Follow TV Tropes


What An Idiot / Theatre

Go To

Now playing: A Comedy of Many, Many Errors!

  • Chicago
    • In the ensuing murder trials, one heiress named Go-To-Hell Kitty was married to an obvious Gold Digger. It turns out he was cheating on her with two girls at once.
      You'd Expect: He would not sleep with them in her main home or know her schedule better.
      Instead: He has them in their bed right when Kitty comes home for the night.
      The Result: Kitty sees them and grabs a gun from the dresser. She confronts her husband for being a philanderer.
      You'd Then Expect: He wouldn't provoke her while being held at gunpoint. Beg for mercy, stall, anything than what he actually does.
      Instead: He says, "Are you going to believe what you are seeing or what I tell you?"
      Predictably: She shoots him and his girlfriends in the room. Her real-life counterpart got off the hook so she's likely to get acquitted.
  • Advertisement:
  • The Comedy of Errors: One character has been searching for his long-lost twin, and comes to a town where said twin actually lives, causing him to be recognized by everyone and confused with his twin. Mistakes abound, and Hilarity Ensues.
    You'd Expect: That he'd come to the obvious conclusion that his search is over — his twin lives in this town, and the character's just being mistaken for him.
    Instead: He grows progressively more and more confused about everything that happens and ultimately concludes that the entire town's full of witches who are tricking him. Nobody figures it out until the twins come face-to-face.
  • Cyrano de Bergerac, an Impoverished Patrician Starving Artist, unknown yet talented playwright, is offered the Patronage of Cardenal Richelieu, The most powerful man in all France and known playwright, who will only ''edit one or two verses'' of Cyrano’s unproduced play, "Agrippine".
    You’d Expect: A serious, talented Starving Artist who has never been represented in scene will recognize this as a golden opportunity and be tolerant of a powerful Mecenas with a lot of money who really has experience with playwriting and who really could improve "Agrippine".
    Instead: Cyrano arrogantly invokes Protection from Editors and nastily rejects the patronage. To put things in perspective, rejecting Cardenal Richelieu’s patronage in The Cavalier Years Paris it’s like someone in Marvel Universe rejecting Doctor Doom’s patronage, or someone in DC Universe rejecting Lex Luthor’s patronage when he was President Evil of the United States.
  • Giulio Cesare in Egitto:
    • Cornelia and Sextus want to murder Ptolemy, who is the pharaoh of Egypt, in revenge for him killing Pompey.
      You’d Expect: Them to ambush his palace with a strong army. Such as the legions of Caesar, who is just as mad and vengeful about Pompey’s murder as they are.
      Alternately, You’d Expect: Them to hire someone like The Mole Nirenus to poison, or strangle, or stab Ptolemy.
      Instead: They decide to go to the palace by themselves.
      Even Worse: Cornelia and Sextus might not be in their rightful mind from grief, but their so-called plan gets revealed to Cleopatra, who also wants Ptolemy dead.
      You’d Expect: Cleopatra to point out the idiocy of the plan and offer them to take one of the sensible options described above. The Mole Nirenus is her personal servant and he is standing right there, ready to help.
      Instead: She only tells Nirenus to show Cornelia and Sextus the way to the palace. They still go there with no guards, Cornelia showers Ptolemy with curses and Sextus challenges him to single combat. This leads to them both getting captured, and only Achillas’s intervention prevents anything worse happening to them.
    • Advertisement:
    • Ptolemy has promised Cornelia’s hand to Achillas but wants her for himself. Achillas shows up to remind him of the promise.
      You’d Expect: Ptolemy to just fulfill the promise and let Achillas marry Cornelia. He himself will hardly be prevented from making advances to her by the fact she’s married, anyway.
      Or At Least: Ptolemy to play for time and say, for example, that the wedding should be delayed until Cleopatra’s defeat.
      Instead: Ptolemy humiliates Achillas, taunting him that he should never have hoped. Achillas realizes the pharaoh is a liar and a tyrant and deserts him.
  • Hairspray,
    • In the 2007 version, Tracy wants to join the Negro Day Dancers to march against segregation in "The Corny Collins Show" in order for blacks to be allowed to dance on television. Maybelle warns her that it could mean the end of her career, but Tracy insists on going because if Little Inez can't dance then she shouldn't have the right to do so.
      You'd Expect: Tracy would ask Motormouth Maybelle on how to be a good ally at the march, as a white person with privilege, because the police can get brutal. Such as not acting impulsively or shielding the black participants with her body.
      Instead: Tracy assaults a policeman with her sign for ignoring Maybelle, starts a riot because the police use her assault as an excuse to attach the marchers, and nearly gets herself arrested. The only reason she isn't is because she hightails it out of there, leaving Maybelle and Seaweed to take the brunt.
