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"He'd rather have a buffalo take a diarrhea dump in his ear
He'd rather eat the rotten asshole of a road-killed skunk and down it with beer"
Theme song, The Angry Video Game Nerd

You want me to describe another trope? I'd rather drink Brain Bleach!

A character expresses his displeasure with an idea by claiming a preferred alternative — except that alternative is clearly something the average person would find unthinkably undesirable, usually subjecting oneself to pain, death, or both.

When played for comedy, this trope derives humor from the exaggerated, ridiculous description of unusual torture and possibly from Cool and Unusual Punishment. Can be a type of Freudian Slip or Suspiciously Specific Denial if the audience knows the character would actually find the mentioned activity enjoyable (even though most people wouldn't). If used in this manner expect the character to be objecting to something rather trivial. Even if it's not this, in especially comedic works expect another character to accuse the objector of doing this.

Commonly used to respond to the advances of an Abhorrent Admirer or Casanova Wannabe. Also commonly used by Caustic Critics to describe the painful badness of what they're reviewing.

Compare I Need to Go Iron My Dog as more mundane excuses, and Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon given the outlandish things people often say they would rather experience. Contrast Fate Worse than Death as a more serious comparison. Anything but That! is another negative (over)reaction, though usually to threats. I'm Thinking It Over! is the related comedy trope where two lopsided alternatives are presented, and the character takes far too long to choose between them. If eventually forced into an undesirable situation, it might become Too Desperate to Be Picky.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Animation 
  • GG Bond: In Season 12 episode 2, GG Bond demonstrates his singing skills, which turn out to be so awful that S-Daddy says that he would rather listen to cats screeching than hear GG Bond's singing.
  • In episode 31 of Happy Heroes, the "romantic date with Miss Peach" scenario the Supermen go through in Doctor H.'s virtual reality dream goggles proves too disappointing for them, and once they wake up they tell the Doctor they never want to dream again.note  When the Doc tries to draw their attention to another scenario he made that he thinks they might enjoy, the Supermen stick to their word, with Smart S. commenting he'd rather die than have another dream.

    Anime & Manga 
  • My Hero Academia: Played for Drama near the end of Final Exams Arc where both Midoriya and Bakugou are paired up against All Might for their finals. Bakugou would rather fail the exam (i.e. if this was an actual life-and-death situation, he would rather die or suffer a gruesome fate) than accept help from Midoriya, at least until Midoriya knocks some sense into him.
  • In an Advanced Generation-era Pokémon episode, Team Rocket winds up staying with an old couple who nothing of their criminal behavior, and they assume Jessie is James’s girlfriend and ask him whether he will marry her someday. His response? “I’D RATHER DIE!”
  • Tamagotchi: Played for Drama. In episode 143, when Kizunatchi starts to fall to the ground after she's overwhelmed trying to fend off the eggification of Tamagotchi Planet, Mametchi and his friends all express immense displeasure at this, and Mametchi says that he'd rather fall victim to the egg curse himself than see her die. The other Tama-Friends all agree with his statement, exclaiming they'd also rather become eggs even at the cost of sacrificing their interests.

    Comedy 
  • Jeff Foxworthy has a bit about how people imagine southerners in white-collar professions, noting that the Southern accent is "not the world's most intelligent-sounding accent", including this doctor:
    "A'right, now what we gonna do is, saw the top o'your head off, root around in there with a stick an' see if we can't find that dadburned clot."
    "No, thanks, I'll just die, okay?"

    Comic Books 
  • In issue #2 of the (New 52) Blue Beetle series, at Brenda's quinceañera, La Dama suggests that Brenda should find a boyfriend.
    Brenda: But I'm not interested in any boys I know.
    La Dama: Oh come on. He looks handsome enough.
    Brenda: Joey Gonzalez?! I'd rather crap broken glass!
    La Dama: Well that was ladylike...
  • A Hellblazer comic subverts this: a couple is arguing, with the man saying that he'd rather shove red-hot needles in his eyes than talk to her family anymore. A while later, due to demonic influence, he does just that, and tells her in a completely normal voice that he was wrong: this is much worse.
  • In one Spider-Man story that takes place right after the Acts of Vengeance, the villains he defeated during the arc team up for revenge against him. After they think they've killed him (they haven't, naturally), Trapster hits on Titania, suggesting they go out and celebrate (with "you, me, a bottle of vino?"; her reply is that she'd "rather gargle battery acid".
  • In an issue of Teen Titans, Changeling traps Terra by wrapping around her as a snake during a training session. He offers to let her go for a kiss, but she says she'd rather kiss a Wookiee. Gar says that it's out of his range.
  • In one Donald Duck strip, Donald gets hired to drive a bus for an infamously rowdy class of elementary schoolers to take them on a field trip to the zoo. The ride turns out to be hell on wheels for Donald, as the kids run around the bus like it's a playground, throw things, spill food, attempt to wrestle the wheels, and almost cause numerous accidents that Donald has to account for. Things don't get any better when they arrive at the destination as the kids immediately run off and free the zoo animals. By the end of the story, Donald is seen working as a human cannonball and claims that this is safer than dealing with those kids again.
  • Archie Comics has one story where Archie agrees to take over a friend's duty as an ice-cream truck driver. He repeatedly fails to stop customers (such as Jughead and a mob of local kids) from clambering into the truck and helping themselves on the goods and later gets clobbered by Moose when the latter saw Midge enter the truck to buy ice-cream. When his friend comes back to the job and asks if Archie would consider running an ice cream truck full-time, Archie claims that he'd rather be a lion tamer.

    Comic Strips 
  • Before pairing up with Liz, Jon repeatedly had women tell him what horrible things they'd prefer to a date with him in Garfield. It was a kind of Running Gag for a while.
  • In one Peanuts strip, Snoopy played a mixed doubles tennis match with his partner Molly Volley, a girl notorious for her Hair-Trigger Temper. In the final strip, he was invited to another match. His reply? "I've had distemper and I've played the mixed doubles. I'd rather have distemper." (Ironically, he would be her partner again, and it would be even worse, seeing as one of their opponents was "Crybaby Boobie", who complained about everything, literally.)

    Fan Works 
  • In The Best Revenge Snape needs to get a Christmas present for Charity.
    He would rather stick needles in his eyes than set foot in some god-awful be-ruffled establishment full of witches' furbelows.
  • In Extraordinary Summer the Malfoys protest Harry's status as heir of the House of Black.
    Narcissa: Draco really does have precedence. Both as the son of a Black rather than a grandson, and as Pollux Black's descendant, who was Dorea Black's older brother. She was the youngest of her generation.
    Sirius: You might have married sine manu, but your first child is a Malfoy by contract, not a Black. And even if he wasn't? I would rather be tormented in Tartarus than see the Black fortune go to Death Eaters.
  • In The Golden Age a number of supposed Muggleborn are informed they were the product of rape. One anonymous witch is extremely bitter about her parentage in her written reply.
    It might have made all the difference when I was at Hogwarts, but now I would rather have hot needles stuck in my eyes than accept charity from Lucius Arsehole Malfoy.
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire:
    Harry: I don't know about being best friends or anything, but before [Fleur] went off on Tabitha, I really did believe she understood just how serious this was. I believed she was terrified for her sister, and I believed she regretted entering the tournament.
    Neville: We could try starting over.
    Luna: I'd rather poke myself in the eye with my wand.
  • Harry Potter and the Order of Merlin:
    Severus Snape sipped a lovely beverage and watched.

    Given a choice of tasks, he placed having unanesthetized oral surgery as something he would rather do than be in Black's company.
  • Heat: A Twi'lek stripper implies to Inalap'akis that she might be able to get the information she needs from the SiltShift Cantina bartender by seducing him.
    Inalap'akis: Man at the bar says you know Andronikos Revel.
    Dancer: I hate to break it to you, sweetie, but Regg'd lie to his own grandmother. Him's the one that's been doing business with Andronikos. I never seen the guy in my life. But, for a price, I can tell you how to get old Regg to give up any information you want.
    Inalap'akis: What do you want me to do, kriff him? Forget it, I don't do that anymore. Certainly not with a Rodian — I'd sooner run into a heat storm naked.
  • In High Heels and Hippogriffs Cassie and Remus decide to visit the Ministry to see the Potter wills.
    Cassie: Sure, you don't want to go?
    Snape: I'd rather gouge my eye out.
  • I Don't Love You:
    Harry: Not enjoying the party?
    Snape: I'd sooner cut myself into little pieces in order to make it easier for Hagrid's mutt to eat me than go back into that hell.
  • Knights of the Founders:
    And, of course, if he was given the choice, he'd much rather chew off his own arm than go and stay with Aunt Marge, Ripper, and her other bulldogs — all of whom, thanks to lots of reinforcement from Marge, hated Harry with a passion.
  • Medium Rare:
    Snape: Firstly, Simon Fraser is my ex, and it was he whom the gossipmongers saw with me. He is also my former professor, and he came here in an effort to get me to come back, both to him and to the university. To teach, for pity's sake. And since I would rather jab a hot poker into my eyes than teach, you can imagine my response.
  • Naru-Hina Chronicles:
    • Ino is annoyed by the fact that Shikamaru has kept his relationship with Temari a secret from her and Choji. She decides to punish Shikamaru by forcing him to pay for the barbecue meal and bringing Temari along so they would get to know her better. Shikamaru then complains that he would much rather let Temari meet his parents instead.
    • After Sai tells a girl named Jirian that he picked her up as a date because he wanted to lose his virginity and she looked like she would be easy, she slaps him on the face and angrily yells "I WOULD RATHER SLEEP WITH A DOG THAN YOU, YOU PERVERTED CREEP!"
  • In The Loud House fanfiction The Nightmare House, Lincoln says he would rather suffer for ten years in a glass cage with no food but accompanied by his sisters than live with his fake sisters.
  • Oil and Water:
    Ron: Why would you want to go anywhere with the ferret?
    Harry: Because he is my friend and he asked me to go is why. You're more than welcome to join us.
    Ron: No thanks I'd rather stick a fork in my eyes.
  • In Old West, Rattlesnake Jake tells Delilah Rangler not to accept a bribe from his rival Irvin Worst, and she doesn't need to be told twice.
    Delilah Rangler: Please, sugar. I may be a murderous criminal, but I ain't stupid. Plus, takin' money from Irvin Worst would mean I'd have to suffer him staring at my tits. I'd rather screw an exhaust pipe.
  • Our Time is Now:
    Aunt Petunia: Just put on this jumper.
    Tristan: I'd rather get stabbed repeatedly than wear that ugly thing.
  • In Painted in the Worst Light Snape is unable to eat porridge of any variety.
    Snape: It's an intolerance. It's not an allergy, but I'd rather eat nails. It wouldn't feel any different.
  • In Season of Change a post-fifth year Harry would rather be subjected to the Cruciatus Curse than spend yet another summer with his relatives.
  • True Potential: After Anko sneezes in Chapter 66, Zabuza tells her to stay far away from him if she's sick, as he hates getting sick. He adds "I'd rather take a kunai to the back than catch a fucking cold."
  • The Twisted Path:
    Daphne: It wasn't your fault. You had no way of knowing. Still my father, in his infinite wisdom, expects me to apologize to Malfoy.
    Hermione: I'd rather drink poison.
  • What doesn't kill you:
    Luna: No spacing out on me mister. Your first test is tomorrow, you need to eat as much as I'm sure your stomach doesn't want to.
    Harry: A test? I'd prefer a trip to the doctor for a colonoscopy. I'd prefer a root canal...

    Films — Animation 
  • In Brave, during an explosive argument with her mother, Merida shouts "I'd rather die than be like you!"
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy's Big Picture Show has a dramatic example when Edd and Eddy have a falling-out after one cruel joke too many.
    Edd: I'd rather face my consequences, Ed, than wander aimlessly with a so-called friend!
  • In the song "On the Open Road" from A Goofy Movie, Max lists a number of things he'd prefer to having to take a parent/child-bonding road trip with his father.
    All in all, I'd rather have detention
    All in all, I'd rather eat a toad
    And the old man drives like such a klutz
    That I'm about to hurl my guts
    Directly upon the open road
  • Recess: School's Out: Miss Finster would rather eat playground dirt than go back to be with Benedict.
  • From Shrek the Third, we have a pair of college girls having a conversation, with one of them saying, "And then I said, 'I'd rather get the black plague or get stuck in an iron maiden than go out with you!'"
  • In Toy Story 3, the toys try to escape the daycare by sneaking out through the garbage chute, but their path is blocked by Lotso and his henchmen, who threaten to throw them in the dumpster if they don't stay with them and be part of their "family". Jessie responds with: "This isn't a family! It's a prison! You're a liar and a bully! And I'd rather rot in this dumpster than join any family of yours!"

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Cat in the Hat: The cat says that there's two treatments to the siblings' attitude problems; one is "a series of painful shots injected into your abdomen and kneecap" (while holding an oversized syringe), the other involves a musical number. Sally immediately asks "How many shots?"
  • In Ever After, Marguerite and her mother make plans for her to wear a dress that belonged to Danielle's deceased mother to the masquerade ball. After walking in on Marguerite about to try on the dress, Danielle angrily declares "I would rather die a thousand deaths than to see my mother's dress on that spoiled, selfish cow!"
  • In George of the Jungle, Ursula's mother is trying to drive George away from Ursula.
    George: So you no want Ursula to love George?
    Mom: I'd rather have my tongue nailed to this table every morning at breakfast.
  • Played for Drama in Guyver: Dark Hero. As Crane and Marcus are fighting as Zoanoids, Crane talks down to Marcus about his desire to protect his family over serving Cronos, which sadly ends in tragedy:
    Crane: It didn't have to be this way, Marcus. We were doing great things together! You could have been somebody in the company!
    Marcus: Junior Vice President in charge of genocide? I'd rather die.
    Crane: [grabs a metal rod] Then so be it! [impales Marcus]
  • Happens in High School Musical when Zeke tries to ask Sharpay out.
    Sharpay: I'd rather stick pins in my eyes.
    Zeke: But wouldn't that be uncomfortable?
  • Kevin delivers one in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
    Kevin: I'm not apologizing to Buzz. I'd rather kiss a toilet seat.
  • In the aftermath of getting a dick farm branded on his ass on Jackass 2, Bam Margera has this to say:
    Bam Margera: I'd rather rip my dick off and throw it in the river than to do that again. God damn.
  • Lockout: The leading man, Snow, initially refuses the call to save the president's daughter with the line "I'd rather castrate myself with blunt rocks."
  • Happens in Singin' in the Rain, when Don kisses Lina while filming a love scene after learning that she got Kathy fired from her job because she knew he liked Kathy:
    Lina: Oh Donny! You couldn't kiss me like that and not mean it just a teensy bit!
    Don: Meet the greatest actor in the world. I'd rather kiss a tarantula.
    Lina: You don't mean that.
    Don: I don't— Hey Joe, bring me a tarantula!
  • A Played for Drama example in Star Trek. When Nero's ship is caught up in the black hole created by the Red Matter, Kirk (against Spock's better wishes) offers a lifeline: to show that humans are decent enough to give an enemy a chance. Nero's reply?
    Nero: I would rather suffer the end of Romulus a thousand times. I would rather die in agony than accept assistance from you.
    Kirk: You got it. [to Sulu] Arm phasers. Fire everything we got.
  • Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back:
    • Leia pulls this on Han during their "excuse me princess" exchange, which starts when Han thinks Leia wants him to stay because of the way she feels about him:
      Leia: Yes! You're a great help to us! You're a natural leader!
      Han: No! That's not it! Come on! Ah, come on!
      Leia: You're imagining things!
      Han: Am I? Then why are you following me? Afraid I was going to leave without giving you a goodbye kiss?!
      Leia: I'd just as soon kiss a Wookiee!
      Han: I can arrange that! [as he leaves] YOU COULD USE A GOOD KISS!!
    • A non-verbal example occurs later; Darth Vader tries to convince Luke to join him in ruling the galaxy. After a few minutes, Luke lets go of what he's holding, letting himself plummet into the abyss.
  • In The Three Musketeers (1993) the queen declares that "I would rather die" than be Richelieu's wife when he takes the throne. He screams, "THAT CAN BE ARRANGED!"
  • A memorable one from Without a Paddle comes when the protagonists are stranded in freezing rain, sans clothing:
    Dan: The only chance we have to survive is to huddle together for warmth.
    Jerry: I, for one, choose death.

