Follow TV Tropes


False Reassurance

Go To
"Don't worry — I'm on your side. A violent death is the last thing that'll happen to you."

If you can't or won't lie, it can be hard to keep your secrets. But fear not, because there are ways to pull the wool over another's eyes without speaking a single untruth.

Sometimes, you can tell the truth but no one will believe you because the truth is simply too weird. Other times, you can tell the truth in a tone of voice which makes everyone assume you meant the opposite. And if you are careful with your phrasing, you can pull off the highest verbal coup of all: to tell the truth, clearly and plainly, and still make everyone assume you meant something else. If others accuse you of being dishonest, you can stand behind the bulwark of your completely truthful Exact Words. Maybe they should pay more attention next time — if there is a next time...

A character who is told they'll get "what's coming to you" or "your just deserts" is almost always on the receiving end of this trope. At this point, in fact, such lines feature almost exclusively in comedies, since it's just too implausible that characters in a serious drama (i.e. responding to dangerous situations with appropriate caution) wouldn't recognize the threatening subtext behind such phrasing.


Needless to say, a villain who prides himself on his honesty considers this good form ("Alice can't come to the phone right now. She's all tied up at the moment"), but it's not strictly a villainous trope. Heroic characters can give False Reassurance, too; particularly when they have a secret to keep, but can't or won't lie to their loved ones' faces. For example, Clark Kent might tell Lois Lane, "Don't worry. Clark Kent won't be seen outside this tropical resort," which does not bar Superman from going to investigate the mysterious temple.

The key trope to many a Deal with the Devil. Subtrope to Double Meaning. Compare Prophecy Twist, No Man of Woman Born (where a prophecy of triumph or doom gives False Reassurance to its target because it seems like it can never come true), Metaphorically True, Exact Words, Stealth Insult, and You Said You Would Let Them Go. See also New Era Speech and Worrying for the Wrong Reason. The Self-Poisoning Gambit often relies on this. Contrast Suspiciously Specific Denial, Assurance Backfire, and Empty Promise.



    open/close all folders 

  • A series of anti-teen pregnancy ads feature photographs of a handsome young man and a series of overlaid text directed at the viewer/reader, stating all the romantic things he'll do for her. The only thing he says he won't do is help her take care of their baby if she gets pregnant.
    Young man: I would do anything for you. Anything. Seriously. You know I love you, and that’s how deep my love goes. I would do anything. Seriously, anything. I love you more than anything. You know it. Unless you get pregnant. Then all bets are off. I won’t go to doctor appointments with you or go to those stupid Lamaze classes because I need to play some basketball with my buddies that night. Oh yeah, and when that baby is screaming, I’ll be at my own home, all cozy in my bed in the peace and quiet. And I ain’t touching a diaper. That makes me want to puke. And I ain’t pushing no stroller around the mall, that’s embarrassing. In other words, you’re on your own. Other than that, I’ll do anything for you, baby. Anything. Seriously. Anything.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Used for good in an episode of the 1980s Astro Boy series. In order to avoid putting more stress on a young blind girl, Astro impersonates the destroyed robot True and states "I'm fine! I need to go rescue more people now!" This is all technically true — since robots can't normally lie — but it's not coming from the person she thinks it is. Even better, True spent most of the episode reprogrammed so that he could only lie, rather than only being able to tell the truth.
  • If Piccolo of Dragon Ball says something to the tune of 'Sorry to keep you waiting', it means that he has finished charging his Special Beam Cannon, and he is most assuredly not sorry for what's about to follow.
  • Kirei Kotomine has many instances where he utilises this trope, but the most memorable ones are:
    • In Fate/Zero, Kirei promises to Kariya Matou that if he goes to Kotomine Church at midnight, Kariya will find his archenemy Tokiomi Tohsaka. Unfortunately for Kariya, Kirei didn't mention that he will find Tokiomi's cold corpse, and the distraught Aoi would arrive right after him and naturally believe that Kariya killed her husband. It only goes downhill from there…
    • In Fate/stay night, Shirou informs Kirei about the mysterious Eighth Servant that is an irregularity in the Holy Grail War. Kirei promises to investigate it. What he really means is "I'll ask Gilgamesh why he didn’t stick to the plan and stay hidden until the final phase of the Grail War.".
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Sociopathic Soldier Kimblee was under orders to kill Winry's parents because they treated patients on the enemy side, but they were killed by Scar shortly before Kimblee and co. could get there. When he meets Winry years later, he puts on a charming front, informing her that his squad found their bodies after arriving "a moment too late" (though he's not lying at all when he says that he respected her parents for their dedication to their work).
    • Another instance with Pride/Selim Bradley where he tells to Mrs. Bradley that he wants to learn alchemy to help out his father. This is literally true, although he meant a different Father than his listener thought he did.
  • In Hellsing's English dub, Rip van Winkle tells the captain who turned over his ship to Millennium in exchange for vampirism: "Don't worry, you definitely deserve everything that's coming to you."
  • The first episode of Monster has Kenzo Tenma severely rattled by a widow desperately asking why he hadn't operated on her husband, leading to this exchange over dinner with his fiancée.
    Tenma: But what does she want from me, anyway? I was just following orders from the Director when I performed surgery on that opera singer. I'm not responsible. [to Eva] Well am I?
    Eva: Well of course not! After all, peoples' lives aren't created equal.
  • In One Piece, Arlong assures Nami that once she pays him the amount agreed on previously, he would give up control over her village as promised, and further assures her that he is a man who always keeps his word. He had already made arrangements to ensure Nami won't be able to make the payment by having a Marine officer confiscate the money that Nami had collected over the past several years.
  • Although the intent is fairly benevolent, Nozomu gives one to Kiri in an early episode of Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei. He tells her, "If you ever feel like you want to die, let me know first." She seems to interpret this to mean "Don't feel depressed, I'm here for you", but immediately after, we see Nozomu's actual meaning — because he likes Kiri, he adds her to his list of potential partners for a Suicide Pact.
  • In Episode 2 of Servant × Service, as Yamagami noticed Hasebe is pointing his smartphone lens towards her as she tripped, she asked him not to take a picture... he asked her not to worry as he's taking a video.
  • Xelloss from Slayers does this very well. Notable instances include his assurances that "I absolutely will not use the Claire Bible manuscript for evil purposes", "Lord Hellmaster didn't tell me his plan", and (novel only) "His heart isn't beating". All technically true, and yet entirely misleading: he planned to destroy, not use, the Claire Bible manuscript; Hellmaster didn't tell him The Plan, but he figured it out on his own; and the "he" in question is perfectly fine, as it is really a disguised Mazoku who only has a heart when it wants to.
  • In an episode of Speed Grapher, Tatsumi poses as a substitute for Kagura's teacher, Ms. Wakaba. When someone asks what happened to her, Tatsumi assures them she got "A bit tied up", whereupon the scene cuts to Ms. Wakaba Bound and Gagged inside a locker.

    Comic Books 
  • In All Fall Down, AIQ Squared promises his creator, IQ Squared, that "Nothing *on Earth* is unlawful about what's taking place."
  • In The Ballad of Halo Jones, she enlists in an army that assures new recruits that most soldiers never see combat. Later, when she's jumping with a parachute from a plane into the battlefield, she's told that if she's lucky, she will be one of the few whose parachute works.
  • In one of the later issues of The Boys, an argument between the main characters ends when one of them genially informs the others that there's no hard feelings and no real disagreement because "I killed the last bloke I disagreed with." Everyone laughs it off — except what the character in question doesn't reveal is that he actually did kill that person the previous night.
  • In Jack Chick's "The Contract," the titular Deal with the Devil on paper serves as a passive version of this for people who don't sign any diabolical contracts. Think a devil like Beelzebub Fox can't drag you to Hell just because you didn't sign any contracts with him? Hey, he never said he needed a contract to get your soul; you made that inference all by yourself, sucker!
  • In Doom Patrol, the Candlemaker promises Dorothy that it will revive Josh (who had just been killed by The Chief), if in exchange she will let it enter the physical world. Dorothy agrees and the Candlemaker does bring Josh back to life as promised, but it kills him immediately afterwards.
  • In Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl, Supergirl has just discovered Lex Luthor's dirty secrets and asks whether he's planning to kill her. Luthor replies he will not kill her... because The Joker will do so.
    Supergirl: So what are you going to do now that I know? Kill me?
    Luthor: Oh, no — I'd never do that... [The Joker] will.
  • In H'el on Earth, When Supergirl asks H'el if resurrecting Krypton will do anything to Earth, he assures her that the people of Earth won't suffer. That's because they'll all be dead after the Sun implodes if H'el's plan succeeds.
  • Mortadelo y Filemón: In "El circo", Mortadelo has to take the place of the lion tamer in the circus. He wonders how many tamers the lion has sent to the hospital, but he is told it hasn't sent any... because it has eaten the 14 previous right in its jail.
  • Scooby-Doo! Team-Up: The Atom delivers one to Shaggy after shrinking himself and the gang.
    Shaggy: (gulps) Like, we don't have to be this size for long, do we?
    Atom: Not long at all. We're going to shrink down much smaller!

