Follow TV Tropes

Following

Bait-and-Switch Compassion

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/download_3_88.png
Tallest Purple: Malfunctioning SIR units. Hey, these things are dangerous! Anyone who gets their hands on these could really get hurt! Send them to Zim!
Tallest Red: [gasps] But they'll destroy him!
[Beat. The two then share a laugh.]
Tallest Purple: Let's go eat food.
Advertisement:

You ever notice a small conversation between two people and said conversation ends up being about a certain scenario where a potentially bad thing may be afloat and one of the characters in the conversation ends up showing some concern about said bad thing...then the people conversing end up having a good laugh as said concern was just a joke.

This is just one variation of Bait And Switch Compassion. Another variation of this Bait-and-Switch is where a character appears to be concerned about someone, but is actually worried about something else.

If a particularly unkind character is doing this, then they may be a Jerk with a Heart of Jerk.

This could be a sub-trope for No Sympathy and Refuse to Rescue the Disliked where the conversing party at first shows concern for someone when they are in a bad situation but laugh it off as they don't really care about the person being in the state. May often double with Skewed Priorities if someone appears to be worried about someone, only to reveal that they're more interested in something inconsequential.

Advertisement:

Contrast to HA HA HA—No where a character laughs at something but gets serious.


Examples:

Fan Works

  • In The Loud House fanfic, Our Brother's a Werewolf, Lincoln tells Clyde that he was bitten by a wolf while camping with his family. Clyde then says that maybe he was bitten by a werewolf. The two boys are frightened for a second before having a laugh as Clyde was just making a joke. Unknown to Clyde, Lincoln was bitten by a werewolf.

Films - Animated

  • Beauty and the Beast: Monsieur D'arque, who runs the mental asylum, initially seems to dislike Gaston's plan to have Belle's father Maurice locked up unless she agrees to marry him, but then laughs evilly and says he loves it.
  • Big Hero 6. Tadashi asks Hiro if he's alright, if he's hurt at all. When Hiro confirms he was unharmed, Tadashi starts hitting him, asking, "What were you thinking, knucklehead?" This is repeated by Aunt Cass after she bails them out of jail.
  • Advertisement:
  • In Luca, Luca accidentally kicks a soccer ball into Ercole's motorcycle. A kid slides under it to save it. Ercole runs over to him and asks "Are you hurt?", but he turns out to be talking to the motorcycle.
  • The Mitchells vs. the Machines has a scene where PAL admits to her creator Mark that she hacked into his competitor's private emails and Mark looks taken aback by this and says that what she did was a 'dangerous overreach of corporate power'. PAL looks chastened for a second before she and Mark end up laughing it off. Too bad that Mark should've taken it more seriously when PAL turns evil and nearly tries to destroy all of humanity.
  • Open Season: Boog and Elliot are arguing with each other over who's the bigger loser, until Elliot says he killed a man. They then laugh it off as Elliot was joking.
  • Peter Pan: After Mr. Darling takes a bad fall in the nursery, he hears his family going "Awww..." and smiles warmly at their concern. It turns out they were actually worried about the dog Nana, who merely took a little slip. He, who had just been complaining about not being respected, doesn't take it well.
    All: Poor Nana...
    Mr. Darling: Poor Nana?! THAT'S THE LAST STRAW!
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie: Squidward discovers that Mr. Krabs has been frozen by Neptune.
    Squidward: Oh, no! This is terrible! Who's gonna sign my paycheck?

Films - Live Action

  • In Hardcore Henry, one of the villains is hanging from the door of a helicopter. Henry walks over as if to pull them up, then slams the door on their fingers.

Literature

  • A Running Gag in Captain Underpants in the comics George and Harold make. When a disaster strikes that prompts the call for the titular superhero, oftentimes a bystander will recount that the monster destroyed some inanimate objects and brought harm to a school faculty member. Cue the "Oh no! Not the [inanimate objects]!"

TV - Live Action

  • In the Married... with Children episode "976-SHOE" at Al's trial for creating a fraudulent phone line, the judge first laughed at Al, then got serious and yelled at him, and then laughed at him again, which prompted the entire courtroom to join in.

Newspaper Comics

  • Inverted in a strip of Calvin and Hobbes. When Calvin gets lost at the zoo, Calvin's dad jokes to himself that he might be in the tiger pit because he likes tigers so much, but then realizes the possibility is very real and starts running to go save him.
  • In a strip of Garfield, Garfield hears a doctor tell Jon he's putting him in the hospital. Garfield, thinking Jon is going to die, is worried but it's not out of concern — he's just worried that nobody will be around to feed him.

