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Batman Gambit / Western Animation

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  • Adventure Time:
    • Finn uses a Batman Gambit on himself in "The Real You". While made super-intelligent by magical glasses, he created a black hole, went insane, and tried to kill dozens of people until Princess Bubblegum removed the glasses and normal stupid Finn destroyed the black hole through sheer recklessness. Smart Finn planned every single step ahead of time. Even the part where he went insane.
    • In "The Lich", the Lich disguises himself as Billy, and tricks Finn into gathering together the Gems of Power from Ooo royalty to activate a secret power of the Enchiridion, which opens a portal to the "Time Room" owned by the wish-master Prismo. Finn tries to destory the Enchiridion to keep it out of the Lich's hands, but it turns out breaking the Enchiridion is what activates the portal, and Finn destroying it was part of the Lich's plan all along.
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  • The Amazing World of Gumball: In "The Puppets", Darwin's obsession with his childhood puppets Howdy and Frank causes him to get trapped in a fantasy world. Gumball travels there to rescue Darwin with the help of a third puppet named Grady. Unfortunately, Grady betrays Gumball and reveals his plan was to exploit Gumball and Darwin's brotherly bond so Howdy, Frank, and Grady could capture them both and force the boys to play with them forever.
  • American Dad!:
    • In the episode "Failure Is Not a Factory-Installed Option", after a car salesman messes with Stan's head to make him buy a car he doesn't want, Stan goes insane and starts living on the streets, depriving his family of their sole source of income (his paycheck). This forces them to shop at the same discount grocery store as the car salesman. Seeing the devastation his aggressive negotiations have caused, the salesman is shamed into giving Stan a much better deal on a car. Stan then whips off his crazy homeless guy clothes and reveals this sequence of events was all part of his master plan to get the better of the salesman. The fact that this plan led to his family nearly starving and his daughter prostituting herself for grocery money doesn't seem to concern him.
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    • Considering how many cars he had been tricked into buying, it might have been more humiliating for the family otherwise.
    • In a later episode, "Widowmaker", Francine wishes Stan was more open with her like her neighbor Julie did with her husband Craig, who has been missing for three weeks. After some "therapy" with Roger, Stan becomes very open with Francine, including the fact that he killed Julie's husband for being a blabber-mouth by order of the CIA (and going into graphic detail). Then Francine accidentally tells Julie and has to knock her out so the CIA doesn't decide to kill Stan for the same reason as Craig. Then it all turns out this a plan by Stan and Craig so Francine will quit bothering Stan, and so Craig can get away from having to talk to Julie by moving to a tropical island and taking a new wife.
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    • In "The Scarlett Getter", Stan meets an old flame from his CIA training academy and he starts to re-develop feelings for her and ignore Francine. Francine is so irritated by this hookup, she tells Roger to put on a disguise to steal Scarlett from Stan. This works, but Stan wants to break up Roger and Scarlett and hires an alien hunter to capture Roger. Stan and the hunter arrive at the cabin where Roger and Scarlett are planning to have sex, where it turns out that Scarlett is an alien hunter herself. She knew Stan had an alien in his house before their "chance" encounter each other and used Stan to get to Roger and dissect him.
    • "Bar Mitzvah Hustle" shows what happens when one goes awry. Steve plans out a very Ocean's Eleven-esque present heist in order to discredit the guy who stole his girlfriend. Things go smoothly, as he is able to use a decoy heist in order to get his target's attention off his real goal: the money he's been receiving for his bar mitzvah (Steve is trying to cause his target to become paranoid and reveal he's just a greedy little boy for being so concerned with his presents). His plan is to use Snot as an unknowing patsy to get the money out of the party by slipping it in his coat and provoking him to leave by spilling juice on his shirt. This almost works but Snot comes back right at the critical moment and unintentionally reveals he was carrying the money. Steve even notes how his plan is almost foolproof unless that exact thing happens.
  • In one episode of a Cartoon Network Latin American bumper, The Aquaman & Friends Action Hour, Lex Luthor tries to sabotage Aquaman's kids show by making an overly complicated scheme that will make a tractor, a mortal cobra, and a tractor driven by the mortal cobra (among other things) suddenly assault the live stage, and activates when Aquaman plays the guitar in an announced singalong. Lex even states that "it. cannot. fail!". At the end it fails because Aquaman never actually plays the guitar and do playback instead. A Janitor at the night, however...
  • In Archer, Malory had killed the Prime Minister of Italy who was responsible for the death of a man, who might be Archer's biological father. So she shot herself, make up a story of armed thugs, and called Archer and everyone in ISIS to dispose the body. She even called the police on herself to make it look real.
  • In an episode of Arthur, Arthur refused to take D.W. to a science museum. The next day, D.W. shows off her own science exhibit... which includes such explanations as "H₂O can be made by combining O (oxygen) with H (a hose)" and "the sun turns off at night." So, Arthur and the Brain finally take her to prove her wrong, but D.W. reveals that her whole plan was to be taken to the museum.
  • In the season two finale of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Princess Azula and her two minions dress up as Kyoshi warriors in order to infiltrate Ba Sing Se and get in with the Earth King in order to get information about the current state of affairs in the city. She then realizes what a perfect position this puts her in and has her minions pretend to let slip that they are Fire Nation in front of the Dai Li in order to get them to capture her and bring her before Long Feng (their recently imprisoned leader) so he can blackmail her into helping the Dai Li organise a coup against the Earth King, all while making him think that she's just a somewhat intelligent Fire Nation princess in way over her head. While organising the Dai Li, she uses her charisma and intimidation to leave them in awe and fear of her. When Long Feng (inevitably) tries to betray her and finds the Dai Li won't go through with it, she points out that they are intimidated enough of her that they'll just stand back and see what happens, before giving a Hannibal Lecture to Long Feng which gets him to submit to her. To top it all off, she gets Zuko to help her take on Aang and Katara, by dangling the first actual, tangible opportunity to fulfill his mission and restore his honour, and uses this and her savviness to actually kill Aang (he got better). Thus, with the help of only two warriors (who aren't Benders) and her own wits, this 14-year old girl manages to achieve in a matter of days what whole armies couldn't in a whole century.
    • Zuko's attempt to use this Gambit against Azula in the Grand Finale is subverted. He attempts to bait the already insane Azula into shooting lightning at him so he can redirect it back at her. Azula, in spite of her mental breakdown, chooses instead to shoot the lightning at Katara instead.
  • Big Hero 6: The Series: The large majority of Obake's plans involve people doing exactly what he wants them to, and the heroes succeeding in foiling his minions' attacks because his plan requires them (or at least Hiro) to survive. This ultimately bites him in the ass when Globby does a Heel–Face Turn and all the members of Big Hero 6 use their combined talents to ruin his master plan.
  • In Biker Mice from Mars Napoleon Brie, the rival of Lawrence Limburger, does it at least three times:
    • In his first episode he sends his Doom Rangers to Chicago to attack Limburger's forces, knowing that the sting of losing would make Limburger accept his challenge to a fight to determine who would keep both Chicago and Detroit… a challenge Brie would win, thanks to superior firepower, training and abilities of his commander.
    • "Back to Mars": he knew it was just a matter of time before the Biker Mice would capture Limburger and bring him to Mars for trial. So he beamed false information to the Martian resistance making it appears as the mice were traitors helping Limburger. This way, both them and Limburger would have remained imprisoned on Mars ( if not executed ) leaving Brie with no opposition in the conquest of Chicago.
      • In the same episode Limburger uses one: he pretends with Brie's Number One to accept Brie's victory and to become his new right-hand man due to both of them being Plutarkians, knowing than losing his position is Number One' s Berserk Button. Sure enough, Number One shoots his own boss, allowing Limburger to take back his tower.
    • Lastly in "Hit The Road, Jack", Brie shown to have learned from the last time: he pretends to give Number One's job to Angela to make believable when Number One would go to Limburger to take revenge on Brie, while it was a lure to draw Limburger to Detroit and destroy him with his new weapon. In this case he was however Out-Gambitted by Limburger and Angela.
  • The plan of The Chessmaster Henry Haber in "The Millie-churian Candidate" episode of Bob's Burgers is an extremely convoluted plan that's very dependent not only on playing on several people's character flaws, but that several of the involved people would fail at certain tasks - most prominently, that Louise would get caught doing something illicit and thus get disqualified from the race. Parts of the plan bordered on Gambit Roulette - it even hinged on the fact that the only way Louise would learn that Millie's "Besties" program would pair Louise with someone other than Millie would be by breaking into Mr. Frond's office.
  • In one episode of BraveStarr, BraveStarr lets himself be manipulated into a terrible bargain with Tex Hex—because he knows Tex is such a compulsive backstabber that all he has to do is wait for Tex to break his word, and then BraveStarr won't be bound by the agreement, either. Sure enough, Tex can't keep his word even one full day.
  • Bugs Bunny demonstrates his mastery of the Batman Gambit in many cartoons, but rarely comes up against a worthy opponent, and will inevitably use simple tricks, like misdirection and "pronoun trouble", to manipulate his enemies.
    • Rabbit Season! Duck Season! Rabbit Season! Duck Season!
    • Cecil Turtle used a Batman Gambit against Bugs Bunny during their second race. He does this by tricking Bugs into thinking that having a turtle shell, actually increases running speed. Meanwhile, Cecil dresses in a rabbit costume, because he knew that a pro-rabbit gang would target him so he couldn't win the race again and embarrass the rabbit species. Instead, the pro-rabbit gang targets Bugs Bunny in his turtle costume, while helping Cecil Turtle to the finish line.
  • In one episode of The Cleveland Show, Donna breaks her leg and guilt trips Cleveland into taking care of her and the household. Cleveland does everything he can to please Donna and she takes advantage of his by making him come up to her room for every little thing she wants. Cleveland's friends notices how soft he has gotten and they confront Donna, thinking she's not really disabled at all, and try to prove she is faking it by pushing her down a flight of stairs. Donna turns out to be just fine as she got up at the last minute and admits she is pretending to be crippled because she knows that Cleveland will push himself to take care of her since he feels guilty about not helping out more. However, Cleveland knew all along that Donna was faking her injury and was working hard to make her feel guilty about having him do all the work. Once Donna got "better", she sees Cleveland is still busting his ass to please her, so she demands to resume being the housewife of the family. Cleveland pretends to agree and once Donna is working hard at home, she then realizes she was being played with all along.
  • On a handful of occasions, the characters in Code Lyoko would use one of these to force XANA to act in a manner they desired, namely when they were out of options. XANA wants Aelita alive from Seasons 2 to 4, so they would often put her in harm's way to force its hand. This was most memorable when Jérémie ordered Odd to shoot Aelita in episode "Saint Valentine's Day", where devirtualization would have meant death for her.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door
    • Double subversion in "Operation: U.N.D.E.R.C.O.V.E.R." One of the Delightful Children becomes The Mole, making Sector V think he's helping them destroy the other DCFDTL's coffee supply, when it's actually a trap to steal the team's top-secret plans. As it turns, out, the KND are pulling a Batman Gambit of their own; the briefcase they steal actually has a bomb, and after the Delightful Children spring their trap, the heroes get the last laugh and manage to destroy the coffee supply anyway.
    • But that was nothing compared to the one in "Operation: I.N.T.E.R.V.I.E.W.S", the show's Grand Finale. At the end of it, it looks like Father had restored Sector V's memories of the Kids Next Door and interviewed them for the information he needed to get revenge on Numbuh One, and they unwittingly told him everything he need to know. However, in the absolute final scene, Abby - as in, the former Numbuh Five, gets a phone call: "Hello..." (smiles) "Yeah... We told him everything he wanted to hear. See you at the Moonbase. Oh, and Numbah One, welcome back."
  • Danny Phantom
    • In the penultimate episode, Valerie tricks Danielle into leading her to Danny so she can capture "two Danny Phantoms for the price of one."
    • That one was nothing compared to the one Clockwork the Time Ghost pulled in The Movie, The Ultimate Enemy. Knowing everything that would happen, he manipulated events which led to Danny encountering the evil monster he could become so he could overcome it, change his future, gain his sister as a confidant, and develop his most powerful ability 10 years early, while at the same time, pull his evil self out of time so he couldn't harm his own timeline anymore. The only side effect is now that if he ever gets loose, he'll be free to travel into Danny's time without anything to teether him.
