One character delivers a confession that should have a big reaction attached to it, but for whatever reason, their audience doesn't take it seriously or outright ignores it.
Sarcastic Confession is when the confession was never meant to be taken seriously. If the character is ignored because of their youth, it's Not Now, Kiddo. If the character is ignored because he and his story sound absolutely crazy, it's You Have to Believe Me!. If it's for no reason at all, see Ignored Expert and The Cassandra. Compare and contrast Cassandra Truth, In Vino Veritas, Refuge in Audacity.
- Ah! My Goddess:
- Belldandy in the TV series is confronted by Sayoko, who doesn't believe her exchange student cover story and demands to know "Just who are you?!" To which Bell replies, without a hint of sarcasm, "A Goddess." Sayoko, thinking it's an insult, just gets mad and storms away.
- Belldandy frequently says things without a trace of irony that are taken as a Sarcastic Confession. For instance, her first exchange when she talks to Megumi she tells her that she works at the Goddess Help Line and that she has a contract to stay with Keiichi forever. Megumi shrugs it off, believing she's just speaking metaphorically of living together with Keiichi.
- In Haganai, it turns out every time Kodaka was oblivious to his friends' feelings and confessions, he was actually actively dodging it. He really didn't want to be in a romantic relationship with any of them— he just wanted to have friends is all.
- In Itsuwaribito, when Neya Murito confesses her feelings to Utsuho Azako loudly, clearly, with no distractions or anything to cover it up or interrupt it, he outright ignores it. He stays silent, pretends he never heard her, and right after makes up an excuse to walk off quickly, completely devastating her.
- My Hero Academia: After Bakugo storms out of school feeling humiliated after losing in class 1A's first hero training exercise, Izuku tries to placate him by revealing that he wasn't hiding his Quirk their whole lives, but was recently given it. Due to their status as rivals and his Inferiority Superiority Complex, Bakugo dismisses the claim as absurd. Eventually, witnessing the circumstances surrounding All Might's retirement leads Bakugo to realize that Izuku was telling the truth, as well as that his Quirk came from All Might.
- Ranma ½'s title character is well-known for calling his fiancee "uncute, unsexy, built like a brick, violent tomboy, etc". So when he actually gets the courage to call her cute, Akane thinks he's trying to insult her.
Akane: Just how stupid do you think I am!!?
Ranma: I...But I just...! [thinking] SHE'S NOT CUTE AT ALL!
- In Shakugan no Shana, Shana confesses to Yuji that she loves him when they think they are going to die, but he considers it so unlikely that he thinks he's probably misheard it.
- Toradora!: Late in the story, after Ryuuji saves her from the snowstorm during their class trip, an injured and delirious Taiga (who mistakes him for Kitamura) admits her feelings for him, but that she wants him to be with Minori, no matter how much it hurts her. Ryuuji tries to pretend that her confession didn't happen, and that Kitamura was the one who saved her. Unfortunately, he filled Kitamura in on the plan, but not Minori, and the latter (who secretly ships Taiga/Ryuuji, despite her own feelings for him) is pissed when she finds out what Ryuuji did.
- Johnny the Homicidal Maniac regularly tells people that he is, indeed, a Serial Killer. For whatever reason, no one believes him. He actually gets a bit annoyed with it after a while; if he ever tries to get himself arrested or just plain kill himself (he's crazy, he doesn't need a good reason for it) some contrived coincidence protects him. Usually.
- The Punisher 2099. Kerry thinks Jake Gallows is the new Punisher and visits him at home to gather evidence... just as Jake comes out of his underground prison/torture chamber/execution chamber. Gallows, frustrated, eventually sits her down and shouts that he's the Punisher, even describing his methods, equipment, and recent actions. Kerry leaves thinking the Punisher case is driving Gallows nuts.
- Preacher has Hoover spend an entire page confessing his love for Featherstone right in front of her, spilling out his heart. When he stops, she looks up from a file, with Starr's picture, and tells him she had completely tuned out and has no idea what he just said.
- In one issue of Gotham Adventures, Bruce Wayne is called for jury duty, for the trial of a man that he captured as Batman. When asked if there's a reason why he shouldn't be on the jury, he, under oath, says "I'm Batman." Cut to him explaining to Robin that they told him not to joke around in court and that he had to serve anyways.
- Pre-Flashpoint Superman, in his Clark Kent persona, was kidnapped by a gangster during his honeymoon with Lois (who, reversing the roles, went to his rescue). As he was depowered at the time, he was severely beaten up and drugged with a Truth Serum. Under the serum's effect, he told them he was Superman (and was without his glasses), but the gangster refused to believe and thought the serum wasn't working. Somewhat justified, as Clark, depowered, had several hematomas and was bleeding, something isn't supposed to happen to Superman, whose depowered status wasn't publicly known.
- Doing It Right This Time: As Ritsuko is expressing her frustration about her abysmal love life
"I am going to murder him! Mother of God, I've dated some really lousy men over the years but this is a goddam record. I give up. I really do. You wanna be my torrid lesbian rebound fling?"
"Yes!" Maya squeaked, before she could stop herself, then clapped both hands over her mouth in horror.
This had the effect of shocking Ritsuko out of her steadily increasing hysteria. "Uh... We never had that conversation, okay? And on a totally unrelated note, meet me after your shift finishes and we'll go for a completely platonic drink somewhere, because I could really use some company." She stood up. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go and have a talk with Rei.
- Subverted when later Ritsuko thought about it and decided to give a relationship between both a try.
- In Treasure Planet, this exchange occurs when the captain is trying to keep herself together.note
- Hey Arnold! The Movie: Helga revealed to Arnold that she loved him all along and proceeded to kiss him. In the end, they nervously decided that it was because of the moment and nothing serious had happened.
- Cars 2: Mater repeatedly tries to tell Finn McMissile and Holly Shiftwell that he's not a spy and just a plain ordinary tow truck, but they think he's joking and that his other antics are Obfuscating Stupidity. Only when the three are trapped inside of Big Bently and Mater yells it out do Finn and Holley realize he's not kidding.
- Catch Me If You Can: Frank confesses to his future father-in-law that he's a conman, but the man just thinks he's being sentimental.
Frank: I'm not a doctor, I'm not a lawyer, I'm not an airline pilot. I'm nothing, really, just a kid who's in love with your daughter.
- School of Rock
Dewey: I'm not a teacher!
- Rat Race: Owen steals a bus by pretending to be the new bus driver, but eventually the bus gets a puncture and breaks down. Owen's confession looks like a loss of faith in himself.
Owen: I'm not a bus driver!
- In Multiple Sarcasms, the main character confesses his love to a long time friend, after his marriage is on the rocks. She thinks he's drunk until this confession shows up in a play he wrote.
- American Psycho: After a string of grisly murders and running from the cops, Patrick Bateman calls his lawyer and confesses to the whole thing. When he later confronts his lawyer, he insists that he wasn't joking, but he is rebuffed, and the lawyer is actually irritated to the point that he tells Bateman the joke isn't funny anymore. This is compounded by the fact that Bateman might not be a serial killer, and may just be delusional and psychotic, but it is ambiguous. Throughout the film, he confesses in absurd ways, and people either don't hear him properly or ignore him, a commentary on the egotistical feelings of all around him.
- In the French film I've Loved You So Long, the protagonist has recently been released after serving time in prison for murder and has been living with her younger sister as she acclimates to life on the outside. At a dinner party, one of her sister's friends gets drunk and begins to tease her about her mysterious past, eventually making a game of it, until the protagonist finally snaps and admits that she was in prison... and everyone laughs, and the drunk friend tells her that if she's just going to make stuff up he's not going to play anymore. Whilst it's played straight for the most part, her Love Interest offers a subversion, in that he's actually worked with prisoners and realizes that she's telling the truth.
- Hilarious example from Galaxy Quest when Brandon, a teenaged "questerian" (parody of a "Trekkie"), is actually helping a real spaceship land. We get this exchange with him and his mother:
Brandon's Mom: Where are you going with those fireworks?
Brandon: Well, the Protector got super-accelerated coming out of the black hole and just, like, nailed the atmosphere at Mach 15, which you guys know is pretty unstable, obviously, so we're gonna help Laredo guide it on the vox ultra-frequency carrier and use Roman candles for visual confirmation.
Brandon's Mom: Uh, all right dinner's at seven. [Brandon leaves, Brandon's dad gives her a skeptical look] Well, at least he's outside.
- In Batman Forever, Two-Face holds a circus show attended by Bruce Wayne hostage with a bomb set to detonate unless Batman comes forward and reveals his identity. Bruce stands up and shouts that he's Batman, but the audience has erupted into a frenzy and nobody hears him in all the shouting.
- Grosse Pointe Blank has a Running Gag in which Martin Blank admits to being an assassin to anyone who asks, but they all assume he's joking and try to riff off of it.
- The Man Who Wasn't There (2001) has a confession from a man who's committed a murder-but everyone thinks it's too implausible that such an insignificant man has committed such a crime. They convict him of a different murder, which he hasn't committed.
- Played straight and then averted in Quiz Show, in which Charles Van Doren takes the stand and confesses that he's deceived the public, and the committee members start complimenting him on the wonderful speech he just made, to his evident embarrassment — until one of them says that he doesn't think that Charles should be thanked for just telling the truth. Charles looks almost relieved that he's not being allowed to get away with it anymore.
- In Jack Strong the titular uncatchable The Mole actually does confess - to someone who's too preoccupied with catching the spy to listen, turns out.
- In The Trap (Serbian: "Klopka"), after having killed a man, the hero feels remorse and turns himself in. The police officer doesn't believe his story and asks him to leave the police station.
- Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho:
- Patrick Bateman's fiancée says "He's the boy next door, aren't you, honey?" Bateman answers "No, I'm not. I'm a fucking evil psychopath."
- During a conversation, Bateman throws in lines like "I like to dissect girls" and "I'm utterly insane". None of the reactions take him seriously.
- In A Separate Peace, Finny dismisses Gene's confession that he caused Finny's fall from the tree. Gene later takes it back, as well.
- In The Dresden Files novel Proven Guilty, Molly confesses her love to Harry. He openly tells her that he's not going to take it seriously, for two reasons: One, because she's a rebellious teenager and her attraction to him is partly fueled by that; and two, because he's just saved her from a highly traumatic experience and her perception of him is being coloured by that. Years on, Molly admits this was the right thing for him to do, although she is angry that he refused to acknowledge her feelings even after they became more genuine.
- In Cosmic, the main character, Liam, is a 12-year-old boy with a growth problem that causes him to look like an adult. Near the end, Liam, (who for a good chunk of the book was pretending to be an adult) tries to confess that he's actually just a boy. Unfortunately, he's mistaken for just being metaphorical.
- My Brother Is A Superhero: With Zack kidnapped and The End of the World as We Know It less than a week away, Luke decides that he has no choice but to tell their parents that Zack is Star Guy. They determine that he's invented this as a way to deal with how stressful the situation is. Luke then tries to give police information about why Star Guy's disappeared, but so many people have called in other leads that they tell him it would take weeks for them to investigate his claim.
- Rod Allbright Alien Adventures: In the first book, protagonist Rod has a near-pathological aversion to lying. So when he's standing in class with a sheet of paper chewed full of holes, the only explanation that he can give is "Aliens ate my homework, Miss Maloney." Really, the kid is dealing with this trope through 90% of the book.
- In The Spark of God by Georgy Yudin, a thief almost burgles the house of his own former lover and their son, only to be surprised by the latter's wedding guests. He is overcome with remorse and decides to confess about his criminal intentions, but everybody, including the local policeman, thinks he is joking and only laughs to tears.
- In Merlin, Merlin confessed to having magic in a room containing both Arthur and the magic-hating Uther. Neither of them believed him.
- Used in Lost, episode "He's Our You". Captured by the Dharma Initiative, Sayid is given a Truth Serum drug and interrogated. He says he's from the future, and Radzinsky's reaction is to assume the dose was too high and has rendered him cuckoo.
- In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Killed by Death," Buffy is incapacitated due to a bad flu. She goes patrolling anyway but collapses. While in the hospital, and under the influence of the meds, she shouts that she needs to kill the vampires. Buffy's mother and the hospital staff naturally assume it's due to her delirious state.
- In Barry, after Gene Cousineau rejects Barry for his acting class, Barry unloads about how he became a hitman and how badly he needs this. Cousineau thinks he's quoting from something and is impressed enough by his "acting" to reconsider.
- Before Ross and Rachel first started dating - being whacked out on painkillers gives Ross the courage to admit to Rachel that he's in love with her. Her response is basically pat him on the head and say that she loves him too, in the way one would reply to a small child (or someone obviously too under-the-influence to take seriously). Ross quickly becomes frustrated with his inability to convince her that he's serious.
- One episode features the following dialogue between love-struck Chandler and Joey, about Joey's girlfriend, after Joey asks Chandler to at least pretend to get on with her.
Chandler: I could tell how much I've been thinking about her; that I haven't stopped thinking about her since the moment we met; that I'm so fantastically, over-the-top, wanna-slit-my-own-throat in love with her, that for every minute of every hour of every day, I can't believe my own damn bad luck that you met her first!
Joey: Yeah, well, that's pretty good. But you might want to tone it down a little.
- One episode of Two and a Half Men features Evelyn insisting on knowing why Charlie detests her so much. After some badgering, Charlie finally explains via rant that he feels like she drove his father to an early grave, gave him a cold loveless childhood and messed him and Alan up so badly they can barely function as human beings. Evelyn pats him on the shoulder and says he'll tell her when he's ready.
- In The X-Files, episode "Triangle", Mulder tells Scully he loves her. She blows him off with "Oh brother". (True, he was apparently rather medicated at the time.)
- In one episode of Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Amanda fails to concoct a plausible story to cover her activities, and her mother confronts her with her lies and demands the truth. She tells her mother the truth, that she's working with the CIA, and her mother doesn't believe it and leaves in a huff.
- Arrested Development: Every once in a while, George Michael will learn the aesop that he and his father should be honest with each other. On one occasion, George Michael responds to this by revealing he's in love with his cousin Maebe. Michael thinks he's kidding.
- Niles Crane confesses his love for Daphne - more than once - but circumstances contrive for her to completely miss this, or into believing that he's made it up, or is colluding with her to give a misleading impression to outside observers ("Moondance").
- Senator John Glenn confesses that he made First Contact while in space and had to lie to the public, but Frasier and Roz are too busy arguing over Frasier being iced out of Roz's radio documentary that Glenn is narrating ("Docu.Drama").
- Breaking Bad: "No Mas" (Season 3, Episode 1)
Hank: [holding a bag] What've you got in there, cinderblocks?
Walt: Half a million in cash.
[Hank stares at Walt for a moment, then laughs]
Hank: That's the spirit!
- Survivors: In episode two, Abby asks Tom what he did before the pandemic, and he says "I robbed things. Killed a few people." She thinks he's joking and says it's not funny. Later she finds out that's the truth.
- In the Gotham episode "Mr. Freeze", Victor Fries goes to the police station to confess to killing several people with his cryonics experiments. Unfortunately for Victor (and Gotham), several impostors have beaten him to it, and the cops think he's another one.
- The Family: Willa says she was "At a cheap motel with a dirty stranger" after John asks where she's been. It's technically true, but they both laugh it off.
- Leverage: Nate, even while drunk, hoped so. He goes and tells Ian Blackpool he planned to rob the Two Davids Gallery at the start of the first season's last episode. Blackpool laughs it off. At the end of the episode, the gallery is robbed and Blackpool's company is liable for all the payouts. Then Nate revealed he recorded his own confession and Blackpool's lack of response, thus making Blackpool criminally liable for not contacting the police when Nate told him this and he knows Nate is a thief.
- Hustle: In "The Fall of Railton FC", Ash temporarily Cannot Tell a Lie as the result of a head injury. When The Mark asks him if there is anything else he should know, Ash tells him that the entire deal is a con and they are planning to steal his money. He then bursts out laughing, turning it into a Sarcastic Confession that The Mark cheerily ignores.
- MacGyver (1985): In "Slow Death", MacGyver confesses his secret mission to a needling passenger on the train he just jumped. She assumes he was being sarcastic and feels bad enough to stop asking.
Woman: I work for the state department. Courier. I know "urgent" when I see it.
Mac: Alright, the truth. I just hijacked proof of an illegal arms-oil deal. If I can get it out of the country in time I might be able to stop a little war.
Woman: ...okay, I deserved that.
- In The Flash (2014), for Barry's bachelor party Cisco makes a special alcohol for him so he can enjoy a drink with the rest. It gets him so drunk he starts blurting out "I'm the Flash!" all over the bar, but fortunately nobody takes him seriously and just laugh it off.
- In Power Rangers Mystic Force, Chip tells Toby that the reason they're often not present at work is that they're the Power Rangers, knowing he won't believe it. Toward the end of the season, they decide to come clean for real, and Toby thinks they're still joking until he sees the evidence for himself.
- In Dollhouse, Paul has built up a reputation of being obsessed with finding the Dollhouse, which his fellow agents consider to be a ridiculous Conspiracy Theory. In the season one finale, when he's working with the Dollhouse to stop Alpha, he tells his colleagues (whom Alpha has called to the building as a distraction) that this is the Dollhouse's headquarters. In context this might have been a Sarcastic Confession, knowing that they'd ignore him and go away, or an example of this trope, if we assume that Paul wanted them to really investigate the building and take down the Dollhouse anyway.
- In Romeo and Juliet, Juliet tells her mother that she wishes to marry Romeo rather than Paris. Lady Capulet takes this as "anyone but Paris," since obviously Romeo (who just killed her cousin) is the last person Juliet could want to marry, right?
- In Othello, Iago continuously tells Othello that he shouldn't listen to him and that Desdemona and Cassio are probably honest. Of course, this just convinces Othello even more that Iago is trustworthy.
- In The Goat, Martin starts off sarcastically and then flat out confesses to his wife that he's been sleeping with the title character. She laughs it off both times.
- In Heathers, Veronica, wracked with guilt and sick of the way her school is glorifying teen suicide, finally confesses to a room full of people that she killed Heather Chandler, Kurt Kelly, and Ram Sweeney. Everyone thinks she's trying to get attention.
- A subversion in Catherine: The bartender aptly named "Boss" (although he's only a Sub-Boss) confesses that he's surprised the protagonist Vincent has managed to figure out that he's the evil villain behind the nightmares plaguing the city. Vincent only cares that he also saw the girl who Vincent had been cheating with but who no one else remembered... but when the villain calms down and starts feeling secure that his secret is still safe, Vincent reveals he did indeed pay attention to the confession and begins interrogating him about it.
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion: During one Dark Brotherhood Quest, you are required to commit five murders within a Closed Circle. One of your victims approaches you to ask who you are, and your response can be "I'm an assassin, sent to kill you." Naturally, she will assume it's a joke, laugh it off and praise your sense of humour. It even maxes out her Disposition Rating towards you.
- 'Fry and the Slurm Factory': In a rare show of cleverness, Fry manages to invoke this by getting Professor Farnsworth to describe their unusual relationship ("I'm not your grandpa, you're my uncle! From the year 2000!") to an outsider, who subsequently writes the Professor off as senile. All this to keep the government from shutting down his favorite soft drink...
- Bender accuses Farnsworth of insanity to get out of a jail sentence in 'A Clockwork Origin' (no relation). Farnsworth, in an attempt to disprove this, states that he got to the planet in a home-built spaceship. If you don't believe him, ask his uncle! ...Who is younger than he is. And, yes, It all Makes Sense In Context.
- On one episode of Daria, Quinn lets an unethical plastic surgeon convince her that she has to get treatment like her friends or her entire social life will be ruined. Eventually Daria just tells her (in what seems to be a rather difficult confession) that she's so naturally beautiful that she drives other girls (possibly including Daria herself) crazy with envy. Quinn just stares at Daria for a moment and then admonishes her for not taking things seriously.
- Also this, from the Bizarro Episode "Depth Takes a Holiday":
Daria: As stupid as it sounds, these are actual holiday spirits on the run from the law.
Quinn: That's the problem with you brains: you think lying is child's play.
Daria: See, Cupid shot Mom and Dad full of love so I'd help him get these guys back to Holiday Island.
Quinn: Are you taking some kind of experimental depression medicine?
- Also this, from the Bizarro Episode "Depth Takes a Holiday":
- One of the Running Gags on Pinky and the Brain is Brain being asked who he is and answering, "Actually, I'm a lab-mouse trying to take over the world." The person who asks either misinterprets it or laughs it off as a joke.
- Batman: The Animated Series:
- One episode has a villain demanding a password from Alfred. Alfred simply ignores her and starts reciting "The Lion and the Unicorn" from the Wonderland books. Even when drugged up on truth serum, he continues reciting the poem. Unlike most cases of this, she does eventually realize that the password is "The Lion and the Unicorn"... it just takes her a while.
- In the episode "I've Got Batman in My Basement", when the kid's mother asks what they're doing in the basement, the kid's friend answers, "We just saved Batman's life, and now we're hiding him from some bad criminals". The mom's response? "That's good, just don't make a mess."
- In one episode of Batman Beyond, Terry tries to tell his family that he's Batman. They don't believe him.
- In a US Acres cartoon, Orson's brothers steal vegetables dressed up as three pieces of a car and run so fast that a police officer pulls them over and gives them a speeding ticket. In trying to get out of the ticket, they confess to camouflaging themselves as a car in order to commit theft (and further investigation would have proven it to be robbery), but luckily for them, the cop doesn't believe them and fails to see through their Paper-Thin Disguise. Had he believed their confession, they would have been in a lot more trouble and the vegetables would have been returned to Orson's farm but the officer had to carry the Idiot Ball for the plot to continue.
- In one episode of The Simpsons, Homer pretends to be a pilot to drink at a bar. Unfortunately, a controller comes in and asks him to fly to the Windy City. When he says he can't, the man confronts him and asks if he's impersonating a pilot just to drink there. Homer instantly confesses, at which point the controller laughs and declares you fly boys crack me up before forcing him into the cockpit.
- In another episode a man told Chief Wiggum that he had just torched a building downtown and was afraid he'd do it again. Chief Wiggum replied Yeah right, I'll just type that up on my invisible typewriter
- A similar joke was used on Family Guy when a man confessed to having a body in the trunk and the policeman replied: Aww. What a beautiful baby. Where's your mommy?
- In a later episode, Bart told Homer I got suspended in school today. They found a switchblade in my locker. I took a swing at a cop. I'm just mad all the time. Homer is too preoccupied with his new website to listen.
- In another episode a man told Chief Wiggum that he had just torched a building downtown and was afraid he'd do it again. Chief Wiggum replied Yeah right, I'll just type that up on my invisible typewriter
- South Park: The episode "Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow" kicks off with Cartman and Stan accidentally destroying a dam; the massive flood is blamed on global warming. At the end of the episode Stan finally confesses "I broke the dam," but everyone assumes that he's being metaphorical and step up to declare they, too, broke the dam. Crosses over with Sarcastic Confession when a giggling Cartman joins in.
- On Phineas and Ferb, the title characters are perfectly willing to tell their mom about their ridiculous antics, even backing up Candace when she tries to bust them for it. Naturally, Linda always assumes that they're just playing games or the evidence that they show her looks innocuous on its own.
- In one episode, Candace wins an essay contest to be mayor for the day. Her essay outright said that she'd use all this power to try and bust her brothers. Apparently the judges thought this was some kind of metaphor.