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Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!

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He was trying to kill them at the time, but this happened instead.

"Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself, and do good that he does not intend."
Gandalf the White (discussing Gollum), The Lord of the Rings
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Basically, the heroes have a problem. It could range from personal, to being vital in their quests. Then an antagonist does something, either accidentally or deliberately but with an unintended effect, that instead fixes this problem nicely. It's like a Kick the Dog, but instead of hurting the dog, it pops one of the dog's dislocated bones back into place.

Sometimes it can be a single act. Sometimes it can be just one too many moves The Chessmaster makes, and the villain becomes their very own Spanner in the Works.

Say the Evil Overlord decides to smash the hero's Orphan's Plot Trinket just For the Evulz, and then it turns out that trinket was a Power Limiter that the hero wasn't able to break himself (or wasn't aware had that function), and now The Hero lays a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on the overlord.

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This is often Played for Laughs. Sometimes the Minion with an F in Evil is responsible for this.

This trope on its own just has the villain do this independently of the heroes. If the heroes trick the villain into fixing their problem, then this trope combines with either Briar Patching or a Batman Gambit.

May overlap with Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat if the villain had victory in hand before he did whatever he did.

Compare Hoist by His Own Petard (when the villains foil their own plans), Villain Ball, Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work, Poke the Poodle, Phlebotinum Rebel (when the villain creates the hero), Tactical Suicide Boss (when an enemy can only be beaten by exploiting a certain move).

Contrast Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!, From Bad to Worse, Two Rights Make a Wrong.

Super Trope to Create Your Own Hero.

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This is not villains hurting their own plans or failing to break something (like resistance against them). "Fixing" in this case means solving a problem they did not know existed, or were trying to exploit.

WARNING: Unmarked spoilers ahead!


Examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • In the first story arc of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman, the villain gets hold of the amulet containing the hero's power, and during the climactic battle (which he was winning anyway) he decides to destroy it, figuring that will leave the hero powerless and easy to defeat. Instead, destroying the amulet merely releases the power, which flows back into the hero, making him more powerful than he was before...
    • ...and then in an almost hilarious turn of events, Morpheus, the eponymous Sandman, completely forgives said villain, tells him that he actually did him a favour and dismisses the pitiful, Gollum-esque creature with a pat on the back. And this for a "hero" that has been fond of Disproportionate Retribution in the past...
  • In the Tournament Arc of Knights of the Dinner Table, the knights get a bunch of "Doomsday" dice by rubbing their dice against the dead body of the guy who made the game. Only they end up cursing their dice, every die in their possession and every die of every friend they lent dice to, meaning the dice now produce the worst results possible, making just about anything a critical fumble. Everyone on the Knights' team was given this and they seem to be in a hopeless position as they face their Smug Snake rival team... except she reveals she learned of their "advantage" and eBay'd some of the dice, believing they were blessed and very ironically leveling the playing field.
  • The Hulk's raison d'être: if you're going to kill him, at least try to make him happy about it. This makes Ultimate Nick Fury pretty smart since he did JUST THAT. Pity Loki intervened.
    • The Onslaught saga springs to mind... "And Hulk is ANGRY!!!!"
  • The XXXenophile short Wish Fulfillment starts with the heroine being defeated by a usurping general who declares that "henceforth you shall be my captive flower". This gives the Literal Genie who granted her three wishes before the option to grant "my captive flower" 3 wishes as well.
  • The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck: Soapy Slick would have managed to steal Scrooge's mine, but he decided to humiliate him, read his mail aloud and joke about his mother's death. No one knows exactly what happened after that, except that somehow a piano flew through the window, the steamboat exploded, and Soapy Slick ended up in jail.
  • One of Loki's schemes against Thor (tricking him into fighting Hulk) ended up creating The Avengers. Considering that this superteam saved the world many, many times in Marvel Universe, this is THE Nice Job Fixing It, Villain for Loki...
  • In Sonic the Comic Sonic's Superpowered Evil Side Super Sonic was sealed in the Black Asteroid but was able to escape by charging himself up so much that he made himself into a sort of electron bomb in order to destroy the Asteroid. The explosion produced an electro-magnetic pulse that spread all over planet Mobius, which caused the totally unintentional side effect of deactivating all of Robotnik's Badniks and computers, and contributing to the end of Robotnik's dictatorship; all Super Sonic intended to do was to escape the Black Asteroid, and then kill Sonic.
    • On the subject of Sonic, Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Collide has Sonic and Mega Man attempt to use Chaos Control to fix their worlds. Mega Man's set back to normal, but Eggman's desperate attempt to win ends up messing up Mobius, turning it into a different world... as well as voiding all of his victories, restoring the Freedom Fighters to the point where they Took a Level in Badass and giving them more allies to use in their fight. His actions also had the benefit of cancelling out, at this time, nearly all of the other villains and assorted threats in the comic, with only those from the games and American cartoons still around.
      • To top it off, as Eggman adapts to the new timeline he says that his new memories will overtake his old ones. It was his realization that Sonic's an embodiment of chaos that drove him to make the tech that led to the crossover and slowly tear apart the Freedom Fighters to begin with. Once his memories fully adjust, he'll become less of a threat than before.
  • Forever Evil: By moving the moon out of orbit, Ultraman creates havoc with Earth's oceans. The resulting flooding destroys the burial site of Black Manta's father. He's understandably a little pissed.
  • During the Secret Invasion arc of Runaways, the evil Skrull Chrell managed to capture every non-Skrull member of the Runaways and hold them hostage, threatening them with death unless Xavin handed over Changeling of the Young Avengers. He almost had Xavin over a barrel, but then he made Klara Prast cry. And then Klara's powers kicked in and she damn near impaled him on a tree, breaking his concentration and allowing the Runaways to escape.
  • Early in Superior Spider-Man, Doc Ock does the unthinkable and erases Peter Parker's memories and his Soul Fragment from his mind. Ten issues later, Ock is forced to try to find one of those memories in a massive case of Hoist by His Own Petard. Doing so allows Peter's Soul Fragment to start coming back.
  • In the Vampirella story "... And be a Bride of Chaos" Lucretia, who wanted to become the Bride of Chaos and was jealous that Dracula had chosen Vampirella instead, freed Vampirella from her bonds to take over.
  • In one Captain America story, Cap's shield had been shattered and the shattered remains were set to be used to stop the vibranium that was following suit and heading for its anti-vibranium counterpart. Cue Klaw, who uses the crisis to amplify his amazing sound-based power. Destroying Cap's photonic shield, Klaw proceeds to finish off the helpless hero as Cap grabs his shattered and taped up shield out of reflex. The shield takes the brunt of the attack and, to Cap's surprise, it repaired it fully. Not only that, but it also stopped the incoming disaster. Cap then proceeds to disperse Klaw by slinging his Mighty Shield once more and smacking him with it.
  • A What If? issue, "What If Magneto and Professor X had Formed the X-Men Together?" spun off from an old Chris Claremont story where Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr (the future Magneto) fought against Nazi and future-Hydra founder Baron Strucker over a cache of Nazi gold. In the original story Lensherr took the gold to finance his own campaign against humanity. In the What-If, Xavier and Gabrielle Haller argued that his proposed war against humans would make him no better than the Nazis. Strucker contemptuously added, "By all means, mutant, listen to these dreamers. It will make my inevitable victory all the sweeter." Lensherr turned to Strucker and answered, "I'm glad you feel that way, Nazi. It makes my decision...easier." Strucker was later executed for war crimes, and Lensherr and Xavier became allies.
  • In Swordquest, the protagonists were destined to grow up as submissive servants in fear of the Big Bad... only to become emboldened to rebel against him only after one of his captains killed their foster parents in a moment of pettiness.
  • In Chassis, Twist once set her personal droid to sabotage Chassis's aerocar during a race. His sabotage initially puts her behind. However, he then causes one of her rocket engines to explode. The sudden boost of power propels her to the lead and allows her to win.
  • In Ultimate Fantastic Four, Victor Van Damme changes the figures in Reed Richard's N-Zone experiment, and winds up transforming himself and the Fantastic Four. Turns out that if Victor hadn't altered the calculations, Reed would have made first contact with the Skrulls and doomed the human race to extinction.
  • Usagi Yojimbo: In the story "Kaiso", Usagi befriends a kaiso (seaweed) farmer who suspects a farmer from a neighboring village of poaching his seaweed and selling it to a kaiso-broker, while the other farmer accuses the first farmer of poaching his seaweed. In the end, Usagi uncovers the truth; the broker was poaching seaweed from both farmers, in order to sow mistrust between the two villages. He feared that if the two farmers formed a partnership they could sell their seaweed without his assistance and drive him out of business. By the end of the story, the two farmers decide to form a partnership, and even make a point of thanking the broker for giving them the idea in the first place.
  • When Avengers Forever went about undoing the damage wrought by The Crossing, it was retconned that Immortus was manipulating Iron Man since Operation Galactic Storm, not Kang since the Avengers' first battle with him. What put this in this trope? During the events of Galactic Storm, Immortus had tried to instill Tony with a sense of xenophobia to try to drive the Avengers to go back home and keep them from interfering in intergalactic affairs. Instead, this caused Tony to go into a murderous rage after the Supreme Intelligence allowed a bomb to go off that killed most of the Kree Empire to try to jumpstart the Kree's evolution and Tony led a group of Avengers to kill it.
  • In the last issue of Astonishing Ant-Man, Scott Lang was on trial for robbing a Corrupt Corporate Executive to rescue his daughter, Cassie (who now goes by Stinger). As things look bad for Scott, Yellowjacket, Egghead, and Crossfire showed up for revenge. A major fight happened in the courtroom with Cassie joining in with her Stinger costume to help defeat the three villains. The battle showed Scott's ex-wife how much of a hero and good father Scott really is. So thanks to Yellowjacket, Scott was not only on better terms with his ex-wife and daughter, but Cassie can fight crime again with her father as Ant-Man and Stinger.
  • Childrens book "You're A Hero, Daley B" by Jon Blake. Selfsame hero is a rabbit who doesn't know who he is and where he belongs. And what his overlarge feet are good for. His fellow rabbits easily could have told him... Along comes the weasel Jazzy D and tells him he is a rabbit and her designated lunch, incidentally also solving the feet conundrum (they are good for kicking bloodthirsty weasels to kingdom come).
  • In Street Fighter, Rose left behind an amnesiac Killer Bee (renamed Cammy) at a British Embassy to begin a new peaceful life, but some terrorist attacked which triggered her Killer Bee Mode that made her defeat all of the terrorists in front of Delta Red. She was invited to join Delta Red and helped them against Shadaloo from then on.
    • Vega did this twice in the comic:
      • The first was when Cammy was being reprogrammed into Killer Bee, but stopped it, since he believes beautiful people shouldn't be punished that way. That caused Cammy to sneak Chun-Li and Guile into the Shadaloo base to foil Bison's plans.
      • Another was when he nearly defeated Ken, but instead of ending it quickly, he read him a letter from Eliza saying she's pregnant giving Ken a second wind and defeated the assassin.

    Fan Works 
  • Mortality Smith captures Holmes, tortures him with an inch of his life, and gloats over the guy while he's dying. Basically, Smith unknowingly tripped off protective instincts.
    • The captured criminal, especially. Watson is trying to get information on his friends whereabouts, and said "If your master's actions destroy him whom I regard as the best and wisest man I have ever known, make no mistake that I shall hunt down to a man everyone who played a part in his destruction." Cue idiotic criminal most likely begging for remorse in playing a part in Holmes's long-term imprisonment, which leads to said idiot being killed IN COLD BLOOD.
  • Advice and Trust: Bardiel grew a S2 organ into Unit 03 when it hijacked the giant mecha. Thanks to that NERV got an Eva would not run out of power, which saved Shinji and Asuka when they used Unit 03 to fight Zeruel and they ran out of external power.
  • In the Deva Series, the Al Hantheans were an unknown factor. Only the Yagami Academy and the Circles were unambiguously aware of the threat they posed to Earth; other nations and parties might have considered trying for non-aggression or even collusion. Then they tried to kill off Noriko and the Japanese Imperial family, hoping to take one of Earth's nations and one of Hayate's fighters out of the picture. However, the attempt did not completely succeed, and with their villainy exposed, the survivor gave a speech that will probably rally the nations of Earth into properly uniting against them. One of the higher-up villains even does some Lampshade Hanging on this.
  • In Light and Dark The Adventures of Dark Yagami, assuming that Dark is the hero, L does this when he shoots and kills Light, but accidentally revives him with the Life Note. Light then seeks out L for revenge, enabling Dark to trick them into killing each other.
  • In the Pony POV Series:
    • Discord's Mind Rape of the Mane Cast before his downfall leads to the entire Mane Cast becoming better off than before hand, with such things happening as Applejack becoming a Living Lie Detector and Pinkie Pie becoming much more Crazy Awesome than normal by performing a Split-Personality Merge and healing herself of a serious mental condition, which wouldn't have happened if he hadn't done it. Not only that, but thanks to him the Mane Cast gets two Sixth Rangers and new Elements of Harmony, one of which he made himself. The most extreme example of this happened in the backstory. Discord was the one who accidentally created the Elements of Harmony in the first place. That's right, Discord created the only thing that could defeat him.
    • Queen Chrysalis initially has the upper hand against Princess Cadance and mocks her for not fighting at her full potential, as Alicorns have the powers of all pony tribes. This causes Cadence to suddenly realize she can shape-shift like a Changeling does, which turns the tides.
  • Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: Bardiel inadvertently shields Asuka from the kryptonite radiation coming from Unit 01's kryptonite reactor when Gendo engineers a slight radiation leak.
  • In The Parselmouth of Gryffindor, Bigger Bad Scardemort's attempt to take over Hogwarts by summoning the Death Eaters not only fails, but ends with the arrest of most of the Death Eaters whom Barty Crouch had broken out of Azkaban earlier. The Dark Side as a whole was much better off without his interference.
  • The Immortal Game: Near the latter end of the story, Titan captures Twilight Sparkle during an attack on the Loyalists' base and proceeds to torture her. But in the process of doing so, he causes her split personalities to fuse back together and restore her full power. This proceeds to really, really, backfire on him.
    • Terra's attack on Ponyville, which served no purpose other than emotionally hurting the protagonists, ends with the Elements of Harmony—previously rendered inert by Titan—reignited, and Terra herself stripped of all power.
    • Titan raising the Citadel for the Final Battle enables Harmony's last gambit, which transforms Twilight into an alicorn capable of facing Titan in an even fight, allowing her to defeat him.
  • In the Mai-HiME fic Stain, Nao tells Shizuru that her killing her mother enabled the Reset Button that happened in the last episode to bring her out of her coma in addition to resurrecting her.
  • In the Lyrical Nanoha / Sailor Moon fanfic, White Devil of the Moon, some mistakes in communication lead to the Sailor Senshi coming off as suspicious to Nanoha and Fate, when they are trying to convince Nanoha to join them as their princess to fight the Dark Kingdom. When one of Beryl's lieutenants, Jadetite, attacks Nanoha's brother's wedding with an army of youma, Nanoha and Fate start believing the Senshi and then begin to work together against the Dark Kingdom.
  • Canonical examples aside, Rise of the Galeforces has a case of this that works three-fold. Firstly, if Mr. Ludlow hadn't gotten the idea to clone the Supers who had died in the Golden Age, they wouldn't have contributed to the Aperture's downfall. Secondly, if he hadn't turned Violet into a T. rex, she wouldn't have had the power to wipe the floor with him and his men. And third, if he hadn't jumped into the storyline a couple dozen chapters too late and tried to kill everyone participating, thus throwing a spanner into Ripper's Evil Plan, the Supers would never have found a reason to join forces against the enemy, and thus the ending might have turned out a whole lot worse.
  • In The Teacher of All Things, Apocalymon's deletion of Zeromaru's V-pet proves to be a double-whammy: First, the sheer callousness of this act emotionally pushes Tai to the breaking point and causes him to unleash the power of the Digimental, which was within him all this time without his knowledge, and second, due to Apocalymon's nature, this action causes Zero to finally be reborn inside his mindscape, the latter event preventing Apocalymon from destroying the Digidestined with his Total Annihilation attack.
  • Turnabout Storm: Because of prosecutor Trixie's ego and personal grudge against Twilight and her friends, she lets Phoenix get away with casting suspicion on Fluttershy to get more time to investigate, since she cares about making Twilight and her friends squirm more than anything. Phoenix himself points out that she could have secured a conviction and denied them a chance to gather more evidence by shutting down this line of argument.
  • Anthropology: After explaining his intentions to her, Discord turns Lyra back into a pony. However, this allows Lyra to use the necklace Princess Celestia gave her to return to Ponyville and gather the Elements of Harmony.
  • Earth and Sky: If Diamond Tiara (who runs her husband Blueblood's airship company for him) hadn't downsized her staff, leading to Pipsqueak becoming unemployed, he wouldn't have been free to become Harmony Aeronautics test pony, meaning they wouldn't be in a position to threaten the company's business.
    • Also, in chapter 38, Chrysalis manages to throw ponies off her trail, only to end up shooting herself in the hoof when she tries to avoid getting arrested for crimes committed by Diamond Tiara (who she was impersonating).
  • A Brief History of Equestria: Sullamander thought that, by killing the only general on her Joint Chiefs-of-Staff who outright opposed her, she could cow the Staff into doing whatever she wanted. Instead, the General that replaced her was Wind Whistler, who proceeded to No-Sell Sullamander's nonsense and pointed out how the the Articles of Command allowed her to kill the Commander for her actions if she didn't back off. She would continue to defy Sullamander for the rest of her life, eventually launching the coup that led to both of their deaths and the rise to power of Sullamander's rival (and Wind Whistler's lover) Hurricane.
  • The God Empress of Ponykind: Abaddon tries to kill the Emperor while He is still on the Golden Throne. This ends up being just what the Emperor needs to heal himself and turn the Siege of Terra against the forces of Chaos.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog fanfic, Sonic the Hedgehog: Redemption and Revenge, has Lien-Da suggesting to Eggman, who is upgrading Mecha Sally, to put her original Spark which results in restoring her free will. Way to go, Lien-Da.
  • In Perfection is Overrated:
    • Miyu, by destroying Akane's child, kills the first of the SUEs, Mariko, who had the power to win over everyone she met. This proves to be a double example, as Mariko's bonding to Akane with her powers enables Kazuya to survive.
    • Hitomi, who starts off by mind-controlling and robbing people before moving on to mass murder, comes to Midori's attention, who contacts Mai and lets her know that she might be linked to Nao's alleged attack on Yukariko in some way. As a result, Mai and Natsuki delay going after Nao, and the group is able to cooperate against Hitomi and the other SUEs (even Nao overcomes her reluctance to associate with the other Himes by virtue of how horrific Hitomi's crimes are and out of a sense of self-preservation).
  • The one-off criminal Tom accidentally causes his partner Bill to suffer a Rake Take to the groin in Calvin and Hobbes: The Series.
  • In 3 Slytherin Marauders because Lucius Malfoy insists on gloating to Arthur Weasley, Arthur's bosses assume he must be very important and well-connected and this has greatly advanced Arthur Weasley's career.
  • Children of Time:
    • In "The Manhattan Conspiracy," Dalek Caan's decision to "study" a Time Lord's regenerative energy at work results in said Time Lord using a burst of energy against him, which saves the lives of the hybrid Daleks.
    • In "Every Good Fairytale," Professor Moriarty has already corrupted Sherlock Holmes into his own image. The results having backfired on him, he now seeks Revenge, pure and simple... and gets it by breaking Holmes to restore his humanity. This backfires even more spectacularly, as Holmes's redemption is half of what was needed to restore Time.
  • The Nuptialverse has multiple examples:
    • In the backstory, as shown in Metamorphosis: Discord makes Celestia and Luna immortal to torture them, and lets them take the remains of the orb containing the Energy of Friendship. This gives them the time they need to become alicorns and turn the pieces into the Elements of Harmony. Longtime viewers of the show know how well that would have turned out for Discord.
    • During the climax of Families, Olive Branch's men manage to turn their kidnapping of Twilight, Applejack and Pinkie Pine into a complete 180 merely by telling Twilight that Spike will die.
    • As Luna gloatingly tells Olive Branch himself after he's arrested, his half-assed plan and the actions of himself and his lieutenants have caused the anti-Celestia movement to lose almost all support, not only allowing the royals to focus once more on searching for Chrysalis rather than defending their position, but now no one will object to Twilight officially adopting Spike.
  • In Guide To Recent Equestrian History, before the Reign of Discord, the ponies of Equestria are teetering on the brink of civil war. Good thing that Discord showed up to give them someone to unite against.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness:
    • In Act I chapter 30, Rarosun and Surason have Dark and Rason tricked into thinking that they molested the other's respective girlfriends, and have Mizore and Kurumu restrained and are making them watch the fight. However, the two get tired of waiting and decide to morph into Mizore and Kurumu and give the boys the final push to kill each other; instead, Dark and Rason see through their disguises, promptly kill the Kiyo brothers, and subsequently realize they were duped. In short, Rarosun and Surason screwed themselves over through their own impatience and sadism.
    • In Act IV chapter 19, when Hitomi petrifies Moka, it allows Inner Moka to bypass her seal, break free of the petrifaction, and kick her ass.
  • In Monsignor George Ryan's backstory in Angel Of The Bat, his parents were part of a superstitious sect of the Irish Mob, who agreed to forgive his father's debts if they raised him to be a priest. The plan was this would allow the mob to wash their hands of their sins and go right back to doing them, but Ryan's religious conviction became too strong to be swayed by them and he eventually abandoned them and began working for the betterment of Gotham.
  • During the Opelucid City fight in Pokemon Black & White: Tale of a Legend, Zinzolin mocks Bianca and Volan for taking on his Weavile with unevolved Pokémon... and as one, they decide that now is the time to evolve them. And that's how a Weavile ends up losing to a Grass-type and a Flying-type.
  • The Mortal Kombat fanfic In with the Old, Out with the New. Nice going, Kano. Not only did you kidnap and rape Cassie, both Sonya and Johnny Cage are hell-bent on seeing you dead for what you did to their little girl.
  • In The Elements of Friendship, Book IS: Bonds, Trixie's Alicorn Amulet-powered conquest of Ponyville and enslavement of its citizens gives Queen Selena the motivation and catalyst she needs to regain her full power for the first time since she was purified of NightMare Moon.
  • This Bites!:
    • Intent on getting the fight with Luffy that he has waited for without Lucci getting in the way, Jabra takes out Blueno before he can regroup and report back to Spandam, solving the Straw-Hats' problem of the foolproof backup plan to get Robin out of their reach.
    • The fact that Jabra kept a Six Powers cheat sheet in his room for review greatly helped Boss when he got his flippers on it.
    • Thanks to Spandam having such a superiority complex that he kept an operational black book for CP9, a black-ops organisation whose actions are all but clandestine, in his possession, Cross is able to broadcast on the SBS enough Dirty Business to permanently tarnish the WG's reputation.
    • During their Cat Fight, Kalifa attempts to use her Bubble-Bubble Fruit to wash Nami's mind blank of any thoughts, but all she ends up doing is washing away all of Nami's stress instead. As such later, she doesn't hesitate to jump into the churning waters between the Tower of Justice and the Bridge of Hesitation, in order to get to and activate the controls that close the Gates of Justice.
  • crawlersout: After Fem!Harry admits she wouldn't be able to stand by if people were being persecuted, Gellert Grindelwald deems her a threat and tries to kill her. It backfires horribly: since Harry is the Master of Death, she is immune to the Killing Curse. Worse, Grindelwald used the Elder Wand to cast it; as Harry's ownership of the wand trumps any other claims, no matter the time or place, the curse rebounded. The only reason Grindelwald survived is because Harry saved him, leaving him life indebted to the woman he just tried to murder.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines: During the Fuchsia Tag Tournament, Ash and Red have a heated argument over the use of their bloodliner powers in competitive battling that causes their teamwork to fall apart during the semifinals. Then Paul decides to release his Raichu for losing one too many battles, not even bothering to properly heal her. This action prompts Ash and Red to forget their differences and work together to ensure that Paul doesn't win the tournament.
  • In Earth's Alien History, the Mekon's attempt to keep the neutral Vulcans and Andorians from getting involved in his war with the Terran Treaty Organization is to try and use his Romulan allies in a False Flag Operation to get the two species fighting each other. When this is exposed, however, it just leads to both entering the war on the side of, and later formally joining, TeTO.
  • Double Agent Vader begins with Darth Vader being sent by Emperor Palpatine on a mission to his former homeworld of Tatooine; Palpatine's intention is to taunt him by reminding him of what he's lost, but the actual result is that he finds a way to reconnect with his roots, reclaims his identity as Anakin Skywalker, and dedicates himself to bringing down Palpatine and the Empire from the inside.
  • Ultimate Video Rumble 3 sees M. Bison gain godlike power atop the hotel. Alex has a Mineral MacGuffin to supercharge himself to similar levels, but loses it off the side of the roof before he can activate it. Whereupon Bison taunts: "Just once I would love to see a competent opponent challenge me." This is Rolento's cue to climb onto the battlefield with the missing MacGuffin; Bison belatedly realizes that his new power over reality may have made his taunt true.
  • In the first chapter of Old West, Tomson tells Sheriff Rango that he's looking for a snake without giving specifics. This leads Rango's thoughts to Rattlesnake Jake (the only snake he knows) whom he seeks out and hires to protect the town against the mercenary harassers. Jake's presence makes it a lot harder for Tomson's employer, Dufayel, to claim the lands in his campaign to get the underground gold.

    Film — Animated 
  • An Extremely Goofy Movie: Bradley's attempt to disqualify Team 99 by launching PJ out of the stadium actually repaired the father-son relationship between Max and Goofy with Goofy filling in at the last second. Bradley does it again when he betrays his right-hand man Tank by leaving him to die in the burning X-Games logo along with Max. His betrayal leads to Tank pulling a Heel–Face Turn and helping Max win, then slingshooting Bradley onto the X-Games zepplin flying above.
  • Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie: Professor Poopypants does this twice. The first time was when he had the Turbo Toilet 2000 "eat" Captain Underpants. In doing so, he exposed CU to the pretty much radioactive leftovers from the school cafeteria, and it results in him getting real superpowers. The second time is when he's seemingly won after erasing George and Harold's sense of humor. He mentions the planet Uranus, which triggers the memory of how George and Harold first met, and gets them laughing again.
  • Capture the Flag: Carson tries to sabotage NASA by making their rocket leave Earth before anyone boards it and the plan fails because Mike and Amy snuck in and Mike's grandfather went there to get them out. Had Carson not tried this, he'd have about ten more hours to get rid of the flag and anything else that might be used as evidence that the original Moon landing wasn't a hoax.
  • In Cars 2, had Miles Axlerod not spilled oil onto the carpet, Mater wouldn't have become a spy and foiled his evil plan!
  • At the musical finale in Cats Don't Dance, Spoiled Brat Darla Dimple attempted to sabotage the performance of the animals who could threaten her career. However, each of her sabotage attempts only made the performance a bigger hit, thus ensuring the animals' careers. Then she went and screamed at the animals about the accident she caused and framed them for, thus clearing their names and resulting in her and her career literally going through the floor.
  • In Coco, if Ernesto de la Cruz hadn't been so stupid as to recreate Hector's death in one of his movies with himself as the victim, Hector would never have realized that he'd been murdered, let alone that de la Cruz murdered him. Since Hector's daughter Coco, the last living person who remembered him, was dying of Alzheimer's (in the setting of the movie, when a dead person is completely forgotten by the living, they suffer Final Death), it's likely that de la Cruz's dark secret could have stayed safe forever if he hadn't gone to the effort of betraying himself. Even worse, Miguel saw the film clip and put the pieces together, too, filling the missing piece of his family history (Hector had never abandoned his family). With two in on his secret, Ernesto has a Villainous Breakdown that ends up getting caught on camera, disgracing him in front of the entire Land of the Dead. Worse, when Miguel returns to the living world, he spreads the truth, not only healing his family's hatred of music and redeeming Hector, but also disgracing Ernesto in the living world, too, putting him on the path to obscurity and Final Death.
  • In Coraline when The Beldam tosses Coraline into the mirror for disobeying her. Of course, that's where she also left the souls of her previous victims who speak to Coraline and give her the resolve to defeat the "Other Mother".
  • For a bit of Fridge Horror in Despicable Me, that little kid in the beginning would've died had Vector not stolen the real pyramid and replaced it with an inflatable.
  • In Frozen, Hans tries to kill Elsa, and Anna throws herself in front of the sword before the curse freezes her solid (and shatters the sword in mid-strike). Because Anna did that to save Elsa, it was an act of true love that would break her curse, something she might not have been able to do had Hans not given her the opportunity.
  • The Incredibles:
    • The Omnidroid trying to rip Mr. Incredible apart actually fixes the crick in his back, getting him back in the fight.
    • The mook who punched Dash off the vecilopod accidentally saved Dash's life because the vecilopod crashed onto a cliff seconds later.
    • Syndrome does this when he first meets Mr. Incredible. He has the hero captured and helpless in his "zero point energy" field. But he can't resist tossing him around and gesturing dramatically during his "I win" speech and accidentally flings him away. Although he is captured again later, it is this that allows Mr. Incredible to discover Syndrome's evil plan.
    • Syndrome programmed the Omnidroid to adapt to any situation. Then he arrogantly stopped during his fight with it to boast to the bystanders, giving the robot the time to figure out it was being controlled by Syndrome's bracelet. It then removed it from him, and the heroes used it to destroy the robot.
    • Before Syndrome, the Parr family was in a rut, trapped by monotony, dead-end jobs, and the memories of what once was. Even Bob and Helen's marriage was on the rocks. And for superheroes in general, public opinion was negative, and they had to live in hiding. After Syndrome, superheroes were allowed to operate openly once more, the public liked them again, and, most important of all, the Parrs were happy, proud, and very closely-knit, making them even better superheroes than they ever were as individuals.
  • Shere Khan in The Jungle Book unwittingly saves Mowgli's life. Kaa has Mowgli fast asleep and in his clutches, when Shere Khan drops by and asks Kaa for information on Mowgli. The distraction is long enough for Mowgli to wake up and escape.
  • Kung Fu Panda: Lord Shen attempting genocide on the pandas not only enabled Po to complete the prophecy, but also provided the Valley of Peace with a way to stop Tai Lung in the original film.
  • The Lion King:
    • Scar has Simba utterly on the ropes and is about to knock him off the edge of a cliff, when he insists on making a But Before You Die speech.... freeing Simba from the guilt he had been carrying around and giving him the heroic resolve needed to stop Scar. Doh!
    • Later, when trying to bargain with Simba for his life, some hyenas are about to help him. Then he goes and ruins it by trying to scapegoat the hyenas, making them back away in anger. Not only does this mean that he has to fight Simba without any backup, but it also gets him torn to ribbons by a pack of justly angry hyenas, after Simba had chosen to spare Scar's life and exile him.
  • Monsters, Inc.: "I'll kidnap a thousand children before I let this company die!!!"
  • Scooby-Doo in Arabian Nights: Haman uses his second wish to become ruler of the universe, which enlarges the palace. It enables Aliyah-Din to leave the cell she and the Prince were locked in and eventually reclaim the lamp.
  • Lord Farquaad, the Big Bad of Shrek, did this on a series spanning level. He sent Shrek to rescue Fiona, which messes up his own plan by allowing Fiona to meet her true love that would break the curse and allow Donkey to meet Dragon, who helps Shrek and Donkey stop his wedding and eats Farquaad. In the second movie, Prince Charming's goal to rescue Fiona and thus Fairy Godmother's intention to rule Far Far Away through him are foiled because Farquaad sent Shrek to rescue her already. Most importantly, it foiled Rumpelstiltskin's attempt to get Fiona's parents to sign a Deal with the Devil with him, letting him erase them from existence and conquer Far Far Away because Shrek rescued Fiona and rendered the deal pointless. Even further back, the only reason Shrek interfered at all in any of this was because Farquaad's deporting all the fairy tale creatures to his swamp ticked him off. Really Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!
  • Toy Story 3: The moment Lotso smashes Big Baby's locket. Cue Big Baby becoming extremely pissed and throwing Lotso into the dumpster.
  • In Zootopia, Assistant Mayor Bellwether intervenes on Judy's behalf when she was about to be fired by Chief Bogo. She just didn't expect that Judy would discover she was behind the conspiracy causing Zootopian predators to go savage with the same determination Judy showed in finding the missing mammals.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Addams Family: Tully Alford and Abigail Craven have her son Gordon dress up and pretend to be the long-lost Fester as a means of trying to con the family out of their fortune. Not only does Gordon grow to care for and love the family through Craven's constant berating and controlling of him, but when she finally drives him to give her and Tully each a Disney Villain Death, the circumstances under which it occurs reveals that Gordon was the real Fester with Amnesia the whole time.
  • Star Wars:
    • In A New Hope, the Empire would have won if a nameless TIE fighter pilot hadn't panicked at being shot at by Han and collided with Vader. See for yourself.
    • Even earlier in A New Hope, if Tarkin had waited possibly even just a few hours to order Alderaan's destruction, Luke, Han, Obi-Wan, the droids, and the all-important Death Star plans would have been on the planet, Leia would eventually have been executed, and the movie and the Rebellion would have ended right there. If he hadn't destroyed Alderaan at all, he would have left some of the Rebellion's key leaders alive, but the Empire would still plausibly be able to pass the rebels off as mere terrorists fighting their perfectly decent and reasonable government just to be troublemakers. Instead, they proved conclusively to the galaxy just who the bad guys were, virtually guaranteed Leia's rescue and the plans' survival, gave rebel recruiters all the help they could ever need, and Tarkin eventually got himself killed for his trouble.
      • Tarkin did it again(before?) in Rogue One: His destruction of the base on Scarif meant the only person in the Empire who knew of the Death Star's weakness was killed before he could tell anyone.
    • Luke is struggling with the dark side in Return of the Jedi, but it's actually the Emperor's constant taunting—and explicit goading him to fall—that keeps Luke from going over. Not only that, when the Emperor decided to forgo turning him and instead try to kill him, he ended up getting the exact opposite: instead of Luke turning to the Dark, Vader turned back to the Light in order to protect his son. Even Irregular Webcomic! spoofed this, with Vader complaining he could get Luke to turn if the Emperor would just stop butting in.
    • In The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren's attempted Mind Probe of Rey, and her successful resistance to that probe, seems to awaken her Force abilities. Near the end, Kylo even realizes that he played an unwitting role in her growth as a Force-user and offers to train her for real.
  • Superman II: In an overlap with Batman Gambit, Supes confides in Lex a means to Depower the escaped Kryptonians and save Earth. Something that is in Luthor's interests since they've repeatedly shown they care nothing for him or honoring their deals. Of course, Lex betrays Supes and tells them the plan... but instead, he's actually been tricked by Superman and helped him depower them! It seems Lex is so predictably evil, Supes could count on him always being his own Starscream.
  • UHF where R.J. Fletcher does this twice:
    • First, he fires Stanley for something that was actually his own fault. George takes pity on Stanley and hires him for U62. After discovering U62's falling fortunes and ratings and his girlfriend leaves him, a despondent George walks out of a taping of "Uncle Nutsy's Clubhouse" and lets Stanley take over. Stanley ends up being so popular, he gives U62 a huge ratings boost and allows them to make more shows.
    • In a later scene, R.J. Fletcher gives a penny to a panhandler, who thanks him sincerely. It turns out that the penny was extremely rare and valuable, so the panhandler was able to sell it for enough money to buy several shares in the station Fletcher was trying to close down.
  • In Kung Fu Hustle, the protagonist, Sing, is rewarded for his Heel–Face Turn... by getting his face beaten into a pulp by The Beast. This however, clears up his chi flow, turning him into a true Kung Fu master, and he soundly defeats the Axe Gang and The Beast.
  • Back to the Future:
    • Marty and George's plan to make Lorraine fall for George goes awry when Biff shows up and tries to have his way with Lorraine. Although intimidated, George stands his ground against Biff. He tries to throw a punch, but Biff intercepts it, then begins twisting his arm. Lorraine tries to intervene, but Biff forcefully pushes her aside. After he does so, he laughs. This gives George the resolve he needs to punch Biff out and later, win Lorraine's heart.
    • Marty's original plan—pretending to have his way with Lorraine, only for George to jump in and play Superman—was failing hard because Lorraine wanted to jump him. Biff's intervention unwittingly set things back on course.
    • Not only did Biff end up repairing the status quo, but he ended up completely reshaping his own future. George goes from weak-willed pushover constantly being taken advantage of by Biff, to a confident and successful author. Biff, meanwhile, waxes George's car.
    • Biff was drunk out of his head and not capable of making any kind of coherent plan. This is sufficiently established by him doing this in the first place—if not for George turning up, he could very well have ended up in prison for a long time.
  • In Popeye, the eponymous sailor-man hates spinach, so Bluto force feeds him an entire can, just to be mean. You can probably guess what happens next.
  • In Ben-Hur (1959), The titular character taunts the man who sold him into slavery with this.
    Messala: By what magic do you bear the name of a Consul of Rome?
    Judah: You were the magician, Messala. You had me condemned to the galleys. When my ship was sunk, I saved the Consul's life.
  • Highlander II: The Quickening: General Katana, for no good reason, sends his mooks to try and kill Connor MacLeod decades after he becomes mortal because he's worried Connor would return to try and kill him. During the altercation with the mooks, Connor beheads one of them and as a result, regains his immortality, and becomes young again, and then is later able to take out the shield that is causing harm to the planet.
  • Mr. Deeds Goes to Town features this trope at the climax. Deeds is lethargic and disinterested in his own defense because of the constant betrayals he's suffered throughout the film, including from Love Interest reporter Babe. When it looks like he's finished, Babe desperately takes the stand to offer up the defense he won't. The prosecutor, frustrated by her emotional pleas, requests that he be allowed to treat her as a hostile witness since "she's obviously in love with the defendant". This breaks Deeds out of his depressed stupor, and the next time he's prompted to speak in his own defense, he does so—and lays out an epic verbal smackdown on the prosecutor's entire argument.
  • In Face/Off, Castor Troy has a bit of a Pet the Dog moment when he saves Archer's daughter from being assaulted and gives her a butterfly knife so she can defend herself against future attackers. She uses it on Castor himself at the end of the film.
  • Ultraman Zearth:
    • Zearth is stricken with an overwhelming fear of dirt and germs. Benzene Seijin, in a bid to conquer Earth, decides this is the perfect way to beat him, and torments him with tar the entire film. However, he puts the final nail in his own coffin by forcing Zearth to cross a lake of tar to save his friends. This gives Zearth the motivation he needed to overcome his fears, kill Benzene's pet monster, and kick Benzene himself into orbit.
    • In the sequel, his wife, Lady Benzene, has Zearth's spirit crushed after her robotic copy, Ultraman Shadow defeats him with ease, making him unwilling to transform. Then, she has to go call him out to try and stop her so she can destroy him. Her taunting causes Zearth to train, take another level in badass, and overpower Shadow. Then, she goes and broadcasts the fight around the world to try to crush humanity's spirit, this backfires when Shadow finally has the upperhand, the people of Earth all chant Zearth's name, giving him to strength to destroy Shadow once and for all.
  • In Cliffhanger, while hero Gabe is retrieving the first briefcase of money for the thieves, Big Bad Qualen remarks that they don't need two guides and instructs his crew to kill Gabe when he comes down. Of course, he says this while standing next to Gabe's partner Hal, so Hal naturally yells to Gabe not to come back down, allowing Gabe to flee and become the fly-in-the-ointment to Qualen and crew. Had Qualen kept his mouth shut until Gabe came down, or instructed his men out of earshot, he would've saved himself a lot of trouble.
  • In Braveheart, when the Scots struggle to ram open the gates to York, the English help them unwittingly. First they pour boiling tar on the attackers and then they shoot Arrows on Fire at them. The arrow sets the tar-soaked ram on fire which in turn sets the gate on fire. Problem solved for the Scots.
  • The Matrix franchise:
    • During the scene with the Oracle in The Matrix, she explains that Neo technically isn't the One, but he will probably be one in a later life. Later in the film, Agent Smith kills Neo. However, Trinity manages to revive him and Neo awakens as the One. Nice job fixing it, Smith.
    • In The Matrix Revolutions, Smith copies himself over Neo in their final battle. Since Neo is connected to Deus Ex Machina, Smith is promptly deleted.
  • In The French Connection, narcotics cop Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle is tenaciously chasing down a major heroin deal. At one point, with one officer dead and little in the way of results, his superiors order him back to his regular work and close the case, effectively leaving the deal to go ahead as planned. Unaware of this, and concerned that he's giving their US clients cold feet, the French traffickers authorize a hit on him. The hit goes badly wrong and Doyle runs the hitman down. He gets the case re-opened on the strength of that, ultimately intercepting the heroin and most of the traffickers.
  • Batman Begins: When Bruce Wayne goes to confront mob boss Carmine Falcone at his favorite hangout, Falcone gives him a "The Reason You Suck" Speech. It's intended to break his will, but Bruce actually agrees with everything Falcone says about him. He immediately leaves the restaurant and embarks upon his journey to become Batman.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Thor: If Loki hadn't ruined Thor's big day and incidentally gotten Thor banished, Thor wouldn't have learned humility and would have remained the same reckless and arrogant god that he was, instead of maturing like he did. Loki visiting Thor in his cell was what changed Thor into a better man. Also near the end of the movie. Loki was in charge, Thor was trapped on Earth and mortal. But Loki had to send the Destroyer to finish Thor. That gave Thor the chance to make the Heroic Sacrifice that restores his powers.
    • Iron Man 2: Justin Hammer's deal with Ivan Vanko turns out to be a mistake from his perspective. Vanko proves impossible to work with, uses Hammer's resources and technology for his own single-minded vendetta, ruins Hammer's Expo showing (while placing thousands of people in immediate danger, we might add) and ultimately leads to Hammer's arrest when it's discovered that he's behind Vanko's escape. The real kick in the pants? It was all totally unnecessary. If Hammer had simply waited, Tony Stark would have self-destructed completely on his own, been discredited in the eyes of the public, probably died from palladium poisoning, and Hammer would have still gotten his hands on the War Machine armor and been allowed to study/weaponize it as the premier US military contractor.
    • The Avengers (2012): After so carefully sowing the seeds of dissent among the already volatile heroes, Loki takes out Agent Coulson, literally giving them something to avenge, which brings them together as a team.
    • Thor: Ragnarok:
      • Loki banishing Heimdall means he won't be in Hela's way when she hitches a ride on the Bifröst. This makes him an unknown Spanner in the Works for her, allowing him to steal the sword, trapping Hela, and be Thor's guy on the inside.
      • Surtur really does live only for that one evil deed of destroying Asgard. Or so he thinks - by destroying the city, he saves the Asgardians from Hela - which was Thor's plan all along.
  • The Devil in the Scare 'em Straight flick Escape from Hell, when the protagonist Eric arrives after inducing a near-death experience. Rather than attack him outright, the devil just tells him exactly who has gone to hell and why, and that his recently converted father didn't go there. He only attacks him just as Eric is brought back to life, then chases him into a church for good measure in case Eric needed any more help converting to Christianity. The Devil Is a Loser indeed.
  • In Immortals, the villain is on the verge of victory, and possesses a magical Energy Bow that can fire infinite shots, which destroy men and rocky walls alike. So when it comes time for the final battle, he fires said bow exactly one time at the giant wall the Greek soldiers are hiding behind. Which creates exactly one small opening for his massive army to use, giving the Greeks plenty of time to defend such a small area.
  • Underworld: Rise of the Lycans:
    • Viktor's decision to kill his only daughter for loving a Lycan kicks off the war between vampires and werewolves that leads to the death of Vampire Elder Amelia. Not only that, his decision to spare Seline because of her striking resemblance to the daughter leads to the death of him and Markus, also Elders. Without any strong leadership, the vampire covens fall apart and become fairly easy pickings for the Lycans by the events of Underworld: Awakening.
    • Considering that his fear of a vampire-lycan hybrid was a primary motivation for his actions, his initial refusal to believe Seline ultimately results in the (re)creation of Michael as a vampire-lycan hybrid; his murder of Singh leads to his rival Markus being reawakened and becoming a hybrid.
  • In Diamonds Are Forever, Shady Tree discovers just in time that the diamonds were fake and got James Bond out of the retort Wint and Kidd had put him in. Bond takes the opportunity to casually stroll out of Slumber, Inc. during the inevitable questioning and later figures out that someone's bumping off the diamond smugglers when Tree gets shot later on.
    Shady Tree: [after the casket is out of the retort] You dirty double-crossing limey fink, those goddamn diamonds are phonies!
    James Bond: Now don't tell me... you're St. Peter?
    Shady Tree: Paste! Glass! Where's the real stuff, Franks?
    James Bond: Where's the real money?
    Morton Slumber: What do you mean?
    James Bond: You wouldn't burn up 50,000 real dollars, now, would you?
    Shady Tree: One last break, Franks. Where are the real diamonds?
    James Bond: You get me the real money... [climbs out of the casket] and I'll bring you the real diamonds.
    Shady Tree: Where the hell do you think you're going?
    James Bond: I hear that the Hotel Tropicana's quite comfortable. My condolences, gentlemen!
    [Morton Slumber slams the now-empty casket shut as James Bond leaves]
  • Venom/Eddie Brock, in Spider-Man 3 does this in a more drawn out sense. After the symbiote bonds with him and he gains all of Parker's memories, you'd think maybe he'd catch Peter unawares, or at the very least if he wanted an ally, go to Harry Osbourn, who was still hating Peter at that time. But no, first he recruits Sandman and then he kidnaps Mary Jane. Which leads to Harry's Heel–Face Turn, Big Damn Hero moment, and the Heroic Sacrifice that saves Peter and results in Brock's demise.
  • The Dark Knight Rises:
