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"There was a very famous Jewish girl who kept a diary. It... ended badly. But enough about Fran Drescher! You thought I was making a Holocaust joke! Shame on you!"
Klaus, American Dad!

A type of setup where a character leads the audience or other characters into thinking they are going to say or do something, but says or does something unexpected. This is usually a joke, and if the punch line of the joke causes the first part to take on a new meaning (e.g., "I just flew in from Chicago, and boy are my arms tired"), it is technically called a "paraprosdokian." Note that this trope doesn't have to be Played for Laughs however; serious examples count here as well.

In Dialogue, Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking is one example. The first two words raise the expectation of another crime, equally severe, but then switch it out with jaywalking.

The origin of the name comes from a now-illegal advertising practice in which a store would bait a customer into their store with an advertisement featuring a product selling for a reduced price, but when the customer got there, they would find out that they were "all out" of the advertised product... but the store would be happy to sell a similar product for just a few dollars more, thus performing the switch.

Can be a form of Subverted Trope, or a Double Subverted Trope if the thing being switched is a trope in itself. Sometimes turns into a Brick Joke if there's a later payoff. Related to Anti-Humor.

This can also happen in film trailers and commercials as well.


  • Arson, Murder, and Admiration: One villain seemingly tells off another for their evil acts... and then compliments them for it.
  • Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving: The hero seems to be getting called out over acting unheroically, before being praised for their heroism.
  • Bait the Dog: It looks like someone is having a likable moment, but it turns out that it's not the case; in fact, quite the opposite.
  • Bait-and-Switch Accusation: A serious accusation is switched out for a less severe one.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: It looks like you're going to fight one character as the boss fight, but they get replaced by the real boss before the battle starts.
  • Bait-and-Switch Character Intro: A character introduction where the character's portrayal changes to something completely different than what was first presented.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: It seems like someone is saying one thing, but it turns out they're saying another.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comparison: Two subjects are compared, and a description that sounds like one subject is revealed to actually be describing the other subject.
  • Bait-and-Switch Compassion: A character acts as if to pity another, but has no pity at all.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: The opening credits make it seem as though the show is something different.
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: A gunshot is heard, but the person expected to be hit isn't.
  • Bait-and-Switch Lesbians: Characters seem like they're lesbian, but it turns out they're just in a Pseudo-Romantic Friendship.
  • Bait-and-Switch Performance: A character appears to be talented, but actually isn't.
  • Bait-and-Switch Sentiment: Something seems like it was done for sentimental reasons, but there's a much more mundane reason.
  • Bait-and-Switch Silhouette: An outline looks like one thing, but is revealed to be another.
  • Bait-and-Switch Suicide: When it looks like a character is about to commit suicide, but they don't.
  • Bait-and-Switch Time Skip: It seems like a long period of time has passed, but it's only been a little while.
  • Bait-and-Switch Tyrant: Someone seems like they're going to be a tyrant, but is actually a good leader.
  • Berate and Switch: A character's description of something sounds like they hate it, but they actually like it.
  • Buddy Snaps First: A character is about to snap only for somebody beside them to lose it instead.
  • Cheated Death, Died Anyway: A character cheats death... only to die in different, but equally cruel and unusual circumstances, later.
  • Commercial Switcheroo: A commercial for one product starts, but turns out to be a commercial for a different product.
  • Cue Card Pause: A gap in the message makes it seem like something different to the real meaning.
  • Cut Apart: It looks like two scenes are taking place in almost the same place, such as on opposite sides of a door, but the door opens to reveal they're actually in completely different locations.
  • The Day the Music Lied: A Musical Spoiler is set up and then promptly subverted.
  • Decoy Protagonist: A character initially appears to be the protagonist, but is quickly phased out in favor of the real star of the show.
  • Debate and Switch: An important issue is raised, but not properly addressed.
  • Discriminate and Switch: A character appears to be prejudiced against a character, but it turns out they dislike them for some other innocent or trivial reason.
  • Double Subversion: A trope seems to have been subverted, but then it happens anyway.
  • Fake-Out Twist: It looks like a particular plot twist has been shown, but immediately afterward it's revealed that the real twist is something completely different.
  • Fission Mailed: It seems as though you've failed this video game, but you haven't.
  • Gender-Concealing Writing: A character's gender is kept secret from the audience to set up a reveal later.
  • Homage Derailment: A homage is set up and then subverted for shock or humor.
  • Hope Spot: It looks as though the situation is hopeful, but then the hope is dashed.
  • Hospital Surprise: A character appears to die...before waking up in a hospital.
  • I Have Just One Thing to Say: A character chews another one out, then has one last thing to say... and it's positive.
  • Innocent Innuendo: A situation seems erotic, but is actually completely innocent.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: A character makes a statement that makes sense in-universe, but can easily be interpreted as the character acknowledging that they are in a work of fiction.
  • Moving Right Through: A character believes they are about to get praise or affection from another character only to be walked past and it’s given to someone behind them.
  • Not The Illness That Killed Them: A terminally ill person dies from something else.
  • Not This One, That One: Someone points at a cool object that the viewers are led to believe is theirs... but actually the pointer's object is a piece of garbage that was next to the cool one.
  • [Popular Saying], But...: Someone says a saying, then adds a "but", followed by other info.
  • Real Vehicle Reveal: Someone looks to be riding in a cool vehicle, but they're not.
  • Sequencing Deception: Two events happened a lot further apart than the sequencing would apply.
  • Sherlock Can Read: A character seems to have figured something out improbably, but then it turns out the information was obvious.
  • Shock-and-Switch Ending: It looks like there'll be a Sudden Downer Ending, but there isn't.
  • Stab the Salad: It looks like someone is doing something violent or otherwise disturbing, but they're doing something mundane instead.
  • Stab the Scorpion: It looks like someone is trying to hurt or kill a person, but they're actually attacking a dangerous animal.
  • Subverted Kids' Show: It looks like a work is going to be for kids, but it suddenly gets adult elements.
  • Subverted Punchline: An obvious joke is teased, but something other than the expected punchline is delivered.
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: A poem or song avoids completing a rhyme by substituting the expected word with abrupt silence or a word that doesn't rhyme at all. Often, the anticipated rhyming word is an obscenity.
  • Subverted Trope: A trope looks like it's going to happen, but then it doesn't.
  • Superweapon Suspense Subversion: When it seems like a Superweapon is about to be launched but it isn't.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: A story seems to be heading towards a bittersweet or depressing ending before it turns out to be a happy one.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: You think this scene is going to play out as it usually does in this kind of fiction, but it instead happens as it would in real life.
  • Tension-Cutting Laughter (often): Laughing as essentially a way of saying, "Phew!".
  • The Unfought: It looks like the player will face this guy in a boss fight, but the boss battle never happens.
  • Victory Fakeout: When it looks like the boss in a video game has been defeated, but it hasn't.
  • Wedding Bells... for Someone Else: It looks as though the main couple (or a protagonist and their crush) are getting married, but it's someone else's wedding.
  • Well, This Is Not That Trope: Something seems to be describing it.. then it turns out they're describing what it's not.

These sources have so many of these gags that they have their own sub-pages:


    open/close all folders 

  • Global Agenda's rather hilarious ad starts out about an elf, then has a laser point on his face, followed by a bullet all shot by a Recon agent who is the actual playable character shown here.
  • Several of the original Energizer Bunny commercials used a similar trick, with the bunny interrupting a commercial for another (fictional) product.
  • World of Tanks ads do this just about every single time, with the (Seeming) protagonist of the ad blown up in various ways by a tank.
    • Here, with a Bog Standard fantasy MMO with an Orc who kills a legion of Elves only to be run over by a tank.
    • Here, with a Shoot 'Em Up space combat sim without Casual Interstellar Travel, resulting in the player travelling for 6 IRL months only to loose all the work when a lucky shot from a tank dirtside blows him to flinders.
    • Here, where an illegal drag race is cut short by one of the cars pulping itself on a tank.
  • A series of commercials from 1999 and 2000 are ads for Disney Channel but are set up at first to make the viewer think they're about something else like a teen running home to go to the bathroom, or a group of teens running in horror like they're trying to escape something. They always ended with someone Breaking the Fourth Wall and saying, "What'd you expect?"
  • There's a commercial that shows a man happily eating dinner with his girlfriend who's very obviously another man in a wig and dress. Halfway through the dinner, the "girlfriend" admits that there's something the man should know in advance about their relationship... that the pizza he's currently eating isn't delivery but DiGiorno.
  • One PSA starts with a bunch of teens playing pool. One of them starts talking about something crazy he did and how his parents would probably cry when they find out. The rest of the group, obviously expecting something awful, asks what it is. Cut to him cleaning up his whole house for his parents and his parents' reaction when they return home.
  • A very infamous example is a commercial showing a montage of animals in Africa with their young while Rod Stewart's "Forever Young" plays in the background. At the very end of the commercial, a watermark appears in the bottom of the screen showing that this was an advertisement for Pampers diapers.
  • This is, unfortunately, Truth in Television, and isn't usually funny, even if the one doing the bating-and-switching may (or may not) think so. Some parents have actually done this to their sons / daughters. One example appears in a radio ad, although it (the ad) was intended to be funny:
    Mom: Hurry, or we'll be late for the Aerosmith concert!
    (everyone gets in)
    Mom: Did I say "Aerosmith concert"? I meant "dentist appointment!"
  • For Super Bowl 42, Career released this ad featuring a Jiminy Cricket expy who attempts to inspire a poor schlub into loving his crapsack job...but he is promptly eaten by an enterprising spider, who gives the employee an expression that says, "...really?"
  • An advertisement for the European Portuguese Cartoon Network appears to be at first for The Amazing World of Gumball—the narrator mentions a blue cat, and Gumball just happens to be a blue cat—but Darwin then mentions that they are probably not talking about Gumball, and the ad is revealed to be for Doraemon.
  • A series of Geico commercials were set up like this where people were talking about their home and how great it was except for one problem, which would either be Fun with Homophones or I Thought That Was. One of them involved a couple talking about an animal in the attic. Specifically Animal from The Muppets.
  • A non-funny example comes from an Australian domestic violence PSA. A man hears his neighbor beating his wife in the next apartment, so he grabs a baseball bat, runs into the next apartment his neighbor the bat to aid him with the beating.
    "Do nothing, and you may as well lend a hand."
  • Early in 2016, BSkyB revealed their new Sky Q service with its Fluid Viewing feature. There were some adverts broadcast where it'd play out as a normal commercial for something else to begin with, then around 10 seconds into it, the Sky Q Guide menu would appear with the commercial playing at the side of the screen. A program would be selected (Most adverts used The Walking Dead), and then the Sky Q commercial would play as if it were the original advert.
  • One commercial is seemingly a home appliance advert, complete with a badass, bearded, trucker-looking man dusting off his gloves as he prepares to remove a tree stump from the ground, complete with a badass rock song blaring in the background. He wraps a chain around the stump, attaches it to his pickup truck, speaks to the camera, and then gets in the truck and floors it....and the back of the pickup comes off. It's a tire advertisement.
  • Sears has a very famous series of advertisements for home appliances that went like this.
    • One has a young, attractive, fashionable couple playing around on a beach, very much in love, complete with stylized words appearing onscreen occasionally (obviously building itself up to be a clothing commercial.) They run down the beach, staring at each other as they do...and the guy runs into a refrigerator. The camera then zooms out to reveal a group of home appliances placed on the beach as text and a voiceover cheerfully announce the ongoing sale. Then the girl runs into the fridge.
    • Another one had a Captain Morgan expy staring down a scope at a beach as his parrot flies towards it... and instead of seeing his parrot land on a beer stash, the parrot flies into a fridge.
    • A third one dubbed "Connecting Flights" starts out as a trailer for a Christmas-themed Romantic Comedy... and then the guy runs into a fridge.
  • One Anti-Drunk Driving ad from Budweiser shows a guy bidding his dog goodbye before heading out to the club, then the dog sadly waiting all night, looking up hopefully every time he hears a motor. So far, it's the typical "If you die in a drunk driving accident, your dog will never understand why you never came home" plotline. Then, the next morning, the man returns home safe and sound and apologizes to his dog, saying he decided not to drive home drunk and instead spent the night there.
  • One Fruity Pebbles commercial from 1995 has Fred eating his Pebbles at a haunted house when Barney comes in pulling off a Bedsheet Ghost act. Fred buys it despite the fact that we can still clearly tell it's Barney, but soon, Fred sees through the disguise lifting off the bedsheet revealing...a skeleton! This causes Fred to run off to Uncanny Valley as we discover it really was Barney all along.
  • A 1984 Smokey Bear PSA features a narrator describing man's discovery of fire while two rugged men light warm themselves around a fire and light a torch. However, as the narration mentions that man never learned to be responsible with fire, we pan out to see that the men are not cavemen, but modern-day campers, who proceed to carelessly leave their lit torch on the ground.
    "After two million years, isn't it about time we acted our age?"
  • Farmer's Insurance has a series of commercials showing some of the more bizarre things they've covered. One of these is referred to as a "Truck-cicle". We see a reenactment of the incident which shows two men ice fishing. One of them parks his truck on the ice and climbs out with a massive drill, implying he causes the truck to break through the ice by improper drilling. Instead, he puts his foot through the ice while carrying the drill and causes the truck to break through from the crack that forms from that.
  • has a series of commercials that start out looking like commercials for special as-seen-on-TV ads, but they get interrupted halfway through with someone saying how terrible that ad was, then they advertise the website.
  • A Honey Nut Cheerios commercial from the early 1980's has a woman who just came home from the store. She tells her husband two things. The first was that Honey Nut Cheerios had no cholesterol, and the second was that she wrecked the car. The husband screams, "WHAT?!" Although the reason he did was in reaction to the first thing she said (even though the second was more worthy of that kind of reaction)!
  • In a radio commercial for the Richmond, VA diamond-selling store Diamonds Direct, the commercial starts off with a burly-sounding man telling about how the "listener's" girlfriend has been checking him out, taking pictures of him and talking about him with other girls and requests talking it out with him. It's only when he says where he'll be that we find out that he's a diamond ring.
  • One UNICEF public service announcement took place at a wedding, where all of the preparations are being made before the ceremony and at one point we see the bride's and the groom's shoes sitting next to one another. What looks like a fairytale wedding between a man and a petite woman (complete with a sign that says "She belongs to me") is in actuality a young girl being married off to a grown man in an anti-child bride advertisement.
  • Another PSA has a man working in his living room and standing unsteadily on a ladder while his wife comes by, carrying both their infant daughter and a cup of tea, and warns him to be careful as she leaves the room. The next scene is of the wife crying in the hospital at someone's bedside and the father soon joins her in the room. Turns out, their baby was accidentally scalded by the tea the wife was drinking.
  • One commercial has a teenage girl reveal to her parents that she got her tongue pierced. Her parents get visibly upset and launch into a "How could you? We thought we raised you better than this" lamentation — but it turns out that they're not upset that she got her tongue pierced; they're upset that she didn't take the time to find the lowest possible price for her piercing from some company/website that's the actual focus of the ad.
  • One Australian ad starts with a confident young man racing in his car down an open country road while the upbeat song note  Stumblin' by Powderfinger plays over it. It looks like any high-performance car ad, with quick shots focusing on the accelerator revving, the driver moving up the gears, the car blazing around corners at top speed, then the driver desperately swerves to the other side of the road to avoid smashing into the back of a truck he couldn't see coming up in front of him and the music cuts off as his car smashes brutally into the broadside of another car that had been coming the opposite direction. The rest of the ad sees the dazed and bloodied driver stagger out of his car, look into the vehicle he hit, and have a total breakdown as he realises he killed all the occupants with his stupidity. It's an anti-speeding ad.
  • Similar to the aforementioned Energizer commercials, there was a time where a series of GEICO ads misdirected their viewers into trying to advertise something else. It’s not until someone says, “...but it won’t save you money on car insurance,” when it is revealed to be a GEICO ad. The most popular of these ads is the one advertising the fake reality show, "Tiny House."
  • This notable 1995 Pizza Hut commercial with Ringo Starr; Ringo muses about reuniting "The Lads" to make the ad (implying he's discussing the surviving Beatlesnote ) ....only for it to turn out to be The Monkees. Ringo is as dumbfounded as the viewers.
    RINGO: "Wrong lads!"
  • Long Long Man: Sakeru Gummy's meme-tastic commercials, about a young couple and a mysterious man whose gummy candies are longer than the boyfriend's (because Japanese commercials are weird). After repeatedly being tempted, the girlfriend "cheats" on her boyfriend by eating a loooong gummy with the Long Man, which almost destroys their relationship. The two ultimately reconcile and get engaged, only for the Long Man to show up at the wedding. In the final ad, he confesses his the boyfriend, who reciprocates as the erstwhile bride looks on in disbelief and lets out a Rapid-Fire "No!".
  • The memorable 90s Brazilian ad Carlinhos. Two boys are shown happily riding a carousel, one of them with Down syndrome. The subtitle tells us how Carlinhos goes to school regularly, and has piano and swimming classes, while his friend does not. Then the twist: Carlinhos is the one with Down syndrome. His friend, albeit healthy, is a street child.
    Text: Thousands of children in Brazil need your help. People with Down syndrome only need your respect.
  • A mid-2000s Levi's Jeans commercial (featuring Willie Nelson's version of "Always on My Mind") has a barefoot man in shorts bringing flowers to his girlfriend, with the implication that they were making up after a fight. When she goes to put the flowers in a vase, he rushes to her apartment window to grab his jeans that were thrown into a tree outside of it. He then sneaks out and walks calmly among his broken items on the street below as the girlfriend then throws the flowers and vase out the window behind him.
  • In 2020, Facebook ran a commercial for their new Groups which featured several groups themed around "rock" in just about every definition of the word. (Skipping rocks, rocking chairs, driving rock crawlers.) The commercial ends with a group themed around Rocky and a man in a hooded sweatshirt running up the stairs. At the top, the man turns to the camera and it's...Chris Rock!
    Chris Rock: Who'd you expect?
    Sylvester Stallone: I dunno? Me?
  • Toward the end of "This is Sphero BOLT," a commercial promoting the Sphero BOLT, when a girl named Sam goes to school, she brings her Sphero BOLT with her, but is eventually caught by her teacher, and he appears to be angry. However, instead of punishing Sam, he reveals a case containing a bunch of Sphero BOLT units, revealing the educational concept Sphero BOLT provides on in schools.
  • A commercial for Eggo Waffles has a young man watch a young woman surfer from a tent on the beach as he slips a pair of waffles into the toaster. He turns his back on the toaster as the woman walks by him and grabs one when they pop up. Someone else grabs the waffle as well. Thinking it's the girl (like the viewer, most likely), he says "You wanna let go, or do you wanna talk?" He turns around to discover the other person was actually an old man who says "Sure! Let's chat!"
  • A PIF for St John's Ambulance begins with a father playing with his son and a woman named Julie, who is fully trained in first aid, doing the dishes. The son has an accident and is knocked out. Julie's face turns serious and she rushes outside to fetch the washing in as it starts to rain. The voice over says she cannot be there all the time as the father helplessly cries for help because he doesn't know first aid.
  • A series of commercials in the mid 90s had a excited couple, including a memorable one featuring an older couple where the wife asks, "Could it be after all this time?", using a test to see if they have a positive result: it appears to be for pregnancy, but once they confirm the news, they say exasperatedly, "We have hard water". It was a commercial for Zest Soap.
  • One PIF begins with a man walking down the street as an announcer says he is about to save someone's life. A car rolls past the man as a lady is about to cross the road but nothing happens. It then cuts to a hospital where the man's blood is being used in a life saving operation.
  • A Super Bowl LVI commercial features a bunch of kids having a party while drinking tallboy cans of Liquid Death, as well as a pregnant woman doing the same. People not aware of the product may assume that a lot of illegal or unsafe alcohol drinking is going on...until the end reveals that Liquid Death is just water. In fact, the point of the product's appearance is that one can use it to consume water at parties and other functions where skipping out on alcohol is looked down upon, if they are limiting or abstaining from alcohol but don't want to feel or appear out of place.
  • This advert for the 2012 Six Nations, which was pulled before it was to be broadcast. Everyone not wearing an England shirt were saying England as if they were supporting England, but it turns out that they were responding to the question "Who do you want to lose?" (Meanwhile at the end of the advert, the England fans were divided as to who they want to lose.)
  • A Burger King ad says their burgers are so good even Ronald eats them. Ronald's first shot shows his feet and he's wearing shoes and socks similar to those worn by McDonald's mascot Roland McDonald but the customer turns out to be some random guy named Ronald.
  • A Brazilian ad from Santander Bank near Mother's Day starts with a woman asking the viewers if they're looking for nice gifts for their mothers and telling them that, if it's the case, they should look for another ad because that one is about Santander Bank charging women 21% less to make up for the fact women are paid 21% less than men who do the same job.

  • Happy Heroes frequently pulls bait-and-switch-type jokes. One of the earliest instances is at the beginning of episode 6; the heroes ask Doctor H. to take them outside to watch shooting stars in the sky. He lets them watch the shooting stars, and even comments that they look beautiful, before it's revealed that it's just a documentary on shooting stars he found online.
  • Mechamato: At the start of episode 6, a man stops at a red light and looks around to make sure no one's watching, making it seem as if he's going to run the light, but instead he picks his nose.
  • In the title card for Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf episode 60, Weslie and Wolffy look mad and have their fists clench as though they are about to fight each other. They end up playing a happy game of Rock–Paper–Scissors instead.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Bakuon!!, there is the first flashback of Rin's childhood, where it seems that her father died after an accident. Then, in present day, he's very fine and mocking Rin's Katana motorcycle (and driving the same model that her own daughter got by writing an essay when he was in the hospital!).
  • In Black Clover, after Asta is passed up for selection to join any of the Magic Knight squads and protests the decision, Yami flares up his mana, walks up to Asta and calmly points out the very logical reasons why none of the captains want him in their squads. He then brings up how Asta declared earlier that he would become Wizard King, and points out how in doing so he essentially declared that he intended to surpass all nine captains. When he asks Asta if he can still say that even though he has no magic and can visibly tell how much Yami alone outclasses him, and Asta stands by his vow, Yami starts laughing and recruits him on the spot.
  • Bleach:
  • In Boarding School Juliet, Romeo corners his girlfriend and says that since they've been dating a while, it's "about time" she gave him something and he wants to "eat it up". Much to her relief, he is actually asking for a homemade bento.
  • Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun: There's a scene where Odagiri playfully touches Aoyama on the shoulder, unaware that he absolutely Hates Being Touched. Everyone is waiting for some sort of a negative reaction as usual, and it looks like he'll do so just for him to not react to this but only gets slightly confused when Odagiri apologizes.
  • In Delicious in Dungeon, when Laios mentions eating monsters around Falin, it looks like Falin is going to be horrified. Instead she is excited. Very excited.
    Chilchuck: Guess you were worried about nothing, huh?
    Marcille: No, I was worried about this.
  • Doraemon: In "Sequence Spray", Noby uses the Sequence Spray on a photo of Sue and Ace. The resulting scene shown in the picture makes it look like they're about to kiss, until Noby uses the Sequence Spray again to reveal that Ace just noticed a leaf in Sue's hair.
  • One chapter of Franken Fran starts off with a young girl waking up in the middle of the night, and coming face-to-face with a monster that attacks her. It turns out to be a horror movie Fran and her assistants are watching.
  • In-Universe in GTO: The Early Years Saya asks Eikichi to "do it" with her, and everything about her appearance and behavior says she means "sex", but it turns out what she wanted to do with him was start street fights and "conquer Japan". He does ask her to be "his girl", and she says yes, but then along comes a Moment Killer.
  • Henkyou no Roukishi Bard Loen: It seems that Julchaga has stolen the family seal from Bard and gave it to Kaldus Coendera right away, however it turns out to be only after Bard, Julchaga and Vari Todd have conspired together.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers:
    • Played with at the end of the Making A Better Product in Northern Europe strip, when Iceland is seen, sitting innocuously and eating licorice. He looks directly into the camera and deadpans, "What, were you expecting something?"
    • Played straight in one chapter of World☆Stars, when Latvia seems to finally realize the fact that he's amazing at things, should he actually put forth the effort:
      Latvia: (completes the railroad) Whoa, it worked?!
      Latvia: (trembling in excitement) A-Amazing...! To think that I made it by imitation and succeeded in one shot! All these talents and powers have always been hidden inside me!
      Latvia: (calms down immediately) Not a chance, right? I'm really no good, getting that puffed up over this.
  • Ibitte Konai Gibo To Gishi: This is the primary source of humor. Miya is the illegitimate daughter of a wealthy man who lived in poverty with her mother. When her mother dies, Miya is taken in by her father's wife and daughters, who at first glance very much look the part of a Cinderella-style haughty, evil stepfamily. However, every time they do something that starts as a rebuke or insult towards Miya, it turns out to be an entirely wholesome act instead. When Miya arrives her stepsisters comment on her filthiness and odor... then proceed to bathe her and begin arguing over how to cutely dress her up. When Miya refers to her stepmother Teru as "Mother", Teru sternly hells her to do no such thing... because Miya's real mother is someone irreplaceable and she shouldn't call anyone else that; if Miya wishes, however, she can call Teru "Mommy". Miya's usual reaction to all this is confused happiness.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War:
    • Done twice in "I Can't Hear the Fireworks" (Chapters 44 and 45). At first, it looks like, thanks to Hayasaka taking her place at home, she'll be able to watch the fireworks with the student council, but she makes it as the festivities are closing. Disheartened, she goes to cry under a stairway, where Shirogane finds her regardless and gets her on a taxi to watch the fireworks from Chiba (whose fireworks show had been delayed by half an hour due to rain) with the rest of the student council.
    • Chapter 70 starts off with what looks like a Panty Shot of one of the girls getting changed... until it's revealed that the person getting changed was Ishigami.
    • When Hayasaka gets stuck at a mixer, she's able to successfully get Shirogane alone. Based on her frustration with Kaguya's disregard for her feelings, and her remembering her mission from last time she was with Shirogane, she looks like she's going to either steal him away or force a confession out of him... but all that happens is she goes down to Shirogane's horrible singing.
    • The end of the "Dual Confession" has Shirogane ask Kaguya to join him at Stanford instead of asking her out. He then thinks that he just bought himself time before he needs to confess, restoring the status quo...for five seconds until Kaguya kisses him.
    • From the same arc's epilogue chapter, Ishigami finds Kaguya's heart charm and goes to Iino. At first it appears that he's going to accidentally confess again, with special emphasis on the charm, but neither of them take it as such. The real Ship Tease moment comes immediately after, where Ishigami verbally commends Iino on her work for the festival and even gives her photos showcasing the fruits of her labor; Iino, meanwhile, is happy about the festival's success and looks at the charm fondly.
    • Likewise, Iino looking at the charm is accompanied by a caption saying that the seeds of the next conflict have been sewn. It seems like its talking about the charm and how it might end up causing a love triangle, but it's actually taking about Kaguya and Shirogane's first kiss since Kaguya going for a french kiss causes a misunderstanding that lasts for the next 13 chapters.
    • Chapter 174 starts off looking like it's going to be another fourth wall-poking Meta chapter about MomoKan, but Iino confiscates Ishigami's manga on the first page. By Page 3 the premise has shifted to being about Ishigami trying to get on Iino's good side.
    • Chapter 180 ends with some of Shirogane's guy friends seemingly trying to convince him to peep on the girls while at a hot spring. However, Chapter 181 opens back at the student council room, where Ishigami and Iino discuss the Outdoor Bath Peeping trope (as well as a few other Hot Springs Episode tropes) and remark that besides being creepy, it's a crime and nobody would do it in real life. Instead it turns out that Shirogane's friends want to see the girls leave the changing area with wet hair.note 
    • Chapter 220 largely serves to relieve some of the newfound sexual tension between Kaguya and Shirogane. Even though the time they have together is growing shorter, they establish that the two of them perhaps aren't quite ready to have sex yet. They then go to sleep in the same bed, but not without sharing a few more romantic kisses. And then the last page reveals that they ended up having sex anyway.
    • Played for Drama in Chapter 249: Shirogane has just spent the chapter negotiating with Seiryu Shinomiya to get a better price for the psychological damage that his breakup with Kaguya has inflicted upon him. When he is successful in his negotiations (he gets 100 times the amount originally offered to him by the Shinomiya group), he stands there Laughing Mad about how money is everything that matters to the Shinomiyas. Hayasaka stands there dumbfounded with tears in her eyes saying she thought that he, of all people, would not give up on the love of his life. And then Shirogane drops this line:
  • Rairi's introduction in Kaiju Girl Caramelise. Kuroe is getting bullied by three of the numerous girls jealous of her relationship with Arata when Rairi walks into the classroom. Kuroe notes that Rairi is both very pretty and very popular, and that it would be bad if someone "in the very top caste" became her enemy. Then Rairi is informed by another girl that Kuroe and Arata are dating; she promptly rushes over to Kuroe and knees her in the back. She seems like an abnormally violent Alpha Bitch...but it turns out she just wanted Kuroe to stop slouching because "bad posture will make anybody look ugly." Rairi then proceeds to give Kuroe an impromptu makeover before cheerfully introducing herself, and the two become fast friends afterward.
  • In Episode 22 of Magical Project S, Romio plots to use a third magical girl (after Pretty Sammy and Pixy Misa) to destroy Pretty Sammy. Meanwhile, while the class was playing volleyball, Konoha loses the ball and goes out to get it. Then ominous clouds start forming and everyone is concerned that Konoha still isn't back yet. It all seemingly sets up the return of Funky Connie from Episode 11. Nope! It turns out that Eimi, who went out to look for Konoha, had turned into Love-Me Eimi, and Konoha soon returns with the volleyball.
  • Mission: Yozakura Family: Ban, Mutsumi's grandfather, mentions missing his wife terribly, and when he's not on a mission spends all his time cozying up to beautiful young women. Taiyo assumes that his wife is dead. Turns out she's alive, Ban is just so obsessed with her that the week they've been apart while he was away on a mission was making him scream. And his "dates" with other women were actually him getting their advice on presents to get for his wife. For her part, she's used to his antics, so she just whacks him and drags him off.
  • At the end of Mr. Right Turned Out to Be a Younger Woman!?, a wedding is held. One might assume that it's for the two main characters, since the guests are congratulating them and expressing amazement that they'd get married, but it's actually for two of their coworkers.
  • Musuko ga Kawaikute Shikataganai Mazoku no Hahaoya:
    • The author loves doing this for new characters. The buildup to Minami and Garron's first appearances makes it seem like they're evil government agents who are looking to lock up Lorem and Gospel for her past actions. Turns out Minami is a Wide-Eyed Idealist who believes in human-demon coexistence and is really intending to help Lorem, and Garron is just there to protect Minami.
    • Valentine's arc hints at her having a hidden agenda behind being an Idol Singer, especially with out of control demonification being increasingly common after her debut. Her goal is to promote coexistence, and the demonifications are a side-effect of her voice, a side-effect she didn't even know about until told.
    • Eliza looks creepy with her dead-fish stare and big dark eye circles, and her behavior makes it seem like she's off her rocker. She's a bit weird, but she's really just as much of a loving mother as Lorem, and they hit it off really well as fellow single mothers. Her creepy eyes are just results of reading too many parenting books.
    • Zeke's introduction paints him as a hateful Hunter of His Own Kind who is obsessed with Lorem, with the implication being he doesn't trust her around humans. Later chapters show he's actually not a bad guy, who does a lot for demon kind as an internal reformist and his obsession with Lorem is actually because he's worried about his wife and son.
  • My Dress-Up Darling: In Chapter 73, Akira tells Chitose and Gojo that she wants to stay away from Marin, her tone implying she doesn't like her. Come Chapter 85, turns out Akira is actually a huge fan of hers, even calling her "My Princess", but she's too embarrassed to approach her.
  • Played for Drama in My Hero Academia regarding The Mole. When All For One is informed that Izuku Midoriya has now arrived at the well-secured UA, he is still confident of the villains' victory as, unlike Dabi, he "has many friends". The chapter ends with Toru Hagakure standing menacingly in the shadows. Turns out she was just deep in thought, and the real traitor was Yuga Aoyama, whom Hagakure was watching.
  • Oji-san ga Joshi-sei ni Warui Koto wo Oshieru Hanashi (literally Man Teaches Student to be a Bad Girl) opens up with what looks like Compensated Dating but the man invites the girl to eat a lot of junk food. The title itself is an example as it refers to the man teaching the student to become rebellious.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • In the episode, "Bye Bye Psyduck", Misty's Psyduck appears to have evolved into Golduck, and she has now fallen in love with it. However, at the end of the episode, when she calls Golduck to return into its Pokéball, Psyduck comes out of Misty's backpack proving that it's still Psyduck, and it turns out the Golduck was just a wild Golduck after all.
    • In the Hoenn saga episode "Seeing is Believing", Jessie's Wurmple evolves into a Cascoon... but she thinks it's a Silcoon, and spends over half of the episode refusing to believe any evidence to the contrary, up to and including having May's actual Silcoon for reference. In fact, said Silcoon's evolution into Beautifly only leaves Jessie more determined to prove her point. The trope comes into play when her Cascoon evolves into a Dustox. After Professor Birch explains that it wouldn't have evolved into anything else, it seems like Jessie's about to fly into a rage over this disappointment... and then she immediately starts gushing over her new Dustox, calling it way prettier than May's Beautifly.
    • In episode 133 of the Sun & Moon series, it seems Ash has lost to Hau, and Hau and Decidueye celebrate their victory. It appears Ash won't be going to the semifinals... had it actually been the case. However, Rowlet was just sleeping and is not actually knocked out, thus allowing the battle to continue to decide the real victor of the battle.
    • In the second-to-last episode of Sun & Moon, Ash battles Kiawe for the final time, with Ash using Dusk Form Lycanroc and Kiawe using Charizard. At the end of the battle, both use their Z-Moves and collapse. It appears to be a Double Knockout, and Olivia is about to declare that... only for Lycanroc to rise to its feet, rendering Kiawe's Charizard unable to battle and making Ash the winner.
  • When Kurume meets her crush's younger brother for the first time at work in RaButa, he said that he wanted to tell her something after their shift was over. Cut to him confessing that he's in love with her... best friend.
  • In Ranking of Kings, at first Bosse is introduced as a good dying king, looking out to set his kingdom straight before dies; after his death and apparent resurrection however, several plots start taking action where he isn’t presented as a good man at all. Yet as the story unfolds several pieces are laid on the table to reveal Bosse as not as quite bad as some of his actions imply he is; to say he is a tormented character whom the plot intentionally forces the audience to question is putting it mildly.
  • In superhero manga Shy we get introduced to the hero Stardust with a shot of him sitting Atop a Mountain of Corpses while holding a knife in his hand and with another hero calling him a psycho. Turns out, he was just filming a music video for his new album.
  • Skip and Loafer: Chapter 50 seems to be building up to a love confession from Ujiie to Mitsumi: she suddenly has a montage of moments that could be interpreted as him having an interest in her, and they're alone in the classroom at sunset... only for him to say that it's Yasaka he likes. She's surprised but relieved that she doesn't have to reject her friend.
  • Tamagotchi:
    • Subverted in part one of episode 25 where Memetchi claims to be moving away to another town, but after a lot of minutes, she switches it to a crying sensation.
    • In episode 15 of GO-GO Tamagotchi!, Spaceytchi kidnaps Himespetchi and does something suspiciously resembling Black Comedy Rape to her. It's revealed a second later that he's actually just rubbing her back, but sheesh.
  • One Yona of the Dawn episode has Yona apparently being spotted by an enemy soldier while in hiding. The soldier was just calling for his friend.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light and Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions each have an early scene where Yugi and Kaiba duel ... and after the duel is over, it's revealed to be a simulated duel that Kaiba is studying to prepare himself for the real thing.
  • Yuri!!! on Ice:
    • When Yuri goes back to his old skating rink, he runs into Yuko, his old rinkmate and childhood friend. When thinking about her, he smiles and thinks about how she's "still really cute", and we even get a flashback montage of their relationship together and their mutual admiration of Victor. After he performs Victor's championship free program for Yuko, he looks as if he's about to confess to her... and in pop Axel, Lutz, and Loop, her daughters by their mutual rinkmate Takeshi. It turns out she had settled down in the five years he was away, and he's already seen the kids before. Sometimes boys and girls are just friends.
    • The story of Yuri's Eros program. At first, you'd think that the story represents Victor sweeping Yuri off his feet and then leaving for bigger and better things. Episode 10 shows it's actually the reverse: it was Yuri who initially impressed and charmed Victor while he was drunk, and he "cast him away" not because he was disinterested, but because he doesn't remember what happened that night.
    • In the early episodes, Victor is set up to look somewhat duplicitous, if not outright suspicious. He's seen with Hidden Eyes, Dissonant Serenity shots and many a Cheshire Cat Grin, which would (and did) lead the audience to believe that he was using Yuri to further his skating career and would eventually hurt his protege when this was revealed. As it turns out, nothing could be further from his mind. Victor's not setting up a Xanatos Gambit at all, he's just a Determinator in love, and the crossed wires that make him look suspicious are largely a combination of Unreliable Narrator, Poor Communication Kills and a Forgotten First Meeting. He wasn't using Yuri to further his skating, he was using his skating to get close to Yuri — and even then, he absolutely keeps his word to coach Yuri, with great success.
  • Zombie Land Saga: Twice within the first episode. First Sakura, the protagonist, is cheerfully preparing to head to an idol audition. She heads out of her home ready to take on the world... and is immedietly killed by an oncoming truck. The next few minutes play out like a typical zombie horror story. After Sakura realizes she's a zombie herself and taken back to the manor, the tone changes to be more comedic.

  • While doing a bit about football Robin Williams described quarterbacks as "men with big hands and big feet, and you ladies know what that means. Yes... big gloves and big shoes."
  • Emo Phillips's comedy is based heavily around this trope/paraprosdokians.
  • Groucho Marx was fond of these in his acts.
  • As was Mitch Hedberg. "I haven't slept for ten days, because that would be too long."
  • Anthony Jeselnik loves incorporating these into his comedy, especially if it falls under his trademark Black Comedy.
    "My ex-girlfriend bought a parakeet. Oh my God, that fucking thing never shut up. But the bird was cool."
    "My girlfriend makes me want to be a better person... so I can get a better girlfriend."
    "I've spent the last two years looking for my ex-girlfriend's killer... but no-one will do it."
  • Wendy Liebman is a one-liner comedienne who thrives on this.
    "I married a man with a five-year-old... mentality. And he cooks! Ladies, isn't it sexy when the guy cooks... naked?"
  • Rowan Atkinson's "Fatal Beatings" sketch focuses on a school headmaster, played by Atkinson, with profoundly Skewed Priorities, who seems more interested in the library card system than the fact that he beat a student to death. He informs the bewildered father that he's furious, because he had to cancel afternoon school on Wednesday for the funeral. Then he tells the father he was joking...he wouldn't cancel afternoon school to bury "that little shit".

    Comic Books 
  • A running gag in Batgirl (2011) for a while is Babs's friend Frankie having an idea for her codename as Batgirl's Voice with an Internet Connection, but never getting to say what it is, although on at least one occasion she gets as far as revealing it starts with "O". It eventually turns out to be "Operator", and not the obvious Mythology Gag.
  • Batman: No Man's Land: The first issue has a scene where some thugs are extorting a family as a shadowy figure spies on them from the roof. He swings down on a roof to overpower the thugs, with a fluttering cape. Only it turns out that fluttering cape is a trench coat, and the rescuer isn't Batman, but GCPD cop Bock.
  • Batman: Zero Year: During Phillip and Bruce's second meeting, Phillip urges his nephew to reveal his survival to the world and publicly take over Wayne Enterprises, but Bruce refuses. Earlier, Phillip's Toxic Friend Influence, Nygma, urged him to kill Bruce if he took that view. Phillip then tells Bruce that his nephew has left him no choice, and ominously presses a button on a remote control. However, rather than trigger a trap, or summon an assassin, the button merely turns on the lights, revealing that Phillip has organized a welcome back party to reveal that Bruce is still alive and push him back into public life.
  • Issue 154 of Conan the Barbarian has a treatise on "Caesar's Commentaries on the Gallic War" by Jim Owsley (the assistant editor of the comic)... who soon denounces the book and instead reviews Jaws III. Read it here.
  • Played for Drama during Daredevil's storyline in Original Sin. We're lead to believe that Matt Murdock's father, Jack, was actually an abusive dad all along as Matt's given a brief vision of an angry Jack. Matt confronts his mother about it and finds out oh, no, father was still a loving saint. It was her that was the potential abuser - she was suffering from post-natal depression and tried to kill baby Matt in a depression-induced hallucination, only to snap out of it when she slipped on some spaghetti. The angry look was less of anger and more of protection and confusion.
  • A recurring theme in DC Rebirth has been particularly divergent New 52 versions of characters being replaced or supplemented by more traditional versions (Supes, Wally West, and Lobo being the most notable). So when Superwoman gives us a character who looks and acts a lot like the pre-Flashpoint Maxima declaring that she, not the lesbian from Supergirl (2011), is the true Maxima, it looks like it's happening again. But nope, turns out the supposed "true Maxima" is just a deluded Almeracian who thinks Max is betraying her heritage.
  • Empress: The few times Emporia mentions her past, she talks about how she wasn't proud of how she earned a living or how her sister disapproved of her chosen profession. It's all worded in such a way that we assume she was a waitress (or...something else). And then she breaks Morax's jaw in Issue #7. Surprise! She was actually an undefeated cage fighter.
  • G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero: One Special Missions issue has the Joe team track down a trio of terrorists who have taken over a farmhouse where a family of three lives. During recon, they see an attractive couple in the kitchen with a sinister-looking couple and a man holding a little boy hostage upstairs. They send in Lady J posing as an Avon lady. She speaks to the attractive woman at the door and slips her a message telling her they're coming to rescue them. The woman then shoots her. note  It turns out the attractive couple are the terrorists and the sinister-looking couple are the boy's parents.
  • Injustice: Year Zero opens with Batman lamenting the loss of the Justice Society of America and saying that things might have turned out differently had they still been around when Superman fell from grace. This, coupled with the fact that most of the JSA members don't appear in the Injustice video games, gives off the impression that the team had been Killed Off for Real in this continuity, and that the story would show how they died. In actuality, only the Sandman and Jay Garrick (the original Flash) are killed, while the most of the others are teleported to parts unknown by The Joker. The series ends with the few remaining members of the team heading off into the Multiverse to find their lost friends, explaining why they aren't around in the games.
  • Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four: Issue #17's inside cover shows The Thing with a piece of his rocky skin removed. "What could possibly have broken through the invulnerable skin of the ever-lovin' blue eyed Thing?", it asks us. "Read on to find out!" The cover itself shows the Absorbing Man coming down from above to strike the thing while he's out on a date, and we're led to believe he'll be the one to do it. But then every single attempt by Creel to break the Thing's skin off fails including turning himself into diamond, throwing him into construction equipment and even boiling him alive with lava! So what could possibly make the situation in the inside cover happen if not the Absorbing Man? Well, after Absorbing Man leaves in a huff, he reveals that the girl Ben was dating, Jennifer, got close to him so that she could get a piece of his skin for her company's research, and their entire relationship was a lie. Instead of punching her or anything of the sort, Ben rips a piece of his own skin off and hands it to her, telling her she should have just asked him because he had really thought she was his friend. In the end, there was only one thing that could have pierced the Thing's stone skin... love.
    Mr. Fantastic: Hold still. Let me do a quick health scan.
    The Thing: Don't waste your time... scan ain't gonna pick up where I'm hurt.
  • A very recurrent gag in Spanish comic book Mortadelo y Filemón. Its first story, El Sulfato Atómico, possibly inaugurated the custom.
  • New Super-Man has Anathema hoist the Batman of China over his head and make a big speech about how he's going to...
  • Spider-Man: Life Story: Issue #2 begins with a familiar grave-marking scheme and the dialogue and conversation implies that it's Uncle Ben Peter and Gwen are paying tribute to. It's actually Flash Thompson who is revealed to have been KIA in Vietnam in 1974.
  • Tintin: In one story, Capt. Haddock is having trouble balancing on a bridge, and then there's a splash... because he threw a stone into the river.
  • Ultimatum: If Hela allows Valkyrie to leave the land of the dead, someone has to stay in her place. Captain America tells Thor that he will stay: as far as they know, he's dead, how else can he be there? The focus moves to other parts of the plot, and we get the idea that he's the one who stays. But no: it was Thor who stayed.
  • Ultimate Fantastic Four: "Crossover" starts with Ultimate Reed trying to build an interdimensional gate to what appears to be the Classic Marvel Universe, being helped by his Earth-616 counterpart through some form of interdimensional communicator. At the end of the issue it is revealed to be a ruse from the Zombieverse Reed Richards.
  • Wolverine: Origin has a great example of this, especially in its intial run. The first two issues are centered around the narrator Rose (caretaker of the Delicate and Sickly rich boy James in the manor) meeting and dealing with a troubled boy called Dog who's abusive father Thomas bears a strong resemblance to the titular berserker X-Man. Dog's iconoclastic troublemaker behavior and growing wild bad boy appearance seems to leave little doubt to the first time reader this is Wolverine as a boy. Except he's not, as the Plot Twist in Issue 2# shows James the Lonely Rich Kid is actually Wolverine! Popping his claws for the first time to slay Thomas after the latter killed his father John before doing the Death Wail.

    Comic Strips 
  • A Dilbert strip had Dilbert telling Dogbert about his boss's secretary demanding that he "bring her the head of Willy the mail boy." He sets a bag with a large round bulge on the table...
    Dilbert: What choice did I have? I went bowling.
  • One week's Drabble strips (week of November 13-18 2017) were told as a nightmare Ralph was having of the Abominable Pumpkin-Man. As the week goes on, he tells of the Pumpkin-Man's creation, use as a Halloween decoration, disposal, and apparent rise from the garbage can. In the Friday strip, he hears a knock at the door. On Saturday, he opens it to find...his mother-in-law coming for Thanksgiving.
  • Garfield:
    • In this Sunday story, a dog approaches Garfield, giving the impression he'd maul the cat but then the dog instead invites Garfield for lunch. Garfield commented that "Things aren't always as they seem".
    • Jon asks Odie to guess who's going to the vet. Garfield, believing Odie to be the one, makes up a tale to make the experience seem scary and then Jon reveals that Garfield is the one going to the vet.
  • Philippe Geluck's character Le Chat tends to deliver this kind of humor, like so:
    The optimist sees the glass half full.
    The pessimist sees the glass half empty.
    Yet neither of those two dumbasses wondered why they were only being served half glasses.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Aladdin, Aladdin has Abu reach down and snag a watermelon, but the merchant catches this. We then find out that this was actually meant to be a diversion to the merchant as Aladdin snatched another melon from the cart.
  • In The Black Cauldron, when Creeper informs the Horned King that Taran has escaped, the lich beckons Creeper forward with his finger. Afraid of being choked again as punishment, Creeper starts choking himself, hoping it to suffice. Turns out the Horned King isn't going to punish Creeper and instead orders him to unleash the gwythaints to trail Taran so that the boy can lead them to Hen Wen.
  • In the stinger of Finding Nemo, it looks as though an anglerfish is about to eat a small green fish, but then he eats her instead.
  • Fun and Fancy Free:
    • During the scene where Donald Duck starts losing his mind due to a lack of food, he sees an axe and then looks evilly at Mickey. He goes to get the axe, and then Mickey says, "Donald! No!" It's set up to make you think Donald is going to kill Mickey, but Donald actually went outside to kill the cow.
    • When Willie the Giant makes his first appearance, we first see him in silhouette holding a mace, but when he comes into full view, the mace turns out to actually be a beach ball.
  • The 2019 short film Hair Love features a dad learning from a hair blog how to do his daughter Zuri's hair. The woman running the blog is Zuri's mother. The film at first seems to imply that she has died, and Zuri wants to do her hair up in memory of her. The end of the film reveals that Zuri just wanted to look nice because today is the day they pick her mom up at the hospital after her final chemotherapy treatment. The end credits show the mother's hair growing back, and dad has joined her hair blog.
  • Incredibles 2: Talking to Bob, Helen and Lucius about putting heroes back into the spotlight, Winston Deavor appears at first to be building up to having Bob as their public figure... only to choose Helen as their best option.
  • Justice Society: World War II: It is revealed in the opening exposition that the Nazis have conquered most of Europe, including Russia, in addition to the Nazis having an interest in magical artifacts. We also later see that they have access to advanced technology that shouldn't have been possible for humanity at the time. Given the frequency of the trope in most Flash stories, it initially seems that Flash traveling back in time has changed the timeline and that he needs to Set Right What Once Went Wrong... and then it turns out it's actually an Alternate Universe, which we find out when Flash meets their version of Superman. Meanwhile, the advanced technology actually came from Atlantis, and the Advisor's interest in magical artifacts is what led him there.
  • Kung Fu Panda:
    • Double Subversion: After suffering through one mishap after another that prevents him from getting into the tournament theater to see his favorite kung fu fighters in action, Po throws all caution to the winds, ties himself to a chair with hundreds of fireworks bound onto it, and prepares to light the fuse. His (adoptive) father shows up, incredulously demanding what he's doing. Admitting that he does not dream of making noodles, he lights the fuse and lets out a proud, reveling crow that he loves kung fu... only to have the fireworks do nothing, apparently duds. His dreams crushed, he sadly takes his apron to go back to work—only to have the fireworks go off after all.
    • Later, when Po is talking to his goose father about how he doesn't want to work in the family noodle shop and comments about how sometimes he doesn't even think they're related. His father says there's something he needs to know, and everyone watching expects him to explain about how he's really adopted. He tells him how to make his secret ingredient soup. Cue laughter (and the epiphany that allows Po to tap into his true potential).
  • The LEGO Movie: Emmet gets tricked with this by Bad Cop during their Perp Sweating scene:
    Good Cop: Hi buddy! I'm your friendly neighborhood police officer! Would you like a glass of water?
    Emmet: Yeah. Yeah, actually.
    [Good Cop switches to his Bad Cop Personality]
    Bad Cop: Too bad! [punts the cup off the table but misses Emmet completely]
  • Monsters, Inc.:
    • The opening scene shows a monster sneaking up in a kid's bedroom. As the monster prepares to roar and looks menacing, the kid screams, which causes the monster to scream back and accidentally cause himself Amusing Injuries. The scene turns out to just be a training simulation.
    • This is a Running Gag with Mike. At the beginning of the movie, Mike and Sulley are excited to see a new commercial for their company. When they finally appear on screen, the Monsters, Inc. logo appears covering up nearly Mike's entire body. When the commercial ends, Mike stares in shock for a while and says, "I can't believe it." After another pause, he jumps for joy shouting, "I was on TV!". The same gag is repeated again at the end of the film. Mike sees a new magazine with him and Sulley on the front cover, but Mike's face is being covered by the barcode. He responds by saying, "I can't believe it... I'm on the front cover of a magazine!"
      • This gets a Call-Forward in Monsters University; when Mike gets his College ID, he sees that the top of his head is barely visible, prompting "I can't believe it...I'm officially a college student!"
    • There's a scene where Sully tries to hide from Randall. Randall makes this face of shock as if he thought he heard something, but really, he made that face because he felt a sneeze coming on.
  • In My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks, there's a scene where it seems like Flash is going to punch Snips. Turns out all he is doing is grabbing his cup to get more punch.
  • In Penguins of Madagascar, the Penguins' break-in into Fort Knox. At first, you would think they were after the gold in the facility, but in reality, they were really after a bag of rare cheesy snacks for Private's birthday. Skipper even says a line that heavily implies that they were after the former.
  • Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Candace Against the Universe:
    • When Super Super Big Doctor says that she will take care of the gang when Candace doesn't want to leave, the guard leads them to a nice room, causing the group to think that they will be treated well. It's actually a trap. After standing on a trap door, they are thrown into a prison truck.
    • Also, at the end, Stacy encourages Candace to finally bust the boys once and for all, but once Candace gets to Mom, her wicked witch theme plays forebodingly, before telling her mom to get some pizza for dinner.
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: Olivia seems like a standard dorky scientist and Ignored Expert held in thrall to her evil boss, the Kingpin himself. Then she meets a Peter Parker from an alternate dimension, and she says she's going to enjoy watching him disintegrate. She drops her labcoat, revealing her armor and the fact that she is this dimension's version of Doctor Octopus.
  • Tangled:
    • When Flynn sees his face on a wanted poster, he responds to it negatively. Not because he’s a wanted man, but because the artist didn’t get his nose right!
    • Flynn and Rapunzel enter what appears to be a Bad-Guy Bar. Rapunzel, who has been overly sheltered for the first 18 years of her life, attempts to leave the bar, and Flynn follows her, but the regulars at the bar immediately recognize Flynn as a wanted criminal and hold him hostage while one of them goes to find the guards. Rapunzel orders them to put Flynn down, asking, "Haven't any of you had a dream?" One particularly scary man stomps over to Rapunzel with his axe... to tell Rapunzel that he does have a dream. He then throws his axe into the wall, signaling a musical number where each regular professes his "dream".
  • In The Three Caballeros, there is a part where Donald Duck misses a chance at kissing Ya-Ya because she was distracted by a guy selling oranges. Donald gets jealous and is about to go beat him up, but Jose pulls him away telling him to take it easy, and then... he gives Donald a mallet! (Which Donald could use to smash the oranges the guy is carrying overhead.)
  • In Turning Red, during the epilogue, Ming expresses disapproval over Mei going out with panda ears and a tail to which Mei retorts that it's her choice indicating they are not back to being on good terms. Mei then drops the attitude, hugs Ming and she hugs her back showing they are on good terms after all.
  • Up: It's hinted that Russell's Disappeared Dad will finally show up at the ceremony if Russell gets his final Wilderness Explorer badge, but when Russell is at the ceremony in the second-to-last scene, right when we're all set to see a heartwarming redemption/family bonding scene... his dad still never shows. Carl comes up to do it instead.
  • Your Name: In the last part, there's a moment where Taki and Mitsuha walk past each other, take turns to turn as if recognising the other, but then ultimately walking off. It looks like it will happen a second time the very last moments of the film, complete with the sad ending theme playing... And just when viewers familiar with Shinkai's work think he's going to pull his usual did not get together thing, they do eventually sort of recognise each other at the end.
  • Zootopia:
    • Happens twice during Judy's first bullpen meeting as ZPD's very first rabbit officer. Before the meeting starts, Chief Bogo wants to acknowledge the elephant in the room...Francine, in order to wish her a happy birthday. The second item actually is the fact that they have their very first rabbit officer... but he doesn't care.
    • When Judy shows a yak a picture of an otter that she and Nick are trying to track down, the yak lets out a gasp... but that gasp was only the lead up to a sneeze.
    • In the climax when Bellwether strikes Nick with a night howler pellet, he goes savage, advances toward Judy menacingly and bites her... then she fakes death as it's revealed they faked it to trick Bellwether into revealing her scheme.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Some horror films have the protagonist(s) hide somewhere before their chaser enters the same room and sees 1 or more hiding places. The camera pans on the protagonist(s) before (s)he opens it/them, only to find that it's/they're empty and leaves. The protagonist(s) are revealed to be hiding in another of those hiding spots in a different location.
    • Subverted in the "Epic Tales of Captain Underpants" episode "The Costly Conundrum of The Clamitus claylossis" where George and Harold hide from Bo Hweemuth in one of 3 bathroom stalls. Bo kicks open the first 2, then approaches the 3rd one, where the boys are ACTUALLY hiding. For some reason, though, he leaves immediately, which George and Harold question.
  • In The Addams Family, Morticia stops Wednesday when she sees her carrying a carving knife. She asks if that is for her brother, to which she nods. Morticia then says, “I don’t think so.” She takes the knife away from Wednesday and gives her an even bigger blade!
  • Quite cruelly used in The Artist. Near the end of the film, George's depression has reached its peak and he prepares to shoot himself. Realizing his intentions, Peppy races after him in her car, despite not knowing how to drive. The scene cuts back and forth between George and Peppy, ultimately ending on George with the gun in his mouth as he tenses up to pull the trigger, and the film cuts to a title card reading "BANG!" Immediately after that, we see Peppy's car crashed into a lamppost and George looking up to see what made that racket.
  • Batman (1989) begins with a family walking through the streets of Gotham when they're accosted by muggers in an alley. This seems to be showing the tragic origins of Batman/Bruce Wayne, but instead, the muggers get away without killing anyone and shortly after, we see Batman swooping in and subduing the muggers.
  • Berkshire County: When Kylie is running to the street, she finds Marcus and tries to hitch a ride with him. When she tells him about the intruders, he asks "Why do you think I came all the way out here?"... then laughs, revealing he was messing with her.
  • In Blazing Saddles, one of this jokes is done when Bart says, "Excuse me while I whip this out," then proceeds to reach for a speech letter in his pocket, while the townsfolk gasp and cower in fear, thinking he's going to whip something else out instead.
  • Cain Hill: The opening shot of the movie is of a woman hiding from the killer, only to be found and attacked... then it reveals that it was a scene of a movie being shot.
  • The trappers in Cannibal! The Musical boast in song about their superiority to the prospectors. After a few verses of increasingly graphic descriptions of how they brutalize animals, the prospectors finally interrupt with disgust with how badly off key one of the trappers is singing.note 
  • Christmas Blood: In one scene after it's established that the Santa Claus killer has broken out of prison, Ritika goes into the kitchen to get a drink for her friends. When she turns around, there's someone in a creepy Santa suit standing right behind her, causing her to scream. She then starts berating the person, who turns out to be Elisabeth, for scaring her.
  • Clownface: Near the beginning, when Zoe is alone in her apartment, resting on her bed, a man in dark clothes climbs in through her window and handcuffs her. The man takes off his mask, and reveals he's Zoe's boyfriend who's come to take part in sexy role-playing.
  • Done to amazingly powerful effect in The Dark Knight when the Joker has taken two boats hostage (one carrying a group of random citizens, the other a group of prison inmates), wired each boat with explosives, and given each the detonator to the other's ship, telling them that if they don't blow up the other ship before time runs out, he'll destroy both boats. While the clock is running down, a very unnerved guard on the prison boat is approached by a huge, menacing Scary Black Man inmate, demanding that he give him the detonator. When he tells the guard "Give it to me, and I'll do what you should have done ten minutes ago", the desperate guard hands the detonator over to the inmate...who tosses it out the open window, and then calmly sits down with the other inmates as they all gather together and quietly wait to be killed.
  • In Dead of Night, ventriloquist Maxwell Frere (Michael Redgrave) has his puppet, "Hugo", bow out with the words, "Good night, sleep tight, wake up sober."
  • In Eat 2014, after Novella's stress-induced Autocannibalism is established, a handsome doctor she met at a club asks her out to dinner. The next shot is of her tearing a mouthful of meat with her teeth, leading the audience to believe she was having another attack, only to reveal that she accepted his dinner date and is eating the food she ordered.
  • Entrapment: When Gin calls Hector from Scotland, Mac is seen listening in on Gin's call, showing that he knows what she is really up to. When she returns to the castle, there is a creepy scene in which Mac leaves signs directing Gin to the castle roof. He then says that he never comes on to the roof without dropping something off, leaving the audience to expect him to push Gin off. Instead, he drops a drinking glass to the ground, and says absolutely nothing about Gin's underhand doings. He brutally interrogates Gin about it just after they have completed the mask heist.
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has a plot point that an Obscurus is Powered by a Forsaken Child. At one point, Graves is speaking to Credence, saying that it is coming from his house. The viewer will likely deduce that child in his house is Modesty, who has been giving sinister glances to the camera the whole film and even has a wand under her bed. As it turns out, it's actually Credence.
  • The Final Destination movies like to do this with their various setpieces, showing a number of different ways a freak accident could kill the various characters for maximum Paranoia Fuel, only for something else entirely to take them out. A seasoned viewer knows full well that someone will likely die; the fun is finding out how.
  • Flight of the Navigator does this three times with the reveal of the spaceship:
    • The opening shot shows a saucer flying through the air over the city. As it flies, a dog jumps up and snatches it out of the air. It's a frisbee.
    • A few minutes later, David talks with his family and a giant shadow comes over them. They all look up. It's a blimp.
    • Later, David goes to get his brother from a friend's house. As he walks through the woods, we see another saucer. A few seconds later, we see it entirely. It's a water tower.
  • The trailer for Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan opens on a pan to a character standing before a view of New York, giving an impression of a different kind of film. Only for the character to turn around to reveal himself as Jason Voorhees, and murder will ensue soon in a theater near you!
  • The Fugitive:
    • After Kimble's dive off the dam, Kimble is seen walking down a road at night. A woman stops and offers to give him a ride. Kimble climbs in and the car drives off. We then cut to the U.S. Marshal's office in Downtown Chicago where Cosmo Renfro tells Gerard, "Yes! All right, Sammy, we've got him - shacked up with some babe over in Whiting", and Deputy Erin Poole replies, "She left work tonight and took him home." We are led to think that Gerard and his men have received a tip about Kimble's whereabouts and they're on their way to grab him. The next morning, they storm the house, and it's revealed that the tip was actually about Copeland, the other fugitive who survived the train wreck alongside Kimble. He is shot by Gerard after he tries to take Newman hostage. The "babe" that Cosmo was referring to was the girlfriend hiding Copeland.
    • An extremely quick one when Kimble first returns to Chicago; the first car he sees is a police car which startles him with its lights and siren, but it has nothing to do with Richard.
    • Later, Kimble is having another dream about his wife when he wakes up, hearing cars screeching to a stop outside. He looks out and sees a Chicago Police Department tactical assault team advancing on the house. He panics, thinking that the police have come for him. He follows the noises of the officers as they search the house. He breathes a sigh of relief as he realizes that the police are actually there to arrest a pair of drug dealers who live upstairs. Unfortunately, one of the dealers, once in custody, rats on Kimble upon recognizing his picture on a Wanted poster.
    • Dr. Alec Lentz is set up to be the Big Bad of the movie and orchestrator of Kimble's downfall. However, we learn halfway through the film that Lentz was killed in a car crash soon after Kimble's incarceration, and that the real villain was Dr. Charles Nichols.
  • Ghost Note: Late in the movie, there's a scene where Mallory is alone in a room when a light flickers, and an incessant tapping noise starts up. Thinking it might be Eugene Burns, she shouts at it to go away. When it doesn't stop, she tearfully begs it to, puts her hands over her ears, and sits down. Then she asks "What do you want from me!?"... then the movie cuts to a shot of her grandmother.
    Grandma: I just wanted to make sure you were okay.
  • Ghosts of War: Near the start of the movie, Chris sees someone standing in the trees, who takes a smoke. The unseen person tosses their smoke aside and takes out a pistol. Chris grabs his own and aims it at him. He looks again... and the man is gone. Of course, then we find out in the end it's probably a representation of the terrorist leader who had the Helwig family killed.
  • The Gillymuck: The girl who finds the Gillymuck says this.
    Girl: You're... ...Beautiful.
  • At the end of Girls Just Want to Have Fun, it looks like the Spoiled Brat won the contest, but the announcer was just stating it was a tie.
  • Green Room: The entire setup in the basement against the remaining two Red Laces, but most notable is Amber apparently jumping down. The skinhead fires his last shell, knee-capping her, throws the shotgun away and runs for the pistol, only to find that the body belongs to Emily and the gun has the magazine removed, while Amber smiles in his face from the top.
  • Gunless: Upon leaving a store, Sean is faced with three armed men who have found out he is the Montana Kid. It seems like they are going to try and kill or capture him for the bounty but it turns out they just wanted to meet him as he is the only recently interesting thing to happen to the town. Sean is actually disappointed by this as he is accustomed to wild west call outs and was expecting to have a gun fight.
  • The Hangover: While trying to retrace their steps, the guys head over to an impound lot to retrieve their car. As it's being driven out, they brace and look away, expecting the worst, only to turn out that it's in perfect condition. The car does end up getting wrecked later on, though.
  • The Hobbit: While wandering around the Woodelves' halls, Bilbo thinks Thranduil is speaking to him despite having the ring on, only for Tauriel to show up from behind him.
  • At the end of Hot Fuzz. After the naval mine explodes in the police station, Angel is seen cradling wounded Danny, then the film cuts to Angel visiting a gravestone with the name "Butterman". Angel says "the village is the way you'd like". Turns out, it's the grave of Danny's mother, whose suicide inspired the whole conspiracy, and Danny is standing behind Angel.
  • The opening scene of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. A couple of boy scouts in rural Utah wander off from their troop, go exploring in a cave and find a shady archeological dig, supervised by a man in a familiar fedora and leather jacket. You'd think it's a typical Indiana Jones setup, but it turns out the guy in the fedora is a random treasure hunter. Then one of the boy scouts addresses the other as "Indiana". Only then is the date revealed: it's 1912, and so the scene is a flashback to Indy's youth.
    • The script also makes it explicit that from the first few Establishing Shots of the landscape, we're expected to assume the troop of boy scouts is actually some sort of cavalry procession (though it's not obvious if Spielberg exactly followed through with this idea).
  • The alternate opening of Iron Man 2 begins with the usual Marvel Comics logo and studio credits, albeit overlaid with sounds of Tony gasping and crying out in utter agony. When we finally cut to Tony, he's completely wasted and face-first in a toilet; in full armor, no less. He also asks Pepper for medicine. She says she has Motrin. He says "I'm telling you, there's something seriously wrong... with giving a grown man Motrin."
    • In the actual movie, Tony hops out of a military cargo plane, and flies through enemy Anti-Air fire to a building on the ground. Then he lands... on a stage, to kick off the Stark Expo. Turns out the "enemy fire" was actually "fireworks".
  • Jurassic Park (1993): The film begins with a crowd of heavily armed park workers waiting in nervous anticipation as something large crashes its way through the jungle brush towards them. In the context of the premise, we're obviously led to think it's a dinosaur, but it turns out to be a forklift (carrying a cage with a dinosaur in it).
  • Jurassic World starts off with the Indominus rex and her sibling hatching from their eggs, cutting to a scaly foot dramatically stomping on the ground... only to zoom out to show it was just a small bird (an obvious nod to the fact birds are true modern dinosaurs).
  • Kild TV: Early in the movie, we see a woman watching Dr. Perseco's Late Night Horror in her home. She's jumped by someone who starts stabbing her. She manages to throw him off her, and we see it was her husband playing a joke on her.
  • Kruel: More than one switch in this, actually. In one scene, Jo goes out for a morning jog, during which a car starts following her. At first, it seems that the car's going to run her over, but it stops when she looks back at it. The driver comes out and asks her for directions to find a road he's looking for, and brings out a map so she can point it out for him. She points on the paper... and the guy grabs and attacks her with something.
  • In Layer Cake, there's a variation on the Mirror Scare where the main character, in the middle of an angst-riddled drug- and whisky-fuelled freak out, opens the mirrored bathroom cabinet, music builds and then as he closes it the action suddenly cuts to the next morning, with the character neatly dressed and his problems resolved. It's a very powerful cut, subverting expectations at a moment of high drama.
  • In La Llorona, Natalia sees Alma holding Sara's head under the water in the sink and thinks that Alma is trying to drown Sara, when in reality she's just helping Sara practice holding her breath.
  • In The Little Rascals, Spanky and his gang set up their own version of “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not” to try to raise money. Spanky claims one of the exhibits to be “The Man-Eating Chicken”. Though, this actually is one of the kids dressed like a chef with a big goofy mustache who is eating out of a bucket of chicken. So it wasn’t a man-eating chicken, it was a “man eating chicken”!
  • Main Street Meats: When Neddy is returning to the butcher shop with some meat, he gets pulled over by the sheriff. The sheriff asks if Neddy knows why he pulled him over, Neddy can only shake his head. The sheriff says he pulled him over because he... wanted to shake his hand for his excellent meat.
  • The Masque of the Red Death: Julianna approaches Francesca in a sinister manner and talks about how she is giving her soul to Satan and wants Prospero for herself in a scene that seems to be setting up a Murder the Hypotenuse attempt. Then, Julianna instead offers Francesca a means to escape the castle with her captive loved ones, choosing to remove her as a competitor through nonviolent means.
  • One of the few notable things about the Eddie Murphy movie Metro is the bait and switch the writers pull on the usual "character opens mirror cabinet, and someone pops up in the reflection when s/he closes it" trope (and they do it twice). Details.
  • Mission: Impossible – Fallout:
    • After the three canisters of plutonium are stolen Ethan is shown listening to news reports of nuclear devastation in Rome, Mecca and Jerusalem, but they turn out to be fake news broadcasts being used for a classic IMF con to make the bombmaker think his Evil Plan has succeeded.
    • The finale has you think that Lane and Walker's nuclear bombs went off when the entire screen suddenly cuts to white, and Ethan is blinded by a flash of light. However, it turns out that it's just glare from the sun and not a nuclear explosion.
  • My Little Sister: At one point, a shot of Tom and Sheila together in the woods has someone's leg with an axe next to it in the foreground. At first it seems like Little Sister found them, and Tom and Sheila look in the leg's direction... and we see Ben, holding an axe, telling them to leave the woods.
  • Nope:
    • The first thirty or so seconds of the trailer seems like a dramedy about the film industry, with the brother and sister that own the ranch set to butt heads over business... and then the lights go out...
    • Rather than a ship with aliens inside, Jean Jacket is itself an alien. As such, there is no traditional Alien Invasion that one might expect from glimpses of the trailers.
    • Right when they are about to start their plan at the climax a man in black on a motorcycle approaches the house. He speaks cryptically about the ranch's proximity to Jupiter's Claim, the cloud not moving, and the area being blurry on google maps appearing to be a government agent. Then he pulls out a camera asking if Em wants to be famous revealing that he's actually a TMZ reporter.
  • One, Two, Three opens with one of these. James Cagney starts talking how the world was looking to Washington, D.C. on August the 13th of 1961... for a sports game. Oh, BTW, on the same day the Commies built the Berlin Wall.
  • One scene in Operation Crossbow has aviatrix Hanna Reitsch testing a piloted version of the V-1 missile to find out why they keep veering off course and crashing, a task said to have already killed several other test pilots. When her own V-1 suddenly veers to the right, the scene cuts from the cockpit to a control bunker as her radio transmissions start to break up, then to a row of recently dug graves, a flag-draped coffin resting atop the newest one... just before her aircraft soars overhead.
  • Paranormal Asylum: When Mark is being approached by the ghosts of orderlies, while the door he could escape through is locked, he throws up his hands to shield himself from any attack they have for him. The orderly ghosts pass through him.
  • Playing With Dolls: After the woman who shows Cindy the ropes of her new job leaves, we hear her scream, implying the killer's already gotten to her. The movie then cuts to inside the house, showing her exceedingly happy, indicating it was really a scream of joy.
  • Pokémon Detective Pikachu:
    • Tim tries to pass off a desk stapler as a handgun when he hears an intruder in his apartment. The lighting, sound effects, and Tim's posture almost make it look like one... until he unfolds it. Detective Pikachu isn't fooled for a second.
    • If you weren't aware of who's voicing him or what Detective Pikachu sounds like in the source game, you'd expect him to be voiced by Ikue Otani... only to be greeted by the completely different-sounding Ryan Reynolds. If you're not Tim, or Harry is not in Pikachu’s body, then you'll hear Ikue.
    • The ending shows Tim sitting on a bench. Detective Pikachu's voice calls to him and we see a familiar Pikachu in a detective hat, implying Harry's stuck a Pikachu. ...But further pan out shows Harry distinctly standing beside Pikachu.
  • At the end of Rags, after Andrew successfully tricks everyone into thinking he's Rags and Charlie sadly tries to walk out for good, Kadee asks him to stay so she can introduce Rags. Andrew arrogantly goes up on stage... but Kadee tells him she's looking for the real Rags, and calls Charlie up to the stage instead.
  • Scarred: In one scene, Tiny wanders around inside a dilapidated house for a bit. When she exits, she's confronted by Jonah Kandie. There's a tense moment between the two... and the she smiles. Jonah even picks her up and sets her on his shoulder.
  • The Shawshank Redemption does one of these. Andy finds a grub of some sort in his first prison meal. As he's examining it, he has the following conversation with Brooks, a crusty old con who's been in prison for 50 years and may or may not have a few screws loose:
    Brooks: Are you going to eat that?
    Andy: Wasn't planning on it.
    Brooks: [holds his hand out] Do you mind?
    [Andy hands it over skeptically]
    Brooks: [with a satisfied smile] Ahh, that's nice and ripe.
    [he opens his jacket and feeds it to a baby raven in his pocket]
    Brooks: Jake says "Thank you."
    • Another masterful example comes up during the climax. After Warden Norton has Tommy executed to keep a highly skilled accountant under his nose, Andy hits his Despair Event Horizon and begins contemplating suicide, much to Red and his friends' horror. While Red and others plan to stop Andy from carrying out his suicide, Andy is revealed to have escaped from Shawshank Prison, having fooled his friends as a necessary part of his plan. Turns out Andy was digging a hole in his cell for the last 19 years, and just said 'Screw it!' as he made his escape in the night, finally getting his happy ending he long since deserved.
  • Short Time: The climactic scene on a scaffold ends with Burt (the hero, wrongly thinking it's his Last Day to Live) falling off. Then it cuts to the funeral of a man, "who served the city well" as the priest says. Half a minute later Burt is shown, telling his son the deceased was the terminally ill bus driver (who got his urine sample swapped with Burt's, making Burt risk his life to get insurance).
  • Small Soldiers: When the scientist played by Robert Picardo mentions a flaw in the X-1000 AI chips, the toy company reps immediately assume the AIs Turned Against Their Masters. The scientist sighs and reveals that the chips were vulnerable to EMP, and the project was shelved because no-one wanted to pay for EMP shielding.
  • Space Jam: A New Legacy: When the TuneSquad is in a slump during the game, Sylvester comes in and announces that he found Michael Jordan to assist them in the big game. LeBron James and the other Looney Tunes get excited that they'll have His Airness help them like they did in the previous film...only for it to be Michael B. Jordan.
  • Stargate: Continuum: There's a bit during Baal's introduction as the newly self-appointed emperor of the entire Goa'uld Domain where he shouts "Bring in the prisoner!", succeeded by the camera following Teal'c walking into the throne room and positioned in a way that implies Teal'c has been captured by Baal's forces. Die-hard fans of the shows should already notice things are up because Teal'c actually has Baal's golden sigil engraved on his forehead, not that of his former master Apophis. Indeed, Apophis is the real prisoner, who has been captured by Teal'c after he defected to Baal.
  • Star Wars:
    • Rogue One: During a battle, Jyn reflexively shoots an Imperial droid, then looks in shock when she believes she shot K-2SO. As the droid falls, the actual K-2SO walks around a corner, asking if she knew that wasn't him.
    • The Rise of Skywalker: The first trailer ends with Luke's voiceover reassuringly saying that "No one's ever really gone"... followed by the distinctive Evil Laugh of Emperor Palpatine, who's supposed to have been dead for decades.
  • Strippers Vs. Werewolves: In one scene, Franklyn and Dani are approached by a trio of dangerous-looking teenagers before it cuts away to another scene with the werewolf pack. When we get back to Franklyn, it's revealed he hired the teenagers to deal with the car containing the dead werewolf's body.
  • The Swarm (2020): In one scene, Laura is watching a video by a kid named Kevin. In it, Kevin announces his intention to eat a locust crepe made by Laura's family. He lifts up a crepe covered in worms to show it off. He raises it to his open mouth... and then throws it to the ground, deriding it and making fun of Laura's family.
  • Talk Radio: While talking to a Neo-Nazi on the air, Barry tells a very sincere story about visiting the site of a concentration camp and finding a Star of David pendant that maybe belonged to a young boy, and that he kept it and holds it to try to give himself some of that boy's courage. Just when it seems he's finally being honest, the camera pans down and shows Barry's desk has no pendant and he's holding a coffee mug.
  • Provided the viewer knew nothing about the film, or the franchise in general, the first part of Terminator 2: Judgment Day has one. Two people time-travel to 90s L.A.. There's the T-800, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, i.e. the villain of the first film, who marches into a biker bar, and violently takes clothes from some bikers, the whole scene showing that it's an obvious Terminator. Meanwhile, the T-1000, played by Robert Patrick, attacks a police officer and (apparently) takes his clothes. Up until the two meet, the T-1000 acts much more human, though something seems off about his behavior. Then they meet... and it turns out they're both Terminators, with this T-800 being the one from the Resistance and the T-1000 being the one sent by Skynet.
  • They Came Together: When Joel breaks up with Tiffany for the second time, Tiffany tries to get one back at Joel and tells him that she "always faked it." Joel and the audience, naturally, assume she's talking about faking her orgasms, but Tiffany, instead, reveals herself to having secretly been Judge Judy wearing a latex mask the entire time. Judge Judy insists the orgasms were, indeed, real.
  • Troll (1986): Peter asks the lady he spent the night with how she would feel about having breakfast. She smiles and says she would like that. But then he clarifies: He expects her to make them breakfast. She is not amused.
  • In the last scene of Twins (1988), when the mother notes "I just can't get over how alike they are", the camera cuts to Julius and Vincent but then pans down to the twin babies in the buggies.
  • In UHF, one of Fletcher's men enters the boardroom wearing a cowboy hat with various medallions and beads on it. He tells Fletcher that U62 is gaining popularity only to be shooed out by him. As he's leaving, Fletcher tells him "And take that ridiculous looking thing off!" So, he stops and takes off his moustache.
  • The Wasteland (2021): After the wounded soldier is brought into Salvador's, Lucia's, and Diego's house, he picks up Diego's rifle. He's then seen pointing it at Lucia and Diego, like he's going to shoot them... and then he turns the gun on himself, and pulls the trigger.
  • Werewolves Within: When Finn and Cecily decide it's time to leave Emerson Flint's home, they find the door won't open. Then Emerson starts walking toward them with his arm outstretched. It seems he's making a move to kill them, then he reaches and unbolts the latch on the door.
  • The Widow (2020): Near the start of the movie, the rescue team, including newcomer Nika, are treating a screaming man's broken leg in a cave. Nika feels overwhelmed and lacks the necessary tools needed to treat the wound, and then she's informed the man is dead. She looks at him... and he moves, and it's revealed it was all a training excersize. They all decide to move on to the "carrying the corpse" portion of the excersize with the still-alive guy.
  • Wonder Woman: While Steve is standing naked talking to Diana after bathing, she lowers her eyes and asks, "What's that?" He hems and haws for a few seconds before realizing that she's asking about his watch.
  • World War Z:
    • While at a supermarket trying to find medicine for his asmathic daughter, Gerry comes across a threatening-looking man with a gun. At first it looks like he's going to hurt them, but he simply asks what Gerry's looking for, gives him the medicine, and even recommends one they haven't tried before.
    • In the same supermarket, Gerry ends up killing a man in self-defense. A cop spots them, and Gerry and his wife put their hands up in surrender, but the cop rushes past them and grabs supplies like all the other looters.
  • Wyatt Earp: When Virgil Earp returns from The American Civil War in a wagon, he says he brought his brother James back with him, then looks back at the bed of the wagon, as if to imply that James is dead and Vigil is bringing his body home. Then James sits up, having merely lied down to fall asleep while Virgil drove the wagon.
  • The final scene of X-Men: Days of Future Past sets you up to believe that it's a Call-Forward tying in to previous, chronologically later movies, but switches gears at the last second. Wolverine's past self has been recovered by William Stryker, apparently setting up his involvement with Weapon X. Then we find out Stryker is actually Mystique in disguise.
  • In Pushing Tin, Nick arrives home to find his wife Connie in tears. She says, "I was just explaining to Theresa and Nicky what it means that Daddy won't be around anymore." Nick thinks she found out that he had sex with Mary and is going to kick him out, but she actually means that her father died.

  • It's at least Older Than Print. A tenth-century joke found in Britain goes What hangs at a man's thigh and wants to poke the hole that it's often poked before? A key.
  • There are several infamous jokes that are extremely lengthy stories that wind up leading up to a very misleading punchline. The Pink Gorilla joke is probably the most infamous.
  • A couple go to the doctor for bedroom troubles. The doctor gives them a jar for a semen sample and tells them to come back in a week. One week later, the couple returns. "Well doc, it's worse than either of us thought. I gave it my best, first with one hand, then both, then my wife joined in, we tried sticking it in a door, with a bottle opener, a meat cleaver, even the dog chewed on it for a while... all that, and we still didn't manage to get this damn bottle open!"
  • Ask someone "Have you heard the one about the pervert with a micropenis and a talent for bait-and-switch?" When they inevitably say no, act like you're going to whisper the punchline in their ear, and then lick their ear.
  • A lot of the "dad jokes" the Game Grumps come up with contain this. "Why does Michael J. Fox make the best milkshakes? Because he uses the finest ingredients".
  • A pretty young virgin with a fear of flying has to go on an important business trip where she has no choice but to travel by air. Despite her fear, she reluctantly agrees. While on board her flight, the captain warns them about some bad weather up ahead, and soon they're experiencing absolutely terrible turbulence. The poor young woman is terrified for her life, convinced she's going to die a virgin, and eventually she can't take it anymore. She stands up in her seat and shouts "My god, I'm twenty-three years old and still a virgin! I don't want to die without anyone ever having made me feel like a woman! Is there anyone on this plane who can make me feel like a woman." The other passengers stare at her in shocked silence, all except for one man, who stands up. "I can make you feel like a woman", says the handsome stranger, who's six feet tall with huge muscles and dark flowing hair, and starts walking down the aisle towards her. "Know how I can make you feel like a real woman?" As he's walking, he starts taking his shirt off, then his pants. The young woman can barely contain herself as the smoldering, half-naked hunk walks up to her, hands her his clothes, and says "Iron these."
  • Thanks to the power of Anti-Humor, "A man walks into a bar" jokes have plenty of bait-and-switch subsects:
    • Punchlines of the "...and says 'ouch!'" variety, implying he hit himself on a literal bar.
    • No banter with the bar patrons, the man just does his usual routine and leaves.
    • A serious bar room scene follows.
    • Using other definitions of "bar" as a punchline, such transitioning into an Evil Lawyer Joke (as in "legal profession") or eating it (as in "candy").
  • A professor of anatomy looks around the lecture hall for a victim and selects the most timid and virginal Shrinking Violet he can see.
    "Young lady! Perhaps you can tell us which part of the human body can expand to eight times its size when aroused?"
    The poor girl blushes furiously and manages to stammer out that she doesn't know.
    "On the contrary, you think you know but dare not say it. Unfortunately, you are wrong: First of all, the body part in question is the pupil. Second of all, you have a very dirty mind. Third of all... you are going to be so very disappointed on your wedding night."
  • What starts with F and ends with -UCK? "Firetruck".
  • John took a trip to Germany and met Heidi. After a whirlwind romance, the two got married and Heidi moved back to New York with John. However, while John was fluent in German, Heidi didn't speak a word of English. Still, she decided to try living in America while trying to learn the language. A couple of days after they moved in together, they decided on having rump roast for dinner. Heidi went to the local butcher, but was unable to remember the correct words. So, she patted her rear end and luckily, the butcher understood what she meant. A couple of nights later, John and Heidi decided on chicken breasts for dinner. Heidi went back to the butcher and again was unable to remember the correct words. She cupped her hands over her breasts and the butcher luckily understood what she meant again. A couple of nights later, they decided on sausages for dinner. Heidi went back to the butcher and again couldn't remember the correct words. She thought about it, went home, got John, and brought him back to the butcher. Then she got him to place the order. He speaks English, remember?
  • What's something long and hard that you suck on? A candy cane.
  • "When he first saw the Titanic set sail, my grandfather wasted no time telling everybody around him that it was going to sink. And he only stopped after staff kicked him out of the movie theater."
  • "My cousin has the heart of a lion and a permanent ban from the zoo."
    • A variant: "My doctor has the hands of a pianist... in a jar of formaldehyde on his desk."
    • Horror writer Robert Bloch once said, "I have the heart of a small boy. I keep it in a jar, on my desk."
  • A little boy asks his mother what it means when one person sleeps on top of another. His mother replies that it's called "sexual intercourse". The boy talks to his uncle, then comes back to his mother and says, "You're wrong— it's not called sexual intercourse; it's called bunkbeds."
  • A nun and a priest are camping in the middle of nowhere, but the nun keeps getting cold and asking for blankets. Eventually, the priest says, "Seeing as no one's around, I think we should act as though we're married." The nun agrees, and the priest says, "Get your own blanket, you cow!".
  • Two nuns named Sister Mathematical and Sister Logical are out on a walk, when a pervert begins following them. They split up, and Sister Logical arrives late to the convent. Sister Mathematical asks her what happened, and Sister Logical replies that she pulled her habit up, he pulled down his pants... and then she outran him easily, since he couldn't run very fast with his pants down!
  • A joke subverting expectations of a Pun:
    "What's a pirate's favorite branch of the military?"
    "The ARRRRRH-my?"note 
    "No, the Navy! Pirates are sailors..."
  • I've got tickets to the game on Saturday, but I forgot that my wedding is on at the same time. If you want to go in my place, be at St. Mary's Church at 11:00.

  • Adrian Mole: A couple of in-universe examples is that a message will suddenly come through in a moment of high tension, but it turns out to be something extremely trivial.
    • In Growing Pains, Adrian and his mother wait three weeks for a cheque from the Social Security office. In desperation, Adrian's mother contacts the local radio station, saying she will abandon Adrian in the office unless she receives her cheque by midday. Just as they head out of the door for this abandonment, the phone rings; it is Adrian's father pleading for his name not to be mentioned on the air.
    • In Small Amphibians, Adrian is summoned to Brown's office to be told that a telephone message has come through from his mother; normally such messages are only allowed in "life or death matters". Adrian prepares himself for terrible news, and weakly mumbles "hello" into the object of his doom, the telephone. His mother wants to know (hysterically) if he would like to wear a carnation or a rose in his buttonhole, at her wedding.
  • Alan Alone: When Alan's parents are looking for their son at the storm relief center, they hear a boy calling out to his father and anticipate to see Alan, but it turns out to be the son of Alan's teacher, Takara, running up to his father.
  • Camp X: At the start of the book, we read the narrative of what sounds like a soldier tracking a Nazi in the woods, whom he eventually spots. After the two struggle to corner each other, they then pull out their guns... and shot "BANG!", then proceed to argue if they really did get shot or not. This is revealed to be Goerge and Jack playing war in the woods.
  • In The Chocolate Touch, John, the main character, is asked if he likes anything besides chocolate. John says he likes bananas... especially ones diced and covered in chocolate. They're called "chocolate surprises".
  • In the Darwath series by Barbara Hambly, main character Gil Patterson is a graduate student in medieval history while on Earth. Fellow-traveler Rudy Solis is an auto mechanic. When they cross to the medieval, magic-using realm of Darwath, one would expect him to become a warrior and her to become a mage. Just the opposite actually happens: Gil discovers a knack for the sword and joins the elite fighting unit called simply "the Guards" (although she never stops being a scholar), while Rudy finds that he's mageborn and becomes an apprentice wizard with Ingold Inglorion as his teacher.
  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld:
    • Carpe Jugulum: Agnes hits teenage vampire Vlad with the full contents of a bottle of water blessed by Mightily Oats the priest, and Vlad flings his arms wide and screams. He then winks at Agnes and proceeds to lament the damage to his waistcoat, "Do you know what water does to silk? You just can't get it out. No matter what you do, there's always a mark."
    • Maskerade is an homage to The Phantom of the Opera. There's a giant, poorly attached chandelier hanging from the ceiling of the theater, which several characters proclaim is an accident waiting to happen. Unlike in the Broadway musical version of Phantom of the Opera, however, this chandelier never does fall down, despite the villain's best efforts.
  • Elephant & Piggie:
    • In "A Big Guy Took My Ball!", it turns out that the ball belonged to the "big guy" (a whale) all along, and Piggie just assumed it was hers because she found it lying on the ground.
    • In "Pigs Make Me Sneeze", it seems like Gerald will sneeze loudly but he sneezes quietly instead.
    • In "I am Going!", Gerald and the audience think Piggie is going away for good, but really she's just going to lunch.
    • In "I Broke My Trunk", Piggie asks Gerald how he broke his trunk and he mentions that some other animals balanced on it... but that he didn't break his trunk that way; he broke it falling down.
  • Common in Ephraim Kishon's stories. For example, if he describes the Sabras (an Israeli cactus fruit, or an Israeli born in the country). "On the outer side, very prickly, but on the inside, completely inedible."
  • Full Disclosure: The second time the cabinet votes on whether to enact the 25th amendment, Ericson's supporters suspect trickery when The Secretary of the Treasury who replaced the fired Bannerman abruptly doesn’t attend and his Wild Card deputy secretary attends in his place. It turns out the secretary really is just sick and the deputy secretary votes for Ericson like his boss would have.
  • Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle. Early on, there are flashes of a dream sequence that show an elven ship, two figures taller than six more that are holding hands, and two dragons flying into the sky. Early speculation figured it'd be Eragon and Arya sailing away, as Eragon was foretold to leave Alagaesia by Angela. However, at the end of Inheritance, Eragon leaves, but Arya doesn't. The romance everyone thought was going to happen ends up not happening and more than a few readers were completely flabbergasted by this twist.
  • In Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography, a letter with the seal and signature of the Duchess R is accompanied by an unlabeled photograph of the Duchess with Mr. Snicket's sister. Along with another unlabeled picture, which they told everyone was of them, but really wasn't.
  • In The Lost Symbol, Robert Langdon is describing the horrors of the cult he belongs in: "I kneel at the foot of an ancient instrument of torture and consume ritualistic symbols of blood and flesh. And if any of you care to join me, come to the Harvard chapel on Sunday, kneel beneath the crucifix, and take Holy Communion."
  • Near the end of Mr. Standfast by John Buchan, the hero learns that the villain has abducted the heroine, and rushes to the villain's lair, where he finds the villain standing over a figure in a chair — end of chapter. The next chapter is a flashback to the heroine's abduction, and ends with the revelation that she was rescued by their allies before reaching the villain's lair. The chapter after that identifies the figure in the chair as The Spymaster, come to tell the villain that his scheme has been defeated.
  • One Cool Friend: At the end of the book, when Elliot's father discovers Magellan in the bathtub, he calls to his son, "Young man, where did this penguin come from?", seemingly shocked or upset. Elliot answers the penguin came from the southern tip of Argentina. His father says that's right and points out that his tortoise, Captain Cook, is from the Galápagos Islands.
  • In the short story Pudding Like A Night On The Sea, the narrator and his younger brother eat the pudding their father had made for the family's dessert. Upon discovering this fact, their father, who the narrator had described as frightening when angry, threatens that there will be "whipping" and "beating" as punishment for their actions and for lying about it. They are then ordered to the kitchen where he directs them to whip egg whites and beat the yolks to make a replacement pudding.
  • The Queen Of Ieflaria: It initially appears that Esofi is a pampered but kind politician while Adale is a rough and tumble warrior. In reality, Esofi is a highly trained battlemage who personally killed quite a few dragons, while Adale is a spoiled rich girl who does nothing but party with her friends.
  • In one of Louis Sachar's Wayside School book series, a hypnotist brainwashes a character so that, if a certain student says the word "pencil", he will see her ear as candy. The rest of the chapter deals entirely with the subject of a lost pencil, but the girl in question, though involved in the conversation, never actually says the word "pencil" — although no one should really be surprised, given that the chapter is titled "A Story With a Disappointing Ending." Several chapters later, when you're not looking for it, the Brick Joke hits.
  • In one of The Witcher stories, Geralt pulls out a bag of coins in order to get past a guard, saying "Money opens all doors." The guard insists he can't be bribed, and Geralt quips "I'm not going to," before using the coin purse as a cosh to knock the guy out.

  • "The Assumption Song" is based around this. Every line (save the last) ends in a Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion, which makes you think something rude is happening, but it isn't (e.g. "The girl in the meadow was rubbing her eyes at the fellow down by the dock. He looked like a man with a sizable... home.")
  • The Dire Straits song "Industrial disease" contains a fairly subtle one: After listing two maladies caused by the protagonist's vices (smoker's cough from smoking, brewer's droop from drinking beer) the doctor in the song notes, "I don't know how you came to get the Bette Davis ...knees".
  • Throughout most of the song, Chuck Berry's "Memphis, Tennessee" seems to be a typical story about a boy missing a girl. However, at the very end of the song, the singer reveals that he is missing his daughter; This causes the listener to reconsider everything they just heard.
  • The cover for the Gentle Giant album Acquiring the Taste appears on the front to be a tongue licking between two round, flesh-coloured cheeks. Turning to the other side of the album cover reveals that the flesh-coloured object is, in fact, a peach.
  • John Frusciante has often been compared to Jesus because of his long-flowing hair and serene disposition during live shows. It's even gotten to the point where there's an old joke on the Internet that goes, "Why do people keep comparing John Frusciante and Jesus? I mean, he's great and all... but he's not as good as John Frusciante."
  • Happens in HoneyWorks' "Ai no Scenario". The music video opens with Love Triangle between a noble lady who must choose between her rich but abusive fiance and her peasant lover. She eloped with the poor suitor and seemingly got killed on the run. Flash forward to the future, the girl is now dating a nice, brunet who looks like the poor lover, but their time together is constantly disrupted by an unpleasant blond who is rather reminiscent of the rich fiance. Later, it's revealed that the brunet is actually her past rich fiance who's just pretending to be nice, while the blond guy is the poor lover, who's behaving crudely because he knows of the other guy's scheme.
  • George Jones, "The One I Loved Back Then," has the narrator pulling up to a convenience store, and the clerk looking with envy toward his Corvette. The clerk reminisces in detail about having one back in 1963 that was "hotter than a two-dollar pistol, the fastest thing around, built and fun to handle." The narrator offers to let the clerk take her for a spin, much to the clerk's confusion. Turns out it wasn't the car the clerk was envying. It was the woman sitting inside it.
  • Noah's promotion for their August 2022 music video employs this. Noah's social media is filled with images similar to the one from the old "Tak Ada yang Abadi" music video accompanied by #takadayangabadi hashtags, implying another remake like the ones they have been making recently. Only to reveal at the release day that the music video is a brand new one for "Kota Mati" which uses those images to establish that this is a prequel to "Tak Ada yang Abadi" video.
  • This is the bread-and-butter of SiIvaGunner: Presenting uploads as "high quality rips" of video game tracks, only for these tracks to turn out to be mashups, remixes, or "In the Style of" parodies upon listening.
  • Songdrops: In "I Love U-Kuleles" and "I Love U, it's My Favourite Letter", the singer sounds like he's going to say he loves someone, but then it changes to something else.
  • The "St. Louis Blues," the first modern jazz hit, achieved popularity thanks to this. The composer, WC Handy, began the song with a tango-like habanera melody (which was very popular at the time of the composition) which abruptly shifted into a high energy jazz tune that "electrified" the dancers.
  • On The Hamilton Mixtape, Jimmy Fallon prefaces "You'll Be Back" by assuring the listener that he is classically trained, having been taught by a New Jersey man named Ed Classically from out of Ed's mother's basement.
  • An interesting case with Twelve Foot Ninja and their song "Coming For You". It opens as heavy metal, and then about 30 seconds in switches to salsa, followed by disco, back to metal and then through a plethora of genres over the course of the song.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Foil" starts off as one of his fairly standard "food parody" songs until he says "Oh, by the way, I cracked the code" at which point it turns into a song about a Conspiracy Theorist.

  • In Aerosmith, making shots during "Dude Looks Like a Lady" shows silhouettes of various dancing women... that are soon unveiled as awkward, unattractive men (including a mime).

  • Random Assault:
    • When Alex finally played Ghost Trick, he made it out to seem that he hated the game, much to the irritation of the other hosts. Turns out Alex loved the game, though.
    • The banner for the Halloween Episode appears to be static, but is actually a Flash element. After a little bit, the banner starts to move, and all of the hosts get killed in horrific ways.

  • At the end of "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod", it's revealed that the eponymous boys were only the facial features of a kid, and the "shoe" they sailed in was said kid's trundle bed.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • In 2003, the International Wrestling Association hyped up their acquisition of the son of a former world champion and legend that is universally recognized, David Flair! Like Carly would ever work for another wrestling promotion! (Incidentally, Carly has since worked for several other promotions.)
  • At the 2007 Victory Road Voodoo Kin Mafia, who had been antagonized by Christy Hemme, who was taking advantage of the fact man on woman violence had been banned to screw them over in matches against Lance Hoyt and the Bashams, announced they found a solution to the problem while in New Orleans Louisiana. Most of the crowd recognized the hometown of Jazz immediately and did a double take when instead they were introduced to Voodoo Queen Roxi Laveaux.
  • The host of WrestleMania 27 was a subject of great contention up until the night it was revealed. WWE itself got in on this that night by initially teasing with a shot of a limo pulling up, and a close-up of a pair of feminine feet in high heels. Minutes later, with the sudden playing of the theme music of long-inactive wrestler The Rock, the host was finally announced to be Dwayne Johnson himself, to the raucous cheers of the crowd. Dwayne even includes a little bait-and-switch in his following speech.
    Now, The Rock is back because I wanted to do something unprecedented. Something no man had ever done before. I wanted to host WrestleMania. So it happened. The Rock called Vince McMahon and Vince McMahon said "Rock, I know why you're calling. I know you know I need a host for WrestleMania. Rock, there's only one man electrifying enough to host WrestleMania. Rock, there's only one man that can captivate the world. Rock, that man can only be Justin Bieber!"
    [Crowd boos]
  • Distractions from an attempted union with Dragon Gate USA have allowed the nefarious "A Lister" Larry Dallas to sneak his way into EVOLVE's Tribute To The Arena beneath the shadow of the monstrous Ahtu. Ahtu has an open contract, free to both companies and Dallas boasts that he's better than any man on either company's roster...suddenly the crowd falls silent at the sound of a familiar beat and then jump to their feet. Low Ki had made his EVOLVE Debut! He swiftly deals with Ahtu, who will not be seen in the promotion for the rest of the year, before declaring his intentions to destroy every boy, actor and wannabe wrestler who was disgracing his profession!
  • Devon Storm, who hadn't been seen in Ring of Honor for a year, returned in January of 2012, only to step aside after being paid off by Truth Martini to give his return match with Grizzly Redwood to Michael Elgin.
  • At the 2017 WrestleMania, the Undertaker did this as his entrance. The lights went out as lightning was flashing where he was supposed to enter from with everyone anticipating him to make his entrance. Suddenly, the lights all came back on, and he was already in the ring!
    • At the 2018 event (a year after he'd ostensibly been retired by Roman Reigns), 'Taker pulled a double. John Cena had been angling for a WrestleMania match against the Deadman for weeks, but after receiving no response and having no other opponent lined up had eventually attended the show as a member of the audience instead. Partway through the show, an official ran down with a message for Cena, who excitedly ran backstage. A short while later, he came down to the ring in his wrestling gear, the lights went out and... nope, it was Elias, trolling Cena and the audience. Unamused, Cena made short work of Elias, then just as he was trudging disappointedly backstage again, the lights went out once again, the Undertaker's gear appeared in the ring where he'd left it the year before, lightning struck them, and the Deadman emerged to squash Cena after all.

  • Giles Wemmbley-Hogg starts his trip to India episode at a market, lots of Indian voices calling out, Indian music playing, only to reveal he's in Birmingham, before he leaves England.
  • From The Goon Show (one of many examples):
    Grytpype-Thynne: I thought I saw a Greek urn buried in the sand.
    Moriarty: What's a Greek urn?
    Grytpype-Thynne: It's a vase made by Greeks for carrying liquids.
    Moriarty: I didn't expect that answer.
    Grytpype-Thynne: Neither did quite a few smart-alec listeners.
  • I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue had a recurring segment in which the panellists announced arrivals with Punny Names at a themed Charity Ball. (e.g. at the Christmas Ball: "Mr. and Mrs. Amanger, and their son Wayne.") One episode had a Cheesemakers' Ball, and one of the announcements was "Mr. and Mrs. Zola and their son... Emile." Or at the Menswear Ball, "From Scotland, Mr. and Mrs. Strap and their son... Dougal."
  • You'll Have Had Your Tea: The Doings of Hamish and Dougal does this a lot, sometimes combining it with the Overly-Long Gag. They take longer not to do the "Watson, someone has stolen our tent" gag than it takes to tell it.
  • In The Frantics' "Last Will and Temperament" sketch, the late Arthur Muldoon's will states that his overly-emotional sister Jenny shall be bequeathed a boot to the head (and one for her wimpy husband Hanknote ). Subverted with his alcoholic brother Hedge, to whom he bequeathed three crates of whiskey and a boot to the head (and one for Jenny and the wimp). To his know-it-all cousin Ralston, he bequeathed a boot to the head. To Mrs. Mulroy, who took care of him, he bequeathed a boot to the head (and another for Jenny and the wimp). To his cat... you get the point. To his lawyer, he left not a boot to the head but a rabid Tasmanian Devil, to be placed in his trousers.
  • In one episode of John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme, a man is insisting that the "so-called fire brigade" don't actually do anything about fires, in terms similar to someone attacking "the PC brigade", while a woman tries to explain that this isn't the case, to no avail. Eventually:
    Woman: Tell me, how did you vote in the European referendum?
    Man: Remain, as it happens. Surprised?
    Woman: Not at all. And I, who have been presented as the voice of reason in this sketch, voted to leave.
    Man: That is also unsurprising.

  • During an opening segment on the Keith Olbermann sports show, Keith described a Japanese pitcher who is hyped up as being a must sign; known for dominating in Japan, and is seen by experts as a future superstar in the sport of professional baseball. Given that Masahiro Tanaka was just signed to a huge money contract for the New York Yankees, people assumed Keith was talking about him. But he was actually taking about Hideki Irabu, who was hyped up just like Tanaka in the past. Was signed to a huge money contract for the New York Yankees, then crashed and burned as a huge sports bust. For what it's worth, Tanaka had a better career with the Yankees than Irabu did, though calling him a superstar is probably an exaggeration.

    Tabletop Games 
  • One Paranoia mission starts out with a NPC being dragged off for termination, strongly suggesting to the players that it's going to be important somehow. It isn't - it's just there to mess with their heads when they fail to find anything else out about it.
  • Done to heartrending effect in the Warhammer 40,000 novel Rynn's World. Captain Cortez saves a mother and her children (one of whom is just a baby) from being murdered by Orks. Chapter Master Pedro Kantor is less than pleased with this development, as there are (to his knowledge) only a dozen or so Crimson Fists left after the destruction of their monastery, and they cannot afford to bring refugees along. But Kantor says that the family can tag along as long as they can keep pace with the Space Marines, which anyone will tell you is no small feat. After a while, the mother becomes tired and unable to keep up. Kantor moves to the back of the column, to "grant her the final mercy," and because this is Warhammer, the franchise that literally coined the term "grimdark", we have a very clear understanding of what "the final mercy" means. Then, after the mother pants that she tried, but her children were just so heavy, Kantor (who did not want her there in the first place) does indeed grant her "the final mercy", telling her "You did well to bring them this far...It is time that someone carried you now.", before picking her up in his arms and carrying her the rest of the journey.

  • The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) has an example similar to the very first one on this page. Austin's book is called "I Love My Willie" which he decides he wants to whip out. As the audience laughs, he takes his book out from his pants.
  • In The Odd Couple, at the end of the first act, Oscar tells Felix that he's saving all the chips on the floor for his game tomorrow. Felix gets a vacuum and picks them up anyway. Oscar comes back in and yells, "Hey!" Then he follows up with..."I didn't know I had one of those!"

  • In The Musical Katherine Howard pulls this as she says "He asked me to be his little piece of ass-istanance".

    Video Games 
  • Deltarune: The cliffhanger at the end of Chapter 1 is resolved in Chapter 2 by revealing that the knife Kris pulled was used to secretly eat pie at night.
  • Donkey Kong Country: During the final boss battle with King K. Rool, after the Kongs take him out after his second phase, he collapses. Donkey (or Diddy) does his victory pose as the camera pans away from them, and then...the credits roll! Although, there is something very off-putting about these "kredits". After they finish crawling up the screen, it says, "The End?" Then we pan back to see K. Rool getting back up, and we begin the third and final phase of the battle. After this phase, we get to see the real ending.
  • Dragon Quest does this a lot with its Puff-Puff Running Gag. Almost every game that features this plays with your expectations at the beginning, making you believe you're getting some fanservice from the local bunny girl, only to reveal that it's...well, something different, to say the least. Results range from sleeping with the girl's (burly) father instead, to having two slimes rubbed against your head, and to being tied to a bungee cord and pushed off a floating continent!
  • Etrian Odyssey:
    • Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard: There is an event on the first floor that is a callback to the original game. Where the cruel switch comes is this: A "new" guild will find the exact same choices/consequences as in the original event (resting starts a fight, not resting avoids the fight), but if you are playing an Old Save Bonus guild with data inherited from the first game, you will find that the consequences for the choices in the event have been swapped around (so that opting not to rest will cause the fight to trigger instead).
    • Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth: One sidequest has you gathering Forest Wheat and Meat for Jenetta to make a gift for someone named Friedrich. She sounds as if she's referring to someone she's fallen in love with...but it turns out Friedrich is a cat she adopted, and she wants to make cat food for him.
    • Etrian Odyssey Nexus has examples in the first retro dungeons, and one of the last ones:
      • The first floor of the Lush Woodlands of Nexus is a carbon copy of its original from Legends of the Titan. The second bears great similarity, with some minor tweaks to layouts and a few events for the cast of Nexus. Wiglaf even drops by to explain the Berserker King's threatening skills, giving the player an idea of what to expect at the end of the dungeon. Then you engage the third floor (which has a completely new map design), and a half-health Berserker King gets the drop on you just as you begin to expect a Bloodbear like before.
      • As expected, the Berserker King is fought right at the end of the floor for real. But shortly after its defeat, Cernunnos (of the first game's fame) appears and challenges your party. You do get a break in that Wiglaf restores your party to perfect shape before the second fight begins, on top of a save opportunity, but still...
      • Due to the earlier appearance of Cernunnos in this game, the boss of the Primitive Jungle is the Wyvern, and at first it seems like you'll be able to fight it in the second floor once you first meet it. But instead of fighting you, the Wyvern sends you to the third floor, and once you exit from there you have to plan a twofold assault with a second party of characters in order to properly challenge the monster.
      • Played with in the 4th Labyrinth's boss room. Narmer, now known as the Wicked Silurus, still has a bunch of puddles in its room, but unlike in The Drowned City there is no chase sequence nor does it summon flunkies to distract you. The actual twist comes from your end, as you can now get help from Charis (a Guest-Star Party Member) during battle, but since she has to occupy a slot in your party you won't be able to cast Afterimages or Doubles if you already have five regular members at that moment.
      • As you explore the Golden Lair, you'll find the Salamander (a boss from Heroes of Lagaard) in the second floor. You'd think that you can bypass it like you could in the source game when you met it in Auburn Thicket, or that it will somehow send you to another floor like Wyvern in Primitive Jungle... nope, you have to defeat it to proceed (this is because Blót put it there to obstruct your progression). The labyrinth's last boss is still the Boiling Lizard, just like in Legends of the Titan, but it only appears in the fourth floor (you're not dealing with a three-floor veteran stratum anymore!). The same thing happens in Sandy Barrens with the Basilisk, only there the fight takes place in the first floor.
  • Everhood:
    • During Green Mage's Medallion campaign, an imposing dark knight stands in your way. After a few seconds of an imposing fight song, the knight throws its sword away and instead fights you to a jazzy tune while dancing.
    • This also happens many times with Knight Lost-a-lot.
  • Undertale:
    • At the very beginning of the game, you are asked to name "the fallen child". The name you enter isn't actually the name of the player character, but the original "Fallen Child" who was adopted by Toriel and Asgore.
    • In Mettaton's quiz, one question asks you what type of monster a Froggit head comes from. The answer is Mettaton, who is wearing a Froggit T-shirt.
    • The True Lab has three such moments:
      • One room is full of beds. If you get into one, an Amalgamate appears... and, then, after a few seconds, pulls the sheets over the protagonist, as they neglected to do so themself.
      • Most of the Amalgamates appear disguised as ordinary objects. In one room, a refrigerator among several others is shaking violently, but examining it reveals it's empty, then the last refrigerator on the far left turns out to really be an Amalgamate.
      • An Amalgamate appears to be hiding behind a shower curtain, but pulling the curtain aside reveals there's nothing but a key.
  • In BioShock, Sander Cohen hires you to finish his "masterpiece" (which consists of four photographs of corpses held, of course, by suspiciously bloodstained plaster statues). After you add the third photo, Cohen, like everyone you've met so far, sends a group of Splicers to kill you. He then apologizes and asks you for the last photo. When you add it, he comes down the stairs, thanks you, and gives you a powerup before letting you leave. It's really unexpected.
  • The Communitree: Upon getting 1e1,500 candies, you can buy an upgrade that unlocks the real Candy Tab. Once you buy it, you get... a soda called the Candy Tab, rather than another tab for gameplay.
  • Sam & Max: Freelance Police:
    • One part of season two's fourth episode has the duo trying to get a DNA sample from Agent Superball in the 60's (when he was working for John F. Kennedy). Sam and Max try to induce a Spit Take by showing him a letter written to Bosco's mother from Kennedy, setting up a meeting between the two. Superball reads it, but fails to see anything shocking about it. Before taking a sip of his drink, he asks where the meeting was taking place. Sam tells him it was Stinky's Diner. This induces the spit take.
    • One puzzle in the first episode of Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse requires the player to set up what appears in the Flash Forward to be a Banana Peel gag on one of Skun Ka'pe's henchmen. Instead, you lure him over to the banana so that Max can knock him out with a pair of trash can lids.
    • In the same episode, Sam and Max find Flint Paper in Stinky's Diner ready to eat a plate of spaghetti. If Max uses his psychic abilities, he predicts Flint will collapse onto the table dead with a hatchet in his head. The solution is to give him a miner's hat and get him to wear it while eating. The player's reasoning would most likely be that the hatchet hits the hat without harming Flint. What actually happens is that the light on the hat illuminates the peanuts in the tomato sauce and he gets up to complain, causing the hatchet to miss him.
  • Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People:
    • One of the puzzles in "Baddest of the Bands" involves helping Homestar find rhymes for his lyrics to Pom Pom's song "Food-Related Love". Strong Bad has to gesture to various food items as Homestar sings, and one lyric sounds like it's set to rhyme "go" with "escargot". This will result in failure ("Plate of snails? That doesn't rhyme!") and the actual solution is the bottle of wine ("merlot").
    • In "8-Bit is Enough", Strong Bad finds out that the Trogsword is located in "a magical world where platforms mysteriously hang in the air, and extra men are extremely hard to come by". He replies "Platforms, eh? (in his Dangeresque voice) Looks like I'm gonna have to... (speaks quickly) ...find a way into the Stinkoman game and get the Trogsword before he does!"
  • Batman: Arkham City opens with one. Mooks are talking about how Batman won't be in the titular city, just as a pointy eared shadow appears behind them. One would would expect a Mass "Oh, Crap!" moment, but it's only Catwoman. Although considering that they're standing between her and the safe she plans to rob, it's just as well.
  • A room in The 7th Guest has a cutscene in which one of the guests draws attention to a maze design on the rug. Zooming in allows you to look at the maze design, but when you actually start the puzzle, the rug is suddenly swept aside and a chess puzzle ensues on the checkerboard floor. For bonus points, the maze design is a map to the maze in the cellar!
  • In Final Fantasy XII, there's a series of optional bosses that lead up to the Esper, Chaos. The first one? Really damn big. When you get to the second one, an even bigger monster is at the door... which promptly falls over, dead. And a little bunny-looking thing hops on top of the dead monster. Turns out, you really would rather have fought the big monster.
  • Super Mario Bros. 3 has a good example. After you rescue and change back the seventh king, he says he is giving you a letter from the princess, but it turns out to be a letter from Bowser saying that he's kidnapped the princess while you were out and about saving the kings.
  • The final level of Charlie Murder. The eponymous band and Gore Quaffer meet on a Battle of the Bands stage, both bands having their instruments out and ready to rock... Until Lord Mortimer orders Bathory to electrocute the band. The Curb-Stomp Battle is only interrupted by Bathory's Heel–Face Turn. After the other members of his band leave or killed in frustration, Lord Mortimer fights Charlie Murder alone as the final boss. Unless you collected all of Smockula's pieces.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's:
    • The first game changes the behaviour of every animatronic on the last nights, to exploit the player's previous tactics. In particular: Foxy, who normally requires the player to keep an eye on him with the cameras (but not too much), now must be left alone or he'll immediately attack.
    • Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator was initially marketed as a cute spinoff game where you build a successful pizzeria and play some minigames. While this is some of the gameplay, a much bigger part is salvaging the haunted animatronics that come to the pizzeria and surviving until Saturday.
    • In the FNAF fangame Fredbear and Friends, there is a section where you play as a night guard inspecting the supposedly-dormant animatronics. It ends with the guard approaching Freddy, intending to shut it down and, well, you can guess what happens next... Actually, what happens is that Freddy remains dormant while the guard is assaulted from behind by the Purple Guy.
  • LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham has one for its ending. The last ending scene shows a random janitor cleaning up near a portal when it activates. The man panics and runs away, showing silhouettes of Spider-Man and The Avengers... only to end up being Black Canary, Nightwing, Aquaman (holding a pizza), Swamp Thing, Shazam! (holding a coffee mug), Green Arrow and Booster Gold.
  • In Guilty Gear Xrd, one of Elphelt's taunts seems to have her going One-Winged Angel. And then it zooms out to reveal:
  • Lakeview Cabin starts innocently enough, despite the ominous "Player discretion is advised" warning during the game's opening, with an ordinary guy hanging out on a quiet and peaceful cabin on a tiny island in the middle of a lake. Then things get weird, culminating in a dead woman implied to be his late wife/lover crawling out of the lake and trying to kill him.
  • Throughout Ys: Memories of Celceta there's a woman in an alley who mentions she'd like you to pay her for her "services", at the end of the game you get the option to pay her... she's a tour guide.
  • A musical variant occurs in Sonic Generations. During the final boss fight, when the two Sonics prepare to deliver the finishing blow to the final boss, the intro to the fan-favorite song "Live and Learn" plays...only to switch to the much more cheery title screen music from Sonic the Hedgehog 4.
  • beatmania has the track "Salamander Beat Crush Mix," which sounds like an arrange of "Starfield", the Salamander / Life Force stage 4 theme...only to turn into a completely unrelated track.
  • In South Park: The Stick of Truth, the New Kid is hunted by the government, who are looking to exploit his special power. Throughout the entire game, it couldn't be more obvious that they are talking about his incredible natural talent at Fartillery. However, when the Big Bad finally does catch him and starts explaining his plan...
    Kyle: The government wants the New Kid for his farts?
    Stan: That's dumb.
    Big Bad Government Guy: [confused] His farts? No. His amazing ability to make friends so quickly on any social network. Before he was 5 years old, he had 3.2 billion friends on Facebook alone. Do you have any idea the power that kind of gift yields in today's world?
  • The opening to Splatoon 3's story mode is set up to make you think it's the second Mission-Pack Sequel to the first game's Hero Mode in a row. The Great Zapfish has gone missing yet again, and Cap'n Cuttlefish, now semi-retired, is convinced series baddie DJ Octavio is to blame. He guides you through a few tutorial stages, with little to set them apart from the previous two games' single-player campaigns, aside from your new Smallfry companion and a fresh coat of fur on the Octarians. You blow away some Tentatroopers, save some Zapfish, get to the bottom of the Crater, and... wait, why is DJ Octavio the Warm-Up Boss? He didn't have anything to do with the Great Zapfish disappearing? His army has gone missing? Then the ground collapses, and you plummet into an underground world of snow and ice, with a giant rocket dominating the sky. Welcome to Alterna.
  • Persona 5 (and Persona 4 before it) teaches you from the very first dungeon that "Shadow Selves", antagonistic Anthropomorphic Personifications of the hidden aspects of a character's personality, serve as Boss Battles. However, when you get to Futaba Sakura's dungeon halfway through the game, you find out Futaba's Shadow is the hidden positive aspects of the depressed girl's psyche, and instead end up facing off against a demonic representation of Futaba's mother, whose untimely death has been driving Futaba's guilt and depression.
  • Nintendo Switch Simulator, a fanmade Browser Game about the Nintendo Switch, starts off as a casual emulation of the Nintendo Switch, but then turns into a boss fight involving the player fighting the sentient Joy Grip with a Battle Boomerang.
  • Overwatch has a Play of the Game at the end of every match, showcasing a particular display of skill that turned the battle around. It starts off with a short animation of the appropriate character, and - *BZZZT* Sombra hacks the screen and it shows HER play of the game!
  • One of the first Fighters' Guild quests in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has you taking care of an old lady's "rat problem": something's been killing all of her adorable pet rats!
  • Pokémon Sun and Moon: in Haina Desert, there's an amnesiac old man who asks to see a Pokémon who's name starts with "Sol" (in Sun)/"Luna" (in Moon). The obvious thing players think to do is to show him Solgaleo/Lunala... which turns out to not be the Pokémon he's asking for, but rather Solrock/Lunatone, whom cannot be obtained without transferring from prior versions.
  • In Grand Theft Auto V, one of the protagonists, Michael, has rendezvoused with another, Trevor, after an assassination attempt Gone Horribly Wrong, and they have the following exchange:
    Michael: Did you kill him?note 
    Trevor: What kinda fucking animal do you take me for?! No, I didn't kill him!
    Michael: Oh, god...
    Trevor: BUT I DID KIDNAP HIS WIFE!! [opens the trunk of his car to reveal Madrazo's wife]
    Michael: Oh no!
  • Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc: You would think a level with a name like "The Land of the Livid Dead" would be some kind of scary horror-themed level, but it actually turns out to be a beautiful and calm Arcadia. The second and more cruel switch-up is the following level, the "Desert of the Knaaren" which is in fact the actual scary one - it is a Death World populated by psychotic and invincible monsters that live in caves under the surface and chase Rayman while screaming very vivid threats and obscenities.
  • In Creepy Castle, there is a Freepy Castle mode, which has the same map format, only without the in-game story characters being present, Ant Queen being replaced with Luvaci and Bee being replaced with Moth (although Bee will take Luvaci's place if you are already playing as Luvaci.) But Moth is fought before the place where you take on the Boss Rush. It all comes to play later; when it looks like you are going to do the Boss Rush and fight Darking, the game's screen suddenly errors similar to the second Scenario 2 part, and you find yourself in a twisted place. In Luvaci's story, Molt takes this chance to kidnap an unconscious Moth, saying that if Molt dropped him down the pit, then it would be Moth's last, before telling Luvaci to run along, as it will be the final battle. Either way, a voice then explains that the whole entire Freepy Castle experience was a simulation to test you, and it requests one final test. This final test involves you fighting a puppet monstrosity appropriately named ?????, leading to one of the most intense boss fights of scenario 1 as it throws some attacks at you that are hard to dodge, including a unique parry attack where pieces of its face needs to be parried in order of appearance (with no countdown or red exclamation marks on where to move the cursor to) and a unique maze attack where the entire maze is filled with black (walls included), all while this is playing during the whole entire fight. After its defeat, it tells you that they will meet again. In Luvaci's story, Molt reveals that he took Moth outside with Molt, thus sparing Moth from being killed via falling down the pit, (it can be implied that Moth regained consciousness after he was taken outside) and Molt reveals that after Possessor controlled him, Molt caused the destruction of the reptile people to happen, but never grew old as a result. Either way, then you exit through a door that finishes Freepy Castle.
  • Early in Kid Icarus: Uprising, the Goddess of Calamity Pandora gives up on the middle of her fight and gives Pit the Mirror of Truth, only this was so the mirror could clone Pit, resulting in the creation of Dark Pit. This backfired big time as Dark Pit rebelled instantly and both take on her. She attempts a more traditional version of this after recovering her true form, Amazon Pandora near the end of the game.
  • Red Dead Redemption II: The stranger mission "He's British, Of Course" is chock full of this. It stars a circus performer duo (one of them is a "woman animal wrangler" named Margaret, who's actually a mustached man wearing a dress) missing several animals needed for their tour: a zebra, a tiger, and two lions. The player will go out and fetch the animals. The first is the zebra in the Heartlands, but it turns out to be a mule painted to look like a zebra. The next animals on the list are the tiger and the lion (one of the performers adding that they sent one of their best "lions" to hunt down the tiger), and the tiger and lion turn out to be a cougar painted like a tiger and a dog with a wig around its neck to make it look like a lion. Once the cougar and the (dead) dog are locked up, the performers ask you to look for their second lion at Emerald Ranch. Arthur (who's seen the "lion") at first declares that it's just a dog, but it turns out to be an actual lion after all.
  • Super Metroid:
    • There's one for players of the original Metroid. You fight a fake Kraid which is the size of the original one. However, a few rooms later, you fight the actual Kraid, who is gargantuan in size. Although, some perceptive veterans might not be fooled; the first Metroid also featured a fake Kraid, after all.
    • When you take the first elevator into Brinstar, the area has a blue, rocky design just like it did in the first Metroid, leading you to believe that's how the whole place will look here too. But when you take the second elevator to the main body of Brinstar, it turns out the area has been given a green Jungle Japes redesign.
  • In the end of Full Throttle when the protagonist, Ben, jumps onto his chopper and rides out of the crashing plane, the game fades to white, cutting to a funeral, making it seem as if Ben were the deceased and being honored. It isn't until Father Torque starts talking about how the dead gave them freedom that Ben is revealed to be one of the mourners, and the funeral is for Malcolm Corley, whose murder starts the game.
  • House Flipper: Many of the descriptions for houses and jobs conveniently fail to mention major problems, or downplay the amount of work that will actually need to be done. Of course, anyone who's worked in construction or real estate, or who has bought a house before, will tell you that this is depressingly true to life. A few specific examples:
    • Family House, which neglects to mention that the house was the site of a bloody murder, the aftermath of which still needs to be cleaned up.
    • Variable Woman's House, which makes a big deal out of how fickle the previous owner was, to buy a house and then immediately change her mind and resell it. It doesn't mention that she actually changed her mind because the house is absolutely infested with cockroaches, with multiple nests in every single room.
  • Megaman Sprite Game spends its sweet time foreshadowing the boss to possibly be Dr. Wily, Mega Man's Big Bad. However, it turns out the Final Boss is SPLASH WOMAN, who has been drawn in such a way that their silhouette resembles Wily's.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2, the first boss you face, in Sylvania Castle Zone, starts out with two Aquatic Ruin Zone totems rising up with Eggman dropping down, suggesting of continuing with Episode 1's boss battle rehashes. However, as soon as Eggman flies off, two metal tendrils shoot up and a robotic plant monster docks with Eggman as the tendril smashes the totems, setting up the real boss battle.
  • In Tunic, after you get every manual page, you are told to go to The Heir via a message to you at the back of the front cover. After you do so, it looks like you are about to fight The Heir once more, getting their sword ready with the beginning notes to the final boss music playing...only for The Heir to suddenly halt their attack once they noticed the completed manual. Upon setting their sword down, The Heir flips through every page of the completed manual, stopping at a certain page and taking a look at it. This causes The Heir to be moved to tears, eventually causing The Heir to be restored to their original form and break the cycle that has been going on for centuries, causing the final boss fight to ultimately not happen at all and the game to end on a happy note (complete with the fox protagonist and the original form of The Heir playing and exploring together).
  • Just before entering the Wasps' lair in It Takes Two, Cody and May are informed that the squirrels created a fake Wasp Queen that's being piloted by a rogue agent of theirs. After the Wasp Queen is defeated, the cockpit door falls off to reveal the agent is not a squirrel at all; she's an adorable little bumblebee.
  • The cinematic trailer for World of Warcraft: Shadowlands has Sylvanas steal the Helm of Domination, which gives the wearer control over the undead of the Scourge. She lifts it, pauses for a moment - and rips it apart with a scream, shattering the barrier between the mortal world and the afterlife. Ooops.
  • Timothy vs. the Aliens: In the intro cutscene, we see what looks like Timothy pointing his gun at The Grandfather, followed by a Smash to Black with Timothy saying "Bang". Then it fades in to show a smoking hole in The Grandfather's portrait on the wall behind him.
  • In NEO: The World Ends with You, a number of characters comment on Neku, the legendary player who won the Reaper's Game three years ago. Early on in the second game, a mysterious figure wearing a hoodie and a mask is spotted, and everyone, especially the Wicked Twisters, assumes this person to be Neku. The Wicked Twisters arrive to save the figure from Tsugumi when the figure's mask comes off, revealing them to be Neku's former partner Beat. The identity of the individual is somewhat foreshadowed when you see that their hair is blond, like Beat's, rather than Neku's orange.
  • The intro for the fourth mission of Thief: The Dark Project shows Garrett purchasing some new lockpicks, followed by the objective screen giving the mission of sneaking into the Hammerite Temple and stealing their treasures. As soon as the mission actually starts, the shopkeeper gets shot by an arrow from two thugs who think they killed Garrett, and the original objective is immediately crossed out in favor of following the killers and finding out who ordered this hit.
  • In The Henry Stickmin Collection entry Completing the Mission, the "Toppat King" ending sets this up: Henry launches himself to the Toppats' rocket on a tank and makes a leap, where he's saved by Reginald. As he does, Reginald says to Henry that he could drop him right then and there and no one would know, suggesting he's ready to pull the same stunt he did in Fleeing the Complex's "The Betrayed" ending... only to quickly add in "But, why would I do that?" and pull him up, revealing that he was impressed with Henry's bravery and realized he truly was Toppat leader material.
  • The intro of Uncle Albert's Magical Album has Uncle Albert standing in front of the sea with some tropical islands in it. Then the camera backs off and reveals that the tropical background is just a picture held by children.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3:
    • Halfway through Chapter 1, the party unlocks the Flame Clock mechanic, which has been built up as the primary driving factor of everyone in the setting: slowly filling it up with enemy kills will eventually boost the party's stats when it's full, while exploring too much without fighting anything will eventually inflict penalties. It lasts exactly long enough to demonstrate the way this influences the mindset of the characters to do nothing but focus on killing before being permanently removed.
    • Chapter 5 ends with the party meeting and fighting N and M, two Moebius who look exactly like Noah and Mio. The team is captured, in no small part due to M's ability to possess people, and they are thrown in prison for a month—exactly long enough for Mio's life clock to run out. During the Homecoming ceremony, there's a moment where it looks like Noah will break through the Power Nullifier and save the day... but instead he does nothing, because even if he did escape Mio would still die. She indeed Disappears into Light and leaves the cycle of rebirth. But before N can execute everyone else, "M" repeats one of Mio's lines from earlier in the story. M used her power to switch bodies with Mio entirely, so M was the one who just died. N has a Villainous Breakdown as he realizes the love of his life committed suicide to escape him, and the team powers up.

    Visual Novels 
  • The entirety of the first chapter of Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony is most appropriately defined with this characteristic. The events are as follows: Kaede unifies everyone; everyone tries to escape; Monokuma retaliates against Kaede's efforts; Kaede takes advantage of said retaliation to kill the mastermind; the attempt fails in two gray ways; the perspective of the player switches from her to Shuichi; after explaining why she tried to kill, Shuichi exclaims about the fact that there was never a mastermind and that his deductive skills failed; after the lament and motivation given to the group, she's brutally executed by Monokuma.
  • Harvest December:
    • January's story ends with a Rock-Paper-Scissors match and the narrative is structured to make the reader think that the protagonist of that chapter utilized Poor, Predictable Rock.
    • March's story begins with the main protagonist sheepishly looking at women's magazines for parenting tips. Everyone assumes he'd gotten his girlfriend pregnant but, in reality, was preparing for a babysitting job.
    • August's chapter includes the series's obligatory bath peeping moment and the mother of the one of the heroines baits the boys into thinking she wants to join in. Once they lower their guard, she beats them up and delivers them to the girls for further punishment.
  • Katawa Shoujo: Lilly suggests going to a large electronics store for Hanako's birthday present. Where does she actually take you? To get her ice cream.

    Web Animation 
  • ASDF Movie:
    • A guy is asked to hold a live bomb. The guy who gave him the bomb comes back a few seconds later and takes it back. No explosion, next skit.
    • "This is a robbery." *dramatic sting and close-up* *hangs up and walks away*. Next skit.
    • "WARNING POINTLESS BUTTON" is pointless.
    • "Damnit Jenkins, a giraffe will never be president!" "Yeah, you're... probably right."
    • "Die, potato!" "I like trains."
    • "Dad, I'm gay!" "I have no son!" "*Gasp* This isn't my house!"
  • In the Cartoon Hooligans episode "What if Hulk Ripped His Pants #4," after Iron Man gives Hulk a pair of "pants" from his spare armor parts, it appears that Hulk is about to go on another rampage, but it turns out that he likes Iron Man now for giving him "pants", and they become friends again.
  • In the third video of The Gaston Trilogy, "Gaston's Ultimate Mission to Obtain Some Taco Bell", Gaston says "Everyone knows her father's a lunatic! He was in here tonight raving!" Then we get to see Maurice dancing with glow sticks to an electronic remix of "Beauty and the Beast." Technically accurate, but not the definition that was led to.
  • GEOWeasel often includes bait-and-switch jokes.
    • After a character is sent to prison, an establishing shot of "The Big House" appears… with the jail of New Jersey next to it.
    • After Sapphire launches the flying headquarters in an attempt to save Nar, Weas explains "Miss Caring over here" pushed the launch button… with a pan over to a different woman wearing a "care" shirt, and that Sapphire confirmed the launch with her push.
  • Homestar Runner:
    • In "Strong Bad Sings", the announcer suggests that one might consider paying nearly $100 for Strong Bad's music collection. He then touts the entire product actually costs $193.75.
    • Strong Bad's 100th email has him telling the story about how he and Homestar first met. At one point in the story he comes across a giant egg and wonders what could be inside it. Of course, Homestar...appears right next to the egg saying it was his. (What? Were you expecting him to hatch out of the egg?)
    • In Strong Bad's email where he creates his own candy bar, he keeps making the viewer think he's going to cover it in chocolate, but keeps changing it to something else like: "cover it with smooth, rich, creamy...pepperoni!" Eventually, he does top it off with chocolate and calls it "the ol' BBC" (Boring, Brown Chocolate).
  • In Hunt Down Freeman 2, a sequel to a parody of Hunt Down the Freeman, the narration before the final act parodies the scenes in the game in which Mitchell is on a tram after dying. When he's meeting a "highly popular character," the character is shown as an army man, slowly turning around... Before he suddenly morphs into one of the generic scientists at Black Mesa.
  • In season 8 of Red vs. Blue, Tex has been continually hitting Grif in the nuts throughout the episode. Then Simmons finally manages to shoot a heat-seeking rocket launcher at her. After a set of acrobatics with a set of portals, Tex (with the rocket still in hot pursuit) punches her way through Sarge, Tucker, and Simmons, and slides under Grif. Grif cringes, seeing the rocket coming right for him... and it flies harmlessly under his legs. Then it blows up the pile of rockets right behind him.
  • Pig Me is about a pig who runs away from a slaughterhouse and wanders into a pet shop. When it appears he will be adopted, it turns out that the pet was adopted because its owner looks very similar to it. The pig imitates the pets so he can get picked, but in the end, all of the pets are chosen. However, the owner of the pet shop (whose face is never seen until the end) decides to keep the pig and the short ends on a happy note. Until it's revealed she actually wanted to eat him.
  • In one of the Rhythm is Magic segments: Glee Club - Chorus Ponies, Twilight Sparkle is conducting a Glee Club of what looks like Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash. The whole scene is sketched with no color, but at the very end, the pony who we think is Rainbow Dash gets colored in, and it turns out she was Derpy Hooves all along.
  • RWBY Chibi: One short has Ruby and Weiss having confrontational actions angering each other, leading to the two having a showdown. The two brandish their weapons, leap at each other... then toss away their weapons and have a Sissy Fight.
  • Supermarioglitchy4's Super Mario 64 Bloopers: In "Into the Marioverse", Mario tells Tari that the multiverse as we know it is in grave danger when a portal opens up behind Mario. Mario, thinking it's the Grand Mario's army of Marios, freaks out and flees ("THEY HAVE COME BACK FOR MARIO'S ASS" clip: "You'll never take me alive! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!"). The figure that comes through the portal is Tari from Meta Runner.
  • Alex.EXE created a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate video, "Who can reach Ridley's cupcake?!", where the roster tries to reach a cupcake that Ridley wants to eat before the lava ceiling crushes them, with most not making it (except when Squirtle doesn't get crushed and gets the pass) though there are select points where Ridley stops the ceiling to allow some of the fighters to enter the portal (or, in Villager's case, Villager attempting to get the pass like Squirtle did) and then cruelly finishes the job from behind...except for two instances; Ridley allows King K Rool to reach the cupcake without appearing from behind, thus causing "Best Friends" to appear, and when Isabelle's turn comes, Ridley stops the ceiling like normal, and then appears from behind to finish her off...only to then spare her, with "Best Friends" appearing.
  • In Underverse, Owners starts out with Flowey talking to someone and correctly deducing that they are "not happy with what [they've] done". At first it seems like he's talking to Frisk/Chara after a genocide run - only for the very next few scenes to reveal that it was actually Sans he was talking to and that Sans and Frisk/Chara have teamed up to kill him.
  • Zero Punctuation's review of Rocket League starts with this kind of gag, in relation to Yahtzee having originally dismissed the concept of vehicular soccer out of hand:
    Yahtzee: I have bad memories from my school days of shivering on a frozen playing field in the mandatory tiny shorts, waiting for a ball to bounce past and shortly afterwards my head to be bounced between several pairs of studded boots. That's the last time I take a teaching job. Fuck you, that was an actual joke!
  • When hololive's first generation of English-speaking male talents was announced, Mori Calliope, a member of the agency's female talents, took time out of one of her streams to vehemently ask her fans not to ship her with them. And considering the Contractual Purity-related drama that both Calliope herself as well as other talents in the agency have been was subjected to, it's easy to see why she would feel like she needed to set that boundary. However, in order to lighten the mood, the actual reason she gave for this request was that she saw them as her "sons", and thus she would find it weird to be shipped with them.

  • 30-Something Wolf: Utilized in some of the strips, including the first one: a couple of dudes get excited at what looks like a werewolf against a full moon, but the 3rd panel reveals that it's Zephyri suffering from a bad back posture.
  • Batman: Wayne Family Adventures: When "Unbelievable" flashes back to how Bruce received his injury he's shown skateboarding in the house, but then it turns out he got injured after lifting the board and getting a bit cocky, and then tripping and falling while simply walking down the stairs because he wasn't paying enough attention.
  • The Bedfellows:
    • The second "Mother's Day" strip has Fatigue sneaking out of the house to go visit his mother, doing everything possible to avoid Sheen finding out. It looks as though he's doing this to avoid Sheen's wrath for going somewhere without telling him, but he was really just afraid that if Sheen came along, he'd make Fatigue's mom strip for them. He was right.
    • Double-subverted in "Toni P." Sheen is ashamed to call the titular character until Fatigue tells him not to be ashamed of himself and accept that "this is simply who he is." Sheen enthusiastically calls up a pizza place called "Toni's Pizza," who laugh at him for wanting a pizza with anchovies.
  • Belzebubs: The reason why the band's former drummer left was because he found Jesus... a hot Mexican guy.
    • Lilith gives her parents the finger when they leave her and her brother at their grandmother's house while they leave for vacationing. Sløth and Lucyfer couldn't be more proud.
    • When Lilith (who was a toddler at the time) tells on her baby brother for drawing on the walls with crayon, Lucyfer is absolutely floored... and proceeds to show him how to properly draw a pentacle.
    • Lilith gets a compliment from a cute boy and hearts start floating around her... only for her to see a cherub dropping the hearts around her. She crucifies him upside down as a warning to all the "feathered freaks."
    • When Lucyfer finds a lighter in Lilith's backpack, she interrogates her, asking her if she has been smoking or burning churches. When Lilith denies both, her mother asks "why the Hell not?"
  • Blaster Nation #297: It looks like Derrick is lying in bed (with Melissa asleep in his arms) regretting the fact that they'd made love. The rest of the page reveals that what was bugging Derrick was the radio playing Mexican polka music, and he couldn't get up and turn it off without disturbing Melissa.
  • Channel Ate does this frequently, with an easy-to-grasp setup followed by a crazy twist at the end. The bonus panels usually add yet another twist to everything in the comic. And they aren't afraid to zig-zag between "unexpected" and "mundane", as seen here.
  • In The Chosen Four, during the Stonehenge chapter, after the four defeat all of the Starman Supers attacking them, a present drops just in time for a cliffhanger. When the next page finally came out, it turned out to be... a Super Bomb.
  • This Cyanide and Happiness' comic. This one, too. "I feel like my memories would be more vivid if I wasn't colourblind. Also, I should stop thinking about that dude's kid."
  • Demonseed Redux:
    • Dee tries to use a broken hilt on a demon while shouting "here goes nothing" and nothing happens. Then the hilt becomes an energy machete and the demon gets cut down.
    • Rhoda makes Chico stab Dee with her sword and escapes. While Dee collapses, this sword just passes through angels without harming them.
    • Both Chico and Dee don't trust Roger for separate reasons and think he may secretly be an incubus. He's an angel and, snark aside, is generally a good guy, though it makes him being Hal's nephew odd.
  • Dork Tower:
    • Done in grand style with long-absent Perky Goth Gilly returns to suddenly announces she's marrying someone in three days. The next few strips involve frantic wedding preparations, in which she laments that the groom isn't getting more involved without actually saying who he is. Even in the strip where we get the words "Do you take this man to be your husband?" we see her holding someone's hand, but he's off panel. In the next strip, The Reveal shows she's the one saying it; when she said she was marrying someone, she meant that she was officiating at her brother's wedding to his partner Phineas.
    • A strip in which Gilly's roommate Stell admits to her date, Fang, that she has feelings for Gilly is followed by one in which we see the outside of the bar and what appears to be Fang saying Stell should leave, and Stell saying she understands, and Fang deserves better than a girl who's in love with her straight roommate. The final panel reveals the bartender is telling Stell they've closed. Stell is adressing her "You deserve better" speech to the bartender (and her beer). Fang is, apparently, long gone.
    • When Steve is having a Daddy-Daughter Game Day with Claudette, Maree asks if he's still playing Animal Crossing, and he says it's a perfect game for "those who might be ... you know ... a little delicate' or ... um ... on the sensitive side". Claudette, on the other hand, is playing Doom Twelve: Bloody Blood of the Bloodening.
  • Dreaming Freedom: The series begins with it looking like Jeongmin is the one cruelly bullying Juhyeon, before revealing that this was a lucid dream of hers, and in reality, their roles are reversed.
  • In El Goonish Shive, one of the Abberations has a human form that is an Australian man who wants to bring kangaroos into the United States and is referred to by a link that says "Kangaroo" in The Rant .... so of course his aberration form is a giant koala.
  • Freaking Romance: We think Zelan is about to call Zylith, and her phone starts ringing... Except it turns out her call is from a telemarketer, and he accidentally calls a man who thinks he's flirting with his wife.
    • Later on, we think that Zelan is happy that his mother died, as he's shown smiling after a call with his brother during which he cries and seemingly makes plans to go to her funeral.As it turns out, she's fine and had just woken up from a coma. He was planning to wear black to go see her, per her request.
  • In Girl Genius, after Agatha and entourage board the HMA Tom Wilkenson, but before it sets sail (or whatever airships do), Seffie tells Tarvek she's arranging for him to follow Agatha in secret. Once the Wilkenson docks and Team Heterodyne have disembarked, the dockmaster is informed that the Wilkenson's captain has discovered a stowaway connected to the Lady Heterodyne. This turns out to be ... a Dingbot. Cut to Tarvek scrubbing the deck of a schlubby merchant vessel that takes days rather than hours to cross the Channel and protesting that he thought he'd be on the same ship.
  • Quite frequently done at Loading Artist:
  • Lovely People as a whole starts off as a story about the sort of Crassacharine World a Social Credit system could potentially bring, but ends up focusing almost entirely on the threat such a system would pose to the brand of Christianity that the author is following.
  • This Mr. Lovenstein strip has a guy applying for a job application, turns out it isn't what we are led to believe.
  • New School Kids: In strip 91, a detective comes to school and says one of the students is an adult masquerading as a child. Cut to a bearded student looking nervous... then the detective arrests Frank instead.
  • The Order of the Stick: In "Saved by the Belt," Blackwing picks up Roy's Belt of Giant Strength while announcing his intent to help the rest of the Order, just as Roy is locked in a death match with Thog. Several panels are shown, alternating between the bird flying with the belt and Thog and Roy dishing out at each other. Until finally, Blackwing drops the belt on... Mr. Scruffy, Belkar's cat companion.
  • Harrison's Origin Story in Nedroid. In fact, all of the origin stories are great for the baits and the switches.
  • NEXT!! Sound Of The Future: Gumiya is amazed that Shine would give him her umbrella and let herself get soaked by the rain instead of him... Until she pulls another umbrella out from her coat.
  • Pixie and Brutus: While sitting by an impressive snow lion (complete with stick mane), Pixie calls to Brutus to come see her masterpiece...and it turns out her own snow lion is quite a bit less realistic.
  • This Polandball comic about the UK being disturbed during his tea time by his son America playing rock music on an electric guitar. UK takes the guitar and threatens to teach America to "play rock music" — cue "God Save the Queen" (and America actually taking notes in the audience).
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal is known for this, often either subverting a punchline or using a completely different and wholly unexpected one. Enough so that sometimes it makes a gag out of doubling back on itself. Several times, in one instance.
  • In Schlock Mercenary, TAG pulls one of these on Ennesby, with the classic 'three men walk into a bar' setup.
  • In Skin Horse, the Abbess of the Notaries tells Unity about a prophecy. According to her, their Chosen One will be "composed of part many, yet one, a being of great potential, but consumed by barely-suppressed hunger and violence":
    Abbess: So obviously a civil servant.
    Unity: Plus I'm an omnivorous construct zombie.
    Abbess: Whatever
  • Stalker x Stalker: Junko's father is established as a very violent Boyfriend-Blocking Dad, who is not happy at all that Junko has gotten herself a boyfriend in his absence. He pressures her to invite Yukio over for dinner and everything points towards a less than pleasant confrontation between the two, despite Junko's efforts to reign her dad in. Only for episode 53 to reveal that they get along swimmingly. Even Junko is surprised.
  • Trans Girl Next Door: The creator once promoted a side account where people could see Kylie engage in "adult activities." The account consists of a single comic where Kylie does things like make doctor appointments and do taxes.
  • xkcd has "The World According to a Group of Americans... who turned out to be unexpectedly good at geography, derailing our attempt to illustrate their country's attitude towards the rest of the world."

    Web Original 
  • Many trolls or people who are bored on a forum will usually post a topic title that grabs everyone's attention, but the actual opening post has nothing to do with the topic title. This is usually done by people who just want the attention and this is also how Rick Rolling got started.
  • Another method involves starting a topic with a double meaning, with one interpretation (usually the more obvious one) being highly shocking or offensive, but the actual post being about the more mundane interpretation. For example, starting a topic with the title "I HATE FAGGOTS", only for the post to actually be about the poster's distaste for the food item.
  • Any post of on the Web that appears to lead up to something titillating will often inevitably turn out to be this. They will tease the bait long enough to hook in viewers, then dash their hopes of seeing any goodies by employing a Scenery Censor, Cutaway Gag, or Fan Disservice, at the climax of the post/video clip. (With one of the more popular clips to subvert this way being Phoebe Cates's bikini drop scene from Fast Times at Ridgemont High). However, the fact that these supposedly "NSFW" clips somehow last the whole day without being quickly taken down tends to render the subsequent switch pretty obvious from the beginning; very few people would have the gall to post the actual uncensored version of a NSFW clip and risk a swift ban.
  • Tlf Travel Alerts claims is hot enough in the London Underground to literally fry eggs on the escalators. How ever you shouldn't try to do it ... they are on a diet.
  • Duckyworth reviews:
  • In one Sporcle quiz released on April Fools' Day, you have to click on the correctly-spelled country that begins with a K from a huge cluster of incorrectly-spelled variations of Kyrgyzstan. The correctly-spelled answer is NOT "Kyrgyzstan" but "Kazakhstan".
  • The "Concerned Tom" meme starts with a person describing an innocuous act, then the bystanders' reactions making it clear they're horrified (the meme's name comes from a still Tom and Jerry image where Tom looks deeply unsettled). For example:
    me: kills the boss and loots his body for cash and items
    everyone else in the office: 0_o

    me: Opens the door because it's stuffy in here
    everyone else on the submarine/the plane/the International Space Station: 0_o
  • One hot take that became memetically famous in 2019 was that transgender people wouldn't survive a nuclear or climate apocalypse because it would cut off the supplies for hormone replacement therapy. In the "Climate Grief" episode of Philosophy Tube, which was posted before Abigail herself came out, she sounds like she's going to bring it up when she says that trans people might find it hard in the post-apocalypse, with a picture of some pills appearing next to her... only to clarify that the shortages she's actually talking about are synthesiser music and flannel shirts.
  • A 4chan thread featured a post where an anon told a very long "imagine" prompt, where a person deliberately starts a relationship with a girl in a wheelchair in order to become her False Friend. They date for a few months, and the girl is the happiest she's ever been... until the other guy dumps her out of the wheelchair in public one day, lays out their entire plan to her, and finishes by telling her nobody would ever genuinely love her the way they falsely did before leaving her alone, miserable, and out of reach of her chair. Some anons wondered why they would want to self-insert as someone so heinous. The OP, however, meant for them to self-insert as the girl.
  • On Twitter, starting around late 2017, there have been bait-and-switch videos that involve some sort of presentation only leading to the first few seconds of the first cutscene in Hotel Mario.
  • A viral Twitter thread about body positivity suddenly segued into how its author supposedly lost 25 pounds in one month. The thread was, in fact, a pitch for bogus diet pills.

    Web Videos 
  • The dreaded trap videos on YouTube, which set up a misleading thumbnail, title, and description to lure in audiences looking for those key words, then troll them by showing something random. The Rickroll was the most common variant in its heyday, although there are plenty of videos that go beyond this in terms of obnoxiousness.
  • Common for April Fools' Day videos, such as this. It touts itself as a rarely-aired shorter version of the Sesame Street song "Let's Go Driving", only the reason it's "shorter" is because halfway through the song it's interrupted by a video of a different car hitting someone, and then a screen saying "April Fools!"
  • The Birch: It appears at first that both segments chronicle the Birch protecting two people, Evie and Lanie. But then it's revealed that Lanie isn't protected by the Birch, she is the Birch, transforming from a girl with control over plant life plant life, into a Plant Abomination when her powers skyrocketed in a bout of grief.
  • Defunctland:
    • According to their video on Club Disney, after Discovery Zone went bankrupt they were bought out by "a powerful rat... named Charles Entertainment Cheese." It even shows a silhouette of Mickey Mouse being replaced by a Chuck E. Cheese animatronic.
    • The episode on Disney Quest has a similar joke about Sega creating family entertainment centers by partnering with "a familiar entertainment company that starts with a D... Dreamworks".
  • GilvaSunner is a famous YouTube personality, known for uploading entire soundtracks of games for listening pleasure. In 2016, an account with the name GiIvaSunner (note that the third letter is not an L but an I) started making videos that would start off sounding like what they promised, before veering off into a mostly unexpected direction. At least one or more of the people who run the channel seems to be aware of Vinesauce memes, given that many the posts have a remix of the theme from The Flintstones' NES game (a reference to the "Grand Dad" moment from one of Joel's bootleg streams), and then there's the infamous edit of the Honeyhive Galaxy theme from a certain other stream.
  • Twitch streamer The 8-Bit Drummer, in particular, falls prey to this quite often. Eventually, he started taking bets as to whether or not a song he was about to play was a SiIvaGunner remix. 8-Bit has invoked this himself a few times. One example is when he was asked for his opinion on the then-rampant controversy for the Pokémon Sword and Shield dex cut. His response was to laugh as if he'd been waiting to vent reams of frustrations about it, put on the track "sans." from Undertale, then hype up what appeared to be a very long rant:
    Jerod: Here's my opinion on the Pokémon Sword and Shield controversy...
    [Abruptly stops the music]
    Jerod: It's freakin' stupid. Let's move on.
  • Back to the Whoture promises an epic crossover of Back to the Future and The Who. Then as they travel through time they happen to crash into the police box of a certain other Who...
  • The Nostalgia Critic:
    • In his review of Catwoman, four Catwoman actresses confront him. They ask how attractive women dressed like cats can ever get as much attention as Halle Berry. The Critic (who previously encouraged them to flaunt their breasts) says that on the Internet, there's an easy way, as dramatic music starts. They star in cat videos.
    • In his review of Bloodrayne, guest starring Spoony and Linkara, before they can get to the credits, Linkara says they have to address the elephant in the room involving all sorts of Internet drama centered around Spoony a few years ago. This seems to be leading up to something about Noah's acrimonious departure from Channel Awesome, but in fact Linkara is referring to the fact that he wore a Castleton jumper in their last crossover despite never attending Castleton!
  • The short video "Inside" by DeniseVlogs is one big Bait-and-Switch — Most of the video is just a man in his house late at night, occasionally hearing noises but dismissing them because It's Probably Nothing. Whatever's causing the noises is something terrible that's going to come in and kill him, right? No, the noises are being made by the tortured woman who's trapped in the basement. Turns out this guy is actually the story's antagonist.
  • Todd in the Shadows:
    • In the review of Chris Brown's Deuces, he does this while admitting that he does enjoy ragging on Brown.
      Todd: Now, all critics have their favorite whipping boys, and from the beginning, one of mine was Chris Brown. I love beating on Chris Brown just as much as Chris Brown likes beating... [picture of Brown's head photo-edited onto a waitress at a breakfast restaurant] eggs for his famous homestyle breakfasts.
    • Todd also has a particular line in opening best/worst list videos with fakeouts in one way or another. For example, in his Best of 2016 list, he talks about how the Chainsmokers rejoined the mainstream with "Roses" ft Rozes, then bluntly says he went with "Closer" for the slot anyway.
  • Invoked in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog when Moist mentions that he went on a double date with twins Bait and Switch.
    Dr. Horrible: Oh yeah, how did that go?
    Moist: Well, I was supposed to end up with Bait, but... you know...
  • In this video, Michael the Terrible Boyfriend ponders how to get into his girlfriend's house without her parents noticing, and sees a pizza delivery truck come. He looks at it and asks "Are you thinking what I'm thinking? I think you are!". Cut to him riding a pterodactyl into her home, which then eats her.
  • In Cybershell's Let's Play of the Genesis Sonic games, he measures how annoying an enemy is by using a "cunt-o-meter". When he gets to the infamous Red Barrel in Carnival Night Zone, the gameplay stops and slowly zooms in on the barrel as Also sprach Zarathustra plays in the background. After all that buildup, the Red Barrel gets a score of one on the Meter as Cybershell starts ranting that it wasn't that difficult to get past.
  • Many cuts in Funday Night Gaming videos tend to show the results being completely opposite (or tangential) to the comment that was just made. This shows especially well in TJ's playthrough of Surgeon Simulator 2013.
  • Regular Car Reviews dropped hints that he was reviewing a 6-cylinder turbocharged rear-wheel drive rear-engine car, a.k.a. a Porsche. The actual "car" in question is a 40 foot long Freightliner RV, with a 7.7 liter V6 turbodiesel mounted behind the rear wheels.
  • The Mark Remark: Talking about when Seth Rollins "revealed some very revealing images... of his enormous, hard, throbbing car".
  • In "Irish People Try Stereotypical Irish Foods" a man shows us the front of a Lucky Charms cereal box. Lucky the leprechaun is levitating the marshmallow shapes in a magical rainbow between his hands so we can see them. One of the Irish guys says "This is not what we're like." He pauses so we can assume he means "Irish people don't all have red hair and wear green clothes all the time." Then the punchline, "Only half of my family can juggle marshmallows."
  • In the fourth episode of Don't Hug Me I'm Scared, Red Guy says "If only there was a way to learn more about the world..." and turns to the globe. Then Duck Guy says the same thing, also turning to the globe. The globe then suddenly grows a face, followed by a computer that wasn't even there before starting to sing.
  • When The Angry Video Game Nerd reviewed the Superman games on Atari 2600 and NES, he acknowledged the large volume of requests for him to review Superman 64. He decided to start off the following episode by fulfilling those requests and reviewing Superman in Commodore 64. A few minutes later, he reviews the actual game.
  • In Mathew Buck's Projector review of XXX Return Of Xander Cage:
    In 2002, the James Bond franchise stumbled with Die Another Day, and found its throne threatened by a young upstart that showed how out of touch it was at that moment. And that movie was The Bourne Identity.
  • PlayStation Access does this gag a few times. Once Rob was playing Persona 5 and his Mum said the game was weird... because it didn't make sense for everyone to just take their turn hitting each other.
  • TB Skyen:
    • Discussing Moira's design in Overwatch, mentioned that he had idly mentioned maybe doing that video sometime, and been bombarded with comments about "when are you getting to Moira, where's the Moira video", and he found it really, really frickin'...encouraging, and he was grateful for the engagement and enthusiasm.
    • Done more seriously in "What's the Deal with Yuumi?" which breaks off the character design discussion after a few minutes to rip into Riot Games for having such terrible management and organisational culture.
  • One time, there was a trend where innocuous links in forum signatures led to a website that led to a website that said, "You've been infected by a zombie curse!" The website (and similar websites) were actually a game of some sort.
  • Episode 137 of Being the Elite has The Stinger where Kenny Omega stresses over a difficult choice with Nick Jackson of The Young Bucks. At the episode's airing, Omega was a free agent and rumors were rampant that he would sign with AEW. The choice Kenny stresses over turns out to be whether to start playing the PS4 remake of Resident Evil 2 as Leon Kennedy or Claire Redfield.
  • In the Wiiviewer's review of Pac-Man, he explains that Pac-Man was originally going to be called "Puck Man", but they changed it because they knew teenagers would change the first letter to make it say something else. He says, "We all know what I'm talking about...DUCK Man!"
  • World War II: Host Indy Neidell does this a few times including in the first episode when he begins by saying that Germany's invasion of Poland in 1939 began... The Polish-German War of 1939. Later, after months of Hitler planning to invade France, in May of 1940, an invasion happens... to Iceland, by the British.
  • Drew Gooden: One Vine sets up the joke of him being a minute late for McDonalds breakfast, only to be informed that they serve breakfast all day. It turns out he was actually upset over his wife not getting to give birth in the restaurant's bathroom.
  • H.Bomberguy: In "Weighing the Value of Director's Cuts", he repeatedly looks like he's going to talk about George Lucas and the infamous tweaks he made to the original trilogy of Star Wars, the Trope Namer for George Lucas Altered Version, only to swing sideways into talking about other directors, including Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, and he's just about to start on Federico Fellini when subverts the whole ordeal by giving up and snapping "Fine! George Lucas!"...and then starts talking about THX 1138 just to drive the point home.
  • Sapnap: Minecraft, But its raining Cats and Dogs... starts off sounding like it's a typical Minecraft Let's Play and then cats and dogs fall from the sky.
  • One Take: In Episode 2, viewers hear a panicked phone call from a girl to her boyfriend about pregnancy. The Oner focuses on Jasmine, who is escaping her house. However, the voice is not Jasmine's: it belongs to her brother's one-time fling who has gotten pregnant from him.
  • In the video A two-year old's solution to the trolley problem Nicholas moves the lone figure on the left track to the right track with the other people on it...and then moves the train down the right track.
  • Jreg: The entire The Mental Illnesses series is technically a bait-and-switch. The original “The Mental Illnesses” video came out directly after the last Centricide video. The video portrays the concept of personified mental illnesses as flawed and possibly harmful due to how complex disorders are simplified. Some took it as a satirization of Centricide’s concept. At the end, Neurotypical declares the series a very bad idea and states "there should not be any more of this." On Twitter Jreg posted the video and made a poll captioned "Should this be the next series" with both answers of the poll being "no". Three months later? It’s an actual series.
  • The Polygon video "Why Bloodborne and Muppets are the exact same thing" has Patrick Gill deliver this line:
    Pat: Big Bird's downy feathers make him a big, huggable friend, and in contrast, the Blood-Starved Beast's matted fur and wet flaps of skin...make him a big huggable friend.
  • Sgt Ducky: In The Dawn of Sean, he repeatedly implies that he, PJ, and Heff were drug users due to the repeated references to cocaine. In Heaving in the Evening, Ducky reveals that they weren't using drugs and they were actually referencing caffeine. As Ducky points out, it's way too difficult and costly for Ducky and his friends to actually buy drugs in rural Ireland.
  • In Vision of Escaflowne Abridged, Dryden needs a book, but Lovable Sex Maniac Allen won't give it up. Ms. Fanservice Millerna offers to get it for him.
    Dryden: Do I want to know how you intend to do that?
    Millerna: A woman never reveals her methods. [unzips blouse]
    [cut to later, fully clothed]
    Millerna: Hey Allen, we're totally out of toilet paper! Can I borrow this book?
    Allen: Sure.
    Millerna: Killer.
  • Brocéliande: During a battle, Ziff the redcap screams a Big "NO!" when an orc by his side is killed by an arrow. When Ferrigno tells him to be strong and that he died with dignity, Ziff retorts he doesn't care about that, the dead orc was owing him money!
  • Solid jj:
    • Near the end of "The Avengers Interview Hulk", Hulk looks like he is going to go berserk after his application is rejected, but abruptly calm down and explains that what he is going to do is sue the Avengers.
    • In "The Justice League Remembers Hawkman Exists", after Hawkman sadly gives a speech about how superheroes like them shouldn't be bullying their teammate—referring to their treatment to him throughout the video—the team agrees... and apologizes to Aquaman for all the "Aquaman is lame" jokes throughout the years.
    • In "Culturally Insensitive Captain America", Iron Man talks about a household item that’s become much more common and plays a bigger role than it used to. Cap assumes he’s talking about the television, only for Iron Man to instead say "Women".
  • Dungeons & Dragons comedy channel One Shot Quips has a series of videos called "How People THINK [Classes] are Played VS How They're ACTUALLY Played", contrasting the in-universe flavor of each class with how they act as player characters. For instance, clerics are supposed to be noble, selfless priests devoted to a divine calling, but usually played as irate, put-upon healers who the party takes for granted. Barbarians are shown to be apparently rage-happy Blood Knights who run everywhere screaming, when in actuality they're... rage-happy Blood Knights who run everywhere screaming in between roleplaying shenanigans. The barbarian even turns to the camera and cheerfully acknowledges, "Nah, people have the right idea about us!"

  • Penn & Teller are infamous for doing this in their magic acts.
  • A palindrome is completely deterministic after the first half. You can thus sic Anti-Humor on the second half (too easy) or, more masterful, do this, referring to the well-known Panama palindrome:
    Zeus, a plan, a canal, Pa...Suez!
    • Likewise, the German Schüttelreim (Spoonerism...but in Germany it's a bit more of an art form ) has a deterministic rhyme. Satire mag "Titanic" is a major subverter here.
  • Dangerous and abusive cults (religious or otherwise) use this as their M.O..
    • Jim Jones' People's Temple presented itself as a tolerant Christian church that promoted Social Justice and Civil Rights....but was really just a controlling outfit that could care less about faith and with worshiping Jones as a "God"-like figure.
    • More recently; Keith Rainere's NXIVM (pronounced 'Nexium') organization presented itself as a "human potential/motivational coach" group and its more esoteric DOS group as a feminist "woman's empowerment" thing. In reality, it was a Scam Religion that was similar to the Church of Happyology where Rainere was basically worshiped under the moniker "Vanguard". And DOS (which really stood for 'Master & Slave' in Latin) was really a hyper-misogynist Sex Slave scheme to force otherwise strong, successful, independent women into becoming starved, waif-thin, submissive harem for Rainere....complete with being branded like cattle. In fact; Rainere's general teachings about women in both groups was basically that women are inferior and the Double Standard is awesome.
    • Groups headed up by a guru/minister/etc. will start off as a spiritual group headed by a person who's just a more adept believer and teacher....only for them to make the big A God Am I reveal only when you've really invested some time in the group.
    • On a more political/warfare/terrorism variant; many who join DAESH note  were simply disaffected Muslim youths who didn't feel they quite fit in with an oft-bigoted Western Society and/or wanted to help out with the situation in Syria.note  They were often presented with an idealized Islamic society (that retain modern features and food)note  while Muslim girls were tempted with "Dashing heroic young fighters who will be kind and pious lovers, husbands, fathers" note  or the gals were promised to get into some of the "cool" war-action.note  Some guys joined DAESH for "adventure."note  Of course; Many who joined knew of the true nature of DAESH but didn't care because they were psychopathic criminally-minded goons who wanted to rape and pillage with impunity and not worry about such things like "The Police" or "Mom & Dad".
  • One very famous rhetorical bait-and-switch from the 1984 US presidential election:
Henry Trewhitt: I want to raise an issue that I think has been out there for two or three weeks, and cast it specifically in national security terms. You already are the oldest president in history, and some of your staff said you were tired after your recent encounter with Mr. Mondale. I recall that President Kennedy had to go without sleep for days on end during the Cuban missile crisis. Is there any doubt in your mind that you would be able to function in such circumstances?
Ronald Reagan: Not at all, and I would like you to know, Mr Trewhitt, that I am not going to make age an issue in this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience.
  • Birthday cards:
    • One says, "I hope you enjoy your car—", then on the inside, it says, "—d".
    • Another car-related one says, "You said you wanted a jaguar for your birthday", and on the inside it says, "But they roar a lot and it's dangerous to keep a big cat, so I got you money instead."
  • At the beginning of Ken Block's Electrikhana, he's strolling through a crimson-lit parking garage, seemingly towards an old Audi rally car. However, the scene then cuts away to reveal him walking toward another vehicle, the one he'd use for the video: the Audi S1 Hoonitron.

Alternative Title(s): Index And Switch


Topsy-Turvy Town

When Mickey and Minnie are sent to jail for breaking the rules of Topsy-Turvy Town, the executioner arrives to give them a cruel punishment... by chopping some lemons for two ice cold drinks and sentencing them both to a luxurious beach resort.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / BaitAndSwitch

Media sources: