Follow TV Tropes


Double Subversion

Go To

"And sometimes there's a third, even deeper level... And that one is the same as the top, surface one. Like with pie."

A Subverted Trope happens, or seems to happen... and then that subversion is subverted within itself.

These let a writer eat their cake and have it too: get the trick of a Subverted Trope, without abandoning the plot-furthering nature of that trope. It is more frequent when the subverted form of the trope is very common, almost a trope in itself, so the second subversion really does subvert an existing trope.

It is possible to triple subvert a trope (and so on); see Zig-Zagging Trope.

See Playing with a Trope for a comparison with many other ways that a trope can be used.

This page may contain unhidden spoilers. Caution advised.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You:
    • Rentarou double subverts Oblivious to Love. Rentarou is extraordinarily perceptive to his girlfriends' feelings and unspoken concerns, and even the love in outside relationships or fiction. But any time his girlfriends have an intimate moment with each other (typically Hakari and Karane, but occasionally even with Hahari's antics), he attributes it to their just being good friends and fails to see the romantic subtext. Perhaps a more accurate description would be Oblivious to Lust.
    • In Chapter 74, Kusuri invites Rentarou to her home to meet her parents. Rentarou’s harem at this point includes Hahari and Chiyo, and so he expects Kusuri’s mother to be his next girlfriend... but she isn’t. Then at the end of the chapter, Kusuri’s grandmother comes home and—ZING!!
  • Another: Initially, Kouichi thinks that Misaki is just a normal girl. But after some heavy miscommunication, it appears that Misaki is actually the girl who died in his hospital ward the week he was in there with a lung ailment, and is haunting the school. Except, no. No she isn't. But she does have one thing that sets her apart; her glass eye can see the color of death.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: During a fight against Wrath, Fu attempts a Heroic Sacrifice, only to get foiled by his opponent. Just when things look hopeless, Buccaneer also sacrifices himself, and their united efforts manage to wound Wrath.
    • One character manages to double-subvert Handicapped Badass, but the context is pretty spoilery. Roy Mustang retains his ridiculously powerful flame alchemy following his encounter with Truth late in the manga, but he's blinded. People in FMA learn to work around potentially career-ending injuries all the time - Lan Fan, for example, masters an automail arm in a quarter of the time it takes most people - but Roy gets blinded in the immediate preamble to the final battle, meaning that he's The Load during said battle... until Riza Hawkeye, who's not really healthy enough to properly participate given that she nearly died of blood loss maybe an hour previously, starts serving as his "spotter".
  • Azumanga Daioh: Sakaki types "cats" in a search engine, and everything she gets is a big bunch of random matches (including a page titled "We Love Neko Koneko"), thus subverting It's A Small Net After All. Then she types "Iriomote cat", and it seems like one of the very first matches is a plot relevant news article about how Mayaa's mother got killed, thus playing this same trope straight. This is likely justified, however, as recent news articles commonly show up high on a search list, especially for sensitive topics like endangered species (such as the aforementioned cat).
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi contains a Double Subversion of The Unwanted Harem. It turns out most of the girls don't have any actual romantic interest in the lead, but enough of them do (Nodoka, Yue, Ako, Anya, Chachamaru...) that it ends up qualifying as a harem after all.
  • Digimon Data Squad subverts the usual Digimon brand of Disney Death by playing it straight for the first arc, then having the protagonists find out there is a way to permanently kill Digimon. Later comes the Double Subversion: Agumon "dies" in the Disney way by reverting back to an egg that will hatch later, but Masaru is repeatedly told that Agumon won't remember anything about their life together. Agumon the Digimon is alive, but Agumon who was Masaru's 'follower' is gone forever... except he's not. He hatches, and he latches onto Masaru's face like a leech (possibly as an Homage to Digimon Adventure's Pilot Movie) and they lived Happily Ever After. To be fair, this may have been foreshadowed by Piyomon retaining his memories after one death; apparently, exposure to humans and a Digisoul changes the rules.
  • In Princess Tutu, Mytho is white-haired but isn't evil at all. But, then the second season comes around...
  • In One Piece, Tashigi fangirling over Zoro's sword skills for a while, and then finding he was a pirate superficially looks like a subverted example of The Knights Who Say "Squee!", except it becomes a double subversion when she grudgingly realizes he's actually a pretty awesome guy anyway.
  • In ×××HOLiC, it initially seems that there is a Love Triangle between Watanuki, Himawari, and Domeki, with Himawari being the object of desire. However, that trope is erased when it is revealed that Domeki and Himawari aren't romantically interested in each other. But THEN, it's shown that both Himawari and Doumeki are more interested in Watanuki, once again creating a Love Triangle, but with the object of desire being Watanuki.
  • The Oracion Seis arc of Fairy Tail looked like it was subverting Rank Scales with Asskicking by having the leader of the villains, Brain, be defeated easily and the actual strongest member be his son Midnight. Then Midnight went down, and it turned out to be the last key needed to wake up Zero, Brain's Superpowered Evil Side....
  • Death Note: Misa Amane initially subverted the wangsty, nihilistic Loner Goth stereotype by turning out to actually be a cheerful, enthusiastic Perky Goth with a successful career as an actress/model. It's only later that we learn what a complete and total nutjob she really is.
    • Except that we first find out that she's a complete and utter nutjob, and only then find out that she is also a Perky Goth.
    • Alternately, we are first introduced to her as The Ditz. But then, she proves herself to Light, having even the power he doesn't and finding him out by just staying in a hidden place, which would make even Light applaud and making us think we'll have a third Chessmaster in the show. The twist? She's still The Ditz, directly going to his house and having lengthily talks about the Death Note in a non-secure environment, telling him the secrets she promised not to which would have kept her alive and less of a tool much longer, and what not.
    • Which may have saved her considering that Light was going to find and kill her anyway if she stayed in the darkness. She also had Rem watching over her and the fact that she thought Light woudn't murder her if she could prove to be useful, and he doesn't.
      • This leads to a second double subversion, as initially Light thinks that he'll have to kill Misa if she becomes too much of a hindrance to his plans, only for Rem to make it clear that if he even tries, Rem will kill him before he can, even though that would kill Rem too. Eventually Light manages to find a way to kill Rem, clearing the way for him to eliminate Misa if necessary... but ultimately he never actually does, even when he cold-bloodedly kills a different one of his girlfriends, Kiyomi Takada, for becoming too much of a liability, and Misa survives to the end of the manga, outliving Light. However, after surviving everything she then killed herself after learning Light was dead, making it a triple subversion.
  • Bleach has Isshin training Ichigo in the precipice world, letting him learn a Dangerous Forbidden Technique. They could only do this because Aizen destroyed the cleaner that goes through the precipice world. Seems to be Nice Job Fixing It, Villain, but Aizen said that he planned that so that Ichigo could become stronger. Ichigo went even further, ascending to another state of being, making his reiatsu undetectable by normal Shinigami and letting him shrug off attacks that would have decimated Isshin or Urahara. Nice Job Fixing It, Villain indeed.
    • Zommari invokes this once he enters Resurrecion. He states Byakuya quickly moved out of the way, thinking he was going to mount an attack, only to find nothing. Then, he shows the true danger of his power.
  • Tekkaman Blade double subverts Laser-Guided Amnesia: D-Boy claims to have amnesia, but it turns out he's faking it. Then, near the end of the series, he starts losing his memory for real.
  • Ranma ½ double-subverts Fanservice in an early anime episode. Ranma takes Clothing Damage which would lead to some nice Under Boobs. If he was a girl. Then he jumps through a fountain, activating his Gender Bender curse (which is triggered by cold water).
    Ranma: Aww, that was my favourite shirt!
    Ryōga: You sound like a girl, Ranma!
  • The personification of Russia in Hetalia: Axis Powers double subverts the Gentle Giant. Russia is huge and intimidating, but also looks and acts cute, is very polite, acts friendly, and is almost always calmly smiling. He's really a cruel-minded, manipulative Psychopathic Manchild with Yandere tendencies...however, he desires friends more than anything, and is innocent for the most part, unaware of his cruelty. He also becomes a lot more gentle in modern day, compared to his unstable period as the Soviet Union.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann does this for a couple mecha tropes. The most obvious one is at Episode 3. Kamina intends to create a Combining Mecha with Simon's Lagann...only to just place it on Gurren's head...which then starts the Transformation Sequence.
  • The Rose of Versailles contains an epic one for The Guards Must Be Crazy. After meeting with Marie Antoinette at night, Fersen is leaving Versailles only to be stopped by a group of French Guards, a regiment infamous for sleeping on guard duty (in fact all the Household Regiments were known for that, the French Guards and the Swiss Guards were just the worst ones). Their recently posted commander Oscar then shows up, her too expecting them to lazy on the job and in fact planning to catch them in the act to discipline them and, after realizing the absurd situation, saves Fersen... And redirects him to a gate guarded by the Swiss Guards she had just checked they were, in fact, sleeping (and, not being from her regiment, it wasn't her problem).
  • PandoraHearts sets up several tropes in the beginning that go through rounds and rounds of subversion by the end.
    • The most notable double-subversion: the protagonist Oz Vessalius is set up as a Chosen One and Messianic Archetype prophesied to save the world like his previous incarnation Jack Vessalius, only for it to be revealed later that he's actually the key to ending it. Then it's doubly subverted when he ends up sacrificing his life to stop The End of the World as We Know It anyways.
    • The character Gilbert's Undying Loyalty to Oz, which initially was set up to be from his childhood friendship with him, only to be subverted when Gilbert remembers his old life, realizes he's been brainwashed into loyalty to whoever he calls 'master' and that Oz is actually technically his enemy, and then shoots Oz in the chest. Then it's doubly subverted when Gilbert calms down from his Freak Out, reconciles this fact with himself, and decides to still be loyal to Oz anyways.
  • Naruto: Neji tells Naruto that he should give up on becoming Hokage because the past Hokage were destined to be Hokage and Naruto, being a nobody, will never be one no matter how hard he tries. After Naruto beats him, it seemed like Naruto was defying fate until its revealed that Naruto is the son of the 4th Hokage and the previous Nine Tails Jinchuriki. Taken to the extreme when we learn that he is a reincarnation of Ashura, the son of the Sage of Six Paths and his successor. In the epilogue, we see Naruto as the 7th Hokage, and its no surprise that he succeeded. Neji was right after all.
  • Delicious in Dungeon: Shuro double subverts Screw This, I'm Outta Here. He appears to abandon the party early on, only to come back later and attempt to rescue Falin. When this goes horribly wrong, he really does leave for good.
  • Rebuild World: It looks like the Femme Fatale Carol is giving Akira Marshmallow Hell, but due to her wearing Powered Armor, his face is just being ground against metal, so Carol lets go. Just when Akira thinks he’s safe, Carol unzips her suit and shoves his head between her bare breasts.
  • Jojos Bizarre Adventure Golden Wind: Ghiaccio double subverts Logical Weakness. His Stand, White Album, encases him in a suit made of ice. Mista figures out that he needs to be able to breathe, and locates a hole on the back of Ghiaccio's neck... only for Ghiaccio to activate a secondary ability, White Album Gently Weeps, that lets him throw back any projectile. But Mista also realizes that Inertia Is a Harsh Mistress, lines Ghiaccio up with a broken lamp post, and empties his pistol at him. Ghiaccio throws the bullets back, but each throw propels him backwards due to Newton's Third Law, and ends up impaling his neck on the post.

