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It Will Never Catch On

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Trudy Bolt: What's the artist's name?
Rose: Something Picasso.
Cal Hockley: (scoffs) Something Picasso? He won't amount to a thing. He won't, trust me. At least they were cheap.

Anachronisms are funny. As are "prophecies" uttered by people who are in a position to lose a great deal of influence, money or credibility if they are wrong.

The best thing about Alternate Universes is that they have things we can't possibly imagine being true. Why can't the reverse also fit?

Oftentimes, be it a medieval setting or anything else where things we know about have no business existing, something abundantly familiar to our modern audience is put forth as a hypothetical. The punchline is that no one thinks it could possibly be popular, allowing us to laugh at how wrong people's predictions of the future really are, and pat ourselves on the back for accurately predicting the, um... present.

Compare Call-Forward and Who Would Want to Watch Us?, which refers to the show itself, and Historical In Jokes that re-interpret the past in terms of the show. Contrast I Want My Jetpack, where our present makes a wrong prediction about the future. Note that this is also Truth in Television, as many things/people that are now legendary were considered potential failures: neither Elvis Presley nor The Beatles got good reviews when they were obscure, and many people couldn't see any use for a home computer. The polar opposite is This Is Going to Be Huge. Both jokes are common in Period Pieces. Contrast to Audience-Alienating Premise for when the work sounds so strange, unique, or boring that it interests no one.

This trope does not cover cases where a person simply doesn't like something that later turns out to be popular. Nearly every book in print today was rejected by several other publishers, and every famous actor has been rudely dismissed from an audition at least once. This is not necessarily short-sightedness; perhaps the actor simply wasn't right for that role, or hadn't yet matured into the person we know and love today. This trope comes into play when the rejection (or begrudging acceptance) is accompanied by a blanket statement that proves to be spectacularly wrong.

People reinventing things that did catch on didn't know It's Been Done. Not to be confused with Hilarious in Hindsight, but examples of this trope are very often that as well. Contrast Cassandra Truth, where no one believes the dissenting voices who say that some new famous or trendy product, idea or phenomenon is wrong. See also And You Thought It Would Fail, for when this phenomenon happens in Real Life. Also compare Oblivious Mockery, when someone asks "Who would be stupid enough to try that?" unaware that the person next to them actually did it.


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  • The cryptocurrency exchange FTX ran their "Don't Miss Out" ad for the 2022 Super Bowl featuring Larry David, throughout history, saying how various ideas and inventions will never be popular, even though everyone else disagrees. In other words, don't be like Larry and dismiss cryptocurrency out of hand. This one took less than a year to become Harsher in Hindsight after FTX turned out to be engaged in large-scale financial fraud comparable to the Enron scandal, which led to the collapse of the company, got their CEO Sam Bankman-Fried arrested (he is awaiting trial as of this writing), and cast a dark cloud over the entire cryptocurrency industry, the fallout often seen as a turning point that ended the industry's boom in the early 2020s. In the wake of FTX's meltdown, many people noted that Larry had the last laugh.
  • The National Football League did a series of commercials for several years lampooning wild predictions made by fans and pundits.
  • Renault invoked this trope in one famous ad; each time they introduce a new car, somebody says "ça ne marchera jamais" (it will never catch on) but all cars of this ad were commercially successful.
  • A 2016 Snickers commercial features the filming of the iconic scene of Marilyn Monroe standing on a subway grate in The Seven Year Itch. One of the crew remarks "this scene will never make the cut."note 
  • The U.S. TV ad for Sonic and Knuckles featured two elves lounging by the poolside at their mansion, recounting how Santa Claus had this reaction to their idea for the game's Lock-On cartridge allowing it to be combined with Sonic 2 and 3. So they sold the idea to Sega instead and got rich:
    "Who's laughing now, FAT MAN?!"
  • A car commercial from the late 90's was set in the 70's and featured a group of hikers waxing philosophical about what advancements would be made in 20 years. One of them comes up with the brilliant idea of bottling and selling water to make a huge profit, but his friend shoots him down, commenting that "Water is free, man!"
  • A series of radio ads for a local towing company on Vancouver Island plays with reenactments of how a call would have played out a century ago between a customer and the company. In one, the customer says, "I tell you, these trains will be running long after they stop using these new fandangled automobiles!" The trains stopped running on Vancouver Island several years before the ads aired.
  • This Israeli ad. Son tells his father that there is 200 mega internet now, father says "why would you need that". Son says "that sounds familiar". Cue flashback to son saying they need 15 mega because of this thing called "Facebook". Father says "it won't catch on". Son says "that sounds familiar". Another flashback (probably to mid '90s, judging from the Macarena) with dad dismissing the idea of e-mail, stating they already have a fax.
  • A 90s UK ad set in a Victorian schoolroom, where rows of posh young boys are being taught how monopolies work and that they're a good thing because "you all want to make lots more money". One boy pipes up "Please sir? Wouldn't it make rather a good board game?" and everyone laughs at him.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Bakuman。: Fukuda claims that Crow will never be a hit manga while working as Eiji Nizuma's assistant; claiming it will get canceled after introductory three chapters. Over the course of the first season and the first arc of the manga, dozens of chapters are ordered and an anime is commissioned; leaving Fukuda bewildered at the success of Crow.
  • The following exchange between Ed and his father in Fullmetal Alchemist (2003):
    Hohenheim: Haven't you studied Einstein's theories?
    Ed: No-one believes him.
    • Which at the time that episode took place in was mostly Truth in Television. Certainly some believed him by then, but relativity was still controversial enough to be passed over by the Nobel committee.
  • In the Crayon Shin-chan episode "Concerto in the Key of Butt Minor", Shin's father remarks that DVD was a passing fancy upon getting a videotaped invitation to Ai's piano recital. Erm, no.
  • One Piece
    • An early example is Buggy after Roger's execution, who refused his fellow cabin boy Shanks's offer to start a crew together, believing Shanks didn't have what it take to become a successful pirate. Fast forward twenty-two years to the start of the series and Shanks is one of the four most powerful pirates in the world while Buggy is raiding small towns in the East Blue, the weakest sea.
    • The Seven Warlords of the Sea remark that they don't consider new prospect Blackbeard a threat, since he has no reputation and will never be respected as a pirate. Guess who's now part of the Big Bad Ensemble and a potential final opponent of the series, some hundreds of chapters later?

    Audio Plays 

  • Eddie Izzard has a bit with an inventor in caveman times saying he's going to be famous, his invention (which involves twiddling sticks together until sparks and warmth happen) will change the world, and they won't have to eat salads all the time. But his wife says it'll never work. "Jeff Fire, you are not gonna be famous!" ("Oh yes I am, Sheila, and do you know what I'm gonna call it? I'm gonna call it: Jeff.")
  • Bob Newhart's early '60s routines "Nobody Will Ever Play Baseball" and "Introducing Tobacco to Civilization" end in this.

    Comic Books 
  • In the 1963 extra material interviews, performed by the creators "in character", John Workman mentions hearing a band from Liverpool on the radio, but is sure "they'll never be as big as the Beach Boys".
  • In All-Star Western, Dr Amadeus Arkham is rather taken aback by Nighthawk and Cinnamon, masked vigilantes who stalk the night in New Orleans. He's glad there'll never be any call for that sort of thing in Gotham City.
  • Archie Comics: The "caveman" segments of often bring up futuristic technology. Jughead once drew pictures of a telephone and a car; the girls scoffed at his nonsensical pictures. They would also have characters use modern words and slang in spoken sentences, and then have other characters inquire just what those words meant.
    Caveman Reggie: (after an accident) Look what he did! He rubbed all the greasy kid stuff out of my hair!
    Caveman Jughead: What's a greasy?
    Caveman Archie: What's a kid?
  • Asterix
    • There's a short, parenthetical page in Asterix and the Soothsayer explaining what soothsayers are. It concludes they're all charlatans after showing one describing modern-day skyscrapers (depicted by an actual photograph, so we get the point).
    • At the end of Asterix and the Actress, Caesar has a small golden statue of himself which he offers Asterix as a reward. Asterix says the eponymous actress is the one who actually earned it. Caesar goes along with this, but can't help thinking that giving a woman a golden statuette for acting is a bit ridiculous.
    • In Asterix and the Chariot Race, Big Eater Obelix isn't impressed with Parma's very thin slices of ham, sarcastically asking if they also make powdered cheese.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Search, Uncle Iroh shares a new recipe with Zuko and Aang which involves tea with milk and little balls of tapioca at the bottom, what readers might recognize as boba tea. Zuko and Aang aren't impressed, and Iroh laments "I am a man ahead of my time."
  • In Will Eisner's Fagin the Jew, a young Fagin and his boss mock and scoff at the idea of Isaac D'Israeli's son Benjamin becoming Prime Minister.
  • Groo the Wanderer: "Mightier Than The Sword" follows the growth of a newspaper in the fantasy world of Groo. At one point a man, drawn like a scruffy version of the way Sergio draws himself, comes into the printers suggesting that he could draw funny images with text that they could print in their publication. After a Beat panel the printers burst out laughing and the man walks out chiding himself for such a silly idea.
  • Early in the comic book adaptation of Indiana Jones And The Fate Of Atlantis, Indy says that he considers continental drift a nutty idea (although still more plausible than the existence of Atlantis.) In the 1930s, this was the standard scientific view. Of course, later in the story, he ends up in... well, look at the title.
  • In League of Extraordinary Gentlemen side-story Nemo: Heart of Ice, inventors Frank Reade and Jack Wright are very dismissive of their colleague James Swyfte's most notable invention, an electric rifle, and scoff at his claim that one day some variation of it will be used by police officers all over the world. When we actually see him use it, it's clear that Swyfte's rifle is a precursor to the modern taser, which obviously is used by police officers all over the world today.

    As it happens, James Swyfte is based on Tom Swift; in real life, the taser was not only inspired by, but named after Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle. As it also happens, Jules Verne's 1869 novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which predates Tom Swift by 40 years and from which Alan Moore purloined Captain Nemo, already showed him using rifles firing (lethal) electric bullets that can be seen as precursors to tasers.
  • In Marvel 1602, Sir Richard Reed is, like his 616 counterpart, a scientific genius who is constantly coming up with inventions and ideas that are decades and even centuries ahead of their time — such as, in this case, batteries and modern chemistry. It's played with, in that while Count von Doom might be willing to exploit those innovations that have some practical use for him, he's skeptical and irritated when Reed speculates on a nonsensical idea (to Doom) that light might have a constant speed.
  • Monica's Gang:
    • Way before an apple fell on Sir Isaac Newton, another one fell on Pitheco. He tried (and failed) to pitch the idea. Isaac Newton probably didn't go around dropping apples on people's heads.
    • In one comic, everyone laughs at Hank when he exhibits his new invention at a fair. Pitheco explains that his invention may not be so useful, since it is not a military weapon. What is Hank's invention? A wheel!
  • The Sandman (1989):
    • In "August", the Emperor Augustus says "That will not last" about the names of the months July and August, named after himself and Julius Caesar. note 
    • In "Men of Good Fortune" (Sandman #13), Hob Gadling says that there'll "never be a real demand" for printing. The same early Tudor encounter also has an elderly man complaining that chimneys are a bad idea, and it was much healthier when houses were full of smoke. In the 18th century the Sandman, however, correctly predicts that the Bowdlerized versions of Shakespeare's plays will not have any lasting popularity.
    • Shakespeare himself winds up creating the famous Guy Fawkes Night rhyme, then remarking that it and the holiday itself will be forgotten in a few years.
  • Watchmen (which is set in an Alternate History of when it was written in 1987) has the editor of The New Frontiersman react to a possible run for the presidency by Robert Redford by saying, "This is still America, goddammit! Who wants a cowboy actor in the White House?" In the film, he leaves off the actor part and just says "cowboy".
  • Ultimate Spider-Man: The Kingpin thinks that this whole "costume" superhero thing is just a fad.

    Comic Strips 
  • B.C. used this one all the time. In an early strip, one of the girls is getting B.C. to try on a new outfit she's designed; he comes out wearing a three-piece suit and says "It'll never sell." An early running gag is that the wheel will never catch on.
  • In this Blondie strip, the cook at the Greasy Spoon where Dagwood eats is stating a "sandwich club", and plans to name sandwiches after his regulars, but he doubts a sandwich called "The Bumstead" would ever sell.
  • Sir Roger of Lockbramble in Prince Valiant has devoted a large part of his castle gardens to growing an exotic herb called tea. Valiant and Gawaine can't imagine the English people drinking it.
  • In a What's New? with Phil and Dixie strip in The Duelist talking about Cyberspace, a science-fiction writer is shown telling a friend "Okay... try to imagine a network of computer connected machines all over the planet, see? And when you stick in an I.D. card, it'll give you money." The person he's talking to replies "Yeah, yeah, and they'll have spray cheese in a can."

    Fan Works 
  • In Back to the Future Prequel, Marty mentions a friend dismissing his idea of Superman going back in time as stupid. Four years after the fanfic's setting, Superman came out, and guess what happened?
  • In the Gravity Falls fancomic Dream Crusher, Ford dismisses Fiddleford's ideas of personal computers, the internet, and next gen music players. A dejected Fiddleford concedes his point and decides to focus on his music career. Cut to him as Old Man McGucket angrily glaring at a newspaper praising his would-be inventions.
  • In Eleutherophobia: How I Live Now (set in the Turn of the Millennium), a Yeerk communication device with a touchscreen and voice-activation is treated as impossibly advanced alien tech. Of course, that's exactly how modern human smartphones work.
  • From I Wont Say It, a Hercules fanfic, during a staff meeting in the Underworld:
    Possibly the only interesting item had been a job request from a set of personifications in the east. It hadn't exactly been easy, but they had been told to come back when they could come up with a better name.
    In [Hades'] opinion, a name like "the Seven Deadly Sins" was never gonna sell.
  • In the Star Trek: Voyager uber "The Last Kiss Goodbye", Kathryn Janeway is a Private Detective in 1940s Hollywood. On hearing that the Hollywood studios are resisting the advent of television because it might steal their audience, she scoffs at the idea. She later discovers the Evil Plan of her client, Canon Bragger, a rogue producer for Paramount Pictures.
    "Millions of sets in homes throughout the United States of America. And beamed to them all, weekly serials filled with gratuitous action scenes, plot cliches, lousy continuity, non-existent character development, and women with large breasts in highly revealing costumes!"
  • In the Sonic 2 adaptation "Rising Star", this is Sonic's reaction upon hearing about an upcoming video game dealing with his exploits.
    Tails: "They're gonna call it Sonic the Hedgehog Kicks Butt on Evil Dictator Dr. Robotnik. Though I think they're thinking of just shortening it to Sonic the Hedgehog."
    Sonic: "A video game about a fast blue hedgehog smashing robots? Hah. It'll never catch on."
  • In Rocketship Voyager, Tom Paris tells Ensign Kim that a new space opera series called A Trek Through The Stars will never last.
  • In the Five Earths Project Superman fanfic "Target: Clark Kent", set in 1985, an ex-con is working on creating his own video game. Superman isn't impressed.
    It appeared to be a simplified version of the film Raiders of the Lost Ark, only with a scantily-clad female as the hero.
    "By the way, I’m trying to come up with a name for the game. How do you like 'Grave Robber'?"
  • Ultra Fast Pony: In "Faith to Faith", Twilight complains about the episode's plot (waiting in line for apple cider) and Spike points out that things could be worse: they could be watching paint dry. Twilight scoffs that even the writers of this series wouldn't make an episode about that. Spike bets $50 that the cast will be watching paint dry sometime in season 3, and Twilight takes him up on that bet.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series:
  • In chapter one of Different Tales, Different Lessons, Tigress says this verbatim upon hearing that Mr. Ping invented take-out.

    Films — Animation 
  • Asterix:
    • Both the film and comic of Asterix in Britain have Asterix introduce tea to Britannia. However, the film ends with Getafix declaring it will never catch on.
    • The later film Asterix Conquers America has a scene where Asterix, Obelix and Getafix are offered a peace pipe by one of the natives. Asterix remarks that he hopes it never catches on before taking a draw! All three end up passing out; one can wonder what was actually in that pipe.
  • Batman: Gotham by Gaslight. Alfred tells Bruce Wayne that "finger prints" will never be accepted as evidence in a court of law.
  • In Ice Age, Manny passes a Stonehenge-like structure and remarks, "Modern architecture. It'll never last." Later, he scoffs at Sid's ridiculous notions of "global warming".
  • Superman: Man of Tomorrow. When Lois Lane dubs the mysterious flying man of Metropolis "Superman", the editor of the Daily Planet tells her it'll never catch on. Amusingly Clark Kent thinks the same, only to end up using the name himself when Lex Luthor asks what the S on his chest stands for.
  • When Merlin in The Sword in the Stone reminisced about the advent of flying machines, his owl familiar chides him for his crazy ideas of men ever being able to fly about in such things.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • A very unsubtle example in Abraham Lincoln. One of Lincoln's cousins, present at the birth of Abe, says "Shucks, he'll never amount to nothin', no how!"
  • Jimmy Fallon's character in Almost Famous: "If you think Mick Jagger will still be out there trying to be a rock star at age fifty, then you are sadly, sadly mistaken."
  • The DVD Bonus Content for Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy included an "audition" of Ron Burgundy for ESPN.
    Director: It's sports.
    Ron: Around the clock? Sports all the time?
    Director: That's the concept of the news...
    Ron: That's never gonna work. That's ridiculous. That's like a 24-hour cooking network or an all-music channel. Ridiculous, that's really dumb. Seriously, this thing is going to be a financial and cultural disaster. SportsCenter, think about that. That's just dumb.
  • Silent film star George Valentin in The Artist insists that sound motion pictures are just a fad. This attitude all but destroys his film career.
  • In Around the World in 80 Days (2004) (the one with Jackie Chan), the Royal Academy of Science is very arrogant and close-minded, dismissing various people's inventions as nonsense. These include Phileas Fogg's inventions like roller skates and jetpacks. One unseen man invented a slinky, but the Academy not only mocks it, but throws the guy in the asylum. One Academy member shows himself a Hypocrite by playing with the slinky later in the movie.
    Lord Kelvin: Everything worth discovering has been discovered. Yet ridiculous dreamers like you insist on a past filled with dinosaurs, and evolution. And on a future filled with motorized vehicles, radio waves, and flying machines!?
  • Babes in Arms begins with a vaudevillian being warned that vaudeville might soon be eclipsed by the motion picture. He, of course, laughs off this warning.
  • The Back to the Future trilogy:
    • The original film:
      • Marty meets the future Mayor of Hill Valley, Goldie Wilson (a black man), working in a diner. When Marty says that Wilson is going to be Mayor, Wilson's boss just scoffs, "A colored Mayor! That'll be the day."
      • And, of course, Doc's hilarious tirade after Marty informs him who the president of the U.S. will be in 1985. ("Ronald Reagan?! The actor?! Ha! Then who's vice-president, Jerry Lewis?")
      • In an early draft of the script, the Doc refuses to invest in the Xerox company, wondering aloud, "How are they going to sell a product if you can't even pronounce the name?"
    • Back to the Future Part III:
      • When Marty introduces himself by the name "Eastwood, Clint Eastwood" in 1885 Hill Valley, Bufford Tannen replies, "What kind of stupid name is that?" And this quip when Marty has to face Buford in a shootout or else he'd get branded a coward: "Everybody everywhere will say that Clint Eastwood is the biggest yellowbelly in the West!"
      • Again when the men in the bar scoff at Doc Brown's predictions that people will run for fun in the future. In the same scene, they also dismiss him predicting the invention of the automobile. Actually, primitive automobiles already existed in 1885, though they wouldn't be well-known to the general public until ten or twenty years later.
      • And the 1955 Doc's surprise at finding out that all the best cars and electronics are made in Japan.note 
  • Jackie Treehorn in The Big Lebowski expresses disdain for the fact that porn migrated to video; he can't afford to invest in things like story. However, he goes on to say that he would be willing to try something electronic. The Dude responds like so: "I still jerk off manually."
  • BlacKkKlansman: An especially dark example. Ron scoffs when Trapp tells him that David Duke will launder white supremacist talking points for mainstream America, and that one day there will be a president spouting David Duke's rhetoric in the White House. Trapp reacts to Ron's disbelief by telling him he's being naïve, and to hammer the point home the film ends with David Duke's words of support for Donald Trump.
  • In Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen's record label doesn't think the titular song is something teens can "bang their heads to" and complains about it being six minutes long. When it's played on the radio for the first time, the screen is overlaid with actual negative reviews the song had when it was released.
  • Played for drama in Boogie Nights, when Jack Horner refuses to convert to from shooting his movies on film to VHS as he believes that he's Doing It for the Art and his audience will not turn to watch amateurs instead of professionals doing the thing. Unfortunately, the pornographic industry as well as its customers don't agree with him. note 
  • In the satirical comedy Bullshot:
    • The 1930s hero scoffs at the idea that the future world economy will be based on oil, or that England could ever be run by a woman (despite England having already had several queen-regants, when the monarch was actually a position of power).
    • Also despite the huge role already then played by oil companies in the world economy at the time, the way British policies towards the Middle East, and the importance of oil during World War One.
  • In Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Butch's bicycle is treated like a novel toy, and he eventually has to discard it.
  • In Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks and Charlie Chaplin are hanging around the Hollywoodland sign talking about the new sound movies, or "talkies", which Chaplin believes will never catch on. This was Truth in Television for Charlie Chaplin. As a physical comedian, he was one of the great resisters of talkies. His Tramp movies had international appeal, which would be severely reduced by adding an English soundtrack. Chaplin continued to make silent (or near-silent) movies long after the rest of Hollywood went for sound, producing the final Tramp movie - Modern Times - in 1936.
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang:
    • Among Caractacus Potts' not-quite-working inventions in his lab are a vacuum cleaner and a TV antenna.
    • Going by the style of the car, and the steamship and so on, the film is set in the mid 1920s to early 1930s. Vacuum cleaners were available at least since the 1880s (although ones that were small enough to carry around, as opposed to parking them in the street on a cart, weren't available until the early 1920s), and the earliest television sets went on sale in 1928.
  • In the Czech film Císařův pekař - Pekařův císař, Emperor Rudolf sees Edward Kelly smoke tobacco (a novelty from the New World) and says that it will never catch on. Other items that get dismissed in a similar manner include the kaleidoscope and peanuts.
  • In a newsreel dated from 1935 in Citizen Kane, Kane, after a trip to several European countries, proclaims that France, Britain, Germany, and Italy will not go to war.
  • In Colette, Sido expresses interest in seeing Victorien Sardou's play La Tosca with Sarah Bernhardt, but Willy dismisses it as too melodramatic and overdone. It was one of Sardou's greatest successes, most familiar to us today from Puccini's operatic adaption. Even has its own trope. Later he has the same reaction to electric light.
  • Evelyn: One scene has a bartender trying to adjust a TV antenna to watch a TV interview with Desmond. After fiddling with it for the longest time with no luck in improving the picture, he gives up, muttering how TV will never catch on.
  • The 2009 Japanese film Fish Story has this with the eponymous track. It's a catchy punk piece with Word Salad Lyrics, but in 1975 it just wasn't mainstream enough. The band knows that it won't sell, but they decide to record it anyway.
  • Forrest Gump doesn't seem too impressed by the "fruit company" Lt. Dan suggested he invest in, which we see is really Apple Computers, now Apple Inc.
  • Boss Tweed in Gangs of New York mocks the short sleeves worn by a Chinese card dealer to show he's got no cards up his sleeves, saying "Let's pray that never becomes the fashion."
  • At one point in Get On Up, a young James Brown is bumped so that the then-unknown Rolling Stones can play the last set on a music show. When James becomes angry, his manager assures him that the Stones are talentless hacks who will be forgotten within a year. Mick Jagger was one of the producers on the film, so this might double as a bit of Self-Deprecation. That really happened, actually, at the TAMI (Teen Age Music International) Show in late 1964. Mary Wilson of the Supremes mentions the backstage angst between Brown and the Stones in her autobiography: "How did the Stones think they could follow Soul Brother Number One? The stones weren't quite sure they could do it, and James Brown was pretty sure they couldn't!"
  • Glory Road: Pre-Character Development, trainer Ross Moore feels this way about having more than a token black player or two on a college team.
    Ross: You carrying on like Negroes gonna be the future of basketball. Could you imagine that?
  • Goodbye Lenin features one of these in a deleted scene. The movie takes place in 1989, but one character, an amateur filmmaker, is wearing what seems to be a Matrix t-shirt, with the green data pattern from those movies (1999-2003). In the deleted scene we find out why: it turns out he has a friend, also a filmmaker, who was telling him about his idea for a movie where humans are kept in an artificial reality by robots. He remarks that he likes his friend's design sense but thinks his movie idea is ridiculous and doomed to fail.
  • In Goodbye, Mr. Chips, one of the masters is reading a novel and replies to another who asks about the author: "It's his first. He'll never come to anything. He's too fantastic." The novel is The Time Machine and the author is H. G. Wells.
  • The Hudsucker Proxy:
    • The Hudsucker Industries board members think Norville Barnes's Hula Hoop invention is utterly worthless, but decide to go ahead with mass production of the item for the sake of a massive stock scam. The plan is subsequently derailed when the product is a hit.
    • Barnes has a moment of this when the lift attendant tries to pitch him the idea for a drinking straw with little accordion-style ridges that allow it to flex. Not only does he dismiss the now-famous Bendy Straw as a stupid invention, he fires the poor guy on the spot.
  • The 2013 CBC movie Jack, about Canadian politician Jack Layton, shows numerous people throughout Jack's career underestimating how much of an impact he or his ideas could make.
  • Early in Kevin Smith's Jersey Girl, Ben Affleck's publicist character scoffs at the idea of Will Smith being cast as the protagonist in Independence Day, doubting that anyone could take the Fresh Prince seriously as an action star.
  • Julie & Julia had several examples, probably based on real life anecdotes:
    • The head of the Cordon Bleu Institute tells Julia Child that she is a terrible cook.
    • Paul Child consoles his wife upon the rejection of Mastering the Art of French Cooking: "You could have a television show!" This cheers her up, but she laughs at the idea.
  • Towards the beginning of Jumanji, the young Alan Parrish is shown a sneaker prototype by Carl Bentley in 1969, and isn't very impressed by it. It accidentally gets destroyed by Alan, and gets Carl fired. However, after the game ends in 1995, with the entire timeline rewinding to 1969, Alan gets the opportunity to save Carl's job and make the sneaker successful.
  • In the first few minutes of The Lennon Report, Alan Weiss reveals he tried for a job at CNN. His assignment editor Phil Bernstein and other co-workers sneer "Why the hell would you want to work for a station that only does the news?" When Alan tries to explain that the 24-hour format enables CNN to cover good stories live, Phil believes no one would care because "they would all be watching Dynasty". (It's implied part of the reason Alan got into his motorcycle accident is that he was pissed over not getting the CNN gig.)
  • In the 1923 silent film Little Old New York, which is set in the early 19th century, John Jacob Astor dismisses Robert Fulton's crazy steamboat idea as "an impractical dream". When Cornelius Vanderbilt mentions that he's investing in it, Astor mocks him with another stellar prediction: "When you are penniless, Mr. Vanderbilt, remember what I told you."
  • The character of Virge in Memphis Belle (set in 1943) is obsessed with hamburgers and will tell anyone who will listen (and everyone else as well) about his idea of starting a chain of hamburger restaurants, all with the same architecture, producing burgers to the same specifications. Most people simply laugh and tell him that no-one wants to eat the same food everywhere they go. However, White Castle dates back to the 1920s.
  • There was a hilarious example in the film Molière involving the capitalist son of an idle aristocrat. He comments on how production of a good would be more efficient in Spain than in France as you can pay the workers less there. This leads his father to remark sarcastically something like, "The next thing you know you'll be talking about moving production to China."
  • In The Muppet Movie, Big Bird from Sesame Street cameos during the "Movin' Right Along". Fozzie offers him a ride, but Big Bird politely declines the offer, saying that he is on his way to New York City to try and break into public television. Fozzie and Kermit exchange weary looks, and Fozzie wishes Big Bird good luck.
  • A Credits Gag in Night at the Museum 2 shows a World War II serviceman reverse-engineering Larry Daley's lost cellphone, interrupted by his mother calling his name: "JOEY MOTOROLA!!" In fact, Motorola has been around since 1928, with one of their first commercial products being car radios. Starting in 1940, they picked up quite a few defense contracts, culminating in the production of the AM SCR-536 hand-held radio — which was vital to Allied communication during World War II.
  • The Passion of the Christ has a scene of Jesus building a dinner table at a modern height, to be used in conjunction with an upright chair, in contrast to the Roman habit of reclining beside low tables. Mary doesn't think it'll catch on. This is actually anachronistic, as standard tables have been around for thousands of years, while the Roman style of reclining was only a recent invention at the time.
  • In The Queen, Queen Elizabeth refuses to fly the palace flag at half-mast in homage to the recently deceased Princess Diana, to much controversy. Her husband, Prince Philip, concurs, saying the furor surrounding the Royal Family will just "blow over" by the end of the week. But then...
  • In the film of Stephen King's Riding the Bullet, set in what seems to be the late sixties, two characters remark that the rock gods of the time will never grow old and will be around forever — they simply can't, they're rock gods. Sure enough, they cite Jimi Hendrix as an example.
    • Something of an aversion, since the music of Hendrix and many other 1960s artists remain popular today.
  • The original RoboCop featured the Ford Taurus as a police patrol car. The idea may have been laughable back in the 1980's, but now in the real-life 2010's the Taurus has replaced the long-serving Crown Victoria as Ford's police cruiser platform.
  • In Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, while hanging around Hamlet's castle, Rosencrantz independently discovers Newton's principle of reaction, observes that objects of different weights fall at the same speed, invents a rudimentary steam engine, creates the world's first hamburger, and even constructs a paper model of a biplane with little propellers. Outrageous fortune, however, attends and ruins all his attempts to display these discoveries to others.
  • In Season of Miracles, made in 2013 and set in 1974, a character says, "No way. No way anybody will ever make a movie about Spider-Man. Who wants to see an insect fight crime?" The first movie about Spider-Man came out in 1977.
  • Shanghai Noon gets a few miles out of this trope;
    "John Wayne? That's a terrible name for a cowboy!"
    • Its sequel, Shanghai Knights, practically runs on it:
      "Hey Chon, you're lucky I didn't invest in that ridiculous 'auto-mobile' idea. Yeah, that's gonna make a lot of money."
    • In the second example, he is also claiming that zeppelins are going to be huge after investing a substantial amount of gold into it (interestingly, Zeppelin did not begin construction of his first airship until 1899, and the movie takes place in 1887).
    • And, after giving Arthur Conan Doyle the idea to write detective stories, Roy says this:
      Roy: Sherlock Holmes? That's a terrible name for a detective!
  • Sherlock: Case of Evil has a variation where Dr. Watson keeps predicting things that he believes are on the way out. For example, he predicts that the completion of the Underground will make it unnecessary for anyone to drive in London, and that government will soon make cigarettes illegal.
    • However, come the 2020s, some countries like Finland and New Zealand have plans to completely (but gradually) ban tobacco smoking.
  • A deleted scene in Sherlock Holmes (2009) has Lestrade express exasperation and incredulity when Holmes suggests that he employ a photographer to record a crime scene.
  • At the beginning of Singin' in the Rain, everyone at a party among movie people scoffs when shown a demonstration of "talking pictures" and predicts that Warner Bros.' new talkie will flop. Of course, when it becomes a huge success, all the other studios quickly install their own sound equipment. Cosmo lampshades it when, in response to someone saying it would never catch on, he says, "That's what they said about the horseless carriage."
  • Early in the classic film Some Like It Hot (set in The Roaring '20s), Joe tells Jerry he's going to bet their paycheck on a single greyhound with a hot tip, despite owing a lot of money and being practically penniless. When Jerry asks Joe what happens if the dog loses, Joe assures him that they'll still have keep their jobs — playing in a speakeasy's band. When Jerry asks him what'll happen if they lose their job, Joe snaps with, "Suppose you got hit by a truck! Suppose the stock market crashes! Suppose Mary Pickford divorces Douglas Fairbanks! Suppose the Dodgers leave Brooklyn! Suppose Lake Michigan overflows!"
  • In State of the Union, the characters expect that Harry Truman will be defeated in the 1948 election, which is why they want the Republican nomination. The film was released after Truman won.
  • Happens several times in Straight Outta Compton, with various characters espousing the belief that either gangsta rap or N.W.A in particular will never make it big. In one particular scene, a record exec passes on the group while telling their manager to call him when he finds the next Bon Jovi instead.
  • In Sunset Boulevard, an executive at Paramount ashamedly admits to Joe that he turned down Gone with the Wind.
  • In Super 8, this is the sheriff's reaction to the Walkman cassette tape player that the gas station attendant is listening to.
  • From the superhero spoof comedy, Superhero Movie, during Rick Riker's childhood flashback which is set on the late 90s: Rick's father, Blaine, about to die from a gunshot wound, tells his son the Riker family fortune is all his and he should "get rid of all shares of a small company called Google... pfft, Google's a small company, it's useless" and "invest heavily in Enron" note .
  • In the 2006 French film The Tiger Brigades (set in 1912), one of the detectives demonstrates a new invention by a friend of his: handcuffs! His boss ridicules the idea when he's easily able to pick the lock (a problem faced by some modern handcuffs too).
  • In a deleted scene for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), at the very end, April O'Neil and Danny Pennington go to a comic book publisher with April's sketches of the Turtles and use them to pitch a new series. The man they're meeting does seem to be impressed by the pictures, but concludes that a series starring the Turtles would be "farfetched".
    Michelangelo: "Farfetched?!" Sheesh!
  • In Titanic (1997), Rose's fiancé isn't impressed with a painting by a then-obscure Picasso, and doesn't think he'll become famous.
  • The Vast of Night: In the 1950s, Fay relates reading three articles in a science magazine predicting future technology. The first describes what amounts to satellite navigation and self-driving cars, though it claims this will be the only way to drive by 1990. The second describes cell phones. The third predicts that people will travel long distances in tubes, which obviously has not come to pass. Everette is amused by each prediction.
  • This is used a bit in The Wedding Singer, which was filmed in the late 1990s, but set in the 1980s. One example combines this with Analogy Backfire. The protagonist's lecherous friend talks about how he modeled himself after John Travolta, and he's been a growing failure at keeping up the image as he's aged, just as "[Travolta's show] got cancelled!" John Travolta, of course, famously ended up having a big comeback with Pulp Fiction.
    • Inverted later; a woman tells Julia that her marriage is a true match, just like several celebrity relationships that she thinks will catch on and last forever... like Donald and Ivana Trump. Or Burt Reynolds and Loni Anderson. Or Woody Allen and Mia Farrow.
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Judge Doom reveals that the goal of his master plan is to own land that will be used by the city in a massive construction project called a freeway. Eddie Valiant is rather skeptical of all this.
    Judge Doom: Eight lanes of shimmering cement, from here to Pasadena. Smooth, safe, fast. Traffic jams will be a thing of the past. (Big laughs when the movie played in Southern California)
    Eddie Valiant: So that's why you killed Acme and Maroon? For this freeway? I don't get it.
    Judge Doom: Of course not. You lack vision, but I see a place where people get on and off the freeway. On and off, off and on, all day, all night. Soon, where Toon Town once stood will be a string of gas stations, inexpensive motels, restaurants that serve rapidly prepared food, tire salons, automobile dealerships, and wonderful, wonderful billboards as far as the eye can see! My God, it'll be beautiful!
    Eddie Valiant: That lame-brained freeway idea could only be cooked up by a Toon.
  • At the end of The Winslow Boy, Sir Robert Morton urges Catherine Winslow to drop the hopeless cause of women's suffrage after he's just won the Winslow's "hopeless cause" by getting the charge against her brother dropped.
  • In Zombieland: Double Tap, Madison describes an idea that she had about a ride service in which you call up strangers to drive you around, effectively describing Uber. Since civilization stopped at 2009 in this world, such a thing does not exist and the other characters laugh it off as wildly unsafe and dangerous.

  • A somewhat common joke you might hear stand-up comedians tell: "Everybody laughed when I told them I was planning to become a comedian. Well, nobody's laughing now."

  • Angels of Music:
    • When Kate Reed visits the Opera House's armoury, she's offered pearl-handed revolvers that look like they could have belonged to Anne Oakley, and reflects that Oakley's life would be an absurd subject for musical theatre.
    • General Sternwood derides Britain's plans for a hypothetical war with France, because the Normandy beaches would be a terrible place to stage a counter-invasion.
    • In the final chapter there's a throwaway gag about Kate hearing "Alexander's Ragtime Band" and predicting it will sink without a trace.
  • Asta Westerby in Ruth Rendell's Asta's Book (also published as Anna's Book in the 1990s) spends nearly her entire married life believing that these "motorcars" her husband is so fascinated with can't possibly last, it's just a fad. She continues thinking this even as he becomes the exclusive dealer for Cadillacs in the British Isles.
  • Two examples in Neal Stephenson's The Baroque Cycle: Enoch Root's friend thinks tea is too esoteric for the English to ever warm up to, and Eliza mocks Jack's butchering of thaler into dollar.
  • Gerald Kersh's Comrade Death. The main character, tractor salesman turned Arms Dealer, is laughed at by his first client and friends because the idea of a weapon salesmen is ridiculous at the start of the 20th century.
  • In the sci-fi novel The Cross-Time Engineer by Leo Frankowski, one character tells a bartender that women in bunny outfits (à la Playboy bunnies) will help business. Also something of a subversion, in that the bartender takes his advice, but eventually has trouble finding new employees when the girls keep running off to get married.
  • In The Dark Tower, Susanna, who comes from the 1960s, refuses to believe Eddie (who came from the 1980s) when told that Ronald Reagan will be president. She assumes it's a joke no matter how much he insists.
  • In The Demon Device by Robert Saffron, a British agent is approached by Vladimir Lenin, then in exile in Switzerland, seeking financial support for the Bolsheviks. The agent relays this to London only to be sent back a reprimand saying that Lenin and his Bolsheviks have minimal support in Russia and so are unlikely to affect events there.
  • In the second Dinotopia book, Arthur builds a flying machine. But both Bix and Will think flying machines will never rule the skies.
  • Diogenes Club:
    • "Angel Down, Sussex" revolves around an incident in 1925 which the protagonists never manage to get to the bottom of, partly because the facts are obscured by various characters' biases toward assuming it's angels or devils or The Fair Folk. At the end of the story, Edwin Winthrop says that the world is becoming more rational and confidently predicts that "the next time anything like this happens, we shall get to the bottom of it without panic or hysteria"; however, the reader will recognise the incident as a precursor to the UFO mania of the later 20th century, which featured just as much hysteria and just as few definite answers.
    • In "Sorcerer Conjurer Wizard Witch" (set in The '30s), Edwin Winthrop is perplexed that Dr Shade is so paranoid as to have "an ingenious hobbling device" padlocked to his motor-cycle, as if something so hard to fence would be stolen.
    • In "Cold Snap" (set in 1976), Derek Leech's equipment for the exploratory expedition he goes on with Richard Jeperson includes a bulky hiking backpack that turns out to contain a barely-portable communication device that becomes a functioning telephone when plugged into mains power. Richard says that he can't imagine anybody wanting a telephone they have to carry around, which gets a knowing response from Leech.
    • Also in "Cold Snap", a group of characters have to drive to a rendezvous point, and a character with eidetic memory recites the directions for getting there in a machine-like monotone. Another character says that one day all cars will have a device that can do the same thing, but is not believed.
  • This joke is done a lot in the Discworld novels.
    • In one scene in Witches Abroad, the witches discuss whether they could fly people about on a "really big broom" in a manner reminiscent of commercial airline travel, alluding to the names of several Roundworld airlines in the process. Naturally, they decide it'd never catch on.
    • Mad Scientist Leonard of Quirm has developed sticky notes, espresso (or "very fast coffee", as he calls it), and the bicycle, among other things, but is never quite sure if the devices he invents will catch on. Leonard of Quirm tends to do this most often with his weaponry designs. He will often devise a weapon capable of annihilating whole armies or destroying mountains, but is naive enough to believe that no one would build or use such a destructive weapon.
    • Leonard seems to be learning, however; in Jingo he designs an underwater war machine then reconsiders and destroys the design... but only after Nobby Nobbs has spent nearly the entire book pointing out to him the ways it could be used in war.
    • Leonard also invents an encryption machine (at Vetinari's request) which he calls something long and convoluted.note  The initials of its name work out to Enigma, a real-world encryption engine used by the Germans in WW2. Leonard's inventions are brilliant, but the names never catch on. In the same vein, he calls the previously mentioned underwater war machine affectionately the boat, in lieu of calling it the Going-Under-The-Water-Safely Device. He points out, that he came up with the convoluted name after considering that the boat is submersed in a marine environment.
    • Rincewind in The Last Continent: "What kind of idiot puts beer in tins?" (Justified somewhat by the fact the ringpull hadn't been invented yet.) Also the practice of hanging corks from a hatbrim to keep flies off. People he meets disbelieve that this could work, because surely someone would have thought of it by now. (To which he responds, in exasperation: "Yes. ME.")
    • Rincewind in Sourcery: "Telling stories in a harem? It's not bloody normal! It'll never catch on!"
    • The Science of Discworld does this as well, especially in that the book is basically about the development of our world from the perspective of Unseen University's faculty. First they thought that planets are no place for life to form, and then that the sea is the best place for intelligence, and so on and so forth. At one point, they decide that the "Big lizards" are terribly boring and that historians of Roundworld will just skip over them in their recollections.
    • In The Art of Discworld, Sir Terry Pratchett claims the reason he stabilised the Unseen University faculty in Moving Pictures was to make the UU more of a background feature, since in the early nineties it was very clear to him that there was no future in a series of novels set at a wizarding school.
  • In Dictator, Cicero badly underestimates Octavius. This eventually leads to Cicero's destruction and the destruction of the Roman Republic.
    Cicero: If he goes to Rome he'll cause problems for Antony. He'll split their faction.
    Tiro: And if his adventure succeeds?
    Cicero: It won't... He's a nice boy... but he's no Caesar — you only have to look at him.
  • In the first Dragonology book, Dr. Drake comments that he thinks the designs the Wright Brothers are experimenting with are impractical and unlikely to ever work. He also regards dinosaurs, of all things, as a hoax. Considering that he's an expert on DRAGONS, there may be some overlap with Arbitrary Skepticism.
  • In The Heroes, a novel in The First Law series, one scene has various Northern barbarians eating bread and cheese at their camp. While the rest rip off chunks of bread to eat with the cheese, the cloudcuckoolander Whirrun of Bligh takes his Thunderbolt Iron Cool Sword and slices the bread with it, and invents the sandwich. The others are not impressed.
  • In Gathering Blue, Kira sees indoor plumbing for the first time, but thinks of it as impractical, since she sees simply going to the river easier.
  • All the people working with Hallam on the Plutonium-186 research in The Gods Themselves were afraid to go public in case it will flop. Then it turned out they got a free source of unlimited energy, and the very public Hallam ended up with all the prestige.
  • Done in Good Omens with Agnes Nutter, a precognitive witch. She is considered mad for her belief in such bizarre health ideas like washing up and jogging. On the other hand, Agnes also does predict some things that really DID never catch on. (Doe Notte Buy Betamacks.)
  • Hand of Thrawn: In Vision of the Future, Lando thinks to himself that when he and Tendra Risant had first proposed adding an observation gallery to his underwater mining operation on Varn, her family had felt the idea was ridiculous because "no one pays good money to watch miners mining, even aquatic miners in the admittedly unusual locale of the Varn ocean floor". Naturally, the observation gallery proves one of the more profitable portions of the operation.
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Though the concept of stitches had been around for years prior to 1995 (since at least 500 BCE), it had never been picked up by the wizarding world, where much better healing methods made stitches look primitive. As a result, Molly scoffs at Arthur for using stitches as a method to try to close his venom wound that magic couldn't close. Unfortunately for him, stitches don't work either. This could possibly be because the venom dissolved them, or just Arthur's... deficient... understanding of Muggle technology.
    "Well... well, I don't know whether you know what — what stitches are?"
    "It sounds as though you've been trying to sew your skin back together," said Mrs. Weasley with a snort of mirthless laughter, "but even you, Arthur, wouldn't be that stupid —"
    "I fancy a cup of tea too," said Harry, jumping to his feet.
    Hermione, Ron, and Ginny almost sprinted to the door with him. As it swung closed behind them, they heard Mrs. Weasley shriek, "WHAT DO YOU MEAN, THAT'S THE GENERAL IDEA?"
  • In The Help the zip code is treated as such.
  • Marc Acito's novel How I Paid for College, which takes place in the 1980s, has a few of these, but the one that stands out is one character claiming that "Madonna's a flash in the pan. She'll never last."
  • In Jericho Moon, set shortly after the Trojan War, a Canaanite prince excuses his never having learned Greek, because nothing worth reading ever has been, or likely will be, written in that language. Also, a caravan drover is considered crazy for insisting that his camels are "the ass of the future": everyone knows that those over-sized, smelly, bad-tempered beasts can't be domesticated.
  • Legends & Lattes:
    • The plot concerns the very first coffee shop to open in a fantasy city. A lot of the people in Thune think coffee is something that will never catch on, not understanding how it differentiates from tea even when it's explained to them.
    • Pendrick invents rock music and quite possibly the heavy metal guitar (well, lute). Viv encourages him to stick to a symphonic electric guitar in the coffee shop.
  • In Leviathan, which takes place during an Alternate History World War I, Otto Klopp briefly muses on possible alternatives to the Mini-Mecha that dominate warfare. But war machines on treads? Like farm equipment? Ridiculous.
  • In the Marcus Didius Falco series, Falco, a Hardboiled Detective in Ancient Rome, writes a play, The Spook Who Spoke, whose plot is remarkably similar to Hamlet. The actor he describes it to instantly rejects the idea, as ghosts don't speak in plays. On another occasion Falco encounters a Gaulish cook, which he finds ridiculous, as that country will never be famous for good food. He runs into a group of Christians, and dismisses them as just another cult targeting middle-class idiots, and who'd want to worship only one god anyway?
    • On another occasion, a group of Jewish slaves want to hire him to find one of their religious artifacts lost in the Roman sack of Jerusalem. Falco, of course, has no intention of working for the pittance they could pay him, and the whole thing is undoubtedly a wild goose chase anyways.
    • In "Alexandria" the inventor Heron mentions his aeolipile (wind ball, a steam engine - and yes, it was a real invention) which Helena Justina suggests could be used as a form of propulsion to move vehicles. Heron laughs at this and says his invention is merely a toy - after all, who would need it? (Although he also points out the difficulty making a strong enough boiler for a larger version.)
  • The Mycroft series by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse:
    • In the early books, Sherlock is fascinated by murder, but extremely resistant to the idea of becoming a detective, reasoning that this requires an interest in other people that is wholly alien to him. He embraces the role eventually.
    • In Mycroft and Sherlock: The Empty Birdcage Douglas thinks Mycroft's conviction that Britain and the newly unified Germanic Empire are heading to war is bordering on paranoia, and his suggestion that the United States could become a major player on the world stage is even more absurd.
  • In The Night Angel Trilogy, King Logan says he wants to write a book about words. Not with words, about them. Telling what they mean. A Dictionary. Kylar doesn't buy it.
  • In An Officer and a Spy, Col. Picquart sneers at the notion that the Franco-Russian alliance, meant to protect France against a German attack, might instead draw France into a war between Germany and Russia. This is exactly what happened in 1914.
  • In Paul L. Maier's Pontius Pilate, the titular Judean prefect starts believing after being dismissed from government service that with his last shot at being one of Rome's movers and shakers gone, history is going to pass him by and he'll soon be forgotten. This is subverted near the end, however, when he learns from his old friend Cornelius about this new Jewish faction known as "Christianity" that got started from a certain crucifixion to which he sentenced a certain King of the Jews some years ago. The book ends with him contemplating that if the Christians are right and Jesus Christ is indeed resurrected, that would make him a pretty memorable historical figure after all... but would that really be an honest reason for him to take up being a Christian?
  • In Mary Renault's The Praise Singer, Historical Domain Character Onomakritos gets caught forging prophecies. A few are described. The one about a lightning-flash from Macedon which would burn the Great King's throne is obvious nonsense but the one about Atlantis rising in the west and aspiring to rule the moon, sending up heroes in flying chariots, is crazier still.note 
  • In Resurrectionist, Mad Doctor Colonel Hyde makes several remarkably correct predictions about the future of medicine, forseeing such things as organ transplants. Hawkwood thinks these are furtther signs of hhis insanity.
  • In the Rivers of London novel False Value (published 2020, set December 2015-January 2016), NCA Officer Silver calls the idea Russia is looking into algorithms with the intent of manipulating Western opinion "some mad theory", although she acknowledges that if GCHQ are taking it seriously, there could be something to it.
  • Sir Apropos of Nothing: The main characters are pressed into servitude at a warlord's feast; since servants are only allowed to eat the bread, they take to hiding meats, cheeses, and other foodstuffs between slices of bread to make for a more nourishing snack, effectively inventing the sandwich. Sir Apropos doesn't see why anyone would eat perfectly good meat and bread in such a manner if they weren't forced to.
  • The SPQR story "The Will" ends with Decius Caecilius Metellus reflecting that that scrawny kid Octavianus is never going to amount to anything, even if Caesar did adopt him.
  • In Squire Haggard's Journal (published 2001, set in 1777), Grunge predicts that "perhaps in about 223 years" all Europe will unite in a single market, allowing French wine to be imported without customs duties. Haggard retorts that he would rather pay double or treble for brandy than see Britain allied to the "mincing pederasts, papists and dancing-masters in Europe... our lives subject to the whim of envious French officials." At the time that edition of the Journal was published, Grunge's prediction was the correct one, and Haggard's the entertaining error. Twenty years on, the positions are reversed.
  • In Pamela Melnikoff's The Star and the Sword, two 12th century children in England see a windmill. The boy tells his sister, "Father says they will never catch on."
  • In Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities; first when Darnay gets yelled at for suggesting that George Washington will become better known than George III, and again, played for irony, when Monsieur the Marquis remarks that the line of Kings Louis of France will continue for eternity — and he says this during the reign of Louis XVI, of course.
  • Tales From Alcatraz: In Al Capone Does My Homework, Darby predicts that future record-setting president Franklin D. Roosevelt will be a one-term president.
  • Edgar Allan Poe used this in his 1845 story "The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Scheherazade". It is written as an epilogue to the Arabian Nights, in which Scheherazade makes the mistake of putting modern (for Poe's time) inventions in one of her stories, causing the disbelieving sultan to have her executed.
  • In the final Time Scout novel, one unpleasant downtimer goes on a misogynist rant when he encounters a female uptime reporter. He particularly laments that women are taking mens' jobs, usurping respectable professions like the secretary, polluting the office with their wanton ways.
  • The Wheel of Time does this once or twice, since it's hinted that it takes place in a past/future Earth.
    • In The Great Hunt, The Bard Thom Merrilin takes some time to trash the emergent art of acting, in contrast to his minstrelsy and storytelling:
      Thom: They say they don't need my stories! Some fool out there is pretending to BE Gaidal Cain! [continued rant on how ridiculous the idea of theater is]
    • Towers of Midnight mentions a few performances in the newly-developed medium of opera; while some of the viewpoint characters praise the singing, none of them think much of it as an art form.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In 227, Pearl once mentioned she knew a man from Kentucky who wanted to open a restaurant after leaving the military, to which she said, "Who would buy fried chicken from a white man?!"
