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Playing With / Shame If Something Happened

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Basic Trope: A villain makes a threat towards the hero and / or the hero's family by way of an oblique, roundabout comment, usually in the form of a compliment loaded with significant subtext.

  • Straight: Alex is approached by Damien, an enemy, who makes an offhanded comment about Alex's wife Susan and how 'it would be terrible if anything happened to her.'
  • Exaggerated: Damien lists practically every one of Alex's family, friends, loved ones and casual acquaintances, including Alex's pets, indicating how horrible it would be if anything bad happened to them.
  • Downplayed:
    • "That's a nice phone. It'd be a shame if someone smashed it."
    • Damien makes it clear that he could make Alex miserable by mentioning many various inconveniences that could happen to him.
  • Justified:
    • Damien values subtlety and prefers to make a oblique threat rather than just coming out and saying it.
    • Damien is a coward who fears the consequences of threatening Alex directly, but has no problem with implying possible harm to him or his family.
    • Damien thinks that if he makes the threats oblique enough, he can't be arrested for making them.
  • Inverted:
    • Damien makes a direct, gruesome and particularly bizarre death threat directed to Alex's beloved ones. However, the latter is not unsettled because he knows Damien is just trying to act tough.
    • Damien threatens Alex directly, but makes sure to mention how sad it would be if Susan suddenly became a widow.
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    • Damien casually mentions that Alex probably wouldn't mind not having to work for Jeff any more.
    • Damien mentions something that Alex is trying to get rid of, and says it'd be a shame if nothing happened to it.
    • Damien tries to win Alex over by subtly offering a bribe: "I hear your wife needs an operation. Wouldn't it be nice to have some help with the medical bills?"
  • Subverted:
    • Alex interprets Damien's comment about 'your lovely wife Susan' as a threat; Damien was in fact just making small-talk, and since he has standards is appalled at the thought that he would threaten an innocent bystander.
    • Damien: It would be a shame if something happened to your wife Susan.
      Alex: What have you done to her?!
      Damien: Nothing. One of my rivals has kidnapped her. It appears that we must work together to save her.
  • Double Subverted: Damien's protests are just for show, since he does threaten Susan in such a fashion soon after.
  • Parodied:
    • Alex is a bit slow on the uptake and doesn't immediately get what Damien's getting at. This forces the increasingly frustrated Damien to have to spell it out for him.
    • Damien's threats are more like Poke the Poodle: "Nice carpet you've got here. It would be a shame if someone were to... track dirt on it.
    • Damien's threat is nowhere near as subtle as his delivery would imply: "This is a nice house you have here. It would be a shame if someone killed your wife".
  • Zig Zagged: Alex interprets Damien's compliments as a threat, which surprises Damien. But later Alex's friend sees his Mooks going to Susan's house. But it turns out that they were delivering her flowers. But then Damien becomes jealous and threatens Susan for real.
  • Averted: Damien doesn't mince words, and essentially comes out and says that if Alex isn't careful he'll kill Susan.
  • Enforced: This is a kid's show, and the writers can't get away with Damien making overt threats.
  • Lampshaded: "Were you threatening my wife there, Damien?"
  • Invoked: "I bet you've seen enough TV to know what I'm talking about when I say how terrible it would be if something happened to your lovely wife".
  • Exploited: Damien studies the legal code so he knows exactly how oblique his threats have to be to avoid being arrested.
  • Defied:
    • "What a lovely...I'm not going to beat around the bush. Pay up, or Susan dies".
    • Damien threatens Alex's business in some unpleasant fashion. Alex immediately shoots Damien.
  • Discussed: "He talks and acts like a gentleman, but his words and heart are filled with poison. This man evilness knows no limits... He's a terrifying monster".
  • Conversed: "This guy has watched too many gangster's movies. Just go and say it outright, damn it!"
  • Played For Drama: Damien is only delivering the threats to Alex because he himself is being threatened, and makes the threats vague because he is just as upset about what his bosses plan to do to Susan.

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