My feet were so sore!
THEN, wouldn't you know it!
It started to pour!"
The standard way for things to go From Bad to Worse is rain. When things are looking real bad for a character, the story will add insult to injury with a perfectly-timed downpour.
Rock Bottom often precedes this trope. While this trope can easily occur with no spoken dialogue at all, if a character is foolish enough to actually say "At least it can't get any worse," or, even more dangerous, "At least it's not raining"... BOOM! It'll start raining immediately and heavily.
This is a type of Empathic Environment—the dark and gloomy rainclouds are great for symbolically mirroring the character's hopelessness and despair; see Gray Rain of Depression, a supertrope. It's almost always Hostile Weather as well.
Subtrope of From Bad to Worse, and frequently follows Rock Bottom. The inverse is Cue the Sun, where the dark skies clear up when things start to get better. Compare Cue the Falling Object, which is similar except used more for comedy purposes. Contrast Happy Rain and Redemption in the Rain.
Snow, hail, and other forms of precipitation count too, but rain is much more common.
- One of the "Brian the Robot" ads for car insurance comparison website Confused.com has Brian stuck to an electromagnet and damaged. He remarks, "At least it's not raining..." and then this trope kicks in. It's actually quite heartbreaking.
- A well-known Heineken advert featured a frustrated blues musician who, on a sunny day, kept finding himself writing happy songs. One sip of Heineken and his wife walks out on him, his car is repossessed and his dog runs away. Then the heavens open:
Sadness is my first name, last name is misery
I lost my woman, and the rain is coming down...
- In Violine, when Muller threatens Violine and her father, a thunderstorm with heavy rain starts.
- A variant from Asterix in Britain. Asterix, Obelix and their British companion have just reached their destination.
Asterix: Is it always this foggy?Anticlimax: Oh no... only when it isn't raining.SFX: KRAK-THOOM
- A humorous example occurs in the Tintin adventure, "The Calculus Affair." Captain Haddock, mistakenly thinking they were in danger, dives for cover — right into a large mud puddle. This exchange occurs after he gets up:
Tintin: And on top of it all, you're soaked...
Captain: Oh, the sun will soon dry me off.
[Rain starts falling]
- Rarity pulls off a deliberate invocation of this trope in Pony Up A Tree for the Triptych Continuum. "And if I were to make the classic error of voicing my false belief that at the very least, things could not possibly become any worse?" Which brings the expected results. It also confirms that Rainbow, who can't resist a good feed line, is secretly observing the hijinks from an overhead cloud.
- In The Road to El Dorado, when Miguel and Tulio are marooned at sea in a rowboat with no food or water, Miguel and Tulio have this exchange:
Miguel: At least things can't get any—
[It starts to rain]
Tulio: Excuse me, were you about to say "worse"?!
Miguel: Er... no.
(They continue to argue as the camera pulls out to show at least a half dozen sharks following their boat.)
- Played straight in Disney's Tarzan:
Jane: It can't get any worse, can it?
Thunder clashes, rain begins.
Jane: Obviously, it can.
- In An American Tail, as Fievel, all alone, curls up in Orphan Alley to cry, it starts to rain.
- In The Emperor's New Groove, llama!Kuzco gets hit by a sudden downpour when he's alone and abandoned in the jungle.
- In The Little Mermaid, Eric says this gem:
Eric: Believe me Grim, when I find the right girl I'll know. Without a doubt It'll just It'll just - bam! - hit me...like lightning.
[cue Dramatic Thunder]
- ASuperman Returns. The rain is actually water from a water tower crushed by the falling Daily Planet globe.
- A classic example from Young Frankenstein:
- In Back to the Future Part II, it starts raining soon after lightning strikes the time machine and Marty is left stranded in the past again. Justified in that this is the same storm that played a role in sending Marty back to the future in the first film, and there were all sorts of signs of a storm brewing the whole time anyway.
- Happens in a scene of the French comedy Bienvenue Chez Les Chtis. In France, the northern regions are caricatured as cold and ugly; the main character of this film is transferred there as a sanction for trying to fake a handicap for a job. He prepares for hell, and just as he crosses the sign of the dreaded region, well, this happens.
