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"Oh, Crap!" Smile

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Preserver: How could I ever think trash like you was worth saving?
Lobo: I got a cute smile?

So you're a prankster or villain whose prank or Evil Plan has been exposed. Everyone is giving you a Death Glare, and you know you're in serious trouble. What do you do? You put on a big smile to save a little face. The more disgraceful or outright evil your plan was, the more likely this is to fail, and for Laser-Guided Karma to come a-knockin'.

The Not-So-Innocent Whistle is an alternative to this kind of situation. Broken Smile may overlap if the smile starts as genuine. Related to Cheshire Cat Grin.




  • A commercial for Orbit gum has a guy serving jury duty giving this expression as his phone goes off in the courtroom.


  • During the scene in Fist of the North Star in which Rei debuts, he goes up against a guy who uses nunchucks. After he attacks the guy, we get a shot of his face and he gives one of these before it’s revealed that Rei has cut his hands off.

Fan Works

Films - Animated

  • Cats Don't Dance:
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  • The walrus from the "Walrus and the Carpenter" segment of Alice in Wonderland does one before the carpenter chases him for eating all the oysters.
  • Mickey Mouse in Fantasia does this when he returns the sorcerer's hat to him. It quickly fades in the face of Yensid's Death Glare.
  • In The Little Mermaid, Sebastian does this when he realizes he accidentally revealed Ariel's secret to King Triton and pressed the latter's Berserk Button.
    Sebastian: Humans? Heh-heh. Who said anything about humans?
  • In Aladdin, Jafar tries this, along with saying "All this can be explained" after he's discovered to be a traitor.
  • In Mulan (pictured), check out the look on Mulan's face when Captain Shang catches her with an arrow with the fruit she's supposed to be targeting already skewered on the end of it (courtesy of her pal Mushu trying to "help" her).
  • Doctor Facilier flashes one of these at the end of The Princess and the Frog after his talisman gets broken and his "Friends" come to collect their payment.
  • Prince Hans from Frozen has one for a split second when Princess Anna declares that she wants to invite Hans' twelve older brothers to live with them after their Fourth Date Marriage. This gives credit to Hans' implication that they are Big Brother Bullies.
  • Flik from A Bug's Life does this after he accidentally destroys the ants' offering to the grasshoppers, getting the colony in serious trouble.
  • The final shot of Toy Story is Woody and Buzz exchanging these directly after they find out that Andy got a puppy for Christmas. (Even better is that Woody had just remarked to Buzz: "What could Andy possibly get that is worse than you?")

Films - Live-Action

  • In the live-action Garfield film, after Odie impresses a dog show with a dance that Garfield made up himself, Garfield becomes so agitated at Odie being given so much attention instead of him, that he accidentally causes an enormous mess in Jon's house. When Jon comes in and sees Garfield in the middle of the mess, Garfield pulls this trope and then gets thrown outside.
  • In Moonraker, James Bond gives a hilariously wan little grin when he first runs into Jaws.
  • In Thor: Ragnarok, Loki has this expression when Thor exposes his masquerade and makes him turn into himself instead of impersonating Odin. Weirdly, "Odin" had become so complacent since the events of the previous film that no one is surprised, let alone so much as reacts, when the ruse is exposed.

Live-Action TV

  • In Top Gear, Series 9, Episode 4, Richard Hammond's initially authentic smile of excitement morphed into one of these, and then into a Broken Smile, when the Reliant Robin Space Shuttle failed to separate from its external fuel-tank and returned to earth in a massive fireball.

Newspaper Comics

Web Animation

  • Rocket & Groot: After forcing Rocket to take a bath in order to get into a restaurant for a bounty, Groot gives him a nervous smile when they find out that the man who wouldn't let them in was talking about Groot's hygiene and not Rocket's.

Western Animation

Real Life

  • People do this in real life all the time as a reflexive reaction to stress, along with Corpsing, hence why many scoldings include the line "wipe that smile off your face." It's thought to be a holdover from our primate ancestors, and chimpanzees and other apes still exhibit a "grin of fear" when stressed.


Example of: