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Accidental Public Confession

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"Jimena, Patricia, Patricia, Jimena, what does it matter? You know what? I would have killed to see your face at the exact moment when you heard that Patricia Longo was Jimena Benitez!"
Guillermo, Graduados

Not necessarily confined to a villain confessing a crime, sometimes it's just information someone had wanted to keep secret or information that someone wasn't ready to share yet.

Moment of weakness: The villain has the goody-goody face on, but someone has provoked him into a moment of rage, at which point the anger does the talking and, in a Moment of Weakness, the confession of the dastardly deeds spills out along with all the vitriol. Different from an Engineered Public Confession because the villain's mental state has rendered him/her temporarily unaware/uncaring that there's an audience. The audience may or may not have any idea there's going to be a confession.

Thinks they already know: The most unfortunate kind of Accidental Public Confession comes from someone blithely blurting out something they thought the other party already knows.


Accidentally caught on a live microphone: "Is This Thing Still On?" Somebody doesn't realize there's a live microphone to pick up their confession. See also some examples in Did I Just Say That Out Loud?

See also You Just Told Me for when the confessor is tricked into believing the other person already knows, and Engineered Public Confession for when the hero secretly arranges and records/broadcasts the confession. May overlap with Easily Overheard Conversation. I'll Never Tell You What I'm Telling You! is a variation of this. Compare to Poorly Timed Confession.



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Blurting it out in a moment of weakness:

    Anime & Manga 

  • Inverted in the Hudson and Landry bit "Ajax Liquor Store," where a sauced customer calls up and orders liquor in large quantities:
    Clerk: Tell me, sir... are you having a party?
    Customer: Nah... I'm just tryin' to work up the nerve to go to confession.

     Comic Books 
  • In a one-shot story from The Simpsons comic centered around Apu, Smithers, and Marge wondering who was painting a "space mutant" tag all-over town, while Lisa was painting the school to enter her work in the art fair. At the art fair, Lisa wonders why no one is looking at her painting and decides to go look at the other works, while she's gone, Willie sees Bart vandalizing Lisa's painting. When she sees people gathering to look at her painting, she proudly admits to creating it, and that's when she notices the "space mutant" tag. Marge's art teacher declares it the best painting in the fair and awards her a gift certificate. As suspicion falls on Lisa, she tries to explain that the mark isn't hers, which is when Bart comes in and claims the gift certificate as his since it's his mark. Needless to say, everyone's attention turns to Bart, as he tries to deny everything, Willie comes in and says the school's been vandalized with that same mark, and it bears the name Bart Simpson. Bart tries to explain that he couldn't have vandalized the school because he was busy vandalizing Lisa's painting. As the crowd chases after him, Lisa laments that she tried to get noticed only for Bart to steal all the attention again, to which Willie comforts her by saying that she won the fair and the gift certificate, while Bart got his just-desserts, and he excuses himself to paint over the tag, while a can of spray paint peers out of his back pocket.
  • All-New Ultimates: Lana is complaining that Poey has completely disappeared, and one of her classmates mentioned in passing that he was trying to stay under the radar at his uncle's home. Then he remembered that it was supposed to be a secret. Too late, Lana goes there and starts a What the Hell, Hero? discussion with him.

     Fan Works 
  • In the Spice Girls fic, Astral Journey: It's Complicated, Victoria has a meeting with Emma (the narrator) all over the fact Melanie has her grip after the health situation landed her in the hospital. Emma charms in, knowing Victoria hadn't counted on Melanie. After this, Victoria notices that not only was Emma listening, Melanie was doing so as well.
  • Infinity Train: Boiling Point: Amity gets so riled up during her fight with Skara in Chapter 14 that, when Skara brings up what happened at Amity's birthday party, Amity not only confesses she did it, but outright claims she did nothing wrong, painting it as her putting Boscha in her place. Needless to say, a lot of people hear this, and Amity becomes a Broken Pedestal for a lot of people come Act 2.
  • In One Girl with Ten Brothers, Linka is the first Loud to find out about Luke's sexuality because she walked into the kitchen at the same time he was having a phone conversation with his boyfriend about him coming out to the Louds.
    Luke: When is the right time to say "I'm bisexual and Sam is my boyfriend”?
    Linka: [Drops the water-glass she was carrying, alerting Luke to her presence]
  • Scarlet Lady: When Marinette is announced as the new class president, Chloe protests that she gave Jagged Stone CDs to the voters and asks about her votes. Ms. Bustier questions her about trying to buy votes.

    Films — Animation 
  • Counts as 1 and Type 3. This is how Darla gets her comeuppance in Cats Don't Dance after all her attempts to ruin the animals' final number fail (if anything, they just make the show more spectacular). She rants to Danny how she sabotaged an earlier scene in the movie and destroyed most of the studio by flooding the stage with water, not knowing there's a stage mic on her person and she just blurted it out to the whole audience.
  • Over the Hedge; While arguing with Verne over a can of Spuddies chips in Gladys' pantry, RJ snaps and angrily but accidentally exposes himself, ranting how very close he is to getting eaten by Vincent the bear if he does not give him the food he and the others gathered. This also ties in with Liar Revealed since RJ previously told Verne that the food was for the animals in the group.
    Verne: What's going on RJ?
    Verne: Well then, let's get out of here because we have what we need!
    RJ: No, we don't!
    Verne: What are you talking about? We have more than enough!
    RJ: Hey, listen! I've got about this long to hand over that wagon load of food to a homicidal bear! AND IF THESE SPUDDIES AREN'T ON THE MENU, I WILL BE! NOW LET GO OF MY TAIL!
    Verne: What?
    RJ: LET GO!

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the German post-war Black Comedy Rosen für den Staatsanwalt, a peddler recognises a prosecutor working in a court in Kassel as a former Wehrmacht prosecutor who had pushed for an (unsuccessful) death sentence for him immediately the end of the war for stealing some military issue chocolate. In order to silence the peddler and keep him from ruining his post-war career, the prosecutor has him arrested, and all evidence of the death sentence destroyed. The peddler, in a fit of rage, proceeds to some more chocolate from a shop and lets himself get tried for theft in the prosecutor's courtroom. The prosecutor, completely exhausted by the whole debacle, drifts off during the hearing and, upon being asked, absent-mindedly proposes the death sentence for him again, exposing his own guilt.
  • A Few Good Men: Col. Nathan R. Jessup angrily admits to ordering the code red in this famous speech.
  • In Legally Blonde, Elle starts out Chutney's interrogation rather comically as she has no idea what she's doing. That quickly changes when she finds an inconsistency in the story. She catches Chutney off guard and Chutney reacts with an unintentional confession.
  • At the end of Big Fat Liar, Jason Shepherd has teamed up with all of the people Marty Wolf has either mistreated or abused in order to put Wolf through the wringer. At the end, Jason confronts Wolf and demands he admits to plagiarizing Jason's essay for his movie, and Wolf, at the end of his rope, screams YES, he did it. He finds out too late that the whole confrontation was being filmed and shown live to the rest of Hollywood's bigwigs, finally vindicating Jason once and for all and sending Wolf's career right down the toilet.

  • In Making Money, Pucci Lavish confesses the crimes of her family not because she is angry, frustrated, scared, or other similar emotion. She just affirms the accusations on pure pride, not caring if she was damning her family because she wanted to speak and be listened too. The police cannot even get a word in to tell her to stop and she is to be arrested.
  • Victoria has a Type 1 example with Governor Fullarbottom, when the heroic vigilantes' psy-war campaign against him gets on his nerves. Eventually, he's so worn down that he makes a complete confession of his dirty laundry at a public press conference.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Community, Regional Holiday Music: after Abed switches places with Britta, her terrible singing provokes Mr. Rad into revealing that he killed last year's Glee Club.
  • Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide: In one episode, Lisa is caught vandalizing obsolete equipment to get replacements that work. Vice-principal Crubbs lets her off with a warning while talking about how they can't let the other teachers know that smashing their equipment will get it replaced. Then he realizes his hand is on the PA button, and they hear smashing sounds throughout the school.
  • Seinfeld episode "The Betrayal": Elaine George and Jerry go to Elaine's ArchEnemy's wedding. Elaine recognizes that the groom was a one-night stand of hers and tries to hide it to avoid ruining the wedding, but George finds out and accidentally blurts it out in front of everyone at the altar.
  • A minor version occurs in Scrubs when Turk does this to Marco. Marco knows what Turk is trying to do, and Turk knows that he knows it, and yet Marco reveals his secret in a moment of blind rage regardless.

  • One of the running jokes with Njegus, Baron Zeta's assistant in The Merry Widow (2014 Met production) is this mixed with Did I Just Say That Out Loud?. Particularly involving the fact that the Baron's wife is having an affair.
  • Near the end of The SpongeBob Musical, Plankton gets into an argument with Karen, and blabs about his evil plan to convince the citizens of Bikini Bottom to evacuate so he can hypnotize them en masse.
    Plankton: Is it so wrong that I wanted to get lucky with one evil scheme?! ...They all heard me say that, didn't they?
    Karen: They did.

    Video Games 
  • World of Warcraft: In the "Reckoning" cinematic, Saurfang tricks Sylvanas into revealing her real motivations to the entire Horde while delivering her a "The Reason You Suck" Speech. Even though he dies in the duel, Sylvanas loses the already flimsy trust of her people. Even her own royal guard is put off by her response.
    Saurfang: You cannot kill hope. You tried in Teldrassil. You failed. Hope remains! You sent us to kill each other at Lordaeron. You failed! Here we stand! You! Just! Keep! Failing! The Horde will endure! The Horde is strong!
    Sylvanas: The Horde is NOTHING! You are ALL NOTHING!

    Web Animation 
  • In Steve And Carlos: Carlos presumably found the fridge Steve turned into a car, and Steve mentioned offhandedly that he hopes Carlos doesn't find out he did something to the Coffee Maker as well. Carlos proceeds to ask what he did to the Coffee maker.

    Web Comics 
  • There's a bit in The Order of the Stick where Vaarsuvius, faced with Elan and his evil twin Nale and no way to tell them apart, gives a little speech that culminates in a flat assertion that Nale just isn't smart enough to pull off a good con — at which point Nale blurts out "Oh, yeah? So, what, you think you could have come up with something more clever than Nale did?" Vaarsuvius blasts him with lightning and replies, "Apparently."
  • In Bob and George, the Helmeted Author disguises himself as George, and blows up Proto Man's weapons cache, with Proto Man still inside. Still acting as George, he's questioned by Dr. Light, who doesn't seem shocked or even at all concerned with what's happened, prompting Helmut to scream, "BUT I JUST (BLEEP)ING VAPORIZED HIM!!!" Cover blown.
  • Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic: "How dare you accuse me of petty theft?! What my daughters and I have planned is nothing less than high treason!"
  • Tom in El Goonish Shive does it — with the quirk that while it still fits in the 'accidentally revealed publicly something he doesn't want known' department, the confession is proof against itself being true: Susan ends up more-or-less inadvertently baiting him into yelling that he is a fantastic liar. Well, a liar he might be, but a fantastic one wouldn't have unraveled so in the face of a mark spotting a mistake...

