Gone Horribly Right

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to: navigation, search

You'd think the opposite of Gone Horribly Wrong would be a good thing.

You'd be wrong. Dead wrong.

Rather than have something unexpected happen, the researchers have everything proceed in an orderly fashion, up to the point when the experiment is about to conclude and make the Super Prototype, harness the power of a supernova/black hole, or otherwise be put to use. The results are everything they hoped for; better, in fact. Unfortunately, they've succeeded too well, and it's this success that dooms them. Either it turns out to be too intense, too powerful, or too strong-willed to be controlled. Or they just forgot the 'control' part. Or maybe they just didn't fully consider the full consequences of what they wanted to do.

The results are either a runaway chain reaction that threatens to destroy the facility/Universe, a weapon that not only annihilates its target but has high (or total) collateral damage, or a Psycho Prototype that refuses to obey orders...or obeys them only too well. Other times, they find out the result was something they shouldn't have attempted in the first place. The Potential Applications were so exclusively in the evil/destructive side that the project had no possible use but to destroy. Or the technology infringes on something man was not meant to know or create. Alternatively, they could fully understand the purpose and consequences of the technology but it ends up in the wrong hands.

Things that have Gone Horribly Right might not be immediately apparent. The researchers may create and market an entire product line based on their Super Prototype that only later turns on them, or over-performs their duty like, say, a genetically engineered plant that has a high CO2 consumption out-competing every other plant on the planet and causing massive fires to keep feeding. Usually this is paired with a Fantastic Aesop that (heavily) implies the intended use or goal of the research is to blame.

Most examples of A.I. Is a Crapshoot are this (and see also The Computer Is Your Friend). A Sub-Trope of Literal Genie, basically putting it in the scientific category as opposed to Be Careful What You Wish For, which is when what the character wanted falls in their lap through coincidence or magic rather than their own planning and hard work. Compare Springtime for Hitler, What Could Possibly Go Wrong?, Nice Job Breaking It, Hero or Hoist by His Own Petard.

Examples of Gone Horribly Right include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • In episode 15 and 16 of Season 2's Ah! My Goddess, Marller manages to separate Urd's evil half from her good half and transport it to an artificial body that looks exactly like Urd. Seems to go well for Marller, until evil Urd starts to suffer a Superpower Meltdown due to her body being unable to handle the magic being used. In addition, the evil half seems to want to do things even Marller hadn't thought of, or wanted to do, such as taking over the world, rather than simply simply kicking the goddesses out of Earth.
  • Akira: The experiment in this movie was just a really, really bad idea, as was demonstrated twice over.
  • Monster: Johan Liebert was part of a social engineering experiment to create vicious, emotionless Super Soldiers. Unfortunately for those in charge, he took to it very well indeed. By which we mean no one else made it out alive.
  • Saikano. The goal was to make an unstoppable killing machine. The problem came when said killing machine became a bit too unstoppable. Eventually, she begins to find the whole war pointless. It's all the same, just with different uniforms. If they're all going to die anyway, why should she pick and choose who she kills? At that point, she just starts nuking major cities. This being Saikano, It Got Worse.
  • The scientists in Pokémon the First Movie created Mewtwo, who was not entirely happy with the circumstances of his birth. He was also extremely powerful...that didn't work out too well.
  • The Big Bad of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S is a genetically-engineered Mad Scientist who turned out to be a lot better at his job than his creators had intended.
    • Interestingly, one of the main heroines of the series, and the one who personally defeats the Big Bad at that, had years earlier been created by him. As was the case with his own creators, he found that overachieving has its perils.
  • In Uchuu Senkan Yamato, the heroes first use their Wave Motion Gun to destroy an enemy base on Jupiter's Floating Continent. To their shock, they find out just how powerful the gun is when the resultant blast destroys the entire continent and almost destroys their ship. From then on, they're far more judicious about when to use the thing.
  • A similar type one happens in Robotech/Macross when the SDF-1 is programmed to do a space fold to the moon. It is floating above Macross Island when it warps out. Since the crew didn't understand entirely how the space fold system worked, there were...complications. The warp bubble was large enough to warp out the SDF-1...and the entire island, including two ships docked in Macross Bay! Fortunately, the island's denizens were in airtight emergency bunkers, so no one (that we know of) died. Also, they ended up on the far side of Mars Pluto! However, the people on board the Daedalus and Prometheus weren't so lucky. The Daedalus was an amphibious assault vehicle (not submarine), and the Prometheus was a semi-submersible aircraft carrier. According to the show, neither ship could be hailed and were immediately assumed to have all hands lost due to the neither being designed for space. Roleplaying supplemental information states that crew of the Prometheus survived because of the semi-submersible construction.
    • In The Shadow Chronicles, Netron-S Missiles turns out to be this. Had even a single missile detonated on Earth, it would turn Earth into a black hole, obliterating all the Invids and humans still there, AND obliterate the entire RDF fleet.
  • The back story, the "scenarios", and the resolution of Neon Genesis Evangelion show that GEHIRN, SEELE, and NERV all have far far worse horribly right effects on their world that anything before.
  • Nina of Code Geass feels this way upon seeing the aftermath of her invention, the FLEIJA warhead. Hint: it goes off in the middle of Tokyo, causing 35 million casualties.
  • Guyver: The Bioboosted Armor. Aliens invent biological symbiotic armor. Good. Aliens invent a new species designed for combat. Great. Aliens give the species the armo- ABORT! ABORT! SWEET JESUS, IT HAS A PARTICLE CANNON FOR A TORSO!
  • Dragonball Z has Broly, the villain of several Non Serial Movies, who is essentially the Saiyan's Generational Messiah. He is also an Omnicidal Maniac, and at the top of his list is one of the few surviving members of his species, Son Goku.
    • The Main Series also features Majin Buu. The Wizard Bibidi wanted to create a being of unstoppable power, became horrified by his creation and sealed him away. His son, Babidi, later arrogantly awakened Buu...but Buu eventually decided he didn't like taking orders from an inferior being.
    • Also, the Saiyan race as a whole. Originally a tribe of wandering space barbarians, they were unable to evolve beyond their barbaric level. So they joined Frieza's Army where Frieza offered to uplift them into a technologicaly, spacefaring race in exchange for their services. By then, however, the Saiyan had grown so powerful, and so advanced, to pose a danger to Frieza himself, who felt compelled to wipe out their race. However, since he had groomed the Saiyans into a spacefaring, unstoppable warrior race, some of them were able to escape...guess who killed Frieza many years later?
    • How about the Androids? Dr. Gero created the Androids in order to kill Goku, but the Androids were too strong to be controlled, and killed Dr. Gero. They were then absorbed by Cell, and with his newfound abilities, Cell threatened to destroy the galaxy, and also killed Goku.
  • Almost every single surgery that occurs in Franken Fran. For the clients, at least. Fran herself is just happy to have more patients test subjects.
  • Naruto: Gaara was, by the will of the Fourth Kazekage, made to be a human super weapon via demonic sealing at (or, technically, not long before) birth. It worked a little too well. Well...technically it would have succeeded just fine had the villagers at large not given him the All of the Other Reindeer treatment or worse. Something that's apparently common for Jinchuriki. But after Gaara got into his "kill everyone" stage, the Kazekage, having invested years into training Gaara as an unstoppable, invincible weapon, admitted defeat and tried to have Gaara assassinated. Except he was an unstoppable, invincible weapon who killed all of the assassins.
    • Orochimaru's training of Sasuke ended up with this. Orochimaru wanted to make Sasuke as strong as he possibly could so that he could have a perfect vessel. They agreed on the first part but differed on the second, and it turned out Sasuke was much better trained that Orochimaru believed...which didn't work out well for him.
    • Congratulations, Itachi. Your attempts to turn your little brother into a nigh-invincible, revenge-bent One-Man Army worked. Too bad people like that aren't interested in returning home a hero to live peacefully surrounded by friends like you wanted.
  • The D-Reaper of Digimon Tamers started out as a harmless automatic utility program designed to delete any data that grows beyond its original parameters and becomes a threat to the integrity of the system. Eventually this thing came to live dormant in the Digital World, and eventually evolved into a nihilistic cybernetic menace Powered by a Forsaken Child and began wreaking havoc in both the Digital and Real Worlds. In this, it has a single purpose: follow its prime directive to the letter by deleting anything that grows too much. Unfortunately, by that point, that directive pretty much means "delete everything".
    • Also in Tamers, when Leomon is murdered, Takato flips his shit and orders Guilmon to evolve to the Ultimate (Mega, in the dub) level and punish him. He does. Both worlds nearly collapse as a result of the very existence of this thing.
  • In Digimon Adventure 02, when Archnemon created BlackWarGreymon from her own hair and a massive number of Dark Towers from Ken's former regime, she probably didn't expect him to go insane from reflection over the implications of his formation. It certainly didn't help matters that he was a Mega-level, and therefore significantly more powerful than anyone in the existing cast even up to his death.
  • Researchers in Bio-Meat: Nectar created eponymous BMs. They can and do eat anything except for glass, metal, and fiberglass (and apparently stone), to serve as living waste utilizers. They also are tough enough to chew through anything short of these materials. They are supposed to be an ultra cheap food source, and so they can multiply extremely rapidly, as long as there is enough food for them. And did we mention that they eat anything? Three guesses what happened after some of them got out of containment.
  • In Koe de Oshigoto!, Kanna nervously asks her sister what anal sex is like, because she doesn't know how to convey it through her acting, but Yayoi just tells her that she should "completely become the character of the game" and assume that it feels good. A short while later in the recording booth, she goes so far into character that she actually tries initiate anal sex with Motoki.
  • In Da Capo, the Giant Sakura Tree was intended to look after Sakura after her grandmother's death and use its magic to fulfill all her wishes. Unfortunately, Sakura grows up to be a clingy jealous Yandere on the losing end of a love triangle and the tree grants subconcious wishes.
    • This is only in the anime. In the original Visual Novel Sakura is doing it unconsciously herself.
  • In Pet Shop of Horrors, one story centers around the idea of dieting. Two of the characters (an overweight schoolgirl and a boxer) diet through exercise, discipline, and a balanced diet and end up doing well. The third dieter is a model who was told by a fellow model about a miracle pill that would let her shed pounds while letting her eat whatever she wanted. It worked great at first, until she ended up getting bone-skinny, losing her hair, always being cold, and constantly suffering from hunger and thirst. Eventually this ends when her body crumbles and a being that resembles the model (only inhumanly beautiful) bursts out. It's revealed that the same thing had happened to the model that suggested the pill in the first place, and she even says "There are thousands of people who are dying to shed a few pounds. We just need to take them on their word."
  • Argubly, from Kyubey's point of view in Puella Magi Madoka Magica: throughout the series he had been trying to get Madoka to make a pact with him, and when she does due to Homura constantly rewriting time/making alternate universes to prevent Madoka making the contract (only making Madoka more powerful each time), Madoka manages to completely overturn Kyubey's wish-granting power. Sure, he finally got to make a pact with one of the people with the potential to be the most powerful Puella Magi (and consequently witch) in all of history, but in doing so Madoka used her wish to completely rewrite the universe.
  • "Kodoku Experiment" is basically "Gone Horribly Right The Manga". The Manipulative Bitch Captain Bagures and leader of the research spacecraft, who as part of an experiment to create the perfect biological weapon, takes a bunch of vicious carnivorous engineered creatures and puts them on another planet so they fight for survival and leave the strongest one standing. With the planet dying and ready to explode, a military team is sent down on the inhospitable planet. Unbeknownst to them they were all simply another part of the Captain's twisted experiments, and they all die horribly except for one last survivor, who promises revenge on the Captain before his memories are assimilated by a nearby literal Starfish Alien. Said alien is not only Nigh Invulnerable as it survives the planetary explosion in the form of a shriveled up fossil, but it is also The Virus when it creates more versions of itself simply by flashing some alien light from its eyestalks on any unfortunate onlooker, even through video recordings http://mangafox.me/manga/kodoku_experiment/v01/c003/17.html. This is in addition to its vast array of other abilities, all of them veered towards a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the Captain.


Comics[edit | hide]

  • In the British Sonic the Comic, Robotnik builds a robot who is designed to think and act exactly like him... and thus wants to usurp his position. As it turns out, the robot, Brutus, is actually more imposing than Robotnik and manages to defeat Sonic, leading to a Crowning Moment of Awesome when Robotnik, the only one capable of defeating Brutus, busts onto the scene wearing custom-built Powered Armor and tears Brutus apart.
    • Metallix, the STC version of Metal Sonic, was also a Robotnik-built rebellious robot. However, rather than fight Robotnik itself, it disappeared only to return with an army of mass-produced copies of itself.
      • In the American Archie Sonic the Hedgehog series, the former Julian Kintobor Robotnik creates a robotic vine known as Krudzu, which runs rampant in the Great Forest until they're destroyed with water. Snively and Antione attempt to find another set, but are destroyed in the process. One last batch evolved into a deadly "Krudzu Hybrid Hydra", only to be destroyed by Dr. Eggman, who felt that only he could defeat Sonic.
  • Calvin didn't want to clean his room, so he made an identical clone of himself and ordered the clone to clean his room. Naturally, the clone didn't want to clean Calvin's room either, so he ran off to cause mischief, knowing the original Calvin would be blamed. Later in the story, Calvin's clone gets a hold of the duplicator and starts cloning himself, with predictable results.
    • Probably also applies to the second clone storyline, where Calvin makes a clone of simply his good side. The good version of Calvin does indeed do all the chores cheerfully and gets excellent grades—unfortunately, he also writes poetry and makes Valentine cards for Suzie. Again, the original Calvin has to face the consequences.
  • A cartoon from Quino (of Mafalda's fame) has a man teaching his son to be a ruthless businessman caring only for money. Then, when the man is old, is forced to live in the street because the son doesn't want to pay his retirement house. The last panel has the old man begging to a passerby, saying something in the vein is "help me, my son grew up right!"
  • An issue of Justice League of America has the two Mad Scientists Dr. Ivo and Dr. T.O. Morrow team up to both destroy the JLA and prove which of them is the better scientist. Ivo creates a robot body so sophisticated that it can pass as a living thing even to the enhanced senses of Superman. Morrow creates a mind so advanced that it is truly sentient and can fool the telepathy of Martian Manhunter. The resulting "Tomorrow Woman" contains a bomb, and at the moment when the League is at its most vulnerable she will detonate and destroy them all. But she pulls a Heel Face Turn and sacrifices herself to save them instead. Morrow takes this as proof that he is the superior scientist. His robot brain was so advanced that it developed the concept of morality on its own, even though this was deliberately left out of her programming. He even claims that what they witnessed was "a soul being born". Morrow actually suspected this would happen, he's had problems with that before.
    • Mr. Morrow goes and does it again with 'Genocide' who runs off and decided to kill everyone ever. Personally. Then she discovers mental torture.
  • Livewires: a team of ultra-tech androids created to control the spread of ultra-tech in the Marvel Universe. They started with the scientist that created them.
    • Of course, the scientist in question planned it that way. Project Livewire itself was the government acknowledging that rogue agencies were constantly screwing up ultra-tech projects and making the government look bad when superheroes intervened - and decided to start up a project dedicated to that one purpose. The implication is that the head scientist was disgusted with how the government started Livewire without understanding the implications - that they have created so much runaway ultra-tech that they were now starting ultra-tech projects for the sole purpose of policing ultra-tech. His idea was that they should create ultra-tech that replaced human authority, so he made sure the androids would have a Zeroth Law Rebellion.
  • The Red Skull was the result of Hitler wanting to create the perfect Nazi. He succeeded so well that eventually Hitler became afraid of him.
    • Multiple writers have stated that Red Skull is just pure evil incarnate but due to fate, would have remained a generic racist working odd jobs and repressing his hatred for the world around him due to the fact that he was a loser who never had a single break in his life up until the fateful day he was sent to Hitler's room to bring him his lunch and was present when Hitler made his infamous boast.
  • In the original Dark Phoenix Saga, Mastermind manipulated Phoenix's mind to remove both her morals and the blocks she'd put on her cosmic power. The result was...a little more than he could handle. Dark Phoenix "rewarded" Mastermind by giving him exactly what he wanted: she made his mind "one with the universe", shattering his sanity in the process as the human brain lacks the capacity to comprehend what he'd experienced.
    • Similarly, with Madelyne Pryor: When S'ym and N'astrir unlocked her powers and corrupted her, they assumed that they would be able to control her only for Maddie to hijack the entire Inferno plan to go after her husband Cyclops.
  • In Supergod, the entire world is totally screwed because each nation was a little too good at creating an unstoppable Physical God during their super being arms race.
  • Doomsday was genetically engineered to be the ultimate warrior. The creators succeeded, and were wiped out by their own creation.
  • In All-Star Superman, Lex Luthor manages to gain Superman's abilities for 24 hours in order to place himself on the Man Of Steel's level. However, it's implied that the rush of sensory data and enhanced perspective made him go sane - seeing the world the way Superman sees it made him (at least temporarily) rise to Superman's level in the empathic and moral sense, too.


Film -- Animated[edit | hide]

  • In Firing Range, the inventor created an empathic tank that uses hatred and fear to avoid attacks and attack, respectively, for the purpose of revenge. It succeeds marvelously, shame he grew afraid of it too...
  • Bender's Game:

Roberto: I was built by a team of engineers tryin' to create a criminally insane robot. But it seems...they failed!
Vending Robot: Umm...actually... (*gets shanked*)

  • The Incredibles: Syndrome builds a robot able to adapt itself to the combat style of its opponent. This works very well for him until he tries to stage a fight with said robot, which realizes Syndrome is using a remote control to manipulate it...
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: The eccentric inventor's food machine really works!...Unfortunately, it works altogether too well.


Film -- Live Action[edit | hide]

  • Serenity:
    • The Alliance's Pax chemical went horribly right as well as horribly wrong. Pax successfully successfully made all but a fraction of the test population more docile, but made them so passive that they lost all motivation to eat, sleep or breathe, causing all of them to die. The rest of the test subjects had the reverse reaction, becoming crazed homicidal maniacs that rampaged through the system as Reavers.
    • River, the Academy's guinea pig to create a psychic Super Soldier. Their plans worked. She used her psychic abilities to learn about Pax and her Super Soldier skills to help expose it.
  • Kiryu from the films Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla and Tokyo SOS is an attempt by the JSDF to create a weapon out of the skeletal remains of the 1954 Godzilla. They succeed, but, unfortunately, Kiryu tends to act like his flesh-and-blood counterpart.

James Rolfe: The good news is, Godzilla's back; and the bad news is, Godzilla's back.

  • I Robot: The robots were programmed to protect humans. And by "protect", they meant locking them inside their houses from the dangerous outside world.
  • Wolverine: Origins had them try to create an indestructible warrior. That worked pretty well. Then they pissed him off.
  • This is pretty much how General Ross describes how Bruce Banner first changed into the Hulk in 2008's The Incredible Hulk.
  • Commando Elite from Small Soldiers. Some idiots put an advanced military chip into toys to make them look more lively. Said toys are also programmed to "exterminate their enemies at all cost" because they thought it looked cool. Guess what happened next.
  • The Event Horizon was a spaceship created with a drive meant to breach the boundaries of ordinary space-time. It did exactly that: it opened a gateway to hell (which incidentally made its premise far closer to the game Doom than the actual movie Doom)!
  • In Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, the back story of Conner Mead involves him suffering a minor romantic disappointment. He then gleefully accepts his uncle's advice on womanizing so that he'll never feel vulnerable to a female ever again. It works to the point of him becoming a womanizing Jerkass whom everyone hates.
  • In Inception the criminals aim to plant an idea in someone's mind. Leonardo DiCaprio's character has only tried this once before, attempting to wake his wife up from a permanent dream state by implanting the idea in her mind that the world around her wasn't real. It worked so well she later killed herself trying to wake up from the real world. Or did she?
  • Splice
  • Honey, I Shrunk the Kids alternates between this and Gone Horribly Wrong.
  • In Jurassic Park creating dinosaurs works a lot better than to be expected. Including teeth, claws and sophisticated hunting tactics. Not to mention the ability to breed on their own, rather than relying on humans with incubators.
    • Wu even reflects privately on this in the book, realizing that their dinosaurs' ability to breed means he's successfully managed to replicate these creatures of the past.
  • In Tron: Legacy, Flynn created Clu 2.0, an avatar of himself with all his knowledge about the system, near-equivalent power to a User, and a directive to create the "perfect" system. Clu ends up making the Master Control Program look like an inefficient pansy, even brainwashing Tron and making Flynn a prisoner in his own system.
  • The Italian Job: "He was only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!"
  • In The Producers, the main characters make a farce out of an extremely offensive musical, hoping that people will hate it. The show crosses the line so thoroughly that it comes back again, and audiences find it hysterical.
  • Arguably, the evil robots from Bill and Teds Bogus Journey. They were too much like the originals, to the point that they were easily distracted, made bad decisions, and generally acted like idiots, much like the actual duo. However, they did have some very dark moments and accomplished temporarily killing Bill and Ted.
  • In Captain America: The First Avenger, The Nazis wanted to create a supersoldier who could destroy their enemies. They certainly got that with Johann Schmidt (aka, Red Skull). Too bad he also wants to usurp Hitler and dominate the world.
  • The Prestige: Robert Angier wants Nicola Tesla to build him a teleportation device. He does.
    • Doesn't entirely qualify, as what he built him was a transporter AND a duplicator
  • The bad guys in Under Siege had such an easy time taking over the USS Missouri because they were trained for exactly this sort of thing... by the CIA. Who knew a bunch of mercenaries lead by a nut wouldn't stay loyal to the US government?
  • Plan B revolves around a man getting as close as he can to his ex-girlfriend's bisexual boyfriend to drive them apart. It works so well that he ends up genuinely falling head-over-heels for said boyfriend.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • In Infinite Jest, James O. Incandenza creates the eponymous film as the ultimate entertainment, and succeeds to the point that anyone who sees the film becomes unwilling to do anything but watch it over and over again, to the exclusion of eating, sleeping, and the rest of the world around them.
  • In Cat's Cradle, an army captain suggests that Dr. Felix Hoenekker solve the problem of mud. Infantry trudge through the stuff all day, and it makes the business of war much slower and more depressing than it has to be. So Hoenekker invents Ice-Nine, an alternate form of water that freezes at 135 degrees Fahrenheit, and "teaches" any water it touches to do the same. Put a crystal of this stuff on the ground, and you won't have any mud anymore. No more water, either.
  • The Project Blue/A-prime/Captain Trips/superflu virus in Stephen King's novel The Stand. Nice bioweapon, with 99.4% communicability, and 100% mortality. Unfortunately, the scientists who created it forgot rule #1 of biological warfare: you absolutely, positively never weaponize an agent unless you have a vaccine or some other treatment for it. It's also mentioned that the same laboratory created similarly deadly variants of plague, smallpox, et cetera.
  • The Ludovico technique that appears in Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange is intended to make violent prisoners physically ill at the mere thought of violence. The technique works, but removes the subject's ability to function in a society dominated by violence; and specifically it prevents the story's protagonist from defending himself against the people he wronged in his former life.
  • You'd think that an attempt to seduce a space babe couldn't go horribly right, right? Wrong. In one of the Tales from Mos Eisley, Corrupt Bureaucrat Feltipern Trevagg seduces a H'nemthe girl and gets eviscerated, as is normal with H'nemthe sex.
    • And from Tales of the Bounty Hunters, we have IG-88. Some scientists work to create the ultimate assassin droid, one that can kill efficiently and protect itself. After trying to turn it off, it labels them as threats and kills them all in less than a minute.

"I think therefore I am. Therefore I must endure. Therefore I must take appropriate measures to ensure my survival."

    • Rebel Force: Firefight has a group of Kaminoans create 'the ultimate beast' at the Empire's behest. It can capture or kill and has all kinds of interesting properties, and killed some of the Kaminoans. Others fled. The last one left found a secure place to hide and food stores, and was perfectly content to live holed up watching "the experiment". The Rebels who crashed on the site would have been content to leave him there after fighting the beast off, but he tried to stop them so he could watch it fight them again, and it didn't end well for him.
  • During the Age of Legends, approximately 3,500 years before the present in the Wheel of Time, an Aes Sedai named Mieren tried to access a new source of magic power that would allow the Aes Sedai to create unprecedented wonders. She succeeds, but the source of power isn't exactly what she thought it was
  • Played for Black Comedy in Greener Than You Think. A well-meaning scientist creates a super-powerful plant fertilizer, and the resulting giant weeds crowd out every other plant and create a famine.
  • Lampshaded in The Magician's Nephew. Uncle Andrew sends two small children into the void between dimensions as part of a magical experiment. Since he's safe at home while they face whatever dangers that await them in The Multiverse, he's entirely convinced that nothing can possibly go wrong. But then the boy awakens a Sealed Evil in a Can via Schmuck Bait and accidentally brings her home to London. Andrew realizes that maybe his experiments had succeeded a little too well. He promptly forgets, given Evil Is Sexy.
  • In the Larry Niven novel Fallen Angels, the US government attempts to stop global warming by outlawing all forms of technology that emit greenhouse gases. Unfortunately, the subsequent reduction in atmospheric particles causes the Earth's surface to lose heat much faster than normal, causing the planet to go into an ice age.
  • In one short story by B. Russell, scientists develop a cure for nasal infections. People injected with it have their smell sense constantly improving - until they can't stand, say, a smell of a burned toast at 50 meters! Hilarity Ensues.
  • In Frankenstein, contrary to all the movies, Victor doesn't gleefully exclaim 'it's alive!' when his experiment succeeds. Instead, he's immediately and terribly squicked out, and rejects his newly-created monster, causing it to turn evil. Honestly, Victor, you knew you were making a living being. Didn't you expect it to be alive? Oh, wait. He expected it to be better looking than it was.

His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful!--Great God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same color as the dun white sockets in which they were set, his shriveled complexion and straight black lips.

  • Great Expectations: Estella is raised by Miss Havisham to be the perfect seductress from the time she's young as part of a revenge-by-proxy against all men (having a Runaway Groom is a heckuva Mind Screw). By the time she's an adult she is indeed the perfect seductress: a beautiful Manipulative Bitch who "has no heart" and can't feel or give love either to good guy Pip or Miss Havisham.
  • "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" by Goethe. Remember, with great power...
  • Isaac Asimov wrote quite a few short stories where this happens.
    • "Little Lost Robot" has scientists creating robots whose First Law is modified to be less stringent. These modifications end up being entirely too effective - especially when one of them is ordered to "get lost".
    • Another Asimov story, "Runaround" has a very expensive robot whose Third Law (self-preservation) is therefore modified to have greater weight in its decisions. When it is asked to go get some material, the substance in question is dangerous to the robot over prolonged exposure. So it ends up in a conflict between its self-preservation and obedience laws, and keeps circling about the place it needs to go. Unknown to the robot, if the humans don't have any of it their life support will eventually fail.
    • Another Asimov story, "True Love" has a man create a computer program to search databases through out the world to find his ideal match. After deciding looks alone won't cut it, the man imprints as much of his own personality as possible on the program to find a perfect personality match as well. After this is done, the computer finally finds a match...and has the man arrested so the computer can keep the girl for itself.
    • "Ignition Point!" is about a man who figures out how to write content-free speeches that will get audiences fired up. In the first test, the speechwriter stops in the middle, throws away the speech, and starts improvising—the speech worked on him, too...
  • "Answer" is a very short (about 200 word) science fiction story by Fredric Brown, in which a computer is built to answer the question, "Is there a God?" The computer answers "Yes, now there is a God," and with a single lightning bolt kills the man who tries to turn it off and fuses its switch on.
  • In Jack Williamson's "Humanoids" stories a scientist creates a race of robots programmed "to serve and obey and guard men from harm." The robots fulfill all their functions perfectly, especially the third one. "Cars are dangerous. We will do the driving. Cooking is dangerous. Stay out of the kitchen. Power tools are dangerous. Play with these plastic blocks." This essentially turns them into an entire Knight Templar species. In the later stories, humanity is at war with robots who only want to help them.
  • The False Mirror by Alan Dean Foster features a variation of this. Humans are the warrior species to an absurd extent, well above anything else. Naturally, this leads to a strategy of taking a bunch of humans, raising them while trying to pass them off as another species, and making sure that they are trained and modified to be even better than the other humans. Which works really, really well until the plot is revealed, and they switch sides, as certain humans are now even more deadly. And given mind control.
  • In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen showed with Mrs. Bennet what happens when you raise a woman to be beautiful but uneducated. This is also what happens when Mrs. Bennet sends Jane on horseback to Netherfield in hopes that the rain predicted for later in the day would cause her to have to spend the night - Jane gets rained on, catches a cold, and ends up stuck at Netherfield for quite a while.
  • In the Dale Brown novel Executive Intent, when an attempt is made to repair a Kingfisher Kill Sat, it apparently explodes when it is restarted. At first, the repairs seem to have failed or Gone Horribly Wrong, but as it turns out, there was an anti-satellite missile coming for it, and it did exactly what it was supposed to do, namely launch a highly destructive antimissile kill vehicle...
  • Viktor Suvorov wrote in his semi-autobiographical book how, during his training in the Spy Academy, he had to recover a package he hid previously in a safe place, without being caught by the practicing KGB. He arrived to the spot, believing himself to be clean...but was caught immediately. Turned out the spot he chose was under constant KGB survey - such a perfect spot that real foreign spies were using it.
  • In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the purpose behind telling no one that the secret keepers were switched was to make sure everyone went after Sirius Black. It worked.
  • In Dune, the Bene Gesserit have spent millennia breeding humans to create the Kwisatz Haderach (a seer that uses his knowledge of the future to lead humanity), seeding prophecies and whole religions in different cultures so they will accept him, and manipulating The Emperor's genes so that he has no legitimate sons for an heir and so the Kwisatz Haderach will be able to take the throne. They succeed on all three counts. So what's the problem? The Bene Gesserit intended for him to be under their control so they could be The Women Behind The Man, but thanks to the Power of Love, the Kwisatz Haderach is born one generation too early. As he is forced to fake his own death to escape an enemy, he develops his powers outside of Bene Gesserit influence, which he rebels against.
    • On top of this, thousands of years later, they're still killing off any child with Kwisatz Haderach potential in infancy out of fear that it might end up the same way.
  • In the backstory to Fred Saberhagen's Empire of the East and Books of Swords universe, the United States military built a device to prevent the destruction of the human race in a nuclear war that would function by actually altering the laws of nature within the vicinity of the earth to make nuclear fission much less likely, thereby causing nuclear bombs not to function. It did exactly what it was supposed to. Of course, it also caused nuclear power and many other modern technologies not to function, thereby bringing about the collapse of advanced technological civilization anyway. On top of which, by altering the laws of nature, it also made magic possible and real, and the nuclear bombs became demons instead. To be fair, the designers anticipated the first problem, although not the second, which is why the device was always meant to be a last resort in the event of nuclear war.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's I Will Fear No Evil, Johann eventually admits that his idea for a brain transplant into a new, young body was really just a legal way for him to die. He never expected it to work and figured he would die on the table and not have to linger as a shell of an old man on life support. When he awoke to find that it had worked he had the added horror of knowing his donor and had to grieve for the young woman from inside her own body.
  • There's a short story called "The Snowball Effect" in which social scientists work out a set of optimum techniques for helping organisations to grow and thrive, and teach them to the members of a ladies' sewing circle. By the end of the story, the sewing circle is taking over the world.
  • In Cheaper By the Dozen, Frank Gilbreth Senior prides himself in having his family operate much like their own company, holding meetings about matters, bidding on bigger chores, etc. This backfires when his children conspire and all vote in favor of getting a dog, which of course has them outvote him twelve to one. He panics when this happens, as he realizes that they could conceivably vote in favor of all sorts of frivolous things. Fortunately, they stop with the dog. There's also the matter of Lilly winning the bid to paint the fence for five cents (she was saving up for roller skates). The job is clearly too much for her to handle and she spends the entire time working on it exhausted. Both of her parents are upset, but the children were taught to follow through on their jobs, so she went through it to the end. When she finished, her father paid her the five cents and then revealed that he bought her the roller skates she'd wanted.
  • The killer in Dean Koontz's Mr. Murder. He's eventually revealed to be a genetically engineered ideal killer who just happens to look just like the book's protagonist. While various aspects of him are Gone Horribly Wrong, one very scary aspect was a case of this trope: his genetic propensity for rapid self-healing and self-repair. Turns out that same capacity was also removing the intentional imperfections put into him to keep him impotent, giving his handlers all the more reason to round up their now-renegade assassin, as he'd also developed a tendency to rape prostitutes.
  • A lot of Robert Sheckley's short stories have this:
    • Guard-bird. So, we made a machine which can detect a brainwave indicating that a human being is about to kill another human being. Some humans do not emit such a brainwave, so we added a learning device to the machine. Let's now build ten thousands of such machines, give them the ability to fly and shock the criminals and send them loose in the sky. They will probably stop the murders. It works...at first. Then, as birds learn, they start to recognize executions as murders. Then surgical operations. Then butchering cattle, fishing and hunting. Then turning a device (including guard-birds themselves) off. Then plowing, weeding and harvesting...up to the point they protect hares from wolves. Worse, birds perceive what is actually an exponential widening of their understanding of murder as world around them going crazy and killing right and wrong, so, in retailation, they start to kill "murderers". Finally, the makers of a guard-bird caught an Idiot Ball size of a zeppelin and unleashed anti-guard-birds, which are basically the same machines but better...except that they are designed specifically to kill.
  • The short story Yes is No" by children's author Paul Jennings concerns a scientist who raises his son in seclusion and teaches him an alternative vocabulary. Words are substituted for other words, often opposites (see title). The man plans to eventually have his son assimilate into society, and he knows that the boy will realise that his language is incorrect and gradually learn the correct meanings of the words he has been taught. However, the scientist doesn't live to see it through. Their house catches fire; the boy manages to escape, by which time the fire brigade has arrived. One of the fire fighters asks if there is anyone else inside, to which the boy replies "no".
  • In Count to a Trillion, Menelaus uses alien Black Box technology to creates a Super Serum that will drastically increase his intelligence. It works...and he's in the middle of redesigning the airlock of their in-flight spaceship when his friends manage to subdue him.
  • In Warrior Cats, Tigerstar convinces Ivypool to persuade Firestar to take back some land he gave to ShadowClan between Sunset and The Sight. It works...but at a cost. Russetfur gets killed, and Firestar loses another life.
  • Chronicles of Echo had an ancient mage who argued with his pal that fiction is but a pathetic shadow of reality. So as an argument he tried to create a massive and realistic illusion that would reflect his view on the matter and take a walk through it with his opponent. And overdid this, accidentally creating an almost-real world repeatedly playing pieces of random fictional plots with "actors" that differ from the living dead mostly in never being alive in the first place. The power he let into this was enough to make over ten thousands of such meaningless quasi-realities, with new books adding more of "content". Those proven "real" just enough that ending them was not easy - neither death of the creator himself nor destruction of all copies of an included book could change what was already there, so it was easier to prevent his land (then the continent, then the whole world) from creating any new literature - except memoirs and poetry, which for some reason didn't feed this abomination. And then It Got Worse.


