Bait and Switch Comment

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Mr. Burns: Relax, Simpson. I just brought you in here for a friendly hello...
(Phew.)
Mr. Burns: ...and goodbye! YOU'RE FIRED!
(Homer gags)
Mr. Burns: But, wait. Perhaps I'm being too hasty. You are highly skilled...
(...phew.)
Mr. Burns: ...AT GOOFING OFF!
(Homer clutches heart)
Mr. Burns: Now don't worry, Homer. You're the kind of guy I could really dig...
(Homer relaxes)

Mr. Burns: ...A GRAVE FOR!
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Someone seems at first to be saying one thing, but as they continue, they turn out to be saying something very different. Bonus points if what they turn out to be saying is the polar opposite of what they at first seemed to be saying.

One form of this is to start with an analogy that is typically used in favour of perspective X... only to go on to describe why it makes more sense to use this analogy against perspective X instead.

Compare/contrast Cue Card Pause, wherein the timing of a pause creates a similar effect.

Examples of Bait and Switch Comment include:

Comic Books

Film -- Animated

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Oh, no, this is bad... they just can't get my nose right!

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  • Done twice by Mike Wazowski in Monsters, Inc..
    • The first time there, is a commercial for the titular company, but his face is obscured by the company logo.
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I don't believe it... I'm on TV!

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    • The second time it's a magazine, and his face is covered by the bar code.
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I don't believe it... I'm on the cover of a magazine!

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Film -- Live Action

  • Up the Creek: As a Running Gag, every time the hero made love to his new girlfriend, he asked her "Was it as good for for you as it was for me?" and she replied "No..." . Then something happens to distract them. This happened three or four times, until at the end of the movie, when he asked the question she responded "No, it was better."
  • Love Actually: Old rock act Billy Mack puts on a Public Service Announcement:
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Billy: Hiya, kids, here's an important message from your Uncle Bill: Don't buy drugs. (Beat) Become a pop star, and they give you them for free!

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Wonka: The suspense is terrible! ...I hope it lasts.

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Which, like a lot of Wonka's dialogue, is a quote -- in this case, from Oscar Wilde.

Literature

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol does this to Bob Cratchit at the end, scolding him for coming in late the day after Christmas and making it look like he's going to be fired, only to conclude, "therefore I am about to raise your salary."
    • Some film and TV adaptations modify the line to something along the lines of "Therefore you leave me no alternative... but to raise your salary!"
  • Stardance by Spider Robinson directly invokes one of those variants of A Christmas Carol twice -- once when the narrator is considering how to spring a surprise on someone -- and then when he has a surprise sprung on him much later in the book:
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"Now you come before me on two legs. You still limp, but you’re not a cripple any more. Fat Humphrey the telepath doesn’t give you wine with your meal, and when I kiss you at the studio I notice you didn’t have a drink on the plane. You buy me dinner and you babble about being rich and powerful and you try to sell me some crack-brained scheme for dancing in space, you have the goddam audacity to lay all this on me and never once say the word 'love' with your mouth and ask me to be your other half again." She snatched the roach out of my hand. "God dammit, Cratchit, you leave me no alternative..."
And she actually paused and toked and held it and exhaled before she let the smile begin.
"...but to raise your fucking salary."

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Live Action TV

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Leslie : Can I speak to you about a personal matter?
Ron : Normally no. But given there's only 20 minutes until the end of human existence... also no.

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    • Also:
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Leslie : Look, I don't like to throw around the word "butthead" often. If you call everyone a butthead, it kind of loses its impact. But I can say, without hesitation... that Tom is being a real dick.

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  • Very common in competition cooking shows. For example, "I have one big complaint about your dish... I can't stop eating it!" shows up a few times on MasterChef.
    • This is parodied on Key & Peele in their "Gideon's Kitchen" sketch:
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Gideon (Key): (tries the dish) Unbelievable...Well, Drew, I have a huge problem with this dish. It's that you haven't made it for me sooner.
Drew (Peele): Thank you, Chef.
Gideon: Because if you had, Drew, then I would know how good you are at cooking food...that is bad.
Drew: I'm sorry, Chef.
Gideon: And when I say 'bad', I mean Michael Jackson 'bad'.
Drew: Thank you, Chef.
Gideon: You know how he looked really really bad at the end of his life.
Drew: Chef, I'm sorry. I don't know if you like the dish or not.
Gideon: You don't know if I like the dish or not? Well, let's put it this way; pack your knives, get out, you're off the show.
Drew: Sorry, Chef.
Gideon: Because...you should be working in the finest restaurant in the world.
Drew: Thank you, Chef.
Gideon: Just not in any world that I live in.

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  • In an episode of How I Met Your Mother, Ted is on a date with a girl who keeps drinking wine mid-sentence. She keeps saying things that can be perceived as racist remarks, confessions of fratricide, etc., then finishes the sentence after the wine sip so that it takes on a completely different meaning. As Ted is imagining literal baggage appear around the room every time she says something and it disappears when she finishes her sentence, the scene culminates with her saying something particularly bad and a suitcase appears labeled "LET HER FINISH HER DRINK, TED."
    • By the time she says "That reminds me, I killed my brother (sip) with this joke I told him", it's hard to believe she's not doing it on purpose.
  • On The IT Crowd, Roy and Moss are pranking Jen into believing she's holding onto The Internet so she can present it to the shareholders:
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Moss: I spoke to the Elders of the Internet not one hour ago. I told them about Jen winning Employee of the Month, and they were so impressed that they wanted to do whatever they could to help.
Jen: Wait a minute... "The Elders of the Internet?" The Elders of the Internet (excitedly) know who I am?!

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  • Often used by Charlie in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia when someone says something stupid to him and it seems like he's about to criticize them, but instead he goes right along with it.
    • When Mac and Dennis inform him that they're going to train him to be a pit fighter, he says, "What?! ... That is brilliant!"
    • When Mac and Dennis argue about whether to hit him with a trashcan or if he's ready for a chair, Charlie breaks them up. "Guys, guys, guys... I can handle a chair."
    • When Mac starts calling everyone around him a "jabronie," Charlie stops him. "You keep using that word... and it's awesome!"
  • The live-action segment of The Super Mario Bros Super Show had one episode where the President ate a pizza at Mario and Luigi's place (No, really). He said it wasn't good. It was great!
  • One sketch on Key and Peele invokes this repeatedly, where a master chef manages to keep switching back and forth as to whether or not he likes a quiche being presented to him, multiple times, in a single sentence. Observe.
  • In one of the last episodes of Friends, Joey asks how he managed to lose 50 coin tosses against Rachel in a row. "It was heads she wins, tails I lose!" The others stare at him as he slowly figures out... that he forgot to pick up his dry-cleaning.

Music

  • 10cc's song "Dreadlock Holiday" features a hapless tourist trying to win over some random thugs who are about to beat him up, with the chorus:
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I don't like cricket, oh no/I love it!
I don't like reggae, no no/I love it!
Don't like Jamaica, oh no/I love her!

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Newspaper Comics

  • Garfield's reply to Arlene telling him she loves him was telling her that it was a coincidence because... he also loves him.

Radio

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Humphrey Lyttelton: Local Leeds celebrities include Jimmy Saville, Melanie Brown, and of course, our own Barry Cryer! ...Has seen them on the telly.

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You know what he's full of - sound and fury, signifying nothing!

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Web Comics

  • In Erfworld, Prince Tramennis greets his fallen brother, (formerly Prince) Ossomer, after Ossomer had been killed and Decrypted by Wanda, just like Ansom was.
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Tramennis: Brother, it pains me to see you like this.
Ossomer: Yes, I imagine it...
Tramennis: Ansom! Now, Ansom could, admittedly, pull off the scarlet-and-black. But I'm sorry, that is an atrocious look on you.

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Web Original

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Homestar: Strong Sad, you've had some bad ideas in your time, but this is the best idea you've ever had!

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  • There are several Advice-Animal-style memes based around this, where the top line follows a stereotype of some sort and the bottom line changes the meaning. For instance, Successful Black Man ("I got Arrested... Development on DVD"), Ordinary Muslim Man ("We are going to blow up... a bouncy house for my daughter's birthday"), or Dating Site Murderer ("I will slice you... a delicious piece of this Thanksgiving turkey").
    • The world of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic memes has its own variation on this format, the 'Well-Intentioned Celestia'; in the top line, she appears to be the moon-banishment-happy tyrant she is so often memetically portrayed as, while the bottom lean reveals the perfectly innocuous thing she was trying to say ("Luna, I'm sending you to the moon...walking lessons; that's sure to make you more popular!") One example has her accidentally causing the infamous 'Cupcakes' fanfic in this manner: "Pinkie Pie, I want you to cut up Rainbow Dash...a slice of this delicious cake!"
  • Some Troll copypasta such as 5ever have the intended recipient of the comment tragically dying after the bait but before the switch. For example, a man tells a woman he no longer wants to be her boyfriend, leading to her death before he can clarify that he wants to be her husband.
  • SF Debris said he had one complaint about Picard confronting Sarek in Star Trek: The Next Generation, which was it made him want to see them have more scenes together.
  • Scott Adams' blog explains Why North Korea and the United States are Near War:
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For example, North Korea doesn’t want the U.S. to invade their country. The United States, on the other hand, wants to invade North Korea about as much as we want rabid porcupines shoved up our asses.

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Dangerous in the hands of beginners, the fix-up can nevertheless be employed by trained professionals to produce seriously crappy SF.

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Western Animation

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Fluttershy: Uh-oh, she doesn't like it...
Rarity: No, I don't like it...I love it!!

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    • See also, Twilight's line from Lesson Zero: "Rainbow must be angry with Applejack! She must hate her guts! <hoofclap> How wonderful!"
  • Family Guy does a similar thing here.
    • Actually used a lot in Family Guy. In the Stephen King episode, Peter, who is hosting and kicking off the next mini-story, described the plot of The Shining and speculates how Stewie would fit perfectly in the starring role, only to say that a parody of The Shawshank Redemption is up next.
    • Another Family Guy example.
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Peter: Lois! Remember how you always said you wanted a diamond ring?
Lois: Gasp! Oh Peter!
Peter: That's right I got a horse!

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  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Split Personality", Doofenshmirtz tries to get over his childhood fear of the high dive:
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Doofenshmirtz: Hey! Hey, this isn't as bad as I remember! ... It's SO MUCH WORSE!

