Follow TV Tropes

Following

I Warned You
aka: I Told You So

Go To

https://mediaproxy.tvtropes.org/width/350/https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/i_told_you_so.jpg
The Prince of Smugness

Sadlygrove: Yugo? Amalia?
Piglet Yugo: *Oink*
Piglet Amalia: *Oink*
Sadlygrove: I would hate to play the "I warned you" card... [deep breath] BUT I WARNED YOU!
Wakfu, "The Dragon-Pig"
Advertisement:

A character is (sometimes, quite specifically) warned of the horrible things that can happen if they do Action A. They blow off the warnings and the evidence to back it up. After the terrible things happen, The Cassandra then informs them they have no-one to blame but themselves. Depending on Alice's personality, the tone of the work and what the consequences are, she might be smug about being right or angry that Bob didn't listen, among other reactions.

Alice: Do not take the Shmuck Bait, you idiot. If you do, terrible things will happen. Do not tempt fate.
Bob: What's the worst that can happen?
[terrible things happen]
Alice: I Warned You.

That statement, whether or not it uses the Stock Phrase "I Warned You" or "I Told You So" is this trope, provided the warning took place. If it did not, due to Poor Communication Kills, Not Now, Kiddo, or the warning not reaching its intended recipient, but the Stock Phrase is dropped anyway, the trope has been inverted, not played straight.

Advertisement:

Generally — though not always — Played for Drama if played straight. The victim may ask The Cassandra for help in solving whatever problem they caused, much to the Cassandra's aggravation. The Cassandra may also say Screw This, I'm Outta Here! and flat-out refuse to help the victim with their predicament, particularly if they've been pushed to the breaking point by the victim insulting their warnings or just the victim's sheer stupidity. Even the Only Sane Man can only take so much abuse.

If Played for Laughs, expect The Cassandra to be an exaggeratively smug or jerkish in using this trope (a likely consistent trait that lent to no-one listening to them in the first place) and at least one indignant victim to try and silence them (usually by yelling a bitter "Oh Shut Up!"). Due to often gloat-heavy context of this trope (and the likely two-way arrogance that caused them to be ignored in the first place), the previously dismissive characters at the very least will often be a Sore Loser and only admit The Cassandra was right and apologise very begrudgingly at best (unless they need to beg them to fix the problem caused by this).

Advertisement:

Subverted, The Cassandra has every opportunity to say "I warned you!", but doesn't even bat an eye because they know they won't be believed.

This trope is often used after one of the various Threatening Tropes appears only to be ignored, or after a seemingly-mundane threat that is taken lightly turns out to be Not Hyperbole.

Contrast Poor Communication Kills, Not Now, Kiddo, where the information doesn't reach its intended destination. Compare Cassandra Truth and Ignored Expert. Overlaps with Can't You Read the Sign? if the person who originally posted the sign points it out to the characters who got into trouble by ignoring it.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Ballads 
  • In The Lord of Lorn and the False Steward, the mother when they receive the letter telling what happened to their son.
    When the Ladye of Learne these tydings heard,
    O Lord! shee wept soe biterlye:
    "I told you of this, now good my lord,
    When I sent my child into that wild country."

    Comic Books 
  • In Bone, Lucius warns the regulars at his tavern not to be taken in by Phoney Bone's Mystery Cow scam. They don't listen to him (or rather, they do, but Phoney tricks them all over again), so after the race ends and the con is exposed, the townsfolk want to lynch Phoney, but are held off by Lucius, who later points out that they have no-one else to blame but themselves for being swindled;
    Lucius: But I warned ya! I told ya you were bein' played for a buncha saps, but ya didn't listen to me, did ja? Huh? Did ja? that's right! An' when Gran'ma Ben won that race, I was the only one who bet on her! Me an' Gran'ma coulda split that pot, but noooooo... We felt sorry for ya! All bets were off an' we let ya have yer livestock back! All told, I'd say you girls got off easy!
  • Fantastic Four: In their college years, Reed Richards warned Victor von Doom that he made a few miscalculations that would cause his new invention to malfunction. Victor didn't listen and the machine blew up in his face. Literally. Victor's oh-so-reasonable response was to drop out of college, build a suit of Powered Armor, take over a country, and spend the rest of his life trying to ruin the lives of Reed Richards and his loved ones in revenge for causing the failure.
  • Incredible Hulk: Far too many fools to count have heard "Leave Hulk alone" or "Hulk just wants to be left alone" and decided not to listen, continuing to mess with him until he inevitably got angry.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW): When first introduced, Shadow was convinced that Eggman, at the time suffering amnesia and going under the moniker Mr. Tinker, was too much of a liability to keep alive and wanted to take him out right then and there lest he regain his memories. Sonic convinces him otherwise, but ultimately his fears were justified as later Eggman does indeed regain his memories thanks to Dr. Starline and Metal Sonic and continues his evil actions, leading to the Metal Virus outbreak. Shadow does not miss the chance to remind Sonic of his warning the next time they meet.
    • The Chaotix, who found Eggman first, also had misgivines about sparing Eggman, amnesiac or not. Their fears are also proven correct when Eggman returns, and Vector doesn't hesitate to remind Sonic of their warning. Espio is even harsher about it after losing Vector and Charmy to the Metal Virus, angrily condemning Sonic for his poor judgment.
    • After the Zeti gain control of the Zombots thanks to Starline, Eggman, as part of his truce with the heroes, suggests using Starline's Warp Topaz and the Chaos Emeralds to get rid of the Metal Virus for good. Starline objects, fearing exposure to the Chaos Emeralds' power could overtax the Warp Topaz with disastrous results, but is ignored and given the boot. However, Starline later turns out to have been half-right: although Super Sonic and Super Silver destroy the Metal Virus, they overload the Warp Topaz in the process and it explodes before they can dispose of it. While the outcome isn't as bad as Starline feared, Sonic goes M.I.A. in the aftermath.
  • Discussed in the Archie Sonic the Hedgehog series, after Great Battle Kukku dismisses Speedy's warnings to entrust the Babylon Rogues. Inevitably, things go pear shaped and Kukku bellows at Speedy to find out what the Rogues are playing at. Speedy considers saying "I told you so" but decides it's not worth time in the brig.
  • Ultimatum: Nick Fury warned the heroes, back in Ultimate Power, that if they left him out, terrible things would happen. And they happened indeed. He does not miss the chance to remind them of this.

    Comic Strips 
  • An early FoxTrot storyline had Paige being asked out by a senior student who is known to be a sleazebag, which she accepted even though Peter repeatedly warned her, which Paige dismissed. Of course, he tried to make moves on her, despite saying no, and he only relented after she threatened to mace him (which Paige only brought because Peter made her). After telling Peter what happened, his only response is that he's going to spend weeks taunting her and saying "I told you so," which only made Paige's night worse.
  • One rather long series of Peanuts comic strips starts with Charlie Brown volunteering for the school spelling bee. Violet (who's sitting behind him) whispers, "Don't do it, you'll just make a fool of yourself!" Charlie Brown doesn't listen, and sadly, he messes up royally in the first round (his love of baseball causes him to accidentally spell his word, "maze", M-A-Y-S). Violet tells him, "I told you you'd make a fool of yourself." (And the day only gets worse for poor Charlie Brown from there...)
  • In one Calvin and Hobbes strip, Calvin imagines himself as a volcano spewing lava into the air. The last panel reveals that Calvin is frantically gulping down water after having drunk a bottle of chili sauce, while being scolded by his parents.
    Dad: I told you that chili sauce was hot!
    Mom: Yecchh, he spewed it all across the table!

    Films — Animation 
  • An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island: On their way to the Indian village, McBrusque and his men approach a room that is filled with deadly traps. Having gone through there earlier in the film, Scuttlebutt warns McBrusque not to go further, but is ignored. McBrusque and his men grab Scuttlebutt and charge into the room. They make it through, but not unscathed.
    Scuttlebutt: (comes out the tunnel, smoldering) Told you it was dangerous, but did anyone listen? Nooo. Might as well been talking to a brick wall!
  • In Disney's The Aristocats, Toulouse is the only one who suspects that Edgar was the one to took them away from their home, but his siblings and Duchess find it ludicrous and laugh it off. Then when they return home, Edgar stuffs them in a bag and locks them in the oven, Toulouse has this to say:
    Toulouse: I told you it was Edgar!
    Berlioz: Aw, shut up Toulouse!
  • In Beauty and the Beast, Cogsworth savours this trope after Lumière letting in Maurice (against Cogsworth's heavy objections) angers the Beast and gets the former locked up:
    Cogsworth: *snide* Ooh, couldn't keep quiet, could we? Just had to invite him to stay, didn't we? "Zerve him tea in ze master's chair, pet de pooch!"
    Lumière: *sulking* I was trying to be hospitable.
  • At the end of Chicken Run, after the chickens have escaped, blowing up the pie machine and making a huge mess of the farm in the process, the only thing Mr. Tweedy has to say to Mrs. Tweedy is a gently-reproachful "I told you they was organised!" Enraged, Mrs. Tweedy gnashes her teeth and growls at him. But Mr. Tweedy, fed up with his wife's abuse, drops what's left of the barn door on top of her.
  • Another Disney example is in Robin Hood (1973). This is Sir Hiss's usual rebuttal to Prince John's traps always failing, as well as details that the Prince is too spoiled to acknowledge.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Avengers: Endgame: Immediately after returning to Earth following the events of Infinity War, Tony lashes out at everyone, Steve especially, for ignoring his suggestions on avoiding the inevitable attack by Thanos and claims things could have turned out differently if they went along with it.
    Tony: I said we'd lose and you said "we'll do that together too", and guess what Cap? We lost. And you weren't there.
  • Back to the Future, when 1955 Doc Brown finds the "Do not open until 1985" letter:
    Doc: What's the meaning of this?!
    Marty McFly: You'll find out in thirty years!
    Doc: It's about the future, isn't it?! I warned you about this, kid! The consequences could be disastrous!
    Marty: But that's a risk you're gonna have to take! Your life depends on it!
    Doc: NO! [tears up letter] I refuse to accept the responsibility!
  • The Book of Eli: In the first fifteen minutes of the movie, when the raider shoves Eli.
    Eli: Touch me with that hand again and you're not getting it back.
  • The Cat in the Hat movie narrowly averts but still plays with this trope when the Fish appears just as the Cat himself has finally been sent away by the understandably angry Sally and Conrad for completely destroying their home, the Fish having earlier warned them about trusting the Cat. However just before he can go through with saying anything snide, he quickly backs off and leaves the kids alone.
    Fish: Good riddance! Now this may not be the time for "I told you so" but...
    [pieces of debris from bits of the destroyed house falls down and makes a loud crashing sound as Sally and Conrad stare down at the fish, without any hint of amusement in their expressions]
    Fish: Like I said, not the time.
  • The Dark Knight
    • Lampshaded with:
      Bruce: We all know how much you like to say "I told you so."
      Alfred: On that day, Master Wayne, even I won't want to. Probably.
    • And its Ironic Echo...
      Bruce: Today you get to say "I told you so."
      Alfred: Today I don't want to. [they start to walk out] But I did bloody tell you.
  • Death Wish 4: The Crackdown at the end of the movie, the fake Nathan White kills Paul Kersey's girlfriend, and all he can say is that he warned him that he would kill her. This proves to be the last thing that he ever says.
    White: I told you... I warned you I'd kill her! I warned you! I'd kill he— [Kersey fires a grenade, obliterating White]
  • Fantastic Four (2005): Ben Grimm rubs it in while he helps free Reed Richards from being frozen by liquid nitrogen, courtesy of Victor von Doom.
    Ben Grimm: Victor ain't that bad, huh? He's just a little larger than life, right? Maybe next time you'll listen to me before— [the lights go out and Doom tackles Ben]
  • From Get Out (2017): "Man, I told you not to go in that house."
  • Ghostbusters: Walter Peck orders a Con Edison worker to shut off power to the Ecto-containment grid despite warnings from Egon Spengler, Peter Venkman, and the Con Ed worker.
    Venkman: If you shut that thing off, we won't be held responsible.
    Peck: On the contrary, you will be held completely responsible. [to Con Ed worker] Shut it off.
