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Oh, Crap!

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And Simba gets an even bigger one because of what happens next...

"It's that moment of dawning comprehension I live for."
Hobbes, Calvin and Hobbes

The moment at which a character realizes that something really, REALLY bad is about to happen. Either that, or it already has and they are in big trouble because of it. They may not always say anything in particular when they do, but even if they do not, the look on their face clearly conveys to the audience their realization. This moment often features stronger language, and is when they truly realize that things are about to royally hit the fan. Sometimes the first few notes of Fryderyk Chopin's Funeral March are used as background music to highlight how grim the situation is.

There are lots of ways to react to moments like this. Characters may often exclaim stuff along the lines of "You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!", "I Want My Mommy!" or sometimes even "This Cannot Be!". Other characters might emit a Loud Gulp instead. A few might say their catchphrase but in an uncertain voice. Some might even freeze in fear completely. On the other hand, other characters may react more with despair rather than full-on fear. A few others may look to their equipment for a solution. And finally, for some, it is the crowning moment of despair.

The effectiveness of this moment can be affected by the difference between their usual competence and confidence levels and how completely they are boned. Characters with low self-esteem or who are constantly crying out in terror are difficult (but not impossible) to make this trope work with, and may react more along the lines of This Is Gonna Suck. But that arrogant, so far unbeatable supervillain suddenly realizing they're about to have his or her ass royally kicked? Now we're talking!

Can occur if one protagonist has been luring the other one into a trap, or if they just have some shiny new skill. Or they may simply be a lower-level villain who's just had the very bad luck to be confronted with a hero impossibly out of his or her league and is about to be on the wrong end of a Curb-Stomp Battle.

On occasion, they will be discussing the situation when they realize either the full import of it, or worse, that it's about to happen to them. Can also occur if a character speaks ill of another in a language they think the latter won't understand, only to find out, much to their horror, that the latter also speaks it.

This is the polar opposite of Obi-Wan Moment, when despite the bad situation someone still manages to look composed. May result in a Heroic BSoD for a heroic character, or even a Villainous Breakdown for a villainous character. Nine times out of ten, this will immediately follow "What Does This Button Do?". The remaining tenth follow some other temptation of fate. Also a very common reaction when a villain, normally The Chessmaster, Villain with Good Publicity, or Manipulative Bastard, realizes they've just been the victim of an Engineered Public Confession.

When this trope becomes literal, that's Bring My Brown Pants—as Bill Cosby once said, "first you say it, then you do it!"

When most of the cast available in the scene does this expression, it's a Mass "Oh, Crap!" moment. If someone tries to explain the situation to someone else, and realizes half-way through their own explanation they're in real trouble, it's Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!. If the person making the realization doesn't try to explain and says nothing but "Run," it's time to Run or Die. If you realize you're in trouble after your explanation, or if someone tells you something really bad is about to happen and "Oh, Crap!" isn’t your first reaction, it's a Delayed "Oh, Crap!". When you try to save some face by putting on a happy face, you make an "Oh, Crap!" Smile. When you pretend to realize you are in trouble only to mess with your opponent, it's an "Oh, Crap!" Fakeout. When your primary reaction is resigned acceptance of the situation, it's This Is Gonna Suck.

See also Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises. Say Your Prayers may be involved as part of this reaction.

Contrast "Hell, Yes!" Moment, the exact inverse.

Warning: High risk of spoilers.

No Real Life Examples, Please!

Examples subpages:

Other examples:

    open/close all folders 

Master: Have you learned nothing from the lesson of Ed Gruberman?
Student: Yes Master, I have learned two things. First, that anger is a weapon only to one's opponent.
Master: Very good.
Student: And secondly — get in the first shot. Boot to the head! [whoosh]
Master: You missed.
Student: Um.. yeah.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes:
    • Pretty much every time Hobbes pounces on Calvin coming home, Calvin makes an Oh Crap face just before impact. One strip doesn't even show the impact, jumping directly from Calvin's deer-in-the-headlights "Oh no" to the aftermath.
    • Also happens when Hobbes is hiding on a tree limb and drops a single snowball in front of Calvin to get him to look up — so he can see the full payload of snowballs Hobbes is about to dump on him from above. The last panel supplies the page quote.
    • When he seceded from his family to go live in the Yukon, Hobbes wrestles command from him. As Calvin leaves him, announcing that he's going home, Hobbes reminds him that he no longer has a home, since he seceded from his family. His reaction is priceless
      Calvin: My life needs a rewind/erase button...
  • The Far Side has two doctors looking with alarm out of the window of a "Center for the Study of Viral Pathology" at a jar broken on the crowded sidewalk below and oozing liquid. The caption: "Uh-oh."
  • Garfield: Jon is having a delayed reaction.
  • In Spy vs. Spy, the losing Spy occasionally displays this expression when he realizes he's been out-schemed and is about to die in some humorous fashion.

    Eastern European Animation 
  • In Masha and the Bear, Masha causes no shortage of heart attack-worthy reactions from the poor Bear whenever she puts herself in harm's way.

