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Swiper, No Swiping!

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Mercer: Attention, Krill ship, this is the USS Orville. Cease fire immediately or we will respond.
Grayson: In the history of space battles, has that ever worked?
Bortus: They have ceased firing upon the planet.
Grayson: I stand corrected.

It's the moment of truth. The villain, cackling, stands before their Doomsday Device. Their finger hovers unsteadily over the Big Red Button, and you know they're enough of an asshole to push it. All hope seems lost... but then, the hero kicks open the double doors and bursts into the room. They look the villain straight in the eye, points their index finger at them, and say:

"Stop it! Stop it! What you are doing is wrong!!"

The villain concedes. They power down the machine and turn themselves in. Battle over. Everyone lives Happily Ever After. If the antagonist is Easily Forgiven, you can expect that they will join the rest of the cast for the inevitable "Everybody Laughs" Ending or Dance Party Ending, having learned the error of their ways.

Yes, the villain is merely told to stop their Evil Plan, and then does. Usually, this is a way to teach the audience a lesson about the importance of communication, and sometimes it stands as a testament to the hero's badassery, but just as often it's Played for Laughs due to the sheer unlikelihood of the idea. Note that, if the antagonist happened to be leading an army, corporation, or other organisation, their subordinates will all very conveniently stand down with them, with no need to convince them required!

If done well, it may establish the speaker as someone with greater authority than other characters (e.g., a parent, teacher, police officer), or that they are the villain's Morality Chain or Morality Pet, or simply that the villain still has enough of a conscience to be shamed into doing the right thing. However, if handled poorly (which is usually the case) the viewer may left thinking, "Worst! Anti-Climax! Ever!"

Compare Talking the Monster to Death, where the hero has to put some more significant, speechifying effort into breaking through the villain's personal Jerk Justifications, Shaming the Mob where it is done to a large group, and Verbal Judo where words are used to calm a conflict that wasn't necessarily going to get physical anyway. A villain who acts like they're following this trope, then immediately reveals that it was all for show, catching the heroes off-guard with a sudden counterattack can invoke I Surrender, Suckers.

Contrast Unhand Them, Villain! where the villain obeys the hero's Exact Words in a way not intended.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Tried and failed by Yu on Final Fantasy: Unlimited. Possibly tried by other characters as well.
  • Dragon Ball Z had Mr. Satan befriending Majin Buu when all the rest of the characters were utterly focused on killing him. It turned out that Buu honestly didn't understand that wanton destruction and murder were bad things, and when Mr. Satan tells him this, he immediately promises to stop. Of course, his evil side soon separates from him and becomes the villain, because they needed someone to have epic drawn-out fights with.
  • Yotsuba&!: Yotsuba mistakes a Harajuku girl, dressed as an alien, for an actual alien plotting to take over the earth. When the alien girl plays along, Yotsuba asks her aunt Koharuko for advice. She tells Yotsuba that they'll thwart the invasion by... politely asking the aliens to stop. The alien girl agrees.

    Asian Animation 
  • Doby & Disy: This being a knockoff of the trope-naming series in Season 1, they use a similar line to fend off the Swiper Captain Ersatz, Caesar the cat, from stealing whatever crosses his mind. The equivalent line here is "Bad Caesar, go away!"

    Films — Animated 
  • In Recess: School's Out, during the final confrontation, Gretchen asks the villain to stop his huge machine that would destroy summer. He asks if anyone honestly thought that would work after all of the work it took for him to get there. Mikey asks if it would work if they added "please", but it still doesn't work.
  • Discussed and averted in Sleeping Beauty as the fairies are trying to find a way to stop Maleficent from making good on her curse on Aurora. Fauna suggests that they try to reason with her. The others quickly dismiss the idea and it's never brought up again.
    Fauna: Well she can't be all bad.
    Flora: Oh, yes she can!

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the faux utopian future of Demolition Man, the local populace are so pacified that this strategy is the only resource city law enforcement has to fall back on. Funnily enough, it seems to work most of the time, until one unfortunate officer tries using it on Simon Phoenix, an unfrozen Ax-Crazy mass murderer from the 20th century. They do carry stun batons as well, but never needed to use them apparently before he'd arrived (he easily disarms the cop who attempts using it on him, unsurprisingly).
  • Played for drama in Hold the Dark: Cheeon is having a Last Stand by gunning down policemen with a machine gun. Russell, an unarmed civilian, runs out heedless of the danger to try to drag a wounded cop to safety. Cheeon turns his gun toward Russell, who can do nothing but shout "Just stop it!" For whatever reason, Cheeon returns to firing on the rest of the police and allows Russell to drag the wounded cop away.

  • According to some stories, werewolves can be completely cured simply by scolding them. Talk about a Weaksauce Weakness.

  • In The Horse and His Boy, brave peasant lad Shasta and his companions are menaced by a lion the entire book. When it finally attacks them, he jumps down from his horse and, in his panic, yells "Go home!" at it. The lion instantly checks and runs. Subverted later, when we find out it was the Big Good, Aslan, inflicting a little Laser-Guided Karma.
  • Peek A Boo Poo: All it takes for Alfie to stop defecating everywhere is for his mother to tell him not to.
  • Relativity is a superhero series. In spite of that, most of the heroes and villains don't have any superpowers. One of the first villains the team encounters who has any supernatural abilities is Rune. However, he's secretly in love with Melody, so when she tells him to leave the heroes alone, he does.
  • In one of the Sven Hassel novels, Tiny roars at a Soviet machine gunner in the trenches opposite to stop firing as he's trying to get some sleep. Whether through coincidence or confusion, they actually do stop firing. Sven is impressed. "I wonder if it will work on tanks."

    Live-Action TV 
  • A sort of Bottle Episode of The Cosby Show featured the cast as characters in a story by little Rudy. The nice meek townsfolk get overrun by the greedy jerks next door (led by Rudy's rival for cuteness, Kenny). The climax of the story has Rudy (as the princess or what-have-you of the nice folks) just going up to the mean folks and telling them to STOP. And they do. Rudy mentions that someday, when she's the President, she'll just tell everyone to get rid of guns and be nice to each other. Her parents are skeptical but impressed by their daughter's faith that people will listen to reasonable authority figures. The episode ends with them turning on the news for a quick run down of all the violence and crises going on. Cliff yells upstairs to Rudy that she had better hurry up, looks like they need her.
  • This is actually one of the tools that Patrick Jane employs on The Mentalist. Not that he really expects it to work on its own, but it's all part of the psychological games that he uses.
  • In The Big Bang Theory the guys are on the way to an out-of-town con when they stop at Kirk's Rock. While posing for pictures (they are cosplaying as Star Trek: The Next Generation characters), Leonard's car gets stolen and Sheldon tries to get the car thieves to stop by telling them to stop and what they are doing is illegal. It doesn't work.
  • The hokiness and lack of believability in After School Special episodes can sometimes be due to an excessive faith in this tactic. Particularly notable is one video against sexual harassment in schools where a group of boys ogling girls are stopped by another boy shouting "This school has rules!"
  • In one episode of The Middle, the Glossner siblings sneak into the house. After Sue and Brick try several tricks to get them out, which backfire hilariously, Sue asks Derrick Glossner to leave and take the others with him. He does so because he has a crush on her.
  • Actually done in a justified and entertaining fashion in Babylon 5; after three-and-a-half seasons of manipulation escalating into planet-shattering war, the Vorlons and the Shadows admit that the whole millennia-spanning conflict is a simple philosophical dispute - the Vorlons believe that imposing discipline, order and a little guidance without direct interference are the best ways to get the younger races to evolve, while the Shadows believe that stirring up the younger races to fight each other so that strong winners emerge is necessary. Sheridan shuts the whole thing down by stating that both parties are just "parents arguing in front of their children" and that the younger races have been reduced to pawns in the dispute in order to prove one of the two ideologies right. He says the younger races don't need them anymore, and then orders both the Vorlons and Shadows to "Get the hell out of our galaxy!" It does take a few ships Taking the Bullet for the point to get across, but it was Sheridan's denouncement that pretty much ends the Shadow War.
  • In the 1971 Sesame Street animated segment "Cowboy X" (narrated by Jean Shepherd), the title character is "terrorizing" the town of Sniddler's Gulch by tagging everything he can with a branding iron in the shape of an X. Though the townsfolk claim to have "tried everything" to get him to stop, that apparently doesn't include just asking him to stop, as when this is suggested, it is deemed "just crazy enough to work". And it does - sort of. Cowboy X simply re-names himself Cowboy O and tags everything with a new, O-shaped branding iron, and the townsfolk "lived happily ever after, because they weren't very smart."note 
  • Doctor Who
    • The Doctor tells his foes exactly who he is and asks if they really want to make an enemy of him. His reputation is such that this sometimes makes the evil monster back off without a further fight rather than risk the Doctor's wrath. The Eleventh Doctor was particularly fond of this tactic. He handles the Atraxi by asking them to look him up in a database and scares off an entire intergalactic fleet by challenging either race to attack him first. Do note, he certainly earns his influence in-between boasts.
    • It's revealed in Series 6 that Eleven's entire lifetime is this coming back to bite him. The TARDIS exploding in Series 5, the arc of the Doctor going to his death, is because his reputation has hit the point where even species that he'd be perfectly okay with have come to fear him, and joined Madame Kovarian' renegade sect of the Church of the Silence just for the chance to strike first against him before he could come after them.
    • The Ninth Doctor was able to temporarily pacify some "gasmask zombies" (actually humans infected with nanobots that tried to repair them but didn't know what exactly a human was) by scolding them: "Go to your room!". Because they are all being controlled by the fractured personality of a little boy, they obey.
    The Doctor: I'm really glad that worked. Those would have been terrible last words.

    Tabletop Games 
  • One of the benefits of having an high Presence hero character in Champions is the ability cow lesser bad guys through sheer force of charisma, personal magnetism, reputation, or whatever. Some of the super villains may also be impressive enough to do this to heroes who haven't invested any points in Presence.
  • This was the general point of the Diplominator build in Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition. An epic tier Diplomacy check could effectively cause a mind flayer to convert to veganism and demons to become fanatically loyal to you as the result of a single action, but "epic tier" successes were actually something that a dedicated build could reliably achieve by about 7th to 10th level.

  • In the finale of The Pirates of Penzance, the pirates have just bested the constables, when the policemen charge the pirates to yield in the name of Queen Victoria. Since disobeying the queen is unthinkable, the pirates promptly surrender.
    We yield at once, with humble mien,
    Because, with all our faults, we love our Queen!

    Video Games 
  • In Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura, this is one of the options you have to stop the Big Bad. Though to do this your character must be intelligent enough, persuasive enough and they must have experienced a certain situation to use it as an argument against the enemy.
  • An inverted example in Mega Man 7; Dr. Wily, about to be shot by Mega Man, brings up the fact that robots can't harm humans, and Mega Man just stops. In the English version, he proceeds to say "I am more than a robot! Die, Wily!"... and do absolutely nothing. In the original Japanese script, he silently dropped his weapon, as if contemplating Wily's words.
  • Star Control: The Ur-Quan generally attack and kill anyone who is not either an Ur-Quan, or a 'Battle Thrall' in their service, owing to a huge sense of paranoia regarding any sentient species other than their own race. However, one of the tenets of their shared philosophy involves the Question; if one of their enemies does ask in the proper way, the Ur-Quan captain has a moral duty to stop firing and explain the Ur-Quan's history and the reason why it has them killing and/or enslaving every sentient race in the universe. However, once they've finished explaining it, they'll get right back to shooting at you.
  • The main plot of RosenkreuzStilette revolves around Spiritia fighting against her colleagues for the whole Swiper No Swiping deal of convincing them that fighting against the Holy Empire isn't exactly the way to go about the whole "fear and persecution" stuff. But without knowing that the Empire didn't really persecute the magi of RKS at all but actually wanted Iris dead as Iris was planning to have RKS fight against the Empire For the Evulz.
  • A lot of solutions to problems when going Paragon (and even a few Renegade solutions as well) in Mass Effect are just a well-chosen remark that makes the other guy see things your way. In fact, a lot of neutral responses have the same effect. You kind of have to make an effort to make things get out of hand, sometimes. In fact, if your Charm or Intimidate scores in the first game are maxed, you can talk The Dragon into shooting himself in the head rather than fight him.
  • In Iji, Dan's plan to get rid of the Tasen and later, the Komato, is to have Iji do this to their respective commanding officers. It doesn't work the first time because the Tasen commander is a major General Ripper. It does work the second time on General Tor, but only after Iji has given him a thorough ass-whooping.
  • In the opening of Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!, Ripto and co. steal the orbs from Hunter, Elora and the Professor. Elora tells Hunter to do something about it.
    Hunter: "Hey, give that back! (no response) Well, I tried..."
  • The Fallout series is famous for allowing you to do this. While listing all the examples where you can talk your way out of a fight would take all day, here are some standout examples:
    • The first game set the stage by allowing you to show the Master that his scheme of turning all of humanity into mutants is flawed, since mutants are sterile. He blows up himself, and the facility around him to rubble in despair.
    • Convincing President Eden to stop the Enclave in Fallout 3 consists of basically telling him "This has to stop, and only you can do it."
    • In Fallout: New Vegas with a high enough speech skill, you can actually talk the Final Boss Legate Lanius into calling off his attack on the New California Republic and going home without a fight. You can also do this with a high enough Barter skill (in both cases you must have them maxed out). You can either convince him that he won't be able to hold on the already conquered territory if he tries to occupy new territory with his weakened army, or lecture him about economics to show that his logistics are not good enough to invade. Seriously.


    Web Original 
  • Dora the Explorer: The Search for the Infinity Orb, used as the money line at the end. (Unfortunately, this isn't real, it's just a fake trailer, albeit a really well done one, with Ariel Winter as Dora.) This fake trailer led to the creation of a mini-series, Dora the Explorer and the Destiny Medallion. Watch Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
  • Foxy's Family: Done in "Treehouse Troubles" where the group see Swiper the fox climbing up the ladder so Jenny Wakeman tells the group to repeatedly chant the trope at him, making him say "Oh man!" and running away.
  • Homestar Runner: In the Strong Bad Email "army", Strong Bad stops the Homestarmy's invasion of Strong Badia in its tracks by telling Homestar that he and Strong Mad are too busy preparing to play badminton.
    Homestar: Prepare to feel the fluoride sting of the Homestarmy! Strong Badia... will be ours!
    Strong Bad: No it won't! We're about to play some badminton. So... no invasion.
    Homestar: Oh... Oh, I see. (beat) Retreat! Fall back, men! We're in over our heads!
  • The Sword of Good has an inversion, where the villain gets the hero to betray his allies and join him just by asking. Note that in this case it's helped by the fact that the "villain" is entirely rational and in accord with fact, and the hero comes to the conclusion on his own that the "villain" isn't actually evil and in fact supports equality, while the hero's allies aren't anything close to good, but in fact care nothing for the less fortunate and are fighting the war solely to consolidate their own power, even though it wouldn't cost the White Mage any effort to use his magic to heal the dying or shield people from harm to begin with.This is what clues the hero in to the fact that he was just an Unwitting Pawn, a realization which lets him tap into the Sword of Good's true power and smite the real Big Badhis own allies. Of course, from the Lord of Dark's point of view, it's played straight.

    Western Animation 
  • The Trope Namer is Dora the Explorer.
    • Dora would often stop Swiper the fox from stealing something (usually of little value) from her or her friends by putting her hand in front of his face and repeatedly chanting the trope name at him, making him say "Oh, man!", although it didn't always work. In fact, she would ask us to do that for her.
    • Funnily enough, the show actually subverted this in the Yet Another Christmas Carol episode when Swiper himself tries it on his future self. Future Swiper just laughs at him, tells him it doesn't work anymore, and swipes the object in question anyway. It turns out that Swiper really was just being polite and listening to Dora whenever she asked him to stop in all those other episodes. When he got put on the Naughty List, he decides to stop listening and went on to swipe so much stuff that Future Dora angrily tells the present Swiper there's nothing left in their time to steal.
  • In the first season of Superfriends, there wasn't any actual violence in the show. Everyone had their powers, but there was no beating people up. To top it off, every villain had good intentions. This being said, you would see a scene where Superman would throw the giant metal gate to the villain's lair completely aside, but then he would talk to the villain of the week and convince him to try a different, less-villainous solution. In those few cases where it wasn't a well-intentioned extremist, they just dismantled the plan and left, but not before giving the villain a "The Reason You Suck" Speech. Note that this was only true in the first season. After that, most baddies were Card Carrying Villains. The Legion of Doom wouldn't have known a good intention if it bit them in the shin.
  • Police Sgt. Mike Cosgrove from Freakazoid! can stop any criminal from carrying out his act by looking at them straight in the eye and saying, "Hey. Cut it out." The fact that this works on The Warners speaks volumes about how effective it is.
  • In Family Guy, Peter watches The Passion of the Christ and states that if he were Jesus, he wouldn't have taken the Romans' cruel treatment so lightly. Cut to Peter's imagination, wherein he, as Jesus, orders a Roman sentry to stop whipping him by standing up and yelling, "No, no! Stop it, stop it!" in a stern, parental voice.
  • Adventure Time: In "Rainy Day Daydream", Finn stops a "bazooka goblin" from shooting him and Jake by shouting, "Don't do it, man!"
  • Go, Diego, Go! (a Spin-Off of Dora the Explorer) "Freeze, Bobos!" in response to the antics of the Bobo Brothers, the two monkeys who are always causing trouble in the series. Though to be fair, unlike Swiper, they're not trying to cause trouble, so telling them to stop and them listening makes more sense. What doesn't make sense is that, also unlike Swiper, telling the Bobo Brothers to freeze makes them stop, even in midair, to apologize (Oops. Sorry!). This means that Diego (and the viewer) isn't just telling the Bobos to cut it out, but also the laws of physics.
  • Done in The Powerpuff Girls when a Godzilla-like monster rampages in Townsville. Blossom believes in strategy to take it down while Buttercup believes in brute force. Both tactics fail and Bubbles, getting fed up with her sisters' bickering, just flies to the monster and politely asks it to stop. It works. (Though more than likely the monster was getting tired of Blossom's and Buttercup's arguing as well.)
    • A later episode provides a possible justification for this: most monsters come from a place called Monster Island, where they periodically journey to Townsville specifically to test their mettle against the Powerpuff Girls (incidentally making the girls Doom Magnets). When Bubbles asks the monster to leave, it indicates that the girls aren't invested in fighting it further; having achieved its goal of proving its might, it has no reason not to comply.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Dragonshy" Fluttershy gets a dragon to stop generally being a violent prick by way of a motherly scolding. She makes him cry from shame. This is a particularly epic version due to the size difference involved, as she gives the scolding while pacing on his snout. A small portion of his snout, and is smaller than his irises. Admittedly, the dragon was not purposely causing harm (just its presence nearby caused smoke to block out the skies), and Fluttershy's eyes appear to have mystical powers.
  • Happens in the "Weird Man" sketch of Uncle Grandpa despite the fact the addressed is armed with a knife.
  • In an episode of The Amazing World of Gumball Richard's passive nature eventually leads to his house being full of rude and destructive people who rejoice that his kindness makes the house "Rule Free". When Nicole arrives however, she simply tells everyone "You're going to clean this place until it looks better than when you arrived. Then you will leave and Never come back." It works. Although It might have something to do with the fact that the one person who protested saw the souls of tormented dead in her eyes.
  • In the South Park special "Imaginationland", Butters tries this on terrorists. It doesn't work, and the denizens of Imaginationland are not shy about telling him how idiotic an idea it was (although with far more profanity than that).
  • One episode of Eek! The Cat has Eek become a superhero. He confronts a pair of robbers and says, "Didn't anyone ever tell you stealing is wrong?" They're shocked and say, "No, actually no one ever did." Eek says, "Oh. Well, it is!" They give the money back and apologize.
  • On Dragon Tales, the eponymous wizard of "The Mefirst Wizard" is a selfish wizard who doesn't know how to take turns and therefore takes over whatever you're trying to play on and won't let anyone else have a turn. He can be banished, however, with the rhyme "Mefirst, Mefirst, go away. That's not the way friends play." Though it has to be said two words at time between those that are there, taking turns.
  • Parodied in Animaniacs as Slappy Squirrel expresses her frustration with modern cartoons by showing a Green Aesop cartoon as an example where a robin pleads with a wolverine to stop cutting down trees in the forest. The wolverine promptly does and apologizes saying he didn't know what he was doing was wrong.
  • The Simpsons: In the "Treehouse Of Horror V" segment "Nightmare Cafeteria", the faculty members of Springfield Elementary turn into cannibals and start killing, cooking and eating the students. When Bart and Lisa tell Marge about the situation, she refuses to do anything about it, telling them that they are old enough to solve the problem on their own, and suggests that they tell the teachers not to eat them. Bart and Lisa don't follow this advice, but it wouldn't have worked anyways. Thankfully, it was All Just a Dream.
  • Xiaolin Showdown: When Omi goes back in time to find Grand Master Dashi and ask how to defeat Wuya, the latter challenges him to a showdown for a pebble. Omi tries many tricks but fails each time... until he simply asks for it and Dashi gives it to him. Dashi explains that this was to teach him to not go into battle head on, but to try something unexpected... and it was funny.
  • Wander over Yonder: In "The Battle Royale", Something the So-And-So manages to get to the Ring of Invincibility first, but he doesn't know what to do with it. Something proves to be such a doormat, Emperor Awesome convinces him to put the Ring down and go get his act together.
  • Nitz, being the Only Sane Man of his group of friends in Undergrads, has this ability over Rocko:
    Rocko: (enters the room eating a stop sign)
    Nitz: Rocko, you're being a dumb-ass. Stop that.
    Rocko: (stops)
  • In Rocko's Modern Life's Musical Episode "Zanzibar", Rocko along with the citizens of O-Town go up to speak with the board of directors for Conglom-O about the pollution they've been putting out, and asks for them to stop. Much to everyone's surprise, the board of directors says ok without so much as an argument - turns out it was just Ed Bighead that was keen on doing things the cheap and dirty way.
  • The eponymous werewolf of Fangface has the bad habit of trying to eat his friend Puggsy whenever he transforms or hears "a food word", but he can usually be talked into letting Puggsy go with the simple reminder that Puggsy is his friend.
    I'm so sorry, Puggs! I don't know what came over me!


Video Example(s):


Treehouse Troubles

A Shout-Out to Dora the Explorer where the group manage to successfully stop Swiper by saying "Swiper, no swiping".

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Main / SwiperNoSwiping

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