    Venkman: Don't shut it off. I'm warning you.
    Con-Ed Man: I never seen anything like this before. I don't know...
    Peck: I'm not interested in your opinion. Just shut it off.
    [later, at the Mayor's office]
    Stantz: Everything was fine with the system, until the power grid was shut off by Dickless here.
  • Gremlins
    Grandfather: With Mogwai, comes much responsibility. I cannot sell him at any price.
    • Randall Peltzer acquires a mogwai anyway. Warnings about them are ignored and the gremlins run wild.
      Grandfather: I warned you. With mogwai comes much responsibility. But you didn't listen.
    • Ironically, the warnings were heeded. The mistake came from trusting an analog clock that turned out to be stopped because the evil Mogwai (later Gremlin) Stripe had sabotaged it. The "do not get them wet" rule being broken was an accident.
  • The Goonies: After realizing they're dealing with the wanted Fratelli gang. Of course, it's justified, considering Chunk has a long history of Crying Wolf to everyone in town.
    Chunk: See, you guys! You never listen to me! I said there was gonna be trouble, but you didn't listen to me! You guys are crazy! You know, you guys are self-destructive! There's a funny farm that has your names written all over it!
  • Played for laughs in Hot Shots! Part Deux during the flashback. A station hand cries out "Board! Board!", a man reading a newspaper ignores him... until a construction worker walks by with a 2×4, smacking the man and knocking him out. The other person's reaction? "Warned you. Warned you twice."
  • In I, Robot, as the NS-5s begin their Zeroth Law Rebellion, Spooner bursts in, rescues Calvin from her rebelling NS-5, and glibly tells her, "Y'know, somehow, 'I told you so'... just doesn't quite say it."
  • Averted in Into the Woods. Unlike in the stage show, we see nothing bad happen to Rapunzel after she ignores the Witch's warnings about "the world" and chooses her Prince over her "mother".
  • In Kick-Ass 2, when The Motherfucker tries to rob a store while holding his guns Gangsta Style, an old man tells him if he doesn't hold his guns properly, the recoil will make the guns fly back into his face. Motherfucker fires, and exactly this happens. The old man tells him off for not listening to him.
  • Men in Black: After K shoots Jeebs:
    K: I warned him. You warned him.
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Tim the Enchanter warns King Arthur about the deadly Rabbit of Caerbannog but Arthur doesn't believe him. During the battle three of Arthur's knights are killed by the Rabbit, including one who has his throat ripped out.
    Tim: I warned you! I warned you, but did you listen to me? Oh no, you knew it all, didn't you? Oh, it's just a harmless little bunny, isn't it?
  • In The Mummy (1999) remake, when the Americans find Imhotep's tomb and one of them reads the warning etched on it. Their guide (and Dirty Coward) Beni runs off yelling to beware the curse. They don't believe him thinking he's being superstitious. Of course Imhotep gets loose and starts draining the life of those that opened the casket. One of the Americans manages to escape but with his eyes and tongue taken. As the surviving American rests at a hotel, Beni (now working for Imhotep) tricks said American into meeting with a healer who is really Imhotep in disguise. Before the American is drained, Beni tells him that he did warn them not to open the tomb.
    • Earlier, Rick is wary of Evie reading the Book of the Dead's incantations, but Evie dismisses him, stating that "no harm could come from reading a book." Evie ends up awakening Imhotep as a result, and when they escape, Rick explicitly states, "Didn't I tell you not to play around with that thing?"
    • Gets a Call-Back in the sequel, when Rick and Evie are exploring a tomb and find a treasure chest. Sure enough, opening it sets off a trap that nearly kills them.
      Evelyn: It's only a chest. No harm ever came from opening a chest.
      Rick: Right, and no harm ever came from reading a book. Remember how that one went?
  • Pitch Black: When Johns is considering releasing Riddick until they get off the planet, Riddick gives Johns an honest warning that he'd be better off killing Riddick there and then rather than run the risk of getting knived by Riddick in pursuit of a bounty. Riddick reminds Johns of this when he kills him to use Johns as bait for the predators.
  • Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows has Moran say this after he shoots a soldier who is blocking his line of fire as he is trying to shoot Watson. Inverted in that there was no way for the soldier to hear the warning. Moran was simply commenting.
  • In Superman: The Movie, the villainous Lex Luthor gets a turn at this after "warning" the Man of Steel not to open the lead-lined box he's just found (which Superman believes is the hiding place for Lex's detonator). The box instead contains green kryptonite.
    Luthor:(smirk) I told ya.
  • Taken. After getting his daughter kidnapped, Brian Mills warns the attackers that they really should let her go because if they don't, he will look for them, he will find them, and he will kill them. He only gets "good luck" in response. Two days later he meets a bunch of Albanian guys whom he believes to be involved in the attack and asks one of them to translate a phrase from Albanian to English, which the guy does, the phrase being "good luck". Recognizing the voice, Brian reminds the guy of their earlier chat on the phone, saying "I told you I would find you".
  • The Vice President in The Day After Tomorrow gets this served to him by a geologist after ignoring the warnings of global warming by Jack Hall (and likely costing millions of lives by refusing to take any action in time).
  • In Total Recall (1990), the Big Bad Cohaagen constantly lambasts his Dragon, Richter for trying to kill Quaid (in fact an old friend of his in a mind switch operation gone wrong), reminding him he's not paid to think when he reminds him of the dangers he's enforcing. When Quaid resists his own plan to reformat his mind and risks destroying his power, Richter smugly asks whether he wants to reconsider:
    Cohaagen: [grudging] Kill him.
    Richter: About goddamn time.
  • Professor Xavier says this to Logan in X-Men: The Last Stand after Phoenix escapes, having been awoken by Logan before Xavier could bring Jean Grey back to normal.

    Literature 
  • The Cat Who... Series: Early on in book #11 (The Cat Who Lived High), when Qwill is making plans to go back to Down Below for a while, pretty much everyone he knows tells him it's a bad idea and advises him not to go. When the police call them to inform them Qwill is dead (it's actually a thief who stole his car and was misidentified), everyone is deeply distressed, and Chief Andrew Brodie even cries "I warned him!"
  • In Codex Alera, thanks to being Mindlink Mates, Tavi and Kitai preempt the other saying this because they can feel the smug amusement on multiple occasions.
  • Twice, pretty much word for word, in Darkness Visible. The second time is a callback to the first.
    Lewis: You will see me in this office again, Wilson, even if it is only for sufficient time to say "I warned you" before the world ends!

    Lewis: "Very well then, Wilson, stay and gibber in your precious office," I told him crossly. "But if we fail, consider this as me saying 'I bloody warned you'!"
  • In The Dresden Files, one of the conditions Harry sets when offering Molly apprenticeship is that she must obey his orders: she can question them, but she can't disobey. He tells her to stay out of a particularly dangerous situation, but she ignores him and sneaks along. Dresden, being an accomplished wizard, figures out that she did sonote , and gets so mad that she's not following instructions (in addition to being ramped up on anger from the situation already), that he torments her with a tiny but incredibly hot ball of fire that slowly inches towards her, taunting her to stop it with her power. She is completely unable to do so, and he's utters the trope line, pointing out that it's dangerous out in the world and she's not ready for it. He contemplates letting the ball of fire incinerate her for a few dangerous seconds before he's called out on it by Murphy.
  • Larry Niven's Flatlander features Beowulf Shaeffer delivering a humorously over the top "I Told You So" to Gregory Pelton.
  • A serious example comes up in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Albus Dumbledore constantly warns Cornelius Fudge of Voldemort's return, and Fudge dismisses it despite overwhelming evidence, instead leading a smear campaign against Dumbledore and Harry. When Voldemort shows up in person at the Ministry, Dumbledore wastes no time in telling Fudge to his face that he wasted the entire year chasing around the wrong man despite his constant warnings.
  • In The Last Continent, it's noted that wizards go after Schmuck Bait so often that it makes DO NOT signs rather pointless, at the very least you could say, as you handed the offending wizard's remains to his grieving relatives, "We told him not to."
  • Rayford Steele, near the end of Glorious Appearing in the Left Behind book series, tells his wife Irene, who has been warning him about Jesus' Second Coming and the Rapture, that she is entitled to "one cosmic I-told-you-so".
  • Polly to Digory in The Magician's Nephew after he falls for the Shmuck Bait that wakes up the White Witch. In Prince Caspian, when it turns out that Lucy was right about the route the group should have taken and they'll have to go back the way they came, Peter congratulates her on pointing this out without saying "I told you so."
  • In the children's book The Silly Gooses, Mr. Goose constantly does various goofy things, much to the annoyance of his flock, who warn him that he will never find a wife if he doesn't stop being so silly. Soon everyone gets married except Mr. Goose, who gets an I Told You So from the married couples. Subverted when he actually does find a female goose who is as silly as he is, and they get married.
  • Subverted in A Song of Ice and Fire during Joffrey's eventful reign. Both Tyrion and Tywin Lannisters attempt various lessons amounting to "if you continue with this hare-brained idiocy, you will wind up dead, you fool!", but Joff doesn't usually let them finish. By the time the chickens come home to roost, neither Tyrion nor Tywin manage the "told you so" bit, being way too busy dealing with the fall-out to find the time. Nevertheless, the phrase looms, unspoken.
    • Cersei gets in on this act, too. Except it's her uncle, Kevan, who is unable to bask in the rosy glow of being right about the looming disaster her ham-fisted stacking of the Small Council with Yes-Men during her time as the unbridled Queen Regent promised. He's too busy being dead after being murdered because he was trying his best to start fixing it, weeks after giving her a huge, if sarcastically polite, Take That!. Being ultimately proved right in Westeros doesn't seem to do you many favours, nor do you get much chance to get smug.
    • During A Game of Thrones Littlefinger at one point openly tells Eddard Stark that he is extremely wise not to trust him, with the underlying implication that in the Decadent Court of the capital he'll be wise not to trust anyone. When it turns out Littlefinger has decided to throw his lot in with the Lannisters and backstabs Eddard at the worst possible moment, he comments to Ned that "I did warn you not to trust me, you know" as the latter is arrested.
    • In the backstory novel Fire & Blood set in the same universe, a detachment of soldiers led by the corrupt Kingsguard knight Ser Amaury Peake are en route to arrest Lady Larra Rogare on false charges when they find their path blocked by her husband, Prince Viserys Targaryen, holding a battleaxe. Viserys bluntly says they're not touching his wife, slams the axe into the drawbridge they're standing on and warns anyone who goes past the axe will die. Peake and his men laugh off the threat and advance...at which point Larra's personal bodyguard, Sandoq the Shadow charges out and, as promised kills the lot of them (ironically, Peake, the last man standing, gets his head split open with said axe). When the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard challenges Viserys's brother, King Aegon III, over letting one of his Kingsguard die in such a manner, Aegon retorts that Peake and his men were warned what would happen if they walked past the axe and still chose to disobey a royal command, so they brought their deaths on themselves.
  • Vanessa Michael Munroe: In book two, The Innocent, Munroe is about to be gang-raped by two men, who fail to heed her warnings and get their asses handed to them on a platinum platter as a result.
  • In Andy Griffith's Just Crazy, Andy tries to warn his father that he's only locked outside naked because their dog Sooty has gone crazy and taken his towel. His father doesn't believe him, but when Sooty spies his towel...
    Andy: I hate to say I told you so. I mean I really hate to say I told you so. [deep breath] But I—
    Andy's Father: Shut up!