  • The shortest unit of time is the Ohnosecond. This is the period that elapses between causing a major disaster and realising what one has done.

    Myths & Religion 
  • All the way back in The Bible. Specifically, the Book of Esther. More specifically, when Haman realizes he's inadvertently ordered the death of the Queen, whom her husband the King values enough to have been willing to offer up to half his own kingdom at her request.
  • An even older example occurs in the 18th book of The Odyssey: Odysseus, posing as an old beggar, is challenged to a fist-fight by an actual beggar, Iros, who is big, but neither strong for his size nor really a fighter. After vainly trying to dissuade Iros from this, Odysseus finally agrees to the fight and girds his loins for the fight. And then the watching suitors and Iros see the muscles on Odysseus' legs, chest and arms...
  • When the title character of Oedipus Rex finally figures it out, making this Older Than Feudalism.

  • Mousin' Around!: Both the playfield and the backglass show one of the three mice panicking at the sight of a man looming in front of them threateningly.
  • Q gets one in Star Trek: The Next Generation if you do well in the "Q's Challenge" mission.
    Q: Okay, that's enough!

  • Cool Kids Table:
    • In the Firefly game. As soon as Mickey gets the coordinates to the stranded Alliance ship, he realizes they lead right into Reaver territory and immediately reports it to Caleb and Roc.
    • When Alan asks the party to roll deception to act natural in episode 16, the first things out of Shannon and Jake's mouths after rolling are "oh no".
  • Worst Foot Forward played Glaze of Blory, a game about squires contriving to get knights killed, to commemorate episode 200. At one point Barry McStay gets a little bit carried away and has the rather arrogant knight he's temporarily controlling tell the King of Bloria, who has already killed two members of his entourage, that she hopes seeding the river with fake fish was pleasing to his Majesty, before adding "I certainly think it should be." Then there's a moment of stunned horror from the players, broken only by GM Johnny Chiodini going, "Ooh shit."

    Tabletop Games 
  • Exalted: It's been made explicit that this is going to be the general Yozi reaction to Heresy charms. When an Infernal creates "Swallowing the Scorpion" and snaps the tethers linking his shard to Lillun, the Phylactery-Womb will scream in pain - and it's around that point that Malfeas, the Demon City, literally shits bricks.
    • In the second-edition core book, in the section on Limit Breaks, there's a picture of a female thug, having just knifed a guy, looking very surprised to see a hulking man entering the Red Rage of Compassion.
  • From Warhammer 40,000:
    • The reaction of an in-universe soldier to seeing a Chaos Champion being possessed by a Greater Daemon. Described in a few places in the background. One text box sidebar in either the Chaos Marines or Chaos Daemons Codex describes an Eldar autarch's reaction to seeing a Slaaneshi Champion being possessed by a Greater Daemon; his initial reaction is to resign himself to die fighting, but then its magic takes over and he stands there staring at it as it eviscerates him.
    • When the Imperium tacticians were trying to figure out how the Tyranid fleet was appearing at random locations far too quickly, and then realized that the tyranid fleet was not coming at the galaxy from the edge, but from below the galaxy. You can see one single fleet's attack movements here (remember that this is one fleet, the Tyranids likely have thousands).
    • The Eldar, who are an entire race of smug (but very competent) snakes, get one just about whenever they realize that the "Monkeys" or the barbarians are going to go down hard or win. Notable was at the Siege of Orar's Sepulchre, when they deployed the Avatar of Khaine, a shard of the soul of their god, and the most powerful fighter in a craftworld...then Marneus Calgar beat it to death.To be honest, it was written by Matt Ward, who is terrible at writing good fluff) They retreated.
    • Probably this was the mental reaction of the Imperial forces after they found out that Legienstrasse (a woman who had been genetically modified with xenos DNA to absorb biomass through her skin and morph any natural weapon she needs and had consequently gone rogue, i.e a female Alex Mercer) had singlehandedly wiped out an Assault Marine squad, the 1st Company Veterans of the Imperial Fists, the Culexus Temple Grandmaster, and nearly killed Captain Lysander.
    • Generally this is the result of a squad having to take a leadership test. Sometimes it's psychic attacks or things like Aeldari hallucinogen grenades, but most of the time, it's watching something very scary barrelling at them with murder in its eyes, or half the squad dying horribly and/or in quick succession and reasonably figuring that they are next if they don't get out of there!
  • The Warhammer Fantasy Wood Elves army book has a picture of Naestra, Arahan, and their dragon staring down a Dwarven Slayer, who has a priceless "Holy S***!" look on his face (although to be fair, he probably isn't complaining... or maybe he is reconsidering the choices that led him to this point).
  • World of Darkness: Every supernatural's reaction to the awakening of the Ravnos Antediluvian, a vampire- no, a monster that existed and ruled over mankind before the Flood, to consume all of his descendants. He dies after fighting with three equally godlike opponents, and surviving three spirit nukes to the face. It is this event, dubbed the "Week of Nightmares", that puts the final nail in the coffin, signifying that the The End of the World as We Know It is finally here. Four years later, other Antediluvians start to awaken...

  • In BIONICLE: Web of Shadows, King Sidorak and his Queen-to-be Roodaka are in battle with the beast Keetongu. As they go in for the kill, Roodaka suddenly bails out, and Sidorak realizes she didn't wound the Keetongu, she pissed it off. Congratulations, Sidorak, your second-in-command is The Starscream, and she's going to rule your armies without you. Buh-bye.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney has plenty of these, both heroic and villainous.
    • A villainous one is in Apollo Justice case four, when Kristoph Gavin gets told that the murder he all but just admitted to committing is being tried by a jury... that just saw his huge streak of gloating. Then there's Ace Attorney Investigations where Edgeworth gets one when Calisto Yew pulls a gun on him after he does the usual "corner-the-murderer" thing.
    • Matt Engarde in the final case of the second game, when he realizes he's a dead man either way. The look combined with their Villainous Breakdown is one of the best moments in the series. It was also funny before when Shelly De Killer does an Oh Crap through a radio. Complete with it falling apart multiple times and sweating oil.
    • Not that it tops the others, but in the 5th case of the first game, Damon Gant. He gloats for about 10 minutes about how horribly he's going to punish Phoenix, Edgeworth, Lana, Ema, Gumshoe, and every single person who tried to turn the tables on him using a very critical item as evidence. A minute later, Phoenix reveals one contradiction in the evidence that results in an Oh Crap moment where Gant literally screams at the very moment of realization that said evidence suddenly makes the situation even worse for him.
    • Another spectacular one is at the very end of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice, when Ga'ran is trying (and failing) to prove she has the spiritual powers needed to rule the land (she doesn't), and looks behind her to see her Praetorian Guard has just realized she's a fake, and thus an usurper, and are aiming her rifles at her, ready to execute her for her deception. As brief as it is in the middle of the breakdown, it's spectacular.
  • In the Danganronpa series:
    • In general, most culprits have one when they're caught.
    • In Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, the second culprit has one when the body is discovered and they realize the scene was tampered with after they left.
    • In Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, Shuichi has a subtle one in the first trial right after he deduces that the culprit must have gotten the murder weapon, a shot put ball, from the warehouse. He is remembering that Kaede had a shot put ball when they left the warehouse.
  • Double Homework has a couple of these moments:
    • The protagonist has one when he realizes that his counter-blackmail conspiracy with Dr. Mosely/Zeta against Dennis won’t work.
    • Dennis also has one when he realizes that the clean-up crew wiped his storage devices, nixed all of his online accounts, and destroyed all his possessions.
  • Fate/stay night:
    • Gilgamesh vs Shirou at the end of UBW route. To his credit, a lot of the fear is more irritation at the fact that some no name brat just cut his arm off before he could even try using his Wave Motion Sword. The "oh crap" factor of the realization he is losing is still partially deflected by how gigantic his ego is.
    • From the first route, both Kirei and Gilgamesh get a moment of this in their duels with Shirou and Saber respectively. Kirei gets his when Shirou survives two curses containing ALL the evils of the world, ever; Past, Present and Future. (To be fair, Shirou did use Avalon to survive the second one), before Shirou runs up and puches his chest out via an explosive magical dagger. Gilgamesh gets his when Saber uses Avalon to block Ea, his World Breaking Wave Motion Sword, before she charges and cuts him in half with an Excaliblast. Gilgamesh gets quite a few of these, mostly when he realises that yes, there are people who can beat him.
    • From Heaven's Feel, there is the moment when True Assassin discovers that Rider's chain-dagger is lodged in his shoulder. Wall-slamming ensues.
  • Hatoful Boyfriend gives you two options when Yuuya is confronted by Doctor Shuu and he lies about having been with you a few moments beforehand. You can choose to go along with Yuuya's lie. But if you choose to tell Shuu that he's lying, Yuuya has just one thing to say...
    Yuuya: ...Shit.
  • In Katawa Shoujo, Rin has this when she realizes that on Friday night, she only has one more day to complete her mural before the festival on Sunday.
  • Several in Melody:
    • The protagonist's reaction when Bethany shows up at the door of his new apartment.
    • Hank’s reaction when he realizes that Bethany tricked him into giving her backstage access to one of Melody’s concerts also qualifies.
    • Generally, any response from the protagonist that leads to a bad ending falls under this heading.
  • In Sickness, this is said aloud by Suoh right before he almost passes out after his first day of training.
  • Umineko: When They Cry:
    • Episode 6: From "USHIROMIYA KYRIE CANNOT SAVE BATTLER" to "You told me I could make the detective proclamation whenever I wanted, right? ......Well, unfortunately, ...I am no longer capable of making that proclamation."
    • In Episode 3, this is Eva-Beatrice's reaction to Beatrice deciding to deny the existence of all witches, after which she panics but is held down by Ronove until Beato's denial burns her away.


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