Follow TV Tropes


It's What I Do

Go To

Leonard: You betrayed us for money!
Sheldon: I'm a Rogue Night Elf; don't you people read character descriptions?

Characters are the sum of their tropes. Sometimes they even recognize this about themselves. When another character makes a comment about their behavior that fits their character, they will usually respond with something like, "It's what I do."

Can be used in several ways:

  1. A comedic "Duh!" moment, which is most often.
  2. A Tear Jerker when they perform a Heroic Sacrifice.
  3. A kind way to say, "Think Nothing of It" when receiving praise for heroic actions.
  4. A villain berating the heroes for actually expecting something different from them.
  5. A Jerk Justification.

An implication of using this line is that characters need to be consistent in their behavior, not just doing whatever is needed for the plot. But don't be too surprised if characters behave in a way slightly different from what you expect, as an Out-of-Character Moment can be the opposite of this.

The underlying implication is that the character doesn't necessarily WANT to do whatever it is they're doing, that it's not a special case just business as usual. It's their nature and they can't help it. Can express a desire for emotional growth, or the lack thereof if "What I Do" is something the character has spent a significant amount of time trying not to do or angsting over doing it.

Or, in the Type 2 case of a heroic sacrifice, the person being saved is someone who arguably doesn't deserve to be saved. The hero is expressing that it doesn't matter if the victim deserves to be saved; a trademark of someone suffering from Chronic Hero Syndrome. To not be the hero is unthinkable. However, since these heroes are very rarely stabbed in the back immediately after taking the bullet for a nemesis... well, maybe the victim did deserve to be saved. This situation lends itself to many a Heel–Face Turn.

Also see The Farmer and the Viper, which is when a villain makes a hero pay the price for not realizing this. Also Because I'm Good At It and Appeal to Inherent Nature.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Death Parade, this is used as a Jerk Justification for the arbiters' apathy towards their jobs and their callous disregard for the people they judge. Any degree of self-doubt is regarded as extremely unusual, and any pushback against this mindset seems to either confuse or rattle them.
    • Decim uses this as an excuse for pushing others several times. When he gets called out for his atrocious behavior, he gets a Heroic BSoD and begins to question his job more sincerely. However, he is then pushed back into the same behavior by his superior until the weight of his actions towards someone he cares about absolutely crushes him. Though he promises to change, it's unlikely the change will stick, given the rules Inherent in the System.
    • When Mayu expresses pity towards Ginti for saying this, it clearly throws him off-balance to the point where he is speechless for once, until his usual Hot-Blooded temper turns into something much more sinister and cold.
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, it goes in hand with the series' main villain, Muzan Kibutsuji's, immense ego as he compares himself with natural disasters, as in he might as well be a god, in his myopic view of how the Demon Slayers that are in the wrong from fighting against him at all; all the atrocities and deaths Muzan has caused is simply what he does and anyone should just put up with it and move on with their lives, just like humans can't really swear revenge on a volcano or tornado for killing loved ones, according to him.
  • Rika Shiguma from Haganai is a very perverted character, and for the most part is not afraid to show her interests to other characters. She will often also shout Unusual Euphemisms such as "Universe!" and "Excalibur!", and tries to introduce other members of the Neighbors club to her interests such as Boys' Love, video games, or mecha on mecha porn.
  • Maria uses this as a Type 2 in 7 Seeds when talking about how she and the other entertainers were brought to Ryugu Shelter to entertain and keep the people calm and content despite The End of the World as We Know It happening up on the surface or a terrible, deadly parasite breaking out and how they'll continue to do their jobs until the very last moment because it's what they got brought to the shelter for.
  • Joey says this as he volunteers to duel in the pre-Battle City Virtual World mini-arc of the Yu-Gi-Oh! dub.

    Comic Books 
  • Edge of Spider-Verse (2023): When James Watson asks Kraven the Huntsman why he's hunting Spinstress, Kraven gives his answer as this, in song.
  • Wolverine: "I'm the best there is at what I do. What I do ain't very nice."
    • Deadpool: "Now I'm better at doing whatever it is Wolverine does!"
  • Batman:
    • In Batman: Gotham Adventures #60:
      Batman: Joker, why?
      Joker: Why? Why? Because this is how it is isn't it? I do terrible, crazy things and you act all grim and gritty and stop me. And I go back to Arkham and you go back to doing whatever it is you do when I'm not around. Brooding all by yourself in the dark I suppose. That's just how we are. Or how we've grown to be. And it's never going to change.
    • Detective Comics #823 has Batman trying to help Poison Ivy, before discovering a recording of people she tortured and killed. When he yells at her for it, she just acts amused that he's angry because he should know who she is by now.

    Fan Works 
  • As Light explains to Ryuuzaki in The Prince Of Death, he's a Shinigami, a God of Death — he kills people.
  • In Fate's Favourite and it's prequel Tom Riddle regularly refers to himself as "a clinical psychopath" as a Jerk Justification whenever one of his "friends" (mostly Harry) seems to forget he's not a nice guy.
  • In the Service
    "You have a habit of trying to throw yourself on swordblades."
    "They pay us to run towards danger. We're supposed to be smart about it, but sometimes you don't have a choice. Sometimes you have to throw yourself at the swordblade and hope for the best."
  • In chapter 10 of Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, the Sorting Hat refuses to answer Harry's questions by saying, "I am the Sorting Hat. I Sort children. That is all I do."
  • This trope is used several times in The Ultimate Evil by Shendu to explain his past villainous actions to be a part of his nature as a demon. His brother Hsi Wu also uses this trope when he re-encounters Jade after pretending to be her friend.
    Jade: You lied to me! You used me!
    Hsi Wu: Hint is in the word demon.
  • Shadowchasers: Conspiracy; the assassin B.B. Hood has murdered the mobster Tranello Dominare, and is now confronting his fellow mobster Cattivo Fanciullo, who was also a target, but had the "good" fortune to arrive late. Naturally, Faunciullo is furious, but she has the jump on him, so he has to keep her occupied:
    Fancuillo: Why?
    Bonnie: Why what? Why'd I kill him? That's what I do. Keep your hands where I can see them. (He complies, and she goes on.) You ever go to a hardware store Mr. Fanciullo? Ever see how so many products have the word 'professional' on them?
    Fancuillo: WHAT?
    Bonnie: Seriously, you've got your 'professional safety goggles', 'professional strength rust remover', 'professional grade car polish'… (giggles a little) I was in one house and garden place the other day, and saw one that really made me laugh. It was called 'Farmer Phil's Professional Fertilizer'! Professional dung that's what it was! If you don't want to use amateur-grade manure in your garden, just pick up some of the professional cow turd. You see, the companies that make this stuff want you to think that professionals use them, and that if you use them, you'll get the same results as professionals. Tends to bring to mind the old story about a guy who tries to fix something by himself to save money, and only makes it worse. If he's lucky. People often end up in the hospital after trying do-it-yourself plumbing jobs. Uh, you listening?
    Bonnie: Long story short, if you really want professional work, you have to call a professional. And you have to make sure it's the right professional. You wouldn't go to a butcher to buy flowers any more than you would go to a florist to buy hamburger. And the same goes with killing. You have someone you want gotten rid of… Get a professional."
    Fanciullo: You're a hired gun? Tell me, do you like your job?"
    Bonnie: Love it. It's like my mom always said, 'Bonnie, if you want to put bread on the table you gotta do the job that fits you best'. And this is what I do best.
    Fanciullo: Does your mom know you're doing this?
    Bonnie: Are you kidding? (Lifts her weapon, indicating she's done talking.) Who do you think taught me to do it in the first place?
  • The Differentverse: Marble's explanation for some of Pinkie's behavior is "She's Pinkie Pie. She does that."
  • Wily's Wittle Wub: Variant in that someone else says "It's what he does". Specifically, at the start of the Mega Man 8 arc:
    "Dad, Albert builds eight new robot masters to change a light bulb," Mega Man countered dryly. "It's kinda his thing. Unless there's something more, I'm pretty sure we can ignore it."

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • City of Ember:
    Doon: How do you know that's what you should do?
    Sul: ... It's my job!
  • The Devil's Advocate:
    Kevin Lomax: Lose? I don't lose! I win! I win! I'm a lawyer! That's my job, that's what I do!
  • In the Sci-Fi channel TV movie The Fallen Ones, the Big Bad is a fallen angel who wants to destroy mankind with an army of Nephilim giants. The about-to-be-killed mentor gives him a "The Reason You Suck" Speech, pointing out that such an event is mentioned nowhere in the Bible or in any prophecy, and the Big Bad's entire plan is doomed to fail. The Big Bad simply replies "I have to try. It's what I do." At the end of the film, in an Ironic Echo, the hero says the same thing to the Big Bad after the Big Bad tells the hero that he couldn't possibly stop him.
  • Field of Dreams: For the entire film, J. D. Salinger expy Terence Mann has tried to justify why he doesn't write anymore. In the denouement, he relents.
    Ray: You're gonna write about it?
    Terence: That's what I do.
  • In A Ghost of a Chance, the ghost of Sarashina Rokubei is asked why he haunts people. He said he’s never given it any thought and tries arguing that he’s a ghost, only to be reminded he’s human.
  • In Hobo with a Shotgun, Ivan walks around in ice skates to make his kicks deadly. Slick notes, "You're going to ruin your skates." Ivan smiles broadly and replies, "I ruin everything!"
  • From Hot Fuzz, after Nicholas is told he's being involuntarily transferred because he's making everyone look bad:
    Nicholas: With respect, sir, you can't just make people disappear.
    Chief Inspector: ...Yes I can. I'm the chief inspector.
  • Kingdom of Heaven:
    Guy de Lusignan: Give me a war.
    Reynald: That is what I do.
    • And later, after raiding a peaceful caravan and killing Saladin's sister to provoke the war:
      Reynald: I am what I am. Someone has to be.
  • Mystery Men
    Doc Heller: It's what the card says.
  • The catchphrase of Alfonso de la Pena (played by George Hamilton) in the movie Once Upon a Crime.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Quoth Jack Sparrow in the first film:
    Will: You cheated!
    Jack: Pirate.
  • Mal to River in Serenity:
    "You understand your part in all this?"
    "Do you?"
    "It's what I do, darlin'. *beat* It's what I do."
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home: Peter-2/Raimiverse Spider-Man mentions this when reinforcing his point about the idea of Spider-Man: a hero who helps, not kills. In a similar situation, MJ, Peter 3's/MCU Spider-Man's girlfriend conveys this too, but through different wording:
    Doctor Octavius: You could've just left us to die. Why didn't you?
    Michelle: Cause that's not who he is.
  • Played with, with a Title Drop, in Star Trek: First Contact.
    Cochran: So you're all astronauts, on some sort of (Beat) Star Trek.
  • In Stormbreaker, Mr Blunt (the head of MI6) gives this answer when Alex Rider asks him why they don't trust Darrius Sayle (the movie's Villain with Good Publicity). "Well, we don't trust anyone. It's sort of what we do."
  • Kyle Reese in The Terminator:
    "You still don't get it, do you? He'll find her! That's what he does! It's all he does! You can't stop him! He'll wade through you! He'll reach down her throat and tear her fuckin' heart out!"
  • A genre-defining moment in Time Bandits when the title characters discover that God has been onto them all along.
    God (Ralph Richardson): "Well, I am the Supreme Being. I'm not entirely dim."
  • In Van Helsing, Igor says this when questioned why he likes torturing things.
  • Thor: Ragnarok: Loki's explanation in his play The Tragedy of Loki of Asgard about his past misdeeds:
    Play Loki: I'm sorry about that thing with the Tesseract. I just couldn't help myself. [...] I'm a trickster!
  • In Bruges, discussing an assassination.
    Yuri: You are going to do it aren't you? Mr Waters would be very disappointed.
    Ken: Of course I'm going to fucking do it. It's what I do.

  • Lighter Than Some, a Covenant Engineer in the Halo novel Halo: Contact Harvest, was ridiculously friendly. When pressed by a human-made AI on why it was helping her, it would simply reply "Lighter Than Some," which she figured meant "I help because that is who I am." It helps that Lighter Than Some was also trying to be The Atoner because it was the first Covenant to kill a human.
  • In Stephen Donaldson's Mordant's Need, one of the heroes keeps getting into duels with the Big Bad's chief swordsman. He pauses to ask the swordsman why he doesn't simply overthrow the Big Bad (who is portrayed as an essentially impotent dupe of his supposed underlyings.) The swordsman replies with this trope.
  • Discworld:
    • Evil Lord Harry Dread, from The Last Hero, allies himself with his enemies the Silver Horde for one last adventure. Later on he betrays them, but they don't hold it against him, because it's tradition.
    • Dr. Hix, the head of the department of Post-Mortem Communications, in Making Money and especially in Unseen Academicals. It's his job to be "evil" because of his department, so whenever he does something underhanded or says something nasty he points this out, often indicating his official skull ring. (Most of the things he actually does are poodle-poking at worst.)
    • Lord Vetinari is also known to occasionally remind people that he's the Tyrant when they protest that he "can't do that!"
    • In Sourcery, Rincewind asks Abrim "You employ the slavers?" and Abrim says "I am the vizier after all. It is rather expected of me."
  • In the fable "The Scorpion and the Frog", the titular scorpion asks the titular frog to carry him across a river. The frog is afraid of being stung, but the scorpion reassures him that if it stung the frog, the frog would sink and the scorpion would drown as well, so that wouldn't be logical. This sounds reasonable to the frog who agrees to take the scorpion. But halfway across the river, the scorpion stings the frog anyway, and as they both sink the frog asks why the scorpion did it, and the scorpion replies:
    "It's neither reason, nor logic. I'm a scorpion; it's my nature."
    • Alternate quote from the scorpion:
      "I've never NOT stung."
    • Averted in the Clan Scorpion Splatbook for the Legend of the Five Rings role-playing game, the scorpion's reply to the frog is, "I can swim."
    • A similar fable involves someone bringing a snake inside, or putting it inside his shirt, to warm it up, only to be bitten by the snake. In some variations the snake talks, and replies to the human's surprise with "You knew I was a snake when you brought me in." It doesn't reflect very well on snakes.
  • In Codex Alera the Vord Queen explains this as her reason for trying to destroy Alera. It appears to be a genetic imperative for the Vord to destroy all other species. She also offers the same excuse to Invidia for betraying her, explaining that not betraying her just isn't in her nature, and she's welcome to keep working for her.
    • Discussed with regard to Invidia, too, to the effect that she can be counted on to betray her rescuers.
  • In the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, Telemain is often asked why he experiments with magic or wants to study the magic of wizards. As a magician, he always insistently gives this as his reason.
  • Spenser has sometimes been asked why he does the sometimes dangerous work he does. His answer is part "A desk job would kill me with boredom" and part "Because I'm good at it."
  • In Doctrine of Labyrinths, this is Felix's most common jerk justification, especially for constantly bullying and belittling his brother Mildmay. He openly acknowledges that he's being an asshole (without actually apologizing for the most part because...well, it's Felix) and even admits that he hates himself for it, but claims it's simply part of his inherent nature and he couldn't change it even if he wanted to. Only in the fourth and final book of the series, after a large dose of Break the Haughty and a lot of soul-searching, does he begin to realize he can change for the better, and makes a genuine attempt to do so.
  • Goblins in the Castle: A species-wide version — Borg, the goblin king's counselor, explains to William at one point that they both help people out and play little jokes because "That's how we were made."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Andromeda
    Captain Dylan Hunt: Are you here to give me advice, Rev?
    Rev Bem: It's what I do.
  • In Arrow, Sara Lance carries a lot of guilt over being a former member of the League of Assassins.
    "I wanted to kill Roy, because it's what I do. It's who I am. I spent six years in the darkness, and I looked into the eyes of the Devil, and I gave him my soul."
  • Blake's 7. Vila, the only member of the crew who never makes a pretext of acting out of revolutionary ideals has an opportunity to set up on a planet with a beautiful woman far away from Blake's Hopeless War against the Federation.
    Kerril: It's a chance to be free. You saw that place, it's beautiful.
    Vila: But there's nothing there worth stealing. [Kerril sighs] No, listen. You know why I neutralize security systems, open safes, and break into vaults? It's because I can and most people can't.
    Kerril: To satisfy your ego.
    Vila: No, not really. It's just that, it's what makes me, me. Kerril, a thief isn't what I am, it's who I am. You wouldn't like what was left of me.
  • Boy Meets World: Upon warning Corey that Topanga is about to become more beautiful after going to a salon, Shawn tells him that she'll dump Corey and hang out with other beautiful people because "It's what we do."
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    Xander: I never said you were gonna die! I implied that you were gonna die. It's totally different.
    Buffy: Yeah, OK. Sure...
    Xander: Besides, if you die, I'll just bring you back to life. That's what I do.
    • Also:
      Teen rescued from vampire: How d'you do that?
      Buffy: It's what I do.
      Teen: But... you're just a girl.
      Buffy: That's what I keep saying.
    • After the Initiative turns out to be involved in Mad Science, a disillusioned Riley Finn feels at a loss over what to do with his life. "Give me an order. It's what I do, isn't it? Follow orders?" So Buffy orders him to stop tormenting himself.
  • Cheers did this twice at the end of one episode where Frasier brought his agoraphobia support group to the bar to acclimate them to a social situation. The group strikes up a friendship with Norm, Cliff, and Paul to the point where they mock Frasier together. Eventually, Norm convinces the group to pants Frasier. Oddly, this goes some ways towards curbing their agoraphobia, but Frasier takes the credit.
    Frasier: For I am a healer. That is what I do.
    Cliff: And we are pantsers.
    Norm: That is what we do!
    (Frasier runs out of the bar with Norm, Cliff, and Paul in hot pursuit.)
  • CSI: Ecklie, former less-competent CSI and now head administrator, has always been a thorn in the team's side, but as administrator, he gets actual moments of respect, like this one: Catherine had a memory card of evidence photos stolen from her and been grilled earlier by Ecklie for it; the photos appear on the television news.
    Ecklie: I'll have our public information officer contact his counterpart at the station. We'll also call Judge Anderson and get a warrant for the memory card, any copies, and the name of their source.
    Catherine: (surprised) Thank you, Conrad.
    Ecklie: It's my job.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Nightmare of Eden":
      Romana: I don't think we should interfere.
      The Doctor: Of course we should interfere! Always do what you're best at, that's what I say.
    • "Voyage of the Damned":
      Rickston Slade: Hang on a minute. Who put you in charge, and who the hell are you anyway?
      The Doctor: I'm the Doctor. I'm a Time Lord. I'm from the planet Gallifrey in the Constellation of Kasterborous. I'm 903 years old and I'm the man who is gonna save your lives and all 6 billion people on the planet below. You got a problem with that?
      Rickston Slade: No.
      The Doctor: In that case, allons-y!
    • "The Woman Who Fell to Earth":
      Tzim-Sha: You're interfering in things you don't understand.
      The Doctor: Yeah, well, we all need a hobby.
  • Eureka:
    Carter: Oh, wow! Personal force field! Hardly catastrophic, but very impressive. Except for the not being able to turn it off part.
    Allison: Fargo, what are you doing with that?
    Fargo: Nothing! I've never seen it before. I found it in my pocket.
    Carter: But you did turn it on?
    Fargo: Yeah.
    Allison: Why?
    Fargo: Because it's what I do?
  • In the Even Stevens movie, when Beans wants to use the remote control for one of Louis' pranks, Louis tells him it's not a toy, and that "this is my job - it's what I do".
  • Farscape. In "Twice Shy", the crew of Moya rescue Sex Slave Talikaa only for her to turn out to be a shapeshifting alien spider out to eat them.
    Crichton: I help someone an' they screw me.
    Talikaa: I have no remorse. You are food and I eat.
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys - "Hercules and the Lost Kingdom":
    Deianeira: Look at yourself! Don't you have any self-respect?
    Waylin: Hey, what do you want? I'm a professional slave. It's what I do!
  • House:
    Dr. Foreman: Why are you riding on me?
    House: It's what I do. Has it gotten worse lately?
    Dr. Foreman: Yeah. Seems to me.
    House: Really? Well, that rules out the race thing. You were just as black last week.
    • And also:
      Stacy: Elevate the words all you want, you were just screwing with him. Low even by your standards.
      House: Medical screwing. It's what I do.
  • Happens many times in House of Anubis:
    Amber: Joy, chill, this is how we roll.
    Jerome: It's a bonding thing. Some guys go fishing... Clarkes track down priceless gems. It's how we roll.
    Nina: [about Patricia after she dumped milk on Eddie's head] Yeah... she does that.
  • JAG: When applying to be the guardian of Mattie in the 9th season episode “A Merry Little Christmas” a social service worker comes and inspects Harm’s apartment.
    Watley: Do you have a firearm in the house?
    Rabb: Yes, sir. But it’s under lock and key.
    Watley: Do you ever have cause to employ it?
    Rabb: Once or twice in the line of duty.
    Watley: Aren’t you a lawyer, Commander Rabb?
    Rabb: I’m also a war veteran, a Naval officer, and a qualified F-14 pilot.
  • Kwai Chang and Peter Caine in Kung Fu: The Legend Continues both protect the innocent and help people in need, but as the father is a Shaolin priest and the son is a cop, they have completely different approaches summed up in different "what I do" expressions.
    Peter Caine: Look, I'm not my father; I don't do Kung Fu. I'm a cop. That who I am; that's what I do.

    Kwai Chang Caine: Come to Chinatown. Ask for Caine. I will help you.
  • Leverage
    Eliot: You're not as useless as you look.
    Hardison: I don't even know what you do.
    A few scenes later, after taking out four guys by himself in the time it takes a bag Hardison dropped to hit the floor, Eliot turns to Hardison, and smiles.
    Eliot: That's what I do.
    • Later, in the season finale, we get:
      Maggie: You can't just make somebody do what you want them to do.
      Eliot: Whoa!
      [everyone starts chuckling]
      Hardison: T-That's what we do. I mean...
      Parker: [pets Maggie's head] You're adorable.
    • In the season two episode "The Tap Out Job", Eliot drops the line again to make it clear that dishing out beatdowns is only part of what he does, explaining to Sophie why he's okay with Throwing the Fight to protect their client:
      Eliot: You think I'm upset 'cause I got to let this guy kick my ass? ... I can take the punishment. That's what I do.
  • Lost: In the season 5 finale, Ben Linus admits that, when he and Locke were in the cabin and Ben seemed to be having a conversation with Jacob, he was faking it. He says, with some regret, "I Lied. ... It's what I do."
  • MacGyver doesn't actually say it himself, because he's busy doing what he's doing.
    Laura Fowler: What's he doing?
    Breeze: He's tryin' to get us out of here. Just relax, that's what he does.
  • In the UK series of The Office, David says this in the first episode of the second series, soon after he has told the "black man's cock" joke, when the Swindon intake have not yet grasped that they're supposed to laugh at everything he says.
  • In Person of Interest, during a flashback to just before he left the CIA, Reese's partner Kara Stanton said a line similar to this:
    Kara: This isn’t just some speech. We’re not... walking in the dark. We are the dark.
  • The Punisher (2017). Karen Page tries in vain to persuade Frank Castle to stop mourning his dead family and start another life with someone else. Frank isn't having it.
    Frank: That kid out there; she's got people that want to kill her. Serious people, Karen. So that means I'm going to find them; I'm going to murder them Karen. I'm going to do that to keep her alive because that's my life; that's what I do. You wanna be a part of that?
  • From Pushing Daisies:
    Chuck: You can't just touch somebody's life and be done with it!
    Ned: Yes I can. That's how I roll.
  • Scrubs: JD is talking with a terminally ill patient about what death is like, which annoys Dr. Cox. When he leaves the room in a huff, the patient tells JD, "It's fun to annoy him, huh?" JD replies with a touch of deadpan, "It's what I do."
    • Turk has been known to say this on more than one occasion: "Well you know I do what I do what I do what I do."
    • One episode featured an online review system for doctors, which was used as a sly dig at fan reactions to the show. With Turk, he is shocked at how people dislike his catchphrase.
      (reading about himself) "He says 'That's what I'm talking about' too much... but sometimes that is what I'm talking about..."
  • Sports Night: In the first season episode "The Head Coach, Dinner, and the Morning Mail", Dan complains to Casey about using sound effects to rag on his alma mater for losing a game:
    Casey: We have very talented sound editors, right, Chris?
    Chris: Thank you.
    Casey: Will?
    Will: It's what I do.
    Casey: You see, it's what Will does.
    Dan: Suit yourself.
  • Stargate SG-1 had this from its resident Deadpan Snarker:
    Ba'al: You dare mock me?
    O'Neill: Baal, come on. You should know. Of course I dare mock you.
    Ba'al: You have one more day.
    Gilmore: Is it really wise to provoke him?
    O'Neill: It's what I do.
    • In the Show Within a Show Wormhole X-Treme, this is the O'Neill-a-like's signature line, which the actor practices:
      Marlowe: Hey, it's what I do. It's what I do. It's what I do.
    • In another episode ("The Other Guys"), SG-1 is trying to escape a Goa'uld, and hesitate when they learn that the Stargate is guarded by a lot of Jaffa. The scientist with them points out, "But you're SG-1!" Though the trope name goes unsaid, the looks on the team's faces clearly imply it. And their actions cement it.
    • "Revelations": O'Neill agrees to help the Asgard while Hammond and Carter still argue over it with the explanation: "It's what we do, isn't it?"
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Kira and Dax are in a runabout trying to secure another that is out of control, and Dax just shot down Kira's more dangerous idea to attempt beaming onto it in warp.
    Kira: Have you got a better idea?
    Dax: I'm a science officer, it's my job to have a better idea.
    • Star Trek: Voyager had this in a story told by Chakotay in the Two-Part Episode "Scorpion", relating to how the Borg can not be trusted in an Enemy Mine situation because "It's my nature." Later in the same episode, both Chakotay and Janeway are shocked to find out that it was the Borg who started the war against Species 8472. Almost as if they expected something else from the one species known to attack and assimilate everything it encounters without exceptions? Duh!
  • The Twilight Zone:
    Loser criminal: I still got two days left! Why are you tormenting me like this?
    Demon: [with whom he's made a deal] Because, you idiot, I'm a demon! It's what I do: I torment people. That's why they call me "a demon", instead of "the Easter Bunny".

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The catchphrase of Primetime Elix Skipper. "It ain't easy being me but this is what I do!" (Jerome "Do It" Pruitt had a similar catchphrase.
  • Mark Henry would scream "That's what I do!" after assaulting people during his "Hall Of Pain" gimmick. This is also what he said after shoving away people trying to help him after he seemingly exhausted himself pulling two semi-trucks and their trailers.

     Tabletop Games 
  • The Mystara setting's supplement Tall Tales Of The Wee Folk accounts for why it's impossible to insult a satyr via this trope. Satyrs make no value judgements, attributing events and behavior to nature rather than moral or ethical cause; therefore, if you call one a "dirty little coward", he'll take no offense at all, but simply either agree or disagree that he's grimy, small, and afraid of danger.

    Video Games 
  • Mass Effect:
    Batarian Plague Victim: You helped me... why?
    Commander Shepard: It's what I do.
    • Invoked to an extent if you decide to destroy the Collector Base and are a Paragon. The Illusive Man is furious that Shepard did so, forgetting that he wanted to bring Shepard back from the dead exactly as they were.
      Shepard We'll fight and win without it. I won't let fear compromise who I am.
    • Mass Effect 3: When you encounter Mordin looking over the Genophage-free female Krogan "Eve" he explains that he had to be the one involved because "Someone else might have gotten it wrong." In one of the multiple ways that story plays out Mordin performs a Heroic Sacrifice ensuring that the cure gets distributed around Tuchanka. As Shepard talks to him about what's going to happen, Mordin shrugs and says "Had to be me, someone else might have gotten it wrong."
  • Knights of the Old Republic II:
    Atton Rand: I'm a deserter. It's what I do.
  • The World Ends with You:
    Kariya: Um, Villain? Screwing with you is my job.
  • Early in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, a trainer remarks "We Trainers will accept challenges anywhere! It's what we do."
  • Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn:
    Ike: In every battle that mattered in my life, I've always been the one left standing, no matter how slim my chances.
  • Fire Emblem Fates:
    Charlotte: Holy cats! You scared me! Don't go around tasting people's food! Where did you even come from?!
    Saizo: I don't see why you're so shocked. I'm a Ninja. Appearing from nowhere is what I do.
  • Tales of Symphonia
    Lloyd: ...So you really are our enemy. I kept thinking - hoping - you might be good...but you're not.
    Kratos:...I should think that would be obvious at this point.
  • In Hitman: Absolution, Agent 47's opening narration ends with: One day, I will think of this as just another job. After all, this is what I do. Here the trope works both as a starting point for the plot (his target being the closest to him) and grimly describes how this plot shall unfold; as 47 methodically does his main enemies, all of their family members, associates, key employees, security sub-contractors and regular staff, all of their informants and even favorite sports personalities. And, optionally, about half of standing force of the Chicago Police.
  • In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, when Larxene complains about Vexen referring to everything as an experiment, he points out, "I'm a scientist, experiments are what I do."
  • Most of the mercs in the Team Fortress 2 videos say some version of this as an explanation as to why they have their positions.
  • Batman: Arkham Knight. After Batman saves her life, Catwoman drops a big hint that they should go to a hotel together, but Batman says there's still work to be done.
    Catwoman: Do you ever take the night off? Do you ever take the suit off?
    Batman: Not on nights like this, Selina. It's what I do.
    Catwoman: Fine! I guess I'll hit an art gallery or two while the big bad Bat's distracted.
    Batman: You're not going to thank me?
    Catwoman: Why? It's what you do.
  • Seen in Dragon Age II, in the Mark of the Assassin DLC, when Varric makes a vague reference to his work as The Spymaster.
    Varric: Maybe I wasn't obvious about this already, but finding out things I'm not supposed to know is pretty much what I do.
  • This is the answer Garret gives in Thief (2014) when asked why he steals.
  • Final Fantasy XVI: At the end of the game, the Big Bad's last question to Clive is why they would fight and suffer all this way to save a dying world that will stay barren for centuries.
    Ultima:And it was for this that you struggled so fiercely? Why?
    Clive:...It's who we are.
  • Disco Elysium: Failing skill checks can result in the associated skill (and, by proxy, the protagonist) having a bit of a meltdown about it. However, at one point after several of these, a failed Logic check will instead result in Logic acknowledging that it's just a setback and no big deal, causing the other skills to get mad that Logic is handling it so much more gracefully than they did. Logic's response is "I'm just more level headed than you. That's my thing."

  • Chainsawsuit parodies this here with Hit Character, a character who is nothing but this trope.
  • Dominic Deegan, just before Klo Tark sends Dominic off to battle Celesto Morgan at the end of the "Storm of Souls" Story Arc, and conjures up a set of clothes like what he normally wears:
    Dominic: read my mind.
    Klo Tark: It's what I do.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons: This is the reason Jadis gives for everything she does. She has perfect, absolute knowledge of all space and time, including her own future actions, and as a result of this is completely unable to diverge from what she has Seen herself do. She acts (or refrains from acting) not to accomplish anything, but simply because... it's what she does.
  • Rusty and Co..'s Madeline the Paladin.
    "It's what Paladins do." (Save people, make sacrifices, etc.)
  • Sluggy Freelance:
    • In the "Oceans Unmoving" story arc, Honest Stu always speaks his mind literally, to the point that he points out the irony that Calix and not he has to Walk the Plank when he could also have been blamed. In the next panel, he's standing next to Calix on the plank.
    Calix: You should learn to talk less.
    Stu: I gotta be me.
    • And also this:
    Gwynn: Let me be the hero for once!
    Riff: Sorry ma'am, I'm union. *shoots the huge demon thingy a lot*

    Web Original 
  • Danielbeast in the lonelygirl15 episode "Lying Bastards": "I'm going to break into Alex's house. It's all I know how to do really, I guess."
  • The How Superman Should Have Ended ends with Batman and Superman chatting in a cafe:
    Batman: I'm Batman.
    Superman: I know you are.
    Batman: It's what I do.
    Superman: I know. You say that a lot.
    Batman: I carry things on my belt. 'Cause I'm Batman.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, Kemo has two main traits. The first is saying anything about his hair. (It is very strange, even for anime hair.) The second is using the phrase "Attention, Duelists!" to begin every line of dialogue that he says. This is because he works as a tournament announcer, so it makes sense. But one time, when he was alone with Seto Kaiba and used the catchphrase, Kaiba questioned why he said it. Kemo responded by quoting this trope by name.
  • Discussed and torn apart by Yahtzee during his review of Thief (2014) after Garret uses this line, complaining that it makes him less of a realistic human being and more of a stale, stereotypical character archetype.
    Yahtzee: If you asked Old Garrett why he stole, he'd answer "'Cause I need to pay rent, and it's the only thing I'm good at, so shut up and let go of your wallet." New Garrett would (and indeed does) give the answer "Because it's what I do." No, Garrett, it's what you are currently doing. "Hey, Yahtzee, why are you kicking New Garrett in the stomach?" "'Cause it's what I'm currently doing!" They're not "putting a new spin" on the guy, they're boiling down a complex and interesting character into a boring, easily-digestible archetype, i.e. Batman.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time: The Lich is a pure Omnicidal Maniac without any sort of justification or higher purpose: he wants to kill everything because it's his mission to kill everything. When Finn accuses him of being "so evil it's boring", the Lich calmly agrees.
    The Lich: Yes. Where the mortal world doubts and questions, I know exactly what I am. I am the ceaseless wheel. The last scholar of GOLB. I am your doom.
  • The Genie, after a Dude, Not Funny! line in one of the Aladdin sequels:
    Genie: (laughing) A joke! (pauses) I do that.
    • He also saves a genie hunter's life in one episode of the series, and says that helping people he doesn't like is a good-guy thing.
  • American Dad! had this:
    Steve: Dad! I can't believe you lied to me!
    Stan: Really? Huh. It's kinda my whole bit.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: When Sokka's trapped in a hole, he says, "Okay, Karma person or thing, whoever's in charge of this stuff. If I can just get out of this situation alive, I will give up meat... and sarcasm. Okay? That's all I got. That's pretty much my whole identity. Sokka, the meat and sarcasm guy."
    "But I'm willing to become Sokka the veggies and straight talk fellow. Deal?"
  • An episode of The Batman saw the Dark Knight fall under the sway of Spellbinder, nearly handing over the episode's MacGuffin and revealing his identity in the process. When Bats is snapped out of it and Bats pulls the MacGuffin away, Spellbinder voices his disbelief that the hero had been faking. Quote the Batman, "It's what I do!" It was quite convincing.
  • Chowder
    Truffles: You did it again, honey. You set the house on fire, again!
    Mung: It's what I do, woman. It's what I do.
  • Number 5 of the Codename: Kids Next Door: "We're the Kids Next Door. We save kids. That's our job!"
  • Danger Mouse from "150,000,000 Years Lost" when he volunteers to go back in time with Professor Squawkencluck's time machine to bring back Penfold (who was sent back accidentally):
    Squawkencluck: You are a hero!
    DM: It's...just a job, really.
  • Danny Phantom:
    Clockwork: That's the problem with you Observants — all you do is observe.
  • Hermes' Bureaucrat Song in Futurama is practically an anthem for why he does what he does. Why is he an Obstructive Bureaucrat who is "anal retentive and weird", who "treats people like swine and makes 'em stand in line"? It's what he does!
  • In Gravity Falls, after Probabilitor introduces himself, he then states that he's going to eat Ford and Dipper's brains to add their intelligence to his own.
    Probabilitor: It's what I do.
    Ogre Minion: It's his thing.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures - "Shanghai Moon"
    Tso Lan: You dare interrupt me in my moment of triumph?
    Jackie: It's what I do.
  • Justice League
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In the first part of the show's Grand Finale, Chrysalis, Tirek, and Cozy Glow enact their season-long plan to betray Grogar by keeping the Bewitching Bell to themselves and use it against him. When Grogar realizes too late that the other villains are betraying him, this exchange occurs:
    Grogar: The Bell! You had it all this time?! Why didn't you tell me?!
    Cozy Glow: We're villains. Duh!
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998):
    Blossom: We're going to fight crime!
    Buttercup: That's what we do!
    Bubbles: Duh!
    • Buttercup says this when she's dressed as a monster in the rainy day episode of Powerpuff Girls "I'm a monster and I'm eating Joe! I do that."
  • Spoofed in a Robot Chicken parody of Kill Bill where Jesus takes the place of the Bride. When he takes on the one-eyed character of Elle Driver, he jabs her in her bad eye, healing it and returning her sight. She thanks him in surprise, and he smiles and says "It's what I do"... then immediately cuts her in half with his sword.
  • Teen Titans:
    • One-off enemy The Source abducts cattle because they're the power source he needs to leave Earth in his spaceship. However, he plans to blow the planet up on the way out simply for no reason but because "It is our way."
    • Robin confronts Slade over his role in bringing about an apocalypse that's left the world in ruins (don't worry, it gets better)...
      Robin: But you played a part. And just like everything else you've ever done, it's made people suffer.
      Slade: It's what I do best.
  • Transformers: Animated had Omega Supreme say this in a Heroic Sacrifice.
    Omega Supreme: I am programmed to protect, and sacrifice if necessary.
  • T.U.F.F. Puppy has the Stinkbug from "Law and Odor" who said "I'm the Stink Bug! I stink! It's what I do." when his dumb assistant kept making suggestions on how to smell better.
  • The Venture Brothers
    Venture: Oh, that's it, you really know how to push my buttons, don't you?
    Monarch: I'm your arch-enemy! It's what I do! It's my thing!
  • The unaired pilot Wacky Races Forever had Dick Dastardly and Muttley in their Mean Machine some three yards away from the finish line—they are under orders from another figure to win the race, and Muttley points out the finish line. From Dastardly:
    No, Muttley, we can't win fairly. We are villains. Ergo, we have to cheat!

    Real Life 
  • "Bonnie and Clyde — We Rob Banks." Spoofed in the Warner Bros. cartoon Bunny & Claude—"We Rob Carrot Patches."
  • Miss Manner recounts how she once asked a small person in her charge, "How can you be so childish?" and had to admit the justice of the answer, "I'm a child."
  • Los Angeles Lakers point guard Derek Fisher, after hitting yet another game-winning three-pointer: "It's what I do."


Video Example(s):


The A-Team saves Fluffy

Peter and the gang as The A-Team rescue a family's cat from a tree by shooting out the trunk of the tree until the whole tree collapses. The cat flees in terror, and the family is not amused.

How well does it match the trope?

4.38 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / CatUpATree

Media sources: