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Contrived Clumsiness

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To err is human. Most people are aware of this, and recognize that we are all prone to the occasional act of clumsiness and carelessness. Hence, when someone accidentally spills a drink, or steps on a foot, or knocks something over, most people are willing to forgive and forget if an apology is given.

However, this also means that people can, on occasion, do something generally mean-spirited to someone else in public, and potentially get away with it if it appears to have been a mistake. Of course, sometimes the person doing this wants everyone, particularly their victim, to know it was done very deliberately, and will communicate this by issuing an insincere or flat-out sarcastic apology.

Whether or not the character engaging in this behavior chooses to cover it with a sincere apology may depend on whether or not the character believes their audience will sympathize with the action. For example, if Alice is a particularly vicious and foul character who is not well liked, Charlene might choose to issue a sarcastic apology after dropping a plate of tartar sauce on her cleavage; her audience will smile because they all know that Alice had it coming, and they are pleased with Charlene's courage, knowing full well it wasn't really an accident. On the other hand, if Bob is a major Jerkass who is not especially well-liked, he may attempt a sincere apology after "accidentally" tripping the much kinder and sympathetic Charlie; he knows that those watching don't like him, and the apology works as a pre-emptive defense. Of course, if Bob is very powerful, he might decide not to put any effort into making the apology sound sincere since he really doesn't care what everybody thinks since there's nothing anybody can do about it.

This type of deliberate accident is often motivated by spite or revenge, although not always. Sometimes it's a necessity to divert someone's attention, gain someone's attention, plant a Tracking Device, steal something, or just get someone worked up. The key to this trope is that an action is being presented as a mistake on the part of the person doing it. Since there's no point in holding up such a pretense if alone, this is something that will be done in public, even if all that's available is an audience of one.

Usually, this action is more of an irritant than anything that's likely to cause serious injury or death, but not always.

Common variants of this trope include, but are not limited to:

  • The Drink Spill: A character spills a drink or some kind of food onto another character or him/herself.
  • The Foot Crunch: A character steps on another character's foot or spears it with a cane.
  • The Fragile Object Knock-Over: A character bumps or pushes something brittle and sends it crashing to the floor.
  • The Trip: A character sticks out a foot and trips someone.
  • The Finger-Slip: A character "accidentally" pushes a button or some other device that activates a device that should not be activated.

See also: The "Be Quiet!" Nudge, in which a character punches or kicks someone and pretends it was an accident, in order to get the other character to stop talking. Compare Interrogation by Vandalism and Intentional Mess Making.

This trope bears no relation to the Sitcom Accidentally On Purpose.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the second season of Darker than Black, one scene shows the depraved Genma having his partner Mina conduct moxibustion on him, which is the "payment" for using his powers. He makes a perverted comment, and Mina, who Does Not Like Men, accidentally-on-purpose burns him.
  • In Dragon Ball, Shen weaponizes this sort of behavior, seemingly accidentally dodging everybody's attacks while inflicting damage through perceived incredible clumsiness, attributing his outcomes to amazing luck. He makes it to the last rounds of the 23rd Tenkaichi Budokai and defeats Yamcha but is then taken out in the semifinals by Piccolo, after breaking his façade by using a Dangerous Forbidden Technique—he entered the competition specifically to stop Piccolo because he knew Piccolo was a threat. Shen is actually God possessing an ordinary businessman as a disguise and is strong enough to not have to take any of his opponents seriously until Piccolo.
  • In Kitchen Princess, the heroine has made friends with a rich girl who also happens to be a rich model. Her name is Akane, and she seems nice, but she's actually a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing. While eating lunch together, she purposely knocks the heroine's lunch onto her dress, then gets upset and causes her friends to turn on the girl.
  • A non-comedic example of this is in Mobile Suit Gundam 00 wherein the Child Soldier Nena bombs a wedding party, killing almost everyone there. When questioned about it, she giggles and says she accidentally pressed the wrong button. The reason she bombed the party was that they were having more fun than her.
    • In Kozo Omori's manga adaption, however... it WAS an accident, and the setup and aftermath from Nena's perspective was actually treated comedically, although everything else remained serious.
  • In the third episode of Samurai Champloo Jin and Mugen have left Fuu to fend for herself, she wanders through an alley where two men are watching her, they stick out a vase to make her bump into and break, she apologizes and they tell her to pay up and she tells them she doesn't have any money, they then proceed to kidnap her and stuff her into a sack.
  • Early in the training session in Slam Dunk, Sakuragi threw a ball to Rukawa to prevent him to show him how to properly do an alley-oop, since Sakuragi is annoyed at him. Twice. And with the same excuse too: His hand slipped. After that, Rukawa threw a ball to Sakuragi's head and used the same excuse in a more deadpan tone. Sakuragi one-ups this by tossing a whole group of basketballs from a steel basket right onto Rukawa, saying his whole body slipped.
  • Snow White with the Red Hair: While Lata claims he has managed to avoid balls and parties for so long he's forgotten how to dance he hasn't, nor has he forgotten how to make a girl step on his foot while making it look like she misstepped during the dance so that he can excuse himself from the event and escape to treat his "injury". He mentions deadpan that most noblewomen in the kingdom hate him for this.
  • Soul Eater: As Death the Kid holds a practice battle against Black Star and Soul, the latter two injure each other and make up with a ridiculously drawn-out Man Hug. Annoyed, Kid shoots them both, then sarcastically excuses himself with "My finger slipped".

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: In his civilian identity, Bruce Wayne has been known to do this. For example, in Robin: Year One, he intentionally spills his drink on an important control panel.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe: In a story by Carl Barks, in which Scrooge and Donald Duck go to Saudi Arabia, a bad guy bumps into a sheikh (who, not surprisingly, looks like a duck), slipping a listening-bug onto his robe. (The bad guy apologizes, and the sheikh says, "You're a clumsy oaf!")
  • Aaron Stack the Machine Man in Nextwave:
    Aaron Stack: I am a clumsy robot, and the longer I hold this dress the greater the chance something will damage it. Oops. My blowtorch unit seems to have accidentally lit.
  • Spirou & Fantasio: In Le Tombeau des Champignac, Fantasio stops Seccotine from recording the secrets of the crypt by "accidentally" knocking her Spy Cam out of her hands and stepping on it.
  • Superman: Clark Kent does this all the time. Usually, it's to save someone without compromising his secret identity.
  • The drink spill variant was done in Thorgal by some random Viking, to humiliate the protagonist, who is a beggar at that time (due to Angst Coma after he thinks his wife and child have died) and can't defend himself.
  • Top 10:
    • This was done twice in one issue, both times by Ferro-American Deadpan Snarker Joe Pi:
      Joe Pi: with typical machine clumsiness, I seem to have disabled my inbuilt audio taping system. This means that if, for instance, a fellow officer should suggest something illegal, I won't have a record of it.
    • A few pages later, after he "accidentally" convinces a fugitive suspect to commit suicide instead of surrender and be treated as a sidekick-molester in prison, he then says:
      Joe Pi: We have to get back to the station. I have to report my poor performance as a siege negotiator.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: Diana "accidentally" trips on a chain while pretending to be under Hypnota's mind control in order to drop the sword Hypnota intends to force Diana to use to kill captives right in front of Etta Candy, whom Diana had just secretly unbound.

    Comic Strips 
  • Dilbert:
    • One strip had Dilbert at a cocktail party and two women holding an impromptu "spill stuff on him" party. The final panel shows Dilbert back at home wearing the rags of his shirt after they'd hit him with lighter fluid.
    • In the book Dogbert's Clues for the Clueless, Dogbert examines the conundrum of being seated in public next to a man who spreads his legs too much. Dogbert recommends "accidentally" spilling a drink in the offender's lap. "Oops! Something bumped my leg."

    Fan Works 
  • Harry Potter and the Nightmares of Futures Past: Harry stages an "accident" to break Ron and Neville's wands, because he knows that their wands aren't well matched to them, but that they would be reluctant to accept him paying for replacements. By taking the blame for his "clumsiness", he has an excuse for paying. Hermione sees right through him, but Ron and Neville don't suspect.
  • All my homies hate Athalie Severin: God hits Athalie with a bolt of lightning and only responds with an "Oops~" which doesn't really help his case.
  • Universe Falls: In "Northwest Mansion Nightmare", the Crystal Gems aren't happy about being at the Northwest Fest, and take the opportunity to "accidentally" damage some Northwest family heirlooms. It eventually escalates to them just straight up trashing the place when they think the Northwests aren't looking.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Emperor's New Groove: As Kuzco and Pacha try to get the potion that will turn Kuzco human, Yzma knocks over the other potions so they can't tell which is which, saying "Oops, clumsy me!" as she does.
  • The Jungle Book: At the end of the movie, the village girl spills her water jug, causing Mowgli to come out of the trees to help her (and eventually follow her to the village). Baloo indignantly declares she did it on purpose, which Bagheera cheerfully confirms.
  • Oliver & Company: When Jenny discovers that Oliver is missing, Georgette takes Oliver's dish and drops it in the garbage with a sarcastic "Whoops!"
  • Pinocchio: Honest John gets Pinocchio's attention by tripping him up with his cane.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Employed by the titular hero in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Peter runs into Gwen and learns that there's a security team chasing her for doing research into Max Dillion. He proceeds to get them off her tail by "accidentally" bumping, tripping, and spilling coffee all over them.
  • The first Back to the Future has an example of the "accidental" trip; Marty McFly trips Biff Tannen when they're in the diner in 1955 Hill Valley, California.
  • In A Christmas Story, when Mother dusts the living room with no-one else around, she winds up breaking The Old Man's "major award" (an electric lamp shaped like a sexy woman's leg in a fishnet stocking). The audience doesn't see the act, but it's strongly implied it was no accident — considering the sneaky look she gives as she begins dusting, and the fact that she'd hated that lamp from the beginning.
  • A jealous call girl in the movie Coffy spills an entire tray of drinks onto the lap of the title character's white dress, then sincerely insists it was an accident when called out on it. A big Cat Fight ensues.
  • Cop on a Mission: During a (rather dull and boring) meeting between a bunch of mob bosses, Pauline, the wife of Boss Yum, makes a breakaway by "accidentally" spilling champagne on her dress, and then excusing herself to change in a nearby storeroom.
  • In Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome, Prof. Learned feigns clumsiness and drops the flask containing Dr. Tomic's formula so it smashes to cover up that she had stolen the formula and substituted water in its place.
  • A variation is seen in A Fish Called Wanda when Otto, angry with Wanda, picks up a framed photo of her and smashes it with his fist. He then hands it to the owner, and flatly says "Oh, sorry".
  • A human deliberately steps on Rumbo's tail in Fluke. Fluke bites his leg as payback.
  • The Goonies: Chunk is the clumsy, chubby boy of the group and known for making a mess of things. But each time he knocks something over, it leads to a new discovery that progresses the plot.
  • In Gosford Park, after a man posing as a servant reveals himself to be an actor and moves from "below stairs" to "above stairs". To punish him for his deception, the first footman George spills hot coffee in his lap. His fellow servants quickly hide their smiles, his fellow nobs shrug and keep on keeping on.
  • In the '80s movie Just One of the Guys, the Jerk Jock dumps an entire tray of food onto the lap of the male protagonist, the main course of which was spaghetti, and gives him a sarcastic apology. The victim, in this case, was wearing a brand new outfit.
  • K-20: Legend of the Mask: Yoko tries to delay Akechi by pretending to trip and spill a plate of food on to him. Akechi offhandedly catches the plate and the food on it without looking.
  • In the The Karate Kid, Cheng knocks over Dre's lunch tray and then says "Sorry!"
  • In Legally Blonde, a woman awkwardly tries to flirt with a man by dropping a pen on the floor and then bending over to retrieve it. However, it becomes actual clumsiness when she accidentally headbutts him while standing back up, breaking his nose.
  • In Mission: Impossible III, a kidnapping target is spilled on, to force him into the bathroom. He is then abducted through the vents.
  • In Miś, Aleksandra wants Staszek to wash his hair. So she asks him to plunge her bathtub and unhooks the entire cosmetics shelf, so it falls on his head. She "blames" this on Staszek.
  • Not Another Teen Movie plays with this classic "teen movie" trope. Janey is in a dress, already wet from jumping the pool, and the Alpha Bitch, Priscilla, sarcastically feigning clumsiness, spills a bottle of water on her. Janey reacts with humiliated tears, and other characters react similarly:
    Random Party-goer: That's gonna stain!
  • Done intentionally in No Way Out (1987) - when Commander Farrell learns the two witnesses who could possibly identify him as being with Susan Atwell the weekend before she was killed are coming into the computer room, he "accidentally" knocks over a cup of coffee so he can sit in the coffee so he has an excuse to leave the office (to change).
  • Cliff Secord does in The Rocketeer when he's at the South Seas Club, where his girlfriend Jenny is with Neville Sinclair, who's looking for the rocketpack. He "accidentally" spills some champagne on Jenny just before she tells Neville about him and how he's got the rocketpack.
  • Used in Roman Holiday, with not even an attempt to disguise it, along the lines of "Oh, look what you just did to yourself."
  • In Ronin (1998), Sam "accidentally" knocks over a cup of coffee by Gregor to test his reflexes. Gregor catches the cup before it hits the floor, which shows he's a force to be reckoned with.
  • The Seventh Seal: Antonius pretends to fumble the game board when he's on the verge of losing his game of Chess with Death. Death, undeterred, puts the pieces back where they were, but the diversion works: not to save Antonius, but to distract Death while Jof's family escapes.
    Death: You won't get away that easily. [Jof's wagon rolls out of view behind him.]
  • Done intentionally in Tequila Sunrise. After Maguire implies he wants Nick to manufacture evidence against Mac so he can put Mac in jail (even though Mac has apparently retired from dealing drugs), Nick responds by going into Maguire's office, taking a tray that's full of cups of coffee, and dumping it on Maguire's lap.
    Nick: I don't need you flying in from Washington, taking over my office, and telling me to manufacture evidence! This is my back yard, Hal! I don't grow weeds in my back yard so I can pull them!
  • In the movie UHF, one of the jerkasses from the competing television station trips the cameraman for the title station, and sarcastically chimes "Oopsie!" after. Later, the victim of this action enacts his revenge by doing the same thing to the jerkass, except this time, the trip ends in a mud puddle.

  • In Aunt Dimity and the Deep Blue Sea, "Harry Peters" Peter Harris in disguise knocks over a table in an Erinskil pub, spilling Lori's tea into her lap so she won't blurt out his real name when she recognizes him.
  • Late in A Brother's Price, Jerin has been disarmed and his lockpicks confiscated. He "accidentally" blunders into the woman who took his derringer and palms it with sleight of hand while she enjoys it, then repeats the "mistake" with the woman who took his lockpicks.
  • In Robin McKinley's Chalice, one of the primary antagonists uses a very malicious form of fake clumsiness to set the demesne's Master up for a Morton's Fork: he "trips" within the Master's reach, forcing the Master - a former priest of elemental fire - to choose between catching and involuntarily burning him (an insult) or letting him fall (also an insult).
  • Early on in Circle of Friends, when Benny and Eve has just started hanging out together, Maire comes to congratulate Benny on her birthday party, and then makes a snide remark about Eve's dress (Eve is an orphan who lives with nuns). Benny, who's sitting on top of a wall, launches herself onto Maire from the wall, "accidentally" falling onto her, and when one of the nuns comes over, Benny "apologizes" for being clumsy. This incident is what starts Benny and Eve's lifelong friendship.
  • In Millennium (1983), Louise tries this for two reasons, by spilling coffee onto a tape recorder: she wants to divert attention from the tape being played and is hoping to do enough damage that information she wants to be hidden can't be retrieved. It doesn't work, for either.
  • Rai Kirah: When Seyonne the slave recognizes a visiting nobleman as dangerous, he spills an inkwell on the noble and works a covert warning into his effusive apology to his master.
  • In the fourth book of A Series of Unfortunate Events, this happens to Klaus (the tripping kind). However, this turns out to be a trap to let Count Olaf make his next move.
  • In Sorcery and Cecelia, or, The Enchanted Chocolate Pot, Cecelia disposes of the titular chocolate pot by pretending to "accidentally" spill it. It helps that she already had a reputation for clumsiness.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 2 Broke Girls: Caroline "accidentally" spills a bowl of borscht on a girl who took a shirt Max was interested in at Goodwill.
  • A non-trivial one in Breaking Bad: Walt "accidentally" swerves Hank's car into oncoming traffic to stop him from investigating a laundromat for meth operations.
    • In Better Call Saul episode "Five O", Mike hires Jimmy to spill coffee on a detective so Mike can swipe his notes.
  • In Burn Notice, this happens a lot. Usually, it's done to create a distraction or plant a bug.
  • Used all the time by El ChapulĂ­n Colorado, who claims "all of my moves are thoroughly thought!" whenever he gets hurt (Which is often).
  • Cold Case: In "Two Weddings," where the team is covertly investigating the death of the bride's former fiancé while attending a coworker's reception, Rush tells Bell she's trying to get the bride alone for some questioning. Bell promptly turns to the bartender, orders a club soda for Rush and a glass of red wine for himself, and pretends to be drunk so he can "accidentally" spill on the bride's dress, allowing Rush to swoop in with the club soda to help her get it cleaned up while chatting about "obnoxious boyfriends."
  • Daredevil (2015). In "Regrets Only", Matt Murdock Matt bumps into Roxxon's accountant, spilling wine on his white tux, so he'll go into the bathroom to wash it off and Matt can ambush him there. It helps that Matt is blind (but with Super-Senses that enable him to see) so can pull off this trope convincingly.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Love & Monsters": Jackie Tyler uses the drink-spill variant rather overtly to try and get Elton to stay over for the night.
    • "The Family of Blood": The Doctor uses it against the titular Family, pretending to still be human while covertly setting their ship to self-destruct. The Family falls for it because they see all humans as idiots.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Pycelle intentionally drops a message to force Tyrion to pick it up in "Mhysa".
    • Arya drops a coin to catch an enemy off his guard when he stoops down to get it in "Mhysa".
  • Good Luck Charlie: In an attempt to destroy an Irrevocable Message he and Emmett accidentally sent to a bully, PJ "trips" and drops the bully's phone in a chemistry beaker. He even follows with a shrugged "I guess I'm the boron now!".
  • In an early episode of House, the title character decided to make a point about how he's treated as a handicapped person by jamming his cane into a woman's foot as he passed her. He apologized in a sincere fashion and watched as the woman apologized back for snapping at him.
  • On Just Shoot Me!, Jack gives Dennis an ugly vase he made in pottery class. To get rid of it, Dennis "accidentally" drops it, but the vase proves to be indestructible.
  • M*A*S*H:
    • In The Stinger of an episode where Hawkeye, BJ, and Charles were on a promotion committee, they evaluated prospective promotees and gave their recommendations. Private Igor, who works in the mess tent chow line and was not promoted, tosses a scoopful of mashed potatoes on BJ. "Oh, I'm sorry. But what do you expect from a dumb private?"
    • A flashback in one episode showed Father Mulcahy "accidentally" tucking a tablecloth into his belt and upstaging the meal of a visiting general who was causing a holdup in the mess tent.
  • Parodied along with Shame If Something Happened in one episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus. A couple of Mafia types try to shake down an army base commander, eventually leading to the famous fourth-wall breaking line "Stop that! It's silly!"
  • An angry Prince George does this to his brother, King Richard, in The Palace. They're practicing cricket. George pitches the ball really hard, hitting the door behind Richard. "Sorry. Sorry — slipped from my hand." The second time, he hits Richard in the arm before revealing his annoyance in words.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch: In the pilot episode, Alpha Bitch performs the drink spill variant to Sabrina. Later, when she does it again, Sabrina uses her magic to make the drink tilt back towards her.
  • In one episode of Scrubs, Elliot was in a crabby mood and tossed her drink on the ground right in front of Janitor, sarcastically saying "oops" as she walked past.
  • Shadow and Bone. In "Show Me Who You Are", Kaz is disguised as a guard during a fete for the King, and covertly spills a drink on himself so he'll be ordered to leave and get changed, enabling him to steal more uniforms from the guardroom for the other members of The Caper.
  • On The Sopranos episode "Pine Barrens", Paulie Walnuts drops Valery's universal remote and gives a sarcastic oops after Valery tells him sternly (in his thick Russian accent) that "remote goes on docking station".
  • The Suite Life of Zack & Cody has one episode where the winner of Employee of the Month will get an all-expenses-paid trip to a Tipton hotel of their choice, anywhere in the world. This causes no end of trouble born from competing employees, including one instance where Maddie's cart collapses, spilling candy everywhere. Patrick, the waiter for the hotel restaurant, denies doing anything to sabotage an employee, and then (looking down to see where his feet (in the middle of the spilled candy) are positioned) begins stomping on the candy while screaming "Never! Never! Never!" Maddie, being one of the only sane people in the hotel, isn't fooled.
  • In an episode of Wizards of Waverly Place, Alex exposes T.J Taylor as a wizard by knocking off his books and sarcastically says "Sorry I'm a clutz" as she does so.
  • Zorro: Whenever Don Diego de la Vega is given a sword, he generally makes a big show of how inept a fencer he is, to better contrast with the Implausible Fencing Powers of his masked alter ego.

  • From Hello Cheeky:
    Barry: Our next record is an offering from...Max Bygraves. (Beat, crash, mock-horror voice) Oh no! Look what I have done! I have accidentally dropped Max's record, and stamped upon it, by mistake!

  • In The Musical Merrily We Roll Along, Beth is the victim of a drink spilled down the front of her dress by Gussie "in her haste, or perhaps deliberately to get rid of her" (to quote the stage direction). Gussie thereupon makes a big scene about insisting that Frank's wife go upstairs and get herself a change of clothing so, of course, she can be alone with Frank.

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • A Little Lily Princess: In Ermengarde's route, Miss Minchin walks into Sara's room right as Sara, Becky and Ermengarde are about to enjoy food brought over by the latter. Miss Minchin orders Ermengarde to put all the food back in its hamper and she manages to accidentally fall on the floor while doing so. After Miss Minchin and Ermengarde leave the room, Sara notices a food item was left under the table and realizes that Ermengarde's fall had been to put the item there; the reason Ermengarde had brought the food in the first place was realizing that Sara was starving.

    Web Animation 
  • In Final Fantasy VII: Machinabridged, Aerith asks Cloud if she can look at the Shiva materia that just helped them out of a pickle. Upon getting a hold of it, she immediately shatters the materia.
  • Minilife TV: In "City Hall", Jacob Brickstud gets annoyed by constantly winding back up the city hall welcoming robot, Nosty, so he "accidentally" spills his coffee on him to get out of doing it.
  • In the Strong Bad Email "record book", Strong Bad finds an embarrassing entry for himself in "The Record Book of World Records", and "accidentally" dumps coffee, eggs, and bacon all over the book.

  • In Endtown, two waitresses do various stunts with insincere apologies in order to torment their new co-worker.
  • Terebithia of Girl Genius puts up the pretense of accidentally breaking the Queen of Dawn's "delicate" blaster after disarming her, but she's not really trying to get anyone to believe she did it on accident and instead is using it as a subtle threat.
  • In Homestuck, Kanaya threatens Vriska with such an unfortunate accident of spilling a load gaper (their filthy commoner speak for "toilet") over Vriska's head if she doesn't make ramps for Tavros to travel around his house.
  • Lackadaisy: Ivy tips Rocky's coffee over, spilling it on his tie, with one finger and a flippant "oops." so that she can invite Calvin to the speakeasy that night while Rocky's getting a napkin.
  • Lies, Sisters and Wives: Jessica pours Fredrik some whiskey. Fredrik thinks she's poisoned the drink, so he drops the glass on the floor, pretending it was an accident.
  • In MegaTokyo, Kimiko performs the drink spill variant on four people at the same time. Although her motive is more justifiable than most, there is a small measure of revenge in her actions.
    • A more malicious example happens later, after Kimiko unwittingly gives herself a serious popularity boost in the otaku community after defending fanboys on a radio interview. She goes to work to find the place mobbed with fans, and Piro disguises himself as a busboy to help her out. As the night goes on, he realizes that the fanboys are using carefully-hidden cameras to catch upskirt pictures of Kimiko. He proceeds to "accidentally" kick the cameras out of the way while waiting on the tables, leading to the fans realizing that he too is a "fanboy" (since otherwise, he wouldn't realize what they were up to) and believe that he's "selfish" in keeping them from them all having access to Kimiko, as they believe they're entitled. To get back at him, one of the fanboys trips Piro so that he lands under Kimiko's skirt and then self-righteously accuses him of trying to be a pervert towards her. Since Kimiko finds one of the hidden cameras immediately after, she's not fooled.
  • Marry My Husband has Sumin did this to Jiwon. Jiwon was wearing a nice shirt and Sumin 'accidentally' turned too fast to try to spill soup all over her. She accidentally splashed Minhwan instead.
  • Belkar of The Order of the Stick "accidentally" scatters to the winds information that would jeopardize Ian's release.
  • In the first few pages of Ratfist, Ricky throws his wine all over Gina so she won't notice that he's turning into a rat.
  • In Slimy Thief, Azamat "accidentally" spills a bucket of water on Aisha for being too helpful to a customer by pointing out flaws in some of the products. Aisha doesn't buy it for a second and promises him a spanking later.

    Western Animation 
  • Bob's Burgers: In "Topsy", Louise tries to enter her old baking-soda volcano in the school science fair, but the substitute (who has an unhealthy obsession with Thomas Edison) puts a ban on model volcanoes and, to drive the point home, "accidentally" stomps Louise's to bits.
  • In the Duck Dodgers episode "The Fowl Friend", Dodgers is insanely jealous of how efficient his own Robot Buddy is, and plots his death. When Roboto makes a Heroic Sacrifice, Dodgers seems to have learned his lesson, until IQ High says We Can Rebuild Him, and Dodgers blatantly throws Roboto's brain on the ground and jumps on it, while saying "Oops! Clumsy me!"
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: In "A Case of Ed", Ed and Eddy lock themselves in the latter's house to avoid a vengeful Kevin, but Edd, looking to get back at them for tricking him into thinking he was terminally ill, produces Eddy's spare house key in front of Kevin and "carelessly" drops it.
  • The "accidental" spill variant was used by Vicky the babysitter in The Fairly OddParents!. She doesn't just spill a drink, though. It is a significant amount of water, enough to drench the other girl. The reason for it was one of the little men in her brain, "Jealousy", was doing his job by being a petty asshole.
  • Family Guy:
    • After seeing Jillian's boyfriend accidentally trip a waiter and immediately spring into action to prevent him and his drinks from spilling over, Brian tries to do the same in order to impress his former girlfriend, by deliberately tripping the next waiter to walk by. The waiter falls, his drinks crash, and he questions why Brian would do something like that. Adding insult to injury, the waiter had just recovered from recent hand surgery and was told he should not have come into work that day, but Jillian's boyfriend massages his hand and makes it better.
    • Also this exchange:
      Meg: I heard a noise! Is something wrong? Are we being robbed? What's going on?
      [Peter stares at Meg for a good 3 seconds, then hits her with his baseball bat]
      Meg: AHH!! WHAT THE HELL?!
      Peter: Oh, Meg, you startled me!
    • Or where the Tin Man finds out he's gay.
      [Tin Man sways unsteadily from side to side before landing on top of the Scarecrow]
      Tin Man: Oh, look what happened by accident!
  • Freakazoid! had a villain named Arms Akimbo who ran an "Oops insurance" scheme, "accidentally" knocking things over with his elbows until the owners give in. The damage gets more and more ridiculous with each scene until we see Stock Footage of a building blowing up, followed by Akimbo saying "Oops!"
  • Gravity Falls: In "Irrational Treasure", Stan gets put in a pillory to publicly humiliate him for going against Pioneer Day. Lil' Gideon comes along carrying a basket of tomatoes and taunts him before "accidentally dropping" his tomatoes (i.e. throwing his tomatoes at Stan).
  • Kaeloo: In one episode, Stumpy trips Kaeloo by sticking out his leg during a game of musical chairs so he can reach the chair first.
  • The Owl House: In "Any Sport in a Storm", Professor Hermonculus makes Willow fall of her wand during the flying derby match, saying that "his arm slipped". She could have been hurt if she hadn't conjured a giant flower to break her fall. Everyone else present (including his own team) shoots him a dirty look afterwards.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "Rock-Solid Friendship", Pinkie Pie "accidentally" sets off some explosives in order to trap herself, her sister Maud, and Starlight Glimmer in a cave, all in a largely unnecessary effort to get Maud and Starlight to bond.
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Phineas and Ferb-Busters", Norm purposely spills hot coffee on a giant robot that is trying to kill Dr. Doofenshmirtz.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998): In "Moral Decay", Buttercup upon learning that the tooth fairy gives you money for teeth at first tries to knock off more of Bubbles' teeth and repeatedly says "sorry" after each attempt.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "There's No Disgrace Like Home", the family is supposed to solve their problems with electroshock therapy. At the beginning of the exercise, Bart accidentally-on-purpose shocks Lisa, claiming his finger slipped. Lisa shocks him back saying, "So did mine."
    • Bart also uses the "My finger slipped" excuse in a "Treehouse of Horror" episode, where Lisa's science experiment turns into a miniature civilization.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): How Clumsy Of Me


Double "Slipping"

Natural Killer Cell and Killer T Cell don't get along.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / ContrivedClumsiness

Media sources: