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Just Testing You

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Alice asks a question. Bob looks at her incredulously and gives an answer. His tone conveys, quite clearly, that she should know this already. Alice is embarrassed, and in a feeble attempt to cover her ignorance, informs Bob that she was "Just Testing Him." Stock phrase, usually accompanied by excessive blushing and a sheepish grin.

If Alice really was just testing Bob, see Secret Test. Compare "Just Joking" Justification.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The Cowboy Bebop episode "Stray Dog Strut" has this exchange:
    "Is this thing [dog whistle] on? I can't hear it."
    "It's a frequency too high for humans to hear."
    [awkward pause]
    "I knew that. I was testing you."

    Comic Books 
  • Seen in an E-Man parody of Marvel ComicsPointy-Haired Boss Stanley Presents is hideously out of touch with the current continuity his company prints and keeps making references to things that haven't been true for over a decade. When called on it, "I know that, I was just testing you."

    Film — Live-Action 
  • A Running Gag in School of Rock is whenever a student questions something Dewey (pretending to be a teacher) had said before (For Example: "I thought you didn't believe in grades"), he would say "I was just testing you" often followed up with "and you passed."

  • In the Discworld book Making Money, when Mr. Bent has a paper corrected by one of his younger employees and suffers a breakdown, Moist initially wonders why he simply didn't claim he was testing them.
    "Even school teachers know that one!"
  • Star Trek: The Lost Era: In The Buried Age, the Mabrae ambassador Coray tries seducing Picard. He sees right through it, and a thrown Coray tries claiming it was just a test. Picard being Picard, he doesn't call her on the obvious BS.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A Dad's Army staple, "Good thinking, Wilson. I was wondering who'd be the first to spot that."
  • Diff'rent Strokes: When Susie tells Arnold that she reads The Wall Street Journal, Arnold says he likes the comics in it. When she says there are no comics, Arnold says he is just testing her.
  • Doctor Who: In "Rise of the Cybermen", the TARDIS lands in a parallel universe, and Mickey learns that his grandmother is still alive there. He goes to visit her but is almost immediately grabbed by "his" friends, who tell "Ricky" that he's the one who told them not to put their loved ones in danger. Mickey, understandably confused, uses this line.
  • Red Dwarf: During "Quarantine", Rimmer claims he was just testing the others to see if they'd gone crazy after a few days locked up with one another. He's sitting there in a red and white gingham dress and army boots, and has quite obviously gone insane himself.
    Rimmer: I was just doing a little test to see if you'd gone crazy. DYUUUEEEGH! ... if there's one thing I can't stand, it's crazy people.
  • Star Trek
    • Kirk and Scotty set up a challenge/response password before Kirk beamed down to a planet in order to prevent imposters from getting beamed up. Naturally, a shapeshifter takes Kirk's form and tries to get Scotty to beam him up. When he doesn't know the password, he tries to cover it up by saying that he was just testing Scotty. Scotty catches on immediately and concludes that Kirk must be in trouble since the real Kirk would never "test" him in a situation like that.
    • In "The Changeling", Enterprise is attacked by a powerful robot probe that only stops shooting when it mistakes Captain Kirk for "The Creator" (due to Corrupted Data it confuses Kirk with the similarly-named individual who designed it). When Kirk asks why Nomad refers to him as 'The Creator', Spock quickly interrupts, telling Nomad that "The Creator was just testing your memory banks."
  • The Supernatural episode "A Very Supernatural Christmas":
    Sam: We've seen that wreath before, Dean.
    Dean: Where?
    Sam: The Walshes. Yesterday.
    Dean: [trying to cover] ...I know... I was just testing you...
  • In the WKRP in Cincinnati episode "Put Up or Shut Up," Johnny Fever has a drug flashback. He asks Andy, the station manager, "Do you see anybody over in that corner?" After Andy says no, Johnny says, "Neither do I. Just testing you."
  • Young Sheldon: In "A Rival Prodigy and Sir Isaac Neutron", Sheldon has invented a variant of chess with a new piece, a wizard. "The wizard cannot be taken, and, at any point, he can teleport and switch places with any other piece," Sheldon explains. Paige points out "an obvious flaw" with the wizard: "any time anyone is checkmated, they can simply have the wizard and their king switch places. So the game will never end." Sheldon is annoyed, but hides this saying "I knew that. You passed my test."

    Video Games 
  • In The Feeble Files, Feeble jokingly tells the local bar's bartender a made-up rumor that OmniBrain is merely a falsehood devised by the rebels. Given the very 1984-esque nature of the setting, the bartender responds that he will have to report Feeble saying that to the authorities. Feeble then responds that he was merely testing him and that he would have to report HIM if he said anything else.
  • Star Wars Legends: Played on several levels in Knights of the Old Republic. Bastila asks you a few simple questions about your background. You can answer truthfully or sarcastically. She admits to testing you to see if you were honest and able to treat the Force Bond seriously. What she's really testing is if the brainwashing the Jedi Council did was still sticking.

  • In one installment of Dinosaur Comics, God himself asks T-Rex where wind comes from, and defends himself: "UM OF COURSE I KNOW I JUST WANT TO SEE IF YOU DO."

    Western Animation 
  • A variant occurs with kids, usually regarding a rude word or a sexual/bodily function. From South Park:
    New York kid: Oh brother, you guys don't even know what "queef" means?
    Stan: Of course we know what "queef" means!
    New York kid: Yeah? What is it, then?
    Kyle: Why? Don't you know?
  • In the The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius episode "Carl Wheezer Boy Genius"
    Jimmy: May I suggest that instead of the arm-missiles button, you push the one right below it?
    Carl: I know what button to push! I was just testing you.
  • In an episode of The Simpsons, Dr. Hibbert suggests that Marge could sell one of her children. When she reacts with horror, he says "That was a test. If you had reacted any differently, you'd be in jail now."
  • Justice League, "Only A Dream" - After the League rounds up five escaped supervillains, an exhausted Flash asks who else is left.
    Martian Manhunter: No one. There were only five, remember?
    Flash: [tired] Oh yeah, right... just testing!
  • In Winx Club, Brandon fights off the palace guards pursuing the Winx on a Brainwashed and Crazy Sky's orders in order for them to get away; this accomplished, he tries throwing down his sword and telling them this was a test of palace security measures.