    Comic Books 
  • Quantum and Woody double subverts the Scary Black Man trope with Eric Henderson (Quantum). While he is a tall, muscular, and physically intimidating black man, his full-body costume and articulate speaking pattern means he's inevitably assumed to be Caucasian. People don't really freak out until they find out he's black underneath.
    "You're black? S-word!"
  • The Joker really loves this trope. An especially ingenious one is in the short story "Laughter After Midnight," in which he's walking home after being thrown out of a blimp by Batman (and surviving, of course). Feeling hungry, the Joker stops by a donut shop - frightening away the other customers - and helps himself to some jelly donuts before putting them over his eyes like a mask and saying "This is a stick-up, see?" to the man at the counter. Thinking the Joker has a gun, the man frantically pulls open the register and says the Joker can have everything in it - only to be reassured that "I'm just funning with you, keed." Then, in a very uncharacteristic move, the Joker pulls out a wad of dollar bills and pays the man for the donuts. But then the man notices that the bills are counterfeits with the Joker's face on them - and the Joker explains that he coated them with a toxic chemical that can only be activated by human sweat (which the counter guy has been releasing buckets of because he was so afraid of being shot). Long story short, the donut man is exposed to "Joker Venom" and dies after all with a whitened, perpetually smiling face.
  • In Atomic Robo, Doctor Dinosaur double-subverts Techno Babble. The not-so-good doctor's output of pseudoscientific gibberish would be par for the course in a lot of comic books, but in this world it usually causes Robo to yell about how ridiculous whatever Dr Dinosaur just said was. Then it works anyway. This makes Robo very sad indeed.
  • Superman double-subverts Yank the Dog's Chain. At the end of Adventure Comic #5, where Superboy Prime admits that he hates what he has become and just wants a happy ending. Laurie Lemmon enters the basement and comforts him, telling him that they are sorry for what they did to him and are going to leave him alone—"they" being previously mentioned as being the writers at DC Comics. As they embrace, a Black Lantern ring is shown on Laurie's hand that detects the hope within Prime's heart, implying she is really a Black Lantern and is manipulating him into feeling hope before she kills him. However, when Superboy-Prime is accidentally transported back to New Earth, a flashback shows him reconnecting with Laurie Lemmon and his parents, implying she is the real Laurie Lemmon and they are happy together. Sadly for Prime, he is separated from his loved ones again. He blames the Teen Titans and battles them. When he loses, they imprison him within the Source Wall.

    Fan Works 
  • Chapter 14 of Sonic Generations: Friendship Is Timeless does this with The Password Is Always "Swordfish". When accessing Eggman's system the heroes find out that the system requires a password. Tails suggests EGGMAN, which doesn't work. The double subversion occurs with the password turning out to be PASSWORD.
  • In the Calvinverse, Socrates is Locked Out of the Loop by the other four protagonists regarding the transmitter chip in his head. After Calvin finally tells him about it in Retro Chill, he marches over to Sherman, plucks him up, and... begins laughing. After everyone else starts laughing, he abruptly stops and angrily tells him to take it out.
  • In For Love, after Hinata is sent back to her childhood, she attempts to improve her life, starting by preventing her uncle Hizashi's unjust death, to keep her cousin Neji from growing up as an orphaned and embittered fatalist again. Unfortunately, the usual Peggy Sue trope is subverted when her plan to foil the Kumo ambassador's attempt to kidnap hernote  completely fails and the ambassador is killed again... but because she had fostered a better relationship with Hizashi this time around, it's Hizashi who kills the ambassador rather than Hiashi, so he's executed for something he actually did rather than dying in his brother's place, double subverting it. And then because of her improved relationship with Hizashi, Neji is able to better accept his father's death than before anyway and grows up happier and steadfastly loyal to Hinata, rather than cynical and quite happy to see her dead, triple subverting it.
  • In this Jojos Bizarre Adventure comic dub, Jotaro and Joseph are flying back from Egypt when the former realizes he's on a plane with his grandfather, which usually ends with the plane crashing. Jotaro calms down after remembering that DIO's dead and they aren't any enemies left... and then Kars comes down from space and crashes into in the exact plane to get revenge on Joseph.

    Films — Animation 
  • At one point in Monsters vs. Aliens, the heroes are wearing Paper Thin Disguises. Unfortunately, one of the enemies sees right through them... wait, scratch that. He only saw through one of them. The rest of the disguises seem to be working just fine. He even helps the heroes "arrest" the one he spotted.
  • Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker: One of Jokerz mouthed off to the Joker after failing his mission. Joker pulls a gun and pulls the trigger - which produces a flag that says "BANG!" on it - then pulls it again, ejecting the flagpole at high speed and impaling the guy in the chest. This is based on a scene from the comics, in "Dreadful Birthday, Dear Joker!" (Batman #321).
  • One gag in The Emperor's New Groove involves Bucky the squirrel threatening to pop a llama-shaped balloon to wake up the jaguars sleeping all around Kuzco. Kuzco pleads with Bucky not to, Bucky does so anyway with a very loud POP, and...the jaguars stay asleep. Kuzco, upon realizing this, laughs and THAT'S when the jaguars decide to wake up and chase his llama ass through the forest.
  • The Incredibles does this with A.I. Is a Crapshoot. Bob is hired to take out a Killer Robot called the Omnidroid which was highly intelligent and could adapt to and defeat tactics used against it. He was told that the robot had gotten "smart enough that it wondered why it had to take orders". However, it was a lie. The Omnidroid was under the control of Fan Boy-turned-villain Syndrome the whole time, and the whole point of the venture was to either kill Bob or get information from Bob's defeat of the Omnidroid to improve the next version, in preparation for an ultimate version which would be part of Syndrome's plan to set himself up as a hero. The plan was that the Omnidroid would serve as a villain, and Syndrome would show up and defeat it using a remote control. However, Syndrome neglected to consider the implications of the Omnidroid's extremely thorough combat programming. The Omnidroid figured out that Syndrome was using a remote control to fight it, and acted to defeat that tactic and beat Syndrome.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In 1941 (1979), amidst all the Patriotic Fervor dishwasher Wally Stephens steals an Army uniform, but not with the intent of becoming a War Hero, but only because a specific club now run by the USO no longer admits civilians. However, when Wally wins the dancing contest held at the club, his prize is a seven-year contract in movie business, so he will hardly have to go to war at all... but later that evening he joins a tank crew whose commander has been knocked unconscious, and rides the tank all the way until they face the enemy, yet still becoming a sort of hero anyway.
  • In All About Eve, Karen thinks about tricking Margo to help her understand, and justifies it to herself that Margo will like it, and there's no reason not to tell her..."in time."
  • Star Trek (2009): An obvious Red Shirt has to open his parachute in time to hit a floating platform. At first it seems he doesn't open his parachute in time and misses the platform. It seems like he will pancake himself onto the planet below, but in fact he does manage to open it. ...Only for the parachute to catch onto the platform and swing him right into the energy beam projecting from the bottom, vaporizing him instantly.
  • Death has to play these in the Final Destination movies, first setting up a chain of events that will surely kill the target. But quite often, when the target manages to make it out of that danger, another danger nearby kills them anyway.
  • The Live-Action Adaptation of Speed Racer had one with Racer X's identity. Those familiar with the original show will remember that he's Rex Racer, Speed's older brother. However, the dramatic unmasking at the end shows that Racer X looks completely different from the Rex seen earlier in the film. But it's later revealed that it really IS Rex after all, and he had cosmetic surgery to hide his identity after faking his death, in order to protect his family.
  • In Buster Keaton's "One Week" (1920), a couple of newlyweds is given a portable house and a piece of land. Towards the end of the film, they discover that they have built the house on the wrong lot, and have to tow it across railroad tracks; predictably, the house jams on top of the tracks. The couple attempts to make it budge while arguing. Cut to footage of speeding train. Cut to train whistle letting off steam. Cut to couple jumping and looking past the house. Cut to larger plan of the couple making, in vain, a last-minute effort to move the house with the speeding train in the background, before stepping aside. Just as the train is expected to hit the house, the camera pans right, revealing the train passing on the tracks just next to the house. Cut to sighs of relief of the couple, who resume their arguing. Cut to another train running through the house from the other direction.
  • The climax of Big Trouble in Little China triple-subverts Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Jack misses his knife-throw at Lo Pan by half a mile. When Lo Pan throws the knife back at him, though, Jack easily catches it and returns the throw, striking Lo Pan between his eyes and killing him instantly. "It's all in the reflexes."
  • Thor does this to The Big Damn Kiss when Thor and Jane lean forward to kiss, only for Thor to pull away and kiss Jane's hand. But Jane un-subverts it when she pulls him into the kiss anyways.
  • Towards the end of Gladiator, Commodus stabs Maximus before their Coliseum battle so that he can get an unfair advantage, but Maximus is so much of a badass Determinator that he still kills him, though he dies from the stabbing shortly afterwards.
  • In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indy is hiding in a Nazi base when he beats up a Nazi for his uniform. Unfortunately, the uniform's too small for him, becoming more awkward when another officer shows up and berates him for his appearance until Indy beats him up, taking his better-fitting uniform.
  • Smokey and the Bandit 2 has the Bandit attempt to leave a shipping yard, but Justice blocks his path and holds him at gunpoint. The Bandit then invokes It Works Better with Bullets by tricking him into using up the rest of his bullets. But Justice sees it coming and asks Junior for his gun, subverting the trope. Then Justice attempts to shoot the Bandit with Junior's gun, only to discover it's empty as well. It turns out that when Junior puts bullets in his gun, it gets too heavy.
  • In Big Game, the plucky kid, an utterly ineffectual archer, looses an arrow at the Big Bad with a one-liner, dramatic slo-mo, multiple camera angles - and by the time the thing connects, it has such pitiful force left that it bounces off the bad guy's chest. Then the impact dislodges the shard of metal the baddie's carrying in his chest, it hits his heart, and he falls off the helicopter he was on towards the wreck of the Air Force One just as it explodes. Good times.
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them demonstrates a Double Subversion of Gas Leak Cover-Up. A cop tries to claim the destruction at Kowalski's apartment is the result of a gas leak, only for all the witnesses to berate him and point out the lack of gas's scent. One man steps up to say that they all saw a magical beast cause the destruction, but before he can, Newt casts a spell over all of the witnesses and they suddenly agree that it was a gas leak that caused everything.
  • In Love Potion Number 9, Paul is told by the gypsy who gave him the titular love potion that the only way he can break the Romantic False Lead's use of it on Diane is to drink the antidote and then give her a True Love's Kiss. He does so and then waits for her to come back to him. And waits. And waits. When it becomes clear that the True Love's Kiss didn't work as expected, he sadly narrates, "I'd like to tell you that five minutes after I kissed Diane, she came running out into my arms and that we fell in love forever, but that's not what happened." Then the camera cuts to a shot of Diane happily running towards him and he adds, "It took six minutes."

  • An old joke: A child is born without ears. Every family member comments on it, until the exasperated father promises himself that he'll knock out the next person to comment on it. Cue another relative arriving and remarking "Oh dear. I hope he'll have perfect eyesight." "What? Why?" "Well, how the hell is he going to keep his glasses on?"
  • A variant of a popular joke is a double subversion:
    "My grandfather died at a Nazi concentration camp."
    "He fell out of a guard tower."
    "Your grandfather was a Nazi?!"
    "He was trying to escape." [beat] "The prisoners were rioting."

  • A Brother's Price:
    • Jerin saves the life of a princess. One might expect him to get a Standard Hero Reward, but that's subverted; royals don't marry commoners. But then, it turns out that Jerin's grandfather was a prince, which makes him a possible option for the princesses. He does not only marry the one he saved, but also the one who saved him, and the whole rest of them (there are ten), but technically, it is still "hero marries princess after saving her".
    • There is also a scene, where Jerin disguises himself as female whore. Lipstick is used. However: A normal man in this setting has long hair, usually worn in a braid, wears jewelery, and while trousers are not unheard of, men often wear robes or kilts. So, in order to resemble a female whore, he'd need to wear trousers and short hair? Wrong - the female prostitutes have exclusively female customers, who are heterosexual more often than not. Therefore, they try to resemble men as much as possible. However, no real man would walk around in public, unchaperoned and unveiled like the prostitutes do. Or even put on lipstick to advertise how good he is with his mouth. (Not that Jerin is not good using his mouth to pleasure a woman, but it is improper to talk about that.) Oh, and then there is the additional problem that they have to make his shirt look like he tries to hide breasts under there.
  • The novel The Dragons of Babel subverts the the long-lost heir trope by having a con man successfully pose as the heir to the throne. And then the one completely infallible test proves that he really is the heir to the throne.
  • At first glance, Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash looks like your standard subversion of your typical Randian/Objectivist free market paradise, but if you really think about it, it's not that much more dysfunctional than real life and, despite its problems, everything does work out in the end.
  • In an early The Dresden Files novel, Harry Dresden tells us that a Deal with the Devil is safe enough to skilled wizards. Demons will accept deals that don't give enough influence over the human to have an effect. Indeed, he pulls this off. The demon then offers Harry his heart's desire. He refuses, but is reduced to a total wreck and does so despite himself. Turns out that Our Hero is just incredibly stupid.
  • Nation double-subverts the Chekhov's Gun - or, in this case, axe. Mau is taking part in a tribal Rite of Passage that involves an axe left in a tree by the last person to do it. He takes the axe, does the ritual, leaves it in the branch for the next guy - and then his island gets hit by a massive storm that kills everyone but him. In the immediate aftermath, the tree drifts by with the axe still stuck in it. He tries to free it again, but fails, and even feels vaguely cheated. Naturally, he finds it again during his showdown with the villain.
  • The Enchanted Forest Chronicles does this with the Everyone Can See It trope... many of the people Mendanbar and Cimorene encounter assume they are in love, for extremely silly and superficial reasons that are obviously wrong, when they are both extremely practical, goal-oriented people, not sentimental lovebirds. But having those traits in common is exactly why they are indeed perfect for each other after all.
  • The Secret of Platform 13 does this with Rags to Royalty: the Prince was kidnapped by a Rich Bitch who wanted a son, and grew up to be a Spoiled Brat. Then it turns out that the brat is the Rich Bitch's actual child, and the kidnapped Prince is the family servant.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting gets a lot of play in The Sirantha Jax Series. There's an alien species who change form... by extruding an extra skin around their insectoid bodies. They can manipulate the features on the outside layer, but they occasionally have to molt it and replace it.
  • In Soul Music The Band get a new guitar for Buddy from a cluttered little shop owned by a strange old woman. Once Cliff and Glod start to suspect something is wrong with the guitar, they head back to the shop to ask about it, only to find a blank wall. Glod begins ranting about how he knew there was something suspicious about the guitar, talking about how everyone knows that things bought from The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday always have something wrong with them... only for Cliff to point out that he's looking on the wrong side of the street, and the shop is right over there. After they finish fruitlessly questioning the owner, Cliff offhandedly mentions Glod's apparent display of Wrong Genre Savvy to her as an amusing anecote on his way out- and once he's gone the old woman curses her failing memory and pulls a lever that relocates the shop to the other side of the street again.
  • The Road has a double subversion of Nameless Narrative. For most of the story, no one ever has their name mentioned. The main characters are simply referred to as "the Man" and "the Boy". That is, until they encounter an old man whose name is Ely... but then it turns out that Ely is a pseudonym, and he doesn't give away his real name. Neither do any of the other characters they meet in the rest of the story.
  • Under the Pendulum Sun has this treatment of the trope Alien Geometries in the Land of Faerie.
    • Upon first arriving in the Faelands, the Catherine has this exchange with the coachman driving her to her lodgings:
      Catherine: How far to Gethsemane?
      Coachman: Two revelations and an epiphany? No, there has to be a shortcut… Two painful memories and a daydr—
      Miss Davenport: Sixteen miles. It is sixteen miles away. We'll arrive well before dark. [glaring at the coachman] He says that for the tourists.
    • Much later, near the end of the book, she speaks to the coachman again, and he tells her this:
      Coachman: Distances don't work like they do where you were. In Arcadia it's about the journey, and I thought I'd count yours instead of mine. But you were slow. And should've made sure those revelations be true, since fake ones don't count. They just loop me right round, you know? Gets me real lost.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Better Off Ted, Lem becomes deeply uncomfortable when he learns Dr. Bhamba is dating his mother. The next day, he sees Bhamba enthusiastically telling a story to a group of friends, while demonstrating a series elaborate hip thrusts. When he gets close enough to hear the conversation, Bhamba says "... and that's how I won the hula-hoop competition. And gained the pelvic stamina necessary to satisfy Lem's mom."
  • Shows which fulfil their Start to Corpse quota within the Cold OpenHouse, CASUAL+Y, anything CSI — generally start employing Bait-and-Switch quite quickly to throw viewers off, before resorting to Double Subversion, sometimes zig-zagging the trope to the point of Rube Goldberg Hates Your Guts.
  • One pre-title segment of House features a young girl diving in a competition. Standard procedure with the claiming of slight illness and shots of insides. She dives in, emerges and finds the judge on the floor, vomiting blood. After the title sequence, it transpires the entire audience and swimmers are being tested for meningitis. It's at this point the girl turns up again, with bizarre symptoms which aren't meningitis.
  • Golden Palace, pilot: Involving a robbery incident. See The Ditz.
  • Six Feet Under actually got a few of these into the opening sequences involving the deaths each episode revolved around.
  • In the NewsRadio episode "Stupid Holiday Charity Talent Shot", Jimmy tells the WNYX staff that in order for Matthew to get his job back, someone from the station will have to enter and win the upcoming corporate talent show. Matthew repeatedly tries to tell the group that he has a talent he can use, but everyone ridicules or dismisses him. Finally, when all hope appears lost, Matthew finally informs the group that he has a ventriloquist act and has been competing in ventriloquist competitions for years. Viewers would expect that at this point, Matthew goes on stage, knocks them dead, and wins his job back, right? But that's not what happens. Matthew sucks... really badly. But... he ends up winning the competition anyway, on a pity vote.