    Literature 
  • Adrian Mole "would rather eat live toads" than go to family therapy, and "would sooner have climbed into the bear pit at Whipsnade Zoo naked and covered in honey" than have an awkward conversation with his girlfriend's father.
  • Early on in Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, Tej Arqua is about to get arrested by Immigration, which would lead to her being deported straight into the hands of her house's enemies, who would use her to get at the rest of her family. Her only options for escaping that fate are either marrying Ivan Vorpatril or jumping out the window to her death. And she's giving the second option some serious consideration...
  • In A Christmas Carol Scrooge suggests that the indigent go to prisons or workhouses instead of him giving to charity. The person he's talking to says "Many can't go there; and many would rather die."
  • Variant: In The Dresden Files: Summer Knight Harry informs his literal Exposition Fairy Bob the Skull about how his latest client is Queen Mab of the Winter Court. Bob says something to the effect of "Here's where I ask you why you don't try a safer profession, like administering suppositories to rabid gorillas."
  • In Tomi DePaolo's book Helga's Dowry, the eponymous troll maiden comes back after earning her own dowry so she can afford to marry. However, in the process, she's learned that her intended doesn't love her and is only interested in marrying wealthy. She tells him she'd rather wander the world forever (the penalty for being an unmarried troll maiden) than marry him. (Fortunately, she winds up being able to Take a Third Option.)
  • Red Dwarf: Lister bluntly informs Rimmer he'd rather drink his own diarrhea, or anyone else's for that matter — every hour on the hour for the next fifty years — than spend the rest of his life having to put up with him.
  • Roys Bedoys: In “Respect People’s Opinions, Roys Bedoys!”, Roys claims he would rather not wear shoes than wear Maker’s.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Addams Family: Given how "creepy and kooky" the Addamses are, quite a lot of regular people would prefer just about anything to having to interact with them.
    • In "Gomez the Politician", one of Hilliard's campaigners tries to convince him to welcome the Addamses to the campaign personally, saying that the family has enough money to make a large contribution and that the public likes contact with the candidate. Hilliard, who's had personal experience with the Addamses and their antics, retorts that he'd prefer to lose, and the guy shoots back that he might without more funds. After a moment to consider it, Hilliard still decides he'd rather lose. Lurch ends up dragging Hilliard over for a "strategy meeting" anyway.
    • In "Halloween with the Addams Family", crooks Marty and Claude end up accepting Gomez's invitation to celebrate Halloween with them in a desperate attempt to hide from the cops. Over time, they get less and less satisfied with their hiding place. When the Addamses announce they're going to read a poem, Claude whispers to Marty that it would be better for them in jail. Marty hisses at him to be quiet.
    • In "Morticia the Matchmaker", a young lawyer's boss tries to send him to talk business with Gomez, saying that he's ideally suited because he's met the family before. The lawyer says he'd rather interact with a scorpion nest.
  • Angel: Lorne the Host when he's told he has to travel from Earth back to his home dimension:
    Lorne: I'd rather have a hydrochloric acid facial. I'd rather invite a hive of wasps to nest in my throat. I'd rather sit through a junior high school production of "Cats"! You see where I'm going with this?
  • The A-Team: "Moving Targets" has a double example.
    • When B.A. wakes up enraged about being put on a plane, Face says that he would rather sit near a king cobra without clothes on than let him out of his restraints.
    • At the end, B.A. announces that he booked them passage on a freighter for the return trip and volunteered the other three to pay for it by helping around the ship (including repainting the whole thing). Hannibal wryly comments that he would have preferred it if B.A. had made him eat one of his cigars.
  • Babylon 5: At the end of the first season, faced with going into the council chamber and ceding all claim to a sector of space to the Narns, Londo comments, "I think I'll go stick my head in the station's fusion reactor; it would be less painful. And after a while, I might even come to enjoy it."note 
  • In an episode of The Big Bang Theory, Raj is about to lose his work Visa and is in danger of deportation, so Sheldon offers to let Raj work for him. (Not with him, for him.) Raj says he'd rather swim naked across the Ganges River with paper cuts on his nipples and die a slow agonizing death from infection than work with Sheldon. note  Then he says he'll take the job.
  • This is just one of the many snide weapons in the vocal arsenal of Blackadder, particularly in the fourth season.
    [George suggests he do a stage act after ripping on Music Hall]
    Blackadder: Thanks, George, but if you don't mind, I'd rather have my tongue beaten wafer-thin by a steak tenderizer, and then stapled to the floor with a croquet hoop.
  • Bottom:
    • In "Smells", after Eddie asks a sex shop owner for "five quid's worth".
      Owner: Very droll, sir. I've never heard that one before.
      Eddie: Really? Shall I tell it again?
      Owner: No thank you, sir. I'd rather have a pineapple inserted violently into my rectum.
      Eddie: ...You've been working here too long, mate.
    • In "Holy", Eddie responds to Richie's offer of trying his "sprouts Mexicane" by saying that he would rather cut off his own penis with a rusty bread knife.
    • In the third live show, Eddie's response to Richie's suggestion of playing "I, Spy" is to say that he would rather watch an entire episode of Telly Addicts, with sellotape over his mouth so he would have to swallow his own vomit. He then amends this by saying he would rather be taped to Noel Edmonds himself, in the nude, without earplugs or a "beardguard".
  • Burn Notice: Andre Dekker, one of the Villains of the Week in "Unpaid Debts" and a black market courier, tells Michael he would sooner cut his own throat than allow anyone to interfere in his deliveries.
    Andre Dekker: Do you think I would hesitate to cut yours?"
  • Cheers: After Sam hits on her yet again, Rebecca clarifies the matter for him: She not only doesn't want to go out with him, she'd rather have her gall bladder removed.
  • In the fifth season of Chuck, Morgan, who's lost bits of his memory and is trying to regain them by watching his old favorite movies, in this case Star Wars, says he'd rather claw his eyeballs out than hear any more of Jar Jar Binks.
  • The Cosby Show: The regular actors ended up acting out a storybook scene from a story Rudy wrote, where an evil henchman makes romantic advances on the good song leader, and she rejects him:
    Henchman: ... And then there's two weeks out of the year that I get to go on vacation and cruise and pillage. And if you played your cards right you could come along and pillage with me.
    Song Leader: I'd rather sit on a cactus plant!
    Henchman: We could do that, too, if you'd like.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Near the end of the episode "Day Damn One", Carlton advices Will to change his ways so he could fit in with his friends, but Will makes clear that he doesn't want Carlton's friends.
    Will: If I woke up one morning and I had all of your friends and I was an Alligaroo and I wore those cute shirts with the little horses on them, I'd jump off the Empire State Building and hope to catch my eyelid on a nail.
  • In the The Golden Girls episode "Love for Sale", Dorothy tries to make her ex-husband Stan back down from continuing to bid on her in his Grand Romantic Gesture during a bachelorette auction by making a statement about what she'd rather do than go out with him. It does nothing to deter him, though Hilarity Ensues as a random man reacts to her statement with an Accidental Bid, which Stan proceeds to outbid anyway.
    Dorothy: Stanley, stop it. I'm not going out with you. I would rather be Bound and Gagged and left on an ant hill, covered with honey.
    Random Guy: $400! [sits down after realizing what he just did and noticing eyes upon him]
  • In Happy Days, Potsie asks a girl to do something romantic with him, and she retorts, "I'd rather catch diphtheria!"
  • House of Anubis:
    • Patricia does this at least once.
      Amber: Maybe I could find you a boyfriend, too, Patricia.
      Patricia: I'd rather chew on glass.
    • Eddie does this as well when Fabian suggests he takes Patricia to the movie on Ancient Egypt. Being that the two of them had a fight just before this, he replies that he'd rather take Victor.
  • House of the Dragon: In the finale of Season 1, when Ser Otto Hightower has the temerity to offer the fostering of both Princes Aegon the Younger and Viserys (squire and cupbearer, respectively) to King Aegon (The Usurper) as a reward of his terms (read: "hostages"), Daemon verbally eviscerates him.
    Prince Daemon Targaryen: I would rather feed my sons to the dragons than have them carry spears and cups for your drunken, usurper cunt of a king.
  • The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: On June 15, 2018, Colbert mocks the deleterious work conditions at the White House and the difficulties of hiring staff. To the question "Interested in a job in the White House?", he jokes that the GMail app offered the auto-suggested responses, "No", "Hell no", and "I'd rather eat a muffin made of broken glass."
  • Married... with Children:
    • Al once claimed he would rather "rip my nose off with a can opener, bob for apples in a sewer" and "have a catheter the size of a garden hose" than get a second job to support Peg's shopping.
    • In "Buck Saves the Day", he claimed he'd "rather slam my nose in a car door. I'd rather have a proctologist named Dr. Hook. I would rather watch Roseanne Barr do a striptease than take these little booger machines camping."
    • When Peg was pregnant and suggested that the baby sleep in their room, Al stated that he would "rather sleep in a bunk bed underneath Oprah. I would rather engage in a threesome with Roseanne and her really cool husband. I would rather play naked Twister with every one of The Golden Girls than to share a room with that little doody-geyser."
    • In "Love Conquers Al", Peggy suggests that she and Al join her parents and the other couples in a marriage retreat.
      Al: Peg, I'd rather go synchronized swimming with Angela Lansbury. I'd rather have my neck shaved by Ray Charles. I'd even rather have your picture tattooed on the inside of my eyelids than spend any more time with these clowns!
  • Monk: Monk's hang-ups often mean he'd rather do any number of horrible things than one thing most people would take in stride.
    • "Mr. Monk and the Naked Man"
      • Upon seeing all the nudity on a clothing-optional beach, Monk purposely stares into the sun, trying to make himself go blind.
      • After Chance (the titular nudist) hugs him goodbye, Monk begins walking towards the ocean in a daze, seemingly attempting to commit Suicide by Sea rather than deal with all the issues the hug brought up.
    • In "Mr. Monk Gets Jury Duty", Monk tells Natalie he would rather be sucked out of an airplane than have jury duty.
    • In "Happy Birthday, Mr. Monk", Monk and Natalie are being pursued by a stranger, which Stottlemeyer says relates to a bounty just put on Monk's head. At one point, they're faced with the choice of hiding in a dumpster or a port-a-potty. Monk initially declares that he prefers death. However, after a few seconds, he hides in the dumpster with Natalie.
    • Other people have also made similar comments about varying things. In "Mr. Monk Goes to Mexico", a college boy on vacation propositions Sharona. She says she'd rather chew glass.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: In "The Piranha Brothers", Luigi Vercotti describes the prospect of having to meet Doug Piranha:
    Luigi: Well, I was terrified. Everyone's terrified of Doug. I've seen grown men pull their own heads off rather than see Doug. Even Dinsdale was afraid of Doug.
  • In the Musical Episode of Once Upon a Time, Rumplestiltskin declares he'd rather poke his eyes out with a rusty fork than sing.
  • New Girl: Schmidt, in regards to his suits:
    Schmidt: I'm not being overdramatic when I say that I would rather sit naked on a hot grill than wear something off the rack.
  • The Orville: Ed lampshades the Timey-Wimey Ball in "Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow" as follows: "You guys will not get me into a discussion of time travel logic. I'd rather chew broken glass."
  • Power Rangers Ninja Steel: In "Love Stings".
    Venoma: Won't you be my Valentine, Blue Ranger?
    Preston: I'd rather have a tooth pulled!
  • Red Dwarf: Kryten is aghast that Lister and the Cat would rather face horrible (if prolonged) death at the hands of Simulants in the slim hope of looting their ship for food rather than live off Kryten's dandelion soup. The Cat states that if it was the option of a Simulant using their ribs as a xylophone, he'd hand them the sheet music.
  • The Vampire Diaries:
    • Stefan and Damon are forced to visit their old girlfriend Katherine, who's trapped in a tomb by a spell. She asks them to join her, and Damon says he'd rather poke his eyes out.
    • When Klaus is out hunting for werewolves to turn into hybrids, one of them says she'd rather die than become a vampire.
  • In the Veep episode "Signals", when Selina is told that Congressman Furlong wants to meet her, she responds: "Okay, well, let's see. I'd rather set fire to my vulva, so that's a no."
  • Voyagers!, "An Arrow Pointing East": When the Sheriff asks Maid Marian how she's enjoying their excursion through the woods, she compares it to eating live lizards.
  • Wednesday: Wednesday Addams has a propensity for such statements; of course, considering her (and her family's) tendency to enjoy self-harm, she might be more serious about it than most people.
    • For example, in "Woe What a Night", after being asked if she intends to go to the High-School Dance, she says she'd rather stick a pair of needles in her eyes. And will probably do it anyway.
    • A variation in "Friend or Woe", where the option would probably be more painful to her than any torture.
      Wednesday: I'd rather dye my hair pink than ask my mother for advice.

    Magazines 
  • Stuart Campbell used this in some of his more negative Amiga Power reviews:
    • The review of International Rugby Challenge featured a "scientific" comparison of the game with other "most-bad things." The Bosnian war, the Somalian famine, the Rodney King beating, and the depletion of the ozone layer were all judged to be not as bad as International Rugby Challenge, though "Having Electrodes Attached To Your Genitals And Being Flogged Senseless With A Knotted Rope" would probably be just as bad.
    • The short review of the Porting Disaster of ThunderJaws included the statement "I'd rather have my liver pierced with a rusty fork and undergo a particularly unpleasant series of rabies inoculations than have to play this quite disgracefully boring and incompetent production-line conversion job again."

    Music 
  • Perhaps the grand-daddy from popular music, "Blue Suede Shoes", where Carl Perkins sang that:
    You can burn my house, steal my car
    Drink my liquor from an old fruit-jar
    Do anything that you want to do
    But uh-uh baby, lay off of my shoes
  • The closing lines of Tom Lehrer's "Oedipus Rex".
    You may end up just like Oedipus,
    I'd rather marry a duck-billed platypus,
    Then end up just like Oedipus Rex!
  • The chorus of Luther Vandross' "I'd Rather" has a downplayed version of this trope, as the singer chooses to suffer while together with his true love rather than be by himself or someone else.
    I'd rather have bad times with you, than good times with someone else
    I'd rather be beside you in a storm, than safe and warm by myself
    I'd rather have hard times together, than to have it easy apart
    I'd rather have the one who holds my heart
  • The song "Beg, Borrow, and Steal" by Ohio Express is all about how he'd rather do those three things for a living than go back to his Tsundere girlfriend.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic's "One More Minute", singing about an ex.
    That's right, you ain't gonna see me crying
    I'm glad that you found somebody new
    'Cause I'd rather spend eternity eating shards of broken glass
    Than spend one more minute with you.
    You can torture me with Donny and Marie
    You can play some Barry Manilow
    Or you can play some schlock, like New Kids on the Block
    Or any Village People song you know

    Newspapers 
  • Dave Barry once wrote in a column that he "would rather undergo vasectomy via Weed Whacker than attend an opera."
  • Roger Ebert's review of Seven Days in Utopia began, "I would rather eat a golf ball than see this movie again."

    Theatre 
  • Evil Dead: The Musical: "Join Us" has Ash state, "I'd rather look like this moose" than join the Evil Dead. Unfortunately, said moose is also a Candarian demon, which bites his hand.
  • My Fair Lady: In "I'm An Ordinary Man", Higgins says that he'd "be equally as willing for a dentist to be drilling than to ever let a woman in my life," and, in the second verse, that he'd "prefer a repetition of the Spanish Inquisition."
  • Much Ado About Nothing: Benedick provides an epic example after he gets mad at Beatrice:
    Benedick: Will your grace command me any service to the world's end? I will go on the slightest errand now to the Antipodes that you can devise to send me on; I will fetch you a tooth-picker now from the furthest inch of Asia, bring you the length of Prester John's foot, fetch you a hair off the great Cham's beard, do you any embassage to the Pigmies, rather than hold three words conference with this harpy!

    Video Games 
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures throws up a randomized message each time the Nerd dies, usually following the template: "I'D RATHER (colorful verb phrase) FROM A (animal's body part) THAN CONTINUE THIS (colorful adjective) GAME!!"
  • Assassin's Creed: Valhalla: A recording found has Loki telling his lover he'd rather suffer and die as the whole world burns to the ground rather than go begging to Odin for forgiveness.
  • In a level early in Delicious 6: Emily's Childhood Memories five-year-old Emily states that she'd rather be stung by bees than play with the boy next door.
  • In Digimon Survive, on the Moral route, you learn that The Master, the Big Bad of the story, is having human children kidnapped and sacrificed out of a belief that this is necessary to maintain the Kemonogami's world. After The Master explains this, Agumon rebukes him by saying that he'd rather have his world not exist if sacrificing children is the price of maintaining it.
  • In Forever Always Robert states that he'd rather "leap under a stagecoach with wee spikes on all the wheels" than attend the wedding of Felicity and his rival Rupert Atrebury-Hawke.
  • In Genshin Impact, Diluc hates the Fatui so much that if he was forced to choose between dealing with them or "eating a Cryo-Slime whole", he says he'd be better off getting crushed to death by a giant meteorite. Paimon immediately teases him for being so dramatic.
  • Mass Effect: Harkin mistakes a female Shepard for a stripper, and very crudely invites her to cit down and entertain him.
    Shepard: I'd rather drink a cup full of acid after chewing on razor blades.
  • During the part in Secret of Mana where you get rescued from dying in the desert by the Tasnican Republic sandship and subsequently enslaved by the obnoxious bratty commander when the Boy and the Sprite find the Girl, the commander is trying to make her serve him, but she's not being very cooperative.
    Commander: Massage my back!
    Girl: I'd sooner have my gums scraped.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic: During the Smuggler's Tatooine arc, Vavarone Zare can try to convince them to side with her by offering "the pleasure of her company." While a Dark Smuggler can take her up on it, a Light Smuggler is repulsed.
    Smuggler: I'd rather drink a hutt's bathwater.
    Zare: How revolting.
  • This happens twice in Super Monkey Ball 2. A constantly brought-up plot point is that the main antagonist of the Story Mode, Dr. Bad-Boon has a crush on Meemee, who doesn't reciprocate at all, and rather harshly states she doesn't like him. Bad-Boon tries to get Meemee to marry him so he'll give back all the bananas he stole in the opening. Both times, she says she'd rather starve to death and stay small note  than marry him. He does not take those reactions well. note 
  • In Shinrai: Broken Beyond Despair, Raiko attends a Halloween party held by her friend Rie and rejects the cat costume her mother bought for her, finding it embarrassing. She remarks to Momoko that she'd rather kill herself than wear it, and Momoko calls her out on her making light of suicide.

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 
  • A regular occurrence with The Angry Video Game Nerd, often in a profane matter. For example:
    • In the first Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (NES) episode, he advises destroying the game instead of playing it, saying, "You'd rather super-glue your asshole shut than play that game. You'd rather drown in gasoline."
    • The episode on Who Framed Roger Rabbit for the NES includes two such lines that became part of the lyrics of the Theme Tune: "I'd rather have a fucking buffalo take a diarrhea dump in my ear than subject them to this horrendous garbage... I'd rather eat out the rotten asshole of a roadkill skunk than play this game, ever again."
    • The episode on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1989) he does his rant at the end and declares, "I’d rather fucking yank the hairs out of my scrotum. I’d rather drink diarrhea vomited out of a buffalo’s anus!"
  • The Blockbuster Buster: In his review of the 2003 adaptation of The Cat in the Hat, he says he would rather watch The Room (2003) while strapped to a chair with his eyes strapped open while Tommy Wiseau sits next to him and gives his own personal commentary.
  • FishStickOnAStick, in his review of Blood Whistle, concludes that the story is beyond salvaging because he "would rather get impaled by the Blood Whistle itself than have to read this story again."
  • Joueur du Grenier:
    • Fred has this to say about the Indiana Jones franchise and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull:
      JdG: You'll have to cut my balls with rusty shears drenched in vinegar before I'd admit that the fourth movie is part of the saga!
    • Also, in JdG: La Revanche for Dragon's Lair:
      JdG: I am as eager to play this game than to cut off my own balls with a shovel...
  • The Nostalgia Critic: During his review of Pixels, the elephant in the room said he'd rather rub his balls in a cheese grater than listen to Adam Sandler's annoying voice.
  • Arkle, host of the YouTube show Shameless Cashgrab, said that his at-the-time recent tooth canal was a less unpleasant experience than watching My Mom's a Werewolf.

    Western Animation 
  • Nikki from 6teen tends to use this trope quite a bit:
    • In "Employee of the Month", Nikki says that she would rather pull a watermelon out of her nose than be employee of the month at the Khaki Barn.
    • In "Mr. Nice Guy", the girls are trying to teach Jonesy how to act nice in front of a date, and when Cailtin suggests that one of them should be a pretend date for Jonesy to practice on, Nikki says that she would rather watch someone eat her hand.
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: When Jimmy is faced with the offer of visiting Eustace's place after the former beat the latter in a kite battle, Jimmy says he'd rather gargle liquid nitrogen.
  • The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 has some:
    • In the episode "The Ugly Mermaid", Mario, in his Frog Suit, flees from a (very ugly) mermaid princess who instantly falls in love with him and wants to marry him.
      Mario: I'd rather face a thousand Koopas than one mermaid mackerel with marriage on her mind.
    • In the episode "Crimes R Us", King Bowser Koopa abducts a crook named Crime Wave Clyde, who was sentenced to 12,423 years with no parole in jail, to teach his kids how to become criminals. The Koopa Kids drive Clyde crazy throughout the episode and later, under their father's orders, double-cross him. After Clyde switches over to the Mario Bros' side and even helps them defeat Koopa and the Koopalings, he happily returns to prison.
      Luigi: Hey, well, thanks for the help, Clyde, but I've never seen anyone so happy to be back behind bars.
      Clyde: 12,423 years and no parole is a lot better than one more day with those Koopas.
  • Animaniacs:
    • In one episode, a businessman sitting next to the Warners, who pester him and want him to be their "special friend", tells them that "I'd rather be stranded on an island and be eaten by cannibals than be your 'special friend'!" Which is exactly what happens to him at the end.
    • In her debut cartoon "Meet Minerva Mink", Minerva listens to her phone messages, one of which is from a nervous Lawrence, asking, "I was wondering if you'd like to go out with me?" Minerva, Breaking the Fourth Wall, replies, "I'd rather chew aluminum."
  • This happens in a few Arthur episodes:
    • In "Arthur and the Square Dance", after Arthur spends the entire episode believing that he and Francine are in love, this exchange follows:
    Arthur: You don't want to kiss me?
    Francine: Are you kidding?!? I'd rather get head lice!
  • BoJack Horseman: Near the end of "That Went Well", when Mr. Peanutbutter receives a visit from his ex-wife about a proposition she wants him to take up.
    Katrina: Listen, butt-sniffer, I work for a guy and we're looking for a guy. You're supposed to be this big hero now, so someone brought your name up in a meeting and now I have an opportunity for you.
    Mr. Peanutbutter: Oh, is it being married to you again? Because I'd rather get euthanized. Spoiler alert for Marley & Me.
    Katrina: It wasn't a spoiler until you said the name of the movie.
  • In the Bonkers episode "I Oughta Be in Toons", Bonkers mentions that former child star Babyface has an ego so obnoxious, that people have said that they would dance barefoot on the surface of the Sun rather than work with him again.
  • In an episode of The Critic where Jay reviews a really junky movie with Clint Eastwood returning as Dirty Harry in "Beverly Hills Robo K-9 Cop and a Half 2". Jay unveils a scale that measures the movie in terms of diseases he'd rather have than watch it, which goes past leprosy and "unidentified yellow substance" before settling on spastic colon.
  • Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines: In "Sky-Hi I.Q.", an efficiency expert assigns command of the Vulture Squadron to Muttley, prompting Dastardly to protest "It'll be a rainy day in May before I take orders from that mutt!" (And sure enough, a rain cloud emerges from Dastardly's phone and douses him.)
  • Disenchantment: Faced with being either thrown in Bentwood's dungeons or having to put up with Merkimer and Pig-Merkimer, Bean goes with the dungeon.
  • In "Doug vs. the Klotzoid Zombies", Doug imagines what would happen if all of Quailman's friends avoided him. When Quailman asks Skeeter if he wants to hang out, Skeeter says he would rather kiss a moving train.
  • DuckTales:
    • DuckTales (1987):
    • Darkwing Duck: In "Star-Crossed Circuits", while D-2000 is trying to get Darkwing to take a romantic moonlight walk with it, it corners him against the edge of the tower and says he can either come along or dive into the bay. Darkwing thinks a moment and then takes the plunge. Unfortunately, it takes this as Playing Hard to Get.
    • DuckTales (2017): In "Happy Birthday, Doofus Drake!", Goldie recalls being trapped in another dimension where a million tiny imps would stab her with splinters and whisper all her worst failures in her ears. She says that her current situation, being locked in a Gilded Cage and forced to be Doofus's new "Gummeemama", is worse.
  • Family Guy
    • In "Screwed the Pooch", Carter gives this response when Lois asks if Peter could join him in a poker game.
      Carter: Sorry, honey. I'd rather be stuck in an elevator with Nathan Lane, Gilbert Gottfried, Carrot Top, uh, Sean Hayes.... well, you get the picture.
    • In "Not All Dogs Go to Heaven", once word gets around town that Brian is an atheist, Mayor West says he'd rather welcome a terrorist into Quahog because they'd at least believe in a god, "even if it's a smelly, brown god".
  • Final Space: In the episode "Hyper-Transdimensional Bridge Rising", Gary says that getting swallowed by his colon is preferable to trusting Clarence, who has previously betrayed him and his friends earlier in the show.
  • Goof Troop: In "Have Yourself a Goofy Little Christmas", Pete prepares his family for a vacation to Aspirin, Colorado. When P.J. suggests that the Goofs come with them, Pete retorts that he'd eat cat litter first.
  • Johnny Bravo: In one episode, Johnny tries asking out a reporter who responds that she'd rather be hit by a comet; then a comet appears out of nowhere and scoops her away.
  • The Loud House:
    • In "Space Invader", Lincoln begs Lucy to make up with Lynn. Lucy's response: "I'd rather wear pink."
    • In "Save the Date", Lincoln denies having feelings for Ronnie Anne, saying he'd "rather lick the bathroom floor" than kiss her. Somewhat amusingly, he rescinds this statement when taken up on the "offer".
  • At the beginning of the Martin Mystery episode, "Terror From the Sky," Martin is talking to a friend about how Jenny, a girl he has a crush on, told him that he was so sweet, he gave her a toothache. We then cut to Jenny talking to Diana, and she reveals that she actually told Martin that she would rather have all her teeth pulled than go out with him.
  • On Metalocalypse Murderface buys his grandma a new motorized scooter. She tells him that he's going to heaven for it, and Murderface flatly says that he'd rather die than go to heaven.
  • In the season 2 finale of The Owl House, when Kikimora brings Hunter (actually Luz in disguise) in, she offers to take his role as Belos's right hand. Belos, having no reason to play nice anymore, takes great glee in telling her that if she was his right hand, he'd rather cut off his whole arm.
  • Samurai Jack: In a Season 5 episode, when Jack saves Ashi from a crab creature and expects some gratitude for it.
    Jack: You're welcome.
    Ashi: I'd be happier as this creature's excrement than be grateful to you!
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "Squidville", after SpongeBob and Patrick accidentally destroy Squidward's house, Squidward tells them "I would rather tear out my brain stem, carry it into the middle of the nearest four-way intersection, and skip rope with it than go on living where I do now."
    • In "Just One Bite", when SpongeBob asks Squidward if he'd like to try a Krabby Patty for the first time, he responds "If I were trapped at the bottom of a well for three years with nothing to eat but that Krabby Patty, I'd eat my own legs first! (beat) And not just the extra ones."
    • In "Keep Bikini Bottom Beautiful", when SpongeBob asks if he can help Squidward, Squidward tells him that "I would rather be beaten to a pulp."
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: At the end of "Hear All, Trust Nothing", Quark makes it emphatically clear in a choice between being in prison for fraud or just poor which he'd choose.
    Captain Freeman: Wouldn't you rather be poor than in prison?
    Quark: Nooooo!
  • In the Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "Albatross", after another fight with Spock, McCoy tells Kirk that if he lands in jail again, Kirk should leave him there rather than sending Spock to effect another jailbreak.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episode "Rhino-Man", Shredder and Krang have Rocksteady and Bebop become superheroes so they could enter a superhero contest and receive a diamond they want.
    Shredder: [about Rocksteady and Bebop] Oooh, those morons! I should've handled this hero business myself! But I'd rather eat brussels sprouts for a week than be a do-gooder.
  • Montana Max's relationship with Elmyra from Tiny Toon Adventures is like this. In the episode, "Prom-ise Her Anything", Monty tells Elmyra he'd rather get a lobotomy than be her date. In "It's a Wonderful Tiny Toons Christmas Special", he tells her he'd rather eat dog food than kiss her Under the Mistletoe. Both times, he doesn't just say this to her, he yells it to her, really loudly.
  • Toby in Trollhunters decides to ask every girl in school (except his best friend's crush) to the High-School Dance. He is universally turned down; the one rejection we see on screen is, "I'd rather choke to death."
  • One episode of Wayside had the plot kicked off by Todd claiming he'd rather eat Miss Mush's Mushroom Surprise than be Maurecia's boyfriend, and the class decides to call his bluff.
  • What's New, Scooby-Doo?: In "Lights, Camera, Mayhem!", the culprit, after being caught, says that he'd rather go to jail than become known for making the film. Velma, however, says that he shouldn't need to go to jail, because no one got hurt as a result of the "Scooby-Doo" Hoax.
  • In Xiaolin Showdown, after Raimundo pulls a Face–Heel Turn and joins Wuya, she makes the same offer to the now captive Clay and Kimiko; Kimikio's response is rather unsubtle, while Clay says he'd "rather kiss the rear end of a very ugly mule."

    Real Life 
  • Former White House adviser Kellyanne Conway has gone on record saying that, if offered the job of White House press secretary, would "Slit my wrists, bleed out, put Cement Shoes on, jump off the bridge, and then I'll take the job — are you kidding me?" Read the story here.

 
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"Swallowed by my own colon"

Gary says that getting swallowed by his colon is preferable to trusting Clarence, who has previously betrayed him and his friends earlier in the show.

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