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Don't Do Anything I Wouldn't Do

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"Don't do anything I wouldn't do! (beat) That gives you a lot of leeway..."

One character tells another "not to do anything I wouldn't do." Usually this is when they part ways, and the one giving advice has nothing else to say.

This can go one of a few ways. It may make the advisee seriously consider, What Would X Do?. Depending on the situation, they may be wondering if there is anything the advisor wouldn't do. Occasionally, in these situations, the advisor may realize this and correct the phrase to "Don't do anything I would do."

Alternatively, it can be a Shipper on Deck giving advice to a character in regard to romancing their Love Interest; in which case, it often ends up embarrassing the couple.

Sometimes related to Anti-Role Model, the character that sets a bad example for everyone.


Comic Books

Comic Strips

  • Doonesbury: Inverted in this strip. "Don't do anything I would do!"
  • Zits:
    Connie: Behave yourself
    Jeremy: Don't worry. I'll only not do things you wouldn't not do.
    Pierce: So you can go?
    Jeremy: As long as we're gone before she counts the 'nots'.
    • In another, his dad asks him to "don't do anything I wouldn't do" when going out with friends. Jeremy points out that he never does anything his dad would do, which doesn't give him a lot of room to do anything. Walt reveals he knows that, and is proud to have come up with the idea.

Fan Works

  • Ashes of the Past: A variant when Misty tells Pikachu, "don't let your trainer get into any trouble he can't get out of!" Pikachu responds that he wouldn't be able to tell what that looks like.
    Pikachu: On the list of things he can get out of we've already got the collapse of time itself and a fossil apocalypse.
  • A Different Lesson: At the end of the story, Mantis is stated to have given Crane a bit of advice as he goes on the road with Mei Ling and Jia. Unsurprisingly for a Covert Pervert like the insect (and speaking to a Nice Guy and Extreme Doormat like Crane), it consists of the Stock Phrase "Don't do anything I wouldn't do."
  • The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World: Said by Spectrem to John and George. Hilariously, he's so square that he means it.
  • The Rigel Black Chronicles: Lily starts to say this to Harriett but then realises that she's in the presence of both James and Sirius (two mischievous troublemakers) and settles for "don't do anything Remus wouldn't do". Like in canon, Remus is more responsible than his friends and therefore a better role model for her daughter to emulate.
  • The Secret Return of Alex Mack: Willow says this when Alex and Ray are going home after graduation. Ray, however, can't think of anything a pair of teenagers might get up to that Willow wouldn't do.
  • This Bites!: When Chopper finally gets his hands on Dr. Hogback, with full knowledge of everything he's been practicing, Cross advises him to not do anything he wouldn't do. Lassoo reminds Cross of everything he'd said he'd do to Spandam, and Cross replies that he stands by everything he just said.

Films — Live-Action

  • American Graffiti: Terry jokingly tells Curt this when seeing him off at the airport at the end.
  • Mermaids:
    Rachel Flax: Don't do anything I wouldn't do! Or don't do anything I would!
  • Sweet Smell of Success:
    Sidney Falco: Don't do anything I wouldn't do! That gives you a lot of leeway...
  • Fright Night (2011): "Don't do anything I wouldn't do— well, that doesn't narrow it down. That's like, mini-golf and sushi."
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming: Tony Stark explains to Peter Parker how an Avenger should behave, which is basically not emulating Tony's behavior and minding some of the things he avoids doing (out of personal experience and common sense).
    Tony: Don't do anything I would do.
    [Peter nods]
    Tony: And definitely don't do anything I wouldn't do.
    [Peter looks confused]
    Tony: There's a little grey area in there, and that's where you operate. Alright?
  • Stage Door:
    Eve: Remember, Hattie, don't do anything Butch wouldn't do.
  • Sweet Smell of Success:
    Sidney: Don't do anything I wouldn't do! That gives you a lot of leeway...


  • Castle Perilous: A rare example where the Stock Phrase is both justified and completely accurate—Incarnadine instructs Jeremy to tell this to his doppelganger because, as a Mirror Universe Evil Twin, what the real Incarnadine "wouldn’t do" is, well, evil.
  • Dirty Little Secrets: Kayleigh tells Lucy this when she leaves her best friend alone with Josh. And it's clear from the context that Kayleigh would be okay with anything Lucy would do with Josh.
  • Discworld: Nanny Ogg: "Don't do anything I wouldn't do, if you ever find anything I wouldn't do."
  • I Was a Teenage Fairy:
    Mab: (as Barbie prepares for a party) Do everything I would do.
  • Legacy of the Force: As Jaina's heading off for a date, her younger cousin Ben uses this phrase. Jaina replies that she will, and hopefully he won't, yet.

Live-Action TV

  • Better Off Ted:
    Linda: Don't do anything I wouldn't do! (Whispers) There's nothing I wouldn't do.
    Friend: I know, I was your roommate.
  • Castle: When the title character's teenage daughter is going to the prom, he tells her date, "Don't do anything I would do."
  • The Cosby Show: When Theo is about to head out to his Senior Prom he assures Cliff "I won't do anything you wouldn't do." Cliff responds, "Just remember: I married my prom date."
  • Doctor Who: In "Extremis", Bill Potts brings Penny home instead of a boyfriend to her mother's relief, unaware that her adopted daughter is a closet lesbian. When her mom gives this trope as she's walking out the door, the audience naturally expects a Gilligan Cut to lesbian snogging; instead, Bill and Penny enjoy tea. Then the Pope walks in the door and Bill spends the rest of the episode doing things that her mom wouldn't even conceive of doing.
  • Fawlty Towers:
    Miss Gatsby: And don't do anything *we* wouldn't do!
    Basil: Oh, of course not. Just some light breathing...
  • The Golden Girls: Between Dorothy and Sophie.
    "Don't do anything I wouldn't do."
    "I think I crossed that line when I got a date."
  • M*A*S*H: In "The Novocaine Mutiny", Frank Burns says this to Colonel Potter as the latter is heading to Tokyo on R&R, prompting Potter to reply, "I don't know that I'd want to do anything you would do."
  • Quantum Leap:
    Al: Don't do anything I wouldn't do. And if you do, take pictures.
  • Sex and the City: Samantha's boyfriend Smith is about to leave for a work-related venture. Samantha tells him not to do anything she wouldn't, to which he wryly responds "What things don't you do?" Samantha: "There are some things... Karaoke. I don't do that."
  • Sliders: Rembrandt utters this phrase and a confused Colin remarks "...I do not think I know him well enough to know what he would or would not do under certain circumstances."
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: In episode "Treachery, Faith, and the Great River".
  • Yes, Minister: Unusual Could Say It, But... example, when Hacker is definitely not telling Sir Humphrey to leak documents to the press during his upcoming meal with a journalist.

Professional Wrestling

  • "Stone Cold" Steve Austin said this to Goldberg when handing him a ticket to the No Way Out pay-per-view in WWE 2004. In it, Goldberg's enemy Brock Lesnar was defending the WWE Championship. The problem with this was soon afterward lampshaded by Vince McMahon.
    Vince McMahon: There isn't a damn thing you wouldn't do!

Video Games

Web Comics

  • Ozy and Millie: Backfires when Pirate Captain Locke pretends to be Millie at school:
    Ozy: Just don't do anything Millie wouldn't do.
    Locke: Okay, that should be easy enough. Listen up, everybody! We're going to consolidate our pirate booty, and then pillage the principal's office!
    Ozy: [Facepalm] Shoot... I forgot he's met her.

Western Animation

  • Steven Universe: Steven's dream of Garnet gives him this advice for the big dance, much to the delight of the "live studio audience".
  • Tom and Jerry: "Fraidy Cat" had Tom's chicken-hearted cousin visiting, and he's scared of mice. After several scenes of confusion, Tom and his cousin team up to fool Jerry. Tom's rear shows up behind a wall and Jerry is about to kick it, when his cousin (whom Jerry thinks is Tom gone cowardly) shows up at the other end and says "I wouldn't kick me if I were you!"