  • Maeby Fünke of Arrested Development is a double subversion of Brainy Brunette: she's rebellious and Book Dumb, but outside school fends for herself quite easily, even landing a plum job in Hollywood.
  • Happens twice during the pilot episode of Castle. Mystery writer Richard Castle is informed that, in Real Life police investigations, fingerprint matches can take up to a week to get done, and the most likely suspect usually is the person who did it. Castle than proceeds to sweet talk the mayor into giving their fingerprint search priority, getting it done in under an hour, and proves that the most likely suspect was actually framed.
  • Nick Knight (pilot for later series Forever Knight) double subverts the old pane-of-glass trope: A runaway car, barreling down the hill. Guys carrying pane of glass across the road. Driver yelling and trying to wave them off. Frightened face of car's helpless driver reflected in the glass. Guys make it out of the way in time, saving the glass...except they're so busy watching the car, they walk into a nearby tree, smashing the glass anyway.
  • Comedy double act Lee and Herring used this trope a lot. In the first series of This Morning With Richard Not Judy, Richard Herring would describe some disgusting act (often involving bestiality) he had partaken in. For example in one episode he described going to the sewage works and swimming in the sewage. Stewart Lee would then accuse Rich of being sick, prompting Rich to say "But who is the real sick man in this so-called society. Is it the man who regularly has harmless pleasure swimming in sewage, or is the business man in his suit and tie who goes to the toilet and thus produces the sewage in the first place?" Stu would then point out that in that example it was the first man because the business man hadn't done anything wrong. It was triply subverted in the final episode of series one, a business man who wears a suit and tie turned up to complain, Rich was suitably apologetic, but then the as the business man walked away they saw that the back of his suit was missing and he was wearing bondage gear underneath. Rich was delighted to find out that the business man was the sick one after all.
  • In the first-season Farscape episode "Bone to Be Wild," an odd alien woman named M'Lee asks Moya's crew to protect her from a hideous monster. Subversion #1: the monster is a well-spoken scientist named Br'Nee who wanted to warn Moya's crew about M'Lee, who murders people and eats their bones. Subversion #2: Br'Nee is responsible for starving M'Lee's people to death (and kidnapping one of Crichton's friends), and M'Lee was only motivated by extreme hunger.
  • Each installment of Toei's Super Sentai during its early years has always started with a Five-Man Band of heroes and very rarely deviated from that concept.note  Choujuu Sentai Liveman, 1988 installment, starts its first episode with five friends who we are led to believe will become the titular Liveman team... But then two of the friends (Mari and Takuji) are killed off by the villains ten minutes into the episode, leaving the surviving friends (Yūsuke, Jō, and Megumi) with the duty to avenge their deaths as a trio. Halfway through the series, we are introduced to the fallen friends' heretofore unseen younger siblings (Tetsuya and Jun-ichi), who join the Liveman team, completing the five-member team.
  • In 30 Rock, Jack has a heart attack and is rushed to a hospital. When the doctor comes out to speak to Liz, Jack's mother, and Jack's fiance, he's covered in blood. He was at a costume party, and he was attacked by the host's dog. So he had to stab it.
  • In Community episode "Interpretive Dance" Jeff says that as soon as he and Professor Slater kiss, the blinds will open. They don't, but then it shown that blinds across the hall did open revealing his relationship to his friends.
  • Robin from How I Met Your Mother invites Barney back to her place. The dialogue suggests she wants you-know-what, although it's obviously intentionally vague. Sure enough, she just wanted to show him a video. And then...
    Future!Ted: So they watched it again. And again. And again. They watched it over and over that night, until finally... [shot of them making out on the couch] they stopped watching.
  • In CSI: NY, Danny attempts an Honorable Marriage Proposal after Lindsay tells him she's pregnant. She declines, but a few episodes later he lures her to the Justice of the Peace and proposes again, and this time she says yes.
  • In the Blackadder special Blackadder: Back & Forth, this is done with Product Placement. The time-travelling Edmund tries to present Queen Elizabeth I with a Tesco Clubcard in a case of Product Placement, which is subverted when everyone (even Edmund himself) realises what a useless gift this is in the 16th century. Cue double subversion when he then wins her favour with a Polo Mint.
  • The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "I, Borg" does this to the Whoopi Epiphany Speech. When Picard (reluctantly) allows Dr. Crusher to aid the badly-injured Borg drone Third of Five (eventually nicknamed "Hugh"), Guinan, whose people had been practically eradicated by the Borg, gives a dark speech warning Picard of how the Borg are inherently untrustworthy. Geordi, who's also helping Hugh's recovery, gives one to Guinan in Hugh's defense. After finally meeting Hugh, Guinan gives another speech to Picard:
    Guinan: If you are going to use this person...
    Picard: It's not a person, dammit, it's a Borg!
    Guinan: If you're going to use this person to destroy his entire species, you should at least look him in the eye. Otherwise, you might find that decision much harder to live with than you realize.
  • Season 12 of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit uses this quite cleverly to get around a potential case of Narrowed It Down to the Guy I Recognize. The initial suspect in the kidnapping of a young girl is played by Henry Ian Cusick, but he turns out to be a Red Herring. This meant that when the same character showed up again in the subsequent episode, viewers weren't inclined to see him as a suspect (especially since the episode didn't frame him as one) despite him being played by Cusick, which allowed them to actually surprise the viewers with The Reveal that Cusick's character is the rapist.
  • Cain and Abel is subverted brilliantly at the end of the first season of Borgia. Juan has been found dead, and no one knows who killed him—but it's really starting to look like it was his little brother Cesare. The brothers fight a lot, and are bother very hot-headed—it's very easy to image what could've happened. Cesare doesn't remember what he did that night. Juan always bullied him. Cesare is The Un-Favourite, and Always Second Best. When Cesare really starts to believe it was him, he goes to their sister, Lucrezia, and tells her what he thinks he's done. She swears he didn't kill him... because she did.
  • British Kent Brockman News show The Day Today featured a sketch premised on a (fake) trailer for a (fake) BBC retrospective on changing attitudes at the broadcaster, with several (fake) shows serving as case studies. One of these shows was a Northern England-set soap called Frampton Row, referred to as the "first popular weekly serial to use swear words" - footage from the show depicts a woman having a conversation with a newspaper vendor, whom she tells "I'm not made of money, especially not since Eddie Copsy and his bloomin' lids!", the gag seemingly that where the viewer was expecting to hear genuine cuss words, they instead got a Curse of The Ancients. However, as the woman hands over money to buy a newspaper, she jovially tells the vendor, "There you are, ya big hairy cock!" and then as she turns to leave, the vendor casually sees her off with "Ta-ra, ya shitter!"
  • A season two episode of Supernatural begins with a terrifed woman desperately trying to escape a dark pursuer, only to have her head chopped off. It's clearly the Victim of the Week dying to set up the episode's plot... only for Sam and Dean to inspect the corpse and realize she was a vampire killed by friendly fellow hunter Gordon, who's trying to find and eradicate the nest and is happy to have the Winchesters onboard. Then it turns out that her coven is actually feeding off of cattle because they don't want to kill humans, so the woman was an innocent victim all along. Gordon refuses to consider this and wants to slaughter them all anyway.
  • Better Call Saul has one in the Season 6 mid-season break episode. The audience expects that a Dying Candle from opening the door to the Saul & Kim apartment will be Lalo, a cartel boss who is currently gunning for Gus Fring as part of some cartel business. It turns out to be Howard, who was just humiliated by Saul & Kim in a totally unrelated Revenge Reveal Story. Shortly after a second Dying Candle shot happens and this time it is Lalo. Who walks in, says a few words before executing Howard with a Boom, Headshot!.

    Theme Parks 
  • In Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast at Universal Studios, upon Ooblar breaking into Jimmy's lab, it seems as though he has something sinister in mind, until he gives Carl his teddy bear back (which he had lost on his ship), making it seem as though he comes in peace. That is then subverted when he reveals his real reasons for coming to earth: to steal Jimmy's Mark IV rocket and use it to take over the world.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Ghal Maraz, the title Ancestral Weapon of the Warhammer franchise, was the personal weapon of Sigmar Heldenhammer, the warrior-king who united the Empire. The warhammer is passed down from one Emperor to another on succession; however, Sigmar himself left no (legitimate) descendants, and the Empire's status as an Elective Monarchy means that even the succeeding Emperor is not guaranteed to be a blood relation of his predecessor. The double subversion comes from the fact that Sigmar intentionally set this situation up so that the Empire would not be the perpetual possession of one dynasty or bloodline; rather, he in effect bequeathed the Empire to all his subjects as fellow Men, and anyone worthy enough to hold the position of Emperor and protect the Empire's subjects would also be the rightful heir of Ghal Maraz.

    Video Games 
  • AI: The Somnium Files - nirvanA Initiative has one of The Tape Knew You Would Say That in the climax. Tearer set up several things in the event of his death to make sure the Nirvana Initiative went off without a hitch, including some videos to play at the stadium. In it, he predicts several of the heroes' tactics and explains the countermeasures taken to fight them. It is only at the end where he has a tape talking about how he freed humanity after the rocked is destroyed where he gets something wrong. In that video, Tokiko glitches in to say "Plan... Success..." to further add to this subversion. However, Tokiko's addition isn't talking about the Nirvana Initiative. She planned for it to fail so she could give the player the means to access the Gainax Ending where she escapes the reality of the game to achieve Moksha. While Tearer's plan wasn't a success, her plan ultimately was.
  • Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness has Pleinair, originally just the Dark Assembly guide for that game, as a recruitable character, no sidequest needed, as soon as the tutorial is completed, setting up a use of Disc-One Nuke. However, she's only recruitable in a New Game Plus, which is the subversion... until you remember that you can see one of the endings in about half an hour by losing to Mid-Boss at the end of the first chapter (and if you don't level grind at least a little, it's not all that hard to lose on that level). Hence the double subversion.
  • The Elder Scrolls does this with Chekhov's Volcano. Arena shows us Red Mountain, a giant volcano in Morrowind belching smoke... which keeps on belching smoke all throughout the game. Morrowind revisits Red Mountain... and ends with it calming down. Then the novels that came out in the run-up to Skyrim reveal that the events of Morrowind led to a chain of events that caused the volcano to erupt a few years after the events of Oblivion.
  • In the Birthright branch of Fire Emblem Fates, Izana's introduction double subverts his Cloud Cuckoolander traits. The party is suspicious of his overly-casual speech, with Hinoka accusing him of being an imposter due to just how over the top he is. It turns out that she's right, and the "Izana" that everyone just met actually is an imposter... but then later, upon meeting the real Izana, it turns out that he really is like that.
  • Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII double subverts I Have Your Wife. Bhunivelze holds Lightning's sister, Serah's, soul hostage so that Lightning will follow his orders to prepare humanity for the end of the world and become the new Goddess of Death. Lightning eventually discovers that he doesn't have Serah at all and decides to kill him for lying to her; however, it's later revealed that Bhunivelze does have Hope's soul, which forces Lightning to continue doing God's bidding. At least until she can kill him and save Hope.
  • Overtime, an Undertale and Team Fortress 2 crossover fangame, double subverts I Surrender, Suckers. If you accept Dell Conagher's offer of mercy, he lets you go on, and even encourages you to save. Once you continue, however, you'll get killed by the Sentry Guns waiting for you.
  • Portal 2 does this with respect to Boss-Arena Idiocy. It's set up earlier that the AI in charge of the mainframe cannot remove the parts of the system that are designed to swap cores in the event of corruption. The Final Boss appears to ignore this in setting up its Evil Plan, and indeed during the fight you do cause a core transfer to be initiated. However, the boss actually did plan for this possibility by placing a Booby Trap designed to kill you when you attempt to press the Stalemate Resolution Button. What brings about its final defeat is that, all along, it's been ignoring the progressive collapse of the Enrichment Center due to an impending reactor meltdown.
  • At the start of Secret of Mana the main character pulls a sword out of a stone signaling that he is probably the Chosen One. However, soon after that, he is told by Jema that he is too young to be a hero, and he was only able to remove the sword because the power of Mana is weakening. Much later in the game, it turns out that he was definitely the Chosen One all along.
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Direct video released on August 8, 2018 features a trailer appearing to reveal the inclusion of King K. Rool. Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong look out their window and see a silhouette of King K. Rool—but he throws off the disguise to reveal it's actually King Dedede. Then, while King Dedede is running around laughing about the prank he just played, he gets clobbered from behind and falls over, revealing the actual King K. Rool.
    • And then there's the E3 2019 trailer that served as a direct follow-up, even playing out almost the same way. This time, Banjo and Kazooie are the ones being teased as a DLC character, the silhouette actually turns out to be Duck Hunt in disguise, and then the real bear and bird (quite literally) drop in to cement their reveal.
    • For the Nintendo Direct that aired on September 13, 2018, it presented one last trailer for a new Animal Crossing game, featuring Isabelle working around the office. Then she receives a letter saying she's been invited, and it turns out this whole thing was a reveal for Isabelle as a playable character in Smash Bros Ultimate. Shortly after that, however, we cut to Tom Nook congratulating Isabelle on her inclusion and saying he needs to get the town ready for the player's return, which does indeed end up advertising a new Animal Crossing game.
  • Tales of Monkey Island doubly subverts Spoiler Title in its fourth chapter: "The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood". The premise invoves Guybrush being put on trial, so judging by the title you'd expect the trial goes badly and The Hero Dies. Except Guybrush is cleared of all charges thanks to a Big Damn Heroes moment from former villain Le'Chuck. Who then proceeds to kill Guybrush for real at the end of the chapter, making the Spoiler Title Right for the Wrong Reasons.
  • TRON 2.0 pulled this on a meta level with Role Reprise. Cindy Morgan (Lora and Yori) was brought back to the franchise to play an entirely different character (the Benevolent A.I. Ma3a), with Lora Baines-Bradley killed off in the Backstory, but at the halfway point in the game, you stumble on the Story Breadcrumbs that reveal that Ma3a really is Lora (what's left of her consciousness anyway) merged with an AI. This makes Morgan (along with David Warner and Jeff Bridges) the third actor to play three different roles in the franchise.
  • The Turing Test has audio logs where the rest of the crew accuses TOM, the AI of the mission, of mind controlling them via their implants. Sure enough, Ava, the protagonist, soon enters an area where "YOU ARE BEING CONTROLLED", "DRONE", and "TOM'S SLAVE" is written all over the place. As Ava progresses through this area, the player increasingly loses control over her, drawn along a certain path, their vision glitching out as Ava approaches a Faraday cage which the crew promises will free Ava of TOM's mind control. Typical mind control plot, right? Wrong! When Ava finally enters the cage, the player's vision cuts out entirely, to be replaced by an overhead camera view of Ava in the cage. TOM wasn't taking control over her - he was *losing* control over her. The player is not playing the game from the point of view of Ava, they're playing the game from the point of view of TOM, the malevolent AI, and have been mind controlling Ava for the entire game up to that point.

    Web Animation 
  • Done with Death Is Cheap in Mysterious Object Super Show. Usually in Object Shows like this, there would be a thing where a character can be "recovered" if they have been killed previously, whether or not it is through the power of another character (usually the host) or through special machines known as recovery centers. The contestants in MOSS originally had such a center through the Recovery Box, a crank-powered box-shaped machine that can revive the dead. However, said recovery center ends up getting crashed into by an unconscious Gray and becomes broken. Fortunately, the person in question has recovery powers to revive dead contestants.
  • A Running Gag in Petera Dzive is how anyone who drinks booze will pass out and wake up naked. Peter, the main character, wakes up naked and grabs a bottle of booze, only to wake up again fully clothed, surprised that he didn't end up naked as usual. He celebrates with drinks and wakes up naked again.

    Web Comics 
  • 8-Bit Theater Double Subverts Offscreen Moment of Awesome in the comic's final battle: Chaos is defeated just offscreen while the main characters argue. Then the story does a Flashback to the confrontation with Chaos... which cuts off just before the battle actually happens.
  • Homestuck is this. So subversive is Homestuck that it it is hard to even classify what format it's in. Think about that for a minute. Homestuck isn't so much a webcomic as it is its own unique format. It subverts its double-subversions, and then keeps on subverting until it comes all the way back around.
  • This [NSFW] My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fancomic.
    • These two as well, which were made shortly after "Hearts and Hooves Day". In the first part, OC Kidder, who has a crush on Twilight Sparkle, appears to be getting her to making the potion from that episode. Then in the second part, it turns out he was making a potion that is supposed to switch the bodies of two ponies, but the second subversion comes during the hints that Kidder lied in his dialog in the next panel, where Kidder says "That's weird. Says there are some different versions of the potion and I made the north-south one.". Applejack asks what that means, and he says "Something about opposites. Let's try it!", as he has a mischievous expression on his face. What happened after all this, though, is anyone's guess, as the storyline ended after that.
  • qxlkbh features this in 74: unexpected: La Croix owns a grove of trees with blood and not sap, and they mention that the "subversions almost make up for it"... then mention double subversion by name when pointing out how good of a cover story the trees are for that one time with a fanservice-obsessed cueball's corpse.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal Here's one example of a triple subversion.
  • Two Guys and Guy: Guy says her ex is crazy and obsessed with her though it looks obsessed with her because she left him with their child. But it turns out that he's just crazy enough to kidnap a child.
  • VG Cats: This strip has Leo chase a Pokemon in Pokémon GO and wander off to the big city where he meets a scary man in the alley. The man reveals he also loves Pokemon Go, only to mug Leo anyway.

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 
  • In the CollegeHumor "Wish I Had aPortal Gun", starting around 1:47: we're led to believe that the singer wants to use the titular device to suck his own dick, but he merely uses it to change pants without having to look down. Then:
    "And then I'd suck my own DIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICK!"''
  • In "Running with Scissors" (Exactly What It Says on the Tin), it looks like the guy's about to stab himself in the eye with scissors upon falling down. Then, he's safe because they merely fly out of his hands. Flying into and cutting a rope, which drops a piano on his head.
  • SiIvaGunner has done this a few times:
    • Normally, the channel is dedicated to posting comedic video game remixes under the guise that they're simply uploads of the original song (or, in their parlance, "high quality video game rips"). Then April Fools' Day rolls around, and they post the entire soundtrack to a Flintstones game without any alterations. Shortly thereafter came three unrelated video game songs that sounded like the Flintstones theme, but were unaltered (a switch from the channel's tendency to change video game music to incorporate the Flintstones theme.
    • Another Running Gag centered around "Grand Metropolis"; they uploaded six versions of the song ("Demo", "Alpha Mix", "Original Mix", "Alternate Mix", "Unused", and "Unused Demo") that were completely unaltered, then made a seventh that actually was.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time does this with the Magical Land trope. On one hand, Ooo has all the problems endemic to human societies (child neglect, insanity, crime), and the daily monster attacks don't help matters. The wise monarch is of questionable sanity, the magic causes problems just as much as it solves them, and the fantastic creatures are often jerks. On the other hand, it really isn't much worse than any modern society, and, well, it is a pretty amazing place.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball at first seems to parody The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday; the "Awesome Store" where Richard bought a pet turtle isn't there anymore because it's a van that drove away. Then that turtle turns out to be an indestructible force of evil, and the van returns in later episodes selling other mysterious items.
  • In American Dad!, Steve tells Stan that his English teacher hates him and that's why he has a failing grade. Stan says in a sinister tone that he'll "pay the teacher a little visit." Cut to Stan having a friendly chat with the teacher and his family, implying that he had come over for dinner and had a wonderful time with them all. He then walks to the door, starts to say his goodbyes, then says, "I almost forgot..." (pulls his gun and slams the teacher against a wall) "Why are you failing my son?!?"
    • Later in the same episode, Roger has this:
      Roger: You're going to go to jail, and they're going to take your cherry. Jell-O. Away. In the lunch line. After you're raped.
    • A second episode double subverts Training from Hell when Steve admits that he's scared to ask someone out:
      Stan: Steve, I'm going to motivate you the same way the CIA motivates its assassins. You know, when they have trouble asking out a girl. *clamps an electronic collar around Steve's neck* There. If you don't ask Debbie out in 24 hours, the collar will sense your stress levels and blow up.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • A first season episode double-subverts Possession Implies Mastery — Zhao notices the swords on the wall of Zuko's cabin and comments that he didn't know Zuko could do swordwork. Zuko contends that he can't; they're just decoration. It's later revealed that he can do swordwork, and damn well, too, but was lying in order to throw off Zhao's suspicions that he's the Blue Spirit.
    • The show later double-subverts a Heel–Face Turn. Zuko, after being set up for a turning face since the introduction of his character, fails to complete it in the final episode of the second season by helping his sister Azula capture Aang. Halfway through the third season, Zuko finally turns face by telling off his father and vowing to help the Avatar.
  • The Dragon Prince does this with Even Evil Has Loved Ones. Despite his rising maliciousness through the first three seasons, Viren occasionally shows that he truly loves his family. Several of the credits image show him having sweet casual moments with Claudia and Soren. Which makes it all the scarier when he tells Claudia that getting the dragon egg takes priority over Soren's life, and his behavior towards Claudia is similarly toxic (although he still balked at the way Aaravos called her an "asset"). Ultimately, his death and revival lead him to realize that his obsessions and use of dark magic have turned him into someone he doesn't like being and he willingly goes to his final death rather than risk hurting his children any more than he already has.
  • Family Guy:
    • The show is fond of double subversions in general, possibly because it's a sneaky way to get two jokes for the price of one, or a way to sneak a joke in an otherwise mundane transition. One example is in "A Hero Sits Next Door" with their double subversion of Eye Scream. Lois mentions that someone "lost an 'eye' (I) during Bingo". We see a Flash Back of a scene of the MC calling out an "I" number, then dropping it on the floor and losing it. Just when we think the gag is over, he bends over to look for it and slams his eye into the corner of the table.
    • The double subversion is lampshaded in another episode. A commercial from "hearing warehouse" enthusiastically promotes AIDS, with lots of innuendos leading the audience to believe they are very awkwardly promoting hearing aids - before they reveal that they really meant the HIV.
      Peter: Well, they were talking about AIDS.
    • A similar gag in another episode when Mayor West is dating Lois's sister. Since their relationship is getting serious, he feels it's only fair to warn her he has AIDS. Political aides, that is, who'll be accompanying him on all their dates. Poor things. They've both got AIDS.
    • When Peter is sent to prison, as he walks down the hall all the prisoners hoot and jeer obvious sexual innuendo at him, about how they can't wait "to get to know him" etc. Peter, obliviously, comments how "nice everyone is here." He then adds, "I mean, they'll be sad when they learn I'm not gay, but still!"
  • Futurama also enjoys this, even setting up its own jokes to subvert doubly.
    • One example involved the smelloscope, a telescope that allowed you to smell distant objects. After smelling Jupiter and Saturn, Fry said that he would be happy to smell more, as long as the professor didn't point it at Uranus. The other characters expressed confusion at his joke, and Professor Farnsworth noted that they renamed Uranus in order to end that stupid joke once and for all. The new name? Urectum.
    • In the episode "Mars University" the super intelligent monkey Guenter is hanging from a fraying rope and about to fall to his doom, but is considering letting himself fall because he has no place in either monkey or human society. He appears to change his mind, cheerfully saying "On the other hand-"... and that's when the rope breaks.
  • House of Mouse: Donald Duck has set up his computer. A viewer would tend to expect that the computer would take all day to start up. Just 15 seconds after he turns it on, however, the screen reads "Startup Done", just long enough for the viewer to think "Huh?" before the word "Almost" is added to the screen, and it ends up taking all day after all.
  • The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack double subverts the Lost Him in a Card Game trope. K'nuckles bet Flapjack in a card game, but wins and discovers that the person he was playing against also bet his kid sidekick.
  • Men in Black: The Series: In "The Star System Syndrome", something is doing in the alien actors of Hollywood. They believe it's the Space Demon, a washed-out actor who looks like the Alien, but he just wants to get another movie deal. It turns out to be the Astro Tots, the cute little hosts of a children's show. And then, it turns out the Astro Tots are exactly as harmless as they appear, and that rather than killing the missing victims, they were only using a teleportation device to imprison the other actors for setting a bad example.
  • In the first episode of Milo Murphy's Law, Zack starts to panic when he learns that he and Milo are in the middle of Coyote Woods. Milo quickly assures him that the woods were named after the actor, not the animal; Peter Coyote donated them to the city years ago... as a wolf preserve. Cue howling.
  • In The Owl House episode "Witches Before Wizards", Luz, eager to go on an adventure to prove that she's special, encounters a mystical wizard:
    Adegast: Hmm... I have a quest—
    Luz: [excited] A quest?!
    Adegast: You didn't let me finish. I have a question.
    Luz: Oh...
    Adegast: Would you like to go on a quest?
    Luz: YES!
  • Porky Pig double subverts the Precision F-Strike in this clip not meant for general audiences.
  • Regular Show: In the episode "Guys Night 2" the park workers and Thomas get involved in a car chase as they try to help him hide from the KGB. Rigby starts gasping as it looks like the car is approaching two construction workers carrying a giant pane of glass, but they drive past the workers and the camera cuts back to Rigby looking at a text from Eileen. The workers then dropped and broke the glass by accident as they were watching the chase.
  • Rick and Morty
    • During an episode where the main duo try to steal a giant's treasure and get arrested, the show double subverts a joke about Prison Rape:
      Rick: You know, if somebody drops the soap, it's going to land on our heads and crush our spines, Morty. You know, it'll be real easy to rape us after that.
    • The show's treatment of Remember the New Guy? falls into this territory. The season two episode Total Rickall Justifies it with the introduction of telepathic parasites who implant false memories of new people into the host's brains, causing scores of new characters to pop up only for the family to treat them as old friends. Eventually, Morty figures out how to tell the real memories from the fake ones, and he and his family wipe out the parasites. Unfortunately for poor Mr. Poopybutthole, he turned out to be a Double Subversion by playing the trope completely straight: he wasn't a parasite, but a new character whom the rest of the cast had apparently known for a long time but simply hadn't appeared before this episode.
  • The Simpsons, especially during its golden age in the 1990s, was a master at this trope. The writers often refer to jokes built on double subversion (as well as jokes built on simple subversion) as "screw the audience" jokes.
    • One example: Homer is trying to find Lisa in a crowd. Thinking a bird's-eye-view will help him, he buys a gigantic bunch of balloons from a vendor.... then he turns around and offers the balloons to a cherry picker operator. The cherry picker operator says he already has some balloons, but "they're not this nice," so he lets Homer use it.
  • In the South Park episode "Here Comes the Neighborhood" where many extremely rich black people were moving into South Park, Mr. Garrison exclaims that "their kind" are taking over the place. When one asks what he means, he states because they are "rich". Garrison then convinces the town's whites to engage in anti-rich people protests that obliviously resemble traditional racist tropes (ie; dressing up in white sheets and hoods on the grounds that these are spooky "ghost" costumes that will scare the rich folk away). However at the end, after all the rich people are successfully driven of Town, Mr. Garrison exclaims they can now sell the empty houses and become rich. When it is pointed out to him that doing so will make them the same as the people they just drove out, Mr. Garrison replies, "at least we got rid of those damn nig-(interrupted by credits)".
  • SpongeBob SquarePants has one episode where Spongebob tries to throw out an old krabby patty rather then sell it because it's gone bad. Mr. Krabs tries to prove that it's still edible by taking a bite. There's an Ambulance Cut just before he takes a bite, followed by him remarking, "Oh look, an ambulance." He then takes a bite, and is shown in hospital.
    • Plankton's Army also has a case of this at the beginning, when a robot walks into the Krusty Krab, clearly one of Plankton's creations, right after Mr. Krabs finished discussing how that day was the 25th anniversary of the first time Plankton ever tried to steal the secret formula... and orders a bag of chili coral bits. A surprised Mr. Krabs offers it a Krabby Patty, is turned down, which leads to Mr. Krabs giving him the coral bits and the robot leaves (after melting the doors with Heat Vision). Ten seconds afterwards, Plankton jumps out of the dollar bill the robot used to pay for it.
  • The first two seasons of Total Drama (Island and Action) did the same thing in the last two episodes. The final three contestants are The Big Bad of the season (Heather in Island, Courtney in Action), the person who's conflict with said Big Bad has been built up for most of the season (Gwen in Island, Duncan in Action), and a third character who by some miracle made it that far just because no one saw them as a threat and they never did anything offensive enough to warrant elimination (Owen in Island, Beth in Action). People would go in to these episodes fully expecting The Load to be eliminated so The Hero and the Big Bad could have their Final Battle in the season finale, only for said Big Bad to abruptly be defeated an episode before the finale so the season could end with a Dark Horse Victory. By season 3 (World Tour) it seemed like they were ready to pull this again as geeky Butt-Monkey Cody was seconds away from beating Magnificent Basterd Alejandro to the final round, only for it to end in a draw and Alejandro being declared the winner in the next episode becoming the first Big Bad to make it to the final round. Of course at that point Heather was probably the last person anyone was expecting to get a win so it probably still counts as a Darkhorse Victory.

    Real Life 
  • The Henley On Todd Regatta in Alice Springs, Australia, is a tongue-in-cheek subversion of conventional river regattas in which the "rowers" must carry their boats along the dried-up riverbed. Nature sometimes sabotages the event by inconsiderately filling the river with water, subverting the intended subversion and forcing the event to be called off.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Double Subverted Trope, Double Subverted, Doubly Subverted, Subverted Subversion


Deathwing Reveal Trailer

Various heroes are running in terror or being blasted away by something off screen... which is revealed to be Brightwing dressed as Deathwing. And then she gets stomped on by the actual Deathwing.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / DoubleSubversion

Media sources: