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Playing With / Stealth Insult

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Basic Trope: A character insults another in a way that is intended to go over their head.

  • Straight: Alice subtly insults her boss Bob knowing that he won't get it.
  • Exaggerated: Alice manages to give an entire "The Reason You Suck" Speech without Bob realizing that she is saying anything mean.
  • Downplayed: Alice gives an obscene gesture which to Bob doesn't mean anything.
  • Justified: Bob is a Pointy-Haired Boss with a Hair-Trigger Temper, and she can't tell him what she really thinks without getting in trouble.
  • Inverted:
    • Calling Me a Logarithm
    • Alice compliments her boss Bob, but to avoid getting into the trouble with coworkers, she does it in the way, that nobody realizes it.
  • Subverted:
    • Alice flat-out calls him an asshole.
    • Bob is Too Dumb to Fool and instantly catches up to Alice's denigrating implications.
  • Double Subverted:
    • But he doesn't clearly hear or understand her, meaning there still aren't any repercussions.
    • Alice instantly adjusts her speech to terms Bob likes because they are simple and kiss-ass, but the way she gets so redundant with them are pretty much a large "YOU ARE AN IDIOT".
  • Parodied: Alice pulls a Censorship by Spelling to do this, and it works.
  • Zig Zagged: Alice subtly calls her boss an asshole, among other things. He picks up on the "asshole" part, but none of the rest.
  • Averted:
    • Alice keeps her opinions to herself.
    • Alice says exactly what she thinks of Bob in no uncertain terms.
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  • Enforced: "We need to show that Alice is way smarter than Bob, and has no respect for him."
  • Lampshaded: "Did you seriously miss that?" "Miss what?"
  • Invoked: Alice is teaching her coworkers how to do this to use the Catharsis Factor to lower stress.
  • Exploited: Alice's bravery and wit make her instantly popular with her coworkers.
  • Defied:
    • Alice believes this is needless beating-around-the-bush and tells her boss point blank what she thinks of him.
    • While asking Alice what she thinks of him, Bob pulls out a gun and adds to his orders "...and in Layman's Terms, please".
    • "Just so we are perfectly clear, if the answer is more verbose than what is actually needed for the question I'm going to ask you, I'm going to assume there is an insult in there somewhere, and I am definitely not going to just sit there and take it."
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  • Discussed: "Ever notice that Alice always insults Bob in a way that he won't catch on?"
  • Conversed:
    Bob: "Gee, do you think Alice really meant it when she said I was as smart as I was handsome?"
    Beatrice: "Uh, I'm pretty sure she was mocking you, Bob."
  • Implied: Alice throws a phrase with a Double Meaning her boss's way, but both interpretations are valid and relevant, so it's ambiguous as to whether she really insulted him or not.
  • Deconstructed: Despite being stupid, Bob still notices the insult.
  • Reconstructed: He realizes from the attempt that he is a terrible boss, and takes genuine steps to improve.
  • Played For Laughs: Alice is a series that takes place in a World of Snark. This kind of insulting is Alice's "niche", so to speak.
  • Played For Drama: Alice's boss eventually catches on to the fact Alice was not complimenting him at all, and is twice as hurt because of it: being insulted to begin with, and Alice being a false friend.
  • Played For Horror:
    • Alice's stealth insults are stealth death threats.
    • Alice's boss feels hurt when he finally catches on to what Alice truly meant... and kills her.
  • Plotted A Good Waste: Alice's insult is either poorly constructed, too blunt, or Alice's boss is heavily Sarcasm-Blind. Either way, it is not really a "stealth insult" at all.

Well, I'm sure you wouldn't have any problems going back to Stealth Insult...

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