  • Dick Dastardly pulls one in the Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines episode "Home Sweet Homing Pigeon". Muttley, Klunk and Zilly are to be discharged, so Dastardly asks them to sign his memory book. They actually signed re-enlistment forms for four more years.
    Dastardly: (to us) Sometimes I'm so sneaky, I hardly trust myself!
  • DC Animated Universe:
    • Examples from Batman: The Animated Series that were not planned by Batman:
      • In "Joker's Wild", an industrialist who is secretly going broke themes his new casino after The Joker, while all the time denying the connection. He expects this to infuriate the Joker, who will come destroy the place, which will trigger the casino owner's multi-million dollar insurance policy. Unfortunately, Batman tells the Joker all this mid-rampage (when the Joker has set up a roulette-wheel style Death Trap designed to blow up the casino and Batman at once), and the Joker decides a better revenge is confronting the industrialist "man to clown" as he says, and then take over the place. "But that doesn't let you off the hook," he tells Batman, before altering his device so it only disposes of Batman. (And true to Bond Villain Stupidity form, he leaves, letting Batman escape.)
      • Another such gambit appears in "Joker's Millions", which involves a gangster and rival of the Joker dying and willing him $250 million. On paper. What really happened was that only $10 million of the inheritance was real. The rival (who saw this as the perfect way to get even with the Joker before he died from his illness) was banking on the Joker's massive ego not allowing him to admit to being fooled, which makes things hard for the Joker when it's time to pay inheritance tax.
      • When Supergirl and Batgirl teamed up against Poison Ivy, Livewire and Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy threw some seeds at Batgirl, knowing Supergirl would vaporize them with heat vision, releasing a toxic gas.
        Poison Ivy: You are so predictable.
    • In Superman's show, the episode featuring Mxyzptlk was basically a series of Batman Gambit's on the part of Clark to get the fifth dimensional being to disappear almost as soon as he arrives. (The final one took a little longer, but Superman gets credit for apparently having thought up a rather clever one pretty much on the spur of the moment.)
    • In Justice League, the Joker pulled a pretty slick one, courtesy of the Royal Flush Gang. He broke them out of a top-secret government research facility and used them to keep the Leaguers busy looking for the 26 bombs he'd placed on the Las Vegas strip. Meanwhile, he broadcast the whole thing on live television, pulling in huge ratings...
      Joker: And that was the point all along; this whole thing was a stunt to get as many of you watching as possible—and it worked! My Royal Flush Gang provided the conflict, the Justice League brought the star power. And I brought the shocking surprise ending; everyone watching the show right now is witness to my greatest joke ever."
    • Also in Justice League, Batman himself pulled one off in "A Better World". When the Evil Twin Mirror Universe counterparts of the Justice League, the Justice Lords, take them captive, Lord!Batman explicitly tells League!Batman that he's already thought of everything he could do to try to escpe and League!Batman tells Flash in the next cell over that he's not even going to try because of that. In the next scene, Flash fakes a heart attack get to Lord!Batman into his cell and then turns the tables on him since someone had to get them out if Batman wasn't going to. Naturally, that was Batman's plan in the first place.
      League!Batman: I couldn't [do anything]. Not with him anticipating everything I could ever think of. But who could anticipate you?
  • Doug has one in "Doug's Big News". Roger gets everyone kicked off the news show by taking credit for the video tribute the class made for Mr. Bone and giving Doug a phony news story that "Mr. Bone wears pink underwear." They figure getting him a present wouldn't help them get back in his good graces because Roger would take credit for it again. Doug takes advantage of this and when Roger takes the next gift, Roger gets in trouble for giving Mr. Bone pink underwear.
  • In the Duck Dodgers episode "Corporate Pigfall", the Eager Young Space Cadet becomes CEO of a Mega-Corp, and Dodgers's new cadet is Egghead Jr. Dodgers then enlists Egghead's help in getting the Cadet back. The Cadet eventually quits Macrovast, and ensures his position is vacant by making Egghead Jr. the new CEO. The final scene is of Egghead writing on his notepad "Exactly as I planned."
  • Scrooge McDuck pulls a good one in a DuckTales (1987) episode. After the Beagle Boys manage to swipe Scrooge's Number One Dime for Magica DeSpell, Scrooge and his three nephews manage to follow them to her island, where Magica's spell — where she intends to sacrifice the dime — is in the eleventh hour, and it leads to Scrooge's Darkest Hour. A Shapeshifter Showdown ended with one of the Beagles turned into a dragon, and the heroes trashed. Finally, Scrooge appears to surrender, takes what he claims is his actual #1 from his hat, and offers it for his nephews being spared. He claims the one Magica has is a decoy. ("Ya didn't really think ah'd leave mah #1 out in the open didja? Offhand, ah wouldn't give ya a nickel for that dime.") Magica is convinced, and agrees, but Scrooge is bluffing, as he tells his nephews on the plane — he manages to get his actual #1 back, rescue his nephews, and all it costs him is one ordinary dime. ("Ah didn't become the richest duck in the world for bein' stupid," he says.)
  • In the DuckTales (2017) episode "GlomTales!", Louie pulls of a masterful one. Having been captured by Flintlock Glomgold and a gathering of their deadliest foes, Louie convinces them to pool all of their money together so that their combined total surpasses Scrooge's, then convinces Glomgold to make him his partner, drawing up a contract to make it legally binding. However, he's counting on Glomgold to 1) not use his embarrassing real name Duke Baloney and 2) not read the fine print that states that if they didn't use their real name, they would forfeit their half of the earnings. Louie even makes sure to use his embarrassing real name to make it binding. Thus, when Glomgold wins the bet and gets control of Scrooge's money and company, Louie reveals what he's done, taking possession of Scrooge's holdings, Glomgold's holdings and the savings of the villains who allied with Glomgold.
    • Similarly, in the episode "The 87 Cent Solution!" saw the boys use this on Glomgold himself. When Scrooge starts to go insane after a meager sum of money (the titular 87 cents) is stolen from his money bin, they catch on that Glomgold is behind the scheme. So, they fake Scrooge's death and hold a public funeral, knowing Glomgold will crash it so he can gloat, and egg him on into revealing his scheme, knowing full well he's too dramatic (and too stupid) to not gloat about it.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy has this in the episode "Mission Ed-Possible". Ed and Eddy catch wind of the fact that Edd is delivering their straight-F report cards to their parents, and they're relentless in chasing him to secure the report cards for themselves so that they can change them. But when they finally manage to outsmart Edd and get their hands on his satchel, they find out that before the chase began, he had given the report cards to Rolf so that he could deliver them while he drew Ed and Eddy's attention.
  • In the Nick cartoon El Tigre the episode Eye Caramba has a member of the Flock of Fury (the main family's arch-nemesis') trick the titular character to put up the source of his power as a bet knowing he'd stink at darts without it. Then after using lasers to guide her dart she accidentally throws it backwards, and is visibly distraught about losing her glass eye. That was just a plan for him to take home her glass eye, knowing he would give it to his father to wear, so the Flock could spy on him through the eye's built-in camera and be able to both get away from crime scenes before he arrives but also destroy his confidence and make him eventually give up.
  • Family Guy: Played for Black Comedy in "The Hand That Rocks the Wheelchair", in which Stewie's evil clone tricks the Kool-Aid Man into bursting through a nearby wall by saying "Oh no!" three times, before proceeding to beat him to death with a baseball bat and lap up his spilled Kool-Aid.
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends has one in "I Only Have Surprise for You". Mac knowing that Bloo would throw him a surprise party and humiliate him, sets out to destroy the party before it can start. Only to find that Bloo had another party planned, so he goes to smash that... only to find that it wasn't meant for him but for a cute little imaginary friend named Artie. Feeling totally remorseful, and having the whole house hate him, he goes out of his way to make another party for the kid topped with him dressing up as a clown and humiliating himself. And when Mac asks Artie how good the party was he says "I only have one thing to say"... and then rips off his costume revealing himself as Madame Foster in disguise. In other words... Bloo indeed made two surprise parties, knowing that Mac would smash them both and become completely remorseful, and thus throw himself his own surprise party and therefore humiliating himself... AND EVERYONE IN THE HOUSE WAS IN ON IT.... except Eduardo.
  • In Futurama, "Godfellas", God pulls one on Bender at the end. Possibly.
    God: Bender, being God isn't easy. If you do too much, people get dependent on you, and if you do too little, they lose hope. You have to use a light touch, like a safecracker or a pickpocket.
    Bender: Or a guy who burns down a bar for the insurance money!
    God: Yes, if you make it look like an electrical thing. When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.
    [later in the episode, when Fry asks if God will help the trapped monks]
    Bender: Fat chance! God isn't gonna do jack! He told me as such Himself!
    [Gilligan Cut back to God]
    God: Heheh. When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.
  • In an episode of Garfield and Friends, Garfield pulls this off when Binky the Clown's show gets cancelled in favor for the Buddy Bears, a Tastes Like Diabetes show with a The Complainer Is Always Wrong message. Garfield decides to put an end to the show by going on to the set disguised as a cater and tells the Buddy Bears they're having pizza for lunch and asks them what toppings they would like. They immediately start fighting. As Garfield points out, no one in the world can ever agree on pizza toppings. When the focus groups find out about the fight, the Buddy Bears are promptly cancelled, and Binky gets his show back.
  • In Gargoyles, the entire scenario with Derek Maza, Elisa Maza's brother, was one big Batman Gambit by David Xanatos. There were many times Xanatos plans for Derek could have failed. All Derek really had to do was trust and believe in his own sister's warnings about him. Elisa even gets Fox on tape admitting that Xanatos had shady plans for her brother. She gives the tape to Derek, but he clearly doesn't listen to it. Episodes later, (after the damage was done) Derek/Talon finds out the hard way he was nothing but a science experiment, and a personal stab at Elisa Maza. David Xanatos, himself, even criticized his scientist, Anton Sevarius, for being a bad actor - something Derek should have noticed being an ex-cop. "You always overplay your hand, Anton."
  • In the G.I. Joe "Mass Device" story, GI Joes stages a phony internal message telling of their supposed surrender to Cobra, successfully banking on their enemy intercepting it and being fooled by what they are listening in on. As a result, Joe buys itself enough time to hunt down the last of the elements it needs; however, Destro, although fooled himself to a degree, is not taking any chances and proceeds to retrieve the same materials himself.
  • G.I. Joe: Renegades features James "Soon to Be Destro" McCullen attempting to pull this off by baiting the Joes into attacking Cobra so he can pressure Cobra for a major contract. Backfires horrifically as he literally did not know who he was dealing with.
  • Gravity Falls Mabel pulls one off at the end of "Tourist Trapped" when the gnomes wanted to marry her. When the main gnome went to give her a kiss, she pulls out leaf blower, sucks him in and shoots him out of it.
  • Skeletor does a brilliant (for him) multi-part gambit in the three-part "Council of Evil" episode of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. The first stage combines it with a Uriah Gambit, ordering his henchmen (all of them) into a situation where he knows they'll be found by the heroes, beaten rather badly, and apprehended. This leads to stage two; with the heroes reasonably sure that Skeletor has been crippled, they let their guard down, Randor himself deciding to take a vacation. Man-at-Arms is the only one who seems to smell a rat and remain wary, but unfortunately, that is also part of Skeletor's plan. When the villain proceeds to lead the Masters into a series of ambushes using his eponymous new team (made up of formerly independent villains from previous episodes) the heroes are caught off guard and beaten, Man-at-Arms worst of all by Skeletor himself. (in other words, Skeletor's trap counted on him being the Straight Man.) Unfortunately for Skeletor, he and his crew still remains blind to Adam's true significance, and this temporary victory goes straight to the villain's head; his failure to do them in when he has the chance is, again, what ruins his plan.
