Don't Try This At Home

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Mandatory disclaimer heard at least once, and often more times, during any show which presents outrageous stunts or death-defying acts of derring-do. Mandatory because there are more than a few morons out there with so little common sense that they will actually try these things without the proper training and then sue everybody in sight when they get hurt (or their family will do it for them when they get killed or forgot/don't know how to sue.) Sometimes played for laughs within a show, as a character turns to the audience and says "Do not try this at home" before beginning the most comically dangerous part of the Zany Scheme.

See also Do Not Attempt, Our Lawyers Advised This Trope. Contrast Never Be a Hero.

Examples of Don't Try This At Home include:


Advertising[edit | hide | hide all]

  • "Professional driver, closed course"—Any ad involving racing or car stunts. Or, in many cases, just plain driving. In fact, pretty much any ad that features a vehicle, really.
    • Seen in one car commercial that parodied Field of Dreams, by having the character build a race track in his corn field. At the end it said "Professional driver on a closed cornfield." Later they changed it back to "closed course."
    • In a particularly ludicrous case, a tire commercial displays this warning while showing astronauts driving a rover across the moon.
    • Even better is when they added to the commercial for "The Cube," when the car never actually moves
    • One particular ad showed a car performing its usual fancy stunts, then driving towards a cantilevered bridge just as the bridge was separating and rising. Cut to black with white lettering saying "Whatever you do"; cut back to car driving up the bridge; cut to black with big letters: "Don't do this!"; and finally a shot of the car leaping across the gap in the bridge.
    • There was at least one commercial for a Ford pickup truck where this disclaimer was showed on a shot of the truck... while it was parked.
    • Incidentally, while most people understand this, "closed course" simply means they blocked off a section of road. There isn't some big facility with parking lots and stretches of highway built for shooting car commercials.
      • Lampshaded by a commercial where a man lives his life with the phrase always positioned below him. Eventually works out as he becomes what his label says.
    • "Trucks cannot snowboard...Or do barrel rolls."
    • One commercial accidentally parodied this, showing a car being driven through a fairly typical subdivision, at a safe speed and in a sensible and responsible manner. So what exactly are we not supposed to imitate?
  • An advert for Emerald's Nuts featured a woman in her therapist's office saying that sometimes she just wanted to burn the world. Her barely awake therapist says "sounds great" and we cut to his office on fire with him still out of it. The disclaimer at the bottom? "Don't commit arson. Not even once."
  • An advertisement featured a refrigerator being hit by a large wrecking ball with the admonishment "Do not attempt". Who could?
  • There was an ad for what at the time was the latest version of Office that showed a man sitting at his office desk, which was racing through the desert. The disclaimer was again, "Do not attempt."
  • In a recent Degree ad, a man, after smelling the deodorant they were advertising, proceeds to leap out an airplane, with his shopping cart, and land on the ground, riding the shopping cart down the freeway. Only when he makes it in between two 18-wheelers do we see the "Do not attempt" disclaimer.
  • A British Kellogg's commercial for one of its brands, Crunchy Nut, showed a man riding on the back of an Irish Wolfhound in order to get home to have a bowl of the product - this advert contained a "Don't try this with your dog at home" on-screen disclaimer during scenes of the man on dog-back. Ninety-three people complained to the UK Advertising Standards Authority about the commercial, but the complaints were not upheld.
  • Ads showing a Post-it on a wall supporting a kid/a dog. Brief text says "Just Kidding. Cannot support a child/dog." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avsOSeXtGAw
  • There was a British commercial for a brand of cereal (IIRC) that tasted so good a man ran back into a burning building to finish a bowl. There was a caption that read "In a real emergency get out and call the fire brigade", but that wasn't good enough for the regulators who pulled the ad off the air after a couple of days.
  • An American commercial for yogurt features a woman who eats it standing in the aisle of the grocery store (because she loves it so much she cannot even wait until she gets home to eat it). A disclaimer reads "Please Pay For All Food."
  • A Carl's Jr. commercial had a man in a convenience store eat a really hot burger and chug some mouthwash to cool down the intense heat; the disclaimer read "Dramatization. Do not attempt. Mouthwash fatal if swallowed.". Nevertheless, they re-shot it later so that the man rinses his mouth out with it instead.
  • Averted with one refrigerator ad where a woman attempts to defrost her open freezer with a flame-thrower. You'd think there'd be some sort of caption with a disclaimer warning people not to try such a stunt at home, but apparently they forgot.

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • The Anime series Hayate the Combat Butler parodies this trope—the series' version of Censor Steam, a genie carrying a sign that covers the suspect content, occasionally shows up with a Don't Try This At Home variant instead for not quite as egregious misdemeanors, like littering.
    • In the manga version, the chapter where Hayate defeats a robotic butler by sticking silverware into its joints and shorting it out is actually titled something like "Good Little Kids Shouldn't Try This At Home! And Neither Should The Bad Ones!"
      • Good boys and girls should never jump out of a moving train.
  • The anime Cromartie High School (AKA Cromartie High School) has an animated disclaimer, showing one of the characters sitting in a jail cell. In a voiceover, he describes how it was stupid to do what was shown on the show, and the viewers shouldn't, either. ("Seriously, this is a BAD IDEA! I'm tellin' ya, man -- don't do it!")
    • Which is made more amusing by the fact that the tough delinquent characters hardly ever actually do anything dangerous or likely to get anyone in trouble.
  • In the first episode of Sonic X, Sonic jumps on top of an S-Team race car during a chase, causing the driver to protest that they don't want any kids copying him; Sonic duly warns the kids in the audience never to stand on moving cars.This is possibly a parodical Shout-Out to the original Sonic Sez segments of the first animated series.
    • The dub plays it a little differently. Sonic does the same thing and receives the same complaint from the driver: "What if some kid tries this?" Sonic turns to the camera and says:

Sonic: Kids, don't use Formula One race cars to chase hedgehogs!

    • In a later episode, a Chaos Emerald was found under a water, and Chris Thorndyke was helping Sonic go get it. During an attempt with a hosepipe, Chris holds up a sign saying, "Good kids: don't imitate this!!" Sonic then holds up a sign saying, "You mean I'm not a good kid?" This only happens in the Japanese version, as 4Kids ruined the joke by blanking out the signs and not bothering to put in any replacement text. This happens again a bit later, when Chris holds up a similar warning sign as they are about to use a bell in their scheme, and 4Kids, of course, blanked it out senselessly.
  • In episode 10 of Fruits Basket Hatsuharu trips Kyo with a rope while Kyo is running (fortunately Kyo gets an Instant Bandage). Hatsuharu then breaks the fourth wall to say that doing this could cause serious injury to anyone besides Kyo, so Don't Try This At Home.

Kyo: Don't try it here! Who are you even talking to?!

Zelgadis: This is dangerous, kids, so don't try it at home!
Lina & Gourry: Like they could?!

  • When Flipping the Table in Bleach, a note attached to the table reads "CAUTION: For use in sight gags only!"
    • Also used in the Hueco Mundo arc by Dondachakka after Pesche reaches into his loincloth and pulls out his sword
  • At the end of one chapter of Keroro Gunsou, the Sergeant can be seen with his back turned to the reader, using a screwdriver to take a Rubik's Cube apart. There is a caption at the bottom of the panel saying "Don't try this at home, kids".
  • School Rumble, Episode 2, shows the main character, Tenma, climbing down the school's outer wall from the second floor using a pair of toilet plungers as tools. As soon as she steps out the window, a caption appears reading "This is a joke. Please do not try at home."
  • Kaleido Star's first OVA has May climbing from one speeding taxi to another with the standard "Good children should not attempt this!" message. All while the Gonzo team were clearly having too much fun with the camera angle now that they weren't on TV.
  • In Chapter 0 of Kamichama Karin Chu, Kazune is going to England. Not wanting him to go, she replaces his passport photo with a picture of Francis Xavier, a Jesuit missionary. There's a caption of Nya-ke/Shi-chan saying, "This is an illegal act called 'forrrgery of official documents,' so good kids, don't trrry this ★" under the panel.
  • In Waq Waq, when Fran uses Ninjutsu: Flying Squirrel to float in the air by holding onto a sheet, the narrator states "Because situations like these will never arise in real life, please do not imitate, you might die."
  • Parodied in Samurai Pizza Cats: "Kids, don't try this at home. We're professional cartoon characters."
  • In Himitsu Project's fanslation of the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga, under the panel with the infamous game between Yami Yugi and the bully Ushio where they must stab a pile of money placed on their bare hands, you can find the following disclaimer "If you try this at home, you are stupid".
    • In the dub of episode 77, when Mai executes a quick 180 turn in her car, she says "Do not try this at home!"
  • In one episode of Kämpfer, Mikoto is doing rather dangerous things at a water park, such as pushing Akane off of a diving board. Two disclaimers pop up during the episode: first, "good children should not imitate Mikoto", and later, "even bad children should not imitate Mikoto".
  • The second episode of Panda Z features the eponymous character trying to eat a big plate of hot, steaming batteries. Every other scene had a text scroll across the bottom with phrases like "Batteries are not food", "Do not expose batteries to heat", or "Do not cut batteries".
  • The Trigun anime gives us this comedic line: "The Deadly Dodgeball Face! A technique that involves holding the ball to your mouth with intense suction! TRY THIS AT HOME, KIDS!"
    • A truly unforgettable moment from the very first episode is when Vash, just prior to getting the actual bad guy Hoist by His Own Petard, glances into the camera with a Cat Smile and remarks: "Dangerous toys are fun - but you could get hurt!"
  • In the Katekyo Hitman Reborn OVA, Reborn will appear with a sign saying: "Good kids don't do so." This is because the events in question are things like sleeping on a bus roof while it's driving, having water fights in Hot Springs, and peeing on ice sculptures.
    • Fran literally breaks the fourth wall by saying not to try anything that Bel does at home. Bel is not too pleased.
  • At the beginning of every episode of Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?, we're helpfully reminded "Our protagonist is a zombie. Do not try this at home!"
  • Star Driver holds up a notice, when a character rides the top of the bus to school, that only people who live on the fictional island the show is set is allowed to ride on the roof of a bus.
  • In one of the My-HiME sound dramas after the main events of the series, Nao (who is in middle school) offers Mai and the others (who, except for the middle school age Mikoto, are in high school) some alcohol, and they start drinking. Nagi then reminds listeners that they shouldn't try this until they're 20.
  • In the Cooking Duel of Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya 2wei, while Suzuka was wrapping up Tatsuko like a mummy to prevent her from further screwing up the cake they were baking, Nanami breaks the fourth wall to address the readers.

Nanami: Kids, be good and don't imitate this please!

  • When Walker uses an Aerosol Flamethrower in the sixth Durarara!! Light Novel, the narration notes that this is, in fact, a terrible idea and more likely to set you on fire than your opponent. It then notes that Walker knows this and does it anyway, because he's Walker.
  • In the second Ah! My Goddess OAD, packaged with vol. 43 of the manga in September 2011, Keiichi does the old Mentos and Diet Coke eruption trick by holding the Mentos in his mouth and spitting them into a 2-liter bottle of Diet Coke. An onscreen caption says "He is using it the wrong way. Children, don't do what he's doing." (Putting the Mentos in his mouth would probably make them less effective anyway, since the nucleation points on their surfaces would dissolve away.)
  • A shot in Sankarea that shows Chihiro's grandfather eating hydrangea leaves includes a warning to the viewer that hydrangea leaves are poisonous, and that the grandfather's acts should not be imitated.

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Squirrel Girl likes to take advantage of her fourth wall breaking recap pages by warning us kids that we should not replicate the questionable acts done made during the issues. She especially warns us against downloading stuff free of the Internet.
  • Cliff Steele of the Doom Patrol, to goggle-eyed youths with skateboards following one incident: "And remember kids, don't walk through plate-glass windows!"
  • Parodied (we hope) in Archie Sonic, which advises you to not try vibrating your molecules fast enough to slip past an energy barrier.
  • In the first chapter of American Flagg! by Howard Chaykin, an episode of 2031 TV program Bob Violence ends with the show's vigilante title character advising, "And remember, folks—please don't try any of the wacky stunts you've seen tonight... You guys bleed—but I'm a hologram!" This is Hypocritical Humor, because the "Bob Violence" show is packed with subliminal messages designed to make viewers more likely to commit violent crimes.

Fan Works[edit | hide]

  • A Vocaloid Fan Vid advises children not to try any of the things featured in the video at home... in three languages: Traditional Japanese, English, and then Kansai. Considering that it involves Miku juggling balls while Akita's trying to chop her head off, it's pretty well advised.
    • The "Kansai language" is a dialect of Japanese, which is why Miku just looks confused. See for yourself.
    • Although it stretches the definition of "English" pretty thin...
    • Another video of the same author advises, in much the same manner, not trying to juggle a soccer ball while walking the tightrope between two skyscrapers.

Film[edit | hide]

  • In Stay Tuned, Helen, in cartoon form, says "Kids, don't try this at home", as she and Roy are dumping a handheld hair dryer (still plugged in!) into a bathtub filled with water to disable Robo-Cat.
  • Jimmy Neutron, in the film, remarks to Goddard, "Don't try that at home" after shooting a communications toaster satellite into orbit by hand. The important question: why say this, when 99% of households do not contain the materials to produce an upper-atmosphere rocket large enough for two human children and a robot dog?
    • The remaining 1% doesn't either, for the record...
  • At the end of The Men Who Stare at Goats a note includes that people shouldn't try several of the attempted psychic abilities at home, including mind control and cloudbursting while driving. But invisibility's okay. And note that they specifically said "while driving".
    • Well, yeah; cloudbursting while not driving is just staring up at the sky. Elvis used to do it.
  • At the beginning of Beerfest, a movie that (unsurprisingly) involves inhuman amounts of beer ingestion, the viewer is warned that "if you attempt to drink this much...You will die."
  • The protagonist of the second Crow movie says this before taking a mook's gun and shooting himself in the mouth.
  • When Ling Ling Fat is demonstrating his gunpowder at the beginning of Forbidden City Cop, he reminds the audience that Fat Yun is highly trained for such feats, and that children should never attempt detonating gunpoweder in their mouths.
  • In the climactic scene of Follow That Bird, Big Bird is in the back of a truck, in a giant cage, doing about 30 on the interstate. Gordon and Susan have followed him in a Volkswagen Beetle that's had the trunk cover chewed off by Cookie Monster (keep in mind, Volkswagen Beetles have the trunk in the front of the car). Despite the vehement protestations of driver Susan, Gordon leaves the inside of the vehicle through a Cookie Monster-created hole in the roof, and tries to get Big Bird to jump from the cage into the hood.

Big Bird: You should never jump from a moving truck! Why... I shouldn't even be standing up!
Gordon: You have my permission! Just this once. NOW, COME ON!

  • Ice Age had a TV spot for its home video release that showed comic violence throughout the spot over an announcer admonishing "Don't try this at home... or this... or this... or this... or this..."
  • The 2012 The Three Stooges film ends with one of these disclaimers, featuring the directors Breaking the Fourth Wall and demonstrating how much of the physical humor was done with rubber props (the sound effects make it sound realistic) and with safety being the top priority for the production. Seeing that the target audience for the film happens to be children, this is very useful for a film of its type.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • Every instance of someone climbing into the eponymous wardrobe in CS Lewis's first Narnia book, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, is accompanied by the narrator's remarks on how dangerous it is to close oneself into a wardrobe, how smart Lucy and Peter are to leave the door ajar, and how foolish Edmund is to close it on himself—no doubt to prevent children from getting themselves trapped in wardrobes while trying to emulate the Pevensies.
    • This becomes Hilarious in Hindsight as of the Walden Media movie adaptation: one of the outtakes has Edmund climbing into the wardrobe and closing the door behind him... and getting locked in.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: the second book, The Reptile Room, warns the reader to never, ever, ever, ever, ever (continued for slightly more than a page) ever stick things in an electric socket. Ever.
    • We are warned precisely 209 times.
  • The Red Green Book describes a fictional "game" that essentially involves drinking oneself into low-level alcohol poisoning. Understandably, that section of the book contains an editor's note that says "Do not, under any circumstances, ever play this game."
  • Curious George: "George is a monkey, and he does things we can't do."
  • Aside from the Good Omens quote at the top of the page, Terry Pratchett pulls this trope in Interesting Times: When fireworks are mentioned, Rincewind tries to clarify as "The sort of thing where you light the blue touch paper and stick it up your nose?" The helpful footnote on the same page reads, "KIDS! Only very silly wizards with very bad sinus trouble do this. Sensible people go off to a roped-off enclosure where they can watch a heavily protected man, in the middle distance, light (with the aid of a very long pole) something that goes 'fsst.' And then they can shout 'Hooray.'"

"* A message from the author. Not all cauldrons are metal. You can boil water in a leather cauldron, if you know what you are doing. You can even make tea in a paper bag if you are careful and know how to do it. But please don't, or if you do, don't tell anyone I told you."

  • Another Pratchett example: Nation features an afterword discussing the truth behind some implausible-sounding things that happen in the story; most of them are accompanied with warnings that you should not try this at home. The last one ends, instead, with "Whether you try it at home is up to you." That last one is "Thinking."
  • Stephen Colbert's I Am America (And So Can You!) After a comment that the father's role in the family is as protector, so all men should sleep with a 9mm under their pillow and "wake up firing" at any sign of movement:
    • Footnote Fever struck again when Stephen huffed Axe body spray on screen.

Bullet Point: Do not try. Professional breather in closed bag.

  • Roald Dahl's George's Marvellous Medicine begins with a warning to children not to follow the protagonist's lead and start mixing up things they find in their medicine cabinets at home and drinking them because it might make them sick.
    • Or well and truly dead.
  • Parodied in The Action Hero's Handbook: "This book is for action heroes only."
  • Dave Barry's Guide to Guys parodies this in a footnote to a passage overendowed with metaphors: "I am a professional writer. Do not try these metaphors at home."
  • The commentary to several of Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar books discusses the author's love of equestrianism and falconry, and in one notable case is careful to point out that the Tayledras bondbirds and Valdemaran Companions are not normal animals and people should not go into these pursuits expecting real animals to behave like that.
  • In the first book of The Dresden Files, Harry warns us not to try to catch faeries at home, because we don't know what to do when it goes wrong.
  • In Sewer, Gas & Electric, when Morris Kazenstein appears in Dufresne's eco-activist video, he warns kids not to try what he's about to do without parental supervision. Namely, sink an illegal whaling ship with a magnetic railgun that fires whole kosher salami.
  • Pretty much everything Ragnar Benson has ever written is encrusted in warnings that the book in question is for information purposes only and that attempting to actually apply the instructions found within could easily result in a long stay in prison, hospital, or prison hospital. It's probably worth noting at this point that Benson's works include Homemade C4: A Recipe For Survival, The Most Dangerous Game: Advanced Mantrapping Techniques, Ragnar's Guide to Home and Recreational Use of High Explosives, Breath of the Dragon: Homebuilt Flamethrowers, Home-Built Claymore Mines: A Blueprint For Survival, David's Tool Kit: A Citizen's Guide to Taking Out Big Brother's Heavy Weapons, and Homemade Grenade Launchers: Constructing the Ultimate Hobby Weapon.
  • After describing the aftermath of a kitchen grease fire in Maggody and the Moonbeams, Arly warns readers not to set off fire extinguishers indoors to find out if her description is accurate, or they'll be sorry.

Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • The Nickoloden game show Guts had a disclaimer from host Mike O Malley:

Remember, all these events are made with our players safety in mind. They will be wearing safety equipment and will have stunt spotters and stunt coordinators with them at all times. So please, do not try this at home.

  • "We're what you call 'experts'." Jamie and Adam on MythBusters warn off the brain-dead at least twice every episode, with frequent reminders at the start of especially dodgy (or deceptively safe-looking) experiments. See also "We've got thirty years of experience that keeps us safe," and the blanket admonition usually seen at the outset:

Adam: Please, don't try anything you're about to see us do at home.
Jamie: Ever!

    • In an interview, they claimed that they hated to have to say this, because they wanted people (at least those who knew what they were doing) to try their experiments. They did comment that "Diet Coke and Mentos" was entirely safe to try at home, but advised not to do it indoors, since it does tend to make a bit of a mess.
    • They have a book called "Don't Try This at Home (Unless We Tell You to)", which mixes their myths with at-home science experiments.
    • This is also lampshaded by Adam Savage's Twitter account: "@donttrythis".
    • They take the further step, in-episode, of obscuring the labels of dangerous substances. Frequently lampshaded, usually by Adam, as in "Hindenburg Disaster": "This product is made with blur. This product also has some blur in it. You should never mix blur with blur, it's very dangerous."
    • They've also done this with non-dangerous experiments that might be misused, such as the episode where they defeat a fingerprint scanner with a technique more commonly used to etch circuit boards.
    • In the MacGyver episode, however, it was hinted that some things you could go ahead and try to do at home. Mainly because most people had access to that kind of stuff and it wasn't life-threatening. For the most part. Ditto for the phone book episode; you can really interleave the pages of two phone books together without disastrous effects.
    • During the YouTube Special, Adam threatens to "personally come to your house and kick your butt" if he ever finds out that anyone tried the "get a million match heads and set them on fire" myth for themselves.
    • It was also parodied in "You spoof Discovery" - "Remember kids, don't try this at home. Even though it's REALLY COOL and we're giving you step by step instructions on how to do it!"
  • Another Experiment Show, Time Warp, also has disclaimers. On the episode where they brought in someone to blow giant bubbles to see what they were like on the high-speed, though, the hosts said "Do try this at home, it's fun."
  • "Neither you nor your dumb little buddies should attempt anything seen on this show." The original, funnier opening warning of Jackass. Changed to a more serious disclaimer when one of their stunts was tried at home.
    • The show also told viewers not to submit videos of their own stunts, and that any tapes they received would be thrown away unwatched.
  • Brainiac: Science Abuse not only uses this a lot, but invariably reinforces it a few seconds later with "No, really -- Don't." Often associated with putting things in microwave ovens that cause them to explode.
    • "No, really" was Richard Hammond's coda. When Vic Reeves took over, he changed it to "Don't try this at home -- or indeed any other place". This was probably because the producers realised that the phrase alone is so clichéd now that people don't actually register its meaning any more when they hear it.
  • Penn & Teller produced a special entitled Don't Try This At Home! which subverted this by mostly containing stunts which were impossible to do at home anyway, such as enclosing themselves in a tent with a million bees, or counterweighting a truck with several tons of stage weights to drive it over Teller's chest. Further subverted for humourous effect later in the special, when they demonstrate the use of hydraulic squibs for producing blood effects by having Teller throw marshmallows at Penn's fake body—near the end of the scene, Penn yells, "Guess what, kids? You can try this at home!"
  • Back in the 1980s, on the David Letterman Show, Letterman would occasionally warn the viewers, "Don't try this at home." On at least one occasion, after witnessing an especially bizarre stunt, he looked at the camera and said, "Go to a friend's house instead."
    • This punchline was also used by The Reduced Shakespeare Company. The guys are about to perform Hamlet really fast (as in the entire play in under a minute). They give a short disclaimer to the effect that props will be thrown about, etc., and the audience should not try this at home. Adam tosses back "go to a friend's house" as he assumes his position.
    • Once when crushing random things with a huge block, Letterman used this variant:

"It would be very irresponsible of me not to tell you kids that when you try this at home with your own crane and your own three thousand pound block, be very, very careful."

    • Once while wearing a suit of magnets, Letterman warned kids not to walk up to the TV with magnets because they will destroy it. A few seconds later he said, "Hell what do I care. Try it at home."
  • Avoided in MacGyver: There probably was no single instance of this happening, and MacGyver did some awesomely dangerous stuff with things kids could easily get their hands on. Granted, a number of the things while technically possible and based on scientific principles are pretty much impossible to pull off. Plus, in interviews the writers stated that if something was truly dangerous they'd often omit a crucial component so that people couldn't get hurt trying it.
  • There was a "shockumentary" about sharks, where one man in a wet suit was in a boat dangerously close to sharks, and trying to reach his arm out to attach a tracker (or something). The narrator then said "Don't try this at home", in a completely non-mocking, serious way. One would wonder how you could get close to a shark within your own home.
  • In Beakman's World, one particularly dangerous demonstration involving ammonia and strong acids has a comical quick cut beforehand of all the characters turning in place with klaxons blaring and rotating red lights flashing before cutting a particularly urgent "Don't try this..." warning.
    • On the whole, however, this trope is actually avoided, as with careful following of the instructions and parental supervision, you could do most of the experiments shown at home. The "safe" stunts had their own warning: "Experiments should be performed only with adult supervision, and all appropriate safety precautions should be taken. All directions should be followed exactly, and no substitutions should be used."
  • That's Incredible was famous in the early 1980s for the use of this phrase to disclaim its many stunts, which was understandable considering how many real stuntmen were injured appearing on the show. However, they lampshaded themselves in a story on how a young girl spent a $5 bill containing a birthday inscription from her grandfather, and then received the same bill many years later as change for a purchase. The odds they gave (completely ignoring any multiplicity effects) for receiving that exact bill were something like six quintillion to one. The number is so high to count that they exhorted viewers Don't Try This At Home.
  • In the Spike series 1000 Ways to Die, the disclaimer is probably the one that gets the most to the point: "Do not attempt to try any of the actions depicted! YOU WILL DIE!"
    • In bloody red letters to boot (no pun intended).
  • On a Farscape transcript Ben Browder tells people not attempt Unity, a special alien mental bond. Since the closest anyone could come to it is banging their heads together and hoping for the best this probably wasn't necessary. Probably.
  • There was a programme on ITV with the title Don't Try This At Home. It featured numerous dangerous acts including climbing up very high cliffs in awful weather and doing the tightrope inside a building.
  • At the end of every Gladiators episode.
  • Subversion: in one episode of Good Eats, while Alton carves a roast the scrolling text at the bottom of the screen says "Semi-skilled professional in a real kitchen... do try this at home... but be careful won't you?"
    • Alton seems to like parodying this trope; another variation (spotted in "Raising the Steaks" as AB chows down on a homemade fajita) reads "Professional eater on closed course. Don't try this without a napkin."
    • "Closed course" warning was also present in "Romancing the Bird", while making cornbread pudding blindfolded.
  • A comedy sketch show featured a man who came to see a doctor because whenever he walked he would make a funny sound (he farted with every step). Eventually the doctor told the man to shut his eyes, he went to a window and opened it, said to the screen "don't try this at home" and leaped out.
  • Tomica Hero Rescue Fire had a variation/lampshade. Ritsuka was fighting a pair of Ninja Jakkast who were using a giant spoon and a large metal pot. She attacked them because she didn't want to see any cute little kids imitating them.
  • On an episode of QI it was revealed that custard is dense enough to walk on if you have, say, a kiddie pool full of it. The panel jumped at the opportunity to tell any kids watching that they definitely should try this at home.
  • "We would like to point out that Ecky Thump is the ancient Lancastrian art of self defence. When practised by the untrained, it could be dangerous."
  • Aversion: Appears nowhere at all in Top Gear, possibly because no one watching at home has the wherewithal to do most of their more outlandish stunts.
    • Although Clarkson has been told he has to look disapproving whenever something illegal is mentioned. He remembers this occasionally.
  • Scare Tactics: "Watching us is hilarious, imitating us is dangerous. Don't do it."
  • "Captain Scarlet is indestructible. You are not. Remember this, Do not try to impersonate him."
  • Frequently played around with on Tosh.0. Exaggerated when Daniel plays "Guess What Happens Next" with a video of an Asian kid who lights his crotch on fire; he spends about a minute driving home the point that viewer should not try this at home.
    • Zig Zagged with "Surprise Trust Falls". Subverted when Daniel follows his surprise trust falls by saying, "Feel free to send us your own surprise trust falls to our website, and be careful." Doubly subverted when Daniel is "forced" to ask people to stop doing them after people start sending in their own videos. Triply subverted when, after showing the surprise trust falls already sent in, Daniel says, "Screw it, keep sending them in!"
  • Web Soup has a segment called "Please, please, please, for the love of God, don't try this at home!"
  • When Power Rangers first aired in the UK, it was broadcast in ITV's morning slot as part of their breakfast show GMTV. GMTV also included a fitness segment with "Mr Motivator", who would appear before Power Rangers to warn viewers that the Rangers were played by trained martial artists/stunt performers and kids should Not Try This At Home.
    • This was also done when Power Rangers aired on Fox Kids UK at the end of every episode. "You are advised that the fight scenes in Power Rangers (Whatever series it was) are performed by trained martial arts experts and should not be performed at home."
  • Lost: The DVD featurettes of Terry O'Quinn (John Locke) throwing huge knives are always accompanied by a warning not to repeat it without a professional trainer at your hand.
  • The Young Ones - "The BBC would like to warn small children that putting people in old refrigerators is a bloody stupid thing to do."
  • Back in the 1960s Bob Monkhouse's Mad Movies frequently had Monkhouse telling kids never to copy dangerous stunts from silent movies.
  • Jokingly shown on the sitcom Arrested Development, where when Gob combines eating a sandwich, applesauce, and drinking from three bottles of liquor in order to swallow a key for his magic trick, the words "Professional magician, do not attempt at home" appear on screen.
  • One of the charms of Sons of Guns is Will coming up with some new way to remind the viewers at the start of the episode that they're professionals and to not try this at home. What they don't mention is that plenty of what they do with fully automatic weapons and suppressors is illegal for those without the proper licensing.
  • Ed The Sock would point out it was only OK for him to smoke because he's a puppet.
  • After one sketch on Harry Hill's TV Burp, he lampshaded this by telling the camera: "Now kids, some grownups think that because you've seen me do this, you might try it, and they write to ITV to complain. So just to be sure: DON'T CUT YOUR HAND OFF WITH A CLEAVER! Aren't grownups silly?"
    • And in a later show, when he has dropped a washing machine on his own head: a klaxon goes off, "Don't try this at home!" is flashed up as a caption... and he says "You hadn't even thought about it till I just said that, had you?"
  • Cake Boss has needed to invoke this on occasion. When they made a cake for Grucci Fireworks (which included live fireworks), the episode opened with a safety warning. And then Buddy blew up a test cake trying to see how this was going to work; maybe he should have watched the safety warning.
    • When Buddy was asked to make a fire-breathing cake, he invoked this trope by name during a test run.
  • Dick And Dom Go Wild open each show with a reminder that they're working with trained animal handlers and kids shouldn't approach wild animals on their own, and repeat it if they do anything particularly dangerous (or cute, like feeding fawns.) And when Dick did the notorious cow pregnancy test:[1] "This probably doesn't need saying, but don't try this yourselves."

