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The "Be Careful!" Speech

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Neal Caffrey: Hey, keep your eye on the prize, okay? This is serious. Stanzler doesn't mess around. And remember, backup is ten seconds away, so—
Peter Burke: You don't give me the "be careful" speech. I invented the "be careful" speech.
White Collar, "Power Play"

Our hero is about to go into a dangerous situation. Cue the hero's best friend/mentor/lover/commanding officer/etc., reminding the hero just how dangerous it's going to be.


See also Try Not to Die.


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    Comic Books 
  • Tim Drake finds himself trying to remind his allies of the danger of the situation they're about to enter distressingly often, especially in the early days of Young Justice where he was the team leader and responsible for Superboy, who only had his tactile telekinesis at that point as his Kryptonian powers had yet to start coming in and was a boisterous Fun Personified "teen", and Impulse who was a dangerously impulsive Cloudcuckoolander speedster with no sense of danger whatsoever due to being raised in a virtual reality.

    Films — Animation 
  • Cars: Sally tells Lightning McQueen this when he's about to compete in a race.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Trope Namer is the White Collar episode "Power Play". Neal and Peter have to switch identities, meaning Peter is the one who has to pull off a heist while working undercover for the Villain of the Week. Peter is usually giving these, which Neal cheerfully... creatively reinterprets.
  • Doctor Who: The Doctor gives his companions (and just about everyone else he meets) this speech all the time. The companions also frequently feel the need to give the Doctor the same speech. It usually doesn't help much.
  • Sergeant Phil Esterhaus in Hill Street Blues was famous for ending each briefing to the officers with these words: "Let's be careful out there."
  • In the NUMB3RS episode "Uncertainty Principle", Charlie gives one of these to Don, when he's about to go after armed bank robbers.
  • In an episode of The Bionic Woman, in which Jamie must go undercover at the police academy, Oscar Goldman warns Jamie that the only job more dangerous than a secret agent is a cop.
  • Star Trek: Voyager. In "The Omega Directive", Captain Janeway has to go on a classified solo mission but refuses to explain anything to her crew. She demands a hypospray of Fantastic Radiation Shielding and curtly overrules the Doctor when he objects that it's dangerous. However the Doctor earns a Gooey Look when he gives this trope.

  • In Robert A. Heinlein's Starship Troopers, one of Johnny's superiors warns him that he'd better not be trying to earn any medals as he goes into combat.
  • In Felix Salten's Bambi, Bambi's mother warns him that "walking on the meadow is not so simple. It's a difficult and dangerous business." She instructs him to run if he sees her run, or "...even if something should happen... even if (you) should see me fall to the ground..." Which of course, eventually, he does.
  • In "Literature/Aladdin", from The Arabian Nights, the wicked magician cautions Aladdin not to touch the walls of the enchanted cave he is about to enter, or he will die.
  • In Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky", the hero's father warns,"Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch. Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun the frumious Bandersnatch!"
  • Lampshaded in Elizabeth Enright's The Saturdays, in which the Melendy children correctly predict what their father and housekeeper will caution them to do and not to do when they go into New York City independently.
  • In Erle Stanley Gardner's Perry Mason novels, Della Street (his secretary), Paul Drake (his private investigator), and Lt. Tragg (a homicide detective), all often advise him to be careful to avoid arrest or disbarment. He listens about as often as the Doctor does.
  • In Sensible Kate by Doris Gates, Vic and the other fisherman warn Vic's brother, Leo, not to go out fishing during a storm. Leo doesn't listen, and never comes back.
  • Aunt Zelda gives this to Septimus Heap when he's about to fly the dragon boat for the second time. He ends up saying "Aunt Zelda, we'll be fine. Really.".
  • Many people tell Miles to be careful in Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan novels. Occasionally, he even listens to them.
  • Stacey's mother in The Baby-Sitters Club tells her to "Have fun, and be careful" every time she leaves home.
  • In Linda O. Johnston's mystery Teacup Turbulence, it's almost a running gag how many people tell the heroine, Lauren Vancouver, to be careful.
  • In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Willy Wonka regularly tells the group they need to be careful, not to touch anything, not to enter certain places, not to get overexcited, etc. as they travel from room to room. Of course, most of his charges easily forget his warnings or outright ignore them...
  • In Undertow by Michael Buckley, Lyric Walker's parents and other concerned adults are frequently cautioning her to be careful. She always intends to be, but usually can't.

  • "Billy, Don't Be a Hero." The title says it all. Not that Billy takes the advice.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In Greek Mythology, Daedalus makes wings of feathers and wax so he and his son can escape from prison. He warns his son, Icarus, not to fly too close to the sun which would melt the wax. Icarus doesn't take the advice.

    Web Comics 


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