You don't have to be embarrassed when you make a mistake
You pull yourself together, and you brush off your hat,
And tell the watching crowd, "you know, I meant to do that!"
A spill or tumble can be quite embarrassing if there are witnesses.
How to reduce the humiliation? Turn it into a stunt. Claim it was intentional, a show for their benefit.
The most common subversion to a pratfall, an I Meant To Do That typically involves the clumsy character either managing to land on his feet (despite all odds) or springing up unhurt immediately after a fall.
There is a bit of Truth in Television to this: if you trip up while walking, people are less likely to notice if you just keep walking afterward without looking sheepish or saying "whoa". Oh, they'll probably still snicker, but not as much. It is also a house cat's standard method of preserving dignity.
This trope can sometimes be used in less comedic circumstances, such as in a Fight Scene. Compare All Part of the Show, Exactly What I Aimed At (or Accidental Aiming Skills), and Unintentional Backup Plan.
- Cowboy Bebop, in "Stray Dog Strut", when they activate the "Dog Whistle":
Boss: Is it on? I don't hear anything.
Lab Tech: It's high-pitched, only dogs can hear it.
Boss: [long pause] I knew that. I was just testing you.
- Samurai Champloo uses this with an overblown samurai who claims he's going to make it big one day. In a duel, he rushes up, draws his sword — and gazes skyward when it flies out of his hand and into the air. It looks like it's all over for the blowhard, until the sword falls from the sky and lands on his opponent's head, knocking him out. His response? "That was...my Flying Dragon technique!"
- Played for laughs in Inuyasha, where Miroku "exorcises" a house (just to get some free accommodation), only to have a demon fly out of the roof, as the house really did need to be exorcised.
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
- Absolutely glorious example from the end of Part 2. Joseph Joestar drops Kars into a volcano to try and kill him. Unfortunately for him, it doesn't work, and Kars re-emerges and cuts Joseph's hand off, and it goes tumbling off into oblivion. Half a chapter later, Joseph manages to trigger a massive eruption, and Kars is planning to just fly away from it...until Joseph's severed hand comes flying out of the volcano again, propelled on venting gas, and hits him right in the throat, distracting him from the process of forming wings. His last words before he's blasted into orbit are directed at Joseph, accusing him of having planned this all along (which isn't as implausible as it sounds, in this series). Joseph immediately takes credit for it, while simultaneously thinking "As if! That was just total luck! But if it'll piss him off..."
- In Part 3, Alessi has a de-aged and wounded Polnareff cornered, and attacks him with his Stand. The attack causes Silver Chariot's rapier to snap, and the point accidentally ends up lodged in Alessi's neck, allowing Polnareff to escape. As he flees, Polnareff claims he did it on purpose.
- One Piece:
- As the Straw Hats are escaping from the Navy in Alabasta, Usopp's cannons hits a Navy ship, causing it to blow up, and then causing the ship next to it to blow up as well! Judging from his reaction, it was a total accident, but Ussop immediately takes credit for it.
- Zeo seems like a rather harmless villain at first, to the point that Brook accidentally stood on his face for a while without noticing. But then Zeo reveals his master plan. Brook was never standing on his face at all. Zeo was in fact headbutting the bottom of Brook's foot! Genius! Anytime things don't work out for Zeo, he claims the negative result was what he was aiming for. To the point that he claims that he let himself be stabbed in order to dull the blade.
- Subverted in Acchi Kocchi, when Mayoi opens her second umbrella (having lent the first one to Hime), only to have it break and shoot forwards spear-like. The rest of the cast expect her to laugh it off as another of her usual goofy tricks...but Mayoi's reaction is actually a surprised "Eh?". Nobody was expecting it from her, of all people.
- In Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics), in a bid for publicity, Ixis Naugus heals Bunnie of a wound she received in battle. Not only does he do so, he turns her back into a fully organic Mobian. He clearly is surprised by this, but (at the urging of Geoffrey St. John) quickly claims he meant to do it.
- Loki is dreadfully prone to defeat himself/themself and plans going awry so accidentally fixing or breaking the situation (guy could take the title God of Unintended Consequences) but this so never stopped the jerk from claiming that he meant to do that...highlights include: taking credit for turning Thor back after the frog incident (actually the Asgardians destroyed the machine powering the spell); and claiming that he meant to die in the Siege of Asgard (past Loki's ghost downright denied this, but he isn't the Loki of the now so his opinion doesn't count); or meant to turn Nisa into an Intrepid Reporter by destroying her home.
