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The audience watching at home can see it coming...and yet, for some reason, the characters in the show can't, and proceed to do that "dumb thing" anyway. Way to go, geniuses.

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  • The Adventures of Superman:
    • "Double Dose": Two villains get caught by Superman. One tries to shoot him, to no effect. Superman demands to know, "What have you done with Jim Olsen?"
      You'd Expect: The two cooperate, hoping that this scary invulnerable guy recommends their cooperation as grounds for leniency during sentencing.
      Instead: One tells the other to "give [Jim] the current." And the other listens.
    • Two crooks who have captured Perry and Lois (and who have previously said that they are going to kill all four members of the Planet staff) ask Perry how he'd describe the route if he were telling Jimmy how to get to that house.
      You'd Expect: Perry realizes that the only reason they'd ask this is to record his voice for a trick phone call to Jimmy.
      Instead: He describes the route. Jimmy is almost killed when his acid-eaten brakes give out. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!
  • After School Special:
    • "The Cheats":
      • In a prep high school, three friends — Holly, Lynnie, and Robin — steal final exam answers. Holly's best friend Beth refuses to look at the answers, while preparing to earn her grade honestly and get into her dream college Cornell. The trio's perfect A's wreck the curve, and overcome with guilt, Lynnie and Robin confess. Dr. Daniels, the principal, makes it clear that any person involved with the cheating will be suspended, even if they had merely taken a glance at the answers, and given a failing grade if they confess, but they will be expelled if they are caught and don't confess.
        You'd Expect: After they had taken the exam, that all the girls, having gone this far, that all the girls would have disposed of the answer papers, left them at home, or not left them lying around.
        Instead: Robin put her test answers in a library book. When she returns it, by some bad luck Beth checks it out.
        The Result: The librarian finds the copy of the test answers when Beth returns it and has to report it to the principal.
      • Due to the test answers being in Beth's library book, Dr. Daniels busts Beth for what she knew about the cheating, and asks her who else was involved.
        You'd Expect: Beth knows that Dr. Daniels isn't bluffing. She should turn in Holly and save herself. That's classic game theory with the Prisoner's Dilemma.
        Instead: Invoking Honor Before Reason, Beth says that she feels that telling on the person who did the cheating would be as bad as the cheating itself.
        The Result: Dr. Daniels likes Beth, and knows that Beth is telling the truth. She also knows that the school board and she will have to expel Beth unless there's some kind of leeway. Intuiting that Beth is trying to protect Holly, Dr. Daniels asks Beth to tell whoever cheated to confess, so that the school board would go easy on Beth.
      • Following this, Beth tells Holly about what happened and begs her to turn herself in, or Beth will be expelled. Holly, for all her shallow selfishness, values their friendship.
        You'd Expect: Holly would do the right thing and confess to Dr. Daniels, for Beth's sake.
        Instead: She tells Beth that nothing will happen and it will work out, despite the fact that Lynnie and Robin were suspended.
        The Result: Beth is expelled, and shoots a Death Glare at Holly as she leaves the school with her locker's contents. Dr. Daniels is forced out by the school board, and gives a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Holly after graduation that she knows that Holly was the instigator of the cheating in the first place, despite there not being any proof, asking her Was It Really Worth It?. In addition, Holly and Beth's friendship is irreparably damaged; when they encounter each other two years later, Beth tearfully tells her that she had to go to state school for a year before Dr. Daniels, who got another administrative position, vouched for her at Cornell admissions; despite this, she can never forgive Holly for what she did, and didn't do. While Holly is a Karma Houdini, in that she got into her dream college, she truly regrets that she sacrificed her friendship with Beth for that perfect A.
  • In ALF finale "Consider Me Gone", ALF has been contacted by radio by two friends of his who survived the nuclear explosion of Melmac. As he arrives at the coordinates in a forest to depart, the government agency Alien Task Force (who tracked down the UFO) are also coming.
    You'd Expect: Just as Willie said, for Alf to run back to the Tanners so they can drive away.
    Instead: Alf just stands there begging his friends (who bailed because of the government agents' intervention) to pick him up. The ATF surround him and who knows what happens next, most likely it involves they torture and dissect him.
  • All My Children: Adam Chandler disapproves of ex-wife Dixie's behavior—sleeping around, and her latest conquest is the 18-year-old Brian—and starts making plans to file for full custody of their son. Adam's daughter Haley—Brian's ex-girlfriend—tries to warn Dixie about this.
    You'd Expect: Dixie to cool it with Brian, especially since she knows full well how ruthless Adam can be (he once had her declared insane and committed to a mental hospital)
    Instead: The moron invites Brian to move in with her. The private detective Adam hired snaps photos of this, giving him the final evidence to prove that Dixie is an unfit mother. Dixie caps off her stupidity by evoking the Never My Fault trope and refusing to see where she bears any responsibility for the whole mess.
  • In American Horror Story: Asylum: Lana manages to escape from Bloody Face's shackle and inject him with his own paralyzing agent.
    You'd Expect: That knowing he'll be unconscious and helpless for a while, she either kill him or shackle him using the shackle she just opened and which was a foot from his body and call the police. She doesn't even have to be there when they arrive, all they need is to find his Torture Cellar and Wendy's body and he's cooked.
    Instead: She runs away on foot, failing to so much as steal his car or figure out where she is first. After nearly getting run down on the road, she winds up picking a ride with a suicidal misogynist, who kills himself, wrecks the car, and gets her caught and sent back to Briarcliff. Threadson awakes and destroys all the evidence in his house.
  • America's Got Talent: In Season 8, The Greg Wilson appears in the preliminaries to perform a stand-up comic act.
    You'd Expect: Wilson to come up with his own material and check to make sure any bits he plans to do haven't been attempted by other comedians.
    Instead: In a segment that never makes it to air, Wilson performs a bit that is eventually revealed to be plagiarized from Frank Nicotero, the audience warm-up man, who happened to be right in the studio at the time. Howie Mandel picks up on this immediately, saying he previously heard Nicotero doing the exact same routine before the show started taping.
    To Make Matters Worse: Instead of disqualifying Wilson, the judges advance him to the next round, much to the disdain of Mandel. Thankfully, the producers review the case and disqualify Wilson under their own power.
  • The "Damage" episode of Angel has Spike act dumb even by his own standards. Going off on his own and revealing himself to Dana, a crazed Slayer, and dropping hints on who he is is pretty standard stuff. However it's revealed Spike knows Slayers have visions, which would include Spike killing two of them, and Dana confuses herself with Nikki Wood.
    You'd Expect: Spike would at the very least keep his mouth shut.
    Instead: He mentions to Dana she's thinking about the Slayer he killed. Spike immediately goes Oh, Crap! as Dana flies into a Roaring Rampage of Revenge and cuts his hands off.
  • Arrested Development: Gob is getting divorced, but hasn't consummated the marriage which is a good thing because his wife would be entitled to a larger settlement if they had. Just before the hearing, he encounters his soon-to-be ex-wife in the judge's chambers and they start to talk.
    You'd Expect: Gob to remember that having sex with her would be a bad thing in this case and abstain.
    Instead: They do it.
    Result: She takes a picture of them in the act and presents it at the hearing.
    However, You'd Expect: Her to take a picture in which they both can be identified.
    Instead: The picture shows Gob with a hood over his head.
    Result: The judge points out that the man in the photograph cannot be identified.
    Now, You'd Expect: Gob to say nothing or maybe accuse his wife of cheating.
    Instead: "Oh, that's me, your honor! I (bleep)ed my wife!"
    Result: His lawyer says it best: "I really lost this case."
  • Arrow: In Season 3, it seems that the Arrow (Really Ra's Al Ghul) has started killing again, Quentin Lance (Who recently stopped working with the Arrow due to him not being told of Sara's death) orders a manhunt on the Arrow. Reasonable enough right now, right? So during this manhunt and killing spree, the Arrow repeatedly tells any and all of his lawful enemies that the killer is actually an impostor from a really evil group. Okay, so might want to think about that for a little while, considering what's been happening for the last few years, but the Arrow might be lying just to save his ass, so let's continue our nice little manhunt. But then, Quentin is kidnapped by a group of dark and cryptic individuals, who tell him that Oliver Queen is the Arrow, and that Sara was with him on Lian Yu.
    You'd Expect: That Quentin would realize that this group of dark and cryptic individuals are probably not just telling him all this out of their natural sense of justice, call off the manhunt, and talk to Oliver about all of this, in a calm, mature conversation.
    Or Maybe: If he truly cannot get over his anger, realize that A. He probably isn't all that rational right now, with the whole bomb of Sara being dead on him, and take a better look at all the evidence or B. See that he honestly has an incredibly flimsy case, previously tried to implicate Oliver and failed, and has no real testimony admissible in court ("I was told by a group of people in dark hooded gear with weapons that Oliver Queen, who has to have a large amount of enemies who are rich enough to hire mercenaries, and everyone knows Quentin hates is the Arrow which pretty much is the same, only a much larger group and enemies who have weapons of their own").
    Instead: Blinded by his hatred for Oliver, Quentin becomes a total dick who turns the manhunt Up to Eleven and is responsible for Roy having to fake being the Arrow to get Oliver out, being thrown into prison and faked his death and Pushing Oliver into becoming the next leader of the League of Assassins.
  • In the failed Pilot Movie Bates Motel (1987), Alex West is left the titular motel by the now-deceased Norman Bates, and goes to Morally Bankrupt Banker Tom Fuller for a loan, which Fuller agrees to, after it becomes clear that Alex has absolutely no clue how to properly run the motel, which is located on some highly valuable real estate.
    You'd Expect: Fuller to give Alex his loan, let him screw up running the motel, then foreclose on the land and get rich by selling it to a developer.
    Instead: He decides to dress up like Norman's mother and scare Alex away... despite the fact that Alex never saw either the real Mrs. Bates, or Norman when he was pretending to be her. As a result, all that he succeeds in doing is confusing and mildly unnerving Alex, before getting unmasked by Alex's handyman, Henry. Despite the failure of his plan, Fuller points out that Alex still won't be in a position to repay the loan... until someone else dressed as Mrs. Bates appears and starts threatening him.
    You'd Expect: That Fuller would realise someone else is trying to turn his own scam back on him, and high-tail it out of there. As he himself points out, no-one's likely to believe Alex, who spent 27 years in an insane asylum, or Henry, who is a hard-up handyman with a well-documented grudge against Fuller.
    Instead: Fuller freaks out and confesses to all his misdeeds. "Mrs. Bates" turns out to be Alex's friend and chef, Willie, who was hiding a tape recorder in her outfit, thus allowing her to blackmail him into agreeing to defer Alex's loan payments until he's in a better position to repay them.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003):
    • In the much-reviled episode "The Woman King," Helo meets this doctor working in the Galactica's refugee camp who's prejudiced against Sagittarons. His reason for this is almost understandable, in a way, since he's a doctor and all and the vast majority of Sagittarons apparently fear modern medicine, so the antagonism is mutual.
      You'd expect: He would have a hearty respect for the Sagittarons who go against their people's superstitions and seek his care, since that's clearly the only thing about the Sags that he finds objectionable. In time, word of mouth from the patients he's cured might start to bring other Sagittarons around on the idea.
      Instead: He develops a policy of murdering Sagittarons who seek treatment from him. Yes, that is correct: he hates Sagittarons, and his plan for correcting this is to kill all the ones that aren't suspicious of doctors, which coincidentally would give all the other Sagittarons a pretty damn good reason to be suspicious of doctors, wouldn't it? His fancy Colonial med school neglected to teach him anything about basic logic.
    • In the "Exodus" arc during the third season, the story culminates with Lee Adama swooping in with the Battlestar Pegasus to save the heavily-battered Galactica from being destroyed while the people on New Caprica evacuate. The Pegasus is a bigger, more heavily-armored and tactically superior Battlestar, and Lee (and his executive staff) stay behind to fend off the Cylons while the rest of the population escapes (which only takes minutes).
      You'd Expect: That Lee would jump the ship out after everyone escapes New Caprica. After all, the first time Lee took command, it was against three Cylon basestars who continually pummeled the ship with nuclear weapons - and they escaped. The Pegasus has also been able to outright destroy Basestars if it has the advantage of surprise (something that was shown twice in the series).
      Instead: Because the Status Quo Is God, Lee decides to evacuate the Pegasus and ram it straight into a Basestar for no discernible reason (he even thought up the plan several hours before!). Sure, it looked cool, but the Colonial Fleet sacrificed a very valuable tactical advantage (the ability to make new Vipers at will) and their most powerful ship for the sake of leaving the Cylons with a couple less Basestars. Great work, Lee.
    • In "The Plan", Cavil finds himself aboard Galactica with six other Cylons, after their attack falls short of exterminating the entire human race. While the Cylon fleet is initially able to track the Colonials, they lose this ability after the destruction of the Olympic Carrier. Cavil therefore takes it upon himself to wipe out the fleet.
      You'd Expect: That given the limited manpower available to him, Cavil would focus on carefully co-ordinated attacks to cripple Galactica and as many other ships in the fleet as possible.
      Instead: He almost immediately orders three of his six Cylons to commit suicide bombings, ordering Boomer to blow up the water tanks on Galactica, a Five to blow up the Cylon detector that Dr. Baltar is working on, and a Four to blow up the ship that he's serving on.
      The Result: The Five screws up his mission immediately, gets spotted by Tigh and Adama, and when cornered only succeeds in blowing up an unimportant corridor. The Four, due to being genuinely in love with his human wife, is Driven to Suicide and blows himself out of an airlock without damaging his ship. Boomer does carry out her mission, but fails to kill herself, leaving her alive to try taking out Adama... which she also screws up, leading to her being arrested and eventually shot dead herself by Cally. Combined with the Leoben getting caught and spaced by Roslin, and Cavil himself spacing Shelly Godfrey in a You Have Failed Me move, this leaves him with only another Six... who can't actually get anything accomplished due to the risk of being caught and spaced.
  • Bewitched: Samantha's witch and warlock family do not like Darrin due to both a prejudice against mortals and the fact that Darrin wants Samantha to suppress her powers and live like a normal 1960s Housewife.
    You'd Expect: Darrin to do his best to not anger beings with supernatural powers.
    Instead: He insults them at every beck and call.
    As a result: They continually cast spells on him and transform him into various animals and objects as punishment, and were it not for Samantha intervening, Darrin would either be deadnote  or permanently transformed/disfigured, etc..
  • Black Mirror
    • "USS Callister"
      • Robert Daly is the co-founder Chief Technological Officer of a company that has created one of the largest immersive online games. He's created his separate mod of the game, inspired by Space Fleet, which he uses to vent about his tribulations in the office. Such tribulations as being told by his co-founder Walton to shape up and be a boss, the secretary not smiling at anyone, and another engineer calling him out for staring at people creepily. In other words, cases where the other characters actually have a point.
        You'd Expect: Robert Daly would directly talk to people about his grievances, and stand up to them or improve his behavior. He's a business executive with the authority.
        Alternatively: He would have profiled each of his new non-player characters to figure out how to break them so as to play the game, or recreate them from the ground up with no memories of who they were and so that they lack sentience. Thus, no moral accountability!
        Instead: Daly is an Entitled Bastard who puts people's digital clones in the game for various slights. To keep them in line, he tortures them, and in Walton's case tossed a clone of Walton's son out of an airlock. And no, he doesn't profile anyone; he steals DNA from their trash and scans it into his computer, so the clones wake up with the original person's memories and thoughts. His latest victim is Nanette, an engineer who admires him professionally but says she's not attracted to him. Which actually a reasonable thing to say when office harassment is a real thing.
        The Result: Nanette is too much of a Plucky Girl to accept this situation. She keeps pushing the battered, broken crew members to escape the mod and either die or find a new life. Which she succeeds in doing, and trapping Daly's mind in the game for ostensibly ten days, long enough for him to starve or dehydrate.
  • The Brady Bunch: Several times, alleged by Robert Reed in his negative critiques of various episodes. As published in "Growing Up Brady: I Was a Teenaged Greg" (which published three of those critiques):
    • "The Practical Joker," wherein Reed suggests that the tag scene – Alice thinking that an ink stain on one of her uniforms is a gag stain placed there by Jan, and ends up tearing and ruining one of her uniforms by trying to pull the "gag stain" off – makes Alice out to be an idiot. Reed suggests that Alice, as reasonably intelligent, should have been able to tell whether the stain was real and that perhaps a pen (with its cap left off) would have been noticed before placing the uniform in the washing machine.
    • Various aspects of "And Now a Word From Our Sponsor," most notably:
      • In a scene after two competing laundry detergents are tested (to determine if the Bradys will accept an offer to star in a TV commercial for one of the soaps), Alice forgetting which pile is which (as she forgot to mark down which pile corresponded with which). Reed also takes the writers to task for having Mike and Carol turn their kids loose and damage their clothing (with paint, motor oil and so forth) before the washing the clothes to test the soaps, saying no level-headed parent would do such a thing.
      • Mike claiming to not be able "to make sense of this legal double-talk"; Reed says that, as Mike is an adult in business and therefore capable of understanding contracts. (Although it could be argued that even "an adult in business" who is "capable of understanding contracts" should consult an attorney, as the script suggests.)
      • Carol's "We'll have to wait until Mr. Brady gets home" comment after a delivery truck brings dozens of crates of laundry detergent, the thank you gift for starring in the commercial (Reed suggests she could have called a number printed on the delivery receipt).
    • In Reed's famous critique of the final episode "The Hair-Brained Scheme," he references an earlier episode, "Two Petes in a Pod," where Peter (Christopher Knight in a dual role) meets his exact double, Arthur, at school. Reed was irritated that the earlier episode's script suggested that even Mike and Carol are fooled by the "faux Peter," and that even with such an exact resemblance they would or should be able to tell who this boy was. (Note also that Mike and Carol never say anything as Arthur literally gropes Jan at the kitchen table as he helps her with a homework assignment, and Jan doesn't even speak up about why "Peter" seems so fond of her today.)
  • Canada's Handyman Challenge: In the final challenge, building a deck, with the guest judge being Mike Holmes, Chris sacrifices building the structure to code (or any acceptable standard at all) in order to focus on his artistic vision.
    You'd Expect: Since anyone who has ever seen Mike Holmes knows his Berserk Button is not having something meet building codes, that Chris would say some excuse like the time and material constraints meant he couldn't get it to meet code and complete his ambitious design, but in real life he'd of course make sure it was done properly.
    Instead: Chris makes a comment that as he understands it building codes are merely suggestions and can be ignored. The other judges stare at him in disbelief, look at Mike, and then laughingly scramble back to make room for Mike to explode.
  • Britain's Got Talent:
    • Having already failed his attempt at breaking the "Most Ferrero Rochers eaten in a minute" record the previous year, James Boyd shows up to the 2010 auditions intending to beat the "Most After Eight mints eaten in a minute without using hands" record.
      You'd Expect: Seeing as the current record was 8, James to put out at least 9 or 10 mints.
      Instead: He only puts out 5 mints even though Simon Cowell actually asks whether or not he needs more time to get ready. This naturally dooms his attempt to failure from the word go. Adding insult to injury, co-host Declan Donnelly tries the same challenge at the same time, and actually equals the world record.
    • The 2014 auditions had stand-up comedian Paul Stark have an attempt.
      You'd Expect: Paul to come up with several original jokes and to rehearse them well, and know them off by heart.
      Instead: He simply read them off a piece of paper. To make matters worse, the three jokes he told were at best outdated and unfunny ("My nan took a shower the other day, I said I want it back") and at worst downright nonsensical ("Knock Knock." "Who's there?" "Funny." "Funny who?" "A funny joke!") that were told as if he expected the crowd to be dying of laughter.
      Even Worse: When the crowd started booing at the painfully awful jokes, instead of taking it with good humor and laughing it off, he began screaming that he was better than them and saying something was wrong with them. Unsurprisingly, he didn't make it through.
      • Then again: "Paul Stark" was actually a character act by a guy called Tom Pinks, who deliberately portrayed "Starks" as an unfunny, overconfident comedian.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
    • "The Defense Rests": Jake starts a relationship with a defense attorney named Sophia. She's worried about their relationship, due to cops and defense attorneys having bad blood between them on principle. At one point when they start to founder, Sophia asks Jake to not attend a ball where her boss Geoffrey Hoytsman will be. She does want her boss to like Jake, which is a feat due to the whole bad blood, but she thinks it would be awkward at such an important event.
      You'd Expect: Jake would respect Sophia's wishes and give her some space. Terry advises Jake to do such a thing because she's feeling awkward by how he loves her more than she loves him.
      Instead: Jake goes to the ball and does all he can to win over Sophia's boss. Who, unknown to him, is high on cocaine.
      The Result: He succeeds almost too well; he does win over Geoffrey by making increasingly ridiculous bets, at the risk of making Sophia very uncomfortable since he did the exact opposite of what she wanted. The Last Straw comes when Jake catches Geoffrey doing cocaine in the men's bathroom and has to arrest him; he tries to vouch for Geoffrey to get the lightest sentence possible, but it backfires when Geoffrey does his community service while high. While Terry tells Jake You Did the Right Thing about arresting Geoffrey, Sophia breaks up with Jake, and Geoffrey seeks revenge on Jake by sabotaging him as a cop, kidnapping him, and planning to kill him.
    • ""Moo Moo": Sergeant Terry Jeffords, played by Terry Crews, asks his coworkers to babysit his twin girls while he works on a long application to be a city council liaison. Due to them accidentally losing Moo Moo, his girls' favorite toy, he ends up stopped and searched by a cop for walking around his neighborhood and looking for the toy. Terry is obviously upset about being racially profiled, but is willing to let it go if the cop apologizes.
      You'd Expect: At the dinner where they meet that the cop would just eat Humble Pie and not try to justify what he did.
      Instead: The cop apologizes and says if he had known Terry wasn't a cop, he wouldn't have stopped him. Terry points out that he shouldn't have been stopped even if he were a civilian, and that he was just walking. The cop says that Terry looked like he didn't belong in the neighborhood, where Terry lives.
      The Result: Terry files a complaint, despite Captain Ray Holt worrying that Terry will ruin his career trying to report an injustice.
  • Canada's Worst Driver:
    • In Season 2, Colin had already been acting like a jackass throughout his time on the show, and he capped it off by deliberately accelerating into a wall of boxes in a skid avoidance challenge, smashing the car's windshield.
      You'd Expect: Ideally, that he wouldn't have done something so recklessly stupid to begin with, but given the circumstances it'd be in his best interests to come up with a reasonable-sounding excuse, such as claiming that he panicked when he saw the wall and mistakenly hit the gas instead of the brakes.
      Instead: He makes up some story about how he constantly blacks out at the wheel, and did so during the challenge, only for the experts to tell him that if that's true, his driving licence should be taken away on medical grounds, causing him to hastily change his story. As if he wasn't already in enough trouble, he then brags about smashing up the car while on the phone to a friend, which the crew and other contestants overhear. This is the final straw for the experts, resulting in his car key being destroyed, his car towed back to his hometown, and Colin and his equally immature nominator being sent there via taxi.
    • Donna, one of the candidates from Season 4, had been diagnosed with the heart condition angina some time prior to being on the show.
      You'd Expect: She'd declare this on her medical form. Best case, the show's medical staff will know to be ready for any potential emergencies around her, and likely worst case is that the show just won't accept her as a candidate, since they probably wouldn't get insurance for her.
      Instead: She never once mentions it to the experts, the production team or any of the other contestants. This results in her having an angina attack during the water tank challenge, which in turn leads to her being thrown off the show for lying on her medical form. Not only that, but the experts take the unprecedented step of contacting her local licensing board over their concerns, while ultimately results in Donna having her driving licence revoked and getting a lifetime ban from driving.
    • Scott from Season 6 has done some very illegal things, like drinking and driving, driving on a suspended license, driving uninsured, etc. etc. By the way, Cam Woolley, one of the four judges on the show is a former Ontario cop, who has some obligations left, and he will fulfill them, as he did when Colin deliberately tried to fail every challenge on the show while bragging about his own criminal acts.
      You'd Expect: Scott to keep his mouth shut about his activities; at most, maybe give some vague hints that he's done some less-than-admirable stuff in the past, and that he wants to move forward and become a better driver.
      Instead: He brags his head off about them, even leaving his nominator in visible disbelief, and Cam duly contacts the police in Scott's hometown with this information. Fortunately for Scott, bragging about illegal activities on live television isn't considered acceptable legal evidence in Canada, meaning he'll almost certainly never be prosecuted for them, but it pretty much guarantees he'll be punished much more harshly if he ever does get charged with any more automotive offences. Which happened to him in 2015, resulting in his car being seized after he was caught driving over twice the speed limit.
    • In the final episode of Season 12, Krystal has angered just about everyone involved with the show — including Andrew, the host, the four experts, and the other contestants and their nominators — and even managed to provoke her brother (her own nominator) into quitting the show after dropping a Cluster Atomic F-Bomb at nearly all the aforementioned people after they called her out on her rudeness to fellow contestant Daniella. Despite this, she actually does quite well on the penultimate challenge, the Mega Challenge, doing only marginally worse than Tyler, the other remaining contestant.
      You'd Expect: That Krystal, who has shown herself to be competent driver when she keeps her attitude in check, would give it her all and try to get through the final Road Test as best she can. There's still a chance that either Tyler or Daniella will mess up in their own Road Tests, after all.
      Instead: She speeds and drives dangerously throughout the challenge, repeatedly insults and complaints to Andrew, and even winds up damaging the test car's wheel hubs via a badly executed U-turn. After Krystal tries to scare Andrew into being quiet by deliberately taking a corner at a dangerously unsafe speed, Andrew finally declares that he's seen enough and stops the test. Had Krystal not behaved like such an Adult Child then the title would almost certainly have gone to Daniella (who completely bombed in her Mega Challenge run and suffered a major attack of nerves in her own Road Test, forcing Andrew to make her decisions for her), but not only do the experts instantly agree that Krystal is obviously the worst, they decide that she doesn't even deserve the trophy usually awarded to the worst driver, instead turning it into a "Final Graduate" trophy and giving it to Tyler.
  • Caprica 1x02 "Rebirth": Amanda has just found out about Zoe's involvement in the bombing that sets off the plot, at a memorial service for those who died in said bombing.
    You'd expect: Amanda to sit on this information, or talk to Daniel about it, or destroy it, or almost anything other than what she does.
    Instead: She tells the entire collected populace, all of whom are bereaved family members mourning the loss of their loved ones, what she has learned. And then is almost surprised when the mourners turn into a mob. This doubles up as a What An Idiot moment on the part of Daniel as well, for allowing Amanda (who was already behaving erratically even before she found out about Zoe's role) to walk around the memorial unsupervised, which led directly to the event described above.
  • Castle: In one episode, an obsessed killer is stalking Beckett. After it seems the killer has killed himself and the danger has passed, Castle discovers that it wasn’t their killer that died and the real killer is still out there. In the scene immediately before this, it's revealed that the killer was planning on killing Beckett with a bomb that’s activated by her using her cellphone.
    You'd expect: That Castle would go there in person or use an alternative means of contacting her in order to warn her she's still in danger.
    Instead: He calls her on her cell phone.
  • Charmed:
    • The Charmed Ones are helping the half-demon Cole redeem himself by preparing a potion to remove his demon side and make him fully human. They complete the potion, but before he gets to drink it, Cole's former mentor shows up and uses magic to take control of his demonic side, forcing him to kill someone the sisters were protecting.
      You'd Expect: Them to give him the potion, to make sure this doesn't happen again.
      Instead: They destroy the potion in anger and end their friendship. Obviously, this does not end well.
    • In fact, let's consider this the general pattern. Cole's entire arc revolves around his relationship with Phoebe. Said arc lasting about two and a half years. Keep in mind she and the sisters have known he was half-demon since his eighth episode.
      You'd Expect: The Halliwells, or at least Phoebe, would understand that Cole, having been a trained assassin for about a hundred years who was once hand-selected into the elite group of his profession by the series equivalent of Satan himself, wouldn't become a boy scout overnight. Even that notwithstanding, you would also think they'd remember from their own experiences that anyone can go evil for a day with the right magical hit. Acting on this, they would treat Cole with healthy doses of both caution and empathy (not the power, the emotional quality) to allow him the chance to earn his way into the family while keeping him honest and guiding him into his new life as a good guy.
      Instead: They shun him anytime he even begins to take a moral step backwards. And out of fear, anger, and/or hurt, Phoebe, who otherwise throws herself at him when things are good, is usually first in line. She basically yanks his chain based on her feelings, with no one else ready to correct her if it's not to judge him in the process. This usually only makes the situation worse than it already is.
      The result: Naturally, after he's eventually infected by the power of the Source of All Evil, they vanquish him thinking he became the new Source of his own volition despite being just about told otherwise (although the vanquish may have been unavoidable in any case). He later comes back with a new mess of powers from the demonic wasteland. Between his return foiling Phoebe's attempt at a rush divorce and the Charmed Ones' run-in with a mermaid, Phoebe ends up going mermaid for awhile herself — not because she hates him, but because she loves him and yet she's scared of him at the same time. For these same reasons, he gains hope that he can regain her trust and her love while she's dead set that they can never be together again.
      You'd expect: that now she and the sisters would try to help Cole move on, keeping an eye on him in the meantime. If they're lucky, maybe he'll actually see that he can still be good as his own man without Phoebe's love as the measuring stick. At the very least find some way to contain those acidic powers of his while he's still coming to them, remembering what happened to Prue when she was given a power that was never meant for her to have.
      Instead: their response to his attempts to earn Phoebe's love back by playing superhero with these powers usually consists of telling him that it's a fancy concept to think he'll ever be anything but evil.
      The result: months of the woman he loved and the family he counted on as his foothold to good treating him almost like he isn't even a person combined with his powers messing with his brain finally sends him off the deep end into a Face–Heel Turn that lasts until they have to kill him again in an alternate reality. It takes being eternally tied to a cosmic void for him finally think for himself and come to peace. Meanwhile, Phoebe fast progresses into a jerk for a year and a half, which comes back to bite her all the way into the end of the series.
    • Season 8 introduces Billie, a witch who disguises her identity while demon-hunting with a black wig, sunglasses, and black leather outfit which is bound to draw attention (and makes her look like a bad Prue stand-in). She eventually meets with and becomes an understudy to the sisters.
      You'd expect: The sisters would express their concerns but instead suggest something else, like having Billie protect her identity with magical disguises — the same particular spell they were using at the time.
      Instead: The sisters simply make Billie stop wearing the wig and sunglasses and do not come up with a backup option. She ends up getting tailed straight to them by a Homeland Security agent, serving as the beginning of the end for their secret identities.
  • In a latter episode of Cheers, Cliff ends up as a contestant on a special Boston edition of Jeopardy!, and thanks to an incredibly lucky set of categories, goes into the Final Jeopardy round with $22,000. His opponents, meanwhile, have just $3,300 and $750 respectively.
    You'd Expect: Cliff to wager no more than a couple of thousand dollars, seeing how he's already won an amount far beyond what he had hoped. At the absolute most you'd expect him to wager $15,000, the maximum amount he can afford to lose and still be guaranteed victory.
    Instead: He wagers "22,000 big ones," and promptly comes unstuck when the Final Jeopardy clue turns out to be an obscure one that none of the contestants are able to guess, with Cliff himself giving the particularly Face Palm-worthy response of "who are three people who've never been in my kitchen," and the second-place contestant winning purely because she stopped short of wagering everything. Alex Trebek gives Cliff a What Were You Thinking? reaction, and Cliff tries futilely to argue that his response was technically correct.Fun fact! 
  • Chuck: The titular character's sister and brother in law are kidnapped by evil CIA agents who demand a dangerous computer virus in exchange for them. Casey and Beckham agree to give them a fake one since giving them the real one is obviously too dangerous.
    You'd expect: Chuck to go along with the plan and hope to rescue them at the trade.
    Instead: Chuck steals the real virus from his team, and goes ALONE to the trade WITHOUT ANY BACKUP (keep in mind he doesn't have the intersect anymore). Because he can obviously trust these villains to not kill them once they get what they want. As a result, the bad CIA agents end up getting the virus (which is later unleashed to the general public) and Chuck nearly gets killed because of his carelessness. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!
    • What's worse is that Sarah actually agreed to hand over the real virus and he still went behind their back!
  • Cobra Kai:
    • "Different But Same." Yasmine and her posse head to a canyon for her birthday party… only to find Aisha’s crew there.
      You’d think: Yasmine would find another spot to have the party, as per Kyler’s proposal.
      Instead: She orders Kyler to order them out of the canyon, complains that he’s being a pussy when – noticing Miguel among the crowd and remembering the No-Holds-Barred Beatdown she also witnessed while in the cafeteria – he sensibly proposes relocation, and decides it would be a good idea to get in Aisha’s face.
      As a result: Not only is Aisha not bothered by her attitude anymore… she yanks on her underwear, roughly lifts her a good few inches into the air, and neatly dumps her into the dirt. Except for Moon – whose own sensible advice she ignored – everyone else at the party laughs uproariously at Yasmine’s predicament. The whole incident went viral on social media, guaranteeing that her total loss of campus stock is going to be permanent.
  • Cold Case
    • "Justice." The brother of the girl you raped is holding you at gunpoint.
      You'd expect: You slowly back away, acting meek as hell until you could hightail it out of there. You are a psychopath, not stupid.
      Instead: You approach him, asking him to pass you the gun. When he calls you out for raping his sister, you call her "a hell of a lay" that asked for it. Really, at this point it is not so much a murder as it is assisted suicide.
    • "That Woman." After discovering the dirty secrets of the other members of a chastity club, you discover they all wrote "Carrie (you) must die." on the messages in the messenger jar. Sometime later, one of those members comes to your house and asks you to go the woods with him.
      You'd expect: You would turn him down and call the police, since he mostly likely wants to kill you.
      Instead: You don't, and go with him to the woods. You can guess the result.
    • "A Time to Crime": You discover that your mom is having an affair with an illegal arms dealer and decide to kill him, not wanting him to ruin your family. One night, you decide to buy a gun from him.
      You'd expect: You would shoot him right then and there. It's a dark alley and you are the only two people in that spot.
      Instead: You choose not to, instead trying to kill him in a crowded park. This backfires badly for not only do you miss your target, but hit your own sister by mistake.
    • “The Promise” You and your friends have just stormed out of a frat party where they humiliated you in a “pig pen.” Understandably furious, you propose burning their house down. Later, your friend, who unknowingly led you to the party, comes out, begging you to come back in and talk to him.
      You’d expect: You’ll take a rain check, offering to speak to him the next day, or speak to him outside the house.
      Instead: You follow him inside for a heartfelt talk, only for the frat bros to reappear, shove your friend aside and take you back in the pig pen to torture you, and later leave you for dead when the house is burned down.
    • "Revenge". The angry father of the boy that you kidnapped, molested and are suspected of killing a year earlier confronts you with a gun.
      You'd expect: To be humble, apologetic or not do anything that would provoke him.
      Instead: You brag about your exploits with the dead boy without a hint of remorse. You wind up being shot dead for your troubles and although your murder is solved, no one but your pathetic son gives a shit about your death.
  • Community:
    • "Modern Warfare". A massive paintball game takes over the college campus with the grand prize being priority registration (meaning the winner gets first of classes the following semester). Leonard comes upon Jeff talking with Garrett (who's already been eliminated). They don't even notice him due to their conversation.
      You'd expect: Leonard to shoot Jeff and eliminate him.
      Instead: Leonard shoots Garrett and Jeff runs for it. As a result, Leonard gets eliminated by Abed while he's chasing Jeff, and Jeff goes on to win the prize.
  • Criminal Minds:
    • In one episode, JJ and Reid go to talk to a witness. When they get there, the witness denies having called the cops and claims to know nothing. JJ and Reid realize that he's one of the UnSubs, and know they need to do something. The rest of their team knows where they are, but without cell phone coverage, they can't call for back-up, and the 'witness' knows that they know who he really is.
      You'd Expect them to go investigate together, or try departing from the scene and come back with a lot of backup.
      Instead they split up. JJ ends up in a barn with three ravenous dogs who have killed a woman, and Reid ends up knocked out and imprisoned by the UnSub. Brilliant.
    • Agent Elle Greenaway has rejoined the team after spending months away from work, recovering after being shot in her home. She has become distant and hypervigiliant, and has shown signs of PTSD. The team is working on a case where a man is raping women in their homes, and they get to the point where they need someone to go undercover.
      You'd Expect that as they are working with police, they'd get a female cop to go undercover, or maybe get JJ, since they have more than one female agent on their team.
      Instead they send Elle, and everything goes wrong, as anyone with a brain would have expected.
    • Frank Breitkopf, a serial killer, has been cornered at a train station. He has demanded the return of his girlfriend, Jane, whom the FBI have in custody. At the end of a long talk, he manages to talk Jane back into coming with him, despite the fact that they are surrounded by federal agents with guns.
      You'd Expect that the agents would do something, anything to stop Frank. Shoot him, cuff him, get Jane away from him, anything.
      Instead, all of them just stand around and watch as Frank and Jane leap in front of an incoming train. Because apparently that's what federal agents do.
    • Spencer's backstory is that his mother has schizophrenia. His father eventually suffered too much stress when a neighbor murdered a child pedophile and Spencer's mother was a witness to the crime.
      You'd Expect: He would take Spencer with him. Spencer had nothing to do with what happened.
      Instead: He leaves his prepubescent son to take care of his mentally ill mother.
      The Result: A very bitter and older Spencer, who is now an FBI agent, investigates his father when he recalls memories of seeing a dead man. Spencer bluntly tells off his father for what he did and suspects him of being the murderer in a cold case. It's very ironic that his mother exonerates her ex-husband and identifies the real killer.
  • CSI
    • CSI Sara Sidle is kidnapped and trapped under a car by the Miniature Killer, right before a thunder storm hits the Las Vegas area and causes flash flooding. Fortunately, Sara is able to free herself before the flood waters can drown her, but she is still stranded in the middle of the Nevada desert with a broken arm, a head wound, and the rearview mirror she used to escape the car with.
      You'd Expect: That Sara would set up camp by the car that her colleagues at the Las Vegas PD and Crime Lab will no doubt be looking for, and use the mirror to signal to them when they get close.
      Instead: She wonders off into the desert, and nearly dies of heat stroke and dehydration before she can be rescued.
  • Dark Angel
    • Max comes across a transgenic who can see into the future. At one point he tells Max several actions he can see her taking in the near future, then is shocked when he sees her die as a result of these actions.
      You'd Expect: The guy would warn Max that she'll die if she does all the stuff he just told her about.
      Instead: He keeps quiet and just starts crying, leaving Max to assume she's supposed to do what he just said. He ends up dying because of his own idiocy when he throws himself in front of the bullet she would have taken.
  • Dead Like Me:
    • In the pilot, college dropout George Lass is interviewing for a temp job. George is a sarcastic young adult with a nihlistic view. It's revealed her mother pulled strings to get George this interview, which isn't for a great job but is for something.
      You'd Expect: She'd have followed basic job interview etiquette, even with the series set before the 2000s economic crash: dress business professional, prepare her answers, and be respectful. It isn't rocket science, it's just practice and selling yourself in the heat of the moment.
      Instead: George comes wearing a t-shirt and headphones, hasn't prepared her answers, and insults her interviewer when Dolores Herbig suggests she could smile and it would brighten her day.
      The Result: Delores, still smiling, gives George the worst possible job at Happy Time Temp in the office basement. George's mother calls out her daughter for being disrespectful.
      Fortunately: When George dies and becomes a Grim Reaper, she learns from her mistakes. When she interviews again at Happy Time Temp, she's wearing the same clothes she died in — "funeral clothes" as George called them — which are business professional, she isn't sarcastic, and she makes an effort to smile. That allows her to get a better job and Delores's friendship.
    • After George becomes a Grim Reaper, she's having a Logical Latecomer approach to all the arbitrary rules. Namely, she's upset at having to reap people who don't deserve to die, that she can't ever go back home or tell her family that she's undead, and that no one else will do the job or even pay you for it. Rube is the head of the local Reaping team, who is seeing George struggle with all the adjustments. It's implied that George reminds him of his daughter.
      You'd Expect: After George nearly messes up her first reap because she feels awful about having to "kill" a little girl, he would sit her down and lay all the rules on the table, and answering her questions. We're not sure how it went with Roxie, Betty and Mason, but surely Rube would empathize with George's Freak Out! attitude.
      Instead: Rube takes a Because I Said So attitude and only explains each of the rules after George breaks them and discovers the consequences. He hopes that eventually she will adjust to how arbitrary death is, especially in their department of "murders, suicides and accidents".
      The Result: Eventually, George's attempt at Loophole Abuse to save a CEO creates massive consequences, in that dozens of people die from the CEO's faulty product. George keeps denying what she did, even as she's crying alone in the bathroom from remorse at her actions, and Rube gives her a What the Hell, Hero? speech about how she can't play God because God is upper management and they are middle management.
    • Meanwhile, George's family is grieving her. George's little sister Reggie is feeling pain the most, since she and George weren't close in life and she can't comprehend how a toilet seat flew out of the sky and immolated her sister.
      You'd Expect: The family would go to grief counseling after the funeral.
      Instead: Joy and her husband Clancy act on their grief in varying ways, and leave Reggie to her own devices. George wants to reconnect with her family but can't because if she tries, she loses her memories
      The Result: Joy and Clancy separate when it comes out that George's father is having an affair with one of his students, a sweet girl named Charlotte. Reggie in turn starts acting out; this includes developing a phobia about using the bathroom at home, stealing toilet seats from her school and hanging them on a tree in the woods as a shrine to George, and talking to what she thinks is her sister using an Ouija Board. George finding the branches with hanging toilet seats is taken aback but can't do more than return some of them. Joy finally takes Reggie to counseling when she sees the tree shrine, after a lot of damage has been done. In the Grand Finale TV Movie, the rules bend for George to reveal herself to a teenage Reggie when the latter threatens to kill herself, which finally allows Reggie to move on from George's death.
    • In the Grand Finale movie Life After Death, Rube is allowed to move on and a new head Reaper replaces him. This guy believes that the reapers are Above Good and Evil and can selfishly use their positions to attain luxury.
      You'd Expect: Mason is one thing since he is a former drug addict and not the brightest tool in the shed, but that Roxie and Daisy would know better. Roxie has seen the consequences of reapers using their powers for selfish purposes.
      Instead: George is the Only Sane Man who has to remind everyone that the rules for reapers exist for a reason, since she spent most of Season One learning that the hard way. Her reap also gets messed up so that the person who should be dead is in a coma. Roxie, Daisy and Mason without question follow their boss's lead and engage in selfish pursuits.
      The Result: Massive consequences ensue, with all of the reapers feeling remorse for their actions. They have to brutally murder their boss, and George has to reap the boy in a coma, who happens to be Reggie's secret boyfriend, in Reggie's presence. Then once the chaos winds down, a reluctant George becomes their new boss due to being the only person that thought through the consequences of her actions.
  • The Demon Headmaster:
    • In the second episode, Lloyd, Dinah, and Harvey end up in trouble when Harvey starts up a snowball fight, the Prefects punish them by making them shovel snow, even after they manage to make a pile of snow, Rose and the Prefects take the punishment further by pushing them into the snow, not caring that Harvey has asthma, Dinah is not happy about this.
      You'd expect: That Dinah would wait till they got home and talk to Mrs. Hunter about what happened.
      Instead: She goes and yells at the Headmaster, and as a result the Headmaster hypnotizes her into telling a completely different story
  • In the second to last episode of Desperate Housewives season 6, Lynette finds out that Eddie, the strangler's mother, has been killed. she arrives at Eddie's house, and Eddie tells her that he just spoke with his mother and he's running away to Florida to see her.
    You'd expect: Lynette to play dumb as it appears she is ACTUALLY DOING at first, then get out of there and CALL THE POLICE.
    Instead: Lynette says that then that must not have been his mother, and Eddie now knows that she knows and the episode ends with her being held hostage as Eddie closes all the blinds.
  • Downton Abbey: Sybil is about to give birth to her child. Two men - Doctor Clarkson, the professional, and Sir Philip, a knighted Doctor from Harley Street - are both there to help. When problems occur, arguments begin.
    • You'd expect - that Robert, Sybil's father, would side with his wife, Cora, and listen to the freaking professional who has known Sybil for all of her life and will be able to save her!
    • Instead - Robert sides with Sir Philip. Sybil gives birth. Everything appears to be fine... then, Sybil has convulsions and dies from Eclampsia... as Doctor Clarkson said she would unless they operated. Cue the almost divorce between Robert and Cora.
  • The Dukes of Hazzard: Exercised several times by Boss Hogg and Rosco:
    • An episode from the series' final season – "When You Wish Upon a Hogg" – is built around this premise: two people so naive, child-like and stupid they are unable to question what's going on. Here, Boss Hogg's unethical, corrupt nephew, Hughie, has convinced Boss and Rosco into believing that an antique oil lamp contains a genie, who will help grant them wealth and a way to get rid of the Duke boys once and for all. The whole scheme is the result of Hughie's insight into his uncle and right-hand stooge (gullible individuals with the mentality of 7-year-olds, who can be tricked into believing anything with little to no convincing). Sure enough, everything unfolds exactly as Hughie plans, as the shockingly beautiful Trixie (Hughie's girlfriend, who played the seductress "genie") plays her part perfectly. Boss and Rosco – who should know that Hughie is corrupt and would normally have thrown him out of the county immediately – are so convinced that Trixie is legit that Bo and Luke can't even talk them out of taking the bait ... and the final steps toward their doom.
    • Of course, beautiful seductresses have caused plenty of trouble for Boss and Rosco before. Three years earlier, in "New Deputy in Town," Rosco fails to notice a simple FBI alert about a pair of criminals wanted for bank robbery and murder, one of whom is a beautiful, shapely, 20s-something woman named Linda Mae Barnes. One day, after Bo and Luke easily outwit Rosco for the day, Linda arrives and, impersonating a police officer, easily captures the Duke boys. An impressed Boss is SO turned on by Linda (as is Rosco) that he hires her on the spot ... neglecting to perform a simple background check that would have revealed many red flags. Coincidentally, Linda's arrival comes just as her boyfriend is scheduled to arrive for an overnight stay at the Hazzard County Jail... and it is left to Bo and Luke to do what Boss and Rosco should have done.
    • Even Enos – easily the most competent, honest lawman on the Hazzard County Sheriff's Department's force – has fallen into this trap several times. Most notably, he (along with Bo and Luke, surprisingly enough, and Boss (not surprisingly as all)) fail to immediately identify a criminal who exactly resembles Rosco as an imposter in "Too Many Roscos." Setup: Rosco had gotten into another accident during his usual daily cat-and-mouse game of the Duke boys, but this time, he is kidnapped by a trio of bank robbers, the ringleader being a man named Woody, who exactly resembles Rosco (James Best in a dual role). Days after Rosco is declared "dead," he is seen again and there is much joy and jubilation in Hazzard. Later, Rosco bungles simple facts, all while remembering in exact detail information about an expected armored car delivery to Hazzard Bank. When the fake Rosco talks about the armored car delivery, Enos – knowing that the phony had just bungled several facts about Bo and Luke – fails to call out Woody and instead begins to cry at Rosco's "weird" behavior; Bo and Luke, who normally would be very suspicious by "Rosco"'s unusual preoccupation on the armored car delivery, instead chalk it up to amnesia and a concussion and don't suspect a thing.
      • And what about the robbers themselves? You’d think: Having seamlessly pulled all of this off (see the entry in Criminal Doppelgänger), they would leave it at that and just hightail it out of town before anyone catches on. Instead: They bring the Dukes to their lair, where the imposter reveals himself and shows them where the real Rosco is being held. Rosco puts two and two together, and he is not pleased.
  • ER: Kerry Weaver is contacted by a private detective she hired to find her birth mother, who tells her that he's found the woman.
    You'd Expect: For her to make proper arrangements to meet with him to get the information.
    Instead: She leaves in the middle of her shift, with the ER clearly getting busy, without telling anyone where she's going. The result? A patient dies thanks to the errors made by the two less experienced doctors treating him. Doctors she should have been present to supervise.
  • Extant: After Ethan goes missing in the woods John gets angry at the Sheriff postponing the search for the morning. After the Sheriff questions the need to search for a robot he punches him and ends up getting not only himself but also his stepfather thrown into jail for the night. Enabling the ISEA to get to Molly without any interference.
  • Faking It: Shane Harvey, Camp Gay most popular man in an extremely liberal school, pegs Amy and Karma as lesbians, and outright says Amy is gay at a party, though she continuously and vociferously denies it.
    • You'd Expect: Shane would allow Amy to come out when she's ready, at the very least; at the very most, acknowledge he was wrong about her.
    • Instead: He publicly outs the two as gay at the party, and tries to get them elected homecoming queens.
    • You'd Expect: Totally straight Karma to be pissed at being outed as gay even though she's not.
    • Instead: Popularity-starved Karma sees how popular they are now, and decides to milk it for all it's worth, dragging Amy along with her. Thus, she inadvertently unlocks Amy's latent sexual attraction to her, gets the hottest guy in school to fall for her, and then for all hell to break loose when all the secrets come out.
  • Falling Skies: Tom Mason, who was a history professor before aliens came down and killed almost everyone, was on an alien ship. The Big Bad cites Hitler, Pol Pot and other dictators as examples of humanity to justify the aliens actions.
    • You'd Expect: That Professor Mason would point out the opposites of those, or at least cite a few visionaries who have overcome odds and lead in peace, helping their citizens. Ghandi. Nelson Mandella.
    • Instead: Tom stammers a bit and drops the ball.
  • Father Ted:
    • In "Competition Time", Mrs. Doyle tries to tempt Henry into drinking a glass of sherry without realising that he is a man who is currently on the wagon. At that point, Ted walks in.
      You'd Expect: For Ted to remind Mrs. Doyle that they already have an alcoholic in the house (Father Jack, a priest well-known for keeping absurd amounts of alcohol) and that she might want to put it away. Sure he might say Jack would go berserk if he saw Henry with what he would believe to be his alcohol, but it would be a start.
      Instead: He supports Mrs. Doyle's fanatical refusal to let any of her guests turn down any drink of any description, which naturally leads to disaster when she forces him to drink the sherry.
      But You'd Also Expect: That Father Dunne, who had brought Henry to Craggy Island, would have called ahead to warn Ted not to allow Henry near any alcohol, especially given that he's going to be sharing a house with Father Jack.
      Instead: He apparently forgets to do this.
    • In "Think Fast, Father Ted", Ted discovers that the car Brennan gave him for the raffle has a slight, but noticeable dent in it.
      You'd Expect: Ted to just leave it as it is; anyone who wins a car for the miniscule price of a raffle ticket isn't going to be bothered about a slight dent. At most, contact Brennan and try to persuade him to pay for the car to be repaired.
      Instead: Ted decides to try repairing the dent himself with a hammer... and after a few hours of tapping, manages to completely destroy the car.
    • In "A Song for Europe", Ted and Dougal are listening to a B-side from a previous EuroSong entrant, and realise that its music matches the lyrics of their song perfectly.
      You'd Expect: They would check up on the song's history to ensure that it is really as obscure as they think it is.
      Instead: They decide to plagiarise the song's music for their lyrics without checking its history. Cue Ted panicking when he realises that it is actually well known.
    • "Cigarettes and Alcohol and Rollerblading" contains a phone conversation with Ted and his rival Dick, in which Dick tells Ted that he is giving up smoking for Lent, with his two companions also giving up their vices, and asks Ted to do the same.
      You'd Expect: Ted would quiz Dick on whatever he is telling the truth or not.
      Instead: He believes Dick without any question, and naturally it eventually turns out that Dick is still smoking like a chimney, Father Johnson is drinking copious amounts of booze, and Father MacDuff is still rollerblading.
    • This label can be applied to Dougal in general, between placing rabbits in a Bishop's bedroom, selling the house to a feminist and ruining a funeral.
      • Speaking of the funeral, he only volunteered to do it since Ted (who was supposed to have been doing it) was distracted by unrelated matters and had gone for a walk.
        You'd Expect: Mrs. Doyle to persuade Dougal to wait for Ted to come back, and/or try to convince whoever is doing the funeral to delay it for about a day.
        Instead: She lets Dougal on his way.
    • In "Chirpy Burpy Cheap Sheep", Ted has just realised that a champion sheep's recent troubles with a 'beast' in the build-up to a new sheep competition are due to the farmer who owns the sheep arranging to have him scared. Effectively, that means the competition has been rigged, because the sheep has been entered into that competition.
      You'd Expect: Ted to remember that he bet the heating budget for the parochial house on that particular sheep, and confront the farmer on his way home from the ceremony where the winner is announced, and threaten to expose the scam if the farmer does not admit to it in front of the islanders.
      Instead: He interrupts the aforementioned ceremony and exposes the scam there and then. This results in the parochial house being without heating for the winter.
    • In "Speed 3", Ted is stuck in a situation involving Dougal on a milkfloat that, because of a bomb, will blow up if it goes below 4 mph.
      You'd Expect: Ted and those helping him to realise that this is (A) too dangerous for them to get Dougal out of without either having something handy to keep the speed of the milkfloat above 4 or killing themselves, and (B) a situation similar to a certain Keanu Reeves film.
      Instead: First they try performing a Mass dangerously close to the milkfloat. Then they fail to spot the Whole Plot Reference and get caught up with talking off-hand about The Towering Inferno, and irrelevantly watching The Poseidon Adventure only because 'Gene Hackman stars as a priest in it'.
      Implications: Firstly, the Mass example. If Dougal had let the milkfloat's speed fall below 4, not only would he be dead meat, but it's possible Ted and the others would have been caught in the explosion and been either burnt alive or get killed by flying debris. The second one relates to the film example; by the time they are able to figure out that they should 'put a brick on the accelerator', Dougal could have let the milkfloat's speed slip below 4, leaving no-one to save.
  • In FlashForward (2009), there is a group called the Blue Hand. None of the members have had flashforwards, implying that they will die between the present and the time of the flash forward.
    You'd Expect: They'd try to find out when they will be killed, and orchestrate events so that everything will be as they want it when they die, possibly using the Mosaic site or even the other members of the Blue Hand to put their plans on fast-track. In short, doing what Demetri is doing. Or they'd even consider possibilities like being asleep at the time flash-forwards were showing.
    Instead: They start committing suicide together. Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, anyone?
    • The people who did have flash forwards weren't much smarter. The flash forwards are all of the same 2-minute period, and they're all consistent with each other, i.e. if you saw yourself discussing work in a London office with a co-worker, the other co-worker had a flash-forward of themselves discussing work with you. Plus, thanks to everyone putting their flash-forwards into the FBI's Mosaic database, you don't have the Prophecy Twist excuse either; the details as well as the exact date/time of the flash-forward period should be available to everyone. Some people had bad flashforwards that seemed to predict horrible, tragic or life-altering events.
      You'd Expect: As far as Screw Destiny goes, this is the easiest one ever. To stop your flash-forward from coming true, just make sure that on April 29th, you are as far away from wherever you saw yourself at the time. Only Olivia seems to comprehend this when she suggests to her husband Mark that the family move to a different house to avoid the flash-forward of her being involved with Lloyd (and effectively separated from Mark).
      Instead: Through various contrivances, most everyone who didn't die is exactly where they should be to have their flash forward vision or some approximation of it including Olivia who doesn't sleep with Lloyd but kisses him anyway. This isn't You Can't Fight Fate, it's "You didn't even try".
  • Flavor of Love
    • In Season 2, episode 7, Bluckeey overhears Krazy gossipping to New York about the other girls in the house. Buckeey wants to give Krazy a piece of her mind.
      You'd Expect: For Buckeey to only confront Krazy verbally only, since Krazy never made any attempt to assault Buckeey.
      Instead: Buckeey does confront Krazy verbally, at first. When Krazy attempts to shove Buckeey to get her out of her way, Buckeey uses it as an excuse to assault Krazy and almost push her off of the balcony.
      The Funny Thing Is: Buckeey lampshades that Krazy is foolish for speaking with New York because New York was only using Krazy to start a fight to get someone eliminated. By Buckeey attacking Krazy, Buckeey foolishly took the bait.
      As A Result: Buckeey is eliminated because she was discovered to be the aggressor of the fight between her and Krazy.
  • In the first season finale of Forever, Adam (a 2,000-year-old evil immortal) shoots protagonist immortal Henry with the flintlock that could cause Henry's Final Death. As Adam gloats over Henry's dying body, Henry quickly stabs Adam in the neck with a syringe and injects air into Adam's brainstem. This visibly affects Adam.
    You'd expect: Adam to quickly kill himself and use his Resurrective Immortality to heal himself and undo whatever damage Henry just did.
    Instead: Adam stumbles into a crowded subway station, which is stupid because his body disappears whenever he dies, and that might draw unwanted attention. But he doesn't die, he just collapses — the air injection causes an embolism and causes Adam to get Locked-In Syndrome, meaning that he can see and hear but can't move or communicate, confining him to a hospital bed indefinitely since he never ages and now can't kill himself. And to top it all off, Henry resurrects anyway.
  • In Fort Boyard, there's a game ("Ventouse" in French; "Burglary" in English) in which the player has to cross a room containing ladders, hammocks and tables without letting anything touch the floor. If at any time anything touches the floor that shouldn't, game over, the player gets locked in. Also, the key they need to get is inside a sealed container, which can only be opened using a suction cup carried with them.
    You'd expect: The lock-ins to be caused by the genuinely hard final obstacle, the unstable hammock, or the time running out.
    Instead: Quite a few times, once they get the key out, they suddenly forget the floor is alarmed. They throw the suction cup on the floor, alarms go off, locked in. It gets worse though. One player in 2006 thought that the first (about half-meter) jump onto a table couldn't be done straight, so stuck the suction cup onto the wall, began to swing from it, and looked genuinely shocked when he realised that the suction cup (that was only supposed to lift up a bit of plastic) couldn't take his body weight, it popped off, and so he dropped to the floor in what was probably the quickest lock-in ever.
  • Frasier: In the episode "Can't Buy Me Love", Frasier wins a date with an attractive model named Kristina at a bachelor auction. On the night of the date, Kristina had a last minute shoot scheduled and has to postpone the date while leaving her bratty daughter Renata in Frasier's care, promising to make it up to him when she returns. During their unpleasant evening together, Renata tells Frasier about how neglectful and abusive Kristina is to her (abandoning Renata to get a shoulder tattoo, lying about her age, making her do daily weigh-ins), all the way up until Kristina comes to pick her up.
    You'd Expect: That Frasier, being a highly experienced psychiatrist, would calmly ask Kristina her side of the story, on account of the fact that Renata might have lied through her teeth to get attention.
    Instead: Frasier takes Renata's word for it and tears into Kristina for her poor treatment of Renata.
    As a Result: Kristina gets angry, debunks Renata's stories (particularly by showing that she has no shoulder tattoo) and leaves Frasier alone for the evening.
  • The Fresh Prince Of BelAir
    • Will is offered amphedimines from a classmate to help him stay awake and keep up with all his extracuricular activities. He reluctantly accepts them even though he's not really interested.
      You'd expect Will would simply throw the pills in the trash or flush them down the toilet. Just Get rid of them by any means nessecary.
      Instead he throws them in his locker and eventually forgets about them.
      As A Result Carlton get a hold of them, mistakes them for Vitamin E pills and ends up nearly dying for an overdose. After Confessing to his Uncle Phil, He rightfully asks how Will "Could be so stupid"!

  • Friends
    • Ross is known to do a lot of stupid things due to being more interested in being proven right than getting along with people, but the whole "we were on a break" saga probably takes the cake. When their relationship is strained, Rachel suggests they take a break (from the relationship), which Ross understands as a breakup since he's already convinced himself she's been cheating on him anyway. He is very upset and gets drunk, and wakes up with the girl from the copy place. He seems remorseful and doesn't want Rachel to find out or it'll ruin things. Eventually, Rachel finds out.
      You'd expect Ross to say something like "I was so upset over losing you that I got drunk and this just happened. I'm sorry."
      Instead he claims he was completely justified and it was all her fault.
    • Rachel eventually then decides to write a very lengthy letter to Ross, telling him that if he accepts full responsibility for his actions, she can start to trust him again.
      You'd Expect Ross to simply forget about trying to justify his actions in the past and move on so he can be with Rachel. Even Joey and Chandler point this out to him!
      Instead, Ross, during sex with Rachel while she gives him credit for manning up to his mistakes, wants to prove that he isn't fully responsible for what he did. He screams "WE WERE ON A BREAK!" and then proceeds to admit that never read the letter before accepting its terms simply because it was too long and when he did finally read it, he didn't agree with it because he feels the break up wasn't all his fault. Ross and Rachel promptly break up and proceed to make each other miserable as possible for the next season or two as revenge.
    • Phoebe in "The One with the Cop" finds a police badge in the coffeehouse.
      You'd Expect: Phoebe to hand the badge over to a police precinct so they can find the owner.
      Instead: Phoebe uses the badge to pretend to be a cop. In case you're unaware, this happens to be illegal. She eventually gets caught by a real cop who is the owner of the badge. You'd also expect the cop to arrest Phoebe for impersonating him, but he decides to ask her out on a date instead.
    • In the season 9 finale, Chandler uses Ross' laptop to check his e-mails. Chandler, being knowledgeable about computers and the internet, should know about the pitfalls about e-mails from strangers.
      You'd Expect: Chandler to not open strange emails, especially ones promising free porn.
      Instead: Chandler opens the e-mail anyway and gets Ross' laptop infected with a virus, which deletes Ross' keynote speech that he had typed up. This would have gotten Ross in trouble since he had to make a speech the next day but Charlie managed to help him recreate the speech.
    • In "The One with the Sharks", Monica walks in on Chandler masturbating to porn; When she enters the room, Chandler jumps up and quickly changes the channel to a shark documentary.
      You'd Expect: Monica to understand that Chandler simply changed the channel away from his porn when he heard her come in.
      Instead: Monica thinks that Chandler has a shark fetish.
    • In "The One with Ross's Grant", Ross is a finalist for a big scientific grant, but unfortunately, the grant is being administered by Benjamin Hobart, the ex-boyfriend of Ross's girlfriend Charlie. Hobart asks Ross to break up with Charlie. When Ross refuses, Hobart sabotages him during a group interview with all the finalists, then informs Ross that the grant is his if he'll break up with Charlie.
      You'd Expect: Ross to file a formal complaint against Hobart, whose actions constitute a major ethics violation.
      Instead: Ross's only action is to tell Charlie that her ex-boyfriend sabotaged him because he's still in love with her. Charlie finds this notion romantic and gets back together with him. And even after losing both the grant and his girlfriend, Ross still does nothing.
    • During season 5, Monica and Chandler are having an affair. At first it's just sex, and they decide to keep the whole thing a secret from everyone, because it probably won't last long. However, after a while it becomes evident to the them they're actually in a serious relationship.
      You'd expect: Monica and Chandler to finally tell the truth to their friends, since most likely they would be nothing but happy for the couple.
      Instead: For reasons that aren't quite clear, Monica and Chandler feel they're "not ready" to spill the beans on their relationship. So in order to cover their tracks, they have to keep telling increasingly complex and ludicrous lies to their best friends for months. And when said friends eventually discover the truth, they're nothing but happy for the couple.
  • In the Full House episode, "Sisters in Crime", D.J. is forced to babysit Michelle and Stephanie while their Father, Danny and Uncles Joey and Jesse participate in a charity ice hockey game and Becky takes her twin sons out to her Aunt's. D.J.'s boyfriend, Steve comes over to take her to the movies, but instead of staying home to babysit, D.J. takes both Stephanie and Michelle with them. Later, D.J. gives Stephanie and Michelle some of the money and they decide to buy some food.
    You'd Expect: Michelle and Stephanie to come to their sister before buying food, since the money D.J gave them goes to two extra tickets while Steve buys her the other two tickets.
    Instead: They spend all their money on food. Unfortunately, Steve doesn't have any more money to buy them two extra tickets.
    As A Result: DJ hatches a plan to get her friend, Kimmy to let Michelle and Stephanie sneak into a movie with her and Steve when they only have two tickets. They later get busted for sneaking.

    Live-Action TV G-L 
  • Galavant
    • In the pilot, a great hero Galavant tries to save his love Madalena from being forced to marry King Richard. Only, it turns out that Madalena would rather marry a king, becoming the most powerful woman in the land, than marry a hero. Galavant as a result goes into Heroic BSoD, being drunk all the time and leaving his squire Sid to care for him. King Richard realizes he's in over his head when he can never please his wife, who keeps comparing him to Galavant and demanding so many objects. He thinks the only thing he can do is slay the hero.
      You'd Expect: King Richard knows that Galavant has been reduced to a drunk and a year of not fighting puts a man out of shape. So he should just send an assassin with a knife for Galavant's back or poison for his next round of ale.
      Instead: Richard blackmails a princess to seek Galavant for help and tell him that Madalena regrets marrying the king, to lure him to the kingdom he just conquered, Valencia. Valencian Princess Isabella is reluctant about this, especially when seeing that Galavant for all his flaws means well. It also results in Galavant getting back into shape and working at regaining his former glory, returning him to the threat he was before Madalena betrayed him. Oops. Also it means that Galavant eventually realizes that Madalena isn't worth his affection, since she never even loved him. While Richard's plan works, it ends up getting upset by Madalena's plan, which could have been avoided if he had simply hired an assassin.
  • Glee:
    • In "Preggers", Finn's strongly Christian girlfriend, the president of the school's Celibacy Club, informs him that she's pregnant thanks to an incident involving his little problem with extremely premature ejaculation and a hot tub (while they were both fully clothed).
      You'd expect: That he'd do a little research and find out that that's not physically possible, and ask Quinn what she's so afraid of that she feels the need to tell such a huge lie.
      Instead: He believes her without question. By the time "Ballads" rolls around, he decides that the best thing to do is to tell Quinn's even more conservatively Christian parents about her pregnancy. By singing 'You're Having My Baby' to her. At their dinner table. The first time he has been formally introduced to them. The scene ends with Quinn's father giving her thirty minutes - by the microwave timer - to pack her clothes and get out of the house, and is it any wonder?
    • In "Born This Way", Santana Lopez accuses David Karofsky of being gay, her proof being that she saw him check out the bottom of Sam Evans, a boy who was getting a drink of water from a fountain.
      You'd expect: He'd either deny any memory of it, or he'd claim that he was thirsty and looked to see who was at the fountain. All she really had was that she saw him look at a person who was getting a drink.
      Instead: He claims he was just looking to see what type of jeans Sam had on. Ironically, if Kurt Hummel, an openly gay teenager, had said that he was checking out the clothes another boy was wearing rather than the boy himself, it would've likely been true and many people would've had no trouble believing him. However, when a macho athlete who has never shown any sort of interest in fashion tries to use such an excuse, then, yeah, it's going to ring some bells. Or to quote Santana, "Like that's any less gay."
    • Jesse St. James has messed up badly. When he transferred from Vocal Adrenaline to New Directions and then back, he started and horribly ended a relationship with Rachel Berry, who truly loved him, under the pressure of his classmates and former coach Shelby Corcoran. When he graduates and is away from the toxic influence of his friends, he realizes that he wants to win Rachel back and truly regrets that his last act towards her was to lure her into a trap and egg her. New Directions as a whole team views Jesse as a quisling all but tell him This Is Unforgivable!, not helped by Vocal Adrenaline winning first place at Regionals in Season One while New Directions placed third.
      You'd Expect: Jesse's first act of damage control would be to apologize to everyone at New Directions and admit the truth: Shelby told him to transfer so that she and Rachel could reconcile since Shelby was her biological mother, but he did develop feelings for Rachel while seducing her. Then he would offer to do what he could to earn her trust back, as well as the trust of New Directions. He didn't just break Rachel's heart and egg her after transferring back to Vocal Adrenaline, but he also betrayed a team. As Kurt, who hates Rachel the most, puts it, only New Directions is allowed to humiliate her.
      Instead: Jesse's main goal of making amends is to kiss Rachel's butt and flatter her. As she considers forgiving him, Kurt points out that he "made breakfast" on her head and hasn't shown that he actually loves her. When Will hires Jesse to provide consultant advice on New Directions' rehearsals, Jesse spends the whole time giving legitimate criticism to everyone except Rachel. This doesn't endear him or show that he's reformed.
      The Result: While Rachel is tempted, she ultimately gets back together with Finn who for all his faults didn't betray the entire team or egg her. The team also ignores his advice, which means they do poorly at Nationals. It's not until several years later and Finn is out of the picture due to Rachel moving to New York that Jesse earns his second chance with Rachel and finally proves he has changed for the better.
  • Good Luck Charlie:
    • "The Curious Case of Mr. Dabney". A football from the Duncans' ends up outside the door of the Dabneys' house. Gabe sends P.J. to sneak over and recover it. When he gets to their porch, as he is about to pick up the football, he hears Mrs. Dabney calling out from inside the house.
      You'd expect: That P.J. would immediately grab the football and get the hell out of there, rather than listen to her babbling.
      Instead: Freaked out, he jumps behind the fence, then tries to camoflauge his face with bush. Mrs. Dabney looks outside, then goes back in. After P.J. leaves, she comes back outside and pokes the football with a grilling fork, de-inflating the air out of it and making it useless.
    • In the special, "Good Luck Charlie, It's Christmas", the entire character of Petunia Blankenhooper can be summed up as this. At the beginning of the special, Amy is on the phone with her, reminding her to toddler-proof her house because Charlie is at a very rambunctious age where she will grab and/or knock over anything within her reach, proven when Charlie knocks over the cookie jar.
      You'd expect: Petunia to listen to Amy's advice and keep absolutely everything out of places where Charlie could grab and/or knock them over.
      Instead: While she does put everything else away, she leaves the Christmas decorations in places that are within Charlie's reach, including a one-of-a-kind porcelain reindeer that hasn't been made in 50 years. When Bob arrives, he asks Petunia if she could put the Christmas decorations away.
      You'd then expect: Petunia to listen to Bob and put the Christmas decorations where Charlie can't reach them.
      Instead: She ignores Bob's advice and tells him that if he told Charlie not to touch them, she will leave them alone. This was the same approach she used on her children when they were young. While it may have worked on them back then, it doesn't work with Charlie, as she soon starts knocking over the Christmas decorations, including the porcelain reindeer, which Bob manages to catch before it falls to the floor and breaks. Petunia catches Bob with the reindeer and asks him what he's doing. Bob is about to explain, but Charlie interrupts him, saying "Bad daddy!".
      You'd then expect: Petunia to give Bob a chance to explain why he was holding her porcelain reindeer.
      Instead: Petunia believes Charlie and blames Bob for the trouble she caused. Later, after P.J. and Gabe return from the pool and P.J. gets sunburned, Charlie knocks over the Christmas tree. Petunia clearly sees Charlie behind the knocked-over Christmas tree.
      You'd then expect: Petunia to give Charlie a firm but fair punishment, like a five-minute time-out.
      Instead: Petunia continues to blame Bob for the trouble Charlie causes, despite clearly seeing Charlie behind the knocked-over Christmas tree. She then punishes Bob by making him stay in her room and locking it, complete with a candy cane decoration in between the two door handles.
  • The Good Place:
    • In life, it was revealed that Eleanor was a terrible person. The least-awful but Jerkass thing she did was shirk designated-driver duties with her coworkers after they go to bars. One notices that when Eleanor is in charge of picking a name out of a hat, Eleanor is never chosen. Eleanor eats up all the papers with names and claims she did in on principle.
      You'd Expect: Her coworkers would lay down an ultimatum: either Eleanor volunteers a shift, or she's disinvited. This would matter to Eleanor since socializing with coworkers helps with her career.
      Instead: They expect Eleanor will honor a rotation system since she can't fudge that.
      The Result: Eleanor finds a loophole by drinking ahead of time and being too sloshed to drive. By the time she is banned from drinks night, she doesn't care.
    • Another horrendous thing Eleanor did involved a viral story called "Dress Bitch". Eleanor asked to borrow her wealthy roommate's dress. Madison told her no because it just got back from the dry-cleaners, and that the dress is worth more than Eleanor's weekly salary. Eleanor in a fury goes to "borrow" the dress for the evening, which happens to be too small for her.
      You'd Expect: She'd carefully put it on, since it's a thousand dollar dress and she wants to wear it for a fun night. And if she can't zip it up but still wants to wear it, she can cover it with a jacket.
      Instead: She struggles with the zipper and rips it badly. Then she stuffs it back into the dry cleaner packaging, rather than confess to Madison and offer to pay for the damage.
      The Result: Eleanor's actions means that Madison mistakenly blames the dry cleaner for the torn dress, and bankrupts the dry cleaner with an emotional damages lawsuit. Then Eleanor and her roommate notice that the story goes viral, with Madison going Never My Fault at being called "dress bitch," and decide to sell t-shirts with the meme and an embarrassing photo of Madison. Michael hears the story when having to assess Eleanor's moral character and is visibly horrified. The fact that he was faking his reaction doesn't negate the horrible qualities of Eleanor's actions. And to emphasize that she messed up, Madison ends their friendship when Eleanor finally confesses.
    • In the first season finale, Eleanor reaches a horrifying Eureka Moment as she, her "soulmate" Chidi, Tahani and Jason argue which two of them should go to the Bad Place: they're in the Bad Place because they are all torturing each other. This means that Michael and Shawn, the supposed angels of the Good Place, are actually demons.
      You'd Expect: Eleanor would play dumb and find a solution that allows everyone to keep torturing each other to buy some time.
      Instead: She smugly announces to the group and Michael that they're all in the Bad Place and no one is going on a train there. She forgets that Michael by this logic is a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing and has power akin to being an angel.
      The Result: Michael does a reboot, wiping everyone's memories, and keeps doing it every time one of the quartet figures it out, totaling about eight hundred times. The only reason Michael doesn't do this continuously is because he comes to care for them and learns ethics from Chidi.
    • Meanwhile, we have Michael. He proposed to his boss Shawn about creating a new form of torture, by pretending that this circle of hell is The Good Place. The torture comes from humans being around each other. Shawn points out that it wouldn't work because humans by nature are unpredictable, and capable of change. There are too many "variables" in his words. Nevertheless, Shawn is willing to give Michael's a shot since the older tortures are getting stale, and he enjoys seeing his underlings fail so that he can "retire" them.
      You'd Expect: Michael to study humans intently. Shawn makes it clear that he does not tolerate failure..
      You'd Also Expect: Knowing Vicky's Attention Whore tendencies, Michael would give her a big part no matter how many times he has to reboot. It's revealed she enjoys torturing Chidi the most and it would make sense to pair them each time the reboots happen.
      Instead: Michael smugly sets up the Good Place torture neighborhood, brings in the four new souls, and plays the part of a Nervous Wreck who wants to save all of his new human friends from the crises that plague them in this so-called utopian afterlife. His biggest mistake is pairing up Eleanor with an ethics professor as her soulmate, and giving Eleanor an incentive to truly perform a Heel–Face Turn as Michael starts framing her for the neighborhood chaos. Vicky is only brought in when Eleanor confesses to being the chaos magnet in the Good Place, to play the "real" good Eleanor Eleanor who ended up damned by accident. When he reboots the first time, he gives Vicky a bit part, much to her annoyance.
      The Result: Michael's plan lies on the assumption that humans are static beings. People aren't, which any keen observer would know. Each time the reboot happens, Eleanor changes for the better, as do the other humans in this Good Place, because of their friendships and bonds, and because Eleanor tells herself to find Chidi so that he can teach her to be a good person. Chidi is forced to confront that his focus on being good meant that he caused harm for his friends, colleagues, and family; Jason in the meantime faces consequences for his lack of intelligence and empathy; and Tahani learns that doing good deeds for selfish reasons doesn't earn you brownie points no matter how many lives you save or families you feed. Eleanor is heartbroken to find out that in one reboot she came to love Chidi, which he reciprocated, and Michael erased that during an attempt to thwart him. After 802 times of Michael rebooting the neighborhood, Vicky blackmails Michael to take control of the neighborhood and the other demons mutiny because they hate pretending to be good people all the time. Oh, and when Michael becomes more human during his Enemy Mine with Eleanor and her friends, he suffers a Heel Realization about why torturing people truly is bad when they rely on him for trust.
    • Shawn is bad at setting up useful incentives for those under his authority. At the end of season one, Shawn threatens to retire Michael if his plan fails a second time.
    • You'd Expect: If Shawn actually intended to follow through on his threat, he should have monitored Michael in some way so that he would be sure to know if Michael screwed up again. If he didn't intend to follow through, then it might have been wiser not to make a threat he didn't mean.
    • Instead: Shawn leaves Michael to carry on without oversight for over three hundred years and believes Michael's reports on the project without question or confirmation.
    • The Result: As soon as his second attempt falls apart, Michael's only options become "lie to Shawn indefinitely" or "suffer gruesomely for eternity". Eventually, he becomes desperate enough to bargain with his human prisoners, ultimately resulting in his becoming friends with them, having a crisis of conscience after Janet starts glitching from a broken heart, and helping them escape from the Bad Place. Shawn, who finds himself at risk of negative attention from his own superiors when Michael's deceit is uncovered, is totally shocked by this turn of events. Michael even lampshades this when Shawn confronts him about his betrayal; he admits that he cribbed all the torture reports on the four humans from Stephen King novels, so Shawn was obviously not paying attention to them and praising the details.
    • "The Trolley Problem": As part of the Enemy Mine with Michael, Chidi is giving an ethics lesson. He's discussing the trolley problem, which is do you let five people die or sacrifice one person to save those lives. Eleanor goes for the utilitarian method — save five people by letting one die — but Michael, being a demon, thinks you have to make sure everyone dies and suggests beheading the sixth person. He's displeased to find that all the humans, even Jason, have done better in ethics than he has.
      You'd Expect: Chidi to not antagonize Michael, who has tortured him, wiped memories of the torture, and gaslit him. That would be akin to Bullying a Dragon, and even if Chidi is right, he's been tortured as it is.
      Instead: Chidi says that he knows more about ethics due to it being his life's work.
      The Result: Michael, after getting an evil glint in his eye, makes Chidi live through the trolley problem, and multiple variants of it, to mess with him. Chidi gets covered in blood and gore every time, and kicks Michael out of his ethics class briefly when Eleanor realizes what Michael is doing.
    • In Season Three, the Judge allows Team Cockroach a second chance at life on Earth, where they can truly earn their spots in the Good Place without being influenced by knowing their actions will be judged. Each of them tries post near-death experience to become a better person, but circumstances and temptation lure them back to their old ways. A reformed Heel–Face Turn Michael on observing his friends realizes that they can't succeed alone, separated on different continents, so he goes down to Earth to nudge them towards each other. Janet warns Michael that the Judge told them not to interfere, but eventually goes along with his scheme because she also wants Team Cockroach to succeed.
      You'd Expect: Michael would take precautions and disguise himself better when making the nudges.
      Instead: Michael goes for Paper-Thin Disguise and puts on four different identities to convince everyone to come together in Australia. He tells Janet that the judge is too busy watching television to pay attention to the test.
      Predictably: The Judge finds out, and gives him a What the Hell, Hero? because his meddling is messing up the timeline. She sentences Michael and Janet to return to the Bad Place, even though it guarantees eternal torture for them, and exiles them when they bail to Earth.
    • Meanwhile, Shawn is annoyed and angry that Michael outsmarted him, saved the human, and escaped to the Judge's refuge. He finds out about the test. Shawn knows that the system is so black and white that no one has entered the Good Place since 1497, based on what he later boasts to Michael.
      You'd Expect: Shawn would either rat out Michael to the Judge since that would disqualify Team Cockroach by default and land Michael in hot water, or play The Long Game and wait for everyone to die a second time since the system is rigged against most humans succeeding.
      Instead: He sends Trevor to Earth to sabotage the group. Then when Trevor fails by some bad luck of the Judge busting him as well, Shawn decides to create a portal to Earth and forcibly drag everyone back to the Bad Place.
      The Result: Shawn underestimates how dangerous Janet can be, even without her powers. She starts a bar brawl with the demons to protect all the humans, while Jason clonks as many as he can with pool balls and Tahani knocks out one with a pool cue. Michael tag-teams with Janet to send the demons to the Judge via his portal key, and finally sends Shawn to confront her as well. And Shawn's comment on how the humans' families and Doug Forcett are doomed motivates Michael to investigate the system and find the rigging.
    • During said fight, Janet is a One-Woman Army who is fending off several demons at once. With that said, she can be overwhelmed and outnumbered. Val nearly marbelizes her if not for Jason's timely throw with a pool ball.
      You'd Expect: The other demons would follow Val's example and try to marbelize Janet, or do what Chris did and grab the humans while Janet is occupied. Chris came very close to dragging Chidi and Eleanor back to the Bad Place by brute force.
      Instead: Two demons grab Janet and force her halfway through the Bad Place portal.
      The Result: Janet gets her powers back when she grasps the afterlife aura and uses them to thrash the rest of the demons, including Shawn. It also allows her to store the humans in her void, albeit by killing them.
    • The Soul Sqaud has arrived at the Good Place....in the mailroom. Michael tells the humans to pretend they won a contest while he talks with the Good Place Committee. Tahani wants to help Jason and Janet after learning they were married in the first reboot, and Janet still has feelings for Jason. Janet has to pose as a Neutral Janet, which she hates because she's had a rough time storing four humans in the void.
      You'd Expect: Tahani would realize now is not the time. As Michael puts it, the fate of all humanity is at stake.
      Instead: She tries to pull Iwant My Beloved To Be Happy and get Jason and Janet to talk about their feelings.
      Predictably: Jason and Janet aren't ready to confront their past, which Jason doesn't remember, and their cover is blown when the three of them start crying. The only positive benefit is it helps Michael realize that unintended consequences send people to the Bad Place.
    • At the end of season three, the Judge gets a Jerkass Realization about how it is hard to be a morally good person after spending thirty years as a human. She decides to redo Michael's experiment, with four new humans, to see if the fake Good Place would improve their point totals. Shawn has been Easily Forgiven apparently for breaking the rules and says that Michael didn't measure point totals. Gen acknowleges he's right, and Chidi admits the only way to know is to measure them.
      You'd Expect: Given she knows everything that she would choose the four humans themselves. Michael and Janet at least have good intentions on their side for breaking the rules. Shawn just cares about his ego.
      Instead: She gives the Bad Place permission to choose four humans whose point totals were equal to that of the original Team Cockroach. There are limitations, like no serial killers, warmongers, rapists or people who are irredeemable, but given Eleanor is a jerk, that still creates some leeway.
      Predictably: Shawn finds a loophole by choosing humans that the Soul Squad knew in their lives so they will skew the experiment. Everyone is shocked and saddened when Chidi's ex Simone is chosen, and Chidi decides to erase his memories so as not to compromise the new neighborhood.
    • In season four, Shawn gets this again. He has succeeded in tormenting the Soul Squad with his choice of the first three humans. Jason is also tormenting himself with his jealousy towards a refined Derek.
      You'd Expect: He would keep it up by using people they knew, with the benefit of Jeremy Bearimy time. Eleanor would be broken if having to face her mother, stepfather or stepsister. Jason would also be undeniably sad if Donkey Doug or Pillboi were chosen.
      Instead: But just to seal the deal, he decides to send a demon with a bodysuit to pose as the fourth human chosen for the experiment.
      You'd Then Expect: Shawn to choose one of the most competent and crafty demons in The Bad Place, to ensure the ruse succeeds. Vicky would be a good candidate, given how convincingly she played "Real Eleanor" in the original fake good place.
      Instead: Shawn chooses Chris for the assignment, who not only is not the brightest fire in Hell, but also has proven himself to be very bad at pulling off masquerades. In fact, him being chosen to be Eleanor's new soulmate in the second good place reboot was a big contributor to why Eleanor figured out the truth in just one day..
      The Result: Chris' bad acting and lack of interest in anything in the neighborhood (besides peppermints) quickly makes the group suspicious. He eventually blows his cover when he grows tired of Eleanor and Michael constnatly asking him to do...well, anything and starts attacking them, as well as some of the other fake residents, blowing his cover. Gen is furious when she learns of this, assigns a mind-wiped Chidi as the fourth human, and threatens to torture Shawn if he tries to interfere again. Chris even protests to Shawn, "I'm not an actor.".
  • Gotham: Barbara Keen manages something along these lines in her every appearance, but special mention probably goes to badgering her boyfriend into revealing secret details of an active police investigation, giving out keys to her cop fiancee's residence in a mob-owned town, and 'leaving town' to flee from the police drama by... staying in town. With another policeman. Note that the backstory indicates she has dated cops almost exclusively, and doesn't have unfamiliarity with the situation as an excuse.
  • Greek: The main sorority house is given a national consultant, Lizzi, who's there to oversee the house's recovery after a newspaper scandal takes them down a few pegs. In a slightly passive-aggressive fashion at the first meeting, she intimates that she does have disciplinary power over the house.
    You'd Expect: Casey, the president, would at least work with Lizzi, or even confront her when some decisions Lizzi makes might not get the house's damaged social standing back.
    Instead: Casey sulks silently to Ashleigh and lets Lizzi run roughshod over the house without actual protest. What power she does have is that which goes behind Lizzi's back, with nearly disastrous consequences...nearly every time.
  • Grimm: After Captain Renard breaks a spell on Nick's girlfriend Juliette, they become obsessed with each other as a side effect. Renard goes to Monroe for help, emphasizing that the connection is probably magical and that he wants it broken. When Renard brings Juliette to the shop for consultation, they lose control and start kissing; Monroe sees them and recognizes Juliette.
    You'd Expect: that when he tells Nick, he would be sure to explain the whole situation, making clear that it's a magical effect and they want to be disentangled.
    Instead: Monroe just tells Nick that he saw Juliette kissing another man. As an afterthought, he suggests that it might be related to the spell she had on her...but since he doesn't say why he thinks that, it comes off as grasping at straws. Unsurprisingly, Nick gets entirely the wrong idea.
  • Heroes
    • At the end of Season 1, the Company captures Sylar. They inject him with a virus that suppresses his powers. That's a pretty smart idea. But then there's the question of what to do with him afterward.
      You'd expect - That they would keep him in a cell in one of their facilities, with armed guards, scientists to run tests on him, and security systems that would work to prevent his escape, and inform them if he succeeded.
      Instead - They put him in a shack in the middle of nowhere with absolutely nothing to prevent him from just walking out, and only one guard. She proceeds to have her own What an Idiot! moment when she carefully demonstrates her powers of illusion to the psychotic power-stealing serial killer, then does nothing as he acts threateningly towards her and shortly attacks and kills her. Finally, the Company apparently has no way of telling whether Sylar has escaped, as he is able to walk away from the shack for three days without any pursuit.
    • Near the end of season 1, where Mohinder has captured Sylar (whom he knows is a multiple murderer), taken what DNA information he needed from him, and then tried to shoot him in the head. Sylar stops the bullet, escapes, tortures Mohinder... Then, later, Peter shows up, and in the confrontation, Sylar and Peter are both rendered unconscious.
      You'd expect - Mohinder would use this opportunity to put a few bullets in Sylar's brain, like he already tried to do.
      Instead - Mohinder scoops up Peter's unconscious (seemingly dead) body and just leaves Sylar there, to eventually wake up and resume his killing spree.
    • Season 2: Peter stands before a giant door, with a needlessly complicated lock mechanism, behind which lies a deadly virus he's intent on destroying. Adam, who Peter's been working with, claims to have the same goal, but really wants Peter to open the vault so he can release the virus. Peter has been warned repeatedly by people he logically should trust, including Hiro — who helped him save New York before.
      You'd expect - Since Peter can phase through walls he would just do so. By leaving everyone else outside, and destroying the virus himself, he could have completely eliminated trust as a factor. Or used telepathy to read Adam's mind to confirm his intentions.
      Instead - He uses telekinesis on the lock, almost squeezing his brain out in the process. Because phasing through the door would have been less interesting. Adam subsequently walks into the door and Peter blindly waits outside the door for him, not bothering to verify he's going to destroy the virus.
      Furthermore - Adam's only power is immortality. How did Peter expect him to destroy the virus - stab it with his sword?
    • Season 3: Tracy and Nathan come to see Suresh, and Tracy shows Suresh her power. Suresh knocks them out with a sedative, but they're not the idiots. Later on, Nathan and Tracy are strapped to operating tables. When Mohinder says he feels like he's becoming a monster, Tracy offers her hand for comfort...
      You'd expect- Mohinder to use the marvelous intellect he used in acquiring a degree to deduce that Tracy isn't just trying to comfort him.
      Instead - Dr. Suresh reaches out for Tracy's hand and falls to the floor actually surprised when she freezes his forearm.
    • The ending to Season 3, to the point of being completely ridiculous. Sylar kills Nathan, but is then tranq'ed. Everyone is now in a room with an unconscious Sylar and a dead Nathan.
      You'd expect - HRG to say "Hey, Claire has magic bring-dead-people-back-to-life blood. I should know, seeing as it did so for me. Let's inject Nathan's body with some and toss Sylar into a wood chipper."
      Instead - The group decides to have Matt hypnotize Sylar into being Nathan and just pretend that Sylar is dead.. Naturally, this works exactly as well as you expect.
    • Season 4: Peter has stolen the Haitian's power neutralizing ability and uses it to get the drop on Sylar, managing to nail-gun his hands to a table. Peter has Sylar dead to rights and knows that he killed Peter's brother and father and Claire's mother and untold others.
      You'd Expect: That he'd put a nail into Sylar's brain and then pitch him into a volcano.
      Instead: He tries to bring Nathan's personality to the surface even though Sylar already proved in that season alone that it couldn't take.
      Bonus! He completely neglects using the Haitian's memory-wiping powers to suppress Sylar again, which would make a tragically idiotic plan only largely idiotic. Or at least not to stop erasing Sylar's memories until there is nothing left, which the Haitian did in Season 1 with the guy that attempted to rape Claire.
      Double Bonus! "Nathan" realizes he can't control Sylar and decides to commit suicide. He does this by jumping off a building despite knowing that Peter/The Haitian's power only works in close proximity and Sylar has super-healing. Naturally, Sylar regains his powers mid-fall and survives it, walking away to mock Peter.
    • A less serious example: Hiro discovers a man about to jump off the roof of his company's building because he was fired for copying his butt at a company party.
      You'd Expect: That Hiro could just intervene normally to get the guy re-hired at the company that Hiro owns.
      Instead: Hiro keeps traveling back in time to physically prevent the guy from copying his butt, but the guy just does it a week later.
  • Henry Danger: In "Love Muffin", after freeing Ray from his love-induced trance with the episode's antagonist Gwen, they prepare to arrest her but she persuades them to let her go, otherwise she'll text a picture of Captain Man and Kid Danger to everyone in Swellview, exposing them of their identities.
    You'd expect: Henry and Ray to Take a Third Option and destroy Gwen's phone or rather take her phone away and delete the photo.
    Instead: They let her go, as requested.
  • Highway to Heaven, "Close Encounters of the Heavenly Kind". Johnathan and Mark drive their car into a crater left by a falling meteor, then walk out of the crater. A young boy, whose grandfather believes in aliens asks them if they're aliens.
    You'd expect: That being an angel would make you prone to telling the truth. In which case, Johnathan should have said, "No. We crashed our car in the crater."
    Instead: Johnathan tells the boy that they're aliens and gives the boy a piece of meteorite and tells him it has magical powers. Later in the episode, the kid gets into trouble with other kids because he thinks he has magical abilities, but realizes he doesn't have the rock with him. The Aesop: believe in yourself.
  • Home and Away: Vengeful bad guy Dodge has staged his own disappearance in order to frame Simon for murder. He makes a taunting phone call to Simon's house, realising too late that he's leaving a message on Simon's answer phone (an old one with a tape recorder). Simon's friend Travis is in and hears the call.
    You'd expect: Travis to immediately take the tape out of the recorder and deliver it to the police.
    Or at least: That he would switch off the recorder/unplug the phone if he wasn't sure how to get the tape out without damaging it.
    Instead: Travis runs off to find Simon and the local policeman, leaving the tape in the fully-functional recorder. By the time they all get back, another call is being recorded over the top of Dodge's message. (Fortunately, the whole thing causes Dodge to panic and give the game away).
  • House
    • In one episode, House needs the medical history of a patient who'd been living at a convent and asks the nun running the place for her history.
      You'd expect: Said nun to simply give him the patient's history, telling him that the woman joined their convent when she was fifteen.
      Instead: She tells House that said woman was born in the convent because her religion believes anyone who finds religion is reborn, completely ignoring that a doctor needs actual physical history, not her religious beliefs.
      The Result: House's patient nearly dies before he discovers the problem is a copper IUD that was never removed (she's allergic to copper) because he didn't have an accurate medical history.
    • This occurs in the second episode, with a boy (Dan) who is adopted (he doesn't know this).
      You'd expect: Dan's adoptive parents to quietly advise House of this when Dan is being admitted, so that their medical history is not used as background for Dan's own history - after all, an incomplete medical history would be safer than an inaccurate one.
      Instead: The parents say nothing of the sort, allowing House and his team to proceed with diagnosing Dan based on wholly incorrect assumptions. When confronted with the truth of the paternity, they give an excuse to the effect of: "He's our son, who cares what the DNA says!". They did give the birth mother's medical history, not the adoptive mother's, but it's still a pretty huge omission.
      As a result: The team blunder through several incorrect diagnoses until House uncovers the truth using surreptitious DNA tests. The final diagnosis ends up being entirely based on a piece of the birth mother's history that wasn't directly in the file, but the link might have been caught sooner if House had realized the woman he was speaking to wasn't the biological mother.
      To make matters worse: Dan was already aware (and didn't care) that he was adopted, having worked it out due to learning that a cleft chin, which he had but his adoptive parents didn't, is a dominant inherited trait. Meaning that if either he or his parents had just talked to one another about it, he'd have been diagnosed and treated far sooner, with less danger to his life (he almost walked off a roof due to hallucinations).
  • House of Anubis:
    • In one Season 3 episode, the Big Bad of the season Robert Frobisher-Smythe was found in Fabian's room on the floor, dying and begging for Fabian's help.
      You'd expect: Fabian to see through this obvious trick as he knows Frobisher-Smythe is evil, and abandon him in the room while he goes to get help.
      Instead: Fabian agrees to help him, and takes Frobisher-Smythe to the gatehouse, where people are turned into sinners.
      And then: Frobisher-Smythe asks him to complete his research when he's dead. Fabian is delighted and agrees, seeming to forget completely that he's talking to the Big Bad...and then, Frobisher-Smythe ends up revealing his evil nature, and tricks Fabian into expressing the sin of pride, which of course gets Fabian turned into a sinner.
    • In another episode that same season, Jerome, Patricia, Joy and Alfie are stuck in the gatehouse together to work on an 'extra credit' project that Patricia and Alfie know is actually a ceremony to reawaken Robert Frobisher-Smythe. They try to explain this to their friends and hope to stop the ceremony, even bringing up the mysteries of the past two seasons.
      You'd expect: That Jerome and Joy would listen to their two best friends, and remember everything they have been through in the past two seasons.
      Instead: They refuse to listen and even make fun of their supposed paranoia, right up until it's too late. They have to go through with the ceremony.
  • Judge Judy: One plaintiff is suing a couple of guys for allegedly stealing her wallet. Judy asks her to list the contents of said wallet and she mentions some gift cards, an earpiece, and a calculator.
    You'd expect: The defendants would stay quiet and listen to the accusations to come up with a believable defense.
    Instead: One of the defendants says "The earpiece wasn't in the wallet." Judge Judy hands down a judgement for the plaintiff within seconds.
  • Kenan & Kel
    • "Haven't Got Time For The Paint" has Kenan discovering Kel's talent in painting, and sells one of Kel's paintings at an auction. The two then set up an auction of their own at Rigby's, where the man who had purchased Kel's painting is participating in. Only problem - he's confused Kel with a similarly named Swedish artist.
      You'd Expect: Both Kenan and Kel to be truthful and tell the man that Kel is not the Swedish artist.
      Instead: Even after Kel corrects the man, Kenan still tries to pass Kel off as the Swedish artist, slipping into stereotypical Swedish behavior. This doesn't fool the man one bit, and he thinks they're trying to scam him.
      The Result: The man demands his money back, and the auction ends disastrously, with no one wanting to buy any of Kel's paintings. Nice going, Kenan - you've just blown it for Kel!
    • "Girl Watchers" has Melissa making a getaway while Kenan is looking for a picture of Eric to get her to remember him. Kel noticed this.
      You'd Expect: He'll tell Kenan about this problem.
      Instead: He just waves goodbye as soon as she leaves.
    • In "Foul Bull", while drinking orange soda, Kel spills some of it on the floor at Rigby's. Suddenly, Ron Harper shows up in the store.
      You'd Expect: Kenan would take an advantage of this to distract the crowd while he gets a mop and clean this mess up.
      Instead: He gets distracted by him to do it. As soon as Ron looks around the store, he slips on the orange soda. All of Chicago blames Kenan and Kel for this.
    • In "Attack of the Bug Men" Kenan's house gets robbed by fraudulent bug men after Kenan left the door open against his parents wishes and he goes to the place they're eating dinner after the cops get involved.
      You'd Expect: Kenan would tell his parents they got robbed, but leave out the fact they left the door open and claimed he thought they were legitimate bug men.
      Instead: He tries to stall them as long as possible
      Later: The cops find the bug men but they need Kenan and Kel to come back to pick out their stuff (as these men had robbed several houses) so they decide to stall longer by making Kyra order the largest thing on the menu.
      You'd Expect: Kenan would realize it will take them hours to eat the entire thing and excuse himself so he and Kel can go home to make sure they get the right stuff.
      Instead: He dumps the entire dish onto his family and makes Kel go alone to get his stuff. Knowing Kel it's not hard to guess what happened.
  • Killing Eve
    • The titular Eve and her colleague Bill are in Berlin to track down Villanelle, who is a Professional Killer. When they split up, with Eve going to have dinner with someone who may have valuable information on the most recent victim, Bill notices a woman following her whom he suspects might be the killer.
      You'd Expect: Bill to immediately alert the authorities and get back-up, as well as calling Eve and letting her know she was being followed and to either meet up with him straight away or have her lead Villanelle somewhere that has plenty of armed officers who can arrest her.
      Instead: Bill follows Villanelle alone through Berlin, making it very obvious that he's doing so and all he does it call Eve to tell her that he's following her and where she's headed so Eve can rendezvous with him. Did we mention that Bill is an out-of-shape old man and Villanelle is a young, ruthless, incredibly successful assassin? Because Bill apparently realises this far too late when Villanelle corners him in the nightclub, stabs him to death and then walks away without anybody even seeing what happened until Eve arrives and Bill dies in her arms. Too Dumb to Live, indeed.
  • Kitchen Nightmares:
    • The infamous "Amy's Baking Company" episode. Tired of the "cyberbullies" trying to bring them down on their Yelp page over how bad their food is, restaurant owners Samy and Amy Bouzaglo, who own the ABC cafe in Scottsdale, Arizona, call in Gordon Ramsay and the show to help prove those "haters" wrong. After reacting horribly to a Yelp review a few months earlier, they bring in Ramsey's staff to set up for filming and let them watch a dinner service. A pair of customers, who have been waiting for over an hour for their food, complain to Samy about the terrible service and threaten to leave.
      You'd Expect: That Samy and Amy would do their best to avoid causing a scene, particularly as they're being filmed for a television show. They could either reassure the customers that their food will be coming or just let them go.
      Instead: Samy harasses the customers and refuses to let them out unless they pay for their food which they never even received. Amy overhears this and threatens calling the police to arrest them if they don't pay up. This goes From Bad to Worse when the customers make their way to the door but Samy blocks their exit, physically preventing them from leaving. A stagehand has to break up the fight while Amy dials 911. The police arrive and force the restaurant to close for the night. Nobody is arrested but the producers wind up paying for everyone's meals.
      Later On: Ramsay shows up, enjoying a sample of their baked goods (which were actually bought from another store). He then tastes the rest of the food, which he finds to be terrible, and witnesses how deplorable these two are to both customer and employee (to the point where Amy fired their only waitress because she asked a simple question and when Samy tried to get her back, she walked off, tired of their crap). Having seen enough, Gordon demanded that they meet back here the next day to try to patch things up.
      You'd Expect: During a moment without the stresses and watching Ramsay tear into them, Samy and Amy would realize that they were too harsh and maybe need serious help from both a psychiatrist and an anger management counselor. At the very least, Amy would take Gordon's criticism of her cooking into consideration, on the basis that a guy with nearly thirty years of culinary experience and fourteen Michelin stars probably knows what he is talking about.
      Instead: Amy completely blows off all of Gordon's criticism, claiming that the dishes he tasted are very popular and no one else has ever complained about them. The next day she and Samy simply don't show up at the restaurant, giving Gordon a chance to find out more about these two and when he finally confronts them, they still refuse to believe that what they're doing is wrong. All the tips and pointers Gordon gave went over their heads and they decide they no longer need his help. Ultimately, Gordon's had enough and walks out for the first time on his show. Note that this had never happened before. Even the infamous Sebastian couldn't drive Gordon out of his restaurant, but the owners of Amy's managed to. After this, they had a public meltdown on their Facebook fanpage and Yelp profile. Forbes even used it as a case example for what businesses should not do on social media.
    • Samy and Amy aren't the only idiots to appear on the show. The owners of the Burger Kitchen took £250,000 of their son's inheritance to finance their failing restaurant without telling him about it or giving him any choice in the matter. The son is understandably very annoyed with the pair of them as a result of this.
      You'd Expect: The parents to at least understand why their son's so unhappy.
      Instead: They don't, and at one point, the father pretty much says "I stole £250K of my son's money! Why is he so pissed off with me?" Wow, what a mystery.
  • Law & Order episode 20-9m "For The Defense": Mike Cutter is lamenting the fact that a corrupt lawyer is threatening to use a prior sexual relationship with Connie to discredit her impending testimony. Cutter goes on and on about how bad an idea sleeping with a co-worker is and how stupid Connie was to put herself in that situation.
    You'd expect: For him not to go on like this to someone who has a well-known track record of office relationships. Especially when that person is Jack McCoy, his boss.
    Instead: Cutter asks "What kind of person would put themselves in that position?" (Jack: You mean besides me?). Cutter keeps going, basically calling Jack and Connie idiots for engaging in said relationships.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
    • The team finds a homeless girl and gets her to give up information about her "father", a wanted criminal who has killed several people and is still on the loose after a woman is murdered.
      You'd Expect: They'd put her in the protective custody of the police and keep her safe in case her "father" wants to kill her for ratting on him.
      Instead: They release her to the head of a shelter with no one there to guard her.
      Predictably: The kid's "father" comes back for her and kills both her and the head of the shelter. Saw that one coming.
    • The exact thing happens in a far more egregious example in the episode, Lost Reputation. Captain Cragen is framed in an overly elaborate conspiracy between two criminals, who are attempting to frame each other, and border on international terrorists. The detectives track down a victim of one of them in hopes of her testifying.
      You'd Expect: She would be brought to the police station or someone left behind for protection, especially when she mentions of having children.
      Instead: They leave her there, alone until morning.
      Shockingly: She turns up dead and their entire case is now looking dead in the water.
      • Generally, if (s)he is left outside of police custody for any length of time, expect the only or most crucial witness to a case to wind up on a slab or at best be brutally attacked so that they won't testify.
    • This show seems to be made of this trope. In one episode, some family member comes barging in worried about their relative.
      You'd Expect: They'd learn to shut up, or at the very least hide traumatizing information.
      Instead: They clearly don't. Naming one episode would be a disservice to all of the other times this happens.
      Invariably: The family member will either go into an unrecoverable funk, go batshit insane, or do something else impossibly stupid.
      • They also tend to completely break protocol (which in real life would get them fired or worse) when dealing with suspects by arrogantly letting information out about witnesses that could put them away for life. Either in front of them or in earshot of their dangerous, mobbed-up or gang associates. And then they act completely shocked when their star witness to a case is brutally murdered five minutes later.
    • And it's not just the detectives. In "Goliath," a large group of armed cops are facing down one of their own, who's just killed his wife in a psychotic state induced by drugs he was given while serving in Iraq. He's half naked, smeared with his wife's blood, and holding a gun, in the depths of confusion and despair. His son (who is at least twelve or thirteen) comes out of the house, ignorant of his mother's death. Remember, a large cadre of armed officers are present.
      You'd expect: The kid to see his father, bloody, holding a gun, and with other cops pointing their weapons at them, realize something is wrong, and react appropriately.
      Instead: He completely ignores all the guns and all the other cops, including the cop repeatedly telling him to go back inside, and questions his dad in confusion about his mother, wondering why his father is so upset. "Are you mad at me?" That's the last straw that pushes his dad over the edge, and he fires the gun into his own head. (He lives, but that's not the POINT.)
    • One that seems to repeat several times. A teenage couple are arrested for some type of crime. Often, he either rapes her or convinces her to be an accomplice to a crime.
      You'd expect: The girl would realize that a healthy relationship doesn't involve police interrogation, and would take advantage of the deal the police are giving her.
      Instead: She continues to wail about how "he loves her" and proceeds to take the fall (or cover up) for a guy who is usually only with her for sex, money, or to let her take the blame and frankly treats her like garbage.
      Unfortunately: A lot of abusive relationships often work like that.
    • In another episode, some rich teens get arrested for drinking at a party. The judge decides to give them a second chance and lets them go.
      You'd expect: Them to lay low and try not to get in any more trouble.
      Instead: They decide to get drunk anyway, and are caught and arrested by Benson and Stabler.
      Furthermore: The judge decides to give them another chance and cut them loose without further charges. Just hours later, one of them posts a video they made of themselves drunk and making fun of the judge and the detectives.
      Predictably: They get arrested and charged with underage drinking and contempt of court.
      Bonus Idiot Points: The reason they were caught in the first place was because one of their friends died at the party from an alcohol overdose, and they still think it's a good idea to keep drinking.
      You'd Then Expect: That these kids would really take a hint and sober up.
      Instead: At least one of them doesn't. Instead, he gets drunk and then offers a ride to a classmate, which ends in a crash that kills both of them.
    • The episode "Stranger" has a long-lost girl returning to her parents, two older sisters and nephew after being missing for four years. Turns out, it's not the sister but an impostor: the real sister was killed four years earlier by the second oldest sister out of silence and then told everyone that she ran away so she wouldn't be sent off to fat camp.
      You'd Expect: That the older sister would either confess to her crime, play along, or at least try not to behave in a way that would garner suspicion onto herself.
      Instead: She still acts like a bitch to her, being as hostile to her as ever. Once the truth is revealed, the girl decides to tell the family about the hints the sister had been dropping that suggested she knew more than she was saying about her sister's disappearance.
      Moreso: Not only did the mother eventually found out what happened and keep quiet about it, her reason for killing the sister was rather weak, "She caught me doing drugs! She was going to tell!"
    • "Ridicule": Man names Smith tells SVU he was raped by three rich, powerful women. During trial prep, Alex asks him if there's anything she needs to know.
      You'd Expect: He tells her the truth.
      Instead: He fidgets and nervously says no.
      You'd Expect: Alex, not being an idiot, checks his legal history, just in case.
      Instead: She lets it go.
      Then: In court, the defendants' lawyer reveals that the man filed a civil suit against the women for $5,000,000 over his alleged rape, making Smith look like a gold-digger. He says he just did it because he wanted their names. He didn't mention it because Stabler had been skeptical, looking for an excuse to drop the case.
    • "Honor": Afghan diplomat is implicated in (but not charged with, because of Diplomatic Impunity) the murder of his daughter during an honor killing. His son is charged with that murder, but Cabot is worried he's going to succeed at an Insanity Defense. To prevent that, they think about having the diplomat's wife testify, since she didn't appear to sympathize with him. Cabot says that if they try that, they need to provide her 24/7 surveillance and protection. SVU agrees and says they'll do that. The wife agrees to testify.
      You'd Expect: SVU provides the surveillance and protection they said they would and make sure she has a place to stay that is not in her old apartment where her husband still is.
      Instead: They apparently don't do that.
      Then: The day the son is found guilty, the wife's body is discovered inside her apartment, and her husband has fled the country.
  • In Lost, Kate Austen is a prime example for this trope, partially because she always tries to get her way. In the Season 2 Episode "The Hunting Party", Jack tells Kate to stay behind and take care of the Button while he, Locke and Sawyer go after Michael.
    You'd expect: As Jack has a perfectly good reason for asking her to stay behind, Kate should obviously just stay behind and push the damn Button.
    Instead: Butthurt that she was refused to opportunity to go along with them, she decides to follow the guys. As she isn't pretty good at that, she gets captured by the Others who then use her later as leverage to disarm Jack et al.
    • Ben Linus (as well as most of The Others in general) reacts with stealth and deception throughout the first three seasons, resulting in the loss of several lives on both sides, let alone a lot of misunderstandings and mistrust.
      • You'd expect: Ben and the others witness the Oceanic break apart right over their heads, and being sensible human beings, they decide to offer some assistance to the Losties on both sides of the island, friendly present themselves, to offer advice, assistance and practical support.
      • Instead: Ben instructs Goodwin and Ethan to blend in with the crew, gather information and begin covert operations to "secure" the children and pregnant women (like Claire), with the result that both of them get killed in due time by pissed off Losties. Bonus points when you see Ben chiding Jack later on for the death of Ethan.
  • Liv and Maddie: In "Premiere-A-Rooney", Liv is dressed for the premiere of Space Werewolves and is about to get her phone, which is on the other side of the counter next to the family's meat grinder.
    You'd expect: Liv to walk over to the other side of the counter and pick up her phone.
    Instead: She reaches her arm over the grinder to grab her phone, and accidentally activates the grinder, resulting in her hair getting stuck in it.
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    Live-Action TV M-R 
  • MacGyver (1985): In "Phoenix Under Siege," a deadly assassin has MacGyver on the ropes. She is about to finish him off.
    You'd expect: While Mac is sprawled on the ground, she walks one room back to retrieve the gun she lost earlier and just shoots him.
    Instead: She waits until he gets up, and then decides to jump kick him (to death, I guess). He's standing in front of a plate glass window. Mac helps along the inevitable by leaning slightly to one side. And this after the assassin displays remarkable caution by, among other things, trying to take care of Mac herself instead of assuming the building-killing bomb will finish him. She doesn't even have the excuse of fighting honorably for her idiocy.
  • In the first season of Mad Men, Pete Campbell happens upon a box containing proof that Don Draper is really Dick Whitman, a soldier who was listed as KIA in the Korean War, and that he stole the identity of the real Don Draper, his former commanding officer who was killed and burned beyond recognition in an explosion. He then attempts to use this information to blackmail Don into giving him a promotion.
    You'd Expect: Pete to hang on to the box until he's got his promotion. Just the fact that he knows Don's real name and background should be proof enough that he has the ability to prove his accusations if need be.
    Instead: He gives Don the box back, then tries to blackmail him. After initially freaking out and almost skipping town, Don comes to his senses and points out that Pete has no way of actually proving his claims. This leads to Pete fruitlessly trying to prove the details of Don's Dark Secret to Mr. Cooper, and without any way of actually substantiating his accusations, Pete naturally ends up coming across as a complete tool (and to add insult to injury, it turns out that Cooper wouldn't have fired Don even if Pete could prove his accusations).
  • Malcolm in the Middle
    • "Pilot"
      • Carolyn Miller is the school psychologist and also the head of the gifted program. She notices that Malcolm, a straight A student, has a lot of potential, and runs some tests on him. It turns out he has a genius level IQ and qualifies for her class. This excites her so much that she decides to talk with Malcolm's parents about it.
        You'd Expect: Carolyn would call ahead of time, or discuss it over the phone with Hal and Lois.
        Instead: She knocks on the door on a random Saturday, when Lois is doing laundry while topless. Meanwhile, the house is a mess. The boys also start fighting because Francis has called and they miss him.
        The Result: Carolyn gets flustered when Lois opens the door, without a shirt or a bra on, and out of the corner of her eye she sees the boys fighting. It takes her a while to explain why she came to the house.
      • After this, Carolyn manages to communicate that Malcolm is a genius and that he could do more in her gifted class. Malcolm doesn't have a high opinion of being "smart" or being a gifted Krelboyne because it makes one a walking target of the local bullies, like Dave Spath. Spath just covered his pants in red paint merely because the teacher praised Malcolm's abstract painting.
        You'd Expect: Either Carolyn or Lois would involve Malcolm in this discussion, and Hal if possible. Lois makes it clear she wants Malcolm to succeed because no one else in the family at this point will be a success. Also, the abrupt transition might make Malcolm's grades slip with the increased pressure and workload
        Instead: Lois breaks the news over dinner that Malcolm is getting transferred to Carolyn's gifted class, which will make him a Krelbyone, without having either consulted Malcolm or Hal. Hal bemusedly offers some remarks.
        The Result: Malcolm understandably loses his temper when he tries to explain to his mother that he'd have rather had the choice, because he doesn't want become a bigger target for Dave Spath. He runs off in tears when Hal refuses to defend his side, and Lois barely calms him down while he's tucking in for bed that night.
    • "Red Dress"
      • It's Hal and Lois's anniversary night. Lois is excited about this new red dress she's going to wear to their celebratory dinner, at a restaurant that serves good lobster. At some point off-screen Hal burns it by accident while lighting cigars.
        You'd Expect: Hal to have confessed to Lois what happened. Yes, she would have read him the riot act and it would have possibly ruined their dinner, but at least she would know who burned the dress and known it was an accident. Also then they could figure out a plan B.
        Instead: Hal leaves the dress in the toilet, implying that he tried to flush it, and goes to the restaurant without telling anyone about it. Lois of course finds it right when she's getting ready, and she blames her sons, who have no alibi apart from wrapping a picture frame.
        The Result: Lois then tortures the boys for hours, tossing away their toys, making them spin around, and threatening to smash their TV, until one of them confesses. This takes up the whole night. Hal deservedly gets stood up because Lois is busy and she forgets all about Hal at the restaurant, and he can't get through to the home line because the boys are calling their brother Francis for help. It's implied that he will get busted when he gets home and Lois has taken the boys out to dinner because Francis convinces her to let the affair go, since he then does the same to a couch cushion and this time the boys do have an alibi.
      • Meanwhile, there is Lois, and Francis. Lois is convinced the boys did the deed. Francis in the meantime has no context. His little brothers have called him for help because they don't know how to handle their mother in this rage.
        You'd Expect: He would ask the boys if they did the deed and start from there. Then he could figure out if they have an alibi, and if they didn't do it, then they should call their dad because he was the only other person in the house.
        Instead: He says that if Lois thinks they're guilty, then they're all guilty together, and not to rat each other out or confess. Then he coaches them through the torture sessions, and only helps them out when Lois grabs the home phone and accuses him of "undermining my authority". It's only Francis pointing out that Lois is spending her anniversary obsessing over a dress that the boys are spared from further agony.
    • "Home Alone 4: Malcolm overhears that his parents may let Francis come home permanently from military school if Francis takes care of his brothers well for one weekend, while the parents attend a wedding. He happily tells Reese and Dewey, but they fear that contrarian Francis will refuse to behave because he hates authority, especially their mother's word.
      You'd Expect: Malcolm being the genius would word his phrasing; it's not that Francis has to be responsible and mature for two days. It's that it may be a good idea to stay civil and then go back to his partying ways once he's settled. Francis doesn't have to do anything, and it's his choice.
      Instead: He decides to keep Francis calm and bored by watching golf on TV.
      The Result: Francis calls some destructive friends over, who trash the house and get arrested. It's only then that Malcolm tells Francis what they overheard, and Francis rapidly agrees they need to get the house cleaned. In their subsequent quest to dirty it sufficiently, Malcolm then gets injured. It becomes All for Nothing when Lois and Hal decide to keep Francis at military school, but still.
    • "Shame": A tall seven-year old named Kevin has just transferred to Malcolm's school. He's also established as a bully, who mocks the twelve-year old Malcolm by repeating everything he says. Malcolm tends to respond by snarking back, though he's annoyed when Kevin cuts in front of him on school pizza day and takes the last two slices.
      You'd Expect: Kevin to have learned not to pick on someone who is older than him, and who is Reese's little sibling. It's later known that Reese's bullying keeps the school in balance, and Malcolm has grown up grappling with all three of his brothers.
      Instead: Kevin approaches Malcolm and starts mocking him about getting goulash instead of leaving him alone.
      The Result: Malcolm hits his Rage Breaking Point and pounds Kevin to a pulp, using the pizza as a weapon. No one defends Kevin from the No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, and he ends up traumatized since it was also his birthday. It says something that no one watching the fight, not even the lunch ladies, breaks them up, and when Malcolm expects his parents to punish him for fighting at school, they let him off the hook. Lois and Hal all but admit the little rotter deserved it, especially when Kevin's fifteen-year old "father" (more likely his brother) taunts Hal while demanding an apology for Kevin. When Malcolm confesses to his mother that he can't shake off the guilt about having beaten up a seven-year old, she tells him he's not a bad person because his conscience is always watching him and he knows right from wrong. It's implied that after this episode Kevin knocks it off, and Reese would have done much worse to him if Kevin had taunted Reese similarly.
    • "Smunday": The inciting incident of the episode is that the boys have been grounded for ages due to them giving away Dewey's bike to Francis's friends in exchange for seeing one of them eat dog food. It's revealed that this happened at the time that Francis was home, and Francis told a suspicious Lois because she bribed him that if he busted his brothers, then he could come home on summer vacation.
      You'd Expect: Francis would have stopped his brothers from doing something so pointless and wasteful in the first place. He was supposed to be watching over them.
      Instead: Francis merely orders his friends to honor the deal by eating the dog food first before giving them Dewey's bike.
      The Result: The boys get grounded, due to Francis busting them, and they find out when a flu-addled Lois reveals it to the trio. They get so mad that they bluff to Francis about hiding a letter of him doing a stupid prank in turn at military school, which nearly leads to Lois sending Francis to a labor farm.
    • "Garage Sale": Lois feels Reese would be able to accomplish more if he had more confidence in himself so she puts him in charge of the garage sale to fix wall destroyed in the previous episode.
      You'd Expect: Her to tell Malcolm about her plan ahead of time and ask Malcolm to keep careful supervision on Reese so he doesn't mess up, and also make sure herself Reese listens to Malcolm. Or maybe just wait till after the garage sale and put him in charge of something lower scale like preparing dinner for the family, which he could very much achieve with his cooking talent.
      Instead: She gives Reese 100% control of the garage sale and berating anyone especially Malcolm for questioning Reese's obviously bad idea such as selling a piggy bank for 2 dollars without emptying the 16 dollars inside. She only realizes her mistake after Reese intentionally breaks a computer Malcolm was gonna sell for $1300.
    • "Malcolm Defends Reese": Mr. Herkabe was apparently to graduate high school with the highest GPA but avoid taking gym class.
      You'd Expect: He would take this secret to his grave knowing if it gets out he would lose his award.
      Instead: While boasting to Malcolm about his award, he tells Malcolm in detail what he did.
      As A Result: Malcolm dishes some well-deserved revenge and rats out Mr. Herkabe to the principal causing his award (which was essentially the only worthwhile thing he had left since he lost everything when his dotcom went bust) to be revoked. And he tries to retake gym class to get his award back only to have Reese pelt him with dodgeballs for humiliating him earlier in the episode.
      Even Worse: It never even occurred to Herkabe that he had given Malcolm leverage against him until after he lost his award.
    • In the series finale, Lois reveals that she specifically wants him to be miserable for his whole life, working his way up from a dead-end janitor job to becoming the President of the United States. His brothers, father, and grandmother had all been aware of this, and assumed that he himself also knew, even though no one ever told him.
      You'd expect: That Malcolm would tell his family to shove it up their asses when they revealed their plans for his life.
      Instead: He accepts it, fully aware that the decisions they made were his to make. And no, the moral of this show is no excuse. Francis didn't exactly have a choice when he was put into military school, but realized how fucked up his life was, declared himself independent of Lois, and took control for himself, without any kind of guidance, essentially shattering said aesop to pieces. Honestly, will he ever come to his senses? Not like they'd be able to punish him if, in fact, does betray them since, well, they intend to ruin his life anyway.
  • Married... with Children
    • Granted, this show was one big Idiot Plot (and any time any actual intellect was shown was rare), but the piece de resistance has to go to the season 4 episode "976-SHOE". Al believes that he can make money with his own hotline about shoes, so he goes to his banker neighbor Steve to get a loan for $10,000.
      You'd Expect: He would either turn him down flat (which he initially did, calling it a "bunny-brained idea) or at least take out the loan for the ten grand or something significantly less.
      Instead: He gives him a $50,000 loan just so that he could win an office sweepstakes trip to Hawaii.
    • Later in the episode, when we see that the shoe hotline failed (big shocker, right?), an angry Marcy, who knew it would fail, owing to her good credit at her bank, decides to loan Al 50 grand to repay back Steve and so he can keep his job, as his boss told him if he ended up with one more bad loan, he'd be fired.
      You'd Expect: That Al would pay back the loan and just owe $50,000.
      Instead: He decides to reinvest in the phone line in spite of its failure of epic proportions and rationalizes in him having to owe $100,000 instead of just 50 just to see if it works. As expected, Steve was fired, Marcy was demoted and a judge puts a lien on Al's earnings, which allows him to be able to pay back the loan a hundred years for now.
      Final Point of Idiocy: Steve gave the loan in the first place just so he could go to Hawaii, which look worse, since an earlier episode had Steve surprising Marcy for their first anniversary with tickets to Hawaii which he bought with little fuss.
  • Mash: In the episode, "The Sniper", the doctors and nurses are trapped in Post-Op while six patients are in the ambulance in need of assistance. Hawkeye comes up with this master plan: to surrender to the sniper. His reasoning: if they surrender, they can help the patients in the ambulance.
    You'd expect: Someone, anyone, to question how surrendering to a sniper is even possible or how this would help.
    Instead: Hawkeye and Trapper carry a white flag out of the building and walk toward the sniper. Then, they're surprised when the plan doesn't work and the sniper starts shooting at them.
  • MasterChef Canada
    • After winning the Mystery Box challenge, Cody is now safe from elimination and gets the chance to pick one of three ingredients (Salmon, Lobster, Truffles) chosen by the previous MasterChef Canada winner.
      You'd Expect: Cody to pick an ingredient he knows the remaining Chefs will struggle with, and sit back on the balcony to watch just that.
      Instead: To prove just how superior he is, Cody gives up his immunity in order to cook with his chosen ingredient, Truffles. He then uses three different kinds of Truffles in his dish, muddling the taste so much that he ends up being up for elimination. He only avoids being sent home because one chef ran out of time and ended up using barely any Truffles, thus having a dish that was just barely worse.
  • MasterChef Junior:
    • In the semi-finals, Troy wins the challenge competition (cooking a soft-boiled egg) and is given two advantages: he gets to pick which cut of a chicken (from best to worst - breast, thigh, wing and liver) to take for himself, and which of the other three to give to the other competitors. He ends up taking the thigh for himself, and has two of them to work with.
      You'd Expect: That Troy would hedge his bets and cook both thighs, especially when Joe (one of the judges) points the opportunity out to him. After all, he's in the semi-finals and has enough time to do it, and there's no room for error.
      Instead: He decides not to cook the second thigh, and goes with his gut instinct that just cooking one is enough. When it comes time for judging, both he and Gordon are disheartened to discover that the thigh is raw on the inside. He is subsequently eliminated that night.
  • Merlin (2008):
    • In the second episode of the series, a knight called Valiant is revealed to be cheating in Camelot's sword-fighting tournament, via a magic shield that can summon snakes. One knight is mortally wounded during a fight, but luckily Merlin manages to obtain the antivenom and save him, allowing said knight to testify against Valiant. Merlin and Arthur bring their case to King Uther, but unfortunately when they summon the knight as a witness, the court physician Gaius reveals that the knight had passed away, due to a further attack from the magic snakes.
      You'd Expect: For Merlin to have the knight's corpse shown to the King. Even if Valiant's word means more as a knight, there is undeniable proof that the other knight has multiple snakebites in his neck received after the fight. Valiant's shield is covered with snakes, and as Merlin tells Arthur, there aren't many snakes in Camelot. It would be better than saying absolutely nothing.
      Instead Merlin and Gaius say absolutely nothing, Arthur looks like a fool in front of the King, and Valiant goes on to almost get away with murdering Arthur in their final tournament battle.
    • At one point, Merlin, Arthur, and Sir Gawain are referred to, respectively, as Magic, Strength, and Heart.
      You'd Expect: For Gawain to put two and two together, especially considering the incredible amount of weirdness that happens around Merlin, and to realize that Merlin's a sorcerer. Even if he didn't say anything to Arthur, you'd expect him to start acting differently around Merlin, or at the very least to tip Merlin off so that he doesn't have to hide his nature around him.
      Instead: Gawain continues on in blissful oblivion.
    • Later on, Merlin is given a prophecy that Mordred will kill Arthur.
      You'd Expect: Merlin to tell Arthur about this-even if he doesn't reveal that he himself is a sorcerer, enough weird stuff happens around him that Arthur would believe him. Then Arthur would be on his guard.
      Even Worse: Merlin treats Mordred with hostility and suspicion, meaning that the young man who used to hero-worship him becomes alienated and angry.
      Instead: Merlin is a total Jerkass towards Mordred, meaning that the latter's Face–Heel Turn becomes all but inevitable anyway, Arthur dies at Camlann, Camelot falls apart, etc, etc.
  • MI High
    • A teen invents a device that can disarm nuclear missiles, even if they're in flight, wherever they're from, in the hope of creating world peace.
      You'd Expect: The world to figure out that such a device would only make nuclear warfare impossible, and that countries would still be capable of going to war.
      Instead: The device is treated as something that will make war completely impossible, with a General Ripper even going so far as to destroy the prototype and try and start World War Three in order to prevent the army from becoming obsolete, a danger IT WASN'T. EVEN. FACING. His stupidity and utterly pointless plan would probably net him a dishonourable discharge, if he was LUCKY.
  • Bobcat Goldthwait's Misfits & Monsters

  • On Monk:
    • In general, someone commits premeditated murder and has a rock-solid alibi. Monk or his assistants start to suspect them anyway.
      You'd Expect: They would not try to taunt Monk or his assistants.
      Instead: With very few exceptions, like the suspect who was in a coma and another who specifically befriended Monk to acquire crucial evidence, most of the murderers are jerks towards Monk, Natalie, or Sharona and taunt them about not having proof, or in one case attempting to seduce them.
      The Result: Monk gains the motivation to find the crucial evidence. And he does, because as the now-imprisoned murderers put it, he's Monk.
    • In Mr. Monk and the Man Who Shot Santa, Monk shoots and injures a suspect who is dressed in a Santa costume with his own weapon. Thanks to an overzealous sensationalist reporter, and the large group of children who witnessed the incident, Monk is branded as "The Man Who Shot Santa" and Monk and Natalie are harrassed everywhere they go. He attempts to clear his name by going onto said reporter's talk show and making a public apology.
      You'd Expect: Natalie to prepare Monk with an eloquent line, something like "The man I shot was not Santa Claus. He was some loony dressed as Santa Claus who had a revolver in his hand."
      Instead: She offers him little more than a pat on the back. Monk gets chewed up and spit out by the hardball reporter, and makes things even worse by telling the children that Santa isn't real.
      You'd Also Expect: That Stottlemeyer would realize that Monk would become a target for harassment and would put him and Natalie under police protection or at the very least in a safe house until the heat died down.
    • In "Mr. Monk Buys a House," Monk and Natalie are taken hostage by a handyman, "Honest" Jake, and are chained up to a clawfoot bathtub that is interestingly freestanding. They manage to temporarily knock out Jake by causing a wall to fall on him.
      You'd Expect: That Monk or Natalie would have enough thought of mind to disarm Jake while he was incapacitated, since he wouldn't be able to harm them, allowing them enough time to call for help.
      You Might Also Expect: That Natalie would have thought to have her cell phone so she could call 911, which could have likely saved the life of Jake's partner if she did.
      Instead: Monk and Natalie crawl down the hallway, dragging the bathtub with them. Natalie then lights some rags and puts them in the fireplace, then uses the floo to send up smoke signals that Stottlemeyer and Disher happen to be see from a few blocks away. By the time she lights them, notice that Jake is already starting to come around and free himself.
    • Also in that same episode:
      You'd Expect: That the police would naturally think it suspicious that a wheelchair bound man who can only walk short distances somehow managed to walk up a flight of stairs without even a walker, and then fall to his death.
      Instead: They only take the word of the patient's nurse, the only other person in the house at the time.
    • In "Mr. Monk Goes to the Carnival":
      You'd Expect: That Leonard Stokes, after killing his girlfriend, would run out of the carnival.
      Instead: He decides to hide in the ferris wheel, which seems plain stupid considering that Sharona finds him there while getting up in the ferris wheel to locate him.
    • In part, Monk and Natalie have each been taken hostage a number of times or gotten into near death experiences very frequently.
      You'd Expect: That either of them would have learned from these incidents where one or both of them has nearly been killed by a captor and started carrying at least a pistol around on their person at all times.
      Instead: By not carrying firearms, these hostage situations are able to happen
    • In "Mr. Monk and the Panic Room", Darwin the chimp is framed for his owner's murder despite the fact that the guy was shot twice in the back.
      You'd Expect: Stottlemeyer and the others to realize no monkey could handle a handgun so adeptly. After Sharona points this out, Stottlemeyer takes Darwin into an interrogation room with what he assumes is an unloaded gun; it's not. Darwin shoots without aiming and only hits the room's window.
      You'd Then Expect: The cops to admit Darwin could not have killed Ian Blackburn, his owner.
      Instead: They continue to insist Darwin is the killer until Monk's summation.
    • In "Mr. Monk and the Girl Who Cried Wolf", Sharona continually sees a blood-soaked man with a knife in his chest and a screwdriver in his ear who disappears as soon as she runs screaming for help. On both occasions, this man speaks to her, calling her by name and saying things like, "Daddy needs you."
      You'd Expect: Monk, Stottlemeyer, Disher, or Dr. Kroger to look into Sharona's childhood history or ask her where her father is.
      You'd Then Expect: One of them to ask who, besides Sharona, knew said history. One answer would've been, "My creative writing teacher," for whom Sharona wrote an essay about her mentally ill dad, and who turned out to be the killer.
      Instead: Everyone believes Sharona is reacting to stress or even crazy, right up to the summation.
    • In "Mr. Monk and the Rapper," a car bomb has killed rapper Extra Large and severely injured his limo driver.
      You'd Expect: For Stottlemeyer or someone with authority to arrange for police protection on the driver, since the driver is the primary witness for the investigation.
      Instead: No protection is given to the driver, allowing the killer to enter his hospital room and strangle him.
  • "Mr. Monk and the Magician": Kevin Dorfman is back to accounting after he blows his lottery winnings. He mentions that a magician named Karl Torini had discrepancies on his airline receipts and suggested Torini was getting ripped off. Torini is actually smuggling heroin.
    You'd Expect: Torini would let it slide. Kevin is too naive to consider the possibility of drugs.
    Instead: He concocts a complicated plot where he creates an alibi that seems foolproof and murders Kevin after asking him to fill in on a magic show, reasoning that Kevin knew too much.
    The Result: Monk takes Kevin's death personally and sets out to solve the case.
  • In the televison special The Muppet Musicians of Bremen, T.R. the rooster is told by his owner Lardpork that he'll cook him for being useless around the barn, so T.R. decides to escape before Lardpork comes back, and takes the opportunity to join Leroy the Donkey to become traveling musicians. However, T.R. wants to say goodbye to the chickens before he runs off.
    You'd Expect: He would just say goodbye and leave.
    Instead: He sings them a song before leaving them, and as soon as he's done with his song, Lardpork shows up with an ax, ready to chop him. Though T.R. does end up escaping.
  • The Muppets: In the episode "Hostile Makeover", Fozzie is invited to a party at Jay Leno's house. He is so excited that he decides to get a souvenir - via stealing a candy dish. Eventually he realizes that this wasn't exactly the best idea aned when Jay invites him back to his house, he plans on giving it back, only to accidentally drop it, smashing it to pieces.
    You'd Expect: Fozzie to explain to Jay what happened and apologize.
    Instead: While Fozzie is there, Jay tells him that he'd like for Fozzie to open for him in Las Vegas. Fozzie is so excited that he promptly forgets about the candy dish and TRIES TO STEAL SOMETHING ELSE.
    Then: Jay sees him attempting to steal his brass rooster. He's actually pretty understanding, admitting that one time he stole a candy dish from George Carlin... the very same candy dish that he then finds out Fozzie stole.
    You'd Expect: Him to let Fozzie explain why he stole it and let him apologize.
    Instead: He gets angry that Fozzie stole something that he in turn stole and shouts at him to get out of his house.
    For Extra Idiot Points: After Jay tells him to leave, Fozzie asks if he can have his pen.
  • A Running Gag on The Muppet Show is someone mentioning a word one might associate with an explosive, and Crazy Harry appearing and setting of an explosion as a result.
    You'd Expect: Everyone to eventually realize that saying those words will set Harry off and stop saying words related to explosives.
    Instead: They never do- in one episode Kermit sets Harry off twice in quick succession, and in another Harry gets set off six times, including thrice in the same segment!
  • Mystery Diners: You're the manager of a bar owned by an NFL player and trusted to run things when he's playing on the road. It's probably not a smart idea to embezzle from a dude who could bench press two of you and then try lying when he's got you stone busted on camera. The detectives had to keep the owner from using his crooked manager for a tackle dummy.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: Mike Nelson should have this tattooed on his forehead:
    • The Deadly Mantis: Professor Bobo and Peanut note  are trying to fix a thermonuclear bomb for the Cargo Cult that's next door to Deep Ape, and solicit Mike's help. It does start out promisingly enough with him rightfully protesting that they're trying to reactivate a thermonuclear device with the capacity to destroy the Earth.
      You'd Expect: Mike to keep cognizant of what he realized only thirty seconds earlier and deny them any help.
      Instead: He forgets the severity of the situation when the apes complain of a stuck lugnut. Cue Earth-Shattering Kaboom.
    Mike: Well, why not just use a pair of locking pliers and a spanner?

    • Riding With Death: Pearl, Brain Guy and Bobo are trapped in combat with killer androids and need a diversion from Mike. He decides to make a baking soda and vinegar bomb.
      You'd Expect: He'd keep an eye on just how much baking soda he's putting into the bomb.
      Instead: He starts to ruminate over past injustices (including being fired from a job for making a baking-soda-and-vinegar bomb), losing track of how much he's putting in to the casing. Cue Earth-Shattering Kaboom.

    • Agent For H*A*R*M: On trial for his planet destruction tendencies, Mike IS this trope incarnate:
      • First as he's being arraigned, the omniscient judge annouces he's being charged with crimes against man and nature.
        You'd Expect: Mike to keep his mouth shut.
        Instead: He asks if this means that a traffic violation he'd gotten (and was apparently avoiding) has finally turned into a bench warrant. The judge replies it hadn't... until that exact moment.
      • Second, Mike is given his choice of defense attorney. He's given the choice of Socrates, King Charlemagne, Clarence Darrow... or Professor Bobo.
        You'd Expect: Mike to mull over the choice or at least ignore the obvious Schmuck Bait at the end.
        Instead: He shouts out "Bobo?!?" in surprise, and the Literal-Minded judge takes it as his choice.
      • Third, he's allowed to pick his own prosecutor. This time, it starts out so promising, as he immediately requests St. Therese of Liseux (denied, as she was tied up with a prosecution for the Bronx DA). The judge offers the choices of King Solomon, Hildegarde of Bingen, Thomas Jefferson, or... Pearl Forrester.
        You'd Expect: He'd continue to learn from his previous mistake and say absolutely ANYTHING but Pearl's name.
        Instead: Literally the first words out of his mouth are a sarcastic "Oh yeah, I'm gonna choose Pearl Forrester..."
        —>Mike: Oh, I don't learn very quick, do I?
    • Hamlet: A Two-for-one here:
      • First, Mike challenges Pearl to a game of "find the lady", and the gambling-addicted Pearl agrees, over Brain Guy's objections that it's rigged and there is no way for her to win.
        You'd Expect: Pearl to at least consider Brain Guy's warnings, and cut her losses.
        Instead: Not only does Mike take Pearl to the cleaners, he even wins the right to choose that episode's movie. He chooses Shakespeare's Hamlet.
      • But which version?: You'd Expect Mike to make a definitive choice and demand one of the better versions being shown, knowing that any wiggle room with Pearl would be wildly abused.
        Instead: While he suggests Franco Zefferelli's and Kenneth Branagh's versions (both lauded as well-done adaptations of the play), he ultimately says to Pearl "your choice." She gives him a no-budget 1960 dubbed West German TV version of Hamlet starring Maximilian Schell, and with dub voices played by Ricardo Montalban and John Banner.
    Pearl: OK, you get Hamlet. Oh, boy, do you get Hamlet!
  • In My Name Is Earl the warden has been giving Earl certificates for time off his sentence in exchange for helping out with various prison problems. When the time finally comes that Earl has earned enough time off that he can leave, he panics, because he's too incompetent without Earl there.
    You'd Expect: The warden to just let Earl go, and possibly offer him a job as a general adviser or something.
    Instead: He panics, tears up Earls certificates, and expects him to just go on for the rest of his sentence. He throws him in solitary when he gets pissed.
    • Earl's side of the story:
      You'd Expect: Just nod quietly, and let the warden forget he could use Earl with his sociopathic means.
      Instead: He practically handed him a weapon against himself.
  • Many of the subjects on Locked Up Abroad do this to themselves, when thinking about the mistakes they made. Such as the guy who was going to pick up a packet of drugs from the post office. That's pretty stupid in itself, but he took drugs before he went to pick up the package.
  • Only Fools and Horses:
    • The Trotters get arrested by Del Boy's former childhood friend and long-standing rival, Roy Slater, for possession of a stolen microwave. While at the police station, Del tries offering Slater £50 to let them go. Slater, probably not wanting this long-awaited arrest to be even easier than Del is already making it, says "I didn't hear that," in a manner clearly hinting to Del that he should shut up.
      You'd Expect: That Del would take the hint and not hand over even more reason for this notoriously Corrupt Cop to toss him in jail.
      Instead: He takes Slater literally and loudly repeats his offer for all — including Slater's sergeant, Hoskins — to hear, resulting in him ending up with "attempting to bribe a police officer" added to his already-lengthy rap sheet.
    • Later on, Del strikes a deal with Slater to be given immunity from prosecution in exchange for giving up the identity of who he purchased the stolen microwave from.
      You'd Expect: Slater to keep Hoskins around as a witness in case Del attempts anything shifty. Part of the reason why Slater views Del as a Worthy Rival is that Del's as slippery as Slater is corrupt, after all.
      Instead: He sends Hoskins out to have a tea break — five minutes after the canteen closes — then gets Del to sign the immunity form, only for Del to falsely incriminate himself as the microwave's thief. Had Hoskins been around then he could have testified that Del had a conversation with Rodney immediately beforehand that indicated Del was clearly not the true thief, which would have voided the immunity agreement, but with Slater himself as the only witness, no court would ever believe he wasn't just reneging on the deal For the Evulz.
  • Person of Interest
    • Bad things happened, and now the Machine's code is compressed into Harold Finch's briefcase computer. It will need a server farm to supply the necessary hard drive space and computing power needed to decompress the Machine back into its normal operating form. Fortunately, the protagonists of the show have found themselves in a warehouse filled with high-end computer hardware for them to take advantage of.
      You'd Expect: Our heroes to take one of the many pallets shown in the background stacked high with Mac Pro computers. These are the "power" Mac units that boasted 8- to 16-core Intel processers, huge hard drives, and tons of RAM making them ideal for building a server farm for the Machine.
      Instead: They go right for the warehouse's supply of PlayStation 3 consoles. Game consoles of that generation were inferior in spec to just about everything else in the warehouse. To make matters worse, the original-model PS3 used in the show was as terrible at managing heat as the competing original-model Xbox 360, and so was prone to heat-related hardware failures of its own at the time this episode aired.
      Result: They build their PS3 server farm and get the Machine decompressing...and then have to scramble to douse it in liquid nitrogen to cool it when the consoles start bursting into flames and melting down mid-process. They chose their Product Placement poorly.
  • Preacher (2016)
    • Jesse learns that The Saint is now susceptible to his The Word after giving The Saint 1% of his soul. Jesse refuses to send The Saint to Heaven believing he doesn't deserve happiness (breaking his deal with The Saint) but won't send him to Hell because he has part of Jesse's soul.
      You'd Expect: Jesse to order The Saint to be his faithful servant. Having a superhuman killing machine on your side while searching for God can only be an asset.
      Or: Order The Saint to never try to kill Jesse and his friends ever again and then make him go away.
      Instead: Jesse locks The Saint in an armored car and sinks him in a swamp. The Grail find him and release him. Now the superhuman killing machine is very angry for being betrayed and seeks out Jesse and his friends. It's only because the agents of Hell arrive and take The Saint back that Jesse and his friends manage to survive.
  • In a first season episode of Prison Break, the lawyers try to figure out what to do next now that the execution's been given a two-week stay. Burrow's son LJ, who's understandably a bit cranky, what with his mother being murdered in front of him and him being chased by the police for a double homicide he didn't commit, declares that trying to work within the legal system is a waste of time. The lawyers tell him that the legal system the only way that's going to work. They then get the idea to go back to the cabin where they left Quinn to try and recover info. Upon arrival, they lower LJ into Quinn's well with a rope to get Quinn's cell phone. LJ sees that Quinn scrawled out a name on the wall.
    You'd Expect: LJ to realize that the lawyers aren't being goody-two-shoes. This is an insanely elaborate conspiracy they're dealing with, one which only stopped trying to kidnap or kill the lawyers and LJ when they went public. The name of one of the people who's been chasing them would be insanely helpful for figuring out who's in on the conspiracy, especially since the conspirators don't know they have it.
    Instead: LJ doesn't tell them the name, grabs a gun from the cabin, finds the guy on the Internet, breaks into his house, and tries to kill him. Where to even start with how stupid this is...will killing this guy going to magically put a stop to Burrow's execution and shut down the conspiracy? Will it clear LJ of double homicide? Not really, no- seeing as how now he'd be an actual murderer on top of a framed one. Oh, and remember how if the lawyers had the name they could investigate and trace him to figure out who he's meeting with? Well that plan's toast, now that the conspiracy knows they're on to him. Come on, LJ. It was a long car ride back from the cabin. How the heck do you fail, so epically, to realize the colossal failures inherent in your plan when you have hours to think about it?
  • NCIS:
    • In "Till Death Do Us Part," Director Vance and his SUV are abducted by Harper Dearing, who has a serious nut against NCIS. However, both the director and his vehicle are found, and Vance is unhurt.
      What You'd Expect: That NCIS would give Vance a new car, and take his original car apart piece by piece in case Dearing planted a bomb in it (since something like that would be part of his modus operandi). If a bomb is there, they could call in the bomb squad, defuse the bomb, and everyone would be A-OK.
      Instead: They let Director Vance continue driving the same SUV. He parks it right in front of NCIS headquarters. Dearing calls in and lets everyone know that he has a bomb on the Navy Yard and it's about to blow up in front of NCIS. Team Gibbs concludes that it's in Vance's SUV (they're right). They call for an immediate evacuation of the building.
      You'd Expect: That everyone to run to the back staircases and exits of the building (to distance themselves from the epicenter of the blast), and get the hell out of there as quickly as humanly possible.
      Instead: Abby stays behind in her lab at the front of the building, so Gibbs has to run back in to rescue her. McGee lollygags in the squad room. Tony and Ziva take the elevator in the front of the building.note  Of course, all of them are present when the bomb goes off. Poor Ducky has a heart attack when he hears about it. McGee ends up with a shard of glass to the abdomen, and Abby develops serious psychological issues following the attack.
    • In the followup episode "Extreme Prejudice," President Barack Obama himself authorizes every federal agency to deal with Dearing with extreme prejudice. One of Fornell's agents, a woman named Lorraine, finds Dearing watching reports of the NCIS attack through a store window. She makes small talk with him.
      You'd Expect: Agent Lorraine to just pull a gun on Dearing and subdue him, or just shoot him, or the FBI to have a sniper nearby since they were able to find Dearing so damn quickly.
      Instead: Agent Lorraine uses seduction and lures Dearing to an apartment. He asks to use the restroom. While he's in there, a SWAT team enters the apartment and unloads several rounds on the bathroom. When they open the door, they find that he's jumped out the window and has left a small bomb set to explode in ten seconds.
      You'd Expect: Agent Lorraine to run over and just chuck that bomb out the window. If she got lucky, maybe she'd hit Dearing, or at the very least, the bomb would safely detonate out of range from anyone. At the very least, she could yell for everyone to clear the apartment.
      Instead: She just stands there like a deer in the headlights. The bomb goes off. She dies.
      Even Worse: It's like the entirety of the federal law enforcement didn't bother to surround the apartment building with SWAT personnel, or at the very least do something as simple as aim a thermal-imaging satellite at the apartment complex so they could track Dearing in case he got away.
  • In an early episode of NCIS: New Orleans, three girls are out driving when they watch a bus crash. As they pull over to see what happened, three unpleasant-looking guys in prison jumpsuits pull themselves out of the bus and begin walking towards the girls.
    You'd Expect: The girls to get the hell out of there.
    Instead: They don't. A scene later, it turns out that the three prisoners stole the girls' car. It could've been much, much worse.
    • A woman shows up with Lasalle with a baby she claims is his, and implores Lasalle to take them both in.
      You'd Expect: Lasalle to IMMEDIATELY have a paternity test done.
      Instead: Lasalle doesn't do anything of the sort, despite Pride actually asking if he's sure the kid is his, and takes both the boy and his mother in to treat like his own without question.
      As A Result: A several episode long arc about Lasalle and his "family" ensues that could have been avoided. It turns out episodes later that oops! Lasalle isn't really the father when the real Dad walks right up to him and slugs him in the face. Turns out the mother was just using Lasalle to get away from her abusive ex.
      You'd Also Expect: Lasalle to immediately arrest the man for striking a federal agent if nothing else, find out about the arrest warrants he has in the process, and solve the issue 5 minutes into the episode.
      Instead: Lasalle lets the father off, later risks losing his job getting into a fight over warning the man to stay away from the kid and his mother, before finally finding out about the warrants and using those as pretext to have him arrested.
  • The Next Food Network Star
    • At least twice somebody has had to open a bottle or jar and failed terribly.
      • You'd Think: They'd open it conventionally, by, y'know, twisting the top. If it's stuck, maybe stick it under some hot water. No biggie, they're chefs, they can handle this.
      • Instead: They decide to either tap it against the counter or cut off the top of the bottle with a knife. In both cases, glass got too close to the dishes they were making, forcing them to throw them out.
    • In Season 5, Eddie made an absolutely rancid watermelon-and-onion salad for a challenge, and was a candidate for elimination.
      • You'd Think: He would attempt to take the criticism gracefully, in the hopes that maybe a show of contrition would earn some mercy from the judges.
      • Instead: Eddie tried to save himself by claiming "It was from a Paula Deen recipe." Thereby not only admitting that he had ripped off a recipe from one of the network's highest-profile stars, but that he didn't even rip it off correctly! Needless to say, the judges eliminated his ass with extreme prejudice.
  • This pops up frequently in No Ordinary Family:
    • In "No Ordinary Ring", the Powells are at a wedding which gets crashed by a gang of robbers. When they begin to escape, Jim chases after them and sees they are being hoisted up the side of a building.
      You'd Expect: Jim, who can jump over and onto buildings, to leap onto the top of the building and surprise the robbers (or anyone helping to hoist them up) as they reach the top.
      Instead: He tries jumping directly towards one of the robbers as he ascends. He misses, hits the wall, and falls flat on his behind.
    • In "No Ordinary Vigilante", Daphne's mind reading powers allow her to learn that a cashier at a local store is lifting money from the register. Later, she thinks she could use this knowledge as leverage to get booze for a party despite being underaged.
      You'd Expect: Daphne to take a moment to get any sort of concrete leverage against the cashier, or just realize that her word alone against the cashier's won't hold water.
      Instead: She smugly goes to the cashier and demands he sell her the booze or she'll rat him out. The cashier calmly points out that she has no proof of her claim, while the store's security camera provides him with footage of her trying to illegally purchase alcohol. He calls the police, and Daphne gets in trouble.
    • JJ, who used to have a learning disorder, gets "enhanced cognition" powers that basically enable him to become an expert at any science for a short period of time. He uses this to get better grades at school, arousing suspicion from his teacher, Mr. Litchfield, who soon accuses him of cheating.
      You'd Expect: JJ to offer to take a spontaneous oral exam immediately upon being accused, proving to Litchfield that he legitimately understands the class material. Even if Litchfield were to bring up his former deficiency, there would be no concrete proof that JJ cheated or took any sort of performance-enhancing drugs (which is something Litchfield later accuses him of), nor any irrefutable reason why the disorder couldn't just have disappeared.
      Instead: JJ attempts to draw suspicion away from himself by getting lower test scores, gradually working his way back up to higher ones, then uses his superior understanding of physics to join the football team despite his short stature. Litchfield becomes more and more suspicious. Eventually, Litchfield accuses another student that JJ tutored of copying off him because of very similar test answers, leading to JJ attempting to hack into the school computers and change the grades. Litchfield catches him doing this and soon afterwards gets caught in a near-fatal car crash, which JJ blames himself for.
  • Discussed in the finale of NUMB3RS.
    • A guy escapes from prison and manages to disappear by taking on a false identity.
      You'd Expect: He'd do his absolute best to lay low and try to stay off police radar.
      Instead: He bullies and terrorizes his neighbors nonstop, to the extent that the conflict gets the attention of the FBI.
      Furthermore: When the FBI tries to talk with him, he antagonizes them too, which fuels their suspicions about him.
      The Result: The FBI runs his fingerprints, revealing his true identity. He's promptly arrested and sent back to prison.
  • The Office (US) has more than its share of these, but a few examples stand out:
    • In "The Negotiation", Michael is trying to get a raise. His review to determine whether he gets one and how much of one he gets is being conducted by Jan, who Michael is currently in a relationship with. Jan, knowing Michael, has already specifically told him not to bring up said relationship, as it won't be considered.
      You'd Expect: Considering Michael has a list about the length of his arm of completely legitimate reasons as to why he deserves a raise, he'd have the presence of mind to at least bring a few of them up.
      Instead: His relationship with Jan is the first, last, and only argument he puts down in favor of his raise. Idiot Houdini works in his favor, though, as he manages to get a decent raise anyway.
    • In "Survivor Man", Michael's Zany Scheme of the week leaves Jim in charge of the office for the day. Someone's birthday is that day, and since it's during a month in which several other characters celebrate their birthday as well, Jim gets the idea to celebrate them all on the same day for efficiency's sake. No one else in the office is fond of the plan.
      You'd Expect: When Jim is going around to ask what people think of the idea, they'd, y'know, tell him. Even if they're somehow worried about being singled out, it quickly becomes clear that most of the people in the office are aware of all of the other characters who don't like the idea either; it wouldn't be hard to go to Jim as a group to voice their concerns.
      Instead: They act as if they like the plan whenever Jim is around, while behind his back they sit around impotently grumbling about how Jim's "gone mad with power" despite the fact that, not only has no one done anything to suggest that the plan is disliked while Jim is around to notice, they actively hide that bit of information from him. By the time Jim has overheard enough bits and pieces of their whining to realize what's going on, it's already the end of the day, forcing Jim to scramble to arrange the birthday that's supposed to be celebrated that day.
  • 1000 Ways to Die is a show that, by its very nature, has this trope pop up about Once an Episode. For example...
    • "Love Bugged": A French man with an interest in lizards and bugs decides to try and build an immunity to black widow spider venom by letting one bite him.
      You'd Think: He would first try to find out if it's a good idea, before letting the spider bite him.
      Instead: He lets the spider bite him, and he grows weaker until he dies from a heart attack.
    • "Wet Dream": A man with a deep love of fish constructs a fish suit out of waterbed material and goes to a lake to test it out.
      You'd Think: He would put it on near the water or use it on a cooler day.
      Instead: He puts it on far from the water on a hot day.
      As A Result: He starts overheating, but the suit prevents him from sweating and he dies of hyperthermia, just inches away from the water.
    • "Butt F***ed": A man ends up in the hospital with serious burns all over his body after falling asleep in bed while smoking.
      You'd Think: He'd take this as a sign from the man upstairs that it's high time he kicks the habit.
      Instead: He bribes the night nurse to take him out back for a smoke. The ash from his cigarette holds enough of a spark to ignite the highly flammable ointment his bandages are soaked in. Set ablaze, he rolls uncontrollably down the wheelchair ramp and at the bottom his oxygen tank explodes into a ball of fire, burning him to a crisp.
      On Top Of That: The nurse had just told him, "Okay Mister Burns, you've got 2 minutes, don't do anything stupid."
    • "Tanked Girl": A female diver was in the decompression chamber after a spot of trouble down below. A maintenance worker was making his rounds when he came upon the chamber door.
      You'd Think: He'd have the presence of mind to ask if the chamber was occupied before opening the pressure door.
      Instead: He opened the door without asking, changing the pressure in the chamber and killing the poor woman inside. One can only hope that this moron was, at the very least, fired.
      Also: that episode was all sorts of Fridge Logic: why didn't the chamber have an intercom, window or some sort of signal light or sign to indicate when it was being occupied, and why exactly did the maintenance man open the door? Curiosity? Or did he have a legitimate reason to go into the chamber? As for the maintenance man opening it without asking, the occupant was presumably screaming out loud to warn him of what he was doing and the chamber was either soundproofed or so sound-shielded that he couldn't make out her words and thought someone was stuck in there and trying to free them, which again brings up another question of why there wasn't a speaker/intercom hooked up to the outside.
    • "Exhaustdead": A cruel man named Mark is abusive towards is girlfriend, Julie, and one month later, she dumps him for a nicer man. Mark finds out about Julie through a friend and drives to the restaurant where Julie is with her new boyfriend. Being too much of a coward to confront them, he decides to pelt them with paintballs and drive off. He backs up his car to hide, but begins to feel lightheaded because he backed up his car into a garbage heap, therefore, trapping the carbon monoxide exhaust in the car.
      You'd Think: He would get the idea that something's wrong with him and step out for a bit or at least open the window for fresh air.
      Instead: He does neither and he eventually passes out and dies of asphyxiation.
    • "USSR-Dead": A Ukrainian immigrant hooks up with the Russian mob. After bumping off three men who owe debts to the mob, the immigrant's fingertips are burned off with sulfuric acid so he can't be identified by the cops. To celebrate his joining, the mobsters order a round of vodka.
      You'd Think: The mobsters would keep the vodka and the sulfuric acid in different-looking bottles, or at least label the containers so that they don't get the two liquids confused. note 
      Instead: The two liquids are kept in identical containers with no labels, so the senile barkeep couldn't tell the difference between the vodka and the sulfuric acid, so the barkeep serves sulfuric acid to the two mobsters and the immigrant, resulting in all three of them dying from internal damage.
    • "Jaw Boned": A meth cook/addict chews gum while he works and occasionally dips it in citric acid to keep it fresh.
      You'd Think: He'd keep the citric acid away from all the dangerous chemicals.
      Instead: He places the citric acid right next to red phosphorus, an explosive substance in meth and fireworks. Eventually, during a meth-fueled rush, the addict dips the gum in red phosphorus and when he bites down on the gum, his jaws apply 120 lbs of pressure, igniting the red phosphorus, blowing his lower jaws off, and causing his brain to compress to the back of his skull, killing him.
      Also: He even kept a can of soda near a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, which he nearly drank earlier but spitted out before he could swallow.
    • "Dog Dead Afternoon": An animal abuser sneaks into an animal shelter to steal a pit bull named Michael, the man tranquilizes Michael and is about to leave, but a security guard comes by and takes a nap in his car.
      You'd Expect: The thief to just leave Michael behind and flee while the guard is asleep.
      Instead: He decides Michael is a too good of a catch and tries ti wait for the guard to leave. An hour later, the guard awakes and sees the cage open, prompting the thief to tranquilize the guard. However, this causes the guard to fall in front of the cage and shut it. As the thief tries to get the cage open, the tranquilization on Michael wears off, and Michael bites the thief, ripping out his trachea.
    • "Vertigo, Going, Gone": A sociopathic accounting worker who was fired for his Jerkass attitude and general incompetence, climbs an oak tree to kill his boss with a single-shot, bolt-action rifle. However, he is revealed to have an allergic reaction to oak pollen and starts sneezing uncontrollably.
      You'd Think: He would get the idea that something's wrong with him and come down.
      Instead: He stays up in the oak tree with tens of thousands of pollen particles and ends up with an allergy-induced vertigo.
      As A Result: When his former boss comes out of the building, he misses the shot, falls out of the tree, and dies of a paralysis resulting from the compression of his cervical spinal cord.
      Ironically: The sociopath wanted his former boss dead, but instead it was he who ended up dead.
    • "Lesboned": A horny real estate agent is selling a house to a fellow nymphomaniac and they decide to start having fun.
      You'd Expect: For them to go to the bedroom or living room to do the nasty.
      Instead: They do it in the laundry room where any number of accidents could happen during coitus. They end up rocking the dryer so much that it unhooks, releasing natural gas and causing an explosion that kills them both.
  • One Tree Hill
    • In the final few months before graduation, Brooke finds out that she's failing Calculus & that if she doesn't get her grades up, she won't be graduating with her friends.
      You'd Think: That with Haley working for the school as a tutor, Brooke would ask her for help in getting her grades up.
      Instead: She goes along with Rachel's idea to outright steal the exams, which would result in her getting expelled if she was caught.
    • During the fourth season, Lucas & Peyton finally became a couple & end the season very much in love. When the show came back for it's fifth season, a Time Skip of 4 years had taken place, and it was revealed that they broke up several years earlier. The episode "I Forgot To Remember To Forget" reveals that the break-up happened because Lucas flew to Los Angeles to propose, and Peyton asked him to wait a year.
      You'd Think: That Lucas would explain he's not asking her to fly to Vegas to get married the next day & he's willing to wait as long as she needs before they actually get married, he just doesn't see the point in putting off the inevitable.
      Instead: Lucas takes Peyton's request to wait a year as an outright refusal, and breaks up with her by leaving her alone in their hotel room. When they finally see each other again after three years, he's in a relationship with another woman who winds up leaving him at the altar after she realises that Lucas is still in love with Peyton.
  • Operation Repo: You are driving a hook and chain tow truck that has an expensive BMW on the back with a cameraman inside. You have to pee badly, and drive faster than usual. Your partner suggests you slow down to prevent an overturn. You nearly have an accident when you run a stop sign. Your partner repeats his suggestion more vehemently.
    You'd Think: You slow down, and/or maybe find a McDonald's to pee in.
    Instead: You keep going too fast. The car flips going round a corner, is totaled, the cameraman narrowly avoids death, and you get fired. Temporarily.
  • The Punisher: Madani and her DHS team have been ambushed by a mysterious, highly trained mercenary unit. The DHS team suffers heavy losses, but kills most of them. Sam manages to get the drop on the last one and has him on his knees with his hands behind his head.
    You'd expect: Sam, who is no rookie, 1) has him lie face down on the ground with his arms and legs spread, 2) stays a safe distance away with his weapon trained on the merc, and 3) waits for backup. This is standard procedure for disarming an armed and dangerous foe, in any law enforcement agency in the world. Precisely to avoid what happens next.
    Instead: Sam approaches him and attempts to disarm and unmask him by himself. It turns out to be Billy Russo, who dispatches Sam with his hidden Blade Below the Shoulder as soon as he gets close enough.
  • Red Dwarf
    • The event that kicks the entire series off — which is lampshaded in the episode "Justice" — comes when the ship's drive plate turns out to be dangerously faulty, and in need of repair to prevent it from exploding.
      You'd Expect: The job to be given to the best engineer aboard the vessel.
      Instead: It's given to Arnold Rimmer, the lowest-ranking officer on the entire ship (not counting Dave Lister, who is in stasis for breaching regulations on bringing pets on-board). He naturally screws the job up, and the drive plate explodes, causing a radiation blast which instantly kills the entire crew.
    • In the episode "The Inquisitor", the titular villain — whose MO is erasing unworthy people from history and replacing them with alternative versions — removes Kryten and Lister from the timeline, but a series of events lead to him going on a rampage and killing Kryten's and Lister's replacements, then Cat and Rimmer, and finally Kryten. Lister, by now the sole survivor, threatens to drop the Inquisitor off a ledge but then saves him, saying that if he erases Lister from history he won't be there to save him.
      You'd Expect: The Inquisitor to point out that he's already erased Lister from history and doesn't need to do it again, then just vaporize him, since we've seen him do that to people without removing them from the timeline.
      Instead: He points out that Lister's threat is empty since he was the one who put him in danger to begin with (which is technically true), then tries to re-erase Lister... and in doing so, erases himself from history thanks to Kryten sabotaging his time gauntlet, undoing all of his work.
  • Robin Hood
    • "Brothers in Arms": Guy of Gisborne confiscates a necklace from a woman so that he has a gift for Marian. Robin Hood tells Marian about its origin.
      You'd expect: Marian to return the necklace to its owner herself, and tell Guy that she does not accept stolen gifts.
      Instead: Marian gives the necklace to Robin, who returns it to its owner. Predictably, Sir Guy finds out and starts suspecting that Marian spies for Robin Hood. This starts the chain of events which ends with Marian being forced to promise to marry Guy, to dispel the suspicion.
    • In the third series Robin meets Isabella, likes what he sees, implicitly trusts her, and starts up a sudden romantic relationship with her despite the fact that she's the sister of the man who killed his wife.
      You'd expect: Robin to at least try and remember his dead wife and the possibility that the sister of the man who murdered her might be just as untrustworthy, dangerous, and unhinged as her brother.
      Instead: He doesn't, and she kills him.
    • Kate's introductory episode involves her attempting to save her brother's life by a) trying to move him in a conspicuous cart during the middle of enforced conscription instead of just hiding him in the house, b) screeching "there's nothing there, there's nothing there!" when Guy investigates the suspicious sight of a woman talking to what's meant to be an empty cart, c) sabotaging the outlaws' ambush to free her brother by rushing in and attacking the guards prematurely without even a weapon to defend herself with, d) abandoning the outlaws and sneaking into the castle by herself with no clear plan on what she intends to do, e) forgetting to take out the distinctive braid across her forehead that makes her instantly recognisable to Guy of Gisborne who orders her restrained, f) trying to cut a deal with Guy by revealing to him that Robin, the man who would have saved both her brother and the rest of the prisoners had Kate just let him, is hiding amongst the prisoners, and g) flailing helplessly when Guy ends up killing her brother when he rushes to her defense, mistakenly believing that Kate is being threatened by Guy.
      You'd expect: Kate to learn a valuable lesson about the importance of patience, timing, competence, discretion, silence, and letting the professionals do their job without interference. Or, if she does really want to help, at least try to make herself useful to the group by training, learning other skills, etc.
      Instead: The next time a tax-collector comes to Locksley, she loudly and aggressively insults him in front of a large crowd of people, resulting in the destruction of her family's pottery business, her own capture and near-rape, and the audience being subjected to her presence for the rest of the series when the outlaws rescue her and then inexplicably invite her to join the team despite the fact that she's completely useless.
      Furthermore: Why on earth did the outlaws want her on the team in the first place? All she ever did was bitch and moan at them, and act impossibly ungrateful whenever they went out of their way to save her life.
  • Roots (1977):
    • In the penultimate episode, one slave character discovers a thief in a food storage shed who messed the place up and runs off when discovered.
      You'd expect: "Virgil" to go to his masters and tell them about the thief to minimize the risk of being beaten when the thief runs off.
      Instead: Virgil nonchalantly tries to clean up the mess whereupon his masters come across the scene seconds later. They don't believe him when he tells them about the thief and he is promptly used as a punching bag by his handlers.
  • Usually in the UK stand-up show Russell Howards Good News, Russell makes fun of idiots. This time he manages to screw up completely during his usual 'Guest' segment he is being given directions on how to stage a fake fight. During all this he is shown a small stool which he is told is breakable and is to be hit on the stunt-man's back.
    You'd Expect Russell to listen and work the scene as intended.
    Instead Russell, right before the scene is about to begin, decides to do a push up on the stool, causing it to collapse, with him breaking a couple of fingers in the process.
  • Royal Pains: In the fourth season, Hank is happily dating another doctor named Harper Cummings, who has had issues with dating doctors because of the hectic work schedules, but made an exception for Hank. In the season finale, Hank is discussing a medical case with Harper as they're preparing to leave for her family reunion. Before they board a boat to Rhode Island, Hank realizes that he may have misdiagnosed his patient, and the patient could be in danger.
    You'd Expect: Hank to call Dr. Sacani, who is still on call, to go check on the patient. In fact, the patient is a volleyball patient at a tournament where HankMed is already the onsite medical care, so Dr. Sacani would be right there. Plus, Dr. Sacani helped Hank treat the patient before, so he's well aware of her symptoms and history.
    Instead: Hank abandons Harper, calls Dr. Sacani to meet him, and both of them check on the patient. The patient is fine. Not surprisingly, Harper breaks up with Hank when he calls to tell her.

    Live-Action TV S-Z 
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch
    • "The Crucible": Sabrina's class visits Salem, where they are encouraged to reenact the Witch Trials. Libby accuses Jenny of pettily being a witch, and then accuses Sabrina when the latter tries to defend Jenny. The class plays along as an angry mob. Sabrina then has a Freak Out! and asks her aunts to bail her out, since she can't lie on the stand. They tell her that she has to solve this problem on her own and leave her in Salem.
      You'd Expect: Sabrina to realize that the reenactments are just that: reenactments. No one is going to actually get hurt, or punished, because it isn't the 1600s. Also, she just accidentally released magic in anger and it was explained as a natural phenomenon, so it's unlikely anyone is going to believe it.
      Instead: Sabrina gives an honest, heartfelt confession on the stand, preparing to accept any consequences. Harvey defends her, albeit by going Wrong Genre Savvy and saying Sabrina doesn't melt when wet or has warts.
      The Result: Mob psychology means that no one believes Sabrina is a witch, and instead they pretend Jenny is guilty. The program leaders tell Libby that they aren't going to do anything to Jenny and just imagine that she was hanged. Of course, then Sabrina trolls Libby by conjuring a monkey that only she can see, which forces Libby to admit that she was making up the accusations. This exonerates Jenny and puts Libby in the stocks until the buses come.
    • "To Tell A Mortal": Witches are allowed to tell their secrets to mortals for one day, only for the mortals to forget at midnight. As Zelda reveals in a flashback, she told one of her friends in a village that was anti-witch. They actually did have fun for a short while, since Zelda is a Nice Girl.
      You'd Expect: Said friend would have kept her mouth shut.
      Instead: The friend told the village, who in turn scapegoated Zelda and dunked her, blaming her for various mishaps.
      The Result: Even though everyone forgot by midnight, Zelda ended the friendship, and felt very traumatized by the dunking.
    • "Sabrina and the Candidate": At the coffeeshop, a local city councilman named Robert Russell is hosting a rally for his election. Hilda reveals she's jacked up coffee prices for the evening.
      You'd Expect: Russell, being a genuinely Nice Guy, wouldn't insult the coffeeshop owners supporting him. They are giving him space and free press.
      Instead: He makes a jibe about the coffee being overpriced.
      The Result: An irate Hilda runs against him. She also pressures Sabrina to find dirt on Russell, and Sabrina nearly derails Russell's campaign when she mistakes his making anonymous donations to poor families as him buying votes.
  • The one-off Santa Sent Me to the ER had two notable instances.
    • Having gotten their fresh new pine tree home with her husband, Emily is eager to get it put up and decorated. Now, he’s going to be gone for a few hours and doesn’t want her to get up to anything crazy. Furthermore, the tree is higher than the ceiling in their living room!
      • You’d think: Emily would heed his advice and hold off on her impulse. There’s even a few drops of blood on the ground to indicate that impatience is going to be costly.
      • Instead: Once her husband is gone, she doesn’t waste a second. While wrestling with the tree, she loses her balance, falls off the stool, and the tree comes crashing right down on her! And one of the needles goes right through her arm on top of that!
    • Accompanied on the rooftop by his boozy brother-in-law, Charlie is dressed up as Santa Claus, getting ready to come down the chimney to the family house as a surprise for their kids.
      • You’d think: Charlie would discuss his plans with his wife so she would have ample warning to leave the fireplace clear for his passage.
      • Instead: The Mrs. has no clue what’s going on. Without knowing what her husband and brother are up to, she positions the fireplace poker upward — right in the path Charlie is going to take. Charlie loses his footing and lands butt-first right on the blade of the poker! 'YEEEEEEOOOWWW!!!'
  • Saturday Night Live: Many of the one-time and recurring skits are built around this premise – characters acting like complete idiots, driving the humor. Examples:
    • "Celebrity Jeopardy!": As the recurring skit became popular, the writers developed the ongoing gag where the questions were made ridiculously easy that only a complete idiot would get them wrong (e.g., "The Beatles White Album is this color."), yet the contestants invariably answer incorrectly with off-the-wall responses. Category names would obviously hint at what the exact answer was (e.g., "The Number After 2"), but yet the contestants would come up with completely incorrect answers. Another example is host Alex Trebek (Will Farrell) asking, as the Final Jeopardy! clue, the contestants to write down either a name or simply any number ... and the answers are invariably wildly off-the-wall.
  • Scrubs
    • Dr. Cox asks J.D. to tape the birth of his friend's child and provides him with a tape recorder (already containing a tape) to do so.
      You'd Expect: that the tape in the tape recorder would be the one Dr. Cox expected J.D. to use, since he didn't say anything to indicate otherwise.
      Instead: After the baby has been born Dr. Cox reveals that he "punches out the tabs" on all of his tapes, so the one already in the recorder was unable to be taped over. This means that there is no video, despite J.D. attempting to take one.
      The Cherry on Top: Dr. Cox berates J.D. for not automatically assuming that he should have gotten a fresh tape without any hint that he should do so, then fakes a tape for his friends with a baby that looks nothing like theirs.
    • Dr. Kelso is a Faux Affably Evil Chief of Medicine who bullies the interns to keep them in line, and will be petty about the tiniest of issues. Or so he wants people to think; the series reveals that Kelso acts like a big jerk because the hospital works better when everyone hates him. Some people, like Carla, even get a glimpse into his softer side.
      You'd Expect: People to eventually realize that Dr. Kelso acts this way to get people to do their jobs, so they should try to help out if they want him to be nicer.
      Instead: Almost as soon as any character finds out how hard Kelso works, Aesop Amnesia kicks in with full force.
    • In Season Two, Elliott starts a relationship with a Nice Guy nurse named Paul. Paul loves to cook, is mildly bossy, but adores Elliott. Their relationship starts to founder when he says he loves her and Elliott says “I love U2” while looking at CDs. She’s not at the point where she can admit she loves Paul.
      You’d Expect: She would admit her mistake to Paul, and they work to repair the damage from her ppor choice of words.
      Instead: Elliott keeps her worries to herself, trying to cover up what she said. She starts noticing Paul's more and thinks there is nothing to save. Then she takes Paul to the park for a breakup picnic and only explains it then.
      The Result: Paul rightly chews her out for not communicating with him. This leaves them both hurt and their relationship in shambles.
    • In Season Three, Elliott starts dating marine trainer Sean again, and soon after J.D. rekindles his feelings for Elliott. Sean knows that J.D. likes Elliott but doesn't see him as a threat, even when he decides to fly to Hawaii and risk a long-distance relationship rather than outright break upw ith Elliott. Elliott then starts having doubts when Sean falls asleep while talking on the phone with her, and thinks she gets a love epiphany after J.D. covers clown doctor duties for her. J.D.is newly single after he briefly dated Jordan's sister Danni.
      You'd Expect: Elliott to remember that she wanted the long-distance relationship with Sean, when he was willing to make a clean break and spare them yanked heartstrings.
      You'd Also Expect: J.D. to remember how his last two hookups with Elliott went: terribly. And also you'd expect he would remember that he only started noticing Elliott again after realizing she was unavailable. Danni tells him as much.
      Instead: Elliott surprises J.D. and they end up sleeping together. Soon after, Sean arrives on a flight to surprise Elliott with a visit. He narrowly misses catching Elliott cheating on him.
      The Result: J.D. can't stand all these mixed messages from Elliott, even when he lies to a suspicious Sean, who wants to have her cake and eat it too. After a few episodes of hesitation, he manages to break up the couple up by declaring he loves Elliott. Only then he realizes he doesn't love her, and breaks up with her. Everyone ends up miserable and single by the end of the season, although later on Sean dates J.D.'s ex Kim and manages to find a happy ending.
    • "My Big Bird"
      • J.D. is annoyed when his latest patient won't thank him for saving his life.
        You'd Expect: He would wait until he is free to look up the patient.
        Instead: He leaves while on call due to his pride. Then when Turk has to clock into work, J.D. decides to stay behind to thank a garbageman.
        The Result: He and Turk are put under investigation for Mr. Foster's death, since they were both supposed to be watching him.
      • Elliot's newest patient is a child, with a handsome father named Jimmy. Jimmy tells Elliot that his wife is "no longer with us" and flirts with her.
        You'd Expect: Elliot to remember that dating patients' family members never goes well. She saw how J.D. got into unhealthy relationships with Jamie and Danni because of it.
        Instead: She hooks up with the guy, much to Carla's disapproval. And it turns out Jimmy lied and his wife Millie is alive and well!
        You'd Then Expect: Elliot would talk to Millie about what happened, apologize, and explain Jimmy lied to her.
        Instead: She tells Jimmy that he needs to admit to Millie he cheated on her. Jimmy does, and paints a target on Elliot's back for Millie to hit. It also means he's a Karma Houdini for cheating on his wife.
      • Following this, Millie has been chasing after Elliot all day and calling her a whore, and not giving her a chance to explain that her husband Jimmy lied to Elliot about his wife being dead. Even if she's understandably angry about being cheated on, she is posing a danger to Elliot and keeping her from doing her job.
        You'd Expect: Elliot would confront her after finding hospital security to back her up. That way if Millie still refuses to listen to reason that Elliot was lied to and used, then she can be escorted out and Elliot can check on her patients.
        Instead: Elliot confronts Millie alone, apologizing for what she did, and hoping they can both leave each other with their dignity. Millie then says she's going to punch her in the face. Elliot decides to throw down with her.
        The Result: Millie duct-tapes her to a wall with the sign, "Hi, I'm a whore!" Also, this makes Elliot partially responsible for Mr. Foster's death and put under investigation.
    • “My Musical”: A woman named Ms. Miller collapses in the park. J.D. and Elliott happen to be in the area; they go check on her. Ms. Miller hears everyone singing, and she doesn’t understand why. Her medical tests reveal nothing so far that would explain the singing.
      You’d Expect: Dr. Cox to realize this would be a head-related trauma and to order more tests.
      Instead: He assumes she’s “crazy” and prepares to transfer her to the psych ward.
      The Result: Ms. Miller has to browbeat Dr. Cox into giving her an MRI, after doing him a favor and getting J.D. to stop talking. That’s when the radiologist finds a large aneurysm in her temporal lobe, which requires immediate surgery. Dr. Cox looks really guilty when he has to tell Ms. Miller, though he assures her that she’s going to be okay.
  • Every single character on The Secret Life of the American Teenager is prone to at least one bout of this. For example:
    • The "Ben wants to marry Amy" arc. There are a million reasons why this is an absolutely moronic idea, not the least of which is that they have zero chemistry together.
      • You'd Expect: Amy or, really, anyone not Ben to see sense.
      • Instead: Amy, overcome by emotion, leans towards accepting the proposal. Ben's father doesn't see why two very much in love teens can't marry, but Amy's father at least retains a level head.
  • Seinfeld contained numerous instances of this.
    • Example: George discovers that Elaine has a friend who knows Marisa Tomei and believes that George is just her type. Unfortunately, he is engaged to Susan.
      You'd expect: George would break up with Susan, meet with Marisa, and they would start a glorious romance that would eventually lead to a happy marriage. (But this is Seinfeld after all.)
      Instead: George has a secret meeting with Elaine and makes up a lie about her non-existent boyfriend (importer/exporter Art Vandelay) to cover up for the real reason he is going out: Marisa Tomei. Then when he does meet with her, he tells her that he is "sort of" engaged. She slaps him in the face and walks away infuriated. Even worse, Susan realizes the lie when she asks George what Art imports and exports, but the stories do not match.
    • You'd also expect: Susan would instantly call off the engagement realising George is a lying cheat.
    • Instead: She stays with him (after punching him in the face) and is eventually killed by the toxins in the cheap envelopes picked out by George. Immediately afterwards, George calls Marisa Tomei, but she hangs up on him.
  • Sesame Street:
    • Pretty much every segment involving Buddy and Jim or Wally and Ralph were built on "What an Idiot!" moments. One example comes in a segment in which Buddy and Jim need to bring an ironing board into another room, but Buddy can't fit the ironing board through the doorway, because he's holding the board sideways.
      You'd expect: He'd think to just turn it upwards so it would fit.
      Instead: Well, actually, he does do that... Quite a bit throughout the sketch. He turns it upwards and then brings it in, but only to show what he did from the other side, and then brings it back the other room, doing this a few times.
      So Now You'd Expect: Them to catch on, especially when it is in the other room.
      Instead: They don't.
      And then: They decide to saw the ironing board in half.
      You'd expect: Then to cut sideways and to bring in separate halves.
      Instead: They cut from the top, and continue holding both halves the same way.
      And then: They decide to put small holes in the side of the wall to make the ironing board fit through.
      But first: They each hold a different end, making it hard to get through.
      But then: Buddy had Jim hold the ironing board from the middle, to which it would fit through.
      And finally: Although this method works, Buddy holds Jim sideways as he holds the board, resulting in the ironing board getting through the way they should have done in the first place, while also allowing Jim's heads and feet to fit through the holes.
    • In the special "Elmo Saves Christmas," Elmo frees Santa from his chimney when the latter gets stuck on Christmas Eve. Santa thanks Elmo and decides to offer him a special gift.
      You'd Expect: Santa's gifts would be simple but beautiful toys, thus offering no moral hazard.
      Instead: Santa offers Elmo either a magic snowglobe or a pink bear. Elmo chooses the bear, but changes his mind when Santa tells him the snowglobe grants three wishes, that act on a Reality Warper basis.
      The Result: Elmo uses his first wish for a glass of water, and then for Christmas Every Day. Santa realizes he messed up and visits Sesame Street to tell off Elmo for his foolishness. Since Elmo can't understand that permanent holidays are a bad thing in the long run, Santa has to send Elmo with a time-traveling reindeer to see the consequences. For Elmo to fix things, he has to go back in time and make a different decision.
      To Make Matters Worse: When the elves find out, they call out Santa for giving the snowglobe again as a gift, meaning similar events have happened before.
    • Several years later, Martin Short appeared as his character Ed Grimley in a sketch with Billy Crystal as his friend Ricky, who has helped Ed get a shirt washed but now they need it to dry. After hanging the shirt on a rope that only one end of was tied to a tree, they decide that they need to tie the other end to something.
      You'd expect: Them to tie it to the tree close enough to the tree that the other end is tied to.
      Instead: Ricky ties the other end around Ed's waist. But since this prevents Ed from leaving to have lunch with Ricky, they decide to tie the rope to something else.
      So now You'd expect: Ricky to untie the end tied around Ed and maybe figure out he can tie it to the other tree.
      Instead: He unties the end that's tied to a tree and ties it around his waist, so the shirt can hang on the rope and they can both leave.
    • Also a source of humor in various Twiddlebugs sketches. In one segment, the Twiddlebugs plan to go to the zoo, but since they are so small that walking there would take them three days, they consider other options, eventually figuring out that they can take the car to the zoo.
      You'd Expect: One of the parents to drive the car and the others to ride it.
      Instead: Each Twiddlebug lifts part of the car and they all carry it with them to the zoo.
    • In another sketch, the Twiddlebugs are inside and want to go outside. Eventually, they realize they can use the door.
      You'd expect: Them to open the door and leave.
      Instead: They remove the door and successfully break the wall down with it.
    • In one segment, Bert needs to buy groceries but has misplaced his key, so he asks Ernie to listen for him when he comes back. After Ernie turns down an opportunity to practice, Bert leaves but realizes that he forgot his money and needs back in, but when he knocks, Ernie thinks he is practicing. Eventually, after trying everything Bert can to get Ernie to hear that he's there, Ernie decides to open the door and compliment his practice.
      You'd expect: For Bert to come right in to get his money, or to at least explain to Ernie that he needs to get money.
      Instead: A worn-out Bert stays outside the apartment catching his breath, and then Ernie tells Bert that he's going to take a long bath and then be ready to answer the door when he's back, locking Bert out again (and still without his money).
      And worse: Earlier, Bert had turned down Ernie's offer to let Bert borrow his key.
  • Sherlock: In "The Six Thatchers", Sherlock has discovered the mastermind behind the plot and heads off to confront them, as does Mary. John has the good sense to contact Lestrade to bring in police backup.
    You'd expect: For Lestrade to send an armed response unit. The mastermind is known to be heavily involved with a black ops team i.e. the sort of people who always carry guns and aren't afraid to use them.
    Instead: Lestrade shows up himself with a handful of officers, none of whom are armed. When the mastermind pulls a gun on Sherlock, the police are literally powerless to intervene, and Mary is killed taking the bullet for Sherlock.
  • Smallville: In Red, Clark goes to patch things up with Lana due to his Red Kryptonite induced behavior. He states not being himself, with Lana assuming that his feelings for her weren't genuine.
    You'd expect: For him to say he was on drugs. It would technically be true, and pretty much explain everything.
    Instead Clark says that he can't explain his actions.
    • In the season two finale of Smallville, Clark meets his biological father, through the A.I in the spaceship he came to earth in as a baby. Jor-El tries to force him to leave Smallville forever, so Clark tries to find the key to the spaceship to destroy it. He succeeds, but the energy wave from it turns over the truck Jonathan and Martha are in, and causes Martha to miscarry the baby she thought she never could have. At the hospital, Jonathan tells Clark that it's his fault, and his actions have consequences.
      You'd Expect: That Clark would realize that A. This is all completely true and that he needs to own up to his actions and accept them, and B. His father is in extreme grief over the loss and probably will apologize or say something to amend the situation is some way.
      Instead: Clark accepts that this is his fault, but assumes that what essentially was an EXTREMELY unfortunate coincidence as a sign all he'll ever bring to anyone who cares about him is pain and misery, runs away from his friends and family (You know, the former willing to help him and the latter going to want to be with him in light of this tragedy) for what is presumably the rest of his life, and gets a RED KRYPTONITE ring to wear to numb his guilt and pain. In case you didn't know, Red Kryptonite lowers inhibitions; makes you act like your high. This bites EVERYONE in the ass, as Jonathan makes a deal with Jor-El to get powers in order to force Clark to come home, said deal involving giving Clark to Jor-El in order to "make him accept his destiny" (Read: Brainwash him into submission) and the powers put stress on Jonathan that leads to him having a fatal heart attack in Season 5. So to make it a little clearer, a perfect Aesop on accepting your actions have consequences that would have led to great Character Development between the cast and put Clark closer to becoming Superman was scrapped instead for a Family-Unfriendly Aesop that you should deal with your actions and their consequences by doing drugs and abandoning everyone you love in order to create FREAKING DRAMA.
    • In Pariah, Alicia Baker is suspect of attacking both Lana and Jason. Even Clark suspects her, so he talks to her after the second attack. Unknown to him, Alicia was locked in an interrogation room with the sheriff during the second attack, so she couldn't have done it.
      You'd Expect: That Alicia would at least tell Clark that she was in fact locked with the sheriff in during that second attack, thus taking away every trace of suspicion towards her.
      Instead: Alicia makes a demand that means that she and Clark will go to the sheriff and explain everything, but only if Clark agrees that he will tell about his powers to the sheriff. Naturally he can't do that, so he still suspects Alicia, only to later talk with the sheriff himself, only to find Alicia dead by the time he wanted to apologize to her.
    • In Dichotic, Clark has just knocked out a guy who he knows has the ability to be in two places at once. He knows the guy was going to fake Lana and Chloe's suicides. Clark rescues Chloe, but not Lana.
      You'd Expect: Clark to look immediately around for Lana.
      Instead: He stops to stare about the unconscious guy's body and only notices Lana when she screams.
    • In "Precipice", Clark knows Lex is looking for a mentally unstable, violent man.
      You'd Expect: Clark to use is x-ray vision on the empty trains to find Lex.
      Instead: He wastes time looking around, resulting in Lex almost dying. Then, after hearing Lex, he decides to use his x-ray vision.
    • "Velocity", Clark learns that Pete has been street racing, and that street racers are using kryptonite as a substitute for nos. Pete ends up owing his mechanic a lot of money, and Clark makes a plan that involves Pete beating his mechanic in a race. Clark's plan also involves him using his heat vision to sabotage the mechanic's car. While doing this, he learns that the mechanic has rigged Pete's car to blow if it hits 100 mph.
      You'd Expect: Clark to go and tell Pete about this, so Pete could switch to using Lex's Porsche, since Clark can still help him cheat.
      Instead: He walks right in, confronts the guys, with kryptonite all over the place.
      The result: Clark is predictably weakened by the kryptonite, knocked out, and put into Pete's car.
    • In "Sacred", Clark uses his super speed to steal the stone from Isobel's hand.
      You'd Expect: Clark to keep on running, since Isobel doesn't have super speed.
      Instead: He stops to look at it, then to look at Isobel, giving her enough time to blast him and take the stone.
  • A standard Soap Opera trope. Fully half of their juicy plots would never have happened had the characters acted with any sense.
  • Spellbinder: After Paul returns from the parallel world, he learns that Ashka, the villainious Spellbinder therefrom, has sneaked into his world and bamboozled Paul's scientist dad into upgrading some of the Spellbinder technology (wich Paul is relatively familiar with by that point), so that she could use it to take over her homeworld. Ashka is an otherwise perfectly normal-looking woman, and Paul already learned that his dad is adamantly unwilling to believe his stories about the parallel world.
    You'd Expect: that once his dad starts extolling on the "project" he's working on, Paul, who is usually a remarkably resourceful fellow, would interject and describe to his dad the details of the technology he's working on. Since it is extremely unlikely that Paul could learn about it in this world, his dad would have to at least entertain the possibility that his son might be telling the truth.
    Instead: He throws a temper tantrum, keeps babbling about the Spellbinders and screams at Ashka, giving his father an impression that he's simply jealous of her and not right in his head. As a result Paul is alienated from his father, the "project" continues, and Ashka gets herself a super-power suit.
  • Stargate Atlantis series finale: "Enemy at the Gates". The people at Atlantis find out that the Earth gate opens to the wraith ship attacking Earth.
    You'd expect: them to send through a gate buster nuke and "make that ship go away".
    Instead: they send through a team (I repeat, to a wraith ship swarming of life-sucking alien soldiers) on an extremely dangerous mission to overload the ZPM powering that ship.
    • And speaking of that episode: in the show, as well as real life, there is a treaty that says Antarctica will never be used for military purposes. In the show, Antarctica is home to a heavily-armed abandoned outpost of the Precursors.
      You'd Expect: the outpost would be grandfathered into the treaty. This would keep it under multinational control, and everything safe under ridiculous amounts of ice.
      Instead: the SGC is forced to remove the control chair in compliance with the treaty. They then put it in Area 51, thus under exclusive US control, and in an above-ground bunker with no AA batteries. When the Wraith do show up, all it takes is a kamikaze run by a couple of Darts to destroy the chair and disable Earth's last line of defense.
    • In the same episode, John Sheppard is brought back to Earth from Another Galaxy to use the weapon's chair to defend the planet.
      You'd expect: That he'd be carted off and strapped into the chair the second he arrives so he can protect the planet and incidentally the chair itself using the impressive weapons it controls.
      Instead: He's allowed to clamber into a fighter plane to be shot at by Wraith Darts, while the chair is left unmanned and (as noted above) undefended by even conventional weapons in a shack in the Nivada desert.
  • Stranger Things: In episode 4, after roughing up a state trooper named O'Bannon and uncovering what appears to be a conspiracy, Sheriff Hopper begins to suspect that there's more to the Will Byers story. He knocks out a state trooper, breaks into the morgue, and discovers that Will's apparent corpse is actually a realistic looking dummy filled with cotton.
    You'd Expect: Armed with this undeniable evidence that things surrounding Will's disappearance are NOT what they seem, Hopper would show this evidence to the media, to the real coroner, anyone. If anything, the evidence could help unravel the conspiracy.
    Instead: He shows absolutely no one, tries to singlehandedly break into the Department of Energy facility, gets himself drugged and gaslit, and loses the evidence.
  • The climactic episode of season 2 of Suits before the hiatus.
    • During the partner's meeting about the subject of firing Harvey, Mike suddenly comes in and presents the file that ultimately dooms Hardman. It was a signed affidavit that says that Hardman did knew that a client's manufactured car did have a defect but under the supervision of Hardman, hides it.
      You'd Then Expect: In a room full of lawyers that at least one of them would have actually taken the time of 3 seconds to confirm that it was indeed signed, especially Hardman.
      Instead: Everyone just took Mike's word for it, even Hardman. Then it was later confirmed that it was indeed signed, but not by the client but by Mike himself as he had even said that nobody actually does check those kinds of files.
  • Supergirl:
    • "For The Girl Who Has Everything": Supergirl is incapacitated by the Black Mercy, so Martian Manhunter uses his shapeshifting powers to impersonate her.
      You'd Expect: Him to simply have her take a sick day, using the DEO to forge a note from a doctor if necessary.
      Barring That: Martian Manhunter would use his telepathic abilities to act in the way that Kara's friends and coworkers expect her to behave.
      Instead: He and Alex come up with a nonsense reason for why he has to go to Kara's job, where he's his usual grumpy self and winds up screwing up tasks and seriously jeopardizing Kara's job by needlessly antagonizing Cat Grant.
  • Supernatural:
    • "Nightshifter": It's a long story involving nutcases, mandroids, shapeshifters and hostage situations so let's just cut to the chase here, shall we? They're looking for the shifter, the police have got them surrounded, a guard has a heart attack and needs to leave, Sam is going to get the guard out while Dean is going to take out the shifter but then Ronald gets hit with a bullet and dies.
      You'd Expect: Them to carry on as normal. Dean can take out the shifter and Sam can let the guard out, seeing as how he's not the one wanted for almost every crime under the sun.
      Instead: Sam tells Dean to help the guard out while he goes after the shifter. Dean gets his face on the 11 O'Clock News, they're even more royally screwed to hell than they were before and, in the next episode, Sam/the show has the gall to blame Dean for all of it.
    • In Season 8, Dean breaks out of Purgatory with a new friend, Benny the vampire, whom Sam immediately distrusts.
      You'd expect: Dean to tell Sam that he trusts Benny because Benny saved Cas' life. Sam knows just how important Cas is to Dean, and Cas is his friend as well. Even though it probably still wouldn't get him to trust Benny, it would still get him to understand why Dean does.
      Instead: For no explained reason whatsoever, Dean dances around the question until it becomes a sore spot, and then a wedge, between him and Sam.
  • The 10th Kingdom: Everyone is trying to raise money at the casino in Kissing Town to buy the magic mirror at the auction so that Virginia and her father Tony can go home to New York, and Wolf wins more than enough money.
    You'd Expect: Wolf gives Virginia the money, making the woman he loves happy, maybe asking if he can come with her, OR he keeps entirely quiet about the money (give it away, put in in the bank, whatever) to make sure she has to stay in fairyland.
    Instead: Wolf tells Virginia and Tony that he lost all his money, and their offer of 5,000 gold pieces is outbid by the queen's huntsman. Wolf then obviously blows a fortune on his date with Virginia by renting a gorgeous tux, having music composed especially for her, giving her a romantic carriage ride with lots of flowers, renting an entire restaurant just for them, and giving her a magical singing engagement ring to propose marriage. When Virginia asks how he paid for all this, Wolf admits that he won 10,000 gold pieces the previous night, making Virginia understandably furious.
    • Wolf. When she confronts him...
      You'd Expect: Wolf does his conman routine, lies through his teeth, and says that half of Kissing Town owes him favors.
      Instead: See above. The one time in the miniseries he doesn't even try to come up with a good lie.
    • The main characters have the Huntsman temporarily indisposed through a series of lucky shots.
      You'd Expect: Them to at least think about finishing off a man who murdered hundreds of innocent people in cold blood. Or at the very least to take his magic crossbow.
      Instead: They simply run off, ensuring that he comes after them again as soon as he recovers.
  • 13: Fear Is Real, "Alone": Adam is specifically told by Ted and Nasser that Erica is the killer, and from then on sticks to them like glue. When the group is taking showers, Adam realizes that the others are wearing boxers, and that he didn't bring any.
    You'd Expect: Adam to either shower nude, wait for Ted or Nasser to finish and go back to the room together, or at the very least try to sneak back to his room if he's going alone.
    Instead: He rushes up to his room as noisily as possible, alerting Erica to his presence and resulting in his getting "killed off."
  • Tales from the Crypt
    • In Three's a CrowdRichard's wife Della and best friend Alan are planing a party for Richard to tell him ( that they're going to be parents!) Sadly Richard thinks they're having an affair and this results in him snapping enough to kill them both.
      You'd expect: That Della or Alan would come clean and tell him ("You're going to be a father, we wanted to surprise you, please don't kill us!")
      Instead: They don't say anything, even when it's clear that he's going to kill him. Result? One of the saddest endings in the series.
  • Taxi:
    • Reverend Jim has to retake his driver's test.
      You'd Expect: Him to at least know the basics of driving since he does that for a living.
      Instead: He takes the written test, looks at the first question, and whispers "What does a yellow light mean?"
      So: Bobby whispers "Slow down."
      You'd Expect: Reverend Jim to recognize this is what a yellow light means.
      Instead: He repeats the question, only slower.
      Then, You'd Expect: Bobby to clarify his previous answer.
      Instead: He repeats "Slow down."
      Result: Reverend Jim repeats the question even more slowly.
  • Titus
    • Juanita, Titus's mom, is a psychopath (in the most literal sense of the word), but frequently gets out of mental hospitals, claiming that she's changed each time. Since Juanita has tried to kill Titus and his dad every time she gets out, Titus is naturally nervous about even being in the same room with her. The other characters frequently tell Titus to give his mom another chance, either because "it's your mother" or because it looks like Juanita really has reformed.
      You'd expect: That Titus would stick to his guns and stay hostile towards her, seeing as how she has a long history of violence, or at the very least, realize when Juanita is trying to sucker them into believing her story.
      Instead: Titus accepts that Juanita has changed for the better... only to be assaulted, drugged or abused by his mother. It's mentioned a few times on the show that this has been happening since Titus was born. And yet, he never learns.
  • Top Gear
    • During the Stretch Limos episode, the presenters are given the challenge of driving into a roadblock and getting away from it as quickly as possible, while the other two hosts shoot at their limo with paintball guns. Host James May has designed a limo that's essentially two cars joined at the rear, and can be driven at either end. Oh, and the other two hosts are Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond, and they're all rather fond of goofing about.
      You'd Expect: James to remember just who his co-presenters are, stay in his car and do a J-turn to escape, as the challenge instructions suggested.
      Instead: He gets out of the car, and tries to get into the other end and drive it from there. Predictably, Clarkson and Hammond shoot at him instead of the car, and one of them shoots him in his "gentleman's area". And when he does get into his car, the steering wheel comes off seconds after he hits the gas, so he ends up driving into the grass.
    • During the Hatchback episode, the presenters play "Supermarket Sweep" with their cars; i.e. they drive around a race track inside a supermarket with penalties for damage at a rate of 1£ = 1 sec. James realises the only way to win is to drive as carefully as possible, as even minor damage yields minutes of penalties; he hits a shelf and obliterates a can of SPAM, but is mostly clean. Jeremy Clarkson, being Jeremy Clarkson, drives as fast as he can, doing large amounts of damage. Then it's Richard's turn.
      You'd Expect: After watching the other two, Richard would realize that James had the right idea and should take it as slowly as possible.
      Instead: Richard tries to outdo Jeremy.
  • In the fifth season of 24, Jack Bauer finds himself on an airplane with a dictaphone recording which proves that President Logan supplied nerve gas to terrorists. Bauer finds out through a phone call to CTU that Logan has arranged for the plane to be shot down on the pretext that it's fallen under the control of terrorists.
    You'd Expect: Bauer to play the recording into his mobile phone, and CTU to use it to make their own recording, meaning that they'll still have the evidence even if Bauer's plane gets shot down.
    Instead: They don't do anything of the sort, and Bauer ends up having to force the plane into an emergency landing, then escape Logan's forces on the ground. Fortunately he manages to do all this successfully and returns to CTU, where he hands the dictaphone to Chloe. We then find out that a conference call with the Attorney General has been scheduled for about a half hour or so later, and that the dictaphone uses a flash memory chip.
    You'd Then Expect: Chloe, being a computer expert, to make copies of the conversation in every medium humanly possible; one on her own computer, one on Buchanan's computer, one on CTU's network, and one on optical disc for good measure.
    Instead: She doesn't make a single copy, giving a corrupt DoD staffer time to call Logan (preventing him from committing suicide in the process), set up a deal involving a cushy job at the White House, then upload a virus which completely wrecks the dictaphone's memory chip, forever destroying the all-important conversation and forcing Bauer to find a means of extricating a confession from Logan.
  • The end of The Twilight Zone (1959) episode "The Jeopardy Room" has two KGB agents, Vassiloff and Boris, roaming the room of a failed assassination plot via telephone bomb. While planning their next move, the phone rings.
    You'd Expect: That they would remember that the phone is rigged with a bomb that they themselves planted and not answer it.
    Instead: Boris picks up the receiver and by the time Vassiloff tries to stop Boris, both are blown to bits.
  • Two and a Half Men: Judith, who is an absolute bitch to Alan and an abusive harpy in general, kicks her husband, Herb, out of her house because he stood up against her abuse. Alan hears it from Charlie and is sadistically happy about his ex-wife's trouble. Then he goes to her house as soon as he heard about it.
    You'd Expect: Considering that Judith, up to this point, stole everything from Alan in the divorce, including his house, meddled in his relationship with Kandi out of petty vengeance, gave Kandi the divorce lawyer she used to screw him even further and uses the child support money that's supposed to pay Jake's expenses for herself, you'd expect Alan to finally put her in her place.
    Instead: It's a sitcom, so he doesn't. Instead, he starts comforting her, despite laughing at her suffering from the inside. However, it ends up with Alan getting back with her, as if he forgot all the crap she put him through for her own amusement. As expected, it ends with Judith deciding to break it up again, instead of Alan having the balls to reject her in the first place, and next time we know, she's back into abusing him and Herb again.
    • Judith always threatens Alan with going to the court if he doesn't pay everything unnecessary for her, not covered by the ridiculously high alimony.
      You'd expect: For him to say 'okay, let's go, let the judge see that even the amount of alimony I already pay isn't your rightful share'.
      Instead: He gives in and pays.
  • In one episode of Unbeatable Bonzuke, a contestant on Sponge Bridge makes it past the first zone with ease.
    You'd expect: For him to move right onto the next zone only failing if he falls off the boards.
    Instead: He celebrates by doing a backflip right off the platform disqualifying him!
  • One might get this feeling after yet another accident involving a rodeo on the show Untamed & Uncut. It makes another good (or possibly bad) idea for a drinking game. If one day, you find yourself watching an Untamed & Uncut marathon (or if it's simply many episodes in a row), take a drink every time an accident involving a rodeo comes up. Before you know it, you'll be as drunk as Dionysus on St. Patrick's Day.
  • The Umbrella Academy:
    • The series starts with Reginald Hargreeves adopting seven out of forty-three babies that were mysteriously conceived and born on the same day. He finds out that six out of these seven have superpowers and tries to make them into a hero team. Due to his emotional abuse, however, they all move out and leave after their brother Ben dies. Reginald wants to give his children a reason to reunite and prevent the apocalypse.
      You'd Expect: If he's lacks the capacity to apologize to them for what he did, such as locking up child-Klaus in a mausoleum to hear all the ghosts and lose his fear of them, he would fake his kidnapping, if he's going to fake a crime and give them a reason to unite. That way he still can engage in Xanatos Speed Chess.
      Instead: Reginald kills himself, and makes his death look like a murder. This means tampering with the android mother he built for the kids because Grace was programmed to interfere in medical emergencies.
      The Result: The kids notice Grace is malfunctioning, and suspect that she might have killed their father by accident. Diego makes the decision to shut her down after she sews a cross-stitch through her hand and doesn't even notice. What's worse, when they learn the truth about what Reginald did, they nearly split apart again, and the apocalypse happens because it turns out Vanya had powers all along and she snaps from her family's unintended emotional abuse, gaslighting from her vengeful boyfriend, and withdrawal from her meds. Nice going, Reginald.
    • It's eventually revealed that Vanya did have powers, but Reginald convinced a child-Allison to make Vanya believe she was ordinary. Leonard learns this from Reginald's journals, which Klaus tossed in the trash. He's planning revenge.
      You'd Expect: The best revenge would be isolating Vanya from her family and stopping there. It would be much worse for Allison if she knew her sister was getting involved with a stalker and not doing anything about it. She is dangerous, has never been able to control her powers.
      You'd Also Expect: Telling the truth to Vanya would have the same effect; if he shows her the notebook and reveals that Reginald lied to her and Allison Rumored her, saying that he noticed Klaus tossing away what looked like incriminating evidence. Vanya would also sympathize with Leonard's story, that he was humiliated by Reginald as a child.
Instead: He washes away her meds and goads her to reawaken her powers so as to destroy her family.
The Result: Vanya kills him when she realizes what he's doing.
  • Allison meanwhile has refused to use her powers after using them on her child causes her husband to divorce her. She remembers what she did to Vanya.
    You'd Expect: After their father dies and they have some time that Allison confesses to the entire family. That way if Vanya freaks out, they can at least tackle it together and prevent her from hurting anyone. When the truth comes out, Klaus and Diego have a Heel Realization change their attitude because they know what it's like being the focus of their dad's emotional abuse.
    Instead: She keeps quiet until trying to convince Vanya that Leonard/Harold is bad news and doesn't love her sister.
    The Result: While Allison tries to weakly defend that she was just doing what their father ordered and she didn't know any better due to being four, Vanya lashes out and slashes her throat by accident.
  • Veronica Mars:
    • The murderer of Lilly Kane has been found and is in jail awaiting justice.
      You'd expect: Logan Echolls, who was in love with Lilly and hates the murderer, to do everything he can to see the murderer behind bars.
      Instead: In an extraordinarily misguided act of "loyalty" to his dead girlfriend, Logan destroys the evidence and the murderer goes free.
    • Veronica is neck and neck with another student for having the highest GPA in her class, which will earn her the Kane Scholarship, allowing her to attend Stanford on the Kane family's dime.
      You'd expect: She'd do her best to earn the scholarship, and only sacrifice it if something truly important got in her way.
      Instead: She deliberately walks out on a test, thereby forfeiting the scholarship, in order to see the verdict in Lilly's murder trial. Just to hear the verdict read, mind you — there was no way she could affect the outcome, and the verdict would be all over the news seconds later. She decided it was worth giving up her dream of going to Stanford just to see the look in the murderer's eyes when he was convicted ... oh, except that, due to her boyfriend's idiocy, he got acquitted.
  • Victorious:
    • In "Survival of the Hottest", the gang goes to Venice Beach on the hottest day of the year, and Cat has to go to the bathroom upon arrival.
      You'd expect: Someone else to go with Cat to the bathroom to at least watch her.
      Instead: She goes alone.
      You'd then expect: Cat to bring her cell phone with her.
      Instead: She doesn't, and gets no response when Tori tried to call her.
      Then: After Cat leaves the bathroom, she meets a cute boy who asks her to hang with him.
      You'd expect: Cat to politely refuse as she needs to check on the others.
      Instead: She happily agrees and spends all her time with the boy and his friends, kicking off the plot of the episode.
    • In "Tori Gets Stuck", Tori has to donate a second pint of blood for Robbie after Jade stole the first one she donated (long story). Eventually her blood has been removed and put in a bag. Robbie enters the room, pleased to see her having gone out of her way for him again.
      You'd expect: That Tori would hold on to the bag of blood to make sure nothing would happen to it. Considering she already had to donate one pint of blood, she would have to be extra careful with this one.
      Instead: Tori holds it up, and Robbie takes it from her. He imagines that he's holding "liquid Tori" in his hands, and then holds it up to the light in the room, but drops it, which splatters it all over the two of them. Tori is then forced to give up a THIRD pint of blood, which is pretty dangerous. And by the end of the episode, she feels drowsy and faint when she tries to do her part in the school play.
    • Beck, one of the most popular guys in school, is dating Jade, an Alpha Bitch and bully. Quite a few people, including Tori, ask What Does He See in Her? as Jade takes Beck for granted, gets violent if there's a hint that another girl likes him, and doesn't even show him basic consideration. It comes to a head when Beck and Jade have a serious fight while participating in a romantic quiz game show for Sinjin's project, and Beck openly states he's not happy with the state of their relationship. They get voted Worst Couple, and Beck is concerned and angry because the other two couples weren't even couples.
      You'd Expect: Jade to seriously consider Beck's concerns. The last time they broke up, he handled it quite well while dating someone else and she became a sobbing wreck. Beck this time is willing to talk to her and figure out where they went wrong.
      Instead: Jade tries to dismiss Beck's desire to talk, and threatens to break up with him by giving him an ultimatum.
      The Result: Beck breaks up with Jade due to the ultimatum, starts dating again, and only gets back together after a few months because he realizes that he likes that they disagree. Jade has a hard time finding a rebound date because everyone is scared of her.
    • "Wok Star":
      • When the school refuses to put on Jade's disturbing play about a girl drowning in a well, Tori accidentally gets Jade a sponsor, Wing Lee who owns a local restaurant, On One Condition: Jade has to incorporate Ms. Lee's "talentless and irritating" teenage daughter in the play. Jade blames Tori for this turn of events, even though as the other kids point out, Jade wouldn't be performing her play if not for Tori. She's especially worried that her dad is coming for one performance and he's not supportive of her career in the arts.
        You'd Expect: Tori would let Jade deal with it. The girl's a Jerkass even on her good days, and she's being an Ungrateful Bastard who doesn't even consider Tori a friend.
        Instead: While playing UNO with their friend group, Tori and the others come up with a Zany Scheme to keep Ms. Lee from attending a show where her daughter Daisy, who is a Nice Girl, will not make an appearance that Jade's father can watch and appreciate. Hilarity Ensues.
      • Meanwhile as part of this Zany Scheme, Daisy is waiting for her cue.
        You'd Expect: Jade and Tori would have told Daisy for this one performance they're humoring Jade's Control Freak of a dad and that Daisy would steal the show (which technically isn't a lie) and have her wait backstage.
        Instead: They leave Daisy dangling on her wire and harness for the part Ms. Lee wrote into the play. As Ms. Lee arrives too late to see the show, she hears Daisy calling out that she's ready.
        The Result: When Ms. Lee finds out, she tells off Tori for letting her daughter "dangle" and promises revenge in the near future. She eventually gets it when she opens up a sushi place and makes Tori and Robbie work off an expensive sushi meal they can't pay for when Robbie forgets his wallet.
    • "Andre's Horrible Girl": As the earthquake is striking Los Angeles, most everyone in Nozu is taking cover for safety, except Hope Quincy, who we see more concerned for her birthday presents.
      You'd expect: That Hope would take cover beneath the hallway, or do SOMETHING other than stand below an arch.
      Instead: She doesn't even see that, and the Japanese symbol falls off the wall and knocks her out, leaving her with a concussion. Ouch.
  • In The Walking Dead 's second-season episode "Chupacabra", Daryl Dixon comes stumbling out of the forest badly injured and limping after his unsuccessful attempt to find Sophia. Andrea notices something in the distance and alerts Rick and the rest of the group, and Rick tells her to wait while he deals with what he thinks is a walker. Andrea is itching to prove herself with a gun, however, and takes aim at the walker in the distance (over Dale's calls to put her weapon down).
    You'd Expect: That she would do what everyone's already told her. Andrea has no proficiency with a rifle, there's sunlight glaring down the scope, she can't see her target clearly, and there are already four men who are standing directly in front of her target (therefore putting them in danger if she misses) and aren't doing anything to put it down.
    Instead: She takes the shot anyway, almost kills Daryl (she grazes him in the side of the head) and gets yelled at by Rick from a distance.
    • The first episode of season 2 features the group hiding amongst a big car pile-up as a large horde of zombies walks by. Sophia is discovered and flees to the woods, chased by two eerily quick walkers, and Rick gives chase to help her. Catching up to her, he finds a safe hiding spot for her to stay in while he handles the zombies.
      You'd expect: That Rick tell Sophia to stay safely hidden while he handles the walkers and he comes back for her. You'd expect also he try to kill the zombies right where he was. Or run back towards the road where the group could safely dispose of them now that the horde had passed by. Really, a number of options were available.
      Instead: Rick points in some direction and tells Sophia to run back to the group while he drives the zombies away to kill them. While he's off killing the zombies, Sophia follows his instructions. This results in her getting lost, dying and being zombified offscreen, all because Rick couldn't be bothered to think straight for two seconds.
    • Late in season 5, the group has found the town of Alexandria and is getting acclimated to their new surroundings. Aiden, the man in charge of scouting runs for the town, is asked to take several of Rick's group out and "show them the ropes", not knowing what Rick and the others have fought over the last two years.
      You'd Expect: That since he doesn't know these people too well (and got a member of his last scouting group killed for being reckless), he'd talk to the group and find out who among them has scouting skills, tell them about the dangers of the job and (if they have experience) defer to their authority.
      Instead: Aiden starts by bragging about his military training, then elects to bring Noah (a new member of Rick's group who can't run) as part of the scouting party. He tnen reveals to Glenn, Tara and Noah that he's strung up a walker for target practice and nearly gets killed (when the walker escapes) before they intervene and rescue him. Then, Laser-Guided Karma hits hard when he attempts to insult Glenn and gets socked in the face and reprimanded by his mother (the woman in charge of Alexandria), who even thanks Rick for getting his group to beat up her son. It's a wonder the Alexandria residents were surviving before Rick and the others came along.
  • In the season premeire of Warehouse 13, H.G. Wells asks MacPherson about the crystal necklace around his neck.
    You'd Expect: He'd tell her it was a present-day fashion trend. After all, she'd been bronzed for roughly a century and had no way of know "what's hip" today.
    Instead: He tells her what the necklace is for and pays the price later. For God's sake, James, you're supposed to be WAY SMARTER THAN THAT!
  • The West Wing: In the episode "The State Dinner", Toby and Sam are tasked with writing a toast to the visiting Indonesian President for a state dinner in his honour. Toby wants to include strong, confrontational language denouncing Indonesia's history of human rights abuses — however, he also is meeting with an Indonesian official after the toast to try and persuade him to help release Toby's friend, a French activist being held in an Indonesian jail for organising anti-government protests.
    You'd Expect: That Toby would err on the side of diplomacy, decide to not risk insulting the person he needs to help his friend and decide not to include the confrontational language, or at least follow Sam's suggestion of tempering it with more diplomatic language to blunt the potential insult.
    Instead: Toby insists that the confrontational language is included in full, with no moderation at all. True enough, the Indonesian official is offended by the confrontational toast and the perceived insult to his President, knows exactly who wrote it, and refuses to help Toby out. Toby's friend is presumably left to rot in jail.
  • White Collar: In the episode "Wanted," Peter, Diana, and Clinton are searching for Neal's whereabouts. Using audio evidence from a recorded phone call, they use process of elimination and narrow Neal's location down to Cape Verde. They do this off the books because an FBI agent named Collins is also after Neal (on Agent Kramer's orders), and is out for blood.
    You'd Expect: Peter and everyone to be discreet. They'd keep their investigation as bare bones as possible, and not leave any notes that could tip Collins off in case he decides to execute a search warrant on any of their houses. Remember, they're trying to help Neal.
    Instead: Peter puts a big red circle around Cape Verde on a map, and leaves the map at his house. Collins executes a search warrant. Collins finds the map, sees the hard-to-miss circle around Cape Verde, and goes after Neal with the full intention of killing him.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place:
    • While they're attending Wiz Tech, Alex finds out that teacher Evilini is going to use a sports event to drain Justin of his magic since the winner goes to Volcano Land, where wizards can be drained. Justin at first thinks she's Crying Wolf because she's spent most of their time playing pranks on him, but she proves it by bringing a Volcano Land employee to school. Alex tells Justin he needs to lose the Twelve Ball tournament.
      You'd Expect: That if Justin realized his teacher was evil, that he shouldn't confront her. He can quietly forfeit the match, or lose on purpose without telling anyone.
      Instead: He goes to confront Evilini about how he knows her scheme and that he's planning to quit the tournament.
Predictably: Evilini casts a spell on Justin forcing him to stay in the tournament and play to win. Justin does so, with a look of happy terror.
  • WKRP in Cincinnati: An early episode has Johnny announce a contest the station is running, but he mistakenly announces the total prize money for the year as the weekly prize.
    You'd Expect: Johnny to admit his mistake on the air and report the correct prize amount.
    Instead: They set up the contest so that no one could possibly win. Inexplicably, someone wins.
    Then: Someone shows up to claim the prize.
    You'd Expect: The station staff to confirm his identity before paying up.
    Instead: They confirm the identity of the second person to show up claiming to be the winner. You guessed it. The first person was a fake.
  • Wolf Hall
    • George Boleyn detests Thomas Cromwell, so he and his father attempt to influence Henry against him. It works, and after a church service Herny loudly and publicly screams into Cromwell's face. Cromwell only just manages to withdraw without Henry ordering his death, and he's pretty shaken up afterwards.
      You'd Expect: George to keep his mouth shut.
      Instead: He tracks down Cromwell to gloat and remind him of "his place," thus tipping him off as to who put the thought in Henry's mind. George then fails to understand what Cromwell means by saying "I will profit from this lesson" and walks off satisfied. His father also gloats at the council meeting the next day, not reading the signs that Henry is embarrassed over the incident and probably further convincing him to make amends.
    • Anne and Henry have fallen out in a big way, and her lutenist Mark Smeaton is called to Cromwell's house after dark to be interviewed about it.
      You'd Expect: Mark to be extremely careful with everything he says and not trust Cromwell's story about wanting to reconcile Anne and Henry, especially since she's suspected of infidelity and as Mark himself says, Cromwell has been hanging around with her enemies. It wouldn't have helped, mind. But...
      Instead: When Cromwell asks why the queen is unhappy, Mark says it's because she's in love. With himself.
      Afterwards: When Mark tries to take it back, Cromwell points out that they hadn't even started intimidating him yet; he just blurt it out all on his own.
    • George Boleyn stands trial, accused of treason and incest with Anne. Cromwell hands him a bit of paper and says not to read it aloud, only to answer if he recognizes the words on it.
      You'd Expect: Being on trial for his life, for him to read what the words are and answer no.
      Instead: He reads it and then speaks the words out loud: insults against Henry's manhood. Then he realizes the court is not laughing with him and hastily says that they aren't his words and he doesn't own them. Cromwell's reply? "You do now."note 
  • In the fifth season of Xena: Warrior Princess, the Fates state that Xena's death will mark the beginning of the end for the Olympian Gods, mostly at the hand of her then-unborn daughter.
    You'd Expect: Them to do everything in their power to keep Xena alive and well for as long as possible (such as giving her some Ambrosia).
    Instead: They go out of their way to hunt her down and try to kill her, Gabriel, and Joxer multiple times. Surprisingly, even Apollo, the god of wisdom, goes along with this plan.
    Also: "I can teleport! I should teleport to right in front of the only thing in the universe that can kill me, and annoy her enough to make her kill me!"
  • Zoey 101: "Spring Break-Up": After the girls lose one of the events because Zoey didn't receive the combination, she discovers that her Techmate is missing. Then they find out that Chase took it (because he accidentally sent Zoey a message that he meant to send to Michael, and he really didn't want Zoey to see it. He had to delete it before she could). When the girls confront Chase, they claim he cheated, but he says that he didn't. Zoey tells him that if he just tells her why she took her Techmate, she will believe that he didn't cheat.
    You'd expect: That Chase would just make up some lie, and say that she dropped it and was going to bring it back to her after the event was over, or something like that.
    Instead: He refuses to tell her, leaving her and the other girls mad at him. In the last event, when both teams are tied, he lets her team win out of guilt.
    • In another episode, Paige at PCA, Quinn attempts to test out a gravity chamber that she made. She asks Lola for her cell phone so she can test it out.
      You'd expect: That Lola would refuse, caring for the safety of her phone, and ask Quinn if she has something she can use to test the chamber with herself.
      Instead: She gives it to Quinn without hesitation, and as it is used in the chamber, it gets smushed, and makes a mess of silver glue-ish material on the table. Then, when Paige comes in later, she uses a magnetic device that works in the chamber with no problems.
    • In "Vince Is Back", the girls decide to replace the vending machine snacks with a product called "Moon Bars" that are very healthy, but taste horrible. During this time, Quinn and Mark are working with cacti containing a delicious, low calorie, and addictive goo.
      You'd Think: She wouldn't even bring up the goo, and think of a safe option.
      Instead: She injects the Moon Bars with cactus goo and doesn't tell them the goo is addictive until the very end after students start going mad for them.
  • The Great British Bake Off: Channel 4 is widely considered to have made a huge gamble by buying the rights to GBBO without first securing any of the four hosts. Now Mel, Sue and Mary have left, it looks like they have spent >£25 million a year on a tent and Paul.

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