    • Moments after that, Edna goes home to dress herself up to seduce Wilbur, while the latter is in his prank shop with Velma who is trying to seduce him. Edna catches Velma flirting with Wilbur.
      You'd Expect: For Edna to realize that this was a one-sided staged event that Velma did in to get Tracy off the show and allow Wilbur to tell his side of the story.
      Instead: Edna jumps to conclusions, throws a rubber chicken at Wilbur, changed the locks, and sobs about Wilbur's supposed infidelity.
  • Hamilton
    • Alexander Hamilton has been working hard, as Secretary of Treasury. He refuses to go on vacation with his family so that he can work on a federal banking plan that would assume states' debts. A married woman, Maria Reynolds, comes to him asking for help. Her husband, who is a domestic abuser, has left her with no money for her child and she has nothing. He lends her money and walks her home. Then she tries to seduce him.
      You'd Expect: That Alexander would hightail it out of there and not see Maria again. He's married and has several children, plus he's promised his wife Eliza to be faithful to her.
      Instead: Alexander sleeps with her that night, and continues to see her. They carry on a passionate affair for several years.
      The Result: Her husband George deliberately sent Maria out to seduce Hamilton so as to blackmail him. Hamilton is furious that he was duped and that he fell for a random woman.
    • George Reynolds demands money to keep his wife's machinations secret, otherwise he'll tell Eliza.
      You'd Expect: Hamilton would call his bluff and confess to Eliza what happened, so that the man has no power over him. In real life, Eliza found out, and she considers their marriage and life together important more than Alexander's legacy. Plus, if a man is blackmailing them, they should bring down the law on his head. They only get more greedy with time.
      Instead: Hamilton pays up the money and continues to see Maria. The amount by modern standards is ridiculous. This goes on until Reynolds is imprisoned on a different charge, and opens his big mouth.
    • Alexander then gets busted by Jefferson, Burr and Madison when Reynolds finks to them, and they accuse him of embezzlement and that he's a corrupt politician. He shows them the receipts, the literal ones, on the blackmail money he's been paying. They don't actually promise to keep it secret since even though Alexander is no longer Secretary of Treasury. Alexander worries that they'll accuse him in public of either the embezzlement or the affair.
      You'd Expect: Alexander would realize that only four or five people know about the affair, and he's the only one with actual written evidence. He just has to lie low, not respond to potential accusations, and live his life; it worked for Thomas Jefferson when he was accused of having an affair with Sally Heming. Also, it would be easier on his wife with the double standards in place.
      Instead: He publishes an expose on his affair with Maria. This has multiple devastating consequences: it ruins his political career, his and Eliza's social standing as well as their romantic relationship, and his children's reputations. Jefferson thus lacks the political opponent that could have won against him. Maria Reynolds in the meantime loses custody of her daughter and has to move states to get her child back. Philip Jr. later dies trying to defend his father's honor, and Hamilton's only valued in the election of 1800.
  • At the end of Act 3, Scene 3 of Hamlet, the title character has just received confirmation that his uncle Claudius did, in fact, kill Hamlet's father. Claudius is in a confessional, alone, praying desperately to God for repentance and mercy. He does not see Hamlet enter, dagger unsheathed, seeing the time ripe to avenge his father's death. Minor hindrance: as a man in prayer, if killed at that instance, Claudius would go to heaven. However, Claudius' prayer is insincere; he cannot feel remorse for his brother's murder.
    You'd expect: Hamlet, like the son of a king, would alert Claudius out of his prayer and provoke him to a fight. When Claudius is enraged, swearing, and other damnable things, Hamlet skewers him. Since Hamlet would be King himself if he killed Claudius, it doesn't matter in the least what anyone else thinks, so why doesn't he do it?
    Instead: Hamlet reasons that killing Claudius and sending him to heaven is not fair for Claudius killing King Hamlet and sending him to hell. He sits there for a while explaining this out to himself, and then, a Momma's Boy to the very end, he decides he shouldn't keep Queen Gertrude waiting and goes out to meet her. This results directly in Polonius's death, Ophelia's suicide, and, well, you know the rest.
  • The libretto of Il Trovatore has been called "one giant plot hole", but this part is probably the most famous. Leonora pleads with the Count di Luna to spare and release Manrico, and the Count only accepts when she offers herself in exchange for Manrico’s life. She can’t stand the Count and has no intentions to fulfill her end of the agreement.
    You’d Expect: Her to pretend to give in to him until Manrico is safely far away, then run away after gaining the Count’s trust, or, if she wants an anti-heroic resolution, stealthily murder him (with the poison she owns, for instance). Or, if she absolutely wants to die, kill herself with poison, but after Manrico is released.
    Instead: She decides to kill herself with that poison in her ring. Moreover, she does it at once, without even waiting for Manrico to be released. She dies while he is still imprisoned, and the outraged and heartbroken Count orders Manrico’s execution, rendering Leonora’s suicide absolutely pointless.
  • Into the Woods:
    • The witch makes a bargain with the baker: if he and his wife obtain four ingredients for a potion — a milk-white cow, a blood-red cape, corn-yellow hair, and a pure-gold slipper — then she'll undo the curse on his family so they can have a child.
      You'd Expect: She would explain ahead of time the two caveats — the cow must eat the items to make the potion with milk and that she can't have touched any of the ingredients.
      Instead: The witch teleports around the woods to motivate the Baker to hurry up before midnight in three days' time.
      The Result: Jack gets enough money from robbing the giant to buy back Milkey-White and argues with the Baker, none of them noticing that the cow is ill from running in the woods all day, keeling over dead. The witch later reveals that she just needs the cow to make the potion with her milk, returning her with no strings attached to Jack and his mother after resurrecting Milkey-White. It turns out the golden hair the Baker's wife brought belongs to Rapunzel, the witch's adopted daughter, meaning it's useless because she was using it as a rope to climb into Rapunzel's tower. If not for the Baker's father or Jack — this depends on the scripting— thinking quickly to use an ear of corn instead and its fibrous hair, the witch wouldn't have gotten her potion.
    • The Baker's wife is heading out of the woods. She sees Cinderella hiding from the prince and is curious about why.
      You'd Expect: The Baker's wife would keep a tight grip on Milkey-White's tethers if she's going to ask Cinderella about the prince. Or maybe tell her that she'll give anything for her golden shoes, which the Baker's wife needs for the potion.
      Instead: During the duet, the Baker's wife lets go of the tether in both the OBC and revival, to sidle next to Cinderella and talk to her.
      The Result: The Baker's wife only realizes she needs the shoes when Cinderella notices a beanstalk and notes she must get home. Milkey-White then wanders off, due to being a cow. The next night, the Baker expends some time finding the cow again. Of course, the Baker lampshades it, pointing out he asked his wife to go straight home.
    • The Witch grabs this in Act Two. She and most of the cast encounter a Giantess, who wants Jack in revenge for her husband being murdered. The Narrator then realizes that they are staring at him as he's narrating about the Sadistic Choice to either give up Jack or let the Giant rampage. As they grab him to give to the giant, he points out they need him because he's the only one who knows how the story ends. Shaming the Mob ensues, and they let him go.
      You'd Expect: The Witch to ask the Narrator where Jack is. That's a simple solution. She can then either fetch Jack or tell the Giantess where he is.
      Instead: She puts him into the Giant's path and lies that he is Jack, hoping the Giantess's myopia will fool her.
      The Result: The Giantess brings up the Narrator close and sees he is not the boy, tossing him away. Everyone winces as the Narrator falls with a sickening crunch. Then they go Mass "Oh, Crap!", realizing there is no narrator to tell her everything will be well.
  • In Jenufa, the titular heroine finds herself alone with the Yandere Laca, who is already very obviously unstable and angry and is holding a newly sharpened knife.
    You’d Expect: Her to call for help or leave right away. There are many people close by.
    Or At Least: Her to speak to Laca gently and calmly.
    Instead: She decides to taunt him about how she prefers another man. This sends Laca into a flaming rage, and he slashes her cheek with the knife.
  • In Julius Caesar, Marc Antony arrives after Caesar's assassination and asks to be allowed to speak at his funeral. Brutus agrees, saying that he will speak first, and then Antony may address the crowd, provided Antony doesn't directly blame the conspirators.
    You'd Expect: Brutus would stay at the funeral while Antony is speaking, to make sure he doesn't get out of control, and to remind the crowd by his presence that Antony is speaking with his permission.
    Instead: He leaves after introducing Antony, forfeiting any control over the situation. Antony promptly whips the crowd into a frenzy, and they riot and overthrow the conspirators.
  • Little Shop of Horrors
    • Dr. Orin Scrivello is a Jerkass dentist who enjoys torturing his patients and his girlfriend, Audrey. When seeing a walk-in patient, one of them pulls a gun on him. This happens to be Seymour, who is attempting to murder him. Dr. Scrivello easily knocks him down and puts him in a dentist chair, because Seymour doesn't have it in him to fire.
      You'd Expect: That the dentist would call the police, especially since he isn't high on gas at the moment and has no excuse. He has a patient trying to murder him.
      Instead: Dr. Scrivello assumes Seymour has the gun because he's nervous about his walk-in. He then gloats to Seymour about what he's going to do to the poor man's teeth and then gets some nitrous oxide before drilling a tooth out. Then when the doctor finds the gas mask stuck on his face, and he starts to asphyxiate, Seymour refuses to help him, so that the dentist dies from the lack of oxygen.
    • Seymour then feeds the dentist to the plant. This leaves a lot of evidence lying around, namely blood and Dr. Scrivello's uniform.
      You'd Expect: Seymour would gather the bloody dentist's uniform and some bleach to dispose of the evidence.
      Instead: He leaves the uniform and blood; his boss Mushnik finds it a week later and wants to go to the police, so that Seymour can give a statement and clear himself of the obvious evidence. The plant Audrey II, aka Twoey, convinces Seymour to feed Mushnik to the plant.
    • Seymour braces himself to kill more people so that the man-eating Twoey will lure in more contacts and money, and so that Audrey will love Seymour. She then reveals that she's always loved him, and doesn't care if he's rich or poor. Seymour decides that he will kill the plant because he can't live with the guilt; this can be easily done by not feeding Twoey and leaving the plant to wither in the shop.
      You'd Expect: That given how clever and hypnotic Twoey is that Seymour would keep his mouth shut and simply leave with Audrey on an impulse trip. The plant is then none the wiser.
      Instead: Seymour starts rambling about it, to a confused Audrey, who leaves in a stressed mood, and Twoey gets wind of the scheme. Twoey then takes advantage of a sleep-deprived Audrey entering the shop to find Seymour, and feeds on her blood. She dies from the blood loss, and Seymour reluctantly feeds her body to the plant. This means that when Seymour tries to destroy Twoey, he's overwhelmed easily and makes a suicidal charge into the plant's maw. Cue the plant apocalypse.
  • Love Never Dies: Meg Giry loves the Phantom, who loves Christine Daae even more. In the climax, she snaps and abducts The Phantom and Christine's son Gustave and threatens to drown him. The Phantom talks her out of harming the boy but must now talk her out of shooting herself.
    You'd expect: The Phantom would kindly talk her into handing him the gun. Since this is an emotionally-damaged young woman, the Phantom would do so by emphasizing with her feelings of abandonment and assure her everything'll be all right.
    Instead: The Phantom does so until he tells her "Beauty sometimes goes unseen/We can't all be like Christine.'' This sets Meg off once again and leads her to accidentally shoot and kill Christine.
  • Madame Butterfly: A young woman named Cio-cio-san aka Butterfly marries an American man named Pinkerton, against the opinion of pretty much everyone in their surroundings. It's also stated that Pinkerton married Butterfly just temporarily, and has no intention to actually stay by her side for more than a month. Pinkerton then leaves to the USA almost immediately after the marriage, and Butterfly is all alone for two/three years — while her maid Suzuki, the USA consul Sharpless and even the matchmaker who got her hitched to Pinkerton, Gorou, have told her "You Have Waited Long Enough" several times.
    You'd Expect: Butterfly to consider her difficult situation (she has a young child fathered by Pinkerton, her family save for Suzuki has disowned her for converting to Christianity, they barely have money to scrap by, etc.) and decide that nope, she cannot just stay there waiting endlessly. Even if she still loves Pinkerton, which is very understandable since he's her First Love and Butterfly herself is merely in her late teens, it's best to be pragmatic and think of her own well-being — and specially, her kid's own well-being, as the poor boy is already being looked down on for "not having a father". Furthermore, Gorou tells her that he can get her a new and much better husband, meaning that she might be able to rebuild her life more or less well if she says yes.
    Instead: She keeps waiting for Pinkerton, blindly believing that as soon as he returns, he will stand by her and everything will be okay. She not only refuses Gorou's offer, but also rebuffs the warnings from Suzuki and the pleas from Sharpless. Predictably, when Pinkerton does show up, he brings his American wife Kate and intends to take their kid to the USA, leaving Butterfly alone in Japan. It goes as well as one might expect.
    • This is also a big-ass opera of idiocy for Pinkerton. When he comments to Sharpless in the First Act that he doesn't really intend to stay married to Butterfly, Sharpless immediately tells him not to be an asshole and that Butterfly, despite being aware of how easy divorce is in Japan, considers herself as his full-blooded wife and will not relinquish that.
      You'd expect: For Pinkerton to at least be considerate enough to keep an eye on this girl who, according to Sharpless, completely trusts Pinkerton's good will and love. Even if he cannot take her to the USA or stay in Japan, you know, not being an ass to Butterfly is at least in minimal good taste. As the American consul in Nagasaki, Sharpless has quite the knowledge of Japanese society as a whole, so his word shouldn't be taken lightly.
      Instead: Not only Pinkerton doesn't give a crap about Butterfly's feelings and stays away for three years without apparently contacting her, but he brings his American wife Kate with him to Japan. As said above, Butterfly does NOT take it well.
  • Peer Gynt: Ingrid, the sole daughter of the Hægstad farm, has been sweet on Peer for obvious reasons. His mother knew this.
    • You`d expect: Mother Åse to vouch for Peer long ago (before the play really started), securing Peer the biggest farm in the area, and a secure economy for herself. You`d also expect that Peer would be smart enough to go for that solution.
    • Instead: Peer crashes the wedding of Ingrid and another guy, to be rejected by a newcomer girl, then hijacking Ingrid, and then making himself an outlaw, losing every property right to his father`s farm, and in the end also indirectly causing Ingrid`s farm to go to pieces. What an Idiot!.
    • Then there is Solveig, poor girl. Peer meets her at the aforementioned wedding party, and he asks her to dance with him.
    • You`d expect: That she follows custom and at least tries to be nice to him by trying a round of dancing. After all, that was all he asked for.
    • Instead: She rejects his request because she has heard of him and his antics, and because she is rather prudent. From this rejection comes Peer`s fatal crush on her, his eloping with the bride, his meeting with the trolls, and the whole mess finally making him an outlaw. Solveig admittedly sought Peer out to set things straight, and thus she lived in his cottage the rest of her life. So, Solveig, denying Peer Gynt one single dance turned into a lot of problems for both of you.
  • The Phantom of the Opera has this with the new managers Andre and Firmin. When the curtain crashes in the beginning and scares away Carlotta, Mdme. Giry presents a note from "The Opera Ghost" that demands 20,000 Francs among other things.
    You'd expect: that the managers contact the police to find the Phantom, since they've only just taken over the opera house and aren't influenced by the actors' superstition.
    Instead: they ignore his demands, which leads to Christine being kidnapped (twice), two men being murdered, the chandelier being destroyed, and the company going out of business.
    • They do this again later in the show. When Christine is first kidnapped, the managers, Raoul, Carlotta, and Mdme. Giry receive notes from the Phantom listing various demands. The note from Giry has demands for everyone present, which boils down to "In your new production of Il Muto, you will therefore cast Carlotta as the page boy [mute part], and put Christine in the role of Countess. If you don't, bad things will happen."
      You'd expect: that Andre and Firmin would contact the police. If not, then they'd just cast Christine anyway, considering that her previous performance was very well-received with critics and the audience.
      Instead: they ignore his demands and cast Carlotta as the female lead, which leads to the Phantom being pissed. He drugs Carlotta's spray so that she loses her voice. Christine becomes the female lead anyway, Joseph Buquet dies by the Punjab lasso, and the chandelier crashes down to the stage, nearly killing more people and costing who knows how much to replace.
    • Earlier, when Christine wakes up in the Phantom's lair after a rather stressful night, she realises her 'Angel of Music' is in fact a mortal, masked man who happens to be absorbed in playing the organ.
      You'd expect: that she would either look desperately for a way out, since hey, she's been brought down here by said strange masked man for who knows what nefarious purposes, or ask him - from a safe distance - what the heck is going on. All while not so much as even thinking of touching the mask, since if a man keeps only half of his face covered, he's probably doing it for a very good reason.
      Instead: She sneaks over to him without revealing her presence, whips the mask off and reveals the deformity underneath - and then is surprised that the Phantom is furious with her.
    • When Raoul is being guided down to the Phantom's lair by Madame Giry during the climax, she keeps reminding him to hold his hand at the level of his eyes, so that the Phantom can't nab him with the Punjab lasso. When Raoul finally reaches the lair and demands to see Christine, the Phantom sarcastically says 'Be my guest, sir,' and raises the portcullis so Raoul can duck inside.
      You'd expect: that Raoul would be rightly suspicious at the Phantom suddenly being so obliging - especially since the first time they met face to face the guy tried to kill him with fire - and would be on his guard for any lethal tricks he might pull instead of just racing over to hug Christine.
      Instead: Raoul naturally fails to do what Madame Giry reminded him of several times, and consequently the Phantom is able to noose him and hold him hostage in order to force Christine to submit to his whim. Nice rescue there, Raoul.
      • The 2004 film version takes the idiocy even further: at one point the Phantom and Raoul have a sword fight in the cemetery, which Raoul eventually wins, leaving the Phantom with a sword at his throat and at Raoul's mercy. Just as Raoul's about to kill him Christine pipes up, pleading with him not to - or at least, "Not like this."
        You'd expect: that Raoul, while bowing to the wishes of his beloved fiancée, would also point out that that this version of the Phantom has already killed two people that they know of (one when he hadn't even hit puberty!) has proven himself to be utterly deceitful and manipulative, and is hardly going to leave them alone just because they spared his life. You would then expect him to find some way of restraining the Phantom, whether by tying him up or knocking him out, and then deliver him to the authorities to face justice.
        Instead: ...they just get on the horse and leave him there, furious and swearing revenge on them both.
        To make matters worse: In the very next scene, Raoul is discussing with the managers how to capture the Phantom - even though he's already had him at his mercy and could have dealt with him then and there!!! (To be fair, though, this is more the script's fault than Raoul's; in the stage version he hatches his plan to capture the Phantom well before the confrontation in the graveyard, and didn't try to kill or capture the Phantom then because he knew there'd be a better opportunity in the future.)
  • Ruddigore: Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd/Robin Oakapple is confronted by the spirits of his ancestors, who, being unimpressed with his "misdeeds", order him to carry off a lady or perish on the spot in inconceivable agonies. Robin refuses and is subsequently tortured until he asks to speak.
    You'd Expect: Robin to consent to their demands, even if it's just to get them off his back.
    Instead: Robin chooses Honor Before Reason, prompting the ghosts to resume their torture until he finally acquiesces.
  • School of Rock: A substitute teacher with "high" qualifications shows up to a private prep school. Only he arrives two hours late, two days in a row, openly admits to being hungry and hungover and tears up a golden star chart. Summer, the smartest kid in the class, is suspicious that "Mr. Ned Schneedly" is not qualified to teach their class; she's right because the man is actually Ned's roommate, a slacker rocker named Dewey Finn. She tells the principal Ms. Mullins that their teacher doesn't seem to be the best and asks if he's a real teacher.
    You'd Expect: Ms. Mullins to take a moment to consider this. "Mr. S" did show up late, and he has an attitude.
    Instead: She tells Summer not to question her authority and shuts up Summer's attempts to tell her how the first class went.
    The Result: On Parents Night, after she and Dewey had bonded at a rock bar over beer, she's steamrolled when all the parents in class complain that their kids haven't been given homework and instead have been practicing music. Summer's parents tell Ms. Mullins what their daughter said, that they haven't been learning anything. Just as Dewey smooths things over, the real Ned and his girlfriend storm the classroom and out Dewey as a fraud; rather, Patti storms the classroom while Ned apologizes for telling her. The parents understandably tell off Ms. Mullins for her mistake, which is all the distraction the kids and Dewey need to hightail it out of there to make it to the Battle of the Bands. Yes, it all works out but Ms. Mullins really fudged it.
  • The Spongebob Musical: In Bikini Bottom, everyone finds out that a nearby volcano is going to erupt. When it does, the lava will coat their homes and destroy all life nearby. Sandy reassures everyone that she has a device that can stop the volcano, and it simply requires going up to Mount Humongous and deploying it. Plankton is in Let No Crisis Go to Waste mode, and convinces his computer wife Karen that this is a good opportunity to enact another Evil Plan by hypnotizing everyone in Bikini Bottom. He actually makes a legitimate point that the citizens of Bikini Bottom could settle for a new life in another place, and they would be as prosperous as before. Karen becomes invigorated by the plan, saying Plankton's spark is arousing her, and starts devising inventions.
    You'd Expect: That Plankton and Karen would have some common sense, considering that even the news is reporting that the Mount Humongous eruption is large enough to burn everyone alive and suffocate them in the vapors. They could either do an Enemy Mine with Sandy and Spongebob, or make their evacuation plan viable so that no one actually dies. Plankton is established as a fairly smart genius, since he built Karen, and you can't rule over people if they're burned alive by lava or suffocated.
    Instead: He discredits Sandy For the Evulz and says that science has never solved any problems. When he proposes his evacuation plan, it requires the town to raise enough money to buy or build one, meaning that he can't even deliver on the promise. It carries on further when he and Karen follow Spongebob and Sandy up the mountain and deliberately cause fissures to kill both of them.
    The Result: Back in Bikini Bottom, Reality Ensues when the band quits before showtime on having realized that everyone is going to die and one gig is not worth their lives. Not even Squidward or Patricia Krab's performance is enough to raise money in time. Everyone starts fighting and rioting. When Spongebob returns with Sandy and Patrick in tow, he puts a stop to it by grabbing the Smart Ball and telling them this is not how friends spend their last moments together.  Yes, that includes Plankton. Indeed, Plankton gets a Heel Realization when it turns out Sandy's device works and Bikini Bottom is saved, meaning his discrediting her was Stupid Evil
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street:
    • Anthony Hope has made a plan to elope with Johanna in order to get her away from Judge Turpin, who seeks to marry her despite the fact that he's raised her as a daughter, and is making his way to Sweeney's barber shop in order to inform him of the plan. Unknown to Anthony, Turpin is paying Sweeney a visit for a shave so that he can seduce Johanna, and Sweeney has murder on his mind for Turpin.
      You'd Expect: Anthony would contact Mrs. Lovett and ask if Sweeney had a customer before barging in, or at least take a moment to look through the goddamn window of the shop before busting in.
      Instead: He busts right into the barber shop, with Judge Turpin right there in the room, in order to inform Sweeney that he's found Johanna and that she has agreed to the plan. Because Judge Turpin is in the room, this means that he has now been informed about it as well, which not only blows Anthony's plan to elope with her straight to hell, but also Sweeney's plan to kill Turpin — and to make matters even worse for them, Judge Turpin then returns home and has poor Johanna sent to Fogg's Asylum for seeking to defy him. And to make things even worse, Sweeney goes from Anti-Hero to full on Villain Protagonist as a result of being denied his shot at vengeance. Way to break it, Anthony.
    • In the setup for that scene, Mrs. Lovett tells Sweeney to be patient as he plots his revenge. "Soon, love, soon/Hush, love, hush" and all that.
      You'd Expect: Sweeney would understand that she's advising patience in waiting for Turpin to fall into his grasp.
      Instead: When Turpin does fall into his grasp that very day, he takes her advice to heart and spends a few minutes giving the guy a proper shave and singing about pretty women, leading to the scene above. "You told me to wait!" he snarls in the next song. Um, yes, Sweeney, she told you to wait for Turpin to come to you, not to waste time once his throat was finally under your blade! He should have been dead and packed away in the crate long before Anthony arrived!
    • And just to put the icing on the above cake, in the film version Anthony proceeds to barge into the shop again and disrupts another incredibly important moment. Finally, finally, Sweeney and Mrs Lovett are actually talking about themselves! The audience are mere seconds away from hearing them clarify, in front of one another, the exact nature of their relationship. And then Anthony decides he wants to talk to Sweeney.
      You'd Expect: Anthony to look into the shop, see two characters of opposite genders talking and employ basic politeness and sensitivity, besides remembering the consequences of the last time he interrupted Sweeney. (In case any tropers have forgotten, these include Sweeney screaming "GET OUT! GET OUT!" while brandishing a straight razor).
      Instead: ... He goes in like a bull in a china shop.
    • Mrs Lovett is also a major idiot. The Beadle's coming to ask questions, and she's got a kid on her hands who knows far too much? What ''is'' she going to do with him?
      You'd Expect: Her to put him somewhere that won't make the situation any worse than it already is.
      Instead: She locks him in the basement: the one place where he's absolutely guaranteed to gather even more incriminating evidence than he has already.
  • Tosca. Crapsack World of the Napoleonic Wars notwithstanding, the characters could have survived longer if only they hadn’t played the trope.
    • Cavaradossi meets his fugitive friend Angelotti and decides to hide him at his villa. Tosca, Cavaradossi’s lover, hears him talking to someone and becomes madly suspicious he’s having an affair.
      You’d Expect: Cavaradossi either to trust Tosca and tell her the entire truth (as he ends up doing anyway) or not to trust her and think of some better plan to help Angelotti. Especially since the latter has several ideas already and a disguise at hand.
      Instead: Cavaradossi doesn’t tell her a thing but still goes through with his initial plan of hiding Angelotti, his behavior only feeds her suspicions, and she ends up unknowingly leading the police to their villa.
    • Speaking of which. Scarpia gives Tosca a fan with the Attavanti crest and says it has been lying at the scaffold used for painting.
      You’d Expect: Tosca to at least consider the facts: a) Cavaradossi has never given her any true reason to doubt his fidelity; b) Scarpia’s lying and corrupt nature is an open secret in Rome; c) she hasn’t even seen the fan before, so it might have been planted by Scarpia himself; d) Cavaradossi sympathizes with Napoleon and is likely to get in trouble for that; e) in most productions, Scarpia clearly shows by that moment he’s interested in her. Therefore, revealing the location of her and Cavaradossi’s hiding place is not a good idea, and there’s still no conclusive proof of her lover’s betrayal.
      Instead: Tosca decides it’s a fact that Cavaradossi’s cheating on her with the Marchesa and that they use the villa for their rendezvous. She goes there and thus leads Scarpia’s men to Cavaradossi and Angelotti.
    • Cavaradossi is tortured to make him spill information about Angelotti's whereabouts. He won't speak, instead it's Tosca who gives Angelotti away. Then Cavaradossi is brought back from the torture room to confront Scarpia.
      You’d Expect: Cavaradossi to further keep his mouth shut because: a) they haven't found Angelotti yet; b) they have absolutely zero proof that it was Cavaradossi who helped him.
      Instead: Cavaradossi sings "Down with the tyrants, long live the Revolution!" right into Scarpia's face, effectively condemning himself with no hope for exoneration.
  • Older Than Feudalism: In the backstory of The Trachiniae, Deianira is nearly raped by a centaur called Nessus. Her husband Herakles shoots him with arrows poisoned by hydra blood. As Nessus is dying, he gives Deianira some drops of blood from said wound and tells her to handle it very carefully -— it's a love potion that will make Herakles' affections return to her should they ever stray.
    You'd Expect: She'd put two and two together. This centaur has bad intentions towards her. This centaur hates her husband. He's not actually going to give her something helpful. He was shot with poisoned arrows. Love potion = deadly poison.
    Instead: At a moment when Herakles has fallen in love with another woman (or seems to have), she tries to save her marriage by using the love potion on him. It kills him brutally, slowly, agonizingly. She commits suicide.
  • Twisted: The Untold Story of a Royal Vizier:
    • In this Perspective Flip of Disney's Aladdin, where Jafar is the hero and the sultan and Aladdin are the villains, we get a flashback to Jafar's first day on the job where he pledges as assistant vizier to help the people of Agrabah. He then meets his boss, the main vizier.
      You'd Expect: Ja'far would stay quiet, get the lay of the land, and then figure out how to integrate his Internal Reformist attitude with the standards of the police.
      Instead: The first day on the job, Ja'far excitedly tells his boss he wants to change so much and has a list of reforms for the kingdom.
      Predictably: Given that the vizier is revealed to be a selfish politician obsessed with money, he and his courtier laugh at Ja'far while explaining that it's best for his new assistant to keep his mouth shut and his head down. While Ja'far does his best to improve the kingdom over the years, suffering a Trauma Conga Line of losing his wife to the kidnapping incestuous sultan and then getting framed for villainy, everyone blames him for nothing having changed. He only succeeds by getting the lamp and using its wishes to stop a warring prince from destroying his kingdom, and putting his daughter on the throne, who ends up being the Princess.
    • Ja'far gets the other half of the scarab necklace and pays the man who did it. He wants the lamp to resurrect his wife because he doesn't know the rules that djinn cannot revive the dead. He knows the Tiger-Head Cave is full of dangers and he's not a young man. Unlike in the film, he won't risk Qasim's life and thinks about who he would consider able-bodied and could risk in good conscience.
      You'd Expect: He'd take in a retinue of guards to navigate the treacheries of the cave. They'd just be doing their jobs, and to their credit, they are loyal to him. Also, unlike in the movie, the treasure isn't cursed.
      Instead: He bails a condemned Aladdin out of jail partly because he doesn't want to condemn anyone to death. He feels that he could risk Aladdin's life in good conscience. Aladdin got a bunch of guards killed while stealing a loaf of bread, which is why the captain wants him dead. In short, he's not trustworthy and is a moral hazard.
      The Result: Aladdin, not knowing he's talking to the vizier, blabs about how he'll use the money in the cave to buy an army and assassinate everyone in the palace except the Princess because he wants to bone her. Ja'far understandably goes Oh, Crap! and Papa Wolf on the Princess's behalf, but cannot stop Aladdin from flying off with the lamp on magic carpet and it's djinn to pose as a prince. Aladdin calls out Ja'far for "lying" to him about the rest of the treasure in the cave being lava, but Ja'far genuinely did not know that. Even so, he messed up. If the Captain were there, he would say, "This is all your fault, Ja'far."
  • Waitress
    • Jenna is a pie-making Supreme Chef trapped in an abusive marriage, and shocked to find out that she's pregnant. She wants to travel out of the city to a pie competition, which could lead to enough money to leave her husband Earl, but for that she needs startup cash. Earl makes a habit of confiscating all her tips. Jenna starts saving up the tips.
      You'd Expect: Jenna would discreetly leave the cash at work, in an empty jar among her ingredients. Her friends at work won't steal it, and her boss is a Reasonable Authority Figure.
      Instead: She hides her money all around the house, in various places.
      Predictably: Earl finds it while drunk and confronts her about it. Jenna has to lie that the money is for the baby's new crib, and sobs that it was her last chance to leave. The point becomes moot when she goes into labor and can't attend the contest anyway, but still.
  • Wicked
    • Doomed by Canon, the "Wicked Witch of the East" aka Nessarose is killed due to the Wizard's second-in-command Madame Morrible dropping a house on her, Dorothy Gale's house. Glinda comforts Dorothy, while creating a trap for the Wizard's guards to capture Elphaba, Nessarose's sister and "The Wicked Witch of the West".
      You'd Expect: Glinda would have left Nessarose's shoes, specially magic ones that were made for her, where they were, on the dead witch's feet, or where the feet evaporated. It would be more of a lure for Elphaba if she was able to get one last memento of her sister.
      Instead: Glinda impulsively gives the shoes to Dorothy, and unlike in the original film she had no idea how they would help the poor girl. When Elphaba is understandably upset on realizing what her former friend did, Glinda keeps insisting, "They're just shoes!" They also get into a fight about how Elphaba "stole" Glinda's fiancee and that Glinda is working for the wizard.
      The Result: Elphaba guns for Dorothy almost as soon as she is freed from the trap and realizes that there's no point in trying to be good, and she may as well become the Wicked Witch everyone thinks she is. Note that Dorothy is a child, and Glinda accidentally doomed her. If not for Glinda arriving in the nick of time to talk down Elphaba, right after the latter has captured Dorothy and her friends, Elphaba would have crossed the Moral Event Horizon shortly before learning that Fiyero was alive and she saved him.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: