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My God, You Are Serious!

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Well, if you've gotta ask, lady, then he probably is.

Leela: Doesn't it bother you even a little to be taking advantage of your girlfriend's trust?
Bender: Ah ha ha, ha ha ha! ...Oh wait, you're serious. Let me laugh even harder! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

The inversion of I Was Just Joking. A character says something that sounds insane or absurd. Another character either laughs or snarks You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me! or perhaps And I'm the Queen of Sheba — then realizes with alarm that the other character wasn't joking.

Expect to hear this phrase every time a Deadpan Snarker is confronted with the Zany Scheme of the week. Badasses who say things like "I'll just have to burst in and take them all out, then!" can usually expect this reaction, too.

Compare Mood Whiplash, Not Hyperbole, And You Thought It Was a Game. Contrast "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer, where the authors feel that a statement about the real world sounds so absurd that it has to be confirmed as true.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ah! My Goddess: After the Heaven's Gate ends its strike it's still unstable at least for a while, and Peorth has been urgently recalled but isn't precise enough to get through while it's unstable can't get easily. Thus Keiichi suggests they fire her from a cannon. Peorth laughs... Then she finds herself inside a siege mortar that Skuld just happened to have around, and Peorth realizes that not only Keiichi and the Norns are serious, they're going to do it even without her consent.
  • In Bleach, as Unohana escorts Ichigo through the Garganta so that he can fight Aizen, she takes over creating the path they are to walk on when Ichigo creates a shoddy one. After seeing how much nicer Unohana's path looks, Ichigo states that the difference in Reiatsu between them is enough to make him lose confidence, which prompts Unohana to reply that their Reiatsu is on the same level; his control is just sloppy even though he's fully healed. When Ichigo retorts that he could do better if he was at full strength, Unohana dismisses it as Ichigo making excuses and pretending he's not at 100%. Then Ichigo starts explaining how his shihakusho becomes a reflection of his Reiatsu when in Bankai (which he's still using at that moment) and how Orihime only healed his physical injuries because restoring his Reiatsu would've taken her much longer and Ichigo was in a hurry to help Rukia and the others; at this point Unohana drops her smile as she slowly realizes that Ichigo's explanation makes too much sense and that, with only the right sleeve of his shihakusho left, he really is only barely at half power. And he's still at Captain level with just that. Realizing just how monstrously powerful Ichigo is when at full strength, Unohana tells Ichigo to create the path himself while she follows him from behind and focuses on restoring his Reiatsu; if he's going to fight Aizen, then nothing less than his best may suffice.
  • In Dragon Ball when Freeza says he's only been using about half his full power against Goku. Goku gives a nervous chuckle and says that even for a bluff, that's too big of a claim. Freeza simply shifts into his fighting stance. Goku does the same, then suddenly gets a scared face and thinks to himself, "He's not bluffing...!"

  • Used in Bill Cosby's "Chocolate Cake for Breakfast" story (from Bill Cosby: Himself) which is detailed in the concert film and comedy album Bill Cosby: Himself. Bill's wife Camille wakes him up one morning at six A.M. and tells him to go downstairs and cook breakfast for the kids. Bill thinks that if he pretends to be dumb about it and just goes back to sleep, she'll let go of the idea and do it herself. Instead, Camille gets a bucket of ice water and threatens to pour it over Bill—and then he knows she's chillingly serious.

    Comic Books 
  • In a Batman/The Punisher crossover, the Joker of all people has one of these moments, when realizes, that, yes, the Punisher couldn't care less about his sob story and is going to shoot him right then and there.
  • Doctor Strange: During the "Montesi Formula" arc, when Friendly Neighborhood Vampire Hannibal King warns Doctor Strange that Dracula is at large, Strange's personal assistant Sarah Wolfe starts laughing nervously, until she realizes that King and Strange are dead serious about the threat of the Lord of Vampires.
  • Dylan Dog: Dylan thought that Hameln, owner of a shop that tends to disappear at a whim, was joking when he said he was hiring him because someone stole the Pied Piper's pipe from him. Then Hameln showed him the other fairy tale items he had in the shop and described him some of the other powers of the pipe...
  • In Fables, this is Bigby's reaction to meddling journalist Tommy Sharp's plan to expose their secret community of immortals with magical powers... as vampires.
  • Hack/Slash: Cassie Hack breaks down laughing as she hears about Mary Shelley Lovecraft's Meta Fiction Evil Plan. After enough ranting, Cassie realizes she's completely serious about all of it, and takes her seriously from then on.
  • In Spider-Women, when buying some burner phones to keep in contact on Earth-65, Jessica Drew, Silk, and Spider-Gwen end up meeting Gwen's "greatest nemesis": the Bodega Bandit, who decides to hold up the store while they're all standing right in front of the counter. Gwen face-palms, embarrassed by his appearance and insisting that he isn't part of her rouges gallery. Silk is struggling to hold back laughter, while Jessica is offended by his gall, quickly shocking him with her powers before complaining about how dumb Earth-65 is.
  • Tintin: In "Destination Moon", when Calculus says he's finishing plans for a rocket that will land on the moon, Captain Haddock has a big hearty laugh about it, and facetiously suggests, "You are taking passengers, I hope?" Calculus (who use an ear trumpet so he's not mishearing them like usual) replies, "Why else do you think I asked you to join me?", utterly stunning Tintin and the Captain.
  • In Violine, Marushka hires a game hunter with a pack of dogs to hunt down the mouse, Klaas. After his initial laughter, he realizes she is dead serious about it. Later, a Zongo customs official mistakes Redder for a cannibal (having hidden her in his bag. It seems he is just saying this to get a bribe, and tells Redder to have a nice meal, but Violine reads his mind and sees that he is being serious about eating her.
  • Wild's End: In the second part, the army has just secretly summoned Lewis Cornfelt, who is a cheap science fiction writer, and a serious astronomer, to a cordoned-off village under false pretenses and sworn them to secrecy. He immediately deduces that they must be concealing an Alien Invasion of some sort and demands an explanation of it. The commander then agrees and starts to explain - at which point Cornfelt reveals that he was joking and expected it to actually be foreigners or something. He promptly faints dead away.

    Comic Strips 
  • Dilbert: In the 1996-04-18 strip, Asok laughs at his boss's complaint that 40% of sick days are taken on Mondays and Fridays (the joke being that Monday and Friday make up 40% of an average work week, so the statistics are perfectly in-line with how things should be) before realizing his boss is actually that stupid.

    Fan Works 
  • Aftermath of the Games:
    • Princess Twilight is telling her human counterpart, The Humane Five, and Sunset Shimmer the events of "The Cutie Map", where there was a villain who was able to forcefully remove Cutie Marks from pony bodies. Sunset is completely horrified, while Rainbow Dash, thinking they're simply decorative pictures, asks what the big deal is. Sunset reveals to her and the others that a Cutie Mark is a physical manifestation of a pony's talents, so getting it taken away was like having a crippling injury blocking you from being able to enjoy the thing you love the most (like cooking, singing, or running) ever again.
    • Sci-Twi is incredulous to the idea of Sunset being evil, or Princess Twilight being meek like herself.
  • Amicus Protectio Fortis:
    Dumbledore: The power he knows not may very well be your great capacity to love.
    Harry: I'm sorry. It's just, you can't be serious, can you?
    [Dumbledore looks disappointed]
    Harry: Dear Merlin, you are! You really expect love to kill Voldemort? Really? What do you expect me to do? Waltz through the battlefield then walk up to old snake face and give him a big ol' hug? He'd slaughter me!
  • Beltane Child:
    Daphne: No, the father of my baby is Harry Potter.
    Tracy: Nice try, Daphne, but pull the other one. How would Potter have been able to play the horned warrior on Beltane when he was the most wanted man in the country at that time? [Looks at Daphne's expression] Oh my god, you aren't joking, are you?
  • Child of the Storm: When Jesus shows up to pay Harry a visit at one point in Ghosts of the Past, Carol bursts out in disbelieving laughter, until she realizes that the deity in question is exactly who she thinks it is.
  • Confide in Me: When Joker freaks out in Chapter 9 at Makoto being sold as a prostitute, Sae is livid at the false testimony until she sees the heartbroken expression on his face and realizes he believes what he's saying, shortly followed by the realization that he's hallucinating.
  • In Defiance Dumbledore mentions training to Harry.
    Dumbledore: My boy, given how Tom is back, I believe it is time that I take an active part in your education. I have arranged it with Professor Snape to instruct you in the arts of Occlumency.
    Sirius: Very funny joke, you almost got me there. [Thinks for a minute] You are actually serious, aren't you?
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged: When King Kai believes Frieza has destroyed planet Namek with Piccolo on it, he tells the fallen warriors that they're gonna be stuck on King Kai's planet forever. Tien responds "Tch. Yeah, real funny King Kai... Oh God, you're serious."
  • In The Dragon King's Temple, Stargate Command initially pass off Toph's increasingly insistent requests that she and Zuko be allowed to "see sunlight" as the product of a somewhat bratty kid who is feeling confined and wants some time outside. It's not until Zuko passes out and Toph blasts a hole through the mountain to get him outside that they begin to suspect Toph might have had a really good reason to be so insistent on this point.
  • Fairy, Fairy, Quite Contrary:
    Lucius: Stop dancing around the subject, Narcissa. Draco, you're a fairy.
    Draco: Ha-ha, Father. Yes, I suppose I am, although it isn't kind of you to call me a fairy just because I'm gay. [beat] Wait, you were serious?
  • From Darkness I Rise: Quinlan Vos and Qui-Gon Jinn's reaction to be being told they've been elected to the Jedi High Council... is to break down in laughter at the "joke."
    Qui-Gon: This is a joke, right?
    Vos: It has to be! This is like voting for the ugliest girl in the city to be the Beauty Of Coruscant!
    Qui-Gon: I come in here and fight with you weekly!
    Vos: This is like the time I told a fellow youngling that he would become a Padawan immediately if he could deflect a blaster bolt and hit the Master teaching us!
    Qui-Gon: Hey, do you remember the time that my Padawan fell to the Dark Side and helped start a galactic war?
    (The two realize no one else is laughing)
    Qui-Gon: Oh... You're serious...
  • Harry Potter, Unexpected Animagus:
    Hermione: Account Manager Knutsack, were you aware that there is a line of 'Harry Potter' brand vibrating wands?
    Knutsack: [Laughs uncontrollably] Oh very good, Ms. Granger. You had me going there for a moment. [Looks at Harry and Hermione] Gods of gems and ores, you're not joking are you? [Laughs again] That only makes it funnier.
  • In Most Beautiful and Pure, after Harry complains that no accurate nonfiction books about his life exist, Hermione suggests that he write one himself.
    Harry: You're joking. [Stares at Hermione] You're not.
  • Naru-Hina Chronicles:
    • Arekusu thinks Gai is joking when he says that they (alongside Lee) are going to do 20 laps around the village on their hands as a warm-up, only to exclaim "Oh! Wow! You're not! Umm... Yes. Coming!" when she sees Lee and Gai standing on their hands.
    • When Naruto tells Hinata he wants Teuchi to cater for their wedding, she genuinely thinks he's joking and laughs at it, only to be taken by surprise when she realizes that he's serious about it.
  • The New Adventures of Invader Zim:
    • During their first conversation in Episode 3, Norlock states that the Tallest must have seen something in Zim to send him on his mission to Earth. The Tallest burst into laughter, and it's only when they note Norlock's confusion that they realize he hasn't figured out yet that Zim's mission is fake.
    • Steve and Viera are shocked when Dib suggests teaming up with Zim in Episode 11.
  • In A New Dawn: Allies Luna suggests that Harry and Voldemort should team up against Glorificus.
    Harry: You've got to be kidding me. [Looks into Luna's eyes] You're not kidding me, are you?
  • Subverted in episode 11 of Omni Bleach Abridged:
    Kukaku: So this is your way in. We're gonna shoot you through a cannon.
    Ichigo: Oh, please do not be kidding.
  • Rise of the Last Villain: The training camp recruits are tasked with guessing Izuku's quirk in exchange for a wish. Himiko guesses that Izuku is quirkless after the two of them take down the Shie Hassaikai. The other training camp recruits laugh, thinking there's no way she's right. Tomura laughs too, but then reveals that he's laughing at them: she was right, and wins the wish.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series: From the Bonds Beyond Time Abridged comes this gem between Paradox and Yusei.
    Paradox: What destroyed the world was... card games.
    Yusei: What?
    Paradox: That is right, card games.
    Yusei: You're serious?
    Paradox: Yes, very.
  • Second Wind: Ace has this reaction when Luffy and Zoro tell him that they're from the future. He only believes it because Luffy can't lie convincingly to save his life.
  • Seigikan:
    • When L tries to persuade Light to come back to headquarters "so we can prove that you're Kira."
      Light: Tell me, why on Earth would I want to do that?
      L: You need to absolve and pay for your crimes so we can be together.
      Light: I couldn't help it. I laughed even more. For a second I thought I would wake everyone in the house.
    • Earlier, L and Mr. Yagami have this reaction as well when they didn't realize the extent of Light's injuries which includes head trauma so he doesn't remember the last two years:
      Light (to L): Who are you? And who exactly is this Kira?
  • In Severus and the Snow Globe Snape goes to Harry's shop to commission a musical snow globe as a gift for McGonagall, but objects to the default tune ("My Favorite Things").
    Harry: Fine. Is there another song you like or that you think Professor McGonagall would like?
    Snape: Send in the Clowns.
    Harry: Send in the Clowns? You're not serious…. You are serious.
  • Shed Some of This Black Light to Surrounding Towns: Every major corporation thinks that Seto's decision to start expanding into aerospace technology is either a joke or some weird side project for publicity's sake because nobody thinks any scientific field not connected to quirks is worth investing into. So when Seto informs Melissa that he really is serious and that this is why he's looking for her aid in dominating the artificial spider silk industry (to be able to further invest in the aerospace division), she is completely floored.
  • After the Normandy crew playfully tease Cole for something That Came Out Wrong in The Supernovas of Mass Effect, he threatens to drain the Mako's power so that they'll be forced to walk if they continue. The crew at first think he's joking like them, but immediately understand that he's serious after the Mako's shields inexplicably drop from full power to ninety percent.
  • Twice in Traveler, Ash meets one of the legendary birds and tells someone afterwards, causing them to laugh until they realize he's completely serious. In the case of meeting Articuno in Seafoam Caverns, Ash is to forget he ever saw it because if someone else found out, they might be stupid enough to go antagonize the Physical God down there.
  • In the first chapter of the Totally Spies! fanfic Upheaval, the day after Jerry's funeral, Mandy makes fun of the girls for wearing all black, asking "God, who died?". A while after Clover reprimands her, Mandy approaches the girls again, but to apologize for her statement, saying that "If I knew someone actually died, I wouldn't have said it".