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • In The Bridge, Godzilla Junior has to assure his crying student, Chibi Moon, that he can handle Grand King Ghidorah alone no problem and needs her to get the others to safety; knowing full well Ghidorah is too strong for him to fight on his own. He's just trying to spare her the possibility of seeing him getting killed and try to help.
  • In Changeling, Twilight discovers that almost every pony is a changeling (to the point that Earth Ponies and Pegasi have actually been extinct for centuries, and there are only five unicorns left, and the only adult ones are Celestia and Luna). Except Pinkie Pie. She's at least fifteen different changelings.
  • The Child of Love: In the omake of chapter 7, the author thinks Asuka is going to hit him. However, Asuka reassures him that she will not slap him. Axel calms down... and Asuka proceeds to kick his groin.
  • In Code Geass: The Prepared Rebellion, Lelouch does this to Clovis twice in a row. First, he says he believes his big brother when he says he's innocent in his mother's death... but he's still guilty of serious war crimes. Then he says that he won't kill him... because C.C., being the wronged party, is the one who deserves to deal justice.
  • From Death Note: The Abridged Series (kpts4tv):
    Light: So basically, you're going to stalk me for the rest of my life.
    Ryuk: Don't worry, it's not that long.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged:
    • The movie TFS Movie: Lord Slug Abridged, has Popo telling Kami that he doesn't torture cats. Given what Mr. Popo is in the DBZ Abridged setting, that isn't much reassurance for anything else.
    • In the series proper, finding himself outmatched against Freeza, Vegeta asks Krillin to "almost kill him" (since Saiyans become stronger every time they're beaten to near-death). Krillin is confused as hell and asks if there are "no repercussions for that". Vegeta replies that he "will not punch [him]". Krillin notes that as "oddly specific".
  • In The Games We Play, when they reunite after a long time, Blake asks Jaune if he's still working for the White Fang. He tells her no... because he's Bavarian Fire Drilled his way into becoming the de facto leader.
    "I don't work for the White Fang anymore, if that's what you're asking," I said, which was true. Nowadays, it was more like they were working for me.
  • This is played for tragedy twice in the Gensokyo 20XX series. The first time, in 20XXIV, with Sakuya and Yuuka, as the latter decides it would be better to let the former die thinking that nonexistent emergency services were coming. The second time, in 20XXV, apparently, as it was mentioned that Ren told Reimu things would be alright and that he wouldn't die, which occurred before he passed away.
  • In this Harry Potter fic, Professor McGonagall refusing to believe Harry's Cassandra Truths leads to him being seriously hurt and her getting furiously called out. When she asks for his forgiveness and claims he can come to her with anything, Harry replies that she won't have to worry about him coming to her unforgiven, as she'll be the last person he approaches for help, if he bothers with her at all.
  • The Karma of Lies:
    • After Adrien helps her out, Lila sincerely thanks him, declaring that "I feel like you've given me a second chance." He thinks that she's referring to how he 'took the high road' with her, unaware that she's actually setting him up as her Unwitting Pawn, as well as how he entered the passwords to the Agreste emergency fund account right in front of her, giving her a chance to screw him over even harder than she originally intended.
    • When Lila transfers a large sum of stolen money into eurobonds, the teller cautions that she needs to be careful with handling them. Lila replies "I'll be sure to watch out for thieves."
    • Audrey tells Adrien that "As long as you're in my care, I will treat you as if you were my own child." Being well aware of how she neglects Chloe, Adrien can only shudder in response.
  • In The Night Unfurls, Vault gives one to his former comrade Maia after declaring his intention of a Sex Empire. He tells her, "Don't worry, you'll enjoy it. You won't have to worry about starving or any more wars."
  • In the Good Omens fic Pray for Us, Icarus, Aziraphale reassures Crowley that he'll stay with him "until the end of the world" which sounds like a sweet, romantic declaration... unless you're an angel who knows that Heaven and Hell are planning to bring about Armageddon on Earth in eleven years and you don't have the heart to tell your former demon friend/lover who's been turned into a human with no memories of the divine or occult that your and his days are numbered.
  • Ruby Pair:
    • When Tenn expresses disbelief that GIR will be able to get her and Zim out of a Cyberflox jail cell in "Meeting of Ruby Eyes", Zim scoffs that GIR is "perfectly reliable at least 75 percent of the time". Naturally, this does nothing to make Tenn feel better.
    • In "Beefus Megabombus", when Tak's Ship is hooking itself into Skoodge's PAK, it tells him that the process will "only hurt a lot". He barely has a chance to question this statement before he's screaming in pain.
  • In Superman story Superman of 2499: The Great Confrontation, Adam assures his brother he's no threat to him. Unflappably, Alan asks who he's threatening, then.
  • In Death Note AU Those Who Stand for Nothing Fall for Anything: After Takada learned that her father had an affair while her mother was pregnant she becomes worried that her husband, Light, might do the same to her. Light assures her "you're my affair." He's been seeing L for years before he even met her.
  • In Under the Big Top, after Sam confronts Castiel about how his breakup with Dean is affecting the rest of the troupe, Castiel assures him that "After tonight, everything will be better." Castiel plans on committing suicide that night.
  • In X-Men: The Early Years, Beast assures the Professor that he, Angel and Iceman won't start anything with a pervert boy who previously harassed Jean. Xavier notes they didn't agree to stay away from that boy and gets worried.
    Xavier: Have fun. No trouble, and stay away from Will Anderson. Is that understood?
    Hank: (matter-of-factly) You need not worry, sir. If there is any trouble. I can guarantee that one of us will not be the first to start it. You have my word.
    Xavier: (narrowing his eyes) You know, if Scott were with you, how you phrased that would worry me.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, mobster Salvatore Valestra is desperate enough to ask the Joker for help when someone's killing his associates. The Joker's response: "Certemonte! No way is anybody going to hurt my pal Sal! That's what I like to see, a nice big smile!" And of course, Mr. J ensures the killer doesn't have a chance to hurt Sal, and Sal stays smiling, in his own unique fashion.
  • In The Book of Life, while yelling panicked instructions to Manolo, Luis reassures Carmen that everything is fine, who is holding him the entire time.
  • In Frozen, right before the song "Love is an Open Door", Anna tells Hans about how Elsa shut her out, and Hans assures her that he would never do so. Towards the end of the movie, he does the exact opposite— he shuts her in.
  • In Ice Age: The Meltdown, the mysterious Lone Gunslinger vulture confirms that the oncoming flood is true and explains to all the animals that in order to escape it, they have to reach a huge boat at the end of the valley, all in less than three days. He ends his warning with...
    Lone Gunslinger: There is some good news, though. The more of you die, the better I eat.
    Crowd: gasp!
    Lone Gunslinger: I didn't say it was good news for you. [flies off]
    Sid: Boy, he must've been a real pleasure to have in class.
  • In The Lion King, Scar prepares to trap Simba and Mufasa in a stampede, telling Simba that there's "a surprise" for him. When Simba asks about it, Scar's answer provides the title for the scene's track.
    Simba: Hey, Uncle Scar, will I like this surprise?
    Scar: Simba, it's to die for...
  • Captain Hook does this in both Disney Peter Pan movies. In the first, he promises Tinker Bell, "I give my word not to lay a finger — or a hook — on Peter Pan," so he tries to assassinate him with a bomb, which he explains when Smee asks why he doesn't just slit his throat. In the second, he promises Jane he won't harm a hair on Peter's head, so he plucks one hair from his head when he captures him, and he definitely won't harm that specific hair while he harms the rest of Peter.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls Movie, when Mojo Jojo uses exact words to hide the fact that he's betraying them to rule the world.
    Blossom: Do you think they'll be surprised?
    Jojo: Oh yeah.
    Buttercup: You think they'll still be mad at us for playing tag?
    Jojo: No, they'll have forgotten all about that.
    Bubbles: Will they love us?
    Jojo: (pausing) Yes.
    Bubbles: This isn't making the town a better place!
    Mojo: Yes, it is — for me!
  • In The Princess and the Frog, Tiana's mom shows up at the restaurant as Tiana looks at it, and Tiana's excitement is decidedly not infectious.
    Tiana: Doesn't it just make you want to cry?
    Eudora: (Beat) Yes...
  • The Rescuers Down Under: The mouse doctor on the prospects of his patient: "Now now, my dear. Keep a stiff upper lip. They all come in with a whimper, and leave with a grin." Think about it a minute.
  • Scooby-Doo! Frankencreepy: According to an old ad for Creeps and Crawls' law firm, the two lawyers would handle their clients' estates as their own. In their previous appearance, they tried to cheat Colonel Beauregard's beneficiaries out of his estate.
  • In Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Miles' Spider-Man tells Miles to run and hide and that he will join Miles in a moment. However, his tone of voice makes it clear he knows he is too badly injured from the explosion from the super-collider and Fisk's men are coming closer to them. He only said that to not worry Miles.
  • In Toy Story, Buzz gives one to Woody in the van:
    Buzz: I just wanted to let you know that even though you tried to terminate me, revenge is not an idea we promote on our planet.
    Woody: Oh, well, that's good.
    Buzz: But we're not on my planet, are we?
    Woody: Uh... no?
    [Buzz tackles Woody]

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Ant-Man, Darren Cross invites his assistant Hope out to a celebratory dinner prior to a major business triumph. She toasts him with "You're a success story, Darren. You deserve everything coming to you." What he doesn't know is that she's in league with her father, Hank Pym, to ruin him and destroy his research.
  • In Bad Reputation, the avenging heroine tells the Big Bad who she's pretending to seduce is that "it's just you and me", apparently referring to how the previous time around the villain had his fellow rapist jocks and Alpha Bitch girlfriend plus Girl Posse. In truth, she's already killed the rest of them.
  • Batman (1989): The Joker grabs henchman Bob by his shoulders and promises him: "You... are my number-one... guy." [i.e., "You're irreplaceable"]. And that's true. But what Bob doesn't know is that their old boss, Carl Grissom, had said the same words — and in the exact same rhythm, too — to Jack Napier (the man who became the Joker) just before setting him up to be nearly assassinated. It's clearly Foreshadowing that the Joker will scheme to have Bob eliminated the same way Boss Grissom had tried to have him eliminated... until the subversion toward the end, where the Joker does execute Bob, but merely in a fit of anger when Batman foils his big murder plot.
  • The Penguin does this in Batman Returns when he uses a swarm of bats to force the Ice Princess off the edge of a building, resulting in her death:
    Catwoman: You said you were just going to scare the Ice Princess.
    The Penguin: She looked pretty scared to me!
  • Battlefield Earth:
    • Terl is informed that he will serve another tour of service as Chief of Security on Earth. Terl protests because he sees this as an inferior assignment and mentions his performance and achievements...
      Zete: Home office is well aware of your academic achievements and obvious talents. That's why we decided not to keep you here for another five cycles.
      Terl: It's a joke, oh thank you Sir. I don't know if I could have kept my sanity being here another five cycles...
    • Later on, Terl himself pulls this on Jonnie by promising that he won't kill Jonnie's friend, if Jonnie promises to never ask Terl for anything ever again. Terl then has his Number Two Ker do the dirty deed. Strangely, at the end, Jonnie doesn't appear to hold any ill will against Ker.
  • Berlin Syndrome: Andi spends awhile telling Clare that she can leave eventually and her family knows where she is. He's lying.
  • In Blade II, Blade kills a whole building full of vampires trying to find Whistler. He tells the one survivor, "Tell me where he is and I'll consider you a loose end." The survivor tells him and Blade lets him go. At the very end of the movie, Blade tracks him to a porno theater and says, "You didn't think I forgot about you?" before killing him. (After all, what do you do to loose ends?)
  • Come Play: A promise of never being alone with a new friend might sound sweet, if it weren't talking about a long-limbed monster that quite literally won't leave you alone.
  • In Conspiracy (2001), about the Wannsee Conference of Nazi Germany in 1942, State Secretary Kritzinger believes that the 'Final Solution to the Jewish Problem' has already been settled by his department and frequently asks why the meeting has been called. When it becomes clear that the "evacuation" of the Jews in Germany involves their complete annihilation, he is outraged because "that possibility has been personally denied to me by the Fuhrer." The response from Reinhardt Heydrich, the chairman of the meeting, is to simply reply "and it will continue to be." Kritzinger finally realizes that Hitler's "denial" of that possibility is literal.
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy:
    • In The Dark Knight, Harvey Dent holds a gun to Marconi and demands information. When Marconi asks if Dent will let him go if he does, Dent responds "It can't hurt your chances." Unfortunately, Marconi didn't consider the fact that answering the questions wouldn't help his chances of survival, either.
    • The Dark Knight Rises does this too:
      Bane: Calm down, Doctor! Now's not the time for fear. (Beat) That comes later.
  • False Reassurance in Restraining Bolt form: In Demolition Man, Raymond Cocteau has Simon Phoenix programmed as a killing machine... but also unable to kill Cocteau. What he forgot to do was do the same to all the old cryo-cons Phoenix freed...
    Simon Phoenix: Will someone kill him, please? He's pissing me off.
  • "I never drink... wine", from the 1931 film version of Dracula. Dracula doesn't point out to the poor sap offering him a glass of wine what he does drink. You can quote this line to the bartender in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines.
  • Everything Will Be Okay: Divorced dad Michael picks up his little girl Lea for the typical weekend non-custodial visit—only he is planning to use this weekend to kidnap his daughter and steal away to the Philippines. The first use of the Title Drop comes when Michael and Lea have arrived at the airport and she's twigged to what's going on. The second use of it comes from Lea's mom in the last line of the movie, when the cops have arrived and arrested her father. Both times, it is plainly not true.
  • At the start of the movie Fallen, we hear Denzel Washington's character John Hobbes narrating that he's going to tell us about the time he almost died. During the course of the movie, Hobbes matches wits with the demon Azazel, who destroys Hobbes' life piece by piece, and worst of all, Hobbes is Fighting a Shadow because Azazel simply possesses people and jumps from one to another at will. Still, Denzel the narrator said at the start that he almost died, so when he comes up with a plan to actually take down Azazel, it has to work and he has to survive, right? Nope. The narrator at the start of the movie was actually Azazel, who managed to possess the body of Hobbes himself and then just barely escaped the trap that was meant to kill Azazel.
  • The hero of Final Justice is released from a Maltese prison on his oath as an American police officer not to interfere with a Maltese case. He starts interfering again as soon as he's out the door, explaining that he's actually a Texas lawman.
  • In Ghost Rider, Johnny makes a Deal with the Devil so his father doesn't die of cancer. That doesn't stop him from dying right after in an accident.
  • From G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra: "This will only hurt a little. What comes next... more so."
  • An unintentional example occurs in The Godfather; during a meeting between the bosses of the Five Families, Don Vito Corleone swears upon the souls of his grandchildren that "I will not be the one to break the peace that we have made here today." When Vito dies and Michael takes over, all bets are off.
  • In The Heiress, the unwitting and naive Catherine is happy when her savvy father assures her that he will treat her new lover with due respect.
    Dr. Sloper: I shall be as fair and honest with him as he is with you.
    Catherine: Thank you, father, that is all we shall need.
  • Claudia from Interview with the Vampire, presenting Lestat with two victims, says "I promise I'll take care of the bodies!" Yes, theirs and Lestat's, once she cuts his throat — she's using the laudanum she already dosed them with to weaken Lestat.
  • Used in Nanny McPhee, when the nanny knows that the children are faking illness to get out of getting up early, but plays along anyway. The father tells her that when caring for them to give them lots of sweets and whatever they wanted. She assures him that she'll give them "precisely what they need". She then goes and has the cook serve them soup with potato peelings and a turkey neck and gives them a disgusting medicine. Needless to say, they get better very quickly.
  • Nightcrawler ends with Lou talking to his new interns at Video Production News, telling them they're not doing anything wrong. As he puts it, "I won't ask you to do anything I wouldn't do." However, the film begins with Lou mugging a guard for a watch, and his actions become sociopathic as the movie continues, including extorting his boss for sex, cutting his rival's brake lines and turning the crash into a story, and ultimately getting his partner killed by a criminal just because he asked for a raise.
  • In None Shall Escape, Karl tells Wilhelm that he's leaving for Vienna and threatens to reveal Wilhelm's role in the Reichstag fire and the "Schleicher murder" (i.e. the Night of the Long Knives) unless he leaves the Nazi Party, leading to the following exchange:
    Wilhelm: You leave me no choice.
    Karl: Then you will come?
    [Wilhelm nods]
    Karl: In Vienna we can be free to start some kind of a new life. And whatever little money that I've been able to save, I will share it with you.
    Wilhelm: When do you leave?
    Karl: Tomorrow morning.
    Wilhelm: Expect me tonight.
Wilhelm does indeed show up at Karl's home that night. He brings other members of the Nazi Party, and Karl is arrested and deported to a concentration camp.
  • In Once Upon a Time in the West:
    Morton: Tell me, was it necessary that you kill all of them? I only told you to scare them.
    Frank: People scare better when they're dying.
  • Played for laughs in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, where Marc-Ange wants Bond to marry his rebellious daughter Tracy because he thinks she needs a strong man to tame her. At their wedding he reminds her to "obey her husband in all things", and she promises she will, as she always obeyed him - in other words, when she wanted to do it anyway. He picks up on her meaning, and wishes Bond luck.
  • In the opening of Outbreak, US Army doctors McClintock and Ford arrive at a mercenary camp in Africa to take a look at a strange new virus. Upon seeing the horrific effects of the disease, McClintock tells the head doctor that he'll arrange for an airdrop of penicillin and plasma. He also tells one of the mercenaries that he'll be brought home and will see his girl again. A few hours later, a plane does come by and drop a large container... it's just that the container is actually a fuel-air bomb which vaporizes the camp.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
    • Captain Barbossa does this repeatedly in the first film. He promises Elizabeth that he will leave Port Royal if she turns over the medallion. She does, and he promptly leaves with her on board the Pearl because she never bargained to be returned to shore. Later on, he promised that he would release Elizabeth if Will took her place as his prisoner. He then makes Elizabeth walk the plank because Will never specified when or where she would be released. Just about any time a pirate agrees to adhere by "The Code", it's a false reassurance since it only applies among pirates, and it's more "guidelines" than actual rules.
      • A similar scenario plays out in the Kingdom Hearts adaptation of the film. Will asks Barbossa to let Sora, Donald, Goofy, and Elizabeth go and to leave their ship. Barbossa ties the party up in the hold while a group of Heartless stays behind to detonate the ship with gunpowder barrels, because Will only demanded that the pirates leave.
    • Even Davey Jones gets in on it in the second film, after Will wins a game of chance (or rather, someone else intentionally loses) that gets him out of his debt. "Congratulations, Mister Turner, you're free to leave. The very next time we come in to port!" Cue group Evil Laugh — for Jones, and therefore the Flying Dutchman, can only make port once every decade. Then again, he promptly breaks his word, when Will tries to swim for it at night and is picked up by a passing ship. Sure, Will is free to leave... until the Kraken comes for him.
  • Planet of the Apes (1968): Zaius says that if there's any evidence of human civilization in the cave, then he'll acquit Cornelius and Zira. When he finds such evidence, he proceeds to completely ignore or dismiss it.
  • In Quigley Down Under, sharpshooter Quigley informs the Big Bad (a potential employer at that point) that he doesn't have much use for pistols. Doesn't mean he can't use one, mind you. This same Bad Boss had pulled a similar stunt when he enticed Quigley to come to his ranch to scare off some "wild animals" — failing to mention that the "animals" are the native Aboriginal tribesmen.
  • Resident Evil: The Final Chapter: After exposing and incapacitating The Mole, Alice states that she isn't going to kill them... then steps aside to reveal a pissed off Claire, who does the job instead.
  • From Robin Hood: Men in Tights:
    Maid Marian: Robin, promise you won't go.
    Robin Hood: All right, I promise you won't go.
    Maid Marian: Thank you.
    Ahchoo: But wait a minute, Robin, didn't you just...
    Robin Hood: Cool it...
    Ahchoo: Chilled.
  • RoboCop 2, when Cain slices a guy open:
    Angie: You said you were just gonna scare him!
    Cain: Doesn't he look scared?
  • Safety Patrol: When Scout's teachers tell Principal Tromp that his least favorite student, Scout Bozell, deserves to be on the safety patrol and that the rules say that they have to give him a turn, Tromp smiles and agrees that Scout does deserve to be on the safety patrol as long as he's a student at their school. He then proceeds to transfer Scout to a different school.
  • In Sex and Death 101, Roderick (who has a list that accurately predicts every person he'll ever have sex with) is in a club with his friend Trixie when they spot Bambi Kidd and Thumper Wint, a celebrity Lipstick Lesbian power-couple. He takes a quick look at his list and finds that they're both on it.
    Trixie: Don't tell me one of em's on that fucking list. That list of fucking—
    Roderick: No, one of them is not on the list.
  • In Sinister, true-crime writer Ellison Oswalt reassures his wife that they did not move into a house "down the street" from a notorious crime scene.
  • In Sneakers, the hero, Martin, is captured by the villain, who is revealed to be his once-upon-a-time best friend Cosmo:
    Cosmo: I cannot kill my friend. (Turns to shotgun-carrying minion.) Kill my friend.
  • In Stardust, a witch promises Tristan that she'll deliver him to Wall "in the exact same condition you're in now," and that she'll give him food and lodging along the way. When he accepts, she turns him into a mouse, putting him into a cage with cheese (food and lodging), and turns him back when she gets to the town.
  • In Starship Troopers, the military recruitment officer who turns war wounds into Black Comedy:
    Officer: What about you, son?
    Rico: Infantry, sir.
    Officer: Good for you! [offers a prosthetic hand to shake Rico's] Mobile Infantry made me the man I am today! [wheels his chair back to reveal both his legs are missing at the knee]
    • It should be noted however that in the book this scene plays out, and then the recruitment officer goes on a break and puts on prosthetics that allow him to walk perfectly; he explains that his disability is deliberately played up to let potential recruits know exactly what they might be getting into and scare off the squeamish ones.
  • Star Wars:
    • Emperor Palpatine pulls one of these in Revenge of the Sith: "I am sending you my apprentice, Darth Vader. He will... take care of you."
    • In The Empire Strikes Back, Lando Calrissian tells Han Solo and Princess Leia "I've just made a deal that'll keep the Empire out of [Cloud City] forever.". Unfortunately, Han and Leia discover mere seconds later that deal entails surrendering them to Darth Vader, who surrenders Han to the bounty hunter Boba Fett.
  • In Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, the titular barber promises the "closest shave you will ever know." Then he slits their throats.
  • In the 1960s version of That Darn Cat!, Patti promises she won't go to the police. So she goes to the FBI instead.
  • Thor: Ragnarok: In his Establishing Character Moment, the Grandmaster reassures a captured criminal that he’s being pardoned. He then clarifies that the criminal is being pardoned from life, and melts the poor guy into a puddle of steaming goo.
  • The Wishmaster films, being the classic "Monkey's Paw" style stories, do this continuously.
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Wolverine nearly throttles Colonel Stryker when he thinks he's lying. Styker swears that he's telling the truth "on the life of my son!" Of course, as we saw in X2, Stryker doesn't value his son's life very highly.

  • The classic joke: An old man on his deathbed is surrounded by his family: His wife of many years, and his three sons, two of which are strong, handsome men, the third is somewhat scrawny. As the man is breathing his last, he asks the sons to leave the room so he can talk privately to his wife. "My dear," he says, "I do not wish to pass from this world with any doubt, please tell me, for this has vexed me for many years, my third son, so unlike the other two, is he really mine? Do not lie to me as I lay dying!" The wife takes a deep breath. "I swear to you, he is truly yours." And, with that, the man dies satisfied. The wife breathes a sigh of relief. "Thank God he didn't ask about the other two!"
  • Another classic: A prince spots a humble peasant toiling in the fields and notices a startling resemblance between them.
    "Say, did your mother ever work at the palace?"
    "No, but my father did."
  • A woman stands by her very wealthy husband at his deathbed. In front of the entire family, he makes his last request; "I would like to be buried with my money." After a few moments of internal struggle, the woman nods and promises she'll bury her husband with his wealth. A few days go by as the funeral preparations are done, and the whole town is abuzz, wondering whether or not she'll actually give up the fortune on a dying old man's whim. At the funeral, all watch as the wife goes up and places a small envelope in her husband's coffin. When asked about it later, she tells the townsfolk "I gave him my word that I'd give him his money. A good wife always follows her word. I wrote him a check."

  • Used often in the Discworld novels:
    • In Going Postal, Reacher Gilt asks his butler (an Igor) "Do you think I'm insane, Igor?" Igor, like the rest of his clan, lives by a code that requires them to be honest to their masters, but also never to insult them. After some thought, he replies "I wouldn't find mythelf able to thay that, marthter." Igor, like all of his clan, lisps, so he's taking "refuge in strict linguistic honesty".
    • "You have only to walk through that door and you will never hear from me again", the offer Vetinari gives both Reacher at the end of the book and Moist at the beginning. The door leads to a pit with spikes at the bottom, which if you leap into it you'll never hear from anyone again, except possibly the Department of Post-Mortem Communications.
    • A troll retrophrenologist tells a client, "This won't hurt a bit." Phrenology, As You Know, is the "science" of measuring bumps on a person's head and using them to determine their personality traits. Retrophrenology works backwards, applying bumps to alter the patient's personality. It is known this doesn't work, but it provides employment and keeps money in circulation, so it all works out in the end. And for those who don't get the joke: no, it will not hurt "a bit". It will hurt a lot.
    • In Interesting Times, The Mole has failed his last mission, and so Lord Hong, mindful of his prior promise not to speak or write any order for the man's execution, folds an origami man without a head.
    • In Hogfather, when the Psychopathic Manchild finds that one of his flunkies is getting antsy about all the violent death, he tells him not to worry: "I'm on your side. A violent death is the last thing that'll happen to you." In fact, Teatime was fond of using these, to the extent that one of his henchmen noticed, and tendered his resignation holding a crowbar. It didn't help.
    • In Thief of Time, the head of the Ankh-Morpork Watchmaker's Guild visits Jeremy Clockson to make sure Clockson is taking his medicine. Jeremy's assistant Igor assures him that he sees his master measure a dose of the stuff every morning. What Igor doesn't tell him is that Jeremy then pours it down the sink, because he finds he works better without it.
    • Sgt. Jackrum of Monstrous Regiment often spouted the catchphrase, "Upon my oath, I am not a dishonest man," before doing something shady and dishonest. This is no mere case of Hypocritical Humor, however, as Jackrum is actually a woman. Main character Polly Perks eventually figures this out. He also used such variations as "Upon my oath I am not a violent man" while threatening people with a fatal skewering and "Upon my oath I am not a shouty man!" Bellowed, naturally. Most people coming face to face with Sgt. Jackrum who hear about his legendary pacifism decide not to test him.
    • Subverted in the narration of Lords and Ladies:
      Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder.
      Elves are marvellous. They cause marvels.
      Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies.
      Elves are glamorous. They project glamour.
      Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment.
      Elves are terrific. They beget terror.
      The thing about words is that meanings can twist just like a snake, and if you want to find snakes, look for them behind words that have changed their meaning.
      No one ever said elves are nice.
    • Everyone knows that witches never lie. In Wyrd Sisters, Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg use that belief to pull one over on basically the whole country, without ever telling an untruth. When Magrat calls them out on it, Granny responds, "We're bound to be truthful, but there's no call to be honest."
    • Rincewind sows discord among the Agatean soldiers in Interesting Times through Suspiciously Specific Denial, such as saying that the Silver Horde is not supported by a very specific number of bloodthirsty foreign ghosts. He is truthful, but not very many believe him. Lord Hong later accidentally validates Rincewind's claims by claiming that the intrusion of foreign ghosts have angered their own Agatean ghosts, who will be fighting on their side. The soldiers are less than enthusiastic about having ghosts on both sides, particularly since their own might be people they didn't part with on friendly terms... (It all has the result of many men deserting the army.)
  • "The Cask of Amontillado" has several; the most blatant:
    Fortunato: I shall not die of a cough!
    Montresor: True...
  • In "Truth to Tell", one of the Black Widowers mysteries by Isaac Asimov, a man renowned for never telling a lie denies an allegation of theft by repeatedly claiming he did not take the cash or the securities from the safe. This lasts until Henry, the Black Widowers' waiter, asked him if he took the cash and the securities from the safe.
  • Forest Kingdom: In the Hawk & Fisher spinoff series' book 1, all the murder suspects attest under a truth spell that, no, they didn't kill the two victims. This is correct, because the victims were killed by different suspects.
  • In The Princess Bride, Prince Humperdinck obtains Westley's surrender only by swearing to Buttercup that he will not hurt him. The Prince immediately turns aside to explain that he will be a man of his word and let someone else torture Westley while he watches. In a mild subversion, the Prince ultimately does break his word after all; it's the prince who turns The Machine all the way up to 50 and mostly kills Westley.
    • Also subverted in that while Buttercup is fooled, Westley sees right through it:
      Westley: We are men of action. Lies do not become us.
  • In the Robert A. Heinlein novel Glory Road, it is mentioned that Star never lies. However, it is also mentioned that she's an expert in telling the truth in a way that you are led to believe something else.
    • In another Heinlein novel, Between Planets, the main character is told by one of the villains that his friend died of heart failure. He later realizes that all forms of death involve one's heart failing at some point.
  • Many, conceivably most, of his lines across various depictions of the radiant angel Morningstar. Even his appearance might count.
  • The Aes Sedai order in Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series swear a mystical oath that they will "never speak a word that is not true". Unfortunately, most of them become — by necessity — masters of obfuscated speech and false reassurances. Ultimately, the oath that is meant to reassure the populace of the Aes Sedai's good intentions merely makes them distrustful of even the most straightforward statement. Everyone suspects that when an Aes Sedai speaks plainly, it means she's already figured out how to get around it.
    • People can also get false reassurance from Aes Sedai, as it is revealed that they can say something they believe to be true which is actually a load of bollocks. Thus people can occasionally say "I know such and such is true as that Aes Sedai said it" (if they aren't dismissive right off the bat) when the Aes Sedai may just be mistaken or an idiot (or both).
      • In yet another way to get false reassurance from an Aes Sedai: Aes Sedai who have sold their souls to the Big Bad have their previous oaths removed, so they can lie with impunity.
      • Finally, the Black Ajah swear new oaths, so there's another form of false reassurance, because the literal wording of the oath is that they'll never reveal their secrets until the hour of their death, so if you're good with poison...
  • In the first novel of Redwall, Matthias negotiates a hostage crisis with Big Bad Cluny by saying that he (Matthias) will come down from the tower if Cluny releases the hostage. Cluny does, and Matthias does so; but, as he points out, he didn't say that he wouldn't first cut the rope holding the Abbey's huge bell in place and crush Cluny underneath it with enough force to split the bell in two.
  • The High Crusade has a late medieval English monk swear in Mohammed's name that his liege is telling the truth.
  • Inversion: In E. R. Eddison's The Worm Ouroboros, Lord Gro at one point says "Oaths bind not an ill man. Were I minded to do you ill, then lightestly would I swear any oath you might require, then lightestly in the next moment be forsworn." Then he proceeds to not betray the protagonist he says that to, and remain true until the end of the book, when he switches sides ineffectually in the last battle for no reason and gets pointlessly slaughtered.
  • John Dickson Carr does this in his mystery novel The Nine Wrong Answers in the form of footnotes that can be misleading at best, and a razor thin edge from outright lies at worst.
  • In Simon Spurrier's Warhammer 40,000 Night Lords novel Lord of the Night, Sahaal recounts the story of his primarch to a loyal servant of the Emperor, concluding that "He is dead. He was betrayed by one who should have loved him." She is moved to tears. He had, after all, left out that the "one who should have loved him" was the Emperor.
  • Subverted in Frank Herbert's Dune. Baron Harkonnen promised Dr. Yueh that if Yueh betrayed the Atreides, he would stop torturing Yueh's wife Wanna and allow Yueh to join her. After Yueh does so, the Baron has Yueh killed, as he had done earlier with Wanna, thus carrying out his promise to the letter. It turns out Yueh not only knew about the Baron's plan, he accepted it, and even managed to save Paul and Jessica and give Duke Leto a chance to kill the Baron — his death is a strange moment of triumph.
    Yueh stood, swaying. His lips moved with careful precision, and his voice came in oddly measured cadence: "You . . . think . . . you . . . de . . . feated . . . me. You . . . think . . . I . . . did . . . not . . . know . . . what . . . I . . . bought . . . for . . . my . . . Wanna."
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry reluctantly comes up with a plan to get Griphook the Goblin to assist them in finding one of the Horcruxes. As Griphook will accept payment only in the form of the Sword of Godric Gryffindor (which they still rather need), he promises he will be given the sword, without specifying exactly when he would give it to him. The Goblin, however, isn't stupid, and this plan backfires spectacularly for Harry. Despite the fact that Harry did fully intend to give Griphook the sword… just as soon as he was finished using it.
  • An entire literary device. The omniscient narrator (author) tells us some information about the future which is true but which misleads the reader's expectations. John Irving likes this one and T. C. Boyle gives a (non-reassuring) example. 'I never wrote to her again'. This implies they never see each other again, but instead he simply visits (though as the ending implies they will get married and have kids, we assume he will never even send her a postcard or an e-mail).
  • In the Andrew Vachss Burke book Terminal, a case is recounted where an AIDS-positive Nigerian who wants to have sex with a virgin teen is assured that he will not die of his disease — because Burke and co. shoot him dead before he can get what he wants.
  • In David Weber's War God series, Lady Leeana asks her mother for permission to go riding. Mother wants to make sure that Leeana is planning on taking her guards along, and Leeana assures her mother that she knows that she won't be able to go riding unless her bodyguard goes riding too. She's planning to run away from home, and she knows that unless she gets rid of her bodyguard by sending him out riding on a long errand, he'll try to stop her.
  • In the Erast Fandorin novel The State Councellor, the Big Bad gives a Breaking Speech to Fandorin and then offers a choice: fight him, join him, or just keep silent. Fandorin choose to keep silent. Where is the catch? Fandorin holds information that could save the Big Bad's life.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Grave Peril: At Bianca's costume party, Harry tells a vampire that Michael, dressed as a Knight Templar, is not really a Knight Templar. She then grabs his arm, and is burned by his faith. Harry didn't tell her that he's one of the world's three Knights of the Cross.
      Harry: Hands off the Fist of God.
    • Changes: The Red King pulls this on Harry. When Harry points out that said vampire promised that Maggie wouldn't be harmed, he replies that he only promised to do so until Harry's duel with Arianna was over. Now that it's over, he's free to harm her all he wants.
      • Even worse. He spoke through a translator. When the duel is over, the Red King speaks directly, claiming that he has not said one word to Harry!
  • In the Belisarius Series, when he asks to have a private word with Narses during a meeting on neutral ground, Belisarius swears to the Malwa commander Damodara that nothing they will discuss will involve harm to Damodara. Damodara comments to Narses afterward that he realized that Belisarius made a Suspiciously Specific Denial in promising no harm would come to Damodara, but didn't mention anything about the Malwa Empire in general.
    • Later in the series, the Malwa intelligence boss Nanda Lal is assured that he of course will be attending the wedding of Toramanga, with whom he's conspiring to assassinate Rana Sanga. He never promised that any part of Lal's body below the neck would also be in attendance.
  • In Mike Lee's Warhammer Time Of Legends novel Nagash The Sorcerer, Nagash does a particularly devious one on Queen Neferem, promising never to hurt her son again. He's telling the truth, because he already killed him and absorbed his soul.
  • In Deception Point, the aquaphobic protagonist is already nervous at the thought of going onto a boat and gets even more nervous when she learns it's smack dab in the middle of hammerhead shark-infested waters. To calm her, her love interest asks the helicopter pilot when was the last time they saved someone from a hammerhead attack, to which the pilot answers "Decades." However, he then immediately mentions an "idiot skin diver" last month, prompting the protagonist to say "You said you hadn't saved anyone in decades!" "Yeah, saved anyone. Usually we're too late. Those bastards kill in a hurry".
  • In one of the later Anne of Green Gables books, Anne of Ingleside, Anne has an ongoing dilemma of how to respond when asked to admire Susan's calceolarias. Anne finds them ugly, but doesn't want to hurt Susan's feelings or tell a lie. In the end, she settles on, "Why, I've never seen such calceolarias in my life!" ...and mentally adds, "Thank heavens!"
  • In Pact, Maggie Holt cuts a deal with an exiled faerie, Padraic, a ring that contains great power in exchange for an item from her backpack. He repeatedly assures her that he means Maggie no harm, and as they both Cannot Tell a Lie, she considers this sufficient protection to go through with it. The item he takes? Her name, on a test paper.
  • In The Giver, the language of the Community is full of doublespeak and euphemisms — although what that means in a community that literally has no way of knowing it is left as an exercise for the reader.
  • In Tales of MU, Professor Stone tells the class that, according to the vice-chancellor, a student who had attempted to steal a rather valuable dwarven sword would be "dealt with internally and then expelled." This is indeed true, as the student in question had polymorphed herself into a mouse and gotten eaten by a cat.
  • In World War Z, one of the interviewed characters, Breckinridge Scott, struck it rich by buying rights to a prototype rabies vaccine and distributing it in response to early outbreaks of "African Rabies". Which he knew all along wasn't actually rabies, but if the ignorant masses were clamoring for a rabies vaccine, then he might as well sell them one while he could.
  • In the short story "The Crystal Crypt" by Philip K. Dick, Earth and Mars are on the brink of war. A spaceship, the last to depart Mars for Earth before passenger service is suspended, is searched by Martian officials for three saboteurs responsible for destroying a major Martian city. Each passenger is asked about the matter, the veracity of which is verified by a lie detector. Each passenger makes a statement something to the effect of, "I know nothing about any destruction of your city." Each statement is confirmed to be true, so the soldiers leave and the spaceship begins to take off. Later, it is learned that the city wasn't actually destroyed at all, but instead was miniaturized and placed inside a small globe, presumably disguised as a snow globe, and is being smuggled back to Earth by three passengers.
  • In Dennis Wheatley's "They Used Dark Forces" the lead character, Secret Agent Gregory Sallust (temporarily a member of the British Army), buys a new dress uniform on the eve of D-Day to wear on leave. Wheatley advises the reader that it was a waste of money since he never went on leave again and the reader naturally assumes this is a foreshadowing telling us that Sallust is to die. In fact, he spends the rest of the war in Hitler's bunker, seeing the enemy reaction from the inside as the Russians advance on Berlin and the Allies sweep through Germany, finally persuading the Fuhrer to commit suicide, and does not get free until the end of the war which triggers his automatic discharge.
  • In Robert Sheckley's Dimension Of Miracles, the protagonist ends up on an alternate Earth inhabited by sapient dinosaurs. He doesn't have the heart to tell them about the extinction of dinosaurs on his Earth... so instead he reassures them that in his world, no conflicts ever happen between mammals and dinos, and in fact "everybody loves dinosaurs".
  • In The Encyclopedists, the scientists ruling Terminus respond to threats from the neighboring kingdom of Anaceon by reminding them of likely intervention by the Galactic Empire as assured by the official representative, Lord Dorwin. Then the Mayor of Terminus, Salvor Hardin, presents them with a summary of all the Lord's statements without the meaningless and off-topic talk. Turns out it amounts to literally not a word.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On 24, Jack uses this when Nina panics about a terrorist killing her then himself when she is forced to cooperate.
    "We'll make sure he doesn't turn the gun on himself."
    • Of course, this is in no way intended to reassure her.
  • In the Angel episode "Conviction", a shotgun-wielding Elite Mook, Hauser, who now nominally works for Angel, gives him a "The Reason You Suck" Speech about how he's stronger than Angel because he believes in being evil, while Angel is conflicted, and there's nothing more powerful than conviction. Angel replies that there's one thing more powerful, "mercy." Hauser clearly sees this as confirmation of his own assessment of Angel's weakness. Then Angel forces Hauser to blow his own head off, to the shock of the subordinate mooks present. In other words, the power of mercy was the only thing that had kept Angel from killing people like Hauser long ago.
    Mook: What happened to mercy?
    Angel: You just saw the last of it.
  • In an episode of the 60's Batman (1966), the Joker has captured Batman and Robin and asked them if they could swim. He put them in a smokestack and told them he would let them go if they could stay afloat for an hour. He then starts to fill the stack with poison gas instead of water. Robin calls him out on this, but Batman points out the Joker never said anything about using water.
    Robin: But you can't float in gas!
    Joker: No... BUT YOU CAN DROWN IN IT!
  • Battlestar Galactica: Number Six to a baby - "There, there. It's okay. You're not going to have to cry much longer."
  • On A Bit of Fry and Laurie, Stephen and Hugh have broken into a woman's house and are ineptly interrogating her. When they ask to speak to her son, she wants them to promise to leave as soon as they've finished.
    Stephen: Of course, Mrs Popey. We'll leave just as soon as we've finished being here.
  • In the Blackadder Goes Forth episode "Private Plane", Blackadder, on the quest for an easy life, decides to sign up for an air squadron called the "Twenty Minuters" on being told that on average that's how long they spend in the air. During his initial training for the Flying Corps, he learns that it's how long they spend in the air before being shot down.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • When Oz comes back from Tibet, he hopes to rekindle his relationship with Willow. From Xander, he's heard she isn't seeing a new guy. Willow hesitantly confirms this: "No. No new... guy."
    • And when Buffy is brought Back from the Dead, she tells the Scoobies, "You guys gave me the world. I can't tell you what it means to me." What it means is chronic depression because her friends yanked her out of Heaven into the harsh reality of everyday life, which Buffy tries to hide from them so they'll continue thinking they've done the right thing.
    • Also, in "Angel", a pair of vampire assassins return to the Master after failing their assignment to kill Buffy. He tells them that killing them for their failure would bring him little joy, and they react with relief. Then Darla kills them gleefully, and he notes that sometimes a little is enough.
    • In Season 9, Faith's dad tells her that he is really sober this time. He doesn't tell her that he's been involved in some shady dealings and some guys are after him.
  • Castle:
    • "The Double Down" features a double-whammy as Beckett and Castle question a suspect:
      Suspect: You guys have any suspects at all, yet?
      Castle: [looking right at him] We're looking at someone right now.
    • And:
      Suspect: You're not accusing me of killing my wife again, are you?
      Beckett: I can assure you we are 100% certain you did not kill Ashley.
    • He actually arranged to do a Strangers on a Train-style murder-swap with someone else — and they know it.
  • Criminal Minds: In "Omnivore", The Reaper menaces a terrified woman with a gun
    The Reaper: Shhh. I'm not going to shoot you. Shhh.
    Nina Hale: Thank you.
    The Reaper: You're welcome. (takes out a knife and stabs her.)
  • Dad's Army. A newspaper article lampoons the Home Guard patrol as going from one pub to another searching for German parachutists. Private Sponge assures Captain Mainwaring that not one drop of alcohol will touch their lips. After the Captain leaves... "OK, let's get some straws."
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Three Doctors": The Third Doctor says to Omega, "We will not leave here before you do." Omega assumes this means they will stay there with him. It doesn't.
    • "Boom Town": Margaret Blaine assures the citizens of Cardiff that the new nuclear power plant will cause no harm as long as she's walking the Earth. This is technically true, since she is an alien in disguise and plans to leave the planet before the meltdown occurs.
    • "The Eleventh Hour":
      The Doctor: You know when grown-ups tell you everything's going to be fine, and you think they're probably lying to make you feel better?
      Amelia Pond: Yes.
      The Doctor: Everything's going to be fine.
    • "Flesh and Stone":
      • The Doctor uses this on Amy when they're climbing aboard a spaceship. When Amy asks him what happens if the gravity fails, the Doctor tells her cheerfully that he's thought about it.
        Amy: And?
        The Doctor: And we'll all plunge to our deaths. See? I've thought about it.
      • Then it's played with, in that Octavian is savvy enough to pick on her hedging and is not impressed; he chews her out and promises that if she's wrong, she'll regret it.
        Father Octavian: You trust this man?
        River Song: I absolutely trust him.
        Father Octavian: He's not some kind of madman, then?
        River Song: ...I absolutely trust him.
    • "Day of the Moon": When Richard Nixon asks the Doctor if he'll be remembered, the Doctor replies with:
      The Doctor: Oh, Dicky. Tricky Dicky. They're never going to forget you. Say hi to David Frost for me.
    • "The Time of the Doctor": Eleven sincerely promises Clara that he'll never leave her behind, again. He promptly ditches her on Earth for her own safety. This technically doesn't break his word, because he hadn't promised not to leave her behind this time.
    • "Time Heist": Bank security politely asks the Doctor and crew to let them in, on the rationale that they don't want to hurt them before executing them.
    • "Hell Bent": Rassilon, the Lord President of Gallifrey, is increasingly freaking out as he realizes he has no control over the Doctor.
      Rassilon: What does he want? Revenge?
      Ohila: The Doctor does not blame Gallifrey for the horrors of the Time War.
      Rassilon: I should hope not.
      Ohila: He just blames you.
  • Your more devious characters on Dollhouse are prone to this.
    Adelle, in Episode 6: This one will probably... struggle.
  • The Drew Carey Show: Drew's boss Mr. Wick orders Carey to take urine samples for one of the company's drug tests. Since this isn't in Drew's job description, he futilely tries to get out of doing it until Mr. Wick gives him an ultimatum:
    Mr. Wick: I want that pee on my desk by tomorrow, or you're fired!
    Drew: Oh, it'll be on your desk...
    Mr. Wick: I want it in a cup!
    Drew: Oh, it'll be in a cup...
    Mr. Wick: Not my coffee cup!
  • In an episode of Father Ted, the title character complains that when his friend said he would "take care" of the rabbits that had overrun the parochial house, he assumed he meant it in "a Julie Andrews way, not an Al Pacino way."
  • Played somewhat humorously in the Firefly episode "Out of Gas."
    River: Don't be afraid. That's what it [The Bible] says. Don't be afraid.
    Book: Yes.
    River: But you are afraid.
    Book: Yes.
    River: You're afraid we're going to run out of air. That we'll die gasping. But we won't. That's not going to happen. [Beat] We'll freeze to death first.
  • Friends: "The One with Chandler's Dad". Ross gives Rachel an unintentional (or maybe not) example after Rachel has been driving her car too fast and a police siren orders her to pull over.
    Ross: Okay, stay calm. Nothing is gonna happen to you. You are not in that much trouble.
    Rachel: Really? You think so?
    Ross: I was talking to myself! You're going down!
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Khal Drogo promises Viserys "a golden crown that men shall tremble to behold." Men do tend to tremble when they see someone get molten gold poured over their head.
    • Mirri Maz Duur promises to save Drogo's life with Blood Magic and strongly implies that a horse can be used for Equivalent Exchange. In reality, Drogo is left an Empty Shell and Dany's unborn son is used instead of the horse.
    • The unofficial motto "A Lannister always pays his debts" can be used this way. At face value, it promises gratitude to those who do well by them, which is true, but it is frequently used to promise revenge to those who have wronged them.
      • Tyrion paying his jailer a bribe in full view of Lysa Arryn counts as both.
    • In "Blackwater", Sansa tells Tyrion that she will pray for his safe return... just as she prays for Joffrey's.
    • In "Mockingbird", Littlefinger assures Lysa he's only loved one woman his entire life. It's not her.
  • On Heroes, DL asks Niki about her intentions. Unbeknownst to him, Niki's psychotic alter ego Jessica is in control and has murder in mind. Niki answers: "I promise you, I won't do anything I wouldn't want to."
  • Francis Urquhart of House of Cards (UK) makes this into an art form. When he tells loose cannon subordinate Roger, "By Sunday you won't have to worry about anything ever again. That's a promise", he actually means he's going to lace Roger's coke with bleach while Roger's staying with him over the weekend.
  • The It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode "Frank Sets Sweet Dee On Fire" has the gang attempt to engineer some heroism so they can report it on their news show:
    Frank: Just run in [that building], save the cats, and you'll be a hero!
    Mac: Save them from what? What are you planning here?
    Mac: Are you gonna set the building on fire?
    Frank: No!
    Mac: Are you gonna set the building on fire?
    Charlie: Yes.
  • Justified, "Bulletville": Similar to the Sneakers example above.
    Bo: Who'm I kidding. I can't hurt my own son. Johnny, hurt my son.
  • In one episode of Legend of the Seeker, Darken Rahl says a merchant with information on the Seeker's whereabouts will be rewarded so that, "He will never want for anything in this world." Three guesses what happens when he gives up the information, and the first two don't count.
    • Rahl seems to like this one. In an earlier episode, he "reassures" a dying queen (after he slices her arm open from wrist to elbow) that her daughter will spend all her time surrounded by priceless jewels... because he's going to have her work as a slave in some diamond mines.
  • The Pilot of Lois & Clark. When Lex Luthor tells you "Your final payment is in the helicopter. I assure you there won't be any loose ends." you should probably take a cab.
  • On Lost, Jack asks Ben if he knew that Locke committed suicide. Ben says he didn't know that. Because Locke didn't commit suicide, Ben killed him. Played with later. Jack calls Ben out, saying that he had said Locke hadn't come to him. Ben says that that is true — he had come to Locke. The thing is, even though that was the correct course of events, what Ben had actually said was that he hadn't seen Locke since they were on the Island. Jack, of course, accepts this.
  • Married... with Children: Marcy and Steve once had to go to New York on a business trip. Marcy was afraid the plane would crash on the sea. Al reassured her it couldn't happen... because there's no sea between Chicago and New York. If the plane crashes, they'll hit solid ground.
  • The Muppet Show: Sam the Eagle is worried by the apparent end of Liberace's very classy concert to the "Birds of the World", expressing concern that soon Liberace will "put on a rhinestone tuxedo and play that shameful boogie-woogie". Liberace reassures him that he's not going to do that soon.
    Sam: No?
    Liberace: No. I'm going to do it right now.
  • In the Murder, She Wrote episode "Trial by Error", Jessica is leading a jury which finds a man not guilty of murdering his lover's husband, because she's worked out he was actually killing his wife, and used the husband's death at his own wife's hands as an alibi, figuring that if he took the rap for that, he could claim self-defence. Since all he knows is that he's been cleared, he thanks her and says he won't forget her. She replies that all the thanks she needs is knowing justice has prevailed, and she's quite sure he won't...
  • NCIS: To get a criminal to give up some information, Gibbs tells him "I could talk to the D.A. which could reduce your sentence." After he gets the information he needed, he admits he never intended to plead on the man's behalf.
  • A soul-eating Velvet in Neverwhere gives a Shout-Out to Dracula as she declines a normal meal: "I do not eat... curry."
  • Once Upon a Time: Regina is in jail after the curse is broken. Gold walks into the room and Regina asks him if he's here to "finish the job." Gold says that he promised Belle that he wouldn't kill Regina. But he never promised that he wouldn't send something to do worse.
  • In the first episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures, this is combined with All-Natural Snake Oil. "Contains Bane. It's organic!" Technically true, but "organic" doesn't necessarily mean "something you'd want to ingest" — when's the last time you tried eating live scorpions, for example?
    • In chemistry, "organic" means nothing more nor less than "contains carbon molecules." Hydrogen cyanide (HCN)? Totally organic.
      • Well, maybe not. For weird, arbitrary, and historical reasons, a handful of carbon-containing compounds (including cyanides) are generally considered inorganic. Dioxin compounds, the stuff that made Agent Orange so deadly, on the other hand, are organic without question.
  • In Sons of Anarchy, a guy being questioned by Bobby, Tig, and Opie turns out to have screwed up the business deal he was supposed to set up for the Sons, thereby outliving his usefulness to the club. However, Bobby says he won't kill him if he tells the truth about his role in the murder of one of the Sons' wives. After the guy tells him the truth, Opie and Tig kill him.
  • On Stargate SG-1, Carter has to do an interview to discredit a businessman who revealed real proof of alien life. She uses this trope and it's immediately lampshaded by the businessman.
    Interviewer: We're all very eager to finally hear some reaction from Washington regarding the revelation made by Alec Colson.
    Carter: Well, first of all, I can assure people that, if aliens really existed and were visiting the planet, we would know about it.
    Interviewer: So, are you saying his claims have no merit? We all saw an alien on live television.
    Carter: Yes, well, Hollywood's been helping us see things on T.V. for a long time now.
    Interviewer: Are you saying that the alien wasn't real?
    Carter: It depends on what you mean by real.
    Colson: Notice she hasn't actually lied once.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series: At the end of "Mudd's Women", Kirk takes Mudd into custody:
    Kirk: I will appear as a character witness at your trial, if you think that'll help.
    Mudd: They'll throw away the key.
  • On an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Captain Picard suddenly realizes that Lwaxana Troi has an ulterior motive in inviting him to dinner and, seeking an escape, invites Data to join them for dessert and conversation. Lwaxana protests, but Picard assures her she'll be fascinated by Data's small talk.
    Picard: Commander Data's after-dinner conversations are legendary aboard the Enterprise. (Cut to Lwaxana looking like she wants someone to kill her as Data rambles on in a lecture concerning orbital mechanics...complete with computer graphics.)
  • In the second part of the Star Trek: Discovery pilot, Admiral Anderson arrives after a standoff between Federation and Klingon fleets breaks out into a firefight, and hails the Klingon leader, T'Kuvma, to negotiate a cease fire. T'Kuvma states that he is pleased that Anderson has arrived, because the Klingons have been waiting for someone... worthy of their attention. Admiral Anderson fails to get the subtext in the Klingon's message, and takes his next message at face value.
    T'Kuvma: Your offer of a ceasefire is accepted.
    Anderson: Good. Because if we're fighting, we're not talking.
    T'Kuvma: Prepare to receive my envoy.
  • An episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles has Cromartie reassure a terrified thief that Sarah won't kill him for betraying the heroes to Cromartie, as she had threatened when she spared his life. The audience is fully aware that this is because Cromartie will kill the thief himself as soon as he knows where the heroes are living.
  • When Top Gear tested the new Ferrari 458 Italia against the F430 it replaced, Jeremy promised James that he would not drive his (James') Ferrari F430 quickly. He never said anything about The Stig, however.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): — "To Serve Man... it's a cookbook!"
  • The Vampire Diaries, "A Few Good Men". Damon is gloating to one person while sounding innocent to everyone else:
    Damon: I had a drink with her once. She was a great girl. I ever tell you that? 'Cause she was... delicious. Mmm.
  • White Collar: Neal borrows an FBI jacket from Peter, after promising that he won't pretend to be an FBI agent. Cut to Mozzie wearing the jacket and impersonating an agent instead. Neal does this to Peter in almost every episode — one of the show's rules is that he does not tell direct lies to Peter, thus requiring this trope for whatever shenanigans he's pulling behind Peter's back this week. Of course, Peter knows this, but lets it slide because Neal gets the job done.

  • In Rick and Morty, Morty sometimes notes that he and Rick "don't usually die" on adventures when one is lit.

  • The Eagles song "Hotel California" starts out with tantalizing lines about how nice the hotel is. Then, after a bit of foreshadowing in the second verse with the bar not having the traveler's favorite wine, it takes a dark turn.
    They're living it up at the Hotel California!
    What a nice surprise
    With your alibis...

    Myths & Religion 
  • In many versions of Arthurian Legend, Guinevere and several knights are kidnapped by Maleagant, who is in love with the queen. Thinking she is loyal to her husband, however, he cannot bring himself to touch her, and instead sets her up in the best room in his castle, leaving the wounded knights in the chamber just outside hers. Lancelot, of course, comes to save his Damsel in Distress, but doesn't waste the opportunity to climb in her bedroom window and sleep with her while Arthur isn't around. Only problem is, he hurts his hand and leaves blood on the sheets. Maleagant sees this and is angry at Guinevere for pretending to be faithful to her husband. Her response? She swears up and down she didn't sleep with any of the knights "outside her door".
  • In another Arthurian story, King Mark, suspecting his wife Isolde is unfaithful, has her Bound and Gagged, and dragged back to the palace. When they need to ford a river, a wandering hermit helps her across. Afterwards, she swears that she has been in the arms of no man except her husband and, obviously, the hermit. The hermit was her lover, Sir Tristram, in disguise.
    • Another version exists that follows the same story, except that as they're crossing the river, the hermit (Tristram) stumbles and falls down between Isolde's legs. Thus, she can ever swear that Mark and the hermit are the only men to ever have lain between her thighs.
    • And in Arthur, King of Time and Space, the story is retold exactly in the baseline arc, and then we switch to the space arc, where Isolde simply says she's been in the arms of no man except her husband. It doesn't occur to Mark to suspect the Gender Flipped Dame Tristram.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • A major driver of many tag-team and friendship splits, sparking huge feuds (and naturally driving ticket sales, fans of course wanting to see the good guy half of the duo get revenge on his "former friend."
    • The most famous example was Jake Roberts betraying the Ultimate Warrior during the series of vignettes in 1991. Roberts supposedly was going to help Warrior in his feud with The Undertaker, constantly reassuring him that he was on his side, but wound up locking him in a room where a cobra bit him, and as the Warrior passed out, Roberts revealed his alliance with the Undertaker.
    • Several feuds with Hulk Hogan began this way:
      • "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff provided Hogan a "false reassurance" moment at the end of their tag team match against Big John Studd and King Kong Bundy, to ignite an explosive feud that raged from the summer of 1986 through the early months of 1987. Shortly before Orndorff attacked Hogan, he (belatedly) stopped the heels' 2-on-1 assault of Hogan and ran them from the ring ... but curiously they hung around ringside — and Hogan, not yet having regained his senses, not noticing — as Orndorff helped Hogan to his feet, patted him on the back and said, in essence, "It's alright, the attack is over," the trope kicking in as Orndorff raised Hogan's hand in victory ... before Orndorff viciously clotheslined Hogan to the mat, piledrove him and then called Bundy and Studd into the ring to finish him off for good. Hogan, of course, got his revenge.
      • Sid Eudy also "reassured" Hogan that they were still friends, even though he was bitter at him for costing him the WWF World Heavyweight Championship at the end of the 1992 Royal Rumble. Two weeks later, on Saturday Night's Main Event, Eudy turned on Hogan in their tag team match against Ric Flair and The Undertaker.

  • In Series 5 of Old Harry's Game, Hell is overcrowded, leading to a workforce on strike and Satan spending a lot of time in the mortal world trying to slow the flood a bit. One of the new arrivals, Roland, sees this "an opportunity" he can use to take over. When Satan returns, Roland offers to help, saying "If you let me talk to the demons, you won't have anything to worry about ever again."
  • In the Finnish version of The Men from the Ministry episode "Ban the Wotsit," One and Two are being interviewed on the TV after Soviets manage to "replicate" the super-weapon Wotsit (which was really a pram full of junk mistaken for a weapon). The interviewer asks Lamb if he thinks the Soviet weapon is as powerful as the original, which he answers that he is sure it is just as powerful, no more or less.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • Dimir Doppelganger is a shapeshifter that takes the form of dead creatures. Its flavor text? "Fear not, your life will not go unlived."
    • Kiku's Shadow is a spell that causes a creature to damage itself. Its flavor text is a quote from the titular Kiku: "Me? No, I'm not going to kill you. I won't even lay a finger on you. I promise."
  • This is the modus operandi of Hansel and Gretel from Grimm. They lure in children by promising that they will be safe from witches with them. This is technically true — they'll be fed to the malevolent oven that enslaved Hansel and Gretel and the witch before them long before witches can do anything to the children.
  • In Paranoia, if Friend Computer or one of its human minions gives you what sounds like good news, you can pretty much assume that it's an example of this trope.
    • It can also be turned back on Friend Computer in order to complain about something without Friend Computer picking up on it. "It is as wonderful as I had expected" sounds a lot like "It's wonderful" if you don't specify how much you expected.
    "In fact, the chemically altered foam is absolutely safe when the proper safety measures are taken, although the proper safety measure would have been to wear GREEN clearance Ceramo-Tungsten body armor with LeadLike coating, or better still, to be in a completely different sector. But revealing the danger posed by the foam would have lowered productivity as a result of clones rioting or fleeing the area, so we applied a little SPIn. As a result, productivity in RON sector only dropped by 79.4% rather than a projected 98.1%, a marked success! And the clones liquefied in the Four Reactor Foam Flood would surely have suffered more if they'd had advance warning."
  • One of the entries in Warhammer 40,000 tie-in website "The Regimental Standard" reassures Guardsmen that 90% of injuries do not require immediate medical attention. This is because they result in immediate death.

  • In Pirates, or Gilbert and Sullivan Plunder'd, an adaptation of The Pirates of Penzance, Frederick needs to marry a virgin to free himself from a curse. Ruth reassures him that she hasn't been subject to any unwanted advances from the other pirates, and hasn't succumbed to any one of them... emphasis on "unwanted" and "one".
  • It'll take an expert to tell if this is a good example or just has the airs of one, but Marlowe's Doctor Faustus.
    Mephistophilis: And then be thou as great as Lucifer.
  • Part two of Shakespeare's Henry IV has an alliance of rebels (no, not that one) parleying with John of Lancaster, son of King Henry. They present him with a list of grievances, and John assures them that he will take the list directly to his father so they can be addressed. The rebels are satisfied and dismiss their army. John vows that they will "lie tonight together"... then has them all arrested for treason and orders his army to ride down the now scattering soldiers of the enemy.
    I promis'd you redress of these same grievances
    Whereof you did complain; which, by mine honour,
    I will perform with a most Christian care.
    But for you, rebels — look to taste the due
    Meet for rebellion and such acts as yours.
  • The Dutch comedian Herman Finkers has a skit in which he plays a depressed person. He then assures the public not to worry... "Suicide would be the last thing I'd ever do."
  • In the opening scene of The Recruiting Officer, Sergeant Kite is attempting to recruit peasants to the army, and does so using deception of this type. He invites a spectator to put on a soldier's cap, and the man asks, "won't the cap list me?". Kite replies, "No, no, no more than I can." Kite ultimately enlists the whole crowd by tricking them into accepting a "gift" of money and drinking to the King's health.

    Video Games 
  • In Conquests of the Longbow, The Sheriff of Nottingham asks Robin Hood, disguised as a monk, for a blessing. Robin answers: "May God give to you all that you deserve, and I hope that I live to see it."
  • Briefly pulled in Ratchet & Clank (2002) by Captain Qwark, who says that he won't kill Ratchet shortly before revealing that the nearby Blargian Snagglebeast will do it instead.
    • In Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal, Dr. Nefarious' Deadpan Snarker butler Lawrence does this all the time. A sample exchange:
      Dr. Nefarious: To think, they called me insane, Lawrence. But we'll see who's insane when my pets have exterminated all life on this miserable planet!
      Lawrence: That should clear things right up, sir.
    • And later, in the same game:
      Courtney Gears: Don't be afraid, Ratchet. The transformation doesn't hurt... *chuckles* much.
  • One of many quotable lines in Portal spouted by GLaDOS is "As part of a previously mentioned required test protocol, we can no longer lie to you. When the testing is over, you will be... missed."
    • With Chell trapped on a platform slowly sliding into a large fire pit: "All Aperture technologies remain safely operational up to 4000 degrees Kelvin. Rest assured that there is absolutely no chance of a dangerous equipment malfunction prior to your victory candescence."
    • Early on, GLaDOS informs you that she will stop enhancing the truth "in three, two, *static*". Since the countdown never finished, she's technically free of the promise.
  • In Portal 2, the Aperture Science Announcer says that, "Some emergency testing may require prolonged interaction with lethal military androids. Rest assured that all lethal military androids have been taught to read and provided with one copy of the Laws of Robotics. To share."
  • Betrayal at Krondor, Gorath and Owyn need to rescue someone enslaved as a mine worker. Gorath's plan? Pretend to offer Owyn into slavery, get both grabbed as slaves, find the person they need to rescue, and then swim out through the underground river that runs through the mine. Where the air and water is tainted with sometimes lethal amounts of napalm gas. While Gorath supposedly knows of people who escaped in such a way, Owyn is, understandably, a bit skeptical.
    Owyn: No one has ever died doing this?
    Gorath: I have met none that have.
  • Shigeru Miyamoto once described an (at the time) unrevealed Super Mario Bros. game with the mysterious phrase "If an onlooker were to see the game, he'd probably think that Luigi is the main character". That game? Luigi's Mansion — he never said the onlooker would be wrong.
  • In Silent Hill 3, the mysterious voice serving as the tour guide in the "haunted house" has plenty of these moments.
    Voice: (After a spike ceiling stopped just inches before killing you) "I'm so sorry. This place is just falling apart. The mechanism is broken, you see. It wasn't supposed to stop there, I assure you."
  • Day of the Tentacle: Just about to go back in time, Bernard asks Dr. Fred:
    Bernard: Have any people been hurt in this?
    Dr. Fred: Of course not! This is the first time I've tried it with people!
  • Dragon Age: Origins: Played for Laughs.
    Alistair: Know this: All Grey Wardens can sense darkspawn. Whatever their cunning, I guarantee they won't take us by surprise. That's why I'm here.
    Daveth: You see, ser knight? We might die, but we'll be warned about it first.
    Ser Jory: That is... reassuring?
  • In Fate/stay night's Fate route, the Holy Grail War takes a sudden turn for the worse once an eighth Servant shows up and turns out to have won the Superpower Lottery. When explaining this to the supervisor of the Grail War, he responds that this is something he cannot ignore, and that he will look into it. And indeed he can't; the Servant is his, and has just blown its cover by wandering off on its own. It should be noted that said supervisor, Kirei Kotomine, is a master of this.
  • In Jay's Journey, Puff literally Cannot Tell a Lie, so when Farinade asks him who he's traveling with, he says that he's traveling with a moron who isn't the guy that Farinade is looking for. Good thing Farinade doesn't think to ask if Puff is traveling with anyone else.
  • Uninvited featured a segment where you meet a lady dressed like Scarlett O'Hara, faced from behind. All to a chipper tune, and she said "Thank you for coming back to me, my love. You will be mine forever". Doesn't sound so horrid even for the Haunted House setting. If you grab her attention, then the chipper tune turns into Hell Is That Noise, you see her real face, then she horribly kills you.
  • Full Throttle features one of these in the opening sequence:
    Malcolm Corley: I know what your plan is, Ripburger. You're waiting for me to die so you can take over my company!
    Adrian Ripburger: *Chuckling* Sir, that's horrible. I am not waiting for you to die!
  • In Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Cesare assures Francesco Troche that he will not kill the latter, before getting Micheletto to kill the chump instead.
  • Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix has a scene at the beginning where a No Name Given Corrupt Corporate Executive essentially promises Deke, "Do this job for us, and we will cure your condition permanently." Deke has EINDS (think AIDS), and he has been doing assassinations for this guy in exchange for medication to improve his life span. Deke does the job, and the guy and his goons try to kill him off in a You Have Outlived Your Usefulness moment.
  • WarioWare: Penny's experiments are "guaranteed to be 100% Not-Entirely Lethal". Well, that's a relief...
  • One of the main criticisms about The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was the empty overworld, which Miyamoto claimed was going to be addressed in the next game. It turned out that the developers' "solution" was removing the overworld altogether, which was met with even harsher criticism.
  • Skullgirls sees this in Squigly's path in Story Mode. She meets Filia, and the two seem to get along... until Samson proceeds to insult Squigly and Leviathan in the crudest way he can manage. Squigly then apologizes for attacking Filia and promises, "We will only aim for the boor infesting you." Filia, not being an idiot, points out that, as Samson is her hair, they'll be hitting her in the head.
  • In Alien: Isolation, the Working Joes spout constant pre-recorded-seeming messages apologising for the state of affairs and promising that everything will be fine if people simply stay calm and listen to them. They do this even as they try to strangle or beat people to death.
  • In the opening sequence of Fan Remake Black Mesa, a promotional poster can be found in the Black Mesa facility proudly proclaiming "Safety! Our record speaks for itself!". Of course, anyone who's played the original game is likely all too familiar with Black Mesa's record in regards to safety.
  • In Skylanders: Trap Team, the second time Kaos threatens the player during the final battle, he offers you the chance to surrender and let him destroy you and the Earth, telling you that if you do, it will be "merely horrible".
  • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All, one of Phoenix's clients assures him that he didn't kill anyone that night, especially not the murder victim. He didn't... the assassin he hired did.
  • At the end of Spec Ops: The Line, Colonel John Konrad assures Captain Martin Walker that "I'm as sane as you are, captain.". Shortly after, Konrad turns out to be a PTSD-induced hallucination Walker has been living with for most of the game.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series' Action-Adventure spin-off game Redguard, the Sload Necromancer N'Gasta doesn't exactly lie to Cyrus about the state of his sister, but at the end of their conversation, Cyrus leaves with no clue that Iszara made a Deal with the Devil with N'Gasta, that her body remains preserved in his tower, or that N'Gasta gave her soul to Clavicus Vile. If Cyrus doesn't initially take the delivery quest from Kotaro, though, N'Gasta's "solemn oath to reveal the full sum of his wisdoms" doesn't amount to much.
  • If you lose to the Final Boss of a "neutral" run in Undertale, you hear Asgore telling you that this is all just a bad dream. Except it's actually Flowey, said final boss, disguising his voice, and he tells you in his real voice that "you're NEVER waking up!" Then he goes Laughing Mad and the game crashes.
  • In Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!, one of the announcements that can randomly play in the Hyperion Hub of Heroism is an attempt to reassure workers on Helios that the new full-body scanners are not taking unflattering nude photos of them. The pictures are very flattering, and the employees look great.
  • While trekking through an optional dungeon in Final Fantasy XV, Prompto mentions that he's acrophobic during the climb along a slightly threatening walkway. Ignis responds with "Don't fear heights - fear falling!"
  • In Mass Effect 3, EDI asks Talinote  if her presence causes any concern:
    Tali: Not unless you go crazy and decide to overthrow the humans.
    EDI: If I decide to overthrow the humans, you will be the first to know.
  • In The Pirate's Fate, the heroes may capture Queen Nakhta and try to force her to abdicate in favor of her sister, Bilba. Nakhta, sighing, declares that if Bilba wants power, she can have it, she'll put the crown on herself, and yes, she'd love to have the crew stay to watch. By which Nakhta means that she intends to place the magic crown that will de-age Bilba and remove her claim to the throne onto Bilba's head, and she wants the Dread Pirates present so that she can have them captured afterwards. What keeps this from being a moment of Nice Job Breaking It, Hero? Nakhta's technical honesty even in this is characteristic, and though you don't find out in this route, despite being a Jerkass she really is the better choice for the throne, as compared to the totally sociopathic Consummate Liar Bilba.
  • If you ever hear Terry Bogard yell "Are you okay?!", you can be sure that, unless you block or dodge very quickly, you will very soon not be okay.
  • In World of Warcraft, the Culling of Stratholme dungeon has players accompany Arthas when, after learning that some of Stratholme's residents have been infected by the Plague of Undeath, he decides to purge the city. Arthas encounters some healthy citizens, who are relieved to see him. He then replies, "Yes, I'm glad I could get to you before the plague," before attacking with his hammer. Unfortunately for him, the citizens are Infinite Dragonflight members in disguise, and they try to kill him in order to alter history.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY:
    • In the pilot episode, a Dust shop is robbed by Roman Torchwick and his mooks. The elderly shop owner holds up his hands and tells them to just take his Lien (money) and leave. Roman tells him to relax because he's not there to steal money. He then orders his men to steal as much Dust as they can. Dust is the basis for all technology in the show, and also acts as ammunition for weapons. While Dust is common and easily available, it's therefore highly valuable.
    • From the moment Weiss returns home, Whitley is supportive of her and understanding about her situation. Weiss is confused by this because she was always under the impression that Whitley didn't really like her or Winter, but Whitley assures her it was only Winter he had issues with. It is only after Jacques has stripped her of her inheritance and handed it to Whitley that Weiss realises that Whitley was only pretending to be the supportive brother so that he would be seen by Jacques as the only suitable heir. He explains to Weiss that instead of rebelling, the only way to handle their father is to become exactly what he wants them to be.
  • Supermarioglitchy4's Super Mario 64 Bloopers: "What do you have to lose? Besides your life."

    Web Comics 
  • In 8-Bit Theater:
    Fighter: Hey, guys. Do you think I'm dumb?
    Thief: I can honestly say I do not think that you're dumb.
    • Red Mage reassures Thief that his precious treasure shall be "preserved", without expounding on his plan to freeze the universe containing the treasure (and nigh-unstoppable fire demoness) in never-melting ice. It's a basically correct statement.
      • It then turned out to be another sense of "false" reassurance when White Mage shattered the bag of holding and its contents to have revenge on the demoness for killing Black Belt. In RM's defense, he was not aware of nor complicit in that action. Thief had a "Heroic" BSOD at the sight.
    • Later, Black Mage sets Red Mage on fire, and tells him that he won't have to worry about it for long.
      Red Mage: Oh, so it'll stop itself?
      Black Mage: Yeah... All fires do eventually. Heh.
  • In DMFA, Voluntary Shapeshifting and impersonation are fun!
  • In one strip of Dominic Deegan, Randy writes a song about Luna, and how she saved him from screwing up his life. It's bad — the title is "Nothing Touches Me Like Your Mouth". He shows it to Taz to get some outside opinion.
    Taz: There's nothing that can be misinterpreted as offensive.
    • Subverted, because the fact that he didn't give Randy crap about the song was a tip-off about Taz's intentions, as Taz likes screwing with everyone and is a really Bad Liar.
  • End Boss's World: Air Man assures Metal Man he's not as useless as a chocolate teapot, because Chocolate teapots are at least edible.
  • Exterminatus Now:
    Schaefer: *sigh* You made the place explode, didn't you.
    Virus: I can categorically say, no, we didn't make it explode.
    • Also:
      Eastwood: They aren't the Inquisition.
  • The ship computer in Freefall uses this trope, in reply to Sam's question about how it feels about going into piracy.
  • Full Frontal Nerdity: "I promise you, I don't have a single table of critical failures like that."
  • Girl Genius:
    • For centuries, the Heterodynes were vile, bloodthirsty murderers and Mad Scientists who ravaged the land with their legion of Super Soldiers, until Bill and Barry redeemed the family name. A few centuries ago, there was a man known as "the Good Heterodyne." This is not because he was a good person, but because he was good at being a Heterodyne.
    • Count Wolkerstorfer prefaces his plan to Leave No Survivors by telling his intended victims, "Don't worry, no one will even know I was here!"
  • Homestuck has Aradia playing this to the hilt, before the Sgrub game gets started. She got Sollux to put it together from alien technology and told him that it was to save the world and make sure that everyone didn't die when the apocalypse hit. This was, technically, true: Aradia just never got around to mentioning, until it was far too late for Sollux to do anything, that the world she meant wasn't theirs — and that "make sure everyone doesn't die" isn't the same as "more than twelve survivors". He's not happy when he finds out; Aradia is okay with this.
  • This Irregular Webcomic! strip shows false reassurance in action. The library mentioned was just destroyed by a series of traps.
  • The Order of the Stick pulls this more than a few times:
    • After the party fails an attempt to escape from prison, the highly Lawful character Durkon states that "the five of us never left our cells" — which is true, because Durkon refused to follow when his four fellow party members left. When questioned about the unlocked cell doors, he truthfully responds "'Twas a mechanical defect" — he counts "able to be picked by a rogue" as a mechanical defect, and given that she had only improvised tools and a +2 love bonus to do it with, it's not even that much of a stretch.
    • Celia finds a suspicious magic-user while looking for someone who could resurrect Roy. She uses the skill "Sense Motive" to ensure that he was not lying when he said he would not transform Roy into an undead creature. He intends to turn him into a bone golem, which is not technically undead, in the same way ketchup is not technically a fruit.
    • After Haley kills Crystal and returns with Crystal's knife, all she says to Celia is "Oh, she said I could have it" — which she did, but it had been intended as an insult rather than a genuine offer.
    • And of course, the Oracle does this all the time because he's a Jackass Genie.
    • As pictured above, Old Blind Pete tells Crystal that he hadn't seen Haley.
      Celia: She, uh... she does know you're blind, right?
      Pete: Crystal never lets what she knows get in the way of the job, heh heh.
    • Pretty much all of the fiends' deal to Vaarsuvius is this. Note that the line below sounds very much like it's saying "We're not cheating you" without ever actually saying anything of the sort.
      "We simply don't need to trick you if we can get what we want by playing it straight."
  • From Panthera:
    Reynder: Don't worry, the nausea will pass in a moment.
    Taylor: Uh, that's good, I guess...
    Reynder: It will be replaced by nearly unbearable agony.
  • Averted in Schlock Mercenary:
    Kevyn: Assuming, of course, that you're not just planning to throw themnote  out of the airlock on a crazy whim.
    Lota: Lota is not susceptible to crazy whims, commander.
    Kevyn: Oh good. Now what about premeditated atrocities?
  • Sluggy Freelance: A mole, a suicidally overconfident Super Soldier hunting operation: "I hope you find her. Each and every one of you."
  • There is a widely-distributed one-panel comic of a Mad Evilutionary Biologist rubbing his hands together in glee as he exclaims, "If I can create life in the laboratory, it will prove no intelligence is required!"

    Web Original 
  • In this NSFW chat log, in order to troll someone on Skype, the poster poses as Princess Celestia from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and replies literally... without mentioning this to the stranger.
  • On This Very Wiki's Wretched Hive page:
    Limerick has often been named Stab City. Though in recent years the number of stabbings has decreased, as gun crime has gone through the roof.
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-507 was once reassured from behind a locked door that should he unlock it, the person behind it would not be able to stab him "because all of his objects were 'very blunt'".

