Return to the main page here.
- Adventures in Odyssey: In "Baby Daze", Eugene responds to Connie's warnings that he'd better take his responsibility to the infant he found on the doorstep seriously with "What could be the least bit hard about babysitting?" ...and soon he has to deal with the baby crying, spattering him with food, and other things he is not expecting.
- In one The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius episode, everyone becomes addicted to Jimmy's new candy, so he announces he won't be making it anymore.Jimmy: No more candy, no more problems. What are they gonna do? Riot?
Crowd: DOWN WITH JIMMY! DOWN WITH JIMMY!
- This example from Aladdin: The Series, during the episode "The Lost City of the Sun":
- In the American Dad! episode "For Black Eyes Only" where the characters are in a pastiche of the James Bond films, Roger's character alludes to the previous James Bond-style episode saying that he survived falling into a volcano when he gets dropped off of a helicopter, then he gets impaled on a swordfish.
- Archer: Sterling and Katya go on the run, and Archer assures her "We'll always be one step ahead of them. No matter who's hunting us. Even if it's, oh, I don't know, a criminally insane cyborg." Cut to Barry, a criminally insane cyborg out for revenge on Archer.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- While the Gaang's ship is under attack, Sokka says, "Things couldn't get much worse!", then a giant sea serpent pops out of the water.Sokka: The universe just loves proving me wrong, doesn't it!?!
Toph: You make it too easy!
- The trope is however swiftly subverted, as a stray shot causes the serpent to attack their pursuers instead, prompting a "Thank you, the universe!" from Sokka.
- In the two-part episode "The Boiling Rock", the Warden says that no one has ever escaped from his prison. By the end, 5 people have escaped — Sokka, Zuko, Hakoda, Suki and Chit Sang.
- Having captured Toph in a metal container, and in the process of carting her home, Xin Fu gets sick of her yelling and taunts her, saying, "You might think you're the greatest earthbender in the world, but even you can't bend metal!" They apparently gave Toph an idea, because she proceeds to invent and teach herself metalbending, breaks out of the container, traps Xin Fu and his accomplice in it, and proclaims "I AM THE GREATEST EARTHBENDER IN THE WORLD!" before leaving.
- At the end of "The Earth King" Aang and Sokka make their way over the plains surrounding Ba Sing Se on Appa, convinced that things are finally going positively for them. They have the Earth king on their side, Long Feng is arrested, Sokka's on his way to see his dad, Aang's on his way to see a Guru who's going to help him master the Avatar State, Toph's on her way to see her mother, and the Kyoshi warriors are coming to Ba Sing Se. Sokka even says "Everythings gonna work out perfectly, from now on and forever."
However, things go wrong in the next few scenes. In prison, a Dai Li agent delivers Long Feng his meal, but also quietly reassures Long Feng that the organization retains loyalty to him, not the King. Toph goes to meet her mother, and ends up being captured in a metal box by Master Yu and Xin Fu. The Kyoshi Warriors arrive before the Earth King, who formally welcomes them, unaware that they are actually Azula, Mai, and Ty Lee, disguised in Kyoshi Warrior garments, face paint, and props. And sure enough, two episodes later, things very quickly go From Bad to Worse.
- The city of Ba Sing Se itself, whose name means "the impenetrable city".
- Even its spin-off sequel is getting in on this. Tahno's first words after unfairly winning the pro-bending tournament was asking if anyone wanted to challenge the champions. Sure enough, Amon accepted not long after and stripped the Wolfbats of their bending without any effort.
- In Season 3 of Korra when Tenzin discovers there are new airbenders popping up, he says it's so exciting and rhetorically wonders who else is discovering this wonderful ability. Cut to a remote mountain prison with tight security, and a Bomb Throwing Anarchist Zaheer who attempted to kidnap Korra previously has discovered this new ability, and uses it to escape and eventually wreck havoc on the world.
- While the Gaang's ship is under attack, Sokka says, "Things couldn't get much worse!", then a giant sea serpent pops out of the water.
- Batman: The Animated Series
- In "Harley's Holiday", a semi-rehabilitated Harley Quinn ends up being pursued by the police, as well as Batman and Robin, after a simple misunderstanding. After taking Spoiled Sweet Veronica Vreeland hostage, she then ends up being pursued by gangsters who wish to ransom off the debutante. After Veronica realizes Harley really doesn't mean her any harm, she agrees to drop all charges, provided she gets out of this in one piece. A delighted Harley states: "For the first time today, things are finally looking up!" Enter Veronica's hysterical Army general father, bearing down on them in a tank, Patton-style.
- Also, from "Harley and Ivy". At the end Harley and Ivy have escaped both the Joker's gang and the Batman by using the latter to deal with the formers, and Ivy cries that "No man can take us prisoners!". Cue officer Renee Montoya (a woman) taking them prisoners and making it look easy.
- In "The Clock King", this is the phrase that establishes Mayor Hill as the designated victim:
- Batman Beyond:
- Waspinator, the designated Butt-Monkey of Beast Wars gets it in "Changing of the Guard":Waspinator: Wazzpinator having good day! Not get shot once!
(gets shot by Rattrap)
- This exchange:Quickstrike: "Is that all you got, partner?"
Dinobot: "No. It isn't."
(blasts him at full power for about half-a-minute straight)
- This exchange:
- In Ben 10 (2016), Ben as XLR8 steps in a patch of poison ivy, and when Gwen points out that he did he believes that his alien form will be unaffected by it. Soon enough, his legs become instantly covered in purple boils that make it difficult for him to walk back to the Rustbucket.
- Birdman episode "The Pirate Plot". After the pirates capture Birdman, Captain Kidd's first mate warns him that Birdman's eagle companion Avenger has escaped. Captain Kidd says "What can an eagle do to harm us? Let it go!" After the pirates make Birdman walk the plank, Avenger swoops in, flies underwater (!) and bites through the ropes tying Birdman's hands, freeing him.
- Blaze and the Monster Machines has this happen all the time, occurring Once per Episode. The moment Crusher constructs his invention, he deems, "there's no way Blaze will get past this!". Cue Blaze thinking of a solution (sometimes transforming into something) and getting past.
- In one episode of The Boondocks, Uncle Ruckus, preaching to a crowd, says, "Now, let us pray. Lord, I have spent my whole life hatin' you for makin' me black, and now I see I must hate myself, and all those like me, and cause them misery just like your servant Ronald Reagan did. And if ANY of my words don't come directly from the Almighty God himself, then may I be struck by lightning right this very instant. Halle-". Three guesses what interrupted him.
- In a clip from the never-produced Buffy the Vampire Slayer animated series:Buffy: Willow, short of the apocalypse, nothing's gonna keep us from that party tonight.
Giles: Ah, Buffy. Good. We're having an apocalypse.
- Camp Lazlo: One of the mini-shorts has a camper raking a big pile of leaves and saying "I can't imagine having to do that again." The plot of the short has Skip and Chip driving an out of control speedboat, so we expect the speedboat to ram into the leaves. Instead, it rams into another campmate who happens to walk by.
- In the CatDog episode "CatDog Cousteau", when CatDog and Lola find a treasure chest in a sunken ship, Cat claims that unlike all the other times they briefly got rich nothing could ruin that moment. Sure enough, the Greasers then show up demanding the treasure.
- Clone High
- Abe is running for student body president and getting his butt kicked. Gandhi says "At least things can't get any worse." and Abe berates him because of this trope. As if on cue, Cleo dumps him. Gandhi then says, "Wait... at least things can't get any better." Abe says it doesn't work that way. After Abe leaves the scene, as if on cue, a butterfly flies over and gives Gandhi a dollar.
- Parodied wonderfully in the episode where Ponce de León, a character who had never been seen before and was very obviously introduced just so he could be gratuitously killed off, spends the first act of the episode making blatant fate-tempting statements, such as constantly telling his friends he loves them just in case he never sees them again. Sure enough, he is randomly killed by a bunch of litter. He even tempts fate as specifically as possible, as when Joan tells him to stop littering (and to stop encouraging everyone else to litter), he says, "What Joan, is litter gonna kill me?" Right after she leaves, the wind kicks up and the litter kills him.
- "Ha ha! Nothing bad ever happens to the Kennedys!"
- Subverted when Toots insists his house will survive a storm as he made it completely flood-proof. Cue the house being destroyed by lightning.
- Code Lyoko:
- Any time Jérémie makes an assessment of the situation on Lyoko, something immediately happens to make it the opposite. Thus, optimism leads to nothing but trouble, but saying "It's all over!" appears to summon a Deus ex Machina.
- "Kadic Bombshell": Aelita asks Jérémie if he can fix the unexpected problem with the Supercomputer. He worriedly tells her, yes, "but the problem is that it might take a little while, and during that time, XANA could..." BEEP BEEP BEEP "...activate a tower!" XANA never lets an opportunity to let the kids tempt fate slide.
- "Bad Connection": Odd complains at the beginning that he never has any conflict with his parents like a normal teenager. After XANA makes them, along with almost everyone else at the academy, Brainwashed and Crazy, they spend most of the episode trying to kill him. When the mob corners him, we get this line:Odd: (unconcerned/resigned) I promise never to complain about not having conflicts with my parents again.
- From the same episode, this textbook exchange:Jérémie: I'm putting it to sleep. Odd would kill me if the Super Scan went off in the middle of his film.
Aelita: At any rate, there's not much chance that XANA would launch an attack during the three minutes the film lasts.
- "End of Take":Sissi: Or else what, a monster's going to squirt goopy goo all over my face, huh, Ulrich?
(guess what happens next)
- In an episode of Codename: Kids Next Door, Cree goes on a frantic search for his sister and goes to the treehouse to look for her. When Number 1 refuses to reveal 5's whereabouts, Cree throws a fit.Cree: You better tell me where my sister is now! Before I turn this stupid treehouse upside down!
Number 1: I'd like to see you try it!
(cut to the treehouse literally upside down)
Number 1: (dazed) Wow... I didn't think you could do it.
- In Operation: Z.E.R.O., Numbuh 3 and Numbuh 4 are searching for a missing device in Sector V's treehouse. Numbuh 3 wishes Numbuh 5 was here and then Numbuh 5 shows up as a Senior Citi-Zombie.
- Danger Mouse:
- Episode 3 of "Day Of The Suds" has DM capturing and destroying Baron Greenback's army of renegade washing machines, as the sizzle of a spark emits. The reporter grilling him on London's loss of washers asks about it:DM: That's just the Baron's secret fuel leaking into the soap compartment and being irradiated by sparking in the circuits.
Reporter: That sounds awful!
DM: Oh, no no no. The worst that can happen is that you'd get the evolution of a hideous mutated monster. (loud bang occurs; a giant mutant soap monster appears)
- "Mechanised Mayhem", a one-shot episode featuring appliances and machines revolting en masse is solved when DM Logic Bombs the supercomputer behind the uprising with British Humour, causing it to blow up and become a Twinkle In The Sky. As this is happening, Greenback's craft stops revolting, so Greenback surmises that, to prevent this happening again, he needs a bigger and better computer. Right on cue, said supercomputer falls right on top of them. BUT...
- Episode 3 of "Day Of The Suds" has DM capturing and destroying Baron Greenback's army of renegade washing machines, as the sizzle of a spark emits. The reporter grilling him on London's loss of washers asks about it:
- Danny Phantom, episode "Reign Storm", after Danny stuffed Dash's locker full with toilet paper:Sam: Nice. Using your powers to stuff toilet paper into a locker. He's gonna find out it's you.
Danny: Have you seen his grades? (together with Tuck) Never gonna happen.
Dash: Hey! This is Fenton wipe! *glares at Danny*
Sam: "Never" is karma's doorbell. Ding-dong, it's for you.
- The DC Nation short Tales of Metropolis - Jimmy Olsen has Jimmy complaining to Clark Kent about how Superman is excessively clingy and annoying, ending by saying that he never wants to see the Man of Steel again. A title card flashes up reading "Literally four seconds later", after which we see Jimmy in the clutches of a Kaiju, screaming "Save me, Superman!"
- Detentionaire: Cam does this in Clogspiracy. He and Lee enter Barrage's old home only to find that the Cleaners have completely cleared it out, prompting him to comment What's next? The house vanishes? Cue the entire structure being lifted up and hauled off.
- In Dora the Explorer, when Swiper takes something from Dora or her friends and throws it away he remarks "You'll never find x now!", only for Dora to immediately find it a few minutes later.
- In one episode of Ed, Edd n Eddy, Ed's bratty sister Sarah is acting like a princess and bossing the Eds around. At one point Eddy remarks "Next thing you know, she'll want a throne!" Gilligan Cut to "Queen Sarah" sitting on a hastily cobbled-together throne, and Eddy offering "A toast, to my big fat mouth!"
- In The Fairly OddParents! movie "Wishology: The Exciting Middle Part"...Timmy: The Darkness is never coming back!
(Guess what's happening on Yugopotamia right now?)
- Family Guy
- "Dial Meg for Murder" subverts this trope into a comment on the audience's racist assumptions: When Brian talks Meg out of robbing Mort Goldman's pharmacy and the two leave, Mort comments, "Well, at least I didn't get robbed!" Then, "How can I help you four fine black gentlemen today?" The show then cuts away to continue the story, leaving the viewer's familiarity with the trope and with common racial stereotyping to conclude the scene.
- In "Brian Writes a Bestseller", when Stewie sees that he can't take a cab as he planned because he has no money, he exclaims: "Well, at least it's not raining." He immediately gets knifed in the back and left for dead on the sidewalk.
- "I Dream of Jesus": You haven't heard? It was my understanding that everyone had heard.
- From their Star Wars parody "Something Something Something Dark Side:"Rebel 1: I think we're doomed.
Rebel 2: Nah, unless they got any big giant robot camels I think we're okay.
(AT-AT walkers appear in the distance)
Rebel 1: Uh, Jim? Robot camels...
- In "Tales of a Third Grade Nothing" Stewie changes the failing Cabana Club into the successful place. When Brian notes that nothing can stop them now, Andy Dick shows up.
- In "Stewie Goes for a Drive", there's a Call-Back to "Brian Writes a Bestseller": when Stewie is running away from home:Stewie: Well, it could be worse. At least I'm not getting stabbed by some random guy on the street. (starts raining) See, it's the exact opposite! (gets stabbed)
- In "Road to Europe", when Brian is stuck on a flight with Stewie he asks how it can get any worse. Unfortunately for him, also on the plane are Andy Rooney, Jerry Seinfeld and Andy Dick.
- In "The Mutants Are Revolting", Leela is banished to the sewers for being a mutant and, shortly afterward, her friends are sent there for two weeks for harboring a mutant.Leela: I swear, I hate every single person on the surface for making us live like this!
(her friends fall down into the sewers)
- In "Obsoletely Fabulous":Bender: Merciful Poseidon, take pity on this wayward vagabond. (sees a strong thunderstorm on the horizon) Oh geez.
- In "The Mutants Are Revolting", Leela is banished to the sewers for being a mutant and, shortly afterward, her friends are sent there for two weeks for harboring a mutant.
- In the U.S. Acres shorts on Garfield and Friends, Booker often hunts worms, an activity which Sheldon declines to participate in, but which he's usually nearby to witness. Consider this exchange:Booker: You won't get away from me!
(the worm gets away)
Sheldon: He got away from you!
- In an episode of The Garfield Show, Odie manages to win the first round of the pet pageant he's in with Garfield's "help". Garfield comments confidently that "we can't lose", only for the announcer to state that the second round would be the talent competition, causing Garfield, who realizes he spoke too soon, to remark: "Boy, can we lose."
- In The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, one of Mandy's opening quotes is her telling the viewer "No matter how bad it seems, it could get worse". This is followed by a split-second frame of her as a green monster.
- Hey Arnold! episode "The List". Arnold attempts to have the perfect Saturday by doing everything on the eponymous list: watching every cartoon he can while eating the best kind of cereal: riding down the steepest hill in the city, playing catch with every kid in the park, and going out to the movies for three sittings in a row. No one had ever managed to do all that in a single saturday, and his friend Gerald outright tells Arnold that he's tempting fate by trying to do so. He ends up sleeping in, his favorite cereal is all gone, along with nothing but spoiled milk left, his grandpa blows the power to the house, shorting out the TV, the one kid he can play with at the park steals his baseball, the steepest hill is in the middle of being re-paved, and when he tries to salvage what's left of the day by goings to the movies, he finds he's lost his money because of a hole in his pocket, and attempts to sneak in, only for all the equipment to break, forcing the theater to close. Things only start getting better once his grandma points out no matter how bad things get, there's always something better to look up to later.
- Barely subverted in the House of Mouse episode "Max's Embarrassing Date", when Max is complaining about everyone making such a huge fuss over his date with Roxanne.Max: What's next? A marching band?
(cut to a marching band line up in the lobby)
Daisy: Sorry, guys. Gig's off.
- Jimmy Timmy Power Hour
- In the first one, when Crocker escapes into fairy world with Jimmy's teleportation device, and plots to get the fairies to surrender to him by destroying over the Big Wand that supplies their magic.Jimmy: I gotta get that teleportation device and get out of here! Can this get any worse?!
(everything starts to rumble)
Cosmo: If, by "worse", you mean somebody's knocking over the Big Wand, then yes!
- Lampshaded in the second special. After Libby says "What, you think a date is just going to come crashing through the roof?", and Timmy Turner does so, she raises her finger and proclaims "I must use this power for good!"
- In the first one, when Crocker escapes into fairy world with Jimmy's teleportation device, and plots to get the fairies to surrender to him by destroying over the Big Wand that supplies their magic.
- All the time on Jimmy Two-Shoes, to the point where Jimmy's Catchphrase is "Like that's even possible." It is.
- In one episode of Johnny Bravo, Johnny goes into a natural history museum thinking it's a hobby shop. He takes a "model kit"—really a fossilized dinosaur egg—and runs out when the staff shows up. One guard remarks on the stolen egg, but his supervisor tells him not to worry—"There's a billion in one chance of that egg hatching!" Smash Cut to Mama Bravo cuddling the egg and saying that it's about to hatch.
- Jonny Quest TOS.
- "Pirates from Below". The enemy leader is waiting for a mine attached to the Quest's underwater probe to detonate. Unfortunately for him, Race Bannon has removed the mine and let it drift up to the leader's ship.Enemy leader: Their time is almost up. It is just a matter of seconds. (BOOM!)
- "Turu the Terrible". Dr. Quest and Race Bannon are sitting in front of a campfire.Race Bannon: Well, so far so good, eh doctor?
Dr. Quest: And surprisingly peaceful.
Turu the Terrible: (detects them and starts making its warning call, then attacks)
- "The Devil's Tower". Klaus is dive-bombing the Quests with grenades but repeatedly misses. He then yells "This time I cannot miss!" His next grenade ends up in the wing of the biplane he's flying, blowing up the wing and sending him spiraling down to his doom.
- "Pirates from Below". The enemy leader is waiting for a mine attached to the Quest's underwater probe to detonate. Unfortunately for him, Race Bannon has removed the mine and let it drift up to the leader's ship.
- Justice League / Justice League Unlimited:
- In "The Enemy Below", the heroes capture Deadshot and question him to find out who's behind the assassination attempt on Aquaman. Deadshot blusters "You can't scare me, Batman!" Batman takes him aside, and it takes barely any time at all before Deadshot is spilling his guts.Wonder Woman: What did he say?
Superman: You don't wanna know....
- In "Grudge Match", Huntress and Black Canary face off and against brainwashed superheroines in a Glamour Slam. After breaking Hawkgirl and Vixen out of their brainwashing, Huntress is feeling lucky and shouts "Is that all you've got?" to villainess Roulette — who promptly sends (also brainwashed) Wonder Woman onto the stage. Cue the heroines' Oh, Crap! expressions.
- "Divided We Fall"'s "Are you going to fight me, boy?" (Yeah he's gonna.) Just after Flash disappears, Luthor says "what do you know, I did kill him". After Superman overcomes the temptation to burn Luthor to a crisp, it turns out Flash is actually still alive.
- In "The Enemy Below", the heroes capture Deadshot and question him to find out who's behind the assassination attempt on Aquaman. Deadshot blusters "You can't scare me, Batman!" Batman takes him aside, and it takes barely any time at all before Deadshot is spilling his guts.
Kaeloo: I can stay up all the way until ten o'clock!
- Stumpy brings all the chairs in Smileyland to life and makes them his "friends". Mr. Cat and Quack Quack say they don't care since they still have the couch... cue the couch running towards Stumpy.
- In the episode "Let's Play TV News", Mr. Cat sees Kaeloo sitting by herself and crying. When he tries to comfort her, she says she really needs some time alone. Almost immediately, Stumpy and Quack Quack run up and join them.
- In Episode 55, Mr. Cat, who is having a headache, takes an aspirin and lies on the couch saying that with absolute silence he should be fine. As soon as he says that, Stumpy and Quack Quack show up and start making noise.
- In the first episode, "Let's Play Prison-Ball", the gang are playing prison-ballnote . Stumpy sings "You'll never hit me! You'll never hit me!" and Quack Quack promptly hits him with the ball.
- In another episode, when Kaeloo and Mr. Cat are searching for Olaf inside a dark building, Olaf gleefully informs them that they'll never find him. Mr. Cat turns on the lights and finds Olaf right next to him.
- In Episode 3, the main four are playing "Red Light, Green Light", and after repeatedly injuring Quack Quack in various ways, Mr. Cat cheats and wins the first round. Kaeloo says that at least he won't be able to hurt Quack Quack during the second round of the game, but is proven wrong as he is able to hurt Quack Quack even worse than before.
- In Episode 134, Mr. Cat is driving his car and remarks on how relaxing it is. Just then, Stumpy and several clones of himself, who are angry at Mr. Cat, drive up in several more cars and crash all their cars into his.
- In Episode 118, Stumpy says he'd "sooner be hit by a car full of sheep" than appear in one of Pretty's photos. The moment he finishes speaking, he gets hit by a car full of sheep, and Pretty takes a picture of this.
- In Episode 129, everyone tries to stay up late at night to see a shooting star.
looks at clock
Kaeloo: Oh, it's ten o'clock!
Kaeloo falls asleep
- In one episode, the characters play "waiter race", a race where everyone dresses up as a waiter and has to carry a tray full of objects while running to the finish line. Inches away from the finish line, she remembers that the race was set up by Mr. Cat and remarks to the audience that it's odd that nothing bad has happened. Immediately, a bunch of traps are sprung, causing Kaeloo to lose her balance and drop the tray, disqualifying her from the race.
- Kim PossibleKim: Spikes. Gee. Where are the snakes?
Kim: I was just being sarcastic!
- One episode of The Life and Times of Juniper Lee features Juniper tempting fate by commenting on how there hasn't been any magical emergencies lately despite the warnings from Monroe.
- Looney Tunes
- In "Porkys Bad Time Story", Gabby Goat is awoken by a leaky ceiling, and pulls out an umbrella to protect himself. When Porky points out opening an umbrella indoors is bad luck, Gabby scolds him for being superstitious... then a freak lightning bolt comes in through the window and zaps Gabby's umbrella. When Gabby shouts in frustration "I might as well try sleeping under Niagara Falls!", the roof caves in and dumps a ton of water on him and Porky.
- In one short with Tweety and Sylvester, the bulldog is bedridden with a broken leg (having broken it by chasing Sylvester), letting Sylvester have a lot of fun at his expense (making the dog very angry), so long as he doesn't get too close to the guy. Eventually, Tweety runs to the dog for protection:Bulldog: Stay by me, birdie, he'll have to get to you over my dead body!
Sylvester: Okay, buster, I can arrange that! note
- In another short the ending has Sylvester ending up in a truck to the pound loaded with dogs, and Tweety believes that he won't have to worry about cats anymore. He then sees two cats disguising themselves as lamps, just as Sylvester did at the beginning of the short, and remarks "Of course I could be wrong."
- In the Bugs Bunny cartoon "His Hare-Raising Tale", when the veracity of said tale(s) gets called into question, Bugs announces "Why if every word I've said isn't true, I hope I'm run over by a streetcar!" And of course a streetcar immediately plows into the room right through the wall and flattens him.
- In a Foghorn Leghorn cartoon, Foggy shows Egghead Junior his (obviously fake) rain dance, and then says "Let's see if you can dance up a storm." Junior makes it rain, using a paper plane to seed a cloud.Foggy: Some storm. Where's the thunder and lightning?
(Lightning flashes, blowing his feathers off.)
Foggy: I had to ask. I just had to ask!
- The Magic School Bus has one in the theme song:Arnold: Please let this be a normal field trip!
Wanda: With the Frizz?
All except Arnold: NO WAY!
[cue a This Is Gonna Suck reaction from Arnold]
- Subverted in an episode of Mission Hill when Andy French makes a deliberate comment about how he pays the electric bill. The lights flicker off soon as the words are out of his mouth... then flicker right back on, Andy smugly repeating that he did, indeed, pay the electric bill.
- In one Mixels short:Teslo: Today, we will learn how many Electroids it will take to change a lightbulb.
Volectro: When will we ever need to know that?
(the single lightbulb keeping the room illuminated breaks)
Teslo: Right now!
- Played with in The Mummy animated series, where the family is pursued on waters by the Scarab King:
- The original My Little Pony cartoon used this in the pilot episode's opening theme song. The lines "No sign of trouble in sight" and "May all your days be bright" prove to be tempting fate because soon after the ponies are attacked by the goons of Tirek, who seeks to bring about The Night That Never Ends.
- Shows up a few times in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- In the very first episode, Twilight Sparkle brushes off Princess Celestia's advice to make some friends, saying "The fate of all Equestria doesn't depend on me making friends". By the next episode, it's clear that actually, it does.
- Probably the best, and most lasting, example, also from the pilot: "All the ponies in this town are crazy!" Over the course of the season, all the members of the Mane Six have at least one Freak Out!.
- In "Look Before You Sleep," Twilight ends up lecturing Applejack and Rarity after their bickering spoils Twilight's first slumber party, and ends her rant with "Is there anything else that could possibly go wrong?!" The thunderstorm outside swiftly worsens, and a lightning bolt strikes a nearby tree and threatens to send it crashing into Twilight's house.
- The Japanese dub has a line that's an even bigger example, as Twilight snaps "If you two are going to fight, I'd rather be struck by lightning!"
- Twilight refuses to believe any of Pinkie Pie's predictions in "Feeling Pinkie Keen", and ends up on the receiving end of every one of them.
- In "Owl's Well that Ends Well," Spike causes trouble because of his jealousy over Owlowiscious the owl, and ends up running away from home after getting a lecture from Twilight. As he trudges, alone and feeling unloved, through the Everfree Forest, he asks himself "Can it get any worse?" It almost immediately starts raining.
- "The Best Night Ever" pretty much starts with this, with the Mane Six indulging in a Crowd Song about how all their hopes and dreams for the Grand Galloping Gala are about to come true. Naturally, they don't. Then near the end of the episode, Celestia and Twilight Sparkle step into the main hall and find that the others have laid waste to the entire party. Thinking she's been utterly humiliated in front of her mentor, Twilight remarks "At least things can't get any worse..." A moment later, a horde of wild animals stampedes into the room with an insanely frustrated Fluttershy on their heels.
- Happens in "Applebuck Season" when the mayor gives a speech about Applejack, calling her "a pony of the utmost trustworthiness, reliability, and integrity. Ponyville's most capable and dependable friend: Applejack!" But then... she doesn't show up on time.
- In "A Canterlot Wedding", the song "BBBFF" contains the line "Never had a single fight." You get one guess as to what happened by the end of the episode.
- "Magical Mystery Cure" begins with Twilight singing a song that includes the line "Can things ever go wrong? I don't think that they will." She doesn't even get to finish the song before disaster strikes.
- In "Filli Vanilli", Rarity says, "It is wonderful when a plan comes together without any sort of drama, isn't it?" Cut to the next scene, in which the plan unravels and much drama ensues.
- In "Twilight's Kingdom - Part 2", Tirek cites the medallion as useless since it reminds him of Scorpan and his siding with the ponies. Take a wild guess what ends up being the final key to unlock the box and seal his defeat.
- At the end of "School Raze (Part 2)", Princess Celestia ensures everyone that Cozy Glow won't be causing anymore trouble where she's sent her to. Meanwhile, in Tartarus...Lord Tirek: (to Cerberus) Of course it's boring here now, but at least you're not in a cage.
(a caged Cozy Glow magically appears next to him)
Cozy Glow: Hey, neighbor. Wanna be friends?
- Phineas and Ferb
- In "A Hard Day's Knight", Candace agrees to dress up like a princess for their medieval fair. After a few moments she wonders "Wait a sec. Could this be one of those things that backfires horribly on me? Nah." Throughout the rest of the episode, she suffers indignity after indignity.
- In "Summer Belongs To You", Phineas gets an uncharacteristically Genre Blind moment as he and his friends attempt to circumnavigate the globe and return home by sundown.Phineas: We may even arrive in Danville ahead of time. You know, barring any foreseen mishaps. (The stirring wheel suddenly breaks off) Oh, like that. That's what I'm talking about. (The engine stops) And that. (Another part breaks off) And that. (The floatation baguettes fall off) And that. (Everything is now gone except the kids themselves, the seats, and one oversized elastic, the kids crash onto a desert island) This is all exactly what I was talking about earlier.
- In "Doof Side of the Moon", Candace teams up with Irving's brother Albert to bust Phineas and Ferb for their latest project, a skyscraper so gigantic that it reaches to the moon. Albert assures Candace that the tower is so huge, "no force on Earth" could get rid of it before her mom comes home. This is only technically true, as Dr. Doofenshmirtz's Lunar Rotate-inator causes the moon to turn around, dragging the tower away in the process.
- Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars: One Death Star worker makes a funny comment about Darth Vader's helmet and says there's no way Vader could have heard. Then it seems Vader was using the Force to choke the worker but it turns out the worker was just mocking his colleague.
- Pixar Shorts: "Your next stop is the hospital!" (Cue Doctor Feelbad being shot out of the arena by the Tormentor (Mater's monster truck wrestler alter-ego) and into a hospital.)
- In the Ready Jet Go! episode "Satellite Selfie", Jet says he's not gonna blink when the satellite takes a picture of Boxwood Terrace. He then sneezes, which causes him to blink.
- Egon Spengler of The Real Ghostbusters once remarked, "Sometimes I think the universe just waits for me to get cocky."
- In Rick and Morty, Summer watches a TV show where a girl admits to having had sex while pregnant, responding with "What's the worst that could happen?" The TV show in question is called Pregnant Baby.
- In 'The Ricklantis Mixup', Rick and Morty return from Atlantis where they had a genuinely good adventure, while Morty wonders about the Citadel Mortys earlier in the episode. Rick dismissively advises Morty to ignore them as their story was better than the Citadel ones and it won't have any future impact on them... Excluding the fact that in a Meta way, the Citadel adventures are among the best episodes of the show, and in the episode itself, the rebuilding efforts led to a chain of events where a person worse than the Council of Ricks, Evil Morty succeeded to be the ruler of the place, which means Rick and Morty's paths will surely cross that of Evil Morty's.
- In Robot Chicken Star Wars Episode II, Lando's deal with Vader gets worse and worse as he keeps complaining about it. Eventually he gets savvy enough to quit while he's ahead.
- And later in that same special, Palpatine's borderline Humiliation Conga of problems (including his tray table breaking and spilling coffee in his lap, the airport losing his luggage, his new chair bolted to the floor and right under an air conditioning vent) ends with him saying to a guard, "Hey, wanna see me tempt fate?: Could this day get ANY worse? I did it ironically, so I think I'm safe." When next we see him, Vader is throwing him down to his death.
- In a season 4 skit showing Freddy Krueger's backstory, when he makes his Deal with the Devil he remarks "Well, at least I got my complexion." only to be immediately engulfed in flames right as the skit ends.
- An episode of Rocko's Modern Life has a flashback where Ed Bighead has two balls left to win a bowling game. He throws the first one away as he claims he doesn't need two balls. As he uses the final ball, the announcer says that only something terrible that would haunt him for the rest of his life would cause this to not go perfectly. Ed then accidentally destroys the entire building... and still doesn't get a single pin down.
- In an episode of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, Fred and Daphne are tied to chairs in an empty swimming pool to be used as a makeshift Drowning Pit. It only starts to fill with water after Fred mocks their captor saying that the pool doesn't have any water in it.
- The Simpsons
- Played for Laughs in "Deep Space Homer". After being disrespected and laughed at by his workplace and family, Homer goes to the living room to watch some TV. As he grabs the remote, he says "TV respects me. It laughs with me. Not at me." Cue him turning the TV on.Guy on TV: *points at camera and laughs* You stupid!
- Parodied in "Thirty Minutes over Tokyo" when the family find themselves competing in a torturous Japanese game-show, Homer tempts fate by saying that he prefers their current predicament to the "lightning round"; he gets struck by lightning. Then, recognising the pattern, he hopefully wonders whether there'll be an "ice-cream round"... and gets struck by lightning again.
- "Homer at the Bat": When Mr. Burns rounds up an all-star baseball team to defeat the Shelbyville plant, he challenges fate to have them all befall nine separate misfortunes. This turns out to be a subversion because only seven of his players do, and Burns kicks the eighth over a stupid issue. (Tropes being tropes, the one who doesn't have a misfortune, Darryl Strawberry, is the one who's taking Homer's spot in the lineup.)
- "Bart of Darkness" has this from Martin Prince when all the kids are swimming in a pool truck to cool off. Bart managed to tear off five (yes, five) swimsuits from him. Turns out he came prepared for this.
- Burns also has this line in "Lisa the Vegetarian":Burns: You know, Smithers, I think I'll donate a million dollars to the local orphanage... when pigs fly!
(they laugh; the pig sails across the sky before them)
Smithers: Will you be donating that million dollars now, Sir?
Burns: Nooo, I'd still prefer not.
- In "Wild Barts Can't Be Broken", the kids start a radio show revealing all the Adults' embarrassing secrets. Their first broadcast ends with Homer before saying that they would return with embarrassing secrets on the other adults. Homer then says "At least they've already done me." Cue the radio then saying...Bart: And we have plenty more on Homer Simpson.
- In "No Loan Again, Naturally", Marge is crying after landlord Ned Flanders has evicted the family from their home:Homer: Don't be upset, Marge. At least it's not raining! (after a pause... nothing happens) See?
- "Cape Feare", wherein the last thing Sideshow Bob says before being trampled by a parade (which includes elephants) is, "Surely there's no harm in lying in the middle of a public street?"
- In the McBain movie shown in "Saturdays of Thunder", his partner mentions that once they take down the evil senator Mendoza, he's retiring in two days, when his daughter's graduating college, and he and his wife will sail around the world like they always wanted to in the aptly-named "Live-4-Ever". He then gets shot 17 times.
- In "Mr. Plow", after Barney and Homer's snow plow feud comes to an end:Homer: When two best friends work together, not even God Himself can stop them!
God Himself: Oh no?
(God melts away the snow with an early spring)
- In "Natural Born Kissers", Homer and Marge find themselves naked on a football field. Homer taunts the crowd to take a picture, "it lasts longer!" Not only was it Camera Day, they end up on the front page.
- In "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?", after his friends express concern to Homer about the recent destruction of his couch, Homer states "there is no way this day can get any worse". Instead of something happening his friends just stand around awkwardly until Homer repeats the phrase again. This time Smithers comes over the loud speaker and orders him to see Mr. Burns.
- In "Children of a Lesser Clod", Homer has kidnapped several children and is driving them in a stolen paddy wagon.Ralph: Where are we going, Mr. Simpson?
Homer: I'll tell you where we're not going: jail.
Milhouse: Then you better turn around.
(Homer sees he's heading straight for the jail wall)
- Played for Laughs in "Deep Space Homer". After being disrespected and laughed at by his workplace and family, Homer goes to the living room to watch some TV. As he grabs the remote, he says "TV respects me. It laughs with me. Not at me." Cue him turning the TV on.
- In the Les Sisters episode "Amnesique et Perils", Sandrine and William go out, leaving Marine and Wendy alone at home. They return at the end of the episode and Sandrine remarks that for once the girls didn't damage the house in any way. Almost immediately, Wendy breaks a window.
- The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol : After the Disaster Dominoes shown by the Smurf of Christmas Present seems to end, Clumsy Smurf comments that at least the tree didn't catch on fire.
- Sofia the First: When Cedric obtains the Amulet and it gives him super strength, he comments that he'll rule with an iron fist. Right after that, the Amulet curses him by turning his fists into iron.
- South Park
- In "Marjorine", Butters is forced by the other boys to fake his death as part of a plan to infiltrate the girls. His parents are grief-stricken, at which point a random old man suddenly shows up to try and convince Butters's Dad not to rebury him at an old Indian burial ground in a bid to bring him back. Mr. Stotch wasn't even aware of the burial ground, so all the man did was give him the idea.
- In "Cartman's Mom is Still a Dirty Slut" the doctor notes Mephesto should be fine as long as the power doesn't go out. When it immediately does, he adds "Who didn't see that coming a mile away, huh?"
- In "The List", a plan to steal a list of boys listed in order of cuteness is called "Operation Cannot Possibly Fail". It does - one of the steps to stealing the list is to kick the female owner's testicles.
- Space Ghost
- "Brago". As a boy leaves an escape tunnel:Boy: So far so good. There's no one around. I'm in luck!
(the barrel of a blaster rifle appears from off-screen pointing at him)
- "The Looters". As a pirate ship approaches a ship carrying a cargo of gold:Pilot 1: Don't worry! Nothing can penetrate our craft's armor!
Brak: Fire sleep missile! (missile is fired and hits)
Pilot 2: It's sleeping gas!
(both pilots start choking and fall unconscious)
- "Hi-Jackers". The Big Bad Tansit is pursuing and firing at Jan, Jace and Blip.Tansit: [Evil Laugh] I have you now! [energy blasts start hitting all around him] What's that?
Space Ghost: [Appears. The energy blasts are coming from his power bands]
- "Two Faces of Doom". Jan, Jace and Blip are in the Spider Queen's arena. They fly to the top of the arena's wall and Jace says "We should be safe up here." A moment later some giant plants in the arena send out tentacles that wrap them up.
- "Brago". As a boy leaves an escape tunnel:
- SpongeBob SquarePants
- "Wet Painters" played with it incessantly. SpongeBob and Patrick are painting a house filled with valuable collectibles. Cue Murphy's Law, involving a paint bubble.SpongeBob: Barnacles, what could be worse than a giant paint bubble?!
Patrick: Ooh! I know! (produces a bubble wand, dips in into the paint, and blows another giant paint bubble) Two giant paint bubbles!
(the bubbles collide and form one MASSIVE paint bubble)
Patrick: Yeah, SpongeBob?
SpongeBob: I don't think this bubble could get any bigger.
Patrick: Nonsense! (produces a bike pump to hook up to the paint bubble, inflating it further)
- From "Pizza Delivery":Squidward: AAAND THE PIZZA'S COLD! OH THIS IS TERRIBLE! NOT THE '''PIZZZZZA!''' Oh, how could it get any worse?! (kicks their boat that is out of gas, which rockets back up to a full tank, and DRIVES AWAY ON ITS OWN)
- From "SpongeGuard on Duty":SpongeBob: I'm every bit as cool as Larry. And if I'm not, let me be struck by... (thunder clap) ...a flying ice cream truck. (Cue falling ice cream truck.) AND LIVE! (Ice cream truck suspends in mid-air just above SpongeBob, then falls on him.)
- In "Slide Whistle Stooges" after Squidward destroys the Chum Bucket on his rampage through Bikini Bottom in a stolen truck, Mr. Krabs pokes fun of Plankton and Squidward promptly drives through the Krusty Krab.
- In "Sandy, SpongeBob, and the Worm", when Sandy manages to lasso herself and SpongeBob onto the Alaskan bull worm she claims that up there they'll be safe, then a second later the worm dives into a trench.
- In "Jellyfish Hunter", after the jellyfish are free from the activating door (in a factory Mr. Krabs runs that consists on squeezing the jelly out of every jellyfish) thanks to Mr. Krabs inadvertently setting off the voice activator of it, he brags about the jellyfish being unable to catch him as he tries to escape by pedaling on his bike...only to realize that he's pedaling on an immobile exercising bike. The herd of jellyfish then proceed to zap the greedy boss to a crisp all at once.
- In "That Sinking Feeling", when SpongeBob and Patrick's digging causes the Krusty Krab to fall underground, Plankton gloats that the Chum Bucket is now the only restaurant in town. The Chum Bucket promptly also falls underground, and when he sees what happened he lets out a dejected "Nuts."
- In "Just One Bite", when Squidward tries to sample a Krabby Patty, but to no avail.Squidward: What do I have to do? Eat one out of the garbage?
Fish: I wish I could eat this, but I'm so darn full. Oh well. (throws his half-eaten patty away)
Squidward: I had to say "garbage"...BUT OKAY!
- In "SB-129", Squidward is locked in the freezer at the Krusty Krab, leading to this:Squidward: Oh, well, someone will realize I'm gone and come looking for me. I'll be out of here in no time.
(narrator reads a card that says "2000 Years Later")
- "Wet Painters" played with it incessantly. SpongeBob and Patrick are painting a house filled with valuable collectibles. Cue Murphy's Law, involving a paint bubble.
- Star Wars Resistance:
- "The Recruit": Poe has a private conversation with Yeager when he's persuading him to hire Kaz on as a mechanic for his cover. Poe promises that Kaz won't be any trouble... just as inside the tavern behind them, an Aleena is thrown against the window during the Bar Brawl that started when Kaz got tricked by a conman with a rigged dart.
- "Synara's Score": Yeager has his mechanics hurry up with working on the Colossus' targeting computer so they can get it installed as soon as possible in case of a pirate attack. Kaz thinks they'll be fine, asking Neeku what the odds are that a pirate attack will happen that very second... which is, naturally, when Kragan Gorr's pirate gang arrives to attack the platform.
- "Station Theta-Black": Wandering around the titular abandoned station, Kaz gets worried and tells Poe they might get lost if they go too far. Poe's response is to tell him he's worrying too much, and that nothing worse is going to happen. BB-8 then rolls up to tell them that the First Order has just arrived.
- "Dart and Cover": Kaz laughs when Bucket's third dart goes off course... only for it to ricochet around and hit him in the ass.
- "The Disappeared": After helping Aunt Z and Hype escape the Colossus in a stolen First Order ship, Kaz and Torra are talking about it, and Kaz points out that the First Order will eventually realize one of their ships is missing. Torra responds that they won't know who was responsible. Cut to Kaz and CB-23 arriving back at the repair shop to find Team Fireball under arrest by stormtroopers.
- Steven Universe:
- "An Indirect Kiss": Amethyst teases worrywart Steven by dancing on a clifftop, which she falls from in less than a minute.
- "Keep Beach City Weird": Pearl tells Steven not to worry about Ronaldo giving up his conspiracy theories because "It's not like he was ever going to be right." From that point onward, a surprising number of Ronaldo's crazy ideas turn out to be true.
- "Bismuth": Steven expresses relief that Bismuth is the first new Gem he's met that hasn't tried to kill him. A few scenes later, she's trying to kill him because their views don't align.
- "That Will Be All": Homeworld Gem Holly Blue Agate expresses delight at the honor of being visited by both Blue Diamond and Yellow Diamond in one day, and says "I don't think anything could spoil this for me!" Then she turns around and catches the Crystal Gems trying to smuggle Greg out of the Zoo.
- Stunt Dawgs: Every time Lucky makes a comment on how things could have become worse, they DO become worse just like he said they would. He also falls victim of the trope whenever it's commented on how nothing bad has happened to him lately. One would think that, after all the times he said things could have been worse without hinting on how and nothing making things worse, he'd learn to avoid the trope.
- Super Friends (1973/74) episode "Too Hot to Handle". The heat causes wax statues of the main heroes to melt, so Wendy and Marvin remove the uniforms from the statues.Wendy: Let's get these things packed away before something else happens to them.
Marvin: What's the rush? I mean, what else could possibly happen to them?
[The heat causes the overhead automatic fire sprinklers to go on]
- The Super Mario Bros. Super Show
- "The Bird! The Bird!", Toad is whisked away by a Birdo with extremely bad vision, who thinks he's her baby. This leads the Mario Brothers and the Princess up the tallest mountain in an already snowy land to bring him back. At one point, Mario says that "it could be worse". When Luigi asks how, an Albatoss drops a Bob-Omb nearby. It and the next 4 Bob-Ombs are easily disposed of before they go off, but the next three are dropped farther up the path, setting off an avalanche.
- In "King Mario of Cramalot", Mario, Luigi, The Princess, and Toad are manacled in a dungeon with a small circumference but a (temporarily) high ceiling. Mario says things could be worse, and Luigi asks how. Mario gives the example that the ceiling could start lowering until it crushed them. No points for guessing what starts to happen, but extra credit if you guessed that the ceiling would be pointy. Mario then says that the room could start filling up with water. It does... start, anyway. When Mario is about to think of another way that things could be worse, Luigi shuts him up.
- Teen Titans: Beast Boy, normally the Genre Savvy one, has been prone to these.
- In the beginning of Kole, Dr. Light invokes this. "Here in the Arctic Circle, nobody will ever come to stop me." Cue Titans.
- At the end of Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation, Plucky arrives home after tagging along on Hamton's family road trip, which to make a long story short was not an enjoyable experience. As soon as Plucky mutters "At least I'll never have to live through that again," Hamton's dad insists that Plucky stay and watch the slide show of their trip.Plucky: Slide show?!
- One Tom and Jerry cartoon was about a white laboratory mouse that had consumed several volatile explosives, escaped, and is threatening to destroy everything in its path once it explodes. Tom, after hearing about the exploding white mouse on the radio, encounters said mouse, but it turns out to be his archnemesis Jerry, who disguised himself as the white mouse by covering himself with flour just to give Tom a scare. Shortly after Jerry's disguise is accidentally washed off, the real white mouse arrives, at which point Tom hears over the radio that the explosives inside the mouse have deteriorated and is no longer dangerous, "the white mouse will not explode." Tom decides to triumphantly drop-kick the white mouse out the front door, causing it to explode for real and level the house.Radio: We repeat: the white mouse will not explode.
(Tom emerges from the rubble)
Tom: DOOON'T YOOOU BELIEVE IT.
- Total Drama Island:
- After the Killer Bass' tent is burned down, an angry Courtney declares that things couldn't get any worse. On cue, it starts to rain.
- From the first episode:DJ: It's our first challenge, how hard could it be? (cue the thousand-foot cliff) Oh sh—*bleep*
- On The Venture Bros., Henchman #24 used to be a perfect example of a Mauve Shirt, but once he and #21 started commenting on how they never die, he was finally killed off.
- In the same episode as 24's death, when Dr. Girlfriend thinks The Monarch might be falling into a trap, he says "It's Rusty Venture, not the OSI! Anything he can throw at us, we can throw back tenfold." Guess who else is at the Venture compound...
- What's New, Scooby-Doo?: In "The San Franpsycho", the gang is making a getaway in a speedboat:Velma: We're going to make it!
(a shark takes a giant bite out of the boat's aft)
Velma: (resignedly) Ah, irony. We meet yet again.
- Winx Club season 3 arguably would have been better off not subverting this trope: Stella says, of saving someone from her own homerealm to get her Enchantix, "I hope I don't have to save Chimera." When push comes to shove, she ends up saving her dad, left by Chimera and her mom escaping in his vehicle. So instead of maybe getting Chimera coming over to Stella's side, we end up getting Chimera being ignominiously defeated in an anticlimactic battle.
- X-Men: Evolution: In the episode "Cruise Control", the X-Men are taking a vacation on a cruise ship. When Boom-Boom is going to breakfast, Storm says to her, "Remember, low profile." Boom-Boom says, "It's just breakfast. What could happen?" Cue the breakfast scene, in which the X-Men accidentally reveal their powers to the passengers and cause a huge mess. Also it's Boom-Boom who starts the whole mess by throwing one of her bombs, although it's Jean using her powers to put out the fire caused by Boom-Boom's bomb that tips off the passengers. Later in the episode, when they're on an island Boom-Boom says the same line ("What could happen?"), right before the volcano acts up.
- In the '90s X-Men animated series, the X-Men break into a government compound to destroy many of the files of several mutants before attempting to escape the compound. Morph says the line, "Didn't I tell you? Clear sailing all~ the way!" Cue the Sentinels marching through the trees. Quoth the Beast: "Oh dear". Beast is captured, Morph dies.
- In Young Justice, after being retired from crime-fighting for a while, Artemis decides to return for a one off mission, even though her boyfriend (Kid Flash) is against it. She assures him by saying "What could possibly go wrong?" As if to gleefully laugh at the audience shouting "WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT?!?", the scene immediately cuts to Artemis dying on that mission. Actually subverted. The death was faked.