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Opinion Flip-Flop

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Hamlet: Do you see yonder cloud that's almost in shape of a camel?
Polonius: By the mass, and 'tis like a camel, indeed.
Hamlet: Methinks it is like a weasel.
Polonius: It is backed like a weasel.
Hamlet: Or like a whale?
Polonius: Very like a whale.
Hamlet, III.iinote 

Bob decides the way to curry favor with Alice is to agree with her, even when it means getting entangled in absurd contradiction. Sometimes Alice decides to feed Bob rope; sometimes she's just oblivious.

This is common with fictional depictions of royalty - particularly when the character doing the fawning is deviously scheming their way into power. It also shows up a lot when Bob is attracted to Alice.

Sometimes a character like this gets handed down an Anvilicious Be Yourself message. A typical dialog runs like this:

Character A: Okay, I don't really like X.
Character B: Why would you say that you like X if you don't?
Character A: (abashed) I guess I just wanted you to like me.
Character B: You don't have to impress me, I already like you.
Character A: Really?
Character B: Of course! Just Be Yourself.

A Yes-Man is an assistant (in a business or political capacity) whose job is to make a lot of Opinion Flipflops. Favouritism Flip-Flop is a subtrope where Bob openly says he hates something until Alice says she likes it. Verbal Backspace is a related trope where subsequent dialogue forces someone to change opinion on the fly, which can overlap (eg."It's hideous!", "I made it myself.", "Hideously beautiful!").

Compare Confession Deferred, telling the truth only when it's convenient.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Digimon: The Movie, as Willis is telling him how he created Kokomon and how he became Endigomon, Davis, beside himself with sorrow, chokes, "That's the saddest story I've ever heard!" Willis responds, "I'm the one with the problem, not you. Get over it," and Davis, immediately in high spirits without a trace of tears, says, "Okay!" This is all in the english dub.

    Comic Books 
  • The wife of Orthopedix in Asterix and Caesar's Gift. (She wants him to be elected new chief of the village, and caters to everyone's whims like a politician would do it.)
    Orthopedix' wife: (to Unhygienix the fishmonger) Orthopedix says that there should be days when you can eat only fish.
    Random guy: I prefer to eat meat.
    Orthopedix' wife: Exactly. That's why he thinks that we should also eat meat on fish days and the other way round.
  • Superman's Pal: Jimmy Olsen (2019): Perry White is irritated with Jimmy due to the chaos that tends to follow him everywhere...until someone informs him that Jimmy is the only member of the Planet staff who's actually bringing in money. (His forays into new media earn a lot more attention than the newspaper's more traditional fare.)


  • White Sheep (RWBY): When Ren mentions something fairly obvious to Salem, she rolls her eyes and starts chastising him for bothering to think. Then Ruby mentions that Lavender, Salem's daughter, likes Ren, and Salem changes tracks mid-sentence, praising him for his intelligence.

    Films — Animated 
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs:
    • When Flint describes the FLDSMDFR to Sam, whom he has a crush on. She starts listing possible foods it could make, ending with:
      Sam: How about Jell-O?
      Flint: Do you like Jell-O?
      Sam: I. Love. Jell-O.
      Flint: I love Jell-O, too! And peanut butter, right?
      Sam: Oh no no, I am severely allergic to peanuts.
      Flint: Eh, me, too.
    • It comes up again much later in the movie: while in the meateroid, Sam and Flint come across a pit lined with shards of peanut brittle. Sam comments that "If either one of us touches it, we'll go into anaphylactic shock.".
      Flint: Actually, I'm not entirely allergic to peanuts. I... might have just said that to get you to like me.
      Sam: So you really thought that having allergies would make you more attractive?

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery shows us Austin's unbreakable loyalty to capitalism when he is first thawed.
    Basil Exposition: A lot's happened since you were frozen. The Cold War is over!
    Austin Powers: Finally those capitalist pigs will pay for their crimes, eh? Eh, comrades? Eh?
    Basil Exposition: Austin... we won.
    Austin Powers: (with feigned enthusiasm) Oh. Smashing! Groovy! Yay, capitalism! (chuckles nervously)
  • In Bang Boom Bang, Keek, Andy and Schlucke go pick up the Mercedes-Benz 500 SEC for Keek's former partner-in-crime, Kalle. Keek just wants to close the deal and get lost before the sellers — whom you certainly wouldn't want to mess with — find out that most of the cash in his Briefcase Full of Money is badly-made Counterfeit Cash. In the meantime, Andy, a professional automobile mechanic, lies under the car and finds out that it must have been totaled at some point in the past and then kludged back together. He absolutely refuses to close the deal and take this car. Then Keek whispers into his ear that most of the money he brought is fake. And what do you know, all of a sudden Andy agrees to the deal.
  • In the Eddie Murphy film Coming to America, the Prince seeks a different wife after the one betrothed to him had been trained from birth to agree with everything he says.
  • The opening trap of Saw 3D has two male friends and the woman that had been dating the both of them. Only two of them can survive; the third gets cut in half with a buzzsaw. As the two guys fight to kill the other and save themselves and their girlfriend, she offers moral encouragement to whichever of the two is currently winning... something that keeps shifting over the course of the fight. Eventually, the two guys wise up to what she's doing and kill her instead.
  • In the Spider-Man movie, Mary Jane comments on how gross the spiders are. Harry tries to agree with her, saying he hates them. She then says that she loves them, and he immediately agrees.
  • Thor: Ragnarok: Played for Laughs. Thor tells Hulk that he likes him more than Banner. Shortly after, he tells Banner that he prefers him to Hulk.
  • A weird version shows in Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen, because the character contradicts himself without the other person ever saying a word to him. Sam's college roommate Leo is smitten by a blonde girl who showed up. He tries to invite her to eat by showing her a pizza with salami toppings, telling her how delicious it is.
    Leo: ...unless you're a vegetarian. It's OK, I am too.
  • In TRON: Legacy, Clu's right-hand-man Jarvis cowers before Sam Flynn as he walks into the command center to recover the stolen disc, declaring "Long live the Users!" When Clu arrives a bit later and finds the disc missing, Jarvis starts to say "Death to the Users!" but is decapitated mid-sentence.

  • Anton Chekhov has a hilarious story about a police officer going through these. Quite appropriately, it's called "A Chameleon".
  • Chrysanthemum: Jo, Rita, and Victoria think that Chrysanthemum being named after a flower is simply dreadful. But after Mrs. Twinkle, the music teacher everyone admires, reveals that she's named after a flower too, they decide they want flower names of their own — Marigold, Carnation, and Lily of the Valley.
  • Petulia from Terry Pratchett's A Hat Full of Sky starts out like this. Tiffany is tempted to say that the sky is green, just to watch her trying to work her way around to agreement.
    Tiffany: I live on the Chalk.
    Petulia: Oh, where they have all those sheep? I don't much like sheep.
    Tiffany: We're very proud of our sheep.
    Petulia: Oh, I don't mean I hate them. I expect some sheep are OK. Obviously we've got to have sheep. They're better than goats, anyway... I like sheep. Sheep are nice.
  • British statesman Lord Chesterfield wrote in Letters to His Son against people who are like this: "On the other hand, the cunning, crafty man thinks to gain all his ends by the 'suaviter in modo' only; HE BECOMES ALL THINGS TO ALL MEN; he seems to have no opinion of his own, and servilely adopts the present opinion of the present person; he insinuates himself only into the esteem of fools, but is soon detected, and surely despised by everybody else." (letter 133)
  • Gaheris, in T.H. White's The Queen Of Air And Darkness, is described as agreeing with whatever his older brothers Gawaine and Agravaine think. Since they disagree a lot, this is difficult for him.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Sansa spends the latter part of a chapter telling her sister how much she hates riding horses. When her betrothed shows up and says he likes to ride horses, she immediately says she loves to.
  • The Space Merchants, by Frederik Pohl. Mitch Courtenay is asked what he thinks of a glossy magazine sponsored by a rival company as covert advertising. Courtenay goes on about how it's a cheap stunt typical of their competitors and he'd resign if they stooped so low, whereupon he's told the company is about to start their own magazine in response. As Courtenay tries to stammer out a Verbal Backspace, his boss amiably provides one for him; he was of course deriding cheap advertising, not the magazine itself.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Inverted and played straight at once on Arrested Development. Maeby is trying to go against whatever her mother wants, while George Michael is in love with Maeby and agrees with whatever she says. At first Maeby wants to save the tree that Lindsey is trying to get cut down, but then Lindsey decides to save the tree...
    George Michael: You know, I can see why your mom likes it. It is a really nice tree...
    Maeby: We've got to get it torn down.
    George Michael: ...that must die. Stupid tree.
  • The A-Team:
    • In "In Plane Sight", as the team drives to Portersville, Face alleges they'll get stiffed and complains about Hannibal insisting on doing charity cases all the time. After spending some time with Mrs. Hicks, whose nephew is part of the case, he immediately changes his mind. It's even noted by Hannibal.
    • In "Uncle Buckle-up", Face is unenthusiastic about Hannibal going after the part of Ruff the Bear, saying he'll look silly. When Murdock says that characters like Ruff can command $25,000 for a single appearance, Face changes his mind.
  • There was an episode of Blossom in which Joey's girlfriend idolized him so much that she agreed with everything he said, and had no will of her own other than to please him.
  • Doctor Who: In "New Earth", the Doctor does a mild version of this while trying to reason with Lady Cassandra. When he's attempting to talk her out of Rose's body (and thus to her inevitable death), he insists that there's no other way and her time is over. When she instead takes her servant Chip as a host (which the Doctor can't forbid as he's a willing volunteer), the Doctor quickly relents and offers to keep Cassandra alive on a skin graft if she leaves Chip's body.
  • The Fast Show had a recurring sketch about three friends, two of whom disagreed about nearly everything, while the third tried to agree with both of them at the same time. This usually resulted in him agreeing with whoever spoke last, and then contradicting himself after the other friend replied. Eventually they'd get annoyed and start deliberately laying traps for him.
  • On Hogan's Heroes, this was pretty much stock-in-trade for Colonel Klink, who was always trying to agree with his superiors.
  • House of the Dragon: When Daemon Targaryen suggests he and Mysaria have a baby.
    Daemon: Well, perhaps when we are wed we could make that [story about you being pregnant] true?
    Mysaria: I ensured long ago that I would never be threatened by childbirth.
    Daemon: Good. Children can be such irritating creatures.
  • On Made in Canada, this tactic is frequently employed by the employees of Pyramid Productions when dealing with empty-headed CEO Alan Roy. They have nothing but praise for his ideas to his face, and in several episodes, a character dismissing an idea as worthless will have an immediate change of heart when told that the idea is Alan's.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus employed this trope hilariously in episode six. Twentieth-Century Vole. It gets even funnier when the CEO begins playing games with the gathering of yes-men around the table, leading to exchanges like:
    CEO: Get out!
    Fifth yes-man: Huh?
    CEO: If there's one thing I can't stand, it's a yes-man! Get out! [Fifth yes-man leaves very quickly, with the CEO yelling after him] I'll see you never work again! [to sixth yes-man] ...What do you think?
    Sixth yes-man: What? I—
    CEO: Just because I have an idea doesn't mean it's great. It could be lousy.
    Sixth yes-man: It could?
    CEO: Yeah. What d'ya think?
    Sixth yes-man:'s lousy.
    CEO: There you are, you see, he spoke his mind. He said my idea was lousy. It just so happens my idea isn't lousy so get out you goddamn pinko subversive, get out! [sixth yes-man leaves; he turns toward the fourth yes-man] You...
    Fourth yes-man: Well, I...I think it's an excellent idea.
    CEO: Are you a yes-man?
    Fourth yes-man: No, no, no, I mean, there may be things against it...
    Fourth yes-man: Yo! Nes! Perhaps! [rushes out]
  • This was practically Andy Bernard's job during Season 3 of The Office (US).
  • In Shaun Micallef's Mad as Hell, Leo Hatred is consulted when Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been accused of backflipping on a policy.
    Shaun: He changes his mind and switches policy an awful lot.
    Leo: No, he doesn't.
    Shaun: Well, it certainly looks like he does.
    Leo: Well, yes he does.
    Shaun: You just said he didn't.
    Leo: Well, circumstances change, Shaun. You have to adapt. Initially I thought denying it would work, and I'm happy to wear that criticism. But then I saw that you weren't going to just roll over, so I thought it best to concede the point. And that's what Australians want. And that's what I'm doing, and that's what Scott's doing, and that's what he's gonna continue to do.
    Shaun: Yeah, but in the leadup to an election, how are we supposed to trust any policy announcement he makes if he's gonna keep reversing it?
    Leo: Well, I don't accept that he's done that.
    Shaun: But you just did!
    Leo: That's no longer my view.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place: In "Beware Wolf", Justin becomes a werewolf and tries to convince himself that he enjoys it to please his wolf girlfriend Isabella.
    Justin: What is that smell?
    Alex: It's you dude.
    Isabella: It comes with the fur.
    Justin: Oh. Well then, I like it. I love having fur.
  • Sir Humphrey in Yes, Minister frequently does this as part of his latest attempt to flatter Hacker into doing his bidding:
    Humphrey: No man in his right mind could possibly contemplate such a proposal.
    Hacker: I'm contemplating it.
    Humphrey: Yes of course, Prime Minister, please, don't misunderstand me, it is quite right of course that you should contemplate all proposals that come from your government, but no sane man would ever support it.
    Hacker: I'm supporting it.
    Humphrey: And quite right, too.
    • Not that Hacker is so above it all. In "A Diplomatic Incident" he's slanging off a former Prime Minister, only to start singing his praises on receiving news that the former PM just died of a heart attack.
    • In this clip, Sir Humphrey demonstrates how leading questions can be used to have Bernard Wooley both for and against the reintroduction of national service.

  • Musical example: Brad Paisley's "Me neither". A man approaches a woman in a bar, asks if she believes in love at first sight, then thoroughly agrees when she shoots him down. The theme continues throughout the song - words don't do it justice.
  • On The Doors' live album, there's an exchange that runs something like this:
    Jim Morrison: I don't know if any of you people believe in astrology...
    Idiot: I do!
    JM: I am of course a Sagittarius, the most philosophical of all the signs...
    I: I know, so am I!
    JM: Anyway, I don't believe in it; I think it's a bunch of bullshit, myself.
    I: Me too!

    Puppet Shows 
  • Fraggle Rock's Wembley, to the point where he'll do this to multiple characters at the same time, even if his statements contradict things he said moments before.
    • It's such a major part of his character that in the Fraggle lexicon, "wembling" is the term for doing this, which is where he got his name.

  • I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue
    • A game called 'Critic's Forum (or against 'em)', which asks the contestants to do this. They give a review to a play/film/tv programme and must flip opinions whenever the buzzer is sounded.
      Barry: His performance makes me feel at home, like I'm one of the family *buzz* but then I've never liked my family...
    • A variant in In Search of Mornington Crescent, in which one member of the Rules Committee, played by Barry, clearly couldn't care less how the diagonal is defined and will say "Nothing wrong with that" to any definition provided. The reason it's not quite a straight example is that he doesn't care if the person giving the definition is actually arguing against it.
      Graeme: It's an absolute travesty.
      Barry: Nothing wrong with that, either!

  • Hamlet:
    • Polonius does this all the time, especially while attempting to humor the prince, who is pretending to be insane, with the following being a standard example. Hamlet shamelessly encourages/Trolls him.
      Hamlet: Do you see yonder cloud that's almost in shape of a camel?
      Polonius: By the mass, and 'tis like a camel, indeed.
      Hamlet: Methinks it is like a weasel.
      Polonius: It is backed like a weasel.
      Hamlet: Or like a whale?
      Polonius: Very like a whale.
    • Done again later with the minor character Osric.
      Hamlet: Put your bonnet to his right use: 'tis for the head.
      Osric: I thank your lordship; it is very hot.
      Hamlet: No, believe me, 'tis very cold; the wind is northerly.
      Osric: It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed.
      Hamlet: But yet methinks it is very sultry and hot for my complexion.
      Osric: Exceedingly, my lord; it is very sultry, as 'twere—I cannot tell how.
  • The Pirates of Penzance does this, to parody the way that a chorus will typically simply repeat the things said by the leads.
    Mabel: Young Frederic was to have led you to death and glory.
    Police (chanting in monotone): That is not a pleasant way of putting it.
    Mabel: No matter; he will not so lead you, for he has allied himself once more with his old associates.
    Police: He has acted shamefully!
    Mabel: You speak falsely. You know nothing about it. He has acted nobly.
    Police: He has acted nobly!
  • The Taming of the Shrew: As part of the "taming", Petruchio forces Kate to be like this with him. This can appear to be dark and disturbing... or hilarious.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. Billy starts complaining about how boring laundry is; Penny talks about how much she likes it; he claims he was kidding. He proceeds in similar vein during the rest of the conversation, even going to so far as to buy her frozen yogurt but pretend it was an accident to avoid revealing that he's been stalking her.
    Billy: All those months, doing a stunningly boring chore.
    Penny: I'm a fan of laundry.
    Billy: ... Psych! I love it!
    Penny: The smell of fabric softener... the feel of warm clothes in your hand...
    Billy: So good.
  • In Dragon Ball Z Abridged Yajirobe, on realizing his first attack didn't kill Vegeta, tries to delay the ensuing beatdown with one of these.
    Vegeta: You... you cut through my armor! This was a gift from my FATHER!
    Yajirobe: I’m sorry, I'm sure your father was a great man!
    Vegeta: I HATED my father!
    Yajirobe: Oh, well then I'm sure your father was a total prick.
    Vegeta: How dare you talk about my father like that!
  • Cid Highwind in Final Fantasy VII: Machinabridged is a man with broken dreams who offers every kind of encouragement he can for others so they won't wallow in self-pity like he did. Then this happens when Cloud describes his earliest interactions with Sephiroth:
    Cloud: Well, becoming a 1st Class SOLDIER was a dream come true...
    Cid: Well alright, boy!
    Cloud: ...and then I got to work alongside my hero...
    Cid: That's awesome!
    Cloud: ...and then he destroyed my village.
    Cid: F**k that guy!
  • The Salvation War's first book, Armageddon?, gives us this bit of dialogue between George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin, after one of the demonic generals surrenders and requests asylum:
    Bush: Vladimir, this is Dubya. I have urgent news. General Abigor has just surrendered and defected.
    Putin: That filthy Vlasovite bastard.
    Bush: Sorry, Vladimir, you misunderstand, he's a baldrick, he's defecting to us.
    Putin: What I meant to say of course was that he is a heroic champion of freedom and liberty who has overcome his corrupt upbringing so that he can rally to the side of truth honor and justice.
    Bush: That's right Vladimir, he's a filthy Vlasovite bastard, but he's our filthy Vlasovite bastard.
  • This blog post implies that most respondents to blogs are like this.

    Western Animation 
  • Done in The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius whenever Jimmy is around his crush, Betty Quinlin.
    Jimmy: Magic...what a bunch of nonsense.
    Betty: I love magic.
    Jimmy: Me too. I've been doing it for years.
  • There was an episode of Arthur where Buster started agreeing with both sides of an ongoing argument. When Francine called him out on it, he said "I'm good at having opinions... I'm just not good at keeping them."
  • In the Bob's Burgers episode "Art Crawl", Bob doesn't want Gayle's painting of animal butts to be put on display in his restaurant, but he starts venomously supporting them after the local Art Council protests against them (mostly because he despises their president Edith).
  • Family Guy features this in one scene where Peter — having become president of his company — gets entitled to his own "corporate suck-up."
    Yes-Man: Good morning, Mr. Griffin. Nice day.
    Peter: Eh, it's a little cloudy.
    Yes-Man: It's absolutely cloudy, one of the worst days I've seen in years! So, good news about the Yankees.
    Peter: I hate the Yankees.
    Yes-Man: Pack of cheaters, that's what they are! I love your tie!
    Peter: I hate this tie.
    Yes-man: It's awful, it's gaudy, it's gotta go.
    Peter: ...And I hate myself.
    Yes-Man: I hate you too, you make me sick, you fat sack of crap!
    Peter: But I'm the president.
    Yes-Man: The best there is!
    Peter: But you just said you hated me.
    Yes-Man: But... not you the... president, the you who said you hated you, you who love hate Yankees, clouds... (the robotic yes-man explodes)
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "Best Gift Ever", Rainbow Dash goes to Discord for advice on getting a present for Fluttershy. He tricks her into antagonizing a monster which almost destroys the castle, and Fluttershy has to calm it down. Discord says that was his gift to Fluttershy. Just as Rainbow Dash is starting to tear into him, Discord points out that Fluttershy is enjoying her new animal friend, and is still in the winter garb Discord gave her. Rainbow Dash then says the gift was from both of them.
  • Pöysti occasionally inverts this trope in Pasila; if someone agrees with him, he might state the exact opposite of his previous argument.
  • In The Simpsons, Milhouse is like this all the time, especially when trying to flirt.
    • In episode "Bart's Friend Falls in Love"
      Milhouse: Uh... That's a nice dress.
      Samantha: My Dad makes me wear it. I hate it.
      Milhouse: Uh, I hate it, too!
    • In another episode, he tells Lisa that going back to school sucks; then Lisa replies that she liked school, only for Milhouse to say that he likes school too.
    • While it can arguably be considered more a combination Negative Continuity and her repeated portrayal of being the Only Sane Man but Lisa has repeatedly flip flopped on her views. She will call the other kids out for trying to grow up too fast, then admonish them for acting like kids when there are so many problems in the world. She's even gone so far as to pretend to be a college student.
  • In the Tom and Jerry short Life with Tom, Tom discovers that Jerry had written a book about their escapades, which makes him a laughingstock. Tom is incensed...until he finds out that Jerry arranged for him to receive half the book's royalties, at which he begins enjoying the book.

    Real Life 
  • There is a story about Nasreddin abruptly changing his mind about some vegetables along with the king. When the king called him on that, Nasreddin merely stated "The vegetables are not the ones paying me a salary."
  • Politicians in democratic societies universally do this to curry favor with the public, their base, or campaign benefactors. Popularized in Memetic Mutation by John Kerry's famous "I was for the $87 billion [defense appropriations bill] before I was against it." It's almost impossible to find a politician who hasn't done this multiple times.
  • This occurred in record time in an interview on Sky News with Australian Liberal minister Linda Reynolds:
    David Speers: Do you agree with the sentiment that flexibility in wages, and keeping wages at a relatively modest level, is a deliberate feature of our economic architecture to actually drive jobs growth?"
    Reynolds: No I don't. No, absolutely not. And for Bill Shorten to even suggest that, I think, shows a fundamental lack of understanding about economics.
    Speers: Well I'm actually quoting Mathias Cormann, the finance minister, here. Your colleague. He says that wage flexibility is "a deliberate feature of our economic architecture".
    Reynolds: He's absolutely right. But again my point is though, is for Bill Shorten, if you want wages growth, you need to have a strong economy and you need to have a growing economy.
  • There is an Urban Legend that Catherine the Great once boasted that she had managed to achieve equal responsibility of all her subjects before the law. So Aleksandr Naryshkin, a man well known for his sharp tongue, dressed up in an old coat taken from one of his stokers and started an argument with a fowl seller over prices.note  A policeman came over and took the trader's side, even threatening to arrest Naryshkin... until the man "accidentally" opened his coat, revealing a Chest of Medals beneath it. Of course the policeman started threatening the trader instead that very second... Naryshkin paid well over the price to the trader and later made a one-person-show about it before the empress. Everyone laughed except for her.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Like A Weasel


Talking about sharks

Annoyed that Elizabeth prefers Scott to himself, Russell demonstrates how shallow Scott is with a conversation that reveals how his opinions are written on water; his point having been made, Russell moves on.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / OpinionFlipFlop

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