    Western Animation 
  • At the climax of My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Forgotten Friendship, the Big Bad blurts out what she did to Sunset Shimmer within earshot of the rest of the Equestria Girls, then proceeds to make it clear that it was personal by screaming "I hate you!" at her. Justified in that Wallflower has become so used to erasing embarrassing moments from people's memories that she's become quite incautious about how she speaks.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Sideshow Bob does this a lot, most notably in "Sideshow Bob Roberts", when he reveals in open court how he rigged the mayoral election after Lisa implies he was just the face and the Rush Limbaugh expy was the real Man Behind the Man. But, Bart and Lisa are pretty good at getting him to do this almost every time.
    • In "Homer the Great", Homer has a spectacular one when he pretends to agree when Marge asks him not to stalk Lenny and Carl, only to then expose himself while thinking he's pulling an I Need to Go Iron My Dog.
      Homer: I'm going outside, to... stalk... Lenny and Carl... D'oh!
    • In "Homer the Vigilante", Homer similarly admits his vigilante group has been committing property destruction and felony assault while he's live on Eye of Springfield, thinking he's using Confusing Multiple Negatives. Since this is Springfield we're talking about, he doesn't see any consequences for this.
      Homer: Oh, Kent, I'd be lying if I said my men weren't committing crimes.
    • In the retelling of Hamlet from "Tales From The Public Domain", Hamlet (Bart) has the court jester (Krusty) reenact his father's (Homer) death. As Mister Teeny pours "ear poison" into the jester's ear, Claudius (Moe) yells "Hey, I didn't use that much poison!". After everybody gasps, he tries to explain it was "I didn't use that much poi, son, at the royal luau.".
  • In the Adventures of the Gummi Bears episode, "Princess Problems", Calla and her snobbish rival Princess Marie gets into an argument in the midst of a war between their two kingdoms that was caused by a misunderstanding. Marie starts ranting to Calla about how if she tricked King Gregor and King Jean-Claude (Marie's father) into thinking that Calla ripped her dress on purpose, rather than the accident it was, then Calla would be forced to give Sunni (pretending to be a doll at that time) to Marie. However, once Marie realized that she said this out loud in front of the entire kingdom, her father becomes outraged, telling his daughter that he does not abide by anyone telling him lies in his kingdom.
  • Non-verbal example in The Legend of Korra. Amon is knocked into the ocean and instinctively water bends himself out. Only after he's standing on a pillar of water does Amon realize that all of his anti-Bender followers can see him.
  • In the Ed, Edd n Eddy episode "Truth or Ed", Eddy prints up lies in the school newspaper, under the pseudonym Bobby Blabby. But, when the other kids arrive at the printing press to confront this guy, Eddy tries to play dumb claiming he doesn't know who he is, but he accidentally spills it out when Ed mispronounces the name yet again.
    Ed: You dropped your loot, Bippy Booboo.
    Eddy: IT'S BOBBY BLABBY! GET IT RIGHT! (An Oh, Crap! look appears on his face) Oops.
  • The Powerpuff Girls: Bubbles and Buttercup duke it out with Blossom ("A Very Special Blossom") before she finally confesses to stealing a valuable set of golf clubs.
  • In one episode of Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers, an Emperor's sister uses mechanical devices to make it look like her brother is crazy so she can assume the throne. After the Rangers' give her a taste of her own medicine, she blurts out that what she experienced was different than her tricks...before realizing she just confessed in front of her brother and his ministers.
  • Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja: In "McOne Armed and Dangerous", the Ninja tries to expose McFist as a villain during a ceremony but, since McFist isn't up to anything evil at this moment, he manages to preserve his reputation until the Ninja's efforts cause a commemorative statue to be destroyed and the first McSquiddle to be lost, making McFist too furious to remember he's in public and he ends up blurting his true purposes.
  • My Dad the Rock Star: In "Angela D'Angelo", Willy lies about his parentage when visiting his new girlfriend's ultra-conservative, rockstar-hating parents. When Rock Zilla is brought up in a conversation, they go on a long, insulting tirade about him until Willy can't take it anymore and shouts "Hey, you can't talk about my parents like that!".

Thinks the other party already knows:

    Anime & Manga 
  • Moffle from Amagi Brilliant Park accidentally reveals his frustration with love in episode 8 while disguised as Seiya. He gets angry at some girls for saying his apology wasn't sincere, and rants about how they know nothing of love and its suffering. Then he mentions watching the girl he's loved for over ten years married off to a guy he absolutely hated. Then being asked to watch over their child later. Isuzu immediately asks if he was referring to Latifa, his niece, but Moffle immediately brushes it off, stating it was just a hypothetical scenario.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: This is how Ed finds out that Maes Hughes is dead.
  • Hitomi-chan Is Shy with Strangers: Yuu and Hitomi thought Kaoru had told Angelica about the hotel, and in their efforts to tell her it was Not What It Looks Like, they let slip that they slept in a hotel room where there was only one bed. Angelica had no idea before, but she sure has the wrong idea now!

    Comic Strips 
  • A Running Gag in Foxtrot is one of the kids (usually Peter) accidentally blurting out a ton of apologies for some wrong they've done...only to realize their parents didn't know about this. Cue "Oh, Crap!". One of the most notable examples would be when Peter returned home from school after decking another student who insulted his blind girlfriend Denise. When his mother gets a call from school shortly after he arrives, Peter immediately belts out a dozen apologies for what he did...only for it to turn out that they were calling to say they had found a wallet Peter had lost. Uh oh...