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    • In the episode "Don't Even Blink", Doofenshmirtz developed an Invisinator. He explained that he developed it because, whenever the Fireside Girls knock at his door with him at home watching TV and the blinds open, they can see him so he cannot pretend he's not at home. He then told Perry the Platypus he intended to use the invisinator on... the girls so he'd not have to see them.
    • In "A Real Boy", Norm wanted Doofenshmirtz to see him as a son. In the end, Doof started a speech that gave the impression Norm's wish would come true. Instead, Doof said he saw Perry as a son.
  • King of the Hill: After Peggy saves her family's ranch by uncovering an old law that allowed her to transport cattle through the city for as long as the natural way is blocked, she expected her mother to thank her. Peggy's mother instead said she just fixed her own blunder (Peggy's mother was blaming the ranch's impending demise on Peggy not marrying the man her family arranged for her) and that she forgot to brand that cattle before transporting it.
    • In one episode Hank Hill and his friends are playing guitar and singing in the alley. Bill suggests that Hank play "Puff The Magic Dragon", whose lyrics are famously considered to be a drug metaphor. Hank replies, "Bill, do you know what that song is about?" (Pause.) "It's about a dragon. We're grown men."
    • Another instance involves the gang of four in the alley, where Bill is wearing dark sunglasses to conceal a black eye he received in a domestic dispute. Bill gives a poor excuse to Dale, which he describes as a "very interesting story", that he received it by accidentally walking into a door. Dale responds, "Hey, wait a minute..." An out of character moment where Dale actually figures out a cover-up is subverted when he concludes, "How was that interesting?"
    • Speaking of Dale, he once went to John Redcorn's to talk about a dream. In that dream, Dale saw a Native-American having sex with Nancy. When Dale told that, John Redcorn had an Oh Crap moment fearing Dale figured out. When Dale reached the part of Nancy giving birth with a baby wearing a headdress, John Redcorn feared Dale figured this out as well. Dale said he saw this dream as a sign he was a Native American as well. John Redcorn, of course, let Dale think it.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: When Spongebob creates Bubble Buddy, we immediately cut to him on a seesaw with Bubble Buddy, completely lifeless and not moving the seesaw at all.
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Spongebob: This...is...GREAT!

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    • Another had Spongebob help his friend Patrick submit a song which is shown to be so awful that it killed the band recording it and causes pain to everyone else within hearing distance. He plays it first with Spongebob by using a giant stereo that is so loud that it demolishes his pineapple. After Patrick asks him eagerly to give him his most honest opinion, Spongebob stares at him solemnly and moves his mouth as if to insult him.
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Spongebob: Um...how do I put this delicately--That was the best song I ever heard!

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    • Another one, this time from "Just One Bite":
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Squidward: Why... this Krabby Patty may be the most... Horrible! Putrid! Poorly prepared! Vile! Unappetizing! Disgusting excuse for a sandwich it has ever been my displeasure to have slither down my throat! And I curse this Krabby Patty and all who enjoy them to an early and well- deserved grave!

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  • The Monster Across the Street on Beetlejuice says of Delia's artwork, "No, ma'am, I don't like it. I love it!"
  • Mr. Burns on The Simpsons does this multiple times in rapid succession, leading to Homer's heart attack, as seen in the page quote.
  • Many episodes of Fairly Oddparents often have Timmy overhearing his parents' conversations, with him usually leaving either in grief or anger before they finish what they're saying. For example Timmy thought his parents hated him because he overheard talk about how much of a burden he was to them, yet after he leaves they then finish out loud that what they previously said is completely opposite of how they really feel about their son. Yeah, Timmy's parents are a bunch of Cloud Cuckoolanders.

Real Life

  • This article on teachers' wages is one long variety of this, used to point out the Analogy Backfire of comparing teachers to babysitters.
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Teachers’ hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work 9 or 10 months a year. It’s time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do – babysit. We can get that for less than minimum wage. That’s right. Let’s give them $3 an hour and only the hours they worked; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school. That would be $19.50 a day (7:45 to 3:00 PM with 45 min. off for lunch and plan– that equals 6 1/2 hours). Each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children. Now how many students do they teach in a day . . . maybe 30? So that’s $19.50 x 30 = $585.00 a day.

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  • Done negatively by Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, who says things like:
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... you've been a great audience; for me to poop on!

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  • Dorothy Parker in a book review: "This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force!"
  • Mick Foley in his autobiography Have a Nice Day! relates the following from when he was in ECW and headed to WCW. The crowd chanted at him "You sold out! You sold out!" Foley responded by getting on the mic.
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I have a feeling that a year from now, I'm going to have to look in the mirror and admit in my heart that I sold out...I sold out the Garden, I sold out the Coliseum, I sold out every damn arena in this country!

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Republicans need to stop saying Barack Obama is an elitist, or looks down on rural people, and just admit you don’t like him because of something he can’t help, something that’s a result of the way he was born. Admit it, you’re not voting for him because he’s... smarter than you.

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