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One Side of the Story

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Lisa: Wait, let me finish my sentence!
Homer: Never!

One character jumps to the most obvious conclusion from what he or she has just observed about another character (or possibly a non-obvious conclusion if Insane Troll Logic is involved). The resulting argument then proceeds in a one-sided manner, so that the other side doesn't get to tell their side of the story (which is always the correct one). Expect to hear "'But...' 'No buts'" in there at some point.


May facilitate an Oops... I Did It Again plot. Should the culprit finally realize the truth, they might possibly be humbled enough to listen this time around, or they might scold the victim for not saying anything even though they kept telling them to shut up (which may either be genuine due to them not paying attention or on purpose if they don't want to admit they were at fault). The victim may call out I Warned You (or more specifically "I Tried To Warn You").

Compare with The Rashomon. See also You Know What You Did.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • Happens in the latter part of Code Geass when the Black Knights, having heard some convincing half truths about their leader Zero from Schneizel, decide to betray him by luring him into an execution squad. Kallen, who has been sent to retrieve him and has been commiserating with him on the way, calls the situation one-sided before her comrades tell her to get out of the way or else be shot under suspicion of being under Lelouch's geass. At this point, it's completely obvious that the Black Knights are completely set on executing their leader, not to mention that Schneizel, who always has a backup plan, is behind it, so Lelouch decides to lie to everyone that he used them, Kallen included, in order to have her spared.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Alphonse suspects Edward gave him Fake Memories of his life and accuses him of not telling him. The events of consequence vary by adaptation; in the 2003 anime, before Ed can get in a word Alphonse runs off, leading Ed for an episode-long hunt for him before he can finally ask his real question, whether or not he hated him for what happened to him. The manga and Brotherhood anime adaptation mercifully averted all of this by having Winry stop Alphonse and call him out on not realizing how worried sick his brother had been every night in bed over him.
  • Ranma ½ pretty much lives on this trope, with Akane barging in with fist flying and Ranma (social retard that he is) usually too tongue-tied to do more than stammer out a "Let me explain" before going sub-orbital. Maybe one time out of ten is the incident that draws Akane's ire actually Ranma's fault. (Although to be fair, there's much less of that in the manga)
    • It's even Lampshaded at one point, where Akane asks why Ranma didn't just explain what was going on, and Ranma replies, "Have you ever listened to anything I say before you pummel me?"

    Comic Books 
  • When Huey, Dewey and Louie first tried to join the Junior Woodchucks — according to the Don Rosa story "W.H.A.D.A.L.O.T.T.A.J.A.R.G.O.N.", they were outright rejected for calling Elvira Duck "Grandma", as they usually do. The Senior Woodchucks were scandalized that they would address their founder's daughter that way. One of the boys tried to explain but got a "No buts", and they were only got allowed back when Elvira explained she's technically their great-grandmother, which of course instantly turned them into desirable material instead.
  • Robin Series: After a Not What It Looks Like moment in which Ariana's uncle outright tried to kill Tim when he saw him with Ariana when Ari was only wearing lingerie (they didn't do anything, it was all Ari's idea and Tim was uncomfortable with her trying to force their relationship to the "next stage"), Tim comes home to find his own father completely furious with him and he grounds Tim and takes his car from him, and angrily cuts off Tim's attempt to explain himself.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics): After the events of the Iron Queen's occupation of New Mobotropolis, which briefly resulted in NICOLE being hijacked and forced to help trap citizens in their home, Mina, hoping to spread awareness regarding possible problems with NICOLE being compromised again, uses her status as an Idol Singer to her advantage to start spreading such messages with her music. It's only after her first song is sent that she discovers from Sonic and Sally that NICOLE had actually broken free from the Iron Queen's control, but was working undercover to protect as many people as she could, which Mina was not aware of beforehand. This, combined with a Hate Plague generated by Ixis Naugus, eventually results in NICOLE being banished from the city, something Mina never intended.

  • In Daddy's Little Girls, Monty is at a custody hearing for his daughters when the opposing lawyer brings up a police record showing that he had spent time in jail for raping a teenager. His boss/lawyer/girlfriend is furious, and the judge immediately denies him custody, with neither of them (both of whom really ought to know better) giving him the chance to explain that he had been falsely accused and later exonerated.
  • Hitch. The title character's love interest Sara has a friend who slept with a guy who dumped her the morning after. On the way out the door, he makes an offhand comment, "Date doctor my ass." Sara makes it her mission to find the date doctor and expose him, blaming him for enabling the scumbag to use her friend. When she finds out it's none other than Hitch, the guy she's been seeing and whom she likes, she trashes him and his completely innocent client in her gossip column. This effectively ruins his reputation and livelihood. The kicker? He hadn't even worked with the jerk who dropped his name, and Sara hadn't bothered to find out the truth. And when Hitch is still hurt by her actions and doesn't take her back immediately, he's the one who ends up having to make a grand gesture to make it up to her while she gives him the cold shoulder.
    • Funny thing is, her friend immediately believes Hitch when he explains that he never helped the jerk, even explaining why he does what he does (to help shy guys make that first step), while Sara just assumes he's lying to protect himself.
  • In The Sixth Sense, the audience is not aware that the main character is dead, so the restaurant scene goes like this: Man shows up a little late for his wife's anniversary dinner, but no matter how hard he tries to reconcile, she won't even talk to him; then she grabs the check before he can touch it, throws him a chilly "Happy Anniversary," and stalks out. But once you know that he's dead, it's: She's keeping his anniversary dinner X years after he died!! Her entire character (in other scenes as well, such as where it appears she's ready to cheat on him) changes based on that info.

  • Gods Play: Happens when William tries to explain being a shifter to Toby when he's in a compromising situation.
  • Harry Potter: Sirius Black spent years in Azkaban Prison because everyone who didn't know Peter Pettigrew was a Death Eater assumed Sirius betrayed the Potters and killed Peter Pettigrew and several muggles. It was eventually revealed Peter faked his death and framed Sirius with everything.

    Live Action TV 
  • 8 Simple Rules: John Ritter continuously berates one of his daughters for shoplifting. In reality, the friend she was shopping with did it.
  • One call on 9-1-1 is apparently a domestic dispute between a man and his British wife. She constantly refers to him having a sudden change in behavior and making wild accusations. When the man finally has a chance to speak, he reveals that his wife isn't actually British and she's the one who's had a change in behavior. A quick medical examination reveals she's having a stroke.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: This causes the major climax in the Season 5 episode "Blood Ties" when Dawn discovers she's the mystical Key.
    • She overhears only the first part of a conversation between her mother and sister:
      Joyce: She yelled at a teacher. The things she said, Buffy, I mean she never used language like that.
      Buffy: She probably feels like she can say or do anything right now. She's not real. We're not her family, we don't even know what she is.
    • Dawn immediately runs off into danger and totally misses the rest of the conversation:
      Joyce: How can you talk about Dawn as if she's a thing?
      Buffy: I'm not! I'm just saying that's probably how she feels.
  • El Chavo del ocho: Whenever Doña Florinda is sure Don Ramon hurt or tried to hurt her son, she'll certainly slap him and never allows him to explain. She's lucky he Wouldn't Hit a Girl.
  • In the Jessie episode "Moby & SCOBY", Jessie and Ravi are in a college class taking an exam. Jessie bothers Ravi during the exam and he tells her to stop bothering him, but the professor catches this and tells him to leave for disrupting class, cutting off every single attempt Ravi makes to explain that it wasn't his fault. Thankfully, Jessie admits that she was the one being disruptive and leaves in Ravi's place.
  • Inverted in an episode of Frasier wherein, rather than someone assuming someone else's guilt and not letting them get a chance to defend themselves, someone gets over-defensive about something without letting the other person raise any questions, accusatory or otherwise. To set the scene, Diane Chambers has re-entered Frasier's life and the two have begun spending time together, digging up Frasier's insecurities and confused feelings regarding Diane having pulled a Runaway Bride on him years before. At one point, he meets Niles for coffee and begins to ramble about Diane, only to start preempting Niles's responses, presuming that he's going to lecture Frasier about the situation being unhealthy, getting increasingly defensive, and eventually having a full-blown shouting match before storming off in a huff, with Niles having never spoken a single word.
  • Full House:
    • D.J. was trying to take a beer can away from three boys at a school dance when her uncle Jesse catches her in the hallway and wrongfully accuses her, until one of the boys who were drinking confess to Jesse (after he apologizes to D.J.). Slightly different in the respect that D.J. did get to tell her side of the story, but even after answering every one of Jesse's questions, he still didn't believe her and didn't even consider the possibility she was telling the truth.
    • Jesse himself became the victim of this trope the following season when he tried to borrow a truck to get to his wedding to Rebecca on time, only for the sheriff, who is also the driver's cousin, to arrest him for stealing the truck. Laser-Guided Karma, anyone?
  • An episode of Superior Donuts has Randy involved in an arrest where she has to use force on a black suspect. The arrest is caught on video. Franco is very mad at her as a result, but Arthur tells him not to make a big deal of it. Franco refuses to let it go, even after Randy is shot while making another arrest. (She's hit in a non-lethal area.) The rift between Arthur and Franco continues until Franco argues that Arthur hasn't even seen the video. Arthur then asks to see the video and then sees why Franco was so upset: Randy was smiling during the previous arrest.
  • In the Zoey 101 episode "Quarantine", Quinn spills a virus she created in her, Zoey, and Lola's dorm room, which results in them getting quarantined (along with Chase, Logan, and Michael). Zoey has a date with a cute guy named Danny and has to miss it as a result, so she gets her brother Dustin to tell him why she can't make it. Unfortunately, there are two Dannys at PCA, so he ends up talking to the wrong one. When Zoey finds out that Danny never got the message, she's about to explain why she had to miss the date, but he just assumes that she was standing him up, doesn't listen to her explanations and leaves angry at her.note 

    Video Games 
  • Guild Wars plays with this on multiple levels. The Charr in the first game are presented as an Always Chaotic Evil race of invading fire-worshiping hellcats who live to destroy and enslave, and like to eat their human prisoners, and that slaughtering and torturing the Charr is not at all a bad thing. Both the characters in-game and the players were lead to believe this was the truth. Cue Guild Wars 2 revealing that all that was only propaganda from the human kingdoms - the Charr are far more complex, never ate people, and the invasion was their struggle to reclaim their occupied homeland.
  • Mass Effect: Geth. For three hundred years every race in galaxy thought they were murderous synthetics because quarians, who barely avoided total genocide at their hands, claimed so. Geth were just defending themselves and minority of quarians who claimed that geth won't rebel. Better yet, they still think of quarians as their Creators and ready to serve them. No one knows about it, because they isolated themselves so galactic races won't see them as threat. Geth heretics didn't help the case either.
  • In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers, Chatot tasks you and your partner with getting Perfect Apples from Apple Woods for Wigglytuff, but Team Skull ends up sabotaging them and stealing all the apples. When you tell Chatot that you couldn't get any Perfect Apples, he immediately assumes that you two screwed up and accuses your partner of making "excuses" when they try to explain what happened. He takes away your dinners as punishment and, to add insult to injury, makes you two watch everyone else eats their dinner.

    Western Animation 
  • All Grown Up!, "Brother, Can You Spare The Time?": Dil appears on a talk show, "What's Your Tragedy?", about Tommy abandoning him upon winning an award in filmmaking, prompting booing and jeers from the audience when Tommy shows up to explain his side (basically, that it's not the case at all).
  • In the Sadie Hawkins dance episode of As Told by Ginger, Darren thinks Ginger is jealous because Courtney invited him to the dance while Ginger is going solo (Ginger's actually trying to tell him that Courtney meant to invite his older brother Will).
  • Bojack Horseman: A certain flashback in "Time's Arrow" has Butterscotch constantly getting interrupted by his wife Beatrice during an argument as he tries to say something throughout, to which he groans in frustration and eventually shifts the blame to "the goddamn baby crying all the time" (a young BoJack).
  • Fritz the Cat: The pig cops in the 1972 movie have a conversation like this in the synagogue. One of them desperately tries to inform the other that he saw Fritz, but the other keeps slapping him to make him shut up out of respect for his Jewish faith.
  • A variation of this takes place in How to Train Your Dragon (the film), when Hiccup tries to tell his father that he really can't kill a dragon. (He knows this to be so because he just had a golden opportunity to kill one, the Night Fury he later names Toothless, and couldn't bring himself to do it.) Stoick, his father, keeps brushing off his objections as fear and browbeats his son into agreeing to enter dragon training. Hiccup even lampshades the trope by noting that "This conversation is feeling very one-sided."
  • I Am Weasel: the Weasel berates I.R. Baboon for coming late for a motorcycle test and refuses to listen to whatever stupid explanation he has. He finds out too late he forgot the brakes to the motorcycle, leading to wacky hijinks.
  • In an episode of King of the Hill Boomhauer's brother is getting hitched, and quickly proves unfaithful and resorts to all sorts of sleazy antics, Boomhauer constantly attempts to stop and scold his brother, but is constantly manipulated to look like the culprit himself, leading to a long drawn chewing out from Hank, complete with the cliched booming of "BUT NOTHING!!!" whenever he tries to babble an explanation. Subverted later on when Hank, having had time to calm down, goes to Boomhauer and asks him to look him in the eye and tell the truth; Boomhauer does so, and Hank believes him.
  • Many Looney Tunes shorts operate multiple gags on this premise, most notoriously "Bugsy and Mugsy", where Bugs is able to convince Rocky the Gangster that his sidekick, Mugsy, is trying to kill him.
  • Mickey Mouse Works: Daisy's berating Donald Duck for (for example) dancing with her neighbor (the neighbor literally dragged Donald into it), while he's supposed to be building a brick wall at her house.
  • Rocket Power, "Race Across New Zealand": Ray Rocket won't stop flapping his yap on how his son Otto doesn't like to lose to hear out his daughter Reggie's own grievance: that she managed a tie in the previous race, and the only thing Ray cared for was Otto's loss.
  • The first Shrek movie pulled off a two-sided version of this. Shrek half-overhears a conversation between Fiona and Donkey, but misses the most significant part: that Fiona turns into an ogre at night. The next day Shrek and Fiona both assume that Shrek heard the whole conversation and each jump to a false conclusion.
    • The Shrek conversation is skillfully crafted to become two separate scenes based on whether or not you know the piece of information; the audience is aware of it at the time.
  • The Simpsons: When Bart tells a dirty joke to Reverend Lovejoy, his wife and daughter while visiting them at home he is thrown out of the house. As Bart starts stuttering "but, but, but...", trying to explain himself, Helen Lovejoy thinks he is repeatedly saying the word "butt" and asks him to "make it stop!".
  • Played and Lampshaded in the TaleSpin episode "It Came From Beneath The Sea Duck" when Rebecca is berating Kit for taking Molly out of the house (for a number of convoluted reasons in reality). Baloo suggests letting Kit explain what happened, only for Rebecca to shush him as well.

It doesn't even have to be an argument, as long one character won't stop talking long enough to hear out the truth:

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Full Metal Panic!, Sousuke seems to have this going for him whenever anyone gets too direct about trying to convince him that someone has feelings for him. Many times, while they're in the process of trying to explain to him why someone is acting strange around him, he'll end up interrupting them before they get too direct, coming to his own outlandish conclusion as to the reason why. Most people just sigh and shake their head. This tends to happen the most in relation to Tessa.
  • Almost every arc of Higurashi: When They Cry runs on this trope.
  • The anime adaptation of THE iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls has Rin getting into trouble with a police officer. He assumes she was bullying a young boy, and it isn't until they're at the station that he learns that she was actually helping the kid.
  • In Tsukigasa, the facts everyone knows are that Azuma cut off Kuroe's arm and Kuroe ran away and joined a band of robbers. Everyone has their own idea of what actually happened and why it happened, many of which are misinformed because they are unwilling to just put it all out in the open. Eventually, all the pieces are dragged out one by one and things get resolved but it takes awhile.

    Western Animation 
  • All Grown Up!, "It's Cupid, Stupid": Nicole won't stop being excited over Tommy long enough for Tommy to tell about Chuckie wanting to ask her out to a Valentine's dance (Imaginary Love Triangle).
  • A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving: Peppermint Patty invites herself to Charlie Brown's house for Thanksgiving dinner, not giving Charlie the chance to explain that he's going to his grandmother's for dinner.
    • She is eventually called out on it after Marcy asks her if Charlie Brown really did invite her, Franklin, and Marcy over for Thanksgiving Dinner, however. Feeling guilty about her actions, she apologizes to Charlie Brown and they make up.
  • Danny Phantom, "Splitting Images": Monster of the Week (not really a monster, but who cares?) Poindexter believes Danny to be a bully after Danny dealt Dash (an actual bully) some much-needed humiliation, and, yep, won't even let Danny explain himself. Once the initial confrontation is over, it's just taken for granted that Danny apparently was wrong, in an Anvilicious "With great power Comes Great Responsibility" Aesop. One that he seems to forget on several occasions and has even has to visually re-learn within the first Made-for-TV Movie.
  • The DuckTales (1987) episode "Top Duck" has Launchpad become nervous because he's supposed to be taking part in an air show which his parents and sister are also supposed to attend. He's afraid that they see him as an embarrassment due to his tendency to crash planes when they're actually proud of him for never giving up despite his repeated crashes. When they finally meet, Launchpad beats himself up verbally without letting his family speak. He's in the middle of doing it again at episode's end when his father holds his beak shut long enough to tell him how proud they are of him.
  • Hey Arnold!, "Arnold & Lila": Lila won't stop talking long enough to allow Arnold time to say he didn't write "Arnold and Lila" on some wall. Helga had scrawled "Lila" in place of you-know-who to hide her dirty laundry... only to create this other dirty laundry.
  • Looney Tunes: this is the basic schtick of Foghorn Leghorn. He goes on and on without letting the other characters get a word in edgewise, then complains how they never listen to a word he says. On at least one or two occasions, the other characters have been seen yelling at the rooster to shut up and hit him on the head with a stick to knock him out.
  • Twilight Sparkle did this to herself in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode It's About Time. She appears before herself to give herself a message, but Past Twilight wouldn't shut up and stop asking questions, so the spell timed out and returned Future Twilight to her proper time. Having only pure speculation based on her future appearance note  and the date (next Tuesday morning), Twilight proceeds to disaster-proof the entire town... and slowly drive herself insane with worry about the future. By the time she becomes her future self, we find out that the message was for her to not worry so much about the future.
  • Amity Blight from The Owl House had this during her first few appearances, whenever Luz tries to talk to her and make up, Amity had No Listening Skills and refuses to even hear her out, only focusing on and blaming Luz for embarrassing her or getting her in trouble and ignores the fact that she nearly got Luz killed and gravely injured instead of realizing that she did that to herself, she even calls Luz a bully over an incident with her diary, thinking that Luz is a horrible person and still refuses to listen when Luz tries to explain herself and apologize.
  • The page quote comes from The Simpsons episode "Catch 'Em If You Can", where Homer and Marge decide to go on a vacation away from the kids. Bart and Lisa get incensed over this and chase their parents down at every turn, until eventually Homer and Marge give up and resign themselves to another "family" vacation. However, after this happens the kids feel guilty and go to an amusement park to give their parents some privacy... but unfortunately Homer and Marge are there too, and when they run into each other they think that the kids are still chasing them even as Lisa tries to explain and apologize.