  • Hey Arnold!:
    • Helga pulls off quite an impressive one in "School Play". Helga wants to play Juliet in order to get a kiss from Arnold's Romeo, but since she didn't audition, the part is given to Rhonda with Sheena, Phoebe and Lila as the understudies. So she comes up with a plan to convince each girl to drop out of the role by exploiting their idiosyncrasies. First by taking the role of head costumer and constructing a hideous frock for Juliet, knowing that Rhonda would object to wearing it. Then she informs the queasy, pacifist Sheena about the violence in the play, and finally, she exploits Phoebe's perfectionism and nervousness to scare her out of performing. Unfortunately, none of these worked on Lila, who correctly guesses that Helga wants the role to kiss Arnold. Helga is forced to tell her and Lila agrees to drop out of the part.
    • Ernie does one in "Oskar Can't Read?". Oskar recites the first page of A Tale of Two Cities to everyone in the boarding house. However, Oskar had previously bribed Chocolate Boy with chocolate to read the page for him. Ernie is skeptical since he knows that Oskar has a history of lying and cutting corners. Ernie grabs War and Peace and tricks Oskar into "reading" what he memorized instead. With Oskar exposed as a cheater, the others join Ernie in calling him out on it.
  • Most episodes of Inspector Gadget go like this: Gadget gets an assignment from Da Chief which involves foiling one of Dr. Claw's plans, he stumbles into said plan accidentally, Penny secretly helps him, plan is foiled, villains are arrested (except Dr. Claw himself, who always escapes. Roll end credits. In one episode, however, Claw decides to take advantage of Gadget's knack for showing up to eliminate him. He instructs a sneaky agent named the Rat to start committing robberies in one city in a prearranged route, that when traced on a map, spell out M.A.D. Claw's intent is for Gadget to figure out the pattern, and arrive at one location ahead of time, where a trap will be sprung. Now, at face value, the flaw in this plan is Claw's ignorance of the real reason Gadget always shows up, but here's the kicker - this plan even fools Penny, who nearly inadvertently leads her uncle to his doom with her usual "help him secretly" routine. (She manages to bail him out, fortunately, and the episode concludes with Gadget even more confused that he usually is.)
  • Jackie Chan Adventures,
    • When Jade is accidentally banished to the Demon Netherworld, and her family races to Shendu's portal to free her, the Demon Sorcerers head to the portal as well, their brother having claimed he could use it to free them all. It looks bleak for her when they catch her, Po Kong even wanting to EAT her! But Jade, having been informed by Uncle that Shendu was bluffing, revealed this fact to the demons, and uses the confusion caused by the fighting over who gets to escape to get through the portal herself! Moment of Awesome, anyone?
  • An episode of Jimmy Two-Shoes had Lucius pull off a rather impressive one to prank The Rodeo Clowns.
  • On Johnny Test, Johnny himself has managed to pull off a few Batman gambits, such as going without bathing just so his family, after multiple failed attempts to get him cleaned up, will give in just so he can get a water park for his best friend's birthday, or the time he wanted to get his sister's time machine so after failing the first time, he had Dukey in the future take it while the family was having dinner then come back to pick him up. Dukey even notes that he's not as dumb as you might think.
  • Kaeloo:
    • In the episode "Let's Play House", Kaeloo, Stumpy, Quack Quack and Mr. Cat are Playing House, with Kaeloo as the mother, Mr. Cat as the father, and the other two as the kids. Mr. Cat, however, just wants to watch sports on TV instead of playing. First, when Kaeloo annoys the "kids" so much that they decide to run away from home, he does nothing about it and makes them even more annoyed so they leave. Then, after they leave, he says he wants to have sex with Kaeloo, who gets creeped out and leaves. As soon as all this is over, he turns the TV on to watch some sports. However, his plan fails since by the time he gets rid of them, his game is over.
    • In Episode 106, Mr. Cat buys a bunch of seemingly useless stuff at a Garage Sale. It's revealed later in the episode that he planned it out so that a) he can re-sell it to gullible people for even higher prices than he paid for the items, and b) since his bedroom is full of stuff, he can ask to sleep in Kaeloo's bedroom with her.
    • In Episode 134, there are two consecutive Batman Gambits. Stumpy gets clones of himself and the clones annoy everyone, Kaeloo, Quack Quack and Mr. Cat make a plan to get rid of the clones. They claim that a package came in the mail for the real Stumpy, and only the real Stumpy can get it. All the Stumpy start fighting over who gets it. The original Stumpy opens a Portal Door to another dimension and lies that Ursula is on the other side. The clones run through and then Stumpy shuts the door, trapping them there forever.
    • In Episode 144, Quack Quack pulls one off. The plot of the episode is that Quack Quack and Stumpy are racing racecars. Due to unfair circumstances, Stumpy's car gets totaled and he can't make it to the finish line, but Quack Quack helps him push the car to the end and Stumpy wins, making Quack Quack look like a wonderful person in the eyes of his peers. Then, it's revealed that he told his girlfriend to bet a huge sum of money on Stumpy winning and he lost the game on purpose so that they could win lots of money and go on vacation.
  • In an episode of King of the Hill, Peggy and several other Arlenites get scammed and put together a plan to scam their money back but it doesn't work. At this point, Hank finds out through Bobby and rushes in to help Peggy by threatening the conman. In his haste, the man stows his ill-gotten money in his room safe, then gets rid of Hank, only to discover that the safe is gone. "The Econo Suite doesn't have room safes," as the front desk clerk explains. It turns out, this was Peggy's plan the whole time, because she knew Hank would come to her rescue when he heard she was in trouble. Doubles as a Xanatos Gambit since she had also planted a valet to park the conman's car ("The Econo Suite doesn't have valet parking."), presumably to use his car as leverage to get their money back.
    • In the episode where Peggy accidentally smuggles a Mexican girl on the way back from a field trip, the next day she smuggles her back and gets arrested for kidnapping. When Hank gets to the courthouse, Peggy insists that the whole thing is a mistake on the side of the Mexican authorities since she speaks "fluent" Spanish. Hank convinces her lawyer to let Peggy give her testimony in Spanish, which she does. The Judge rules that Peggy did not know, much less understand, what was going on, and declares her not guilty.
    • When Hank hesitantly accepts workers compensation due to having back pain he visits two doctors who thought he was either trying to commit, or were trying to help him pull off, a scam. Eventually he decides to go to a yoga studio and when his back pain is finally cured, he storms out of the studio vowing never to go back, just as an investigator takes pictures of him with walking normally, and he's charged with Insurance Fraud. At the hearing, the panel refuses to believe that a seemingly normal American like Hank would willingly visit a yoga studio, and they're about to convict him based on the pictures of him walking normally. When Hank brings in the yoga instructor, the panel tells him that the instructor's antics are not helping him in any way, Hank says that's what he's trying to prove: that no sane, level headed American would willingly take yoga lessons from someone like that, unless they had run out of reasonable treatment options, and were extremely desperate. Hank is declared not guilty and offered more workers comp., which includes more time off from work, and yoga lessons.Hank compromises by offering to take yoga breaks at work, but with his own spin.
  • The Loud House: In "April Fools Rules", Lincoln boards himself in his room to protect himself of Luan's extreme April Fools pranks, but he gets a call from Ronnie Anne saying that she's coming over. Since Luan said that anyone on Loud property is fair game, Lincoln decides to spare her from the pranks by deliberately setting them all off on himself. It turns out that Luan was the one who called Ronnie Anne in the first place, just so Lincoln would willingly walk right into her pranks.
  • In the two-part pilot of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, main character Twilight Sparkle's mentor, Princess Celestia, sends her to Ponyville to make some friends, right after she warned her about an ancient prophecy of doom. Turns out, her mentor predicted this. Thanks to her understanding of friendship in the second part, Twilight and her new friends saved the world.
    • Parodied in My Little Pony: Camaraderie Is Supernatural, in which Princess Celestia's letter to Twilight includes the post-script "This totally isn't a thinly-veiled Batman Gambit meant to prevent the impending Pony Apocalypse. For serious."
    • Princess Celestia apparently loves this trope. She continues to use some variant of this in pretty much every major appearance thereafter, reasons varying from trying to teach Twilight and friends something, to playing pranks on inattentive waiters to screwing with the animal lover's head (but at least she made the bird apologize).
    • And let's not forget the second one she pulled. She figured Discord would break out, so she had Twilight Sparkle stay in Ponyville, writing letters to her, explaining what she learned about friendship. When Discord comes and takes over Ponyville, Celestia sends all the letters to Twilight Sparkle in order to snap her out of her Heroic B So D. Put simply, it works. Though it seemed the plan was more of a "if all else fails" plan, since she had Twilight and the others try to find the Elements first and see if they can seal Discord with that.
    • In the season three finale it's revealed that pretty much all of Twilight's life after becoming Celestia's student was one big Batman Gambit so that Twilight would become an alicorn princess, something that was slightly hinted at in "Cutie Mark Chronicles", and in fact Lauren Faust has suggested that there is more to Princess Celestia than has been depicted of her in the series. She said, in relation to the events of the flashback in that episode, Celestia sensed that Twilight Sparkle is connected to the Elements of Harmony and arranged the dragon-hatching test for her.
      • Though it's worth noting, for the record, that Faust did not approve of Twilight becoming an alicorn.
    • Celestia manages to pull off two of these at the Grand Galloping Gala. The first time, she used Twilight and friends as pawns to get out of having to sit through a boring soiree. She did this at the following year's gala except this time, she counted on Discord being himself.
  • Phineas and Ferb
    • In the Christmas Episode, Santa Claus pulls off a beautiful Batman Gambit, delivering a device to Doofenshmirtz that would enable him to brand all of Danville as Naughty, while at the same time sending Perry the Platypus a CD with a note sharp enough to shatter said device. When all of Danville is branded naughty, and it looks like Santa Claus won't put in an appearance, Phineas, Ferb, and their friends team up with a couple of elves, who have come to investigate why a whole town would be labeled as naughty. It turns out to be a deliberate act to allow everyone to get their Christmas wish. Doofenshmirtz finds a reason to "hate" Christmas, a villainous area he felt he was deficient in; Buford performs a selfless act, thus allowing all of his friends to see him as nice; Baljeet delivers a gift to a cute girl, thus earning a kiss from her; Candace finds out that she really does know Jeremy quite well, as she got him the perfect gift; and Phineas got to be just like his hero, Santa. (Ferb gets a harmonica, but it wasn't really intrinsic to the Gambit.)
    • In the movie, Candace pulls one off against the workings of her universe, by trying to show Mom the giant robot army attacking Danville, knowing that anything massive her brothers are involved in will somehow go away before Mom sees it.
  • In the third-season opener of ReBoot, Mainframe security forces have been shot out of the sky by Megabyte's military and Dot needs the few remaining to return to the Principle Office. To get enough time to lower their shields and get the survivors back inside, Dot tells them to move into a single file line to approach the hanger bay. Such a tactic would be insane, but Dot knew Megabyte's military tactics. The enemy forces took position on both sides of the allied forces and prepared to shoot them down in the crossfire. With the enemy fighters in neat little groups of their own, the good guys were able to lower shields, gun down the attacking forces with the base turrets and bring in the survivors all in one move. It didn't work out quite as clean as on paper, though.
  • Ren does this to Stimpy in The Ren & Stimpy Show short "Space Madness". Driven mad by the titular infliction, Ren (as Commander Hoek) forces Stimpy (as Cadet Stimpy) to watch over "the History Eraser Button". Despite being Exactly What It Says on the Tin, Stimpy goes mad with curiosity and pushes the button.
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle are tasked with bringing a notorious outlaw, Zero, to justice for cluttering up walls and structures with painted zeroes. To do this, Rocky draws out a tic-tac-toe board then strategically places X's and O's on it. He anticipates Zero showing up to finish the board in a diagonal win with an "O", which he does.
  • Rick and Morty: In "M. Night Shaym-Aliens!", Rick Sanchez looks genuinely distraught over having been fooled by a simulation inside a simulation inside a simulation, but he was in control the whole time. He knew that if Morty mixed the ingredients together just as he said, that he would have blown himself up, and that the aliens were only trying to get the recipe the whole time.
    • Rick's plan in the season 3 premiere also counts. He fully anticipated the Galactic Federation trying to snoop through his memories to learn how his portal gun was created, so he crafted a fake origin story where he used a virus that would grant him access to the device searching his subconscious. He then used it to Body Surf into a Galactic Federation agent and several Ricks so he could enact revenge against both the Galactic Federation and the Council of Ricks. He also anticipates Morty getting agitated enough to shoot him with a fake gun, allowing him to get the jump on the leader of the Council. Then he emotionally manipulates Beth into divorcing Jerry by saving Morty and Summer, gaining Beth and Summer's respect, and allowing Rick to take Morty on more adventures.
  • Samurai Jack
    • A double subversion occurs in the episode "Jack and the Swamp Monster". At first, it appears that Aku is using this strategy to lure Jack into a trap, using a Paper-Thin Disguise that makes the viewers question Jack's intelligence (and his sanity). As it turns out at the end, however, Jack was never fooled for a minute, and was using a Batman Gambit of his own to lure Aku into his trap.
    • Another example occurred in "Jack vs. Aku". The two agreed to fight hand-to-hand with the agreement that Jack would not use his sword as long as Aku didn't use his powers. While the fight raged, Aku secretly had his undead minions find and take Jack's hidden sword. When Aku reveals that he cheated all along, Jack reveals that he expected Aku to cheat so he hid fakes all over the battleground and while Aku sorts through the fakes, Jack attacks him with the real one.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Sideshow Bob Roberts" Lisa figures she can get Sideshow Bob to admit he rigged the election by insinuating he was a lackey to Birch Barlow.
    Bob: Only I could have executed such a masterpiece of electoral fraud. And I have the records to prove it! Here, just look at these — each one a work of Machiavellian art!
  • South Park
    • In the episode "Spookyfish", the boys meet the evil Eric Cartman from a Mirror Universe. Being the opposite of the real Cartman, he is kind and helpful. Cartman rips off his counterpart's beard after he finds out that Stan and Kyle are going to send him to the other universe in favor of evil Cartman. When Stan and Kyle are trying to decide which Cartman is the one they want to get rid of, one insists that they both have to go for the greater good. They zap the other Cartman because they know the real Cartman would never say that. However, it was the regular Cartman who said that; he knew that they would fall for it.
    • In the episode "Scott Tenorman Must Die", Eric Cartman sees several of his revenge schemes against the titular older bully fail only to see a much grander, more complex Batman Gambit succeed when he manipulates Scott Tenorman into eating chili made from the corpses of his own murdered parents. The scheme is a particularly good example of a Batman Gambit in that, after Cartman sets the ball rolling, the chain of events necessary to bring the plan to fruition occurs because everyone involved acts according to their character, exactly as Cartman predicts. His shocking success in this plan prompts Stan and Kyle to agree: "I don't think we should ever mess with Cartman again."
    • "Here Comes Fatty Doo Doo" Token produces a reality TV show about Cartman by tricking Kyle into filming what he thinks is a documentary. When they find out, Cartman gets a cease and desist letter, but the pilot had already aired. Token "admits" that they didn't do very well in the ratings because they were scheduled against Honey Boo Boo. Cartman, angry that he lost to "that bitch," gets rid of his lawyer and agrees to do more shows with Token.
  • In Spawn: The Animated Series, we find out during the third and final season that Al Simmons is the victim of a Batman Gambit by Maleborgia. Instead of being used to lead hell's army, he's actually used as a sperm donor to impregnate Wanda with a demon seed - who'll be the real human general of hell's army.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In the episode "Texas," SpongeBob and Patrick mock Texas in front of Sandy so she can chase them and lure her to a party they're throwing for her. It works too well; they end up driving Sandy to an Unstoppable Rage, forcing them to run for their lives.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars:
    • In "Dooku Captured" Dooku lures Anakin and Obi-Wan into the cave system by heading in there, knowing they're going to realize it's a likely hiding place/sense him there in the force and follow him in allowing him to trap them.
    • The whole series itself is just a massive Batman gambit for Palpatine's ultimate plan. By playing to the Jedi's hubris, Count Dooku's desire to destroy the Jedi, Anakin's troubled emotions, and the galaxy's tiredness of the war, he ends up making everyone do his bidding without them even realizing it.
  • Star Wars Rebels:
    • "The Siege of Lothal": Darth Vader knows everything the Ghost crew is going to do, and plans accordingly. The only reason his victory in the episode isn't total is due to two factors: Hera's amazing piloting skills and, more importantly, Ahsoka's attempt to mind-probe the Force-sensitive Imperial pilot.
    • "Zero Hour":
      • Commander Sato deliberately flies Phoenix Home directly at the enemy, in order to give Ezra a chance to escape and get help. He was aware that among Thrawn's forces there must be one overambitious fool who'd move out of position for the opportunity to destroy a Rebel command ship. He was right.
      • The Mole, Kallus, who's been unmasked and is being held prisoner, deliberately taunts Governor Pryce, in the middle of a Villainous Breakdown, about how Thrawn will blame her for letting the rebels escape. She gets angry and orders him Thrown Out the Airlock — which leaves him guarded by two stormtroopers he easily overpowers, allowing him to make his exit in an escape pod, getting picked up by the Ghost as they're escaping. His smirk as he's being led into the elevator shows this is exactly what he wanted.
  • Superfriends: The master of the Trope himself did it twice in the same episode, against the same villain. Said villain was using an amulet that could cause Rapid Aging or reverse aging. After using it to turn Superman, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman into kids, he threatened to turn Batman and Robin into "feeble old men". Batman's response was "Do your worst!" and he did, only to have Batman and Robin dodge the blast as planned and it hitting the three de-aged heroes behind him returning them to adulthood. In response, the villain turned the amulet on a guy he had previously aged, turning the poor guy to dust in order to cover his escape. Batman - now realizing his dependence on the thing - put the dust in a canister, then put that inside a mannequin wearing a Batman costume. When the villain tried to the de-aging thing again, he zapped the victim's remains, restoring his body and true age. (And was easily disarmed of the amulet by said former victim.)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012)
    • Episode 2: Leo and Raphael allow a minion to overhear their plan to use the minion's van to bust into the Kraang facility. The next night, the van busts into the Kraang facility, and the Kraang are there to greet it. Except the van was a diversion, and the Turtle were scaling the wall.
    • Episode 24/25/26: The Kraang put a mind-control device on April's father and allow the turtles to rescue him. They then use him to get April to leave the lair to help the Turtles and leads her into an ambush by the Foot Clan. The mind-controlled Kirby O'Neal then informs Splinter of this, and informs him that she is at Shredder's headquarters. Splinter arrives and takes out the minions, but April is just a hologram, and Shredder had already traded her over to the Kraang. Ultimately, they both got what they wanted: Shredder got Splinter out in the open, and the Kraang got April.
    • Episode 26: Shredder reveals to Splinter that Karai is actually Miwa Yoshi - Splinter's daughter, who he believed to have died. Furthermore, he raised her believing that Splinter killed her mother. In other words, if Shredder kills Splinter, he'll always have Karai as a memento of his victory. If Karai kills Splinter, he'll always have the satisfaction that Splinter was killed by his own daughter. If Splinter kills Shredder, Karai will want Splinter dead even more. And if neither of them kill each other, he has the knowledge that he stole Splinter's daughter, and that she'll grow up cursing his name.
  • Slade forces Robin to be his apprentice in Teen Titans. He does this by infecting the other Titans with Nanoscopic Probes, which he can activate if Robin doesn't obey. When he is about to destroy them, Robin decides to infect himself with the same probes. He tells Slade that if he loses his friends, Slade loses his apprentice. Slade angrily destroys the controller.
  • Transformers:
    • Sideways, agent of Unicron and thus chaos in Transformers Armada is a master at this. First he encourages Hot Shot's already cocky nature, leading to him going to the Decepticon base on his own and getting captured. Then he works on Starscream's lack of self-esteem and Megatron's paranoia about his position to make them fight each other. The only error in his plan was that for all his manipulations and prodding of egos, Megatron never killed Starscream. He continues this well into the series, pulling the strings by manipulating the doubtful Starscream and the power-hungry Thrust into fighting enough that his master will arrive.
    • And in Transformers Animated, Optimus Prime pulls one of these. In "Decepticon Air", he tells Jazz (out loud) to get to the control panel and turn the decontamination chamber into a freezing one so they can lure the attacking 'Cons into it, but as he speaks, his shoulder badge flashes multiple times. Obviously, they overhear. Sentinel gets held hostage, and Optimus tells the jet twins to surrender and trust him, getting them all herded into the chamber. Turns out, similar to the Superman II example above, the flashing badge was "optical code" for Jazz to wire it so that everything outside the chamber is frozen. If the 'Cons had just used stasis cuffs, instead of deciding to be arrogant and mock Optimus, or if Sentinel hadn't shouted out that order, persuading the 'Cons to use him as a hostage, it all would have gone to the Pit.
      • And in "Endgame, Part 1", Megatron uses one for his three Omega Supreme clones. Knowing that with his personality, the clones would probably overthrow him, and also knowing that Starscream would try to get the activation code himself to use the clones, he bet on Lugnut pouncing on Starscream to stop him. It went perfectly - Lugnut got the codes, and Megatron got three walking, flying weapons of mass destruction (in more ways than one, it turned out) controlled by his most fanatically loyal Decepticons.
      • Long before either examples, in "Autoboot Camp", Shockwave (a.k.a Longarm) pulls one off. He knows that Bumblebee overheard his conversation with Megatron and that Bumblebee has asked for his help in exposing the spy: Wasp. After providing more evidence towards Wasp's "treachery" while guiding Bumblebee along the way, Shockwave plants evidence in Wasp's locker, setting him up take the fall. In the end, Wasp is arrested for treason, and Shockwave goes on to become Head of Cybertron Intelligence. If Bumblebee had told Sentinel about the possible Decepticon spy, things wouldn't have gone as well as they did.
    • In Beast Wars, Megatron's plan to reactivate the Nemesis to destroy the Maximals and the dormant Autobots is dependent on Tarantulus being his usual treacherous self, fixing the ship by himself in an effort to escape from Prehistoric Earth and leave everyone else behind. The plan would have failed if Tarantulus had not been killed with the Vok and had taken the ship himself, or if Tarantulus had never found the ship in the first place and repaired it.
      • Using the Nemesis wasn't Megatron's plan before Tarantulus was killed. Megatron was investigating Tarantulus's ruined lair for something that would be useful, since Tarantulus always had something up his sleeve that Megatron could use to his advantage. That something just happened to be the Decepticon Flagship.
  • The Monarch pulls one off in season 3 of The Venture Bros., coupled with Loophole Abuse. After he is barred from arching Dr. Venture, he goes after his brother, Jonas Jr. instead, and gets him to escalate his offense to the point of actively trying to kill the Monarch. He then tricks JJ into thinking he was killed in a death ray blast, simultaneously to get JJ to stop going after him and to exploit a clause that states if your arch tries to actually kill you, you are allowed to start arching their immediate, Guild-sanctioned family; in other words, Dr. Venture.
  • W.I.T.C.H.,
    • Nerissa uses a Batman Gambit to gain control of Kadma, one of the former Guardians, along with Kadma's Heart of Zamballa. After Will and Kadma have cornered Nerissa in a quarry, Nerissa allows Kadma to defeat her in a brief battle. Kadma then goes for Nerissa's Heart of Meridian, and this enables Nerissa to take both Hearts and gain control over Kadma's mind.
    • This is also how she gained control of the Heart of Meridian - as Trill, she gave Elyon a jewel said to be from her long-lost mother, though enchanted to steal her power. All Nerissa had to do was wait until the power was inside it to make Elyon angry over said jewel, tossing it away - a Heart can only be transferred willingly and when Elyon gave it up, it became Nerissa's.
    • The last episodes of the second season of WITCH are revealed to be a Batman Gambit devised by Will. The gambit consisted of enlisting Phobos's help to take the Seal of Nerissa (after making him swear on the power of Candracar that he wouldn't keep it), and then, after his predictable betrayal, maneuvering him into attacking Candracar, at which point (because of his broken vow) he would forfeit the seal and everything he'd gained by it. (Of course, this plan failed due to one small snag - Phobos' right hand man, Cedric, having enough of Phobos' crap and eating him and the power right then and there!)
  • X-Men: Evolution:


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