    Films — Animation 
  • The Little Mermaid: Triton asks Sebastian about Ariel being in love. Sebastian thinks he knows that she is in love with a human, and blurts it out.
    Triton: Let's see, now... Oh, who could the lucky merman be? [notices Sebastian just outside the door] Come in, Sebastian.
    Sebastian: [inhales deeply] I mustn't overreact. I must remain calm. [walks up to Triton; squeaky voice] Yes...? [clears throat] Uh, yes, Your Majesty?
    Triton: Sebastian, I'm concerned about Ariel. Have you noticed she's been acting peculiar lately?
    Sebastian: Peculiar?
    Triton: You know, moaning about, daydreaming, singing to herself... You haven't noticed, hmm?
    Sebastian: W-well, I-I-I...
    Triton: Sebastian...
    Sebastian: Hmmm? (Triton gestures for Sebastian to come closer; the crab nervously obeys)
    Triton: I know you've been keeping something from me...
    Sebastian: [loud gulp] Keeping... something?
    Triton: About Ariel?
    Sebastian: [trembling] A-A-A-Ariel?
    Triton: In love?
    Sebastian: [hyperventilates] I TRIED TO STOP HER, SIR! SHE WOULDN'T LISTEN! I told her to stay away from humans! They are bad! They are trouble! They are...
    Triton: Humans?! WHAT ABOUT HUMANS?!
    Sebastian: Humans? [chuckles nervously] Who said anything about humans?

    Films — Live-Action 
  • From Kinky Boots: Lauren, who has been falling in love with Charlie but makes nice with his wife anyway mentions with sincere appreciation that he put his house up for mortgage in order to save the factory. Nicola didn't know, and is less than pleased he kept it from her. Lauren is mortified; she had no idea Charlie hadn't discussed it with Nicola first.
  • A chilling version occurs at the beginning of Once Upon a Time in the West. Frank and his men have just finished massacring a family, only to exit the house and find a small boy staring at them.
    Mook: What do we do now, Frank?
    Frank: You mean, now that you've told him my name?
  • O Brother, Where Art Thou?: Homer Stokes tries to out the Soggy Bottom Boys as escaped convicts, but to do so he has to publicly admit — at his own campaign rally no less — to being a member of the Ku Klux Klan and that he encountered them when they disrupted a lynch mob he was personally leading. He's arrogant enough to think the people of Mississippi will be okay with this, that they knew already, and that they'll care more about the Soggy Bottom Boys being criminals. They are not, did not, and do not, meaning Stokes accomplishes nothing but pissing off his constituents and getting run out of town.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Done in Life Unexpected: The female lead Cate thinks her fiance discovered her cheating on him and tries to talk him out of leaving her. When in fact the fiance is blissfully unaware of the unfaithfulness at the moment. The truth reveals and chaos ensues.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Happens to Buffy in the episode "Angel" where she accidentally reveals what she's been writing in her diary when she thinks Angel has read it.
  • Bones: Dr. Goodman reveals to the rest of the squints that Booth has a kid in the episode "The Man in the Fallout Shelter", thinking that they, who work with Booth every day, would already know this. They, of course, do not.
  • Chuck: Morgan accidentally tells Jeff and Lester that he tried to kiss Anna when he sees her talking to them and thought they were making fun of him.
  • Lampshaded several times on Dexter.
    Lt. Maria Laguerta: I know everything.
    Dexter's mind: I'm going to choose not to misinterpret that.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • Unaware that the Alien Invasion scare on Earth is just part of a Day of the Jackboot scheme, Captain Sisko calls a colleague about an irregularity in the security system. To his surprise, the colleague thanks him and promises to cover things up so no-one else would find it.
    • Dr. Bashir's parents have a conversation with their son about a certain secret. Unfortunately, they don't realize the person they're talking to is not their son, but a hologram modeled on their son (for later use as a long-term medical hologram), and the developer is in the other room listening.
  • Graduados is a comedy where Everyone Went to School Together. Back in the school, the fat girl Jimena Benitez was insulted by everybody, especially Pablo, the school bully. She got thin after graduation, changed her face, her name was now Patricia Longo... and destiny put her along her former schoolmates. Pablo fell in love with her, had a son with her, and left his wife for her, without knowing her identity. This began as a big secret, but in time it turned into an Open Secret, known by everybody, except Pablo. Even the guy who was Put on a Bus and was Back for the Finale knew it, thanks to chats with friends. Which led to...
    Guillermo: And what about the son you had with Jimena?
    Pablo: Jimena? Don't you mean Patricia?
    Guillermo: Jimena, Patricia, Patricia, Jimena, what does it matter? You know what? I would have killed to see your face at the exact moment when you heard that Patricia Longo was Jimena Benitez!
  • In one episode of Hannah Montana, Jackson hires a fortune teller to scare Rico into being nice so he can get a day off every week. It ends up backfiring when Rico's good deeds start to delay Jackson's date leading Jackson to suspect that Rico found out about his deception and is trying to get back at him. However, Rico hasn't and when Jackson says it out loud whilst trying to explain himself to his girlfriend Rico overhears everything and returns to evil ways out of vengeance.
  • Shake it Up: Rocky accidentally announces at Georgea and Jeremy's wedding that she kissed Logan (on the cheek) after she overhears Flynn object to the wedding "because of the kiss".
  • The George Lopez Show: In "What George Doesn't Noah", George, Angie, and Benny spy on Carmen's boyfriend Noah, thinking that he's cheating on her, and they discover he's actually gay. Believing that he was using Carmen as a cover to hide his lifestyle, George and Angie tell Noah about their spying and that they told Carmen about it, and a relieved Noah lets it slip that he was actually her cover to prevent them from finding out she's really seeing Zack Powers.
    Noah: Well, thank God, 'cause... I thought you'd be mad at Carmen.
    Angie: Why would we be mad at her? She can't help who she falls for.
    Noah: Because she was sure you guys would freak if you knew she was seeing Zack.
    [long pause]
    Angie: Zack?!
    George: Zack Powers?!
    Noah: [beat] Um... actually... [tries to make a run for it]
    George: Wait, wait! She was seeing Zack Powers behind our back, and you were her cover?!
    Noah: Look, I'm really sorry about this. I mean, you guys are so nice to me. And your mother, I really enjoyed meeting your mother. She's—
    George: Enough of your lies! OUT!
  • In an episode of Friends, Chandler and Monica, who want to adopt a child, go to talk to a couple who had gone through the process years earlier. When Chandler talks to their young son, Chandler says that it must be great having been adopted by a loving couple, only for the boy to express shock in learning this fact. Chandler then tells Monica he screwed up because he told the boy he was adopted, and he tries to call out the parents for not letting him know that their son didn't know yet. At the end, when he and Monica tell Phoebe and her brother about what happened earlier, Phoebe tells him that it's not that big of a deal. Chandler responds by asking her how her brother's triplets, who are right there, would feel if they knew she was their surrogate mother. As they all give him a stern look, he excuses himself by sarcastically saying he's going to tell Emma she was an accident.
  • In Taskmaster, Rhod Gilbert is tasked with writing down a ten-word fact on a whiteboard and trying to get Greg Davies to guess the fact by mouthing it. The fact Rhod chose is "Greg broke a toilet seat by sitting on said toilet". When Greg completely and utterly fails to guess, Rhod accuses him of not remembering.
    Greg: I do remember. It was my own toilet.
    Rhod: It wasn't, actually. It was at the Edinburgh Festival.
    Greg: that case, you should have written "Greg has broken two toilets."

    Real Life 
  • This story from Not Always Learning has the teacher talk about adoption and uses one of her students as an example. The entire class, and the student, are shocked into silence because not even the student had known about being adopted.

    Video Games 
  • In Paper Mario 64: Tubba Blubba's Heart keeps going on and on, assuming Mario has learned things he has not. Mario denies knowing every last one of them, which doesn't stop him from rambling on and on about all his secrets.
  • Happens to Tails in Sonic Adventure 2:
    Eggman: You thought you could trick me with that fake Emerald , didn't you?
    Tails: So... how did you know it wasn't the real one?
    Sonic: Tails!!
    Eggman: Heh, because you just told me, Fox-boy.
  • The third Ace Attorney uses this trope to win a case. Furio Tigre, the perpetrator of the game's third case, has what seems like an airtight alibi (if it weren't so obviously full of lies) against the poisoning of the culprit: computer genius, gambling addict, and debtor Glen Elg. His downfall comes when Phoenix Wright beats him at his own game: he claims a small green plastic bottle, recently found to bear Tigre's fingerprints, contained the potassium cyanide that killed Elg. Tigre dismisses this as a joke:
    Tigre: "The cyanide bottle was brown and made of glass! That cheap piece of trash don't look nothin' like it!"

    Western Animation 
  • From Kim Possible: When Ron and Kim (sorta) show up to ask Monty Fisk for help in finding a ninja who stole an artifact, Monkey Fist tells them that he was the ninja.
  • Zuko from Avatar accidentally confesses in "sending that fire nation assassin". He cursed himself for blurting it out since he was trying to make a good impression after his true Heel–Face Turn.
  • Fairly OddParents: When Cosmo, Wanda, and Timmy lose Poof they think either anti-Cosmo or Head Pixie stole him and bust into their castle/meeting accusing them. Unfortunately, it was neither of them and they inadvertently told the villains that there's a fairy baby for grabs.
  • Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja: This is how Randy's best friend Howard becomes his Secret-Keeper in the first episode. The Ninja is normally sworn to keep his identity a secret from everyone, but Randy really wants to let his best friend know even though he's not allowed to. When Howard claims he knows the reason Randy disappears every time the Ninja shows up, Randy is relieved and puts the ninja suit on in front of Howard. Only thing is, Howard thought Randy was taking advantage of the attention the Ninja attracted to have the bathroom to himself and is surprised to learn his best friend is actually a legendary hero.

Accidentally caught on a live microphone:

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist Edward does this to the priest who is fooling the townspeople about his philosopher's stone and his ability to bring the dead back to life, he hides a microphone in his office while he rants his evil plans.
  • Regularly Played for Laughs in Monkey High!, where Haruna becomes so overwhelmed by her feelings for Macharu that she focuses solely on him - apparently forgetting all of the people nearby to hear her admit just how Not So Stoic she is. At least one instance was on a game show, and the TV crew were so impressed that she and Macharu were given pillows as prizes for it.
  • During the Enies Lobby Arc of One Piece, the Big Bad Spandam accidentally triggers the Buster Call on Enies Lobby, but quickly justifies his mistake by saying he's willing to sacrifice as many of the World Government soldiers as he wants for the sake of justice... and his promotion. Then stating that the "idiot" soldiers are better off dead anyway for failing to stop the Straw Hat Pirates from reaching the main building. His prisoner Robin then points out that his speaker Den Den Mushi has been off hook for his entire rant and was broadcast live across the entire base. Spandam sheepishly attempts to cover himself up by saying that this is Straw Hat Luffy talking, fooling absolutely no one.

    Comic Books 
  • Spider-Men II: A non-verbal case. Miles Morales unmasked himself, thinking that he was alone with Peter, but they were photographed from a distance. He does not know about this other Miles Morales, but when he saw those photos... the other Miles Morales knew about him.

    Fan Works 
  • In With This Ring, while discussing Orange Lantern's candidacy for Justice League membership, Wonder Woman puts a call from him on speaker without him knowing so the rest of the League could hear. So everyone ended up finding out the harrowing details of the second CADMUS clone and him calling them out on missing it.
  • In LadyBugOut, Chat Noir confronts Ladybug about her blog, complaining about how it's 'making him look bad'. When she attempts to leave, he grabs her arm, knocking her yo-yo out of her hand in the process before launching into a blistering rant about how she's 'defying destiny' by rejecting his advances. What he doesn't realize is that when he knocked her yo-yo away, it snapped open and started recording, broadcasting the confrontation live on her blog and revealing to the public the true nature of their relationship.

    Films — Animation 
  • In The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, when Victor Quartermaine fails to kill the titular monster, he tries to tell the chief of police that "The beast isn't actually dead yet" while he's presiding over a festival with a megaphone. The chief promptly repeats what Victor has said to him in pure shock, not realizing he has shouted it through the megaphone. Cue a prolonged pause from the townspeople, followed by widespread panic.
    Chief of Police: Oops.
  • Also combined with Engineered Public Confession, Darla Dimple's Villainous Breakdown in Cats Don't Dance is this, grappling Danny by his collar and screaming "I should have drowned you all when I FLOODED THE STAGE!", not realizing that a microphone was tied to her back at the time as a result of her several failed attempts to sabotage the animals' final musical number.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In A Face in the Crowd (1957). the downfall of Larry 'Lonesome' Rhodes is caused by an opened mike allowing the TV public to learn of his evil nature.
  • In Johnny English Reborn Simon Ambrose attempts to reassert control over Johnny (who has been fighting the effects of the mind-control drug to avoid shooting Shang Ping, the Chinese Premier), and ends up outing himself as the mastermind of the attempted assassination in this manner:
    Ambrose: Listen to me. This is Simon Ambrose (mic has conveniently activated) and I order you to shoot Shang Ping.
  • Also from Kinky Boots: Charlie's wife Nicola confronts Charlie when she discovers that Charlie has mortgaged the house rather than sell the ailing shoe factory he inherited from his father. When Nicola screams and kicks out Lola the Drag Queen, Lola scampers and drops the prototype boot. Purely by accident, the dropped boot lands on the factory's PA system switch. So the entire staff hears Charlie's impassioned speech, wherein he tells Nicola that he can't just abandon the factory because he grew up knowing these people. Charlie shouts that he doesn't actually enjoy making people redundant and that he has to try saving the factory. He tells her that if she can't get that, then she may never get Charlie Price. As a result, the entire factory gains new respect for the kid they scoffed at for trying to help the factory with no idea how to make shoes.
  • Happens at the end of The Adventures of Ford Fairlane. Julian Grendel, the antagonist, reveals his diabolical plan involving a Condom Factory front operation to Ford Fairlane while standing backstage at an event. During his tirade, Zuzu Petals stands behind him with a microphone, which broadcasts the confession to a crowd outside.
    • "I even pissed in the punch bowl!"
  • In the musical version of Hairspray (2007), Velma Von Tussle purposes rigs the election of Miss Teen Hairspray pageant so that her daughter Amber would win. Instead, Inez Stubbs becomes the first black female to win Miss Teenage Hairspray, thereby permanently integrating the program. Velma pulls Amber aside and says it's impossible, since she has the vote cards, and pulls them out of her blouse. Unfortunately for her, Wilbur and Edna Turnblad have the active TV camera pointed directly at her at the time.
  • Max Keeble's Big Move: A rather hilarious example happened shortly after Jindrake finished his first telerecorder school announcement: When doing the announcement that requires all of the student body and faculty/staff meet at the auditorium for a special, mandatory announcement, he is dressed like either the President of the United States or probably the Governor of California with the Capitol Building seen behind him from the window. Shortly after Jindrake apparently cuts the transmission, he then takes off the suit, revealing that it was actually a fake, velcro-strapped bodysuit while bragging about himself in a manner similar to a Movie reviewer in an editorial column in the local newspaper, and revealing that even the background was actually fake, a makeshift curtain, all of which was caught on-feed to the students and to their uproar, up until Mrs. Rangoon, his secretary, revealed that the camera's red light was still operating. Max uses this to expose his plan on using most of the school budget to build a football field to make himself superintendent.
  • In Mister Roberts, Morton leaves the mike to the ship's PA switched on when screaming at Roberts. This lets the crew know the truth about Roberts' strange behaviour and that Morton is really the one to blame.
  • In The Monster Maker, Maxine learns about Dr. Markoff's true scheme when she overhears a confrontation between Markham and Lawrence because Markoff has left his office intercom on.
  • In Stag, Dan—while Bound and Gagged on the couch with Serena—accidentally knocks Jon's video camera off the coffee table. It hits the floor and starts recording: capturing the words of everyone in the room as the debate the merits of murdering Serena and framing her for the other deaths. In the epilogue, Dan mentions that the tape became the main piece of evidence in the subsequent trial.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Liz Lemon on the 30 Rock episode "The Aftermath" twice accidentally confesses her true opinion of other characters while being broadcasted, first on a microphone over the entire studio and then again over a closed-circuit television monitor.
  • There was a particularly crazy take on the trope in Polish TV series Plebania (The clergy house) that is borderline creating its own type, but fits no. 3 the most. A mafia-connected entrepreneur tells his evil plans to completely paralyzed, mute old man, presumably to depress him. Some episodes later, the old man focuses himself to blink Morse code to other people, and the plans get out.
  • The famous "coming out" episode of Ellen: the title character accidentally whispers "I'm gay" into the microphone of the airport PA system.
    • Parodied on The Drew Carey Show, where everybody is gay; and they all take turns coming out over the same microphone! Don't worry: None of that was canon.
  • In one scene in Chalk, Suzy Travis walks into a classroom and confesses to headmaster Eric Slatt that she had an erotic dream about him. Eric Slatt stares at her with a shocked expression on his face and slowly moves aside to reveal the (switched on) microphone of the school's PA system.
  • An example from Yes, Prime Minister. When Sir Humphrey (the original The Humphrey) gives a standard (that is, vague and uninformative) radio interview to the BBC about unemployment, he has a conversation with the interviewer afterwards and confesses that the government could probably reduce unemployment by eliminating welfare, unaware that the conversation is still being recorded. Not a standard example, since the broadcast wasn't live, and the BBC apparently wanted to blackmail Humphrey with the tape. When Jim Hacker finds out, he berates Humphrey with "Always treat every microphone as though it were on!"
  • Subverted in The West Wing where President Bartlett makes a rather snarky comment about his opponent on a camera that was still live - of course, he knew it was live when he did it. As CJ says admiringly, "That was old-school."
  • In 8 Simple Rules, Bridget accidentally activates the school PA when Kerry reveals that she lost her virginity. Oops.
  • In the Gossip Girl episode "Enough about Eve", Vanessa has a hidden microphone and gets Blair to confess to her machinations to be the one giving the freshman toast.
  • Stargate Universe: in "Space", "There is nothing sexier than a widower."
  • Leverage
    • "The Homecoming Job" has Hardison hack the villains' own security camera catching the corrupt corporate executive and the dirty politician in his pocket talking about what they stole and covered up. He then emailed it to all the press they called to the scene while the pair of baddies were trying to spin being caught into something plausible.
    • Also, in "The Studio Job", the villain is savvy enough to make sure none of the live mics right in front of him can pick up his whispered confession/threat to Elliot. Unfortunately for him, he whispered it directly into Elliot's ear (and thus his tiny two-way earpiece communication device), so Hardison is able to record it and play it over the sound system for everyone to hear.
  • Dawson's Creek, in the season 2 episode The Election; Pacey goads Abby into saying what she really thinks about her running mate and the other Capeside students while broadcasting over the school P.A. system.
    Abby: I'll let you in on a little secret there, sport. I'm just using that walking penis for his popularity and ultimately, I'll destroy him. Just like I destroyed your little girlfriend. It's just so easy. And victory's so much sweeter when you have to walk on other people to get it. I'm going to rule this school. And you and all those other halfwits are too stupid to stop me.
    Pacey: Yeah, you're probably right, I mean, I'm so stupid that I didn't know that when I pressed this button on this little thing that your annoying nasal whine was broadcast over this entire school. Oh no, wait a minute, that's exactly what I meant to do. Sorry! My bad.
  • Father Brown: In "The Mask of the Demon", Inspector Mallory discovers that the Victim of the Week had bugged his own office and turns on the microphone just in time to hear the killer confess to the murder as he prepares to dispose of Father Brown.
  • Mama's Family: In "Naomi's New Position", the new manager of Food Circus, Archie Woods, turns out to be a sexual predator. After learning about Naomi's predicament - either "give it up" to Mr. Woods or not only not get her promotion, but also lose her checker's job - Thelma confronts him in his office. Mr. Woods explains how he's used his position to get sex out of every woman in the company he's wanted to... after Thelma secretly turned on the store intercom mic.