    Web Videos 
  • In What If the Star Wars Prequels Were Good?, Darth Maul demands his Master for a chance to kill his mortal enemy, Obi-Wan. Sidious tells his apprentice to be patient and relax, as all the loose ends will be wrapped up soon. When the foes eventually clash, Maul is defeated by Obi-Wan and Anakin. Sidious/Palpatine orders both Jedi to kill Maul, who suddenly realises that he was the loose end his Master was referring to earlier.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons:
    • Parodied in "Treehouse of Horror V" story "Nightmare Cafeteria", in which Principal Skinner tries to do this, but goes a bit too far with it:
      Principal Skinner: I've got a gut feeling Uter's around here somewhere. (chuckles softly) In fact, isn't there a little Uter in all of us? (chuckles loudly) In fact, you could say that we ate Uter, and he's in our stomachs right now! (laughs) ...wait, scratch that one.
    • In "Treehouse of Horror IX" tale, "Hell Toupée", Snake is sent to the electric chair for smoking inside the Kwik-E-Mart (it was part of a "three-strikes" offense stipulation; he previously burned down an orphanage and blew up a bus full of nuns note ). After Snake's body has been burned, Homer buys Snake's hair and has it transplanted to his scalp to solve his baldness. What he didn't realize was that Snake's soul was still inside the hair, and once it was transplanted to Homer's head, the soul gained access to Homer's brain and overrode his personality, forcing Homer to take revenge on all the witnesses who got Snake sentenced to death — including Bart. Homer, finding the murdered bodies of Apu and Moe and not realizing that Snake was behind the killings (and, more to the point, that he himself was now Snake), promises to protect Bart by boarding up the door to his room.
      Homer: There, now nobody can get in. [Snake takes over his mind] Or out.
    • In "Lisa On Ice", where Lisa's panicked vision of the future sees her condemned to 'a lifetime of horror on Monster Island' by a judge who reassures her: 'Don't worry, it's just a name.' Cut to Lisa and a number of other prisoners being chased by fire-breathing monsters; one of her fellow captives explains: 'What he meant is that Monster Island is actually a peninsula."
    • Likewise, in "Lisa the Vegetarian", there is Troy McClure's "Meat and You - Partners in Freedom", which features this little gem:
      Troy: Come on, Jimmy! Let's take a peek at the killing floor.
      Jimmy: (gasp)
      Troy: Don't let the name throw you, Jimmy. It's not really a floor, it's more of a steel grating that allows material to sluice through so it can be collected and exported.
    • Goes right over Homer's head when the kids see him drunk(er than usual) in "The War of the Simpsons":
      Homer: I admit it. I didn't know when to say "when." I'm sorry it happened and I just hope you didn't lose a lot of respect for me.
      Bart: Dad, I have as much respect for you as I ever did or ever will.
    • In "The Father, The Son and The Holy Guest Star", when Bart gets sent to Catholic School and runs afoul of a tough nun.
      Sister Thomasina: In the old days, we'd use a ruler to deal with incorrigibles like you!
      Bart: Thanks for the history lesson, sis.
      Sister Thomasina: These days, we use a yardstick!
      (pulls out a yardstick and raps his knuckles)
      Bart: I'll show you. I'll move 33 inches away.
      Sister Thomasina: A yard's thirty-six! (whacks him again)
    • In "Lisa the Beauty Queen", Lisa has her hair restyled for a pageant. The stylist uses an acetylene torch.
      Lisa: Is this dangerous?
      Stylist: Don't worry. I am well protected. [puts on goggles]
    • In "The Call of the Simpsons", when Cowboy Bob says that Homer couldn't buy anything better than the rickety RV he was selling, he didn't mean it in a nice way.
    • In "The Old Man And The Lisa", Mr. Burns and Smithers visit the Simpson household, where the latter is surprised to see Homer not at work. Homer mentions that the new manager, Lenny, sent him home over some mistake that Homer made, and is implied to be as scary as his predecessor. This is Smithers' response:
      Smithers: Well, Lenny's reign of terror is over. Mr. Burns bought back the plant this morning.
  • Danny Phantom: In the episode "Reality Trip," Freakshow kidnaps Danny's, Tucker's, and Sam's parents to force them to bring him the Reality Gems. When they do, he still traps them all on a roller-coaster Death Course, after reminding Danny that the deal was, "If you want to see your parents alive again...", which he just did.
  • Garfield and Friends:
    • Roy spent an episode with The Buddy Bears where they dropped sixteen-ton safes on him whenever he did something different from the group. At the end of that episode, Roy got them to agree into not throwing him one sixteen-ton safe. They dropped two. In a later episode, when he's around them again, they assure him that they do not have any sixteen-ton safes. Instead, when they inevitably drop a safe on him, it's twenty-seven tons. And before that, they threw other stuff.
    • In another episode, Garfield promises Nermal he won't mail him to Abu Dhabi anymore. He then puts him in a box labeled "To North Pole" and sets it outside. In yet another episode, Jon mail ordered something and told Garfield not to bother the mailman. Garfield was planning to bother the garbageman.
  • Justice League Unlimited: In the episode "The Doomsday Sanction", Amanda Waller demotes Professor Milo. To get revenge, he attempts to bargain with Doomsday with the knowledge that Waller fabricated his desire to kill Superman. Doomsday replies that, if Milo lets him go, he "will solve both our problems". Milo releases Doomsday, who promptly kills him and then goes after Superman.
    Doomsday: Your problem's solved.
  • Chris McLean of the Total Drama series loves this trope, often using it to explain the challenges. The cast eventually wises up to this... somewhat.
    Chris: Your challenge begins with a dive off beautiful Wherever-we-are Falls into the lagoon far below.
    Noah: Which is full of what, sharks?
    Chris: Nope. (contestants sigh in relief) Electric eels and sharks!
  • In one episode of King of the Hill, Hank is trying to blow the whistle on a local beer company, and the president threatens to sue him.
    President: I'm not a litigious man, Mr. Hill. That's what I have lawyers for. Now get out before I throw you out.
    Hank: Are you threatening me?
    President: I'm not a violent man, Mr. Hill. That's what I have security guards for.
  • On Robot Chicken, Dr. Phil has a Trust-Building Blunder with a criminal. As the criminal falls back into his arms, he says, "I won't harm you..." After a Beat, he adds "but they will" before throwing him to a bunch of cops, who proceed to beat the guy down.
  • In a Jackie Chan Adventures episode, Jade promises with a "Scout's honor" that she won't follow him. When out of earshot, she remarks she is not a Scout.
  • Early in Green Lantern: The Animated Series, our heroes drop a captured Red Lantern off at a prison colony where the warden boasts of their rehabilitation program, claiming that "nearly 100% of our former guests never return to a life of crime". Of course, it's easier to build that kind of record when the former prisoners are the ones you have eaten.
  • The Perils of Penelope Pitstop: Sneekly tells Penelope that, wherever the Hooded Claw is, he'll also be.
  • In the Futurama movie "Into the Wild Green Yonder", when Fry infiltrates Leo Wong's construction by becoming a security guard.
    Leo Wong: You really think you can stand up to those "eco-freakos"?
    Fry: Sir, with me around, they'll be the least of your worries.
  • In one of the episodes featuring Pit Boss, the Biker Mice from Mars tell Lawrence Limburger they won't destroy Limburger Plaza that time. A guy Limburger framed in that episode uses his truck to drag the tower to the pit.
  • The Kids from Room 402:
    • Jesse's failed attempt to cheat in an eye exam backfires, forcing him to wear glasses. When he has enough of the troubles brought to him by wearing glasses he never needed, he confesses and is expecting Miss Graves to punish him. When she says it isn't up to her, he is relieved until she points out his mother will punish him.
    • Polly is standing in for Mr. Besser and finds out a teacher isn't technically qualified for the job. When she begs Polly not to tell Mr. Besser, Polly says there is no need to bother him. Polly fires the teacher by herself.
  • Superman: The Animated Series: In "The Way of All Flesh", when Corben mentioned that he couldn't feel anything in his Metallo body, the doctors said there were adjustments to be made. They just didn't say that they were his.
  • South Park:
    • When Butters is scared of ghosts, his dad reassures him that there's no such thing — and besides, he has much bigger things to worry about, like the new super-AIDS. "Just one teaspoon of super-AIDS in your butt and you're dead in three years!"
      Butters' Dad: So now do you feel better? Ghosts don't exist and there's nothing to be afraid of. Except the super-AIDS.
    • In "Fishsticks", Kanye West tells Carlos Mencia he isn't going to hurt him. He pays people to do that for him.
  • Rugrats: Josh, the new kid in town, has the babies lie in the sand while he prepares to launch himself from the swings. Tommy is afraid he's going to try to jump over them, but Josh assures them he isn't. He says he is going to jump on them. Luckily, Angelica (of all people!) stops him before he can do so.
  • In the Back at the Barnyard episode "Otis Season", Otis and Pip are disguised as moose and being hunted by Snotty Boy. The other animals come to rescue them in a giant wooden moose, and when Snotty Boy believes it will eat him, Bessie tells him through the moose's loudspeaker "I wouldn't dream of eating you...raw!" before the moose breathes fire out of its nose.
  • Archer: In "Skorpio", when Lana is sent alone on a dangerous mission, her boyfriend Cyril is worried sick about her.
    Cyril: But why hasn't she called? I mean, what if she's in danger, or...?
    Archer: Cyril, come on! Worst case scenario, her cover got blown and Skorpio's raping her senseless before he chops her battered corpse into fish food.
    Cyril: Oh my God!
    Cheryl: How could you say that?
    Archer: What? I said worst case!
  • In a Rocky and Bullwinkle story, Rocky and Bullwinkle are caught in the middle of a hillbilly feud and are brought before one group's leader, a disguised Boris.
    Rocky: You mean you're gonna stand us up against a wall outside and blast us?
    Boris: Of course not.
    Rocky: No?
    Boris: I stand you against wall inside and blast you.
    Bullwinkle: Well, that's more like it!
  • Turbo F.A.S.T.:
    • When Turbo first defeats Hardcase, the latter extends his hand to Turbo, saying that no one ever calls him a Sore Loser, before adding that it's because no one who's ever beaten him has lived to tell about it, as he was prepared to have his minions destroy the city.
    • When Chet denies Burn's accusation that he assembled her birthday party in 5 minutes, White Shadow tells her that it was actually 7.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "Just One Bite", when Squidward is eating all of the Krabby Patties out of the Krusty Krab's vault:
      SpongeBob: Squidward, you can't eat all those patties at one time! (cuts to inside the vault) Squidward!
      Squidward: (incredulous) What's gonna happen? Am I gonna blow up?
      SpongeBob: No, worse; it'll go right to your thighs!
      (zooms out to show that Squidward's thighs have indeed grown to comically massive size)
      Squidward: My thighs?
      SpongeBob: And then you'll blow up.
      (Squidward explodes)
    • In "Krusty Love", Mr. Krabs is given a bill of $100 after treating Mrs. Puff to a fancy dinner. When he says that it can't be correct, the waiter tells him that he's right; his real bill was $100,000.
  • In The Fairly OddParents episode "The Big Scoop", when Chester rings AJ's doorbell, the automated security system assumes he's a girl scout and prepares to shoot him with a laser. When Chester confirms his identity the laser recedes, only for an even bigger laser that AJ's parents installed specifically for Chester to appear.
    Chester: (To AJ, stunned) But your parents love me.
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Awkwardness", Tobias assures Gumball and Hot Dog Guy that he wasn't taking embarrassing pictures of them before adding that he was recording them instead.
  • The Loud House: In "Teacher's Union", Lincoln and Clyde confess to meddling in Coach Packowski's love life and inadvertently causing a disastrous date with Mrs. Johnson, and they ask him if he's going to punish them for it.
    Coach: Aw, kids, I'm not gonna punish you.
    (Lincoln and Clyde sigh with relief)
    Coach: I'm gonna TEAR YOU LIMB FROM LIMB!
  • In Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, when the gang retrieve an emerald that they need to appease a jewel-eating mule, Lion hears a rumbling sound and asks if there's a boulder about to chase them. Scarecrow tells him that there's not; it's a giant pearl.
  • Captain Sturdy: The Originals had this happen at the end of the short when Captain Sturdy worried about the outcome of his retired foe Dr. Destructo being assaulted by his sidekick Ultra Boy and his old teammates the Originals due to a misunderstanding. Dr. Destructo appears to take his injuries in stride and take solace in the fact that the beating has made him realize that his retirement life is boring, but he replies to Captain Sturdy's commending of his positive outlook by gloating that he's going to return to crime and concentrate his efforts on destroying Captain Sturdy and every other superhero.
  • Milo Murphy's Law: When Zack and Milo end up in Coyote Woods, Zack starts freaking out because he's terrified of coyotes. Milo assures him that the woods are actually named after Peter Coyote, who gave the land to the city... as a wolf preserve.
    Zack: [flatly] You get how that's not better, right?
  • Amphibia: In "Hop Luck", after Anne and the Plantars fail at acquiring the ingredients to make a pizza for the annual potluck, they decide to just make one of Hop Pop's recipes with a tomato thrown in. Mayor Toadstool tastes the dish and says that it's the best one the Plantars have ever brought, making it sound like he'll give them 1st place... only to clarify that while it's better than previous attempts, it's still not good, so they get last place again.
  • In the pilot episode of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, after Ickis accidentally leaves his monster manual behind, the Gromble asks if he knows what will happen if he doesn't retrieve it. Ickis worriedly asks if Gromble will torture him, to which the Gromble tells him no...that's Snorch's job.

    Real Life 
  • To Catch a Predator. Many episodes feature suspects asking the question "Are you going to arrest me?", only to have Chris Hansen respond with "I'm not going to arrest you." Which he doesn't, because he's not a police officer. They're waiting outside.
  • The classic political one (mentioned several times on this wiki) is the Finnish president assuring the Germans in World War II that he most assuredly would not seek a separate peace with the Soviets in exchange for Germany's offer of (badly needed) military aid. And he didn't. The next president after he resigned right after receiving the aid, on the other hand...
  • In 1956, during the Hungarian Revolution, what started as peaceful protests turned into riots against the Soviet Union. In October, Hungarian P.M. Imre Nagy announced a ceasefire, declaring that the government would not treat the uprising as a counter-revolution, but as a "great, national and democratic event". Five days after the brief victory, Soviet tanks and troops invaded Budapest and suppressed the Hungarian defenders, with many arrestees being sentenced to imprisonment, concentration camp internment, or execution.
  • Saddam Hussein once fired one of his cabinet ministers, Dr. Riyadh Ibrahim, and then ordered him arrested. Ibrahim's wife went to Saddam in tears, begging that her husband be returned to her. He promised her he would indeed be returned to her the next day. Hussein kept his word, and did indeed return Dr. Ibrahim to his wife... in several pieces.
  • An old story about Czar Ivan the Terrible has him promise a rebellious city that, if they surrender, not one drop of the inhabitants' blood will stain the ground. So when he slaughters every living soul in the city, he makes sure to do it indoors.
  • The Mongols had a habit of telling the captured leaders of the cities they conquered that none of their blood would be spilled. Which was technically true — the Mongols were extremely superstitious about shedding the blood of those of noble birth, and killed them in ways such as rolling them up in a carpet and beating them to death or tossing them into rivers in a felt sack.
  • Nobody dies of AIDS. What they die of are unrelated diseases that can proliferate unchecked by their much weakened immune system. Though nowadays, with modern medical treatment, that's getting rarer. Most people living with HIV end up living long enough to die of something else.
  • There are a couple of old sayings in medicine that fit this trope. "All bleeding stops...eventually," and "All fevers will come down (some of them to room temperature)."
  • During one of his seminars, American travel writer Rick Steves told attendees something along the lines of "In Europe, you won't get mugged by criminals who threaten you using a gun or a knife — that's what happens here... Instead, you are more likely to experience pickpocketing."
    • As it turns out, this isn't actually the case; while your odds of being threatened with a gun are much lower in Europe, the odds of being robbed with a weapon of some sort (be it a knife, club, acid, or something else) aren't particularly different from that of the US. And you're still more likely to get pickpocketed.
  • There's a ferry ride in Maine where the captain, over the speaker, mentions falling overboard, but humorously reassures everyone that "No one drowns off the coast of Maine. You freeze to death long before you drown."
  • When tourists take mule rides down into the Grand Canyon, the guide will warn them that the mules like to walk close to the edge of the cliffs. "But don't worry about it... because there's nothing you can do about it."
  • Food labels and advertising often rely on any number of these sorts of tricks, sometimes to the point of Asbestos-Free Cereal:
    • You sometimes find a tub of non-butter spread named "Tastes Like Butter", or something with "Real Cheese Flavor".
    • Likewise, some products attempt to sound healthy with labels such as "fat-free" or "gluten-free", without mentioning the crapton of salt or sugar they contain.
    • In the United States, most packaged foods are required to include the nutritional information labeled somewhere. A small can of soup with 25% of your daily recommended allowance of fat or salt per serving might not sound so bad, until you look closer and see that this one little can supposedly holds 3 servings.
    • Saying that something is "made with 100% real beef/chicken/cheese/etc" isn't the same thing as saying that it's made FROM that and nothing else.
    • In the U.S., some meats will be advertised as "hormone free," which is technically correct but doesn't mention the fact that the use of growth hormones in meat animals is illegal in the U.S.note 
  • Angered by some subversive graffiti lampooning his sister, Pope Sixtus V announced that if the writer gave himself up, he'd receive a huge cash reward and not be hanged. The man duly surrendered, whereupon Sixtus had his hands cut off and his tongue bored through instead.
  • In 1642, George Spencer stood trial for bestiality in Connecticut. To get him to confess, the magistrate quoted the Scripture "He that hideth his sin shall not prosper, but he that confesseth and forsaketh his sins shall find mercy." Unfortunately for George, once he confessed the court revealed that the mercy would be shown by God, not them. He became the first non-native person in Connecticut to receive the death penalty.

If you read enough TV Tropes, it will change your life in ways you never expected!

Video Example(s):


Mom, It's A Picture Phone

When Lisa calls Marge to tell her she's getting married, she asks her to make sure Homer doesn't do anything embarrassing. Marge assures her Homer will be on his best behavior, crossing her fingers while doing so...forgetting that she's on a picture call with Lisa.

How well does it match the trope?

4.92 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / VideoPhone

Media sources: