- 101 Dalmatians: The Series: In "Deville-Age Elder", when Judge Dimsdale Deville betrays Cruella, he mentions that when the town was cursed, the Witch said that "The evil devil shall be bound within the town's borders". She did not, however, specify which evil devil, so Judge Dimsdale plots to have Cruella take his place in the town.
- 101 Dalmatian Street: In "The Nose Job", Dylan has Diesel use his strong sense of smell to see who was present at a crime scene, the night of said crime. Diesel, however, says he does not smell anyone. Later, Diesel mentions he did pick up a strange rubbery scent at the scene. When Dylan asks why Diesel did not mention this sooner, Diesel answers that Dylan asked him who was there, the night of the crime, not what, much to Dylan's annoyance.
- The Adventures of Puss in Boots has Dulcinea showing Puss the treasures of San Lorenzo, and after explaining that the spell that protects that town would be broken by removing even a single coin, Puss awkwardly holds up a single coin that he took, and the spell begins to break. Puss tells her she should have stated that before they left.
- Adventure Time:
- From "It Came from the Nightosphere", just after Finn and Marceline have started going after her dad, Finn asks how he can kill him.Marceline: Finn! You can't kill my dad!
Finn: Oh, right, I'm sorry—
Marceline: No. You literally can't kill my dad. He's deathless.
- In "Apple Wedding", Tree Trunks and Mr. Pig's whole wedding party is thrown in jail because Princess Bubblegum objects to it being performed by the King of Ooo (who, to be fair, seems to be some kind of Cult leader). The King of Ooo winds up escaping, angrily telling Tree Trunks "you can perform your own ceremony!" Mr. Pig points out that, taken literally, this means they don't need him anyway, and Tree Trunks recites the vows herself.
- From "It Came from the Nightosphere", just after Finn and Marceline have started going after her dad, Finn asks how he can kill him.
- Aladdin: The Series:
- In "The Citadel," Mozenrath kidnaps Genie in order to blackmail Aladdin into helping him capture the Thirdac, a Magic Eater he seeks to use to conquer the world. Aladdin successfully places the control collar Mozenrath designed on the Thirdac, but then turns the tables, declaring that he'll take off the collar and set the Thirdac loose on Mozenrath himself unless he sends it back to its home dimension. Mozenrath assumes he's bluffing, stating that Aladdin isn't that ruthless; Aladdin agrees that he isn't, but points out that Iago is.
- In "Sneeze the Day":
- Genie has a cold, and Iago knows where the cure is... but claims it's a very dangerous place, from which nobody has ever claimed it:Aladdin: (firmly) My friend needs help.
Iago: (grabs Aladdin's vest, angrily) Stop right there! You've got that "let's put the bird in jeopardy" look in your eye!
Aladdin: (kindly) Iago, you know I'd never ask you to do anything dangerous.
Iago: (perking up) Really?
Aladdin: (grabs Iago by his tail feathers) So I won't ask.
Iago: (grumbling) I knew there was a catch...
- When the group arrive at the cavern where the cure they're looking for is, a guard tells them that they must face three trials. The first is to "stick out your tongue and touch your forehead." Aladdin (after a lengthy discussion about how the test seemed rather lackluster compared to the danger he was expecting) sticks out his tongue and touches his forehead... with his index finger. The guard, who apparently meant "touch your forehead with your tongue" but failed to specify, facepalms but admits that Aladdin passed the trial.
- Genie has a cold, and Iago knows where the cure is... but claims it's a very dangerous place, from which nobody has ever claimed it:
- American Dad!: Stan really wants to give Steve his first firearm for Christmas. Francine protests.Francine: Steve is too young for a gun, Stan. Promise me you won't get him a gun for Christmas!
Stan: I promise I won't get Steve a gun for Christmas!
(Stan hands Steve an AK-47)
Stan: Merry Wednesday, son!
- In "Haylias", Hayley's brainwashing causes her to become an unstoppable killing machine, and she won't snap out of it until her handler, Stan, is dead. After she shoots Stan in the head, he wakes up in the hospital to see her back to normal; it turns out he was technically dead for about six minutes.
- In "Office Spaceman", candid photographs of Roger begin appearing in the media, which Stan is furious about because it could get the family in trouble for harboring an alien. Stan discovers that Roger has been taking the photographs himself and selling them to the press, and demands that he stop. Roger agrees to put an end to the candid photographs. Immediately thereafter, we see Roger gleefully snapping more photos of himself, only this time the pictures are carefully posed rather than being candid.
- In "Morning Mimosa", Francine gets into an argument with Steve for playing a video game when he was supposed to set the table for dinner. Steve says "I didn't ask you to cook for me", and after he screams a "F**K YOU!" at Francine when she unplugs his game, she hands out dinner to everyone except Steve, saying "You didn't ask me to cook for you, remember?" She refuses to cook anything for him as punishment, and doesn't even allow him to eat any food she makes, going so far as to invite Barry over to eat the leftovers.
- Animaniacs: Backfires spectacularly in the episode "Meatballs or Consequences." After he consumes too many Swedish meatballs, Wakko finds Death has come to collect him, much to Yakko and Dot's consternation. Insisting that they want to stay together, the remaining Warners proceed to harass Death relentlessly until he offers a game of chess, er, checkers, agreeing that if Yakko can beat him, the Warners will stay together. After some shenanigans, Yakko gets the victory, and Death proves true to his word, declaring his intention to keep the Warners together by declaring them ALL deceased and coming with him. It's actually rather cute that, after seeing just how annoying the three can be, Death thinks this is a win.
- Archer is constantly said to be the world's most dangerous spy - regardless of if you're on his side or not.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- In the episode "The King of Omashu", Aang is put through a series of tests by the titular character, with the final challenge being a duel with an opponent of Aang's choice. The king presents two tough-looking foes and tells Aang to point at who he wants to fight. Aang points at... the king himself! Unfortunately for Aang, it was the wrong choice, because despite his centurial age, underneath his robes, the king is ripped and immediately sends Aang flying back a hundred feet in one blow.
- In "The Fortuneteller", Team Avatar comes across a town where a fortuneteller named Aunt Wu predicts everything that will happen, including that the nearby volcano won't destroy the town. Eventually Aang and Sokka discover the volcano is about to erupt, but the Gaang manages to stop the lava from reaching the town with the help of Aunt Wu and the townspeople. Sokka, who has been The Skeptic the entire episode, takes this as definitive proof that Wu was lying about her predictions... only for a villager to point out her fortune came true. She didn't say the volcano wouldn't erupt, just that it wouldn't destroy the town.
- The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!:
- Iron Man says he strongly disapproves of Hawkeye's vendetta against Widow, and says he should just let it go. Since Hawkeye's going to ignore this anyway, Cap and Panther tag along to make sure he doesn't get killed. When things go wrong and they have to call for backup, Tony chews them out for not listening to him, but they point out he didn't directly order them not to go; he only strongly suggested it would be a bad idea.
- Hank dismisses the idea that a strange probe involved aliens. When it turned out to actually be an alien probe, Hank defended his previous statement by pointing out that he said there was no organic material involved, thus not precluding the possibility of it being an alien robot.
- In the Direct to Video movie Barbie as Rapunzel, after Rapunzel refuses to tell Gothel the name of the man she's been seeing, Gothel casts a spell to seal Rapunzel in the tower forever. However, the exact words of the spell are "Never release your prisoner with a lying heart", and since Rapunzel genuinely didn't know the man's namenote , she doesn't have a lying heart, so the spell doesn't affect her. Gothel, on the other hand...
- One episode of Batman: The Animated Series has Catwoman promise to go into police custody after helping Batgirl on a case. She does, only to escape not a minute later, saying "I said I'd let them take me. I never said how far."
- In Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode Trials Of The Demon Gentleman Jim Craddock makes a deal with the demon Asteroth. He helps free the demon and Asteroth makes Craddock immortal. When Asteroth is finally freed Craddock demands his end of the deal, and Asteroth tells him that "His soul will never leave this Earth". Once Craddock is executed, his spirit, not able to leave the living world, revives as the Gentleman Ghost.
- Val has trouble boarding a Clan ship despite having receive zero-gravity training. He never said he passed his training.
- In the final episode, Adam challenges Nicolai to a Trial of Possession for Somerset. Adam wins, and Nicolai honours their agreement to the letter, giving Adam the planet... but taking all the people with him.
- In Beast Wars, Waspinator attacks Rattrap with his fists during a ceasefire, saying, "Waspinator not shoot."
- Combines with Literal Translation to get Beetlejuice in trouble frequently. In one episode, an ill-timed quip of "Two heads are better than one!" gets his head stuck on the same body as the Monster Across the Street. In another episode, a band of former foes of his tricks him into saying "I'm coming apart at the seams!" Yet another had him trying to do nice things for his Neitherworld neighbors, such as making Ginger the Tap-Dancing Spider feel wanted. He has Ginger's face on police "wanted" posters.
- In the Ben 10 episode "Ghostfreaked Out," Ghostfreak, having escaped the Omnitrix, seeks to possess Ben to steal his power. After possessing Gwen to force Ben into a Sadistic Choice, Ben gives in, on the condition that Ghostfreak not hurt Gwen or Grandpa Max. Ghostfreak concedes, and then gives Thumbskull, Acid Breath, and Frightwig, whom he had forced to help him, free reign to attack Gwen and Max, leading to this:Ben: We had a deal, you Halloween reject!
Ghostfreak: You made a deal with me, not them.
- In the 2003 animated The Berenstain Bears series story "The Female Fullback," Betsy never told Brother, Freddy and Too Tall's football team that she would play in their big game, only that she would help them. And though they didn't realize it at the time, she did, by putting them variously through regimens of basketball, track and ballet, which provided them with needed skills for their football game.
- In the Big Hero 6: The Series episode "Lie Detector" , Baymax asks Liv Amara if she was responsible for the recent monster attacks . To paraphrase what she said: "Liv Amara is not responsible for this.". It turns out that this is technically correct. As the 2 part episode "City Of Monsters" reveals, the person who said that is Liv Amara's evil clone Diane. The real Liv was in stasis the whole time due to how an experiment on herself went horribly wrong, and she's devastated when she finds out what Diane did to revive her.
- Bojack Horseman: Dr. Champ is insistent on being called a 'therapy horse' rather than a 'therapist'. Therapy horses are a real thing, and more importantly, not the same as a therapist. It's this distinction that allows Dr. Champ, not bound by physician/patient privilege, to sing like a canary about all of Bojack's dirty secrets to Paige Sinclair in revenge for Bojack's role in Dr. Champ falling Off the Wagon.
- In an episode of The Boondocks, Huey and Uncle Ruckus interrogate a security guard to give them the password to the building's computer. When the guard responds, "Eat my ass!", Ruckus starts repeatedly kicking him in the crotch, demanding that he reveal the password. It takes a few minutes for Huey to realize that "Eat my ass" is the password.
- Codename: Kids Next Door: In "Operation P.A.R.T.Y.", both the Delightful Children and Cree refer to their meet-up as a "soiree" and "party". It isn't until the teenagers arrive that the Delightful Children realize Cree was speaking literally, planning to take advantage of Father not being home to use his mansion for a Wild Teen Party.
- Nearly proves deadly to Darkwing Duck. A trucker and conspiracy theorist tells Darkwing that while vampiric red potatoes are fairly reasonable, russets are nigh-on beasts and can only be beaten by shaking a specific species of plant (which fortuitously turns out to be Bushroot) and saying potato backwards. After fruitlessly shaking Bushroot and shouting "otatop" over and over, Gosalyn asks what he thinks he's doing. He tells her that to beat the vampire potato he has to shake Bushroot and shout potato backwards — which makes the potato cringe, and Darkwing realizes the trucker was speaking literally, and the key phrase was not "potato" backwards, but "potato backwards". Yeah, it was a really strange episode.
- Dexter's Laboratory: In "Dexter's Debt", one of Dexter's attempts to raise the money he owes to NASA was a garage sale. Two aliens showed up saying they would take his "light converters". When Dexter told them the price, they repeated they would take the light converters and threatened him with a laser gun. Dexter got the message.
- Played for Laughs in Dilbert when the engineers and marketing are discussing how to solve a problem, and Dilbert realizes marketing is just going to dump the problem on engineering to solve.Marketing Rep: We need to use our imaginations.Dilbert: You mean we need to use our imaginations.Marketing Rep: Isn't that what I just said?(Beat)Dilbert: Yes. I guess it is.
- Dragon Tales:
- In the episode "Head Over Heels", Trumpy the tollbooth troll only said that you have to do a cartwheel to cross his bridge. Emmy's only just learning to do cartwheels, but he never said the others couldn't help her, which is just what they do.
- In the episode "One Big Wish", Max is tired of being smaller than Emmy and the dragon friends and makes a wish on a wishing well to be bigger. However, he only wished to be bigger without specifying a size limit, so Max can't stop growing bigger... and bigger... and bigger... and bigger... and BIGGER...
- In the Droopy cartoon "Out-Foxed", Droopy is a hunting dog who attempts to capture a Quintessential British Gentleman fox. After repeated failures, he tearfully says that he was promised a steak dinner for every fox he brough home; galvanized, the fox gets on the phone and calls up everyone he knows, and the cartoon ends with Droopy and several dozen foxes at a banquet; literally, a steak dinner for every fox he brought home.
- In the DuckTales episode "Robot Robbers", Gyro employs exact words to explain to Scrooge why he made the titular robots.Scrooge: Gyro, I thought I told you never to build another robot!
Gyro: You said never to build another robot for you. So I made these for Mr. Glomgold.
- Gyro continues to justify himself in holding the the spirit of the request as well. The prior robot incident was problematic due to its AI going rogue. These new robots were strictly piloted... which naturally turns into a problem of its own.
- In the infamous episode "If It Smells Like An Ed" from Ed, Edd n Eddy, Jimmy tells Eddy to "reach out and touch somebody." Eddy does just that, and gives Jimmy an atomic wedgie.
- A hilarious example in "They Call Him Mr. Ed". Double D implements a maze for Ed to run through at an attempt to reach his destination to the Chunky Puffs cereal at the end. Of course, Double D doesn't anticipate that this is Ed he's giving this test to, and the latter actually runs "through" the maze (via tearing through the walls).
- Occurs quite frequently in The Fairly OddParents, usually when the wording of one of Timmy's wishes ends up screwing him over:
- In "Most Wanted Wish", Timmy wishes he was the most wanted kid on Earth (as in, attention-wise). Not only does he become pestered by everyone on Earth, as well as every fairy godparent, but he also becomes wanted, as in "dead or alive". It flips around the other way when he wishes he were ignored at the end. His fairy godparents end up poofing to France.
- In another episode, he wishes for "parents that could care less". When this naturally backfires, as his parents' carefree nature causes the family's life to fall apart, he tries to unwish the wish only to find his godparents were also affected by the wish and couldn't care less either.
- At the end of one episode, Cosmo finds the President's "Big Red Button to destroy the world"... and presses it out of sheer ignorance. The button then blows up Pluto. The President never said which world it would destroy.
- In "The Same Game", Timmy wishes for everyone in town to look exactly the same — it turns them into grey blobs. However, the wish only changed everyone's outer appearances and not their personalities or attitudes; as a result, Dr. Bender is still a bully and refuses to give Timmy his ball back, while his parents are still their same goofy selves.
- In "Foul Balled", Timmy wishes his best friend (Chester) was the best player on the baseball team, which causes Chester to become so good that he doesn't even need a team anymore. By the time the team makes the major leagues, Timmy gets into a spat with Chester, who finally declares he isn't Timmy's friend anymore, thus revoking the wish since Timmy had wished his "best friend" was the best player on the team.
- In the episode "Crime Wave", while in the middle of taking a bath, Timmy wishes to be sent to the comic store so he can pick up the latest issue of the Crimson Chin comic to read while he bathes. Cosmo and Wanda do so... but don't bother to actually dress him in the process.
- "The Big Superhero Wish" has a double dose of this. Firstly, Timmy wishes for everyone on Earth to have superpowers, but "everyone" means everyone, including Vicky, Francis, and Mr. Crocker, who are all transformed into supervillains. When Timmy realizes this, he tries to undo it, but words it terribly:Timmy: I wish for a world without superheroes or—
[the Nega-Chin clamps his hand over Timmy's mouth before he can say "supervillains"]
Nega-Chin: You heard him! He wished for a world without superheroes! You must grant it!
[Cosmo and Wanda reluctantly raise their wands]
Wanda: These loopholes are so annoying.
- In one episode, Timmy wishes to become a talented (and very tall) basketball player, partly to earn enough money for a games console and partly to save the failing local basketball team from closure. Upon the wish being granted, the now-giant Timmy promptly bashes his head on a light fixture and adds, "-at least until I have enough money to buy a V-Cube. Then I never wanna be this freakishly huge again". When he earns his first paycheck, just before a game they need to win to guarantee their survival, he's suddenly returned to normal. Cosmo reminds him of the wording of his wish: since he has enough money to buy a V-Cube now, the wish has been undone and can never be redone.Timmy: I have got to be less specific with these wishes.
- Sometimes he doesnt even have to have intended to wish for anything. In "The Boy Who Would Be Queen", he makes an off-handed comment to the effect of "Wow, Id never say I wish I were a girl", and, as soon as he says those last four words in that order... her wish is granted!
- On some occasions, however, this trope does play into Timmy's hands:
- When Timmy engages Remy Buxaplenty in a magical duel, the deciding round is that whoever is turned into the most fantastic animal wins. Remy comes up with a much more exotic animal than Timmy, but thanks to Cosmo's distractions, Juandissimo's spell misses and hits Timmy instead. Remy claims victory, having produced "the most amazing creature ever", but Wanda points out the wording of the challenge: the child who is turned into the most fantastic animal wins. Because Timmy was the one transformed, he is the winner, not Remy.
- The first time the Nega-Chin escapes from his comic book, he makes several wishes, including one preventing Timmy from just wishing him back into the book. Timmy's eventual solution is to summon the Crimson Chins of every comic book era, and have them beat the ever-loving crap out of the Nega-Chin until he wishes himself back into the book.
- At the end of School's Out! The Musical, this is ultimately how the Pixies get defeated. Their contract with Flappy Bob grants the Pixies control of Fairy World, and in return, Earth will be safe and fun "as defined by Flappy Bob". At first, this gives them them control of Earth too, since they've raised Bob to share their boring definition of "fun". However, after his HeelFace Turn, guess what Flappy Bob's definition changes to? "Everything the way it should be!"note
- In another Pixie-related incident, Timmy signs up for a Pixie-run program to curb his bad wishing, only to learn that every bad wish results in Cosmo and Wanda getting shocked with increasing voltage, until they're eventually killed and replaced with Pixies, and the only wish on the list of approved wishes is "I wish for the Pixies to own Fairy World", and if he tries to break the contract, Cosmo and Wanda will be replaced by Pixies. Fortunately, Cosmo recalls a section of the contract stating that it'll be rendered null and void if Timmy makes a wish that is both responsible and irresponsible. So what does Timmy wish for? That his fairies be made of rubber! As Cosmo and Wanda point out, this is both responsible (they can't get shocked anymore) and irresponsible (they're basically fairy-sized superballs, with all the destructive potential that entails).
- In Channel Chasers, Timmy is grounded by his parents and not allowed to watch TV. He gets around this by wishing for a magical remote that lets him travel into the TV, so he's not technically watching it.
- "Dream Goat" has a more straightforward example, as Timmy tries to escape the angry mob pursuing him:Timmy: A dead end! I'm doomed!
Cosmo: Well, you've lived a good life, right?
Timmy: I'm only ten!
Cosmo: I said "good", not "long"!
- Norm the genie, trademark Jackass Genie, will purposefully employ this trope to guarantee that people won't actually get what they wish for.
- In "Totally Spaced Out", Timmy wishes for something that would take Vicky "a million million miles from here." Cosmo responds by poofing up a tape measure and measuring until he gets to "one million one million" (two million, if the way he was counting is any indication). This puts him right in front of Mark Chang, who he convinces to return to Earth and take Vicky away.
- "Knighty Knight" has Timmy wishes that "They were all in the real middle ages." So he ends up in the Middle Ages... with his parents, who were at the Renaissance Fair with him. Hey, he said "all".
- Four times in a row in "Class Clown":
- Timmy wishes he was the funniest kid on Earth — he didn't say he's the funniest kid anywhere else but Earth. When he goes to Fairy World and tells something there, no one laughs, allowing him to unwish his wish.
- There's also that fact that, rather than make him actually funnier, it just makes it so people laugh at everything he says, regardless of whether it's funny or not.
- The carnivorous plant Timmy gives Trixie is from the Planet of Seemingly Harmless Plants — it's seemingly harmless, to be exact.
- Cosmo ends by taking Timmy and Wanda to the Planet with Almost Enough Oxygen. Timmy and Wanda are unable to breathe with almost enough.
- Family Guy
- In the episode "When You Wish Upon A Weinstein" Peter tells Lois about his Zany Scheme to make Chris smarter by converting him to Judaism. When Lois says that she doesn't want to hear another word on the subject, Peter signals to Chris that she won't have to because they mastered sign language.
- In the episode "The Cleveland Loretta Quagmire", Peter tells Brian that informing everyone that Loretta is having an affair is "the last thing in the world they should do." One Gilligan Cut later, Peter and Brian are back in the house surrounded by various items and souvenirs, apparently having done everything in the world except reveal the affair—which they then do, since it's the "last thing" on the list.
- In "North by North Quahog", there's a scene of Meg and Chris watching Two and a Half Men. Which is two guys screaming in horror at a third who's missing the lower half of his body and begging them to kill him.
- In "You May Now Kiss the...Uh...Guy Who Receives," Mayor West unveils a giant 24 karat gold statue of Dig 'Em, the mascot of Sugar Smacks cereal. He then announces extremely large budget cuts, but insists that they have almost nothing to do with the expensive statue he just installed (which is technically true, especially if the cuts have everything to do with the piece).
- The Fantastic Four (1978): In one episode, Doctor Doom hods Sue hostage, promising to let her go free if Reed, Ben and HERBIE get him a treasure chest he wants. Reed retrieves the treasure chest and gives it to Doom... empty. He said he'd give Doom the chest, he said nothing about its contents. Doom replies that two can play at that game — he said he'd let Sue go free, he said nothing about the rest of them.
- On one episode of The Flintstones, Fred goes back to college and winds up on the Princestone football team. When he explains how a teammate is to kick a field goal, we get:Fred: I'll hold the ball, and when I nod my head, you kick it between the goal posts.
- Played for Laughs in Raging Bender when Leela, as Bender's coach, chastises him for not training hard enough:Leela: Bender! You're three hours late. You can't give up on your training now after both of us worked so hard.Bender: What do you mean, "we"?Leela: I said "us".
- During an episode where the crew go fishing, Leela boasts that she's the most experienced fisher, and even owns her own harpoon, causing Bender to remark "Harpoon, my ass". Leela proceeds to do just that.
- Played for Laughs in Raging Bender when Leela, as Bender's coach, chastises him for not training hard enough:
- Garfield and Friends:
- One episode has Jon as "King Jon the Wide", ruling over a kingdom where ancient treaties mean it receives a gift of gold from the neighboring kingdoms equal to the weight of the one "who wears the crown upon his head." An evil and jealous duke who wants an excuse to impose taxes on the kingdom has a witch give King Jon Garfield's ancestor as "royal food taster"; being a Big Eater extraordinaire, the cat soon starves Jon the Wide into Jon the Skinny. Just when it seems that the kingdom is on the verge of ruin, King Jon realizes that the ancient laws explicitly say the gift of gold must equal not the weight of the king, but the weight of the one "who wears the crown"—so he puts the crown on Garfield's head. The kingdom gets more gold than it ever did before, although Garfield's enormous appetite and the subsequent food bills lead King Jon to wonder if they're actually making a profit.
- At the end of one episode, Garfield promises Jon that he won't mail Nermal to Abu Dhabi anymore. Once Jon leaves, Garfield then puts a stamp on the package that says "Send To The Yukon".
- In the U.S. Acres segment "The Ugly Duckling", Orson was telling Booker and Sheldon a version of said fairy tale. That version had Bo as a wizard who worked at a bar. Whatever you do, you must never ask him something like "Make me a sandwich". He'll turn you into one.
- In the U.S. Acres episode "Big Bad Buddy Bird", Roy ends up working for the Buddy Bears, and his role is to be the antithesis of the Bears' group mentality lessons. Whenever he disagrees with the group (such as wanting Chinese food instead of going to a salad bar for lunch, or chocolate ice cream instead of french vanilla), a 16-ton safe gets dropped on him. He eventually gets the Bears to promise to stop doing that, and when he declares that he wants to ride a roller coaster instead of a horsey ride, they keep their word and don't drop a 16-ton safe on him... they drop two of them. The was also a Sequel Episode called "Roy Gets Sacked" where Roy ends up working for the Buddy Bears again, and he is informed that the Bears no longer drop 16-ton safes. In practice, however, they just drop other heavy objects on him. At the end, when they appeared to have broken this vow and dropped a 16-ton safe on Roy again, they immediately clarify that they actually dropped a 27-ton safe.
- The Buddy Bears are especially prone to this—in another episode, Garfield hires them to clean the house for him, then doesn't offer them any money. When they protest, he points out that they've sworn to always agree with everyone—so by claiming they haven't been paid, they're disagreeing with him and thus breaking their own rules. The Bears are frustrated by this, but are forced to accept.
- One U.S. Acres Quickie saw Roy opening a lemonade stand and offering "all you can drink for a dime." Wade pays a dime and gets a single glass of lemonade; when he asks for another, Roy charges more money, explaining that he's given him one glass, and "that's all you can drink for a dime!" Of course, karma bites Roy in the tail feathers when Orson's brothers show up and, after giving Roy their dimes, demand buckets of lemonade; Roy knows better than to try the same trick on them, and ends up squeezing lemons all day.
- In "Video Airlines", Jon and Garfield have spent the entire day being bombarded by the schlocky sci-fi movie Kung Fu Creatures on the Rampage Two no matter where they go or what they do. Eventually they decide to go to the movie theater, but before entering Jon interrogates the usher and makes him swear that they are NOT playing Kung Fu Creatures on the Rampage Two in this theater. So of course, after they take their seats, he and Garfield find themselves watching Kung Fu Creatures on the Rampage Three.
- Magic on the show runs on this. Curses can be lifted via the very literal language of the spell. For example, when the Gargoyles were encased in stone for a thousand years, the spell noted they would stay that way until the castle was above the clouds. How did Xanatos counter it? Put the castle on top of a skyscraper. During the "City of Stone" four-parter, Xanatos and the Manhattan Clan discover that Demona's spell to turn New York's humans into stone by night would only be broken when the sky burns. His solution is to load the gargoyles and his Steel Clan robots with packs loaded with flammable gas, and then ignite the gas after they fly all over the city dispensing it. Greg Weisman stated that adding a counter measure to spells/curses makes them a lot easier to cast. However, it never had to be said that the counter measure was easy to perform (how likely was it for a castle to be raised above the clouds in the 10th century).
- In another episode, Demona tempts Brooklyn into helping her steal the Grimorum Arcanum, a Tome of Eldritch Lore, by promising that it will help Goliath "see the truth." She uses a spell from the book to do so...by turning Goliath into a mindless slave that obeys her unfailingly ("Now what we say will be his only truth"). When Brooklyn tries to take the book back, Demona casts a countercurse that declares "only the one who holds the spell" will be able to command Goliath. At the episode's end, Brooklyn tears out the individual page with the incantation; Eliza then holds the page in her hand and tells Goliath to live the rest of his life as if he wasn't under a spell. This totally cancels the magic, as Goliath's Mind-Control Eyes disappear, and he thanks her for freeing him.
- Puck, a noted trickster, loves to use this trope to screw with humans and gargoyles alike. His first episode, wherein Demona captures him and makes him grant her wishes, is absolutely packed with this trope. Interestingly, he keeps warning Demona to carefully consider her wording, but she repeatedly fails to do so, which says a lot about how her hatred of humans has clouded her judgment.
- Demona's first demand comes when she sees Elisa talking to Goliath; intensely envious, she snaps "Get rid of that human, Elisa Maza." Puck responds—"Did you say that human, or that human?"—and grants the wish...by turning Elisa into a gargoyle herself. He promptly invokes the trope by assuring Demona that "the human Elisa Maza is no more."
- Going off of Puck's above reassurance, Demona (without checking to see what the fairy did) immediately commands him to "do the same to every human in Manhattan." The changling tries to stop her ("You don't know what you're asking. Believe me."), but has to comply—and one spell later, every single person in Manhattan becomes a gargoyle.
- When Demona finally sees what Puck has done, she flies into a rage and snaps "TURN THE GARGOYLES INTO HUMANS!" Puck guarantees that he'll do "exactly as [she] asks"—and promptly transforms the Manhattan Clan into humans. That one nearly costs him dearly, until he's able to convince Demona that she'll be able to easily kill them in their weaker forms (and she would have, had Eliza not saved the day).
- Finally, after the Manhattan Clan frees Puck from Demona's clutches and asks him explicitly to put things back the way they were in exchange for his freedom, the fairy thanks her for a "great time" and offers to grant her original wish of "not turning to stone during the day" as a consolation prize. Demona, who's sick of Puck by now, tells him to buzz off—and he's angered to the point where he grants the wish anyway...by having Demona herself turn into a human while the sun is out, which is her worst nightmare (though she eventually adapts).
- In another episode, Puck (disguised as Goliath For the Lulz) does a spell to put Coldstone's good personalities into living bodies; the hosts have to volunteer for it to work. Broadway, Angela and Brooklyn all volunteer, though since they only need two people, Brooklyn backs out. The problem is, volunteering to be possessed means that Coldstone's evil personality winds up inside him and tries to ruin everything. Then, during the climax, Lexington says "I could use a little help, here," which is apparently enough to allow baby Alex to possess him and fix everything.
- Generator Rex: In "Badlands", Rex, Noah, and Bobo are tasked with transporting unstable nanites across the desert and are warned by Six that the slightest movement will cause them to go off. At the end of the episode, the trio hand off the unstable nanites, with Noah expressing relief that they didn't go off. Six promptly points out that they did. As in, they deactivated.Six: They're called unstable for a reason.
- Meta example: Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer. Hey, the original song never explicitly says she dies, so maybe she turns out to be Not Quite Dead with Easy Amnesia instead?
- Gravity Falls:
- In "Headhunters", when Dipper and Mabel suspect that Manly Dan was the one who decapitated Stan's wax statue, Dan claims he was "punching the clock" at the time. No, he wasn't working, he was punching a clock.
- In one "Dipper's Guide to the Unexplained" short, Grunkle Stan really wasn't lying about not having a tattoo because, as revealed in "A Tale of Two Stans", it's actually a brand-like burn scar.
- In "Sock Opera", Bill tells Dipper he'll give him a hint in exchange for "a puppet". Since Dipper is trying to figure out the password to a laptop he found, and Mabel recently made a large number of sock puppets which are sitting nearby, the implication is that Bill is offering to help him with the password in exchange for a sock puppet. It turns out what Bill actually meant was that he'd kick Dipper out of his own body and possess it as a puppet, and that he'd smash the laptop to reveal its internal components - as well as the name of the person who made the computer, thereby providing a different hint entirely.
- Green Eggs and Ham
- When McWinkle asks one of the citizens of South Shvizelton to tell them where Guy, Sam, and the Chickaraffe went, the citizen responds by telling him that nobody in South Shvizelton gossips. Gluntz decides to drag him into North Shvizelton, a seedy neighborhood, right behind her, and he gladly tells her that one of them got locked up in prison (and that his neighbor Phyllis is lying their fruit loaf being homemade when it's actually bought from the store).
- Better yet, the BADGUYS are not bad guys. BADGUYS is just a shortened way of saying the acronym of them being animal defenders.
- McWinkle and Glunz mention having to call someone called "the Bigman". Turns out, said Bigman is their boss, whose name is Bigman.
- Gumby: In the episode "Shady Lemonade", Gumby and his friends see a sign on a nearby soda shop advertising "Lemonade: All You Can Drink For 10 Cents". After helping themselves to some lemonade and asking the soda jerk for another round, the soda jerk tells them it'll be 40 more cents. When Gumby points out what the sign says, the soda jerk responds, "That's all you can drink for ten cents."
- House of Mouse:
Iago: We've been Agrabamboozled by a mouse.
- In "Donald's Lamp Trade", Jafar give Donald an offer to take over the house of mouse if Donald brings him "The Lamp". Donald enters the cave of wonders and brings the lamp to Jafar, but it turns out that he meant the decorative lamp from Mickey's dressing room.
- In "House of Magic", Mickey asks for Jafar's help in getting the House of Mouse back after Daisy makes it disappear. In return, Mickey promises the city of Agrabah. Upon putting the house of mouse back into place, Mickey gives Jafar a snowglobe containing a model of the city of Agrabah.
- Jackie Chan Adventures: Jade is the chief offender of this trope, using it very often to slip out of Wait Here, but others get in on the action as well. For example...
- On a few occasions, Jackie tells her to "stay with Uncle." He's referring to the character named Uncle... trouble is, he himself is called Uncle Jackie.
- In "The Stronger Evil", Jackie and Captain Black head out to foil an armored car robbery; Jade quickly says "Can I—" but the two adults cut her off by yelling "NO!" When they leave, Jade complains that they didn't even let her ask... which means that they didn't specify what it is that they said "no" to. In the same episode, Jade tries to operate a jetpack, prompting Jackie to tell her not to operate machines if she doesn't know how they work. She then asks the inventor to give her a lesson on the controls. Notably, in that instance, Jackie didn't object... probably because she had used said jetpack to pull off a Big Damn Heroes moment.
- When the Monkey King turns Jackie into a puppet, the only way to counteract the spell is to have the prank-pulling primate pull on Puppet!Jackie's leg—but the leg doesn't have to be attached to Jackie at the time, which is ultimately how he and Jade defeat the trickster.
- One episode has Jade discover a mysterious temple that is guarded by a cursed little girl who transforms into a hideous monster that attacks intruders. Jade gets around this spell by telling the girl to invite her into the temple—technically, she's no longer "intruding" then.
- Jade later gets a taste of her own medicine in "Jade Times Jade." When Jackie specifically makes her promise to "stay [in Uncle's shop] and do her homework," she does so... then remembers that she has a duplication spell on hand and uses it on herself, figuring that her clone can do her assignments while she plays Tagalong Kid to Jackie. But to her surprise, the clone comes too; when Jade protests that "we promised Jackie" to do homework instead, Clone!Jade points out that only the original Jade made the promise, meaning that she (and the countless clones that eventually show up) are free to do whatever they want.
- When Shendu first agrees to release his demonic brothers and sisters from their hellish prison, they cast a spell that binds him to the body of the first human he possesses until all seven of them are liberated. When he finally uses Valmont and the Dark Hand to open the last of the portals locking them in, his sister Bai Tza refuses to undo the magic, pointing out that the rest of their siblings are still "trapped in the void" due to the Chan Clan's quick work in resealing them whenever one escaped. Shendu counters that he did exactly what was asked of him by freeing all of his brothers and sisters; there was nothing stated about keeping them that way. Bai Tza doesn't buy it.
- In John Callahan's Quads! Riley sells his soul to The Devil in exchange for being able to get an erection once more, on the condition that he only have to pay up when he dies. The Devil shows up about a day later to claim it, pointing out he never specified when Riley would die.
- In one episode of Johnny Bravo, Johnny chases a leprechaun in order to get a wish. He finally succeeds, and wishes to be attractive to "all the chicks". The leprechaun grants the wish (remarking on how odd Johnny is), and seconds later Johnny is stampeded by lovesick chickens, who coo things like "Ooh, he's a big one!"
- In the first episode of Johnny Test:Dukey: Hey, isn't that your dad's new camera which he specifically told you "touch it and die"?
Johnny: (operating the camera with a stick) Well, yes, but notice how I'm not physically touching it.
- Justice League:
- In "Paradie Lost", a sorceror named Felix Faust turns the Amazons to stone to coerce Wonder Woman and the rest of the League into finding the pieces of a key to a Hell Gate under Themyscira so he can release his master, Hades, in exchange for "ultimate knowledge". Hades makes good on his bargain and grants Faust the "ultimate knowledge" he seeks. By aging him into a feeble old man while claiming that ultimately, pain and suffering are all mankind will ever know now that Hades is free.
- In Justice League Unlimited, a villain torturing The Question, a first-order conspiracy nut, repeatedly orders him to "Tell me what you know." The answers he gets include: "There was a magic bullet. It was forged by Illuminati mystics to prevent us from learning the truth", and "The plastic tips at the ends of shoelaces are called aglets. Their true purpose is sinister."
- Lobo appears in the episode "Hereafter" and is gunning to replace the recently-deceased Superman. When the two parted ways in Superman: The Animated Series, Superman made Lobo swear "to leave me, and everyone else on Earth, in peace". Nobody said anything about leaving just the Earth in peace, so with Superman out of the equation... notably, when Superman turns out to be not dead and returns in the end, Lobo's promise kicks in again and he leaves without a fuss. By his standards.
- In "The Doomsday Sanction", Dr. Milo wants revenge on Project Cadmus for demoting him, so he frees Doomsday from containment in exchange for "solving both their problems". As soon as Doomsday is free, he says, "Your problem's solved." and kills Milo.
- In the episode "Let's Play Figurines", Kaeloo, Quack Quack and Mr. Cat refuse to let Stumpy play with their new figurines. Later, they realize that Stumpy has stolen the figurines. When they call him out on it and say he stole them, he says that he borrowed them. Kaeloo says borrowing is when you ask someone before taking their things, but Stumpy points put that he did ask - but they refused.
- When tha gang are playing truth or dare, Pretty "dares" Stumpy to buy her a Prada bag. Kaeloo says that the dare is supposed to be something like "walk using your hands" or "hop on one leg", so Pretty dares Stumpy to buy her a Prada bag while hopping on one leg.
- In another episode, the gang are playing restaurant. Mr. Cat asks Kaeloo for an alcoholic beverage with ice. Kaeloo refuses to let him have it, so he decides to ask for one without ice.
- In a season 3 episode, Mr. Cat gets angry at a bunch of sheep and decides to throw them all off a cliff. Kaeloo tells him not to throw all the sheep off the cliff, so Mr. Cat throws just one of them off and the rest of them follow the other one and jump off themselves.
- In the episode "Let's Play Gangster Poker", Mr. Cat tricks Kaeloo into thinking she owes him money. When she points out that nobody has any money, he reminds her that she has a piggy bank, describing it as a "little piggy which rattles when you shake it". Kaeloo gives the piggy bank to Mr. Cat. Mr. Cat opens it and finds out that there really is no money inside... it was rattling because there was a soda can tab inside.
- When Kaeloo and Mr. Cat get into an argument, Kaeloo goes on a rant about how she will "never talk to Mr. Cat again". Halfway through the rant, she realizes that she wouldn't be very happy if she couldn't talk to him anymore since he's her best friend, and then she decides to mime words to him because technically she wouldn't be "speaking" to him.
- The Kids From Room 402:
- Nancy promised not to tell anyone Jordan is wealthy. However, she didn't promise not to tell anyone that she (Nancy) has a wealthy friend.
- Three girls decided to dress like a celebrity known for, among other things, wearing a bell as a pendant. Not liking that, Mr. Besser threatened to make all students wear uniforms if he ever heard any of those bells again. The girls then stuffed their bells with socks so Mr. Besser wouldn't "hear" them. The loophole worked until one of the socks fell and he heard a bell, after which he made good on his threat.
- Kim Possible: When Dr. Drakken was searching for a weather machine at a shop that sells them, upon finding the right one, he declares that he'll take it. Unfortunately for the owners, he and Shego proceed to literally take it rather than (as the salesman expected) settle on a price. This also acts as a deconstruction of the trope, as Drakken's hasty action also resulted in him leaving without the manual, eventually forcing Shego to return to the depot to steal the manual, coincidentally at the same time that Kim Possible had arrived to investigate the theft.
- King of the Hill: When Luanne suggests that Hank receives acupuncture for his constipation, Hank said that if anyone tried that, he'll kick their ass. Later in the episode, the acupuncturist does that, much to Hank's chagrin, prompting to him to kick him directly in his ass.
- In The Legend of Korra episode "A Leaf in the Wind", The Mentor Tenzin wants young hero Korra to focus on her airbending training, and so forbids her from watching "frivolous" pro-bending matches so as not to be distracted. As she later points out after being caught, he never said anything about listening to one on the radio.Tenzin: You—you knew what I meant!
- In an episode of Lilo & Stitch: The Series, Lilo says she can beat Mertle at "any time, any place, any game" when it comes to baseball. Later, when Mertle challenges her to a game of basketball instead, she quotes the "any game" part.Mertle: You said any time, any place, any game.
Lilo: I did?
Stitch: (checks memory) Yeah, you did.
- Looney Tunes:
- In "Bugs and Thugs", gangster Rocky gives his lackey Mugsy a gun and tells him to take Bugs Bunny into the other room and "let him have it". Once in the room, Bugs asks for the gun because, as the boss said, Mugsy was suppose to let him have it. Mugsy gives Bugs the gun, and you can probably guess the rest.
- Another example from "Bugs and Thugs" is when Rocky tells Mugsy to button his lip, he does exactly that.
- In "Strife with Father", a sparrow is teaching Beaky Buzzard to catch chickens, and gives him a club to hit them with. When a rooster confronts Beaky, the sparrow shouts to Beaky to "Let him have it!" So Beaky lets the rooster have the club, which he uses to wallop the sparrow.
- In "Duck Amuck", Daffy asks the animator for "sound, please" when trying to play the guitar, and every strum produces inappropriate noises. Later in the cartoon, Daffy demands a close-up, and after the animator trolls him a bit, the camera zooms in on an Extreme Close-Up of Daffy's Death Glare.
- In "Knighty Knight Bugs'', after Bugs Bunny (playing a Court Jester) quips "Only a fool would go after the singing sword!", King Arthur responds "A good idea... Fool!" and orders bugs to go face the Black Knight and retrieve the Singing Sword.
- At the end of that same episode, Bugs locks Sam (Playing the Black Knight) and the dragon in a tower filled with explosives, when the dragon is about to sneeze in that room, Sam plugs his nostrils and yells "Don't sneeze you stupid dragon or you'll blow us to the moon!", the tower they were locked in literally blasts off like a rocket to the moon.
- In "Stop! Look! And Hasten!", Wile E. Coyote tries to catch the Roadrunner in a Burmese tiger trap. The only thing Wile E. manages to catch in it is a (rather angry) Burmese tiger (Suprisibus suprisibus!). Similar gags were done in later cartoons with a giant mouse trap and giant flypaper.
- In "Feather Finger", Daffy apparently shoots Speedy into nothing with a pistol and, noticing that he's disappeared, says "I musta blown him to smithereens". It turns out Speedy rode the bullet all the way to Smithereens, Mexico.
- In Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century, Marvin the Martian prepares to shoot Duck Dodgers with a disintegrating pistol, but Dodgers shrugs it off, telling the audience that he is protected by his Disintegration-Proof Vest. When Marvin fires, Dodgers crumbles to dust, while the vest remains intact. Later on, Dodgers tries to surprise-attack Marvin with a disintegrating pistol of his own. Since his is an ACME-brand pistol, the gun itself disintegrates the moment he pulls the trigger.
- The Magic School Bus: In the second episode, "For Lunch", Miss Frizzle allows Arnold, who is not a big fan of her crazy field trips, to take her next field trip off. She ends up taking the field trip into him—specifically, his digestive system.
- Megas XLR:
Coop: Two bucks, huh? I'll take it! [To add insult to injury, he never actually paid the two bucks]
- The junkyard dealer wanted to get Coop out of his hair and told him everything in a certain pile was two bucks. When Coop accidentally discovers the wrecked remains of the title mech:
- In another episode Kiva makes a deal with Captain Warlock; her life for Coop and Jamie's. While Warlock DOES in fact let them go he "lets them go" in such a way that they'd be lucky to survive the crash to the nearest planet.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- The two-part premier makes use of this. After Twilight reads the legend of Nightmare Moon and warns Princess Celestia of her possible return, Celestia replies, "You simply must stop reading those dusty old books!" and sends her to supervise the Summer Sun Celebration in Ponyville and make some friends. Later, after Nightmare Moon does return and is defeated by Twilight and her friends, Twilight accuses Celestia of dismissing her warning. Celestia reminds her that technically she had done no such thing; she told Twilight to stop studying and make some friends because she knew that Twilight could never defeat Nightmare Moon by herself.Celestia: I told you that you needed to make some friends — nothing more. I saw the signs of Nightmare Moons return and I knew it was you who had the magic inside to defeat her, but you could not unleash it until you let true friendship into your heart.
- Also happens (sorta) in "Swarm of the Century". Faced with the parasprite swarm devouring every and anything edible in sight, Twilight Sparkle casts a spell to make them "stop eating all the food". It succeeds. They stop eating food... and start devouring everything else, wrecking Ponyville completely.
- Before the final challenge in "May The Best Pet Win", Rainbow Dash sets down the win condition: her pet will be the one that "crosses the finish line with [her]", her assumption being that due to her speed, she'll be the first across. Following an avalanche that pins her wing under a rock, she ends up crossing the finish line last, on the back of a tortoise. Her friends inform her that a falcon won, but by now Rainbow Dash is attached to the tortoise... so she points out that while the falcon might have crossed first, the tortoise (due to carrying her) crossed with her. The falcon takes it quite well.
- In the two-part Season 2 opener "The Return of Harmony", Discord hides the Elements of Harmony with the riddle to find them being "Twists and turns are my master plan, then find the Elements back where you began." "Twists and turns" refers to the labyrinth in Canterlot, but he never said the Elements were in the labyrinth (though it was part of his plan). The Elements were back where they began in a book inside the library in Ponyville where Twilight is staying.
- And then there's "The Last Roundup", where Pinkie is royally pissed at Applejack for skipping breakfast and breaking her Pinkie Promise where she promised she'd tell the others why she's refusing to return home; instead using the chance to escape town. When Pinkie confronts AJ about it, she counters that technically she didn't break the promise as she said she would have told them the truth at breakfast. Of course, rather than being technically correct, this relies on a rather unnatural interpretation on the exact meaning of the wording used. For this reason, Pinkie doesn't buy it.
- In "Where The Apple Lies", Granny Smith tells Apple Bloom that one of Applejack's lies once "sent the whole family to the hospital." It turns out that none of the family was sick or injured. Applejack had kicked off a "Fawlty Towers" Plot involving a claim that Granny Smith was suffering "Apple Blight", and had dragged everyone to the hospital in an attempt to maintain the ruse.
- The two-part premier makes use of this. After Twilight reads the legend of Nightmare Moon and warns Princess Celestia of her possible return, Celestia replies, "You simply must stop reading those dusty old books!" and sends her to supervise the Summer Sun Celebration in Ponyville and make some friends. Later, after Nightmare Moon does return and is defeated by Twilight and her friends, Twilight accuses Celestia of dismissing her warning. Celestia reminds her that technically she had done no such thing; she told Twilight to stop studying and make some friends because she knew that Twilight could never defeat Nightmare Moon by herself.
- In "The First Bluebell" from Peter Rabbit, Sammy Whiskers approaches the group and says that he can get them a bluebell. They ask what he wants in return and he says he'll give them a flower in exchange for the oat cake that Benjamin happens to have. They agree, but when they give it to him, he gives them a snowdrop. After all, he never said he'd give them a bluebell, he said he'd give them a flower.
- Phineas and Ferb:
- In "Ask a Foolish Question", Candace asks the computer: "How can I get my mom to see what my brothers had done?" The computer has her construct a toaster oven with a pop-up hand mirror, allowing Linda to see the boys had fixed her bad hairdo, which happened to occur when they tied balloons to industrial marketing dye and a leaf blower, released them on top of Danville Hill, and both proceed to fix Linda's hair right before the mirror pops up.
- In "The Doof Side Of The Moon", Albert claims to Candace "no force on Earth" can make the giant building disappear. Then the moon gets hit by Doof's Lunar-Rotate-inator, causing it to rotate, taking the building with it.
- In Across the 2nd Dimension, we learn about Perry's "So You've Found Out Your Pet is a Secret Agent" O.W.C.A. pamphlet. "Happy Birthday, Isabella" reveals its exact terms: if Perry's host family finds out about his secret agent status, either their minds must be erased or he gets relocated. Stacy has just witnessed a Perry-Doofenshmirtz fight, and avoids the mind-wipe by pointing out she isn't part of the host family, promising to keep Perry's secret. This doesn't explain why she did get her memory erased in the movie however.
- The Powerpuff Girls:
Ms. Keane: Girls, you know there's no fighting, so go outside and play dodgeball instead. Understand? (She winks at them to show what she is referring to. Her meaning dawns on them.)
- In "Bought and Scold", Princess buys Townsville, becomes mayor, and puts out a decree that makes crime legal (and crimestopping illegal). The girls are frustrated... until they realize they can steal Princess' goodies without retribution. Not knowing that the girls stole her goods, Princess hastily retracts the decree, the girls go back to crimefighting, and then dump Princess' goodies onto her lawn in exchange for her giving the original Mayor back his position.
- "Him Diddle Riddle" had the girls solving riddles set up by Him, who is holding the Professor hostage. They had to solve the riddles within the amount of time they had, otherwise the Professor would "pay"... full price for the pancakes at the "Otto Time" dinner Him happens to own for some reason.
- In "Helter Shelter" the Professor tells Bubbles to stop bringing animals home as they don't like to be locked up in closets. She then brings a whale home knowing he won't fit in a closet.
- In "Schoolhouse Rocked", Ms. Keane uses this when she witnesses the Gangreen Gang bully and beating up the children on the playground. As a result of this (and due to the fact that Ms. Keane forbids fighting in the classroom), Ms. Keane exploits this by giving facial hints to give the girls permission to attack the gang to defend the students.
- Deconstructed in the Regular Show episode "Wall Buddy"; after taking care of a deadly AI that was supposed to act as a temporary wall between Mordecai and Rigby, their boss, Benson, becomes furious over the fact that they caused a lot of damage to the park, then says he should technically fire them, just shortly after the former two try to claim that since the room was cleaned, they can't be fired for it.
- In The Ren & Stimpy Show episode "A Yard Too Far" Ren realizes that if he goes into a yard with hog jowls cooling on a windowsill, he will likely be attacked by an Angry Guard Dog. He tells Stimpy to make sure there isn't one and is relieved after being assured there is no dog. Ren goes into the yard, and is promptly mauled by a guard baboon.
- In Rick and Morty, Rick leaves Summer in his car/ship with the instruction to the A.I. to "Keep Summer Safe." When the car then kills a threatening guy, Summer orders it not to kill anyone... so it permanently paralyzes the next guy. When the cops show up, she orders the A.I. not to physically harm anyone... so it resorts to psychological torture. Finally, when she orders it not to harm anyone, the A.I. guarantees their freedom by negotiating peace between the humans of that dimension and the psychic spiders, at which point the locals are now content to ignore the car and what it has done, thereby keeping Summer safe.
- One episode of Robot Chicken has Ted Turner dress up as Captain Planet and go on a violent murder spree to stop the CEOs of Pan-Global Oil from dumping sludge in the ocean. He ends up breaking in and holding one by the throat out the window of a skyscraper:CEO: What do you want Mr. Turner?!Ted Turner: Just sign this pledge not to dump anymore sludge and I'll let you go!CEO: Okay okay!Ted Turner: This appears to be in order. (Lets go) Captain Planet!
- In the Rocko's Modern Life episode "Snowballs" Rocko and Heffer go to a ski resort where everything is $5. After paying the initial fee, the two ask for skis. When they are told that will be another $5, Rocko points out that they already paid. It is explained that at the resort everything is $5. ("That's right, every thing is $5.")
- The Rocket Power episode "Great Sandcastle Race" has various contestants creating all sorts of cool sand sculptures—Oliver's team builds a Perpetual Motion Machine, and the four protagonists put together a replica of the boardwalk, to name a couple examples. The winner of the competition ends up being Mackenzie's simple sandcastle... because it's a sandcastle contest and her entry is the only one that's an actual sandcastle.
- Rocky and Bullwinkle: Mr. Know-It-All falls victim to the old "when I nod my head you hit it" bit with Rocky in showing how to open a jar of pickles.
- In one episode of Rugrats, Angelica pushes Chuckie out of the way of an oncoming Big Wheel. Chuckie interprets this as having saved his life, and Angelica tells him that, once someone saves your life, you have to be their slave. At the end of the episode, Angelica is stuck in a closet, Chuckie frees her, and Angelica gushes that he saved her life. Tommy points out what that means, and while Angelica tries to backtrack, in the final scene, we see her muttering as she drives Chuckie around.
- The Secret Saturdays:
- In "The Vengeance of the Hibagon", Professor Mizuki, who is trapped in the body of the titular creature and hunting down the people responsible, responds "very poor choice of words" to Drew saying "put him down" in regards to one of the men he's hunting.
- "The Thousand Eyes of the Ahuizotl" sees Argost secretly direct Zak to find a creature of Aztec lore said to possess, you guessed it, a thousand eyes. A feat it accomplishes by stealing the eyes of other creatures with its third arm. As Argost notes at the end of the episode, he never said the eyes were all the ahuizotl's.
- The Simpsons:
Bart: What now, Principal Skinrash?
- In "Home Away from Homer", Marge witnesses Homer and Bart watching a softcore webcast and demands that Bart look out the window. Bart obliges and ends up seeing the exact same thing, since he knows that the girls are casting from Ned Flanders' house without his knowledge. When Marge realizes this, she drags Homer by the ear to the Flanders house and forces him to tell Ned what's going on.
- In "Dead Putting Society", when Bart and Todd face off in a miniature golf tournament, Homer and Ned make a bet on it: the father of the child who "doesn't win"note has to mow his neighbor's lawn while wearing his wife's Sunday dress. Ultimately, Bart and Todd tie, meaning that neither of them won and both fathers have to put on a dress and do yardwork. Homer is happy to go through with it as he wants to see Ned get humiliated... but to his annoyance, Ned doesn't feel humiliated in the slightest.
- In the episode "And Maggie Makes Three", Marge makes Patty and Selma promise not to tell Homer about her being pregnant with Maggie. Of course, the agreement only stated that Patty and Selma not tell Homer, which means they're free to call up the first and last names in the phone book, who, in addition to allowing a quick Bait-and-Switch implying they were going to tell everyone except Homer, are the biggest gossips in town and can be relied upon to spread the news while Patty and Selma plan a surprise baby shower for Marge just before Homer gets home from work.
- A couple of times, when a suspicious Marge asked Homer what he was up to, Homer would reply, "Marge, I'm not gonna lie to you", and then immediately carry on without saying anything more.
- This exchange between Bart and Principal Skinner:
Skinner: My name is Principal Skinner, and you shall refer to me as such.
Bart: Sure thing, Such.
Skinner: I shall deal with your insubordinate wordplay later.
Lisa: He said it was just a name!
- This shows up twice in the "Treehouse of Horror IV" segment "The Devil and Homer Simpson". As the title implies, the episode's plot centers on Homer making a Deal with the Devil (Ned Flanders) in exchange for a doughnut. The first example regards their contract: Homer's soul will be damned the moment he finishes the doughnut, so if he doesn't finish it, he will remain safe. Of course, Homer being Homer, he ends up eating the last bite later that evening. Lisa gets Ned to agree to a trial for Homer's soul; just as the jury is about to find in Ned's favor, Marge enters with a photo from her and Homer's wedding day. The back of the photo has a message from Homer written on it, in which he offers Marge his soul in exchange for her marrying him. The jury decides that since Marge is technically the owner of Homer's soul, it wasn't his to sell to the devil in the first place, and lets him off.
- The final scene of that segment plays the trope for laughs—Ned is angry at being cheated, and throws one final curse at Homer: "May that doughnut forever be on your head!" The next morning, we see that he meant exactly that—Homer's head has been changed to a giant doughnut (which he can't stop eating).
- In "Treehouse of Horror II", Homer uses a magical monkey's paw to wish for a turkey sandwich without any "weird surprises". The paw summons up a sandwich in which the turkey is a little dry.
- In the episode "Lisa On Ice", Lisa has a dream where she is sentenced to Monster Island, which the judge assures her is just a name. Cue Lisa and other prisoners being chased by Mothra, Gamera, and Rodan.
Prisoner: What he meant is that Monster Island is actually a peninsula.
- In "Raging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in "The Curse of the Flying Hellfish"", when he was a WWII sergeant, Grandpa Simpson and his Flying Hellfish platoon establish a tontine for German artwork, as proposed by Mr. Burns, with the last remaining Hellfish member receiving the tontine. In the present-day, Burns tries to murder Grandpa in order to make himself the last remaining Hellfish, and in the end, Grandpa invokes his authority as sergeant and has Burns kicked out of the platoon, thereby taking away Burns' claim to the tontine.
- In "Brother from the Same Planet", Lisa gets in trouble for repeatedly calling a magazine hotline and racking up a huge bill, so Marge makes her promise not to call the hotline from their house anymore. Lisa manages to hold out until she sees Dr. Hibbert leave his phone unattended, holding true to her literal promise that their (the Simpson house) phone would never be billed for another call to that number.
- In "Kamp Krusty," Homer and Marge sit in there back yard and Marge laments that they are missing the fireworks. Homer tells her that they "have all the fireworks [they] need right here," and then reveals a basket full of fireworks.
- "Homer the Great" reveals that Homer was barred from a neighborhood treehouse as a kid with a sign that says "No Homers". Homer points out that another kid named Homer Glumplich was allowed in, and he's countered with an explanation that the sign specifically says "No HomerS", and they've reached their one-Homer limit. Near the end of the episode this becomes a Brick Joke when Homer, after taking charge of the Stonecutters, drives the other members out, who all form a new secret society called "The Ancient Mystic Society of No Homers", with Homer Glumplich as a member.
- In "The Bart Wants What It Wants", when the Simpsons went to Canada, Homer said they'd go "first class". Cut to them on a first class bus.
- Sofia the First: Twice in "When You Wish Upon A Well". Amber wished Roland was allergic to Sofia; it turned Sofia into a cat, because Roland is allergic to cats. Then Amber wishes Sofia wasn't a purple cat anymore; it turned Sofia pink instead.
- In one episode of Sonic Underground, a black-market salesman slighted by the triplets decides to get revenge by betraying them to Sleet. Sleet tells the man to name his price: "I'll make sure you get everything that's coming to you". After the man reveals what he knows, Sleet has him dragged off to be roboticised, remarking as he pulls the lever, "I said you'd get what's coming to you".
- In the South Park episode "Christian Rock Hard", Kyle bets that Cartman will be unable to start a band and have it produce a platinum album. Cartman starts a Christian rock band with Butters and Token and does, in fact, sell more than one million albums. Kyle is all set to admit defeat and pay the money he bet — in a huge ceremony Cartman arranged to receive his platinum album, too — only to discover that, in the South Park universe, Christian music awards gold, frankincense, and myrrh albums. Kyle smugly remarks that the bet was for a platinum album, not a myrrh album, therefore he doesn't owe Cartman anything. When he discovers that he can never get a platinum album and win the bet, Cartman's so furious that he throws a huge cursing fit, alienates his Christian fanbase and pushes Token's patience so far that he punches him in the face.
- SpongeBob SquarePants:
- In the episode "Big Pink Loser", Patrick get a job waiting tables at the Krusty Krab, but obviously isn't told what he's supposed to be doing, as the first time SpongeBob rings up an order, Patrick immediately eats it. SpongeBob prepares another tray and tells Patrick to take the tray to the customer. This time, Patrick eats the food offscreen and gives the customer the empty tray. SpongeBob then prepares another order and tells Patrick to make sure the food gets to the table, which Patrick accomplishes before eating it again.
- In "Arrgh!", when Mr. Krabs drags SpongeBob and Patrick off on a treasure hunt, he insists that they're not allowed to look at the map. When he leaves the map in his tent, folded up but otherwise unguarded, Patrick walks up and starts prodding it. When SpongeBob objects, Patrick counters that Mr. Krabs didn't say anything about touching the map. SpongeBob and Patrick happily start prodding the map until it unfurls, whereupon they start looking at it anyway.
- "Fools in April" has a memorable scene in which SpongeBob uses this trope to prank a customer:SpongeBob: April Fools'!
Customer: [angrily grabbing SpongeBob's shirt] WHAT DID YOU DO TO MY DRINK?!!
SpongeBob: [trying not to laugh] I... I...
Customer: YOU WHAT?!!
SpongeBob: You asked for a couple of ice cubes in your drink, and I only put in one!
Customer: I guess that is pretty funny. [chuckles and walks away]
- Used twice in the episode "Good Ol' Whatshisname". Squidward repeatedly attempts to get the name of a customer in order to win a contest hosted by Mr. Krabs, only to be rudely told "what's it to ya" with each attempt. It's only after grabbing said customer's driver license that Squidward discovers his name is literally Mr. What Zit Tooya. When Mr. Krabs comes by to tell Squidward that he's the winner, Squidward is pleased he gets to go on the vacation shown on the brochure, only to realize the prize Krabs offered him was only the brochure.
- In the episode "Krusty Towers" when Squidward orders a Krabby Patty with cheese, toenail clippings, and nose hairs and forces Mr. Krabs to eat it, SpongeBob tells Mr. Krabs that it isn't really a Krabby Patty with those ingredients. He eats it only to spit it out. SpongeBob then mentions that the cheese was the missing ingredient as Patrick had used it all up for his hotel room.
- Deconstructed with Mr. Krabs in the episode "Wishing You Well". When Mr. Krabs doesn't believe SpongeBob when the latter and Patrick said they discovered magic, Mr. Krabs ends up wishing he was "steamed and served with a side of melted butter." Cue a moment later, and Mr. Krabs regrets his wish and begs and pleads that he does believe in magic.
- Played straight with Squidward in the same episode, however. When Squidward wished to be far away from SpongeBob, he gets subsequently hit by and stuck to the front of a bus that's heading "far away" moments after making the said wish.
- The episode "Shanghaied" (aka "You Wish") crosses this trope with Literal Genie. The Flying Dutchman, who had shanghaied SpongeBob and Patrick into his crew, gets upset with their stupidity and tries to eat them. To fight back, they steal the ghost's "dining sock" (which he absolutely needs to wear when he eats for unknown reasons), and he offers them three wishes in exchange for getting it back. The trope kicks in:
- Patrick, upon hearing that they'll be granted wishes, cries "I wish we had known that earlier!" The Dutchman grants the wish by setting the ship's clock back five minutes, thereby making it "earlier."
- SpongeBob tries to outwit the Dutchman by wishing that the ghost would be a vegetarian. Sure enough, he becomes one...but as a result, SpongeBob, Patrick, and Squidward are all transformed into fruit (after all, SpongeBob didn't wish that he wouldn't eat them!).
- The episode originally aired with no ending, and viewers were able to call in to decide who got the final wish—Patrick, Spongebob, or Squidward. Squidward's ending depicted this trope: he promptly wishes he had "never met" the other two. The Dutchman snaps his fingers...and grants SpongeBob and Patrick Easy Amnesia, prompting them to introduce themselves to Squidward right then and there.
- In "Stuck in the Wringer", the only reason Patrick used Forever Glue to glue SpongeBob to the wringer was that SpongeBob only vaguely said to him, "I'm a little stuck if you know what I mean." He never actually asked Patrick to get him out.
- In "A Pal For Gary", the puffy fish that the peddler is selling, especially Puffy Fluffy, are very dangerous around other pets. Puffy Fluffy proves exactly that, but SpongeBob remains painfully oblivious about it.
- Star vs. the Forces of Evil:
- "Moon the Undaunted" shows how Eclipsa gave Moon a spell to kill Toffee, who had murdered Moon's mother. They struck a Magically Binding Contract that Eclipsa would be freed from her Crystal Prison once Moon's enemy was killed. When Moon realized just how dark the spell was, she had second thoughts above freeing Eclipsa and shifted her aim to only permanently remove Toffee's middle finger instead of killing him with a shot to the heart, exploiting the fact that Eclipsa would only be freed if Toffee dies. Him only being maimed means that Eclipsa is still trapped. But the other end of the Exact Words gets exploited a few episodes later when the show returns to the present day (a few decades after their deal), with Toffee being killed by Star and Ludo. Moon and Eclipsa's contract didn't require Moon to be the one to kill Toffee, or even for Eclipsa's spell to be what killed him. It only required him to die. The episode ends with Eclipsa's prison starting to crack.
- In "Pizza Party", Mina and the new Solarian Warriors that Moon had empowered for her use this as Loophole Abuse when Moon attempts to depower them in the wake of Mina's rebellion. Though (aside from Mina herself), these Solarians were all empowered by Moon in the first place, their magical oath was to the long-dead Queen Solaria.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars:
- "Rising Malevolence": When Anakin and his fleet are ordered to protect military hyperspace routes, he sends his fleet to the coordinates, but he himself leaves the fleet in a small ship with Ahsoka and R2 in order to search for survivors. He even lampshades this trope to teach it to Ahsoka.Anakin: Doing what the council says? That's one thing. How we go about doing it? That's another.
- In "Storm Over Ryloth", Anakin tells Separatist commander Mar Tuuk that he's surrendering his ship and crew to him. He means what he says... except the crew of the Defender now consists solely of Anakin and R2-D2. And Anakin does give Tuuk the ship... at ramming speed.
- Rafa Martez told Ahsoka and Trace that they were transporting medicine. Spice does have medicinal applications... but it's usually used for narcotics, which is almost certainly what it's intended for.
- "Rising Malevolence": When Anakin and his fleet are ordered to protect military hyperspace routes, he sends his fleet to the coordinates, but he himself leaves the fleet in a small ship with Ahsoka and R2 in order to search for survivors. He even lampshades this trope to teach it to Ahsoka.
- Steven Universe:
- Rose Quartz's room in the Crystal Gems' temple is capable of synthesizing virtually anything Steven asks for but sometimes has difficulty comprehending his requests. In its first appearance in "Rose's Room", this leads to it answering his complaint that he has to go out and buy real donuts by creating an entire simulacrum of Beach City and eventually breaking down from the strain of processing such a thing. A few episodes later in "Open Book", it answers Steven's request to Connie for her to come out of the costume shop he created by synthesizing another Connie.
- In "Keystone Motel", Greg says he'll take Steven to breakfast at "the best diner in the world". The diner turns out to actually be called "The Best Diner In The World".
- In "Message Received", upon seeing Yellow Diamond's Pearl Steven asks Pearl if she knows her to which she replies in an annoyed tone "Not all Pearls know each other, Steven." While this is likely true, it turns out that our Pearl does know Yellow Pearl from her time as Pink Diamond's Pearl.
- In Superman: The Animated Series, Darkseid recruits Bruno Mannheim as one of his human agents, promising to make him "a king". When Darkseid has no further use for Mannheim, he leaves him next to a reactor about to overload and answers his protests by saying that he is a king: a king of fools.
- In Teen Titans (2003), Val-Yor repeatedly refers to Starfire as "Troq". When Cyborg asks her what it means, Starfire comments that "it means nothing." Later, when Cyborg himself calls her "Troq", he's confused when Starfire reacts with anger and orders him not to call her that again. When Cyborg questions it, thinking that Starfire simply meant that the term "didn't mean anything", Starfire explains that "Troq" literally means "nothing"; it's a racial slur that implies that someone is worthless.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987): In one episode, the city unveils a fully automated sanitation system with robotic garbage trucks and an advanced AI system; Shredder naturally sees the weapon potential, and reprograms it to do his bidding, telling it to use the trucks to hunt down the Turtles. Unfortunately, he fails to specify that he wants mutant turtles, so the trucks start grabbing every turtle they can find, including a female member of an endangered breed about to lay a clutch of eggs. The episode quickly becomes a Race Against the Clock for the heroes, who have to fight the device and get the poor turtle to water so she can do so.
- In the Tiny Toon Adventures short "The Just-Us League of Supertoons", BatDuck and Decoy the Pig Hostage (Plucky Duck and Hampton Pig as Batman and Robin parodies) are invited to join the titular team by SuperBun (Buster Bunny as a Superman parody). When asked about his super powers, BatDuck mentions his hi-tech gadgets, his fearsome image... and his clog dancing skills! Annoyed and disappointed, the duo are rejected on the grounds that they are the Just-Us League of Supertoons. "It's 'just us'." Ironically, Keen Arrow (Calamity Coyote as a Green Arrow parody) also doesn't have super powers, but he's still part of the team.
- In the Total Drama episode "Basic Straining", Chef Hatchet assigns the campers to write a 300-word essay about why they love him. When he reads Duncan's essay, it says, "I love Master Chief Hatchet, because he is very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very..." When Chef protests, Duncan points out that it's 300 words exactly. Chef seems to accept the logic, as Duncan moves on to the next part of the challenge.
- In Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race Josee promises the Cadets she'll "help them" (the Cadets were trapped in a prison cell) if MacArthur says Ice Dancing is the greatest sport in the world. MacArthur reluctantly complies... and the Ice Dancers walk right past their cell.Sanders: You promised you'd help us!
Josee: I am. I'm helping you go home.
- In Transformers Animated:Issac Sumdac: You are friends with the Autobots, right?
Megatron: Oh, we have quite a history.
- Benign version from TUGS: in "Jinxed", Captain Star seems to have had enough with an unlucky tug named Boomer, and says ominously that he's "never to be used as a tug again". The other tugs assume Boomer's being scrapped, but find that he's actually been converted into a houseboat (and is quite happy with it).
- The Venture Bros. has a case of this in the season 4 finale. When General Treister reveals to Colonel Gathers that he has cancer and there's nothing on this earth that could fix him, he begins to climb into a pod to launch himself out of the airship that they're on. Of course, this being Treister, he clarifies to Gathers that "nothing on this earth" means he's going to shoot himself into space in the hope that aliens have the cure.
- Comes up a couple of times near the finale of W.I.T.C.H. The heroes team up with the previous seasons Big Bad, Phobos, to take down Nerissa. They make him swear on the Heart of Kandrakar that after Nerissa is defeated, he will not use her power for himself. He then backstabs the heroes and tries to take over Kandrakar anyway, which is exactly what the heroes had counted on. Due to the nature of his vow, if he had even set foot in Kandrakar with hostile intent he would have forfeited all of his stolen power. It would have worked too, if his dragon Cedric hadn't used his own to steal his power before he could break the vow.Cedric: He gave permission for a fraction of his power. I choose three thirds, maybe four fourths. In other words, all of it.
- Woody Woodpecker once told his nephew and his niece about some of their ancestors. One of them worked on railroads and was told "When I nod my head, you hit it". Charlie Bear Senior should have known better than reciting these words to his son.
Exact Words / Western Animation