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Guilt by Association Gag

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Geoffrey: How did we all die at the same time?
[The Grim Reaper points at one of the platters on the table]
Grim Reaper: The salmon mousse.
Geoffrey: Dearest, you didn't use canned salmon, did you?
Angela: I'm so dreadfully embarrassed!
[much later, as they're all being carried away to the afterlife]
Debbie: Hey, I didn't even eat the mousse!

In a comedy, when a bunch of characters are subject to some kind of punishment or awful revenge, there will often be exactly one character who doesn't deserve it. No matter how much this character voices his objection, he will never be recognized as an exception. He must suffer with everyone else.

Compare: My Friends... and Zoidberg, I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure, Can't Get Away with Nuthin', Go Among Mad People. If the character didn't do the listed thing, but DID do something else, it may become I Take Offense to That Last One. The opposite of this trope is I Am Spartacus, where people who aren't guilty deliberately associate themselves with the guilty party and Accomplice by Inaction, where people who didn't do the act are considered guilty because they didn't do anything to stop it. Jokes of this kind are a type of Black Comedy. See also Misplaced Retribution and Karmic Misfire, especially when the victim is the only one targeted for what their guilty association did. For characters who are victimized by just being there, see Guilt by Coincidence. For characters who are victimized because they have a connection with the perpetrator, see Villain-by-Proxy Fallacy.

This trope is NOT just any group of people where one person doesn't belong in the group for whatever reason.


    open/close all folders 

  • Respect the Pouch: The first commercial has two boys drinking pouches. One finishes and then drops it to the ground and stomps on it despite the other boy shaking his head "No". There are five versions of the commercial. In three of them, only the one kid is punished, but in two of them, the other boy is punished as well despite not doing anything wrong at all. In one of them, he's turned into a grandfather clock, in the other, he's turned into a dog that pees on the other boy who is turned into a fire hydrant.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi has one of these during the "Kiss Negi" competition during the class trip. Nitta tells the students that anyone caught outside their hotel rooms will be forced to do the Seiza Squirm in the lobby all night. Chisame is roped into the competition by Ayaka, realizes early on the whole game is stupid, heads back to her room. And is caught by Nitta on the way. Eventually everybody else is caught too... along with Negi, who had absolutely nothing to do with it (but he was also outside of his room, for different reasons). This makes even less sense when you consider that a teacher, 10 years old or not, really should be able to be out of his room.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
  • In one episode of Megaman NT Warrior, when the class gets into a rubber band fight while Lan is trying to solve a problem on the board, Ms. Suzaki takes away his recess time along with everyone else's.
  • In Love Hina, Kanako's plan of driving away everyone who made hell of Keitaro's life also includes Shinobu, who throughout the series until that point was the only person to treat him fairly from the get-go and never did anything like Megaton Punching him into the sky, publicly embarrassing him, trying to bisect him for being at the wrong place at the wrong time, making him an unwilling test subject for dangerous machines, and so on and so forth. She ends up being the first to get run out of the Inn, however.
  • In Devilman, the partygoers had every right to attack Ryo when he started slicing and stabbing them with a broken liquor bottle for no reason other than he was doing it to summon demons as part of his ritual because he needed human blood to complete it. They then, however, attack Akira even though he had nothing to do with it, just because Ryo was his friend and he was trying to help him.
  • The 13th episode of the PaRappa the Rapper anime has a bit where Chop Chop Master Onion punishes PaRappa, PJ and Sunny for neglecting to clean his dojo while he was away by ordering them to get the job done immediately. Matt and Paula are also forced to do their part even though they had just met Chop Chop Master Onion and therefore can't be blamed for what the rest of the gang did.

    Card Games 
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: In the artwork for "Mistaken Arrest", "Sangan" was arrested with a "Delinquent Duo" imp for the crime of smuggling a "Pot of Greed", even though "Sangan" was just along for the ride.


    Comic Books 
  • Throughout Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth Professor Milo appears in the background, calmly and rationally explaining how he is not insane and does not deserve to be in the asylum.
  • A rare serious example: in Maus, the punishment comes from the Nazis towards a prisoner who may or may not actually be the race they claim he is. Every day at lineup, he desperately insists that he was a German soldier who doesn't belong with "these Yids and Polacks". This is emphasized when Vladek sees him as a cat (analogous to a German) but the other Germans see him as a mouse (analogous to a Jew.)
  • Red Ears: In one comic a ridiculously sultry woman is dragged into a courtroom because she's being charged with being a communist infiltrator as she's visited the People's Republic of China several times. After putting on a show for the judge and even teasing him by Going Commando, she retorts that she's visited the Virgin Islands even more often than China, and surely the judge isn't naive enough to think she's still a virgin?
  • Ultimate Spider-Man curses out the X-Men after being unwillingly put in a "Freaky Friday" Flip with Wolverine by Jean Grey, with Colossus questioning after he leaves why he was grouped in.
    Colossus: How am I a *&!@£'s? I was just standing here.

    Fan Works 
  • In this fan epilogue of the popular fan comic Rarity Get Your Sword, it was shown that Pinkie's attempt at being Rarity's attorney was so bad that not only did she end up sharing Rarity's sentence of 90 days in prison, but she somehow dragged Applejack in with them, despite the fact that she wasn't involved in the trial in any way.
  • In Danganronpa Abridged Thing:
    Monokuma: Oowada, shut your trap or face the penalty!
    Oowada: Penalty?
    [Monokuma throws a dart at Hagakure's crotch]
    Hagakure: AAAAUGH! SWEET ODIN, WHY ME!?!?
  • Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail has a more dramatic version. Chloe chews out both her father and Goh for being so obsessed with Pokémon that they failed to notice that she actually existed and then she also adds Ash into it because, while his crimes aren't as severe, his presence just made Goh spend more time with him and leaving her behind.
  • Harry and the Shipgirls sees the Gryffindor Chasers get vexed during Third Year when, instead of allowing them to study for their tests, Oliver Wood forces them to keep practicing for the upcoming game. Wood, Fred, and George joke that it must be their time of the month. The Chasers respond with a prank...and Has also gets pranked, because they interpreted his silence as him agreeing with Wood.
  • Naru-Hina Chronicles Mini-sodes: After Hanabi pulls a prank by claiming to Hiashi that Hinata and Naruto had a baby together (when in reality they were simply babysitting Kurenai's baby), she tells Konohamaru that they must be on guard for reprisals from her sister and the Uzumaki. Konohamaru asks Hanabi why she's dragging him into her problems even though he didn't do anything and she replies that it's because he's her boyfriend.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Chicago's "Cell Block Tango", five of the six women insist their victims "had it coming" while not accepting responsibility. The sixth protests that she is innocent; unfortunately, in Hungarian. She's the one who ends up being executed.
  • Narrowly averted in Dogma, when the two angels Loki and Bartleby slaughter the whole board of directors of a fictional corporation, for "raising an idol (a cartoon character) that draws worship from the lord..." They had all also committed other, horrible sins to deserve their punishment. The only one who was spared was the sole woman among them, who had committed no sins... though Loki still almost killed her because she didn't say "God bless you" when he sneezed. Bartleby stops him at the last moment, but only because he's tired of waiting.
  • A Fistful of Dollars has an example that isn't Played for Laughs. "I saw the whole thing; you killed all four of them." Uh, Sheriff Baxter, wasn't the grand total number of Baxters mocking Joe's mule three? Lampshaded by Joe himself as he leaves the area:
    My mistake. Four coffins.
  • In the original Ghostbusters, when the team is arrested because of the explosion of their containment facility that was caused by Walter Peck, Winston brings this up, saying that he was just an employee at the company and wasn't even at the firehouse during the explosion.
  • In Jungle Cruise, the Conquistadores that massacred a native tribe are cursed to never leave the Amazon river- even the Token Good Teammate who had betrayed his fellows to help save the natives. Although in this case it's justified as the dying chief who laid the curse wasn't able to see most of this and as such didn't know that there was a Token Good Teammate.
  • Monty Python films:
    • The former Trope Namer from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life: Everyone at a dinner party dies because they ate a spoiled salmon mousse, and are carted off by the Grim Reaper. In the afterlife, one of them points out that she hadn't actually eaten any. It was, in a rare case for Monty Python, an ad-lib. What made that particular scene even funnier is that the character sounded more excited than anything, since they were in the middle of an intellectual debate about the afterlife when Death arrived.
    • Another Monty Python example occurs in Life of Brian, during the crucifixion march scene. A kindly onlooker who tries to help a fallen prisoner by lifting his cross is marched off to the execution site by the guards after the prisoner ditches him and runs off into the crowd. This may be a particularly savage Take That! at Simon of Cyrene.
    • Monty Python just loves this one— near the beginning of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, a man is loaded onto a cart full of dead plague victims. When he insists he's "not quite dead yet" and attempts to leave, the cart-pusher refuses to take him at first, but the man who brought him slips the cart-pusher some money. A hefty whack from his cudgel and the man wasn't complaining anymore.
  • The film version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire puts a twist on the fight Ron and Hermione have during the Yule Ball over Hermione going with Victor Krum. When Harry shows up on the scene after seeing the discussion between Snape and Kakaroff, Hermione snaps at him while demanding to know where he was before shooing him off along with Ron, despite Harry having nothing to do with why she was angry.
  • In Pumpkinhead, Joel was the only one of the group who deserved Pumpkinhead's wrath, as he was the one who ran over Billy. Although an accident, he refused to help him and only cared about himself, as he had a similar incident with a girl and was going to jail if convicted, and he assaulted his friends when they tried to call an ambulance. The others are also pursued by Pumpkinhead even though they tried to help Billy as he was dying. Ultimately, Joel ends up being killed, but so are Steve, Kim, and Maggie, who were innocent.
  • In Sugar Hill (1974), the title character is carrying out a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the gangsters who killed her fiance, picking them off one by one. When one of her targets points out that he wasn't there that night and had nothing to do with the murder, Sugar, unbothered, tells him he still has to answer for all the other bad stuff he's done.

  • In Peter David's Novelization of Spider-Man 2, before Peter encounters Otto Octavius for the first time post-accident, he suspects that Jameson's pegging "Doctor Octopus" as a villain is one of these, simply because Spider-Man just so happened to intervene when things got out of hand.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the All in the Family episode "Archie And The Lock-Up", Archie gets guilt-tripped into going out to rescue Mike from a protest that is turning ugly. He ends up getting arrested and stuck in a jail cell with the "pinkos, commies, and fags".
  • On Arrested Development, Oscar is constantly being hunted down and savagely beaten by police (and was actually imprisoned between the second and third seasons) for the crimes committed by his identical twin brother. It's especially ironic because he's probably the only member of the family who hasn't committed massive fraud and "...maybe a little light treason"; he never seems to be guilty of much beyond possession of marijuana and sleeping with his brother's wife.
  • Austin & Ally: After Austin, Trish, and Dez play a mean prank to break off the relationship of Chuck (Dez's Arch-Enemy) and his sister Didi, Chuck gets revenge by setting off explosive jam attacks on all four members of the gang including Ally, who was never even in on the prank in the first place.
  • Non-Comedy example: In Ashes to Ashes (2008) the cops suspect someone protesting about the Docklands redevelopment might try something on the Royal Wedding day, so they round up members of the protest groups, and one man from the Anti-Nazi League by mistake; he gets the worst of it because he talks back.
  • In the Batman (1966) episode "Dizzoner the Penguin", Batman and the Penguin are running for mayor of Gotham City. Penguin makes the argument that since Batman is often seen in contact with criminals while he himself is often surrounded by police, he is the more trustworthy character.
  • In one episode of The Big Bang Theory, Penny's handsome-but-stupid boyfriend Zack drops by and eagerly asks to "talk science with the science nerds". Even though Zack's a Nice Guy and genuinely interested in their work, Leonard, Sheldon, and Howard make fun of him with condescending comments and snide jokes. When Zack catches on, he becomes genuinely upset and leaves while Penny calls the guys out for their Double Standard of complaining about bullies while acting like bullies themselves. Raj asks why he got yelled at, as he didn't say anything, and Penny snaps, "You laughed!"
  • Boy Meets World: In the episode "And Then There Was Shawn", after Shawn interrupts the lesson too many times, Mr. Feeny threatens to give the class detention if there is "one more crazy interruption." Hilariously, the "crazy interruption" that Feeny decides is the final straw is the janitor bursting into the classroom, giving a creepy stare, and then leaving. And he punishes Kenny too, even though all he did was ask for a pencil.
  • One episode of Father Ted features Ted and Dougal sneaking around after dark in a "rest home" full of sick and/or demented priests; the inmates all loom out of the darkness spouting deranged gibberish, except for one poor guy who enunciates quite clearly: "I really shouldn't be here!" He is of course left to his fate.
  • Subverted in the Frasier episode "Sweet Dreams": Frasier hears about a rally protesting developers tearing down a landmark bookstore in Seattle and decides to go with Roz and Daphne. When the cops show up and threaten to arrest people, they all stand firm—except Frasier, who instead runs like a coward and feels immensely guilty afterward. Daphne plays the trope straighter, as she ends up getting arrested despite only being at the rally to give Frasier a ride. Later in the same episode, Frasier's attempts to not back down on his principles by refusing to record a commercial gets Kenny, the new KACL station manager, fired, so he rallies all of the on-air talent to stand up for him to the owner. His stirring speech convinces the manager that he too needs to stand up for himself and follow his dreams... so he fires the entire staff (many of whom didn't want to join Frasier's cause in the first place) to turn the radio station from talk radio to all Latin music, all the time.
  • In the iCarly episode "I Meet Fred", Sam and Carly also get ostracized even though Freddie alone did not like Fred. This is something they complain about.
  • At the end of one episode of Jessie, she makes the Ross kids work to pay off a video game that Ravi stole. Despite Emma being the Only Sane Man in that situation, Jessie made her work too so she could have the day off.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: Mike grew up in the '80s. Space Mutiny was made in the '80s. So when the SOL crew is forced to watch Space Mutiny, Tom and Crow turn their anger towards Mike:
    Tom: Okay, okay, Mike, be honest with us, this music really kinda gets your blood pumping, right?
    Crow: Yeah, Mike. This is your music done by your people, so I blame you for this entire movie.
    Tom: Yeah, it's just like you to make a movie like this. Tsh.
  • Stargate SG-1: SG-1 basically pleads guilty to this in "Thor's Chariot":
    Jack: General, if we did screw up their world, we should take a little responsibility for fixing it, don't you think?
    Hammond: I understand that. But let me play devil's advocate for a moment here. It's not our world. Is it really any of our concern?
    Teal'c: The destruction of the hammer device to save my life may have caused this. If so, I am responsible.
    Jack: General, I gave the order.
    Daniel: And I fired the staff at the machine.
    Sam: And I... was there.

    Pro Wrestling 

    Theme Parks 
  • In The Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios, Sideshow Bob forces not only the Simpsons through his theme park of death, but the riders as well, merely because they were grouped alongside them.
  • In Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges at Universal's Islands of Adventure, Bluto seeks revenge against Popeye for both keeping Olive Oyl away from him and having a more successful boating business than him. However, he also attempts to exact revenge on the riders as well, just because they supported Popeye's business.

    Video Games 
  • In Blaz Blue Chrono Phantasma, after Taokaka comments on Bullet's stripperiffic uniform, she hits Ragna whose only crime was standing next to Tao. He then decides to retaliate by doubling down on the insults and humiliating her.
  • In Fire Emblem: Awakening, the Avatar suffers from this in Vaike's C and B support conversations, where the Avatar catches Vaike peeping on the bathing females of the army and both end up being chased off by Sully's horse, despite the Avatar not having peeped themselves.
  • Early in Persona 4, Yosuke makes the boneheaded mistake of waving a couple of weapons around in public. Yu, the main character, is arrested along with him, capped off with a lecture from his uncle. Being a Silent Protagonist, you make no apparent effort to defend yourself, even though you were just sitting there the entire time.
    • The game makes heavy use of this trope, as Yu and Kanji frequently find themselves getting punished alongside Yosuke for his antics such as during the camping trip or the Beauty Contest.
  • Occurs in Chapter 1 of Puyo Puyo Tetris. When Arle finds out that Tee is a friend of Zed, she challenges him to a battle because she believes he will have the same oppressive demands, expecting Arle to have proper manners like washing her hands. This is done despite the fact that Tee apologized for Zed's actions beforehand and told Arle that he did not expect those things from her.
  • In VOCALOID no Natsuyasumi -Final 4 Days-, in one route, Meiko punishes Gakupo alongside Kaito just because he was beside Kaito (dragged along unwillingly, no less) when the later doing his antics in the town whilst naked.

    Web Animation 
  • The Demented Cartoon Movie: "GAAAAAAH! Even when they fix the whole thing with the Zeeky Words, it still blew them up!"
  • Helluva Boss: One episode has all three cherubs in a team get permanently banned from Heaven because one of them accidentally caused the death of a human they were supposed to save (by misfiring a weapon and causing a chain of events that resulted in the human being crushed by a piano). The other two are also thrown out even though they did not contribute to the death.

  • In 8-Bit Theater, the Light Warriors are all to be killed by Sarda because they're horrible people. Except for Fighter. "He's a casualty."
  • In Drowtales, this winds up happening to Kyo'nne when the Kyorl'solenurn arrive. She seemed to think she'd get off easily because unlike her friends she wasn't tainted and even mocks her friends for being "screwed" as they start to run, but the Kyorl go after her anyway for being "corrupted", literally guilt by association, and would have "cleansed" (read: brainwashed) her if Chirinide and Shan'naal hadn't interfered. For extra irony she was the only one the Kyorl actually managed to catch. Because Shinae tripped her.
  • Greg becomes the target of Ted's ex-girlfriend's homicidal rage as Ted manages to escape, leaving Greg to fend for himself. Although he has never met her, the guilt has already been transferred.
  • Played for Laughs in The Last Days Of Fox Hound with The Sorrow, who will judge those he helps by first making them face the spirit of every person they've ever killed. He tries this on Decoy Octopus... and they find themselves in an empty void as Octopus has never actually killed anyone by virtue of being a Master of Disguise who avoids conflict. However he then points out that merely being associated with lunatics like Ocelot and Mantis makes him inadvertently responsible for hundreds if not thousands of deaths, much to the chagrin of The Sorrow.
  • Warrior U: Finn gets all the class to skip school and go to the beach, where they are joined by recurrent antagonist Hevvin the Unicorn. After a while, they are caught by the teachers and locked in detention. Hevvin loudly protests that he shouldn't be there because he doesn't even to go that school.
  • The Order of the Stick: Even though he wasn't involved in Vaarsuvius's Deal with the Devil, due to being their familiar, Blackwing was dragged down with Vaarsuvius into the Lower Level by the IFCC.

    Web Original 
  • In The Nostalgia Chick's review of Freddy Got Fingered (guest-starring Oancitizen), the two ultimately decide that Canada must be punished for Tom Green. The episode ends with them beating up Phelous and Luke Mochrie.
  • Achievement Hunter Minecraft Series: In the episode "Freezeezy Peak", Geoff loudly talks over Matt's instructions for the game, angrily claiming it as his "revenge" for all the times the others have talked over him. However, as the others point out, Matt has never talked over him, so in this case he's only punishing the one who doesn't deserve it.

    Western Animation 
  • Happens in American Dad!, when Steve is targeted with his other friends, who misled him into believing three of the Alpha Bitches sabotaged girlfriend Debbie's chances for election, leading to some Misplaced Retribution. Steve apologizes and reveals it was his friends, but he gets targeted along with them.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Aang and friends infiltrate a Fire Nation temple and are confronted by a group of Sages who are loyal to the Fire Lord. However, one of them, Shyu, is still loyal to the Avatar and helps them on their mission. After they manage to escape, Commander Zhao angrily arrests all five Sages, despite the Head Sage's protests that only Shyu helped the Avatar.
  • In one teaser of an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, the sidekicks were forced to fight a training simulation as punishment for fighting each other. Speedy was one of them even though it was Robin and Aqualad who fought each other.
  • In one episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog, Eustace swindled Shirley the Medium out of a necklace for Muriel by giving her an oil bill he claimed was a deed to an oil well. In response, Shirley put a swindling curse on both him and Muriel, even though Muriel was completely innocent of the scam.
  • A frequent gag in Dan Vs. Dan and Chris enter some establishment together. Dan proceeds to rant, make a scene, and piss people off, while Chris tries to stop him. This escalates until Dan and Chris get thrown out, and possibly get beaten up beforehand. In the episodes where Dan is arrested, Chris is often accused of being an "accessory" to the crime, and punished as well.
  • Much in a similar manner, Frizz and Nug of The Dreamstone are usually dragged kicking and screaming into each scheme by the Urpneys, usually via bullying from Sgt. Blob and Urpgor or threat of death from Zordrak. The heroes have no problem punishing and humiliating them as much as they would their superiors, to the point they usually get the worst of it.
  • Played with in a Dudley Do-Right cartoon where Dudley was kicked out of the Mounties for eating peas with a knife. When asked why his horse had to go with him since Dudley was the one who ate the peas, Dudley pointed out it was with his horse's knife.
  • On Ed, Edd n Eddy, Edd is sometimes/often beaten up along with the others when Eddy's schemes go south even though he's usually the voice of reason, trying to convince the other two that they should be doing something productive instead. This was lampshaded on one occasion: after beating up the Eds, Sarah admits that Edd didn't deserve the beating but then she adds, "Give those cute ones an inch, and they'll take a mile!"
    • An even more egregious example is in "If It Smells Like an Ed" where Jimmy framed the Eds for ruining the kids' friendship appreciation day even though Eddy, and ONLY Eddy, gave him a wedgie while Ed and Edd did absolutely nothing to deserve the crime other than stick by Eddy.
  • Edgar & Ellen: In "Commander in Stripes", Ellen becomes the class president, gets Drunk with Power and starts mistreating all her classmates. Stephanie and Edgar work together to oust her from her position. In the end, Ellen is punished for her actions... and so is Edgar, by virtue of being her twin brother.
  • Happened at the end of The Fairly OddParents! movie Channel Chasers when Timmy wished that everyone forgot the events of the movie. Crocker had nothing to do with the plot (in fact, he only appeared in the movie at the end), but he was still affected by this wish anyway. Which was a gag to throw in his brief moment of sanity from his FAIRY GOD PARENTS! obsession and reinforce the status quo.
  • Family Guy: In the episode "The D in Apartment 23", because of being associated with Brian, Chris and Meg are ostracized by the other kids, Lois is shunned at the grocery store, and Peter gets rejected by his friends, complete with Joe threatening to arrest Peter because of Brian's actions. All this happens despite them being just as annoyed at Brian as everybody else was. The moment Brian's kicked out, the town, including the kids, the grocery store, and Peter's friends, stops going after them and resumes their lives as if nothing happened.
  • In one episode of The Flintstones, Fred and the others end up getting attacked by the Flintstone family's generation-long rival, the Hatrocks. When Barney tries to explain to the Hatrocks that he isn't a Flintstone, just a friend of theirs, the Hatrocks shoot at him, claiming "Any friend of the Flintstones is an enemy of the Hatrocks!".
  • Futurama:
    • In the episode "Fear of a Bot Planet", Leela objects to being sentenced as a human by the human-hating robots because she is a one-eyed alien. (Although before going, The Professor did warn her that the robots are "not fans" of humanoid aliens.) It turns out much later that she actually is human, albeit a mutant one.
    • Then another time Leela got fired with Fry and Bender when the two took the ship out for a joyride around the world with the Planet Express building tethered to it, but she did leave the key in the ignition.
    • In "The Cyber House Rules", a B-plot about Bender adopting twelve orphans for the government stipends ends with him getting arrested and jailed for child endangerment, along with not only his roommate Fry but all twelve of the kids. A deleted scene explains this last: the police "got a tip they were in on it" (from Bender himself, no less).
  • This trope saved Broadway's life in the Five-Episode Pilot of Gargoyles. Goliath catches Brooklyn and Lexington arguing with friendly humans, and sends all three of them to the rookery (nursery, or more accurately the room where they keep the eggs), even though Broadway was just hanging out nearby, eating something. The next night, the Trio emerges to find that Vikings sacked the castle during the day and smashed all the sleeping gargoyles above ground, but overlooked the rookery.
    • Same goes for Bronx, Goliath orders the trio to take him down into the rookery for doing nothing other than making his presence known by panting during the current conversation.
  • In one episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, a phantom duck caused many people to get thrown in jail, including Hector Con Carne who stated "I'm not even on this stupid show anymore!"
  • The Hey Arnold! episode where a drill sergeant replaced Mr. Simmons. He punished 3 kids by making them stand in room's corner. He makes Stinky do the same because of "symmetry".
  • In one episode of The Jetsons, when Elroy brought home a bad report tape (that a failing student switched with his), George sent him to bed without dinner, but he also sent Astro to bed too, just because Astro believed Elroy wasn't lying about the tape being wrong. Boy, talk about strict.
  • The Kim Possible episode "Stop Team Go" begins with Electronique luring the Team Go siblings into a trap to be "turned from valiant heroes into evil little henchpeoples". Shego tries to explain that she is no longer a hero, but Electronique doesn't listen.
  • Les Sisters:
    • Wendy is often punished for things Marie did. Marie is banned from the local swimming pool for life? Wendy is also banned because the pool authorities know that they're sisters, even though Wendy never did anything bad. Marie painted on the walls and released snails into the house? Their parents force Wendy to help Marie clean up the mess.
    • Rachel picks on Marie, who is several years younger than her, for no reason other than Marie being related to Wendy, whom Rachel hates.
  • The Looney Tunes Show: In "French Fries", Porky and Daffy get into a fight because the former ate some of the latter's fries because he thought they were for the table (they were), right after he had invited Daffy and Bugs to a football game. Bugs, who wants to defuse the situation, gets caught in the crossfire, and Porky uninvites him too despite the fact that his only conceivable crime is being Daffy's roommate.
  • The Loud House:
    • In the episode "Lincoln Loud: Girl Guru", after the girl advice Lincoln gave the boys at his school backfires on them, his customers attempt to get revenge on both him and Clyde, despite the latter's involvement in Lincoln's scheme being minimal at best.
    • And in "Linc or Swim", if just one of the Loud kids are causing trouble at a pool, all 11 of them are banned. This especially goes to Lincoln, who never even entered any of the pools in the first place.
  • In Metalocalypse, Toki is often the one who doesn't eat the mousse. One of his catch phrases is even "Evens Toki?" When Dethklok comes out with a line of clothing, their humanitarian fashion designer berates and abuses them all for not being in shape, including Toki, who is in great shape and who didn't lie about his measurements. (At least his new clothes fit perfectly.)
  • My Gym Partner's a Monkey:
    • In the episode "Basic Jake", Jake plays a prank on Principal Pixiefrog, who gives both him and Adam Saturday detention, ignoring Adam's protests that he had nothing to do with the prank.
    • In the episode "The Two Jakes", Jake clones himself and Adam (without consulting the latter) and brings the clones to school, even though clones are against the rules. When he and Adam are forced to hide so Pixiefrog doesn't learn the truth, we get this exchange:
      Jake: We are so busted if Principal Pixiefrog finds out we brought clones to school.
      Adam: We didn't.
      Jake: "Semantics" is another word I don't know.
  • Robot Chicken:
    • In the "Apocalypse Ponies" sketch, when the Apocalypse Ponies show up to kill the children for drawing on the walls, the parents are also killed despite not doing anything.
    • In the "Yoshi's Vengeance" sketch, Mario jumps off Yoshi and drops him into a Bottomless Pit, leading Yoshi to get revenge on Mario. He also defeats four Shy Guys and shoots Luigi in the head despite not taking part in the incident.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In Who Shot Mr. Burns Part One, Mr. Burns steals the oil that was under and to be claimed by Springfield Elementary. As such, not only does he have legal claim over the oil, the school had to make layoffs because of the money wasted on building the oil rig, one of which was Groundskeeper Willie. He responds by vowing to kill Burns and then wound his assistant Smithers.
      Willie: Argh, I'll kill that Mr. Burns! And, er, wound that Mr. Smithers.
    • In the middle of his long-repressed rage rant during "Hurricane Neddy", Lenny gets this from Ned.
      Ned: And as for you, I don't know you, but I'm sure you're a jerk!
      Lenny: Hey, I've only been here a few minutes. What's going on?
    • "Simpsons Bible Stories" ends with the Rapture. The Simpsons are to be sent to Hell... except Lisa, who is pulled heavenward in a beam of glorious light. Disturbingly, Homer is able to reach up and pull her down to hell with them, saying "Where do you think you're going, Missy?"
    • In "Treehouse of Horror XVI", everyone in town is cursed by a witch, causing them to turn into their Halloween costumes, including Hans Moleman, who turns into a mole despite not wearing a costume.
    • In "Revenge is a Dish Best Served Three Times", when Milhouse gets Drunk with Power in his quest to get Revenge against everyone he thinks has wronged him, at one point he runs into a random student who explains he is new to this school and has never done anything to him. Milhouse attacks him anyway, claiming it's "prevenge" for the bad things he will do to him in the future.
    • In the "Heck House" segment of "Treehouse of Horror XVIII", Bart, Milhouse, Nelson and Lisa are sent temporarily to Hell, yet Lisa took no part in the chaos they wrought. She points this out along the way to hell: "I warned you, and yet my punishment is no less severe. That's odd."
  • In the Spongebob Squarepants episode "Big Sister Sam", Squidward insults Patrick's elder sister, which causes her to cry. In response, Patrick shames both Squidward and SpongeBob, even though SpongeBob has just been standing there watching the whole thing.
  • In one episode of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, Mario and Luigi mention they used to play in their plumbing school's band before being thrown out for eating during a concert. Luigi clarifies that Mario was the one eating. Luigi was merely holding his salami sandwich while he turned his music page.
  • In the Teen Titans Go! episode "Hey You, Don't Forget about Me in Your Memory" when the Titans go to high school Robin repeatedly beats Beast Boy up throughout the episode because he's playing the jock role and Beast Boy is a nerd. Every time, the principal witnesses this and gives all the Titans detention: Cyborg, Raven and Starfire for just standing nearby and Beast Boy for getting beaten up, apparently.

    Real Life 
  • Schools often employ this tactic to keep students under control in chaotic classrooms, much to the chagrin of well-behaved students. It's become something of a Discredited Trope, as teachers have gradually come to realize that the badly-behaved students often enjoy getting their more well-behaved peers punished for no reason, and can actually cause the ones who normally behave to start being disruptive themselves once they realize they're going to be punished either way.
  • This can be used as a punishment in military training, and can and has been exaggerated to the point of only one person "eating the mousse". This can have the intent of banding the group together against an unfair superior or of having the group further punish their guilty peer and leaving the guilty party an outcast for at least as long as they continue to misbehave. Whichever result is intended can, of course, backfire into the other result.