  • In The Afterparty, Yasper and Xavier were part of a ska band in high school that Yasper was convinced was destined for great things. He was thus upset Xavier became interested in pop music, complaining that it was just another fad like disco while ska would become the dominant music genre and he was going solo. Given this was 2006, when pop music was well established and ska already hated, it’s no shock what happens: At their 15th high school reunion, Xavier is now a rich, successful, famous pop star/actor and Yasper is an AV worker still desperate to regain the career he thinks should have been his.
    Yasper: Pop is just a fad, dude. Ska is forever.
  • With a heavy dose of Self-Deprecation, Agent Carter scoffs at Howard Stark's idea of making movies based on comic books.
  • In the All in the Family flashback episode "Mike and Gloria's Wedding" (set in 1970) Archie tells to Mike: "Nixon make a trip to Red China? Never in a million years, buddy!"
  • The Arabian Nights miniseries has Aladdin's wish for a flying machine dismissed by the genie:
    "A flying machine? So we can fly around the world? We can order drinks and someone can serve us peanuts? A flying machine! Maybe you should stick with the money."
  • Auction Kings: The gasoline-powered pogo stick was briefly somewhat popular. Until a bunch of kids hurt themselves and it was banned.
  • Bar Rescue: This is Taffer's reasoning as to why he changed the brand for many of the bars that he has rescued. The most notable example is Piratz Tavern becoming Corporate Bar & Grill. Specifically, he stated that the pirate theme would've worked fine if they were in St. Petersburg, Florida due to the abundance of theme parks in the area, but since Silver Spring, Maryland has a large business district, he didn't really see it as being a good fit. (Guess who disagreed?)
  • Barney Miller has Sgt. Harris talking about being careful what to invest in. "I coulda bought Xerox at thirteen. Thirteen! But I thought, what do they need machines for when they got carbon paper?"
  • In The Big Bang Theory, during a flashback to when Sheldon and Leonard first became roommates, Sheldon chides Raj for getting an iPod, saying "You're going to be sorry once Microsoft come out with their mp3-player."
  • Blackadder:
    • Used in the second series episode "Potato". Of the eponymous tuber:
      Blackadder: People are smoking them, building houses out of them... they'll be eating them next!
    • Blackadder The Third mixes this with Values Dissonance:
      Vincent Hanna: Has your party got any policies?
      Ivor Biggun: Oh yes, certainly! We're for the compulsory serving of asparagus at breakfast, free corsets for the under-fives, and the abolition of slavery.
      Vincent Hanna: Now, you see, many moderate people would respect your stand on asparagus, but what about this extremist nonsense about abolishing slavery?
      Ivor Biggun: Oh, we just put that in for a joke! See you next year!
    • In another episode of Blackadder the Third, Samuel Johnson meets with Prince George, eager to hear his opinion on his book — the dictionary. George finds the idea of a book without a plot absolutely ridiculous, and doesn't see the point of the thing anyway.
  • After a young Lucky Luciano is arrested in Boardwalk Empire, a cop tries to doctor him saying that delinquents like him never amount to a thing nor are remembered.
  • In the Noir Episode of Boy Meets World, which is set in a Casablanca-like setting and time period, the Jack counterpart who is a bar pianist overhears someone say "Forget your troubles, come on, get happy" and says "That could be a song!" then pauses and says "Naah". He later overhears someone say "Hit me baby one more time" and has the exact same reaction.
  • An incredibly dark example in Breaking Bad: back in the 80s, Gus and Maximo ("Los Pollos Hermanos"), a would-be distributor and cook of crystal meth propose having their goods sold by the Juárez Cartel to its current leader. The leader rejects the idea of crystal meth being worth selling, calling it "poor man's cocaine", and when the cook tries to argue otherwise the leader has the cook murdered on the spot. Cut a couple decades later and the cartel... is still around, selling crystal meth like everyone else, and is a main competitor of the aforementioned distributor.
  • In Charite, playing in the late 1880's in Berlin, Director Spinola's telephone is considered a passing fashion curiosity.
  • Community:
    • The episode "Digital Estate Planning" revolves around a 16-bit video game that Pierce's father had begun developing in 1979. It contains a spiteful message from just a few years prior to The Great Video Game Crash of 1983, where Pierce's dad remarks that with many arcades closing and game sales plummeting, it's clear that video games were just a passing fad destined to be forgotten. Obviously, he had no way of knowing that video games would experience a massive resurgence of popularity in the late 80's and early 90's, leading to them becoming the juggernaut industry they are today.
    • In "VCR Maintenance and Educational Publishing," the actor of the VCR game quit working with Apple Computers back in 1993 to get his job in the first place, as revealed in The Tag. His wife convinced him that Apple was a dead end and that VCR games are going to become the next big thing.
  • Paul Whitehouse and Harry Enfield did a sketch for 2009 BBC Comic Relief spoofing Dragons' Den (another BBC show where entrepreneurs try to persuade a panel of investors to back their business idea) by doing an early Victorian era version with the hopefuls (played by the original show's businessmen) pitching ideas like flush toilets and toothbrushes. Inevitably the "Dragons" dismiss the ideas as nonsense, with one character saying that he wishes for a "big metal bird" to fly around in, but that isn't going to happen either.
  • The Crown has a scene where Dodi Fayed takes his father to the set of the movie he is financing, Chariots of Fire. Mohamed complains, first with "So, this is a movie set? Where are the girls?" then questioning why make a movie about a Jew athlete. He only likes the summary that it's an inspirational story about "the outsider ends up becoming an insider", at least until the movie wins the Academy Award for Best Picture.
  • Dickinson: The idea of a book entirely about men on a ship hunting a whale was proposed, then immediately dismissed as this wouldn't be popular. Moby-Dick anyone (although it was actually a failure upon publication, only becoming popular later)?
  • In Dinosaurs:
    • Earl says he want to watch "that puppet show". His wife Fran dismisses as being for kids while Earl points out "But it has clever juxtapositions of reality." Clearly referencing their own show. Fran claims it won't last a year. Said in the middle of their second season.
  • Dinosaurs
    • In one episode after traumatizing the Baby with a scary story, Robbie is forced to pacify him with candy. However, the Sinclair household is out, so they go to a neighbor's;
      Old Dinosaur: What is this... a trick?
      Robbie: No, it's a treat, for the baby.
    The old dinosaur then rants on the absurdity of the two going to his house on October 31st, begging for candy, and slams the door on their faces. Robbie then wonders if they should have worn costumes...
    Robbie/Baby: Naaah!
    • Robbie also once dropped a candy bar into a jar of peanut butter and after pondering the result for a moment dismissed it as idiotic.
  • In the Dinotopia miniseries, David and Karl are asked to fill in the Dinotopian Senate of significant events that have happened since the last time someone from the outside world arrived, which was in 1944. David mentions the space race and Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, to which the Senate laughs at this as nonsense.
  • Doctor Who:
    • There is an incredibly prophetic example of this in the Classic series. The First Doctor story "The Chase" opens with the companions (Barbara and Ian from 1963, and Vicki from the 2400s) using a machine to view various events from history. Both Barbara and Ian are surprised when Vicki chooses to look up the Beatles playing "Ticket to Ride" live on Top of the Pops, but she assures them that she learned about them in their monument in Liverpool (but had no idea they played "classical music"). This was presumably intended as an ironic joke for the contemporary 1965 audience who saw them as a Boy Band, but they have monuments in Liverpool to them already and their music has been analysed like (and found worthy of standing with) classical music. Even more amazingly, the footage she views of them playing is footage that was lost due to the BBC's policy of "junking" old footage, meaning she'd have a good reason to want to see that specific performance again. (The footage used of it in Doctor Who is the only clip of it that exists.)
    • Inverted in "The Unquiet Dead", in which Charles Dickens asks if his books will endure and is pleased to learn that they will endure "forever".
    • "The Unicorn and the Wasp" features the Doctor and Donna travelling back to the twenties and meeting Agatha Christie, who proclaims that her books "will be never be loved by anyone".
    • In "Vincent and the Doctor", it's shown that no one in Vincent van Gogh's time likes his paintings. At the end of the episode the Doctor takes him to the future to show him that his art is among the most loved art of all time. This one is mostly Truth in Television, though perhaps not quite to the extent the show played the trope.
    • "Day of the Moon": "Oh Dicky, Tricky Dicky, they're never going to forget you." (To Richard Nixon early in his presidency, referencing, among other things, Watergate.)
    • In "Deep Breath", Madame Vastra calls advertising in newspapers a "distressing trend".
    • "Rosa": When the Doctor and Graham have to deal with a police officer who was called on them (they're in 1955), Graham improvises a rambling cover story about coming to town to sell an invention, and describes what's essentially a cell phone. The officer thinks it sounds stupid.
    • "Nikola Tesla's Night of Terror" deals with this heavily, since Nikola Tesla is considered to have been ahead of his time with his predictions of things like radar and wi-fi many decades before they became reality. Notably, one scene has people protesting outside his lab thanks to Thomas Edison's campaign against Tesla's invention of alternating current because it's apparently deadlier than Edison's direct current, when alternating current is the primary method of electrical transmission in the present day.
  • This was a major Running Gag on the short lived show Do Over.
    • The protagonist is a 34 year old man who is reliving his high school years. About Once an Episode, his mom would present an invention of hers that was almost exactly like something that's popular today. His dad would then claim that it would never catch on for a reason that sounds idiotic to a modern audience.
    • And when he tells his dad to invest his money in computers, his dad instead invests in Beta VCRs, saying computers are just a fad and beta machines are the wave of the future.
  • Lord Grantham of Downton Abbey thinks this whole "radio" thing is just a passing fad.
  • Ellery Queen:
    • In the pilot episode, Inspector Queen grumpily refers to the television set in the victim's apartment and mentions a friend of his who is constantly pestered by guests who want to visit him and watch his new set. Ellery reassures him that TV is a novelty that will never last.
    • When Flannigan's TV show is cancelled in "The Adventure of the Hard-Hearted Huckster", one of the execs suggests that they instead do a Variety Show with Ed Sullivan as the host. Flannigan scoffs at the notion.
      "Ed Sullivan? That stone-faced zombie won't last two weeks!"
  • Everybody Hates Chris:
    • Has one where Greg's dream of owning a store that sells nothing but coffee is squashed by the Guidance Councilor.
      "What's next? A store that sells nothing but staples? Or a store that sells everything for 99 cents?"
    • Another episode has Chris' uncle who is always trying some Get-Rich-Quick Scheme selling tapes from his car, and nobody wants to buy them. The tapes are of Beastie Boys, Run DMC, Public Enemy and a few big 90s rappers.
    • Chris's brother tells Doc about sushi being brought to America and suggests that they should start selling some in the store. Doc laughs at the idea. Chris narrates that Doc later went broke.
    • In yet another episode, a lady describes her boyfriend as a film director who will never be a household name. The director's name? Spike Lee.
    • In ANOTHER episode, Julius declines on investing in the George Foreman grill.
  • In Galavant Sid comes up with the idea of a series of interlocking metal teeth positioned around the groin of trousers that can be zipped open and shut to make going to the bathroom easier. Galavant and Isabella tell him to stop being ridiculous. Also, Gareth proposes developing a standardized system of telling time based on the rotation of the Earth in relation to its position to the Sun and the Moon. King Richard dismisses this, saying that Gareth is talking like a witch.
  • In an early episode of Gotham, Alfred tells James Gordon that his employer, Thomas Wayne, requested that his son Bruce be allowed to live his life in whatever manner he sees fit. Upon hearing that Bruce is free to choose his own future, Gordon remarks "Sounds like a recipe for disaster."
  • Happy Days:
    • In the pilot Potsie expresses disbelief that Alaska will become a state.
    • In another episode, Richie and Ralph are watching a Chicago Bears game. Ralph argues that the team's quarterback, George Blanda, is "washed up" at 30, while Richie counters that he's still got "two or three good years left". Blanda, by then aged 48 and with the Oakland Raiders, had just finished playing his 26th and final NFL season when the episode aired in January 1976.
  • In The Apple in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Iolaus invents the idea of surfing, to which Hercules replies "Do you really think this is going to catch on and become popular?" Then at the end they see a bunch of kids trying to stand on wooden boards in water. Iolaus looks at Herc and sarcastically tells him that it'll never be popular. Dude! That's like so totally lame! Then again, surfboarding was never common outside of Hawaii, and by World War II, was all but forgotten. Its revival in the early 50s was a complete fluke, surprising no-one more than the Hawaiians.
    • In the Hercules: The Legendary Journeys spinoff Young Hercules, Cora starts serving a new foreign drink that she describes as heated beans strained through water (in other words, coffee). Hercules is rather put off by that unflattering description and is further unsettled when he notices that Cora is incredibly jittery from drinking so much of it.
  • The Honeymooners: Ralph refuses to get a television because it's "just a fad". It was edgier then since television was in its infancy, and some did think it was just a fad.
  • How the West Was Won: In one episode, the Macahan family encounters a Confederate soldier who doesn't realize the war ended. Luke tries to convince him that the war is over and mentions that Grant is now President. The soldier refuses to believe a drunk like Grant would become President.
  • Happens in an episode of It Ain't Half Hot, Mum. The two officers are discussing what they plan to do after the war. One is planning to invest in television, while the other has a plan for a building with a lot of washing machines where people can come to do their washing (he plans to call it a 'laundrodrome'). Each has this reaction to the other's idea.
  • The Horrible Histories sketch "Georgian Come Dine With Me" sees Dean Mahomed invite King George III, then Prince Regent George IV, and Beau Brummel to the first curry resturant in London. Brummel believes the taste is a bit strong for the British pallet, and that it's unlikely to find many fans in the country.
  • In the episode "A God in Colchester" of I, Claudius, the Roman governor of Syria, Vibius Marsus, reports the recent execution of a religious dissident named Joshua Ben-Joseph ("he was also called 'Jesus' by the Greeks"), and that King Herod Agrippa is still hunting his acolytes, James and Simon:
    Claudius: So he has followers, then?
    Marsus: Oh, yes, yes, it's a cult. There are always cults, Caesar.
  • In a flashback of Jack Ryan, we learn that the season 1 Big Bad graduated at the top of his class in Sorbonne. In 2001, he applied for a job at a major Paris bank but was denied because the execs scoffed at the idea of online banking (and also, possibly, because he was Lebanese). Not only were they utterly wrong, but this helped start a chain of events that led to him radicalizing and becoming the next bin Laden.
  • In the first episode of Joey, Joey is offered the lead in a show called Nurses about male nurses. Joey passes on it in favor of another show thinking it will never be a hit. The show ends up being an immediate hit, while the show Joey chose (a very violent cop show) is quickly canceled.
  • In the French show Kaamelott, set in Arthurian times...
    • A Burgundian translator says it about languages: "Originally, I wanted to learn Modern Greek, but there was no place left. All that was available was Burgundian and English. English! But that's even less common..."
    • In another episode, when Merlin tries out "modern medicine" instead of magical healing, King Arthur tells him it will never catch on. (Though that's understandable, considering the best Merlin could come up with was throwing salt in an open wound...)
  • Legend. A woman tells the protagonist Ernest Pratt her life story, which sounds remarkably similar to Gone with the Wind. When Pratt's friend says it would make a good story for the dime novels he writes, Pratt replies that it would never sell. No doubt there are other examples in this series, which had a similar Anachronism Stew approach to the Wild West as The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr..
  • Happens a lot in Leonardo:
    Leo: Maybe one day we'll all wear clocks. Round our necks, in pockets, on our wrists!
    Cosimo: The things you think of, Leo! Santa Maria!
  • In Life on Mars:
    • Most of Sam's suggestions about what the future will hold are bluntly shot down by his 1973 colleagues as being ludicrous; of course, Sam knows exactly what the score is, because he's from the future. One of Gene Hunt's memorable responses to Sam's hints:
      Gene Hunt: There will never be a woman Prime Minister as long as I have a hole in my arse.

      Mind you, in the same year in Real Life:
      Margaret Thatcher MP: I don't think there will be a woman Prime Minister in my lifetime.
    • Another time, Sam suggests installing a TV in a pub so people can watch the upcoming horse race.
      Nelson: What's that?
      Sam: It's a television.
      Nelson: ...In a pub?
    • And it's not always comedy.
      Sam: You know nothing about football! I used to go to football with my dad. United and City fans used to walk to the match together. Our next door neighbour, he had a City flag up in his window. Kids used to play together in the street — red and blue. But then people like you came along and you took it away from us.
      Peter Bond: A good punch up's all part of the game! It's about pride. Pride in your team. Being the best!
      Sam: No it isn't! This is how it starts, and then it escalates. It gets on the telly and in the press, and then other fans from other clubs start trying to out do each other. And then it becomes about hate! And then it's nothing to do with football any more! It's about gangs and scumbags like you roaming the country seeing who can cause the most trouble. And then we overreact, and we have to put up perimeter fences and we treat the fans like animals! Forty, fifty thousand people herded into pens! And then how long before something happens, eh? How long before something terrible happens and we are dragging bodies out?

      (The answer to that last question is 16 years.) Obviously that is probably a rather specific reference, but 12 years also stands out.
    • And in that same episode:
      Peter Bond: What's this?
      Sam: It's chicken in a basket.
      Peter Bond: Where's me plate?
      Sam: You don't need a plate, it's in a basket.
      Gene: A word... Chicken? In a basket?!
    • In one episode of the American version, Sam tries to talk down a jumper who lost all of his money investing in "portable telephones". Ray is absolutely baffled by the concept — "Who wants to carry around a phone?"
    • Revisited in Ashes to Ashes (2008) series 2, as Gene and Chris discuss the advent of long-running TV show Countdown:
      Chris: It's proper ambulance-chaser telly. It'll never last.
      Gene: Of course it won't... it's for students with greasy hair and the clinically insane.
      Chris: And my Auntie Irene. Mind you, she is insane.
  • "The Colonel" also appeared in an episode of Little House on the Prairie as a southern gentleman who arrives in Walnut Grove pitching an idea for a restaurant that serves only one type of food. Mrs. Oleson promptly dismisses him, quite pleased with herself for having the good sense not to get involved with such a ridiculous notion.
  • Late in the first season of Lost, a flashback has Christian saying, "That's why the Sox will never win the Series." Of course, a month after Christian's death, they had done just that. Later on, when Ben and the Others have Jack captured, they use a clip of the Red Sox's World Series victory to prove to Jack that they had contact with the outside world (he had previously scoffed at their claim for this reason).
  • Mad Men:
    • A subversion: An old buddy of Pete Campbell's has the idea of introducing professional jai alai to the United States. Don literally says, "it will never catch on." As evidenced by the fact we have to link to The Other Wiki, he was right. What gives the episode extra points is that there was really a time when people though that jai alai was the next big thing, and for a while it was - in Florida. Its popularity peaked in the 70s before it bombed in the 80s. The "Patxi" referenced in the same episode is also a real jai alai star, Patxi Churruca.
    • Mad Men plays this straight a lot, too, especially in its first season. Don Draper knows someone stole his research report because, "It's not like there's a magical machine out there that copies things." Sterling Cooper gets a Xerox machine next season.
    • Roger Sterling says of psychiatry in the second episode (1960) that it's "just this year's candy-pink stove." By the opening of Season 6 (December 1967), he's seeing a shrink.
  • Married... with Children: Al didn't believe Japanese cars would catch on. Or that someday TVs would come with something to allow people to change channels without walking to the TV every time.
  • Played with on M*A*S*H.
    • Despite Klinger's urgings, Dr Winchester refuses to invest in commercial production of both the Hula Hoop and the Frisbee.
      • Although this was less a case of "it will never catch on" as it was Winchester being angered because he was a bit too rotund to use the hoop well and local children laughing at his attempts.
    • In another episode, Colonel Potter is writing to his wife and expresses skepticism about whether or not television will catch on. This is of course a throwaway line on a television show.
    • When BJ tells him that he bet on Emil Zátopek for the 1952 Olympics marathon race, Hawkeye expresses deep skepticism, pointing out that Zátopek had already run the 5,000 and 10,000 meter races and wasn't rested. Zátopek won and set a record.
    • In one episode, the P.A. announcer is reading the news and mentions, "the French Army today predicted it would bring a swift end to the Vietnamese War." This aired at a time when The Vietnam War was still happening.
  • In an episode of The Middleman, a cryogenically frozen-in-1969 previous Middleman (Kevin Sorbo, for the record) cracks a joke about "Beam us up, Scotty." He then apologizes for the obscure reference, "Cancelled TV show, you've probably never heard of it."
    • The irony being that the series The Middleman itself was cancelled during the first season.
  • The Movies That Made Us: The people making Friday the 13th (1980) apparently never thought anyone would ever see it, let alone that it would become such a huge franchise.
  • In an episode of Mr. Robot, we see a flashback to 1994 where Mr Robot is looking through movie options and says, “Pulp Fiction? Never heard of it.”
  • Once an Episode in Murdoch Mysteries someone will dismiss something out of hand, usually either the new technology Detective Murdoch just brought in or a suggestion from Constable Crabtree. Murdoch himself isn't immune, often dismissing something Crabtree just bought. One instance in particular is from the episode "Still Waters", where Murdoch tastes coffee for the first time. Revolted, he demands, "Who would drink this when they could have tea?" Who indeed.
    • Even more ironic when Murdoch dismisses Crabtree's suggestions for potential applications of his own inventions. While Murdoch is certainly a brilliant inventor, he seems very resistant to the idea that anything he invents could ever have any effect on the world outside the police station. He even feels slightly betrayed in "Invention Convention" when he sees Crabtree showing off his past inventions (with full credit where it's due, of course) to potential investors in an effort to help him make money off his engineering genius.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 lampshades this in the episode where they riff on Revenge of the Creature, which features a young Clint Eastwood in his film debut as a lab assistant in an uncredited bit part, which causes Crow to make the following remark.
    "This guy is bad. This is his first and last movie."
  • The Nanny:
    • In a flashback episode Fran scolds her mother for making up stupid ideas like "frozen yogurt". Another flashback had Sheffield scoffing at the notion of a Broadway play about singing cats; this became a Running Gag as people would constantly bring up how he had passed on Cats and he would continue to voice his bewilderment over its success.
      Max: It was about a bunch of pussy cats singing in a garbage can! What would you do?
      Fran: Two Words, Mr. Sheffield: still running.
    • In the same episode, Fran rejects a date offer from her geeky neighbor ... Steven Spielberg.
    • In another, while Max and C.C. are developing a T.V. show, C.C. at the end pitches another idea for another show, and the producer (played by Hal Linden) says that it sucks. She basically described Barney Miller.
    • Cats wasn't the only play Max rejected. He also rejected Hair and Tommy.
  • In an NCIS episode's flashbacks to 1991, a young Vance's suggestion that the U.S. will be heavily engaged in the Middle East in the future is dismissed by a veteran agent, who insists that's old news and the Cold War with Russia will soon be starting up again.
  • In early seasons of the American version of The Office, Michael and Dwight, and some members of Corporate, treat internet sales as a passing fad. Ryan himself comments on how Dunder Mifflin's executives are unwilling to adapt to a changing marketplace.
  • The Gag Dub sketch The Olden Days, set during the Victorian Gold Rush of the 1850s, opens with a man showing off his newly invented "platform shoes" and being laughed at. "Do not mock my vision of impractical footwear, my friends! One day, I see a world full of stupid shoes!" To clarify, the footage from Rush (1974) is of Richard Lucas wearing regular boots, but he's standing on two tree stumps right next to each other.
  • In Only Murders in the Building, former hotshot Broadway producer Oliver goes to friend Teddy for a loan. Among his issues is Teddy listing the number of major Broadway hits Oliver talked him out of investing in.
    Teddy: Le Miz? "It's such a downer, Teddy and all over a loaf of bread."
    Oliver: Well, it was...
    Teddy: Mamma Mia!. "I didn't like ABBA when they were ABBA."
    Oliver: Yeah...
    Teddy: Hamilton!
    Oliver: They picked the one Founding Father with no pizazz!
  • Our Miss Brooks: In "Wild Goose Chase", Miss Brooks jokes about T.V. being a temporary fad. This episode aired just a few years after some viewed television as a form of entertainment that would never catch on.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In "Ripper", Lady Julia describes Dr. Sigmund Freud as a quack for the sole reason that he practises in Vienna and brands Lady Sophie's cousin Charlotte a nincompoop for going to see him.
  • On Outlander, Claire, a nurse from 1946, is stuck in 1740s Scotland. She's trying to figure out a clue while at a hospital and brings it to a nun, Mother Hildegarde who recognizes it as being musical notes. She makes an off-hand mention of knowing none other than Johann Sebastian Bach and is surprised Claire has heard of him. Hildegarde says Bach's music is good but "I'm afraid his music is not the sort to endure. Clever but no heart." To her credit, Claire manages to simply give a small smile.
  • A flashback on Parks and Recreation reveals that local television personality Perd used to be a film critic for the local station. We see him harshly reviewing a movie which is then revealed to be E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
  • In an episode of the short-lived Western Police Procedural Peacemakers, two men who struck it rich decide to invest in the latest invention of a fellow called Thomas Crapper: the flush toilet. The town sheriff is visibly skeptical of this. Note: like The Other Wiki article lists, Crapper did not, in fact, invent the flush toilet. He did, however, tweak the design into the sort of float valve thingy that was used in flush toilets up until lo-flo became the rule.
  • The docudrama Pirates Of Silicon Valley is chock full of these moments as everything we take for granted about personal computing is scoffed at by the executives of major computer and office equipment firms. (Things like desktop PCs, the Graphic User Interface, the mouse, etc.) In fact, Xerox PARC (the Palo Alto Research Center) is infamous for the sheer number of innovations they came up with that were discarded or dismissed by management, only to become huge successes later. "I just made a program that plays blackjack." "Why would anybody want that?"
  • In 1956 when The Price Is Right was optioned for NBC (Bob Stewart had developed it independently and sold it to Goodson-Todman), a young actor named Dick Van Dyke was asked to try out as the show's host. He turned it down, saying he saw no entertainment value in a show where people guess prices for a half hour.
  • In a 1989 flashback in Psych, Henry pulls a rare quadruple one: When Shawn asks if he can get a home computer, Henry replies it's "another passing fad, like Rap music, Madonna and L.A. Law." Doubles as a Take That Me, as Corbin Bernsen was the star of LA Law.
  • There was an episode of TheRifleman where Mark and Lucas laugh off the idea of vehicles that don’t need horses to pull them.
  • Happened a couple times on RuPaul's Drag Race regarding some of the season winners:
    • Season 4's Sharon Needles didn't get on with guest judge and famed TV producer Max Mutchnick, who later said at the judges' table, "I hate the name, I hate the style, nobody wants to go to a drag show to see the little girl from The Ring." Sharon not only went on to win Season 4, but is also one of the more popular queens to come from the show.note 
    • When Season 5's Alyssa Edwards did poorly in a comedy challenge, she took it in stride because "America's Next Drag Superstar is not going to tour the country being a stand-up comedian." Not only was Season 5's crown won by comedic performer Jinkx Monsoon, but Season 6 winner Bianca Del Rio is exclusively a stand-up comedian (skipping the singing, dancing, and/or lipsynching that make up the average Drag Queen performance) and has toured not only the US but the entire world. Season 8 winner Bob the Drag Queen also incorporates stand-up comedy into her sets. And now there's a touring roast featuring the stars of the show, including...Alyssa Edwards.
  • One episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, in which the witches are particularly long-lived, has an investment bond mature. She'd bought the bond for a really low price initially because nobody thought hygiene would catch on.
  • In Brazilian comedy show Sai de Baixo, there was one episode where it was revealed Vanderlei "Vavá" Mathias gave up investing in computers because he didn't believe they'd catch on. His sister believes this to be the reason they caught on.
  • The Sandman: The episode "The Sound of Her Wings" contains a series of flashbacks to conversations in centuries past. In one, someone tells Geoffrey Chaucer that he's not going to make a lasting name for himself writing bawdy stories about pilgrims. In a later conversation, Hob Gadling declares that the printing press is a passing fad, and dismisses William Shakespeare (admittedly very early in his career) as a writer who's never going to be remembered.
  • Saturday Night Live:
    • Each installment of the Steve Martin sketch, "Theodorick of Yorik, Medieval (Barber|Judge|Dentist|etc)" ends with the title character stepping forward to make an optimistic speech about how, in the future, perhaps their backward systems will be replaced by ones based on rigorous scientific method rather than barbarism. Then, he dismisses the whole thing with, "Naah."
    • Shortly after Gillette introduced the Trac 2, a razor with two blades, SNL did a mock commercial for a three-bladed razor with the tagline "Because you'll buy anything." Soon after a three-bladed razor came out.
  • In a live-action TV adaptation of The Scarlet Pimpernel, the Pimpernel (played by Richard E. Grant) is an avid cricket player. He delivers a bomb to a hard to reach area in the modern traditional overarm manner. A companion suggests he should try that in his cricket games as a variant to the traditional underarm bowling. He says it'll never catch on. Either method of delivery was perfectly acceptable (although underarm was phased out in the late 19th century) until the 1980s, when underarm bowling was banned.

    This is played with in the same episode, when Percy hires a young unknown painter, Joseph Turner, to paint a landscape of his house and the surrounding gardens. Percy's friends are skeptical by the finished product, but Percy himself loves it and assures Turner that he's going to go places. This is Truth in Television; landscapes were relatively uncommon and it was in a large part Turner's work which elevated their status.
  • In the final season of Schitt's Creek, David makes a proposal to an investment firm to buy up a series of motels. He feels confident but when Roland goes back to get his briefcase, he finds them all laughing at how stupid the idea is. The group is about to go only to be approached by one board member who wants to start her own firm, explaining that she's tired of watching the others ignore perfectly great business ideas. "I was in the room when they turned down Uber."
  • In an episode of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World, the protagonists find themselves transported to WWI era Fulham and meet then Minister of Munitions Winston Churchill. At one point he responds to the outrageous claims of the protagonists with "That's about as likely as me becoming Prime Minister!"
  • A few examples in the Star Trek franchise:
    • In "Time's Arrow", Data is thrown back in time to 19th Century San Francisco. After winning a substantial amount of money at poker (playing against Mark Twain, of all people), he begins assembling materials to build an advanced scanner. The bellhop asks if it's a motor for one of those horseless carriages, and then if he thinks there's really money in them.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. A serious example occurs in "Far Beyond the Stars", when Captain Sisko starts to hallucinate that he's a science-fiction writer in the 1950s. He submits an excellent story about a space station called Deep Space Nine, but his editor tells him to drop the idea of a Negro captain as it's "too unrealistic". However Played for Laughs with a note from the editor pinned to Armin Shimerman's desk, rejecting one of his story ideas. "No-one would ever believe that a cheerleader could kill vampires." However another note correctly states that "Four Laws of Robotics are one too many."
    • In "Statistical Probabilities", Bashir and some other genetically-engineered people come to the conclusion there's no way the Federation can win against the Dominion. Bashir tells Sisko that even a Cardassian-led coup couldn't turn the tide. In the epic battle of the series finale, the Cardassians suddenly turning on the Dominion is the key moment that achieves victory.
    • In Star Trek: Enterprise, Travis says that Starfleet should consider putting families on starships, as he grew up on a freighter and families are especially prevalent in the cargo service. Malcolm, the British Military Brat tactical officer, naturally believes this to be a terrible idea. After all, what's next? Having a psychologist on the bridge?
    • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The City on the Edge of Forever", Edith Keeler expresses hope that humanity will one day live in an era of peace and be able to travel through space. While the people in her boarding house scoff at this; Kirk and Spock know full well it will happen. The episode's plot, however, hinges on her death being preserved in order to ensure the United States' entry until World War II, meaning that she was in the wrong time to see all this happen.
    • In the pilot for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Pike's response to being told that General Order One is being renamed the Prime Directive is to quip that "that'll never stick".
  • The short-lived show Thanks has the younger girl whose entire purpose was to predict future discoveries and/or habits, such as the presence of bacteria (and the need for sterilization) or "no smoking sections".
  • In an episode of That '70s Show, Red and Kelso are fixing the Atari Pong game:
    Red: Congratulations, son! You have seen the future!
    Kelso: Yeah, yeah, you're so right, Red! Home computers! That is the future!
    Red: No, no, no. Not computers! Soldering! The future is soldering! Computers...

    It looks like Red will add another to his list of disappointments and broken dreams.
  • Played With in a That Mitchell and Webb Look sketch, with the joke being that the inventions won't catch on because they're peripherals for things as yet not invented - a wooden computer mouse, a windscreen wiper ("the device for wiping clean a screen that, in as yet obscure circumstances, would shield one from the wind"), a can-opener ("the device for extracting food that has somehow become encased in metal"), anti-viral software (a long scroll of ones and zeroes, which he no longer remembers the purpose of), and a Sky Digi-Box.
  • Too Close for Comfort had an episode, "The Separation", with flashbacks to when Henry and Muriel were dating. They are listening to the Kennedy/Nixon debate on the radio. Henry says he thinks Nixon will win the election. "People want someone in the White House they can trust," he says.
  • The Toys That Made Us covers a plethora of franchises that, when they were just trying to take off, were rejected by multiple companies for this very reason.
  • On Vinyl, the staff of American Century Records laughs at a goofy Swedish record they hear from a little band called "ABBA." Their boss Richie is the only one who sees their potential, but he himself doesn't seem thrilled when offered the chance to pick up a struggling artist named Bruce Springsteen. The entire label, save Clark, also don't foresee the upcoming market explosion of disco, and nearly axe their one disco act for not selling right before they start to blow up.
  • When They See Us: When Donald Trump demands that the boys be executed, one of the mothers dismisses him as a publicity hound clinging to his last minute of fame.
  • The Wild Wild West
    • In one episode the two heroes, trapped at the bottom of a dry well, toss rocks into the well's bucket to lower it and escape. Artemus Gordon suggests that this might be the basis for an enjoyable game: "bucketball!" Jim West vetoes the idea.
    • And in "The Night of the Big Blackmail", Gordon speculates that entertainment using the newfangled kinetoscope could be profitable. West scoffs.
  • An episode of WKRP in Cincinnati has a brief flashback-like scene that takes place back in the 1950s, where a young Les Nesman says of the VW Beetle, "It's just a fad, like television."
  • A Whole Episode Flashback from Workaholics shows Adam saying that the internet is a fad, and that internet porn will never catch on because people are too used to DVDs and magazines. Which just serves to illustrate that Adam is a complete dumbass, since the episode takes place in 2008, when both the internet and internet porn had already been well established for years.
  • In an episode of Yes, Dear, Jimmy tries to pitch a movie idea to Greg's boss, only for him to shut it down. The crestfallen Jimmy decides to forget about making movies, but Greg tells him to pitch the idea to another studio. Apparently, his boss thought Spider-Man would never make it.
  • Siroc in Young Blades discusses the possible invention of cleaning detergents and adding milk to coffee, only for his fellow Musketeers to go... well, you know.
  • The whole point of the Cavemen sketches on You're Skitting Me. Krunk makes consistent attempts to civilise his fellow cavemen, with ideas of modern technology from paper, to soap, to social networking, but his attempt are always futile as another caveman always ends up rejecting his ideas.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In "The World Next Door", the Barney Schlessinger of the Retro Universe has invented a super fuel called Trimbeline 3 that allows the automobile to obtain speeds of 60 miles per hour with a fuel efficiency rating of 100 miles per gallon. A newspaper article is skeptical of Barney's claims that his Trimbeline powered automobiles will replace horse-drawn carriages within a few years.
  • Velvet: Marco is very much against Ana's idea of a prêt-à-porter line for their haute couture fashion house, thinking that allowing just anyone to wear their clothes would cheapen the brand. Ana proves him wrong.
  • We Own This City: The series takes place during the 2016 election. A young attorney announces that he's excited to join the Office for Civil Rights but is promptly told that he'd better hope that Hilary Clinton wins the election, since "in any Republican administration, the OCR is where good lawyers come to die." The attorney then assures everyone that Trump has no chance of winning.
  • Young Sheldon:
    • In "A Slump, a Cross and Roadside Gravel", Georgie laughs at Sheldon's suggestion of curating music on a device that is also a camera and a phone.
    • In "The Geezer Bus and a New Model for Education", Linkletter doesn't think Sheldon's idea of "distanced learning" will ever work. Thirty years later (at the time the episode aired), it became a necessity due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
    • In "Future Worf and the Margarita of the South Pacific", Missy thinks that Sheldon's idea for alternative currency is a scam. Today, it's called cryptocurrency.
  • Played with in the "Drippin Episode" of Zoey 101 wherein Michael is trying to start a new slang word for cool: drippin. And to the chagrin of Chase and Logan he uses it in as many opportunities as he can. Towards the end of the episode, drippin is now used instead of cool, but when Michael tried claiming credit for it, both Logan and Chase deny that (Chase simply to mess with him and Logan as payback for the other students wailing on him for causing the episodes B plot) and to their annoyance he tries coming up with another slang word: flump.

  • EMI were initially reluctant to adopt LP records, under the assumption that they'd quickly be swept away by the already established 78 rpm market. Likewise, they were hesitant to enter the Compact Disc market on the same grounds, with their tone only changing after a CD reissue of The Dark Side of the Moon became enough of a Killer App to require its own dedicated pressing plant (at a time when there were only two in the world).
  • The The Beatles thought that stereo was a gimmick and only mixed one of their albums (Abbey Road) in stereo, though a few more were only released in stereo mixes. That was in 1969, when most record companies started selling more stereo records than mono in '67. This is why some older artist, like Frank Sinatra and Elvis, have a comparably more modern sound quality to them.
  • George Gershwin's They All Laughed is almost exclusively this trope. Among the concepts ridiculed by the mysterious "they": Christopher Columbus claiming the world was round, Thomas Edison's recordings, the Wright Brothers' airplane, Marconi's wireless, the creation of Rockefeller Center, Eli Whitney's cotton gin, Robert Fulton's steamboat, the Hershey bar, and the Model T Ford. Needless to say, the singer's relationship, to which he compared the above, was a similar success.
    • Rule of Funny obviously applies here, as practically none of these concepts actually caused laughter and ridicule. Also, everyone already knew the world was round by 1492. The reason Columbus may or may not have been laughed at was because he thought the world was far smaller than it is. They were right, too - the only reason Columbus succeeded was dumb luck.
  • The Tom Lehrer song "New Math" is rather dated for this reason. While he was right about New Math being a terrible idea, the one part of it he directly mentions in the song — a method to handle subtraction — is literally the only part of New Math that survived, so modern audiences are left to wonder why he's spending so much time making fun of a completely ordinary math problem.
  • One of the versions of Chester See's music video Whistle While I Work it is framed by a man and two boys watching the music video on a phone. At the end, the man is disappointed by the hip-thrusting "dance" and leaves, saying it will never catch on. Meanwhile, behind him, the boys are already copying it.
  • The page quote is 1960s Decca producer Dick Rowe infamously turning down an up-and-coming young rock and roll quartet called The Beatles because (all together now) "guitar groups are on the way out." While Rowe's actual words did, of course, age like milk, in total fairness to him it is largely believed that he was actually just trying to let them down gently due to their audition for him having been a bit rough. In any case, the man later went on to sign The Rolling Stones, so clearly didn't have completely terrible musical instincts.

  • RiffTrax spoofs the use of the trope in Titanic (1997) (where Rose's fiancé states a then-obscure Picasso would never become famous):
    "Good Lord, but I certainly am shortsighted and wrong about everything, aren't I? Now, hand me those shares of AT&T, I'd like to blow my nose on them."

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Macaela Mercedes made this joke about Madison Eagles in regards to wrestling in the USA after defeating her, years before a little promotion called SHIMMER popped up and Eagles became its third champion.
  • In a Worked Shoot, Gabe Sapolsky relentlessly buried CZW Ironman Champion Chris Hero on commentary, saying he never had him booked for the promotion till Bryan Danielson gave him a shot because he didn't deserve it, among other things. In another year or two, Hero would come to be synonymous with Ring Of Honor while teaming with Claudio Castagnoli in the Kings Of Wrestling and later joining up with Larry Sweeney.
  • Jimmy Jacobs had this to say about Ring of Honor fan boy Michael Elgin after he finally got a spot on the active roster. Nine years later, he admitted to being wrong when Elgin unseated Adam Cole for the ROH World Title.
  • Sweet Saraya said this about herself in 2011, believing she was seventeen years too late to worry about finding a spot in the USA and only went to SHIMMER to ensure Britani got over. Britani did, but Saraya did find a spot, as SHIMMER's champion.
  • According to Bruce Santee, his entire career had been plagued by a long string of this, to the point "I've caught on" was more or less his whole drive as Ring Warriors Grand Champion.
  • ECW 1995: Tod Gordon originally dismissed The Dudley Boys and The Blue Meanie as "drunken Raven ideas."note  While it took a while to get down to the ideal combination of Bubba Ray and D-Von, the Dudleys eventually did become very successful. The Blue Meanie can't claim success on the Dudleys' level, but, the fans did come to love him.
  • While in WCW, Steve Austin suggested that he started a feud with Hulk Hogan by proclaiming "Steveamania" was bigger than "Hulkamania." It was dismissed as silly. A few years later, Austin went to the WWF and proved Steveamania was bigger than Hulkamania.
  • CHIKARA 2007: Create-A-Wrestler (today, Dasher Hatfield) faced Crossbones at Time Will Prove Everything, March 24, 2007. Crossbones questioned the logic of such a gimmick.
  • John Morrison was rejected from season 2 of Tough Enough because Kevin Dunn didn't like his attitude, believing that Morrison was patronizing the judges and that he didn't truly want to be a WWE Superstar. The fact that he came back to take part in and win season 3 before going on to have a relatively successful run in the company for a few years before leaving WWE and showing he has the talent to thrive in any wrestling organization tends to make Dunn's words in the early 2000s ring hollow.

  • On Garrison Keillor's farewell tour, he did a new version of a 2008 bit where Guy Noir is roped into a bizarre musical about the life of Emily Dickinson; in this version, the playwright, after the show bombs, puts the last of her money into a similarly bizarre venture: a hip-hop musical about Alexander Hamilton. Guy Noir stays out, citing a pattern of failure of Treasury-Secretary-themed musicals.
  • An episode of the Public Radio International magazine show This American Life involved the reminiscences of a man "with a negative ability to identify trends". At various points in his life, he had: watched a Detroit nightclub performance by a pre-record-deal Madonna and assumed she would never make it big because she couldn't sing worth crap, reviewed and rejected a manuscript submitted to a publishing house entitled Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus because it was trite and misogynistic, and turned down a job with a Japanese company that was working on a major precursor to the public Internet because only losers would talk to people through a computer terminal.
  • The BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play The Tobacco Merchant's Lawyer, set in 1780, has the lawyer deeply sceptical of a fortune teller who predicts the housing bubble, that Glasgow will be razed and replaced by tall tenement blocks so the poor may have water closets, and that one day everyone will have a box-shaped recepticle in the drawing room that shows plays and the town-cryer. Also, when his company's ships are supposedly lost to piracy, his only consolation is the thought that "the dread Pirates of the Caribbean may presently be enjoying a degree of infamy, but in the centuries to come their exploits will be forgotten as surely as a shipwreck at the bottom of the ocean".

  • In Embers in the Dusk, there was a lot of opposition to the idea of settling Avernus, particularly from one Lord Inquisitor believing that nothing will come out of people upon such a lethal planet. A Turn 26 sidestory features him sending a Grey Knight team to investigate the reports of utterly unbelievable success, which they are forced to confirm.

  • Cabaret. In possibly the only use of this trope for Tear Jerker effect, Herr Schultz's prediction that the rise of the Nazis will pass soon enough. Particularly tragic since he is Jewish.
  • In the Gershwin musical Crazy for You, the residents of Dead Rock, Nevada are skeptical of a suggestion of building a casino. "Who would come to Nevada to gamble?"
  • Cavewoman Emberly says that fire will probably never catch on in Firebringer.
  • In Gypsy, the characters see Jack Benny perform a stand-up comedy act in the 1920s. Mama Rose remarks: "He'll never get anyplace." A major plot point is the Mama's inability to predict coming trends, like her insistence that vaudeville will never die.
  • In Hamilton, when Hamilton proposes writing the Federalist Papers, Burr dismisses them by saying that "no one will read it." In reality, of course, as a unique insight into the intentions of the founding fathers, the Federalist Papers went on to become the single document most frequently cited by the US Supreme Court.
  • Hell-Bent Fer Heaven: Sid wonders if he'll be able to get some alcohol to drink, and Andy says "Don't let not gittin' it bother you. That's all talk." Prohibition was enacted very soon after the time this play was set.
  • The Strawman Political patriarch in An Inspector Calls (written in 1945, set in 1912) has a speech early on that consists almost entirely of this, including such claims as: Germany isn't serious about going to war, economic prosperity will be unlimited (except for Russia, which will always lag behind the rest of the world), and modern technology has created an "absolutely unsinkable" ocean liner.
  • In the Kaufman and Hart play Merrily We Roll Along, Cyrus Winthrop, inventor of cellopaper, has by 1934 become a millionaire and is busy investing his profits in art. In 1922, when his name was Simon Weintraub, he wastes his time pitching his invention to a couple in the paper and twine business, who tell him the public won't buy it, "like that radio thing over there." (One of the other characters in the 1934 scene is a famous radio crooner.) There is also a scene where a producer says that he's turned down the melodrama Broadway because he expects "the play won't get a nickel." In The Musical, set four decades later, the producer is approached by a waiter who wants him to invest in his new invention, the answering machine, but he sees no profit in it because answering services already do the same work for people like him; the inventor, of course, reaps millions in time.
  • In the French play (and later movie) Les Palmes de M Schutz, the title character tells in substance that they should give up on this "radioactivity" thing, as it will lead them nowhere... to Pierre and Marie Curie.
  • In The Musical of The Wedding Singer, Glen is told of a coffee shop from Seattle, and retorts that "no one will ever pay three dollars for a cup of coffee," then turns around and buys stock in New Coke.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • In 007: From Russia with Love, when Bond is in MI6 headquarters getting his gadgets from Q, he steps into the lift with two MI6 scientists who scoff at the idea that there will be a "personal computer" in every home in the near future.
  • One diary note in Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs discusses Mandus' mocking Charles Babbage for predicting a "machine that can think like a man."
  • In Assassin's Creed II, Ezio is offered a newfangled beverage called "caffè" (coffee in Italian). He takes a sip and is somewhat sceptical about the drink. He suggests that the other person add some sugar or maybe even some "latte" (milk in Italian) to improve the taste, only for the other person to scoff at the idea. Yeah, no one would ever drink something called a "caffè latte", right?
  • In Astrologaster, if Simon chooses to play along with Nicholas Mugg's hypochondria, he will prescribe the man an "antidote" for his "poisoning": a pinch of sugar, taken daily for a week. Nicholas is so pleased that he suggests Simon start producing sugar pills and selling them to the populace, no prescriptions needed. Simon laughs that, yes, if he could convince his patients that a useless pill could cure all their ills, he would be a very rich man.
  • BioShock 2
    • In the Minerva's Den DLC, you can find an Asteroids-esque game called Spitfire, created by Rapture Central Computing's engineers. Next to it is an Audio Diary where the lead designer claims their boss called it "a waste of time" (a rather odd sentiment considering Rapture's ultra capitalistic and entrepreneurial society).
    • Early in the main game, you can find an audio log recorded by Prentice-Mill, the owner of the Atlantic Express railway. He laments losing a lot of business to personal bathyspheres, but is confident that personal transportation is simply a passing fad and that he's set to bounce back at any moment. Later on, this gets deconstructed and Played for Drama: You find another log of his at a small memorial shrine dedicated to him, where he reveals that Ryan talked (or perhaps forced) him into sinking his cash reserves into Rapture's failing banks forcing him to sell the Express to a bathysphere company who immediately proceeds to decommission it, leaving Prentice-Mill broke, alone, and implicitly suicidal.
  • In Captain Morgane and the Golden Turtle, "some idiot" convinced Anita to get some matchbooks made with her bar's name on them. Anita thinks it was a terrible decision, and may be right about that, but in a different era, it was common enough that a trope arose from it.
  • In Company of Heroes, the leader of the German Volksgrenadier squad muses to himself that the STG44 will never really be successful. Of course, the concept it birthed has become the primary weapon of infantry forces the world over.
  • Destroy All Humans!:
    • In the first game, one thought from a German Scientist can be:
      Scientist: I'm working on something called the Internet, but I'm worried it'll never catch on.
    • And in the second game, Crypto gives one after a conversation with Dr. Orlov — Which is ironic given that pretty much the whole cast knows they are in a game, and lampshade this at every possibility.
      Dr. Orlov: You are having excellent hand-eye coordination. You should trying computer game I am being developing.
      Crypto: Games? On a computer? You're wastin' your time doc, it'll never catch on.
    • Destroy All Humans: Path of The Furon:
      • Main character Crypto is considering starting a high-stakes poker tournament filmed for television a few decades before it actually happened: his companion Pox dismisses the idea, outright saying that televised no-limit Texas Hold 'Em will 'never catch on'.
      • Done again in the very same game, in which Pox and Crypto discuss the future possibilities of video games. Crypto pitches ideas for the very successful franchises of Mario, Sonic, and Halo. Pox quickly throws each pitch to the waste bin, and thus pitches the idea for movie-based video games, many of which are considered horrible.
  • In Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, judging by the gossip, Larzuk the barbarian smith appears to be on the verge of discovering (and using against Baal's hordes) hot-air balloons and powder weapons, but all the other village inhabitants consider these ideas silly or even slightly insane.
    • Nihlathak even suspects him of dark magic because he was the only one in town not to catch some generic illness. The real reason? He washed his hands before meals. Given Nihlathak winds up being evil and using spells from the Necromancer's tree when you fight him...
  • In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, which is set in 1992, one of the quotes said by a random pedestrian is "The internet is shit, it will never take off!"
  • Case 5 of The Great Ace Attorney has a juror who claims that stereoscopes, devices that let people see images in 3D, have no future. The game was originally released on Nintendo 3DS, a device that can be seen as a modern version of the old-timey stereoscopes featured in the game, so merely by playing the game, you were proving her wrong. Unfortunately, this gag's context was lost on non-Japanese players, since they only got the game several years later on consoles that lack 3D functionality, making all the talk about stereoscopic images The Artifact.
  • Hades has a comedic subplot where the protagonist, Zagreus, tells Orpheus a series of ridiculous stories of his escapades, culminating in the claim that he's actually the first incarnation of Dionysus who birthed humanity from his ashes after he was was torn apart by Titans. Zagreus later discovers that not only did Orpheus completely believe everything he told him, but composed an Orphic hymn based on the tall tales to spread the word. Hades mocks Zagreus over the content, to which Zagreus replies, "I'm not worried. Orpheus plays for a very small audience."
  • Millenium Dawn, a modern-day mod for Hearts of Iron IV, makes a joke about this. Reaching June 6th, 2016 in a game (the date when the game came out in reality) will give you a message stating that Hearts of Iron IV has come out, with the button to exit the message saying "I am sure nobody will play that".
  • The L.A. Noire DLC "The Consul's Car" has Cole and his partner discuss how the Navy is making 3D movies. His partner insists it will never catch on, but in a twist on this trope, Cole thinks it will, pointing out that people said the same thing about talking pictures and color.
  • In Mafia II, in one of the missions you can overhear one guard talking about how he bought a television set and the other guard demeaning television as "just a fad", and perhaps a waste of money because only cartoons can be seen on those channels. The discussion evolves into a crazy concept where the viewer could manipulate the cartoons, such as pressing a button to have him walk, and another button to have him shoot, something that is technically ridiculous.
  • Metal Gear Solid 3:
    • In one of her radio calls, Para-Medic pitches the idea that the future will have "movies where you control the characters yourself." She also mentioned an early VCR and the potential for "records with movie film etched onto them instead of music" — Snake is astonished at all these concepts, but doesn't consider any of them realistic. Funnily enough, critics of the Metal Gear series often derisively compare the games to movies due to their unusually long cutscenes — Para-Medic thus also predicted one of the more common complaints about the game she's in right now.
    • Another radio conversation in the game has Snake and resident weapons expert Sigint speculating the potential success of a walking, nuclear-equipped battle machine... specifically, the eponymous Metal Gear, whose designer Snake had just met and spoken to at length. Sigint thinks it's just about the stupidest thing he's ever heard, explaining in detail the flaws in the idea, and hopes the designer was joking. Peachi lampshades this in her comic adaptation of MGS3 by having Snake grin at the audience and a Rimshot play after this conversation.
    • Snake also scoffs at the idea of human cloning after Para-Medic tells him about Invasion of the Body Snatchers; every other Metal Gear Solid game features clones of Snake as major characters.
    • And another: Before the events of the game, Snake had no idea smoking was unhealthy.
    • When calling Sigint about the XM16E1 rifle, Snake seems to think the addition of a three-round burst fire mode to the gun is a rather stupid idea. While his statement makes sense given the timeline (US military doctrine for firing weapons in combat at the time was, basically "you fire in full auto or you don't fire at all"), the M16 eventually shook off most of its infamy from The Vietnam War with the A2 version, which replaced the full-auto fire with a three-round burst. The return of a fully automatic fire mode is a much desired feature among US soldiers.
    • Subverted when Major Zero talks about James Bond, having recently seen From Russia with Love — he, being a huge Bond fan, liked it so much that he thinks they'll make 20 more movies. Snake doesn't really say anything about it, but when the game was released there were exactly 20 Bond movies.
  • Nazi Zombies: Tank Dempsey, when acquiring a sniper rifle in the Moon map, wonders aloud if anybody would ever make a a fully automatic sniper rifle. A few people did just that.
  • In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, when Mario signs up to fight in the Glitz Pit, Grubba, the manager, decides that "Mario" is a terrible name for a fighter, and gives him the stage name "The Great Gonzales". He's at least right where Yoshi is concerned, who is hatched during the events of this chapter and continuously calls Mario "Gonzales" throughout the entire game (even remarking at the end that, while he knows it's Mario, it will always be Gonzales to him).
  • Pentiment:
    • Despite the development of the printing press in the 16th century, the monastery still maintains a traditional scriptorium, with Andreas and several monks employed to hand-write and illuminate books. By Act II, the scriptorium has gone out of business.
    • In the beginning of Act I, Baron Lorenz showed interest in Martin Luther's Ninety-Five Theses and attempted to start a debate with the Abbey much to Brother Guy's objection along with causing shock among the monks. This became the context of unrest in Act II that coincided with the Peasant War.
    • Act II involved Andreas joining a trip with a musket-wielding hunter, for which he could show disdain for his weapon depending on the player's dialogue choices.
  • In Red Dead Redemption, John isn't impressed by the bureau's automobile:
    Marston: So much for this automobile of yours. If this is the future, God help us all... I can walk faster than this piece of shit! Give me a horse anyday!
    • Applied to the game as well: Rockstar San Diego were apparently told that they were crazy to make a game set in the Wild West. They revealed this tidbit upon being awarded the Game of the Year.
    • In Undead Nightmare, the Film Maker tells Marston that the ongoing Zombie Apocalypse could make a great movie. Marston asks what kind of sick person would watch such a thing and the Film Maker gleefully replies "The lowest common denominator!"
  • In RuneScape, in the Meeting History quest, you go back in time, and talk to a young man named Jack. He mentions that some druids have started calling themselves "wizards" and are constantly locked away in their studies, figuring out new uses for runes. He laughs, and tells the player that they've also started wearing robes and pointy hats.
    Jack: It will never catch on. It's a stupid look.
  • In the Sam & Max: Freelance Police episode "The Tomb of Sammun-Mak", set in 1901 New York, Sameth and Maximus (Sam & Max's great-grandpas) pitch the idea of Monopoly to elves working for Kris Kringle. They reject the idea, saying kids aren't into capitalism anymore. Slinkies are also rejected. Point-and-click adventure games get them weird stares, alongside a "You Gotta Be Kidding!" from one of them.
  • A Running Gag in Shakedown: Hawaii is that the protagonist, an aging and rather out of touch CEO, always insists that video streaming is merely a fad.
  • Suikoden features a brilliant inventor adding an engine to a boat. Flik's response? "A machine that runs on oil? Sounds ridiculous."
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines: Isaac, an elderly vampire who's been pulling the Hollywood film industry's strings for decades, still laughs about "some studio suit lost in time" who once told him that Humphrey Bogart was only good for moving furniture.
  • In The Witcher, while Kalkstein is considered crazy by many people (and he might very well be), he has a theory (among others) that is the basic idea of the atom.
  • In the first tutorial level of Hitman (2016) (set during 47's induction into the ICA in 1999), one of the NPCs can be heard saying "Movies on the Internet? Please."
  • In World of Warcraft, one of the silly jokes for gnomes: "I had an idea for a device that you could put small pieces of bread in to cook, but in the end I really didn't think there'd be much of a market for it."
  • In Yakuza 0, one substory has Majima meet a guy who is extremely excited about his new state of the art Bag Phone. Despite the phone being bulky, heavy and having terrible reception and battery life, the guy proclaims that wireless phones are the future and that one day they will be small and cheap enough for everyone to carry one in their pocket and potentially do all sorts of other things, such as taking pictures. Majima naturally thinks all of this is crazy.

  • Arthur, King of Time and Space: In one "M*A*S*H arc" strip, Lancelot is reading the newspaper and says the comic strip about the kid with the round head will never last.
  • A series of Dork Tower strips imagined The Inklings as a gaming group, and J. R. R. Tolkien decides to base his new novel on their current campaign. He suggests C. S. Lewis do the same; Lewis manages to roll a lion, a witch, and a wardrobe on his random encounter table. Tolkien, understandably, dismisses it as "bloody silly".
  • Parodied in the Half-Life 2 webcomic Concerned here.
  • GF Serendipity: Fiddleford and Stan end up working together because no other person Fiddleford tried to pitch his idea to before believed laptops would sell. One year later, they're heading one of the most successful companies in the country.
  • In the alternate Europe of Girl Genius, where Zeppelins from Another World are king, everyone thinks that heavier-than-air flight is a silly idea, and Gil's experimental aircraft is referred to derisively as a "falling machine". To be fair, the machine was falling at the time; fortunately, Gil was able to get the engine started before they hit the ground, at which point it worked very well.
  • The Gunnerkrigg Court Two Gamers on a Couch parody Gunnerkrigg Gamerz Comicz has one strip where Kat doesn't see the need to upgrade her ZX Spectrum because why would you need more than four colours, and another in which Annie says it word-for-word about SimCity being online, because "Do they expect us to keep our modem on just to play the game?! What if I need to make a phone call! Or I could be waiting for an important fax to come in!"
  • Irregular Webcomic!: The "Imperial Rome" theme uses this on two occasions:
    • In one strip, a Roman named Marcus is chatting with his friend about how he and his brother Spencus, who is currently in Britannia, are considering starting a new type of business where they sell all their wares in a centralized locations rather than travel from market to market. His friend comments that it'll never catch on — but in the modern day, Marcus & Spencus is the largest clothes retailer in the United Kingdom.
    • In another, two Romans are commenting on the newly built Flavian amphitheater — the name the Colosseum was originally known by. One remarks that the gladiator craze is just a fad and that within four years no one will even remember that the arena was ever even there.
  • Not So Glamorous Life is a Jem comic set in late 1990. The plot revolves around the changing music scene. Stormer's at conflict with her bandmates because they refuse to understand that "depressing noise" like grunge is upcoming and will soon become popular. The members of Jem and the Holograms, in contrast, acknowledge the changes in music, even if they don't understand why kids like the music.
  • Palindramas: One strip is about a movie executive who doesn't believe in ET.

    Web Original 
  • This article by Film School Rejects that depicts what the response to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan would be like if the internet existed in 1982.
  • In A Giant Sucking Sound, an Alternate History featuring Ross Perot forming a third political party- the Freedom Party- and going on to become president in 1992. One of the Freedom Party's later members is Donald Trump, who goes on to serve as president from 2005 to 2007. Many readers were skeptical that Trump would ever run for office, and some even called his victory Alien Space Bats.
  • In the Honest Trailer of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, it ends with the narrator saying "Wow, this movie's bad! But at least it's not Marvel! Those guys will never figure out how to make movies!"
    • They do it again for 1990's Captain America, declaring that Marvel will never make an Avengers movie. "Long live DC!"
  • Mahu: In "Crownless Eagle" the Commonwealth Republic tries to become an 18th century technological superpower, so it opens the gates for all new inventions and ideas, no matter how odd. Still, that does not stop annoyed government workers from kicking out the fourth man who comes to them with crazy ideas like a "steam-powered machine" or a way to fly using globes.
  • Minilife TV: In "That's So Gay!", Chris and Ian try to turn the titular phase into a positive one after hearing two guys use it to insult their openly gay friend Todd McFabulous. Todd thinks Chris and Ian are wasting their time trying to get people to use the phrase positively, but he's proven wrong as it starts to catch on and eventually becomes official.
  • When Allison Pregler and Phelous reviewed an old Olsen Twins film from the early '90s, they noted that it featured the twins' younger sister Elizabeth in a bit part. Tongues firmly in cheek, the two proceeded to mock Lizzie by speculating that her career didn't pan out and that she probably never went on to act in anything notable.
  • In his review of the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Timeless", SF Debris mentions that the date of that review was 15 years since the episode originally aired, and 15 years since he wrote his first review. He then brings up the following hypothetical conversation of what was happening in 1998:
    George Lucas: Yeah, what is it, Steve?
    Steve Jobs: Hey, I just wanted to thank you again for that sweet, sweet deal with Pixar.
    George Lucas: Yeah, yeah, glad to see you're putting it to good use. We were hoping to use it to realize concepts never achievable on film, you make friggin' Babes in Toyland and punk some ants. What do you want?
    Steve Jobs: Look, I know you're unhappy about how Pixar's a success and that we're working with Disney now...
    George Lucas: Yeah, traitor! It'll be a cold day in Hell before I work with Disney!
    Steve Jobs: So, I wanted to help get you in on the same kind of great deal, get in on the ground floor of this new project of mine. See, these guys at FingerWorks have started up with this "touchscreen technology." If we bought them out-
    George Lucas: (dismissively) Yeah, that's nice, but I'm a little busy making The Phantom Menace, a.k.a. "The Greatest Movie Ever Made"!
    Steve Jobs: And we're all really excited about that, George, but just think! We could have a phone... with a touchscreen! It'll be huge!
    George Lucas: ...sure, Steve. Yeah, I'm going to invest in your super-duper phone, that's where the future's at. Listen, I don't want to keep you from your hemp-tasting contest or whatever it is you're into, so I'm gonna let you go and get back to working on my speeches for all the Oscars I'm about to win, okay?
    • His review of "Whom Gods Destroy" also included one. When they mention the name Axanar, and how Garth of Izar went mad, Chuck jokes that "If there's one thing I know, it's that the name 'Axanar' will never be associated with controversy!"
  • In his Top 10 Worst Songs of 2012, Todd in the Shadows puts "Scream and Shout" by and Brittney Spears at #5. He says that he would do a full review on it, but feels that the song will be long gone from the pop charts by the time he gets the chance. After two more months of the song continuing to stay in the top 10 of the pop charts, he caves in and does a full review, poking fun at himself for his hilariously wrong prediction.
    • He also indicates in his Top 10 Songs of 2011 that, back in 2009, he chalked up Adele as a flash-in-the-pan retro soul jazz singer who we'd never hear from again after her debut album. Cut back to the present, and her second album, 21, has become one of the biggest selling albums in recent memory and she's the biggest artist in the world.
      Todd: See, this is why my friends call me Nostradamus.

    Western Animation 
  • In a episode of The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, Jimmy invents a highly addictive candy that puts the Candy Bar out of business. When Jimmy says he had no idea his own candy would become so popular, the Candy Bar's owner, Sam Melvick, says, "That's what the guy who invented underpants said."
  • In a Adventures of the Gummi Bears episode, Sunni competes in a fashion contest on Folly Day, a costume holiday where she wears a variant of 1980s Cyndi Lauper costume. The audience and even the MC laugh derisively at the sight of a girl apparently dressed as a Gummi Bear in a ridiculous costume and all Sunni can do is protest "Someday, everyone will be wearing this!"
  • Arthur
    • Muffy tries her hand at fashion design. Her chauffeur Bailey, off-hand, comes up with the idea of multicolored plastic shoes with holes in the top. Muffy says it's too ridiculous to work.
    • Another episode has Arthur being dismissive of a new toy called Woogles, only for them to become a massive fad. He resists joining the bandwagon and suggests that snapping bottle caps will be a new fad. Francine is dismissive, but then bottle caps do become popular.
  • In Code Monkeys, which takes place in the Atari era, Mr. Larrity shoots down ideas for games that have become big in real-life (like God of War and Doom), pitched by young versions of their creators. Also, Dave thinks home computers will never be successful.
    • Not only does he think home computers will never be successful, he thinks video games will be a sure investment, which was technically correct in the long run... except that the series is set in the years just before The Great Video Game Crash of 1983.
    • Also in Code Monkeys: Dave sells his movie ticket to ET to a young M. Night Shyamalan so he can go to the strip club. Dave blows the kid's mind when he says: "Do you think this is a good idea for a movie? A guy doesn't know he's a ghost until the very end."
    • Subverted when one of the programmers creates an 8-bit version of Halo that would have launched the Space Marine genre. Larrity admits it could have been one of the best-selling games of all time, but won't publish it because it was created by a woman and he's a first-class misogynist.
  • This was brought up in The Critic (in a scene which is a parody of The Graduate):
    Franklin Sherman: Son, I've got one word for you: Snapple.
    Jay Sherman: Oh, Dad, you and your made-up words.
  • In a case of Leaning on the Fourth Wall in one episode of Darkwing Duck, Darkwing writes a comic book about his career as a superhero, but his editor hates it. As he leaves the guy's office, he says to a character named Running Gag, "Come on Running Gag, let's take this to Disney... Maybe they'll make a cartoon out of it or something..."
  • DuckTales (2017): Scrooge McDuck scoffed at Santa Claus's idea of making Christmas into a gift-giving holiday (although mostly because he wouldn't be able to make money off it), saying the trope name word-for-word. It's strongly implied that Scrooge being proven wrong is why his hatred of Santa sustained over so many decades.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: In one episode, it was revealed one of Timmy's ancestors (Ebenezer Turner) could have become a railroad tycoon but refused because he thought trains would be just a fad. The job was taken by Orville Buxaplenty.
  • Garfield and Friends: In one episode where a Wild West tale was being told, a Wild West counterpart of Garfield said Television would never catch on. Coming from him, this is hilarious.
  • Used extensively in the syndicated series of Hercules: The Animated Series. For example, during a crossover with Aladdin, which has Pain and Panic traveling to Agrabah and wearing their clothing:
    Panic: What do they call these again?
    Pain: Ermmm... "pants."
    Panic: I like! No drafts!
    Pain: Eh, it'll never catch on.
  • Histeria!:
  • In the TV Christmas Episode of Ice Age, Manny assures Sid that Christmas trees will never catch on, instead using Christmas rocks. Later, Ellie scoffs at Manny's idea of Santa Claus having a "naughty" list, which Manny himself dismisses.
    • In the Easter TV special, Manny asks what bunnies, eggs, and painting have to do with Easter.
  • This is used twice in the Looney Tunes short What's Up, Doc? First, when Bugs is considering plays to appear in, he flings aside Life with Father saying, "Eh, this will never be a hit"; Life with Father went on to become (and still is) the longest-running non-musical play on Broadway, ever. Later, he's sitting in a park with a number of out-of-work caricatures of some of Hollywood's biggest variety stars, Al Jolson, Jack Benny, Eddie Cantor, and Bing Crosby — of whom Elmer says to Bugs, "They'll never amount to anything."
  • The Mummy: The Animated Series:
    • Alex, almost word-for-word, when some island tribespeople try and teach him to surf.
    • It's also uttered by the father in response to an early TV set in a "World of Tomorrow" exhibit.
  • In an episode of The New Batman Adventures, Killer Croc reveals a newspaper with Bruce Timm's picture on the front, along with the headline "B.T. Quotes: DVD the Next 8-Track." That's a swing and a BIG miss there.
  • Pinky and the Brain:
    • There is one episode set at the time television was being recently invented. Brain doesn't believe it would ever replace the radios.
    • Also, in a Star Wars parody, during one of those "Are you pondering what I'm pondering?" moments, Pinky ponders about a series about two lab mice trying to take over the world and wonders who'd watch that.
    • In another episode, desperate for a new plan, the mice ask Hollywood writers for ideas, claiming that they're making a TV show about two lab mice trying to take over the world. Naturally, some of the writers think it's a bad idea for a show and suggest using the characters for a Totally Radical Superhero series or an overly-saccharine kiddie show.
    • In an episode set during the silent film era, Brain, after a failed attempt to take over the world using movies, stands in front of the projector and laments "There's no way a mouse will ever have an impact on the silver screen". A man clearly meant to be Walt Disney sees Brain's silhouette on the screen and sketches it down.
    • In a Godzilla parody, Brain doesn't believe the miniaturization of electronics in the lab where he and Pinky are residing will catch on, claiming that big things are the wave of the future.
  • The Simpsons
    • In "Much Apu About Nothing", Professor Frink, in a flashback, states that computers in the future will only be owned by the five richest kings in the world and will be the size of a baseball stadium. (In-joke to a quote attributed to Thomas J. Watson of IBM, "I think there is a world market for about five computers.") This is followed by Apu asking if they could one day be used for dating, to which Frink replies that in theory they certain could, but would be so accurate in their matchmaking, that any thrill or romance would be extinguished.
    • In "Homer vs. Dignity", Smithers is taking a leave of absence to star in a musical based on the Malibu Stacy doll, Mr. Burns thinks it's ridiculous, "A musical about a doll? Why not one about the common cat? Or the King of Siam?" This isn't a flashback; Burns is just that out-of-touch.
    • In "Last Exit to Springfield", Mr. Burns reminisces about his days as a child when his grandfather is running his "atom-smashing" plant. After a worker is caught stealing some atoms, he is dragged away, and warns him about the future of the working man.
      Worker: You can’t treat the working man this way! One of these days we’ll form a union, and get the fair and equitable treatment we deserve! Then we’ll go too far, and become corrupt and shiftless, and the Japanese will eat us alive!
      Wainwright Montgomery Burns: The Japanese? Those sandal-wearing goldfish tenders? Ha ha! Bosh! Flimshaw!
    • In "That 90s Show", a young Comic Book Guy is heard declaring, "and that is why Lord of the Rings can never be filmed!"
    • Spoofed in "The Blunder Years" where, during Homer's youth (in a sequence parodying Stand by Me), Carl asks if the others have heard about this "Internet" thing... only to reveal he's talking about the inner "net" lining they're starting to put in swim trunks.
    • During Super Bowl III, Abe Simpson says "If people don't support this thing, it might not make it."
    • In the 1991 episode "Bart Gets Hit By A Car", the devil tells Bart "you're not due (in Hell) until the next time the Yankees make it to the World Series." That would be 1996. And they've made it five more times since.
      • In fairness, given how no one involved with The Simpsons made any kind of response when it happened, it's obvious they only intended it as as cheap throwaway joke and didn't care how the franchise did afterward. Same deal with the Denver Broncos.
    • "I Love Lisa" had an in-universe example. Krusty the Clown had this to say about his original detractors:
      Krusty: Hey, boys and girls. Only four days till my anniversary show. Twenty-nine years. And when I came on, they said I wouldn't last a week! And you know where those reviewers are? All dead! How you doin' down there, fellas? Huh? Huh?
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Patty Hype", SpongeBob comes up with an idea he believes will save the Krusty Krab: Pretty Patties, burgers painted in various colours. Mr. Krabs and Squidward laugh him out of the building. SpongeBob starts his own roadside stand to sell them, and to Krabs' horror, they become an overnight sensation surpassing the Krusty Krab itself. Krabs duly sweet-talks SpongeBob into selling him the stand... and then the subversion kicks in, as it's discovered that Pretty Patties discolor people's bodies, and everyone who ate one is demanding a refund.
  • TaleSpin,
    • In one episode, kooky scientist Dr. Zibaldo tells the main cast about this idea he had for "radio with pictures: TELEVISION!" The main cast, of course, laughs him off. The trope is lampshaded by the iris out of the episode being a classic television test pattern. This a rather strange example, considering motion pictures existed already, and, indeed, the characters watch a Frankenstein style film in a theater at the beginning of the very same episode, making their skepticism of moving pictures with accompanying sound rather odd.
      Rebecca: What an odd little man.
      Baloo: Yeah! And what a dumb idea.
    • Baloo has the same reaction when Buzz invents the helicopter (and doesn't know whether to call it a helicopter or a Cuisinart). Ironically, Baloo is able to fly it, barely, although he also crash-lands it into Shere Khan's office. (He gets a reward for saving the day, but has to return it for a number of fines, including parking a Cuisinart in a no-parking zone. This despite the fact other episodes depict helicopters already being in existence, although they're referred to by other names ("roto-scooter" in particular).
  • Ugly Americans: In the "Wail Street" episode, Grimes has a Flash Back to him getting kicked out of Earth, Wind & Fire just before a career-making performance on Soul Train because they do not think his new style of singing called Rap would catch on.
    Band Member: Hey man, listen me and the guys have been talking, and uh, we want you out of the group.
    Grimes: But I'm the lead singer!
    Band Member: Uh, that's just it: We don't dig your style, this whole "Rapping" thing of yours is going nowhere.
    Grimes: But I'm mixing talking and music It's gonna be huge, I'm telling you!
    Band Member: People don't want to hear rhythmic-talking about street-life, they want to hear jams about boogie-wonderlands and the letting the groove get you to move! Sorry, Grimes.
  • Gravity Falls: Fiddleford's attempt to make personal computers is something Ford Pines dismissed as a waste of time.
  • The Venture Bros.: In one episode's flashback, Dr. Venture was listening about one of his dorm-mates talking about going into robotics after seeing a new film, Blade Runner. Dr. Venture then tells him that there is no future in robotics, and that he might as well major in Betamax.
  • Futurama: a flashback to Fry's childhood reveals that Mr. Panucci's delivery boy was a young law student named Barack. Young Fry mentions that he doesn't want to end up like that loser.
    Barack: Oh man, I have got to go back to law school.


You fool! That will NEVER work

Wealthy Businessman has this reaction to all of Walt Disney's ideas.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / ItWillNeverCatchOn

Media sources: