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Poorly Timed Confession

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One of the side characters learn something important pertaining to the Hero's Quest - but the Hero is too busy saving the world and what not to hear them out. So after what seems like an eternity of Plot Derailment, Side Quests, and other "unimportant" things, the character decides it's now or never and blurts out what they learned to the hero.

Too bad they do it while the Hero's in the middle of a Heroic BSoD.

Behold the Poorly Timed Confession - when a character decides to make a startling reveal at a time where they should just keep their mouth shut or do it later. It may be important to the plot, or the character is sick and tired of having their issues pushed aside, but when they do it, it's usually just as the hero emerges from a Trauma Conga Line.

It could happen anytime - right after the Hero suffers a rather painful defeat by the villain of the week; when their Love Interest dies or is kidnapped with him helpless to do anything; While they're busy recovering from a Heroic BSoD; or even just moments after he receives a rather shocking reveal that leaves him questioning his very existence - when the character is suffering from trauma and just feeling plain bad about themselves, it's obviously the perfect time to tell them something that will just add salt to already stinging wounds.

It can be a secret the characters weren't supposed to learn about yet, a Love Confession, or it may be the character confiding in something the Hero (in their current state of mind) finds heart breaking or morally reprehensible. Heck, they might even be revealing they were working for the bad guys all along - just so long as they do it at a bad moment.

The Hero can respond in many ways - they could get upset and take out the stress they're feeling on the confessor, they could be shocked and the confession ends up adding to the drama they're dealing with, or they could try to deal with it and cause a huge misunderstanding and even lead to a Kick the Dog Moment, they may even not react at all or get even more depressed, but it usually ends up making things worse. How it's handled all depends on the writer, and can end up inciting a What the Hell, Hero? from the audience and possibly a few characters for the confessor's insensitivity or the reveal itself. Expect the confessor to feel really guilty later on.

Compare to Accidental Public Confession and "We're Live" Realization. Can overlap with Moment Killer. Also see Unwitting Instigator of Doom - where doing so cause major backlash in the story plot. See Not Now, Kiddo when a character dismisses a confession because he is too busy with other things.

No Real Life Examples please.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Naruto:
  • Senryu Girl: When Nanako tells Amane's sister about her feelings towards Eiji, he sees what she wrote about him, much to his shock.

    Fan Works 
  • In Fuzzy Memories, Kanaya makes an Anguished Declaration of Love to Isabel right before they're about to be "killed" by a fake Serial Killer. Not only is the timing questionable, she pairs this with a Forceful Kiss that Isabel does not appreciate.
  • The Karma of Lies: Despite knowing that Lila is a Con Artist, Adrien keeps his silence and refuses to do anything to expose her... until she steals from him. He then goes straight to the police and reveals everything he knows, assuming that Honesty Is the Best Policy... without considering the surrounding circumstances. Namely that regardless of whether or not the police believe him about the theft, he's outright admitting that he doesn't see anything wrong with the prospect of letting a Consummate Liar swindle his "friends". Making matters worse for him is that this comes shortly after his father was exposed as Hawkmoth, and that the "emergency funds" account Lila illegally accessed was hidden from authorities.

    Film - Live Action 
  • Played for laughs in the movie Bananas, where a felon rushes into a courtroom to confess his crime, but when he realizes this was the wrong trial, makes a break for it.
  • In the climax of Joe Versus the Volcano where Patricia "confesses" to Joe that she loves him... right before he is supposed to face his titular opponent.
    Patricia: I love you.
    Joe: I love you, too! I've never been in love with anybody before, either! It's great! I'm glad! ...But the timing stinks. I gotta go.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Annika (2021): At the end of episode 2.2, Annika tells Michael that he's Morgan's father during a surprise open mic session. In fairness, it was partly Michael's own fault for signing her up without her knowledge as a prank.
  • In The A-Team, Season 5 "Family Reunion", Murdock finds out partway through the episode that one of their clients for the episode, A.J. Bancroft, is Face's Disappeared Dad. Bancroft begs Murdock to let him break the news, but he can never quite work up the nerve and dies before managing to do it. This leaves Murdock to tell Face about it. As Face has always been upset about never having a family growing up, he understandably does not react well.
  • In an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry confesses something to a mechanic just before he's about to fix Jeff's classic car, causing the mechanic to refuse fixing it, and he can't find any others who work on such cars.
  • In Game of Thrones, Littlefinger somehow thinks it's a good idea to tell Catelyn Stark that he's always loved her and that now is a great time to get together...while she's grieving for her recently killed husband. Whose corpse is sitting in a box in the same room. And who is only dead because Littlefinger betrayed him. She responds by drawing a knife on him and essentially telling him to get the fuck out.
  • In the Glee episode "I Kissed A Girl" Puck is comforting Quinn when she feels unworthy of love and has depression after giving their child up for adoption. Puck chooses this moment to tell her that he slept with Shelby, the woman who adopted their child and Quinn's best friend's mom.
  • At the end of one episode of Necessary Roughness, Dani finally realizes that she still has strong feelings for Matthew and goes to him to confess her love. Matthew, who's since moved on to a relationship that he's happy with, is less than appreciative.
  • Seinfeld:
    • George confesses to his girlfriend that she's pretentious, and so she goes crazy— right while she's in the middle of doing Jerry's taxes, causing her to throw all his accounts away.
    • In the first half of the Grand Finale, the private plane bearing Jerry, George, Kramer, and Elaine seems to be dropping into a crash landing, and while they all panic, George confesses to Jerry that he cheated in their contest, which means Jerry was the real winner. Afterwards, Elaine starts to make a confession to Jerry as well, but before she tells him, the plane stabilizes, and all is well again.

  • In the Confession Executive Committee ~Love Series~ song "Right Now, I'll Fall in Love", the heroine finally decides to confess her love to her longtime crush and upperclassman after the school day ends. It was probably the worst time to do so (though it's not her fault); he comes back from watching his own crush get her feelings realized, and is heartbroken and in no mood to take any confession seriously. Unfortunately she does confess anyway, but he confuses it for pity and leaves.

  • A plot point in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Just as Sweeney is about to kill Judge Turpin, Anthony bursts in and blurts out the fact that Johanna (the Judge's ward, who he intends to marry and is insanely possessive of) has agreed to elope with him. Cue a massive Oh, Crap! moment. Not only does it foil Anthony's own rescue mission, it also robs Sweeney of his chance to revenge himself on the Judge, tipping him into a Heroic BSoD.

    Video Games 
  • Peret em Heru: For the Prisoners has this happen several times; in all cases, it's excessively bad timing because as far as the mysterious forces controlling the pyramid are concerned, All Crimes Are Equal and best punished with death:
    • If Ayuto doesn't believe Rin's Cassandra Truth, she wonders to herself if it's because she's constantly telling lies.
    • Mizumi reveals that they're a Serial Rapist who uses Blackmail to force their victims into sex, and forces Ms. Otogi to confess the nature of the little white baggies they caught them with.
    • Yoko doesn't directly confess what they did, but panics enough over the prospect of being punished that the pyramid effectively figures out that they're feeling guilty over something.
    • Nei also admits to being jealous of one of the other tourists, which gets them kidnapped by a coffin.
    • Finally, there's Professor Tsuchida's Hidden Disdain Reveal and murder of Dr. Kuroe, which doesn't end well for anyone involved.
  • Defied in Tales of the Abyss. Luke considers telling Tear he loves her, but because he is Secretly Dying and will not likely survive the final battle, he decides not to admit his feelings because it'll hurt Tear.
  • In The Walking Dead Episode 4, Ben finally decides to tell Kenny about his dealings with the bandits which led to the death of Katjaa and Duck while walkers, that were accidentally let in thanks to him, are trying to break in. Kenny becomes furious and tries to attack Ben, but he was held back so he decides to not let him on the boat when they escape. And before escaping the area, Lee has to decide Ben's fate to live or die and Kenny silently encourages Lee to let him die.

    Western Animation 
  • In American Dad!, Season 10 "Rubbernecker", Roger and Klaus accidentally spill some wine on the new couch and they try to cover it up. Their cover gets blown by an insurance adjuster who's investigating Stan's story and Rogers pins the blame on Klaus. Roger calls Stan to confess that he was the one who spilled the wine on the couch but he called during the time the insurance adjuster was investigating Stan's car and he finds Stan's phone in his car with photos to prove that Stan has committed insurance fraud.
  • In an episode of Family Guy, the Griffins are locked in a panic room after their house gets broken into by burglars, and the room is being slowly flooded with water. Right before the water reaches the ceiling and drowns them, Peter feels that he has one last thing he should tell his family; He did not care for The Godfather. However, this trope is subverted when instead of yelling at Peter for the inappropriate timing, they're shocked that he didn't like the movie and begin debating him on why it's good.
  • In the Futurama episode "Love and Rockets", Bender has been dating the Planet Express ship's AI, and decides to break up with her while the crew is trying to escape from angry Omnicronians. The ship is so distraught she gets hit, leaving the crew stranded in space. Later, Bender said "the moment seemed right" and he likes his break-ups to be as devastating as possible.
  • Steven Universe: When Steven and Connie fuse into Steveonnie during an event on Homeworld, Garnet and Opal rapidly follow suit. A pair of Jades witnessing all of this decide to reveal that they like to fuse as well, ecstatic at the prospect that they're no longer alone. Yellow Diamond promptly zaps them.
  • In Total Drama World Tour, Alejandro invokes this several times to mess with the other team:
    • In "Newf Kids on the Rock", a cursed DJ has to kiss a fish for a challenge and he notices that the fish has a Egyptian symbol on it. Alejandro tells him that that kissing the fish will break his Egyptian curse, but by the end of the episode it's revealed that Alejandro drew the symbol on the fish. In "Jamaica Me Sweat", with DJ believing that the curse is lifted, he starts doing well in the competition and he believes he can win. But when Alejandro "accidentally" confessed to Tyler about the truth about the fish with DJ standing behind him, DJ starts doing poorly and eventually gets eliminated.
    • In "Greece's Pieces", he invokes Tyler into doing this during the competition to create a rift between Gwen and Courtney, who were starting to become friends. Tyler witnessed Duncan and Gwen kissing each other despite Duncan being in a relationship with Courtney. Before the tie breaker match can begin, when Tyler reveals the kiss to everyone, Courtney became furious at Gwen. And while their team won the challenge, Courtney began trying to sabotage her own team into losing so she can vote Gwen off.


Video Example(s):


I Do Cocaine!

After doing a line of cocaine, Dr. Rockzo brags to the entire park, who doesn't care about him, that he does cocaine. However, when telling about it to a young boy, he doesn't realize that he's confessing about it within earshot of a police officer.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

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Main / PoorlyTimedConfession

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