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Drew Carey: "Bad Choices to Make When Your Genie Grants You Three Wishes."
Colin Mochrie: Uh, two Cokes and some chips.

A comedy trope where, quite simply, a character is given an opportunity by a genie, witch, or magical artifact to Make a Wish or three, and wastes them on something stupid and/or frivolous. Sandwiches seem to be a particular favorite. If it's unintentional, this may be because the character was just talking about what he "wishes," without really knowing that he was in the presence of some magical power that would grant his wish despite how wasteful it is (or perhaps, his ignorance consisted in a mistake such as thinking the power was unlimited instead of just Three Wishes); or he may have some Skewed Priorities that make him ask for something that makes little sense as a use of the unlimited power of the Wish.

A lot of times, this will be used to circumvent Jackass Genies or Literal Genies, since, with a smaller reward from a wish, possible negative consequences from the reward will also generally be smaller. If this works and the person who wished for something small ends up happier than the one who wished for ten bajillion dollars and a mansion full of Playboy models, then expect An Aesop on greed and being satisfied with simpler pleasures in life. In cases where the wish-granter is disposable after its wishes are used up, if The Hero doesn't have more pressing things to wish for, they may invoke this trope simply to ensure there's nothing left for the Big Bad to use - dangerous artifact disposal and a knee-slapping reaction from the villain in one motion.

Even wasted, these wishes can be subject to Be Careful What You Wish For.

Also see Mundane Wish, when the wish is intentionally mundane because the wisher doesn't need or want anything grandiose. Contrast Ludicrous Gift Request.


Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • In a Swedish commercial for Aladdin Chocolates, three tourists are visiting a bazaar and one of them — while the others are distracted — accidentally releases a genie from a lamp. The genie says they get three wishes, but the tourist is so stunned by the experience that he can only say "Aladdin!" (presumably thinking that's the genie's name) and gets a box of chocolates. The second tourist turns around, sees the genie, and exclaims "Aladdin!" as well, and gets another box. Then the third tourist turns around and the thing repeats again. Task done, the genie flies away, while the tourists stand there with their chocolate (which they don't even seem to have noticed) and shout for the genie to come back because they're supposed to have their wishes granted.
  • Australian advertisements for Arnott's "Tim-Tams" chocolate biscuits:
    • A guy and girl stumble upon a magic lamp, releasing a genie who grants them three wishes. The girl wishes for a packet of Tim-Tams that never runs out. The genie informs them they have two wishes left, to which the guy responds, "Then we'll have two more of those."
    • In a later version, the guy immediately wishes for a hot blonde movie star, who promptly appears. Annoyed, his girlfriend suggests they take a hike. Both disappear — Oops! The handsome black male genie suggestively tells the girl she's got one wish left and is rather disappointed when she wishes for the never-ending Tim-Tams.
    • Zigzagged in a third version; a bunch of girls find a genie who declares that he only grants "worthy" wishes. The girls wish for the never-ending Tim-Tams, then run off to enjoy them, completely ignoring the man who reminds them that they still have two more wishes.
  • In an M&M's commercial, Red and Yellow are transported to a small deserted island where a guy is getting his three wishes granted by a genie. He already used the first two on a sports car and a group of cheerleaders. Red lampshades his wastefulness at the end, wondering why the guy didn't just wish for a boat.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Ah! My Goddess, when Tamiya unintentionally summons the demon Mara, who offers him a wish, he thinks she's an ordinary human who sneaked in and tells her to "get the heck out". She tells him that's an uninspired choice for a wish and then vanishes.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • The very first wish ever granted in Dragon Ball is Oolong asking for a pair of women's panties, which would absolutely qualify as this trope, except for the fact that he hijacked Emperor Pilaf's attempt to wish to Take Over the World and ended up saving the planet. He certainly could have made a better wish, like for them to escape Pilaf's castle, but he was kind of in a hurry and most dubs play it as him piggybacking (no pun intended) off of Pilaf's own wish (for example, in the Funimation dub it's "I wish for the world..." "The world's most comfortable pair of underwear!")
    • The Red Ribbon Army is collecting the eponymous artifacts so they can use their wish-granting powers to Take Over the World. However, it's revealed at the end of that arc that Commander Red's idea of accomplishing this is to wish himself taller, as he thinks he cannot have the respect of his men if he's short. The Dragon (that is, Staff Officer Black, not Shenron) gets so pissed off about this that he guns down his boss and takes over the organization, and ignores the Dragon Balls entirely because he already has the resources needed to take over the world.
      • Dragon Ball Super: Broly has something similar. The main plot is kicked off when agents of Freeza break into Bulma's lab and steal the Dragon Balls she was gathering. When asked, she admits that she was going to make herself five years younger. When Freeza's minions ask what he's going to wish for, his former nanny correctly guesses that he's going to make himself five centimeters taller. Adding to the humor, they both give the same reasoning for why that specific number (it has to look natural or else people will get suspicious). On the other hand, Freeza explains that he no longer wants immortality because having been trapped in an Ironic Hell demonstrated that being able to die is sometimes a good thing. This becomes a Brick Joke in Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero when Bulma and Piccolo gather the newly-powered-up Dragon Balls and Bulma not only wishes for her to be younger, but also for a bigger butt. Piccolo is not amused, especially since they could've used a wish to bring Goku & Vegeta to Earth for the upcoming fight.
    • In the Sequel Series; Dragon Ball Super, the remains of Freeza's army have resurrected their warlord after robbing the Dragon Balls from Pilaf's gang. When informed by the dragon that they have two wishes left, they start to contemplate reviving Freeza's father King Cold as well, when Pilaf's minions Mai and Shu jump in and wish for ice cream and a million Zeni, respectively. Thanks to these wasteful wishes, the army leaves without further issue and Pilaf's gang, who have been reduced to Butt Monkeys in this series, are happy to escape with what they have, plus their lives.
    • A variation occurs later in the series when Jaco brings Bulma to meet Lord Zuno, the wisest person in the universe, to ask about the Super Dragon Balls. Jaco is granted only one question and wastes it by asking what Bulma's bra size is, in order to prove her that Zuno is legit, while she is granted three questions. She wastes two of them, the first by saying "Only three?!" and the third by asking him to confirm the information she got from her second question. While Bulma gets mad at Jaco for squandering the question, he rightfully points out that she's worse because she wasted two.
    • Another episode of Super has Goku collect the Dragon Balls intending to use them to wish to resurrect King Kai as he promised, however several of his friends intervene wanting a wish of their ownnote , plus one of the wishes get used up to cure Pan of an illness that normal medicine couldn't. The rest of the wishes are so simple to deal with that Bulma is able to simply buy everyone what they would have wished fornote  in a bid to get her own wish granted, which she offers to Goku in exchange for retrieving a rare element from the center of the Earth. It ends up being All for Nothing, as Beerus destroys the element and sabotages her time machine construction so she wouldn't risk damaging the timeline, and Shenron gets so tired of waiting for a wish that he just leaves before Goku can complete his promise to King Kai.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, when Miaka is told she can make three wishes, and they can be for anything she wants (Not really), she thinks about typical teenage-girl desires (popularity with boys, being thinner). Later, she starts to think about things like making her and Yui friends again, being able to pass her high school entrance exams, getting home safely, and even for Nuriko to be happy. She ends up actually using her wishes to 1) resurrect Yui, 2) give Tamahome the power he needs to kill Nakago, and 3) restore peace and order to the universe.
  • In GO-GO Tamagotchi! episode 5b, Mametchi and his friends all race to the top of Moshimo Mountain since it's said that if you reach the mountain's top while a ring-shaped cloud surrounds it, you'll be granted one wish. When everyone makes it to the top, Kuchipatchi wastes their wish and creates a vending machine with juice bottles in it (Kuchipatchi is hopelessly Obsessed with Food). None of the others enjoy it.
  • Seen in Hayate the Combat Butler, where Nagi's mother is telling a young Nagi about wishing on a shooting star... and she proceeds to wish on one for manju buns. Nagi chastises her.
  • Zig-zagged in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders. When Polnareff encounters Cameo, the user of the Judgment stand, Cameo offers him three wishes. Polnareff uses his first wish to make himself rich, resulting in him finding a lot of treasure nearby. For his next two wishes, Polnareff considers getting a girlfriend or becoming a comic artist, and narrowly avoids inadvertently wasting a wish on getting Cameo to answer his questions, but instead asks Cameo to bring his sister and Mohammed Avdol back to life, especially because Polnareff blames himself for the latter's death. Cameo grants his wishes, and revives Polnareff's sister as a flesh-eating zombie that's made out of dirt. Polnareff tries to use his third wish to undo the second one, but Cameo mockingly tells him that he already used it on Avdol, who proceeds to attack Polnareff.
  • A chapter of Nagasarete Airantou nets youngest character Yuki three wishes. She uses the first to make herself bigger, the second to go back to normal after the genie in question makes her taller without actually changing her figure, then uses the third wish to age herself up properly. She learns after the last that wishes put on people only last until sundown, so the second wish to restore her back to normal was wasted. Everyone else who got wishes at the time either wasted them on treats or went the Mundane Wish route.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
    • Girls are able to have one wish granted in exchange for being made into Magical Girls. Mami suggests that they could even wish for something silly like cake. Played straight in the first timeline, in which Madoka became a Magical Girl in order to save the life of a cat — to be specific, the cat in the OP.
    • In hindsight, Mami's own wish was this. Her wish was to live after being in a car accident, but upon contracting and becoming a magical girl, she would have gained supernatural durability and rapid healing, allowing her to easily survive. The fact that she could have saved her parents as well but didn't is a major part of her guilt complex.
  • In Sarazanmai, Keppi tells the main characters that in exchange for giving him shirikodama, he'll give them Dishes of Hope that can grant them wishes. Enta grabs the Dish he's offering them and asks if he could wish for a year's supply of cucumber rolls. A giant cucumber roll immediately drops down on them, and then Enta realizes that the Dish has broken and he's wasted his wish.
  • The Savior's Book Café Story in Another World: While Tsukina had the sense to ask for specifics of her wishes (including the fact that she can ask for more than one wish), all the first Savior wanted was to make her pretty.

    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: In Season 2 episode 20, Big and Little M. waste the three wishes given to them by the bottle genie by wishing for a lot of money (so much that it crushes them), wishing for no money (which gives them poor clothes), and then wishing for themselves to go back to normal.
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Wolffy wastes all three of his wishes with Xiao Jing Ling/Little Fairy. He wishes he was outside, then wishes to have the goats with him, which puts him back into the cave, then wishes for three more wishes which is against the rules and earns him a whack.

    Comic Books 
  • Played for Laughs in an Archie Comic where Archie, Reggie, and Jughead are spontaneously wishing for money. Archie wishes for a million dollars, Reggie wishes for a billion dollars, and Jughead, upon seeing a restaurant offering two burgers for half a dollar, wishes for fifty cents.
  • A story in Cuphead Comic Capers & Curios has Cuphead, Elder Kettle, and Ms. Chalice finding Pjimmi the Genie's lamp. Much to Pjimmi's consternation, the trio each have a Mundane Wish; Cuphead wishes for a fish sandwich, Elder Kettle wishes for a new mustache, and Ms. Chalice wishes for an ice cream cone for each of them.
  • During the "Solomon's Mines" Story Arc, The Phantom (the third one) once encountered a Genie in a Bottle while adrift at sea (his fishing boat had been taken by a storm), who offers him three services in return for having been set free. Believing the genie to be a hallucination brought on by sunstroke and dehydration (which he very well may have been), The Phantom's first wish is to be put down and for the genie to stop rocking his boat. The genie complies, lampshading the trope in the process.
  • One issue of the Ren & Stimpy comic book ended with Ren, Stimpy and a lumberjack in a cabin floating on the river, about to go over the Inevitable Waterfall. Suddenly, the Good Fairy appears before Stimpy and offers to grant him one wish. Ren is overjoyed until Stimpy immediately wishes for world peace. The story ends with a newspaper announcing a worldwide truce as the cabin plunges over the waterfall and Ren screams, "YOU EEDIOT!"
  • In Seconds, upon discovering just how well the mushrooms work, Katie abuses them to hell in the following ways:
    • One revision is used to rewrite Katie getting way too drunk during dinner and getting a little too personal with the other employees.
    • A second revision is used after coaxing Andrew into having sex with her, which she describes as having her cake and eating it and also not having it and not eating it too.
    • Another still is used to reverse her binge-watching a whole TV series in one night and getting too little sleep.
  • A variation in Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics). In issue #35, after Sonic collects his one billionth power ring, he's taken to a special zone where he meets the Ancient Walkers. The third says he may ask him one question. Sonic, without thinking, says "Only one?"
  • When various villains from DC were offered anything for their souls by the demon Neron in the Underworld Unleashed crossover, The Joker wished for a box of cigars. It's up for debate as to whether this was wasted or not, as there is no doubt that Joker was going to hell anyway, and he makes it clear that they're good cigars.
    Joker: They're Cubans!

    Comic Strips 
  • In an installment of Art Sansom's "The Born Loser", said character Brutus Thornapple releases a genie from a magic lamp, who grants him one wish. Brutus off-handedly says "I wish Gladys [his wife] could see this!" The genie immediately turns into Gladys who says, "You called me?"
  • Not actual wish-granting, but a hypothetical version pops up in a Calvin and Hobbes strip: Calvin asks Hobbes what he would ask for if he had the opportunity to acquire anything he wanted. After thinking a bit, Hobbes replies, "A sandwich." This incenses Calvin, who goes on a rant about how he would ask for "a trillion billion dollars, my own space shuttle, and a private continent!" The final panel shows Hobbes snacking on a sandwich he just made and remarking to an extremely grumpy-looking Calvin that "I got my wish."

    Fan Works 
  • Alya and the Harem Reality: Alya attempts this in order to steal Gabriel's victory away from him, trying to waste his Wish on something that wouldn't warp reality. Specifically, she Wishes that everybody loved Marinette, as she believed her bestie was already Loved by All and thought this wouldn't change anything. As the title implies, this didn't work out quite the way she expected; she finds herself in a reality where Marinette is even more loved, and other things have been altered to compensate for this.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged:
    • Dragon Ball Z Abridged: The World's Strongest: After fifty years of searching, Kochin finds all the dragon balls and summons Shenron, whereupon he wishes for him to... melt the ice off the door to his lab. Shenron is understandably nonplussed and suggests Kochin instead wishing for the power to remove the ice himself. Korchin accuses Shenron of being lazy and pawning all the work off on him.
      Kochin: I'm sorry, is this a little unorthodox?
      Shenron: ...Just a little, yes.
    • It should be noted that Shenron really hates these kinds of wishes. When Kochin got his wish, Shenron ripped a hole in the ozone layer in retaliation. Earlier, in Christmas Tree of Might, Krillin wished for "the perfect Christmas tree" instead of restoring the desolated forest; Shenron rerouted an evil Saiyan and his entourage to plant a tree that sucks up all the Christmas joy in the world as a means of granting that wish.
      Shenron: (after wish is granted) Oh, don't thank me... 'tis the season of giving.
    • Before this, Guru once asked Nail to gather the Dragon Balls and "wish up a Plasma Screen TV." Nail does not because that would be a misuse of their power. It also revealed in Lord Slug Abridged that Guru also once used the Dragon Balls to mail a letter because Namek had no postal system.
  • Dragon Ball Z Primal:
    • Thanks to the Dragon Radar, Bulma was able to effectively monopolize the Dragon Balls for years, using her wishes to keep herself looking young and beautiful. Dende eventually gets so frustrated by this that he decides to alter the Dragon Balls so that she and the rest of her family can no longer use them, as well as outright revoking Shenron's ability to grant any frivolous wishes.
    • Dende also removes the Balls' ability to bring people Back from the Dead at the same time, as he was tired of how this contributed to some taking death lightly. Earlier in the series, Trunks had actually berated Goten for saving him, complaining that everyone was making such a needlessly big deal out of people dying since they could always just wish them back.
  • Gaz Dreams of Genie: Gaz breaks a genie lamp that Dib finds just to spite him. This counts as opening it, and the genie Azie appears to offer her Three Wishes. When Dib tries to talk her out of actually making any wishes because he knows how badly it can go, Gaz gets annoyed and impulsively snaps that she wishes he'd never been born. After this results in a Villain World where Zim rules over an enslaved humanity, Gaz then has to use her second wish to undo the first one, ultimately leaving her with only one wish for her own use.
  • The Touhou Ask Blog, Just a Useless Bunny, has this post.
    Question: If a little creep comes and says he is called Kyubey and wants to make a contract... What would you wish?
    Reisen: I would wish for him to LEAVE.
    Kyubey: Okay. Contract sealed.
    Reisen: WAIT! THAT'S NOT WHAT I MEANT!
  • In Legend of the Monkey God, Goku remarks that it would be silly for Bulma to ask the Dragon Balls to give her a boyfriend, comparing it to him wishing for food when he can just go out and find his own dinner.
  • A Man of Iron: A group of knights, including Jaime Lannister, discuss what they would ask the Ultimate Blacksmith to make for them. Jaime opts for a sword, and is booed down for wasting his wish on something so boring. Jaime just shrugs and says that he is famous for being good with a sword, and it would be even more wasteful to spend his wish on something he can't use.
  • Professor Arc II: Headmaster Arc: This is intentionally done in order to waste the Jinn of Knowledge's last wish: Yang asks to know if Jaune thinks that she's hot.
  • Tales of the Monkey Queen: Bulma initially doesn't know what she wants to ask the Dragon Balls for. All of her ideas are either things that she could easily buy with her family's wealth, such as a basket full of strawberries or a chocolate fountain, or silly things like an umbrella that rains gumdrops whenever opened or a bubble bath that turns all the water inside into diamonds. Ironically, she rejects the notion of wishing for "the perfect boyfriend" because she recognizes that she's rich enough that she could easily afford one.

    Films — Animation 
  • Aladdin:
    • In Aladdin: The Return of Jafar, Jafar, the Jackass Genie that he is, deliberately invokes this on Abis Mal. When Abis wishes for sunken treasure, Jafar teleports him to the bottom of the ocean so he'll be forced to use his second wish to get back to the desert.
    • A variant in Aladdin and the King of Thieves: At the beginning of the film, the Forty Thieves try to steal a scepter from Aladdin and Jasmine's wedding presents, and Iago wonders out loud, while touching the scepter, why they went after that and nothing else. Suddenly, a female spirit emerges from the scepter, explains that she's an Oracle and that the Thieves wanted her to help them find "the Ultimate Treasure." Iago naturally asks for more information—namely, where he can find said ultimate treasure—only to learn that the Oracle only ever answers one question per person.
  • In the Looney Tunes movie Daffy Duck's Fantastic Island, after the treasure map that controls the wishing well is accidentally destroyed by Daffy and Yosemite Sam, the well gives them, Speedy Gonzales, and the Tasmanian Devil three wishes before bidding them farewell. Daffy decides that Speedy gets dibs on the first wish, himself the second, and Sam the third. Speedy wishes for a burrito and Daffy gets angry, wishing the burrito was on his nose. Daffy then decides that Sam should do the humane thing and use the final wish to get the burrito off Speedy's nose, but Sam beats Daffy to the punch, having already wished for a new pirate ship so he can get revenge on Bugs Bunny before he could come back and get them off the island, much to Daffy's chagrin.
  • DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp: Webby uses her first wish on a baby elephant while having nowhere to hide it where it won't be seen. She uses another wish to bring her toys to life, with no way to control them. In both cases, Webby's wish starts causing havoc, and one of the nephews has to use one of their wishes just to undo the damage. Not that the nephews are much better, wishing for things like hang gliders, train sets, and giant ice cream sundaes.
  • In Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure, Tinker Bell finds the lost mirror with only one wish left and plans to use such to fix the broken moonstone. Blaze, her firefly companion, tries to intervene, causing her to shout, "I wish you'd be quiet for one minute!", wasting the last wish.
  • In Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation, Hamton's family and Plucky hold their breath and make a wish while going through a tunnel, where if one holds his breath the whole time, the wish will come true. Plucky, who wished to be in Happy World Land, is the only one who is unable to hold his breath the whole time, but he thinks that the others didn't get their wish either, until Hamton reveals that they made the same wish they always do, "to be a happy and loving family forever and ever". Considering they already wished once for something to last forever, they didn't really need to wish for it again.
  • Wakko's Wish plays this for laughs. Wakko loses a haypenny early in the movie and resolves to find some way to get the town what they want. When he finally gets the titular wish, Wakko wishes for two haypennies. This also turns out to be a Selfless Wish, as those haypennies grant the wishes of all the other characters, save the mime.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the original Bedazzled (1967), Stanley is using the seven wishes he's traded his soul to the Devil for to win the girl of his dreams. After a few wishes haven't panned out, he wonders how she's doing, absently sighs "I wish I was a fly on the wall" and before he can take it back... George doesn't quite play fair with him. At one point he asks Stanley if he'd like a raspberry parfait. It's only at the end that Stanley learns that was one of the wishes.
  • In the Bedazzled (2000) remake, Elliot wishes for a Big Mac and a Coke as "a test". The Devil simply takes him to a McDonalds and makes him pay for the meal because "there's no such thing as a free lunch". This eventually becomes a minor plot point, similar to the parfait example above. Strangely, this happens before Elliot signs the contract. It can be assumed that the contract also counts wishes granted before it's signed.
  • In The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter, Bastian uses wishes on all sorts of stupid things like the ability to juggle. Even more wasteful, at one point he wishes for a staircase, then finds it only goes up so far, so he wishes for the rest of the staircase one step at a time. Did we also mention that Bastian ''loses'' a memory for every wish he makes (though to be fair, he didn't know that at the time)?
  • In Zathura, there is a card called Shooting Star, which grants a wish. When Walter got one of these cards and had to come up with a wish fast, he panicked and wished for a football... signed by Brett Favre. Which, admittedly, was a better use of his wish than the alternative: it turns out that the astronaut is Walter's future self, from a timeline where he had used the Shooting Star wish to erase his brother from existence.

    Folklore 
  • An old tale tells of a farmer who gets three wishes. Excitedly, he wishes for a string of sausages and runs home to tell the wife. She gets mad that he wasted one wish and accidentally wishes for the sausages to be attached to the end of his nose. They have to use the last wish to remove them from his nose.
    • Another, much older version has God in mortal disguise ask for food and lodging at a rich man's house and being turned away. He goes next door to a poor man's house and is welcomed with open arms. The next morning He reveals His divinity and says the couple can have three wishes. They make two simple wishes (good health and daily bread, and a guaranteed spot in Heaven) and God asks them if they wouldn't like a nice new house. Soon after, the rich man sees the new mansion and putting two and two together, rides after God and begs Him for three wishes as well. Surprisingly, God agrees but warns him to be careful. On the way home, the rich man's horse starts to act up. "Stupid nag, I wish you'd break your neck!" Strike one. He then starts to lug the expensive saddle home, thinks of his wife who's probably having tea and cake in the shade, and bitterly wishes that the saddle was stuck to her ass. Strike two. When he gets home, his wife is rather insistent that he use the last wish to get the saddle off her ass. Strike three.
    • Charles Perrault wrote a version of that fairy tale in verse, translated by Christopher Betts as "Three Silly Wishes". In his version, the husband foolishly wishes for a sausage, and when his wife berates him for wasting a wish, he angrily wishes it onto her nose. He leaves the decision about the third wish up to her, and she decides she would rather stay poor and beautiful than be a queen with a sausage-nose for the rest of her life.
  • In the American folktale Wicked John and the Devil the titular Wicked John (whose one redeeming trait is his hospitality) gets three wishes when he puts up an angel for the night, and frivolously wastes them on spiteful things that stop people from messing around on his property. However, the trope is subverted when all three of these things are used to fend off the Devil when he comes to claim his soul...and in fact makes the Devil so scared of him he won't even let him in Hell after he dies! Of course, heaven doesn't want him either...

    Jokes 
  • There's a joke where a drunk finds a genie, wishes for a bottle of beer that never empties, then wishes for two more.
  • There is a variety of the joke where the drunk asks the Golden Fish for a half-litre of vodka, then for another one, and a third one too... at which point he then eats the Fish. As the ghost of the Fish shows up to ask why the Hell would he do it, he explains, you need a snack to go with the vodka, don't you?
  • There is a well-known joke regarding this trope that goes something like this:
    Three friends who have been lost in the desert for days come across a genie's lamp and rub it at the same time. After being freed, the genie promises to grant them all one wish. The first man wishes he lived on a tropical island surrounded by beautiful women. The second man wished he was a successful businessman in the big city. The third man says, "I'm lonely, I wish my two friends were here."
    • A variation goes like that: The third guy is the boss of the other two, and wishes "that those guys are back at work after lunch break!" The Aesop: Let the boss talk first.
    • A Russian variation goes that the guys are stranded on an island when they catch the Golden Fish (the Russian equivalent of the genie). The first two merely wish to be home; the third wishes for "a bottle of vodka and for those two guys to come back here," playing on the Russian consensus that three is the ideal number for communal drinking (in Soviet times, a bottle cost 2 rubles and 87 kopeks, so if each person contributed a ruble you could get the bottle and 13 kopeks' worth of snacks).
  • A bear is about to kill an eat a rabbit when a genie appears, offering the pair of them three wishes each if the bear spares the rabbit's life.
    Bear: Okay, you got a deal. For my first wish, I wish I was the only male bear left in the world!
    Rabbit: I wish for a motorcycle.
    Bear: (laughs) That's a stupid wish. For my second wish, I wish that every female bear in the world was madly in love with me!
    Rabbit: I wish for a motorcycle helmet.
    Bear: (laughs harder) That was even worse than your first wish! You're terrible at this. For my last wish, I wish for an enormous, luxurious den that can accommodate my new harem!
    Rabbit: (gets on the motorcycle, puts on the helmet, and drives away at top speed, yelling) I WISH THIS BEAR WAS GAY!
  • Two men are adrift in a lifeboat when one of them finds a bottle. He rubs it, out pops a genie who grants him one wish. The man wishes that the ocean was whiskey, the genie grants this and disappears. The wisher is ecstatic, only to see that his companion is glaring daggers at him.
    "You moron. Now we have to piss in the boat!"
  • One that is particularly cruel (some variations have the genie start to cry when they hear it) is the man that gets a wish and, after going on and on about his neighbor having a cow (or some other precious animal, and on some versions even a wife and children), refuses the genie's suggestion to ask for a cow of his own (on some versions it being asking for at least two cows) and wishes for his neighbor's cow (and/or everything the neighbor loves) to drop dead.
  • A joke about an Amoral Attorney:
    Client: What's your rate?
    Lawyer: I charge $50 for every 3 questions asked.
    Client: That's kind of expensive don't you think?
    Lawyer: Maybe... so what's your third question?

    Literature 
  • One short story in Curses, Inc. has a teenage girl meet a witch who can grant wishes at the cost of a year of the wisher's lifespan for each wish. Despite this cost, the girl gets greedy and makes an enormous number of increasingly frivolous wishes, including a wish for beauty that the witch herself says that she's already pretty enough to not need and a wish to undo her first wish to have a boy love her after she grows bored with him. The story, as you can probably predict, ends with her dying ignominiously.
  • In "Lester", Shel Silverstein has the classic Aesop about greed. The story goes that a young boy encounters a goblin that grants him one wish. The boy, in his greed, wishes for two wishes, which he gets, surprisingly enough. So with each wish, he wishes for two more wishes, giving him four wishes. And with each of those wishes, he wishes for two more, giving him eight. This goes on for some time, until the boy dies, presumably from old age. All that's left of him is a humongous pile of unused wishes. The narrator of the story then invites the reader to take a few, and warns the reader not to "waste your wishes on wishing."
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire the assassin Jaqen H'ghar offers Arya three very specific "wishes" in order to pay the life debt he owes her for saving him and his two associates. Specifically, she can say three names, and he will kill those people. As is traditional she ends up wasting the first two on a petty tormentor and a soldier who, while vile, was no worse than several of the others. Only after doing so does she realize that she could have said anyone and she should have killed the enemy commanders. Her third wish is evidence of a true Guile Hero at work — she says Jaqen's name, and promises to take it back only if he helps her to release her friends from prison, which will technically involve killing several people. After she does so, he considers his debt paid but is obviously impressed at her cunning. Ironically the third wish is also wasted, as the people they freed turn out to have been captured in a Trojan Prisoner gambit and would have escaped anyway.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Troy from Community once stated that he would use two of his three genie wishes on signed pictures of actor LeVar Burton, then wish for a million wishes... but he would probably use them all on more signed pictures of LeVar Burton.
  • Game of Thrones: Lampshaded when Gendry asks why Arya didn't tell Jaqen H'ghar (see Literature above) to kill King Joffrey or Lord Tywin. "You could have won the war!"
  • In an episode of My Hero (2000), George brought in Santa Claus to give his friends one present of their choice. Most of them made serious suggestions despite not believing it was really Santa, but Piers thought the whole thing was ridiculous and sarcastically asked for a jigsaw. Santa then gave everyone exactly what they had asked for, and refused to let Piers change his choice.
  • In an episode of Pee-wee's Playhouse, Pee-Wee uses his Jambi wish of the day to bring Reba the Mail Lady to his playhouse to mail a letter for him. The other characters point out he can just go to the mailbox on the street corner and mail the letter himself, but he ignores them and makes the wish. As it turns out, it's Reba's day off. Later in the episode, Pterri runs away after Randy convinces him that Pee-Wee doesn't like him. Pee-Wee asks Jambi to grant his wish to bring Pterri back, but Jambi tells Pee-Wee he already made his wish for the day, and that wishing isn't the true way to bring your friends back.
  • Power Rangers:
    • In the Power Rangers Turbo two-part episode "Beware the Third Wish", the Monster of the Week is a genie called Wicked Wisher who creates three wishing coins for Divatox; unfortunately, her idiotic henchman Elgar wastes one of them by wishing for a new hairstyle. In a way, all of them are wasted. She uses one wish to turn the Blue Senturion evil, and he becomes a potent threat for a while, but the third coin is lost in Angel Grove; the Rangers ultimately find it first (well, technically, Bulk and Skull do, and give it to them) and they use it to reverse the second wish.
    • Power Rangers Mystic Force had two instances of someone wasting a wish with the cat genie Jenji. In Jenji's debut episode, he offers one wish to the Mystic Rangers. Chip attempts to wish that he and the other Rangers each get ten wishes, but the wish doesn't bypass the "one wish only" rule and does nothing but waste the wish. The other occasion is in the three-part episode "Dark Wish", where Leelee attempts to get a wish granted by Jenji, but wastes her wish by wishing that she never had the habit of biting her fingernails while trying to make up her mind on what to wish for.
  • In an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch Sabrina's diminutive Stalker with a Crush Roland gets a new job as a leprechaun. Sabrina grabs him which makes Roland contractually bound to give her three "Wish Coupons" (instead of the traditional pot of gold, which was apparently phased out). Sabrina immediately uses the first one to make Roland go away, Salem convinces her to use the second to allow him to become human again for a week and she ends up carelessly saying "I wish Roland was here to help" while holding the last coupon when things go badly.
  • In What We Do in the Shadows (2019) Nandor comes into possession of a djinn who will grant him a very large number of wishes, and mostly does so in a straightforward manner that gives him exactly what he wanted. This should solve every challenge they face, but Nandor makes excuses to avoid solving communal problems with it so they won't keep asking him for help. Instead he uses them selfishly on trivial things or makes such poorly thought out wishes that there's no need for the djinn to twist his meaning to make them backfire.
    Nandor: I wish for the lid of my coffin to be closed.
    Djinn: Are you sure? I can just go fetch Guillermo.
    Nandor: With Guillermo it will be a whole thing.
  • In a Whose Line Is It Anyway? game of "Scenes From A Hat" where the players had to come up with "Bad Choices to Make When Your Genie Grants You Three Wishes", Colin's response is "Uh, two Cokes and some chips."
  • The X-Files: In "Je Souhaite", Anson Stokes found a Literal Genie and his first wish was that his boss would shut the hell up. Poor Mr. Gilmore really got smooth, unbroken skin where his lips had been before.
  • Young Sheldon has a slight variation: When Sheldon gets anaesthetised while at a dental appointment, he hallucinates visiting a circus attraction where he gets to meet Thoth, Egyptian God of Wisdom, and ask him any one question. When Sheldon asks "Can you really answer any question I can ask you?" Thoth responds in an irritated tone, "Kid, are you certain you want that to be your question?", then gives him a chance to rethink what he wants to ask.

    Puppet Shows 
  • A version of the sausage story under Folklore was done as a skit in Between the Lions (Season 1, Episode 21, aptly named "Sausage Nose"), except that their third wish kept going ("...and a new cottage, and a new stove, and a new..."). It worked, somehow.
  • Fraggle Rock: Defied in an episode where Wembley frees a trapped spider-fly from a snare blossom. The spider-fly turns out to be an Odd Old Man/Fairy Godmother—who, as a reward, offers Wembley a wish. Wembley tries to wish for a toasted radish sandwich, then for a button for his banana-tree shirt, and then for a new guitar pick for Gobo. The Fairy Godmother retorts that Wembley doesn't want any of those, convincing him to wish for the power of flight. Wembley does so... only to learn that he will be able to make just three flights.
  • In The Muppets' skit on Disneyland 35th Anniversary Celebration, Miss Piggy tells the story of how, on her first visit to Disneyland, she wanted to be Cinderella, and instead got a job cleaning the castle until her Fairy Godthing Gonzo offered her three wishes. She wishes his nose would blow up, then that she hadn't said that, and then that Gonzo would take this seriously. So, out of wishes, she ropes Gonzo into a magic-free plot to get the real Cinderella out of the picture.
  • In a Sesame Street sketch from the 1970s, Cookie Monster meets a genie and is granted three wishes. He asks the genie for progressively larger trucks, hoping for one large enough to fill with a million cookies. By the time he gets a full-size truck, however, he's used his three wishes and can't ask for any cookies. Fortunately, he can satisfy his tummy anyway... by eating the truck instead. The storybook version this was adapted from has him instead wish for progressively larger containers — first a dish, then a box, then a truck. As with the TV version, since he can't wish for cookies anymore, he just eats the truck, and the genie is appropriately weirded out.
    • In Elmo Saves Christmas, Santa gets stuck in Elmo's chimney and Elmo rescues him. Santa rewards Elmo by giving him a snow globe which can grant him three wishes. Elmo uses his first wish to wish for a glass of water. When Santa and Lightning the Reindeer call him out on it, Elmo defensively replies that "Elmo was thirsty!" Lightning and Santa name off a few things he could have wished for, like a real fire engine, a castle, or a kingdom. As they leave, Santa tells Elmo not to waste his last two wishes.

    Radio 
  • John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme: In a deconstruction of the origin story of the Rice and Chessboard Problem, a king grants a mathematician anything he might wish, consequence free. The mathematician asks him to perform the puzzle, but he gets confused, and the mathematician explains what was supposed to happen (namely, be unable to fill the board because it would require several trillion grains of rice). The king gets indignant and points out he could've had anything, or even just politely turned the king down if he wanted, and wasted it being a dick.
    King: You see, Dave, this is why no-one likes you.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Things Mr. Welch Is No Longer Allowed to Do in an RPG has so many of these. Some break the fourth wall by wishing they were playing a different version of the game. Some could cause a Total Party Kill like wishing for "a cage match between Cthulhu, Godzilla, Galactus and the Tarrasque". And some are just straight-up insulting, like wishing for the party to have common sense.

    Video Games 
  • The Darkside Detective: In one episode, a fisherman finds a lamp with a genie in it. The genie is bound to grant Three Wishes, after which it will be free; it enlists the game's protagonist to trick the fisherman into using up his wishes as quickly and trivially as possible.
  • In Elona, you can be granted a wish if you're really lucky. On top of wishing for an easy-to-find item, among the things you can type into the textbox are:
    • "Death", which just kills you instantly.
    • "Name" lets you rename your character, which you can already do for free by pressing 'i' and then 5 on the numpad. The being granting your wish even laughs at you if you do that.
    • "Sex" gives you a sex change, which doesn't affect much.
    • "Beauty" has the wish-granter say "A typical wish..." and disappear without improving your character's Charisma stat.
  • Golf Story:
    • On Blue Moon Dunes, the female Wellworn Grove hooligan has come into possession of a genie, and used her first wish to make her hat and boom box flash rainbow colours. She doesn't know what to do with her other two wishes, so she sells them to you for $1000 each, as the protagonist, in inner monologue, wonders why she doesn't just wish for money instead. After buying both wishes, she realizes too late that she screwed up... she should have wished for a rainbow-flashing shirt too!
    • For that matter, the protagonist himself just uses both wishes on new golf clubs. He's just as disappointed in himself as you probably are, since he really tried hard to think of something better to wish for but wasn't able to do so while being put on the spot like that (and he stupidly didn't think about what to wish for before buying the wishes, which he berates himself for). He doesn't even get new golf glubs, the genie just upgrades his Wellworn Woods and Irons to have better shot curving. Nice, but certainly not worth blowing two grand on, since you probably still won't use them with so many better options available. Their description doesn't update either, so most players will probably assume the upgrades did absolutely nothing without extensive testing or looking it up online.
  • In the ending of Pandemonium! (1996), when Nikki and Fargus finally find the Wishing Engine, a skeptical Fargus wishes for a chicken as a test. "Wish granted!"
  • Played for Horror in a story that's told as part of the plot of Planescape: Torment. An old man with amnesia is sitting by the side of the road, with no memory of who he is or where he's going. An old hag appears before him and asks him for his third wish, and he wonders how he can have a third wish when he hasn't had a first or second wish yet. The hag tells him that he has, but he hated the result of his first wish so much that he used his second wish to undo it, which is why he can't remember either of them. He doesn't believe a word she's saying, but humors her anyway by wishing to remember who he is. She grants his wish and disappears forever, cackling, "Funny... that was your first wish."
  • In Sam & Max Hit the Road, the duo comes upon a wishing well. Sam throws in a coin, asking, "I wish I knew what Max was thinking." We hear nothing but a pinging noise as the caption reads "... ..... ....... ..... ... .!" to which Sam remarks, "Well, that was a waste of money."
  • The plot of Twisted Metal is built around getting into a vehicular tournament of death for one wish from Calypso, and not all contestant's wishes are made equal.
    • He's confused, nay, insulted when the murderous Monster Clown Needles Kane asks for a paper bag. However, the ending clarifies that Needles has tracked down "Crazy Harold the Wacky Lunch Sack". (His live-action "Lost Ending" offers no such words and after he finally gets it it, he starts enigmatically screaming at the bag like a friend who betrayed him, then saying it's his day now and trying to kill everyone in the room.)
    • Less of a joke: Angela "Pit Viper" Fortin asks for a million dollars, which Calypso can't help thinking was a "paltry" sum when she could have asked for literally anything at all. However, her real wish was to earn a million dollars by assassinating Calypso. (How that comes out depends on the version; in the live-action version, she fails because Calypso's 'concubines' are actually his backup bodyguards, equipped with sub-machine guns.)
  • Undertale: Papyrus has a few ideas, which aren't nearly as important as freeing everyone from the caves they're magically trapped in. Thankfully he never gets the chance.
    Papyrus: I wish I had eight legs... so I could wear four pairs of hotpants.

    Web Animation 
  • In the Season Nine finale of DEATH BATTLE!, Wiz has gathered the Dragon Balls and gloats that with them, he can Take Over the World. However, Boomstick isn't pondering what he's pondering and declares that they could make the episode's combatants, Gogeta and Vegito, fight it out. Wiz ponders it over and decides they should do so. At the end of the episode, Wiz remembers that Shenron grants two wishes now and tries again only for Boomstick to wish for the two of them to be fused together.
  • A sort of example in one episode of Dick Figures where Red and Blue find a genie and manage to get said genie to owe them several hundred wishes. However, Red gets into an argument with the genie over whether the number of wishes they accumulated should be considered a "fuckton" or a "shitload". Red finally wishes for the genie to shut up, which causes it to lose the ability to talk, and thus the ability to grant wishes. It especially falls under this due to the fact that Red doesn't care in the slightest, simply remarking to a pissed-off Blue that he got what he wanted.
  • Dorkly Originals: In 'Link's Wish', spoofing The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Link uses his Triforce wish on manifesting a 'Pizza Dinosaur', and is promptly chewed out on it by Zelda.
  • Minilife TV: In "The Semi-Finals", Chris and Ian discover a Lottery Lamp while trying to dig up the bones of a giant cat goddess in the park, so they get the idea to use their wish to save Minilife Studios from debt. However, as they discuss how they should make their wish, Ian accidentally wastes it by wishing for their phones back.
  • In the Overly Sarcastic Productions video "We're So Sorry", Red apologises for wasting her wishes on a lifetime supply of cheesecake instead of world peace.
  • Vete A La Versh has Darkar pooping a magic lamp after eating a torta and the genie tells him he has three wishes. His first wish is to make his antropomorphic pile of semen roomate, Mecoboy, explode. His second wish is for the genie to fix the bathroom because he made a mess thanks to the torta he ate. His third wish is for a new remote for the TV because he lost the first. The genie complains about how idiotic his wishes are, so Darkar points at the exploded remains of Mecoboy and says "I wish for you to eat that shit". The genie immediately gives him the remote he wished for.

    Web Comics 
  • In one Arthur, King of Time and Space strip, Arthur releases a genie who allows him one wish. Knowing how easily the genie could twist his words, he wishes Merlin was there to advise him on what to say...
  • The seer in Kid Radd never bothers to explain that each person seeking him may only ask one question. It only comes up after Bogey has asked, "What are you?" and Sheena asked, "Is it true that anyone who meets the seer is going to die?" Bogey is more than a bit upset that he wasted his question.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal: In one strip, a man whose wife has a terminal disease comes home one day and tells her that a genie granted him three wishes. She excitedly asks if he wished for a cure. Turns out he wasted all three on DVDs of the original, unedited Star Wars trilogy.
    Man: In my defense, they're really good movies!
  • The Wotch: Jason Grey meets a genie and, before she can even begin explaining about his having Three Wishes, yells that he wishes she were a redhead. Twice. Jason likes his redheads. Thankfully, one of the rules is that wishes can't affect the genie, so he doesn't actually use them.

    Web Original 
  • The CollegeHumor sketch The Real Game Genie has a guy accidentally summon a genie while playing Super Mario Bros. The guy, mistaking him for a Game Genie, uses all three of his wishes on Mario cheats, even as the beleaguered genie tries to explain that he's a real, actual genie.
  • On the Dream SMP, after Technoblade and Dream accidentally summon DreamXD while trapped in prison, DreamXD agrees to grant them one wish. While Dream is still parsing the fact that he can finally get out of prison by wishing for an exit, Techno uses up the wish by wishing for a bell. Dream grants it, placing said bell on the ground in front of them, then leaves.
  • In Part 5 of The Misadventures of Skooks, Shaggy's gathered the Dragon Balls in order to wish Fred back to life after his numerous Amusing Injuries. At the last second, though, he gets sidetracked and wishes for a double order of onion rings instead, leaving Fred stranded on King Kai's planet forever. Neither of them are amused.
    Fred: Bitch!
  • A Rooster Teeth sketch has one of the guys catching a magical wishing fish. He wishes for 2 milkshakes, that the milkshake he knocked over gets restored, and that eating a magical talking, wish-granting fish wasn't against the rules.
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-1481 is a genie who is constantly stoned out of his mind, rendering him utterly incompetent at granting wishes. He eventually reveals that a previous master used his first wish to make him this way, his second wish to make the first wish irreversible, and then just walked away without even making a third wish.
  • SMBC Theater: Zach Weiner wastes all his wishes on Super Mario video game cheats because he's too stoned to realize that the Game Genie is an actual genie. The flustered genie even offers him infinite wishes, but Zach is adamant about being the god of an 8-bit brick wall.
  • In the Smosh video Three Wishes, Ian and Anthony are stranded on an island when they find a stoner genie from a bong. While Anthony thinks about what he wants to wish for, Ian uses all three on a flamingo lawn ornament, some microwave popcorn, and an inflatable seahorse.
  • In one of his Counter Monkey stories, The Spoony Experiment elaborates on the time the party was cursed to turn into animals unless they found a genie (naturally, at the bottom of a dungeon. When they get there, the genie (played by Spoony, the DM) only offers the whole party one wish between them. Vegan Steve immediately wished for a Deck of Many Things. Which Spoony, without thinking, granted. Hilarity ensues. Moral of the story: Never give your characters wishes.

    Western Animation 
  • In the 2 Stupid Dogs episode "Where's the Bone?", the dogs, while searching for Little Dog's favorite bone (which is on his head the whole time), come across a genie, who offers to grant three wishes for them. Little Dog wishes he knows where his bone is, and the genie tells him it's on his head. Little Dog, ignoring this, wishes that the genie put him down. He then wishes he and Big Dog have left the area and they're teleported away.
  • Not exactly a wish, but in The 7D episode "Knick Knack Paddy Whack," the Glooms steal The Pearl of Wisdom, which will answer one question once its shell is opened. After a scuffle with the 7D, Grim finally gets the shell open and wonders where Hildy is, so she can ask her question. The pearl takes this as his question, answers it, and promptly closes again.
  • Adventure Time:
    • In the episode "The Limit", Finn and Jake escort some Hot Dog Knights through a dangerous maze, with Jake over-extending his stretching powers along the way. When they get to the wish-granting entity who lives at the middle of the maze, the two knights who managed to make it to the center wish for a cardboard box and to "blow up. I mean, get big. [blows up]", while a thoroughly exhausted and worn-out Jake wishes he wasn't so hungry and gets a sandwich.
    • In "Jake the Dog", Prismo refuses to grant Jake's initial wish for a sandwich and just makes him one since he's a Nice Guy and he doesn't want Jake to waste his wish.
    • In "Wake Up", Finn and Jake return to Prismo to wish to see Finn's dad. Since they already used up their wishes, they brought Shelby to make the wish for them. Shelby wishes for a pony for his girlfriend instead.
  • In Aladdin: The Series, a young peasant girl gets a genie and asks for a sandwich. Fortunately, since the genie in question is benevolent and the girl did not use the word "wish", the genie encourages her to instead make the much-less-wasteful wish to never go hungry again.
  • The Bugs Bunny cartoon "A Lad in His Lamp" has Bugs wishing for a carrot from Smokey the Genie. He asks for two to make sure he's real.
  • A season 2 episode of The Cleveland Show has Junior offhandedly mention that he had wished for "Salty Meat Sweat", despite the fact that the genie warned him against it. He regrets it.
  • The Danger Mouse episode "Where There's A Well, There's A Way" zig-zags this a bit. DM and Penfold are searching for the mystic inkwell of Merlin the Magician, where DM plans to make a wish by flipping a coin into it that "the forces of evil are overwhelmed" while Penfold wants to wish that he is the world's greatest secret agent. The villain Copperconk Cassidy intervenes, and during a scuffle, Penfold loses his glasses and Cassidy accidentally gets knocked into the well. Hearing the coin drop, Penfold picks it up, mistaking it for a loose glasses lens and says "I wish this stupid well had never existed!" The inkwell vanishes in a puff of smoke.
  • Towards the end of the Donkey Kong Country episode, "Orangutango", King K. Rool wins a dance contest hosted by Cranky Kong, where the grand prize is one wish from the Crystal Coconut. While K. Rool tries to decide what to wish for, Klump does a dance involving jumping jacks, which has annoyed K. Rool throughout the episode. K. Rool then screams, "I WISH YOU WOULDN'T DO THAT!", causing the Crystal Coconut to grant the wish, then float back to its safe.
  • The "I wish you'd be quiet" variant is used in the Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz episode "Abraca-Oops!" when Wilhelmina prepares to use a wishing stone to wish that she had Dorothy's ruby slippers, only to accidentally wish that Frank and Lyman would be quiet for 10 seconds so she can think after they annoy her by trying to influence her decision.
  • Dragon Tales: In "To Kingdom Come", Ord finds a shell on the beach that he learns can grant wishes after he wishes for a hat like Max's and gets it. His discovery of the shell causes all of his friends to bombard him with requests for wishes of their own which causes him to become angry and thoughtlessly wish to be somewhere far away from them. When this wish teleports him into a locked castle that he's forbidden to ever leave, he panics and wishes for all of his friends to be with him, only to be told by them that not only could he have just wished himself out of the castle instead of trapping his friends in it too, but the shell grants only three wishes and he just used up the last of them.
  • The Fairly OddParents!:
    • Lampshaded in the Fairy Idol special when Norm the Genie gets irritated that the first wish is always for a giant sandwich. When he ends up with Chester, he just gives him the giant sandwich so he doesn't waste his first wish.
    • In "Back to Norm", Crocker teams up with Norm, but instead of simply wishing Timmy to Mars (as Norm suggests) or simply wishing to have a fairy in his possession, he wastes his wishes on parts for ridiculous traps that backfire on him. Norm allows Crocker to wish for more wishes — which he does by wishing for them three at a time — and continues to waste them.
    • While many of Timmy's wishes seem wasteful (the aforementioned Fairy Idol special even showing him to use wishes just to get out of bed, get dressed and get on the toilet out of sheer laziness), they don't qualify because he has unlimited wishes. In fact, it's actually bad for the fairies if he doesn't constantly wish for things.
  • Family Guy: Peter goes to the Mafia's Don, since it's the Don's daughter's wedding (and the Don can never refuse a request at his daughter's wedding), intending to ask to have the price taken off his wife's head. Peter then gets distracted and instead asks for a piece of tiramisu.
  • The MTV animated short Genie Junkie was built on this trope. A total couch potato had freed a genie from her bottle, making her his slave and bound to grant his every wish... and his every wish turned out to be for things like a fresh glass of cherry coke, or that she change the channel on the television, or that she do his laundry, or get him a new bag of Cheetos. The only "extravagant" thing he ever asked her for (if you could call it extravagant) was a plate of the shrimp combo advertised in an in-universe seafood restaurant commercial because man, that looked good and he was hungry...
  • In the Gravity Falls episode "Blendin's Game" the time traveler Blendin challenges Dipper and Mabel to a Deadly Game, where the prize for winning is a wish from Time Baby - effectively limitless possibilities and with no risk of Temporal Paradox. The twins want to use this as a Selfless Wish to help their friend Soos meet his father. Soos ends up using it as a Mundane Wish to clean Dipper and Mabel up afterward. Blendin is scandalized that Soos would waste a priceless "Time Wish" in this manner...until Soos reveals that he also wished for a piece of infinite pizza (that is, the pizza slice always regenerates when Soos eats it), which Blendin agrees was an excellent use of the wish.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy:
    • Played With in "Wishbones", which features Thromnambular, the Wishing Skull. When Nergal Junior gets ahold of the skull, he actually benefits because he does this, seeing as Thromnambular is a Jerkass Genie who tends to twist and pervert wishes so they end up bad for the wisher. Junior can't decide what to wish for, well-aware that it could backfire on him, and eventually says that he wishes he knew what to wish for; Thromnambular grants the wish and leaves (as in, letting him know what he wanted to wish for, but not actually giving him a chance to wish for it). And he was the one who probably got off the lightest - at least he knows what he wants.
    • Played Straight in an early episode, "A Dumb Wish", where Billy discovers a magic lamp and unleashes a genie, Grim's Mom. All of the wishes come in rhetorical blunders, culminating in Mandy wishing everyone off the face of the earth. She even does a Title Drop for it.
  • Heathcliff & the Catillac Cats episode "Wishful Thinking", Mungo finds a Genie in a Bottle and basically wasted all his wishes in bad phrasing.
  • The titular Martin Mystery actually saves the day by pulling this. A Monster of the Week is offering wishes, whether you want a wish or not (it hypnotizes you into wishing), and will always grant the opposite of what you want to make you suffer. It gets its hands on Martin and he, Nightmare Fetishist as he is, wishes for a paranormal happening to occur. Obviously, one is already happening, but because the opposite always gets granted, the monster ends up defeating itself and negating everything it did so nothing remotely paranormal will have happened. It's worth pointing out Martin didn't do this on purpose.
  • In an episode of The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, K'nuckles steals the heart of a mermaid that's able to grant a limited number of wishes. Before using a wish to be taken to Candy Island, they use a majority of them to goof around, but once Flapjack realizes using the wishes are draining the mermaid of her life, he decides to use his last wish to save her. K'nuckles steals the wish and immediately uses it to wish for a new hat and a corndog, then wishes to be on Candy Island, which is now impossible as he's blatantly told he just used those last wishes for the former items. Making things worse, bordering on utterly nightmarish, using the wishes makes the mermaid horrifically decay. Thankfully, this turns out to be a transformationary state into a Skymaid.
  • My Little Pony 'n Friends: "The Magic Coins, Part 1" starts with the discovery of the titular artifacts, each of which grants one wish. Most of these are quickly used up so that they don't have any easy way to counter it when one of the baby ponies wishes away the rain after a sudden shower spoils their picnic.
  • In an episode of Paw Paw Bears, Dark Paw does this. For his first wish, he asks the genie to eliminate the totem. For his second wish, he asks that the princess and Brave Paw be eliminated. Finally, he says offhandedly, "I wish I could see the look on their faces!" and the good bears return.
  • In The Real Ghostbusters episode "Chicken, He Clucked", a guy hates chickens so much, that he actually summons a demon to make the standard bargain in exchange for ridding the Earth of them. The demon actually tries to talk him out of it, saying he can grant him immortality or rulership of a fairly large country, but the guy insists. (Later, the demon is so humiliated at having to grant such a silly request, he enlists the help of the Ghostbusters to void the contract.)
  • The Season 3 Rick and Morty episode "The Ricklantis Mixup" has Fat Morty offer his Panini Maker to the Wishing Portal for "a million sandwiches."
  • In a sketch from Robot Chicken, Oprah promises to fulfill everyone's dream and asks a member of her audience, "What can Oprah do for you?" The man is surprised and asks for a pastrami sandwich. She tells him to look under his chair, and lo and behold, he finds a sandwich. She then tells all the other audience members to check under their chairs, and they all pull out boxes containing keys to brand new cars. The man who got a sandwich is disappointed.
  • Sheep in the Big City:
    • "Beauty and the Bleats" had Sheep find a Genie's bottle but wastes the first wish on a fancy hat and the second wish on a larger version of the same hat. He finally spends his third wish wishing to become human (or humanish) to get past security at the hotel his beloved Swanky (a poodle) and her owner Lady Richington is staying at, which bans sheep. However, the wish backfires because Swanky doesn't recognize him, and Lady Richington falls in love with him, leading to the rest of the episode being about Sheep trying to reverse the wish. He finally gets the Genie into giving him another three wishes and first wishes to become a sheep again, wastes his second wish on another fancy hat, and uses his third wish to turn Lady Richington into a sheep so she could stop beating him.
    • The Stinger for that same episode has General Specific find a Question Genie who offers him the answer to any three questions. General Specific wastes all three asking for confirmation that he'll answer any three questions.
  • The Simpsons:
    • One of the "Treehouse of Horror" episodes had Homer obtain a monkey's paw and use the last, potentially world-saving wish on a turkey sandwich, which he claims cannot backfire on them or produce any weird surprises. The turkey was dry.
    • Also a variation on the episode where Homer and Apu visit the Kwik-E-Mart home office to attempt to get Apu's job back. The pair are given three questions to ask and Homer accidentally uses up all three to ask if the guy they're visiting is really the head of the Kwik-E-Mart.
      Guru: You may ask of me three questions.
      Apu: Oh, that's good because I only have one—
      Homer: Are you really the head of the Kwik-E-Mart?
      Guru: Yes.
      Homer: Really?
      Guru: Yes.
      Homer: You?
      Guru: Yes. I hope this has been enlightening.
      Apu: But I—
      Guru: Thank you, come again.
      Apu: But—
      Guru: Thank you, come again.
      (cut to outside)
      Homer: Well that was a big bust. (to Apu) Is he really the head of the Kwik-E-Mart?
  • In one episode of Sofia the First, "When you Wish Upon A Well" Amber stumbles upon a wishing well that offers her three wishes. Considering that she's a princess, she probably didn't need to wish for a new tiara, especially since she already has a whole closet full of them, but that's what she did.
  • In South Park, God appeared at the turn of the millennium in "Are You There, God? It's Me, Jesus" and offered to answer exactly one question before returning to heaven. While the adults were brainstorming the best possible question, Stan butted in and demanded to know why he hadn't had his period yet (Context: Cartman and Kenny were suffering from a contagious anal bleed and due to the boys incredibly poor understanding of puberty, thought they had gotten their period. Kyle had lied about getting his to fit in). The adults were not amused.
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Shanghaied", when Patrick learns that the Flying Dutchman will grant them three wishes, he exclaims "I wish we had known that earlier!" SpongeBob promptly wastes the second wish by saying "I wish Squidward were here to see this", resulting in the Flying Dutchman having to play "eenie-meenie-minie-moe" to determine whether SpongeBob, Patrick, or Squidward gets the last wish. In one of the alternate endings, Patrick got the third and final wish and wastes it on a pack of gum after Squidward tries to get him to wish for a way to escape the Flying Dutchman, reasoning that if they're going to be stuck on the Flying Dutchman's ship, they may as well have fresh breath.
  • The Tick was at one point allowed to ask one question of his deepest subconscious, which could answer any mystery in life. He asked, "How's it going?". He got a thumbs up. His spiritual guide is not amused.
  • The Wander over Yonder episode "The Picnic" cumulates in this when, after winning his battle with Emperor Awesome, Lord Hater has the once-in-a-millennium chance to wish for anything he wants, which he wants to wish to be the ruler of the entire galaxy. However, Wander, who's sightseeing and obliviousnote  to Hater's plan, keeps interrupting him to take photos. Hater, fed up with Wander yells "I'd wish you'd leave me alone for five seconds!" The Celestial Being nonchalantly grants it and ignores/is unable to grant Hater's request for a do-over. Cue collective Face Palm from both armies.
    Celestial Being: Yeah okay, I can swing that.
  • Wishfart:
    • Dez frequently ends up granting these kinds of wishes, often due to characters accidentally uttering the word "wish" in a different context. But in "Strangely Perfect", Dez gets his wonky wishing magic switched with Finnuala's perfect wish magic, and finds that when everyone uses his new wishing magic to ask for useless things, like ants repeatedly wishing for their lines to be straighter or the mailman wishing for a golden mailbag, instead of something like world peace.
    • A non-Dez example occurs in "Happy Green Weirdo Day!". When The Magic Goes Away, it turns out Fireball Cat has a crystal orb containing the very last wish in the world (he uses it as his hot tub's plug). But before Dez can wish for the magic to be restored, Puffin wishes for the world's largest potato chip. He gets what he wants, but is disappointed that it's still smaller than he is.
  • The Woody Woodpecker cartoon "His Better Elf" has Woody granted three wishes from a tiny leprechaun woodpecker. The first gets Woody in all kinds of trouble with the law, so he uses the second wish himself back home. The third wish he uses to tell the leprechaun to "GO TO BLAZES!" The leprechaun literally descends to Hell, where ol' Beelzebub was expecting him.

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"Wishes?"

"I wish we had known that earlier!"; Cue the clock going back five minutes.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / WastefulWishing

Media sources:

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