Video Games

  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: When Link visits Gerudo Town, he can ask for a drink at the local canteen. The proprietor notes that he looks too young to be drinking alcohol, to which Link can respond that he's over a century old. The woman will be silent for one text box in apparent surprise, only to laugh at the Hylian visitor's "joke."

Web Animation

  • Helluva Boss: In the sixth episode "Truth Seekers", the I.M.P. are caught by a government agency bent on discovering their secrets. Stolas then comes to the rescue by terrifying the living daylights out of the two agents who tried to interrogate Blitzo and Moxxie. Stolas then comes up to Blitzo and asks if he's all right. After the imp replies that he is, Stolas lingers on his face in relief...before he immediately scolds him and the gang for getting caught by humans.

Western Animation

  • In Angelina Ballerina, when Angelina's baby sister Polly and her classmate's yoyo go missing, Angelina sees him searching around. Initially, she thinks he's looking for Polly, but he's actually looking for the yoyo.
  • A variation happens in Futurama, in the episode "Love and Rocket":
    Leela: Doesn't it bother you even a little to be taking advantage of your girlfriend's trust?
    [Bender bursts into laughter, then stops.]
    Bender: Oh, wait, you're serious. Let me laugh even harder.
    [He laughs even harder.]
  • Hey Arnold!: In the episode "Olga Comes Home", Helga forges Olga's report card to make her think she got a B grade. When Helga walks by Olga's room and hears her crying, Helga looks guilty and remarks how she can't stand to see her like that anymore. She then shuts the door and brightens up.
  • Invader Zim: In one episode, The Almighty Tallest Purple suggests sending some malfunctioning SIR units to Zim. Red gasps and says in a worried tone that he will be destroyed if he gets them. The two then laugh since they hate Zim's guts.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • Daffy Duck's reaction when he sees a dog making sad faces at him through a window.
      Daffy: Aw, shucks. I can't stand to see a dumb animal suffer. So... [Closes the window blinds. Walks away.]
    • "Bugs Bunny Rides Again": Bugs has tricked Yosemite Sam into stepping off a cliff, but then he runs down to the bottom to place a mattress for him to land.
      Bugs: Y'know, sometimes me conscience kinda bothers me — But not this time! [pulls away mattress just as Sam hits the ground.]
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "Lesson Zero", when Twilight panics that she hasn't sent a friendship letter to Princess Celestia that week yet, the rest of the Mane Six express concern before laughing it off, thinking it's no big deal.
  • Recess: In the episode "The Box", Randall seems horrified when Miss Finster suggests keeping TJ in The Box for two extra minutes, but gleefully calls her a genius, at which point they both share a laugh.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "Whatever Happened to SpongeBob?"note , Sandy and Patrick feel horribly guilty for having yelled at SpongeBob, as this is what caused him to run away. Squidward also appears to be worried about SpongeBob at first, but then he brightens up and says he just wishes he had slammed the door in SpongeBob's face even harder before laughing it off.
    • In "Have You Seen This Snail?", Patrick sees the disheveled SpongeBob lying down on the ground because he's exhausted from having spent a long time playing paddle ball. Patrick exclaims SpongeBob's name in supposed concern before running over to a framed picture, saying that the picture isn't straight.
    • Later in that same episode, after having seen Grandma and Gary at a craft store, Patrick seems like he's about to tell SpongeBob that he saw them at the store, but instead tells him that he saw some huge chunks of balsa wood.
  • Teen Titans: In the episode "Forces of Nature", the elemental brothers Thunder and Lightning wreak havoc across Jump City in their quest to have fun. After Beast Boy calls Thunder out on how dangerous his "fun" is, Thunder expresses his concern to Lightning. Lightning looks concerned for a few moments before laughing and dismissing the idea that their fun could be dangerous.
  • In a 1-hour special of Total Drama, Gwen, Trent and Leshawna see Heather trapped in a beaver dam and wonder if they should help her...then laugh their heads off because they despise her and then leave her alone.
  • Wander over Yonder:
    • In "The Flower", Wander attempts to stop Lord Dominator from destroying the last flower in the galaxy. Dominator shows concern for the damage her actions have caused...before blowing off Wander for being a sap.
    • In the credits of "The Little Guy", there's a funeral for Westley (who the Watchdogs mistakenly think is dead). Hater is wailing and Peepers comforts him, thinking he's distraught about Westley, but then Hater says he doesn't even know who Westley is and that he's just upset that he lost to Wander and Sylvia yet again.

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report