- The Lord of the Rings plays this trope in The Two Towers, when they're about to be besieged by an army of about ten thousand orcs, with an army of about five hundred, many of whom are elderly men or extremely young boys:
Gimli (to Aragorn): Well, lad. Whatever luck you live by, let's hope it lasts the night.[Thunderclap]
- Though in this case, the rain probably was a *good* thing: it made the ground the orcs were trying to advance over muddy or flooded, buying the good guys time to regroup when the defenses were breached.
- In The Cameraman, Buster and Sally are trying to make it to dinner when Buster's romantic rival Harold pulls up and offers them a ride. Buster is embarrassed when Harold puts Sally up front with him, while he gets stuck in the rumble seat in the back. That's bad enough-but the front seats have a convertible top, while the rumble seat in the back doesn't. Naturally, the heavens let loose with rain.
- The Human Comedy: It's embarrassing enough when poor Homer has to deliver a singing telegram, singing "Happy Birthday" to Mary at the party he wasn't invited to. It's more embarrassing because Hubert, The Rival for Mary's affections and much richer than Homer, paid for the telegram. And to make it even more of a downer, the skies let loose with rain after Homer leaves the party.
- Played for Laughs in The R.M. when Jared arrives home from his mission. He gets soaked when he sprinklers turn on and his suitcase falls open. To make matters worse, it turns out that his family no longer even lives there.
- The Sure Thing: In Rob Reiner 's college-age cross-country rom-com, it's roughly midnight, in the middle of Flyover Country, on the side of a two-lane blacktop road. Hitchhiking Gib (John Cusack) and Alison (Daphne Zuniga) have just been passed up by the only car for miles. Alison discovers a stick of gum in her purse, then notices Gib eyeing her. As she starts to put it in her mouth anyway, the following ensues:
Gib: I'm starving. (Alison splits the gum with him.)
- Journey to Chaos: After Eric has been fired from his job and rejected by his crush, he expresses the belief that his day can't get any worse. Tasio grins as this trope comes into effect and Eric has to walk home in the rain. To add extra insult to injury, the rain stops the instant he arrives at his appartment.
- Inverted in The Taking. The unnatural glowing rain is just a prelude to the rest of the horrors that appear. There is also a cleansing rain toward the end that signals things starting to get better.
- In A Hidden Oracle, the first book of The Trials of Apollo, this happens when Apollo and Meg go into the forest to look for the missing campers. Apollo comments that it is "just on the edge of sleet."
- In Sanford and Son the pair have a disastrous camping trip and Lamont notes that it could be worse. When his father asks how, Lamont notes "It could snow." Sure enough, it instantly starts snowing right there and then.
- Turned up an extra notch in That's So Raven: Raven got stuck in a limo's moon roof when going to prom. Then it started raining on her. "Well at least it can't get any worse"...cue the gale force winds.
- Inverted in The West Wing, where rain was seen as a good thing that needed to happen in a string of good things happening—it turned away late voters who would have voted for the other guy, and the rain was literally called on cue by Will (with a lampshade with a "I didn't know I could do that"). It would have been played straight if it was from other guy's POV.
- Also inverted in How I Met Your Mother, where Ted calls down a deluge in a massive thunderclap by screaming "COME ON!!" at the heavens after doing a desperate Rain Dance all afternoon. However, it played this trope straight for Sandy Rivers, who was going to get laid on a planned camping trip that was canceled by the rain. In fact, Sandy is seen crying while he reports on the downpour on TV.
- In a case of Mood Whiplash, it is also played straight for Marshall. As Ted arrives at the end of the episode to find him sitting on the steps outside their apartment with Lily having left, leaving her wedding ring behind.
- The M*A*S*H episode "Deluge" has the 4077th inundated with wounded and various other difficulties, including an unrelenting downpour of rain.
- Variation in Good Luck Charlie, It's Christmas; when Teddy is driving an old Yugo that Daryll sold to her and Amy for $50, things go From Bad to Worse when she has to drive it down a hill. Amy points out that it could be worse, and that it isn't snowing. It starts to snow, and Teddy tells her, "Oh, why'd you have to say that?". As if things weren't already bad enough, when Teddy tries to use the windshield wipers, one of them breaks off.
- The Mr. Potato Head Show: After alienating all his friends and turning all the floorspace he'd normally use to film his show into rented space in order to make money, Mr. Potato Head is stuck outdoors, alone. He says it's not so bad "on a day like today", only for a thunderstorm to begin.
- The Russian punk rock band Sektor Gaza has a song "Tuman" ("Fog") with lyrics that literally translate as: "We're getting the jitters / The rain started suddenly / The stiff, pouring rain will finally kill us..."
- The lyrics to Shampoo's "Trouble":
We couldn't get a cab, 'cause we ain't got no money!
We missed the last train, but we thought...
We'd get the night bus, but the night bus never came!
We're eight miles from home, and it's started to...
- Everybody out of the Water by The Wallflowers starts with some catastrophe followed by rain:
Now on your marks, get set, let's go.
You gotta move now before she explodes.
Look out the window, look down below.
Back away from the glass! There she blows.
The city's been leveled, the hills are in flames.
The streets cracked open and they're pushing up clay.
The temperature's dropped. The sky is gray.
And it ain't even over. Here comes driving rain.
- Lampshaded in Phil Collins's song "I Wish It Would Rain Down", where he wishes for rain to pour down on him as he feels miserable.
- A variant occurs at the end of Dan Fogelberg's "Same Old Lang Syne". The singer mentions the snowy weather at the beginning of the song but after the ex-lover drives away, the snow changes to rain.
- In one strip:
Garfield: Here I am, stuck up a tree. Things couldn't be worse.
Garfield: Okay, okay, now things couldn't be worse.
- In another strip, when Jon and Garfield are at a picnic:
Jon: Well, Garfield, the ants ate my cherry pie. The wind blew the food everywhere.
Garfield: Don't say it! Don't say it!
Jon: What else could possibly go wrong? (starts raining)
Garfield: You said it!
- Jon takes it Up to Eleven in this strip. First he says "At least it isn't raining" and it starts to rain. He then does the same thing to cause snow, hail and lightning. At the end he says "I'm glad I didn't mention a volcano", and guess what appears behind him...
- In one strip:
- Calvin and Hobbes: A camping trip that no one but Calvin's dad is looking forward to and it starts raining upon arrival. Calvin's dad Comically Misses The Point.
Calvin's dad: At least it's not snowing! Right? Right? (Later, as they sit in the rain eating cold ravioli out of cans.) I mean, say it was snowing so hard we couldn't make a fire.
Calvin: So close... And yet so far.
- Naturally, the rain stops the exact moment they decide to leave.
- Another strip has Calvin, waiting for the school bus, begging for enough snow to close the school. Guess what happens.
- In another strip, Calvin mocks some flowers with a watering can, claiming that he's basically a god to them because he's the only one who can possibly give them water. As he's bragging, a massive rainstorm begins, soaking him.
- Company, "Getting Married Today," after the second verse of Amy's nervous breakdown:
Bless this bride,
Slipping down the drain,
And bless this day in our hearts (thunder)
As it starts to rain.
- In Chapter 1 of MOTHER 3, after Flint and Fuel get out of the Sunshine Forest, Bronson comments that the only way that the situation could get any stranger is if it suddenly started to rain. It does. Unusually for this trope, however, the rain is a good thing, as said forest was on fire, and the rain put out the fire.
- In Super Robot Wars Original Generation Dark Prison and beyond, this is what the background looks like when Shu Shirakawa is preparing to to fire the Degeneracy Cannon.
- The Elder Scrolls
- In the series' mythology, rain is associated with Kynareth, the Aedric Divine Goddess of the Heavens and Air. Rain is a phenomenon that is said not to have occurred before the removal of Lorkhan's divine spark. During the Alessian Revolt, she sent rain to cleanse the blood from Ayleid forts and villages after Pelinal Whitestrake came through, so that they could be used by Alessia's forces.
- When Tiber Septim, the founder of the Third Tamriellic Empire, died, it rained throughout Tamriel for an entire fortnight "as if the land itself was weeping". (Particularly interesting given his posthumous ascension as Talos, the Ninth Divine, who is in some way connected with Lorkhan.)
- In The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal, on a trail in the Smoky Mountains.
- Jayce says almost this exact phrase in this page of Applegeeks, much to Alice's increasing irritation.
Alice: "Your headstart is as long as it takes me to fix this tire."
- Digger is looking for a decent place to sleep outside:
"In fact, it might be kind of fun, as long as it stays warm and-" *drip* "-dry." *downpour*
- Matchu, who has just missed the bus, muses that it's at least a nice day. It downpours immediately. Matchu is then struck by lightning. Twice.
- The Simpsons:
- Subverted in an episode where the Simpsons lose their house. Tossed out unto the street, Homer says, "Well, it could be worse. At least it's not raining." (Beat) "See? Told you it could be worse."
- In another episode, Mr. Burns is telling the story of how he went to jail. As Smithers leaves, Burns notes that this the point in a story where it would start raining, and decides that, since he's telling the story, it did rain. Then he decides that rain wasn't depressing enough, so he has it snow instead, capping it off with Smithers losing his nose to frostbite.
- In the Family Guy episode "Brian Writes a Bestseller", Stewie is stuck without a ride and without cab fare. He says, "Well, at least it's not raining." Promptly subverted when a man runs up, stabs him, and leaves him for dead.
This joke gets a call back in the episode, "Stewie Goes For a Drive", where Stewie says, "At least I'm not getting stabbed by some random guy on the street!", and it starts to rain. He then tells the viewers it's the exact opposite of what they were expecting. And then the random guy shows up and stabs Stewie anyway.
- Spike gets a dose of it in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Owl's Well That Ends Well":
Spike: Twilight hates me. I'm cold and hungry; tired and lonely; could it get any worse? (Cue the rain.) I guess that's a yes.
- In Total Drama, Courtney says in one episode that things couldn't get worse. It promptly starts to rain, and her group is out in the woods with their tent having just been burned down.
- The Powerpuff Girls:
- In "Simian Says", Mojo Jojo kidnaps the narrator and takes his place, leading to this exchange:
Bubbles: At least it's not raining.
Mojo Jojo (narrating): That's not a bad idea!
(it starts to rain)
- In The Movie, when the girls think they've been abandoned by the Professor and are walking home, crying, a rainstorm kicks up.
- At the end of the episode, "The City of Nutsville", when Blossom and Buttercup are cleaning up the pieces of the statue of the Mayor, this happens after Buttercup says, "At least it isn't raining."
- In "Simian Says", Mojo Jojo kidnaps the narrator and takes his place, leading to this exchange:
- Ed, Edd n Eddy: Zig-Zagged in "Read All About Ed", the rain starts and stops again repeatedly as it's Lampshaded.
Edd: Summer rains, you can never predict them. (Cue thunder, short shower)
- In the Sofia the First episode "Bunny Swap", pampered palace bunny Clover is far from home and traveling on paw to get back, guided by an opossum.
Clover: Are these hills ever gonna end?
Sassofras: *cheerfully* It could be worse!
* thunder claps and rain immediately starts to fall*
Clover: And now it is.
Justified, as Sassofras did comment that a storm was coming earlier in the episode.
- Shimmer and Shine: In "Now You See Her", after a forced landing, Zeta is glad that at least it's not raining. Nazboo congratulates Zeta for the subsequent rain. Zeta later tries to tell him at least it's not snowing but snow falls right before she says "snowing".
- Mike, Lu & Og: In "A Boy's Game", this happens when Mike sees Alfred battening down the hatches for an impending monsoon.
Mike: What's a monsoon? (it starts pouring) Oh, a fancy word for rain.
- At the end of the Magnificent Muttley episode "Start Your Engines" (where Muttley daydreams he's race driver Barney Olfield), Dastardly thanks Muttley for washing his car (the Mean Machine), saying everytime he washes it, it starts to rain. Cue the rain starting immediately.
- A joke among reenactors is "When you mention the weather, the rain starts up again."