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The 4400, NTAC Director Dennis Ryland learns a TV reporter has acquired the list of names of the 4400 returnees. Knowing that revealing the list would endanger the lives of the returnees, Dennis twice demands the reporter to return the list and not report the returnees names as there will be consequences. The reporter doesn't heed his warnings and releases the names on the list. In retaliation, Dennis later reveals to the reporter that he obtained evidence that she tried to cover up a hit and run she was involved where the victim died and has sent it to the press, telling the shocked reporter that, had she listened to him, her dark past would have not been revealed and her career forever ruined.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: In "Absolution", Giyera corners Daisy and Fitz. Fitz warns Giyera, "I have a weapon in place on this plane that's designed to kill you!" Twice Fitz warns Giyera, "You won't see it coming." He then shoots Giyera dead with a gun rendered invisible by a cloaking field.
    Fitz: I did tell you, a few times.
  • Angel: Hinted at, but ultimately subverted in the episode "Disharmony"; Cordelia insists on giving Harmony a fair chance despite her being a complete pest to the team; Angel explicitly tells her that, as a vampire, Harmony will inevitably turn on her, but Cordelia blows him off. Angel is proven right when Harmony sells the Angel Investigations team out to the vampire cult she was supposed to help them investigate. Cordelia allows Harmony to leave out of respect for their former friendship, and Angel approaches, apparently intending to give her one of these, but Cordelia explicitly tells him not to say a word.
  • Babylon 5: In "Severed Dreams":
    Delenn: [addressing the Grey Council] Three years. For three years I warned you this day was coming, but you would not listen. Pride, you said, presumption. And now the Shadows are on the move. The Centauri and the younger worlds are at war, the Narns have fallen, even the Humans are fighting one another.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon complains that he has said it so many times (of debatable merits) that from then on, he will say "I informed you thusly."
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In "Passion", Xander goes off on a rant about this after Angelus kills Giles' Love Interest Jenny Calendar, having never liked Angel and openly supporting Giles' Roaring Rampage of Revenge:
      Xander: I'm sorry, but let's not forget that I hated Angel long before you guys jumped on the bandwagon. So I think I deserve a little something for not saying "I told you so" long before now. And if Giles wants to go after the, uh, fiend that murdered his girlfriend, I say, "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!"
    • Xander got in another one with regards to his relationship with Angel. After Angel punched out Xander, the latter went back to the gang to report the return of Angelus. Unbeknownst to Xander, Angel was pretending to be Angelus to expose Faith and the Mayor.
      Xander: You know those people who don't like to say 'I told you so?' Not me. I told you so.
    • In "Doomed", when an earthquake strikes, Buffy is paranoid and convinced the world is going to end, especially since the last time an earthquake hit Sunnydale, it led to her Disney Death at the hands of the Master; when she tells Giles, however, he dismisses her concerns, reminding her that earthquakes are a common Southern California occurrence. When Willow later comes across a body with an arcane symbol carved into its chest, Giles does some research and discovers that it is indeed the end of the world again; Buffy does not let him live it down.
      Buffy: I told you. I-I said end of the world and you're like "poo-poo southern California, poo-poo!"
      Giles: I am so sorry. My contrition completely dwarfs the impending apocalypse.
  • Coach: Hayden got to say this over and over after his wiser wife Christine finally makes a mistake and gets arrested after a rowdy bachelorette party by not listening to him.
  • Community:
  • In Season 7 of Dexter, Louis Greene was threatened by Dexter to stay out of his life, however Louis did not heed the warning, prompting Dexter to take actions that cause Louis to lose his job and girlfriend Jamie. With revenge in mind, Louis continued to pester Dexter by attempting to mess with Dexter's boat. Louis is ultimately murdered by Isaak Sirko by simply being "involved with Dexter".
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Web of Fear" starts with Professor Travers, previously featured on "The Abominable Snowmen", warning Julius Silverstein of the massive danger posed by the Robot Yeti shell owned by the latter now that a control sphere has been reactivated and is on the loose. Silverstein turns him away, which predictably results in the control sphere breaking in and reanimating the Yeti, leading to an apocalyptic takeover of London. The exchange between the two, which includes the trope name verbatim, became a minor meme thanks to the Twitch Classic Doctor Who marathon trailers.
    • "School Reunion":
      Mickey Smith: You see, what's impressive is that it's been nearly an hour since we met her and I still haven't said "I told you so".
      Rose Tyler: I'm not listening to this.
      Mickey Smith: Though I have prepared a little "I was right" dance I can show you later.
    • The Doctor also plays this line for drama all the time. Especially Ten. It goes with his "I'm giving you a chance" mantra, which the Monster of the Week almost invariably ignores.
    • He says it verbatim in "The Runaway Bride" after blowing up and drowning the last of the Racnoss.
      The Doctor: I warned you. You did this.
  • In Farscape, everyone is after the wormhole knowledge locked away in Crichton's head. Finally, in the wrap-up mini-series, he unleashes a wormhole weapon, which appears to function like a black hole that doubles in size every few minutes. It's only then that everyone finally realizes that using such weapons is utter madness. All Crichton can do is laugh and use this trope.
  • In an episode of Frasier, Roz ends up producing Bulldog's show, and the two start really gelling. Frasier is convinced that Bulldog is only keeping Roz around so he can seduce her, Roz is convinced that Frasier is merely jealous, and eventually breaks off her friendship with Frasier over it. Of course, Bulldog is only keeping Roz around so he can seduce her, he tries it on later that night, and who should come along while Roz is throwing Bulldog out of her apartment than Frasier, who has ironically come around to apologize to Roz only to get plenty of evidence that he was right all along. In a variation on the trope, Frasier decides he's going to let her acknowledge he was right first:
    Frasier: [In a tone somewhere between smugness, triumph and graciousness:] I'm listening, Roz.
  • The Fugitive (2020):
    • Bryce is warned over and over again by those working under him that the evidence increasingly shows someone else than Ferro committed the bombing. When even he can no longer deny this the looks of "I told you so" from everyone say it all.
    • Ridge and Pritti are also warned by their Only Sane Man repeatedly that this is irresponsible and wrong and is completely ignored. When them being proven wrong results in Ridge being sued into poverty and Pritti losing her job he comments that he hopes, some day, they can actually grow as human beings from this.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • King Robert isn't happy when his trusted but overly-honorable friend Ned Stark plays down the threat of a princess from the royal family he deposed marrying an Eastern horselord with an army of 40,000 riders. When a spy sends news that she's with child, the king is not amused.
      Robert: The whore is pregnant!
      Ned Stark: You're speaking of murdering a child.
      Robert: I warned you this would happen. Back in the North, I warned you, but you didn't care to hear. Well, hear it now! I want 'em dead. Mother and child both.
    • In Season 4 finale, Tyrion, aiming a crossbow at his father Tywin, warned him not to call Shae a "whore" again:
      Tywin: She was a whore.
      Tyrion: Say that word again...
      Tywin: And what? You'll kill your own father in the privy? No. You're my son. Now, enough of this nonsense.
      [some more conversation]
      Tywin: We'll go back to my chambers and speak with some dignity.
      Tyrion: I can't go back there. She's in there.
      Tywin: You're afraid of a dead whore?
      [Tyrion shoots]
      Tywin: You shot me!
    • Littlefinger's Wham Line, "I did warn you not to trust me..." in "You Win Or You Die."
    • When he sees the wildling army in "The Watchers on the Wall", Ser Alliser Thorne tells Jon to go ahead and say this, but Jon lets it pass.
  • In one episode of Malcolm in the Middle, Francis' friend, Richie, is sent to the same Military School, and when he meets Commandant Spangler, Spangler treats him like a buddy, allowing him to go about out of uniform while on campus, decorate his room any way he wants, and talk to him in a very casual manner, things that would generally lead to other cadets suffering some sort of cruel and unusual punishment. When Francis confronts Spangler over the Double Standard surrounding Richie's behavior, Spangler confesses that treating Richie better than the other cadets is the only way to fix him, since the others will hate him so much, that Richie will have no choice but to willingly conform, lest he attract the wrath of the other cadets. When Francis warns Richie of what Spangler is doing, Richie says that Francis is just jealous and share this exchange:
    Francis: I warned you.
    Richie: Okay, whatever you say man.
    Francis: I warned you.
    Richie: Yeah, whatever man...
    camera focuses on Francis as he lies down on his bed to read a book
    Richie: (Off-screen) Hey guys, cool ski masks! (punches land on Richie's body) Ow! Ahhh!
    • In the Season 6 episode No Motorcycles, after the brothers can't work out which of their particular pranks has gotten one of the local bullies after them, Reese points out that he said several years early they needed to better co-ordinate the timing of their pranks to avoid such a situation.
    Dewey: [regarding said bully] God, he looks mad! Which one of us do you think he wants?
    Malcolm: Reese, it's obviously you. That must have been his bike you super-glued to the train tracks!
    Reese: We don't know that! You were pretty fast and loose with that dog-crap slingshot the other day! How do you know you didn't hit him?
    Malcolm: [looks at Dewey] What about you? How many people did you convince to buy those "algebra pills"?
    Dewey: You know, our lives would be a lot easier if we didn't all pull this crap at the same time!
    Reese: I suggested a rotating calendar years ago and you guys ignored me. And here we are!
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: The "Cheese Shop" sketch has a rather loquacious customer, Mr Mousebender, entering the shop to the sound of a bouzouki and two Greek dancers. He says the music doesn't bother him, but after spending copious time asking for varieties of cheese the owner (Mr Wensleydale) says he doesn't have, Mr Mousebender finally snaps:
    Mousebender: Have you got any — [to dancers and bouzouki player] SHUT THAT BLOODY BOUZOUKI UP!!!
    Wensleydale: [to dancers] Told you so.
  • Odd Squad: In "Agent Oksana's Kitchen Nightmares", Otis tells Olympia that he's not getting involved in Oksana's and Oprah's beef with each other and tells her that she's on her own. It's an indirect warning, but Olympia ignores it and is eventually demoted to the Food and Beverage department after bargaining with Oprah fails. Otis smugly tells her that he warned her not to get involved, but his smugness soon drops when Olympia tells him that he's also involved.
  • Revolution: Subverted Trope. In the episode "Home": Miles, after Dixon shoots at Monroe and hits Emma instead, killing her. Miles just turns around and calmly shoots Dixon dead.
  • Scrubs: Elliot has an "I Told You So" dance with a song that consists of her repeating the phrase. It's a little different all three times she is shown doing it.
  • In Selfie, Eliza warns Henry about cyber-stalking his ex-girlfriends, saying it's no good. Henry assures her he won't. He does, and it causes problems. When he tells her, he knows this is coming and tries to head her off.
    Eliza: I don't wanna say "I told you so."
    Henry: But you told me so. There, that's done.
  • Stargate SG-1: In "2010", Jack O'Neill is very much in "I told you so" mode from the beginning; if they had listened to his warnings about the Aschen ten years ago, they wouldn't need to Set Right What Once Went Wrong now by using the Stargate as a time machine.
  • In Stargirl the Shade left the Injustice Society because he didn't believe the Evil Plan the rest were doing would work. He's introduced at the end of the first season watching a news report about its failure, addressing his absent former leader.
    The Shade: Oh Jordan, I told you it was folly.
  • Supernatural:
    • In a season 5 episode, Sam warns Dean against trusting Crowley, a demon, but Dean decides to work with him anyway. When Crowley disappears at an inopportune moment, leaving the brothers on their own, Sam invokes this trope.
      Sam: I told you!
      Dean: Ohh! Well good for you!
    • In the crossover with Scooby-Doo, when the Winchesters reveal the existence of real ghosts and monsters to the Scooby Gang, Shaggy and Scooby are quick to read the riot act to the others about it.
  • Victorious:
    Sikowitz: You see! This is what happens when you mix teenagers and hot cheese! [to Lane] I warned you!
  • On The West Wing, in the first season episode "Celestial Navigation", there's an awesome non-verbal example. C.J. has emergency root canal surgery, leaving her unable to do the afternoon press conference, so Josh says he'll do it instead (to C.J.'s horror). Danny, the regular White House beat reporter, warns Josh that he doesn't want to do the press conference, but Josh, in full Smug Snake role, brags that his education and background will allow him to handle anything the press can throw at him. Danny merely says, "Okie-dokie." Cue later, after Josh's Epic Fail of a press conference, he looks forlornly at Danny, who merely smiles at him.
  • Will & Grace: Grace's mother actually had an "I Told You So" dance that she used when it was revealed that Grace was dumped by Nathan. Grace ends up getting angry, yells at her, and storms out. When the two make up later, her mother promises not to do it anymore after seeing how much it hurt her... only to do it once Grace leaves.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place
    Jerry: I don't have to say "I told you so", do I?
    Justin: No.
    Theresa: Well, I do. I told you so!

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Ethan Carter The Third was the only wrestler to go straight to the source and warn TNA President Dixie Carter about the GFW partnership really being an invasion (no one likes Dixie, but Ethan is her nephew, you see). Dixie, trying to turn a new leaf, dismissed him, believing it would make up for the disgrace they brought the company through her previous nepotism. In the end, Ethan did ultimately ensure Jeff Jarrett and the GFW group were ran out, but not before reminding auntie it was her fault for not listening.

    Puppet Shows 

    Theatre 
  • In the musical Woman of the Year, two characters sing a song about how great it is to be able to say "I Told You So".
  • At the beginning of Madame Butterfly, Sharpless warns Pinkerton unsuccessfully against taking advantage of the naivety of the titular heroine and marrying her the Japanese way meaning he can undo his vow by leaving her. When Pinkerton comes back three years later with a new American wife to learn that Butterfly has been waiting for him all this time, Sharpless bitterly reminds him of his words.

    Video Games 
  • In L.A. Noire, Cole is planning on investigating Elysian Fields which McKelty, the captain of the Arson desk, finds that unacceptable.
    Cole: We're about to visit Elysian Fields Development.
    McKelty: You're about to do what? Leland Monroe, he's a personal friend of the Mayor and the Chief. Are you out of your mind?! I'm warning you, Phelps.
  • Heavy Rain would have this case when Norman is planning of accusing Blake of being the Origami Killer.
    Norman: I think you're the killer, Carter.
    Blake: Watch your fucking mouth, Norman. You're about to make the biggest mistake of your life.
  • In Space Quest, you can use the hand icon on the change machine. The first time gives you a warning from the narrator, "Banging on the change machine will only activate its self-defense mechanism!" Trying again electrocutes Roger Wilco, who flops over dead, and prompting the narrator to say, "You were warned NOT to try to break into the change machine... but DID YOU LISTEN?!"
  • In Quest for Glory II, you can muck around at night in the plazas where the guards will patrol. For reckless magic using or dagger throwing, you get a stern warning, but if you try this again, you get a Have a Nice Death where the guard states he warned you.
  • In Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Claudia's Jerkass (former) boyfriend Ducio (who Ezio beat the crap out of for abusing her) makes a return as a ship captain that got his hands on three of Da Vinci's paintings that Ezio needs. Ducio, who has no idea that Ezio has become a master Assassin, begins mouthing off, thinking that his crew will back him up. Ezio drops a rather ominous "I am warning you...", and Ducio, not taking the hint, begins trashing Claudia. Ezio decks Ducio with a punch to the face and proceeds to mop the floor with him and his crew. Much fun is had for the player.
  • After two games of having his/her warnings ignored, Commander Shepard gets a few opportunities to say this in Mass Effect 3 when the Reapers finally attack. However, it is up to the player whether to gloat or to simply get down to the business of saving the galaxy without recrimination. A common complaint was that you didn't get enough chances to say it.
  • In World of Warcraft, Kil'ruk the Wind-Reaver says this if the player wipes on the Paragons of the Klaxxi boss fight, in reference to his saying that when the Old God Y'Shaarj returns, Kil'ruk, the rest of the Mantid, and anyone else with any sense would join him.
    Kil'ruk: I did warn you, Wakener.
  • The tablet that activates hard mode in La-Mulana:
    Thou are forbidden from again laying eyes on this marker. Those who heed not this warning will suffer the pain of death.
    Mongrel who disobeyed the warning. Taste bitter death. [giant glowing red skulls appear and smash]
  • Midway through Chapter 5 of Disgaea 5, the group runs into, and eliminates, zombified rabbits, presumed to be from Toto Bunny, and Majorita is known to be on the Netherworld they're currently investigating. Killia advises Usalia to back down, lest she "witness something you don't want to see". His guess as to what that is: Usalia's zombified parents. Mercifully, he doesn't chide her, at all, when the inevitable happens by chapter's end.
  • Early in Grand Theft Auto V Stretch gave a very clear warning to Franklin and Lamar that he will send them to die after Lamar tried to kidnap a member of a rival gang who personally knew him... then went to the same guy to negotiate a drug deal.
  • Poets of the Fall's "The Happy Song," Villain Song of Alan Wake's American Nightmare's Serial Killer Mr. Scratch, has this sentiment as a refrain.
    You knew I'm a psycho
    I told you I'm a psycho
    Really, I'm a psycho, heh heh heh heh heh heh
    I told ya, I told ya!
  • In the No Mercy ending of Undertale, the Final Boss, Sans the skeleton, says this verbatim after the final blow is struck but before he dies, after cryptically spending the fight warning you against continuing. If you proceed through the ending anyway, you'll find he was entirely right, as the world is destroyed by your player character and the only way to get it back is to sell your SOUL and permanently lose the ability to get the best ending.
  • In the Weird route of Deltarune, a parallel to Undertales No Mercy route, Spamton NEO, Superboss turned Final Boss, gives you a similar warning in his own way at the end of Chapter 2. Specifically, that if Kris/the Player thinks being a murderous, manipulative maniac in this way will get them the freedom they crave... they'll get it, but they will regret everything in the way so badly they shouldn't be surprised if they end up "[Crying] in a [Broken Home]", wishing they had let Spamton kill them when he still had the chance. As of the end of the same chapter, these consequences remain to be seen.
  • In Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee, if you have Bad Quarma, The Shaman will warn you about this at the end of some levels, and will suggest getting Good Quarma. If you beat level 23 but still have less than 50% Quarma, The Shaman will scold you about this:
    The Shaman: I tried, and I tried, and I tried to tell ya! But would you listen!? Nooo! Well, your Bad Quarma has finally caught up with you, ya cold hearted bastitches! Ehh, whatever.
    [cue bad ending, where Abe and Munch get attacked by the Fuzzles, Abe is executed and his head is displayed as a trophy, and Munch dies via having his lungs removed]
    The Shaman: Okay, ya nutz! Ya see what happened? I warned ya! Now, how about trying again and this time DOING THE RIGHT THING!
    [electing "Yeah, I can be a better guide for those poor schmucks!" takes you back to level 3, with your Quarma set back to the way it was in level 3]
  • In Harebrained Schemes' Battletech, following the Castle Nautilus mission that Sumire repeatedly told you not to get involved with Goes Horribly Wrong, Sumire will resignedly comment that while she hates to say she told you so, she did tell you so.
  • In Uninvited, if the player tries to climb down the hidden passage underneath the altar in the chapel, the game will warn "you really don't wanna go down there, there's a monstrous Giant Spider that'll end you" multiple times. If the player is persistent enough, a death will ensue with the narration starting as "Well, what do you know, it's a giant spider."
  • Pilgrim (RPG Maker): The Storey 5 Door will warn Akemi and Suu against entering Storey 5, saying it is dangerous. After they go in anyway, it will later tell Akemi and Suu, after they have first escaped from the Monster, that it told them Storey 5 was dangerous.
    Door: See, like I said, this place is dangerous.
    Akemi: Come on, stop that. I knowww.

    Web Animation 
  • Puffin Forest parodies this: Ben gave his players a defective sword of warning which gave incredibly vague warnings that "something" bad might happen, and then called out the trope name as soon as anything remotely bad occurred.
  • Camp Camp has an episode where Quartermaster warns the kids to not wander into an abandoned mansion. When they do, and find a weird orgy that scares Max to the point he Screams Like a Little Girl, Quartermaster makes sure to yell "I WARNED YOU, CHILD!".
  • Zatanna: Trial of the Crystal Wand: Damon says "Ha! Told ya so!" to his sister Zatanna for using magic at school which would get her in trouble.

    Web Comics 
  • Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff: "I warned you about stairs bro!!!! I told you dog!"
  • In Impure Blood, after the fight. All the more annoying in that his warning had consisted of Vagueness Is Coming.
  • Defied in a strip of Dumbing of Age.
  • Our Little Adventure has a lovely example from Julie to Angelika.
    Julie: If you had ranks in Knowledge: Arcana, you would've known that would happen.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • "Nuthin' but Net": Elan, Durkon and Daigo are caught in a trap left by island orcs. Durkon and Daigo get out and try to leave, despite Elan begging them to return under the net... Cue the orcs immediately catching Durkon and Daigo and beating them up.
      Elan: Fight, fight, fight, fight the urge to say, "I told you so!"
    • Subverted in "Goliath Falls": During Book 5, Durkon was killed and turned into a vampire. However, only Belkar suspects that "Durkon Thundershield" is just pretending to be their lovable dwarf cleric as part of a scheme, but everyone else thinks the halfling is just stirring up trouble like he did with Miko in Azure City. However, when Roy realizes the truth himself, he doesn't give Belkar the satisfaction of an "I told you so"; he freely admits that Belkar was right, he was wrong, but they need to move because "Durkon" is planning to end the world.
      Belkar: [angry] What the hell is the point of facts if I don't get to gloat about knowing them first?!?
  • Played with in this comic of El Goonish Shive where Chaos says the phrase (twice) word for word but then quickly acknowledges that no one can see or hear her anyway.
  • Subverted in The Trenches, where the EAAA representative says "We refrained from telling you so, thereby relinquishing all rights to have now 'told you so'..."
  • In Kevin & Kell, Dorothy (Kevin's mom) dated Rudy's coach when they were in school. He proposed to her, but she turned him down, marrying Kevin's dad instead. As their marriage ended in a bitter divorce, he likes to say "I told you so" whenever the two contact each-other.

    Web Original 

    Real Life 
  • In 1900, the Republican Party nominated Theodore Roosevelt, the progressive Governor of New York, as its Vice Presidential nominee. The conservative, business-oriented power brokers who ruled the party hated Roosevelt and found him both incredibly annoying and deeply embarrassing—which is why they wanted him for Veep. They figured since the VP’s role is so largely ceremonial and powerless, they could get him out of their hair and get one of their guys in the actually meaningful job in Albany. The one major figure who voiced opposition to this plan was RNC Chair Mark Hanna, who feared it left only one life between a "madman" and the presidency, but he was overruled. The following year, Hanna was proven right when President McKinley was assassinated. In his own words, "Now look! That goddamn cowboy is President of the United States!"
  • The Daily WTF: "One of the few things in life more satisfying than saying 'I Told You So' is being told not to say it."
  • A tragic case of I Just Shot Marvin in the Face involved an 8-year-old boy at a gun show in which visitors could fire a micro-Uzi. The employee overseeing this warned the boy's father twice about how maybe the kid should be given a less powerful - and non-automatic - weapon to fire. The father insisted, and the recoil from the shots put the barrel towards the poor boy's head, where the fatal shot was delivered.
  • On January 13, 2021, Rep. John Richmond (D-CA) spoke about how foolish many Republicans were acting in not wanting to impeach Donald Trump in the name of “unity”. He then pointed out how, when the Democrats impeached Trump the first time, warned that if they let him go for “learning his lesson”, he’d do something worse. “Simply put: I told you so. Richmond out.”
  • In this grab bag of wedding horror stories from Reddit, one story is about the submitter's mother who used to make wedding cakes. At one wedding, the mother of the bride wanted to use a Precious Moments car figurine as the cake topper. Unfortunately, it was too heavy for that, as it was made of ceramic and weighed a solid 5 pounds. The submitter's mom told her that, put some flowers on top of the cake instead, and left. An hour later, she got a call from the reception hall that the cake had collapsed because the mother of the bride had put the car on it after she left.

 
Feedback

Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): I Told You So

Top

"Not on the Comics!"

Plucky learns the hard way why Hampton shouldn't read comics during car trips.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / VomitDiscretionShot

Media sources:

Report