Comically Missing the Point

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Godwin's Law trips over Rule of Funny.

"I started to walk down the street when I heard a voice saying: 'Good evening, Mr. Dowd.' I turned, and there was this big white rabbit leaning against a lamp-post. Well, I thought nothing of that, because when you've lived in a town as long as I've lived in this one, you get used to the fact that everybody knows your name."

Elwood P. DowdHarvey

A character completely misses a really obvious point for comic effect. The point is the sort of thing that any reasonable or informed person will spot and understand given a few seconds or enough information. However, the center of this trope is a person who, despite having all the time in the world and all the information, comes to a conclusion so wrong it's hard to be even further from correct. Commonly elicits a response along the lines of "that's not what's wrong here". Visual gags are often involved.

Compare Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?, Bait and Switch Comment, Cloudcuckoolander, Failed a Spot Check, Not Actually the Ultimate Question, I Take Offense to That Last One, The Ditz, Dramatically Missing the Point.

No real life examples, please; Real Life is not comedic. Not even instances where Person A says to Person B "You just completely missed the point of what I said," unless Person B deliberately does it for comedic effect (and makes it clear this was their intention). Without authorial intent, who is missing what point often relies on personal interpretation resulting in heated arguments rather than being Played for Laughs.

Examples of Comically Missing the Point include:


  • The Chase credit card company at one point ran a series of commercials in which couples relay outrageous travel tales to their friends; we became fast friends with Chevy Chase, our son discovered a dinosaur, etc. The friends are stunned... because the couple was able to use its frequent flier miles on a whim, over a holiday and to a desirable destination.

Anime and Manga

  • Sagara Sōsuke from Full Metal Panic! does this. A lot. With pretty much anything that isn’t military-involved. This causes many of his admirers great amounts of frustration and anguish.
  • Two Breast Expansion fetish mangas explore this concept with hilarious or saddening results:
    • In one a loli girl insecure about not developing, and thinking her boyfriend wants big-breasted girls (he actually only wants her because she's a flat-chested loli) gets basketball sized breast implants...her boyfriend hates it and throws her out. The girl suspects it's because she's still too small and at the end she gets even bigger ones to try and please him. The second pair is bigger than her entire torso. At the end she struts arrogantly out of the clinic, boasting about her new size, only to fall over under the weight and find that she can't lift them, and ends up looking ridiculous.
    • In another a flat chested girl gets rejected by breast obsessed boys, who only care about busty anime girls, one time too many and gets huge breast implants to try and meet their standards...but when they see it "in the flesh" they're so comically huge that they get squicked and reject her again. So she goes off and gets bigger ones, and they still reject her. At the end she once again thinks she's "too small" and has gotten even bigger implants, this time almost too big to move, hoping this will do the trick...
  • When Shamisen the calico cat suddenly speaks (with with the voice of an old philosopher) in The Sighs of Haruhi Suzumiya, Itsuki is first surprised that it's a male calico. Lampshaded by Kyon.
  • Parodied in the first Megami Sound Stage of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, which featured a part where characters submitted messages to be read aloud, typically their thoughts on the present situation or other characters. The somewhat ditzy Amy's message tells Nanoha and Fate to come straight home for snacks, and asks them to pick up juice and coffee freshener for her; she apparently thought the message to the audience was actually for Nanoha and Fate.
  • Possibly a minor example from Pokémon in this exchange between Roark and his father, Byron, after they enter the room where Team Rocket has stolen Byron's fossils, but all Byron notices is that there's one well-dug hole in the center of the room. Roark points out the room, but Byron only sees that there's a second, less-well-dug hole.

Roark: Hey, Dad, you'd better look over there.
Byron: Closer examination reveals this hole was dug by a machine.

  • Another repeating example is the Team Rocket trio not thinking about how rare a Pokémon is, but what Giovanni can use it for. He may not want to use it for that purpose, but they (mostly Meowth) are too single-minded to realize that.
  • In the first season, Ash finds a man who has the same picture that Sabrina had in her room. Ash concludes that he must be a photographer. When he later says that he knew Sabrina since she was a little girl, Ash figures he took her baby pictures as well.
  • More recently in the Best Wishes season. The Nakama meet the character of the day which has a double identity, which is VERY obvious. Both Iris, Cilan, Pikachu and Axew spot it right away, yet Ash misses it, not until he was told about it that he realized.
  • One Fullmetal Alchemist omake ends with the narration box commenting, "that isn't what's wrong here" when Edward complains that Alphonse lost too much weight.
  • Inuyasha: A demonic witch kidnaps Kagome so she could use her to transfer her spiritual power into a copy of Kikyo (Inu Yasha's late love interest) made from dirt and her buried ashes. When a part of her soul is transferred back into Kagome's body, she wakes up visibly shaken - not because she just had her soul temporarily torn out of her body, but because she had a bad dream that involved failing her math test. Cue looks of disbelief from Inu Yasha.
  • Minor example in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Simon...took a couple of tries to understand Kamina's lessons about Manly Combining.
    • Also, slightly better case, in Gurren Lagann the Satire: After Kamina's death, Simon had trouble dealing with it, leading Kittan to attempt to encourage Simon by saying "He avenged himself! How many people can say they did that?" to which Simon replies "Not Bro, 'cause he's dead", after which Kittan outright says "YOU'RE MISSING THE POINT!"
  • In Sasami: Magical Girls Club, a TV reporter concludes his report on a boy with the power to levitate with "What will become of the next Olympics?!"
  • An exchange in the twelfth Dragon Ball Z movie is an example of this:

Vegeta: Fuse with you? I'd rather die!
Goku: Vegeta, you're already dead.

  • Welkin in Senjou no Valkyria is famous for these moments. In one instance, he tells Faldio to put a shirt on, not because Alicia told him so, but because he doesn't want him to catch a cold, and another instance when he asks when "the best time is to run away" before the Imperials sack their town. These bring out a lot of Alicia's Tsundere traits really easily...
  • In the horror manga Emerging, the protagonist starts celebrating when the lab results confirm that the deadly disease rampaging through Tokyo is not Ebola... until his partner informs him that the news means they're dealing with a completely unknown new viral pathogen.
  • During the Waking The Dragons story arc in Yu-Gi-Oh!, Yami loses a duel against Raphael, one of Dartz's henchmen. When the cast calls Kaiba and informs him of this, also telling him that Yugi's soul was taken, Kaiba freaks. Not because of Yugi's soul being stolen, but because Yami lost to someone other than him.
    • This one does make sense sort of, since Kaiba remained a Flat Earth Atheist in not believing in any of the supernatural aspects of this particular children's card game, even though by this point in the series it's been pretty obvious that it does exist.
      • Not to mention that Yugi's the King of Games. When he loses, you know shit hits the fan, lost soul or not, because the whole show makes card games Serious Business.
  • In Kuragehime, Wholesome Crossdresser Kuranosuke falls over with a pain in his chest. The girls of Amamizukan, who think "Kurako" is a girl, pull down "her" shirt and are shocked to see fake boobs. Mayaya later tells Tsukimi about Kurako's treachery: she's really a flat-chested girl who pads her bra to look more attractive.
  • The Sonic X pilot has a good one; the city's special forces, policemen driving racecars, are chasing Sonic when he gets on top of one of their cars.

Driver: Hey, you! This is dangerous! It's irresponsible! What happens if kids start trying this?
Sonic: (turns to camera) Kids, don't use Formula 1 racecars to chase hedgehogs.

  • In Tiger and Bunny, Fire Emblem declares that he, Blue Rose, and Dragon Kid are about to demonstrate some serious Girl Power. Blue Rose points out that one of these is not like the others.

Dragon Kid: It's because I'm a tomboy, isn't it?

Keith: Why, you ask? It's because this place has the most delicious lemonade in the city!

  • Once again, Keith is the source. Agnes calls the Heroes and tells them she's worried since Barnaby missed a meeting with her about hosting a dinner show. Keith shares her concern: can Barnaby really host a dinner show?
  • Natsu from Fairy Tail is liable to do this. For example, at one point all of the denizens of a cursed village uncovered their arms and legs, which were developing into talons. Natsu was more impressed by the headman's large sideburns.
    • Juvia constantly to the point any female (except Erza) interacts with her will immediately be entered into her imaginary Love Chart
  • America and Italy p:from Axis Powers Hetalia:

America: Somebody told me that my elevator doesn't go all the way to the top floor, but I don't even have an elevator!
Italy: [Excited] I heard that too, we should go buy one!

Kenshiro: I can kill you in an instant. To me the Red Berets are nothing but babies.
Mad Sarge: You... you'd kill bab...(the muscles in his body lock up)

  • One Piece gets these often enough, such as when Merry shows Kaya Luffy's new wanted poster and instead of noting that Luffy is now a wanted man she is excited to notice the back of Usopp's head in the corner.
    • Luffy does this all the time. Particularly noteworthy is his reaction whenever he learns that a bounty has been placed on him.
      • On the other hand, most pirates do see their bounties as a sign of achievement.
    • There's also the longarm tribe who capture Brook and put him on exhibit. It turns out he's a really interesting sight...because he has one joint in his arm. Possibly a subversion due to the fact that the entire tribe had two joints in their arms, but they still find that more interesting than him being a living skeleton.
  • In the final chapter of Ouran High School Host Club, not only does Haruhi reveal the fact that she is a girl to the club customers, but they also find out that she and Tamaki are now officially a couple. However, it isn't until an outburst by Haruhi's enraged father that they fully grasp what was going on. Until that moment, they had simply assumed that Haruhi was a male (and very feminine) crossdresser...and that "he" and Tamaki were gay.
  • THE iDOLM@STER- When girls just received news that they need to retake their promo photos, Haruka gets nervous and the following happens.

Chihaya: Haruka, what's wrong?
Haruka: My heart will leap out of my chest at this rate.
Takane: That's terrible. *gets up from her seat* We need to call an ambulance right away.

  • When Mii is separated from her sisters in episode 3 of Popotan, Mai wonders in horror what kind of men she might meet all alone in the street.

Ai: A long-lost brother?
Mai: We don't have one!
Ai: Oh... ("Silly Me" Gesture)

  • In the last few chapters of Fruits Basket when Akito reveals herself as a woman to the gathered zodiac members and Kyo, Ritsu states in total shock "Akito-san! You share my hobby!"
  • In the Panty and Stocking With Garterbelt episode "Sex and the Daten City", during a swanky premiere for a film she and Stocking are in, Panty screens her "debut film" that she considers to be her award-worthy magnum opus. It turns out to be a pornographic flick, which threatens to flush her celebrity lifestyle down the tubes.

Mick: Your debut film is porn! You made a sex tape!
Panty: WHAT?! Serious?! So it was just Direct to Video?! Well that explains why it hadn't won an Oscar yet!

Comic Books

Jack: This one isn't about collectibles but it's the same kind of thing. I'm in a book store ... for new books. I've gone a little bit crazy and I'm about to spend a couple of hundred bucks. I murmur under my breath "money's too tight to mention". Now the guy behind the register, he hears this. He looks at me, nodding his head knowingly like we're in some "club of cool" together. He says, "Yeah, Simply Red" like it's a password, and now we do the secret handshake. And I'm thinking "Simply Red"? Lame English band. More soul at a polka convention. And the book store guy thinks he's on some kind of inside loop with that.
Sadie: That's the smuggest thing I ever heard. A guy tries to be nice and you stand there hating him just because he hasn't heard of the Valentine Brothers. You're like my ex-boyfriend. He was that way about authors. He'd deliberately drop obscure quotes and references. He'd take over conversations at parties. But none of what he read was for the love of it. His knowledge was like a weapon. Don't tell me you're like that. I don't want another jerk. I've had... Hey, why are you smiling?
Jack: Because you've heard of the Valentine Brothers.

  • Gaston Lagaffe once invented an improved form of seat belt. These seat belts were designed to stretch, so someone wearing them can leave their car for a short distance without taking them off to, for example, drop off a letter.
    • In the same vein he also designed a highly efficient solar-powered flashlight that had just one minor flaw: it only worked in full daylight.
  • In Scott Pilgrim, the Vegan Police rush in to remove Todd Ingram's vegan superpowers for eating gelato. Someone notes that Todd also ate chicken parmesan, but the police aren't sure whether parmesan is an animal or not, so they don't punish him for that one.
  • This strip by Quino, slightly NSFW.
  • In Empire State, Sara tries to illustrate to Jimmy the danger of looking for dates on Craigslist by describing a blind date she met who ended up being grossly overweight. Jimmy identifies with the overweight guy, and concludes that he, too, can meet attractive girls if he words his personal ads on Craigslist just right.
  • In Runaways, when Alex pulls a Sleeping Dummy trick to conspire with his friends about taking down the Ancient Conspiracy their parents are part of, his mother's first reaction is to wonder what her son is doing with a male mannequin head in his room.
  • Sis from Katy Keene would do this sometimes.
    • Once she borrowed one of Katy's mink stoles to keep her snowman warm.
  • In Astonishing X-Men, Kitty Pryde intentionally missed the point in order to play Deadpan Snarker to Emma Frost:

Emma: Three students were missing from my ethics class. Seventeen overall. Logan had to break up two fistfights and a mystical swordfight. And that dreadful Guatemalan crab-boy is at Benetech telling reporters this is every mutant's only chance to avoid burning in everlasting hellfire. This is eating us from the inside out.
Kitty: Oh my God ... you teach ethics?

  • Hilariously used in Les Légendaires, where protagonist Jadina become the target of a rivalry between her teammate Danael and her former fiancé Prince Halan. When questionning her other teammates about the dangers the two of them go through lastly,Gryf explains her they are doing it "for a girl's beautiful eyes"... and she deduces Danael and Halan have a crush on her elven comrade Shimy, to everyone's dismay.

Fan Works

  • The Bag Enders episode Strider: Scoutmaster features this exchange:

"Let me get this right. You have become a Scoutmaster in order to try and become respectable? Were there no openings for gigolos?"
"What do you mean? It's a well respected youth organisation."
"I've met Baden Powell," said Legolas very darkly.
"Wow! Could you come and give a talk?"

Kyon: Haruhi? Was that you?
Haruhi: Wah! Seriously? You can tell it's me because of how the pillow hit you?
Kyon: I can tell it's you because you hit me with a pillow at all.

  • "Harry Potter and the Copyright Fiasco" was a parody skit performed at a charity fund raiser for Free the Children at Zionsville High School in April 2011. Cho, trying to get Harry to take her back:

Cho: I know you're more famous and admired now than ever before... but that's not why I'm here. I just like you for you! You know what, I don't even remember why we broke up.
Harry: Um, we didn't break up. I broke up with you because you kept crying over your last boyfriend, because you kept accusing me of cheating on you with Hermione... and because you stood by your friend when she betrayed every single person in Dumbledore's Army.
Cho: No no no, it's all right dear, you've forgotten. I forgave you for breaking up with me a long time ago.
Harry: Uh, you're kind of missing the point Cho.

