The opposite of Threat Backfire, this is for characters saying things that are meant to sound assuring, but to those hearing it, it feels like things could backfire and take a turn for the worse instead of getting better.
Compare/Contrast with False Reassurance, wherein the person doing the reassuring is deliberately misleading.
- In Magic Knight Rayearth, when Mokona suddenly whisks the trio high into the air on a flying device, Fuu tries to calm them down by pointing out that if they did fall, they would be sure to black out long before the moment of impact. Umi, unsurprisingly, is not pleased by this.
- Twice in Son of the Desert
- Hohenheim tries to make Trisha feel better about almost killing a suitor but pointing out that it is traditional to kill the proposer. That if she does not love them, she must kill them, because life is not worth living without her. The already-distressed Trisha snaps and tries to make Hohenheim kill her if he refuses her marriage proposal.
- When Ed and Al out themselves as Ishvalans, Fuery tries to assure them that they were only half Ishvalan. Since Ed and Al are proud of their heritage, this just angers them further.
- Bolt the dog expects Mittens the cat to be calmed down by being reminded she's with Bolt, but she evidently doesn't trust Bolt to know what he's doing because he thinks he really does have superpowers and therefore can perform all sorts of death-defying stunts without realizing Reality Ensues.
- Played for drama in The Prince of Egypt. After Moses finds a mural depicting Hebrew infants being fed to crocodiles—this just after learning he is Hebrew himself—his adopted father, Pharaoh Seti I gives him a hug and comfortingly says... they were only slaves. His mother's assurance is not quite so horrifying, but her view that "the gods sent you here, so just forget the truth" doesn't help much either.
- Pooh's Grand Adventure: Tigger gives one to Piglet, who is dangling precariously off a broken branch.
Tigger: Oh relax, Piglet ol' pal. There's no difference between falling a thousand feet to the jagged rocks below and tumblin' out of bed.
(Piglet uncovers his eyes and grins)
Piglet: Oh. Really?
Tigger: Why, sure! (chuckles, then pauses) Um... Except for the splat at the end, they're practically similar.
(Piglet's smile droops; he covers his eyes again)
Piglet: CHRISTOPHER ROBIN!
- Return of the Jedi: When Han Solo prepares to ambush a group of Stormtroopers on the forest moon, he tells Luke and Leia "Relax, it's me." They roll their eyes, telling the viewers succinctly that that's exactly what they're worried about.
- In Witches Abroad, Magrat is feeling deeply embarrassed and uncomfortable about having to pose as Emberella at the ball. The other witches try to help.
"Don't worry," said Granny, "We'll be there too."
"And that's supposed to make me feel better, is it?"
- Interesting Times: Faced with the unstoppable rumour that the Silver Horde does not have 2,300,009 invisible vampire-ghosts backing them up, Lord Hong has the word sent out that the Agatean forces have their own invisible ghosts to bolster morale. It just makes the already terrified soldiers more nervous, because there are ghosts they'd rather not meet (specifically, their ancestors).
- In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry is worried for his sanity because he suddenly sees skeletal horses pulling the Hogwarts carriages, and nobody else can. When Cloudcuckoolander Luna Lovegood tells him that she can see them too and he's just as sane as she is, he is less than reassured.
- In Catch-22, Yossarian tries to get out of going on a bombing raid by claiming that all of the enemy fighters would be trying to kill him. His response to being told that he wasn't being singled out and that they were trying to kill everyone was, "Well, what difference does that make?!"
- Animorphs: When on a planet where cracks reach all the way down to the core, Ax reassures the others on the dangers of falling into the magma: they'll die from the heat long before they hit the core.
- At the beginning of the Dr. Seuss book Bartholomew and the Oobleck, King Derwin of Didd is angry because nothing except rain or snow ever comes down from his sky, and demands something new to come down. When his page boy, Bartholomew, tries to calm him down by reminding him that no king before him has ever ruled the weather, the King takes this as a challenge.
- Happens a few times on Absolutely Fabulous. After something goes wrong, Patsy would reassure Edina by saying something like, "You still have me", meaning she still had her best friend, which would make Eddie sad, as she would realize Patsy was her ONLY friend.
- In Babylon 5, G'Kar has become a religious figure, to his own dismay.
G'Kar: I worry, Ta'Lon, that my shadow may become greater than the message.
Ta'Lon: If that happens, I give you my word that I will personally kill you.
G'Kar: And this is supposed to put my mind at ease?
- Doctor Who. In "Deep Breath", Clara is worrying about the Doctor who's roaming the streets in his post-regeneration madness. Strax assures her not to worry, as he's probably been been robbed and murdered by London's poor by now.
- When Mr. Belding asks Ryan to plan Screech's surprise birthday party in the Saved by the Bell: The New Class episode "Balancing Act", he asks Ryan to keep him in the dark about the details of the party so that Screech can't get anything out of him and prematurely spoil the surprise:
Mr. Belding: Can you do all the planning and leave me in the dark?Ryan: Hiding something from you? That's easy. *leaves*Mr. Belding: Oh, good. Uh, Ryan? Ryan?
- Supernatural: In "(S07 E17) The Born Again Identity" Dean's attempt to reassure a nervous and amnesiac Castiel that he can easily take out several demons even though he hasn't used his smite in months and due to said amnesia, can't even remember how it works.
Dean: It's in there. I'm sure it's just like riding a bike.Castiel: I don't know how to do that, either.
- In Ménage à 3, this happens when Gary's attempt to console would-be therapist, Kiley, who suffers from a comedic case of A-Cup Angst, backfires.
Kiley: (crying over phone) My IQ's smaller than my breast size!
Gary: (soothingly)' Oh, don't cry — I'm sure your IQ's much bigger than your breasts!
- Later, Zii attempts to reassure DiDi about the nature of her feelings towards her. However, Zii's choice of words leaves a little to be desired. DiDi can be terribly distracting.
- In The Order of the Stick, after Haley's been left behind in (the now overrun by goblins) Azure City, Elan tries to jump out of the boat and swim to her until everyone reminds him that she has a much better chance of survival than him. Then one of the minor characters points out that she has Belkar watching her back, causing him to panic again.
- Stand Still, Stay Silent has a case that ends up backfiring for both the receiver and the giver. Emil tries to cheer up Lalli's bad mood by giving him an "everything will be all right" speech. The reason Lalli is in a bad mood in the first place is that he's quite sure that the death of his cousin from the long term effects of a troll bite will happen soon, which causes Emil's speech to have the exact opposite of its inteded effect and Lalli to no longer want to be friends with him. The event foreseen by Lalli happens just a few hours later, which very likely made Emil realize just how misplaced his optimism was.
- Sticky Dilly Buns: Ruby makes the mistake of seeking reassurance about her sexual attractiveness from a gay man. Dillon is an idiot.
- In Worm, Weaver's attempt to reassure Cuff that wearing metal won't make her vulnerable to Behemoth's lightning attacks doesn't come out so well.
Weaver: I don't think you're any safer or worse off than anyone else. His lightning doesn't follow regular channels. We're all lightning rods to him.
Wanton: Not reassuring.
- In Red vs. Blue, although it's more a case of Donut being an idiot.
Donut: He has amnesia! Tucker, don't worry. You are safe. We're the reds, we are your mortal enemies. Wait. That didn't sound right.
- In The Simpsons, Lisa is feeling depressed after seeing an unflattering caricature of her. Marge attempts to cheer her up by singing "There Once Was an Ugly Duckling," but then Lisa says, "So you think I'm ugly, then?" and Marge hastily says, "No, you're one of the good-looking ones... who makes fun of the ugly one."
- In the Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "The Cave of Two Lovers", a cave-in splits up the party in an underground tunnel, and Sokka ends up alone with a group of singing nomads. As Sokka tries to dig his way through the debris, the nomad leader comments, "Yeah, it's no use. We're separated. But at least you have us!" Sokka's response is to scream in despair and start digging more frantically.
- Jonny Quest TOS episode "The Sea Haunt". The Quest team is trapped on a ship with a terrible monster, and Team Pet Bandit is frightened.
Hadji: Don't worry, Bandit. Nothing will happen to you that won't happen to the rest of us.
Jonny: Now there's a happy thought.
- From an episode of Dynomutt, Dog Wonder:
Dynomutt: Dog Wonder never makes the same mistake twice!
Blue Falcon: I know. You seem to come up with a new one every time!
- In the Paramount Jeepers and Creepers cartoon "Busy Buddies," Creepers is trying to raise some money to pay his income tax, which he does by winning a boxing match. But now he has to cough up on the money he just won, so Jeepers enters him in a rodeo. Creepers is understandably panic stricken:
Jeepers: Don't worry, pal. I'll be right behind you!Creepers: (to us) That's just what I'm worried about!
- The debut episode of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, "What A Night For A Knight" has this at the on set, when Shaggy and Scooby hear a noise in the bushes and Shaggy tells Scooby to see what it is.
Shaggy: Don't worry...I'm right behind you.Scooby: (sarcastically) Thanks a lot.
- The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Family Appreciation Day" features this, when Apple Bloom is worried about feeling embarrassed when her grandmother shows up at school.
Applejack: I'm sorry Apple Bloom, but don't you fret. Granny Smith's got no shortage of entertaining stories to tell.Apple Bloom: I know. That's what I'm worried about.
- In the Ben 10 movie "Secrets of the Omnitrix", when Ben has to sit beneath a very large and ominous looking machine in order to scan the Omnitrix for a DNA signature, Tetrax's attempts to reassure Ben that the procedure would be harmless is less than comforting.
Tetrax: Ready?Ben: Would no be an option?Tetrax: Don't worry. I've had many of these tests done myself. Never felt a thing.Ben: But don't you have like diamond-hard skin?Tetrax: Uh... Good point. Lets get started.
- Kaeloo: In one episode, Kaeloo starts crying about how she always turns into a monster. Mr. Cat attempts to comfort her... by saying that the rest of them like her for her "brutal, primitive-minded" self. Cue more tears.
- In the Steven Universe episode "What's Your Problem", Sapphire begins to cry when she finds out that Ruby ran away after their fight in the previous episode. Pearl tries to cheer up Sapphire by assuring her Ruby will return... because there would be no Garnet if she doesn't. And what on Earth would they do without Garnet? And they're so perfect together, it can't be over! Needless to say none of this helps and only makes it so that Pearl joins Sapphire in crying inconsolably.