- In the Disney Ducks Comic Universe, this is how the Red Bat (Fethry's superhero alter ego) has earned a reputation as a superhero: no matter what happens, he acts as if it was all part of the plan, right from when, in his debut story, he stopped the Beagle Boys and when asked if he had done that alone he pointed at Donald in a gorilla disguise too tall for him (they had been at a masked party, with Fethry's disguise being the one he'd use as a superhero), said "No, this headless gorilla helped me", and left. And considering this guy patrols Duckburg riding a pogo stick and yet he's still effective, people tend to believe him.
- Star Wars: Darth Vader. A large part of the plot involves Darth Vader having to compete with cyborg rivals for his job, created by Cylo. Afterwards Emperor Palpatine tries to explain it all away as part of his Evil Plan. Vader is having none of it.
Palpatine: My true apprentice would frustrate the copies. Eventually, driven by pride and desperation, Cylo would go too far...and then, when he was simply a traitor, we could purge him. Do you understand, Vader?
Vader: I do. If any of Cylo's toys had succeeded, you would be making this speech to them.
Palpatine: [Stunned Silence]
- Calvin and Hobbes:
- When Hobbes misses a pounce on Calvin, he rolls hits the ground, rolls, stretches, licks, and pads off, nose in the air. Calvin, not fooled for a second, muses that Hobbes wants him to think he meant to do that. This is even better if you own a cat, because they do exactly the same thing.
- Another instance features Calvin making a fool of himself while trying to catapult a large snowball from a springboard consisting of a plank and a log.
Calvin: I meant to do that.
Hobbes: Then it worked very well.
- Calvin even managed to pull this off for a simple fall.
- In a Garfield strip set in early December, Jon is carrying groceries. Garfield leaps and yells, "AHA!" and rips the bag open with his claw, causing canned goods to fall on him. Jon says, "I still haven't bought your Christmas present Garfield", to which Garfield replies, "I knew that."
- U.S. Acres:
Sheldon: What's Orson doing?Booker: I'd say he's trying to pole vault over the fence but his pole is too flimsy and it will probably break (snap!) and he will crash into the fence (crash!) then he will try to play it down.Orson: I meant to do that!
- Roy hits Sheldon with a snowball and celebrates by banging on the wall, making the roof's snow fall on him. He claims he "meant to do that".
- Orson's attempt to pole vault over a fence.
- Lauren Lopez, Draco's actress in A Very Potter Musical, claims that this trope is the reason her Draco rolls around on the floor all the time; he tries to look cool in front of Harry and his friends by posing, fails miserably, then tries to make it look like he did it on purpose.
- In this Death Note fancomic, L hits a tennis ball right into Light's crotch. Light later claims to Ryuk that he knew that would happen, and deliberately didn't shield himself to avoid giving away his identity.
- Calvin says this after shooting Hobbes in the nose trying to get him down from his trap in the first episode of Script Fic Calvin and Hobbes: The Series.
- A frequent characteristic of Vesta in Game Theory.
- Sword Art Online Abridged may have a contender for the ultimate example of this trope. The first season was the result of Akihiko Kayaba working like a madman for three weeks straight to rush out Sword Art Online, only to discover that he'd created a Game-Breaking Bug that killed players when their characters died. Since he was having a mental breakdown due to stress and sleep deprivation, the best response he could come up with was to lock ten thousand players in this death game, tell them they had to Win to Exit, and "make it look like all part of your master plan instead of an ever-spiraling series of events that you have long since lost control of." Which he thought would lead to better Metacritic scores.
- RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse: In "File Under 'I' for 'Impossible'", Zizanie is caught out by Trixie, and asks if she'd seen through her act, and that this is the reason for Trixie's Bad Boss tendencies. Trixie claims it was totally all part of the plan, which Zizanie immediately sees through.
- In The Weaver Option the Mighty Iconoclastic Brotherhood was sent to assault the Cadian Gate. While the exact details aren't revealed, the Dark Council which ordered the assault insist that everything went according to the plans of Chaos and disagreeing on that is treason. What was left of the Brotherhood disagreed and took to piracy.
- Chicken Run: Nick and Fetcher the rats bring the eponymous chickens a radio. Upon one of them patting the side, the tuning knob shoots across the coop. "It's supposed to do that."
