Follow TV Tropes


Ordered Apology

Go To

When Jack insists that Tom apologize to Harry.

This trope comes in two forms, based on where he gets the ability to insist:

  1. Jack is The Leader, parent or other authority figure and insists on it to smooth over relations. (Justly or unjustly. A Beleaguered Bureaucrat or a Corrupt Corporate Executive frequently insist on it because it seems the quickest way to make a problem go away. Similarly, a parent or teacher who doesn't want to go to the trouble of figuring out who is actually at fault might order an unwarranted apology as well.) Another variation is a Mean Boss forcing an underling to take the blame for the boss's mistakes.
  2. Tom is deeply apologetic to Jack, even though Harry was far more gravely wronged by the matter. Usually Jack refuses to accept his apology until he does it. This is often Jill insisting that Tom apologize to Jack when they are in a Love Triangle.

In both cases, expect a deeply grudging apology that will manage to keep things going for at least a little while — with Teeth-Clenched Teamwork. Jack may put his foot down on a Backhanded Apology. Then again, he may not. The Unapologetic character will usually defy this trope, showing that s/he isn't sorry for his/her actions. Though rare, a Rejected Apology can come from this. You may be forced into this if you're Made Out to Be a Jerkass.



    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Toward the end of Another, Akazawa, the girl in charge of taking "countermeasures" against the curse, does this to Misaki, the student everyone was supposed to ignore in order to keep the curse at bay. Akazawa says that because Misaki failed to keep adequate distance from Sakakibara, the "charm" against the curse failed, resulting in people dying, and Akazawa is furious that Misaki seemingly shows no remorse. In reality, the deaths actually started in April, before Sakakibara arrived, so Misaki isn't to blame at all. Misaki's friends- Sakakibara, Mochizuki and Teshigawara- immediately stand up and protest Akazawa scapegoating Misaki. Misaki notes that an apology won't do much good at this point, but complies.
  • In Bleach, Ichigo's sisters and friends demand that he apologize to their cousin/friend Tsukishima after he punches him. The messed up thing? Tsukishima's the villain of the arc. They only think he's their friend after he messed with their memories.
  • In K, HOMRA's Team Mom Kusanagi makes Misaki and Rikio apologize to his bar - specially imported from a pub in England, it cost him a fortune, the scent of ale and cigarettes and the chatter of drunken patrons forever soaked into this fine piece of history - which the boys crashed into and dented when they charged in fighting.
  • My Bride is a Mermaid: In one episode, Gōzaburō tries to have Nagasumi killed at the Obon festival by having Shark Fujishiro eat him. When Sun connects the dots, she demands that Gōzaburō apologize for Nagasumi, outright stating that she "can't respect a father who won't even act like a man." Gōzaburō refuses, and swears that Nagasumi will be "shark shit" next time before storming off.
  • Done indirectly in One Piece: In the aftermath of the Enies Lobby arc, Luffy learns that Usopp, who had previously left the crew following an argument, wants to come back. Before he can go bring him back, Zoro stops him, stating that they should only accept Usopp back into the crew if he apologizes for his insubordination towards Luffy. His reasoning is that a captain who Easily Forgives disobedience and leaving the crew on a whim as Usopp did is unworthy of respect and, should that continue, he would leave the crew next. Though harsh, the others acknowledge Zoro's point and make no attempt to reconcile with Usopp. It's not until the crew has very nearly left Water Seven without him that Usopp finally swallows his pride and apologizes. Immediately after he does, Luffy gets Usopp aboard their new ship and they sail off together.
  • In one of the later Pokémon Orange Island episodes, Ash asks the Character of the Day a rather Innocently Insensitive question. Misty angrily snaps at him to apologize, but the Character of the Day jovially tells her that there's no need to apologize.

    Comic Books 
  • In The Powerpuff Girls story "Monkey Business", Mojo Jojo gives up his life of crime and opens a restaurant that everyone loves. The girls aren't totally sold as they constantly disrupt things with unfounded claims of harm against the citizens. Mojo demands a printed apology each time to which the girls resignedly agree. When the girls actually taste Mojo's wares and find it delicious:
    Mojo: [angrily] And do you taste any poison?? Are you dying?? Have I finally managed to bring down the Powerpuff Girls??
    Girls: [ashamed] No.
    Mojo: I expect a full apology in the paper tomorrow morning!

    Fan Works 
  • Advice and Trust: Gendo fired Shinji and Asuka for so-called insubordination, and alleged the dummy plug automatic system would suffice to control their war mechas. However, the drones failed and Shinji and Asuka came along to save everybody. SEELE ordered Gendo reinstating them in service and apologizing. And Gendo did so... using the most token, most backhanded, most insincere apology in existence.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide: In chapter 9, Misato orders Asuka to apologize to Keiko for hurting her during a combat simulation. Asuka doesn't want to apologize, though, because she hadn't outright tried to hurt her teammate and sees Keiko is as nothing but an untrained and clumsy child who shouldn't be a pilot anyway. So she refuses to apologize and instead attempts to scare her out of continuing as a pilot by telling her about all the horrible things that can happen on the battlefield against Angels, believing it to be for Keiko's own good.
  • RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse: After some unpleasantness between them, Viceroy Night Light is ordered to apologise to Trixie by Princess Luna. He delivers a not-remotely-heartfelt apology, and Trixie (whose career Night Light had threatened to ruin out of parental spite) tells him to get lost. Fortunately for both sides, Ditzy intervenes, calls them out on their behaviour and makes them really apologise.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Face/Off, Sean Archer's daughter is parked in a car with her boyfriend. He starts getting a little rough, and Sean (actually his enemy Castor Troy wearing his face) intervenes. After beating him up, he makes him apologize.
    Castor: Say you're sorry.
    Guy: I'm sorry!
    Castor: Say it again.
    Guy: I'm sorry!
    Castor: Mean it.
    Guy: I'm so sorry!
  • Wanda (the woman, not the fish) in A Fish Called Wanda demands that Otto apologize to Archie for assaulting him. This is while they're technically on the same side. He refuses to listen. Well, to be precise Otto does go to apologize — but Archie is too busy trying to escape from this nutter he eventually loses patience, draws a gun and forces Archie to listen to his "apology".
  • The Mission: Rodrigo is ordered to deliver an apology to Governor Cabeza by his Jesuit brothers after publicly calling him out on his lies. He does so, but it's executed with such over-the-top humility that it's clear Rodrigo is just taking the piss. Cabeza grudgingly accepts the "apology".
  • Popeye uses this trope as an extended build-up to Popeye's first brawl. A bunch of waterfront toughs overhear his Infodump to Wimpy and begin mocking him. When he can no longer ignore it, Popeye demands an "apologiky". The thugs oblige by coercing everyone else in the place to apologize one by one — everyone who didn't see a fight was brewing and flee, that is.
  • Just after the climax of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, General Korrd makes Captain Klaa apologize to Kirk for attacking the Enterprise.
    Korrd: Kirk, my junior officer has something he wants to say to you. [turns to Klaa and shouts the Klingon equivalent of "Get on with it!"]
    Klaa: [sheepishly] I... apologize.
    [Kirk looks absolutely stunned]
    Korrd: [adds the Klingon equivalent of "And...?"]
    Klaa: [still sheepish] The attack upon your vessel was not authorized by my government.

  • In L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables, town busybody Mrs. Lynde comments on Anne's red hair, which leads to Anne flinging all sorts of insults in her face. Marilla is horrified and orders her to apologize. Anne then presents Mrs. Lynde with one of the most melodramatic apologies ever thought up.
  • In Bearhead, after Bearhead messes up Madame Hexaba's order to clear away the table, she orders him to apologize, which he does. She isn't satisfied and demands he kiss her feet, which goes poorly.
  • In L. M. Montgomery's The Blue Castle's Back Story Valancy was ordered to apologize once to her cousin for something she didn't do. When Valancy is rude to her during the course of the book, her mother tries again, and Valancy says that that apology would have to do.
  • Discworld: In Jingo, Carrot uses his sheer force of personality to make a Morporkian soldier and a Klatchian bandit apologise for calling the other a greasy dishcloth-head and a brother of a pig. Vimes and Ahmed then discuss how improbable the scene would otherwise be because the men are tough and nasty normally.
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire:
  • In Ramona the Brave, after Ramona destroys Susan's paper-bag owl at school (because it was copied from her own), teacher Mrs. Griggs brings her to the front of the room and makes her apologize in front of the whole class.
  • In The Vor Game, while regaining control of the Dendarii Free Mercenaries, Miles Vorkosigan meets a demand that Tung apologize to another officer. Miles insists on it, and then insists on doing it for real after a Backhanded Apology.
  • Mentioned but defied in Wraith Squadron: Wedge doesn't intend to order Tyria to apologize to Grinder for pummeling him in a fit of rage, because he (Wedge) feels that it would be insincere and pointless. What he wants to know is if she will apologize to him on her own.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On Babylon 5, Sheridan is ordered for political reasons to apologize to the Centauri for defending the station against a Centauri attack. In the privacy of his quarters he gives a truly epic Backhanded Apology in a Mirror Monologue which unfortunately is not what he can afford to say. When he's on his way to give the real apology however, circumstances intervene with an Assassination Attempt.
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • Leonard and Penny have an argument, and Sheldon tries to get each of them to apologize to the other because their fight is disrupting his life. He doesn't really care who apologizes to whom, he just wants the fight to stop.
    • In another episode Penny tells Sheldon to apologize to Leonard for something, but he feels he has nothing to apologize for because he's right. She suggests that he apologize "sarcastically"; since he doesn't do sarcasm well it comes off like a regular apology.
    • When Penny finally chews Howard out for his lechery, he has an emotional breakdown and locks himself in his room. The A Plot of that episode focuses on the rest of the guys needing to amp up their robot, for which they need Howard, the engineer. Leonard forces Penny to apologize to Howard, though he comes around too late to fix the robot.
  • The Boys
    • An Invoked Trope in the first episode when Billy Butcher tells Hughie Campbell to insist that A-Train apologise in person before he signs the compensation deal for A-Train accidentally killing Hughie's girlfriend, because it will give them a chance to plant a bug in the Seven's headquarters. The Vought International lawyer refuses at first, but Butcher knows they'll force A-Train to play along.
    • After Starlight publicly reveals she was coerced by Deep into having sex with him, Deep makes a televised apology that's the usual Vought whitewash; he claims that he mistakenly assumed their sex with consensual, rather than Deep threatening to accuse Starlight of attacking him if she didn't have sex with him. However it marks the end of Deep's career as Vought has him Reassigned to Antarctica.
  • One memorable moment from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air came from this. After Will confesses to Uncle Phill that the pills Carlton took were his, Uncle Phil forces Will to come clean and apologize to the family. Will is only reluctant to do so because he’s on the verge of tears. However he does so anyway in one heart tugging scene.
  • In the Halloween Episode of Grimm Monroe catches a group of bullies stealing a little girl's candy. He tells their leader to give it back and the leader responds with "Make me." Monroe then responds by grabbing the kid by the ear and doesn't let go until he gives the candy back and apologizes.
  • In House, Cuddy nagged House incessantly to apologize to a patient. (She'd actually seen Foreman over a cancer scare and he'd been wearing House's nametag at the time.) House finally "accidentally" stepped on the patient's foot with his cane and acted embarrassed and apologetic about that. Cuddy didn't see the "step on the patient's foot" part and assumed House's "I'm so sorry" was the apology she ordered.
  • In the infamous iCarly episode "iFred", after a whole episode of being ostracized and beaten up because of his opinion over not thinking Fred was funny, Freddie is dragged over to Fred's house and ordered to apologize by Carly and Sam. Even afterwards, when Fred reveals that he only pretended to take offense as a publicity stunt, Freddie is still tormented, with Sam shoving him out of Fred's treehouse.
  • Judge John Deed: The judge frequently makes people apologise for contempt of court, and takes pleasure in jailing those who refuse to do so, including barristers and court staff. In particular, he does this to one of his enemies Laurence James, and makes him apologise for stealing papers, while standing in the dock in the courtroom.
    Judge John Deed: [fully robed] What have you got to say for yourself?
    Mr James: We are very sorry for our contempt.
    Judge John Deed: It's not we who are in contempt, it's you. However, I'll accept your apology.
    Mr James: We do require the papers.
    Judge John Deed: I'm not convinced you're sincere in your apology. Perhaps a night in the local remand prison would make you more contrite.
    Mr James: [hastily] My Lord, we are utterly, totally, absolutely, irrefutably sincere in our apology. Any offence we caused is wholly wrong, and we are sorry for it.
    Judge John Deed: If that's your last word, you can go. Mrs Cooper has been kind enough to photocopy the papers.
  • Peaky Blinders:
    • Tommy openly accuses sadistic Father Hughes of passing information to Soviet spies, and in retaliation, Hughes unleashes a savage beat-down on Tommy and threatens his family. Tommy, having no choice but to temporarily toe the line, is forced to give a grovelling public apology wherein Hughes literally makes him recite the Catholic Act of Contrition with Hughes' own name in place of God's.
    • Although it wasn't explicitly stated, Alfie Solomons' apology to Arthur for getting him wrongfully imprisoned was almost definitely insisted upon by Tommy as one of the conditions for choosing to trust him again. The way Alfie looked at Tommy afterwards for approval heavily implied it.
  • Power Rangers: In Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, when Goldar finally learns that Rita used a love potion to make Lord Zedd marry her, he orders Finster to make an antidote. By the time Goldar uses the antidote on Zedd and denounces Rita to him, Zedd had already developed real feelings for Rita and doesn't believe Goldar, who is then ordered by Zedd to apologize. Goldar begrudgingly does as ordered and the issue is never brought up again.
  • This is the focus of Sports Night's "The Apology". Dan gives a magazine interview in which he says marijuana should be legalized—on the grounds that drugs should be a health care rather than a criminal issue, but this is not how it comes off—and is ordered to apologize on air. The apology he ends up giving is to his brother, who's been dead for eleven years after getting into a car accident while high, due, Dan believes, to his own bad influence.
  • In the second episode of Star Trek: Voyager, B'Elanna Torres breaks the nose of Lieutenant Carey, exasperating the relations between the Starfeet crew and the newly-joined renegade Maquis. Chakotay orders her to not only apologise, but to sit down and have a drink with the man and put some serious effort into bonding with him.
  • The West Wing:
    • Played with in the pilot episode; after making a rude comment to a religious right figurehead about the lack of intelligence of her and her followers on national television, Josh is basically ordered to apologise to her by everyone he comes into contact with that day, and reluctantly agrees to do so despite feeling he was right and justified. After his apology, however, the woman's arrogance starts rubbing Toby up the wrong way until she makes a rather snide comment he interprets to be anti-semitic, at which point he starts getting into it with her, and the meeting quickly breaks down until the President basically shows up rather awesomely, reveals that his granddaughter has been targeted by pro-life extremists, and then tells the religious right representatives in no uncertain terms that there'll be no apology from the White House and, until they denounce the extremists within their ranks, they can pretty much get stuffed.
    • In the final season, Josh (who is heading up the Santos for President campaign) is pushed into a room where Donna (who worked for one of Santos' opponents in the primaries) is waiting.
      Lou: I don't know what the problem is between you two, but she's great on television and I don't care if she worked for Francisco Franco in the primary. Right now it's all hands on deck, so work it out.

    Video Games 
  • Bug Fables: When Vi finally returns to the Bee Kingdom, revealing that she was the one who was rude to other bees in the Hive (especially to her own sister) instead of the other way around as her friends (and the player) were led to believe, Leif and Kabbu insist that she must make amends with her sister. Initially, Vi refuses to do so, believing that she doesn't owe her sister any apologies, 'cause she was mean to her too, but later, she agrees to apologize when Leif and Kabbu point out that one day she may never be able to.
  • Jedi Academy: Downplayed and then downplayed and inverted near the beginning. Kyle Katarn makes both Jaden Korr and Rosh Penin go through a training course. Rosh figures he can "win" by slowing Jaden down by setting a lightsaber training droid to attack him. Afterwards Kyle admonishes him and doesn't quite order an apology but shames Rosh into giving one. Jaden is disinclined to accept the apology, but Kyle persuades him/her (again, not quite orders) to do so anyway, making it an inversion as well.
  • Implied in The Last of Us Part II, when bartender Seth apologizes to Ellie for the homophobic slur he threw her way the night before. He only does so upon being prodded by the town's Iron Lady of a mayor, it doesn't sound particularly sincere, and the still-pissed off Ellie predictably refuses to accept it.
  • Mass Effect 3: After Grunt causes a drunken ruckus on the Presidium and gets detained by C-Sec, Shepard is summoned to sort things out and has the option of invoking one of these.
    Shepard: Grunt, you apologize to the nice man for setting his car on fire.
    Grunt: Fine. I'm sorry for setting your car on fire...
    [Shepard gives Grunt a look, as if telling him "Go on..."]
    Grunt: ... and I won't do it again.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Steins;Gate 0, after finding out that Daru and Maho rebuilt the time-leap machine, Okabe goes into an angry outburst (though they were planning on telling him about it) at both of them. He's especially harsher towards Maho, going so far to tell her that she'll become a murderer if she uses the machine, which pisses Daru enough to punch Okabe in the face and demand that he apologize to Maho.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • An Abbott & Costello cartoon had the boys as wood choppers. Lou says something to insult their foreman so Bud tells Lou to say he's sorry to him.
    Costello: You're the boss, and am I sorry!
  • In an episode of Allen Gregory, Allen Gregory found his biological mother and thought she was great until she made him apologize to his teacher.
  • Arthur:
    • In the episode "Arthur's Big Hit," Arthur is furious that D.W. kept messing with his model plane despite him repeatedly telling her not to touch it, especially since she ended up destroying it ,and furiously punches her. Arthur's parents demand that he apologize to his sister, but he refuses to do so and gets grounded from TV for a week as a result; he does apologize when Binky, under peer pressure from the Tough Customers, punches him.
    • In "So Funny I Forgot to Laugh", Mr. Ratburn chides Arthur for constant mockery of Sue Ellen's new sweater, saying that is bullying, and makes him write an apology letter to give her the next day. Arthur, believing everyone's blowing the issue way out of proportion, ends up writing backhanded apology letter.
  • During a dinner get together on The Boondocks Riley tells Sarah Dubois that her peach cobbler looks like vomit with peas in it. Grandad orders him to apologize and Riley, being Riley, tells her he's sorry her peach cobbler looks like vomit with peas in it.
  • On an episode of The Cleveland Show, Rallo is forced to give one by Donna after he plays a practical joke on Junior in retaliation for having his dessert taken from him resulting in Junior missing a weekend retreat and being suspended from the Freedom Scouts: however, it backfires when Rallo hands out a string of half-assed apologies.
  • In one episode of Ed, Edd n Eddy, Eddy inadvertently disgraces Rolf's honor by throwing a sea cucumber ball. Double-D then makes Eddy give Rolf a potted plant as a way to apologize. Unfortunately, in Rolf's country, it's seen as the Potted Shrub of Ridicule and Eddy ends up getting challenged to a duel by an angry Rolf. Nice job, Double D.
  • Coco from Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends has demanded apologies on several occasions:
    • In the episode, "Crime After Crime", she holds Mr. Herriman's carrot stash in exchange for a written apology from him for falsely sending her to her room without supper.
    • In the episode, "Cuckoo for Coco Cards", she demands an apology from Bloo for stealing the attention from her. She gives him a pen, an apology card, and a self-addressed envelope. Bloo refuses to apologize to her and tries to collect all the trading cards of the Imaginary Friends without her help, until he finds out what his status is on his card: Big Insensitive Jerkface.
  • The Powerpuff Girls: In "Paste Makes Waste", Buttercup makes fun of classmate Elmer for eating paste and throws a wad of it at his face. A furious Miss Keane orders her to apologize to him, but she Cannot Spit It Out and instead says "You should have ducked". Buttercup finally does when Elmer mutates into a giant paste monster and she literally has no choice but to apologize in order to subdue him.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Squidward steals SpongeBob's diary and reads it to everyone in the Krusty Krab, leading to SpongeBob running out of the Krusty Krab crying and everyone else to shun Squidward for doing so. Mr. Krabsnote  demands that Squidward apologize to SpongeBob, but Squidward refuses, saying SpongeBob will get over it.
  • Thomas & Friends:
    • In "Twin Trouble", Donald demands an apology from Douglas when he accuses him of pushing him into Trevor's hay cart. Douglas refuses, and blames Donald for pulling him. Fortunately, the two do apologize to each other after Douglas rescues Donald when the latter falls into a ditch at the end of the episode.
    • In "Thomas, Emily, and the Snowplough", when Emily comes to rescue Thomas from a snowdrift, Thomas demands that Emily apologize to him for her bossy attitude. What he gets from her is a Backhanded Apology for not listening to her when she told him to wear his snowplow.
    • An implied version occurs at the end of "Signals Crossed". After James pushes Toby and Henrietta past a red signal, nearly causing them to crash into Gordon, Henrietta glares at James when it is discovered that Toby was right about his signal being red. James then apologizes to both Toby and Henrietta.
    • At the end of "No Steam Without Coal", Marion orders Bill and Ben to thank Timothy for delivering their coal during a coal shortage, then she orders them to apologize to him for how badly they treated him just because he runs on oil instead of coal.

    Real Life 
  • A number of parents with at least two kids (or even just one); especially the more temperamental ones, and probably a number of elementary school teachers as well.note 
  • More of a downplayed trope with a job, a boss can just as easily fire you as accept an apology from you; though if you catch them in a merciful mood it's best to act on that mercy and apologize if you want to keep your job. This mindset is especially strict in a military setting as a soldier that misbehaves one too many times will be court martialed, and God help you if you happen to be in politics and you get caught in a scandal.
  • General George S. Patton slapped two soldiers that were suffering Shellshock (thinking them to be cowards), even brandishing his pistol at one of them. Eisenhower opted to order Patton to apologize (both privately and publicly) for the incident in lieu of a formal investigation or reprimand.
  • Television regulators in the United Kingdom will often require broadcasters to broadcast apologies should they put out something that's defamatory, harmful or grossly misleading, apologies which tend to be shown in sombre and serious contexts rather than cheerfully like normal continuity announcements would be.
    • Channel 4 was ordered to broadcast an apology to a fire prevention officer from Bolton called Keith Laird, after Phoenix Nights depicted a fire prevention officer from Bolton called Keith Lard... who happened to have a penchant for bestiality. It appears after the episode in question on the DVD release of the show also.
    • The makers of Brass Eye were required to show a slide after the "Drugs" episode on its DVD release following a complaint to the then-ITC, advising that the MP David Amess (who had been tricked into not only filming a campaign video against an imaginary drug called "cake", but also asking a question about it in Parliament) was completely against the taking of illegal drugs.
    • Less seriously, presenters of live programmes are expected to immediately and fulsomely apologise should someone swear or say something else that's similarly offensive or defamatory. Shaun Ryder, the lead singer of the Happy Mondays, infamously ran so far afoul of this on an episode of TFI Friday that Channel 4's manual for producers carried the specific warning that "the Channel 4 Board has undertaken to the ITC that Shaun Ryder will not appear live on Channel 4", so becoming the only person specifically named as a compliance risk.


Video Example(s):


Rallo Apologizes to Junior

Donna demands Rallo to apololgize to Junior for having him suspended from Freedom Scouts

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / OrderedApology

Media sources:

Main / OrderedApology