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Why Didn't I Think of That?

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Oh great, Alice is making one of her "suggestions" again, and Bob is just getting ready to deploy the mandatory response when Alice suddenly begins to make sense. "Hang on!" Bob says. "That's a brilliant idea... why didn't I think of that?"

This is when a character suggests something to another character that they wish they'd thought up, or are even surprised they didn't think up first. Despite the opening this doesn't have to be a previously dim or spacey character surprising a smart one (though that version may overlap with Dumbass Has a Point); simply suggesting something that in hindsight seems obvious can catch any character off guard. Compare Glad I Thought of It, where the character not only wishes they'd come up with the idea but tries to pretend they did come up with the idea.



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    Anime & Manga 

  • Oscar Wilde:
    Oscar Wilde: I wish I'd said that.
    James Abbott McNeill Whistler: You will, Oscar, you will.
  • Milton Berle, who was memetically known for stealing other people's jokes, would often use this on himself (and obviously, the bit itself was stolen from Whistler, above).
    Berle: (quoting back a punchline that was just said) I wish I'd said that.
    Other person: You will!

    Comic Books 
  • In an early Thunderbolts issue, the superhero Citizen V (actually a disguised Captain America supervillain, Baron Zemo) confronts Fantastic Four villain the Mad Thinker, who explains his master plan. "V" responds that "it's a good plan. I see no reason why it wouldn't work. Except, of course, for me."
  • Ultimate Marvel
    • Ultimate Spider-Man: Kong wants to fight Crusher Hogan and get five hundred dollars, but the manager did not allow him: he's a minor. Peter made a mask for himself and simply jumped into the arena without asking. Kong was there, and thought that it's what he should had done as well.
    • The Ultimates: Thor wants to know which is Stark's motivation for being Iron Man. Perhaps being in a super team allows for some big corporate tax dodge? Unfortunately, no.
    • Ultimate X-Men: Wolverine and Sabertooth have kept "killing" each other for years, but they always survive because of their healing factors. So Sabertooth had an idea: drown him. What use can a healing factor be if Logan's brain is severely damaged?

    Fan Work 
  • In Sword Art Online Abridged, when Asuna asks Kayaba why he revealed himself for locking the players in Aincraid rather than blame a fake terrorist group, he admits He was too sleep deprived and paranoid to consider it and really wished he thought of her suggestion before hand.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, both Harry and Hermione are annoyed that they can't go to Slughorn's party with their respective love interests, who are in other relationships. Hermione tips off that she's slummed to asking the infatuated Cormac McLaggen; Harry points out it would've made more sense for he and Hermione to just go together instead, prompting the trope response from Hermione.
  • In Panic Room, one of the thieves, Raoul, has this response when they're inside the titular room and protagonist Meg is on the outside, who then proceeds to destroy the surveillance cameras in the apartment so they can't see what she's up to, something that never occurred to the thieves despite hours inside.
  • In RoboCop (2014), this is the response of the OmniCorp PR man to the news that RoboCop is investigating his own murder.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Friends:
    That was an easy joke. I could've thought of it... Why didn't I think of it?
  • Played for tearjerker effect in the Dollhouse episode "Epitaph One". The Neural Implanting technology has been weaponized and the United States has collapsed into anarchy after an attack from China. Topher, the scientist who helped develop the technology, is in his Room Full of Crazy and works out how it was done.
    Topher: An entire army in a single instant; that's all it takes. That's brilliant! Why didn't I think of that? (sees Adele's expression) Did I think of that? Did I? Oh god... Oh my god... Oh my god...
  • In Season 3 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Giles is sacked from his position as Watcher and replaced by Wesley, who impresses no one. When Faith meets him for the first time...
    Faith: New Watcher?
    Buffy and Giles: New Watcher.
    Faith: Screw that. (walks out)
    Buffy: Now, why didn't I just say that?
  • On World's Dumbest..., this is Godfrey's response to seeing people using popsicle sticks to get extra time on parking meters.

  • At the beginning of Act 2 in Chicago Velma asks why she didn't think of faking a pregnancy when Roxie doing so got everyone's attention and thus kept her and her trial in the newspapers.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • From Wacky Races, after the Mean Machine is crushed by a hillbilly's boulder trap:
    Dick Dastardly: Wow! What a keen booby trap! I wish I'd thought of it!
  • Futurama, "A Biclops Built For Two"; Fry is in a dungeon:
    Fry: Leela, you have to get me out of here. It's horrible! Eating scraps, letting my waste drop where I stand like an animal in the zoo.
    Leela: Animals go on the corner.
    Fry: The corner! Why didn't I think of that?
  • Shaggy says this in the Scooby-Doo episode "Scooby's Night With A Frozen Fright," when Scooby shows him how he hooked a link of hot dogs from the gang's picnic basket.
  • In an episode of Aladdin: The Series, Genie temporarily gives his powers to Iago, who (contrary to the Jerkass he acts as when an ordinary parrot) goes out of his way to try to improve everyone's lives. After Iago redirects a river, Genie wonders aloud why he never thought of that; Iago uses his newfound genie powers to make a big show opening his head to show off his brain in response. Then all of Iago's benevolence backfires dramatically, showing that maybe it's for the better that Genie didn't ever think of that.
  • In Frosty the Snowman when Hocus Pocus suggests to get help from Santa Claus to help Frosty and Karen.
    Frosty: That's a great idea. Why didn't I think of that before?
    (Hocus glares at him and taps his foot impatiently)
  • In the "Flying Sorcerers" arc of Underdog, the King of the Flying Sorcerers has a love of cakes and has Sweet Polly Purebred kidnapped to make him all the cakes he wants. When Underdog rescues her and the king bemoans not getting anymore cakes, Polly gives him a recipe so his people can make cakes without kidnapping chefs, leaving the king to wonder why he didn't think of that in the first place.
  • In the Darkwing Duck episode 'Jailbird', when Negaduck uses a mystical gem to steal the powers of his fellow members of the Fearsome Five, he uses Liquidator's water powers to part the bay and make a clear path for himself to St. Canard.
    Liquidator: Say, why didn't I ever think of that?
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), when Professor Honeycutt won't build his Teleportal to help the Turtles return to Earth, fearing it would fall into the hands of the Federation or the Triceratons, Donatello foolishly points out that it wouldn't matter as they could just use a Mind Probe in front of the Prime Leader of the Triceratons.
    Donatello: What's to stop them from ripping apart your robot body and downloading the data from your brain?
    Prime Leader: (Face Palm) Slag! Why didn't I think of that?!
    Michaelangelo: Good one, Don!
    Donatello: Sorry.
  • The Sylvester the Cat cartoon "Peck Up Your Troubles," has Sylvester trying (and failing) to catch a woodpecker, As he paces back and forth, he suddenly gets an idea. He holds up a sign that says "Why didn't I think of this before?" then starts climbing a flight of invisible stairs towards the tree branch the woodpecker is perched on. (Second sign: "Anything is possible in a cartoon!")
  • In one episode of Ed, Edd n Eddy, after taking Jimmy under his wing and teaching him everything he knows, Eddy sends him out to earn some cash. Jimmy comes up with a clever scam: charging the kids for jumping on a trampoline. Upon seeing how successful the scam is, Eddy asks the other Eds why they never came up with that.
    Double D: It would appear the student has surpassed the master.
    Ed: But better!
  • This exchange from the Danger Mouse episode "The Good, The Bad and the Motionless" when DM and Penfold land at Stonehenge to deal with a disturbance.
    DM: Right, Penfold. I'll go investigate; you wait here.
    Penfold: (slowly and gradually panicking) Wait here? On me own? In the 'orrible gloom?! WAIT HERE??!
    DM: All right, all right. No, you're right, Penfold. I'll wait here and you go investigate.
    Penfold: (after a beat) I know, chief. I'll wait here and you go and investigate.
    DM: (sarcastically) What a good idea, Penfold. Why didn't I think of that?
  • In the "Mooselyvania, Saved!" arc of Rocky and Bullwinkle, upon hearing that Pottslyvania is broke because their treasurer stole their eighty million pazuzas and skipped the country, Fearless Leader is left furious.
    Bookkeeper: About the Treasurer stealing the treasury?
    Fearless Leader: No! That I didn't think of it first!

    Real Life