Follow TV Tropes


Never Send an X to Do a Y's Job

Go To

A character is sent to take care of something another tried and failed to do, and some essential difference between the characters in question is pointed out. This often results in a stock phrase of the form "Never send a boy to do a man's job."


    open/close all folders 

  • Budweiser ran a series of ads during the 1997 Super Bowl about the "Bud"-"weis"-"er" frogs. Louey the Lizard puts out a hit on them, sending a ferret to knock over the Bud sign and electrocute the pond. it produces this gem:
    Louey: "Never hire a ferret to do a weasel's job!" (Watch it here, the quote is at 1:46).

    Anime And Manga 
  • In the English dub of Digimon Adventure, MetalSeadramon remarks "Never send a Rookie to do a Mega's work!". This is battle trash talk; a rookie is one the lower evolution forms while a mega is the highest. MetalSeadramon himself is a mega and trashing a group of rookie digimon.

    Comic Books 
  • In Punisher Noir, the Russian is informed of Barracuda and Jigsaw's deaths at the hands of the Punisher. As this is the third assassin who killed the Punisher's father, it's easy to guess who's next. The Russian, now a woman, isn't concerned. "You know what they say — Never send man to do woman's job."

    Film — Animated 
  • Gay Purr-ee: Meowirce sends his mooks to capture Mewsette so he can ship her off to a planned suitor, but when they fail at their mission, Meowrice chastises them:
    Meowrice: Never send kittens to do a cat's job, I always say.

  • The Matrix: After Cypher fails in his mission Agent Smith remarks "Never send a human to do a machine's job." This is Fantastic Racism because Agent Smith is computer program and has a low opinion of humans; indeed he once referred to them as 'cancer' that he had to 'cure'.
  • Planet of the Apes (2001): When Capt. Leo Davidson goes out after Pericles, the monkey test pilot.
    Leo: Never send a monkey to do a man's job.
  • Spy Kids. When their uncle Machete refuses to help Carmen and Juni to rescue their parents from Floop.
    Carmen: Never send an adult to do a kid's job.

  • 1931 G. Fowler Great Mouthpiece xii: Mr. Alfred J. Talley... took command of the prosecution. He was an able man. ...'It's about time they gave me a run for the money,' Fallon said. 'The People shouldn't send boys on men's errands.'

  • "Research proves that in more than 99 percent of these cases, the defender who has overruffed endears himself by uttering the old cliche, 'Never send a boy to do a man's job.'" - 1987 Washington Post 21 Jan. D10

    TV Tropes 

    Video Games 
  • In Space Quest III, an android named Arnoid the Annihilator is sent to hunt down Roger for a whistle he never paid for (despite Roger using a "free whistle" coupon). Apparently, All Crimes Are Equal, so mail fraud is punishabled by death. After defeating and destroying Arnoid, Roger figures he's free and clear. However, two games later, they sent another robot to finish the job, a gynoid named WD-40. When she first meets Roger, she disables his ship and delivers this line: "Never send a mandroid to do a womandroid's work." However, she turns out to be not much better, as Roger borrows a page out of Axel Foley's book in defeating her (namely, the "banana in the tailpipe" trick). She ends up being reprogrammed to be the Eureka' science officer.
  • In the Nintendo DS port of Transformers: War for Cybertron, Ironhide has a chance to say one upon either being selected for play or being tagged into combat.
    Ironhide: Never send a rookie to do a veteran's job.
  • In Team Fortress 2, Soldier will occasionally say this when dominating a scout.
    Soldier: Never send a boy to fight a man's war!

    Western Animation 
  • In one episode of Budgie the Little Helicopter, Budgie is sent to retrieve a family snowed in from a blizzard. Chuck was offended that he didn't get asked to do it, despite being told that he wouldn't fit because the house is surrounded by tall trees. Later on, after not hearing from Budgie after some time, Chuck gets rather smug, telling Lionel that he shouldn't have sent a boy to do a man's work. Lionel's response is characteristically curt:
    Lionel: One more word and I'll send you to do a wheelbarrow's work!
  • A Garfield Christmas: Jon Arbuckle has Garfield put the star on top of the family Christmas tree. Garfield accepts the task ("If I'm not back in an hour, send a banana cream pie after me."). As he climbs the tree, he remarks:
    Garfield: Never send a man to do a cat's job.
  • Looney Tunes
    • In the 1952 short "Rabbit Seasoning", after Daffy gets shot after checking to see whether Elmer Fudd was nearby (both Bugs and Daffy were hiding in a rabbit hole), Daffy passes out; leading Bugs to invoke the phrase before getting himself all dolled up.
    • From another Bugs Bunny cartoon, "Water, Water Every Hare", the Evil Scientist needs Bugs' brain for a creation of his own, but Bugs tries to escape, so the Evil Scientist sics the hairy monster Gossamer (here named Rudolph) on him. The rabbit, of course, outwits Gossamer, and when the Evil Scientist finds out, he says the following line below.
    Evil Scientist: Never send a monster to do the work of an evil scientist.
  • The Penguins of Madagascar: The robot LEM-R has been shipped to the zoo for preparing him for his Mars mission. Although Skipper demands "That Robot will need to be decisive, focused, practical, and able to disarm a tentacled Space Squid from 50 yards!" LEM-R just ends up learning some dance moves from Julien. When LEM-R lands on Mars, he promptly gets mauled by the above-mentioned evil space squid. Skipper, in I-told-you-so mode: "Never send a lemur to do a penguin's job."
  • Visionaries. In the final episode, Merklynn sends the Visionaries to rebury the tomb which imprisons the mischievous Sun Imps, only for the Imps to get loose when Lexor tricks Cindarr into summoning the Beast of Destruction. The next day, one of the Imps turns up at Merklynn's Shrine:
    Merklynn: Abraxas?! But the Spectral Knights and Darkling Lords. I sent them to . . .
    Abraxas: (laughs mischievously) Never send a knight to do a wizard's job!


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: