Follow TV Tropes


Oblivious Mockery

Go To

[Xander has just walked in on Spike groping Buffy]
Xander: Good Godfrey Cambridge, Spike! Still trying to mack on Buffy? Wake up already. Never gonna happen! Only a complete loser would ever hook up with you. [Buffy looks insulted] Well, unless she's a simpleton like Harmony, or a... or a nut sack like Drusilla-
Buffy: Hey! You really need to get Dawn off to school. Let's go... go fetch her, okay?

Sometimes, whether or not the universe is realistic, some actions are deemed either ridiculously dangerous, idiotic, or downright impossible to pull off. Nothing to be really proud of in any case. The characters talk about such actions and, soon enough, Alice will wonder out loud (probably sniggering) − "Who would be stupid enough to do that?"

What she doesn't know is that Bob, to or in presence of whom she said it, actually did the stupid thing in question. Whether he succeeded or failed miserably, he will either not answer anything or pretend to agree with Alice with an embarrassed expression; he may even be personally proud of it. If the viewer knows it, A Smile Ensues: it's a form of Continuity Nod. What makes this trope funny is the fact that Alice says it totally innocently, without any clue she is mocking someone within hearing range. Hence the Oblivious Mockery. In some cases, Bob may reveal out loud that he did said action, and may or may not try to justify himself. Basically, this follows this kind of pattern:

Alice: Did you know some people actually try to cook the rice without water?
Bob: Oh come on, that's an urban legend, nobody can be that clueless and incompetent! Right, Carol?
Carol: Er... yeah, totally, I can't imagine anyone doing that... ahahaha... hem...

Can overlap with an in-universe Old Shame or be a type of Dramatic Irony.

Compare Oblivious Guilt Slinging, Insult Friendly Fire, Innocently Insensitive and I Resemble That Remark!. Contrast Noodle Incident, where the characters vaguely talk about an event they know but the viewer doesn't. Contrast and compare Who Would Be Stupid Enough?, when Alice tempts fate and is proven right away that someone is stupid enough, and Schmuck Bait. See also It Will Never Catch On.

The inverse trope is Right Behind Me, when Alice talks dirty about Bob without knowing he's, well, right behind her. Compare I'm Standing Right Here, where the person is still right there, but the mockery is less oblivious. See also More Insulting than Intended, where the mockery is intentional but to a greater degree than the mocker knows. Compare Dropping the Bombshell.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Fairy Tail, Gray does this a couple of times to Mirajane, such as when he complains about the drawings she made for rebuilding the guild hall, not knowing that she was the one who drew them.
  • In Hajime no Ippo, a flashback shows us how Genji Kamogawa hardened his fists by punching large wooden logs into a hill. Later in the manga, Ippo hits logs into a hill with a hammer to train his leg and body muscles. Itagaki tells Kamogawa about this training.
    Kamogawa: He's hitting logs into the earth?! He can't be doing it with his fists?!
    Itagaki (laughing): If he did that he'd break his fists! There's no one reckless and stupid enough to do that! He uses a hammer.
    Kamogawa: Ye… yeah… fists would be reckless and stupid…
  • In one chapter of Naruto, having heard that Jugo went to Orochimaru voluntarily, Suigetsu comments that only someone completely nuts would throw himself into Orochimaru's arms. Right next to Sasuke, who threw himself into Orochimaru's arms for the sake of his revenge.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: Black and White: Near the beginning of "Devil's Trumpet", an old bluesman comments about "the soulless crap that these records stores blare at you", gesturing at a nearby store playing the latest popular jazz album — not knowing that the man he's talking to is the headline performer on that very album.
  • There's a Blue Beetle comic where Batman shows Jaime the Brother Eye satellite which went berserk and created an OMAC army in Infinite Crisis. Jaime asks what kind of person would build a machine like that, and Batman asks him not to let Green Arrow hear him say that (Batman was the one who built it).

    Fan Works 
  • In the Death Note fic Lies On Yamamoto the oblivious school friend gets into a debate with Light Yagami on how Kira Didn't Think This Through:
    Yamamoto: Kira or no Kira crime is never going to disappear. People have always been afraid of dying. That hasn't stopped them before—it's not going to stop them now. Criminals are just gonna get smarter about it, that's all.
    Light: But the crime rate...
    Yamamoto: Hasn't improved. Kira has only monopolized murder. You pointed that out to me yourself, remember?
    Light: Oh... right.
    Yamamoto: If you think about it, there's plenty of ways to exploit the Kira situation. What if you want to get rid of your enemies fast? Just frame them for murder and get their name and photo on the six o'clock news...
  • The villain in Ichigo, Meet Ichigo creates a Phantom Zone that has characteristics of the Mental Worlds of various people he traps within it. Since Ichigo has the most reitasu out of everyone who was captured, it most resembles his inner mind. Which leads to conversations like this-
    Kira: What's with the gravity on these buildings? It's like every building is its own center of gravity. It's weird!
    Ichigo: It's not that weird.
    Rika: Whoever designed this place must've been weird in the head. I mean, really. It's pretty strange.
    Ichigo: No, it's not.
    Mika: It's weird.
  • In chapter 23 of Recnac Transfaerso, Ron, who doesn't know what Harry did with his Triwizard Tournament winnings yet, has this dialogue with him:
    Ron: Did I tell you about their private investor in their joke shop? Some bloke gave them a bunch of money. They won't tell us who though, said he wants to remain anonymous. What moron would give those two money?
    Harry: Hmm, sounds like a good investment to me.
  • In Tangled Adventures in Arendalle, Eugene is talking with the Duke of Weselton, and mentions that he's from Corona. The Duke replies:
    "I have not heard of Corona for a long time, but I have heard of some rumors. Is it true that the offspring of their king and queen has terrible powers of a sorceress, and that the source of her monstrous powers are her hair?"
    "No." said Eugene firmly. "The princess, my wife, is as perfectly normal as anyone would want."
  • Words May Hurt: When Aizawa complains about how Midoriya only earned Rescue Points during the practical portion of U.A.'s Entrance Exam, Endeavor doesn't see the problem with that, remarking that it would be much more of a warning sign if someone only earned Villain Points, taking down enemies without any regard for those around him. He's blissfully unaware that Bakugou did just that. Making this worse is that the main reason for this meeting in the first place is that Aizawa was attempting to get Midoriya expelled from the Hero Course by framing him for how Bakugou injured another student, something that Saito immediately brings up, to Endeavor's shock.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Mrs. Doubtfire, Daniel mocks a terribly boring kids show host, and wonders what idiot put him on the air. The guy he says this to is the company president and he put him on the air. Luckily, he agrees with Daniel's assessment.
  • In Sunset Boulevard, writer Joe Gillis complains to the producer Sheldrake that Betty Shaefer, a script reader, would have turned down Gone with the Wind; only for Sheldrake to reply "No. That was me".

  • In Fate/strange Fake, the Snowfield Saber dismisses the idea of using the Holy Grail to rewrite his time in history, saying that such a wish is "nothing to wish on the Grail about". As it happens, that was the franchise's first Saber'snote  original wish.
  • In David Weber's The War Gods series, Baroness Hanatha Bowmaster asks her daughter Leeana if she tried to ford the river, and Leeana says that no one would be stupid enough to try that with the river 20 yards out of its banks. Hanatha admits that she did, though tries to defend herself by saying the river was only 15 yards out of its banks at the time.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In "Gone", Xander mocks Spike by saying that only a nutcase or a complete loser would sleep with the presence of Buffy who's done just that the night before. The comment gives her an added incentive not to confess what's happened to her friends and forestall her Destructive Romance.
    • When Ben is being fired for not turning up for work for two weeks in "Tough Love", this dialogue happens with a supervising doctor:
      Ben: There's an explanation for this. Which I can't exactly give you. I...Can I just tell you it's not my fault?
      Doctor: Sure. You can also tell me that the dog ate your homework, or maybe eating Twinkies made you do it, or ... maybe yeah, that there's really a wicked demonic creature living inside you that takes control of your body and forces you to do its bidding. Take responsibility for your actions, Ben!
  • In Criminologist Himura and Mystery Writer Arisugawa, the killer of one episode tries to hide his murder by framing it as a botched robbery and then pretending to be a witness. However, he accidentally leaves behind a pile of lottery tickets in the victim's apartment. Yasoda mocks the killer, saying that he'd be a failure of a businessman, unaware that said killer-slash-businessman is standing right next to him.
  • Several gags in Curb Your Enthusiasm rely on this. Typically, someone tells Larry David how rotten they think George Costanza is or how a plot of Seinfeld was unbelievable because nobody would act that stupidly. They don't realize that George was based on Larry and that many "unbelievable" Seinfeld plots were based on things Larry actually did.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Unicorn and the Wasp", when the Doctor and Donna try to solve a murder mystery with Agatha Christie, Donna states how unlikely this scenario is by comparing it with "meeting Charles Dickens, on Christmas, while surrounded by ghosts". Which is something that happened to the Doctor, before he and Donna met.
  • Played with in Friends: Rachel & Monica discover a message on Ross's answering machine from Emily, Ross's ex-wife. Emily is having second thoughts about her upcoming marriage to someone else. They debate whether or not to erase the message - Monica wants to, Rachel doesn't.
    Monica: All right, look. She's obviously unstable, okay? I mean, she's thinking about running out on her wedding day.... (In the first episode, Rachel ran out on her wedding) Okay, fine, but... I mean, look at the position she's putting him in. I mean, what's he going to do? He's like... Ross is going to run over there on the wedding day and break up the marriage? Who would do that? (Rachel did this when Ross & Emily were getting married).... Okay, fine. All right? But that's... you know, that was different. Although it did involve a lot of the same people.
  • From Get Smart:
    Max: But even if they do get a man into the Pentagon, that's not saying he'll be able to get out. I remember one of our own agents was lost in there for three days.
    Chief: Three days? Max, no agent could be that confused.
    Max: Well, let me see now. I went in on a Friday...
  • In I Love Lucy, Ethel's birthday is coming up, and Lucy is stunned that Fred is planning to buy her a toaster, she ends up convincing him to buy her a pair of pants. When she opens up the gift, she's not thrilled about them, saying she actually wanted a toaster, and wonder's who the idiot was who convinced Fred to buy them. Let's just say that the rest of the episode revolves around Lucy and Ethel fighting.
  • In one episode of QI Alan is talking about how grated cheese tastes better than un-grated but if somebody were to, hypothetically speaking, work for a catering firm and steal a massive bag of grated cheese it tastes awful.
    David Mitchell: What sort of twit would do that?
  • Seinfeld: In "The Wallet", Jerry throws away a watch given to him by his parents because he didn't like, but it was later found by Jerry's uncle Leo who takes it for himself. This follows up to its continuation episode "The Watch" where Jerry is having dinner with his parents and Leo. Leo proceeds to show off his new watch and says "What kind of idiot would throw away a perfectly good watch?'

    Video Games 
  • Best of Three: What ultimately made Helen get over Grant was an incident in English class. He ended up writing scathing insults, such as "startlingly devoid of imagination", on poems that he was unaware Helen wrote. Helen realized that he was an "acute asshole" all along, and throw away her book of poetry about him. Grant has a Jerkass Realization and apologizes, mending his relationship with Helen.
    Grant: I really had no idea that anyone would take the stuff I said that seriously. You know, this thing happens at some point where you realize that you're able to use words better than average and it becomes the source of reassurance, and sometimes you get so carried away in your eloquence that you say things that you don't remotely mean.
  • In Jay's Journey, Omelio wonders aloud what sort of pirate would be dumb enough to deliberately blow up his own ship... in the presence of the pirate who did exactly that.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • In the fifth case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Ema Skye finds an ostentatious trophy in a prosecutor's office and declares the owner "must be a real stuck-up jerk!" Said jerk is her crush, Miles Edgeworth, and he arrived just in time to hear every word.
      Edgeworth: Well? What brings you here? I'll warn you... I've been known to be a real stuck-up jerk.
    • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations, a museum worker says that any intelligent person would think that the writing on an urn belonging to a clan whose founder was Ami Fey would say "Ami," and would reassemble the urn to say that if they broke it. Unknown to her, the person who broke the urn reassembled it incorrectly with the name spelled wrong and is now standing next to her.

