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Sustained Misunderstanding

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Mr. Dondelinger: All right, here are your exams. 50 questions, true or false.
Homer: True.
Dondelinger: Homer, I was just describing the test.
Homer: True.
Teacher: Look, Homer, just take the test. You'll do fine.
Homer: False.

A classic gag. Alice tells Bob some news, which he interprets in a wrong (and hilarious) way. She tries to explain and correct his mistake, but he applies his misinterpretation to the explanation as well. Bob is usually portrayed to be somewhat dim-witted, but a variant of this trope has him do it on purpose, just to screw with Alice or as a form of Obfuscating Stupidity.

Sometimes done with Ambiguous Syntax.

Related to Boke and Tsukkomi Routine, Chain of Corrections, Comically Missing the Point, Theory Tunnelvision, They Just Dont Get It and Who's on First?. Compare One Dialogue, Two Conversations, where everybody is misunderstanding the point.


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  • There was an ad for Hellmann's salad dressing where a woman is trying to explain to her relatives that the salad dressing she's serving isn't homemade. At the end, she says "Hellmann's made the dressing!" at which point the relatives say "You sold your recipe to Hellmann's? We're gonna be rich!"
  • There was an ad for Kraft shredded cheese where the husband was being a Jerkass about the word "finely," purposely misinterpreting it as "finally."
    Her: Wow, Kraft finely shredded cheese!
    Him: You mean they didn't before?

    Anime & Manga 
  • I Belong to the Baddest Girl at School: The whole series runs on this. Toramaru thinks that she asked Unoki to be her boyfriend near the beginning of the year, and that they've been a couple for a while. Unoki, who has been bullied for all his life and has literally never had a positive relationship with anyone outside of his family, thinks she asked him to be her personal errand boy, not helped by the fact that a lot of what she says can be misinterpretednote  or is an extremely odd thing to saynote . Toramaru's self-proclaimed second-in-command, Matsuri, thinks Toramaru wants Unoki to replace her despite him being a wimp. And then there's Yutaka, Matsuri's best friend, who is the only one who realises what's going on.
  • My Love Story!! has this as its reason for why Takeo and Yamato do not start a relationship until Chapter 3. He saved her from a groper and she fell for him, and tries to show her affection by hanging out around him and his friend Suna, and baking them sweets. Takeo is convinced that the sweets are a sign of gratitude, and that she's hanging around them because she's interested in Suna, as a lot of other girls previously did. By Chapter 3, Suna has had enough with their constant bypassing talks, and engineers Yamato to openly admit that she likes Takeo when he's around.
  • My Monster Secret has a particularly elaborate version in chapter 65, where a series of misunderstandings by multiple characters result in the cast believing that Akane is attempting to end the world because Ryou stole her candy.
  • Omujo Omutsu Joshi provides a misunderstanding between male lead Shouta and his childhood friend, Morei. Morei wears diapers. The reason she does so is because she witnessed a peculiar Accidental Pervert moment that convinced her Shouta has a fetish for them. Her attempt to exploit this, however, only convinces Shouta she's the one with the fetish. Because each believes this of the other, and has no reason to think otherwise, neither of them realizes there's even anything to correct and this misunderstanding continues into their every interaction going forward.

  • The comedy team of Dan Rowan and Dick Martin were masters of this trope. Take this example from the opening of just one of their many Laugh-In shows:
    Rowan: Are you looking forward to the show tonight?
    Martin: Yea, what's the movie?
    Rowan: What movie? You doo doo, it's Laugh-In.
    Martin: Oh that's right, Laugh-In's on tonight! I almost forgot it was Tuesday!
    Rowan: It's not Tuesday, it's Monday!
    Martin: Glad you reminded me! <to audience> Don't forget to watch Laugh-In tomorrow night.
    Rowan: Laugh-In's not on tomorrow night.
    Martin: Finally canceled it, huh? I knew they couldn't keep it up every week.
    Rowan: You knew who couldn't keep it up every week?
    Martin: Funk and Wagnalls.
    Rowan: Funk and Wagnalls aren't on Laugh-In.
    Martin: See, I told you they couldn't keep it up!
    Rowan: Now, now, you're getting me confused. Let's go back to the beginning.
    Martin: Well, in the beginning, in the Garden of Eden, there was this boy and this girl, and...
    Rowan: We might need not go back that far, let's just go back to the beginning of the show.
    Martin: Ok...
    <The NBC peacock appears> "The following program is brought to you in living color on NBC."
    Martin: Hey, was that Funk and Wagnalls?
    Rowan: That was the NBC peacock.
    Martin: That's how our show starts.
    Rowan: That's what I've been trying to tell you. This is our show.
    Martin: Oh you mean it's Tuesday already.
    Rowan: No, it's Monday. Laugh-In is on on Monday nights.
    Martin: Well somebody better tell Funk and Wagnalls, they're gonna be late for the show!
  • Abbott and Costello: Aside from the famous Who's on First? routine, there was also 13 times 7 = 28, milking a cow ("You gotta go to the sauce [source]!" "Who wants sauce, I'm after milk! If I wanted sauce, I'd go pick apples!"), and a variety of others.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Harry Potter AU Empire since no one bothers to explain to Harry what his classes are Harry assumes that Transfiguration is about transgenders and Defense Against the Dark Arts is an art class.
  • How Do You Shoot a Gun with Hooves?: A Running Gag. Pinkie keeps calling Kate Beckett "Bucket", and misinterprets Kate every time she tries to correct her.
    Pinkie: I donít know who any of those people are. Are they friends of yours, Bucket?
    Kate: Beckett.
    Pinkie: Oh... are they friends of Beckettís, Bucket?
  • Squad 7 And Their Accidental Instructor: The story starts with Anko and Kakashi getting each other's assignments (demonstrating summons and teaching Team 7 respectively) due to poor communication. And since no one bothers to look into things or fully explain what's going on, the higher ups don't figure out something's wrong either. As a result, Kakashi thinks he has to train a group of eight-year-olds until they're Chunin and Sarutobi thinks Anko has taken to referring to herself in the third person when she talks about Team Anko, which results in Anko thinking Sarutobi has immense confidence in her as an instructor to let her take a Genin team on B-Rank missions. Others eventually get in the act with veteran shinobi thinking the whole situation is because Sarutobi is preparing for a coming conflict and they start training more themselves.
  • Lucky At Cards: In the first chapter, Xander saves Harmony and Aura from a vampire by pretending to only be in it for money to distract the vampire. Things escalate until most of the school is convinced he's a mercenary who handles supernatural problems and gives discounts in exchange for sex while the Scoobies believe he's a gigolo and the discount Harmony mentions is because she had a three-way with him. Naturally, Rule of Funny dictates Xander is only vaguely aware of what's going on.
    • Later Buffy decides that since Xander mentions being out of stakes despite usually carrying half a dozen, he's a gigolo who saves his clients from vampires, citing that both prostitutes and vampires tend to be found in alleys. In reality, Xander always carried so many stakes in case Buffy needed extras and since he was cut out of the group, he only carries one for emergencies.
  • Due to being from an alternate reality, Xander's actions in A Brand New Day confuse some people. From his perspective, Xander's protecting his sorta-sister-in-law Tara without exposing that she's a lesbian by pretending to be her boyfriend when a jock hits on her. From everyone else's perspective, Xander and Tara are dating; even Tara and Willow (who ARE dating) are convinced that Xander's hopelessly in love with Tara and she's just never realized.
    • Things are further complicated by Xander trying to nudge Willow and Tara together, not knowing they're already dating, while Willow and Tara try to figure out a way to let Xander down gently.
  • The whole premise of the Star Wars:Return of the Jedi fic Sibling Revelry, where, in the first chapter, Darth Vader finds out that Luke and Leia are his twin children and apparently in a relationship with each other, and Luke and Leia's innocuous interactions, his intelligence division's findings, and even his own attempts to sabotage things only strengthen his misunderstanding. Things only escalate when Rogue Squadron starts playing along to mess with who they think is a Rebel stalker, but is actually one of Vader's moles.
  • Marked: In the third chapter, Xander's poor attempts at explanation (along with her ability to read auras) convinces Tara that he's a demon. His talks about non-evil demons such as Brachens who simply enjoy drinking and a comment that he doesn't drink because alcoholism runs in his family makes her decide he must be part Brachen.
  • White Sheep (RWBY): Qrow spends most of the fic under the mistaken impression that Jaune is the son of Qrow's sister Raven, which would be a huge problem because Jaune is dating Raven's daughter Yang. Any attempts to clear this up fail; Raven is tight-lipped in general and certainly not interested in telling her brother anything about her love life, while Jaune doesn't say much about his mother except that she's strong and lives outside the Kingdoms. It gets worse when Qrow tries to sabotage Jaune's relationship with Yang; Yang actually loved the formal date Jaune took her on, but is trying to avoid romance with him because she's afraid she's stealing him from her sister. When Yang confronts Qrow, he thinks she's talking about sabotaging their relationship, she thinks he's talking about encouraging their relationship, and they both leave with no idea why the other cares so much.
  • Nebula in Been There, Blown That Up is sent back in time along with Tony and turns against Thanos. She tries to hint at her plan to Gamora while fleeing but does a poor job, causing Gamora to think she's still loyal to Thanos. Similarly, Nebula thinks Gamora understands the plan, causing problems such as Nebula stealing the Power Stone and Gamora chasing her down, thinking she's taking it to Thanos.
    • Similarly, Tony has trouble communicating with everyone because while he does do his best to explain everything in detail, the rest of the Avengers (present and future) are lost and too prideful to admit they don't understand what's going on.
  • In the Ranma Ĺ/Neon Genesis Evangelion story Teineina Tenshi No Teze, Ranma is undergoing the Marduk exams and is asked about any medical conditions he has by Ritsuko. When he tells her about his curse, this, his improvised clothing made from modifying Reiís clothing, and his indignation during the physical leads her to believe heís a crossdresser. This misunderstanding seems to continue through the story as Ritsukoís report is submitted and filters through NERVís personnel.
  • In Scarlet Lady's take on "Volpina", Lila believes that claiming to be the superheroine's best friend will endear her to everyone. She's particularly certain that Adrien will find that impressive, when in reality, he absolutely despises Scarlet Lady. The only reason he's willing to spend any further time with Lila is because she stole an important book from him - something she isn't aware that he knows about.
  • In Conquest in the Name of Advancement!, this happens during the Horizon Zero Dawn arc when 2B and 9S meet a group of Tenno - the former two are dumbfounded to meet a group of humans, since the latter are supposed to be on the moon. The Tenno, who ironically come from one of the few settings where such a remark would make sense, state that they were on the moon, but had to leave, referencing the events of The Second Dream from Warframe. This then gets cleared up by Commander Flame, though, due to the apocalyptic event happening around them.
  • In Cursed Blood, Ibara Shiozaki keeps thinking Izuku Midoriya is some sort of otherworldly being. She begins thinking he's Satan (due to his power, which allows him to raise people from the dead); then, after he saves All Might from the League of Villains, she believes he is a Fallen Angel; and, finally, after Izuku defeats her at the Sports Festival, she turns to think he may be the Angel of Death.
  • Harry Potter, Unexpected Animagus has a sustained lack of communication between Harry and his friends, due to his prior wielding of the Sword of Gryffindor, which his father often used euphemistically in the past. This leads to a whole lot of funny and/or disturbing mental images for everyone but Harry, who is still thinking literally.

    Film — Animated 
  • Atlantis: Milo's Return has Kida unable to comprehend why a spear is displayed inside a glass case:
    Milo: It's for protection.
    Kida: I know what the spear is for. But why is it in a glass case?
    Milo: No, the glass case is for protection.
    Kida: Wouldn't the spear be better protection than a glass case?
    Milo:! It's there to protect from someone who might want to steal it.
    Kida: Why would someone want to steal a glass case?
  • The Lion King (1994):
    Rafiki: You won't find him here! The king has returned.
    Nala: I can't believe it... He's gone back!
    Timon: Gone back? Whaddaya mean? (sees that Rafiki has vanished) Hey... What's goin' on here? Who's the monkey!?
    Nala: Simba's gone back to challenge Scar!
    Timon: Who?
    Nala: Scar.
    Pumbaa: Who's got a scar?
    Nala: No, no, no, it's his uncle—
    Timon: The monkey's his uncle?
    Nala: No! Simba's gone back to challenge his uncle, to take his place as king...?
    Timon and Pumbaa: Ohhhh...
  • Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas : In "Mickey's Dog-Gone Christmas", when Santa tells his reindeer that the dog "Murray" that they adopted is really Pluto.
    Donner: Who's Pluto?
    Blitzen: I think he's Murray.
    Donner: Murray's Pluto?
    Blitzen: Bingo.
    Donner: Bingo's Pluto?
    Blitzen: [beat] Yes.
  • Shark Tale: Don Lino is threatening Oscar over the phone when his henchman Luca tries to order out and instead calls him on his phone.
    Luca: Yeah, how ya doin'? Let me have a pie with everything on it. Anchovies, meatballs, mushrooms...
    Lino: Luca!
    Luca: Oh! Hi, boss! What are you doin' workin' in a pizza joint?
    Luca: But I'm hungry!
  • This happens in Shrek, when Donkey first sees Princess Fiona in her ogre form.
    Donkey: What did you do with the Princess?!
    Fiona: Donkey, shhh! I'm the Princess! It's me, in this body.
    Donkey: Oh my God, you ate the Princess! (to her stomach) CAN YOU HEAR ME?! LISTEN, KEEP BREATHING! I'LL GET 'CHA OUTTA THERE!

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Idiocracy: Joe tries to explain to the people of the 26th century why they need to water plants with water and not sports drinks, but every rational explanation he gives them cause them more confusion. Eventually, the narration mentions that he gives up on logic and reason, and just tells them that he can talk to plants, and that the plants told him that they wanted water.
  • From The Wizard of Oz: Uncle Henry pulls this with some deliberate Obfuscating Stupidity.
    Uncle Henry: Dorothy? Well, what has Dorothy done?
    Miss Gulch: What she's done? I'm all but lame from the bite on my leg!
    Uncle Henry: You mean she bit you?
    Miss Gulch: No, her dog!
    Uncle Henry: Oh, she bit her dog, eh?
  • From The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle:
    Rocky: She's not here about the trees! She's with the FBI!
    Bullwinkle: The FBI? Didn't they take our show off the air?
    Rocky: You mean the FCC!
    Bullwinkle: Didn't they like it, either?
  • From Facing the Giants:
    Brady Owens: Stan Schultz - isn't that a cartoonist?
    Grant Taylor: That's *Charles* Schultz.
    J.T. Hawkins Jr.: No, I thought Charles Schultz was that man that flew across the ocean in "The Spirit of St. Andrews."
    Grant Taylor: That's Charles Lindbergh, and it's "The Spirit of St. Louis."
    Brady Owens: Naw, Lindbergh is a cheese!
    Grant Taylor: Limburger's the cheese. Lindbergh's the man.
    J.T. Hawkins Jr.: No, Lindbergh was that blimp that blew up and killed all them people.
    Grant Taylor: That's the Hindenburg.
    Brady Owens: Nah, Hindenburg's where you go skiing in Tennessee.
    Grant Taylor: That's Gatlinburg!
    J.T. Hawkins Jr.: Gatlinburg? You mean like the country music group, the Gatlinburg Brothers?
    Grant Taylor: [throws ball] Crazy.
  • Airplane! takes this ball and runs around the stadium twice with it.
    • This gem:
      Dr. Rumack: How soon can you land?
      Capt. Oveur: I can't tell.
      Dr. Rumack: You can tell me, I'm a doctor.
      Capt. Oveur: No, I mean I'm just not sure!
      Dr. Rumack: Can't you take a guess?
      Capt. Oveur: Well, not for another two hours.
      Dr. Rumack: You can't take a guess for another two hours?
  • Can be a staple of Gary King in The World's End.
    Steven: We need to be able to differentiate between them, them, and us.
    Peter: Yeah, I think the pronouns are really confusing.
    Gary: I don't even know what a pronoun is.
    Oliver: Well, it's a word that can function by itself as a noun which refers to something else in the discourse.
    Gary: I don't get it.
    Andrew: You just used one.
    Gary: Did I?
    Andrew: "It", it's a pronoun.
    Gary: What is?
    Andrew: It!
    Gary: Is it?
    Andrew: Christ!
  • This exchange from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, after Chekov is arrested by the United States Navy.
    FBI Agent: Alright. Let's take it from the top.
    Chekov: The top of what?
    FBI Agent: Name?
    Chekov: My name?
    FBI Agent: No, MY name!
    Chekov: I do not know your name!
    FBI Agent: You play games with me, mister, you're through!
    Chekov: I am? May I go now?
  • Airheads: Chazz, Rex, and Pip are at a Rebel Radio-sponsored show where the main act, the Sons of Thunder, thanks Rebel Radio for playing their song on-air, which led to them getting signed to a record deal.
    Rex: Look at them stupid pantaloons.
    Chazz: That's what we gotta do.
    Pip: Looks like they got a load in them pants.
    Chazz: No, they played this song on the radio, and they got an album. That's what we gotta do.
  • Clue: Happens during the second ending, as Mrs. Peacock is arrested as a murderer by Wadsworth, who's an undercover police officer.
    Wadsworth: You see? Like the Mounties, we always get our man!
    Mr. Green: Mrs. Peacock was a man?!
  • Men in Black: Agents Jay and Kay are at a morgue supervised by Dr. Laurel Weaver, masquerading as public health officials in order to examine two recently-murdered aliens.
    Kay: What do you think?
    Jay: Very interesting. She got a whole "queen of the undead" thing going on...
    Kay: What about the body?
    Jay: Great body...
    Kay: The dead body.
    Jay: Man, you have to look at that thing...

  • Chrestomanci: The titular character loves this trope.
    Chrestomanci: Has Mr. Nostrum given his eyes for my letters?
    Cat: No, he just gave Gwendolen lessons for them.
    Chrestomanci: What? For his eyes? How uncomfortable!
  • This is the premise of The Eminence in Shadow. The rest of Shadow Garden thinks that Cid is their all-knowing and all-powerful leader who has everything in the palm of his hand. Cid thinks he's just engaging in his chuuni fantasies and the rest of Shadow Garden are just his former playmates humoring him.
  • One of the Unfinished Tales of Nķmenor and Middle-earth covers Gandalf's efforts to convince Thorin and his dwarves that Bilbo the Hobbit would make a good addition to the company. The dwarves scoff, believing hobbits to be timid bumpkins, so Gandalf assures them that Bilbo is quite a prosperous hobbit. The dwarves take this to mean that Bilbo is a professional thief (how else could a non-dwarf be prosperous). Gandalf tries to correct them and says that they'll have to press Bilbo into adventuring, which they understand as Bilbo setting a high price for his services. At this point, Gandalf throws his hands in the air and agrees because it's the only way forward.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the episode Marta Complex of Arrested Development's first season, the crux of the plot revolves around neither protagonist Michael nor his brother Gob knowing that "hermano" means "brother" in Spanish. They're dating the same girl , the titular Marta, and don't understand that they're looking for each other. They both think it's someone's name and keep getting pointed to random peopleís brothers.
  • On A.N.T. Farm, Lexi is unaware of a fellow cheerleader's birthday since she never received her invitation. When she stopped trying to find out why. Her Dumb Blonde friend Paisley says she has to deliver an invitation to someone named " iX37" and assume its a robot. When Lexi sees the name, she realizes that Paisley had the envelope which says LEXI turned upside-down. When she tells Paisley its addressed to herself, Paisley replies, "I didn't know my best friend was a robot!"
  • Red Dwarf:
    • From episode "Pete 1":
      Lister: Nah, Kill Crazy's probably right. That's why houses under the flightpath are always so cheap.
      Rimmer: Cos of all the flushing planes?
      Lister: Yeah, well, think about it: you can't sunbathe, you can't have a barbecue, and every time you go out you've got to wear a washable hat and leg it to your car.
      Rimmer: It's the noise. That's why houses under the flightpath are so cheap; because of the noise.
      Lister: The noise?
      Rimmer: Yeah.
      Lister: They're half a mile up. You'd never be able to hear people on the loo from that distance. Not unless they were like my Uncle Dan.
    • From the episode "Trojan":
      Lister: Did you know, in the 1970s, in Sweden, twenty percent of all traffic accidents involved a moose?
      Cat: A moose? Well, if they're stupid enough to let 'em drive, what the hell do they expect?
      Lister: No... the moose aren't driving...
      Cat: You just said they were.
      Lister: No, they're not driving, they're just causing the accidents.
      Cat: You mean they're in the back, fooling around, distracting the driver? That's insane! Why're they giving them a lift in the first place? Let 'em walk, they've got legs!
      Lister: No! The moose aren't in the car, with their antlers out the sun roof! They're on the roads, moosing around, crossing roads, and causing accidents.
      Cat: You mean they're not looking left and right?
      Lister: Exactly.
      Cat: Not using the pedestrian crossing? Not paying attention to whether it's the little red man or the little green man? Of course they're not, they're mooses! Sheesh! These Swedes, they expect too much.
  • Blackadder:
    • In the Blackadder The Third episode "Duel and Duality", Blackadder and Prince George switch places after the latter is challenged to a duel.
      Prince George: Oh, fantastic, yes, dressing up, I love it. It's just like that story, "The Prince and the Porpoise".
      Blackadder: "...and the Pauper", sir.
      Prince George: Oh, yes, yes, "The Prince and the Porpoise and the Pauper".
      Prince George: I must say I'm getting a bit confused myself. Which one of us is Wellington?
      Blackadder: No sir, Wellington is the man at the door.
      Prince George: And the porpoise?
      Blackadder: Hasn't turned up yet. We'll just have to manage the best we can without him.
    • Blackadder himself gets one in the second series:
      Blackadder: [the day after he executed Lord Farrow] Perhaps you'd like to slip into something more comfortable?
      Lady Farrow: No, for there is a great pain in my heart.
      Blackadder: It's probably indigestion, I'll soon take your mind off that.
      Lady Farrow: No, it is my husband.
      Blackadder: Your husband's got indigestion? Well, he won't be bothering us then!
      Lady Farrow: No, he dies tomorrow.
      Blackadder: Come now, you can't die of indigestion, you're overdramatizing.
      Lady Farrow: He is to be executed at your order. I am Lady Farrow.
      Blackadder: [silent Oh, Crap!]
    • And another example from the second series, where Blackadder decides to make his letters more threatening by writing them in blood — Baldrick's blood.
      Baldrick: Will you be wanting me to cut anything off? An arm or a leg?
      Blackadder: Oh, good lord no — a little prick should do.
      Baldrick: Oh well my lord, I am your bondsman and must obey. [gets his knife, holds the waistband of his trousers open]
      Blackadder: Oh, for God's sake, Baldrick, I meant a little prick on your finger!
      Baldrick: [looking at his finger, sounding worried] I haven't got one there!
  • In an episode of Most Extreme Elimination Challenge, Vic spends an entire contestant's run on the Dash to Death obstacle course trying to explain to Kenny that said contestant was on the Home Improvement team instead of the Adult Entertainment team.
  • Scrubs had one moment where The Janitor accuses J.D. of taking 'it' after J.D. asked if he had lost something. As J.D. continues to deny taking anything, The Janitor tells him he'll leave his cart unattended and if 'it' should reappear on the cart, no further questions will be asked. J.D. tells him he doesn't even know what 'it' is, to which The Janitor replies, "Then why take it?"
  • A deliberate one from Gilmore Girls:
    Emily: You were on the phone?
    Richard: Long distance.
    Lorelai: God?
    Richard: London.
    Lorelai: God lives in London?
    Richard: My mother lives in London.
    Lorelai: Your mother is God?
    Richard: Lorelai...
    Lorelai: So God is a woman.
    Richard: Lorelai.
    Lorelai: And a relative. That's so cool. I'm gonna totally ask for favors.
    Richard: Make her stop.
    Rory: Oh, that I could.
  • The opening skit of the 2006 Emmys found host Conan O'Brien wandering into several TV shows. Towards the end, he walked into an empty house, only to find himself in the middle of an episode of To Catch a Predator, with every (truthful) explanation that he gave sounding exactly like the lame excuses given by real predators and therefore only serving to make him look more guilty:
    Chris Hansen: I'm Chris Hansen with Dateline NBC.
    Conan O'Brien: Oh, God. Okay, it's not what you think. I'm looking for the Emmys. I'm hosting.
    Chris Hansen: Hosting? That's what you call this?
    Conan O'Brien: Yes, it's my second time. [Conan had previously hosted the Emmys in 2002]
    Chris Hansen: So you've done this before?
    Conan O'Brien: Yeah, I did it one time and I liked it and I thought maybe I should do it again.
    Chris Hansen: [voiceover] Of all the predators I've met, this guy, screen name conebone69, was by far the creepiest.
    Conan O'Brien: Look... [chuckles nervously] You think... This is very easy to explain.
    Chris Hansen: Explain it, then.
    [Conan dashes out of the house]
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: In "Invasion of the Neptune Men", Mike tells the 'bots, who are performing a kabuki play, how he prefers Noh theater. Who's on First? and hilarity ensues.
  • The entire plot of the Japanese drama Anna-san no Omame (a.k.a. The Best Friend of Beautiful Anna) is based on this trope.
  • In El Chavo del ocho, when Don Ramón tries to explain to El Chavo what bowling is, and we see Chavo's Imagine Spot:
    Don Ramón: First, there is a huge table.
    [Chavo imagines a real table with tablecloth included]
    Don Ramón: At the end of this table, there are 10 pins.
    [Chavo imagines 10 trees at the end of the table] note 
    Don Ramón: The goal of the game is to take down the most pins possible.
    [Chavo imagines Don Ramón bludgeoning the pines into submission]
  • The M*A*S*H episode "Bug Out" has a scene in which Col. Potter and B.J. attempt to commandeer a hut for a new M*A*S*H site, only to discover that it's already being used as a brothel. Then Frank Burns shows up:
    Frank: [seeing the women] Who are they? Are there people living here?
    B.J. The Assistance League.
    Frank: Assistance League?
    B.J. The oldest profession.
    Frank: A bakery?
    Potter: [irritated] Tarts!
    Frank: [excitedly] Tarts?! Peach? Raspberry?
  • A staple of the comedy on Green Acres is Oliver's constant inability to get his point across to virtually everyone he speaks to, including his own wife. Especially his own wife.
  • On The Mentalist, rookie FBI agent Wiley has this as his schtick.
    Wiley: You can call me The Coyote.
    Cho: No.
    Wiley: That's what they called me downstairs. I'm not sure why.
    Cho: Your name's Wiley.
    Wiley: Yeah.
    Cho: Wile E. Coyote? Roadrunner? The cartoon?
    Wiley: No, I think it's German. [to passing agent] Hey, do you know Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner?
    Agent: Sure. Two sex traffickers in the Southwest.
    Wiley: They made a cartoon about sex traffickers?
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Robin Wood tends to mix up details more than often This may have also been an attempt to lampshade Spike's increasingly convoluted backstory.
    Buffy: The military put a chip in Spike's head so he couldn't hurt anyone.
    Giles: And that would be the abridged version.
    Buffy: But he wouldn't hurt anyone anymore because he has a soul now.
    Giles: Unless the First triggers him again.
    Robin: Triggers the chip?
    Buffy: No, the trigger's a post-hypnotic thing. The First put it in his head. It was... made him... He was killing again.
    Robin: So, he has a trigger, a soul, and a chip?
    Giles: Not anymore!
    Buffy: It was killing him, Giles!
    Robin: The trigger?
    Buffy: No, the chip. The trigger's not active anymore.
    Robin: Because the military gave him a soul? [Beat] Uh... sorry.
  • In That Mitchell and Webb Look
    • One sketch shows a galactic empire utterly obsessed with Vectron, their apparent deity/founder. Eventually, one person asks where all this Vectron stuff came from, because no one had ever mentioned him until about three weeks ago when he came back from a day off sick and found him being invoked with every sentence. After a hesitant reference to ancient scrolls they can't actually remember ever having seen, someone offers another possibility.
      Tim: I did lose my plectrum a few weeks ago and I was asking around, do you think...
    • Another has a man who's quite upset to learn on his deathbed that the man he thought was his devoted husband for the past forty years is in fact his butler, and the woman he thought was an incompetent maid is his wife.

  • The song "Space Invaders" by "Hit'n'Hide" is about a Genki Girl who somehow encounters an alien and starts pestering him with stuff like cheerfully asking him about his spaceship. At first the alien just tries to casually brush her off by dull and passively aggressive confirmation of everything she rants about. But she keeps on nagging on him and he breaks it to her that in fact he and the other aliens downright hate humans and are going to enslave them. The blatant scare attempt does not work as well.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In one Pearls Before Swine anthology, Stephan Pastis wrote that Pig "is rather easy to write for. He just needs to misunderstand everything said to him, and then when it's explained to him, he needs to misunderstand that too." And indeed, it's one of Pig's most common gags. The strip he referenced had this exchange:
    Pig: If this player can win a World Series, he'll finally get the donkey off his back.
    Rat: Monkey.
    Pig: Get the donkey off his monkey... That's one strong monkey.
  • In Sherman's Lagoon, Sherman asks Ernest to explain ocean acidification:
    Ernest: It affects shell-forming animals the worst.
    Sherman: Like...?
    Ernest: Like pteropods, for example.
    Sherman: The flying dinosaurs?
    Ernest: Snails.
    Sherman: It's causing snails to fly?
    Ernest: We're done here.
  • Peanuts: In one comic, Lucy finds what appears to be a big yellow butterfly on the sidewalk. She tells Linus it must have flown all the way from Brazil.
    Linus: This is no butterfly! This is a potato chip!
    Lucy: Well, I'll be! So it is! I wonder how a potato chip got all the way up here from Brazil?

  • In the Cool Kids Table game Creepy Town, Veronica suggests making fake dead bodies by stuffing garbage bags full of leaves. Oliver takes this as her killing people and stuffing their bodies in bags. He's just messing with her, though.
    • In The Fallen Gods, Alan describes Mina transforming a wooden spoon into a dowsing rod as it heating up and becoming covered in veins of mystical ore. The party interpreted it as becoming warm, fleshy, and veiny, and even after Alan makes it clear that that's not the correct description they still claim that it very much feels like a penis.
  • In the Letters Page, the lore podcast for Sentinels of the Multiverse, the hosts read out a letter about the proper pronunciation of the Bowie knife, which is named after James Bowie (pronounced Boo-ee) as opposed to David Bowie (Bow-ee). This leads to a lengthy gag where Christopher pretends to think that James Bow-ee named it after David Boo-ee, a pop star that he knew about because he could see the future.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Puppet Shows 
  • In the John Cleese episode of The Muppet Show, Gonzo's cannonball catching act has left him with a five-foot arm. Cleese sees he's depressed, but assumes this is about his nose and says he can recommend a plastic surgeon. When Gonzo explains "No, it's not my nose, it's my arm!" Cleese replies "Is it? Well, why's it in the middle of your face?" When Gonzo finally clarifies that he's upset because his arm is five feet long, Cleese asks "Isn't that enough?"

  • The News Quiz: In a 1991 episode, Alan Coren was asked what Michael Hesseltine was no longer a member of, and Austen Mitchell wrote "200" down to indicate that the answer was the Sunday Times Rich List. Coren misread it as "zoo" and went into a long flight of fancy about Hesseltine being removed from the Royal Zoological Society. When his misreading was pointed out, he said "It's the Two-hundred-logical Society..."
  • In Episode 4 of The Train at Platform 4, when Sam is asking Dev to take over in first class because Gilbert needs to avoid someone:
    Sam: Look, there's a passenger on board he mustn't bump into.
    Dev: Oh, right. It's a woman, yeah?
    Sam: It is, but...
    Dev: Sordid one night stand, he didn't realise she'd be on the same train in the morning?
    Sam: Absolutely not that.
    Dev: The dirty old dog. How could I refuse?
    Sam: Dev, Dev! It's his stepsister.
    Dev: He had a one-night stand with his stepsister? Are you serious?
    Sam: No, Dev! It's just some kind of family issue.
    Dev: You can say that again!


    Video Games 
  • The Darkside Detective: A Fumble in the Dark: While exploring the grounds of a country estate, McQueen and Dooley come across a large greenhouse. Dooley asks what kind of perverted exhibitionist would live in a house where anybody could look in at any time. McQueen's attempt to explain that it's a house for plants just results in Dooley becoming convinced that plants are perverted exhibitionists.
  • In Pokťmon Super Mystery Dungeon, the playerís partner has a small case of this during their first adventure through a Mystery Dungeon, when they hear the boss growl. The partner will at first think that your stomach is growling, but when the boss growls again, the partner will say that itís an unusual sound for a stomach to make. The boss then says that itís not a stomach growling, and your partner will only say how amazing it is that your stomach can even do voices.
    Partner: A stomach with a verbal burble, huh?

  • Basic Instructions, second panel here.
    • Done again with a new situation here.
  • Dinosaur Comics here:
    T-Rex: Oh, I do them too! I've done aspirin, dude. I follow the instructions on the label!
    T-Rex: The instructions CAN be quite complicated!
  • The Order of the Stick: Elan tends to do this a lot.
    Elan: Man, I can't believe the illusionist guy lied to the nice ghost-paladin!
    Haley: He was just a regular human back then, honey.
    Elan: Oh. Well then I can't believe he lied to the nice ghost-human.
  • Questionable Content:
    • Hannelore and Marigold discuss their lack of sex lives; Hannelore because she's rather squicked out by those fluids, while Marigold is a shut-in:
      Marigold: You can probably guess how many boyfriends I've had.
      Hannelore: Uhm...six?
      Marigold: You're off by six.
      Hannelore: Twelve? Wow!
    • When Marten takes Momo to the Secret Bakery, shortly after she gets her "teenage girl" chassis:
      Padma: Hello to you too! Are you Marten's little sister?
      Marten: Haha, no, she's...
      Padma: Your daughter?
      Marten: Do I seriously look old enough to have a daughter her age?
      Momo: Technically I am only 2.7 years old.
      Marten: You're a robot.
      Padma: You got a robot pregnant?
    • Bubbles trying to explain to Clinton that she and Faye are not an item (back when they weren't). He interpretes it as her saying they're keeping it casual, until she finally yells "Must I illustrate a diagram for you?", and he says that if Faye's okay with it, he's kind of curious...
  • Girl Genius:
    • Lars tries to explain to the custodians of the Absurdly-Spacious Sewer that normal sewers do not contain giant spiders, sewer serpents, ghouls, albino squid, or giant glowing rats, Their reaction: "So in these other sewers, what do the big monsters eat?" Justified in that Lars is contradicting a lifetime of very justified instincts in an equally justified environment - Sturmhalten Sewer Rats that don't worry about monsters of every shape and size get et. And Lars is in that "abnormal" sewer with them. He realizes this with the very next sentence;
      Lars: WHAT AM I DOING HERE?!
    • As a sign of how messed-up Dr Vanoople's mind is, after his only reaction to seeing Queen Albia in Giant Woman mode is "Hello! You are a very big lady! Where do you buy your shoes?", and she shrinks down to human-size to converse properly, he says "Now we're the same size! I must be a giant too!" He then spends a moment looking at an anthill and saying the people are as small as ants, before noticing Krosp and Agatha again, and asking "Are we all giants now? How is this ecologically sustainable?"
  • xkcd: When the fatalistic girl has somehow got a job as a Hollywood reporter. First she mistakes "How do things look?" for "What is the eventual fate of planet Earth?", and then:
    Anchor: Oh, um ... sounds pretty grim. How are the stars reacting?
    Reporter: Hydrogen fusion, but it won't last forever.
    Anchor: I meant the movie stars.
    Reporter: They won't last forever either. None of us will.
  • Monster of the Week: In the strip based on "My Struggle II", when the Cigarette-Smoking Man pulls his nose off, Mulder exclaims "You're a Muppet!" When CSM explains that he's actually been implanted with alien DNA, as has Scully, Fox's reaction is "Scully's a Muppet? Knew it!" And then when Scully explains they need to stop the plague by injecting people with her blood, he concludes "Turning everybody into Muppets!" Scully gives up and agrees with him.
  • In a non-canon El Goonish Shive NP strip, Susan goes to a video-game barber to get facial hair:
    Susan: You can really give me a beard?
    NPC: Of course! For ten gold a day, my associate Antonio will insist that he's your boyfriend!
    Susan: What? No! Like, a beard on my face.
    NPC: Sorry, Antonio doesn't actually swing that way.
  • Paranatural: The "Jim, the Evil Brain Man" fiasco, in which some wires get crossed as Ed tries to explain Hijack and the morning's chaos to Isaac.
    Ed: It's an evil brain, man! Controlling people's bodies! It was in Jeff and then attacked us all in gym!
    Isaac: An evil brain man? In Jim? ...Who's Jim?!
    Ed: Our gym! The only gym there is!
    Isaac: Dude, there are at least six Jims in this school.
    Isaac: ...That's a weird prejudice but OK, let's go.
    Isaac: You're Jim. The evil brain man.
    Hijack: what

    Web Original 
  • Even the Bastard Operator from Hell has his moment:
    Boss: These network computers are great! Sonya's just been proselytising us.
    BOFH: Really? I can't say I approve, but hey, what's good for Amsterdam is good for London!
    Boss: No. I mean she's converted us.
    BOFH: So you're all prostitutes? Wouldn't quit the day job if I were you!
    Boss: I'm talking about network computers!
    BOFH: Of course! And the prostitution?
    Boss: There's no bloody prostitution!!
    PFY: Of course there isn't! Walls have ears and all that.
  • Melee's End uses this when a Cloudcuckoo Lander tries to have a conversation with a Ditz, and two (relatively) normal guys get caught in the wake:
    Marth: Hey look, it's Metroid.
    Samus: My name is Samus.
    Mario: Hi, Samus. What do you want?
    Samus: I am the Crazy Finger!
    Marth: I though you said you were Metroid.
    Samus: I said I was Samus!
    Mario: ...I thought you just said you were Crazy Finger.
    Samus: I am the Crazy Finger!
    Star Fox: Wait, Samus is who, exactly?
    Marth: Samus is Metroid.
    Mario: No, Metroid is Samus... I mean, Samus is Samus!
    Samus: Samus is Crazy Finger!
    Star Fox: I'm Star Fox.
    Marth: But... but I thought you said you were Falco.
    Mario: No, he's Metroid! No, wait. Let's start over.
    Marth: Okay, Metroid.
    Mario: I'm Mario.
    Marth: I'm Star Fox.
    Star Fox: I'm Star Fox.
    Samus: I'm Star Fox!
    Marth: Then who's Metroid?
    Star Fox: Nobody is.
    Marth: Well then who the hell is Nobody?
    Samus: I'm Nobody!
  • Used on Naruto: The Abridged Series.
  • In the RWBY episode "Search and Destroy", though luckily the misunderstanding is relatively brief:
    Oobleck: I can assure you, as a Huntsman, I've had my fair share of tussles.
    Ruby: [scratching her head] Like the mushroom?
    Blake: Those are truffles.
    Ruby: Like the sprout?
    Yang: Those are brussels.
  • In this Not Always Right story, the customer thinks the image on an Alabama quarter is of someone in an electric chair, and wonders why. When the cashier explains it's actually Helen Keller, the horrified customer asks why Helen Keller was given the electric chair.

    Web Video 
  • Kitboga is a scambaiter popular on YouTube and Twitch. This is the thrust of the gag in the scambaiting call "Do Not Cut The Cards." The scammer, Kristin, at one point tells Kitboga and guest streamer Veritas to go out and buy "four pieces of $500 Best Buy gift cards." This is a fairly common bit of scammer phrasing that arises from the fact that English is not their first language, but rather Hindi. (A native-English speaker would normally just say "four $500 Best Buy gift cards.") Veritas purposefully misunderstands this as cutting up the cards into four pieces and Kitboga's Dawn Dewitt (Granny Edna), supposedly his wife, latches on to this. They then milk the gag for all it's worth, pretending to go to the store and get the gift cards, then tell the scammer that they're cutting them up, that's like an infinite money hack. She goes ballistic, convinced that her payday is being cut up into little pieces.

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball
    • "The Points":
      Darwin: If you don't redeem our good points, then we're gonna have to take this to the top! We're gonna go speak to—
      Gumball: The President of the United States of America!
      Darwin: No dude, his parents.
      Gumball: The parents of the President of the United States of—
      Darwin: Tobias's parents!
    • "The Origins Part 2", which explains Darwin's present-day way of addressing his adoptive parents:
      Darwin: It's okay. I know you didn't flush me on purpose, Mr. Watterson.
      Richard: Please, son. Call me Dad.
      Darwin: Okay, Mr. Dad.
  • Archer, "Skytanic", during a bomb defusal:
    Archer: OK, I'm about to...
    Gilette: "OK"?!? Wait! Stop! You said those last two letters were Oscar Kilo!
    Archer: What? Oscar...
    Gilette: O.K! Oscar Kilo!
    Archer: No, OK, like, "OK I'm gonna tell you what the letters are."
    Gilette: And then you didn't!
    Archer: I thought you were skipping that part!
    Gilette: (incredulous) Skipping a step in disarming a bomb!
    Archer: Yes, which I thought was pretty irresponsible of you!
  • Happens all too often in Aqua Teen Hunger Force, especially with Meatwad.
    Master Shake: [as Frylock gives money during an offering in Church] Where'd you get money?
    Frylock: I worked for it. And I'm giving it to the church, because you need to experience how it feels to give, and not just receive, like you usually do!
    Meatwad: But also, how it feels to receive too. 'Cause that's a good feeling too y'all. When Santa Claus comes down from the cross, and give me all that stuff I asked for.
    Frylock: [sighs; as Meatwad called a statue of Jesus Christ's crucifixion Santa] That ain't Santa Claus, okay? How many times do I gotta tell you that?
    Meatwad: Well he got a beard. And that ain't a belly full of jelly. Look like he got an appendectomy scar. Is this the mall? 'Cause I'm sitting here wondering how I gonna sit on his lap when he's hanging from some nails.
    Frylock: Santa Claus did NOT die for our sins!!
    Meatwad: Santa Claus is dead?! No!!
  • From an early episode of King of the Hill:
    Willie Nelson: Hey I know you, you're the kid who rakes my yard.
    Bobby: No, I'm the boy who hit you in the head.
    Willie Nelson: You hit me in the head with a rake?
    Bobby: No sir, with a golf club.
    Willie Nelson: You've been raking my yard with a golf club?! I want my quarter back.
  • Often done with Fred the squirrel on The Penguins of Madagascar:
    Kowalksi: [shows picture of Marlene and King Juilen] You there. Have you seen this otter and lemur?
    Fred: Which one's the otter?
    Kowalski: This one, obviously. Note the whiskers?
    Fred: Oh, I thought that was a cat.
    Kowalski: Did I say "have you seen this lemur and cat?"
    Fred: No. That's why I thought it was odd that you drew a cat.
    Kowalski: It's not a cat.
    Fred: Then why does it have whiskers?
    Kowalski: You know what, forget the otter.
    Fred: Cat.
    Kowalski: Whatever! Have you seen the lemur?
    Fred: What's a lemur?
    Kowalski: I think we're done here.
  • The Simpsons:
    • The page quote comes from a scene in "The Front" when Homer is required to take a science class.
    • In "Funeral for a Fiend", Sideshow Bob lures the Simpsons into his latest deathtrap by operating a fake steakhouse restaurant and dressing as the "owner" Wes Doobner. Even after he reveals himself, Homer is still none the wiser.
      Homer: I'd like to know if Wes Doobner is aware of what you're doing in his restaurant!
      Sideshow Bob:I'm Wes Doobner!
      Homer: Mr. Doobner, I have a complaint. I work hard, and when I go out with my family, I expect a certain level of basic—
      Sideshow Bob: Shut up!
    • In "Marge vs. the Monorail", Marge speaks to Homer, who is on a runaway monorail, and brings a scientist from North Haverbrook up to help him shut it down.
      Marge: There's a man here who thinks he can help you!
      Homer: Batman?
      Marge: No, he's a scientist.
      Homer: Batman's a scientist!
      Marge: It's not Batman!
    • In "The Greatest Story Ever D'ohed", when an outraged Ned catches Homer sleeping on Jesus' tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
      Homer:'s so nice and cool in the tomb of the unknown savior.
      Ned: Unknown?! This is the tomb of the most famous man who ever lived!
      Homer: Porky Pig?
      Homer: But he is buried here, right?
  • House of Mouse:
    • In "The Three Caballeros", during a Mouse on the Street segment in which Mickey has bystanders try to guess who the third Caballero (Donald) is.
      Mickey: I'll give you a hint: "sailor shirt".
      Goofy: Uh, Do-Do-Do... Mickey Mouse?
      Mickey: I'm Mickey Mouse.
      Goofy: Hey! You're not wearing a sailor shirt!
    • In the short "Mickey's April Fools", Mickey fakes his death to prank Mortimer, and which leads to him having to prove to an executor that he's really the Mickey Mouse in order to claim an inheritance. In once scene, he brings Goofy to the office so he can vouch for him.
      Mickey: Goofy, tell him who I am.
      Goofy: Well, you used to be Mickey Mouse.
      Mickey: See, I... What do you mean, used to?
      Goofy: Didn't you see the newspaper, Mick? You're pushin' up daisies.
      Mickey: How can I be pushin' up daisies when I'm standing here right in front of ya?
      Goofy: ...G-G-Ghost?! (runs away screaming through the walls of the building)
  • South Park: At the beginning of "T.M.I.", Butters is describing a situation about The Terminator that turns into a nod to Arnold Schwarzenegger's affair that had just made the news.
    Butters: And so then... And so then, it turns out that Terminator secretly had a kid ten years ago, meaning Terminator could be his own father, and then Skeletor gets angry and wants to fight him.
    Kyle: No, dude, that's not the trailer for Terminator 5. That really happened.
    Butters: Skeletor's real?!
    Stan: No, dude, that's not Skeletor. That's Terminator's wife.
    Butters: Skeletor's a lady?!
  • Happens in Samurai Jack with the Scotsman.
    Scotsman: So you think you're better than me, 'cause you're in a hurry. Well I'm in a hurry too! But no, you did not think of that did you. That I might be an equal. Nooo! You just consider yourself superior right off! You're rude!
    Jack: You mistake my comment, sir.
    Scotsman: Do I?! Ya think I'm dumb too?!
  • In the second episode of Over the Garden Wall when Greg saves Beatrice:
    Beatrice: I'm stuck. Help me out of here and I owe you a favor.
    Greg: WOOW. I get a wish?
    Beatrice: No no no. Not a wish, I'm not magical. I'll just do you a good turn.
    Greg: Can you turn me into a tiger?
    Beatrice: I just said I'm not magical.
    Greg: It doesn't have to be a magical tiger.
  • Family Guy: In "How the Griffin Stole Christmas", when Santa Claus confronts Peter for abusing his role as a Mall Santa and soiling his image.
    Santa: I'm the real Santa Claus.
    Peter: Awesome! Okay, my first wish is for a thousand wishes. Yes!
    Santa: That's not me. That's a genie.
    Peter: Okay, then my first wish is for a genie.
    Santa: Again, you'd need a genie. How wasted are you?
    Peter: Don't judge me! You live in a bottle!
    Santa: It's a lamp, and I'm not a genie!
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show: In "An Abe Divided", Stimpy jumps onto the Lincoln Memorial, believing it to be Santa Claus.
    Stimpy: And I want a bike, and a Betsy Wets-Herself doll, and a Cheesy Bake Oven, and a Puppy the Pup doll, and a jillion Army men, and a—(Ren throws a scrub brush at him)
    Ren: Get down from there! That's not Santy Claus! It's a memorial!
    Stimpy: A memorial? (gasp) I didn't know Santy Claus was... dead. (cries hysterically)
  • In The 7D, Grim gets a letter from someone claiming to be his Aunt Gladys. When he decides to send a letter back Hildy tells him that he doesn't have an Aunt Gladys, which Grim takes as meaning that Gladys is his uncle.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "The Bully", SpongeBob frets about getting his butt kicked at boating school when Patrick misdials and SpongeBob answers the phone.
      Patrick: Hi, I'd like to place an order for delivery.
      SpongeBob: Patrick? Is that you?
      Patrick: Yeah, hey, Mario. Let me get a large, double-olive, double—
      SpongeBob: Patrick, listen! It's me, SpongeBob! I need your help!
      Patrick: You're working at Pizza Castle now?
    • In "Dying for Pie", Squidward spends the day with SpongeBob, thinking he swallowed a bomb that will go off at sunset, and is outraged that he's still alive. As Squid mentions that he's supposed to explode, SpongeBob gets the wrong idea, leading to this.
      SpongeBob: You want me to explode?
      Squidward: Yes! That's what I've been waiting for!
      SpongeBob: Um... Okay, I'll try. (grunts) GARY! YOU ARE GONNA FINISH YOUR DESERT, AND YOU ARE GONNA LIKE IT! (laughs) Now, it's your turn!
      SpongeBob: (claps) Ooh, good one.
  • American Dad!:
    • In "100 Years a Solid Fool":
      Bystander: He's covered in rhino poop!
      Stan: No, it's supposed to be cocaine! Unless it's the uncut stuff? (dips his finger in the poop, then puts some in his mouth) Ew! Why do people like drugs?
    • Happens repeatedly in "No Weddings and a Funeral" (always to Klaus, because no one really notices or cares what he's saying)
      Klaus: I'm leaving. It's too late for apologies. Nothing could make it right. Not even acknowledging my existence in any way!
      Steve: All right, Klaus. What's all this? You're selling lemonade?
      Klaus: No, I'm leaving. I've never asked for anything but a little respect, and it's clear I'm never going to get it.
      Stan: All right, I'll buy a lemonade.
      Klaus: ARGH! I'm not selling lemonade! I'm leaving, forever!
      Hayley: Should we stop him?
      Roger: The lemonade guy?

  • This Not Always Working story:
    Boss: It's chemistry. If that rail's going that way, and this is that way, they're touching right there.
    Coworker: No, that would be physics.
    Boss: [looking confused] The hell's physics got to do with this? That's like out there with Pluto.
    Me: No, that would be astronomy.
    Boss: The other Pluto.
    Me: [realizing he meant Plato] That's philosophy.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Maintain The Misunderstanding, Prolonged Misunderstanding, Prolong The Confusion


John Cleese and Gonzo

Gonzo goes to John Cleese to ask for help with his arm that got stretched from catching a cannonball. Gonzo wanted it to be returned to its normal length. John Cleese, not understanding what Gonzo wants, ends up stretching all of Gonzo's limbs to be the same length...

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / SustainedMisunderstanding

Media sources: