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That Wasn't a Request

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Freakshow: It seems... I need your help.
Danny: You miserable freak! Why would I help you?!
Freakshow: I'm sorry, did I say "need"? I meant demand.
Danny Phantom, "Reality Trip"

Usually a Stock Reply to "No!", with a hint of threatening sarcasm. A popular phrase with villains when heroes just won't cooperate. Precedes use of force to get the object of the not-a-request.

May also be worded as "That wasn't a suggestion/question" or "I wasn't asking."

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Not to be confused with That's an Order!, which is said by a commander to a subordinate to show that they're pulling rank and that things are not up for discussion. "That wasn't a request" is said by people who have no official command over others but, for the moment, are ordering them around anyway; there is no reason for the person to cooperate except that the person giving the order is about to use force to back up their demand, whatever it may be.


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Examples:

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     Anime and Manga  

  • In the English dub of Digimon Adventure, Myotismon tells Kari to hand over her newly acquired Applied Phlebotinum:
    Kari: No!
    Myotismon: That wasn't a request!
  • The English dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX:
    Adrian: Come with me, Echo.
    Echo: I don't want to go with you, you're scaring me.
    Adrian: That wasn't a request!
  • In the English dub of Dragon Ball Z this is how Piccolo takes Gohan away for training.
    Piccolo: I'm taking this boy for training to prepare for the Saiyans' arrival.
    Roshi: I can understand why, but you'll have to ask his mother.
    Piccolo: I'm not asking! I'm telling!
  • In Hamtaro, Boss demands something of the other hamsters, who are hesitant to do it. Boss cracks his knuckles and asks "Did you see a question mark?"
  • One Piece:
    • Don Krieg's attempt to get the ocean-going restaurant Baratie to serve him and his crew food goes something like this. The chefs know that Krieg will attack the Baratie once they're done eating, but Krief makes it clear that refusal is one thing he doesn't tolerate. Then Zeff hands him a sack of food and tells the other chefs to get ready for a fight.
    • Happens again to Sanji in the Zou Arc; He's invited to a wedding hosted by Big Mom as the groom. When he refuses, the messenger tells him that when Big Mom asks you to come to one of her parties, it's in your best interests to come- or else.
  • Seri Awashima in episode 5 of K, to the principal of the school, telling him to hand over data about a student they suspect of a crime. Of course, while they're having this discussion, her subordinate just goes and hacks the school's computers...

     Comic Books  

  • Watchmen:
    Dr. Manhattan: Pay attention. You will all return to your homes.
    Protester: Oh yeah? And what if we don't, ya big blue fruit?
    Dr. Manhattan: You misunderstand me. It was not a request. [Teleports all protesters to their individual homes]
  • Joss Whedon's run on X-Men gives a rare inversion when a Breakworlder points a gun at Kitty and Colossus.
    Alien: Rasputin and Pryde. You will come with us.
    Colossus: It's unlikely.
    Alien: Your translators are primitive. It is not an order. We are asking. We are asking for your trust.
    • In Uncanny X-Men, #183, after Colossus broke off his relationship with Kitty, Logan announced that he was taking Piotr to a nearby bar (for the unstated purpose of beating Piotr up for breaking Kitty's heart. Piotr ended up in a brawl with Juggernaut instead). When Piotr declined, Logan answered, "I don't recall givin' you a choice, Bub."

     Fanfiction  

  • How the Netherworld enforcers responded to Kurumu and the others refusing to be imprisoned without charge in the Rosario + Vampire/Ranma ½ crossover fanfic Big Human on Campus.
    Yukari: Then why did you phrase it as one?
  • In the Lilo & Stitch fanfic Aliens!, The Boss informs Senko that his "promotion" isn't optional.
  • An 'April Fool's' Errand: When Hermes points out that Hades complains about not being given a spot on Olympus only to hate coming up to Olympus during celebrations, Hades points out that he and Persephone were not so much invited into coming as much as forced to come by royal decree with the "By Order of Zeus" written in big, obvious red letters.
  • In Shadow And Steel: The Chicago Way, an X-Men fanfic centering on Colossus and Kitty Pryde, Colossus and Kitty deal with a recurring Spider-Man villain Rhino, who has taken passengers of the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel hostage in order to lure them out.
    Colossus: You wanted to speak to us. We are here. The hostages will now go free.
    Rhino: So, the Metal Man and the Ghost Girl have finally shown themselves...No, I do not believe I will free the hostages for you now.
    Colossus: I was not offering a choice, Rhino, I was merely stating a fact. Either you will release the hostages willingly, or we will free them after dealing with you. It's your decision.