    Web Animation 
  • In Turnabout Storm, during the investigation, Rainbow Dash gives Phoenix Wright the key to the victim's hotel room and reveals that she found it under the welcome mat. She then notes that only an idiot would hide their spare room key there. Phoenix smiles, nods, and makes a mental note to move his key when he returns home.
    • Fluttershy of all ponies gets a couple moments of this when she first meets Phoenix. First, she's legitimately afraid of the spiky "beast" on Phoenix's head, then when she mistakes Phoenix for an actual phoenix we get this exchange:
      Fluttershy: No wonder you look so homely and sick. Don't worry, though, soon you will be able to rise from your ashes as a beautiful bird of fire!
      Phoenix: (Did I just get insulted?)
  • Ultra Fast Pony. "Winning" has the scene (for context, Applejack and Apple Bloom are both Irish):
    ["Riverdance" is playing]
    Applejack: Who is making that awful music?
    Apple Bloom: I think the Irish did.
    Applejack: Who is making that beautiful music?

  • Darths & Droids; The Imperial officer who brings Luke in after his surrender on Endor mocks his parentage- to Vader. Luke points out the recently-revealed relation.
    Vader (to officer): You know what to do.
    Officer: Yes, sir. Um. Ma'am.
  • Schlock Mercenary has a few, such as this:
    Mob soldier: I think some idiot decided to store a stack of hull-plates in that chamber.
    Ms. Damicco: Oh, that was me. Those are leftovers from another project.
    Mob soldier: Correction: that room is a great place for hullmetal barricades. Lull the enemy into a false sense of security!
  • In Super Effective:
    Brock: You know, some people actually come here choosing fire as their starter Pokemon. Crazy, huh?
    • He says this while standing next to Red, who just happens to have chosen fire.

    Western Animation 
  • Early in the Ben 10 What If? episode "Gwen 10", Gwen gets the Omnitrix stuck on her wrist and turns into Heatblast. Ben, who remembers going through this before, warns her about the danger of using fiery powers in the middle of a forest. She immediately responds that only an idiot would set the forest on fire. Naturally, that's exactly what Ben did in the first episode.
  • In one episode of Daria, Daria lets Trent talk her into getting her navel pierced. When Jodie finds out, she thinks it's pretty cool "As long as you didn't do it for some guy." causing Daria to say "Uh, no, that would be wrong."
  • In one episode of The Simpsons, Luann Van Houten thinks Marge and her husband Kirk are having an affair. When she confronts Homer on this he laughs and tells her "no woman would want to sleep with that loser" before remembering who he's talking to.
  • Steven Universe: Future: In "Bluebird", Steven shows Amethyst some crude crayon drawings which he believes were made by Bluebird Azurite, and rants to her about how terrible they look. Amethyst reveals that she was the one who made those drawings and runs away crying.

    Real Life 
  • After a teen makes The Promposal to his girlfriend, the two go for a drive. The girlfriend sees the erected signs that say: "Alex. Will. You. Marry. LOL Jk. Go To. Prom. With Me.", and says "What the fuck? That's a shitty way to ask someone to prom"... without even realizing that the signs were in fact for her, from her boyfriend (she missed the first sign with her name on it). She finally catches her mistake and breaks down when her boyfriend simply says "Well, ok." in a hurt tone.