    Films — Animation 
  • Barbie in Rock 'n Royals: Zia and Rayna are initially skeptical when Courtney tells them she's a princess but it doesn't take long for them to realize she's not joking.
  • In The Boss Baby: Family Business, Ted tells Baby Tina that you have to climb that corporate ladder until you're the last baby standing at the top.
    Tina: Actually, I prioritize a good work-life balance and a positive environment where my ideas are valued.
    Ted: (laughs raucously) Oh, you're serious.
  • In Kung Fu Panda, after Shifu tells everyone that Po is the only one who can stop the now-escaped Tai Lung.
    Po: And here I am saying you got no sense of humor... What, you're serious?!
  • The Land Before Time XIV: Journey of the Brave: When Littlefoot announces to his friends that he is gonna save his dad from the earthquake he got trapped in.
    Littlefoot: I'm going to the fire mountain to help my dad! And nothing's gonna stop me!
    Petrie: [laughs] That's very funny, Littlefoot! Me thought you said you were going to fire mountain to save your dad!
    Littlefoot: I did say that! I'm going!
    [Petrie's smile droops]
    Petrie: You no seem funny now...
  • In Lilo & Stitch, Pleakley and the Grand Councilwoman are discussing Jumba in his prison cell:
    Pleakley: But it's a delicate planet! Who's going to control him?
    Councilwoman: You are. [walks away]
    Pleakley: [laughs] Very funny, your highness, that's quite — [sees that she's gone] YOU'RE NOT JOKING!
  • In Peter Pan, the Lost Boys have a game of cat-and-mouse with the local natives, constantly trying to catch each other and then turning them loose. Much to their surprise, after being captured, they find out that the natives aren't playing around this time, blaming them for the kidnapping of Princess Tiger Lily (which was Captain Hook's doing) and threatening to burn them at the stake if she wasn't brought back by sunset. Fortunately, Peter managed to save Tiger Lily and get her back in time to square everything away.
  • In The Princess and the Frog, when Naveen and Tiana meet Louis and tell them that they're human:
    Louis: [laughs] Y'all are serious?
  • In Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, Puss tells Kitty that Death is after him in an attempt to regain her trust and explain why he's so desperate to recover his nine lives. Kitty doesn't believe him... until Death shows up. By the time he takes his leave, everyone present is left unable to deny his identity in any rational way.
    Kitty: You know... when you said Death was after you, I thought you were just being melodramatic!
  • In Toy Story, when Woody and the other toys meet Buzz Lightyear for the first time, his insistence that he is a space ranger and not a toy is assumed by Woody to be a façade, but one day when Woody wakes out of the toy box and confronts Buzz, he opens up Buzz's helmet and Buzz chokes and gags until he realizes the air is not toxic and chastises Woody for opening his helmet in an "uncharted planet," and his eyes could have popped out. Woody realizes that Buzz really thinks he is a Space Ranger and is not pretending. Woody unsuccessfully tries to convince him, but it takes a TV commercial at the Phillips household for Buzz to realize the truth.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Airplane!: Subversion.
    Ted Striker: Surely, you can't be serious.
    Dr. Rumack: I am serious. And don't call me "Shirley".
  • Hot Shots! Part Deux
    • It happens in this scene:
      Ramada Rodham Hayman: I'm married. I was married before you and I ever met. I'm still married today.
      Topper Harley: You're joking.
      Ramada Rodham Hayman: I'm not.
      Topper Harley: You've got to be.
      Ramada Rodham Hayman: If I was joking, I would say: "A horse walks into a bar. The bartender says, 'Why the long face?'"
      Topper Harley: You are married.
    • And in this scene:
      Ramada Rodham Hayman: Dexter is one of the captives. He's my husband.
      Topper Harley: You've got to be joking.
      Ramada Rodham Hayman: If I was joking, I would say: "A rabbi, a priest and a minister walk into a bar..."
      Topper Harley: Okay, okay, he is your husband.
  • Avalanche Sharks: When Wade and Madison go to warn people that there is some kind of monster under the snow that's killing people, the first people they come across (the girls always hanging around the resorts hot tub) don't immediately believe them, but one of them does realize their serious and leave with them just in time.
    Jenna: Killed as in real life?
  • Batman (1989) plays with this in this exchange:
    Vicki Vale: What do you want?
    The Joker: My face on the one dollar bill.
    Vicki: You're joking.
    Joker: Do I look like I'm joking?
    Vicki: Well...
  • A Black Comedy example happens in Batman Returns. After Max Shreck finds out that Selina knows about his plans for the power plant, and he says some to her with a threatening tone, and when she nervously says, "It's not like you can just kill me!" he responds, "Actually, its exactly like that..." while advancing towards her with her back to a window... Then he stops and smiles, as if to say he was kidding, she breathes a sigh of relief as he chuckles and turns away... But then he quickly turns around and shoves her out the window, because he wasn't kidding.
  • In Fiddler on the Roof (film):
    Tevye: Thank you, your honor. You are a good man. If I may say so, it's too bad you're not a Jew.
    Constable: [laughs] That's what I like about you, Tevye. You're always joking.
    [awkward silence ensues as the Constable realizes Tevye was not joking]
  • A variant occurs in Ghostbusters:
    Janine: Hello, Ghostbusters. Yes, of course they're serious! ...You do? You have? ...No kidding?
  • In The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the assassin Angel Eyes, who is well known for always following through on a contract, is hired to kill a man after finding out what the man knows about a huge fortune of missing gold. While talking, his target tries to pay Angel Eyes double his fee to spare him. Angel Eyes kills him anyway, but decides to interpret the move as the target hiring him to strike back at Baker, the man who hired him. When Angel Eyes reports back to Baker, the following exchange takes place:
    Angel Eyes: [to Baker] Oh, I almost forgot — he paid me a thousand. I think his idea was that I kill you.
    [both laugh]
    Angel Eyes: ...but you know, the pity is when I'm paid, I always follow my job through. You know that.
    Baker: [completely terrified] No! Angel Eyes!
  • In In the Line of Fire, two hunters stop to admire the piece of Ikea Weaponry Leary designed to kill the President. They ask what it's for, he tells them exactly that, they laugh, and then quickly sober up under Leary's stone-faced gaze. It doesn't end well for them.
  • James Bond:
    • Goldfinger provides this variation:
      James Bond: Ejector seat? You're joking!
      Q: I never joke about my work, 007.
    • Given a Call-Back in Die Another Day, when Bond is presented with an invisible car that he doesn't realize is there.
      Q: The ultimate in British engineering.
      Bond: You must be joking.
      Q: As I learned from my predecessor, Bond, I never joke about my work.
  • In Vol.2 of Kill Bill, pimp and cartel lord Esteban Vihaio tells the Bride that Bill, his protegée, was much too cruel in putting a bullet in her brain; in Bill's position, Esteban "simply would've cut [her] face." He promptly calls over one of his prostitutes, to dab the saliva from her artificially-cleft lips.
  • Most Likely to Murder (2018): When Billy tells people that Lowell is a murderer, most of them assume he's playing one of the morbid pranks he was fond of in high school. Inverted in the climax, when he claims that I Was Joking to keep Lowell out of jail.
  • My Cousin Vinny: Vinny, who took his bar exam six times before passing, is unfamiliar with the procedures in an actual court and, on his first day, appears in a leather jacket, jeans and cowboy boots. The judge is not happy and insists that the next time Vinny appears in court, that he should look "lawyerly." which means wearing a suit (made of cloth) and combing his hair. When Vinny shows up dressed the same, the judge reminds him of his last instructions, to which Vinny responds, "You were serious about that?" The judge gives him another charge of contempt of court.
  • In National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets, Benjamin Franklin Gates announces his intention to kidnap the President of the United States, since the President has access to the titular book. As in many examples of this trope, his friends think he's joking at first, and then try to talk him out of it when they realize he's serious.
  • In Network this trope is invoked word for word by the UBS News Director Max Schumacher when he realizes that Diana Christiensen, the UBS Programming Director, isn't joking about her proposition of merging the two divisions of the network to help capitalize on the potential of both of them, specifically the recent noteriety and popularity of Howard Beale.
  • In Presumed Innocent, as DA Sabich is called into a conference room and informed that he is the prime suspect in the murder of colleague/ex-lover Carolyn. He scoffs at first, but as two other prosecutors list the evidence against him and a third warns him to keep his mouth shut until he can get a lawyer, he proceeds to say this verbatim.
  • Sleeping On Floors: Cleo has this reaction to her boyfriend proposing to her. They're High-School Sweethearts and they have talked about getting married someday, so the fact that she finds the idea so thinkable is a bad sign. They break up at the end of the movie.
  • Sneakers: When Bishop and Cosmo finally meet again, Cosmo says he wants to use Janek's "black box" to "crash the whole damn system"—hack into everything and cause cybernated chaos. "You haven't gone crazy on me, have you?" Bishop asks him. He replies, "Who else is gonna change the world, Marty? Greenpeace?" Bishop scoffs—and realizes Cosmo is serious. "You are crazy," he says.
  • Spotlight: Boston Globe Reporter Sacha Pfeiffer finds herself unexpectedly interviewing a former priest who had allegedly molested children. She asks him, at his front door, point blank about the allegations. He admits to "fooling around" with young boys, but says it wasn't rape because he took no pleasure from doing so, resulting in this tropenote .
  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home has the following, after McCoy asks Spock to tell him about the afterlife:
    Spock: It would be impossible to discuss the subject without a common frame of reference.
    McCoy: You're joking!
    Spock: A joke... is a story with a humorous climax.
    McCoy: You mean I have to die to discuss your insights on death?!
  • Strangers on a Train starts with this. Bruno suggests that he and Guy trade murders, but Guy doesn't realize Bruno was serious until after his wife shows up dead.
  • This same scenario is played with in Throw Momma from the Train by characters who've seen the above movie.
  • Tremors 2: Aftershocks: Kate's reaction to the ridiculously huge amount of weapons and explosives Burt Gummer has brought in to fight the creatures is laughter... until she notices how everyone else remain deadly serious and realizes her mistake.
    Kate: [laughing] Well, um, it's a bit much, don't you think?
    [she stops laughing as she notices everyone else just staring at her]
    Kate: Well, gosh, maybe I'm wrong... [sotto voce] I hope I'm right...
  • An almost literal version in Two of a Kind (1983). The Devil (aka Beasley) spends the movie interfering in the attempts of some angels to help crook Zack be a better man. The angels are doing it to prove humanity is worth saving or otherwise God floods the Earth. The Devil figures this is nothing but a big test but after seeing the angels downcast over failure, it sinks in that not only is this going to happen but it'll leave him with no souls to play with.
    Beasley: All right, let's drop the act. He wouldn't flood the world. I mean...where would they all go?
    Charlie: I told you, he's going to bring everyone up. He's going to end life. It'll be like Man never existed, because no one will be here to remember him. Except you.

  • Adrian Mole: In Wilderness Years, Adrian mentions that the newsagent is a fat man. The Politically Correct Villain Cassandra corrects him, saying he is not fat, but "dimensionally challenged". Adrian laughs, then is horrified by Cassandra's mouth turning into a grim slit, and he realises she is serious.
  • In Wizard and Glass, the fourth book of the The Dark Tower series, a young Roland gets sent off to the supposedly safe backwater area of Mejis. Just before he leaves his father tells him to keep an eye out for one of the 13 balls of Maerlyn's Rainbow, powerful magic tools, because the leader of the evil rebellion is suspected to have one and may have agents in Mejis. Even Roland, who is famous for not having a sense of humor, laughs at the possibility of happening to run into one and assumes his father was joking. Good old dad just stares him down until things devolve into an awkward silence and Roland realizes that his dad was being completely serious.
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: This is Harry's reaction when he is listening to Dumbledore's closing speech during the welcoming feast.
    "And finally, I must tell you that this year, the third-floor corridor on the right hand side is out of bounds to anyone who does not wish to die a very painful death."
    Harry laughed, but he was one of the few who did.
    "He's not serious?" he muttered to Percy.
    "Must be," said Percy, frowning at Dumbledore.
  • In Horus Heresy: Horus Rising, one of the early instances of Foreshadowing about Horus's fall from grace is done as such:
    ‘If I had my choice,’ Horus had told Loken one evening as they had discussed fresh ways of delaying the taxation of compliant worlds, ‘I would kill every aexector in the Imperium, but I’m sure we would be getting tax bills from hell before breakfast.’
    Loken had laughed, but the laughter had died in his throat when he realised that Horus was serious.
  • The Lord of the Rings: While they're talking about potentially having their quest immortalized in songs or tales, Frodo disrupts Sam rhapsodizing about his master's part in the saga by saying that he's forgotten himself. Sam initially thinks he must be joking.
    "But you've left out one of the chief characters: Samwise the stouthearted. 'I want to hear more about Sam, dad. Why didn't they put in more of his talk, dad? That's what I like, it makes me laugh. And Frodo wouldn't have got far without Sam, would he, dad?'"
    "Now, Mr. Frodo," said Sam, "you shouldn't make fun. I was serious."
    "So was I."
  • Mansfield Park: Fanny can't believe that Henry Crawford's marriage proposal is not a horribly distressing joke but a twice-as-horribly distressing sincere proposal until the next day. Cue the Marry for Love rebelliousness in typical Jane Austen tradition.
  • In the earliest English version of The Pied Piper of Hamelin (by Richard Rowlands Verstegan in 1605), the citizens of Hamelin were joking when they promised the piper an outrageous amount of money to get rid of the rats because they never thought he could actually do it. Then he did just that, the citizens told him they didn't think he could do it and didn't actually have that kind of money, and we all know how it ended.
  • This Used To Be About Dungeons: After Isra asks about whether she, as a druid, is allowed to date, Mizuki responds with a Kiromo idiom, "if they have a problem with you finding a boyfriend, I'll be first in line to help you drown them." Since Isra is quite Literal-Minded, Mizuki has to explain the origins of the phrase — but she then learns about the man who robbed Isra after trying to drug her, and offers to actually plan a murder if they can find him.
  • The Sword Of Saint Ferdinand: When Fortún tells their friends and comrades Nuño and Mendo that those who are plotting against the Brothers Vargas -who are popular and well-loved among the soldiers- are not low-born commoners but high-ranking officers, Nuño wonders whether Fortún is pranking them. Fortún sadly states he would never try to trick another peasant like himself.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Inverted in Ciaphas Cain: in a Mechanicus dam/shrine protecting an extremely powerful artifact in danger of being stolen by Chaos, one of the commanders suggests blowing up the dam if worst comes to worst. The head magos, understandably upset, asks if maybe an orbital strike wouldn't be better (without sounding sarcastic). The commander replies that none of the ships could get into position for long enough. While the Tech Priest was upset about this for religious reasons, Cain had blown up the last dam at the site for the same reason in another war and everyone there knows it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5:
    • Londo Mollari discusses with Morden the scale of military aid that Morden's associates can provide against the Narns. Morden boasts that it may be any scale necessary, and Londo asks with laughter if they might just cut to the chase and annihilate the Narn homeworld altogether. Morden calmly replies: "One thing at a time", and Londo's smile slowly fades, as he realises that only one of them was joking.
    • Vir starts laughing when lady Morella says that he will be The Emperor.
      We do not joke in the face of prophecy, Vir.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • When Buffy learns that Harmony has minions, her response is to laugh. The Scoobies tell her that it is a serious situation, and Buffy continues to giggle.
    • Xander does this as well when Buffy tells him that Spike is in love with her, leading to the following exchange:
      Buffy: I'm not joking.
      Xander: Oh, I hope not. It's funnier if it's true.
  • Community uses and exaggerates in the episode "Urban Matrimony and the Sandwich Arts":
    Britta: Shirley, if that really is your excuse, I will plan your wedding for you!
    Shirley: [begins laughing manically]
    Title Card: Literally two full minutes later...
    Shirley: [catches her breath and hands a water bottle back to a concerned passerby, still laughing] [to passerby] Ooh-hoo! Thank you. [to Britta] Oh my good God... Thank you for that... A-ha...
    Britta: [deeply offended] I was serious!
    Shirley: [stares incredulously]
    Title Card: One minute later...
    Shirley: [deadly serious, with the same incredulous expression] Britta, you're not planning my wedding.
  • In Criminologist Himura and Mystery Writer Arisugawa, when questioning Himura on how he managed to survive falling into a dam:
    Himura: A good diver is a great blessing.
    Sakashita: Himura-san, could it be that you had divers on stand-by beforehand?
    Nabeshima: That's impossible! Himura-sensei is joking, right?
    Himura: I'm not good at making jokes.
    [Sakashita looks amazed, Nabeshima looks shocked]
  • Dollhouse: When Manchild Mad Scientist Topher realizes what their comatose client is:
    Topher: ... Basically, this is what some of your more famous serial killers' brains look like.
    Adele: You're quite certain of this?
    Topher: Certain enough that I have serious ethical problems trying to wake him up.
    Boyd: Topher has ethical problems. Topher.
  • In one episode of Firefly, the crew finds out that Jayne, the team's selfish and almost amoral mercenary member, is a folk hero on a remote moon. Mal comes up with plan to turn that to their advantage, planning to use Jayne to keep the general population and tyrannical rulers of the moon distracted while the rest of the crew picks up the goods they came to smuggle. When Jayne objects, showing moral qualms about something for perhaps the first time in the series, Mal has this reaction.
    Jayne: I don't know. You think we should be using my fame to hoodwink folk?
    Mal: You better laugh when you say that.
  • Frasier: Niles, when Frasier asks for help moving Martin's chair.
    Niles: You know I don't lift.
    Frasier: Yes. With that stick where it is, I'm surprised you can bend.
  • Friends:
    • Ross has been spending the entire episode asking people if they want to watch a Ukrainian film with him, only to be laughed at. At the end he bumps into Mona, and he invites her to the movie. Mona laughs for a bit, then says "Oh, you're serious. Sure!"
    • After Ross and Rachel got drunk in Vegas and woke up married, Ross suggested that they stay married so that he doesn't have another failed marriage. Rachel laughs along and agrees, leading to this exchange.
      Ross: Wow, this is so amazing. I really thought I'd have to talk you into this more.
      Rachel: [still laughing] Okay, see now I'm scared because I don't actually think you're kidding.
  • Characteristic moment on Gilmore Girls between Lorelai and her not-quite-soulmate Christopher:
    Lorelai: "Café au lait"? Is that's how it's spelled? Hmm, I always thought it was ¡Caffee olé! You know, like, "Coffee, alright!"
    Christoper: [incredulous] You're kidding! [beat] You're not kidding. [beat] You are kidding. [unnerved] I can't tell if you're kidding!
    Lorelai: I'm a woman of mystery.
  • Janda Kembang: When Malik's best friend Wulan finally and bluntly tells him the she loves him, Malik doesn't believe it and laughs out loud before Wulan tells him that she is not joking.
  • In one episode of Kaamelott, the notoriously stupid, lazy and cowardly Perceval and Karadoc realize that they haven't done anything useful for a while and volunteer to be part of a highly dangerous mission. All the other knights burst out laughing, and are rendered speechless when they realize they are serious.
  • The Leftovers:
    • In one episode two characters who had met on an earlier episode and had a brief moment of bonding pass each other in the halls of a courthouse. When one says that he's officially getting a divorce from his wife because she joined a Cult that is viewed somewhat similarly to how the Westboro Baptist Church is viewed in real life, she cracks up, then realizes he isn't joking. He gives a somewhat similar reaction just a few seconds afterward when she is rather too insistent in inviting him to abruptly go on a vacation with her.
    • When Kevin Garvey finally confesses about his black out periods, during which he can operate for hours or even days at a time in a seemingly normal state but not remember a thing that happened afterward, Dean (the person Garvey is talking to) refuses to believe him for quite some time. When Garvey's frantic sincerity finally convinces Dean, his reaction is a combination of this and a massive Oh, Crap!.
  • In the season 2 premiere of The Listener, cop Michelle confronts Toby on how he knew about a crime, convinced he must be in on it. Realizing there's no other way, Toby bluntly tells her he can read people's minds. Naturally, Michelle scoffs...until Toby starts reading her mind and answers her every question and thought verbally as it sinks into Michelle this is no parlor game or trick.
  • In Lost Girl, Trick gives Bo an ancient Fae weapon, leading to this:
    Bo: What's this made of?
    Trick: Unicorn horn.
    [Bo laughs; Trick gives her a look]
    Bo: Shit, really?
  • In an episode of Malcolm in the Middle, Malcolm's teacher tells Lois that she thinks Malcolm doesn't want to participate in folk dancing because he's self-conscious about his body. Lois' reaction is to laugh before lapsing into complete serious mode when she says, "Oh, you're serious." When the teacher says that she is, Lois continues chuckling to herself.
  • Moon Knight (2022): People who know Marc Spector have a hard time believing that the serious and grim mercenary has a clueless and meek Helpless Good Side with a British accent named Steven Grant.
    • Arthur Harrow understandably thinks that "Marc" is messing with him when the ruthless fighter starts sputtering about his job at the museum and claiming that an Evil Hand is preventing him from handing over his recently-stolen MacGuffin. Only once he pays Steven a visit and sees him honestly working at the gift shop does he realise that there's more to his enemy than he thought.
    • Layla, Marc's estranged wife, is understandably pissed at him and refuses to hear Steven out, repeatedly calling him out for putting on a "new deep cover personality" and telling him that she's not buying it. After seeing Steven nearly die because he can't summon the Moon Knight suit, she first tries to remind him that his name is Marc Spector to snap him out of it. It's only after witnessing Steven mentally switch with Marc that she accepts that there really are two people in his head.
  • In the series Necessary Roughness when the psychiatrists suggests hypnotism, the football player has this moment.
  • New Amsterdam (2018):
    • In the opening scene, new medical director Max Goodwin does a big speech to the hospital staff on how they need to change their ways and stop assuming "the system's too big to change." He cites the cardiac department's high mortality rate and how it can't stand. Having heard speeches like this before, the staff just sits there which point, Goodwin fires the entire cardiac surgical department on the spot as "anyone who puts billing over patient care, no matter how much money they bring in, will be terminated." Instantly, the staff sit up as they realize this is for real.
    • This becomes a running theme of the show as multiple times, a doctor will ask Goodwin about something they expect to be turned out (getting rid of emergency room waiting area, a radical surgery, an unproven test) and when he says "sure, go for it", it takes them a moment to realize he means it.
    • Dean Fulton lampshades that the hospital board thought Max's whole "patients over profits" talk was just to get the job, they never expected him to actually do any of it.
  • In Resident Alien episode "Heroes of Patience," Jay reveals that D'Arcy's best friend Asta is her biological mother. D'Arcy replies, "Yeah. Sheriff Mike's my father." then catches Jay's tone and has this reaction.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Sisko and Admiral Ross are attending a Klingon ceremony that includes the typical cut on the palm. When Sisko says they're next, Ross half-smiles... and then he realizes that Sisko's expression is stony serious. Cue Oh, Crap!.
    • Star Trek: Discovery: Reno picks up a nearby drill and suggests that they fit a cortical implant on Tilly to communicate with the lifeform that's fusing with her. When Stamets agrees to this, Reno immediately says that she was joking about the drill and they should go get some actual medical tools to do it. Unfortunately, the loss of ship's functions means that the drill is all they have.
    • Star Trek: Picard: In "Remembrance", Dr. Agnes Jurati initially believes Jean-Luc Picard is joking when he inquires about the creation of an Artificial Human.
      Picard: You can tell me if it is possible to make a sentient android out of flesh and blood.
      Jurati: (laughs) No, really. How can I... (realizes that Picard is serious) Is that why you've come here?
  • Strangers From Hell: When Moon-jo tells Seok-yoon that the yukhoe he's eating is human meat. Followed by "just joking!" He wasn't joking.
  • Supernatural. Death says he will help Dean only if he agrees to become The Grim Reaper for a day.
    Dean: Are you serious?
    Death: No, I'm being incredibly sarcastic.
  • Done in a very, very serious way in an episode of The X-Files. An alien assassin was sent to earth to kill a rogue alien who chose to stay on Earth as a baseball player. An officer asked where the assassin came from, and laughed at his reply of "Mars". Cue the officer's Oh, Crap! when the assassin's face remained deadpan, implying he is not joking.

  • When Sir Gregory in an episode of The Men from the Ministry is first reluctantly informed by Lennox-Brown that the surplus of 75 pence has ballooned into 800 000 pounds, he immediately starts laughing and congratulates LB on his amazing sense of humour. It's only after Lennox-Brown gives him the receipt that he realizes that it's true, and the revelation causes him to have an episode.

  • In Much Ado About Nothing, Benedick, the cynical, militantly anti-romance snarker, has to challenge one of his friends to a duel for the sake of True Love. No matter what he says, the friend just assumes he's kidding and keeps on laughing. It's only when he gives up and leaves the room that the friend says, "wait, was he serious?"
  • In Love's Labour's Lost, the French Princess is shocked when King Ferdinand earnestly proposes to her after word of her father's death is delivered. Ferdinand and his gentleman had been behaving so absurdly about their "forbidden" loves that the Princess and her ladies took it for games and flirtation rather than a serious love. Ferdinand is upset that his true feelings were taken for jest, but the ladies do agree to consider their suit after the period of mourning ends.
  • The SpongeBob Musical: Patrick and Spongebob initially laugh it off when Sandy tries to warn them that Mt. Humongous will erupt tomorrow night, but when they realize she's serious they freak out.

    Video Games 
  • In Alpha Protocol, you find out early on that there are plans in place to dismantle it if something goes horribly wrong. If you ask what happens to the people, you get one word: "Expendable." You respond with this trope.
  • Used by Hazama for extra puppy-kicking points in BlazBlue: Continuum Shift: when it's implied that the apparently-soulless (but arguably sentient) automaton Nirvana might deserve more respect than one would afford the toaster oven, Hazama laughs before giving a variation of the page title. The similarity to Bender's sociopathic page quote is striking.
  • In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Adam Jensen responds with this trope when Sarif reveals to him the Illuminati are real.
  • Dragon Age: Origins: Alistair can have one of these moments when you tell him he has to sleep with Morrigan if he wants both of you to live. Then as he's getting used to it, you explain in detail that the ritual only works if she gets pregnant with the child of a Grey Warden and after a scared-confused-joking 'what,' he starts freaking out.
  • Dragon Quest V: Rodrigo Briscoletti reacts with incredulity if you choose to marry his temperamental, haughty daughter Debora. Of course, he throws his full support behind the wedding, and after the wedding, he confesses you've made him very happy, as he'd given up any hope of Debora getting married long ago.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Arena Blademaster Owyn reacts this way when you tell him you want to be a combatant.
    • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim:
      • With the Hearthfire DLC, you can adopt children from a local orphanage. However before you can, you're asked what you do for a living, potentially leading to the following exchange;
        Dragonborn: I'm the Dragonborn / Harbinger of the Companions / Archmage of the College of Winterhold.
        Constance: What? If you aren't going to be... wait... Shor, you're serious! Well, I... all right then!
      • This is the guards' reaction when you ask them to whom you should report that you killed the leader of the Dark Brotherhood.
    • Astrid has this reaction when you inform her that you've been hired to assassinate the Emperor.
  • In Final Fantasy XIII, Lightning declares that she's going to become the enemy Cocoon fears l'Cie as, and she'll start by attacking Eden—the godlike entity that maintains the world's existence. Sazh responds by cracking wise as usual until he realizes that she actually means it; then he starts listing all the ways that would be a very bad idea.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, this is the Deku Princess's response to Link's reaction after she laughs about how absurd her worries were that her father would jump to conclusions and wrongfully punish/torture her monkey friend over her disappearance. She then makes Link carry her back to the palace. In a bottle.
  • In Planescape: Torment, this might come up twice in the Pillar of Skulls episode, depending on what the player does and who's actually in the room with him at the time. If you reject the first two payments or ask more questions than needed (which is purposely taking the harder path) the Pillar's third price is Fall-from-Grace's life (assuming she's in the room). If you agree to this, Grace asks you if you're serious; if you say yes, she disappears, and never comes back. The fourth payment is Annah's life (again, assuming she's actually in the room) and again, if you agree to this, Annah asks if you're serious. If you say yes, she becomes enraged and attacks you, fighting to the death. (The Pillar does not accept this as payment; accepting either of these payments slides the Nameless One's alignment towards evil.)
  • In Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader, the Rogue Trader can recruit Marazhai: an unrepentant, sadistic Drukhari who has already manipulated and betrayed the party on several occasions, and who is only recruitable because he was Out-Gambitted by his fellow Drukhari. The Rogue Trader's party members are understandably shocked by this turn of events, with Space Marine Ulfar Redmane and Beleaguered Assistant Abelard having this reaction:
    Ulfar: Ha! A fine jest! He is joking, yes? (Ulfar catches your eye, and the humor evaporates from his face) Troll balls, you're not joking!
    Abelard: (Abelard sighs and comments quietly) Welcome to our fraternity of the perplexed, my lord Ulfar! Get used to it. The Rogue Trader never fails to astonish.
  • In Tales of Berseria, this is Velvet's reaction in Port Zekson when you do the comedy act for the first time and Magilou declares that Velvet is going to be her straight man. Magilou had said as much in Loegres, but Velvet never actually believed she was really going to end up on the show.
  • Serves as the punchline for Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. After various wild turns, traps, countless near deaths and stopping a madman from setting off a bomb in a huge city via a train chase, Chloe, Nadine and Sam have managed to survive and recover the jeweled Tusk of Ganesh. When the fortune-loving Sam asks "how much you expect to get for that?" Chloe intones that she expects the India Ministry of Culture will give them a nice "finder's fee" for giving it over to display in a museum. Sam, who's been assuming they'll be auctioning this off to the highest bidder, just chuckles "Ministry of Culture, that's good....Oh my God, you're serious." Cut to black.

    Web Animation 
  • Features in Gamer Poop's fifth Oblivion video, when Emperor Obama addresses the Champion of Cyrodiil's request to be president.
  • RWBY:
    • Yang thinks Ruby was referring to having a meltdown when she mentioned she explodednote , and when Ruby tries to explain it as being literal with fire (and she thinks some ice) Yang wonders if she'd learned how to be sarcastic. Then Weiss starts to yell at Ruby for almost blasting them off of a cliff.
      Yang: Oh my God you actually exploded.
    • Ruby discovering that Jaune's hoodie has a cartoon bunny face on it, which had always been obscured by his armor. She's dying of rapidly-escalating laughter throughout the following conversation, where at one point her head instantly grows in size to fill the background. Jaune's pouty lower lip sells it. She even asks if he sent in a box top for a prize when he says it’s the mascot for a popular cereal. He did; fifty of them to be precise.
  • From a very old World of Warcraft Machinima comes this bit, in response to a rogue claiming, "rogues have it hard". Caution: contains highly Contagious Laughter.

    Web Comics 
  • This comes up in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja.
    Lobster Man: Hmm... something smells fishy here.
    Minion: Oh my God, are you serious?
    Alt Text: He makes you wear a diving helmet, of course he's serious.
  • Annie and Watto have an exchange in Darths & Droids:
    Watto: What are you offering for that information?
    Annie: To not laser sword your leg off.
    Watto: You wouldn't.
    Annie: [death glare]
    Watto: You would!
  • Girl Genius:
    • Gil makes clear to Wooster what will happen if Agatha is treated as anything less than an honored guest (read "taken hostage, used as a political pawn or enslaved for the good of the British Empire") when he sends her to seek sanctuary in England: he will destroy Queen Albia, melt the island to slag and then boil the surrounding seas for a thousand years. It doesn't take Wooster long to realize Gil is dead serious, and quickly runs off to rescue Agatha from Sturmhalten.
    • Once Mechanicsburg comes under siege, Gil manages to cow Captain Vole by not only sparing him, but letting him know that he expects the traitorous Jäger to try to kill him in the future. "Try" being the operative word.
      Vole: Hyu... Hyu is krezy! Hyu is talkink like hyu vants me to keel hyu!
      Gil: No, no! I want you to try! After all, I have to show that I'm strong enough to rule the Empire! We'll make it a game: "Who's the scariest monster?!"
      Vole: Urg... Mebbe hyu could just keel me, instead?
      Gil: Oh, no! Just think how impressive it will be when word gets out that I keep a pet Jäger around to attack me — just to keep me sharp!
  • Princess Princess: Princess Amira stops laughing at her mother's idea that she could marry one of those "dull, vapid princes" when she realizes her mother means it.
  • Done in Sequential Art when Hilary realizes the extent of Pip's lack of fashion sense, here.
  • Suicide for Hire: The snack stand Arcturus is temporarily working in is closed:
    "Lena, go make me a Closed sign while I reinforce the shutters so they don't go all Night of the Living Dead on us."
    "Is that all necessary? Won't they see the closed shutters and sign and figure out we're not open for business?"
    "Hahaha... Oh, wait. You were being sincere. Allow me to redirect my mocking laughter to you. You fool."

    Web Videos 
  • As documented in several medical cases covered by Chubbyemu, bystanders to someone clearly suffering from a worsening illness tend to try this defence, arguing that they thought the patient was joking, when it should have been obvious to literally anyone that the person wasn't joking and was in fact in grave danger.
  • This is Hippolyte's reaction in Flander's Company when Kevin comes at his office saying he wants to become a Super Villain:
    Hippolyte: HAHAHAAHAHA!
    Kevin: What's so funny?
    Hippolyte: Wait, so this isn't a joke?
  • In the Honest Trailers video on After Earth, the narrator initially laughs at the name "Cypher Raige", before realizing that it really is the protagonist's name.
  • In the lonelygirl15 episode "Mission Possible" — Taylor's reaction is understandable, since Spencer isn't a badass — he's a nerd who can't even exercise:
    Spencer: [pulling on black ski mask] If Jonas doesn't succeed, I'm going in.
    [Taylor laughs, then stops quickly]
    Taylor: Oh my God, you're serious!
  • When The Nostalgia Critic starts reviewing The Room (2003), he reacts to the entrance of Tommy Wiseau in the very first scene with hysterical laughter and demands for the real actor to appear. Laughter gives way to abhorrence as it dawns on him that that is the actual performance.
  • In Screen Rant Pitch Meetings, when the Screenwriter informs the Producer the premise of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom involves the Park being built on an island with an active volcano and the villains trying to make an Auction of Evil to sell dinosaurs, the Producer assumes these have to be jokes before being told it really is in the script.
  • When the Game Grumps are playing Zelda's Adventure they're advised by a speedrunner that the easiest way to defeat Pol's Voice is to just wail on it for two straight minutes, which is faster and easier than the detour you'd need to find the item that they're actually vulnerable to. Danny is skeptical but reacts this way when, miraculously, it works.
    Danny: Oh my LORD, that is insane!!! Are you serious?!
    Arin: That was like a full, exact, two minutes!
    Danny: This fucking game!
  • From the old World of Warcraft PvP video World of Roguecraft:
    Rogue: You know, rogues have it pretty tough.
    Warlock: (40 seconds of wheezing laughter)
    Warlock: You're... you're serious?
    * In the History of Power Rangers episode focusing on Power Rangers Cosmic Fury, Linkara is certain that there's gonna be a fake out concerning Javi losing his arm before slowly realizing that, nope, Javi has lost his arm.

    Web Original 
  • In Worm, this is Taylor's reaction to PRT Director of Image Glenn Chambers' suggestion of a "less threatening" image.
    Taylor: [having just summoned a mass of butterflies to replace her usual (useful) insect swarm] I just want you to realize that this is what you'd be asking me to—
    Glenn: [interrupting] Yes. Excellent! They did say you were smart.
    Taylor: You're serious.
  • Padmé to Anakin in this meme derived from Attack of the Clones.
    Anakin: I'm going to change the world.
    Padmé: (joking) For the better, right?
    [Blank Stare from Anakin]
    Padmé: (not joking) For the better, right?

    Western Animation 
  • In Aladdin: The Series, Jasmine and Aladdin get into an argument about how her privileged upbringing has left gaps in her education concerning how most people live their lives, and Jasmine turns to the Genie to back her up.
    Jasmine: Well, I know plenty about the real world, don't I, Genie?
    Genie: [puts on a trenchcoat, hat, and gangster accent] Sure, you know all about the dark, dank underbelly of this sleazy city of sin! [returns to normal, laughs]
    [Jasmine gives him a death glare]
    Genie: Oh... You're serious.
  • Big City Greens: In "Space Chicken" when Bill sees Cricket misinterpreted his advice to make a good impression and destroyed Big Coffee next door by trying to launch a chicken into space, he takes him inside and tells him he's grounded to his bedroom for the rest of the day. Cricket assumes he's joking, but when Bill reveals he's not kidding, Cricket is utterly shocked.
    Cricket: You're serious?! I can't believe it! (Bill growls) ALL RIGHT, I'M GOING! (goes into his room but comes out) I'll give you one last chance to change your —
    Bill: Cricket!!
    Cricket: AGH! (goes back in)
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes
    • The Wasp does this when S.H.I.E.L.D. asks the team to go into a Gamma radiation-infested prison full of escaped supervillains.
    • She does this again in a later episode, after Iron Man says Nick Fury suspects one of the Avengers of being a Skrull in disguise.
  • Subverted in Futurama (also the page quote):
    Leela: Doesn't it bother you even a little to be taking advantage of your girlfriend's trust?
    Bender: Ah ha ha, ha ha ha! Oh wait, you're serious. Let me laugh even harder. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!
  • In Garfield's Thanksgiving, while Grandma Arbuckle is making Thanksgiving dinner in the kitchen, Jon is distracting Liz until dinner is ready by telling her about the entire history of Thanksgiving. Liz thinks he's kidding until he starts going into detail about the holiday, causing her to realize that he isn't.
  • Played for drama in Green Eggs and Ham, after Guy-Am-I finds out that Sam-I-Am (who's actually a con artist with multiple aliases) has been lying to him during their entire journey. While confronting Sam, Guy angrily declares that the reason nobody's stuck around Sam is because he's not a good fit for anyone..."not even [his] own mother," presumably thinking that Sam's story about his mom abandoning him was another lie. It's not until Guy sees Sam's heartbroken reaction to the comment that he realizes Sam's story about his mom was the one thing he didn't lie about.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: In "My Fair Mandy", Mandy tells Billy and Grim that she's considering entering a beauty pageant, causing them to burst into a round of laughter that lasts through the night and into the next day. When they finally notice she's not having any of it, they realize she means it.
    Billy: Is it true, Mandy? Are you...serious?
    [Mandy shows them a piece of paper]
    Billy: What is it?
    Grim: A pageant entry form. Oh, she's serious, mon!
  • Kaeloo: In Episode 121, Olaf informs the main four that they have been fired. They start laughing, but he then reveals that he was sent by the management, so they realize that they actually have been fired.
  • One episode of King of the Hill features an archaeologist who instructs kids helping at a dig "if a bony arm reaches out from the earth and grabs you, remain calm." The kids react in shock; he chuckles and continues "But seriously… remain calm!"
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In "Secret of My Excess", Applejack initially laughs at Twilight Sparkle's claim that Spike is running rampant, until she sees it for herself.
    • Later, in "Pinkie Pride", Cheese Sandwich initially laughs when Pinkie Pie says she forfeits the Goof-Off (which she was winning decisively) before realizing she's completely serious.
    • In "Maud Pie", the eponymous pony mistakes a washrag in Rarity's shop for a scarf, and says she likes it. Rarity at first thinks she was joking, then, in an effort to impress her, compliments her taste and offers to make her something out of a collection of dishrags. Maud declines; she only needs the one.
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Ain't No Kiddie Ride", Carl reveals that he was born without nostrils, to which Major Monogram replies that he thought Carl was joking about that on his resumé.
    • In "Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars", after Ferb is turned into a wicked Sith overlord by Darthenshmirtz's Sith-inator, Phineas laughs it off and assumes Ferb is playing around and they needed to find Perry, until he offers him to join the dark side and physically attacks him, causing Phineas to realize he means it and the two fight each other.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls (1998), a trio of crooks poorly disguised as the Girls cause the Girls to get arrested. They end up breaking out and catching the real culprits. The Mayor, while expressing he's glad that they were really innocent, points out they'll now have to go back to jail for breaking out in the first place. Everyone laughs before the Mayor stops and says, "I'm serious."note 
  • The Simpsons: In "The Springfield Connection", Homer refuses to take Marge's new position as a officer seriously and swipes her hat while she's on duty, despite her saying that it's an arrestable offense. As Homer puts it on and does a mocking impression of her, Marge slaps a pair of handcuffs on him, and it slowly dawns on him that being her husband doesn't make him above the law.
    Homer: Hey... You're not really arresting me!
    Homer: ...I choose to waive that right. (starts screaming incoherently)
  • Sofia the First: Clover's reaction the first time Sofia tells him she saw a mermaid.
  • South Park: In "Douche and Turd", the Marshes are called into Mayor Daniels' office so she can tell that what Stan is going to be banished for refusing to vote for his school mascot. A shocked Stan asks "You're all joking, right?", but the Mayor's solemn silence is all it takes for him to get this reaction.
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "The Bully", when Flats first says he's gonna kick SpongeBob's butt, he thinks he's joking. Then this happens...
    Flats: [threateningly] No, I mean it!
    SpongeBob: [laughs] That's funny. For a second there, you almost sounded like you—
    [Flats rips off his chest hair to reveal a tattoo reading "I MEAN IT!"]
    SpongeBob: You did mean it.
  • Winx Club: In "The Font of Dragon Fire", the Trix (and Icy in particular) have this reaction when they realize Bloom is not Obfuscating Stupidity, but genuinely has no idea she is the keeper of the Dragon Flame and last living heir of Domino.
  • Xiaolin Showdown: When Dojo asks Master Monk Guan why he was brought to a hidden fortress. Cue Oh, Crap! from Dojo.
    Guan: This is the home of the famous Chase Young.
    Dojo: HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! I thought you said "Chase Young"!
    Guan: I did.
  • The ZhuZhus Ellen Pamplemousse to husband over pancakes after after he surrenders in response to her disarming his fork and Dual Wielding it along with her own foiling attempt to steal her pancake even though his plate was full "your (maple) syrup or your life!" He passes her the syrup and they both break into laughter as if it was a joke, but then she stops abruptly and glares seriously at him and his face resumes a frightened expression.


"Oh my God, we are."

Invoked when Adam lays out his plan.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / MyGodYouAreSerious

Media sources: