely blows off all of Gordon's criticism, claiming that the dishes he tasted are very popular and no one else has ever complained about them. The next day she and Samy simply don't show up at the restaurant, giving Gordon a chance to find out more about these two and when he finally confronts them, they still refuse to believe that what they're doing is wrong. All the tips and pointers Gordon gave went over their heads and they decide they no longer need his help. Ultimately, Gordon's had enough and walks out for the first time on his show. Note that this had never happened before. Even the infamous Sebastian couldn't drive Gordon out of his restaurant, but the owners of Amy's managed to. After this, they had a public meltdown on their Facebook fanpage and Yelp profile. Forbes even used it as a case example for what businesses should not do on social media.
    • Samy and Amy aren't the only idiots to appear on the show. The owners of the Burger Kitchen took £250,000 of their son's inheritance to finance their failing restaurant without telling him about it or giving him any choice in the matter. The son is understandably very annoyed with the pair of them as a result of this.
      You'd Expect: The parents to at least understand why their son's so unhappy.
      Instead: They don't, and at one point, the father pretty much says "I stole £250K of my son's money! Why is he so pissed off with me?" Wow, what a mystery.
  • Law & Order episode 20-9m "For The Defense": Mike Cutter is lamenting the fact that a corrupt lawyer is threatening to use a prior sexual relationship with Connie to discredit her impending testimony. Cutter goes on and on about how bad an idea sleeping with a co-worker is and how stupid Connie was to put herself in that situation.
    You'd expect: For him not to go on like this to someone who has a well-known track record of office relationships. Especially when that person is Jack McCoy, his boss.
    Instead: Cutter asks "What kind of person would put themselves in that position?" (Jack: You mean besides me?). Cutter keeps going, basically calling Jack and Connie idiots for engaging in said relationships.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
    • The team finds a homeless girl and got her to give up information about her "father", a wanted criminal who has killed several people and is still on the loose after a woman is murdered.
      You'd Expect: They'd put her in the protective custody of the police and keep her safe in case her "father" wants to kill her for ratting on him.
      Instead: They release her to the head of a shelter with no one there to guard her. Predictably, her "father" comes back for the kid and kills both her and the head of the shelter. Saw that one coming.
    • The exact thing happens in a far more egregious example in the episode, Lost Reputation. Captain Cragen is framed in an overly elaborate conspiracy between two criminals, who are attempting to frame each other, and border on international terrorists. The detectives track down a victim of one of them in hopes of her testifying.
      You'd Expect: She would be brought to the police station or someone left behind for protection, especially when she mentions of having children.
      Instead: They leave her there, alone until morning. Shockingly she turns up dead and their entire case is now looking dead in the water.
      • On this show in general, if the only or most crucial witness to a case is left outside of police custody for any length of time, expect he or she to wind up on a slab or at best be brutally attacked so that they won't testify.
    • This show seems to be made of this trope. In one episode, some family member comes barging in worried about their relative.
      You'd Expect: They'd learn to shut up, or at the very least hide traumatizing information.
      Instead: They clearly don't. Naming one episode would be a disservice to all of the other times this happens. Invariably, the family member will either go into an unrecoverable funk, go batshit insane, or do something else impossibly stupid.
    • And it's not just the detectives: in "Goliath," a large group of armed cops are facing down one of their own, who's just killed his wife in a psychotic state induced by drugs he was given while serving in Iraq. He's half naked, smeared with his wife's blood, and holding a gun, in the depths of confusion and despair. His son (who is at least twelve or thirteen) comes out of the house, ignorant of his mother's death. Remember, a large cadre of armed officers are present.
      You'd expect: the kid to see his father, bloody, holding a gun, and with other cops pointing their weapons at them and realize something's wrong, and react appropriately.
      Instead: he completely ignores all the guns and all the other cops, and questions his dad in confusion about his mother, wondering why his father is so upset. "Did I do something wrong?" That's the last straw that pushes his dad over the edge, and he fires the gun into his own head. (He lives, but that's not the POINT.)
    • One that seems to repeat several times. A teenage couple are arrested for some type of crime. Often, either he rapes her or he convinces her to be an accomplice to a crime.
      You'd expect: The girl would realize that a healthy relationship doesn't involve police interrogation, and would take advantage of the deal the police are giving her.
      Instead: She continues to wail about how "he loves her" and proceeds to take the fall (or cover up) for a guy who is usually only with her for sex, money, or to let her take the blame and frankly treats her like garbage.
    • In another episode, some rich teens get arrested for drinking at a party. The judge decides to give them a second chance and lets them go.
      You'd expect: Them to lay low and try not to get in any more trouble.
      Instead: The very next day, one of them posts a video they made of themselves drunk and making fun of the judge and the detectives. Predictably, they get arrested and charged with underage drinking and contempt of court.
  • In Lost, Kate Austen is a prime example for this trope, partially because she always tries to get her way. In the Season 2 Episode "The Hunting Party", Jack tells Kate to stay behind and take care of the Button while he, Locke and Sawyer go after Michael.
    You'd expect: As Jack has a perfectly good reason for asking Kate to stay behind, she should obviously just stay behind and push the damn Button.
    Instead: Butthurt that she was refused to opportunity to go along with the guys, she decides to follow them. As she isn't pretty good at that, she gets captured by the Others who then use her later as leverage to disarm Jack et al.

    Live-Action TV M-R 

  • MacGyver: In "Phoenix Under Siege," a deadly assassin has MacGyver on the ropes. She is about to finish him off.
    You'd expect: While Mac is sprawled on the ground, she walks one room back to retrieve the gun she lost earlier and just shoots him.
    Instead: She waits until he gets up, and then decides to jump kick him (to death, I guess). He's standing in front of a plate glass window. Mac helps along the inevitable by leaning slightly to one side. And this after the assassin displays remarkable caution by, among other things, trying to take care of Mac herself instead of assuming the building-killing bomb will finish him. She doesn't even have the excuse of fighting honorably for her idiocy.
  • In the first season of Mad Men, Pete Campbell happens upon a box containing proof that Don Draper is really Dick Whitman, a soldier who was listed as KIA in the Korean War, and that he stole the identity of the real Don Draper, his former commanding officer who was killed and burned beyond recognition in an explosion. He then attempts to use this information to blackmail Don into giving him a promotion.
    You'd Expect: Pete to hang on to the box until he's got his promotion. Just the fact that he knows Don's real name and background should be proof enough that he has the ability to prove his accusations if need be.
    Instead: He gives Don the box back, then tries to blackmail him. After initially freaking out and almost skipping town, Don comes to his senses and points out that Pete has no way of actually proving his claims. This leads to Pete fruitlessly trying to prove the details of Don's Dark Secret to Mr. Cooper, and without any way of actually substantiating his accusations, Pete naturally ends up coming across as a complete tool (and to add insult to injury, it turns out that Cooper wouldn't have fired Don even if Pete could prove his accusations).
  • Malcolm in the Middle
    • In the series finale, Lois reveals that she specifically wants him to be miserable for his whole life, working his way up from a dead-end janitor job to becoming the President of the United States. His brothers, father, and grandmother had all been aware of this, and assumed that he himself also knew, even though no one ever told him.
      You'd expect: That Malcolm would tell his family to shove it up their asses when they revealed their plans for his life.
      Instead: He accepts it, fully aware that the decisions they made were his to make. And no, the moral of this show is no excuse. Francis didn't exactly have a choice when he was put into military school, but realized how fucked up his life was, declared himself independent of Lois, and took control for himself, without any kind of guidance, essentially shattering said aesop to pieces. Honestly, will he ever come to his senses? Not like they'd be able to punish him if, in fact, does betray them since, well, they intend to ruin his life anyway.
  • Mash: In the episode, "The Sniper", the doctors and nurses are trapped in Post-Op while six patients are in the ambulance in need of assistance. Hawkeye comes up with this master plan: to surrender to the sniper. His reasoning: if they surrender, they can help the patients in the ambulance.
    You'd expect: Someone, anyone, to question how surrendering to a sniper is even possible or how this would help.
    Instead: Hawkeye and Trapper carry a white flag out of the building and walk toward the sniper. Then, they're surprised when the plan doesn't work and the sniper starts shooting at them.
  • Master Chef Junior:
    • In the semi-finals, Troy wins the challenge competition (cooking a soft-boiled egg) and is given two advantages: he gets to pick which cut of a chicken (from best to worst - breast, thigh, wing and liver) to take for himself, and which of the other three to give to the other competitors. He ends up taking the thigh for himself, and has two of them to work with.
      You'd Expect: That Troy would hedge his bets and cook both thighs, especially when Joe (one of the judges) points the opportunity out to him. After all, he's in the semi-finals and has enough time to do it, and there's no room for error.
      Instead: He decides not to cook the second thigh, and goes with his gut instinct that just cooking one is enough. When it comes time for judging, both he and Gordon are disheartened to discover that the thigh is raw on the inside. He is subsequently eliminated that night.
  • MI High
    • A teen invents a device that can disarm nuclear missiles, even if they're in flight, wherever they're from, in the hope of creating world peace.
      You'd Expect: The world to figure out that such a device would only make nuclear warfare impossible, and that countries would still be capable of going to war.
      Instead: The device is treated as something that will make war completely impossible, with a General Ripper even going so far as to destroy the prototype and try and start World War Three in order to prevent the army from becoming obsolete, a danger IT WASN'T. EVEN. FACING. His stupidity and utterly pointless plan would probably net him a dishonourable discharge, if he was LUCKY.
  • On Monk:
    • In Mr. Monk and the Man Who Shot Santa, Monk shoots and injures a suspect who is dressed in a Santa costume with his own weapon. Thanks to an overzealous sensationalist reporter, and the large group of children who witnessed the incident, Monk is branded as "The Man Who Shot Santa" and Monk and Natalie are harrassed everywhere they go. He attempts to clear his name by going onto said reporter's talk show and making a public apology.
      You'd Expect: Natalie to prepare Monk with an eloquent line, something like "The man I shot was not Santa Claus. He was some loony dressed as Santa Claus who had a revolver in his hand."
      Instead: She offers him little more than a pat on the back. Monk gets chewed up and spit out by the hardball reporter, and makes things even worse by telling the children that Santa isn't real.
      You'd Also Expect: that Stottlemeyer would realize that Monk would become a target for harassment and would put him and Natalie under police protection or at the very least in a safe house until the heat died down.
    • In "Mr. Monk Buys a House," Monk and Natalie are taken hostage by a handyman, "Honest" Jake, and are chained up to a clawfoot bathtub that is interestingly freestanding. They manage to temporarily knock out Jake by causing a wall to fall on him.
      You'd Expect: That Monk or Natalie would have enough thought of mind to disarm Jake while he was incapacitated, since he wouldn't be able to harm them, allowing them enough time to call for help.
      You Might Also Expect That Natalie would have thought to have her cell phone so she could call 911, which could have likely saved the life of Jake's partner if she did.
      Instead: Monk and Natalie crawl down the hallway, dragging the bathtub with them. Natalie then lights some rags and puts them in the fireplace, then uses the floo to send up smoke signals that Stottlemeyer and Disher happen to be see from a few blocks away. By the time she lights them, notice that Jake is already starting to come around and free himself.
    • Also in that same episode:
      You'd Expect: That the police would naturally think it suspicious that a wheelchair bound man who can only walk short distances somehow managed to walk up a flight of stairs without even a walker, and then fall to his death.
      Instead: They only take the word of the patient's nurse, the only other person in the house at the time.
    • In "Mr. Monk Goes to the Carnival":
      You'd Expect: That Leonard Stokes, after killing his girlfriend, would run out of the carnival.
      Instead: He decides to hide in the ferris wheel, which seems plain stupid considering that Sharona finds him there while getting up in the ferris wheel to locate him.
    • In part, Monk and Natalie have each been taken hostage a number of times or gotten into near death experiences very frequently.
      You'd Expect: That either of them would have learned from these incidents where one or both of them has nearly been killed by a captor and started carrying at least a pistol around on their person at all times.
      Instead: By not carrying firearms, these hostage situations are able to happen
    • In "Mr. Monk and the Panic Room", Darwin the chimp is framed for his owner's murder despite the fact that the guy was shot twice in the back.
      You'd Expect: Stottlemeyer and the others to realize no monkey could handle a handgun so adeptly. After Sharona points this out, Stottlemeyer takes Darwin into an interrogation room with what he assumes is an unloaded gun; it's not. Darwin shoots without aiming and only hits the room's window.
      You'd Then Expect: The cops to admit Darwin could not have killed Ian Blackburn, his owner.
      Instead: They continue to insist Darwin is the killer until Monk's summation.
    • In "Mr. Monk and the Girl Who Cried Wolf", Sharona continually sees a blood-soaked man with a knife in his chest and a screwdriver in his ear who disappears as soon as she runs screaming for help. On both occasions, this man speaks to her, calling her by name and saying things like, "Daddy needs you."
      You'd Expect: Monk, Stottlemeyer, Disher, or Dr. Kroger to look into Sharona's childhood history or ask her where her father is.
      You'd Then Expect: One of them to ask who, besides Sharona, knew said history. [[Spoiler: One answer would've been, "My creative writing teacher," for whom Sharona wrote an essay about her mentally ill dad, and who turned out to be the killer.]]
      Instead: everyone believes Sharona is reacting to stress or even crazy, right up to the summation.
    • In "Mr. Monk and the Rapper," a car bomb has killed rapper Extra Large and severely injured his limo driver.
      You'd Expect: For Stottlemeyer or someone with authority to arrange for police protection on the driver, since the driver is the primary witness for the investigation.
      Instead: No protection is given to the driver, allowing the killer to enter his hospital room and strangle him.
  • In the reality series Monsters Inside Me, we have Hannele Cox in one episode, who, like all the contributors, falls prey to a parasitic disease. The disease has to do with the infections one can get from fish, and she essentially got it from sticking her hand inside the family fish tank.
    You'd Expect: That Hannele was an overly curious toddler or young child.
    Instead: She is in her mid-teens, has repeatedly been told not to put her hands in the tank, and yet continually does it. Plus, she goes to several doctors who can't seem to figure out why she has an infection, and only when the infection gets severe enough that she almost goes blind and narrowly escapes hand amputation does anyone make the connection that she got the parasite from the fish tank. What an Idiot on two levels.
  • In the televison special The Muppet Musicians of Bremen, T.R. the rooster is told by his owner Lardpork that he'll cook him for being useless around the barn, so T.R. decides to escape before Lardpork comes back, and takes the opportunity to join Leroy the Donkey to become traveling musicians. However, T.R. wants to say goodbye to the chickens before he runs off.
    You'd Expect: He would just say goodbye and leave.
    Instead: He sings them a song before leaving them, and as soon as he's done with his song, Lardpork shows up with an ax, ready to chop him. Though T.R. does end up escaping.
  • In My Name Is Earl the warden has been giving Earl certificates for time off his sentence in exchange for helping out with various prison problems. When the time finally comes that Earl has earned enough time off that he can leave, he panics, because he's too incompetent without Earl there.
    You'd Expect: The warden to just let Earl go, and possibly offer him a job as a general adviser or something.
    Instead: He panics, tears up Earls certificates, and expects him to just go on for the rest of his sentence. He throws him in solitary when he gets pissed.
    • Earl's side of the story:
      You'd Expect: Just nod quietly, and let the warden forget he could use Earl with his sociopathic means.
      Instead: He practically handed him a weapon against himself.
  • Many of the subjects on Locked Up Abroad do this to themselves, when thinking about the mistakes they made. Such as the guy who was going to pick up a packet of drugs from the post office. That's pretty stupid in itself, but he took drugs before he went to pick up the package.
  • In a first season episode of Prison Break, the lawyers try to figure out what to do next now that the execution's been given a two-week stay. Burrow's son LJ, who's understandably a bit cranky, what with his mother being murdered in front of him and him being chased by the police for a double homicide he didn't commit, declares that trying to work within the legal system is a waste of time. The lawyers tell him that the legal system the only way that's going to work. They then get the idea to go back to the cabin where they left Quinn to try and recover info. Upon arrival, they lower LJ into Quinn's well with a rope to get Quinn's cell phone. LJ sees that Quinn scrawled out a name on the wall.
    You'd Expect: LJ to realize that the lawyers aren't being goody-two-shoes. This is an insanely elaborate conspiracy they're dealing with, one which only stopped trying to kidnap or kill the lawyers and LJ when they went public. The name of one of the people who's been chasing them would be insanely helpful for figuring out who's in on the conspiracy, especially since the conspirators don't know they have it.
    Instead: LJ doesn't tell them the name, grabs a gun from the cabin, finds the guy on the Internet, breaks into his house, and tries to kill him. Where to even start with how stupid this is...will killing this guy going to magically put a stop to Burrow's execution and shut down the conspiracy? Will it clear LJ of double homicide? Not really, no- seeing as how now he'd be an actual murderer on top of a framed one. Oh, and remember how if the lawyers had the name they could investigate and trace him to figure out who he's meeting with? Well that plan's toast, now that the conspiracy knows they're on to him. Come on, LJ. It was a long car ride back from the cabin. How the heck do you fail, so epically, to realize the colossal failures inherent in your plan when you have hours to think about it?
  • NCIS:
    • In "Till Death Do Us Part," Director Vance and his SUV are abducted by Harper Dearing, who has a serious nut against NCIS. However, both the director and his vehicle are found, and Vance is unhurt.
      You'd Expect: NCIS to give Vance a new vehicle, and take the SUV apart piece by piece in case Dearing planted a bomb in it (since something like that would be part of his modus operandi). If a bomb is located, they could call in the bomb squad, defuse the bomb, and everyone would be A-OK.
      Instead: They let Director Vance continue driving the same SUV. He parks it right in front of NCIS headquarters. Dearing calls in and lets everyone know that he has a bomb on the Navy Yard and it's about to blow up NCIS. Team Gibbs concludes that it's in Vance's SUV (they're right). They call for an immediate evacuation of the building.
      You'd Expect: Everyone to run to the back staircases and exits of the building, and get the hell out of there as quickly as humanly possible.
      Instead: Abby stays behind in her lab at the front of the building, so Gibbs has to run back in to rescue her. McGee lollygags in the squad room. Tony and Ziva take the elevator in the front of the building.note  Of course, all of them are present when the bomb goes off. Poor Ducky has a heart attack when he hears about it. McGee ends up with a shard of glass to the abdomen, and Abby develops serious psychological issues following the attack.
    • In the followup episode "Extreme Prejudice," Barack Obama himself authorizes every federal agency to deal with Dearing with extreme prejudice. One of Fornell's agents, a woman named Lorraine, finds Dearing watching reports of the NCIS attack through a store window. She makes small talk with him.
      You'd Expect: Agent Lorraine to shoot Dearing, or the FBI to have a sniper nearby since they were able to find Dearing so damn quickly.
      Instead: Agent Lorraine uses seduction and lures Dearing to an apartment. He asks to use the restroom. While he's in there, a SWAT team enters the apartment and unloads several rounds on the bathroom. When they open the door, they find that he's jumped out the window and has left a small bomb set to explode in ten seconds.
      You'd Expect: Agent Lorraine to run over and chuck that bomb out the window. If she got lucky, maybe she'd hit Dearing. At the very least, she could yell for everyone to get out of the apartment.
      Instead: She just stands there. The bomb goes off. She dies.
      Even Worse: The entirety of the federal law enforcement doesn't bother to surround the apartment building with SWAT personnel, or at the very least aim a thermal imaging satellite at the apartment complex so they could track Dearing in case he gets away.
  • In an early episode of NCIS: New Orleans, three girls are out driving when they watch a bus crash. As they pull over to see what happened, three unpleasant-looking guys in prison jumpsuits pull themselves out of the bus and begin walking towards the girls.
    You'd Expect: The girls to get the hell out of there.
    Instead: They don't. A scene later, it turns out that the three prisoners stole the girls' car. It could've been much, much worse.
  • At least twice on The Next Food Network Star, somebody has had to open a bottle or jar and failed terribly.
    You'd Think: They'd open it conventionally, by, y'know, twisting the top. If it's stuck, maybe stick it under some hot water. No biggie, they're chefs, they can handle this.
    Instead: They decide to either tap it against the counter or cut off the top of the bottle with a knife. In both cases, glass got too close to the dishes they were making, forcing them to throw them out.
    • In Season 5, Eddie made an absolutely rancid watermelon-and-onion salad for a challenge, and was a candidate for elimination.
      You'd Think: He would attempt to take the criticism gracefully, in the hopes that maybe a show of contrition would earn some mercy from the judges.
      Instead: Eddie tried to save himself by claiming "It was from a Paula Deen recipe." Thereby not only admitting that he had ripped off a recipe from one of the network's highest-profile stars, but that he didn't even rip it off correctly! Needless to say, the judges eliminated his ass with extreme prejudice.
  • This pops up frequently in No Ordinary Family:
    • In "No Ordinary Ring", the Powells are at a wedding which gets crashed by a gang of robbers. When they begin to escape, Jim chases after them and sees they are being hoisted up the side of a building.
      You'd Expect: Jim, who can jump over and onto buildings, to leap onto the top of the building and surprise the robbers (or anyone helping to hoist them up) as they reach the top.
      Instead: He tries jumping directly towards one of the robbers as he ascends. He misses, hits the wall, and falls flat on his behind.
    • In "No Ordinary Vigilante", Daphne's mind reading powers allow her to learn that a cashier at a local store is lifting money from the register. Later, she thinks she could use this knowledge as leverage to get booze for a party despite being underaged.
      You'd Expect: Daphne to take a moment to get any sort of concrete leverage against the cashier, or just realize that her word alone against the cashier's won't hold water.
      Instead: She smugly goes to the cashier and demands he sell her the booze or she'll rat him out. The cashier calmly points out that she has no proof of her claim, while the store's security camera provides him with footage of her trying to illegally purchase alcohol. He calls the police, and Daphne gets in trouble.
    • JJ, who used to have a learning disorder, gets "enhanced cognition" powers that basically enable him to become an expert at any science for a short period of time. He uses this to get better grades at school, arousing suspicion from his teacher, Mr. Litchfield, who soon accuses him of cheating.
      You'd Expect: JJ to offer to take a spontaneous oral exam immediately upon being accused, proving to Litchfield that he legitimately understands the class material. Even if Litchfield were to bring up his former deficiency, there would be no concrete proof that JJ cheated or took any sort of performance-enhancing drugs (which is something Litchfield later accuses him of), nor any irrefutable reason why the disorder couldn't just have disappeared.
      Instead: JJ attempts to draw suspicion away from himself by getting lower test scores, gradually working his way back up to higher ones, then uses his superior understanding of physics to join the football team despite his short stature. Litchfield becomes more and more suspicious. Eventually, Litchfield accuses another student that JJ tutored of copying off him because of very similar test answers, leading to JJ attempting to hack into the school computers and change the grades. Litchfield catches him doing this and soon afterwards gets caught in a near-fatal car crash, which JJ blames himself for.
  • The Office (US) has more than its share of these, but a few examples stand out:
    • In "The Negotiation", Michael is trying to get a raise. His review to determine whether he gets one and how much of one he gets is being conducted by Jan, who Michael is currently in a relationship with. Jan, knowing Michael, has already specifically told him not to bring up said relationship, as it won't be considered.
      You'd Expect: Considering Michael has a list about the length of his arm of completely legitimate reasons as to why he deserves a raise, he'd have the presence of mind to at least bring a few of them up.
      Instead: His relationship with Jan is the first, last, and only argument he puts down in favor of his raise. Idiot Houdini works in his favor, though, as he manages to get a decent raise anyway.
    • In "Survivor Man", Michael's Zany Scheme of the week leaves Jim in charge of the office for the day. Someone's birthday is that day, and since it's during a month in which several other characters celebrate their birthday as well, Jim gets the idea to celebrate them all on the same day for efficiency's sake. No one else in the office is fond of the plan.
      You'd Expect: When Jim is going around to ask what people think of the idea, they'd, y'know, tell him. Even if they're somehow worried about being singled out, it quickly becomes clear that most of the people in the office are aware of all of the other characters who don't like the idea either; it wouldn't be hard to go to Jim as a group to voice their concerns.
      Instead: They act as if they like the plan whenever Jim is around, while behind his back they sit around impotently grumbling about how Jim's "gone mad with power" despite the fact that, not only has no one done anything to suggest that the plan is disliked while Jim is around to notice, they actively hide that bit of information from him. By the time Jim has overheard enough bits and pieces of their whining to realize what's going on, it's already the end of the day, forcing Jim to scramble to arrange the birthday that's supposed to be celebrated that day.
  • Once Upon a Time
    • King Leopold meets a genie who offers to grant him three wishes. However, the genie also warns him that every wish he's granted has turned out badly. Being a nice guy, Leopold says he doesn't need anything and wishes the genie free and hands him the lamp with its remaining two wishes.
      You'd Expect: The genie, having already warned that wishes always turn out badly, that he would throw away/destroy the lamp. At the very least, you would think he'd think very carefully about his Exact Words before using the wishes to avoid malicious interpretation.
      Instead: He wishes "to be able to look at the face of the woman he loves forever". He's turned into a magic mirror.
    • Captain Hook has had his lips cursed by Zelena so that the next time he kissed Emma, Emma's magic would be taken away. Hook keeps it a secret for a while, but the truth does eventually come out. Later on, Emma decides that she's going to try to fight Zelena head to head.
      You'd Expect: That Emma would go by herself, or at least take someone else, like Regina, who actually knows magic.
      Instead: Prince Charming insists that she take Hook with her, despite knowing that he does not have any magic of his own, and is the only person who could take away her magic. Sure enough, guess what happens.
    • A young Snow White told Cora (Regina’s mother) that Regina was planning on running away with Daniel, the stable boy. Cora catches them and kills Daniel.
      You’d Expect: Regina, knowing her mother and what she’s capable of, should understand that Snow was just a little girl who can easily be manipulated by Cora. She should then have focused all her revenge on Cora instead of Snow.
      Instead: She blames Snow for everything and wastes years of her life (that she could have spent trying to be happy with someone else) getting revenge. It does not end well for her.
    • Henry runs away from Storybrooke to find Emma, his biological mother. Emma then brings him back.
      You’d Expect: Regina should have just thanked Emma for bringing him back and then play nice with her. She then should have just waited for Emma to leave on her own, as she was planning to do.
      Instead: She threatens and antagonizes Emma every chance she gets, while also turning Henry against her. Emma starts suspecting that something is wrong and decides to stay, which leads to her eventually breaking the curse.
  • 1000 Ways to Die is a show that, by its very nature, has this trope pop up about Once an Episode. For example...
    • A female diver was in the decompression chamber after a spot of trouble down below. A maintainance worker was making his rounds when he came upon the chamber door.
      You'd Think: He'd have the presence of mind to ask if the chamber was occupied before opening the pressure door.
      Instead: He opened the door without asking, changing the pressure in the chamber and killing the poor woman inside. One can only hope that this moron was, at the very least, fired.
      Also: that episode was all sorts of Fridge Logic: why didn't the chamber have an intercom, window or some sort of signal light or sign to indicate when it was being occupied, and why exactly did the maintenance man open the door? Curiosity? Or did he have a legitimate reason to go into the chamber? As for the maintenance man opening it without asking, the occupant was presumably screaming out loud to warn him of what he was doing and the chamber was either soundproofed or so sound-shielded that he couldn't make out her words and thought someone was stuck in there and trying to free them, which again brings up another question of why there wasn't a speaker/intercom hooked up to the outside.
    • A man ends up in the hospital with serious burns all over his body after falling asleep in bed while smoking.
      You'd Think: He'd take this as a sign from the man upstairs that it's high time he kicks the habit.
      Instead: He bribes the night nurse to take him out back for a smoke. The ash from his cigarette holds enough of a spark to ignite the highly flammable ointment his bandages are soaked in. Set ablaze, he rolls uncontrollably down the wheelchair ramp and at the bottom his oxygen tank explodes into a ball of fire, burning him to a crisp.
      On Top Of That: The nurse had just told him, "Okay Mister Burns, you've got 2 minutes, don't do anything stupid."
  • Operation Repo: You are driving a hook-and-chain tow truck that has an expensive BMW on the back with a cameraman inside. You have to pee badly, and drive faster than usual. Your partner suggests you slow down to prevent an overturn. You nearly have an accident when you run a stop sign. Your partner repeats his suggestion more vehemently.
    You'd Think: You slow down, and/or maybe find a McDonald's to pee in.
    Instead: You keep going too fast. The car flips going round a corner, is totaled, the cameraman narrowly avoids death, and you get fired. Temporarily.
  • Robin Hood
    • "Brothers in Arms": Guy of Gisborne confiscates a necklace from a woman so that he has a gift for Marian. Robin Hood tells Marian about its origin.
      You'd expect: Marian to return the necklace to its owner herself, and tell Guy that she does not accept stolen gifts.
      Instead: Marian gives the necklace to Robin, who returns it to its owner. Predictably, Sir Guy finds out and starts suspecting that Marian spies for Robin Hood. This starts the chain of events which ends with Marian being forced to promise to marry Guy, to dispel the suspicion.
    • In the third series Robin meets Isabella, likes what he sees, implicitly trusts her, and starts up a sudden romantic relationship with her despite the fact that she's the sister of the man who killed his wife.
      You'd expect: Robin to at least try and remember his dead wife and the possibility that the sister of the man who murdered her might be just as untrustworthy, dangerous, and unhinged as her brother.
      Instead: He doesn't, and she kills him.
    • Kate's introductory episode involves her attempting to save her brother's life by a) trying to move him in a conspicuous cart during the middle of enforced conscription instead of just hiding him in the house, b) screeching "there's nothing there, there's nothing there!" when Guy investigates the suspicious sight of a woman talking to what's meant to be an empty cart, c) sabotaging the outlaws' ambush to free her brother by rushing in and attacking the guards prematurely without even a weapon to defend herself with, d) abandoning the outlaws and sneaking into the castle by herself with no clear plan on what she intends to do, e) forgetting to take out the distinctive braid across her forehead that makes her instantly recognisable to Guy of Gisborne who orders her restrained, f) trying to cut a deal with Guy by revealing to him that Robin, the man who would have saved both her brother and the rest of the prisoners had Kate just let him, is hiding amongst the prisoners, and g) flailing helplessly when Guy ends up killing her brother when he rushes to her defense, mistakenly believing that Kate is being threatened by Guy.
      You'd expect: Kate to learn a valuable lesson about the importance of patience, timing, competence, discretion, silence, and letting the professionals do their job without interference. Or, if she does really want to help, at least try to make herself useful to the group by training, learning other skills, etc.
      Instead: The next time a tax-collector comes to Locksley, she loudly and aggressively insults him in front of a large crowd of people, resulting in the destruction of her family's pottery business, her own capture and near-rape, and the audience being subjected to her presence for the rest of the series when the outlaws rescue her and then inexplicably invite her to join the team despite the fact that she's completely useless.
      Furthermore: Why on earth did the outlaws want her on the team in the first place? All she ever did was bitch and moan at them, and act impossibly ungrateful whenever they went out of their way to save her life.
  • Roots
    • In the penultimate episode, one slave character discovers a thief in a food storage shed who messed the place up and runs off when discovered.
      You'd expect: "Virgil" to go to his masters and tell them about the thief to minimize the risk of being beaten when the thief runs off.
      Instead: Virgil nonchalantly tries to clean up the mess whereupon his masters come across the scene seconds later. They don't believe him when he tells them about the thief and he is promptly used as a punching bag by his handlers.
  • Usually in the UK stand-up show Russell Howards Good News, Russell makes fun of idiots. This time he manages to screw up completely during his usual 'Guest' segment he is being given directions on how to stage a fake fight. During all this he is shown a small stool which he is told is breakable and is to be hit on the stunt-man's back.
    You'd Expect Russell to listen and work the scene as intended.
    Instead Russell, right before the scene is about to begin, decides to do a push up on the stool, causing it to collapse, with him breaking a couple of fingers in the process.
  • Royal Pains: In the fourth season, Hank is happily dating another doctor named Harper Cummings, who has had issues with dating doctors because of the hectic work schedules, but made an exception for Hank. In the season finale, Hank is discussing a medical case with Harper as they're preparing to leave for her family reunion. Before they board a boat to Rhode Island, Hank realizes that he may have misdiagnosed his patient, and the patient could be in danger.
    You'd Expect: Hank to call Dr. Sacani, who is still on call, to go check on the patient. In fact, the patient is a volleyball patient at a tournament where HankMed is already the onsite medical care, so Dr. Sacani would be right there. Plus, Dr. Sacani helped Hank treat the patient before, so he's well aware of her symptoms and history.
    Instead: Hank abandons Harper, calls Dr. Sacani to meet him, and both of them check on the patient. The patient is fine. Not surprisingly, Harper breaks up with Hank when he calls to tell her.

    Live-Action TV S-Z 

  • Saturday Night Live: Many of the one-time and recurring skits are built around this premise – characters acting like complete idiots, driving the humor. Examples:
    • "Celebrity Jeopardy!": As the recurring skit became popular, the writers developed the ongoing gag where the questions were made ridiculously easy that only a complete idiot would get them wrong (e.g., "The Beatles White Album is this color."), yet the contestants invariably answer incorrectly with off-the-wall responses. Category names would obviously hint at what the exact answer was (e.g., "The Number After 2"), but yet the contestants would come up with completely incorrect answers. Another example is host Alex Trebek (Will Farrell) asking, as the Final Jeopardy! clue, the contestants to write down either a name or simply any number ... and the answers are invariably wildly off-the-wall.
  • Every single character on The Secret Life of the American Teenager is prone to at least one bout of this. For example:
    • The "Ben wants to marry Amy" arc. There are a million reasons why this is an absolutely moronic idea, not the least of which is that they have zero chemistry together.
      • You'd Expect: Amy or, really, anyone not Ben to see sense.
      • Instead: Amy, overcome by emotion, leans towards accepting the proposal. Ben's father doesn't see why two very much in love teens can't marry, but Amy's father at least retains a level head.
  • Seinfeld contained numerous instances of this.
    • Example: George discovers that Elaine has a friend who knows Marisa Tomei and believes that George is just her type. Unfortunately, he is engaged to Susan.
      You'd expect: George would break up with Susan, meet with Marisa, and they would start a glorious romance that would eventually lead to a happy marriage. (But this is Seinfeld after all.)
      Instead: George has a secret meeting with Elaine and makes up a lie about her non-existent boyfriend (importer/exporter Art Vandelay) to cover up for the real reason he is going out: Marisa Tomei. Then when he does meet with her, he tells her that he is "sort of" engaged. She slaps him in the face and walks away infuriated. Even worse, Susan realizes the lie when she asks George what Art imports and exports, but the stories do not match.
    • You'd also expect: Susan would instantly call off the engagement realising George is a lying cheat.
    • Instead: She stays with him (after punching him in the face) and is eventually killed by the toxins in the cheap envelopes picked out by George. Immediately afterwards, George calls Marisa Tomei, but she hangs up on him.
  • Smallville: In Red, Clark goes to patch things up with Lana due to his Red Kryptonite induced behavior. He states not being himself, with Lana assuming that his feelings for her weren't genuine.
    You'd expect: Clark to respond that he wanted to change his image to impress her, but simply went overboard with the image. Doing so allows Clark to be honest, without giving away his secret.
    Instead Clark says that he can't explain his actions.
    • In Pariah, Alicia Baker is suspect of attacking both Lana and Jason. Even Clark suspects her, so he talks to her after the second attack. Unknown to him, Alicia was locked in an interrogation room with the sheriff during the second attack, so she couldn't have done it.
      You'd Expect: That Alicia would at least tell Clark that she was in fact locked with the sheriff in during that second attack, thus taking away every trace of suspicion towards her.
      Instead: Alicia makes a demand that means that she and Clark will go to the sheriff and explain everything, but only if Clark agrees that he will tell about his powers to the sheriff. Naturally he can't do that, so he still suspects Alicia, only to later talk with the sheriff himself, only to find Alicia dead by the time he wanted to apologize to her.
    • In Dichotic, Clark has just knocked out a guy who he knows has the ability to be in two places at once. He knows the guy was going to fake Lana and Chloe's suicides. Clark rescues Chloe, but not Lana.
      You'd Expect: Clark to look immediately around for Lana.
      Instead: He stops to stare about the unconscious guy's body and only notices Lana when she screams.
    • In "Precipice", Clark knows Lex is looking for a mentally unstable, violent man.
      You'd Expect: Clark to use is x-ray vision on the empty trains to find Lex.
      Instead: He wastes time looking around, resulting in Lex almost dying. Then, after hearing Lex, he decides to use his x-ray vision.
    • "Velocity", Clark learns that Pete has been street racing, and that street racers are using kryptonite as a substitute for nos. Pete ends up owing his mechanic a lot of money, and Clark makes a plan that involves Pete beating his mechanic in a race. Clark's plan also involves him using his heat vision to sabotage the mechanic's car. While doing this, he learns that the mechanic has rigged Pete's car to blow if it hits 100 mph.
      You'd Expect: Clark to go and tell Pete about this, so Pete could switch to using Lex's Porsche, since Clark can still help him cheat.
      Instead: He walks right in, confronts the guys, with kryptonite all over the place.
      The result: Clark is predictably weakened by the kryptonite, knocked out, and put into Pete's car.
    • In "Sacred", Clark uses his super speed to steal the stone from Isobel's hand.
      You'd Expect: Clark to keep on running, since Isobel doesn't have super speed.
      Instead: He stops to look at it, then to look at Isobel, giving her enough time to blast him and take the stone.
  • Spellbinder: After Paul returns from the parallel world, he learns that Ashka, the villainious Spellbinder therefrom, has sneaked into his world and bamboozled Paul's scientist dad into upgrading some of the Spellbinder technology (wich Paul is relatively familiar with by that point), so that she could use it to take over her homeworld. Ashka is an otherwise perfectly normal-looking woman, and Paul already learned that his dad is adamantly unwilling to believe his stories about the parallel world.
    You'd Expect: that once his dad starts extolling on the "project" he's working on, Paul, who is usually a remarkably resourceful fellow, would interject and describe to his dad the details of the technology he's working on. Since it is extremely unlikely that Paul could learn about it in this world, his dad would have to at least entertain the possibility that his son might be telling the truth.
    Instead: He throws a temper tantrum, keeps babbling about the Spellbinders and screams at Ashka, giving his father an impression that he's simply jealous of her and not right in his head. As a result Paul is alienated from his father, the "project" continues, and Ashka gets herself a super-power suit.
  • Stargate Atlantis series finale: "Enemy at the Gates". The people at Atlantis find out that the Earth gate opens to the wraith ship attacking Earth.
    You'd expect: them to send through a gate buster nuke and "make that ship go away".
    Instead: they send through a team (I repeat, to a wraith ship swarming of life-sucking alien soldiers) on an extremely dangerous mission to overload the ZPM powering that ship.
    • And speaking of that episode: in the show, as well as real life, there is a treaty that says Antarctica will never be used for military purposes. In the show, Antarctica is home to a heavily-armed abandoned outpost of the Precursors.
      You'd Expect: the outpost would be grandfathered into the treaty. This would keep it under multinational control, and everything safe under ridiculous amounts of ice.
      Instead: the SGC is forced to remove the control chair in compliance with the treaty. They then put it in Area 51, thus under exclusive US control, and in an above-ground bunker with no AA batteries. When the Wraith do show up, all it takes is a kamikaze run by a couple of Darts to destroy the chair and disable Earth's last line of defense.
    • In the same episode, John Sheppard is brought back to Earth from Another Galaxy to use the weapon's chair to defend the planet.
      You'd expect: That he'd be carted off and strapped into the chair the second he arrives so he can protect the planet and incidentally the chair itself using the impressive weapons it controls.
      Instead: He's allowed to clamber into a fighter plane to be shot at by Wraith Darts, while the chair is left unmanned and (as noted above) undefended by even conventional weapons in a shack in the Nivada desert.
  • The climactic episode of season 2 of Suits before the hiatus.
    • During the partner's meeting about the subject of firing Harvey, Mike suddenly comes in and presents the file that ultimately dooms Hardman. It was a signed affidavit that says that Hardman did knew that a client's manufactured car did have a defect but under the supervision of Hardman, hides it.
      You'd Then Expect: In a room full of lawyers that at least one of them would have actually taken the time of 3 seconds to confirm that it was indeed signed, especially Hardman.
      Instead: Everyone just took Mike's word for it, even Hardman. Then it was later confirmed that it was indeed signed, but not by the client but by Mike himself as he had even said that nobody actually does check those kinds of files.
  • Supernatural:
    • It's a long story involving nutcases, mandroids, shapeshifters and hostage situations so let's just cut to the chase here, shall we? They're looking for the shifter, the police have got them surrounded, a guard has a heart attack and needs to leave, Sam is going to get the guard out while Dean is going to take out the shifter but then Ronald gets hit with a bullet and dies.
      You'd Expect: Them to carry on as normal. Dean can take out the shifter and Sam can let the guard out, seeing as how he's not the one wanted for almost every crime under the sun.
      Instead: Sam tells Dean to help the guard out while he goes after the shifter. Dean gets his face on the 11 O'Clock News, they're even more royally screwed to hell than they were before and, in the next episode, Sam/the show has the gall to blame Dean for all of it.
    • In the Season 4 Finale, Sam has gotten powerful enough to kill Lilith, the also very powerful demon they've been hunting for a long time, for good. Dean meets up with him. Note the blood, and the guilt of recent events, and the stressful situation they're in has put Sam in a very agitated state.
      You'd expect: Dean would join up with him, regardless of his personal issues with the supernatural, and see this thing through to the end, or at least see for himself whether or not Ruby really was on their side.
      Instead: He picks now of all times to lay down an ultimatum about Ruby, who Sam is dating, and who's also saved their lives several times, while Sam pleads for him to just cut the crap for once and help him finish this. Dean insists he, not her should kill Lilith with him, and that Sam obviously has no idea what he's doing. When Sam says he does, Dean calls him a monster, which leads to him getting the piss beaten out of him, and Sam storming off. Long story short: Lilith turns out to be the final seal on Lucifer's cage which neither of them knew, Ruby knew all along, which neither of them knew, so in the end, Dean was incidentally right, though the situation might've been avoided had he gone along with them and confronted Ruby, possibly leading to a confession.
    • In Season 8, Dean breaks out of Purgatory with a new friend, Benny the vampire, whom Sam immediately distrusts.
      You'd expect: Dean to tell Sam that he trusts Benny because Benny saved Cas' life. Sam knows just how important Cas is to Dean, and Cas is his friend as well. Even though it probably still wouldn't get him to trust Benny, it would still get him to understand why Dean does.
      Instead: For no explained reason whatsoever, Dean dances around the question until it becomes a sore spot, and then a wedge, between him and Sam.
  • The 10th Kingdom: Everyone is trying to raise money at the casino in Kissing Town to buy the magic mirror at the auction so that Virginia and her father Tony can go home to New York, and Wolf wins more than enough money.
    You'd Expect: Wolf gives Virginia the money, making the woman he loves happy, maybe asking if he can come with her, OR he keeps entirely quiet about the money (give it away, put in in the bank, whatever) to make sure she has to stay in fairyland.
    Instead: Wolf tells Virginia and Tony that he lost all his money, and their offer of 5,000 gold pieces is outbid by the queen's huntsman. Wolf then obviously blows a fortune on his date with Virginia by renting a gorgeous tux, having music composed especially for her, giving her a romantic carriage ride with lots of flowers, renting an entire restaurant just for them, and giving her a magical singing engagement ring to propose marriage. When Virginia asks how he paid for all this, Wolf admits that he won 10,000 gold pieces the previous night, making Virginia understandably furious.
    • Wolf. When she confronts him...
      You'd Expect: Wolf does his conman routine, lies through his teeth, and says that half of Kissing Town owes him favors.
      Instead: See above. The one time in the miniseries he doesn't even try to come up with a good lie.
    • The main characters have the Huntsman temporarily indisposed through a series of lucky shots.
      You'd Expect: Them to at least think about finishing off a man who murdered hundreds of innocent people in cold blood. Or at the very least to take his magic crossbow.
      Instead: They simply run off, ensuring that he comes after them again as soon as he recovers.
  • 13: Fear Is Real, "Alone": Adam is specifically told by Ted and Nasser that Erica is the killer, and from then on sticks to them like glue. When the group is taking showers, Adam realizes that the others are wearing boxers, and that he didn't bring any.
    You'd Expect: Adam to either shower nude, wait for Ted or Nasser to finish and go back to the room together, or at the very least try to sneak back to his room if he's going alone.
    Instead: He rushes up to his room as noisily as possible, alerting Erica to his presence and resulting in his getting "killed off."
  • Tales from the Crypt
    • In Three's a CrowdRichard's wife Della and best friend Alan are planing a party for Richard to tell him ( that they're going to be parents!) Sadly Richard thinks they're having an affair and this results in him snapping enough to kill them both.
      You'd expect: That Della or Alan would come clean and tell him ([["You're going to be a father, we wanted to surprise you, please don't kill us!"]])
      Instead: They don't say anything, even when it's clear that he's going to kill him. Result? One of the saddest endings in the series.
  • Titus
    • Juanita, Titus's mom, is a psychopath (in the most literal sense of the word), but frequently gets out of mental hospitals, claiming that she's changed each time. Since Juanita has tried to kill Titus and his dad every time she gets out, Titus is naturally nervous about even being in the same room with her. The other characters frequently tell Titus to give his mom another chance, either because "it's your mother" or because it looks like Juanita really has reformed.
      You'd expect: That Titus would stick to his guns and stay hostile towards her, seeing as how she has a long history of violence, or at the very least, realize when Juanita is trying to sucker them into believing her story.
      Instead: Titus accepts that Juanita has changed for the better... only to be assaulted, drugged or abused by his mother. It's mentioned a few times on the show that this has been happening since Titus was born. And yet, he never learns.
      Justified: Titus's mom is a Manipulative Bitch (both on the show and in Real Life — until she killed herself in the early 1990s) and a manic-depressive who can go from acting like she's learned her lesson to doing the same crazy stuff she did before. Titus even described her as being a Batman villain (or she would have been one, if she'd just sign the release form) due to how crazy and devious she was.
  • Top Gear
    • During the Stretch Limos episode, the presenters are given the challenge of driving into a roadblock and getting away from it as quickly as possible, while the other two hosts shoot at their limo with paintball guns. Host James May has designed a limo that's essentially two cars joined at the rear, and can be driven at either end. Oh, and the other two hosts are Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond, and they're all rather fond of goofing about.
      You'd Expect: James to remember just who his co-presenters are, stay in his car and do a J-turn to escape, as the challenge instructions suggested.
      Instead: He gets out of the car, and tries to get into the other end and drive it from there. Predictably, Clarkson and Hammond shoot at him instead of the car, and one of them shoots him in his "gentleman's area". And when he does get into his car, the steering wheel comes off seconds after he hits the gas, so he ends up driving into the grass.
  • In the fifth season of 24, Jack Bauer finds himself on an airplane with a dictaphone recording which proves that President Logan supplied nerve gas to terrorists. Bauer finds out through a phone call to CTU that Logan has arranged for the plane to be shot down on the pretext that it's fallen under the control of terrorists.
    You'd Expect: Bauer to play the recording into his mobile phone, and CTU to use it to make their own recording, meaning that they'll still have the evidence even if Bauer's plane gets shot down.
    Instead: They don't do anything of the sort, and Bauer ends up having to force the plane into an emergency landing, then escape Logan's forces on the ground. Fortunately he manages to do all this successfully and returns to CTU, where he hands the dictaphone to Chloe. We then find out that a conference call with the Attorney General has been scheduled for about a half hour or so later, and that the dictaphone uses a flash memory chip.
    You'd Then Expect: Chloe, being a computer expert, to make copies of the conversation in every medium humanly possible; one on her own computer, one on Buchanan's computer, one on CTU's network, and one on optical disc for good measure.
    Instead: She doesn't make a single copy, giving a corrupt DoD staffer time to call Logan (preventing him from committing suicide in the process), set up a deal involving a cushy job at the White House, then upload a virus which completely wrecks the dictaphone's memory chip, forever destroying the all-important conversation and forcing Bauer to find a means of extricating a confession from Logan.
  • The end of The Twilight Zone episode "The Jeopardy Room" has two KGB agents, Vassiloff and Boris, roaming the room of a failed assassination plot via telephone bomb. While planning their next move, the phone rings.
    You'd Expect: That they would remember that the phone is rigged with a bomb that they themselves planted and not answer it.
    Instead: Boris picks up the receiver and by the time Vassiloff tries to stop Boris, both are blown to bits.
  • Two and a Half Men: Judith, who is an absolute bitch to Alan and an abusive harpy in general, kicks her husband, Herb, out of her house because he stood up against her abuse. Alan hears it from Charlie and is sadistically happy about his ex-wife's trouble. Then he goes to her house as soon as he heard about it.
    You'd Expect: Considering that Judith, up to this point, stole everything from Alan in the divorce, including his house, meddled in his relationship with Kandi out of petty vengeance, gave Kandi the divorce lawyer she used to screw him even further and uses the child support money that's supposed to pay Jake's expenses for herself, you'd expect Alan to finally put her in her place.
    Instead: It's a sitcom, so he doesn't. Instead, he starts comforting her, despite laughing at her suffering from the inside. However, it ends up with Alan getting back with her, as if he forgot all the crap she put him through for her own amusement. As expected, it ends with Judith deciding to break it up again, instead of Alan having the balls to reject her in the first place, and next time we know, she's back into abusing him and Herb again.
    • Judith always threatens Alan with going to the court if he doesn't pay everything unnecessary for her, not covered by the ridiculously high alimony.
      You'd expect: For him to say 'okay, let's go, let the judge see that even the amount of alimony I already pay isn't your rightful share'.
      Instead: He gives in and pays.
  • In one episode of Unbeatable Bonzuke, a contestant on Sponge Bridge makes it past the first zone with ease.
    You'd expect:For him to move right onto the next zone only failing if he falls off the boards.
    Instead: He celebrates by doing a backflip right off the platform disqualifying him!
  • One might get this feeling after yet another accident involving a rodeo on the show Untamed & Uncut. It makes another good (or possibly bad) idea for a drinking game. If one day, you find yourself watching an Untamed & Uncut marathon (or if it's simply many episodes in a row), take a drink every time an accident involving a rodeo comes up. Before you know it, you'll be as drunk as Dionysus on St. Patrick's Day.
  • Veronica Mars:
    • The murderer of Lilly Kane has been found and is in jail awaiting justice.
      You'd expect: Logan Echolls, who was in love with Lilly and hates the murderer, to do everything he can to see the murderer behind bars.
      Instead: In an extraordinarily misguided act of "loyalty" to his dead girlfriend, Logan destroys the evidence and the murderer goes free.
    • Veronica is neck and neck with another student for having the highest GPA in her class, which will earn her the Kane Scholarship, allowing her to attend Stanford on the Kane family's dime.
      You'd expect: She'd do her best to earn the scholarship, and only sacrifice it if something truly important got in her way.
      Instead: She deliberately walks out on a test, thereby forfeiting the scholarship, in order to see the verdict in Lilly's murder trial. Just to hear the verdict read, mind you — there was no way she could affect the outcome, and the verdict would be all over the news seconds later. She decided it was worth giving up her dream of going to Stanford just to see the look in the murderer's eyes when he was convicted ... oh, except that, due to her boyfriend's idiocy, he got acquitted.
  • Victorious: In "Tori Gets Stuck", Tori has to donate a second pint of blood for Robbie after Jade stole the first one she donated (long story). Eventually her blood has been removed and put in a bag. Robbie enters the room, pleased to see her having gone out of her way for him again.
    You'd expect: That Tori would hold on to the bag of blood to make sure nothing would happen to it. Considering she already had to donate one pint of blood, she would have to be extra careful with this one.
    Instead: Tori holds it up, and Robbie takes it from her. He imagines that he's holding "liquid Tori" in his hands, and then holds it up to the light in the room, but drops it, which splatters it all over the two of them. Tori is then forced to give up a THIRD pint of blood, which is pretty dangerous. And by the end of the episode, she feels drowsy and faint when she tries to do her part in the school play.
    • "Andre's Horrible Girl": As the earthquake is striking Los Angeles, most everyone in Nozu is taking cover for safety, except Hope Quincy, who we see more concerned for her birthday presents.
      You'd expect: That Hope would take cover beneath the hallway, or do SOMETHING other than stand below an arch.
      Instead: She doesn't even see that, and the japanese symbol falls off the wall and knocks her out, leaving her with a concussion. Ouch.
  • In The Walking Dead 's second-season episode "Chupacabra", Daryl Dixon comes stumbling out of the forest badly injured and limping after his unsuccessful attempt to find Sophia. Andrea notices something in the distance and alerts Rick and the rest of the group, and Rick tells her to wait while he deals with what he thinks is a walker. Andrea is itching to prove herself with a gun, however, and takes aim at the walker in the distance (over Dale's calls to put her weapon down).
    You'd Expect: That she would do what everyone's already told her. Andrea has no proficiency with a rifle, there's sunlight glaring down the scope, she can't see her target clearly, and there are already four men who are standing directly in front of her target (therefore putting them in danger if she misses) and aren't doing anything to put it down.
    Instead: She takes the shot anyway, almost kills Daryl (she grazes him in the side of the head) and gets yelled at by Rick from a distance.
    • The first episode of season 2 features the group hiding amongst a big car pile-up as a large horde of zombies walks by. Sophia is discovered and flees to the woods, chased by two eerily quick walkers, and Rick gives chase to help her. Catching up to her, he finds a safe hiding spot for her to stay in while he handles the zombies.
      You'd expect: That Rick tell Sophia to stay safely hidden while he handles the walkers and he comes back for her. You'd expect also he try to kill the zombies right where he was. Or run back towards the road where the group could safely dispose of them now that the horde had passed by. Really, a number of options were available.
      Instead: Rick points in some direction and tells Sophia to run back to the group while he drives the zombies away to kill them. While he's off killing the zombies, Sophia follows his instructions. This results in her getting lost, dying and being zombified offscreen, all because Rick couldn't be bothered to think straight for two seconds.
  • In the season premeire of Warehouse13, H.G. Wells asks MacPherson about the crystal necklace around his neck.
    You'd Expect: He'd tell her it was a present-day fashion trend. After all, she'd been bronzed for roughly a century and had no way of know "what's hip" today.
    Instead: He tells her what the necklace is for and pays the price later. For God's sake, James, you're supposed to be WAY SMARTER THAN THAT!
  • The West Wing: In the episode "The State Dinner", Toby and Sam are tasked with writing a toast to the visiting Indonesian President for a state dinner in his honour. Toby wants to include strong, confrontational language denouncing Indonesia's history of human rights abuses — however, he also is meeting with an Indonesian official after the toast to try and persuade him to help release Toby's friend, a French activist being held in an Indonesian jail for organising anti-government protests.
    You'd Expect: That Toby would err on the side of diplomacy, decide to not risk insulting the person he needs to help his friend and decide not to include the confrontational language, or at least follow Sam's suggestion of tempering it with more diplomatic language to blunt the potential insult.
    Instead: Toby insists that the confrontational language is included in full, with no moderation at all. True enough, the Indonesian official is offended by the confrontational toast and the perceived insult to his President, knows exactly who wrote it, and refuses to help Toby out. Toby's friend is presumably left to rot in jail.
  • White Collar: In the episode "Wanted," Peter, Diana, and Clinton are searching for Neal's whereabouts. Using audio evidence from a recorded phone call, they use process of elimination and narrow Neal's location down to Cape Verde. They do this off the books because an FBI agent named Collins is also after Neal (on Agent Kramer's orders), and is out for blood.
    You'd Expect: Peter and everyone to be discreet. They'd keep their investigation as bare bones as possible, and not leave any notes that could tip Collins off in case he decides to execute a search warrant on any of their houses. Remember, they're trying to help Neal.
    Instead: Peter puts a big red circle around Cape Verde on a map, and leaves the map at his house. Collins executes a search warrant. Collins finds the map, sees the hard-to-miss circle around Cape Verde, and goes after Neal with the full intention of killing him.
  • In the fifth season of Xena: Warrior Princess, the Fates state that Xena's death will mark the beginning of the end for the Olympian Gods, mostly at the hand of her then-unborn daughter.
    You'd Expect: Them to do everything in their power to keep Xena alive and well for as long as possible (such as giving her some Ambrosia).
    Instead: They go out of their way to hunt her down and try to kill her, Gabriel, and Joxer multiple times. Surprisingly, even Apollo, the god of wisdom, goes along with this plan.
    Also: "I can teleport! I should teleport to right in front of the only thing in the universe that can kill me, and annoy her enough to make her kill me!"
  • Zoey 101: "Spring Break-Up": After the girls lose one of the events because Zoey didn't recieve the combination, she discovers that her Techmate is missing. Then they find out that Chase took it (because he accidentally sent Zoey a message that he meant to send to Michael, and he really didn't want Zoey to see it. He had to delete it before she could). When the girls confront Chase, they claim he cheated, but he says that he didn't. Zoey tells him that if he just tells her why she took her Techmate, she will believe that he didn't cheat.
    You'd expect: That Chase would just make up some lie, and say that she dropped it and was going to bring it back to her after the event was over, or something like that.
    Instead: He refuses to tell her, leaving her and the other girls mad at him. In the last event, when both teams are tied, he lets her team win out of guilt.
    • In another episode, Paige at PCA, Quinn attempts to test out a gravity chamber that she made. She asks Lola for her cell phone so she can test it out.
      You'd expect: That Lola would refuse, caring for the safety of her phone, and ask Quinn if she has something she can use to test the chamber with herself.
      Instead: She gives it to Quinn without hesitation, and as it is used in the chamber, it gets smushed, and makes a mess of silver glue-ish material on the table. Then, when Paige comes in later, she uses a magnetic device that works in the chamber with no problems.

    Live-Action TV Unsorted 

  • Anytime a video show on Tru TV, Spike, or the like shows footage of a group of people who've just captured a live shark, alligator, or crocodile.
    You'd Think: They'd use their heads and observe the cardinal rule of handling such beasties: Never, EVER, put your hand—or for that matter, any of your extremities—in or near the creature's mouth.
    Instead: CHOMP!!!!! Nice going, genius...
    * A group of (usually) teenagers are video recording themselves engaging in some form of criminal mischief.
    You'd Think: They'd erase the damned video, realizing it could be used as evidence to convict them if the authorities got their hands on it.
    Instead: They don't erase it, the authorities get a hold of the video, and predictably they all get arrested, convicted, and humiliated by D-list celebrities on World's Dumbest Criminals.

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