    • If Talia had just kept her mouth shut about flooding the fusion reactor basement to the heroes, they would have continued to waste time dragging the reactor to the location to attempt to reconnect it, which would not allow Batman to relocate the explosion in time.
    • Bane releases all of the Gotham City's incarcerated, including Selina Kyle/Catwoman, who manages to unceremoniously blow him away in time to stop him from killing Batman at the film's climax, leading the above-mentioned Fix-It moment.
    • Bane's calling out of Commissioner Gordon's cover-up leads to Batman once again being looked upon as a hero and a symbol of hope for Gotham city. His plans for anarchy unravel from that point on.
  • In the musical 1776, Judge Wilson (who is against independence) mentions the they must first "define the nature of the beast," later, when it looks like the move might be defeated, Adams and Franklin use this as the means to delay the vote until they write The Declaration.
    • If Dickinson (the face of the anti-independence faction) hadn't basically began gloating about how his vote would kill the independence vote, Franklin wouldn't have had enough time to call for a delegation poll, leaving the final vote (and the fate of the United States) in the hands of Wilson, who sides with the independence voters because he doesn't want to be remembered in history as the man who killed American independence.
  • Little Giants: If not for Spike hitting Junior, Becky wouldn't have returned to the Giants.
  • In Airheads, SWAT team leader Carl Mace reveals to everyone that Chazz Darvey used to be a huge geek named Chester when he was in high school, in an attempt to make people less supportive of him. Instead, it makes everyone more supportive of him, as they reveal their own geeky pasts.
  • Elysium: The plot to open up Elysium to everybody on Earth is only possible because of Delacourt's desire to overthrow the current government, requiring a virus that can reboot the system. Then Max gets a hold of it...
  • In Super Mario Bros., King Koopa gets bitten in the tail by everything he ends up de-evolving. The de-evolved Toad is the reason the Goombas, his entire army, become incapacitated, and the second his two cousins are evolved to become smarter they realize it sucks working for him and they immediately turn on him. And of course the fungus which is actually the de-evolved king does everything in its power to hold him back every step of the way.
  • Mayor Augustus in How the Grinch Stole Christmas! not only wrecks his own materialistic drive on Whoville, but also leads to the Grinch's Heel–Face Turn. He ends up doing this when he decides to humiliate Cindy Lou Who for her decision to bring the Grinch into the town's celebrations the night before, which leads to the Grinch's thievery because of his own asshole-ish decision to humiliate the Grinch there. By humiliating Cindy Lou, her father, Lou Lou, stands up for her and realizes that Christmas isn't about the gifts, but about family. When the Grinch goes to listen for the sounds of sorrow and ends up getting singing, this ends up leading him to realize the same thing.
  • The entire point of But I'm a Cheerleader: Megan would never have even noticed her repressed and rationalized lesbian desires, much less embraced and pursued them, if her parents hadn't sent her to a Cure Your Gays camp to get rid of them.
  • In the 1985 Brewster's Millions, Brewster would have failed to meet the conditions of his full inheritance if the junior partner of the crooked law firm that stood to profit from the failure had just kept his mouth shut for half an hour.
  • In the first live action Astérix movie, Asterix & Obelix Take On Caesar, Asterix and Obelix infiltrate a roman camp to free Panoramix, with Obelix having to pretend to be a roman legionary until Asterix gives him a signal to stop acting. Unfortunately, the two get separated with Obelix becomming Detritus' right hand man and Asterix being sentenced to die in an arena filled with wild animals, unable to give Obelix the signal since he is out of hearing range. And then Detritus unknowingly helps Asterix give Obelix the signal because he is curious what exactly Asterix is shouting to Obelix and uses his skills of lip reading to find out.
  • Transcendence:
    • Before RIFT's attack, all the AI research teams were working independently and were probably decades away from a true AI breakthrough; Max flat out admits that a thinking machine is essentially a pipe dream and that their progress toward that goal is more productive in its incidental advances in other scientific fields. After the attack, key research ends up being transferred to the Casters at the same time Will is told he will die in a matter of weeks, giving them both the necessary research and the motivation to apply it. Thus, RIFT's actions create the very AI they sought to prevent. If they had done nothing, the research would still exist, but it would be very unlikely that human trials would be put into play any time soon, nor would it be likely these independent teams would share data, since Will specifically notes that he's never taken defense contract cash (which is where the research comes from).
    • This also plays out later in the film. After Will's upload and relocation to Brightwood, he had kept to himself, working on peaceful advances in technology that were completely benign. Bree has fliers distributed accusing the Brightwood Data Center of human experimentation, which was a complete lie, and not long after that two guys mug Martin and beat him nearly to death. Will uses his nanomachines to save Martin's life, in the process upgrading him into a networked superhuman, again kickstarting the very thing RIFT sought to stop. It did succeed in getting their cause greater recognition, though, so, by accident if nothing else, it wasn't a total backfire.
  • In Need for Speed, the antagonist Dino made a critical mistake of not getting rid of the red Koenigsegg which he previously drove that killed Pete, enabling Tobey not only able to use it for the De Leon race, but it is also the critical evidence Tobey needed to clear his name of Pete's death.
  • The Stable Time Loop in Interstellar would never have formed without the betrayal that made it necessary to drop Cooper into a black hole.
  • In Suffragette, the antagonists want to discourage women from joining the suffrage movement, but achieve exactly the opposite. At the beginning of the film, protagonist Maud just wants to listen while her co-worker reads a report about her daily work to the men in power. However, said co-worker is beaten up by her husband, to the point that she's green and blue and bleeding from her nose. She wants to read her report regardless, but the other women are convinced that the men in power would not listen to a woman who doesn't look nice. Therefore, Maud has to talk for the suffrage cause in public, something she had not planned and would not have agreed to had she had more time to think about it. Later on, the government decides to publish the photos of some women who don't yet seem fully supportive of the movement but turned up at a speech, to... shame them into quitting, or something. That results in Maud's husband throwing her out of the house, which leads to the suffragettes organising a place where she can stay... and from that moment on, quitting is not really an option, as her husband won't take her back and even gave up her son for adoption without her consent. In short, the antagonists, government and misogynist men manage to turn shy, unpolitical Maud, who actually only agreed to go to a suffrage meeting because her coworker was so pushy about it, into a committed suffragette.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse: Colonel Stryker. By capturing Mystique and co., he inadvertently allows Jean Grey, Cyclops and Nightcrawler to infiltrate his compound and gain access to a new plane. Without his actions, the good guys would have a much more difficult time trying to stop Apocalypse from taking over Charles' body.
  • In The Conjuring 2, Lorraine Warren mentioned that by knowing the name of the Demon grants power over it, allowing a successful exorcism to be performed. The Demon Valak would had succeeded in killing Janet & Ed if it did not reveal its name to Lorraine during her previous encounter with Valak.
  • Throughout Die Hard with a Vengeance, John fights a hangover in addition to Simon. When he complains about it to Simon while being held captive, Simon tosses him a bottle of aspirin. John manages to escape his predicament and try to take an aspirin only to find the bottle is empty. But he also discovers the bottle has the address of the hotel where Simon is staying printed on it.
  • The entirety of Tora! Tora! Tora! can be considered as this for the Japanese military as a whole, considering what happens to them later on.
  • The main antagonist of John Wick: Chapter 2, Santino D’Antonio, literally doomed himself & his organization by antagonizing the renowned assassin John Wick, fully aware he is retired & stubbornly insisted on him to carry out the marker's oath. Even Winston warned Santino in their conversation:
    Winston: You have no idea what's coming, do you?
    Santino:: I have everyone in New York looking for him. I doubt we will see him again.
    Winston: Do you now? You stabbed the devil in the back and forced him back into the life that he had just left. You incinerated the priest's temple. Burned it to the ground. Now he's free of the marker, what do you think he'll do?
  • Johnny Reno: Reno would have ridden right by the Conners bothers if Ab Conners hadn't taken a shot at him. The ensuing gunfight winds up with Ab dead and his brother Joe captured. Reno hadn't even known that the Conners were wanted men, but attempting to kill a U.S. Marshal sets in motion a chain of events that exposes an entire criminal conspiracy.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: In "What They Become", Ward unties Skye from captivity (though she shoots him right after due to his previous betrayals of the team), and doing so allows her to stop Cal from beating Coulson to death for taking his kill of Whitehall from him.
  • At the end of Angel's "permanent midnight" mini-arc, Angelus, being Chaotic Evil and all, decides to double-cross the Lawful Evil villain who'd blotted out the sun over Los Angeles. The Beast is nigh invulnerable, until Angelus uses a bone dagger made from its body to kill it. Unfortunately, as foreshadowed by a mystical dream Angel had earlier, that undoes the spell and brings the sun back. Hundreds of rampaging vampires die instantly, and Angelus is sent scrambling for the nearest safe shadow.
    Angelus: Aw crap! You mean killing the Beast really does bring back the sun? I thought that was Angel's retarded fantasy!
    • Then there's the series finale, where Hamilton, newly favored by the Senior Partners of Wolfram & Hart, beats the crap out of Angel... until his boasting reveals the source of his power, to a vampire.
      Hamilton: Let me make this as clear as I can. You cannot defeat me. I am part of them, the Wolf, the Ram, and the Hart. Their strength flows through my veins! My blood is filled with their ancient power!
      Angel: (grins and pops his fangs) Can you pick out the one word there you probably shouldn't have said?
  • On Bewitched, most of the malicious pranks that Endora played on Darin often benefitted him. For instance, in one episode, where Samantha took an interest in sculpting and Darin was having his boss and a client (who was clearly an alcoholic) over for dinner, Endora made Sam's shabby bust of Darin a better likeness, added one of his boss, and then brought them to life. When the client saw them talking, he thought it was because he was drunk, and after making the deal, left quickly, swearing to quit drinking. ("When it goes from pink elephants to talking rocks, it's time to get on the wagon!") Unfortunately, Darin never seems able to say "thank you"...
    • With at least one exception, where he expresses not only humility but gratitude to Endora for temporarily turning him into a child (this is one of the episodes where Darrin was played by Dick Sargent instead of Dick York), because it was while he was in this state that he discovered that what was causing the slow sales of the food product he was promoting was not in the advertising, but in the taste itself.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "The End of Time", things look bleak indeed. The Doctor has just crashed through the skylight of the Naismiths' mansion and is badly hurt, Rassilon and the Time Lords have escaped the Time Lock with the Master's help and plan to end time itself so they can Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence. They practically had victory in the bag, but Rassilon, the Lord President of the Time Lords, tells the Master he's outlived his usefulness. Not what you want to tell the Master, who isn't quite sane at the best of times and has just won the Superpower Lottery. Then Rassilon lets slip that he is responsible for the drumbeat that the Master's heard all his life and that has driven him steadily more crazy. The Master tells the Doctor to "get out of the way" and uses his life force to electrocute Rassilon, protecting the Doctor from him until they all disappeared back to the Time War.
      The Master: YOU DID THIS TO ME. ALL MY LIFE! ONE! TWO! THREE! FOUR!
    • "The Time of Angels"/"Flesh and Stone": The army of Weeping Angels are low on power from being stuck in the catacombs for eons, so they start draining power from the crashed ship they're currently on, the Byzantium, in order to survive. This has the side effect of deactivating the ship's artificial gravity, causing the unprepared Angels to fall into the crack in time and be erased from existence.
    • In "The Day of the Doctor", a Zygon gets too into character impersonating Kate Lethbridge-Stewart, and forgets that when you're The Mole you're supposed to stop pretending to be on your enemy's side before giving them everything they need to stop you.
    • "Extremis": The Prophets of Truth have created multiple highly realistic simulations of Earth in preparation for their planned invasion, in order to account for all possible variables. However, in their latest simulation, as its version of the Doctor is all too happy to point out, they made it a little too realistic: the technology is good enough for the simulated Doctor to email the real Doctor a warning about the imminent invasion.
  • Dollhouse: Alpha's entire goal in "Briar Rose" and "Omega" was to turn Echo into a composite like himself. Composite!Echo's first act was to hit Alpha with a pipe. Justified in that, since he was a doll, most of his personalities are hopelessly lovelorn romantic rape-slaves specifically designed to put their assigned sexual interest on an absurdly high pedestal, and many of them were tailored to work with Echo specifically. Not all that many of the fractured components of his personality were dispassionate, experts in psychology and engineering, or particularly smart in any field but infiltration.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Locke's maiming of Jaime, while removing his ability to fight with a sword, made him a much better person.
    • Myranda showing Sansa Reek and letting her know just what sort of monster Ramsay is actually helps Sansa into both thinking of how to escape and spurring Theon's Heel–Face Turn and they both end up escaping Winterfell, killing Myranda in the process.
  • Gossip Girl has Blair, who seems to create this and Nice Job Breaking It, Hero! in other people (depending on whether she's the good guy at that point or one of the bad ones). Chuck gets her latest boyfriend's mother to come break them up? In one party Blair gets her approval. Chuck tries to seduce her only to be caught by said boyfriend? Blair finally gets laid by new boyfriend. Jenny tries to beat Blair and become Queen B? Within a few weeks, she's back and dangerous. Vanessa tries to blackmail Blair? Humiliated by episode's end. Vanessa tries to break up her and Nate? They're closer than ever by episode's end. And most of this is just the first two seasons! She's still going—at the end of Season 4 Serena's attempt to hurt her actually leads to her relationship with the prince becoming public, her being approved by his mother, and finally her getting engaged to him. Lampshaded by Dan — "Only Chuck and Blair could go to war and end up happier than when they started." Also, his attempt to attack them that episode? Ended up with Chuck and Blair having fantastic sex on a piano. Let's face it, no one can hurt Blair without helping her.
  • In The Last Ship, the Chosen managed to find a hacker who was sympathetic to their cause to give them access to a network through which they could spread their virulent anti-Navy propaganda. Said propaganda ends up working a little too well, causing a bunch of riled-up, paranoid Americans to attack an oil platform after they spot a naval chopper landing on it. Said oil platform turns out to be the hub through which the propaganda network operates, and thus, not only is the propaganda network disabled, but the Chosen have also alienated the hacker.
  • In the LazyTown episode, "The Laziest Town", LazyTown must stay active all day to raise the energy meter to 100 in order to keep from being the laziest town on Earth before 5PM. Robbie believes that if LazyTown gets this title, Sportacus will leave LazyTown for good out of embarrassment. At literally the last second, when Sportacus finally loses all his energy and can no longer do tricks to keep the meter active, Robbie becomes overjoyed and does a victory dance that ends up being active enough to raise the bar instantly from 0 to 100, saving LazyTown. The Mayor, Stephanie, and the rest of the cast gather to congratulate and thank Robbie and give him three cheers. Robbie is overcome with regret and runs back to his lair.
  • The serial arsonist in the first season of Lie to Me burns down two houses for revenge... but winds up accidentally doing the families in question a favor of sorts. The first family were up to their ears in debt, but their house was insured before the economic bubble burst. Burning it down not only gave them an economic fresh start, it also brought the family closer together by revealing that their daughter knew that mommy was cheating on daddy, pushing them to focus on the children and set aside their differences. The couple living in the second house were already divorced and stuck living together because they couldn't sell the house—again, since it now burned down, they could split the insurance money and go their separate ways.
    • Okay, so the first family DID lose their grandmother to the fire, but hey, we only see her for a few seconds right at the start, so as viewers, it's hard to feel sympathy on that count.
  • In the Lost Season Six Finale, it turns out that the Big Bad's centuries-long Gambit Roulette worked exactly as planned except it also completely stripped him of all his powers and enabled Jack to beat him to death and toss him off a cliff. Also, his murder of Sayid, Jin, and Sun gives the others the Heroic Resolve to kill him instead of simply leaving him on the island like they had planned, leading to the above success of his plan.
  • In MythQuest, an evil god named Gorgos tries to destroy myths by causing the protagonists to accidentally change them. Unfortunately Gorgos says Alex's name a bit too soon and distracts Alex, which causes him to inadvertently re-enact the myth correctly and save the world.
  • In Once Upon a Time, if Regina had not been completely hellbent on running Emma out of town, she would have left completely of her own volition.
    • Up to Eleven in the Season 1 Finale where Regina bakes a turnover with a poisoned apple to put Emma under the sleeping curse. To get the poison apple she makes a deal with Jefferson. Henry winds up eating the turnover and falling into a coma, and this leads to Emma breaking the curse!. She also reneges on her agreement to erase Jefferson's memory of his fairytale life, causing him retaliate by releasing Belle and sending her to Mr Gold. The real kicker on this was that she didn't give Emma the poisoned turnover until after Emma had already told Regina that she believed her presence was hurting Henry and was going to go away, leaving Henry to Regina: Regina had already won, and she knew it, but she still couldn't resist trying to poison Emma.
    • The candle Cora had given Snow allowed Snow to kill her and save Rumple's life. Also, she wanted to "turn Snow White's heart black as coal" for revenge against Snow's mother. She would succeed but it comes back to bite her hard.
      • Doubly so when you consider what caused the candle situation in the first place. She wound up screwing over Captain Hook, who wound up taking matters of revenge into his own hands and attacked Rumple with a slow-acting poison.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch: In the Season Finale of season 3, Sabrina and her twin Katrina were subjected to several tests to figure out who the evil one was (all Spellman family members have an Evil Twin) Sabrina flunked two of the three, the one that clearly buried her chances being an act described as "selfish, involved civil disobedience, and was extremely messy". Even Sabrina herself thought she was the evil one, until Katrina proved otherwise by failing the final test (a Secret Test of Character) miserably. When told that the good twin had to shove the evil one into a volcano, she did without hesitation, something no good twin has ever actually done. (Although the judge claims that Hilda had come awfully close.) Simply resisting this urge would have labeled Sabrina as "evil" forever and given Katrina free reign to accomplish any machinations she desired, but she was much too evil to resist.
  • Scream Queens (2015) has a twofold example in the Season 2 finale. The final killer, Nurse Hoffel, drains the swamp behind the CURE institute to fuel a bomb to blow up the rest of the cast with, and unplugs Dean Munsch's experimental cryo-chamber to power it. However, unplugging the chamber wakes up Denise, who was recuperating in it, and enabling them to disarm the bomb. And then, while Hoffel is attempting to flee, they fall into a field of quicksand created by draining the swamp, drowning in it.
  • In Star Trek: Enterprise, the Romulans attempted to disrupt possible peace between the Andorians and Tellarites by using an advanced holoship which could disguise itself as any other ship to attack both sides. Because one of the Andorian ships they attacked happened to belong to Shran, a friend of Archer, Starfleet got involved and the ensuing mess resulted in the beginning of the Federation, their greatest foe for centuries to come. They really dropped the ball on that one.
  • In VR Troopers, Grimlord does this with Dream Master, growing impatient at how long it was taking him to defeat Ryan Steele. At this point, Dream Master had weakened Ryan with mind games about his father and he had connected him to an electrocution chain. Had the gunbots and tankbots not interfered, Dream Master would have beaten Ryan Steele, since JB was occupied with another monster and Kaitlin was too weakened by Dream Master's nightmares. But after the gunbots interfered and the two of them escaped fire, Dream Master continued with his shock chain only for Ryan to find a chain in this new location to redirect the current before delivering a beatdown on what was supposed to be a Monster of the Week.
    • Similarly, different times, a Monster of the Week has a trooper on the ropes, then the air force comes in for a distraction, apparently hitting both the monster and the trooper, giving the Trooper time to think of a new battle plan while bazookaing down the airforce.
    • Another time, Arachnobot nearly had the Troopers beaten, but Doom Master himself killed Arachnobot out of jealousy. Thanksfully for his sake, he thought it was the Trooper that did it, not Doom Master.

    Myths & Religion 
  • One folktale tells about a woman who was so beautiful, Satan himself became hopelessly enamored with her. After she refuses him one too many times, The Devil simply decides to Cut The Knot and steal her beauty for himself. After returning to earth, he finds that the same woman is now hideous as a boot, but is also now Happily Married with an equally ugly husband and child and free of stalkers.
  • In The Bible's Book of Esther, Haman goes to ask king Xerxes for a death warrant for his hated rival Mordecai, the representative of the Jews. Xerxes, who happens to have been reading the royal archives, asks Haman how he should reward a man who has done a great service to the king. Haman thinks he's talking about himself and proposes an elaborate celebration, only to find to his horror that the king is actually talking about Mordecai, who had saved the king's life a while back. Haman winds up having to carry out his own plan to publicly honor Mordecai. This is just the beginning of his Humiliation Conga.
  • In renditions of the part of The Bible where Jesus tells Judas that he's going to betray Him, it's often said that "at that moment, Satan entered into him" or something to that effect. So what we're saying here is that although Satan may have caused Judas to betray Jesus, the results of Jesus' death led to the cleansing of humanity's sins and the founding of Christianity, which means that Satan's plan (if there was one) failed. Nice job fixing it, Satan!

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Faarooq replacing Ahmed Johnson, who he felt was overshadowing him in The Nation of Domination with Rocky Maivia, who ended up taking over the group and kicking Faarooq out.
  • Ray González is the head of La Familia del Milenio, pretty much holds an iron grip on WWC until he starts antagonizing camera man Carly when he finds out he's the son of the company founder. Carly had no desire to be a wrestler prior but because of that he trained and beat every member of La Familia, including González for the WWC Universal Title.
  • During the Chavo and Chris Benoit feud on Smackdown, Chavo Guerrero used the lure of Kurt Angle, whom Benoit hated, to lure Benoit into a beat down in the locker room. Thing is, Angle didn't like the Guerreros too much either and soon he and Benoit were teaming up against them.
  • AJ Lee's efforts to torment all of her former lovers after becoming the general manager of Monday Night Raw. Did her efforts have the desired effect? Judging how successful they ended up being, Hell No!
  • Wink Vavasseur's punting assailANT into Chikara's Colony in 2012 for being the "weak link" of GEKIDO lead to assailANT's Face–Heel Turn and prevention of deviANT's attempt to burn down the Wrestle Factory.
  • Then nCw Femme Fatales International Champion Mercedes Martinez took two steps to fix the problem that was herself. First by offering an open four way challenge for a shot at her belt (which she won, admittedly) and then interfering Courtney Rush and Cheerleader Melissa's #1 contender match to keep either from getting a shot. Having already put the idea in their heads, she was put in another fatal fourway with both of them and Femme Fatales founder LuFisto(Rush won the belt).
  • Cody felt that Kenny Omega was not acting like a true leader of Bullet Club and turned on him at New Beginning in Sapporo. The leadership feud ultimately ended at ROH Supercard of Honor XII with Cody beating Kenny, however it ultimately did nothing to fix the divide within Bullet Club (as well as the divide between his fellow BC/Being The Elite members which was caused by him) and nearly all of the members (including Kota Ibushi whom is not a BC member, rather one half of The Golden Lovers) have to face each other at Wrestling Dontaku. Way to go Cody.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In the Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons episode "Spectrum Strikes Back", the Mysterons try to kill a committee taking a look at some anti-Mysteron prototype equipment that could be useful. In the end, all the Mysterons essentially achieve is provide a spectacularly successful field test for the stuff that proves its worth.

    Radio 
  • In the comedy fantasy series Elvenquest, Lord Darkness, the Big Bad, frequently ends up unintentionally saving the protagonists from the consequences of their own mistakes.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the the world of Innistrad in Magic: The Gathering, the angel Avacyn used to lock demons away in an artifact called the Helvault, until she was tricked by the demon Griselband and the two were sealed together. Losing its guardian angel, lots of bad things happened in Innistrad, until the necromancer Liliana Vess decided to break the Helvault to kill Griselband without knowing that it would also release Avacyn.
  • In Exalted, when the Great Contagion was killing the majority of Creation, The First and Forsaken Lion got The Fair Folk to invade, destroying fully half the territory and killing many of the Contagion's survivors. The problem? The Balorian Crusade was repulsed, and the infusion of Wyld energies may very well have helped Creation fight off the effects of the Contagion, thereby allowing it to survive. Falafel's Neverborn master was quite angry, to the point where it bound him into his armor. Painfully.
    • And exiled him to a fortress that was essentially in the middle of nowhere.
      • Which of course delayed and inconvenienced any number of his extremely effective war plans to destroy Creation more thoroughly this time. So... nice job fixing it...Cthulhu
    • The Neverborn seem to have a history of sabotaging their own plans to further the cause of Oblivion. Between the First and Forsaken Lion getting spot-welded into his own armor for not destroying enough of creation, and Princess Magnificent almost getting thrown headfirst into Oblivion for losing to the gods behind the city of Great Forks, there's a reason most of the other Deathlords have been twiddling their thumbs for millennia. They don't want to see what the Neverborn will do to the next guy who fucks up.
      • Alternative Character Interpretation: We're told, explicitly, that most of the Deathlords only agreed to kill the world so they could enjoy using the power they were given to rule over its dying husk. Is it really a surprise that most of them drag their heels? You can't rule the world if you kill it.
    • We also have the Ebon Dragon, the literal inventor of the concept of Card-Carrying Villain, existing to screw people over. Due to certain psychological problems this brings, this goes equally for the Ebon Dragon himself.
      • Here's a short list of the ways the Ebon Dragon bollocksed up the Reclamation. First off, he included rules that make the Infernals have to act like B-movie villains every so often, but said nothing about who they have to do it to. Instead of granting the Infernals their own innate Charms, he and the other Yozis decided to make it so they share Charms with their patrons... which means not only do the Infernals get access to the high-level Charms that make the Yozis worlds/gods, they could conceivably make their own Charms and infect their own patrons with their particular mindset. Oh, and then there's the Heresy Charm Set... So basically, what you've got is a Hell-forged superpowered being who needs to act like a bastard to someone, has access to god-like power, and can sever the ties with their demonic masters. That sound you just heard was the Shadow of All Things realizing he just invented his Bastard Understudy... Which, again according to his basic nature, might be All According to Plan.
    • And, of course, the big one that sets the whole setting off. Creation has been in a precarious position for centuries, with the overworked Sidereals, the Lunars driven to the edge of the world, the heavily corrupt (or absent) gods, the almost equally corrupt Realm, the forces of the Underworld massing, and the Fair Folk being just barely kept in check. Into this comes the person controlling the Realm (and its big superweapon that keeps most of the other big enemies at bay) mysteriously disappearing, bringing it to the verge of a civil war that could tip Creation over the edge. And then... the Neverborn and the Yozis conspire to break open the Jade Prison, and use its captives to make their own Exalted. Half of those captives escape them. They become the Solar Exalted.

    Theatre 
  • Opera villains (like many other characters in opera) often tend to be Too Dumb to Live:
    • Paolo Albiani in Simon Boccanegra, a skilled politician who has been in the limelight for more than 25 years, seems to have grabbed an Idiot Ball somewhere after his first meeting with Amelia Grimaldi. He kidnaps Amelia after she rejects him and leaves her in the house of a rather cowardly mook, enabling Amelia to run away and make an appeal to Simon. Then, vowing revenge on Simon, he slips a very slow-acting poison into his drink, so that Simon would suffer for long. Between drinking the poisoned water and finally dying, Simon: reconciles himself with Gabriele Adorno and Jacopo Fiesco, revealing them Amelia's true parentage, crushes a rebellion, makes himself a favorite with the crowds again, appoints Adorno as the next Doge, and sends Albiani to the gallows, on his way to which he is forced to hear the choir at Adorno and Amelia/Maria's wedding. Thank you, Paolo, for allowing the Doge to organize a proper happy ending.
    • Ptolemy in Giulio Cesare by George Frederic Handel has grand plans and an actually competent army. But his actual acts ruin whatever potential he has. He sends Pompey’s head to Caesar, and Caesar denounces him as a murderous tyrant and wages war on him. He insults and degrades his sister, causing her to join Caesar’s cause. He tries to rape Pompey’s widow, which results in his own right-hand man who’s in love with her deserting him and aiding the heroes. Finally, he lets Pompey’s son live (when the latter practically waltzes into the palace, too) and doesn’t even keep him under a good guard, and, big surprise, the boy ends up killing him.
    • In The Magic Flute, the Queen of the Night and the Three Ladies do more helpful deeds Villainy-Free Villain than evil ones. They save Tamino from a giant snake and send him to "rescue" the Queen's daughter Pamina from her enemy Sarastro, not realizing that Tamino is destined to join Sarastro and strengthen his community against them. They also give Tamino the titular magic flute, thinking it will help him defeat Sarastro, but instead he and Pamina use it to succeed in Sarastro's trials and join his brotherhood. At the same time they give Papageno the magic bells that bring his true love to him in the end, and they entrust the young men to the Three Boys' wisdom, only for the Boys to give them pro-Sarastro guidance throughout.
  • As a meta-example, Mephistopheles in Goethe's Faust proclaims that he is "Part of that Power which would The Evil ever do, and ever does the Good."

    Web Comics 
  • Casey and Andy: "No! Wait! My inventions must not be used for peace!"
  • In Darths & Droids, Pete gets egotistical and gives everyone a + 1 morale boost just by watching R2-D2 fly. This gives Annie enough of a stat boost to dodge a quintuple guillotine.
  • Agents of the Realm has a bear-bleed attack Norah after she discarded her Transformation Trinket. This causes the amulet to return to her and her to change into Magical Girl Warrior, which is definitely against the intentions of Ruby, who may be behind the recent incursion of bleeds.
  • In an early story arc in Dominic Deegan, Greg, a white mage, is infected with the "Blight of the Undead", a curse that would essentially turn him into an undead abomination. It was kept in check by his devout use of White Magic. Later on, in a confrontation with his eldest brother Jacob (a Necromancer), he rips the blight out of his body through his un-blighted parts. Jacob then learns the hard way that the Blight was acting as a magical Restraining Bolt, and with it gone, Gregory's magical power increased exponentially. And have we mentioned that White Magic is already exceptionally effective against necromancy, and that just to set the tin lid on it, Gregory (who'd been making excuses for Jacob for years) is now extremely pissed off? The ensuing fight is very short and very one-sided.
    • During the battle between Dominic and Celesto in the Storm of Souls arc, Celesto uses his powers as the Champion of Chaos to trap Dominic and try to use him as fuel for the Weapon of Mass Destruction. Cue Dominic gaining a level in badass when it turns out he's actually the Champion of Balance and chaos was the last force he needed to experience in order to gain full power, beat Celesto, stop the Storm, and save the world.
  • Freefall: According to the author on the Nice forum, if Mr. Kornada hadn't interfered with Florence's scheduled meeting with Mr. Raibert, she would have been present to hear Mr. Raibert ordering the release of Gardener in the Dark to be delayed, and thus have no need to take further action, while not knowing of Kornada's plan to violate the order to have it released anyway.
    • Additionally, Florence lampshades that she would not have been aware of Gardener in the Dark in the first place if not for Edge trying to save himself from it, nor would she have been able to stop it without Sam's criminal knowledge of social engineering and sabotage.
      Florence: All my life, I've been taught the values of being a good citizen. No one ever told me that when the chips are down, civilization needs the rotten ones.
  • The main character of Girl Genius, an orphaned young lady named Agatha, wears a locket-type amulet with pictures of her parents in it. The locket is her most prized possession, given to her by her paternal uncle Barry shortly before he mysteriously departed, leaving Agatha in the care of her adoptive parents, the Clays. She never removes the amulet for very long and is never far away from it. Agatha struggles to be an engineer and inventor, like her beloved uncle, but fails constantly due to the severe and sudden migraine headaches she suffers whenever she tries to concentrate. Near the beginning of the story, a pair of drunken soldiers accost Agatha on the street. One snatches her locket, planning to sell it for a little quick cash. It turns out Barry designed the locket to suppresses Agatha's "spark", her innate intelligence and engineering talent. With the amulet gone, Agatha becomes a super-genius. She converts a steam-powered tractor into a complex robot programmed to seek out the amulet and return it to her, an impressive feat in and of itself made even more so by the fact SHE LITERALLY DOES THIS IN HER SLEEP!
    • It also turns out the waves emanating from the amulet are extremely dangerous to anyone other than Agatha, as the loutish soldier who stole it soon finds out. The amulet ends up killing him by slowly destroying his brain. His fellow soldier, actually his younger brother, realizes the amulet is the source of his brother's demise when it is accidentally broken open, revealing the mechanism within. The young soldier uses the address engraved on the back of the locket to track Agatha down, looking for vengeance. Normally, the amulet would dampen Agatha's genius ability when brought in close proximity to her, but the young soldier was nice enough to switch the thing off. The now brilliant, clear-headed and more confident Agatha easily out-smarts and overpowers her would-be attacker and turns the tables on him, tying him up and reclaiming her beloved keepsake.
    • Later in the story, an evil entity known as "The Other" possesses Agatha and gloats over an incapacitated Baron Klaus Wulfenbach, sworn enemy of The Other who is also hunting down Agatha so he can lobotomize her and permanently destroy her spark. The Other notices Klaus is carrying Agatha's amulet, which has a trilobite design on it, the symbol of Agatha's real family, the Heterodynes. The Other decides to use the amulet to pass itself off as a legitimate Heterodyne heir and lay claim to their family castle, stuffed full of amazing and highly dangerous technology & research. As soon as The Other slips the amulet around Agatha's neck, however, she is able to regain control. That's TWO villains each cancelling the other out.
  • Homestuck: Jack Noir can't bring himself to kill Jade Harley because the prototyping of her dog Becquerel caused Jack to inherit his Undying Loyalty to her. Instead, with no other options open to him, he orders the Courtyard Droll to kill her. Much later, during which time Jack has started following Jade around like a lost, harmless dog, the Droll actually succeeds... right in front of Jack, who promptly flips his shit and kills the Droll. Visibly saddened and enraged by Jade's death, he takes her body to her Quest Bed, causing her to ascend to the God Tiers, gain power well beyond Jack's, and use it to escape their dying session.
  • In the backstory of MegaTokyo, Tohya Miho used a hidden statistic in the End Games servers to enslave large portions of the in-game populace, even doing so to a certain extent with the in-game identity of one of the protagonists of MegaTokyo, Piro. Only she made the mistake of manipulating Piro by founding a real life relationship with him, trying to take control of his in-game character while breaking his heart in the process. The result? Piro broke the in-game emotional control she used, ultimately whipped her ass in-game, destroyed the character she used, and got her completely and totally banned from the game in which she tried to take control. Nice job, Miho.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Xykon breaking Roy's beloved sword both filled the fighter with a vengeful resolve, and forced him to grapple the lich bare-handed. He promptly hurled Xykon into a trap-warded gateway, which blew the undead sorcerer's body to pieces: something Roy certainly wasn't powerful enough (yet) to accomplish with sword strikes.
    • Also, Xykon is an epic-level sorceror, the Order has no chance of defeating him. Except, Xykon broke Roy's sword, and Nale sent Roy on a dangerous sidequest to get it fixed, which has resulted in Roy's sword being made of a material that is very effective against undead.
    • One arc concluded with Xykon's attempt to Breaking Lecture the recently defeated Vaarsuvius not only failing, but actually lifting V out of a pre-existing case of Heroic BSoD, and giving V advice that's made him/her more effective than s/he'd been even before the Heroic BSoD.
    • Nale's actually pretty good at this. Elan took a level in the Dashing Swordsman prestige class because Nale stole his identity. Later, one of his more impressive momentsnote  backfired doubly: It gave Vampire-Durkon his free will back. Durkon immediately killed one of Nale's teammates and rejoined his friends. Then he threw the feat back in Tarquin's face as proof of how he didn't need or want Tarquin's protection. Malack was Tarquin's best friend and fellow party member.Filicide ensued and the Order was down one recurring nemesis.
    • When Bozzok had Crystal turned into a flesh golem, he paid extra to have her retain her sentience. This allows Haley to reason with her and turn Crystal against Bozzok.
    • Instead of turning to incorporeal mist and hiding, the High Priest of Hel possessing Durkon's body decides to fight with Roy instead, and attempt a Breaking Speech. This has two consequences. First, Roy realizes that the High Priest is not actually Durkon, and so stops holding back. Second, Roy wills the Greenhilt Sword into a Weapon of Legacy.
  • Slightly Damned: All that was needed to remove Kieri's magic restraining cuffs & collar was for her name to be spoken. Guess what the villain shouts out between swears at the top of her lungs.
  • Captain SNES: The Game Masta features this trope in spades. When fighting Milon, he offhandedly says that he's invincible as his unobserved power is infinite—which causes Lucca to use her SightScope to observe his power and turn it into a finite number. Later on, Palom casts Virus on Milon, enraging him and making him use his "Eternity In A Second" attack to take the next few thousand turns. He says that he'll enjoy watching everyone squirm, unable to do anything—and then dies. (Turns out Virus inflicts Sap, which depletes a little HP each turn—and when Milon takes thousands of turns in a row...)
  • In Dragon City, during an Arc that explored the relationship between Kim and Jonas, Erin (not an antagonist Per ser, but still a very callous and selfish character that only occasionally display a good heart) finds out about their relationship. While tolerant about it, Erin, being the former's best friend and the latter's big sisters, isn't amused with the situation and warns them that with either broke the other's heart, she will beat them up. Given her temperament, neither protested, but as noticed by Rachel, scaring them into commitment will only get them closer, much to Erin's chagrin.
  • Sluggy Freelance: In "The Stormbreaker Saga", Zoë, trapped in the past, is prophesied to defeat the demon K'Z'K but also about to be executed by the fairly dim-witted King Sighard of Trent. All she has left is a shotgun (they let her keep it because no-one has any idea what it is) with one shot. That wouldn't do much good, except that K'Z'K has turned the executioner into one of his undead minions, and he tries to kill the king instead—giving Zoë a chance to use that one shot to save the king and impress everyone with her "magic", convincing them that she is The Chosen One. Thus, K'Z'K unknowingly helps a far more dangerous enemy survive when trying to eliminate a lesser one.
  • One Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal comic shows a mad scientist mixing poison to kill all the world's children, and the subtitle states that coincidentally, he released it on the same day that aliens secretly took over the bodies of all of Earth's children. His face is being added to Mt. Rushmore as we speak.

    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-4357-J, "Cooperative Demon", is the embodiment of this trope Played for Laughs. He underestimates the Foundation's ability to contain him to the point where he straight up tells them how to do it.
  • Saga of Soul: For several chapters, Soul feels growing doubts about her own humanity. Downfall is able to sense it, and prepares a massive speech to break her spirit. But he ends up being so heavy-handed about it, he ends up accomplishing the exact opposite, showing Soul exactly how silly her doubts were in the first place. Cue Curbstomp Battle.
  • Worm has the ABB. Their actions caused Skitter to join the Undersiders, the superheroes and supervillains of the city to join forces against them, and Lung's second loss to Skitter when he attempts revenge for their first fight. It also allows her to carve out his eyes when she beat him again, making him easier to capture by the heroes. This wipes out the ABB.
  • This Cracked List tells this all.
  • Noob:
    • In Season 3 finale of the webseries, Roxana, just For the Evulz, decides to kill Sparadrap's pets in front of him. That's how we find out that the series Stupid Good Kindhearted Simpleton has a Berserk Button. The novel version of the scene reveals that The Cavalry arrived in time due to Roxana taking time to Kick the Dog rather than immediately killing Sparadrap and his teammates (which she could have done easily).
    • That season / novel also has the leader of Relic Hunter guild get Caught on Tape from gloating about his plans in front of the very people who ended up in a Frame-Up because of him. That group includes a player that is frequently loading videos of in-game events on her blog.
  • Parodied in this video, where all of the evil deeds the villain does only ends up helping the city in some form or another, all as informed by Commander Fistfight. The villain shoots Fistfight in response... only for him to reveal he fixed his shoulder instead.
  • RWBY:
    • During the Battle of Beacon, Adam vows to Blake that his revenge for her abandoning him will consist of him hurting everything she's ever loved. In Volume 5, Blake and Sun are unsuccessfully trying to convince the Faunus population of Menagerie to rise up and protect the humans of Haven from a White Fang assault led by Adam. The Menagerie population, however, are tired of humanity's racism towards them and live there to escape the pain in the rest of the world. They have no interest in protecting humans from anything, least of all the White Fang, which claims to act on their behalf. When Adam hears about Blake's attempt to raise an army against him, he rants about Blake's family being a thorn in his side and decides to make good on his promise to Blake: he sends an assassin to kill Blake's parents and capture Blake alive. When the assassination attempt fails, the fact that the White Fang was willing to turn on its own people just for disagreeing with their methods, unites the Menagerie population against Adam's cause. As a result, a Menagerie army shows up to Haven with the Mistral police force in tow; the heroes weren't in a position to stop the villains from carrying out their plans, but Menagerie's intervention completely ruins both Adam's attempt to destroy Haven Academy and the Big Bad's secret plan to steal the Relic of Knowledge from Haven's vault using the White Fang assault as cover.
    • Ever since Ruby wounded her at the Fall of Beacon, Cinder has held a huge grudge against the rookie huntress. When Salem sends her team to strong-arm Raven Branwen into helping retrieve the Relic of Knowledge from Haven, Raven demands that they kill Qrow in return. Seeing this as a chance to pay Ruby back, Cinder eagerly accepts, even though it sacrifices their advantage of Haven being empty. During the battle, Cinder, Raven, and Vernal, the supposed "Spring Maiden" slip away but before any of them can open the Vault of the Spring Maiden, Cinder reveals she has a Grimm arm and kills Vernal to steal the Spring Maiden's power- Except Vernal was just a decoy, Raven was the Spring Maiden! Cinder loses the ensuing battle, leaving the Relic to be claimed by the heroes. In short, Cinder's lust for power and vengeance costs the villains the victory.
  • New Deal Coalition Retained:
    • Iran's military gasses unarmed Kurdish civilians in an attempt to warn off others from rebelling. All they do is horrify and anger just about the whole world (including their own allies), give Iraq a massive PR victory, and convince the entire Kurdish population to rise up against them.
    • During World War III, the Soviets launch coordinated air raids (referred to as the Second Blitz) on several NATO nations in an attempt to break their spirit and bring them to the negotiation table. Instead, it just enrages the various nations and makes them even more determined to fight back.
    • Following onto the above, the Soviets retaliate against South Korea's material support of Japan's Siberian invasion by launching an air raid which devastates Seoul, which causes South Korea and all the other anti-communist nations of Asia to abandon neutrality and declare war on the Soviets. And on top of that, China — which had been planning to declare war on Japan, counting on NATO not wanting to expand the war further by getting involved directly — realizes that it's now not a viable option, so has to resort to merely sending volunteers to fight for the Soviets.
    • The Bolivians practice a particularly hardline version of communism, which involves arresting anyone who even remotely disagrees with those in power. When they do this to a popular army captain in command of a frontline division one the eve of a major battle with the Allies, the whole division mutinies and defects, opening a massive hole in the communists' defenses. This turns the whole battle into a Curb-Stomp Battle in the Allies' favor.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog episode, "Super Special Sonic Search and Smash Squad", Scratch and Grounder actually succeed in capturing Sonic and locking him in a cage. Then Coconuts shows up, and ties them up in a rope so he can claim the reward for himself. Sonic then points out to Coconuts that if the rope breaks, Scratch and Grounder will escape, and convinces him to put them in the cage. Coconuts does so, and Sonic escapes, locking all three robots in the cage.
  • In one episode of Aladdin: The Series, Mirage uses a mystical music box to put the entire city of Agrabah to sleep, which in turn anyone who does so becomes one of her Brainwashed and Crazy minions. Aladdin is the last one left, but just as he is about to stop her he finally succumbs to the spell himself and falls asleep, which means within seconds he'll become one of her mindless zombies as well. Just as Mirage starts gloating, the mind-controlled Jasmine and Phasir burst in, which winds up waking Aladdin up long enough to close the box and return everyone to normal. Mirage's own mind-controlled minions wound up being the very thing that ultimately undid her plan!
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Aang has one of his chakras blocked by getting hit by Azula's lightning in the Avatar state. He can't get to that state anymore, and he's not skilled enough in the bending he's learned to take on Ozai. In the middle of the fight, Ozai goes in for the killshot, with Aang resisting with all the strength he has left. The blast throws Aang onto a small rock outcropping... right onto the scar caused by Azula's lightningbending attack. This unblocks the chakra, allowing Aang to reach the Avatar state and for asskicking to ensue. Cue Ozai's Oh, Crap! expression.
    • Combustion Man manages to intercept a messenger hawk headed for the Fire Nation with the information that Aang is still alive, as Zuko wanted to eliminate Aang discreetly. This prevents the rest of the Fire Nation from learning about Aang until the Day of Black Sun.
    • Combustion Man also has another moment of this in The Western Air Temple. Prior to his appearance, the Gaang refuse to believe that Zuko has reformed and upon accidentally burning Toph's feet, are ready to take Zuko down. But once Combustion Man attacks, Zuko arrives just in time to help defeat him, earning him some favour for the Gaang that ultimately allowed Zuko to regain trust and friendship with them and subsequently, the Fire Lord's downfall.
    • Ozai committed this two years before the story started. If he had never banished his son, then he would've won. Zuko himself outright states this to him in the finale, calling it the best thing he could've ever done for him.
    • Azula has instance of this in Book 3, when Zuko states he's angry over something he doesn't know about, some prodding by Azula (though Mai and Ty Lee took as well) caused Zuko spit out that he's angry at himself, which helps with his Character Development that leads to his Heel–Face Turn. Which leads to Mai's Heel–Face Turn a few episodes later when she sees Zuko about to be dumped in boiling water on Azula's orders. Which leads to Ty Lee's Heel–Face Turn in short order when Azula tries to attack Mai right in front of her.
    • Even before the scene during "The Beach", which the above example explains, Zuko was worried if Ozai would finally be satisfied with him after coming home with the reputation of killing the Avatar. Azula calls him dumb and tells him that the only person he should be trying to satisfy is himself.
    • In The Legend of Korra, Amon uses his powers to remove Avatar Korra's ability to bend water, earth, and fire, the elements she had mastered. He also inadvertently unlocked her ability to bend air, and to connect to her former lives, one of which gave her back all her bending, plus the ability to restore the bending of anyone else Amon had "equalised." As far as this trope goes, it's a doozy.
  • In the Captain Planet and the Planeteers episode, "The Conqueror", four of the Planeteers are convinced Zarm is a good guy, and refuse to believe Gaia telling them otherwise. Then, hidden in his spacecraft, Zarm complains about Gaia being a meddler, and makes a laser-like ray hit a silo's remains close to her and Ma-Ti. This results in the other Planeteers being much more willing to hear Gaia's version of the story, and choosing her over Zarm. In other words, if he didn't try to kill her on the spot, he could have won.
  • In the five part DuckTales (1987) special "Super DuckTales", the Beagle Boys alter freeway plans to have them go through the property Scrooge's money bin is on. As a result, Scrooge hires Fenton Crackshell as his accountant. Not only does it improve Fenton's life, but he ends up becoming Gizmoduck, who would be the bane of the Beagle Boys' existence for the remainder of the series.
  • At the end of the first season of Frisky Dingo, Killface's son activates the Annihilatrix, which was designed to push the Earth into the Sun. Instead, it backfires and effectively reverses the damage caused by global warming.
  • Same with G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero; a number of times the Joes are beaten, but Cobra Commander has to drive it in (often at the objections of Destro), somehow giving the Joes the chance to overcome their predicament. Strangely enough, Cobra's high-rankers prefer Serpentor to him because of this attitude, and yet Serpentor occasionally falls into this trope as well.
  • Before Bill Cipher unleashed Weirdmageddon in Gravity Falls, the Pines family are on the verge of breaking down; Mabel has succumbed to depression not only having the worst birthday of her life but the fact that Dipper is soon going to leave her potentially forever, Stanley's relationship with Ford still remains strained as he has to abandon the Mystery Shack by the end of the summer and give Ford his identity and house back, Dipper is going to stay with Ford away from Mabel and who knows what influence Ford could have done to him. After Weirdmageddon, Stan and Ford finally reconciled their relationship and are going out on their childhood dream together, Dipper and Mabel are back together and having the birthday of their life where they are treated as heroes and depart Gravity Falls on a high note. In other words, Bill inadvertently gave them the happy ending that they couldn't have earned in the first place. The Oddpocalypse Brings Out the Best in People, after all.
  • In the stop-motion animation special Here Comes Peter Cottontail, Peter Cottontail and the villain Irontail are competing for the job of head Easter Bunny. Whoever delivers the most eggs wins. After missing delivering eggs on Easter, Peter tries to deliver the eggs on other holidays, but to no avail. In an attempt to make sure Peter never gets to unload his supply of Easter eggs, Irontail casts a spell on them that turns eggs green inside and out. Irontail believes that he's won—no one would want green eggs. But then, the next holiday Peter tries to deliver the eggs on turns out to be St. Patricks' Day. As a result, he successfully gives away all the green eggs, and becomes the head Easter Bunny. Irontail, meanwhile, is forced to sweep the bunny trail in the ending credits.
  • The beginning of season 2 of Jackie Chan Adventures has Valmont kicking the eponymous character off a cliff which results in Shendu possessing him and making them both less effective.
  • In Justice League "The Savage Time", Vandal Savage only freezes Adolf Hitler instead of, say killing him. As a consequence, when Vandal is beaten by the time-travelling Justice League, his subordinates release Hitler, who goes on to lose the war like he would have done in the first place, instead of another potentially more competent individual taking over. Even better Word of God is that due to Savage's interference the temporary removal of Hitler meant the Holocaust never occurred due to him being unable to implement it in the time left after Savage's defeat and Hitler's return to power.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In the season 2 finale, Twilight Sparkle calls out Princess Cadance and calls her evil, which nets her a royal "The Reason You Suck" Speech from her brother, all her friends turn on her, and even Princess Celestia is disappointed in her. Twilight herself is ashamed of her behavior and apologizes. Of course, had "Cadance" who is really Queen Chrysalis in disguise just left it at that she would have won. Unfortunately that just wasn't evil enough: instead she banishes Twilight to the caves below Canterlot where she meets the real Cadance, rescues her, and brings her topside to thwart the entire masquerade. But that still isn't enough, Queen Chrysalis seals her own fate with four crucial mistakes...
      • 1) When Twilight and Cadence return to the wedding to call her out, Chrysalis foolishly reveals her true identity, when she didn't have to. She can still win though.
      • 2) Twilight and Friends were captured by the Changelings and brought to her. She doesn't bother imprisoning them. Chrysalis' victory is still absolute at this point.
      • 3) Chrysalis completely ignores Twilight and her friends and gets caught up in a Villain Song reprisal, Twilight goes to free Cadence, who breaks the spell in Shining Armor. Keep in mind now, Chrysalis is still in total control here...
      • And finally 4) Chrysalis scoffs at The Power of Love despite having used the same power to defeat Celestia just minutes earlier. It backfires in her face and she's is instantly defeated in seconds.
    • In "Twilight's Kingdom Part 2", if Tirek had stuck to his word to Discord, he wouldn't have given the Mane 6 the final key needed to beat him. Of course Tirek had no way of knowing it'd backfire at the time.
  • The New Adventures of Superman: In "The Team of Terror", the Warlock has Superman at his mercy and is killing him with a kryptonite beam. His ally Satana sends a giant snake made out of plasto to crush the Man of Steel. The plastic blocks the kryptonitebeam and allows Superman to recover and escape.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls, Mojo Jojo is a recurring victim of this Trope.
    • The biggest example is the fact that he ended up inspiring the Professor to make the Powerpuff Girls, caused the Freak Lab Accident that created them, and gave them the drive to fight crime and made them accepted by the city, which was a crime-infested rat hole beforehand, pretty much making everything good in the series his fault to begin with.
    • In episode, an alien force defeats the girls using every single idea Mojo Jojo had ever come up with. Jojo gets so upset at the alien stealing his ideas ("YOU HAVE BROKEN, MY. DREAMS!!!!!") that he goes primal and physically forces the alien leader to submit, driving away the attack and becoming the hero.
    • Mojo Jojo did this again when he used the Professor's time machine to go back to the day when he was inspired to create the girls and prevent it from happening. As it turned out, his kidnapping of the Professor leading to the girls having to rescue him inspired him to try and create three perfect girls of his own. It wasn't until they returned to the present that the Professor realized that the girls that rescued him were his own girls. In other words, if Mojo Jojo had never tried to change the past, Professor Utonium would never have been inspired to create the Powerpuff Girls.
    Mojo Jojo: Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!
    Narrator: Yes!
    • And there's the pictured example above.
  • Invoked and lampshaded in the Regular Show episode "Do or Diaper". Muscle Man provokes Mordecai to agree to a bet which states that if Mordecai can kiss his Love Interest Margaret by Friday night, Muscle Man will have to wear a diaper for a week, and if he can't do it, obviously Mordecai would have to wear the diaper. Mordecai and Margaret go on a date, and in an unlucky series of events Margaret finds out about their bet when she notices Muscle Man and Rigby following them around the entire evening. Mordecai has to explain the bet he had with Muscle Man, which Margaret clearly isn't very happy about. Though to help her understand his actions and earn her forgiveness, he is forced to be honest and apologize to her, which leads to the Love Confession being dropped. It might seem like Muscle Man did Mordecai wrong by provoking him to agree to the bet and blowing his cover later, but he really made Mordecai learn something and helped deepen his and Margaret's relationship. Mordecai is even shown wearing the diaper with a smile at the end of the episode, explaining that "he's just happy because Margaret was having a great time on their date, and that means she must like him".
  • In a tie-in Rose Petal Place book, Nastina gives Rose Petal a letter for a recording contract that will take her away from the garden for weeks, and volunteers to be in charge of the garden while she's gone so she can take it over. Rose Petal agrees to a trial run as she plans her departure, but Nastina mismanages the garden so badly, including locking Tumbles in a cage, that she decides to stay and not leave at all.
  • In an episode of Rupert, the way to turn the villain's crystal palace into a Collapsing Lair is to strike a certain note on an organ. During the climax, Rupert and the princess are frantically hammering away at the keyboard, since they have no idea which key to hit, but can't find said note. A Fight Scene ensues where the villain, while trying to stop them, falls against the keyboard, hitting just the right note.
    Rupert: (sincerely) Thank you, Prince Lazuli — we were looking for that key.
  • Aku sending Samurai Jack into the distant future is revealed to have backfired in the 5th season, after the Time Skip. A side-effect of the spell has rendered Jack unaging, meaning that Aku has basically made the only warrior who could kill him functionally immortal, and he's become so skilled after decades of fighting off Aku's minions that he apparently can't be killed. And when Jack does get back to the past in the Grand Finale, the extra 50 years of experience allows him to give Past!Aku such a Curb-Stomp Battle it's not even funny. Well, maybe just a little bit.
    • In XCVI, Aku kills the Scotsman. However, the runes on the warrior's sword allows the Scotsman to come back as a Celtic spirit. In the Grand Finale, he's able to use his ethereal powers to fight against Aku's demonic sorcery, giving the Big Damn Heroes an edge in the final battle.
    • In the penultimate episode, Aku takes control of Ashi's body using the portion of his essence she was born from. In the finale, Jack helps her retake control through The Power of Love and she retains Aku's powers, including his power of time travel, which she uses to take Jack back to the past to destroy Aku once and for all.
      • Also in the finale, on top of all the above, Aku's message of Jack's capture ultimately let Jack's allies know he needed their help, bringing them together to give Jack the time to escape and turn Ashi back.
      • Also in the finale, the only reason Aku confronted Jack in the first place is because Scaramouche told him Jack had lost his sword, i.e. the one thing in all the universe that could actually harm Aku. Expecting a Curb-Stomp Battle in his favor Aku shows up to face Jack not realizing the sword was back.
  • At one point in the Sandokan cartoon, the Rajah (the Big Bad) has captured Sandokan's island fortress, locked him and his men in their own cell and set a Rube Goldberg Device to blow them up once he and his own forces are a safe distance away. The heroes have no hope of escape, they're doomed...except that meanwhile the other antagonist, the Rajah's ally Lord James, has put in motion a plan of his own to arrange the kidnap of Sandokan's friend's daughter in order to lure Sandokan into a trap. When she's kidnapped, her father's lieutenant hurries to the island to seek Sandokan's help, finds the heroes locked up and defuses the bomb in the nick of time.
  • She-Ra: Princess of Power: In "Horde Prime Takes a Holiday", if not for Skeletor trying to take over Horde Prime's warship, Hordak would have frozen She-Ra and He-Man.
    • Hordak and Skeletor unknowingly do it to each other in "Loo-Kee Lends a Hand". If not for Skeletor's plan to capture Prince Adam, who knows how long would it take Loo-Kee to find Prince Adam and ask for his help or how much damage the Horde would have done by then? Also, if not for Hordak freezing time for the rebels, Loo-Kee wouldn't have gone to Eternia and ruined Skeletor's plan to break into Prince Adam's bedroom.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Hungry, Hungry Homer", Homer is accused of being a liar when he tries to expose Howard K. Duff VIII, the greedy owner of the Isotopes' plan to move the team to Albuquerque. Homer actually stages a hunger strike, which the conniving Duff uses as an advantage, moving him to center field. But when it becomes clear that Homer will not give up, Duff unchains him and offers him a new deluxe hot dog, in front of a huge crowd. Homer very nearly succumbs to the temptation... but then notices the hot dog's toppings are all Southwestern ingredients. The crowd realizes this (and on top of it, the hot dog's wrapping says "Albuquerque Isotopes" on it) and Duff is unable to bluff his way out now, even Duffman turning against him. Moral of story: Never assume the Big Eater you're trying to Bribe With Food can't recognize it.
  • In The Smurfs episode "The Gallant Smurf", young Prince Godfry falls in love with a maiden named Pricilla, but his overprotective and snobbish mother Queen Felicity objects to him wanting to marry a "poor, pitiful, penniless peasant", and gives this condition for anyone wishing to marry her son: Show her something she's never seen before. Queen Felicity is a very old woman who has seen almost everything. Most every suitor fails, and it when it looks like Hogatha may well succeed (she captures Grandpa Smurf, whom even she has never seen among the smurfs) Godfry and Pricilla hug and make a tearful farewell, causing Felicity to groan and say she's "never seen such true love before". After Godfry asks her to repeat it, she realizes that she has just admitted Pricilla has met her condition. (Presumably, Felicity kept her word and let them wed, but we can only assume it.)
  • Star Wars Rebels:
    • "Zero Hour" has two examples:
      • Grand Moff Tarkin orders Grand Admiral Thrawn to capture the Rebel commanders during his attack on the rebel base, as Tarkin wants to Make an Example of Them. This ultimately lets those same commanders escape with their lives, as it's clearly shown that had Thrawn been left to his own devices, he could have easily killed them all via Orbital Bombardment.
      • Governor Arihnda Pryce, in the middle of a Villainous Breakdown due to the losses the Mandalorian fighters are inflicting on the Imperial forces, orders Kallus Thrown Out the Airlock when he starts taunting her about it, instead of just having him shot where he stood — which gets him off the bridge and gives him the opportunity to escape the Chimaera.
    • Pryce does it again and with much more severe consequences in "Jedi Night": She blows up her own base's fuel depot in an attempt to kill Kanan, Hera, Ezra and Sabine, only to fail when Kanan commits a Heroic Sacrifice by holding off the explosion with the Force. But by doing so, she blew up the entire Imperial fuel supply on the planet, severely compromising Thrawn's TIE Defender project at a time when he was already having to argue against Orson Krennic's Death Star project for additional funding. In "DUME", a seething Thrawn chews her out by noting that she handed the Rebels a victory they wouldn't have achieved on their own. Given that the Defenders had been shown to utterly outmatch Rebel fighters and the Rebels depend heavily on fighter superiority, she effectively cost the Empire the entire war.
  • Steven Universe:
    • In "The Answer", Ruby did this before defecting to the Crystal Gems: according to Sapphire's prophecy, Rose and Pearl would poof her and then be captured, bringing an end to their rebellion. Ruby, who did not hear the prophecy, saves Sapphire and accidentally fuses with her in the process, which stuns everyone so much that Rose and Pearl have a chance to get away.
      • It's later revealed in "Now We're Only Falling Apart" that Ruby's actions had even more consequences for Homeworld than that: Before then, Rose Quartz, aka Pink Diamond, had only had the goal of scaring the Gems off Earth. Seeing Garnet, the first known cross-Gem fusion, led Rose to change her goal to making Earth a haven for outcast Gems, which led directly to a full-scale war.
    • "Reunited": During the climax, Yellow Diamond knocks Steven unconscious at the beginning of the final fight. This lets him use his Astral Projection powers to speak to Yellow and Blue Diamond in their heads and finally show them definitive proof that he has Pink Diamond's Gem.
  • In the older Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon Krang had made Super Rocksteady and Bebop robots, which were incredibly strong and intelligent, and could effortlessly defeat the turtles. Until the regular Rocksteady and Bebop accidentally expose them to lightning.
    • In the 2003 version, the Utrom Shredder did a much better job of “fixing it”. Although he committed many horrendous crimes that caused anguish to so many people (murdering Splinter’s master, burning down Casey’s father’s store – and possibly killing him too – and kidnapping dozens of New Yorkers and turning them into horrid monsters), as Donatello explains, he originally put into motion a set of Disaster Dominoes that led to the Turtles’ very creation and his own undoing. (And the biggest irony is, he never learned this.) To summarize:
    Donatello: If the Shredder had never made the Utroms crash in the first place, they’d have never developed the ooze, and if they’d never developed the ooze, we’ve never have been mutated, and if we’d never have been mutated, we’d still be eating fish flakes in some kid’s aquarium right now!
  • Teen Titans:
    • The season 2 finale shows Terra as The Mole, who promptly defeats all the Titans individually. She failed to finish the job, though, so five very angry Titans came back to teach her the error of her ways.
    • Another example, though not as big: When the Titans East had to watch Jump City while the core team was away fighting the Brotherhood of Evil, they have a very hard time getting the public to accept them. (Being newcomers and all, no-one recognizes them, or even worse, mistakes them for the core team). When Control Freak shows up gunning for revenge against the Titans, he's even worse; he doesn't accept them as "real Titans", and to prove it, sets up a series of attacks on the city designed to "test" them, which push them to their limits. (For example, Bumblebee has to stop a subway from reaching a certain station, as a bomb is mounted on the underside of the train which is timed to detonate upon arrival. The catch: She has to do it at miniature size.) However, the Titans East members avert all five disasters and pass with flying colors, and all of a sudden, they become heroes. You can't deny that they owed this to Control Freak. (They still arrested him, of course.)
    • Another major example: One big reason the Brotherhood of Evil was defeated at the end of season five was because Madame Rogue, whom Jinx had worshipped, treated Jinx like garbage, one of two reasons (along with a Dating Catwoman situation with Kid Flash) that not only prompted Jinx's Heel–Face Turn, but convinced her to act as a Double Agent for the heroes during the Final Battle.
    • A very interesting one concerning this show and Teen Titans Go! In the TTG episode "The Fourth Wall", Control Freak reveals to the Titans that their universe used to be the old series universe, but he rebooted it so he can win an award. While it doesn't fix the series, he ends up angering the Titans when they find out what their old world used to be.
  • In an episode of Thundarr the Barbarian called Prophecy of Peril, an evil wizard brought upon his own downfall in three ways:
    • First, by telling the heroes that the crystal he stole would tell how he would be defeated. While the heroes would probably figure out how to defeat him, it showed them to look for the 3 women to defeat him.
    • Second, he thought he would be one step ahead by kidnapping one of the women and locked her in his dungeon. But, the one woman he kidnapped was in the past when the heroes can't get to. Also instead of killing her or presuading her to join him, she believed that the wizard was a bad guy right away.
    • Third, when the woman he kidnapped escaped and got to the crystal, he hit her and the crystal with a beam that gives her angel wings and laser eye beams allowing her to escape to join to heroes to complete the prophecy.
  • In Transformers Prime, a pair of Vehicon Mooks decide to Kick the Dog with an amnesic Optimus/Orion who is beginning to doubt Megatron's plans and protests against them. The beatdown causes Optimus's arm cannons to appear, the ones he had forgotten he had. Then, he uses them to easily defeat the Vehicons and head after Megatron.
    Optimus: I'm ... armed?
    (Vehicons freeze in panic)
  • In Turtles Forever, the 2003 Shredder is revealed to have one weakness—the Technodrome's Death Ray. Just as the Turtles manage to push him into it, Bebop and Rocksteady accidentally unplug the thing—as Shredder gloats over his apparent victory, they plug it back in, annihilating him in the process. Bebop and Rocksteady saved the TMNT multiverse this way.
    • In Rogues in the House, the Turtles have been incapacitated and Shredder orders Karai to execute them to prove her loyalty. She's willing to do this and raises the blade, but Hun decides that this is too boring, and thus frees Leo so that they can duke it out. Leo lectures her during this fight, which ultimately persuades her not to kill them
  • In The Venture Bros. episode "Handsome Ransom", the Monarch corners Captain Sunshine in his sanctum solarium at night, powerless from lack of sunlight and emotionally crippled from seeing him wear Wonderboy's uniform. Rather than just shooting him, Monarch makes a drawn out gloating speech and pulls out a solar beam gun intended to burn him off. It backfires horribly, recharging Captain Sunshine and allowing him to burn alive all of Monarch's mooks, winning the day.
  • Once in awhile on Wacky Races, Dick Dastardly's machinations would result in giving the other racers an advantage against him. In the debut episode, "See Saw To Arkansas", he gets the racers hung up on a cloverleaf highway exit system. When the narrator asks how he did, Dastardly turns the sign marking the exit around, and the racers immediately take it — flattening Dastardly in the process.
  • In an odd twist, Nox, the Big Bad from Wakfu, actually purposefully attempts to invoke this trope. He's a time mage who kills and drains people of their energy (the eponymous wakfu) in order to power an attempt to travel back in time to save his dead family. He is able to happily commit countless atrocities, draining entire nations over the years, because he believes that once he successfully travels back in time it will all be undone. He even manages to kill The Hero and wipe out an entire race in the finale. Unfortunately, his plan fails, and the wakfu that it took him 200 years to collect is barely able to send him back 20 minutes.
  • Happens a few times in Xiaolin Showdown. Notably, Jack had come up with a brilliant and for once successful plan, convincing Omi that he was destined to turn evil and had to stay away from his teammates at all costs. This was going perfectly until his idiot henchmen blabbed the entire plan, snapping Omi out of his despair and allowing him to win the day.
  • Yogi's Gang: When Yogi and his friends are ready to leave Smog City, Smokestag Smog tricks them into installing a motor that'll make their ark spread smoke through wherever they go. Once they wise up, they throw the motor away at the local dump, inspiring the townsfolk to stop polluting their atmosphere. Mr. Smog is even more responsible for his undoing because his smog is what ruined Yogi's gang's banana supply and made them land in Smog City in the first place.


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