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     Films — Animated  

  • Disney's Beauty and the Beast:
    Beast: (to Belle) You will join me for dinner! That's not a request!

     Films — Live-Action  

  • Played with in The Guyver when Mizky is held hostage by Zoanoids:
    Sean: Let her go!
    Lisker: [Laughs] Is that a request?
    Sean: [Activates Powered Armor] I said, "Let her go."
  • The Devil Wears Prada:
    Miranda: You have no style or sense of fashion.
    Andy: Well, I think that depends on -
    Miranda: No, no. That wasn't a question.
  • In Kill Bill, The Bride demands that Hattori Hanzo give her a sword. When he tells her that they are not for sale, she answers "I didn't say sell me".
  • Snatch.: Brick Top gets in on the action too.
    Of course, fucking of course. I wasn't asking, I was telling.
  • In Iron Man 2:
    Rhodes: Listen, my car got taken out in the explosion so I'm going to have to hang on to your suit for a minute. Okay?
    Tony: Not okay. Not okay with that.
    Rhodes: Wasn't a question. [Blasts off]
  • In Doctor Strange (2016), the good doctor uses the phrase, "I've come to bargain" when he speaks with the Big Bad the abomination that is Dormammu. He keeps repeating it as he is killed but he keeps resetting time to just before he makes his declaration and after the umpteenth time the Big Bad realizes this isn't some bequest or area he has any leverage in. He better listen to Doctor Strange or he will be trapped forever by Strange in a loop of Strange coming to him and Dormammu killing him.
  • In Wing Commander, Angel is tired of her subordinates assuming she goes around giving out suggestions. They take the hint.

     Literature  

  • The heroes of David Eddings' The Belgariad are quite fond of this; one such example is as follows:
    Ce'Nedra: In the absence of King Belgarion, it appears that I must act in his stead, and I need your advice on how to proceed. I wish the transfer of power into my hands to go as smoothly as possible.
    Rhodar: (after a bout of incredulity) An interesting proposal, your Highness. We have, however, made other arrangements. There's a long-standing precedent in the matter. We thank your Highness for her gracious offer nonetheless.
    Ce'Nedra: It wasn't precisely an offer, your Majesty, and any previous precedents have been superseded.
  • Discworld's Thud!: Vimes is attempting to investigate the death of a prominent dwarf community leader, but is being stymied by another dwarf:
    Helmclever: "I refuse to comply with your request!"
    Vimes: "It wasn't a request."
    • Earlier in Men at Arms, Carrot tells Lord Downey, #2 in the Assassin's Guild that they will send someone to recover the body of Doctor Cruces, the late head of the Assassin's Guild and the Big Bad who was killed after attempting to assassinate Lord Vetinari. A downplayed example as Carrot, while incredibly strong, is not in a position to enforce his demand while he's surrounded by assassins on their own turf, but fortunately Detritus shows up in a really bad mood thanks to Cruces murdering his friend Cuddy shortly afterwards to tip the odds.
      Downey: Unfortunately we cannot accede to your request.
      Carrot: It wasn't a request, sir.

     Live-Action TV  

  • This exchange in Firefly:
    Badger: I thought we might have a bit of a sit-down.
    Mal: I'd prefer a bit of a piss off.
    Badger: I'm very sorry, did I give you the impression I was askin'?
    • Mal himself is fond of the expression:
    Simon: I'm not sure that's such a good suggestion...
    Mal: Best not mistake it for a suggestion.
    • Seen more dramatically in "Out of Gas", when Mal orders Wash away from Zoe's bedside after she's critically injured.
    Wash: I'm not leaving her, Mal! Don't ask me again!
    Mal: I wasn't askin'. I was tellin'.
  • In Doctor Who, the Doctor tells a woman who wants to fight the Silurians to hand over a weapon. She refuses, and he tells her that right now "he's being nice".
  • The Italian from Leverage says this through a translator in her first appearance.
    My employer wishes you to understand that that was not a request. We will not be providing warrants. You will provide us with all the files you have on Nathan Ford, or you will find yourself under state, federal, and international investigation.
  • According to Max Headroom, any request falls under this trope.
    Max Headroom: Asking is just polite demanding.
  • Invoked in Game of Thrones Season 6 when the Faith Militant come to bring Cersei (at the time confined to the Red Keep pending trial) to the Sept of Baelor.
  • This is our first look at Amunet in The Flash:
    Amunet Black: You should know by now I don't ask for anything. I tell, and I take.

     Theatre  

  • Fiddler on the Roof: When Perchik and Hodel tell Tevye (Hodel's father) of their engagement and he blusters that he won't allow it:
    Hodel: You don't understand, Papa.
    Tevye (patiently): You're not listening. I say no. I'm sorry, Hodel, but we'll find someone else for you, here in Anatevka.
    Perchik: Reb Tevye.
    Tevye: What is it?
    Perchik: We are not asking for your permission, only for your blessing. We are going to get married.

     Video Games  

  • Transformers: Fall of Cybertron has this exchange between Megatron and Optimus:
    Megatron: No one leaves without my permission!
    Optimus Prime: I wasn't asking.
  • Turns up in Dawn of War.
    Inquisitor Toth: Colonel Brom, the Captain and I must attend to matters of faith. If you would leave us, please.
    Colonel Brom: But surely this involves me as-
    Inquisitor Toth: Forgive me for being unclear on the matter. I said "please", when in fact I meant "now".

    Visual Novels 
  • In Fate/hollow ataraxia, Shirou refuses to accompany his girlfriend Saber on a trip to the lingerie store. She informs him that her request was rhetorical, and rephrases it:
    "So, please accompany me in my quest."

     Webcomics  

     Web Original  

  • A slight variation on the format in Dragon Ball Abridged:
    Freeza: I have a question for you though.
    Piccolo: What's that?
    Freeza: Die.
    Piccolo: That's... not a ques- [gets punched into a mountain.]
    Freeza: That's because I don't do requests.
  • This exchange in Grandmaster of Theft:
    Gale: Seeing as you've concluded your business with her, you should not be pressed to conduct some with me now, would you? I've just a couple of questions to ask.
    Cassidy: It's an attractive offer, but I've no interest in discussing such matters on top of a train.
    Gale: I'm sorry to say that was a rhetorical question. The rest of these won't be. If the setting is not to your liking. I could always arrange to take you elsewhere where you'd be more willing to chat.
  • Théo from Aventures does this when Grunlek's mechanical arm malfunctions.
    Théo: Grunlek, can you fix your arm?
    Grunlek: Yeah, sure, right away.
    Théo: (raising his sword) Can you fix your arm?
    Grunlek: (scared) Yes!
  • In Superpower Beatdown, Thor gives this demand to Superman.
    Thor: In Asgard, when two great warriors meet, it is tradition for them to do battle.
    Superman: I don't want to fight you.
    Thor: (slams Mjolnir on a rock) It wasn't a request.

     Western Animation  

  • The 90s X-Men series had Cyclops kidnapped underground by the leader of the Morlocks, Callisto:
    Callisto: (Caressing Cyclops' face) You agreed to stay.
    Cyclops: Sorry, not interested.
    Callisto: That wasn't a request!
  • The Simpsons episode, "Strong Arms of the Ma" has a rather unsettling example when Marge takes up bodybuilding and wants to have sex with Homer the night before a contest:
    Marge: (aggressively throws Homer right side up, and pins herself on him) Let's do it.
    Homer: (giggles nervously) Err, listen my bulky flower, I have a long day at work tomorrow..
    Marge: I wasn't asking.
  • Freakshow does this to Danny in the Danny Phantom episode "Reality Trip":
    Freakshow: It seems... I need your help.
    Danny: You miserable freak! Why would I help you?!
    Freakshow: I'm sorry, did I say "need"? I meant demand.
    • And Fright Knight also does it in the episode named after him.
    Fright Knight: You have released me. Return to me my sword so my reign of terror can begin anew!
    Danny: I-I can bring the sword back by midnight... but the reign of terror's kinda a deal breaker.
    Fright Knight: It was not a request, whelp! It was a demand!


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