  • "Here and Now" From a Axis Powers Hetalia Fanfic. Russia is having horrible nightmares and America asks England to help him get into his dreams to stop them. He gets attacked while in the 'corridor' where the nightmares shouldn't get to him.

“I was in the corridor damn it! I thought you said the dreams were supposed to be sequestered behind those doors? They’re not!”
America looked up from his hands that he had laced together in his lap and tilted his head at England’s odd look. The suit he was wearing felt tight and he shrugged his shoulders in an attempt to get more comfortable. “What?” he finally asked.
"You used sequestered correctly.”

"Well," Dr. Possible finally said as his eyes settled once again on Kim. Her eyes didn't even blink in response. "You're dating Shego here."
"A girl. Not a boy."
She nodded.
"And you don't plan on dating any boys in the near future."
Dr. Possible glanced at his wife, who still appeared a little stunned. "Well, if this means I don't have to worry about you chasing any boys, that's good enough for me."

  • In chapter 35 of the RWBY alternate universe story Service With a Smile, just before Jaune's first date:

"Use protection!" Nora yelled.
"Nora!" Ren rebuked.
"Sorry. Don't use it if you don't want. Just make an informed decision!"


  • In The Nightmare Before Christmas, Jack tries to explain Christmas by way of talking about gifts and stockings. The other citizens of Halloween don't quite get it. In fact, Nightmare's entire plot hinges on the fact that the Halloweentown's citizens don't quite get the point of Christmas.

Jack: We pick up an oversized sock, and hang it like this on the wall.
Various Hydes: Oh, yes! Does it still have a foot. Let me see! Let me look! Is it rotted and covered with gook?!

  • In Rango, one of the volunteers for the posse, Sgt. Turley, has an arrow through his eye, and Rango sheepishly points out "You've, uh, got a little something in your eye there." Turley seems to think Rango is talking about his conjunctivitis.
  • In Hoodwinked, right after the Big Bad's Villain Song, the Wolf and Granny are secretly watching behind rocks:

Granny Puckett: Sweet tea and cookies! We got to do something.
Wolf W. Wolf: I know. The song was catchy, but the choreography was terrible.

Peripetchikoff: "We have emergency meeting with Swiss Trade Delegation. They send us twenty car-loads of cheese. Totally unacceptable... full of holes."

Mrs. Tweedy: (not looking up) Finally, something we agree on.

  • One of the few things played straight in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and even then verging on parody. Jay's monkey is kidnapped and driven away in a van with a poster on the back that clearly shows its destination. After about 3 minutes of stupidity, "Silent" Bob is forced to set his friend straight.

Silent Bob: The sign! On the back of the car! Said Critters! Of HOLLYWOOD! You dumb fuck!

  • Additionally, after Bob's tirade Jay is bothered more by getting spittle on him than the significance of Bob speaking for once.
    • That may have been just an attempt at saving face.
  • Which still doesn't answer Jay's question of why "Silent" Bob can bust out that whole long stupid Chasing Amy monologue at the slightest invitation but can't take two seconds to just SAY "Hey, I noticed a sign that indicated they might be going to Hollywood" instead of doing a big silly pantomime which could never have worked if Jay had happened to miss reading the sign before the car pulled away, so maybe it's Bob who missed the point.
  • Cannon Films had a major case of the trope when they wrote a Spider-Man film script, which would have been very In Name Only. Said script centered around Peter Parker getting kidnapped by a Mad Scientist and being mutated into a large spider beast which craved death. Understandably, Stan Lee was not pleased with this treatment and ordered a rewrite - just the start of a long Development Hell for the wall crawler.
  • In the movie Half Baked, Thurgood is telling his friends not to spend any money, as they have to save it. Then:

Scarface: You said you gave Mary Jane a pearl necklace!
Thurgood Jenkins: Obviously you missed the whole point of that story.

  • Zoolander. The eponymous character, observing a model of the school building he plans to open: "What is this? A center for ants?!"
    • Also the scene where the lead, a male model, reads a magazine with his picture on the front. The title reads, 'A Model Idiot.' Not getting the insult, the main character reads it as 'A Model, Idiot.'
    • Later in the story, Zoolander strikes a pose that saves a vital character from dying. When he is cheered on for his actions, he thinks it is because they noticed he turned left to do the pose. (Zoolander admitted that he was incapable of making left turns, and has to make a full right turn instead.)
  • In Kingpin, this happens twice. Once, he holds out his rubber hand to Ish, to show him is bowling championship ring and Ish comments on his hand. Later in Reno, he holds out his hand to demonstrate its fakeness and the guys he's showing think he's going on about the ring.
    • Three times, when he's signing up at the end and tries to put his ring up for collateral on his dues, the response is 'what am I supposed to do with a rubber hand'
  • When Brian writes treasonous graffiti in Monty Python's Life of Brian, all the Centurion notices is that the Latin is wrong... and then makes him correct it and write it out 100 times.
    • Also, when Brian tells his unwanted followers "You are all individuals!" they all (but one) mindlessly repeat the statement in lockstep unison.
  • A similar situation occurs in Canadian Bacon. Sherriff Boomer, Kabral, and Roy Boy steal a truck and paint anti-Canadian graffiti on it. They later get pulled over by a Canadian highway patrolman because of it. However, it's not because the graffiti is anti-Canadian. It's because it's only in English and not also in French.
    • He then helpfully provides translations and the spray-can to do them with. Aren't Canadians just the nicest people?
    • And, the cop is Dan Aykroyd (who is Canadian IRL).
    • Not only that, but the cop's expression as they drive away is priceless. He looks filled with national pride.
  • Dr. Evil of the Austin Powers films misses the point when Frau Farbissina tries telling him that she's pregnant.

Frau Farbissina: Herr Doktor, I'm late.
Dr. Evil: No, you got here right on time.
Frau Farbissina: No, I mean, I'm late.

  • The first film lampshades this trope with a memorable exchange:

Vanessa Kensington: Mr. Powers...let me be perfectly clear with you, perhaps to the point of being insulting. I will never have sex with you, ever. If you were the last man on Earth and I was the last woman on Earth, and the future of the human race depended on our having sex simply for procreation, I still would not have sex with you.
Austin Powers: What's your point, Vanessa?

  • And later, in the same film:

Vanessa: You know, I sometimes forget you’ve missed out on the last thirty years: the fall of the Berlin Wall, the first female British prime minister, the end of apartheid...
Austin: Yeah, and I can't believe Liberace was gay. I mean, women loved him! I didn’t see that one coming!

  • In Year One, Jack Black's character doesn't understand what lesbian means and gets into an awkward situation when he tries to sleep with one. She even tells him she likes to have sex with women and he stills doesn't get it. Admittedly he's just that stupid.
  • In Tremors 2 Earl throws a timebomb into the bed of a large army truck loaded with explosives, hoping it will kill the Shriekers trapped in the building in which the truck is parked. When he gets back outside and tells the truck's owner, Burt, what he has done:

Burt: That's two and half tons of high explosives, Earl!
Earl: You mean that's not enough? Oh Burt, don't tell me it's not enough!
Burt: Not enou... Never mind, just run! Run!

  • They're dealing with creatures that asexually reproduce exponentially when they eat too much, inside a warehouse full of snackfood and MREs in Burt's truck. Earl's worry is justified, as Burt is the only expert on explosives present in the movie.
  • More accurately, in the parts where Earl has to remind Grady to stay off the ground. And when the Graboid eats the radio.

Earl: You left the radio on the ground?!
Grady: Sorry, I forgot...

Joe: What are you talking about? You can't marry Osgood.
Jerry: Why, you think he's too old for me?

  • In Dumb and Dumber, Lloyd is with Mary, who he's infatuated with, and asks:

Lloyd: What do you think the chances are of a guy like you and a girl like me [sic]... ending up together?
Mary: Well, Lloyd, that's difficult to say. I mean, we don't really...
Lloyd: Hit me with it! Just give it to me straight! I came a long way just to see you, Mary. The least you can do is level with me. What are my chances?
Mary: Not good.
Lloyd: You mean, not good like one out of a hundred?
Mary: I'd say more like... one out of a million.
Lloyd: So you're telling me there's a chance? YEAH!

  • As Lloyd and Harry are on the road out of Colorado on foot, a bus pulls up filled with hot bikini girls and... Look, just read the exchange:

Bikini girl: Hey, guys. We're going on a national bikini tour and we're looking for two oil boys who can grease us up before each competition.
Harry: You're in luck... There's a town about three miles that way. I'm sure you'll find a couple guys there.
Bikini girl: (weirded out) Okay... Thanks.
(the bus starts leaving)
Lloyd: (upset at Harry) Do you realize what you've done?! (starts running after the bus) Hey! Wait!
(the bus stops as they get to the door)
Lloyd: Y-you'll have to excuse my friend. He's a little slow... The town isback that way! (points at the opposite direction Harry pointed to earlier on)

  • Happens several times in The Hangover, invariably by Allen.
    • "I didn't know they gave out rings at the Holocaust!"
    • Again when they return to the hotel room

Alan: Guys. What about the tiger? What if he got out?
Phil: Oh, fuck! I keep forgetting about the goddamn tiger! How the fuck did he get in there?
Stu: I don't know, because I don't remember. (Referring to Alan who slipped them roofies)
Alan: One of the side effects of roofies is memory loss.
Stu: You are literally too stupid to insult.

  • In Bertie and Elizabeth Edward the Eighth complains about the annoyances of "tradition". Whereupon his father growls "Monarchy is tradition". Well, duh!
  • In Ferris Buellers Day Off, the principal is chewing over the fact that the title character is absent from school yet again, and he mutters, "I don't trust that kid any further than I can throw him." This prompts the cheerful secretary to respond, "Well, with your bad knee, Ed, you shouldn't throw anybody." He's somewhat less than calmed by her concern.
  • Near the opening of the 1983 To Be or Not to Be, authorities rush into the theater, stopping the performance of "Naughty Nazis." The complaint was that it could be construed as an insult to Chancellor Hitler.

Construed! It was meant to be an insult!

  • Used in The King's Speech where Edward accuses his brother Albert of trying to take his place as king when what Albert was trying to do was telling him to get his act together specifically because Albert didn't want to be king.
  • This exchange in There's Something About Mary where Pat Healy is pretending to have the same interests as Mary:

Pat Healy: Really, [architecture is] only a side thing for my true passion.
Mary: And what's that?
Pat Healy: I work with retards.
Mary: Isn't that a little politically incorrect?
Pat Healy: Yeah, maybe, but hell, no one's gonna tell me who I can and can't work with.

Wadsworth: You see, like the Mounties, we always get our man!
Mr. Green: Mrs. Peacock was a man?! (gets slapped repeatedly by the others)

  • In Shaun Of The Dead, Shaun invokes this trope upon finding a zombie in their garden softly moaning.

Shaun: Oh my god...
(Shaun and Ed stand there mouths hanging open as the zombie slowly turns around.)
Shaun: ...She's so drunk!
(They look at each other and laugh)

  • Grease 2 features the very 'patriotic' musical number "Lets Do it For Our Country" Where Louis is trying to trick Frenchette into doing bad she's singing about him joining the army.
  • Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy has this little gem:

Veronica: I'm good at three things: fighting, screwing, and reading the news. I've already done one of those today, so what's the other one gonna be? Huh?
Ed (hopefully): Uh...screwing?

    • Brick: "I would like to extend to you an invitation to the pants party."
  • In Bringing Up Baby, David tells Susan she has to leave her apartment after he finds out there's a leopard in it. She says she can't, because she has a lease.
  • Dracula: Dead and Loving It dips into this early, when the rather obviously British Renfield stops in a small village outside the Count's castle, in a hurry for directions, as not to be late. Most of the villagers are horrified at his new boss, but...

Villager 1: Dracula!?
Villager 2: Dracula!?
Villager 3: Dracula!?
Villager 4: ...shed-yool?

Osbourne: If you ever carried out your proposed threat you would experience such a shitstorm of consequences my friend your empty little head would be spinning faster than the wheels of your Schwinn bicycle back there.
Chad: (laughing) You think that's a Schwinn?


  • In Great Expectations, Herbert tells Pip about his fiance's elderly father. When Pip asks, "What does he live on?" Herbert replies, "The first floor." Pip was actually inquiring after the source of his income.
  • A short poem by Shel Silverstein is about a boy coming to school and saying, "Durn, I growed another head." The teacher corrects his poor grammar.
    • Moreover, the teacher corrects his grammar by saying, "Chester, I think it's time you knowed, / the word is 'grew' instead of 'growed'."
  • Kitty and Lydia from Pride and Prejudice go mad over "the officers, the officers" when the militia arrives at Meryton. This despite the fact that the Napoleonic Wars are in full swing; any even halfway competent officer, even one in the militia, would be in Europe. The officers left in England were the dregs of the corps, suitable only for training raw recruits.
    • Not necessarily—there were plenty of rich young men who wanted the prestige of a military connection without the danger of getting shot at and hence purchased commissions in the militia which legally could not be posted overseas. Lydia's just a moron for not snapping up one of the rich ones.
    • Lydia and Mrs. Bennet are both thrilled with Lydia's Shotgun Wedding to Mr. Wickham, in spite of the fact that Wickham ran off with Lydia for two weeks with no intention of marrying her and left a pile of debts behind him, making it clear that he's horrible husband material by any standard of the time. Mrs. Bennet at least is upset about the situation until the marriage is confirmed, and has good reason to be relieved that her daughter (and by extension the prospects of all her other daughters) is not Defiled Forever, but it never even occurs to Lydia for a moment that she's done anything to be embarrassed about, and she first smugly congratulates herself for the great joke she's playing on everyone by running off with the man, then later badgers her sisters to congratulate and praise her for her marriage.
  • Upton Sinclair's The Jungle. He intended the book as a stark critique on Laissez Faire Capitalism, but people took it as a realist depiction on food adulteration and fraud in meat packing industry. The book led in strict supervisory laws in food industry. Sinclair later stated: I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach.
  • Angela and Diabola: When Diabola first enters school at the age of six, she draws a number of extremely disturbing pictures involving people dying horrible deaths. Her principal praises the pictures and labels Diabola an artistic genius, while completely failing to grasp her obvious violent and sociopathic tendencies.
  • Neverwhere: Croup and Vandemar are hiding out in an Abandoned Hospital, and Mr. Croup performs a miniature knife-throwing act with his hand and five razor blades, demonstrating perfect aim. Mr. Vandemar is not impressed, as "you didn't even hit one finger." He then proceeds to throw his own knife directly through the back of his hand, which neatly shows the supernatural nature of the pair as he does not bleed and the wound closes up instantly. ("Oh, Mr. Vandemar, if you cut us do we not bleed?" "... No.")
    • Croup seems to be disappointed about not hitting any fingers, implying that he couldn't even tell the difference.
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: "How about some ether?"
  • A conversation in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn between Huck and Jim: they are discussing historical kings, and when Huck brings up King Solomon, Jim goes on a rant about how foolish it is to split a child in half to settle a custody dispute. Nevermind that it was an obvious bluff, and the real mother would give up the child to save its life. Huck calls him out on this, saying "You missed the point by a thousand mile".
    • Given how Huck explains the judgement and given how he seems unable to give an explanation beyond "You just don't understand!", one almost gets the implication that Huck himself doesn't quite grasp the point.
  • In James Thurber's short story "Mr. Preble Gets Rid of His Wife," Mr. Preble is planning to murder his wife so he can run off with his secretary. She is suspicious when he asks her to go down to the cellar with him, and he blurts out the truth almost immediately—and ends up in an argument about the selfish and inconsiderate way he's chosen to go about it (she's in the middle of a book and doesn't feel like going down to the cellar to be murdered just now; it's cold down there, and he's picked out a lousy murder weapon and makes her wait while he goes to find another one... and so on).
  • One Tom Holt novel featured the best way to describe this in history.

Missing the point with all the futile diligence of a blind machine-gunner."

  • New York magazine used to have various humorous reader competitions. One of them was to write literature and theater reviews as if by a critic who Completely Missed The Point. (E.g., one entry panned Crime and Punishment for revealing the murderer's identity at the beginning, thus spoiling the mystery. Another reviewed a Dick and Jane book, saying that the author seems to be aiming for a Hemingway-like style, "but the effect is mechanical rather than taut.")
  • The novel The Golem's Eye by Jonathan Stroud has this exchange, after Nathaniel/John Mandrake has summoned Bartimaeus:

Bartimaeus: Two measly human years to get over the trauma of meeting you. Sure, I knew some idiot with a pointy hat would one day call me up again, but I hardly thought it would be the same idiot as last time!
Nathaniel: I don't have a pointy hat!

  • Subverted by the antique-shop owner in the Maggody mystery novels, whose sign ("Antiques: New and Used") seems like this trope, but is actually Obfuscating Stupidity employed to lure in gullible tourists.
  • Divine Diva by Daniel Gagnon. The famous singer Iolanda is dying; the President, corrupt head of a corrupt and crumbling government, repeatedly calls her, pleading with her to return to the stage and revive both of their glory days, and making a thousand excuses as to why the political situation isn’t his fault. Iolanda tells him she’s rejected her earlier life of hedonism and extravagance and at last found love, in the person of Francesca, the humble young woman who cares for her. Francesca bluntly tells the President his faults. The President, denied Iolanda by death, tries to instead win over Francesca, but without ever admitting wrongdoing: having completely missed the point of what Iolanda values in her, he tells her that he’ll gladly listen to her talk of corruption and starvation if she’ll only have dinner with him at a fancy restaurant. He gets the only possible response when Francesca hangs up on him.
  • In the Tiffany Aching subset of Discworld books, Tiffany's father takes great care to keep the clock on the mantelpiece set properly. He does this by looking at the clock tower in town each time he visits the market, remembering how it looked all through the slow, miles-long trek home, and then adjusting the Achings's clock to match what he'd seen. (It's mentioned that, since he gets up at dawn and works until it's dark, it doesn't really matter what time it is, but then, why try to set it at all?)
    • A running gag in The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents is that some of the more thoughtful rats think you shouldn't eat other rats. The more practical rats think this is sound advice: obviously you shouldn't eat a dead rat until you know what it died of, and you certainly shouldn't eat the green wobbly bit.
    • Here's an exchange between Vetinari and Colon in Jingo, the latter obviously having never heard of a firing squad:

'I should imagine they'd give you a cigarette.'
'A cigarette?' said Fred.
Yes, sergeant. And a nice sunny wall to stand in front of.'
Sergeant Colon examined this for any downside. 'A nice roll-up and a wall to lean against?' he said.
'I think they prefer you to stand up straight, sergeant.'
'Fair enough. No need to be sloppy just because you're a prisoner.'

  • In Going Postal Moist, when inquiring about the location of the Post Office's two missing chandeliers, is told by a wizard they are currently in the Assassins' Guild and the Opera House.

Moist: Yes, I think I shall put that off for a day or two, dangerous people to tangle with.
Wizard: Indeed. I understand some of those sopranos can kick like a mule.

  • In Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!, Richard Feynman describes his experiences with physics education in Brazil. For example, students knew cold that "Brewster's Angle is the angle at which light reflected from a medium with an index of refraction is completely polarized." They knew that the light is polarized perpendicular to the plane of reflection. They even knew that the angle's tangent equaled the index of refraction. But when Feynman told them to look out over the water—nothing. When they looked through polaroid, they gushed "Ooo, it's polarized!"
  • A Running Gag in the Adrian Mole books is self-proclaimed intellectual Adrian completely missing the point of whatever book he's reading. For instance, after finishing Animal Farm he declares "From now on I'm treating pigs with the contempt they deserve. I am boycotting pork of all kinds."
  • The Sci Fi novel Malevil has an amusing example: Fulbert of La Roque and Emmanuel of Malevil are having a pissing contest over who has authority in the region after World War III. Religion is their primarily weapon, Fulbert appoints himself priest of La Roque and so Emmanuel is elected as priest of Malevil. When Fulbert announces he is appointed as Bishop, Emmanuel decides to respond with sarcasm and his own ridiculous claim. He digs out 600 year old documents from the Hundred Years' War claiming that the Lord of Malevil is Feudal Overlord over La Roque and that he inherits the title and power by virtue of owning the property before the war. His friends unfortunately rally under the idea that they now have the "legal" right to overthrow the evil priest.
  • In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Hermione says "I'm going to bed before either of you can come up with another plan to get us killed or worse, expelled!"
  • This said, being expelled from school probably is a Fate Worse Than Death to Hermione. And if Harry and Ron thought about it, it would be for them too.
  • In High Fidelity, Rob tries to figure out what his ex meant when she said she hadn't had sex with her new boyfriend yet, and asks a friend for help figuring it out with a different example. It doesn't go well.

Rob: What would it mean to you? That sentence? "I haven't seen Reservoir Dogs yet?"
Barry: To me, it would mean you're a liar. Either that or you've gone potty. You saw it twice. [snip]
Rob: Yeah, yeah, I know. But say I handn't seen it and I said to you, "I haven't seen Reservoir Dogs yet," what would you think?
Barry: I'd think you're a sick man. And I'd feel sorry for you.
Rob: No, but would you think, from that one sentence, that I was going to see it?
Barry: I'd hope you were, yeah, otherwise I would have to say that you're not a friend of mine.

  • Elizabeth Bathory in Count and Countess thinks she's being generous when she offers to let her closest servants have a nice, relaxing dip in her Blood Bath. She doesn't understand why they hastily decline.

Live-Action TV

  • In an episode of Community, the entire group (except Jeff and Abed) have various adventures that teach them about themselves, and at the end of the episode proclaim what they don't like about themselves and start crying and group hugging, and then Pierce cries out "Let's never let Jeff divide us again!". whoosh
    • At the end of the Halloween episode, after everybody has had their minds erased of the incident, Troy listens to a voicemail that not only reveals that Shirley and Senor Chang had sex, but that the school was infested with zombies. His reaction? "Why did they call me?"
  • Brass Eye lives off this trope. "CAKE is a made-up drug. It's not made from plants, it's made from chemicals... by sick bastards..." It's made from some of each, with animal secretions thrown in to boot. Wheat flour, sugar and cocoa are all plant products; add animal-derived milk and eggs, plus chemical baking powd-oh, wait...

"This is a scientific fact. There's no evidence for it, but it's still a fact."

  • In "The Daily Show With John Stewart" a clip from Law&Order SVU asks "Do you think that there was a reason that the killer sodomized your husband with a banana?" to which John responded: "Because the store was out of Papayas?"
  • In Scrubs, Carla, who is from the Dominican Republic, has a dream that involves her friends conspiring to kill her. What disturbs her? That the dream isn't in Spanish.
    • Another example in Season 5 when Carla loses a patient and has the Janitor help her look. He mentions that he didn't find his head, then goes on about how he once found a head and, since it was a weekend, left it in his locker and decided to take care of it later. On the next work day, he's forgotten about it and discovers a dismembered head in his locker now filled with rats. He punts the head off the roof, but sees that it'll land directly on Dr. Kelso. He then claims that a hawk swooped by and snatched the head in midair and carried it off. When he tries to explain why he thinks a hawk is near a hospital, Carla goes "...I can't believe you get a locker and I don't."
      • This could be because the Janitor is known to be a pathological liar and the fact he has a locker maybe is the only sensible part in the whole story.
      • The Janitor plays with this trope in his own absurd tale. After telling this absolutely preposterous story, he says, "I know what you're thinking. We're in the middle of a city, what's a hawk doing there?" Assuredly, no one was thinking this.
    • When JD is at a low point in season five Elliot tells him a story intended to illustrate that everyone struggles sometimes:

"In high school I had this amazing teacher, Mr Higgins, and he was funny and inspiring; I mean, he was like a second father to me. And then one day I found out that he was sleeping with his students, and I was crushed. I mean—why not me? (Growing teary) You know, and it wasn't my lazy eye because that was fixed by prom!"

  • Woody Harrelson's eponymous character on Cheers is the personification of this trope. This sets up a classic subversion:

Woody: I don't get The Far Side.
Cliff: Well, you see, Woody, that's showing how cows act when humans are not around.
Woody: I mean my hometown newspaper doesn't carry The Far Side! But thanks for making me feel like a one-year-old!

  • Kelly was equally so, setting up another:

Kelly: Don't make excuses, Woody. Now I see what's going on. You're busy every night and you won't tell me why, I walk in here and find the two of you kissing in the backroom of a bar. It all adds up! You're in a play and you didn't even tell me!

  • This was the whole schtick of Gilda Radner's classic Saturday Night Live character Emily Litella... Oh, you mean it wasn't? It was based on Mondegreens instead? um... never mind.
  • In one episode of Happy Days, Chachi starts earning money from giving dancing lessons, but is too embarrassed to tell anyone and instead claims that he has written and sold a song. When asked to sing the song, he claims that for copyright reasons, he can't sing the whole song, but can only sing bits of it out of order. He then begins to sing random drivel. After he leaves:

Fonz: He's lying badly.
Marion: You mean, he didn't write that?

  • In an episode of The Big Bang Theory, where Penny dates Leonard's colleague, David Underhill, and he is jealous:

Leonard: You said that you didn't want to go out with me because I was too smart for you! Well, news flash, lady, David Underhill is ten times smarter than me!
Penny: Dave is not smarter than you. He's an idiot.
Leonard: Really? Why would you say that?
Penny: Because a smart guy takes the nude photos of his wife off his cell phone before he tries to take nude photos of his girlfriend.
Leonard: You let him take nude photos of you?
Penny: That's what you took from that?!

  • From Penny's POV Leonard is missing her point, but since Leonard is jealous, he's got plenty of reason to focus on Penny's willingness to be photographed naked once he hears about it, rather than on David's stupidity.
    • One of Sheldon's ongoing gag is that despite his genius I.Q., he is completely clueless and being social, leading to many missed points.

Leonard: You convinced me. Maybe tonight we should sneak in and shampoo her carpet.
Sheldon: You don't think that crosses the line?
Leonard: Yes... For God's sake, Sheldon, do I have to hold up a sarcasm sign every time I open my mouth?
Sheldon: You have a sarcasm sign?

  • On his first date with Emily, a deaf acquaintance of Penny's, Raj is trying to think of things to say, and Howard is translating for him.

Raj: I love music. Do you love music?
Howard: You really wanna ask her that?
Raj: Oh, you're right. Everyone loves music.

  • A 3rd Rock from the Sun episode had Dick catch one of his students drawing a doodle of him with antlers and a tail. Dick thought it was brilliant and praised the student for effectively picking up "the essence of my rugged good looks".
  • "If they think that women are just going to line up to exploit themselves --" "Yeah, I hate waiting in line..."
  • Really, it's the premise for that show...
  • James May, on Top Gear, about rally driver Kenny Block: "The man is completely useless, he can't drive in a straight line."
    • Earlier, Jeremy Clarkson was being teased by the other presenters about his...rather enthusiastic interview with Will Young, culminating in Hammond singing "Jeremy's in looooove" and all he got out of it was "Are you suggesting Will Young is gay?"
    • From a Series 9 episode:

Jeremy: I have passion for the Ferrari, and I respect [the Porsche 911]'s like David Attenborough. I respect David Attenborough, just infinite respect, in the same way as I respect that car, but I have no passion for it, I don't want to make love to it.
Richard: Yeah, but I have respect and passion for the 911.
Jeremy: There you are. You've just admitted on television you want to make love to David Attenborough.
Richard: Your logic, sometimes, mate, is the most warped thing...

  • Michael Scott, from the US version of The Office.
  • DC Christopher Skelton from Life On Mars and its spinoff Ashes to Ashes. He borders on The Ditz sometimes. Case in point as he and Jim Keats (from Discipline & Complaints) are looking at old police files:

Jim Keats: Oh, strewth! Take a look at that signature.
Chris: Surprise, surprise. It's CillaBlack.
Jim Keats: Unbelievable.
Chris: Yeah. I mean, why would she get involved in a blag? She's wadded. Mind you, she is a Scouser.

  • In an episode of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, London and her book club review Pride and Prejudice, and identify with Caroline Bingley and lambaste Mr. Bingley for "marrying beneath him."
  • In an episode of That '70s Show Hyde shows Fez a shirt with "Funland University" on one side and "F.U." on the other. The joke is lost on Fez (who thinks it has to do with it saying Fu).
    • In another episode, shortly after Jackie starts dating with Hyde, she sees her previous boyfriend Kelso kissing with his new girlfriend, and - in the presence of Hyde - screams: "GET OFF MY BOYFRIEND!" Fez, who had his hand on Hyde's shoulder, says: "I don't know why she's so upset. I was barely touching you."
      • One could argue either of three ways about that one. Either Jackie's missing the point, Fez is missing the point, or anyone trying to make a case either way is missing the point.
  • Barney from How I Met Your Mother makes hot, sweaty monkey love to this trope.
    • In the Pilot episode:

Ted: So these guys think I chickened out. What do you think?
Barney: I...can't believe you're still not wearing a suit!

  • Episode 2x03 "Brunch": When Barney shows a picture he took of Ted's dad having an affair with Wendy the Waitress, Ted is naturally mortified. Barney assumes this Angst is because Ted's dad violated his duties, not as a husband, but as Barney's wingman. He called dibs on Wendy first, dammit!
  • Episode 4x13 "Three Days of Snow": Barney explains how he plays a game called "Party School Bingo" where he takes a list of the Top 25 party schools in the country, arranges them on a bingo card, and fills in a space every time he sleeps with a girl from that school.

Ted: So how many people are in on this Party School Bingo thing?
Barney: Oh, it's just me.
Ted: Then what's the point, then?
Barney: The point is to get five in a row.
Ted: And what do you get when you get five in a row?
Barney: I get Bingo.

  • Episode 4x15 "The Stinsons": When Barney watches movies, well ...

Barney: Hey, The Karate Kid's a great movie. It's the story of a hopeful, young karate enthusiast whose dreams and moxie take him all the way to the All Valley Karate Championship. Of course, sadly, he loses in the final round to that nerd kid. But he learns an important lesson about gracefully accepting defeat.
Lily: Wait, when you watch The Karate Kid you actually root for that mean blonde boy?
Barney: No, I root for the scrawny loser from New Jersey who barely even knows karate. When I watch The Karate Kid I root for the karate kid, Johnny Lawrence from the Cobra Kai dojo. Get your head out of your ass Lily.

  • The same episode has him revealing that he roots for Hans Gruber in Die Hard (believing him to be the title character), Principal Vernon in The Breakfast Club (the only one who wears a suit) and The Terminator (and proceeds to start crying over his death scene, saying "And she doesn't even help him!")
  • That explains the life-size Imperial Stormtrooper armor in his living room.
  • Episode 3x11 "The Platinum Rule": Barney becomes convinced that an ex-girlfriend is trying to kill him.

Barney: I dump her, and she says, "no hard feelings." She's a psycho, what other explanation is there?!

  • In Friends, when Rachel realizes that she still loves Ross, and the rest of the group knew that, she asks Phoebe, why didn't they tell her:

Phoebe: Well, because we thought you knew!! It's so obvious! God, that would be like telling Monica, "Hey, you like things clean", or telling Joey, "Hey, you're gay."
Rachel: What?!
Phoebe: Oh, please! She's always got a broom in her hand!

  • Phoebe's actually fairly common for this trope. There's an episode when she has to change all her shopping habits to avoid a stalker, leading to this conversation:

Phoebe: I also have to find a new video store, a new bank, new adult book store, a new grocery store.
Monica: What?!
Phoebe: (slowly) A new g-r-o-c-e-r-y store.

  • The Class: Yonk Allen. A lot. For example, on their first anniversary, Nicole gets him a newspaper from the day of the '75 Sugar Bowl, at which point he exclaims, as though to inform Nicole, "Why, I played in that!"
  • The Nanny:
    • Maxwell wonders why Fran dating another guy bothers him so much as he bites into an apple. Niles suddenly says that he wants the apple. "It was right in front of me the whole time, but I never knew I wanted it until someone bit their teeth into it and now I'm left with this aching hunger." Maxwell tells him to try a pear instead before leaving. Then Fran comes in, Niles tries the same metaphor, to which she replies "You snooze, you lose."
    • Niles should know better. When it comes to that subject, those two are morons. He's lived there for years and he makes this same mistake over and over. He's not as smart as he seems, obviously.
  • In the Season 29/Series 3 Doctor Who episode "Smith and Jones": the Doctor has just absorbed a lethal-to-humans dose of radiation and is trying to expel it via his foot into his shoe.

The Doctor: Ow, ow, itchy, itchy, itchy... (shakes foot wildly, hopping around on one foot, before pulling his shoe off and binning it triumphantly)
Martha Jones: You're completely mad.
The Doctor: You're right. I look daft with one shoe. (pulls other shoe off) Barefoot on the moon!

  • And a few episodes later, we get this exchange in "Blink".

Sally Sparrow (on realizing the Doctor was speaking to her through the DVDs): The 17 DVDs, they're all the DVDs I own. The Easter egg was for me.
Larry Nightingale: ...You've only got 17 DVDs?

  • Later, while consoling Amy's fiance in "Vampires in Venice":

The Doctor: She was frightened, I was frightened... But we survived, and the relief of it and... so, she kissed me.
Rory: And you kissed her back?
The Doctor: No. I kissed her mouth.

  • In episode 10 of Glee, when Mr Schuester performs a mashup of "Young Girl" and "Don't Stand So Close To Me" to get the point across to Rachel that it's not appropriate for her to have a crush on him and for her to back off. All Rachel has to say at the end when he asks her if she got the message is "Yes. It means I'm very young and it's hard for you to stand close to me." Emma was also there and knew the point, but still missed it because she was so smitten with Will.
    • Kurt complained that Blaine was hogging the spotlight with him getting all the warblers solos. Blaine conceded to this and offered rependance by changing one of his solos to a duet between Kurt... and him!
  • Alisha from Misfits gives us this gem:

"Maybe he's on crystal meth - that stuff makes you crazy! My friend Chloe did it one time and she nearly shagged her brother! And he's really ugly."

  • And later on, when Kelly is upset about accidentally having sex with a monkey, Nathan genuinely seems to believe he's being helpful by reminding her that technically, it was a gorilla.
  • Many games on Whose Line Is It Anyway which involve someone trying to guess someone else's identity. A lot of times the guess will be nowhere close.
    • Subverted in one game, where the panelist guesses that the other person's just a complete and utter git, which the host readily agrees is correct. The other person is, naturally, pretending to be the first panelist.
    • A Running Gag in the game "Greatest Hits". Ryan would sometimes try to drop a hint about the next style of music. Often, Colin would take the hint and run with it... in the wrong direction.

Ryan: What comes to mind when I say "Ricky Ricardo" and "great cigars"?
Colin: Oh, tapioca.
Ryan: Really. Why is that?
Colin: Wasn't that his big hit? "TAPIOOOOOOCA! TAPIOOOCA!"
Ryan: [trying not to laugh]. Oh, no no. I'm talking about Cu-- {{[[[Corpsing]] bursts out laughing}}] I'm talking about Cuba, Col-- [loses it again]

  • Dimwitted Kandi on Two and A Half Men is a living, breathing example of this trope.
    • In episode 3.16, she pays Alan a surprise visit while he's eating dinner with his family:

Alan: K-Kandi? What are you doing here?
Kandi: (in loud voice) I thought I'd surprise you with a BOOTY CALL!
Alan: Shhh! Lower your voice!
Kandi: (deeper voice) BOOOTY CAAAALLL!

  • After overhearing the exchange, Alan's son Jake wants to know what a "booty call" means. Alan responds by concocting an elaborate, G-rated etiological story. The ruse appears to have worked, until....

Kandi: Wow. Alan, you really make history fun.
Alan: Well, thank you.
Kandi: So when did it start meaning 'casual sex'?

  • On another occasion, Kandi greets Alan's ex-wife at the door dressed in a string bikini. Alan's ex asks her to put on more clothes, explaining that her outfit "isn't appropriate for Jake". Kandi replies, "I agree--he would look ridiculous in this!"
  • An ER moment when Doctor Greene reminisced about his first job to his teen-aged daughter. He was probably doing it on purpose.

Greene: I got $1.25 per hour.
Rachel: That's slave wages.
Greene: It was enough to keep me in new records and good weed.
Rachel: [Shocked look.]
Greene: What? You know, records. LPs? Vinyls? Those funny big black things that your hip-hop heroes likes to rip off for their songs.

  • In "Chuck Vs. the Mask", Morgan and Ellie are talking about Chuck's secretive behavior:

Morgan: I had an epiphany last night.
Ellie: What’s that?
Morgan: A sudden intuitive realization...
Ellie: I know what an epiphany is, Morgan! I'm asking what epiphany you had.

  • In the first episode of My Family, Ben's assistant Brigitte criticises him for not making the time to treat his own wife and children, comparing him to the story of "The cobbler's children who had no food." Ben corrects her, and she replies that "That makes no sense, their dad was a cobbler."
  • Vila of Blake's 7, frequently.
  • In Castle, a psychiatrist has been found dead with lots of ranted gibberish scrawled over her.

Lanie: Looks like a patient lost their patience.
Castle: Also his command of grammar. 'Your' should be 'you-apostrophe-r-e' as in 'you are', and that's not even a tough one; not like when to use 'who' or 'whom'.
Beckett: Do you really think that's the take-away here, Castle?
Castle: I'm just saying, whoever killed her also murdered the English language.

  • He's still banging on about it later in the episode. He also points out to the victim's patient the correct use of irony.

Buffy: Chasing a bus naked - that's a dream. An army of vicious vampires - that's a vision.
Principal Wood: A bus to where?

  • In "The Wish", when Cordelia first sees Xander and Willow in the Wishverse after being told they were dead, and is given quite a few hints that the two of them are now vampires, gives us:

Cordelia: I wish us into bizarro world and you guys are still together? I cannot win!

  • The Gift. The PTC believe Buffy is the worst show on TV because Buffy killed herself to save the world. She was, perhaps, supposed to let the world be destroyed?
    • Considering the Christian nature of the PTC, it's also hilariously ironic.
  • The West Wing: The Leadership Breakfast. Following a series of snafus, the President is being asked to speak to a reporter. He wants to know why, and focuses on the most politically esoteric of the bunch.

Bartlet: Donna wants me to call Karen Cahill and make it clear she wasn't hitting on her when she gave her her underwear.
Leo: Yeah, that's because I made fun of her shoes and Sam said there were nuclear weapons in Kyrgyzstan and Donna went to clear up the mix up and accidentally left her underwear.
Bartlet: There can't possibly be nuclear weapons in Kyrgyzstan.
Leo: Mr. President, please don't wade hip deep into this story.

  • An episode of That Mitchell and Webb Look featured David Mitchell complaining about the Tear Jerker ending of Blackadder Goes Forth saying that he didn't get the joke of just a few people running over a field and getting shot; judging from the audience reaction, it obviously fell flat in the studio.
  • In the Deadwood episode "Reconnoitering the Rim", Brom Garrett goes to Wild Bill Hickok and Charlie Utter for help negotiating with Al Swearengen, who he believes has swindled him. Bill and Charlie refuse to get involved. When Brom persists, Charlie tries to point out that Al is not above murdering those who make trouble for him.

Charlie Utter: [of his immediate predecessor in his hotel room] Fresh stain on the floor when I moved in. He may have checked out short a useful amount of blood.
Brom Garret: Wouldn't surprise me in the least.
Charlie Utter: That would make these accomplices you're talkin' about... dangerous people to deal with.
Brom Garret: Yes, I quite take your point. No honor among thieves. [pause] Well. Thanks for your time: I'll pursue my remedies in some other fashion. [leaves]
Wild Bill Hickok: I don't think he took your point... quite.
Charlie Utter: I think he quite missed it.

Jeannie: [explaining why she can't go] "Madison's ballet recital is next week."
Dr. Rodney McKay: "She's four! How good could she possibly be?"

  • In episode 2x10 Michael Bluth finally tells his brother in-law that he probably should tape-record himself to notice his 'uncommon speech pattern' aka the gay innuendos he unwittingly utters all day. When Tobias listens to the tape he realises "Oh Tobias, you blowhard!".
  • The season five opener of Little Mosque on the Prairie had a local woman chide Reverend Thorne for angrily calling Mercy, Saskatchewan a one-horse town filled with morons and imbeciles; she'd pointed out that there were seven horses and one of them was due to foal soon.
  • In a scene from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Season 2, Bulk finds a note in his locker, the sender asking to meet as "I [the sender] have what you're looking for". Bulk gives the note to Skull, asking (rhetorically) "Do you know what this means?" Skull responds, "Yeah: Someone knows the combination to your locker." Bulk is not impressed.
    • To be fair to Skull, though, he does have a point: Assuming a mundane explanation for how the note got into Bulk's locker. (Of course, it's still the wrong point...)
  • On Lost, Hurley's parents throw a surprise tropical island-themed birthday party for him... after he's spent 100 days stranded on a tropical island.

Sayid: Interesting choice of theme.
Hurley: Yeah, Mom really doesn't get it, dude.

Dr. Shuler: You're gonna feel normal for a while. And then there's gonna be some vomiting, followed by death.
Monk: ...Vomiting?

    • Made even better when Monk asks if death can come before the vomiting.
  • Some good examples from Becker:
    • When Bob is trying to figure out which woman in his apartment building is a hooker:

Bob: Wait a minute. The answer's been sitting right in front of me the whole time. Anita. You're around the building a lot. Do you know who the hooker is?
Anita: Bob, think about it. I sleep all day, I'm out all night and it's not unusual for me to have two or three dates an evening.
Bob: Okay, okay, I get it. You're too busy to help me, I'll do it alone.

  • When Becker tries to get Reggie and Linda to realise they're both dating the same man. After they've gone through several details their boyfriends have in common - appearance, Wall Street Job, drives a BMW - Becker innocently asks Reggie what her boyfriend's name. She answers, "Craig." Neither of them get it, and Linda even suggests that "we should all have dinner together." At this point Becker snaps and breaks it to them.
  • In an episode of Blue Heelers, Kelly is suspicious of a teenager's report of an armed robbery, noting the incredibly detailed description of the robber's outfit.

Kelly: Most armed hold-up victims are so freaked out that all they see is the gun. But George has got these guys down to their "blue on white high-cut joggers."
Joss: Who wears high-cut joggers these days?
Mark: Funnily enough, Joss, that wasn't the point Kelly was making.

  • Sex and the City: Samantha Jones, a character who had exclusively been with men up until that point, announces that she's dating an artist named Maria. Carrie's shocked response: "You're in a relationship?!"
  • In Young Blades, when King Louis XIV is told that his Italian advisor Cardinal Mazarin may be a traitor:

Jacqueline: You do realize what this means, don’t you?
Louis: I’m afraid I do. (Beat) No more Thursday ravioli nights!

Declan: (on a student who failed a pop quiz) One of the questions was, "Name the 20th century Canadian communications theorist who stated that media will create the global village." His answer? "Yoda."
Miranda: Yoda's Canadian?

  • Probably on purpose, given Miranda's slight smirk after her deadpan delivery.

"Is that wise?"
"If I lock my door, people can't get in."

  • This gem of a conversation between Cat and Lister in Red Dwarf:

Lister: This is crazy. Why are we talking about going to bed with Wilma Flintstone?
Cat: You're right, we're nuts. This is an insane conversation.
Lister: She'll never leave Fred and we know it.

