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Didn't Think This Through

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So... how exactly is Mario gonna get out now with that Goomba in the way?

Sonic: I was just trying to protect you!
Tails: How? By putting me in more danger?
Sonic: The plan had holes!
Sonic Boom, "The Sidekick"

A situational trope. One character will develop a plan designed to solve a certain problem they're encountering. However, due to their failure to plan ahead, there is a massive gaping flaw in their plan that they—and perhaps the audience—missed. As a result, they are now in a situation where, rather than winning, they are stuck with either a stalemate or an outright loss. Sometimes this may occur because the character never thought that their plan would actually progress as far as it did in the first place. Other times they were a rush to make the plan and so didn't have time to think about downsides.

A more comedic, simple version of Didn't See That Coming. See also And Then What?, when the flaw is not knowing what to do if the plan succeeds. (Also an issue for Who Will Bell the Cat?.) If the person pointing this out is sufficiently annoyed, this can lead to What Were You Thinking?. May also lead to a This Is Gonna Suck or an Oh, Crap! for the schemer when he realizes how screwed he really is. Compare Should Have Thought of That Before X, It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time, Missing Steps Plan.



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  • One of Michael Jordan's commercials for his Air Jordan 11 shoes had him facing off against a 100+ foot basketball hoop. This being Jordan, he succeeds in dunking the ball... only to realize too late he had no safe way back down, and spends the rest of the commercial hanging onto the hoop for dear life, even looking at the viewer as if to say, "Uh, a little help?"

    Asian Animation 
  • The Lamput episode "Houdini" has the docs coming up with plans to catch Lamput that all fall flat. First, they trap him in a cage, but Lamput is small enough to pass through the gaps in the cage. Then, they lock him in a chest, only for Lamput to morph into a key to free himself. After that they stuff him into a big sack, but Lamput shapeshifts into a pair of scissors and cuts through the sack. It's only when they trap Lamput in a big jar that the docs finally have him... but even then Lamput seemingly dies of suffocation due to the jar lacking air holes, only for him to turn out fine once he's out of the jar.
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: In Flying Island: The Sky Adventure episode 32, Sixie asks Wolffy to train him on how to run in a marathon. Wolffy just wants Sixie out of his way, so he asks him to buy a long list of items from a store... but Sixie purchases them online instead of actually going to a store as Wolffy expected. Wolffy then asks Sixie to run over to a faraway car he claims is his, since he apparently lost an item in it. Sixie calls the car driver to bring the car over, at which point Wolffy asks him not to use his phone to complete the tasks.

  • 1973's The Watergate Comedy Hour starts with President Nixon doing a press conference à la The Tonight Show. When a reporter gets too close for comfort asking about the Watergate break-in, Nixon confers with his second banana, "Doc" Kissinger:
    Nixon: looks like I'm up against it. What do we do?
    Doc: Well, Mein Herr, it looks like we need a fall guy.
    Nixon: But I've used up so many already.
    Doc: We need someone in the public interest. Someone close to you, yet someone they would never suspect.
    Nixon: Yes, but who?
    Doc: Your wife Pat.
    Nixon: My wife Pat?! You can't be serious. You don't think for a moment that I would ever entertain the thought of sacrificing someone near and dear to me for the sake of political expediency. No, no. There must be someone else.
    Doc: Only you.
    Nixon: [after a beat] Uh, it can now be revealed that my wife Pat conceived and led the Watergate affair. I am truly shocked and saddened. Of course, I had no prior knowledge of this illegal act—for you see, Pat and I have never spoken.
  • Two drunks are fishing when one drags up a Genie in a Bottle, who is ready to grant him one wish. He wishes for the ocean to turn into beer, which is granted. As he looks ecstatically at his companion, he gets slapped upside the head and is told: "You idiot, now we have to piss in the boat!"

    Fairy Tales 
  • "Hans the Hedgehog": The first king tricks Hans by giving him a signed promise that Hans should get nothing in return for showing him the way through the woods, whereas Hans had demanded that, in exchange for this service, he sign an affidavit to the effect that the king should give him the first thing that greets him when he comes home. The king assumed that Hans was illiterate, which may not have been the case nor particularly relevant in the end. Neither did he consider the possibility that, if he met an anthropomorphic hedgehog, it might just have special powers of which to beware.

  • Have you heard the story of Bottleneck Bob? He tried to rob the train with cattle, but evidently forgot they needed to be corralled somehow: "The cattle ran all over the place/And there was Bob with the longest face..."
  • In Eminem's "Stan", the title character, furious that his idol Eminem still hasn't responded to any of his letters, is about to drive off a bridge with his pregnant girlfriend locked in the trunk of his car and drown them all, and is narrating these events into a tape recorder as a final letter to Eminem. The obvious flaw in his plan — namely, that he can't mail the tape to Eminem if he's dead — doesn't occur to him until just as he's going over the edge.
    Well, gotta go, I'm almost at the bridge now.
    Oh, shit! I forgot! How am I supposed to send this shit out?!
  • In the Mozart opera The Abduction from the Seraglio, the hero Belmonte gets captured by the Pasha, who already holds his betrothed Constanza captive. He says that his father can pay a generous ransom for them, only to be informed that said father is a mortal enemy of the Pasha. Oops.
  • Kids Praise: The seventh album begins with two separate instances of this trope in action:
    • First, Psalty agreed to a history-of-hymns project that would take weeks of research, and would be due in two days. He even admits that he agreed without realizing how long it would take.
    • Second, he tries to invent a machine that stretches time to allow himself and the kids to do those weeks of research in under 24 hours. However, he shows it to the kids before he tests it, and kids will be kids..
  • The children's song There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. She keeps swallowing creatures to catch the last thing she swallowed.
    She swallowed the cow to catch the goat, she swallowed the goat to catch the dog, she swallowed the dog to catch the cat, she swallowed the cat to catch the bird, she swallowed the bird to catch the spider that wriggled and wriggled and tickled inside her. She swallowed the spider to catch the fly, but I don't know why she swallowed the fly. I guess she'll die.
    There was an old lady who swallowed a horse. (Beat) She's dead, of course!
  • The Dethklok song "Bloodrocuted" tells of an electrician being chased through the woods by bounty hunters because he just so happens to look exactly like a wanted criminal with a large bounty on his head. He stumbles upon an electrical substation and manages to kill the bounty hunters by cutting his arms and electrifying a puddle of his own blood for them to step in. He then realizes that he has no way to patch himself up and will therefore bleed to death very soon.
  • Smash Mouth's Everyday Superhero:
    I try to hide my true identity
    But no-one knows it's only me.

    Myths & Religion 
  • At their peak in The Book of Mormon, the Gadianton Robbers have enough numbers to challenge the combined armies of the Nephite and Lamanite civilisations in open battle. However, their first attempt, though hard-fought, ends in defeat. So, they instead attempt to surround and besiege the Nephite-Lamanite fortress. Except that that fortress has seven years of food stockpiled, while the robbers are supporting themselves purely by hunting wild animals and don't dare start farming for fear of being ambushed. Before long, the besieging robbers are near-starving and are sitting ducks for regular sorties.
  • In The Epic of Gilgamesh, the gods created humanity so that they would work and feed the gods, allowing them to live in leisure. Then the gods couldn't stand the noise people made, so they tried to exterminate them a few times, culminating with The Great Flood. It was apparently successful...until they realized that there was no one left to feed them, nor anything to eat...
  • In the Greek myth King Midas and the golden touch, a greedy king named Midas makes a wish from Dionysus that everything he touches would turn to gold. He gets the wish, and is overjoyed... Until he realizes too late that this means he can no longer eat or drink anything...or touch his daughter. If he had thought more carefully (or just listened to Dionysus' warning that it was a stupid wish), he might have instead just wished for the ability to turn stuff into gold (but not every single thing he touched). Fortunately for Midas, Dionysus took pity on him and showed him how to remove his golden touch and turn his daughter and everything else back to normal. (At least in the original. Many people are told the story as a classic Jerkass Genie story).

  • In episode four of Mystery Show, Starlee and a friend attempt a stakeout that fails for a couple of reasons, one of them being that Starlee didn't plan on it being so dark at eight-thirty at night. When she returns to the house later, she finds herself unprepared to explain the situation to the person at the door.
  • Red Panda Adventures:
    • The Fatal Flaw of the Man of a Thousand Faces, whether it be Alternate Time traveler Baboon McSmoothie or his main universe counterpart Brian McSweenie. They use their shapeshifting powers to impersonate an individual on the spot, but often without first doing any research about who they're impersonating. They are, however, very good at improvising. In "The World Next Door" McSmoothie is spotted trying to break into a building. He tries to blend in with the group of the Red Panda's agents pursuing him, but he's busted only because Harry Kelly realized he wasn't part of the group that came into the building with him. He later tries impersonating the Red Panda, but does so without realizing the main Red Panda's costume is different from is Red Panda's, which gets him caught quickly. When all else fails, and he realizes how different this universe is from his own, he drops the act and simply asks for help.
    • In "Eyes of the Idol", he impersonates Dr. Chronopolis's daughter Anna to get hold of a gemstone Dr. Chronopolis was studying. However, he knows nothing about Anna or her relationship to the doctor, only that she has access to an area he needs to enter. As the Red Panda later notes, he did very good at playing along. Specifically he did not say much because he didn't know everyone's relationships, did not react to the Red Panda in case they'd already met, and claimed simply to have heard of him if they hadn't, and calls Dr. Chronopolis "Daddy" once he introduces her as his daughter. Unfortunately inconsistencies add up quickly enough for the Red Panda to trick him into revealing himself.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The matches regarding the Pure Wrestling Title belt in Ring of Honor were often anything but, as the rules were loose enough for wrestlers to do many, many unintended things. It did achieve the goal of having matches unlike any other promotion was having at the time though, so they just went with it.
  • CM Punk's dormant "feud" with Delirious started back up in IWA Mid-South with Punk in pursuit of Delirious's Light Heavyweight Title, but when Punk challenged and beat Delirious, he didn't win the belt because he was above the weight limit.
  • Chris Hero mocked Bryan Danielson for this in 2005 when he answered Hero's challenge for an ROH World Title match by signing a contract and then sending it to Hero at CZW so he could sign it too. See, Hero could have just as well have had anybody sign the contract.
  • At the 2009 Slammiversary, Jeff Jarrett said he had no desire to win any TNA titles, he only cared about making sure Mick Foley dropped his. Yet Jarrett repeatedly sabotaged AJ Styles' efforts to defeat Mick Foley, even though AJ winning would have meant Mick would have lost his title.
  • At nCw Femme Fatales, Mary Lee Rose had been very open with the fact she had no desire to wrestle Cheerleader Melissa, which is understandable. However, she still spent a lot of time harassing Melissa, interfering in her matches and such. Mary Lee Rose did want to wrestle someone eventually, so she issued an open challenge. Not only was Cheerleader Melissa the first person to accept, but she couldn't help but point out how dumb Rose was for not realizing that would happen. Unfortunately for Melissa, Mary Lee Rose's manager, Mademoiselle Rachelle, lobbied to stop the match from happening and pitted Melissa against Yumi Ohka instead.
  • Frankie Kazarian and Christopher Daniels are accusing AJ Styles of getting a binge drinking crackhead pregnant. Well, the show is called TNA, but what is AJ's response to this? Challenge Christopher Daniels to a match on the stipulation he will admit to being the father if Daniels can beat him, but will take a paternity test to find out for sure if he beats Daniels.
  • In WWE, Seth Rollins made the exact same "open challenge even though I've been antagonizing someone I have no desire to wrestle" mistake. In this case, it was Dean Ambrose who answered.

  • Bleak Expectations: This trope describes many of Harry Biscuit's ideas, and Pip Bin's. The fact the two live long enough to reach adulthood is astounding. At one point, the latter falls foul of Admiral Hardthrasher, when Pip lets loose he's responsible for the death of the admiral's brothers - specifically the ones he liked. In order to defend himself, Pip sets Hardthrasher on fire and sinks his ships... despite not knowing how to swim. And the ships are out at sea. This prompts Pip, in a very rare moment of self-awareness to admit he hadn't thought this through.

    Tabletop Games 
  • One Paranoia mission introduces the new Mandatory Bonus Duty of Executive Officer, who (in addition to being the Team Leader's Number Two) gets a brevet promotion for the purpose of wearing a higher-clearance uniform — the idea is that Commies will mistake him for the Team Leader and concentrate their fire on him instead. As usual for Paranoia, The Computer failed to consider what might happen when others made the same mistake:
    Green-clearance Team Leader: All right, men, let's go!
    Random bystander: Hey, why are you letting him boss you around?
    "Blue"-clearance Executive Officer: Hey, yeah! [shoots the Team Leader] All right, men, let's go!
  • In one Time of Judgment scenario in Werewolf: The Apocalypse, the Silent Striders decide to join the Wyrm's forces and goad the Wyrm's servants into attacking Grandmother, in the hopes of weakening both the Wyrm and Grandmother. They do so by passing through the Black Spiral Labyrinth, which hopelessly corrupts them. Instead of fighting Grandmother, the corrupted Silent Striders attack the Garou Nation.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade includes teleportation via blood magic, and tells the story of one vampire who figured out how to teleport all the way to the moon. Unfortunately, he was a better magician than he was an astronomer, failing to realize that you can see the moon because it's reflecting light from the sun...
  • Betrayal at House on the Hill: One scenario involves the traitor attempting to send the house and everyone in it, including themself, to hell. If they win, in the end text they realise too late that this probably wasn't such a good idea.
    • Another scenario has the traitor making voodoo dolls of the other players. If they win, they destroy the dolls - and then realize that destroying a voodoo doll of yourself is quite possibly a terrible, terrible idea.
  • The inside title page of Autoduel Champions has all three participants in the cover scene having this same regret: the super who thought it was a good idea to lift a car over his head, the driver of the car who decided to take a shot at him with a pistol, and the driver of the other car who decided to ram the super from behind. (They all wind up in a "sandwich".)
  • The Doomsday Dawn playtest adventure for the early release of Second Edition Pathfinder actually required this. The PCs have to break into a party and steal a valuable item from a pirate lord. The item will enable them to teleport away once recovered - but the PCs aren't told this. If the players stop to think about how to get the item out, the adventure becomes practically impossible, as they'd have to carry the item back through the party and then somehow get passage on a ship away from a town with shipping run by a pirate lord who's just had something go missing.

  • The title character of Hamilton has been accused of embezzling money from the U.S. government. In fact, what he's doing is totally legal, just not exactly ethical: he has been having an affair and the payments are to the woman's husband, who's been blackmailing him for some time. In order to refute the accusation, confesses to the affair and the payments. True, his political rivals stop accusing him of embezzlement, but to the voting public of 1800s America, adultery isn't much better. In a Cut Song, his wife's sister tears him a new one for this:
    Congratulations. You have invented a new kind of stupid / A damage you can never undo kind of stupid / An "open all the cages at the zoo" kind of stupid / Clearly, you didn't think this through / Kinda stupid!
  • In Pokémon Live!, one trainer that challenges MechaMew2 has his Electrode use Selfdestruct in the hopes that the move would be returned... overlooking the fact that using the move made his Electrode faint.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY:
    • In Episode 8, Weiss falls out of the sky. Jaune leaps up and catches her in his arms. He manages to look badass for a moment, then realizes that they are now both in midair with no landing strategy. He crashes, but at least cushions Weiss on the way down.
    • This is the reason why we catch Team RNJR (Ruby and the remains of Team JNPR) walking through the forest in the first episode of Volume 4: Ruby decided they should walk to Mistral at the end of Volume 3. On the other side of the continent across the sea from the continent she was born and raised on. She was not aware of how far their destination is from Vale, admitting that she thought it would take 2-3 weeks at most.
    • In Volume 5, Raven planned to steal the Relic of Knowledge to keep Salem away from her tribe. Yang points out a little problem with that plan that Raven didn't consider- that she is planning on keeping one of Salem's most coveted objectives with her to convince Salem to leave her alone. As Yang notes, if Salem is already targeting her tribe just because she thought the Spring Maiden might be there, she'd definitely focus on them if she knew that not only was Raven the actual Maiden, but she had one of the four great Relics. Raven is stunned by the implications and winds up fleeing, leaving the Relic to the protagonists.
    • In Volume 7, Jacques negotiates a deal with Watts to give up his account log-in details in exchange for election rigging to win a seat on the council. When he's outed in "As Above, So Below," Ironwood notes that Jacques didn't fully consider the implications of what that meant; his account was upgraded to a full security clearance once he became a councilor, giving Watts full access to the Atlesian security systems. Watts is able to entrench himself so quickly and completely that, when the council finally learns the truth, not only can they not lock him out of the system but he's already locking them out.
  • RWBY Chibi: In one skit, Cinder demonstrates a Dynamite Candle for her "evil class" (consisting of Roman, Neo, Emerald, and Mercury). When Emerald points out that the trap is too obvious, Cinder misinterprets it as her henchwoman not understanding the concept and lights the dynamite right then and there to demonstrate. She has just enough time to realize what a bad move that was before the dynamite explodes, leaving her covered in cake.
  • Sonic for Hire: In Season 2, Sonic is asked by Ghosts to take out Pac-Man. After bashing himself into a rock and becoming a ghost, Sonic does the job until he's told the Ghosts can't change him back, leaving him a ghost along with his own corpse, lamenting how taking the job was poorly thought out.
  • DSBT InsaniT:
    • Happens in the first episode when Koden sends Killer to kick Bear, Snake, Duck, and Balloon out of his house.
    • Also in "Beach Brawl" when Kerry impulsively throws Shovel at frozen Cell, thinking that would shatter him.
      Bear: Even I saw that one coming a mile away.
    • Dave smashing the chains to free an elephant in 'Carneelval', which startles it and causes it to rampage.
      Asia: Why would you think smashing its harness with a boulder was a good idea?
  • Dr. Havoc's Diary: In Episode 17, Brock sneaks onto Havoc's submarine by cutting a hole in the side with a welding gun. Guess what eventually happens?
  • Nomad of Nowhere: In the first episode, Toph and her team (sans Skout) decide to set the forest on fire to flush out and capture the titular Nomad for good... while they're still in it. They would have been toast in both senses of the word if Nomad hadn't actually been an All-Loving Hero.
  • Dork Souls 3: Like any other player new to Dark Souls III, Shez never considered the consequences of leveling up for free from Yoel.
  • Happens so often that it's hard to list them all in Puffin Forest, but a few particularily egregious ones:
    • In "Everybody Died in Call of Cthulhu" a player character killed himself by setting everything in the room he was in on fire, including the only door out of the room. This same player character had in a previous game collapsed the entrance to a mine with dynamite while he still in it, which Ben let him live from.
    • In "The Hero of Parnast: Part 2", the group wanted Wallace out of the group as swiftly as possible, so at the end of the adventure, they sent him ahead on a mount with the villain in tow. They realized too late that this would, again, cast Wallace as the true hero of Parnast.
    • In "Read your spell BEFORE you cast it" a player cast the spell Darkness on a dragon without reading what the spell does. Instead of making it so that dragon couldn't see them, it made it so they couldn't see the dragon.
    • In "PEE IN MY BUCKET!" a player cast the spell Flaming Sphere, while they were on a wooden ship that was stuck in some trees, which set the ship on fire, and resulted in most of the remaining crew falling to their deaths escaping from the flames.
    • Ben himself in 'Whoops! Guess everyone has to die now!'. He wanted to DM an Adventurers League, which resulted in him having to DM for an already in progress campaign for a module he hadn't read yet. As a result, he had to skim through most of it, resulting in him skipping how the party is supposed to get into the fortress and only finding that out after the party had already gone in guns blazing. The end result? What should have been a simple stealth mission turned into a massive blood bath that contrary to the title, the party barely survived.
    • In "D&D Stories: funny moments from my campaign", the party rogue cut's off the blacksmith's hand arbitrarily. For the rest of the story the blacksmith refuses to do work for the party again, and only the inexperienced blacksmith's apprentice will work for them.
    • Later in that episode, when the party was ambushing Orcs in a Church Steeple, they forgot until after they set the explosive trap that they were in the building. Cue a Super Window Jump and broken legs for the party members.
    • In one of the real life videos, Ben was surprised that nobody recognized him from his show at a gaming convention. Then he remembered he had never shown his face in his videos...
    • In the first Covenant campaign video, it is revealed that the monk lost the Mournblade because he thought that a sandbox in a public park was a good place to hide it.
    • When Ben got to play in an evil The Lord of the Rings campaign where the player characters were villains brought back from the dead, he eagerly chose to play as Sauron... only to realize that he had no idea how to roleplay as Sauron or what Sauron's abilities were (his backstory, motivations, and abilities are only really expanded upon in The Silmarillion) and thus he had to make up Sauron's personality and guess his abilities, which may have explained why nobody else picked Sauron.
    • There is also the GM who told Ben that he trusted him to know how the game worked so he would sign off on whatever character Ben made without checking, not considering that this was Ben he was talking to, who of course brought a ridiculous character to the table.
    • In DM.exe has crashed! || Attack at the school, an idiotic samurai player tries to calm down a bunch of frightened students by firing a pistol, which of course has the exact opposite effect and ends with him in a confrontation with the police which he keeps on making worse with one bad decision after another, eventually resulting in him getting thrown in prison.
    • In part 11 of the Curse of Strahd replay, the werewolf Emil plans to build an army of werewolves against Strahd by attacking the town of Vallaki and turning all of its inhabitants. It is subsequently pointed out that his plan is doomed to fail on many fronts. First, if they succeeded this would mean there would be hundreds of feral werewolves attacking anything they saw; they wouldn't be sane again until it was too late. Second, even then the werewolves would hate Emil and the party for the death and destruction of such an attack. Third, most of Vallaki doesn't want to fight Strahd. Fourth, Emil, the guy who wants to lead them, is a pretty shitty werewolf who would likely be kicked out of the new pack.
    • In the same episode Krusk agrees to become a werewolf, also not thinking about the consequences. Luckily he is quickly cured and reminded about the going feral part.
  • This has happened a few times in Animator vs. Animation.
    • In 2, The Animator names his stick figure "The Chosen One". This gives him a wide assortment of powers that allows him to start breaking the computer.
    • In 3, The Animator creates "The Dark Lord" in a desperate attempt to deal with The Chosen One. He didn't consider the possibility of the two teaming up to destroy his computer.
    • In the AVA short "The Virus", Second Coming uses a drawn hammer in an attempt to destroy the virus program. This just causes it to hatch, releasing a powerful spider-like monster that actively starts destroying the computer and attacking the stick figures.
    • In the AVM short "The Rollercoaster", Yellow builds an intricate roller coaster... But fails to account for Minecraft physics. Instead of gracefully flying off a ramp and to the finish line, the minecarts just drop off the edge.

Alternative Title(s): Did Not Think This Through


Dodgers "saves" Aquarium

Dodgers decides the only way to stop the battle on Aquarium is to destroy the surface so that both armies would fix it together.

How well does it match the trope?

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Main / DidntThinkThisThrough