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A character who Cannot Spit It Out has finally built up the nerve to reveal a secret. This could be a life-changing event for everyone involved or permanently alter the course of the story. There's just one problem.

It doesn't stick. The speaker started talking but couldn't spit out the really important part, the speaker suddenly recalls why it was and still is important to keep the secret, the speaker decides not to confess after being interrupted, the listener remembered for a while but got Easy Amnesia, or they suffer from One Dialogue, Two Conversations, or some other type of Poor Communication Kills interferes.


When this happens, the audience has been treated to an Un-Confession. Prevalent in series that use the Reset Button liberally, this can lead to the audience tearing their hair out in frustration. Sometimes this can be used to tell the audience something that the characters can't or don't know ahead of time, but more often than not it seems to be to maintain Status Quo Is God and Failure Is the Only Option.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Shakugan no Shana, the first season ends with Yuji and Shana walking to their apparent doom and Shana admitting that she loves him. But come season 2? They're back to the Slap part of Slap-Slap-Kiss. He did hear — it just seemed so out of character (honestly, how would a real person think of a tsundere with a crush on them?) that he figures he must have been mistaken and asks for clarification.
  • Cardcaptor Sakura
    • It looked like the second movie was doing this with Sakura and Syaoran after it looks like his love for her has been absorbed by the Sealed Evil in a Can, but it turns out he did hear it.
    • A more straight example is with Tomoyo, who tells Sakura how she feels about her, but Sakura doesn't get it.
    • Then CLAMP does this again with the Else World versions of Syaoran and Sakura in Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-. This time Sakura is getting ready to tell him, but then she has all memory of him erased, and every time she tries to do it her memory of it is removed as part of "the price" paid of their relationship. Ouch. Over 200 chapters later; in chapter 217, Sakura finally tells Syaoran she loves him, and he returns it. 'Course, it was the clones, but still! Squee!!
  • In Dorohedoro, Nikaido attempts to confess to Kaiman that she's a magic user, but he interrupts her to point out that it's snowing and Professor Kasukabe comes in to introduce himself while they're distracted.
  • In the Haruhi Suzumiya light novels, it's revealed that Kyon told Haruhi all about the group and its weird entities immediately after the first time she nearly unmade the universe. She didn't believe him, called him an idiot, and then used his stories to cast her group in the movie she made, which explains the uncanny accuracy of the movie in summing up the cast.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Winry comments offhandedly she doesn't know why she's in love with a spaz like Ed. He stops flailing around to ask her what she has just said, and she just brushes him off.
  • In Hanamaru Kindergarten, Tsuchida actually confesses to Yamamoto that he likes her...but since they're both drunk at the time, they don't remember it after sobering up. Heck, Yamamoto even joins in the bunny hop that their fellow teachers start up to celebrate his finally spitting it out.
  • Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun's anime adaptation is rather infamous for its own original addition to the summer festival chapter. Chiyo decides to confess to Nozaki that she loves him during the fireworks display, and he looks like he heard it... but he thought she was talking about liking the fireworks display, and agrees with her. Sakura doesn't bother to correct him, at least satisfied that they're close as is.
  • Almost happens in Chapter 59 of The Quintessential Quintuplets, when Nino finally accepts she fell in love with Fuutarou (despite starting out hating him). Since she confesses to him while they're riding on a motorbike, he doesn't hear her over the wind and the engine's noise. On the next chapter, when Nino realizes this, at first it seems she's gonna let things be, but immediately goes back and repeats it for him to hear.
  • In Recovery of an MMO Junkie, while Moriko and Sakurai are on the phone together, he finally works up the courage to confess that he's the player behind Lily, her best friend (and possibly more) in the MMORPG Fruits de Mer. However, before he can say anything his smartphone runs out of battery. He ends up telling her in person not long after.


  • Warrior Cats: In an Expanded Universe play, Leafpool is about to tell Crowfeather that she gave birth to his children, only to be cut off by Crowfeather telling him that he now has a new mate in his own Clan who has just given birth, so she doesn't tell him.
    • Later in the series, The rest of Hollyleaf's Clan finally confronts her on how she suspiciously disappeared shortly after Ashfur was murdered. She looks like she's going to admit that she killed him, but Brambleclaw ends up covering for her instead, saying he saw what happened and lying that she killed him by accident and out of self-defense. Though this might not be intentional on the author's part, since based on the "Warriors Ultimate Guide" they seem to have retconned it (or just forgot how it initially was) so that Hollyleaf did kill him accidentally in self-defense.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Batman
    • In the 1989 film version, Bruce Wayne tries to tell Vicki Vale that he's Batman, but he's interrupted by the arrival of the Joker. He even mouths it twice, "I'm Batman. I'm Batman."
    • Years later, in Batman Forever, he tries to announce it to the circus tent full of people, to stop Two-Face from releasing his massive bomb, but nobody hears him over the screams of the panicked crowd.
  • In Brassed Off:
    • The brass band leader Danny has devoted his life to the Grimley Colliery Band, and wants nothing more than for them to win the brass band championship final at the Albert Hall; but the other band members are reluctant, because their colliery is about to be closed, leaving them all without jobs. At several points in the film, somebody is about to confess this to Danny, but is interrupted.
    • This first happens when Jim and Ernie are about to make this confession, and then the pretty Gloria suddenly walks into their practice hall, and becomes the only female member of the band. Danny says So You Were Saying...?, and then Jim and Ernie retract their confession.
      Jim: Danny, me and Ernie have been thinking it over like, you know, present climate and that.
      Danny: What are you saying, Jim?!
      Ernie: Me and Jim have made a decision...
      (Gloria suddenly walks in)
      Danny: (later) Jim, what were you saying? Summat about present climate?
      Jim: Oh, er, despite present climate, you can always rely on our whole-hearted support for the cause.
    • Later, when Danny is suddenly hospitalised, Danny's son Phil has the unenviable task of confessing that the band will not attend the final, because they can no longer afford to.
      (Phil is just about to confess, having mentioned that he has bad news)
      Danny: They won't let me out of hospital, for one sodding day. You'd best give these to Harry, then. (Gives him a vast wad of handwritten sheet music) I was up all night doing them.
      (Phil looks at them, and remains silent)
  • In the original French My Father the Hero, Vero is a compulsive liar, and has spread rumours about Andre being her lover, rather than her father. When Andre orders her to tell Ben the truth, Vero spends a lot of time winding herself up to do this, saying "I have something to tell you", then she is distracted by Andre playing the piano, making Ben all the more convinced that she really loves Andre (as her lover).
  • In the 1978 Superman: The Movie, Clark Kent starts to tell Lois Lane that he's Superman, but loses his nerve at the last minute.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Occurred several times on 3rd Rock from the Sun with the Solomons admitting they were aliens, though of course it never carried any consequences past the episode in question.
  • Altered Carbon. In "Fallen Angel", Detective Ortega appears to be confessing her sins (some of them criminal acts) to a priest. However the police station was built inside a former church and she's just talking to a disused confession booth being used as a storage cupboard with no-one inside.
  • Smallville does this all the time. The eighth season alone features Lois 'admitting' to being in love with Clark under lie detector and then claiming to have fooled the machine, and (in a separate episode) Clark revealing his identity to the world. In a past episode Clark also told Lana the truth about him before resetting time after she died, and, in a strange inversion, he once erased the knowledge of his alien heritage from Chloe's mind — which also didn't stick (i.e. she remembered).
  • Forever Knight
    • In "Be My Valentine", Nick and Natalie finally openly declare their love... except LaCroix doesn't like Nick being in love with a mortal because he had to give up his love for Nick's sister 800 years ago (which somehow never came up with any of Nick's previous mortal Love Interests). By the end of the episode, Natalie has lost her memory of the entire preceding day.
    • In "Feeding the Beast", Nick tells Schanke that he has an addiction as part of a Twelve Step program he tries to cope with his Blood Lust. Given that Schanke has seen the bottles of 'wine' he keeps in his otherwise empty fridge, he naturally assumes that Nick is an alcoholic.
  • In Torchwood, Gwen finally tells Rhys that she cheated on him...after dosing him with Retcon so he forgets almost immediately. Definitely did not help Gwen's popularity.
  • In Orphan Black, the police arrest Sarah and Felix once they've figured out that she assumed Beth's identity after her suicide. Under interrogation by Detective Bell, Beth's former partner, Sarah is just about to reveal the secret of the clones to him when a lawyer retained for her walks in and tells her to say nothing more as the interrogation is over.
  • Rome. When Lucius Vorenus drops his act, his wife Niobe almost blurts out the truth about her infidelity. Vorenus assures her that it doesn't matter what she's done while he was away; they're going to start afresh. Unfortunately Niobe's crime is far more serious (according to Roman values) than mere infidelity; she's had a child with another man that she's pretending is Vorenus' grandson.
  • Played with in a Seinfeld episode, where George confesses his feelings to his Love Interest, who does not react. When he learns later that she's deaf from one ear and may simply not have heard him, he is overjoyed to get a second chance and does another try, this time making sure she can hear him correctly... only for her to reveal she had heard him the first time.

  • In Cactus Flower, Toni, sensing something's wrong with Julian, asks him what the trouble is. He breaks down and begins to tell her his embarrassing secret: "I have to get this off my chest. Toni, Stephanie is..." One interruption later, Toni presses the subject: "Come on, Julian, let's have it. You know me. I can forgive anything except a lie." Julian then realizes that he can't tell Toni that Stephanie isn't his wife, since he was lying to her about being married from the beginning of their affair, and he tries to save face by confirming one of Toni's Entertainingly Wrong guesses about Stephanie instead. When Stephanie later takes it upon herself to reveal the truth about "Mrs. Winston" to Toni, Toni almost succeeds at derailing it again by assuming it's about Mrs. Winston being pregnant.

     Video Games 
  • In Tales of Symphonia, there is an optional scene where Lloyd receives a voucher to stay in a suite. There, a short scene plays out between him and the character you have the highest affection with. At the end of Colette’s scene, she almost outright confesses her feelings for Lloyd, but chickens out at the last second.
    Colette: The best! So many wonderful people. I love them all. And Sylvarant and Tethe’alla too.
    Lloyd: Yeah.
    Colette: But most of all, I love—
    Lloyd: Hmm?
    Colette: (Blushing) N-nothing! It’s nothing. Don’t worry about it. I’ll just, um, I’ll head back to my room now.

    Web Comics 
  • RPG World literally used the Reset Button for this trope. Cherry admitted her feelings for the hero, and then an enemy attacked, Total Party Kill, Game Over. The player loaded the last save file, and all progress in their love life was lost.
  • Sluggy Freelance has Zoe "Dying" just after realizing she really does love Torg and his actions prove he's in love with her as well. Only to find out she was kept alive by nanomachines who restored her without memories. Then comes Riff who time travels to the night before she "dies" to copy her memories making her revelation never happen.

    Western Animation 
  • Played for Laughs several times in Family Guy. In keeping with the show's increasing reliance on shock value, it normally involves Peter being a total Jerkass when inappropriate, or Lois admitting to some past (wild) indiscretion.
    • One early episode has Peter not appreciating Lois, so she vents her feelings by being a lounge singer in the bar Peter built in their basement. The house catches fire and Peter apologizes for the way he acted, but then Stewie (not even knowing what's going on) activates his Time Machine and travels back to an earlier point in the episode and unintentionally prevents the series of events that lead to the confession in the first place.
  • In Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across the Second Dimension, it is revealed to the main characters that their pet platypus Perry is a Secret Agent. By his organisation's rules, this means that he'll have to move in with another family... unless their minds are wiped, which the family agrees to. This isn't where the trope comes in. It's where Phineas's love interest, Isabella, kisses him just seconds before their memories are erased, to take advantage of the trope.
  • In Dan Vs. The Family Cruise, the episode ends with Elise Jr. and Sr. confessing to each other that they were both secretly working for enemy organizations right before what seems to be the end of the world. But the world did not end: it reseted right to the beginning of the episode except that this time they would not embark into the cruise.
  • Batman Beyond: In "Sneak Peek", after Ian Peek has discovered Bruce and Terry's secret and is about to reveal it on his show, Terry decides to tell his family that he's Batman rather than let them hear it from a sleazy gossipmonger. They laugh at him, and Peek is silenced for good when he loses control of the phasing ability generated by his belt.
  • Miraculous Ladybug loves this trope, since a lot of the humour and drama comes from Marinette not being able to tell Adrien she's in love with him and neither of them knowing the other's alternate identity:
    • When Marinette manages to send Adrien a Valentine card, she forgets to sign it.
    • When she finally plucks up the courage to deliver him a love letter in person, she mixes it up with a drug prescription for constipation pills she had been carrying for someone else.
    • A particularly complicated example occurs when she manages to sign the gift she sent him, only for this to cause a Bad Future and requires her to go back in time to erase her signature.
    • Adrien as Aspic tells Ladybug (Marinette's superhero identity) that he's actually Cat Noir and is in love with her, seconds before Ladybug is captured by the villain of the episode and Aspic has to reset time to save her.