  • In Daniel Amos' album Horrendous Disc, the title track is a surreal dream where a musician's abusive relationship with his wife gets broadcast for all the world to see.
    He's killed his wife with words,
    confident it's private rage,
    when up goes the curtain and he's on the stage.

  • The Goon Show: thanks to a dimly lit jail cell, and an unintentional game of Telephone...
    Bloodnock: [whispers the escape plan, thinking he's telling it to Seagoon] Did you get that?
    Eccles: [a world-famous idiot] Yup, I got it.
    Bloodnock: Curse, the wrong idiot! Well, you may as well tell Seagoon now.
    Eccles: Okay. Now; when the water comes in...
    Bloodnock! Whisper, you fool!
    Eccles: Whisper, you fool! Oh, right. It's a secret. [spends a minute whispering the plan, complete with ridiculous onomatopoeic sound effects] Got that?
    Jail Guard: I certainly have.

    Video Games 
  • In Digital Devil Saga 2, this is essentially what led to the Earth turning into a deserted wasteland as shown in the backstory. Sera's scientist friend Serph Sheffield shows his true manipulative nature by murdering Heat O'Brien, not noticing that Sera saw the whole thing while currently connected to the machine that lets her speak with God. Needless to say, God didn't take this lightly and in anger turned the Sun black as punishment.
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty had a variation: Raiden, after learning from Otacon in an optional codec call, that the rumors about the Big Shell being a big cover-up are all true, and especially that Solid Snake said that Raiden was a weak, simple-minded, stubborn fool, exploded about it and insulted Snake, not realizing that Snake was right next to Otacon while angrily insulting Snake until Otacon told him. Also counts under Engineered Public Confession.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Iori's route of Scandal in the Spotlight, the protagonist decides to agree to a sleazy producer's Scarpia Ultimatum to keep Iori from being dropped from a big upcoming media event, which could damage his career. The producer has her meet him in an unused broadcasting booth while Revance is making a live appearance elsewhere in the studio and aggressively tries to pump her for blackmail material he could use against the band before moving on to sexual assault. Neither of them realizes that, somewhere along the way, one of them accidentally flipped a switch and everything they've said was clearly heard in the studio where Revance was doing their live broadcast.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Ben 10: Omniverse: After Billy Billions defames Ben with his new superhero team, the Vengers, he makes the mistake of trying to film Ben's defeat on Will Harangue's show. Predictably, the Vengers fall apart due to infighting, and Billy loudly proclaims that he can just defame Ben again on live camera. The Vengers don't last long after that.
  • South Park has the boys engineering confessions this way, including having a totally not Mickey Mouse boss explain how he exploits the Jonas Brothers into selling sex to preteen girls.
  • In The Fairly OddParents episode "The Secret Origin of Denzel Crocker!", Timmy goes back in time to try and prevent what turned his teacher into such a miserable, evil and crazy person and learns that young Denzel was once a happy, popular kid who had none other than Cosmo and Wanda as his fairy godparents. Timmy deduces that Crocker must have accidentally revealed that he had fairies and had them taken away, and that a celebration of Denzel's good deeds is when it happens, and tries to keep Crocker away from the microphone. Thanks to a double dose of Cosmo's stupidity, Timmy ends up accidentally revealing Crocker's fairies to the crowd himself while trying to keep Crocker from doing so.
  • In an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, Plankton says that his customers are "Doo-Doo Dunderheads" and "The dumbest of the dumb" on the microphone he used to transmit the sounds of his cash register.
  • In Doug's "Doug Didn't Do It", Roger Klotz is dealt this combined with a Hoist by His Own Petard moment. After he successfully frames Doug for stealing Assistant Principal Bone's yodeling trophy, he goes to gloat about it to Doug, only to unwittingly activate the intercom while he was talking! To his credit, Doug did try to warn him.
  • This was also used in the Garfield and Friends episode "Supermarket Mania". When Jon confronts Corrupt Corporate Executive Mr. Baggit about why the prices of his Food Monster supermarket are high, Mr. Baggit then proceeds to explain to Jon about his true intentions, which are to put Gramps' Supermarket out of business so that he could charge the customers a lot more than they normally pay. However, he didn't count on Garfield holding the microphone directly in front of him while he was explaining this, resulting in hundreds of angry customers immediately leaving the Food Monster afterwards once they've learned the actual truth.
  • In an episode of American Dad!, the school's announcement readers have a tendency to get Drunk with Power and go nuts, eventually getting taken down by Engineered Public Confession. After going through four such changes in as many days, the Principal grumbles about "stupid kids" and about how it was so much easier being a drug dealer in South America, where you got money, drugs, and girls — "Not women, girls, itty bitty things!". After he's said all this, a teacher enters the room to point out that the intercom mike has been on the whole time. The principal's reaction? "Aw, fuck me."
  • One episode of Combo Niños featured Diadoro accidentally insulting potential voters while his assistant was working on the microphone wiring.
  • In the tenth season finale of Family Guy this happens to Joe after he cheats on his wife Bonnie out of revenge for an affair that she'd had in Paris last season. During a birthday party at the Swanson house, Joe goes upstairs to talk privately with Peter and Quagmire and confesses to them about his affair and how guilty he feels about it. It isn't until an angry Bonnie bursts into the room that the guys realize that she - and everyone else at the party - had overheard the whole thing over Susie's baby monitor.
  • In the Futurama episode "Crimes of the Hot", the robots of the world have been sent by the government to an island to be destroyed, led to believe that it's a party. Bender, the only robot who knows what's going to happen, prepares to say goodbye to a turtle he befriended and mentions the government's plan to it, not knowing that he's near a robot that looks like a boom mic.
  • No microphone involved, but in the Rugrats episode "The Trial", after the babies figure out that Angelica was the one who broke Tommy's clown lamp, she gladly admits to it, boasting that the babies can't do anything about it because they can't talk to grown-ups. Unfortunately for her, she forgot that Didi and Betty were in the next room and heard everything.
  • The Simpsons: In "How I Spent My Strummer Vacation", Homer gets so drunk that Moe gets a taxi to take him home. However, they were unaware that the taxi was part of a reality show, Taxicab Confessions, which was recording Homer's conversation with his driver. When the Simpson family learns out about this and sees the show, they find Homer's statements about his family start out heartwarming before becoming very bitter.
    Homer on TV: Can't imagine my life without them.
    Marge: Oh, you big fooler. Pretending not to remember so you could surprise us.
    Homer: Yeah, I'm pretty great.
    Homer on TV: At the end of a hard day there's no better feeling than coming home to the people that you love.
    Marge: Oh, Homie.
    Lisa: That is so sweet.
    Bart: I had no idea, Dad. I just assumed with all the stranglings, you know...
    Homer: That my family isn't the center of my universe? Are you nuts?
    Homer on TV: Then there's those other days, where you just wish you never got married or had kids. One minute, you're a carefree teenager with dreams of being a rock star, or a photographer for Playboy then, bam, some babe gets her claws in you. And, boom, you got a bunch of kids that always needs love. So whammo, you get stuck in some boring job where they don't let you play guitar or take pictures of naked women. And all you can do is watch yourself get bald and fat and kiss your dreams goodbye.

    Real Life 


Video Example(s):


Sideshow Bob's confession

Lisa and Bart manage to trick Bob into confessing his voter fraud, by playing to his ego and claiming he was a mere lackey. It works and he quickly produces evidence of his fraud.

How well does it match the trope?

4.75 (16 votes)

Example of:

Main / AccidentalPublicConfession

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