- Hercules: The Hydra battle. Hercules loses his sword, struggles to fight the Hydra until he retrieves it, and is caught off guard when the Hydra threw him into the air and swallowed him whole. But after a moment, Hercules cut his way out from inside the Hydra's throat. Covered in green slime and swaying on his clumsy feet, Hercules tells Philoctetes, "See, Phil. That...that wasn't so hard." However, he tries to sheath his sword, only to drop it on the ground, before he himself collapses. Looking at Phil, who asks how many horns he see, a dizzy Herc sees triple and his answer is "Six?"
- Thomas and the Magic Railroad:
- When Toby rings his bell very loudly to distract the Evil Diesel 10:, causing Diesel 10 to destroy the shed he and his cronies are under.
Diesel 10: It's the teapot! Smash him!
[Diesel knocks down shed roof with Pinchy, which traps him, Splatter, and Dodge inside]
Dodge: Uh, Boss? Did you mean to make the roof fall in?
Splatter: All the way in?
Diesel 10 Grr...I always mean what I do, ya rattletraps!
- Though in most cases, it just seems like a blatant lie on Diesel 10's part. He tries to deny the accidents he unintentionally causes and puts himself into, just to make him not look stupid, though Splodge don't buy it.
- When Toby rings his bell very loudly to distract the Evil Diesel 10:, causing Diesel 10 to destroy the shed he and his cronies are under.
- The Trope Namer is Pee-wee's Big Adventure, where Pee Wee crashes his bike spectacularly in front of a couple of aloof kids, albeit ending up neatly on his feet at the end, giving the claim a little credibility. Although pratfalls had been a staple of comedy since the beginning of time, Pee Wee's priceless rejoinder made this one famous in its own right.
- Gimli after falling off his horse in The Film of the Book The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers: "It was deliberate, it was deliberate!"
- The Terence Hill and Bud Spencer movie They Call Me Trinity features combat training with a group of Mormons. When one of the Mormons, during an actual battle, attempts to use Bud's trademark grapple, he keeps accidentally flipping the other guy 360 degrees — landing him right back on his feet. Repeat three times...
- Inspector Clouseau has done this in the various Pink Panther films.
- At one point he dismounted from a set of parallel bars by going down the stairs. When he saw that a bunch of people had seen him fall, he said, "Ah, that felt good!"
- After falling off a sofa in A Shot in the Dark he said, "I know I fell off the sofa, Madame. There's no need to tell me: everything I do is carefully planned, Madame."
- "Ah, the old closet ploy." (after walking into a cupboard when trying to leave a room).
- Non-comedic examples: the lightsaber battles in the Star Wars films, especially the prequels. One moment in The Phantom Menace: after Obi-Wan chops Darth Maul's lightsaber in half, Maul responds with a kick to the chin. Obi-Wan somersaults in mid-air and lands on his feet, his expression just begging for a chance to quote that famous line.
- In the Get Smart movie, Max tries to walk through a beaded curtain and accidentally knocks all of the hanging beads off of their threads, which later results in the guards slipping and knocking themselves out. He then turns to 99 and says "I set that up."
- Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Subversion: Willy Wonka, emerging from his shop for the first time in years, hobbles out on a cane. He continues hobbling after the cane gets stuck in the ground, seemingly unaware of its absence until he notices it gone, stops, falls over, but tucks into a roll at the last moment and springs to his feet, obviously more spry than he had previously let on. Gene Wilder added the scene as a way to introduce the fact that Wonka was more than he appeared. He also signed on to the movie on the condition he could do this exact scene.
- In Tomorrow When the War Began Homer shouts this after falling down Satan's Steps.
- In Desert Heat, Eddie Lomax walks into a door after being stunned by the diner girl's beauty, turns back to the rest of the diner, and laughs as though he was making a joke. But certainly appears embarrassed as he turns away and puts his hat back on.
- In Spaceballs, after mistaking the coffee machine for the radar, Dark Helmet insists that he always has a coffee before watching the radar.
- In Sonic the Hedgehog (2020), after Sonic manages to outwit him and escape a carefully planned trap, a stunned Dr. Robotnik admits probably for the first time in his life that he genuinely Didn't See That Coming...then he promptly adds that he was expecting to not expect something so it doesn't count.
- Codex Alera:
- In the final book, Tavi struggles to tear down the gates of one of the great cities of Alera, which are centuries old and have been continuously fortified and strengthened since their construction. He does manage to bring them down—as well as everything in a hundred foot radius. He doesn't say anything, but does play it off like part of the plan, to look more impressive.
- In a previous book, he does another wordless variation. When he's declaring that he's the Princeps of the realm, the ground shakes and a bright red light fills the sky as a result of a volcano erupting in the B plot miles away. Tavi has no more clue about what's going on than anyone else, but he decides to act as if he'd planned for it and use it to add dramatics to his speech.
- This is how Yossarian got his medal and rank in Catch-22: the military was unsure of how to handle his most recent flight, which destroyed the target but in an unusually risky manner and at a fairly high cost, so they decided to pretend this was intentional.
- Ciaphas Cain got the beginnings of his heroic reputation from this. While running away from a Tyranid attack, he discovered that it was a diversion and that his escape route went right into the main attack. Thus forewarned, his unit survived, and he got the credit because he couldn't very well admit that he'd tried to run.
- In Brothers of the Snake, one of the Space Marines is tasked with making a shot that's supposed to blow up the explosive charges. He takes it...misses...and promptly claims that the first shot was just checking the distance.
- In the second novel of Sergey Lukyanenko's Line of Delirium, Emperor Grey trips and falls while visiting a planet in The Empire. In order to save face, he then begins to offer praises to the planet and its people (similar to the Real Life example below). This turns into the Prostration ritual, during which he visits all the planets in his domain and prostrates and prays after leaving his shuttle. Once, though, he forgets to do that and then simply declares that he is changing the ritual.
- In the first chapter of Redwall, an unnamed bird swoops down on a basket left behind by Matthias hoping for a free meal, only to find inedible (to him) nuts. To avoid embarrassment "lest any other birds had been witness to his silly mistake" he makes it out like he just flew down to look for something else to eat.
- In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Lockhart founds the Dueling Club and is dumb enough to suggest Professor Snape as his sparring partner. Snape promptly wipes the floor with him, but Lockhart cheerfully explains that he just wanted to show what you shouldn't do in a fight.
- Discussed in Making Money; Moist thinks that Bent, rather than freaking out and locking himself in the vault after making a mistake, should have claimed that he made the mistake on purpose to test the clerks. "Even schoolteachers knew that one!" (Bent is both scrupulously honest and extremely serious, neither of which are qualities that have ever been ascribed to Moist.)
- Similar is one of the running gags of El Chapulín Colorado (a Mexican TV Superhero spoof); he would fall and then say one of his catch phrases: "Lo hice intencionalmente, todos mis movimientos estan friamente calculados." ("I did that intentionally, all my movements are coldly calculated.") He would also add silly reasons to the fall or otherwise klutz action, such as "testing the ground's stability" or "checking the balance of the walls".
- Doctor Who:
- "The Time of Angels": When River demonstrates she can pilot the TARDIS better than the Doctor can, and shows off some features he didn't know about, he insists that his method of piloting is better because it's more interesting.
- "The Vampires of Venice": The Doctor is doing some work to on the TARDIS and generally showing off for Rory and Amy when the console sudden erupts in an alarming shower of sparks. After an embarrassed pause, the Doctor defensively snaps "It's meant to do that."
- In one episode of Frasier, the characters are arguing with Martin, who is stubbornly refusing to get glasses despite clearly needing them. They're at their favourite coffee shop, and finally Martin snaps, leading to this moment:
Martin: There's nothing wrong with my eyes! [picks up a cream server] Now, if you don't mind, I just want to sit here quietly and have a...[realizes which cup he's picked up]...have a drink of cream, do you have a problem with that?! Good.
- And then, for added stubbornness points, he proceeds to take a sip of cream.
- Maxwell Smart from Get Smart is a master of this art. Often the unintentional pratfall does in fact save his life.
- Foggy from Last of the Summer Wine never misses a chance to boast about how he was putting on a facade of cluelessness to imply that the conversation is best held in private, how he acted all cowardly and prevented a situation from escalating into actual violence...generally how he did really badly, but nobody calls him on it because he'll just boast about that next.
- In MythQuest's depiction of the story of Minokichi and Yuki-Onna, Mosaku falls off an icy path. He assures Minokichi, "I'm alright. I just did that to prove how well I bounce."
- Rich Hall tells of such a moment in QI:
Rich: Funniest thing I ever saw was John McCririck fall out of a boat.
Stephen: [looks very interested] Really?
Rich: Pretended it didn't happen, and I was interviewing him, and so none of the crew could laugh until two hours later. Everyone laughed at the same time and didn't stop for half an hour. They kept it in for two hours. It is possible.
Stephen: That's fantastic. Because he was so...sort of...pompously refusing...?
Rich: Well, yeah, he's a big, blustery guy, and he had a cigar...and he fell right on top of me. And then fell out of the boat. And then got back in and said; 'Right. Where were we?' [makes 'Whut?' face] 'You just fell out of the boat! You're dripping wet!' Cigar just hanging out of his mouth...Guy pretended it never happened! So we all pretended it didn't happen until two hours later. We're driving back and the guy driving was just...(makes zigzag gesture)...almost wrecked, he was laughing so hard.
- Red Dwarf, "White Hole". Lister is attempting to shoot a planet into the eponymous "white hole" as you would pocket a ball in a game of pool (long story). He shoots, misses, hits a completely different planet and "pockets" that one instead. Lister immediately starts crowing about how it was a perfectly executed trick shot. Everyone else thinks he was just a very lucky git.
- Seinfeld: In "The Glasses", George takes a bite of a raw onion instead of an apple and tries to play it off as a conscious decision.
- In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Face of the Enemy", Troi, disguised as a Romulan Tal Shiar officer, is having dinner with the Romulan Commander Toreth. Toreth suggests that Troi try a dish called viinerine. However, Troi is unfamiliar with Romulan cuisine, so she grabs a random dish, only to be pointed out by Toreth that wasn't viinerine, to which Troi says "I've smelled fresher viinerine aboard a prison barge."
- Happens occasionally in pro wrestling. Due to the nature of the enterprise being a live performance in front of a crowd, action during the matches can be botched. Often when a botch is noticeable, the crowd will chant "You fucked up!" at the offending wrestler, especially if they didn't like him much to begin with. A heel wrestler who falls victim to this will sometimes turn to the crowd and sneer "I MEANT TO DO THAT," just to play up the fact that he is, in fact, a bit of a dick, for the sake of the show.
- Jake "The Snake" Roberts has said this was how he invented his Finishing Move, the DDT. He had his opponent in a front facelock and accidentally fell backwards, knocking his opponent out in the process.
- In the Cabin Pressure episode "Helsinki", while Carolyn is showing her sister Ruth her Alleged Aeroplane, she claims that the wing is supposed to be doing that and the plane is supposed to make that sound. She is unable, however, to go through with claiming that bits of the plane are supposed to fall off.
- In a possible Shout-Out to Pee-wee's Big Adventure, Paul Reubens also uses this line in his role as Rex, the droid who pilots the Starspeeder in the Star Tours rides at several Disney Theme Parks. After your ship has left the spaceport through the maintenance bay, Rex says, "I meant to do that — a little shortcut! Ha-ha!"
- At Universal Studios:
- Lady Aurelia Hammerlock from Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! has a skill called "Warning Shot", which grants her bonuses whenever she misses a shot with a sniper rifle. She also frequently insists that she's missing on purpose during this effect.
- In SSX 3, Psymon Stark says things like "Obviously intentional!" when he gets a power-up or a money token...and when he almost wipes out.
- A slight variation in Final Fantasy X. Happens if Tidus fails to do the Jecht Shot on the trip to Luca. He notices that Yuna was watching him and quickly does another flip, ending with a 'ta-da'. She isn't fooled.
- Guild Wars has a warrior skill called "I Meant to Do That!" that gives the player a boost if he's knocked down. Even better, the skill is a shout, so a speech bubble with the skill name appears above the player's head when he uses it.
- Used in Call of Duty: Black Ops. The achievement/reward for scoring a kill with a tomahawk that you first bounced off a wall or floor — a feat that will almost surely come by accident — is named "I Meant to Do That!"
- Guybrush says this in Chapter 1 of Tales of Monkey Island after he has caught the Desingeograph of his Poxed hand with his feet and flips it onto the picture bucket near the Illuminopictoscreen. Even though he says that as if he were doing it by accident, it is all a part to escape from the operating table in De Singe's laboratory.
- The Riddle of Master Lu: Ripley peeks down into the tomb of the first emperor of China with a matchstick and drops it when it burns his fingers. It hits a line of oil that lights up all the ancient lamps within. When Mei Chen asks what happened, he says he saw that would happen and dropped it on purpose.
- Merasmus of Team Fortress 2 says this sometimes when he acts like a Tactical Suicide Boss.
Merasmus: YOU...ARE...GODS! I...meant to do that! It will go badly for you. You watch.
- If you ask Remilia Scarlet from Touhou Project what she won in the Super Power Lottery, she'll boastfully tell you that she won the ability to Manipulate Fate. If you ask her little sister, Flandre, she'll tell you that Remilia won the ability to invoke this trope whenever she wants to look cooler than she really is.
- In Lost Horizon Fenton glues a broken Josephine Baker record together, hides the glue with gunpowder and slips it into the stack of German marching music records a Nazi interrogator is torturing Thomas with. When it explodes instead of playing and knocks the Nazi out, Fenton mutters that he meant to do that.
- In Persona 5, during Ann's romance arc she impulsively confesses that she loves the PC.
Ann: W-wait, what did I just say!?
Ren: You said 'I love you'.
Ann: I- I said what!? I...I mean...(assumes a daring expression)...yeah, I said it! And I meant it too! I really love you! Like, REALLY really! (Ren kisses her) H-hey...wait a-
- One of Cherub's quotes on a missed shot in XCOM: Chimera Squad is "That was a warning shot!".
- The Order of the Stick:
- Agatha Heterodyne of Girl Genius delivers the line when the coffee machine she's rebuilding explodes. Subverted in that she doesn't even have to use it at all to save face, the crowd of onlookers/helpers cheers at the explosion. It's also possible that she really did mean to do that, given her level of spark sanity when inventing and the spark "design process" in general.
- Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal:
- In Exterminatus Now, Virus tells the others about how Eastwood had his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend put to death on heresy charges. Eastwood indignantly defends himself pointing out that the guy actually was a heretic. Virus reminds him he didn't find that out until after they had him executed.
- Chairman Jack: Emerge: For all his seriousness and rationality, when Chairman Jack's plan to make short work of some sky pirates ends up badly to the point of him almost falling to his doom, he feels the need to assure his partner that this was all a deliberate attempt to distract the pirates.
- Sluggy Freelance:
- Riff, about his robot. "That's a feature. It plays dead! ...That's another feature. It's got interchangeable parts! [angrily] That's another feature!"
- In "Chapter 73: The Immortal King - Bound and Unbound", Riff accidentally fires his laser cannon instead of turning on his flashlight. He briefly admits his mistake but then corrects that that was his cooler but less effective flashlight.
- Mordecai in Lackadaisy invokes this trope with the help of some stairs
- Free Fall: Sam Starfall, upon discovering the hard way that microgravity is the perfect environment for stalking someone:
- Looking for Group has this exchange when Richard runs out of steam fighting Assaracus's whalephants:
Richard: Hey. Was it your plan to make incredibly flammable creatures, knowing I would expend the majority of my power simply to watch whalephant fat burn?
Assaracus: Behold my genius!
- In Stand Still, Stay Silent, Onni shows up in Mora with just a bag too small to contain even a change of clothes. When Taru asks him if it's really all he packed, we get to see a brief flash-back in which Onni's refusal to board the boat until the very last minute causes him to abandon most of his luggage on the pier and drop the one extra bag he had managed to grab in the water. Onni's official explanation? He "has no need for wordly possessions".
- The Let's Player raocow used to invoke this every time he made a mistake playing a game, usually saying "That was a demo" or "For Science!", so much so that the Romhack made by his fanbase, A Super Mario Thing, counts every player death, called the demo counter.
- On an episode of Man at Arms, said by Grant Imahara (from MythBusters) while testing Leonidas's sword on a watermelon and only chipping off a little bit.
- Sword Art Online Abridged has a rare example of this being played (sorta) for drama: when working three weeks straight with no sleep to the game to get out before its deadline, lead developer Kayaba Akihiko accidentally created a glitch that kills players when their avatars die. In his sleep-deprived state, he thought the game would be better received if he pretended this glitch was intentional and was all part of some master plan of a grand villain rather than a terrible bug, so he forbade everyone playing from being able to log out and forced them to clear the game instead of owning up to his own shortcomings as a developer.
Kirito: So, you thought that critics would be harsher on a game that killed a few people by accident, than one that killed thousands on purpose?
- The Nostalgia Critic makes fun of this during his first Top 11 Nostalgia Critic F*ckups video, when he gets to all of his spelling mistakes. He points out how people thought the typo at the end of A Kid in King Arthur's Court, which actually was a legitimate typo, was done on purpose as a joke since he spends a good portion of the episode beating his head with a book trying to forget he ever saw it:
Critic: A lot of people thought this was part of the joke, that I smashed my head so hard that I got the spelling wrong. Uh...yeah, that was it.
- Special Agent Oso: The title character's Catchphrase: "It's all part of the plan...more or less."
- King of the Hill: In the "Hank's Back Story", Dale and Hank are practicing for an upcoming mower racing event and end up mowing towards each in a game of chicken and both stop just before the get to the hedges that divide their yards. Then Dale indicates he will back out and twists around to see where he is going, but instead of reversing, the mower shoots forward through the hedges, and Dale yelps and almost falls off. Once his mower stops, Dale feigns deliberateness and tells Hank, "there's more where that came from," then calmly reverses out.
- Sadlygrove tries to pull this out after being tripped and tumbling during his duel against Prince Armand. Nobody's fooled.
- In season 2's Gobbowl arc, Kriss Krass also protests this when the Masked Gobbowler takes back the gobball whithout Kriss even noticing.
- American Dad!:
- In one episode, Francine joins a womens' society but tries to get out when they expect her to cheat on Stan. Just as they prepare to kill her to preserve their secrets, Francine's neighbor Linda interrupts and gives her a VERY passionate kiss. This convinces the women to back off ("No wonder she refused the cheat on Stan with a man...), and afterwards Francine thanks Linda for saving her with the fake lesbian kiss. Linda's response is this trope combined with Suspiciously Specific Denial ("Oh, here is your husband. I should get home to my husband, whom I love and am still sexually attracted to.")
- In another episode, Stan says "I'm the one who made the decisions that kept this family on track for twenty years. I deserve a little respect!" and storms off...into a pantry. When Francine points this out, Stan shouts "I'M LOOKING FOR PEACHES!"
- Lasso Lass, in the Codename: Kids Next Door episode "Operation: C.O.W.G.I.R.L.", says this after crashing through the rotten floor of her treehouse with her horse. And again at the end of the episode when she crashes through Mr. Wink and Mr. Fibb's fence when trying to ride off into the sunset.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- In the episode "The Return of Harmony, Part 2", Applejack slips on some soap, knocking over the other ponies. She immediately invokes this trope. Somewhat of a parody, as she was hypnotized by Discord to lie about everything at the time.
- Done visually by the Wonderbolts flying team in "Secret of My Excess": While fending off a rampaging dragon, they get captured in a water tower. They're freed after the crisis has passed, adopt a heroic pose, then fly off without a word.
- In "One Bad Apple", Babs Seed tries to impress Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon by knocking a wheel off of the Cutie Mark Crusaders' float. However, it ends up wrecking the entire float. She is clearly shocked, but since the two bullies are impressed by her act, she goes along with it.
- In "Newbie Dash", Rainbow Dash tries to pretend she was just testing the other Wonderbolts by not looking left and right before crossing the runway. None of them are fooled.
- We Bare Bears has Ice Bear getting the basketball stuck next to the hoop in a game. But as Ice Bear says, "Ice Bear meant to do that".
- Shimmer and Shine: Zac says this to Leah after crashing into a second mailbox in "Backyard Ballet".
- Earthworm Jim: In the teaser for "Assault and Battery", Jim and Peter Puppy are bound to an enormous boulder by Professor Monkey-For-A-Head, who is about to blast them with an enormous laser cannon. Jim tries to use his super-strength to break free, but instead yanks the rock out of the ground and squashes the Professor with it.
Jim: Would you believe I meant to do that?
Peter: Not a chance, big fella.
- She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: After Adora thrashes Seahawk at arm-wrestling in a contest to see whether he'll take them to their destination, Seahawk insists that he let her win to boost her confidence and anyway he was just looking for an excuse to sail that way.
Adora & Glimmer: [SKEPTICISM INTENSIFIES]
- When Julius Caesar went to Africa (to fight his nemesis, Pompeius Magnus), he stumbled and fell when leaving the ship. Since this could be considered a bad omen, he immediately exclaimed, "I have you, Africa!"
- William the Conqueror did something similar upon tripping on the shore of England, then proclaiming that he would "grasp it with both hands". Overall, this precise story seems to be something of a wandering anecdote and as the tales of the conquering are usually written when the conquering is done, it's hard to say whether the falling down and quipping about it happened as described or at all.
- Cats never break their cool, even in those rare moments when you might be mistaken into believing that they appeared foolish.
- (Pet) Fancy Rats, oddly enough, do the same thing. Every time they do something ridiculous it's either immediately followed by "I totally meant to do that" air, or hasty self-grooming and enforced nonchalance attempting to indicate it never happened.
- Inverted the case of Douglas "Wrong Way" Corrigan, who supposedly intended to fly from New York to Long Beach but ended up in Ireland in 1938. Many believe that his supposed "navigational error" was in fact a deliberate turn, since he had previously announced his intention to cross the Atlantic but had been denied permission from aviation authorities because they thought his plane was not suited for transoceanic flight.
- When a sex scene in his novel I Am Charlotte Simmons won the "Bad Sex in Fiction" award, Tom Wolfe started telling anyone who would listen that the sex scene was supposed to be bad.
- One time when Demi Lovato was performing "Until You're Mine", she tripped and started laughing. During one of the instrumental breaks, she said "I planned that, the whole falling thing? That was already planned."
- This trope seems to be the underlying philosophy behind the trend of people saying "I Lied" instead of "I was mistaken/I was wrong/My bad". Apparently, these people think of themselves as pulling off plans and believe that they're tricking you into believing that they just tricked you into believing that they were wrong about some small thing.
- Recent research has concluded that February-November 1916 Battle of Verdun was not an example. The idea that it did demonstrate this trope comes from the Entente Cordiale's wartime propaganda about the battle. This propaganda claimed that the Operation's mastermind, General von Falkenhayn, had wanted to take the fortress-sector of Verdun and that when he failed to do so he lied about never having wanted to do that. This was untrue. Falkenhayn had not wanted to actually take Verdun, as trench warfare made attacking very costly. Rather, he had wanted to provoke the French into attacking an area where the Germans could mount the strongest possible defense. Unfortunately, the German field commander at Verdun — Crown Prince Wilhelm — abused his operational autonomy by abandoning Falkenhayn's plan and trying to capture Verdun. These attacks failed with heavy losses, rendering the German forces unable to defend against the French attacks which followed.
- It's often said in dining etiquette that if you accidentally use the wrong utensil, you should carry on as if you knew what you were doing.
- This is a general rule for theater performers: Any line-flub or screw-up should be treated as though it were always part of the performance, which can lead to some interesting improvisations on the part of actors and actresses.
- Freddie Mercury's bottomless microphone stand originated during a gig very early in Queen's career, when his mic stand snapped in half in the middle of a song, but he carried on with the intact bit and decided it would be more interesting to keep it like that.
- On occasion, during sharpshooting performances, Annie Oakley would miss her target purely for show and visibly pout about it afterwards. Oakley never missed a target without meaning to.
- In general, a good performer is not necessarily one who never trips up, but one who's quick enough in thinking on their feet to pull this trope so well you don't even notice.
- Donald Trump has one of two tactics to choose from to save face after he's done or said something dumb: Either deny he did/said it despite actual video and audio evidence, or this trope. A perfect example of the latter is a tweet reading "Despite the constant negative press covfefe", which was so nonsensical it immediately went memetic, especially the nonsense word it ended in. After deleting the tweet, he attempted to save face by challenging followers to guess the meaning of the Perfectly Cromulent Word he'd accidentally coined and apparently compelling then-press secretary Sean Spicer to imply it was some sort of codeword or in-joke if challenged on it.
- Let's face it: Everyone ever has at some point tried to pass off a potentially embarrassing mistake or stumble as perfectly intentional if they thought they might get away with it. Yes, even you. Getting good enough at doing this casually and humorously will make you seem even cooler and more charismatic than if you hadn't made the mistake in the first place.
- This tactic is used by stage performers and magicians when they mess up a routine or trick. Stuttering, stopping the show, and stating, "Oh, I messed it up," will make you look bad, but claiming you magically turned the card they picked into the one you picked can be even more entertaining than performing the trick correctly in the hands of a skilled entertainer.
- Inverted wholeheartedly by magician Tommy Cooper, who obsessively honed his performances so that it always looked like he was utterly screwing up his own tricks, before triumphantly arriving at the intended result "Just like that"/ In his case, he really did mean to do that, and any comments he made to that effect were scripted to take advantage of the audience's belief that he was floundering. He was so well known for it that when he suffered a fatal heart attack on stage, the audience initially thought it was all just part of the act.
- This is how Pete Townshend of The Who's famous guitar smashing started. Townshend accidentally cracked the neck of his guitar on a club's low ceiling, then smashed his guitar out of frustration and to make it look like he'd done it on purpose. The band's manager, Kit Lambert, loved it so much he asked Townshend to do it for every performance.