Music[edit | hide]

  • The song "Cartoon Heroes" by Aqua features the line "What we do is what you just can't do" to remind kids not to try all the things they see their cartoon heroes doing.
  • When the Irish music group Darby O'Gill covered Tom Lehrer's The Irish Ballad, they added this disclaimer after detailing one of the female protagonist's murders.
  • Songs to Wear Pants To's "I am The Reason Why Girls Are Hot" ends with "Yo I got a flamethrower and a microwave \ bring any girl to me and I'll make her real hot \ Don't try this at home, kids... bring her to my house".
  • "Hellbent" by Self includes the line "I've been trying things at home that I saw on television, and I'm doin' 'em wrong!

New Media[edit | hide]

  • The straightest, most serious and most thoroughly justified example imaginable appears at the beginning of one Escape Pod sci-fi short fiction podcast. The content warnings are usually delivered in a fairly lighthearted manner, but when one story featured auto-erotic asphyxiation by young children as a plot point, there was an audible note of fear in host Stephen Eley's voice as he delivered the warning. Listen to it here, and please, heed the warning.
  • Cracked.com's list of 6 Death-Defying Stunts That Are Secretly Easy to Do repeatedly says "Seriously, don't try this yourself."
  • This video starring the Swedish Chef of The Muppets fame warns at the beginning "The Swedish Chef is a trained professional. (Sort of) Do not try this at home. (Seriously) Thanks. (Really)"

Newspaper Comics[edit | hide]

  • One The Far Side, showing a kid sticking his head in a missile silo, had the following caption:

Don't ever, ever do this.

  • Spoofed in one Rubes strip that showed a man's gravestone with the epitaph "He tried it at home". The widow viewing the grave says "I told him not to".

Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

Radio[edit | hide]

  • Parodied in an episode of Hello Cheeky. The gang present kung fu on radio, followed by about fifteen seconds of exaggerated yelling. This is followed by "Children are warned not to do what we have just done, because you feel a right berk."

Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • There is a rather hilarious "disclaimer" in Exalted first edition rulebook that goes "Exalted is not really the secret history of the world. You cannot really cast spells. You should not hit your friends or loved ones with swords. This game is not intended to be played by people who can't tell the difference between fantasy and reality."
    • Of course, given how detailed and immersive the setting is, this might be helpful actually...
  • A review of the notoriously panned FATAL, which can be found here (DANGER: LANGUAGE USED IS DECIDEDLY NSFW), features the memorable line from Jason Sartin, "Remember, folks, Darren's a professional, and we're reviewing on a closed course. Don't projectile vomit blood at home!"
  • Many fantasy roleplaying games have a disclaimer in which the authors basically tell the reader not to become involved in the occult simply because the game world postulates that magic actually works. (The disclaimer in C. J. Carella's Witchcraft is particularly humorous in this regard.) Weis and Hickman's Darksword Adventures contains the rules for Phantasia, a roleplaying game set in the Darksword novels' world of Thimhallan. One of the book's conceits is that it was written by a character in the fictional world for Earth humans (a future advanced spacefaring culture, who refer to the planet as "Kinsky-3"), and that the game is actually played in the fictional world. In Thimhallan, magic is Life and Technology, or Death is considered Evil, and so the "author" cautions readers against playing characters who have no ability to use magic, and expresses reservations about discussing the "Dark Arts" of technology within the rules.

Theatre[edit | hide]

Video Games[edit | hide]

Guybrush: It just occurred to me that mixing medicine and alcohol is a really stupid and possibly lethal thing to do. If I were a real person instead of a lovable, inept cartoon character with the potential for a few more sequels... I wouldn't even consider it. Skoal!

  • In Day of the Tentacle, Laverne revives a hamster from cryogenic suspension by putting it in a microwave. She then turns to the camera and remarks that you should never do this unless you have access to a highly advanced future microwave. "Kids who put hamsters in microwaves back where I'm from get taken away from their parents and put up for adoption. So DON'T do it!"
    • This is most likely a reference to a (in)famous scene the previous game, Maniac Mansion, in which certain characters could blow up Weird Ed's hamster in the microwave. DOTT treat this event as canon: Ed is still traumatized by the loss of his hamster and has undergone several years of therapy. (Which makes it all the more amusing that the hamstersicle is also his pet).
      • Was it specifically for microwaving the hamster, or just intruders in his house stealing it? Because while you don't have to microwave the hamster in the course of the game, you do have to steal it to find the keycard that opens Dr. Fred's lab.
  • "The skaters depicted in this game are either professionals, made-up, or just plain crazy."—The Tony Hawks games.
  • The Need for Speed series always included a short video disclaimer about safe driving, delivered by whomever was playing the hottie in the FMV cutscenes.
  • Lampshaded in Ratchet: Deadlocked, which had Dallas, the male announcer spouting out random comments while you fight, say "Remember, don't try any of this at home. Go to a friend's house!"
  • Psymon Stark in the SSX series will occasionally shout, "Don't try that at home, kids!" after landing a death-, logic- and gravity-defying snowboard trick.
  • Used in a more subtle way in Saints Row, during a mission after trying to find out the recipe for Loa Dust, Tobia's wife tells about what is in the Loa Dust but does not explicitly tell what exactly it is made of to the player and gives it to Shaundi instead. Given the possible controversy of teaching gamers to produce real life chemical drugs. It was a good idea anyway.
  • Used in the title of an Xbox game, Backyard Wrestling -- Don't Try This At Home, featuring various characters (including members of Insane Clown Posse) mauling one-another with garden-tools and various common-household improvised-weaponry.
  • Some Eroge come packaged with a message like this. An example can be found here.
    • "no actual or identifiable minor was used during the process of creating the artwork or characters portrayed in this game. " unidentifiable and and non actual minors on the other hand?
  • If the player falls hard in Backyard Skateboarding, Erik says "Don't try this at home, kids" after landing.
  • In Brutal Legend, Eddie Riggs can perform an attack with the roadie unit where he holds his guitar in front of the amplifiers the roadie is carrying, and play it, hurting enemies with feedback. While doing so, he'll remind the player that he is a professional and not to do this themselves.
  • Tekken Tag Tournament PlayStation 2's bowling minigame, when the player overcharges and gets a foul, or chooses to knock out someone with the ball on either side of the bowling alley.
    • The manual is more serious, stating the game is for entertainment purposes and states not to try and use the moves at home.
  • From Strong Bads Cool Game for Attractive People: Baddest of the Bands:

Strong Bad: Kids, this may look like fun, but Strong Bad is a stunt driver on a closed course with a team of licensed crustacean wranglers backing him up. So remember, NEVER put live buttered lobsters down your pants... Unless, you know, you got five bucks riding on it. Then knock yourself out.

Do not try to recreate the cake in the real world. Some people might not appreciate the idea of their heads blown off by a birthday cake.

  • Rune Factory: Frontier pulled this when you're trying to cheat on your wife by triggering the "Love Confession" scenes. If Raguna is already married, his wife will come and beat him up, following with the line "* Do not try this at home." after the screen has turned white.
  • Monday Night Combat announcer Mickey Cantor sometimes lampoons the trope as parting words. An example:

"Remember the violence you see here is performed by trained combat professionals with a deep personal hatred for their opponents. Do not try any of these things you see here at home, unless you have a certified copy of our home game."

  • The Spider-Man game tying into the latest set of movies had a spoof message in the tutorial. When it comes to web-slinging, Spidey informs children that they should not try this at home... because "your house isn't nearly tall enough".
  • Both Jet Set Radio games have the following disclaimer at the start of the game.

"Graffiti is art. However, graffiti as an act of vandalism is a crime. Every state/province has vandalism laws that apply to graffiti, and local entities such as cities and counties have anti-graffiti ordinances. Violation of these laws can result in a fine, probation, or a jail sentence. Sega does not condone the real life act of vandalism in any form."

Web Comics[edit | hide]

And do not, under any circumstances, attempt to emulate Kyros. He is a trained idiot.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Later episodes of Beavis and Butthead were prefaced with a voiceover pointing out that flesh and blood human beings aren't likely to survive some of the imbecilic stunts that the cartoon characters pull off. "Some of the things they do might cause a real person to get hurt, expelled, arrested -- possibly even deported."
    • "If you're not a cartoon character, swallowing a rubber full of drugs will probably kill you."
  • On an episode of Drawn Together, Captain Hero says "No one ever dies, watch!" before cutting his head off with a sword, and walking back onscreen. He then states "Now you try!"
  • Parodied in the Futurama where Bender becomes famous, then infamous, for children imitating his televised behavior.

Bender: Try this, kids at home! (lights self on fire)
Disclaimer: Don't try this, kids at home.

    • Parodied again, in the same episode. The kids decide to mimic Bender's actions, and find that drinking and smoking only makes them puke. So they decide to steal instead. One of the kids mentions TV gave them the idea, summoning the disclaimer that Futurama (with a voiceover from Bender no less) does not condone robbery.

Bender: You're watching Futurama, the show that does not condone the cool crime of robbery.

  • Every episode of Total Drama Island begins with Chris informing us that "This episode of TDI contains scenes of extreme stunts performed by animated teens. Do not try any of what you see here at home. Seriously, you could get really messed up." The latest version has him going out of his way to stress the part about "Animated Teens"; as he says the words 'animated teens' very slowly, the letters A-N-I-M-A-T-E-D T-E-E-N-S are themselves animated to emphasize how stupid it would be to do what he forces his victims to do.
    • Maybe in the original, but never in the American version. Considering our Media Watchdogs, that's rather surprising.
  • Supposedly part of an aborted plan to give Jake Long's dragon form helmet was based on the prospect of children imitating it. Yeah, children turning into a dragon and flying without a helmet, makes perfect sense.
  • Sometimes in Animaniacs before they were about to viciously attack an enemy or do a dangerous stunt, Yakko would tell the audience "Kids don't try this at home."
  • Sometimes before they were about to do something dangerous in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, Raphael would say, "Kids don't try this at home."
    • Even Rocksteady said this deliberately to the audience after he and Bebop jumped off the back of the subway train.
    • Played as a joke in Donatello's opening narration in one episode of the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon: "Warning: the stunt you are about to witness is performed by professional maniacs..."
  • A Garfield and Friends episode entitled Lemon Aid had this. Long story short, Jon, Garfield and Odie were in Jon's car, chasing another out-of-control car down a pier. Garfield leans out the window holding a harness attached to a rope, as he is about to save the man in the other car, and says to the camera, "Kids, don't try this at home. We're professionals, and also we're cartoon characters." It was a really long pier.
    • In another episode, Garfield leads a pursuing dog into a box for sawing someone in half. Shortly after he starts sawing the box, he pauses to tell viewers, "Don't try this at home."
  • Disney's newest animated show Kick Buttowski basically is a personification of the trope.
  • In one episode of Sam and Max Freelance Police, Sam says "Remember, kids, we're professional cartoon characters. Don't try this at home!" and proceeds to use Max as a projectile battering ram (just after the 4:00 mark).
    • And in another short, after in an attempt to show how useful a vice is for randomly crushing things, Max detonates a sea mine.

On second thoughts, don't try this at home. Leave it to the professional boneheads.

Etno: "Remember folks, don't try this at home."
Candy: "You could hurt yourself..."
Bud and Gorgeous: "...or someone you love."
Stereo "So remember, have a safe...
Santa Claus: "...and happy holiday!"

  • In the first episode of Johnny Test, Johnny tries to fly using cardboard wings from atop a ladder. Dukey addresses the camera:

Dukey: "Kids, don't try this at home."

  • An episode of I Am Weasel featured the creation of onion rings by putting onion rings all over someone's face and then sticking said face in a vat of boiling oil. The creator acknowledges that the man about to undergo this is "a professional boiling-oil stuntman" and adds that you really, really don't want to try doing this at home.
  • In an episode of Jackie Chan Adventures, Jackie and Jade swap bodies, allowing Jade to finally do all the things she's been warned never to do every episode beforehand. Jackie as Jade, then dropkicks some Shadowkhan, runs up a wall to knock out another two, and immediately warns Jade never 'to try that at home'.
  • One TV ad for the DVD release of Ice Age shows clips from the movie with the announcer saying, "Don't try this at home... or this... or this..." over and over again as the characters do dangerous things to "Orpheus in the Underworld".
  • Spoken several times in Tom and Jerry Kids, usually by a human character, just before Tom was about to do something dangerous. One of them involved him splitting in two, and going around a tree from both sides.
  • Bonkers says as much during the introduction.
  • Even the animated series Attack of the Killer Tomatoes would have the cast members saying this from time to time.

Igor: Kids, do NOT try this at home!!!

  • Episode 4 of Ultimate Spider Man begins with Spidey riding the Spider-Cycle in a subway tunnel. He looks at the audience, in the way he often does on the show, and says, "No, I'm not allowed to do this. And neither are you."

Real Life[edit | hide]

  • The real-life Trope Namer was the late motorcycle stunt man Evel Knievel, who on his numerous televised death-defying feats in the 1970s included the same disclaimer: "Kids, don't try this at home."
  • Some humorous variants of this are "Don't try this at home. Try it on the hospital steps." and "Don't try this at home. Go to a friend's house.
  • Rudy Coby got an audience member -- a middle-aged woman -- onstage as part of one trick, and had her give the warning: "Kids, don't try this at home."
  • Dane Cook joked about turning the nozzle for a glass cleaner halfway between on/off and to not try it at home, but knew someone in the audience would do it when they got home anyway.
    • More specifically that doing that would either do nothing or release a ghost.

Dane Cook as the ghost: "Mwhahaha, he told you not to! I am Windextor! I will clean your soul!"

  • At one of his concerts, Meat Loaf noticed some young children in the audience. He told them "Kids, don't talk like I do when you get home." (Meat Loaf tends to use swear words on stage.) And adds "Wait 'till you get to school!"
  • One psychology textbook talks about neurosurgeons a half century ago discovering that stimulating different areas on the exposed motor cortex caused different parts of the body to respond. In parentheses, the book adds, "Kids, don't try this without parental supervision."
  • In an interesting subversion, scientist Theodore Gray's rather awesome book Mad Science: Experiments you can do at home...but probably shouldn't contains fifty-odd experiments that go from making your own 1-volt batteries, casting zinc, anodising titanium and making copper penny foils, to an experiment with 30 pounds of mercury and making your own salt using chlorine and sodium!! In the front of the book Gray talks about how 'don't try this at home' is stifling the inquisitive natures required for tomorrow's chemists. Instead, he says that if you promise to protect your hands and eyes (especially eyes; he has nightmares about the mother of a child blinded doing his experiments telling him off) and use common sense, he will tell you what the real dangers are for each gnarly experiment. To this end, some of the actually doable experiments which have an element of danger are lacking somewhat in the instructions, meaning one will need a basic knowledge of the chemistry behind the experiment before it will work.
  • Professor Stewart's Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities illustrates parity by describing a con-trick, requiring "three cups and one mug". Stewart adds "Do not try this at home or anywhere else ... or if you do, keep me out of it."
  • A live stage show at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, on Horror Movie Make-Up, warns children not to try this at home. "That's right. Try it at a friend's house."
  1. Yes, the one where you stick your arm up the cow's arse to feel the condition of its uterus