  • And in "Tikka to Ride", when the crew accidentally knocks Lee Harvey Oswald out the window of the book depository.

Lister: All those people are gathered around that giant pizza.
Kryten: That's...not a giant pizza, sir.
Lister: Not a giant pizza? It's got to be eight foot across.

  • In the All in The Family episode "The Games Bunkers Play," Mike asks Gloria who she would save if he and her mother were drowning and she could only save one. Then the following exchange occurs:

Gloria: That is not a fair question!
Mike: Why not?
Gloria: Because I can't swim!

  • In the Christmas Episode of My Name Is Earl, Earl remembers how he never bought any good Christmas gifts for his ex-wife. He flashes back to the Christmases they had when they were married, and one in particular involved Convenience Store Gift Shopping. He had bought her some condoms, to which she angrily responded, "How are these for me?! " His response?
  • At the end of the Firefly episode "Our Mrs. Reynolds," Mal seems to be on the verge of figuring out that Inara kissed him when she found him unconscious, thus causing her to fall prey to Saffron's drugged lipstick, which had knocked out Mal. Inara starts getting very defensive about him realizing that she showed feelings for him until Mal calls her out...on letting Saffron kiss her.
  • Parks and Recreation loves this trope.
    • "The Camel", in which the Parks Department is trying to create a mural design. Initially, every worker (plus Ann) makes their own design, but after everyone votes for their own design, leading to a tie, Leslie suggests merging all of the ideas. The end result is predictably awful.

Leslie: It's like if you got Michelangelo and Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock and Jim Davis from Garfield to do one painting. Imagine how good that painting would be!

  • Hunting Trip has another from Leslie. When Ron gets shot in the back of the head, we get this exchange.

Tom: Maybe Ron shot himself.
Leslie: He has seemed really depressed lately.
Mark: He was shot in the back of the head.
Leslie: You're right. Ron loves the back of his head, he'd never shoot himself there.

  • In the episode Sweetums, April tells Tom she'd rather watch a sex tape of her grandparents than help him move. Andy says that he thinks it's really sweet that her grandparents still make love.
  • On an episode of My So-Called Life, Rayanne and Sharon are in the bathroom discussing whether or not Angela is afraid to have sex. Two other girls in the bathroom start talking about how they'd like it even though they've obviously never done it, and Rayanne, deciding to have fun with them, brags about someone running an ice cube down her body, and that Mickey Rourke did it (in 9 1/2 Weeks, though she doesn't mention that part). As Rayanne and Sharon leave the bathroom, continuing to talk about Angela, one of the two girls asks if Mickey Rourke goes to the school.
  • Occurs in Drake and Josh when they suspect their dad of having an affair.

Josh: Well, I caught him sneaking in. He was wearing a suit and when I asked him where he'd been, he says, "I was out buying milk, but I drank it all on the way home".
Drake: Oh, that's bad.
Josh: I know.
Drake: We really needed some milk.

  • This is a stock-in-trade trope of Wilbur, a children's series about a group of anthropomorphic barnyard friends who learn lessons from books. The character in question will sometimes miss the point of the story in question, often in a comical manner that at times could almost qualify as a Spoof Aesop. This will force another reading of the story. In the event that the character doesn't miss the point, there'll be some other reason for the story being re-read, such as another character needing to learn the lesson.
  • From Sabrina the Teenage Witch after she accidentally costs the Quizmaster his job at a party:

Zelda: Hi honey, how was your tea?
Sabrina: Oh, pretty average, you know. There was music, little sandwiches, tea, of course, oh and I got my Quizmaster fired!
Salem: What kind of sandwiches?

  • In The Honeymooners, when Trixie complains to Ed that when she went to the butcher and asked the butcher's son, who works there, how much chopped meat is, he had replied...

Trixie: "Fifty-eight cents a pound... sweetie pie."
Ed: Boy, I don't blame you for being mad. You're never going in that butcher shop again. What a nerve, 58 cents a pound for chopped meat.
Trixie: Ed, I was referring to him calling me "sweetie pie"!
Ed: Well, what do you want him to call you, "lover lips"? He hardly knows you!

Joey: Dad, have you ever gotten a girl pregnant?
Nick: Joey, I'm your father.
Joey: Oh. So you can't tell me.

  • Supernatural's Castiel is made of this trope, at least whenever dealing with the quote-happy smartass Dean.

Castiel: I don't understand that reference.

  • Get Smart had a recurring character, Agent 13, who was always disguised as something (not someone) that could be expected to be seen in the area where Maxwell Smart was carrying out his mission. Agent 13 shows up at headquarters, in the Chief's wall safe, in the episode "Bronzefinger":

Maxwell Smart: What's 13 doing in there?
Agent 13: The Chief said I've been out on field trips too long. So he gave me this nice, soft office job.
Maxwell Smart: It's awfully small. Tell me, 13, how did you get in there?
Agent 13: The Chief gave me the combination.


  • The late Jim Steinman's monologue "Love and Death and an American Guitar", released on the Meat Loaf album Back Into Hell as "Wasted Youth", catalogues the adventures of a boy who murders people with his guitar. Finally, he attacks his parents:

"... and just as I was about to bring the guitar crashing down upon the centre of the bed, my father woke up screaming 'Stop! Wait a minute! Stop it, boy! That's no way to treat an expensive musical instrument!"

  • Jaron and the Long Road to Love gives us this gem in "Pray for You":

Haven't been to church since I don't remember when
Things were goin great, til they fell apart again
I listened to the preacher as he told me what to do
He said you can't go hating other who have done wrong to you
Sometimes we get angry but we must not condemn
Let the good Lord do his job and you just pray for them
I pray your brakes go out running down a hill...

  • The Velvet Underground's song "Sister Ray". The narrator's entire reaction to somebody getting shot is "You shouldn't do that/Don't you know you'll stain the carpet."
  • The radio-play censors appear to have succumbed to this, in airplay versions of Aerosmith's "Janie's Got A Gun": in a song about Parental Incest, the one line they feel obliged to alter is "put a bullet in his brain". Right, that's the one thing about the song that makes its subject matter mature...
  • Comes up at the end of The Lonely Island's "I Threw It On the Ground"; The singer is an over-the-top Jerkass who keeps throwing things people give him on the ground because of his Hair-Trigger Temper leading him to proclaim he's "not part of your system!" When his behavior pisses off a pair of actors who proceed to taze him for it, he concludes "the moral of this story can't trust the system, man!"

Newspaper Comics

  • Candorville gives us this little gem.
  • A Calvin and Hobbes strip involves Calvin looking for a movie to watch. He finds one that contains "adult situations", to which he asks Hobbes what that means. Hobbes replies "You know, paying the bills, going to work, that sort of thing." Calvin wonders how they make money.

Calvin: Bird... I've got it! Yellow Bellied Sapsucker.
Hobbes: But there are only 5 boxes.
Calvin: I know. These idiots make you write real small.

Calvin: Yeah. Trusting mom can be hazardous to your health.

  • Occasionally, Calvin will understand the point but deliberately reject it anyway. "Live and don't learn, that's us!"

Oral Tradition, Folklore, Myth and Legend

Micah 6:7-8: Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, [or] with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn [for] my transgression, the fruit of my body [for] the sin of my soul? He hath shewed thee, O man, what [is] good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

  • Samuel does this in a big way when Saul spares some of the Amalekites and their livestock (which God had previously ordered completely destroyed for their crimes against the Hebrews during the Exodus). Saul says, more or less "I offered the usual sacrifices," and then Samuel more or less flies at him:

1 Samuel 15:22: Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices, as in hearkening to the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice!

Samuel then went to the Amalekite king Agag and "hewed him in pieces," saying (implicitly), "this is the point, you idiot! Just why did I ever make you king?"
  • Jesus said it very well when speaking of the Pharisees who forgot the meaning of the law was to show mercy and faith in Matthew 23:24 'Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.'


  • In Old Harry's Game, this is Thomas's usual reaction to Scumspawn's attempts to make him a better person. For instance, when it turns out Thomas once sold a baby to a rag-and-bone man.

Scumspawm:But you wouldn't do that now, would you?
Thomas: Of course not! You don't get rag-and-bone men any more.

Dougal: There's only one place she could be. Hamish, tonight we camp out on the moors!
Hamish: Seems a bit callous when we could be searching for Mrs Naughtie, but whatever you say, old friend.

  • Another one, where evidence is piling up that the Laird is a vampire:

Dougal: Hamish, does that coffin-shaped wardrobe remind you of anything?
Hamish: Of course! A coffin-shaped sideboard!
Dougal Precisely!

  • And another, when the lads are trying to trace a letter.

Mrs. Mc Allister: There's no postage stamp on the envelopes!
Hamish: No postage stamp? That means the letters were delivered by... ...magic!
Dougal: ...Yes. ...Or by hand.

  • In The Gobetweenies, Joe gives a speech about how he was a drug-addicted artist in New York, who was selling "destroyed art", because he'd set fire to his paintings while high.

Joe: And not long after that, I went to see a movie. All about a dad who was also a fish, with the sea between himself and his lost boy. And then I had my epiphany thought; my own manifesto. Which was that nothing would come good if I didn't wake up in the city where my children sleep. So then I came home.
Lucy: Wow, I didn't know that about him.
Tom: Me neither. I thought his favourite film was Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but it turns out it was Finding Nemo.

Recorded and Stand Up Comedy

  • On his first album, Shame Based Man, Bruce McCulloch had a recurring bit with a radio call-in show. The last of these is some happy idiot calling to say all the lonely people should "pair up". The host then gives her a list of reasons this is a dumb idea, all of which are lost on her.
  • Comedian Mike Williams bases a comedy routine around McDonalds drive-throughs having a sign saying that they have Braille menus (for people who can't see) and picture menus (for people who can't read). To repeat, this is in the DRIVE-THRU. He claims to go up to the window in dark shades to ask for a Braille menu, to be told, "Sorry, we're out of Braille menus; would you like a picture menu?"
  • A skit goes with a person walking into a restaurant and ordering a drink and a sweet roll. The waiter informs them that they are out of sweet rolls. The person thinks that apparently ordering different combinations of "sweetroll + drink" will eventually get them one, and they continue to order a sweet roll despite the waiter's increasingly angry responses that they don't have any. Eventually, the waiter gives up and walks off. The person then says "I wonder how long it'll take my sweet roll to get here."
  • On the soundtrack album to Monty Python and the Holy Grail, John Cleese plays a logician commenting on the "witch burning" segment, citing the same logical lapses that his wife commits:

Given the premise "All fish live underwater", and "All mackerel are fish", she will conclude not that all mackerel live underwater, but that if she buys kippers it will not rain, or that trout live in trees, or even that I do not love her anymore.

  • Jimmy Carr, after his delayed reaction to the audience after this joke:

"People like to smoke a cigarette after sex, but you can't buy cigarettes until you're sixteen, so I have to buy them for both of us. [To audience] You think it's wrong I'm buying a fifteen-year-old cigarettes? [Realizing] You think it's wrong I'm fucking her?"

  • In many countries the age of consent for sex is fifteen to eighteen, but the minimum age required to buy alcohol or tobacco is eighteen to twenty-one (this including a certain large country we all know about...) - so it's 100 percent legal to have sex with a fifteen-year-old, but illegal and punished by fines to give her cigarettes or a glass of beer.
  • Jeff Foxworthy describes how, growing up, the mailbox outside his family's house had the letters "male" painted on the side of it. By the time he was in the eleventh grade Jeff realized "That ain't right. That M's supposed to be capitalized, innit?"
  • German comedian Otto Waalkes once made this joke: "In the 16th century, Nostradamus predicted: 'And in the year of 1985, a red-haired young man from Leimen named Boris will win the final in Wimbledon' - which is complete nonsense: First, my name is Erwin,[1] not Boris; second, I'm blond, not red-haired; third, I'm not from Leimen, but from Emden; and fourth, if I had won the 1985 Wimbledon, I'd definitely remember that."
  • The basis of one of Dave Chappelle's jokes, from Killing Them Softly, detailing a restaurant waiter telling him "blacks and chickens are quite fond of one another." Dave comments on the incident:

"All these years I thought I liked chicken 'cause it was delicious. It turns out I'm genetically predisposed of liking chicken!"

Tabletop Games

  • Warhammer Fantasy has a Chaos God of, among other things, Atheism. He has followers. When dealing with Chaos Cultists, do not expect an overabundance of anything resembling sanity or logic. Of course, a god of Atheism is made weaker through worship.
    • There is a reason he tries to keep any and all material regarding him hidden from mortal eyes as much as possible.


  • In Christopher Durang's Beyond Therapy when Bruce makes a reference to horses in the play "Equus" and his blind date (through the personals) Prudence says he should be a vet, Bruce rebukes her for missing the metaphor and says he could never respect anyone who missed a metaphor.
    • For those not in the know: The play Equus concerns a young man whose religious/sexual obsession with horses drives him to blind six of them by driving a metal spike into their eyes.
  • In the musical and Showtime movie of Reefer Madness the main characters sing about how much they are like Romeo and Juliet. They even state that they haven't read the ending, but they're 'sure it turns out real swell.'
  • Cyrano De Bergerac: In-Universe: Cyrano (a Broken Ace with an enormous nose) invokes two famous historical romances (Cesar and Cleopatra, Tito and Berenice) and compares himself to the Cesar and Tito to justify why he cannot win the beautiful Roxane’s love. The point is that Cesar and Tito were loved not because they were fair, but they were highly charismatic leaders (like Cyrano himself, as his best friend Le Bret lampshades). Given that Cyrano is a Broken Ace and certainly this point would be obvious to him, this shows us how talking about love he will always deceive himself.

CYRANO (shaking his head): Look I a Caesar to woo Cleopatra?
A Tito to aspire to Berenice?
Le Bret: Your courage and your wit!

Video Games

  • In Phantasmagoria of Flower View, quite a few characters miss the point of what Sikieiki's trying to tell them, even when Siki's being direct. Even Reimu and Marisa are guilty of this.
    • In the manga Wild and Horned Hermit, Kasen Ibara puts up a sign saying "Only those who want to die should come here!" in an area filled with poisonous gases and infested with evil spirits. Reimu and Marisa take this literally, reasoning that everyone dies sooner or later, and cheerfully mine the area for gold (which turns out to be made from the evil spirits's greed).
    • Earlier in the same chapter has Kasen visiting Reimu's shrine, only to find it infested with vengeful spirits and Reimu missing. Then she notices a small gold nugget the spirits were swarming around...and immediately forgets everything about that, instead wondering how Reimu got a hold of it.
  • In Tales of Symphonia, Lloyd is relating stories of extrinsic motivation to Colette and Regal. Despite the fact that Regal CLEARLY tells Colette that Lloyd was referring to the temptation of the food that boosted his memories, Colette seems convinced that it was Dirk's cooking itself, and not the incentive of it, that taught Lloyd how to memorize the Dwarven Vows.
    • Mithos has this down to an art form. Case in point: He completely misinterprets Martel's last wish to create the world without discrimination; later on, when the revived Martel calls Mithos out on his actions, he thinks she wants to leave the world with him, causing the rest of the world to die.
    • Likewise, in the sequel, Tenebrae complains about the others thinking of him as a stick-in-the-mud. Colette tells Tenebrae that he has no mud on him, and that he shouldn't feel bad. After Emil tells her that, "there was never any real mud to begin with," Colette asks if it was more like a muck or a slime instead.
      • In another scene from the sequel everyone is guessing what the guardian of the tree looks like. Zelos guesses a hot woman (as is his nature), Presea and Regal hope that it has paw pads, Raine thinks it's a being like a centurion, and Marta just thinks it'll be old. Here's what Colette says:

Colette: So to sum up, the guardian is a wise old lady with a killer body and paw pads.

Don O: I know you're nothing without this little guy's brain. So I figure I'll scoop him out real slow and use him to fertlize my tomato plants.
Bentley: Oh no! I'm allergic to tomatoes!

  • In Jolly Rover, James wonders why Melvin is smoking—next to a large barrel of gunpowder:

Melvin: Capt'n Howell hates it too, says smokin's bad to ya health.

  • The match commentators in MadWorld are only focused on the match about half the time. The rest leads to situations like this:

Kreese: (Spends a minute recounting his fight with Elise, the boss Jack is currently facing)
Kreese: Aww, true dat!

  • Portal: A running gag with Aperture Science, especially the second game. For instance, as you're about to burn to death, GLaDOS cheerfully reminds you that your gun is designed not to malfunction at high temperatures.
    • The Investment Opportunity video for the Long Fall Boots reveals that they were invented to prevent the equipment from being damaged. This is demonstrated by showing the little cartoon scientists bearing a broken Portal Gun off on a stretcher while mechanical arms sweep the broken test subject into an incinerator.
  • From the I Wanna Be the Guy offical FAQ:

Visual Novels

  • Masayuki occasionally in A Profile, though it's not always played for laughs. But one that is goes like this:

Masayuki: So, you have multiple personalities, huh? Awesome, I can have a threesome this summer!

  • Shirou in Fate/stay night has this problem when any of the Deus Sex Machina problems come up, as well as at the end of UBW good ending. To be fair, it really is kind of a stretch to link "not enough mana" to "have sex with Saber/Tohsaka". In their defense, there is actually an Oriental belief that while masturbation results in you 'releasing' energy, sex involves exchanging energy so either you lose nothing or gain something if your partner has more energy than you due to something about balancing energies. Incidentally, there are a number of martial arts schools that say you shouldn't wank before training but it's okay to have sex.
  • The Judge from the Ace Attorney games falls into this trope many, many times. From case 5 of this first game, this is his response to being told that a witness was using another character as his "puppet"...

Judge: Wait, you mean the witness, a man of his stature... plays with puppets?

  • Though he sometimes manages to correct himself:

Oh you mean someone who uses someone else, nevermind.

  • Maya Fey also falls into this quite often. One particularly glaring example is her defense of Godot in the final case of the third game which basically amounts to this: If Godot had been wounded, his clothes should be torn and bloody. The courtroom is silent, and then Phoenix points out that Godot has almost certainly changed his clothes since the night of the murder.

Web Comics

  • The Order of the Stick
    • Miko Myyazaki immediately assumes that because her own conclusions led her to kill her lord, the eponymous band somehow made her do it. She then takes it as far as assuming everyone in the room is working against her, and she can do no wrong because she is the strongest member of the Sapphire Guard.

Roy Greenhilt: It's like she has that Monk ability that lets you jump as far as you want, only for her, it applies to conclusions.

Miko is also responsible for the quote: "The term is 'smite evil', not 'bump uglies'."
  • Elan has missed the point so often, it's included in his Armor Class. One example:

Haley: Boy, you give a guy a crown and it goes straight to his head.
Elan: Where else would a crown go?

  • Also, Vaarsuvius.

Vaarsuvius: As the size of the explosion increases, the number of social situations it is incapable of solving approaches zero.
Blackwing: Whisper whisper whisper whisper whisper.
Vaarsuvius: And That Would Be Wrong.

  • In another example, when Haley and her rival were forced to go on Thieves's Guild missions, Haley would remove the pickles from her sandwiches. Her rival assumed that she was physically weak to them, and later attacks Haley by pelting her with pickles. It helps that said rival is a complete and total idiot.
  • This dialogue between Elan and Tarquin after the latter just gave him a flying carpet

Tarquin: At any rate, I'm happy to put at your disposal any or all resources of this kingdom.
Elan: (looking at carpet) How do you control it?
Tarquin: Fear and intimidation, mostly, though a little torture here and there helps.
Elan: (Horrified look)
Tarquin: Or did you mean the carpet? Just pull on one of the tassels.

  • Ben Winchester from Loserz meets and befriends a girl who's much like his old (platonic) friend Jodie—a bisexual girl hot for Anything That Moves. The conclusion he makes... see for yourself here and here.
  • Pokémon-X does this when Brendan describes May to Professor Birch, saying that she's 5'4", 100 lbs, brown hair, and then mumbles "nice... firm... breasts..." while drooling (it's a long story, okay?). Professor Birch looks shocked. After Brendan leaves, Birch gets excited... because he thinks May is cooking chicken breasts for dinner.
  • Cyanide & Happiness loves this joke - e.g. this comic, and this.
  • The "Cuckolded Husband" storyline in Sexy Losers sees a man repeatedly walk in on his wife having sex with his best friend. He immediately believes their implausible excuse and innocently runs with it until they regret saying anything.
  • Boy Meets Boy: Mikhael decides to use humour to lighten the situation when coming out to his new poker group, by putting down his cards and saying "Y'know, it's funny that I got a straight, because I'm not." Long awkward silence ensues, and Mik figures they're squicked and leaves. We cut back to the group, still sitting in amazement:

"I can't believe he got a straight that early on!"
"The man's luck is incredible!"
"Guys ... shut up."

Police Robot: We are being trained as a police force to help solve conflicts among the planet's non-human population.
Mayor's Assistant: Our non-human population consists of one person. Sam. Do we really need an entire police force for one alien squid?
Police Robot: Sir, I believe if you look past the obvious answer, you'll see one that's even more obvious.

  • xkcd:
    • In #776, the Alt Text has the character reject the squirrel's advice. Not because the squirrel is obviously a hallucination, but because "What do squirrels know about mental health?"
    • xkcd also provides another example, that, coincidentally, also focuses on squirrels.
    • Another xkcd example:

"Can anyone tell me what's wrong with this picture?"
The white balance, for one.
Focus is a bit too close.
The chromatic aberration suggests you bought your camera because it had "the most megapixels"

"Nah, I've never seen Star Wars.
"What. ...How?!
"Uh, it was easy? It was literally the default option."

  • Girl Genius:
    • Baron Wulfenbach orders to take Agatha to Castle Wulfenbach and send her back in case she turns out to be useless. His son indicates that "her parents might not like that". Baron replies: "They'll take her back anyway".
    • Also...

Tarvek: If we threw in every minion we have, we might take out one of them.
Gil: That's a terrible plan!
Minion: Thank you, sir!
Gil: There's another twenty of them! We don't have enough minions!
Minion: Er...

Agatha: By my calculations, we're now about ten millimeters tall.
Zeetha: Ooh, tough size to shop for.

"It's Pantsless Tuesday in the boss's office."
"That's insane! It's Monday."

Parody villain: You better hurry. There's a vampire there with orders to drop your friends into a vat of boiling oil at midnight exactly!
Sam: My God! They'll drown!

  • In Voodoo Walrus Grymm is pretty bad about this. But it could just be him being difficult on purpose.

Creepnight: And remember, this time we run a background check. We don't want another basketcase in our lives.
Grymm: "I like picnics."

Eli Parker: Anyhow, one of the funny results of this is that Nathan Blaine has clearly, CLEARLY seen Citizen Kane, and he is clearly trying to get everything right, and throw in a lot of references to Kane 1, but he's still completely missing the point.
He's a pretty crazy director.

Thurl: What is fuller's soap?
Ennesby: It's an alkali used for whitening wool prior to dying it. I don't think it's seen use since the invention of bleach.
Thurl: What does twenty-first century anime have to do with whitening wool?

Web Original

  • The Loading Ready Run video "Son of a Bitch" features this.
  • 2D's attempts at Sudoku on the Gorillaz website. Also, according to Rise of the Ogre, the band once attempted to write a script for a movie. After much nagging from Murdoc, Russel suggested one in which "a bullying egomaniac bass-player" gets what's coming to him. The other band members elaborated on the idea, and Murdoc never noticed that they were talking about him.
  • In one of the least NSFW (but not least disturbing) pages of Ghastly's Ghastly Comic, Freddy misses the point of Chick Tracts and decides to help the Chick Boy...

Well, a Ledher associate describes how he would be picked up at the airstrip in a Land Rover driven by naked women--which is so awesome because Land Rovers are quality vehicles.

  • In The Fantastic Favio Bros episode "The Horrors of Ecstasy", MaCavio picks up the recently defeated Tony's phone and sees the screen say "message sent" after Tony had threatened to text details of the secret plan to The Hero. MaCavio does not realize what this means, instead thinking it's something to do with massages.
  • After seeing Phelous hanging himself from the horror of Caligula, The Cinema Snob is shocked that the camera turned itself off!
    • 80's Dan is prone to this, like his verdict on Mrs. Crabtree's Halloween outfit.

I'm STARBUCK!, goddammit!
That is the worst Dirk Benedict costume I've ever seen.

  • There's a Post Secret about someone whose mother bought them a Post Secret book, but blacked out all the "inappropriate" parts.
  • The Onion uses this trope in probably over half their work, especially their "In The Know" and "Today Now!" segments.
    • The columns by Jean Teasdale are made of this trope. A sterling example comes from Ad Nauseum Vol. 14, where one column has her discuss how a local magazine called her the worst columnist ever; she reprints the magazine's slams against her, and then immediately afterwards says that she doesn't know why they hate her. And then proves the magazine completely correct.
  • EPICMEALTIME has of late featured one fellow who digs into their crazy preparations politely with a knife and fork. Muscles Glasses has a tendency to give him reproachful looks.
  • YouTube is full of "Confederate Pride" white supremacist videos calling for the extermination of foreigners, minorities, and liberals, all set to a song performed by Gary Lee and Showdown called "The Rodeo Song" - a song written by a French-Canadian from Ontario about the small-town Alberta winter rodeo circuit. It takes a special talent for missing the point to hear the stirring lyrics "It's forty below and I don't give a fuck" and think of Mississippi.
  • Nella is battling her dark side and, in great pain, tells The Nostalgia Chick to run away. The Chick, who has witnessed all this, has the important question to ask: does Nella really consider her a nerd?
  • Pony Dot Mov: has this moment when Spike, Rainbow Dash, and Pinkie Pie enter Fluttershy's shed.

Spike: Oh my god. Look at all this porn!

Homestar: (to Marzipan) Hey, girlfriend, have you tried any of this free ice cream Strong Bad made?
Marzipan: Homestar, didn't anyone tell you? That's, like, cottage cheese and The Cheat hair.
Homestar: WHAT?! (does a Spit Take) Strong Bad told me it was sour cream and The Cheat hair!

  • This web-promo for the 2011 Independent Spirit Awards has Joel McHale (the host for that year's ceremony) be forced to sit down and watch all the pictures nominated for Best Feature... and completely fail to respond in the intended or appropriate way to any of them.

"I dunno about "Winter's", but it's tickling my funny bone!"

9434575: Her vagina is leaking. I think she might have a medical condition.

  • There's also a recurring series of threads where someone post an image of someone famous, usually challenging /tg/ to figure out who they are, and they proceed to make dozens of incorrect guesses, often while berating others for getting it wrong. Often enough, the person's real name is actually in the file name in the first post.

"What about nanotechnology?" [the Boss] asks, moving on.
"Apple discontinued them in 2017," I say.

Western Animation

  • In a Family Guy episode, Lois is shown several drawings that Stewie has done. All of them have Lois dying in a particularly gruesome fashion. Lois realizes that this can mean only one thing: "His father's not in any of these pictures; they should spend more time together." The teacher concurs with her.
    • Peter misses the point pretty much every other minute.
      • One instance of this:

Meg: If I can't drive, I'll never have any boyfriends, I'll never get married and then I'll have to adopt a kid like Rosie O'Donnell!
Peter: "Meg, are you implying that Rosie O'Donnell can't drive?"

  • In "Back to the Woods" James Woods steals Peter's identity and kicks him out of the house. Brian points out that identity theft works both ways and Peter can be Woods. Peter figures if he was a famous movie star, he wouldn't even want his family.
  • A review of Nineteen Eighty-Four:

Mrs. Lockhart: Basically what Orwell was saying was it's not perfect, but I'll take it.

  • SpongeBob SquarePants
    • In one episode, a new student at Mrs. Puff's driving school draws himself punching the title character on the chalkboard and repeatedly threatens to kick his butt. This naturally horrifies SpongeBob, while Mrs. Puff just thinks he's a talented artist.[2]
    • In the episode "Dying for Pie", Squidward accidentally buys an exploding pie for Spongebob. Mr. Krabs, "inspecting" it, pinches off a tiny piece of crust to eat. When he drops the piece on the ground, it explodes and leaves a huge, gaping hole in Mr. Krabs's office, blasting Mr. Crabs and Squidward outside. Then Spongebob comes in: "Mr. Krabs, are you okay? I heard a... WOW!! (completely ignores the hole and points at the pie) A pie!"
      • Happens again a second later when Squidward explains he paid $25 for the pie, not realising it was a bomb. Guess which detail Mr. Krabs remembered first.
    • Also in an episode where Spongebob has to stall kids for Mr. Krabs by hurting himself, Spongebob comes to him all battered up and pleads to him to make 'Krabby the Clown' appear already. Mr. Krabs asks him where his arms and legs are, and Spongebob tells him the kids are using them as boomerangs (with one leg even flying around among them). Mr. Krabs then gets worried that it might break his windows.
    • Mr. Krabs is fond of this. In Born Again Krabs when Squidward called out Krabs for selling Spongebob's soul:

Squidward: Mr. Krabs, I can't believe I'm saying this, but how could you sell Spongebob for 62 cents?
Mr. Krabs: You think I could have gotten more?

  • Spongebob seems rather fond of this trope, actually...

Mr. Krabs: Neptune preserve her!
Squidward: How long can she stay like that?
Spongebob: I dunno!
Patrick: Sandy's a girl!?

  • On yet another driving test rampage, SpongeBob flies by two cops and goes straight through a building.

Cop 1: Barnacles! Did you see that?!
Cop 2: Yeah! That guy had no front license plate! LET'S GET 'IM!

  • Dale in King of the Hill manages to do a single-person version of this by relating to Hank about how 9 months before the birth of his son, he was watching aliens while his wife was with some other guy. Hank says, "Your wife loves you," but then Dale comes to the conclusion that his son is an alien, and asks Hank if there's any better explanation. Obviously there is, but Hank decides to refrain from pointing out the obvious.
    • Even better, in the episode where Dale's wife ends the affair, Dale notices that every time she gets a headache, she calls in John Redcorn to give her a massage, and comes to the obvious conclusion: her headaches are a cry for attention, and he's been selfishly pawning her off on someone else instead of taking care of herself.
    • When Redcorn sneaks into their bedroom later to try and patch things up, Dale mistakes him for a burgler and knocks him out with a lamp. Dale is the one who feels guilty for this and in order to make good he helps Redcorn recover his peoples' lands, which ironically helps end the affair because Redcorn feel guilty about betraying Dale's honest friendship and kindness.
  • The reason that the Muggles of Invader Zim are such Bats. Despite admitting many, many times that he is an alien intent on conquering Earth, Zim is dismissed as talking about something completely different.
  • In a flashback episode of The Simpsons, when the entire town knows that Marge is pregnant, Homer keeps thinking the townspeople are congratulating him for landing his dream job, including Moe's "Way to get Marge pregnant!" Only after someone actually does congratulate him for the job, he realizes Marge is pregnant.
    • Similarly, in "Homer's Night Out", while coming home from work people keep greeting him and doing hula dances. He isn't aware that the picture of him dancing with a woman has circulated (despite there being a copy of the picture right behind Apu), and just figures that they're on drugs.
    • In the episode where Marge stars in a musical version of A Streetcar Named Desire, after she delivers the last line ("I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.") the cast breaks into a musical number about how "You can always depend on the kindness of strangers..."
    • During the gay parade, Marge hears Patty and Smithers, hidden each in their own closets, proclaiming that they're gay and proud of it. Marge then asks, "Wouldn't it be nice if that man and that woman got together [romantically]?"
    • "Goodbye Adil! I'll send you those Civil Defence plans you wanted!" - Homer to foreign exchange student Adil in "Crepes Of Wrath", who is not just clearly a spy, but in the process of being deported from the country under espionage charges.
    • One Running Gag is Homer missing the point of a joke and laughing at the wrong part.
    • "I loved Young Frankenstein. Scared the hell out of me!" - Homer to Mel Brooks in "Homer vs. Patty & Selma".
    • In "Last Exit To Springfield", Homer mistook Mr. Burns offer of a bribe as Burns hitting on him. It helped that Mr. Burns was being pretty flamboyant.

Marge: Homer, the plant called and said if you don't come in tomorrow, don't bother coming in Monday.
Homer: Woohoo, four day weekend!

  • Similarly, when Marge asks Homer why he hasn't left for work:

Homer: They said that if I come in late one more time I'm fired. I can't take that chance!

Flanders: (quietly) Homer... you are the worst human being I have ever met. (walks away)
Homer: Hey, I got off easy...

  • And then when a flood hit Springfield Ned builds an ark and takes on two of every animal...but only males because he doesn't want any hanky-panky going on. I Need a Drink.
  • In one scene, Chief Wiggum gives some rather obvious hints that Homer could get off the hook by bribing him. Homer does what he does best. Bart is also there and tries to point out the obvious, but Homer tells him to be quiet.
  • Another Homer example - searching for his half-brother Herbert, Homer asks the Orphanage where he might be. The director tells him that such data is confidential but says that Detroit is a good place to look for him. Homer keeps asking and missing the obvious hints, even bribing the director. The director has to say "He's in Detroit" point-blankly for Homer to get it.
  • And of course in the episode Homer's Phobia Homer is blissfully unaware that John is gay. Marge attempts to point out this fact when Homer suggests John and his wife come over for dinner, with Homer Comically Missing the Point until she tells him point blank:

Marge: Homer, didn't John seem a little "festive" to you?
Homer: Couldn't agree more, happy as a clam.
Marge: He prefers the company of men!
Homer: Who doesn't?
Marge: Homer, listen carefully. John is a Ho - mo...
Homer: Right.
Marge: ...Sexual!

  • Also the clerk in the episode "Bart Star" is a subversion: at the end, it's revealed that he only wanted to play a crude joke on Marge:

Marge: He's going to need, uh… you know, protection.
Guy: Sure… one helmet coming up.
Marge: I was thinking more of… protection… down there.
Guy: Oh, why didn't you say so? Knee pads. You got it.
Marge:(laughs very nervously) I'm talking about his (quietly) personal area.
Guy: Ah ha. Say no more. I read you loud and clear. The old shoulder pads.
Marge: (annoyed) Look, I want a cup
Guy: Cup, could you spell that?
Marge: C - U - P I wanna C - U …oh my god!

  • In the episode 'Grade School Confidential'

Lisa: I was in the library at the time, but Janey told me Principal Skinner and...what's her name? Bart's teacher?
Marge: Mrs. Krabappel?
Lisa: Yeah, Krabappel. They were naked in the closet together!
Marge: GASP! Oh my goodness!
Homer: Wait a minute...Bart's teacher is named Krabappel? I've been calling her Crandall! Why didn't someone tell me? Oh, I've been making an idiot out of myself!

  • Kinda counts as a double example seeing as how he not only misses the point (teachers making out) but also misses the more obvious mispronunciation of Krabappel.
  • Mr. Burns got a good one when he was trying to get a biopic of himself made:

Burns: All right, Spielbergo, I want you to do for me what Spielberg did for Schindler.
Spielbergo: But, Schindler es bueno! Burns es diablo!
Burns: Oh, pish tosh! Oskar Schindler and I are like two peas in a pod! We're both factory owners, we both made [artillery] shells for the Nazis - but mine worked, dammit!

  • Played with in an early episode, "Fear of Flying". After Homer enters what is clearly a lesbian bar (it's is even called "She-She Lounge" and is filled with stereotypical lesbians):

Homer: Wait a minute... there's something bothering me about this place... I know! This lesbian bar doesn't have a fire exit! Enjoy your death trap, ladies.

  • In "Much Apu About Nothing" a bear roams the streets. It is caught and Homer immediately demands more protection against bears, even though it was the first time the town ever encountered this problem. After a special "bear patrol" is installed Homer tells Lisa he fails much safer now.

Homer: Not a bear in sight. The Bear Patrol must be working like a charm.
Lisa: That's spacious reasoning, Dad.
Homer: Thank you, dear.
Lisa: By your logic I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.
Homer: Oh, how does it work?
Lisa: It doesn't work.
Homer: Uh-huh.
Lisa: It's just a stupid rock.
Homer: Uh-huh.
Lisa: But I don't see any tigers around, do you?
[Homer thinks of this, then pulls out some money]
Homer: Lisa, I want to buy your rock.
[Lisa refuses at first, then takes the exchange]

  • In Mayored to the Mob, Homer is convinced that he's killed Mayor Quimby after sending him flying out off a window. When he hears the mayor crying for help and sees him dangling from a window ledge, he exclaims, 'His corpse is climbing the building!'
  • Captain Hero of Drawn Together is notorious for missing the point, as illustrated by the following example.

Unusually Flexible Girl: I missed you more than a retard misses the point!
Captain Hero: What do you mean?

  • South Park; Cartman perfectly modeled this trope once when he was caught in class mimicking certain Nazi gestures and phrases, and was made to watch an anti-Nazi film, which of course only fueled his fascination with the subject. Considering that the film only showed Nazis marching and never mentioned any bad things that Hitler did, only that he "was a very naughty person", and considering that Cartman's anti-semitic and a sociopath... yeah.
    • In addition to this, we had the "Major Boobage" episode with the sub-plot of Cartman rescuing the cats from being put into the pound (eventually taking in around 100) - even going so far as to suggest that Mr. Kitty "Write a journal.", as well as replying "They're innocent victims in this! They have to hide or they'll be put to death. Something you just can't understand." when asked why the cats are in his attic. By the end, we have this exchange between Cartman and Kyle

Cartman: But ya know, we've all learned something, you guys. We can never persecute living beings and force them into hiding. It's wrong.
Kyle: And you don't see any parallel between that and anything else in history?
Cartman: Hmmm, nope. I have no idea what you're talking about Kyle.

  • To some extend Truth in Television as the Nazis had decent animal welfare policies - so considering hunting animals as cruel does not imply considering hunting humans as cruel (however many people who consider hunting animals as cruel definitely consider hunting humans as cruel).
  • Though given that it IS Cartman, this could just be Eric being a Jerkass.
  • One more! In the episode where Wendy fights Cartman, Cartman is terrified that Wendy might actually be able to beat him, which would be terribly uncool. He manages to get her into enough trouble so that she'll be severely punished if she goes near him, effectively defusing the situation... at which point he starts taunting her again, which makes her even more determined to fight him. Repeat about three times. When they finally fight she beats the crap out of him (even declaring "I'm finished!"). When Cartman gets back onto his feet he tells the boys that since he's been beaten by a girl he'll be uncool. The boys tell him they never thought he was cool to begin with. Cartman decides that since this is obviously impossible, the boys are lying to spare his feelings because they think he's so cool.
  • An example of Comically Missing the Point that's Heartwarming: Chef finds the flag of South Park (depicting four white guys lynching a black guy) offensive for some reason. In an epic buck-passing motion, the Mayor decides to delay the vote until the kids have a debate on it. When Stan and Kyle say they're in favour of keeping the flag as is, Chef is naturally dismayed. The debate arrives, and the main point of Stan and Kyle's argument: Killing is natural, so changing a flag that has a guy being killed is pointless. Chef explains that this isn't why he finds the flag offensive, and explains the real reason, to which Stan responds "But...why does the colour of his skin matter?"
  • One Halloween:

Chef: Don't you children see? Kenny's turned into a zombie, along with everyone else in town!
Stan: Oh my God! That means..
Kyle:...if everyone has been turned into Zombies...
Cartman:...then there won't be anyone to give US CANDY!!!!!!!!!

  • When KFC is outlawed in Colorado at the same time that medicinal marijuana is legalized, a bunch of men deliberately dose themselves with radiation to get testicular cancer so they'll be able to legally obtain medicinal marijuana. Meanwhile, a cartel responsible for smuggling and selling black-market KFC (which is depicted as highly addictive) has brought a huge amount of crime with it. However, the crime influx is mistakenly blamed on marijuana being made available, and the town doctor decides that since cancer rates shot up when South Park's KFC was replaced with a medicinal marijuana dispensary, the KFC must have been protecting everyone from cancer somehow. Thus, against all logic, the town successfully solves its problems by once again criminalizing marijuana and legalizing KFC (renamed Medicinal Fried Chicken).
  • Cartman is revealed to be Scott Tenorman's half-brother in 201. Cartman gets upset not because he killed his own father (and turned him into chili), but because this means that he's half-ginger.
  • In the episode where Cartman wants to become a Nascar driver, he thinks he can't because he isn't "poor and stupid enough," and even after he crashes a car and kills 11 people, he thinks it's because he's not poor enough.
    • In this episode, it had multiple people insulting him (Kyle telling him he's a broke, ignorant retard, the doctor saying that it was the most idiotic thing he had ever seen anyone do) and Cartman replying with "Thanks for trying to make me feel better, it's not going to work."
    • Even in the end, when he loses, he just simply realizes that he will never be poor or stupid enough.
    • Kenny tries to sneak a sniper rifle into the track to shoot Cartman for making Nascar drivers look like poor dumbasses, and the security guy simply says "You're the type of person that makes us Nascar fans look like idiots."
  • In "Cartman's Incredible Gift", the police believe Cartman is psychic and can help find a serial killer. After arresting the person Cartman has fingered, another person is murdered in an identical fashion. The police conclude that a copycat killer is on the loose and need Cartman's help. This continues...

Sgt. Lou: They just found another body! That means a fifth copycat killer is on the loose! Where's my psychic?!

  • In "Fishsticks" Jimmy comes up with a joke while Cartman sits on the couch. Cartman then believes he came up with the joke and when he sees Carlos Mencia claim to be the originator, he angrily tells Jimmy that some fat turd is taking credit for something he didn't do. When he asks Kyle for advice because he thinks Jimmy is taking credit away from him, Kyle explains that people like Cartman have such big egos that it makes them think they are awesome when they are not. Cartman simply thinks that Kyle was trying to warn him about Jimmy.
    • Kanye West has such an inflated ego that he thinks the fishsticks joke is specifically about him. Kanye misses the point of Cartman's epiphany at the end of the episode and still thinks the fishsticks thing is about him, now believing he was really a gay fish in denial, and "returns" to the sea to have sex with male fish. A deleted scene on the DVD shows he drowned.
  • Most of the world seems to have this problem in "Dead Celebrities" when it comes to food either from the Chipotle restaurant or made with chipotle peppers (they're just vague enough to get away with the accusations). Apparently, people (in the South Park universe, anyway) tend to suffer anal bleeding from eating such foods. However, the only product offered to deal with this is a substance that cleans bloodstains out of underwear. Kyle is the only one who thinks that the problems of anal bleeding might go beyond blood-stained underwear.
  • There are many, many instances of this in Beavis and Butthead.
    • In Beavis and Butthead Do America, Butthead is woken from his dream by Beavis with the alarming news that their TV has just disappeared and he can't work out why. After looking at the broken in door, the muddy footprints leading to the door, and the two people talking about how they're going to sell a TV for about a minute, Butthead finally says "Hey Beavis, I've figured something out... this sucks!"
    • Also, at the McCarran Airport, they see a guy holding out a sign with their names written on it. Beavis attempts to read it: "B...U...T--'Boot?!' There's a guy named 'Boot?!'" Butthead corrects him, sort of. "It says Butthead. Beavis, you idiot; these guys have the same names as us!"
    • In a regular episode, when some girls at a shopping mall tell the two to come back in ten years, instead of interpreting this as "I don't want to see you for a really long time", they think the girls literally mean to come back to them in ten years. Butthead tells Beavis to hurry up and get rid of their "beards" so that they can actually meet them again in ten years. (Of course, they're gonna forget by then anyway.)
    • In one episode the two spend the day at Stuart's house while he and his family are out. Two "moving men" break in and they help them steal most of their things. Stuart's dad isn't happy when they tell him the movers took everything. Butt-Head assumes he's angry because his new house was a ripoff.

Stuart's Dad: Movers? You idiots! We've been robbed!
Butt-Head: Robbed? We were here all day, we didn't see any robbers.

  • Ron Stoppable of Kim Possible, master of the missed point. For example, fixating on a restaurant manager's decision to take his favourite meal off the menu, instead of said manager's Secret Identity as a superhero, or worrying that the Self-Destruct Mechanism in Drakken's lair will destroy a mind-switching device they need to use, missing the detail that since he and Kim are tied up there, the explosion will get them too.
  • Disney's Lilo & Stitch: The Series occasionally has an episode where Lilo gives an experiment an appropriate nickname, but not for the right reason.
    • First instance: Experiment 113, who affects the luck of whoever is nearby. Whether it is bad luck or good luck depends on which way the horseshoe-shaped horn on his head is pointing...though in the first part of the episode, even Jumba thought it only created bad luck. After driving away the customer they had for Jumba and Pleakley's "Bed, not Breakfast", Lilo says they need to name him...

Pleakley: A name, oh, how about, uh, I don't know, Unlucky? Or Mr. Unlucky? Or Unluckifier?
Lilo: How about Shoe?
Pleakley: Because of that horseshoe shape on his head?
Lilo: Because he needs shoes. He doesn't have any.

  • Lilo doesn't seem to realize that almost none of the other experiments, if any, do wear shoes, or any clothing for that matter.
  • Next instance: Experiment 251, who binds together uncooperative people with an indestructible putty (though they find out later that Earth wasn't one of the planets taken into account when calling it indestructible; it dissolves in mud). When Lilo and Myrtle capture it...

Lilo: I think I'm gonna name him...Link.
Myrtle: Because he links people together?
Lilo: No, silly. It's short for Linkenstein, the zombie president.

  • And there's another one that may or may not count: Experiment 177, which was designed to eat Uburnium, the most powerful and economical fuel source in the universe, and drive prices through the roof. Unfortunately for Jumba, in the language he was using the word used for "Uburnium" was the same word used for "hair". When Lilo and Stitch catch it after it wreaks havoc at a local spa, this exchange follows:

Lilo: look like a hairy hairball. And you seem to like to eat hair, and you're made of hair, so I'm gonna call you...
Stitch: Hairy!
Lilo: NO...Clip!

Newscaster: ...the need for competent, non-Jack Fenton, ghost hunters in Amity Park has never been more obvious.
Jack: Hey! They said my name!

Sokka: Whoever took Aang and Toph left this.
Katara (reading the note): "If you wanna see your daughter again, bring five hundred gold pieces to the arena..." It's signed Xin Fu and The Boulder.
Sokka: I can't believe it... (grabs the paper from Katara) I HAVE THE BOULDER'S AUTOGRAPH!"

  • Also, when Zuko tries to join the group:

Zuko: ...and I never should have sent that Fire Nation assassin after you. I'm gonna try to stop--
Sokka: Wait, you sent Combustion Man after us!?
Zuko: Well, that's not his name...

  • When Sokka and Suki share a quiet moment in "The Serpent's Pass."

Suki: I lost someone I care about. He didn't die, he just went away. I only had a few days to get to know him, but he was smart, and brave, and funny...
Sokka: (offended) Who is this guy? Is he taller than me?
Suki: No, he's about your height.
Sokka: Is he better looking?"

  • The Gaang, minus Aang and Momo who have vanished completely at a moment when the world really needs the avatar, seek out The Order of the White Lotus. Bumi notices something odd about the group.

Bumi: Wait! Someone's missing from your group! Someone very important! Where's Momo?!
Sokka: He's gone. And so is Aang.
Bumi: Oh, well. So long as they have each other, I'm sure we have nothing to worry about.

Katara: What happened?
Sokka: Zuko's gone crazy! I made a sand sculpture of Suki and he destroyed it! [beat] Oh, and he's attacking Aang.

  • On the Arthur episode "Arthur Goes Crosswire," Arthur gets paired with his class's shallow Rich Bitch, Muffy Crosswire to work on a project, and he quickly begins to act like her. At the episode's climax, all of Arthur's friends start acting like Muffy to show him how obnoxious he's being. Muffy thinks they're trying to flatter her:

Muffy: I didn't mind when Arthur started acting like me, but I'm sorry, there's only one me, and that's enough.

  • In "Sick As A Dog", when Pal has to stay overnight at the vet, Arthur has an overblown anxiety-induced dream about Pal calling Arthur and being kidnapped by the other dogs, who leave a ransom note written in pawprints and are pursued by a police helicopter. When Arthur wakes up, he says, "Wow, what a ridiculous dream. Pal doesn't even know our phone number."
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Greece Lightning," Dr. Doofenshmirtz, the nemesis of superspy Perry the Platypus, watches an old educational film and finds out that due to the effects of encroaching development, "the enemy of the platypus is Man!" So . . . he builds a giant robot man, complete with business suit, to defeat Perry the Platypus with.
    • In the episode "The Doof Side of the Moon," Doofenshmirtz plans to rotate the moon so that the "dark side" always faces the Earth. At the end of the episode, he realizes his mistake (moonlight is reflected sunlight), and chastises himself, "Dummkopf! I should have rotated the sun!"
    • Then, of course, there's the fact that Doofenschmirtz can't tell that Perry is the same platypus with his hat off. Perry once escaped a trap by removing his hat and Doofenschmirtz released the "regular platypus" and wondered what happened to Perry. This was brought to its height in "Across the Second Dimension", where his doppelganger tried to explain it to him and he still couldn't grasp the concept.
    • When Perry shows up in the middle of an all-out battle with Doofenshmirtz, all Candace can say is, "Perry has a hat?" Luckily, it was All Just a Dream.
  • The Penguins of Madagascar. After accidentally being zapped by the penguins's enhancement ray, Mort (a tiny mouse lemur) quadrupled in size and strength, capable of bringing down animals larger than himself and many times taller than his bossy, but absent-minded ring-tailed lemur leader, King Julian. Julian's advisor, Maurice, takes note of this transformation immediately.

Maurice: Do you, uh, notice anything different about Mort?
Julien: Well yes, he's obviously doing something different with his hair! It's nice actually.

  • In another episode, Maurice takes over as king while Julien is sick, becomes mad with power after eating rotten lychee nuts, and threatens to take over the entire zoo. After hearing about this, Julien's reaction is, "I cannot believe what I am hearing. Maurice ate my lychee nuts!"
  • Julien, when mocking the rats who are playing against the penguins at hockey, sneers "You probably can't even get the ball into the hoopy-thingy!" Kowalski tells him it's called a "puck", to which Julien responds "Oh, thanks ... You probably can't even get the ball into the puck thingy!"
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: In the future, Mandy has mutated into a giant slug creature to obtain immortality and ruled the Earth with an iron fist, keeping a collection of artificially grown Billy clones to keep her company. Demonstrating the same cluelessness as his predecessor, Billy clone 2188, upon activation, asks if Mandy got a new haircut.
  • In The Critic episode "Miserable":

Jay's # 1 Fan: Whenever I get into a relationship with a man, they tend to get dominating and overcritical.
Jay: I can see your point. Although, I wouldn't have used overcritical, and I think your delivery was wooden and unconvincing!

  • An episode of Jimmy Two-Shoes, Jimmy and Heloise are strapped into a roller coaster designed to kill them. One section involves passing through several giant meat cleavers...which only results in a Close-Call Haircut. She angrily yells "Your henchmen do shoddy work!"
  • In Total Drama World Tour, a challenge requires the contestants to use riddles as clues to help capture "Jack the Ripper". When Noah and Owen run into the final clue, Noah is in stunned disbelief when Owen figures out the clue on his first try with no help, remarking, "So there is a brain in there. You've been holding out on me." Owen responds that he was not holding out on Noah, because he told him about the sausages he smuggled.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Boast Busters," a unicorn named Trixie comes to town claiming to be incredibly powerful and capable of vanquishing the dreaded Ursa Major. Most of the ponies don't buy it, but two young boys fall for her story and proudly defend her. Spike tells them that unless they actually see her pulling off the feats she claims, they shouldn't believe her. They take this as a cue to find an Ursa Major and bring it to town so Trixie can defeat it in front of everyone. Bad idea.
    • In "The Show Stoppers," The Cutie Mark Crusaders enter the school talent show hoping to get their cutie marks, but each tackles something they're not suited for (and that another one of them is perfect for). They do actually win an award, but don't get their cutie marks. They realize they failed to get their marks because they neglected their true talents, but decide that their actual calling in life must be comedy, since they won Best Comedy Act.
    • Done once again by Scootaloo in "The Cutie Mark Chronicles":

Scootaloo: Argh! These namby-pamby stories aren't getting us any closer to our cutie marks! They're all about 'finding out who you are' and boring stuff like that!

  • In "Party of One" Pinkie Pie throws a birthday party for her toothless pet alligator Gummy, and her friends have a delightful time. though she's a little overeager during the party. The next day, she invites them to an after-birthday-party party that afternoon. All five of her friends decline the invitation. The viewer is led to assume they turn her down because two parties in two days is a too much partying, but they're actually planning a surprise party for her own birthday, which she forgot due to being wrapped up in her own plans for the second party. Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash collaboratively lie, hilariously building the worst excuse of the bunch.

Pinkie Pie: Something strange is definitely going on around here, Gummy. Sure Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy had to house-sit for that vacationing bear, but what are the chances all my other friends would have plans this afternoon too? Rarity (the fashionista) has to wash her hair? Applejack (the farmer) has to pick apples? Twilight (the student) is behind on her studies, and has to hit the books? The more I think about it, the more those are starting to sound like… (gasps) excuses!

  • In an episode of the 2010 Pound Puppies, McLeish attempts to keep his mother from finding out he's a dog catcher, but when his ruse fails, his mother threatens to cut him out of her will, remove him from the family scrapbook, and disinvite him from Thanksgiving. McLeish's comment: "But the turkey!"
    • In the same episode, he resolves to tell his mother that he's actually a CIA agent working undercover, "If I told you more, Mother, I'd have to make you disappear." Olaf, whom he was testing this out on, asks, "Disappear? So are you a spy or a magician?" Annoyed, McLeish storms out, leaving Olaf to mumble, "Being a magician's nothing to be ashamed of."
  • A Daria episode involved a hotel bellboy giving Quinn fantastic room service and upgrades using the excuse of his "uncle" who supposedly owned the hotel. Later Quinn along with her parents was informed by police that the bellboy was in fact billing the family for these, then deleting them from the system and was effectively a stalker. Quinn's reaction:

Quinn: You mean I almost went out with...
Police: That's right.

  • In Futurama, Professor Farnsworth says the crew is about to be attacked by an albino humping worm.

Fry: Why do they call it an albino humping worm?
[Beat as the worm starts humping the ship]
Professor Farnsworth: Because it lacks pigment.

  • The Robot Mafia is prone to this.

Joey Mousepad: This guy's an ox! He's got oxen-like strength. Hey, he needs a nickname, right? Let's call him Clamps!

  • In The Oblongs, Pickles tries to teach Milo that she's cool because she married a great guy and had great kids. Milo reaches the conclusion that he must marry his father.

Bob: You just ruined what could have been a very poignant family moment, son.

  • In Sheep in The Big City, the Ranting Swede's rants tend to come from him misunderstanding a simple american custom, metaphor or item; such as refrigerators ('I came here to get AWAY from the cold!'), coffee tables ('Is every beverage going to want their own table?') juggling his job, house and family ('It's hard enough trying to have those things, let alone juggle them!') or answering machines. ('I ask it "Will I ever find true love?", and it just SITS there!')
  • In a meta example, there was an episode of The Powerpuff Girls called "Meet the Beat-Alls", which was an 11-minute Homage to the Beatles, with heaps upon heaps of references to their songs and their history. It ends with Blossom trying to quote one of their songs, messing it up, and saying "Aw who cares? It's just a song by some dumb old band anyway!" Shortly after it aired, a blogger posted an angry rant about how terrible the show was was for insulting such legendary musicians.
    • After Mojo Jojo reveals his backstory:

Blossom: What?
Buttercup: What?
Bubbles: I don’t believe it! We had our very own pet monkey?

Interviewer: Can you destroy the Earth?
Tick: E-GAD!! I hope not! That's where I keep all my stuff!

  • Thomas the Tank Engine: People on the Isle of Sodor tend to have rather blase reactions to train crashes. Rather famously, Thomas crashed right into the Stationmaster's house one morning... and his wife was worried more about the pancakes.
    • A barber meanwhile has a train crash into his shop when he's shaving a customer, and he decides to get payback by covering half of Duck's face up with shaving cream.
  • In the Strawberry Shortcake's Berry Bitty Adventures episode Too Cool For Rules, Plum Pudding, tired of having to follow rules that she considers "silly", implements some ridiculous rules for anyone who wants to use her dance studio, such as guessing a password and wearing a yellow hat. Too retaliate, Lemon Meringue, Blueberry Muffin, and Mr. Longface Caterpillar make up rules of their own for her to follow when she visits them. Strawberry Shortcake rounds those three up and tells them that they aren't helping the situation, and that it isn't fair to have silly rules just for Plum. Their reaction: make everyone follow their new rules.
  • From the American Dad episode "Phantom of the Telethon":

Terrorist: When you are forbidden to drink, dance or touch yourself, your afternoons are pretty much free.
Roger: You can't touch yourself? How do you masturbate?

  • Happened a lot in Histeria!. For example, in the scene spoofing the assassination of Julius Caesar, where Brutus gives the daggers to the other senators:

Brutus: Caesar is heading this way. We will stab him in the Rotunda.
Other Senator: Couldn't we just stab him in the back?
Cut to Dramatic Timpani from Toast.

  • In The Real Ghostbusters episode "Ms. Roger's Neighborhood", the foursome have determined, while exploring the title characters house, that their quarry is a powerful demon named Wat. Eventually, the PKG Meter seems to find it, but when they open fire, they find it was only Mrs. Rogers' dress - which is still picking up a strong reading from the Meter.

Ray: You mean... Mrs. Rogers' dress is Wat?
Egon: No, Ray, Mrs. Rogers is Wat.

  • This quickly becomes an Explain, Explain, Oh Crap moment, seeing as they told Mrs. Rogers to go to the Firehouse, where they assumed she'd be safer...
  1. Otto's persona
  2. It's up for interpretation, though. Mrs. Puff really hates SpongeBob.