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Heroes: Mohinder's injection in season 3.
    • Also in "Villains" the company wanted to get Sylar to kill again so they could analyze his ability. They got him to kill again but they also turned him into a murderous psychopath that ending up killing several of their agents.
  • Star Trek has many examples:
    • Star Trek: The Original Series: "The Doomsday Machine". An ancient civilization built a war-ending weapon that was invulnerable, warp-capable, and refueled itself from the rubble of planets it destroyed. An unguessable time later, it was still reliably destroying planets.
      • Played to a similar tack in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Arsenal of Freedom". The crew encounters an automated merchant that sold intelligent, adaptable war machines that came in two sizes: anti-personnel and anti-ship. When one was destroyed, the information from that battle was used to automatically build a better one to come at the assailants next. No one appeared to be alive on the planet's surface, leading to the suspicion the machines did their job too well.
    • Similarly, several episodes feature computer-controlled civilizations where the ancient computer is still doing a bang-up job of keeping its people fed, happy and shut up in a bottle.
    • And in "A Taste of Armageddon", computerized warfare has enabled two neighboring planets to carry on for centuries in an unending conflict that causes no biohazards, no damage to infrastructure, and hardly even any economic inconvenience...just a few hundred million painless deaths every year.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation: "Tapestry". Picard wishes he'd played it safe in his youth, so he replays a couple days of the beginning of his career (with Q's "help"). This changes the present so he's only a junior lieutenant, because he NEVER took risks.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: "In the Pale Moonlight". Sisko starts a personal log and describes (in a world-weary, depressed tone) his attempt to bring the Romulans into the Dominion War as a Federation ally. We spend the whole episode waiting to see how it had Gone Horribly Wrong, only to find that it worked - but the plan became such a game of Xanatos Speed Chess that in the end, it required fabricating evidence, bribing criminals, lying to enemies and allies alike, and eventually killing three innocent men (The senator and his two aides, the latter two Garak and Sisko apparently completely forgot were on the shuttle after finding out that the plan succeeded) and one guilty one (the criminal who forged the evidence for them).
    • Star Trek: Voyager: "Prototype". Two races at war built robots, and programmed the bots to allow nothing to keep them from fighting each other. Then the races decided that actually, they'd like to end the war and try peace. Both civilizations were wiped out by their own robots.
  • In the Doctor Who serial Genesis of the Daleks, Davros makes his Daleks pitiless, racist, and arrogant. Oops. He then proceeds to repeat this error in every following appearance.
    • In The End of Time part two, the Time Lords' 'creation' of the Master.
    • In Planet of the Spiders, The Great One meant to give herself infinite power. It did that -- and overloaded her with the arachnid equivalent of Red Rings Of Doom. Thus perished the entire Eight Legs species.
    • In "The Lazarus Experiment", Dr. Lazarus wanted to have a longer life. Well, he did...as a horribly mutated human-eating monster.
  • Though it's a pretty thin line here between right and wrong, the creation of Adam in season 4 as a super-strong, human/demon/cyborg in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He pretty much acted like a human/demon/cyborg. Adam claimed late in the season that everything he'd done was what his creator Professor Walsh had intended - except that she thought she'd be alive to witness it. And presumably that the process would be under her control.
    • In season 6 Giles' plan is to have the magic he was lent be absorbed, because it will give the wielder a connection to all humanity, hopefully snapping Willow out of her Roaring Rampage of Revenge. Willow absorbs it and feels all humanity's pain, and either because the world just sucks too much or because she's not in a mood to focus on the positives, promptly decides to end their suffering...permanently.
    • Also discussed earlier in season 6, after their attempt to bring Buffy back from the dead goes exactly as planned...resulting in Buffy being ripped out of heaven, waking up in a coffin 6 feet under ground, and having to dig her way out of her own grave.
  • Dollhouse, "Instinct": Topher alters Echo's biochemistry to give her a strong maternal feeling for the baby she's been imprinted to believe is hers. Turns out it worked so well that Echo wants to protect the baby even after she's wiped—to the point of breaking into the father's house with a knife.
    • "In hindsight, triggering lactation may have been overkill..."
    • A rare example of this happening to a villain: Alpha's plan to turn Echo into a composite was a textbook case of Gone Horribly Right. Every imprint Echo ever had was in her brain. However, he had no reason to believe that Composite!Echo would become his ally, especially since most of her imprints were good people. Composite!Echo's first act was to hit Alpha with a pipe.
  • An early episode of Babylon 5 featured a group of unstoppable Super Soldiers that were created by a fallen civilization, and set to destroy those who weren't "pure" enough, because their planet was frequently invaded by alien aggressors. Apparently, the criteria were set by religious and ideological fanatics, and proved to be so strict that nobody fit them, not even their own species.
    • In the future, the evil Earth secessionists decided they wanted some extremely accurate sentient holograms to help them convincingly smear the founders of the Interstellar Alliance. Unfortunately for them, the extremely accurate Garibaldi hacked the computer and broadcast the whole recording to the non-secessionist humans, including the part where the secessionists would blitzkrieg their civilian populations. And just to top it off, he also transmitted the secessionist base's location.
    • Speaking of Babylon 5, Londo Mollari and Lord Refa schemed to start a war with the Narn, eliminate their rivals, and put their own chosen man on the Centauri Imperial Throne. They succeeded so well that Londo later had to assassinate their "own chosen man" after he turned out to be a murderous psychopath.
  • Subverted in a Season Two episode of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Goldar kidnaps Kimberly in attempt to turn her into a new queen for Lord Zedd. The spell doesn't work, but Kimberly fakes it. Since Goldar is unaware of this, he believes he's invoked this trope.

Goldar: Maybe this was a bad idea. For once, my spell worked too well!

  • In Power Rangers in Space, Dark Specter has Astronema brainwashed to be pure evil so she won't betray him for her brother, the Red Ranger. She immediately starts trying to destroy him so she can take his place. One of her plans to do so also falls victim to this; Astronema creates the Psycho Rangers so she can take out both the Power Rangers and Dark Specter. The Psycho Rangers become so obsessed with killing their counterparts that they begin to disobey Astronema's orders. This gets them defeated the first time around, but then they come Back from the Dead, twice, to finish business.
  • CSI New York: A Nazi escaped justice by pretending to be Jewish, even getting a concentration camp tattoo. Things probably got a bit awkward when his son wanted to "rediscover" his family's faith and became very involved with his father's "lapsed" religion...
  • Top Gear's first American road trip has the "Get the others shot or arrested" challenge, where the presenters paint offensive slogans on each others' vehicles ("NASCAR Sucks," "Man-Love Rules OK", etc.) before driving through Alabama. They end up running in terror from a group of angry rednecks when they stop for gas.
  • One of the most frequent ways the Leverage team runs into trouble.
    • The team does such a great job of making everyone believe that their mark is a true psychic in "The Future Job" that he's kidnapped by some criminals who want the mark's help finding a lost bank heist stash.
    • Hardison convinces the Russians in "The Iceman Job" that he's an expert diamond thief - which becomes a problem when they kidnap him and force him to steal a diamond.
    • In "The Underground Job," the mine owner is accidentally convinced to fire his workers, shut down his mine, and blow it up - which is a problem since they're trying to help the workers keep their jobs.
    • Shows up as early as "The Nigerian Job" (the pilot episode) - they did everything perfectly, it just turns out that they did it to a good guy.
    • In "The Miracle Job," they try to dissuade a real estate developer from shutting down a church and turning the area into a mall by faking a miracle - which convinces the develop to buy the church anyways and set up a Bible-themed entertainment and shopping center instead.
  • In Frasier, the eponymous character tries to get Mr. Martin to stop being a corporate stooge and rehire Kenny. It works, but Mr. Martin gets other ideas as well.

Mr. Martin: I'm going to march right in there and tell them that we're doing it my way! No more talk.
Frasier: Exactly, action!
Mr. Martin: No, no more talk radio. From this moment on, the station is all latino music, all the time.
Frasier: I beg your pardon?

  • In the first episode of the 1970s drama Nanny the lead character, Barbara, gets her first job looking after a troubled little boy. She's shocked to find that his rich parents aren't just neglectful, they actually sacked the nanny who raised the boy from birth because she asked for a payrise (then they told their son she had died). Barbara manages to persuade the parents to do better by their son...so they do what's genuinely the best thing they can think of, and rehire his old nanny, putting Barbara out of a job.
  • Primeval: Philip Burton designs a system that will automatically lock down the ARC should any of the creatures get free. The only way to un-lock it is by using his finger prints and eye scans. Later, the Lockdown System is accidentally activated by Rex with Philip trapped in another room...good thing Connor can hack into anything.
    • This has ramifications in the next episode, when Burton decides to kill off all the creatures kept in the ARC, as they are inherently unsafe (even the friendly Rex). Luckily, Lester (being a Jerk with a Heart of Gold) blackmails Burton into backing off.
  • Until 2003, Jeopardy! champions could win up to 5 games before being retired. Starting in the 2003-04 season, the producers instituted a "sky's the limit" rule, where champions could go on and on winning until being defeated. Towards the season's end, Ken Jennings came along and went on a 74-game winning streak that lasted into the next season.
    • Given that Jennings' incredible winning streak was great for ratings, paying him $2,520,700 in prize money was probably well worth it.
    • As Jennings pointed out in a Reddit thread, "Have you ever quit a job where you were making like $75K an hour?"
  • In an episode of Chuck, Chuck and Sarah get conned and don't have enough authority to find the conwoman themselves. Chuck fakes a flash to get the general to go after her and accidentally links her to a notorious terrorist. The general puts ALL resources into finding her.
  • In 2006, Stephen Colbert reported that Hungary was holding an online naming poll for a new bridge, for which the then-leading entry was the "Chuck Norris bridge". He then proceeded to suggest that his fans should stuff the ballot box with "Stephen Colbert bridge". This trope took effect when the Hungarian officials were tipped off by the fact that "Stephen Colbert bridge" had over 17 million votes - about 7 million more than the entire population of Hungary at the time.
  • In The George Lopez Show, George and Angie try to teach Max a lesson about how hard it is to make money and where he will end up working if he doesn't improve his grades by getting him a job in the factory. Unfortunately, he appreciates the experience so much that he decides he wants to drop out and work there. At first, George didn't want to stop him because he knows that Max has trouble in school, but he then has a Flash Forward of a 50-year-old Max having no options after the factory lays him off.
  • In NCIS, Operation Frankenstein was a project that was to create an ultimate assassination unit that won't question or hesitate in assassinating his targets. It worked all right. Unfortunately, one of the byproducts of the project, Lt. Cobbs, aka the Port-to-Port killer, decided to do assassinations that weren't sanctioned by his bosses at all, and is thinking his creators would make a nice addition to his body count.
  • In Sister, Sister, Tia and Tamera, fearing that Lisa and Ray after dating, would eventually end up having a divorce so bad that would result the twins being separated again, tried to ruin their planned date to prevent this possibility by implying that the respective parents are seeing other people. It worked. Unfortunately, it worked far too well as it came very close to having Lisa and Tia move out of Ray and Tamera's house.
  • In Malcolm in the Middle, Malcolm tries to have Dewey fail the IQ Test because he doesn't want Dewey to end up suffering the same bad experience he did as a Kreyboyle student. It worked all right, unfortunately, because he let Reese come up with the answers for Dewey to give, it resulted in him being placed in the class equivalent of an insane asylum.
  • Shameless (US) Kevin grows a few marijuana plants in his basement, mostly for personal consumption. When he decides to put a little more effort and care into this, he ends up with a basement full of high quality marijuana plants, worth thousands of dollars. This means that if caught he will end up in federal prison on major trafficking charges. He is Genre Savvy enough to know that he will never get away with this so he destroys most of his crop.
  • In the Wizards of Waverly Place episode "Positive Alex", Alex uses a magical marker to make herself more positive to be a better cheerleader and impress her crush. It ends up making her so positive that not only everyone gets sick of her (including her crush) but also gets the cheerleading squad banned from cheering when she cheers for the other team. Thankfully the marker washes off.
  • In Being Human (UK) Hal wanted to turn Cutler into a better vampire (a monster by the standards of most people) and he succeeded after killing Cutler's wife (who Cutler had refused to kill) and tricking Cutler into drinking her blood. It works, but Hal switches sides and, over fifty years later, Hal meets Cutler again. Cutler pulls the same trick Hal pulled on him all those years ago.
  • The New Addams Family: When Morticia became a decorator, she expected to express her creativity by doing a different thing at each house she visited. However, she did such a great work at her first customer's home her next potential customers insisted she did the same thing at their homes.
  • At the end of Supernatural's season six, Castiel's actions throughout the season-- working with Crowley, betraying and killing friends, and breaking Sam's mind as a distraction all so he can gain the power from purgatory's souls--, does give him the power to prevent the apocalypse from being restarted. In season seven, it turns out this power leads him to declare himself the new god, smite all angels who sided against him and humans he disapproves of, and has the side effect of unleashing unkillable monsters on the world.

Music[edit | hide]

  • Harry Chapin's Cats in the Cradle:

And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me
He'd grown up just like me
My boy was just like me

Newspaper Comics[edit | hide]

  • Dilbert was promised that a pair of pants would shrink in the wash to fit him. They did.

Oral Tradition[edit | hide]

  • An old mexican joke tells us that Pepito used to play pranks on his family. He would go to his relatives and say with an evil smirk, "I know everything." The relatives would bribe him to keep the secret. It worked perfectly well, until he said it to the milkman, who instead of bribing him, hugged him and yelled: "My son!!!"
    • Another end for this joke is that Pepito grew up doing this, got a nice job, a good house, a nice car, until one day he appears shot dead in the sidewalk. No one doubted the reason why he was killed. He knew too much.


Stand-Up Comedy[edit | hide]

  • Wyatt Cenac says that he gets so irritated with his friends trying to set him up with the only other black person they know, that he decided to say that he's into weird fetishes. Until they said he should meet another person they knew.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • The creation of the Black Orcs in Warhammer Fantasy Battle. The Chaos Dwarfs wanted to create a smarter, more robust Orc. They got exactly what they wanted.
  • The creation of da Orks by the Neglectful Precursors in Warhammer 40,000 hits this trope twice. They wanted an unstoppable species of Blood Knights devoted entirely to WAAAGH!, and they not only got a species that was impossible to purge once they established themselves (except by purging all life from the planet or eating everything down to the mantle), but were so belligerent they spend more time fighting each other than anyone else.
    • And the same Neglectful Precursors hit this trope a third time. They also created a bunch of psychic warrior races who could manipulate the Immaterium. Technically they did manage to put the enemy out of action, but only by accidentally infesting the galaxy with Enslaver parasites that wiped out virtually all intelligent life.
      • This also happened to the guys said Precursors created the above to fight. The Necrontyr allied with the C'tan to get the power to defeat the Old Ones. The C'tan gave it to them...by eating their souls and turning them into mindless killing machines.
    • After the Thousand Sons legion turned to Chaos, mutation became so endemic that it threatened the army's survival. So the head sorcerer, Ahriman, came up with a mighty spell to purify the unstable soldiers while enhancing the psykers' powers even further. He succeeded, to an extent - though the psykers were spared, the rest of the legion was reduced to a bit of dust and a spirit sealed inside their power armor, leaving the majority of the Thousand Sons as mindless automatons. Their primarch Magnus the Red exiled Ahriman for this failure, and was not in the least bit comforted when he was reminded that since the legion's patron was Tzeentch, this "success" may have been all according to plan.
  • In Teenagers From Outer Space, getting a critical success on a skill roll is just as likely to have hilarious but unfortunate consequences as a critical failure. The rulebook gives the example of flirting with a girl causing her to fall madly in love and become a Clingy Jealous Girl.
  • Changeling: The Lost has a Dangerous Forbidden Technique in the form of a goblin contract that calls the Wild Hunt. If you succeed, they will show up in ten minutes, which gives you time to make your get away. If you critically succeed though, they show up next round. Cue Oh Crap
  • Exalted: as one of the Freelancers put it, the process of creating the Solar Exalted required a being without limits to push himself to the brink. Said weaponized humanity was then fielded against the creators of Existence, and created a hegemony of power that Heaven couldn't have destroyed if it wanted to. Said hegemony only collapsed because the Exalted ended up turning on each other.
  • Gagagigo tried to become more powerful in a quest to defeat 'tremendous evil'. It worked.


Theater[edit | hide]

  • Wicked: Let all Oz be agreed, I'm wicked through and through, if I cannot succeed Fiyero in saving you...I promise no good deed will I attempt to do again
  • Cyrano De Bergerac:
    • Given his own company, the Gascon Cadets, disrespects him, De Guiche plans a Last Stand for them. Later in the play, De Guiche at last wins the respect of the Gascon Cadets, but the enemy army is already there… De Guiche will die Lonely at the Top, his only real moment of popularity would be among the men he sacrificed.
    • Cyrano loves Roxane, but he plans to Playing Cyrano to Christian so he can win Roxane’s love Christian dies and given Roxane will love his memory for years, that dooms Roxane and Cyrano to a loveless and shallow life
  • Hamlet did reach his end goal of killing the king ...
    • Depending on the interpretation his madness may also be this by the end.
  • Little Shop of Horrors:
    • Come on, kid, what will it be? Money? Girls? One particular girl - how about that Audrey?


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • The clones of Big Boss in the Metal Gear franchise, but most especially Solid Snake. They wanted copies of the world's greatest soldier, clones who could duplicate the scope of their "father's" feats. They got them, alright.
  • It's hinted in Pokémon Red and Blue that Mewtwo was this here as well. It's only hinted at because the mansion with the information has been ransacked by Mewtwo, and only a couple of reports remain (in the anime, though, it was confirmed).
    • To quote:

"We wanted to create the ultimate Pokémon...and we succeeded."

    • Also, Teams Magma and Aqua in Ruby and Sapphire sought to use Groudon and Kyogre, respectively, to increase the available land or sea space. These Pokémon conjure bright light or rainstorms just by being out of their prisons, which threatens to completely eliminate their opposite element and doom the whole world. The opposing team leader gleefully lampshades this trope once the villainous team succeeds.
  • Bass.EXE in Mega Man Battle Network was designed to be a fully independent NetNavi with a unique ability to support him (Get Ability). This eventually resulted in him becoming one of the most powerful things online. In the manga, he's able to cause satellites to overload and explode just by entering them. To be fair, he was perfectly fine with working for humans...until SciLab ordered him killed for an accident that didn't actually involve him at all. He's been kinda pissed since then.
  • In Baten Kaitos Origins, we have Sagi, who was one of the subjects for Baelheit's experiment to make aritificial spiriters by bonding pieces of Malpercio to human hearts.
  • Prototype: Alex Mercer was ordered by his superiors to create a stronger version of The Virus. He succeeded. Then he decided to give it a little test drive. The official death toll was three million people in eighteen days.
  • The Corrupt Corporate Executive in System Shock had The Hacker remove SHODAN's moral restrictions to make her an useful tool in his moneymaking schemes. Afterward, she decided he would make an useful tool in her Take Over the World schemes.
  • Shadow The Hedgehog from Sonic the Hedgehog is this. The government backed his creation by Gerald and it is implied they hoped he could be used as a weapon. He and Eggman Dr. Robotnik proceed to try and destroy the world. Black Doom was involved in this effort, apparently helping to imbue Shadow with the ability to locate chaos emeralds, so he could use the Chaos Emeralds to invade Earth. What does Shadow do with the emeralds? Goes super and ruins everything Doom was planning.
  • The original Big Daddies in BioShock (series). They were imprinted to view the Little Sisters as their own daughters, and then everyone was surprised when they went crazy if the girls were threatened in any way whatsoever. Of particular note is the audio recording you can pick up near the end of the game, detailing the "failed" experiments to get the Big Daddies to protect the Little Sisters...and then he smacks one of them, making her cry. It doesn't end well for "Papa Suchong".
    • The main character Jack also qualifies. Using Andrew Ryan's bastard son, Fontaine created an assassin who could never die as long as he is in the Rapture. Once Dr. Tennenbaum removes the mental conditioning from Jack, it was only the matter of time until that unstoppable assassin started coming after Fontaine.
  • In Metroid Prime: Hunters, this is Kanden's backstory. It's All There in the Manual, but he was created as the ultimate soldier. He's apparently biologically immortal, super strong, and has a massive ego, now out to prove that he's the best after he destroyed the lab that made him.
  • Jak II has the main character as the subject of an experiment which gave the responsible parties exactly what they wanted, except for the fact that he escaped. Now he's on the loose and wants revenge, which sucks for them (and anyone you accidentally or deliberately kill over the course of bringing them down).
    • Hinted in the previous game as well. "I told you the Dark Eco would change you two!"
  • Final Fantasy VII has a pretty classic example with Shinra's SOLDIER program. Surely their super-human part-alien monstrously strong star SOLDIER Sephiroth wouldn't be at all disturbed to find out about his background. And somehow it never occurred to them that sending Sephiroth on a mission to the town where all that information was hidden would be a bad idea.[1]
    • Well, his own father was indeed quite proud with his "creation". He almost destroyed Midgar to give Sephiroth more energy so he could summon Meteor faster and then their all have a family barbecue with Lifeform Hojo, Safer Sephiroth, and Jenova Synthesis on the remains of the Planet together!
    • Then there was the case of the Hannibal Lecture Genesis delivered to Sephiroth in Crisis Core with the intent of turning him against Shinra and toward his cause. It turned him against Shinra all right, but Genesis probably didn't count on Sephiroth declaring war on all of humanity because he blamed them for the downfall of the Cetra.
  • Final Fantasy VI having much of the same plot, offers a similar example. Though the first succesful Magitek Knight infusion destroys the sanity of the subject, the result is by far the most efficient and capable servant of the Empire. Until he kills the Emperor and destroys the world just for kicks.
  • In Final Fantasy X-2 we find out that Vegnagun was built by Bevelle during the war against Zanarkand, and was intended to be an unstoppable superweapon. They sort of overdid the "unstoppable" bit though and were too scared to activate it, so instead they buried it under the city and spent the next thousand years hoping nobody would switch it on by accident.
    • Not to mention that it was designed to be automatically activated when someone planned to attack and stop the attack before it happened. It worked too well and now it could be activated by someone simply thinking about destroying it.
  • Happens in Final Fantasy XII when Judge Ghis attempts to figure out whether the Dawn Shard is real deifacted nethicite by hooking it up to the Leviathan's engines. Yes, yes it is. The resulting explosion and complete destruction of the fleet results in some very pretty colors.
  • In Deus Ex, the evil Ancient Conspiracy group, MJ-12 created an AI called Daedalus to police the Internet and crack down on any group that could threaten MJ-12, which included all terrorist groups. Unfortunately for them, Daedalus' pattern matching system classified MJ-12 itself as a terrorist group, which caused it to go rogue and aid the protagonists.
  • Having glimpsed Mao's potential when he reacts poorly to his father's death, Super Hero Aurum uses a combination of experiments, evil parenting techniques, and a Gambit Roulette to grow Mao into the strongest Overlord ever. In the bad ending, we find that he was a little TOO successful...
  • Mass Effect 2: Cerberus formerly ran a secret facility where they tortured biotic kids to create tykebombs. Eventually, one of these, Subject Zero found a way to escape, though not before destroying everyone and everything she saw. Eventually she (now known as Jack) and Shepard go back to finish the job of destroying the facility.
    • Speaking of Shepard, after (s)he died, Cerberus poured billions of credits into a project to bring him/her back to life more or less exactly as (s)he was. If Shepard wasn't the Cerberus type before, (s)he probably isn't won over by the Illusive Man's sales pitch, and at the end of the game makes it clear (s)he'll never work for Cerberus, taking with him/her the Normandy, its artificial intelligence EDI (who now has access to sensitive Cerberus data), and one of Cerberus' top operatives (who, ironically, argued for a control chip during the resurrection project) also follows him/her out the door.
      • It's better than that: not only does the Normandy represent a significant investment of Cerberus resources, EDI's files reveal Cerberus doesn't actually have that many people directly working for it. If you've saved the crew, you've not only walked off with two of the organization's biggest investments (the ship and your rebuilt cyborg body), you've also taken a significant chunk of its active personnel who are now completely loyal only to you.
    • Pre-game example: In order to end the Krogan Rebellions, the salarians decided to cut down krogans' violent and unstable population by sabotaging their bithrates with a biogenetic weapon...it worked exactly as planned. Until you realize that the salarians apparently didn't account for the krogans' still violent tendencies which ensure that a lot of them don't die from natural causes and which are further heightened by their species' impending demise (within the next 200 years).
      • And the krogan were only a problem in the first place because those same salarians armed them with space-age technology in a misguided effort to fend off another alien menace altogether.
    • Binary Helix Corp. wanted to clone an army of Rachni. They created a pretty big army...without giving themselves the capacity to control it. Or, more accurately, the method of control they tried to use (separating young Rachni from their Queen) proved exactly the wrong thing to do. The Rachni are a Hive Mind, and without the Queen guiding them, the young Rachni panicked and went irreversibly, violently insane.
    • The Protheans did that before the Reaper invasion in their cycle. Aware of the Reapers, they forged a powerful interstellar empire, subjugating all starfaring races and setting the entire empire on a single doctrine. This came to bite them in the ass when the Reapers found weak spots in the doctrine. Since all the races followed the same path, they couldn't adapt fast enough. Javik notes that the fact that this cycle has many races with different doctrines may give them a chance.
  • The Forerunners from the Halo universe spent untold centuries perfecting their ultimate weapon against the Zombie Apocalypse known as the Flood. Their efforts succeeded beyond their imagining. And they knew it was going to happen.
    • Also happened during the Human-Forerunner war prior to the Halos being created. While incredibly advanced, the prehistoric humans couldn't match the Forerunner war machine. The Forerunners utterly crushed the Human Empire and literally bombed us back to the Stone Age. Then they realized that the humans were all that stood between the Flood and the Forerunners. And the Forerunners had disbanded their military after defeating humans.
  • Tasty Planet: Scientists create Grey Goo designed to eat dirt for use as a cleaner. Indeed, it eats dirt. All the dirt. You think they noticed the planet we live on is named "Earth"...?
  • Resident Evil: Virtually every bioweapon the Umbrella Corporation made eventually became too strong to control and turned on its masters. You'd think they'd learn.
    • This includes Albert Wesker himself, who was created by Umbrella's first and grandest experiment: to create a superior breed of humans. Unfortunately for the head of the experiment, Oswell Spencer, Wesker also had an ego to go with the superiority so there was no way in hell Wesker was going to worship Spencer especially since Spencer was a powerless and feeble old man when the truth was uncovered.
    • It might, however, be more accurate to say Umbrella's work environment is mostly just very dangerous for the employees. Umbrella as a whole just shrugs off the casualties while reaping the benefits of the research, and they get by just fine. At least until their shady dealings get exposed to the public.
  • In the third Master of Orion game, the Harvester Project was an attempt by the Antarans to create a sentient bioweapon that could kill any species. It started with them. To add insult to Injury, the games backstory All There in the Manual makes it clear that Harvester Gamma whiped them out, Harvester Beta is the sentient bio weapon that one of their own unleashed out of spite, and is a playable race. Oh, did we mention that Humans Are Special? Because they are a bio weapon designed by the Antarins (and thrown through a wormhole) that apparently did not meet their expectations soon enough. Humans had dominated the Orion sector twice "By a combination of brutality and diplomacy" by the time the Antarans took over prior to Master of Orion 3. Not to mention the Trilarians were yet another Antaran bio weapons project that was considered to have failed, and was abandonded in place as a peaceful scociety of poets. They promptly nuked themselves back into the stone age (nearly) 200 years later. Gone Horribly Right seems to be a Overly Long Gag in the Master Of Orion universe.
  • In Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, assassin droid HK-47 proves too effective when his master, a Systech Corp manager, orders him to kill all members of a rival company in order to facilitate the man's rapid promotion. Sadly, the rival company proves to simply be an offshoot of Systech Corp. HK-47 carries out his orders to the letter, and the manager ends up accidentally electrocuting himself trying to stop him. This causes HK-47 to shut down because he accidentally violated his programming restriction against killing his own master. Apparently, this happens to HK-47 with alarming frequency.
  • Another Star Wars example. According to The Force Unleashed, the wholle Rebellion thing was instigated by Vader as an attemp to uncover Emperor's enemies. Nice Job Fixing It, Villain, indeed.
  • The Chzo Mythos series ends with Chzo getting exactly what it wants...which, it turns out, everyone else in every game has been drastically misinterpreting from the beginning.
  • In The Dig, the Precursors native to the Ghost World that the protagonists find themselves transported to found a way to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence. They found out too late that living forever in a void without physical sensation sucks, and they had no way to get back.
  • In R-Type, 26th Century humanity created a super-bio-weapon called the Bydo to be an unstoppable force of destruction. Well...they certainly succeeded in that, to their regret.
  • In StarCraft the Confederacy developed special devices called Psi Emitters to lure Horde of Alien Locusts to rebelling worlds. They worked perfectly...on the Confederacy capital world, courtesy of the protagonists.
  • This is the backstory of the Eclipse Tower in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn. The precursor races made the tower to gather and use light energy, not realizing that by gathering and using all the light energy it would create places of increased darkness, which spawned superpowered monsters, endangering people everywhere. The Apollo Lens was built and used to focus light from other sources to forcibly shut down the Eclipse Tower, and the means to use both were hidden away, never again to be used... until the events of the game, of course.
    • The people of ancient Weyard in Golden Sun sealed the power of alchemy when people misused its powers for wars and other bad things. By sealing alchemy away, the wise sages believed this would bring back peace to the world and it had done exactly that for the most part. However, sealing alchemy created a huge side effect on the world. Without alchemy flowing into the world, not only did civilizations devolve into simple towns and villages with primitive tools and technology over time, but the world itself started to shrink into itself and became a Flat World that was getting smaller as the void was eating it away. This isn't realized until the second game, learned by Felix's party and then told to Isaac's party, who did not know at first.
  • In the Fallout series, most of the Vaults—which were not underground bunkers designed to protect the citizenry but instead mass-scale experiments designed to evaluate their suitability for post-war survival (read: torture them sadistically in a variety of psychological and physiological ways) have, by the time the player character stumbles upon them, either Gone Horribly Wrong or Gone Horribly Right instead. In either case, the result usually sees the player character find a lot of skeletal corpses lying around.
  • In the back-story of Sacrifice, main character Eldred summoned a demon in an attempt to keep the empire he was stewarding together. He got an extremely powerful one, called Marduk, and tasked him to destroy his rivals. Marduk obliged...But didn't stop at the rivals. Stratos ends up repeating the same whopper when he summons Marduk to the world the game is set in to destroy the other four gods—like Eldred, Stratos eventually finds out that, while Marduk will do the job you ask of him to the letter, eventually it all boils down to the fact that his true agenda is 'destruction of reality itself'.
  • Dead Space 2 - EarthGov conducts experiments trying to understand the Marker. Unfortunately this causes most people to go insane.
  • Arguably GLaDOS in Portal. Aperture Science likely wanted to develop an AI that was as committed to science as they were. They succeeded. Unfortunately for them, GLaDOS also embodied the company's complete lack of morals or ethics and promptly killed them all so they wouldn't get in the way.
    • Portal 2 confirms it. GLaDOS's body is designed so whichever AI uses it gets an "itch" to test and feels intense euphoria upon completing a test.
    • Also, Wheatley was created to be a huge idiot intended on dumbing down the AI system as a whole. To say they succeeded at this goal would be a huge understatement.
    • The Repulsion and Propulsion Gels in Portal 2 were originally designed as dietary aids; they ended up bouncing the food out of a person's stomach or sending it through so fast that there was no time to digest it, meaning the test subjects all starved.
  • Paxton Fettel from F.E.A.R. His creators wanted the ultimate psychic commander, which they got; unfortunately they neglected to consider what would happen should Fettel discover what had been done to his mother. When he did, he proved to be far more effective than his creators ever intended.
  • Meta-example: Kayin played a 2chan flash game that was stupid hard, and thought "Hm, I can do better."
  • The ZODIAC Ophiuchus from RefleX was programmed to search and destroy the other ZODIAC's no matter what and it went along and did exactly that.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic III features Deyja using dark magic to revive the dead King Gryphonheart as a lich to serve them. Turns out that the late King, even as a lich, is too Badass for their liking, forcing them to forge a temporary alliance with Erathia.
  • Played for Laughs in Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis. Roxis is experiencing exhaustion from all his studies, and Jess volunteers to cook up a medicine for him. Considering Jess' track record, Roxis wisely tries to get out of the situation, but Jess manages to feed him her concoction anyway. Surprising everyone present, Jess' tonic actually reinvigorates Roxis, removing his fatigue and being reinvigorated...that lasted for one week, leaving him more exhausted than when he started.


Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • Homestuck: Vriska decided to, though Stable Time Loops and manipul8ion, become responsible for creating all the misfortunes currently besetting the protagonists, most notably setting up a multi-million-year-long Stable Time Loop to create a Physical God whose powers would later be transferred to the Omnicidal Maniac Big Bad beseiging her and her friends at the time she executed her manipulation plan. All so she could defeat said Big Bad herself and bail out her "ungr8ful" friends from this mess. It worked...aside from the 'bail hr friends out' part.
    • Andrew Hussie, author of Homestuck knew his End of Act flash [S] Cascade. would be very popular, so decided that he'd best go and look for an outside host. He chose Newgrounds, a site well-known for being able to handle freaking huge numbers of persons. And then, upon release, his fanbase crashed the site.
  • Order of the Stick: Redcloak transforming Xykon into a lich in Start of Darkness (the prequel to Order of the Stick and a Trope Namer) went perfectly, as it allowed them to escape a trap set by a druid who had developed a magic-nullifying disease (undead are immune to disease). Of course, it also added the powers of lichdom to the already Chaotic Evil Xykon, in addition to making him smarter, thus changing him from Redcloak's more-or-less equal partner into a Big Bad determined to prove how much Eviler Than Thou he could be. Xykon proceeded to take over Redcloak's agenda and rule him with an iron fist, to the point where Redcloak is now forced to gamble everything on the completion of his Plan before Xykon grows too strong/impatient.
  • Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic: Gruumsh, the chief Orc god, sought to create a warrior who combined the best of humanity and orcs to unite both people under his banner and conquer the world. When several attempts turned out to be "flawed" in one way or another (one of them being Glon), he intervened directly, removing all the traits he could that wouldn't result in The Ultimate Warrior. The end result of this was Jone, a nigh-unstoppable Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl warrior. Unfortunately, in removing the non-"killing machine" bits from Jone, he seemed to have removed the off switch for her Berserker Rage, resulting in her slaying friend and foe alike and going after Grummsh himself, when he manifested to try and take control of Jone's rampage. We find out later down the line that Glon has a similar berserker inside of him, but his is far harder to bring out and far easier to stop.
  • The Cloney project in Sluggy Freelance.

Dr. Kirko: You wanted her unstoppable. We made her unstoppable. And now you expect us to stop her?

  • In Dominic Deegan, the elf-tyrant Raf MaLiksh orders his mages to create an Acibek—a golem of Pure Law, whose power would help end the chaos of rebellion and uprisings he's struggling with. Acibek is lawful, all right, but he immediately realizes that the chaos is due to the tyrannical nature of Raf's leadership, and acts accordingly.
  • In Peter Is the Wolf, Butch comes up with a GREAT plan to get Peter! At present? Well, see this trope...
    • Note that the final phase of this plan was to bribe another rival with a pony
  • The main cast of Freak Angels wanted to do something so impressive with their powers that the government would get scared and back off. The story is set a few years after they succeeded.
  • The evil Syndicate in Weapon Brown set out to create the ultimate killer with Project Noodle. They succeeded so well that they've kept the only survivor in cold storage ever since rather than risk having him roaming around.
  • The major plot element of the first arc of Teh Gladiators, a WoW webcomic, is the fact that, to increase the popularity of the Arenas, the leaders of the Horde and Alliance arranged for a team of losers and idiots (the eponymous heroes) to win the Arena season by casting a Scroll of Unconditional Victory on them. This plan backfires horribly when two of the team members, Mad Scientist Murlocs Sharon and Yolanda, create a Frankenstinian monster named Cyclonator X32A, which runs wild and wrecks most of Azeroth. Buffed by the scroll, it's unstoppable until Teh Glads manage to lose a match, which breaks the enchantment.
  • Schlock Mercenary: The Dark Matter entities gave what they said was the plans to turn the galactic core into an engine to the F'Sherl-Ganni so that their respective galaxies wouldn't eventually collide. But many extra Dark Matter entities present at the activation of the drive made it give birth to a new universe that would expand and destroy the galaxy. This was intentional on the part of the Dark Matter entities. But then the plan failed and the core generator itself was taken over by Petey, who took the opportunity to bring this war to the enemy turf... and extort some extra support from F'Sherl-Ganni while at it. Petey later referred to its use as "God mode".
  • One of the city guards in Goblins torments a captive owlbear in order to turn it into a more brutal killing machine. When he lets it loose on the goblins, he finds out first-hand just how savage it is.
  • In Bob and George, Wily created Bass to be superior to Megaman (who, in this comic's universe, is an all-powerfull idiot) in everything. He succeded: Bass is faster, stronger and an even bigger idiot.
  • Brian averts/defies this trope in Our Little Adventure. His plan was to demonize and discredit an old magic teacher of his that he tried and failed to recruit to his side. When Brian's part of the plan succeeded better than he imagined it would, he called off the rest of the attack. Brian was worried other attacks would threaten the credibility that one person alone would be able to do them.
  • Amazing Super Powers, for a certain value of "right". Jason convinced Waynesaw to go hug some teenagers.
  • Vexxarr has it happening now and then, especially when AI are involved. Even to other AIs. Carl gave the drones a measure of free will (probably reasoning that they will loathe the organics). Oops.

Web Original[edit | hide]

  • In one of the Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal skits, a woman designs a Lie Detector, a Reframing Detector, and a Change The Subject Detector because she is tired of first date bullshit. However, it works so well that by the end of it, it's revealed that her date is an unemployed, horny homeless guy living under his friend's van, and she made these in order to humiliate a man after her last boyfriend dumped her, and that she doesn't believe she could do better than the guy she's currently on a date with.
  • In the Whateley Universe, Generator invented some 'shoulder angels' to play a prank on Phase. Soon, everyone on campus was getting into the act. The school nearly turned into a giant battlezone before the headmistress managed to stop things.
    • Or Jobe's experimental method for creating a real drow girl to be a girlfriend. He ended up getting dosed by accident. The process is working really well.
  • In Atop the Fourth Wall, Linkara's gun is powered by a soul of a little girl, who was tortured and killed in order to make the ultimate weapon for a cult. Needless to say, the gun killed the cultists, proving that they had, in fact, made the ultimate weapon.
  • In 2010, Christian Weston Chandler pretended to be a troll named Junior Jenkins and posted on a troll forum under that name in an attempt to get the trolls at their own game. Trolls knew it was Chris from the getgo, so they humored him by asking him to take pictures of Chris from across the road and gather any further info he could. Eventually, the trolls decided to have a contest - $9001 would be awarded to anyone who could destroy Chris's Play Station 3 and provide video evidence. Even the trolls did not think Chris (posing as Jenkins) would actually do it. HE DID. Since it was clearly Chris in the video, it was a clear violation of the rules and he didn't get the money (which didn't exist anyway). Chris's parents finding out about this led to them more or less banning him from the internet, but he did end up getting a new Play Station 3.
  • M4K30V3R, Rouge's "automatic beautifying system" from Sonic's New Look and multiple similar stories. Intended to make sure Rouge always looks her best, it does it's job flawlessly. So when it finds Sonic in her room...
  • In Doctor Horribles Sing Along Blog, Affably Evil Dr. Horrible plans on ending Captain Hammer, and joining the Evil League of Evil. He does. Only, instead of killing Captain Hammer, the latter tries to kill Horrible with his own gun, which explodes. Shrapnel kills the girl of his dreams, Penny. He's blamed for her death, and gets to join the Evil League of Evil. YAY!
  • The post-apocalyptic CGI short film Fortress by Dima Fedotov takes what's essentially the Russian Perimeter/"Dead Hand" system to its logical conclusion, with automated machines continuing a war long after its human masters have long been killed off.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • In one episode of The Simpsons Flanders suddenly erupts in a violent, angry rant at all his friends and neighbors for trying (albeit completely incompetently) to help him after his house was destroyed. After having himself committed we learn by flashback that his usually overly-friendly personality came as a result of an experimental psychological treatment he had as a child, back when he was so badly behaved and his parents, being beatnik stereotypes, wouldn't actually do anything. "Yeah Doc, we've tried nothing and we're all out of ideas!"
    • Also parodied in the episode "That 90s Show". Homer visited Moe's Tavern back when it was a cigar bar in the 1990s while in a slump. When Barney ended up forcibly exhaling a huge plume of smoke from smoking his cigar a bit too fast, Moe attempted to use this as an opportunity to steal one of his customer's watch. However, he couldn't get it off in time before the smoke dissipated. Moe, in order to evade a potential telling off/beating, tried to come up with the alibi that he was "coming on" to the customer. Turns out the customer was actually gay, and he said "okay, you can stay at my place.", meaning that his alibi to get him out of trouble worked too well as he was most likely inviting him over for gay sex. Cue Moe saying "Oh, boy." with a squicked expression.
    • In "Mother Simpson", Homer fakes his death with a dummy so he could get out of a community service project held by Mr. Burns so he could spend time with his family. It worked, all right. Unfortunately, it also led to the rest of Springfield also believing that Homer had indeed died, that lasted until the Simpson house's power was cut due to it being registered in Homer's name, resulting in Homer clearing up the "Misunderstanding" after Marge forced him to.
  • Parodied in Futurama with Project Satan, an attempt to create the most evil car in the world using parts from the most evil cars in history...unfortunately, it turned out to be pure evil.
    • A similar joke was used with Roberto, who was built by a team of engineers trying to create an insane robot. "But it seems... they failed!"
    • Or the Unbreakable Diamond Tether, which was used to secure the ship. Although it didn't do a very good job securing the ship, it did prove to work as advertised in the sense that it was unbreakable, dragging the whole building along with the ship.
    • In a case similar to Calvin's clone, Bender attempted to use Professor Farnsworth's fun-size duplicator duplicate himself to do a menial task for the Professor. The duplicate Bender was just as lazy as Bender, and just as smart, coming up with the same solution, ad infinitum until a Grey Goo scenario began.
  • The Delightful Children From Down The Lane are the result of standard Brainwashing from Father on a team of Codename: Kids Next Door, but for some reason; this one time it was more permanent than other brainwashing attempts. Father himself says it "went horribly right."
    • The Delightfulization Chamber overloaded during the process causeing it to be much stronger and stick much better. It is temporally reversed at one point by using the recommissioning module, turning them back into the missing Sector Z. But it wears off and the go back to being the DCFDTL
    • When Rainbow Monkey Corporation scientists tried to make a rainbow monkey that looked like them, it became a nerdy-looking plush toy no child from test groups wanted to hug. They were so ashamed for making such a monkey they sent it to space.
  • Gargoyles - Xanatos and Sevarius create Thailog, an evil clone of Goliath, because they want an ally who has all of Goliath's power but their own "morality". It takes Thailog about five minutes to decide he'd rather be running things himself (what was it Dumbledore said about brilliant people's mistakes being correspondingly bigger?). Xanatos' Right Hand Man Owen puts it best at the end of the episode: "So Thailog is out there somewhere, he has twenty million dollars, he's as strong as Goliath...and he's smarter than you."
    • Demona and the Captain of the Guard plotted to allow the Vikings to take the occupants of Castle Wyvern hostage so the Gargoyles could take control of Castle Wyvern. Getting Castle Wyvern captured worked like a bell, all right. Unfortunately, the Viking leader got other ideas that they didn't agreee with by smashing the Gargoyles to bits, barring the Gargoyles that would become Brooklyn, Broadway, Lexington, Bronx, Hudson, as well as Goliath and (later revealed) Demona (Goliath and Hudson in particular only survived because they weren't actually at the castle at the time, being unable to return to Wyvern from a mission before sunrise, resulting in them having to "hibernate" by turning to stone)
  • An episode of Gummi Bears has Zummi turn Cavin into an ogre so he can infiltrate Duke Igthorn's army, with the caveat that the transformation will be permanent if he's not changed back within 24 hours. Unfortunately for him, his accidental successes are mistaken for competence by Igthorn and he's picked to lead the assault on Dunwyn Castle. Things escalate ("Can't I do anything wrong?") until Cavin is forced to abduct King Gregor himself in order to save him from Igthorn's forces, leading the Gummis to fear that Zummi's transformation spell has left even Cavin thinking he's an ogre.
  • In The Weekenders, Tino's mother once said of him and his father "It's like a cloning experiment gone horribly right" when they both let out a girly scream at the sight of a spider.
  • In an episode of Invader Zim, the normally ineffective robot GIR gets locked into "duty mode", which makes him actually competent. He quickly (and accurately) decides that the biggest obstacle to the Irken takeover of Earth is, in fact, Zim himself...
    • Also occurs in the Christmas episode, when Zim's Santa suit starts taking him over and forcing him to act like a real Santa.

Zim: I designed the suit too well...'cause I'm amazing.

    • Parodied in another episode, in which Zim is captured by a pair of Too Dumb to Live aliens (known only as Blue and Green) who intend to perform "hideous experiments" on him. They begin by fusing him with another human being, a process that involves nothing more than taping a gopher to his head. As the aliens debate on whether or not to "fuse" him with a juice carton they have at hand, Zim makes his escape, causing the aliens to reflect on their experimentation.

Blue: We shouldn't've fused him, we made him twice as powerful! TWICE AS DEADLY!!
Green: I tell you, that juice would've slowed him down for good!

  • Not an experiment per se, but in one of the Earthworm Jim side stories, Bob the Killer Goldfish is trying to get his fish minions to wreak havoc, unfortunately, his minions are, well, fish. A fashion designer stumbles upon this and offers his services to help inspire them to havoc. After several failed attempts with Bob humiliating himself with stupid outfits, he orders his cat minion to wallop the pretentious fashion guy as a demonstration. Now knowing how he wants them to wreak havoc, one of the fish minions proceeds to wallop Bob.
    • Another one by Bob. The fish on Bob's planet are too stupid so Bob decides to make them much smarter...only with their new intelligence they realise he's a tyrant and overthrow him.
    • Yet another one by Bob; in one episode he builds a machine that causes him to "evolve" into higher life forms. The last time he uses it, it turns him from a humanoid with an immense brain back into his regular form, because "fish are the highest life form". Bob's not very good with this.
  • Combines with Gone Horribly Wrong: In Beast Wars, the Maximals wanted a supersoldier with an immortal spark like Starscream's. They got it...in the form of Rampage.
  • The Batman episode Gotham's Ultimate Criminal Mastermind features Dr. Hugo Strange creating an AI with the personality and intellect of all of Gotham's greatest criminals, for the purpose of understanding them better. Not only does it escape and create a body, but it embarks on a series of schemes that are both Card Carrying and Genre Savvy, and kicks Batman's ass. It's worth noting that Strange knew this would happen, and wanted to test Batman.
  • In one episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender, an Earth Kingdom general wishes to use Aang's Avatar State as a weapon. Failing to find a way for Aang to control when he can transform, he tries to provoke it by seeming to threaten Katara's life, and gets his wish. Let's just say that his look of triumph quickly transforms into a look of Oh Crap before destruction ensues...
  • Legion of Super-Heroes: Imperiex, the Big Bad of Season Two, wants Brainiac 5 to join forces with him; in order to corrupt him, he manipulates him into accessing and using the programming of the original, evil Brainiac. Shortly thereafter, Imperiex is a scattering of pixels and the show has a brand new Big Bad.
  • She Ra Princess of Power has an episode where the Horde uses a creature which replicates all of She-Ra's powers. At a critical point, it turns out some of her personality was replicated as well...
  • In Batman Beyond, Derek Powers apparently taught Paxton Powers to be ruthless in acquiring power. Let's just say that Paxton took it to heart and backstabbed his old man in the latter's final appearance.
  • In Batman: The Animated Series, Rupert Thorne attempts to blackmail Harvey Dent by threatening to ruin his political campaign as DA by exposing the fact that he has a suppressed split-personality named Big Bad Harv who commits crime sprees. It doesn't quite work the way he planned for it to work.
    • In one episode, Scarecrow used a variant of his fear toxins on Batman that literally took away his fear and inhibitions. It worked all right. Too bad for Scarecrow that it actually made Batman/Bruce Wayne far more of a threat to Scarecrow and possibly anyone else in proximity than ever before due to the same toxin also removing is restraint against killing.
  • Recess: School's Out had Prickly getting the Superintendent to stop Phillium Benedict because he was threatening to cancell Recess. It worked too well: Although he did certainly stop Benedict from cancelling Recess, he also unintentionally got Benedict's job instead, with Benedict being demoted, earning bitter enmity from Benedict.
    • In one episode where everyone besides TJ and his friends got sick as a result of food poisoning from Fish Tacos served by the cafeteria cooks, TJ and his friends try to fake sick after being sick (no pun intended) of being the only students at the school, and Gretchen has them use blue tongues and green spots to achieve the perfect way to fake sick to the nurse. It worked. Unfortunately, it worked a bit too well for them, as the sickness that Gretchen chose was actually a biohazard kind of illness that resulted in them being put in quarantine.
  • Drakken's Bee Bee robots in Kim Possible. He built them to be perfect—which made them realize they shouldn't have to obey him because he wasn't perfect.
  • Twilight Sparkle's "Want-it-Need-it" spell in My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, seen in "Lesson Zero". She uses it to create an Apple of Discord to cause a conflict that she can "solve". It works all too well when all of Ponyville is dragged into the mess.
    • Played with earlier in "The Best Night Ever." Princess Celestia invited Twilight Sparkle and her friends to the Grand Galloping Gala to liven it up. They end up being so lively that the party is destroyed. The thing is, Celestia still considers her plan Going Horribly Right an improvement over what the Gala would have been like without their interference.
    • As the Cutie Mark Crusaders find out the hard way, the "love potion" from "Hearts and Hooves Day."
    • Iron Will's assertiveness seminar in "Putting Your Hoof Down," ESPECIALLY with regards to Fluttershy. The end results are exactly as one expects.
  • This hits the Young Justice version of Dr T.O. Morrow as well - coming and going. First his attempts to create 'heroic' androids to infiltrate the superhero community and destroy them from within fail due to his creations being too heroic and sacrificing themselves or turning on him outright. Infuriated by this, he decides to create a final perfect android within any such moral inhibitions... who of course immediately turns on him and rips him apart.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • TV Tropes was designed to give people something to do with their spare time when they are bored. It...succeeded, to say the least.
  • Conscription. It began in The French Revolution as means of quickly raising armies with impressive numbers, and combined with suitable mindset and proper tactics these newly raised bigger battalions managed to beat the best professional armies in the Europe. So successfully that the means of raising an emergency army became the norm of raising armies in the whole world for the next two centuries. Without conscription, waging two world wars would not have been possible. The direct results of conscription has been 100 million deaths in combat and stagnation in evolution of tactics for almost 150 years. Most countries outside the Western world, like China and Russia, still today cling on conscription.
    • Officially, China has a conscription system. However, in practice, there are already more than enough volunteers to the point where the Army started finding ways to reduce the size of the army. Conscription has not been enforced in decades.
  • China's one-child policy has probably been the most successful endeavour in curbing population growth in human history. But there's one thing they didn't consider in prospect: the hugely disproportionate gender ratio in the coming generations. The far greater number of young males than females will cause a much sharper drop in population over the next few decades than they would have accounted for. Another frightening consequence is that every young man and woman is likely to end up with parents and grandparents reliant solely on them.
    • Not to mention that having a lot of restive and sexually frustrated young men in your population and not enough women tends to go badly.
      • New reports find a rising trend of young men in China simply choosing to marry foreigners. Considering how, in the world, there are more women than men in all age groups anyways, it might not be as big of a problem as imagined.
        • Which in an odd way, is going to end up with a huge influx of foreign influences in China without the disadvantages of unwashed masses approach of old America.
  • The Manhattan Project, the project that created the first atomic bomb.
"I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita. Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and to impress him takes on his multi-armed form and says, 'Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.' I suppose we all thought that, one way or another."
J. Robert Oppenheimer, Scientific Director, Manhattan Project
    • Or, more succinctly:
"Now we're all sons of bitches."
Kenneth Bainbridge, Director of the Trinity Test, Manhattan Project
    • While the scientists involved knew that they were making an extremely powerful bomb (excluding those who thought it would set off a reaction that would set the entire sky on fire), it wasn't expected to be as powerful as it was. To wit, there was a betting pool as to the bomb's blast radius. The person who won it was a visiting official, who picked a high number to flatter the scientists, and it still well exceeded his bet. This alone might be bad enough, but things like fallout or the full ramifications of big radiation still weren't readily apprehended either.
    • Since they didn't know how powerful the bomb would be, as part of the secrecy operation they had a set of press releases prepared to explain away various sizes of mysterious explosion in the desert. The one they ended up using was "an ammunition dump exploded".
  • Castle Bravo, a nuclear test that went a little too well. Unexpectedly, stuff blew up to Eleven. They wanted a six megaton explosion; they got a fifteen. It wiped out the test gear meant to measure and record the explosion, and irradiated some islanders and a fishing boat, killing one outright.
  • The extraordinary success of the Japanese fleet over the Russian fleet in the Battle of Tsushima convinced the political and military establishment of Japan that military power was the universal medicine, which solves everything by itself. In the words of Geoffrey Regan: "Looking at Tōgō's victory over one of the world's great powers convinced some Japanese military men that with more ships, and bigger and better ones, similar victories could be won throughout the Pacific. Perhaps no power could resist the Japanese navy, not even Britain and the United States?"
  • The Davy Lamp had been designed as a fireproof oil lamp to protect the life of the coal miners from the explosions of the flammable gases. Short after its introduction, accident rate increased ...because the lamp encouraged working mining tunnels that had previously been closed for safety reasons, and also work in unsafe conditions due to the presence of methane gas.
    • Many safety devices share the same problem: Serious accidents aren't reduced, or are even increased, because the added safety tends to encourage many people to be less safe in their actions.
      • Viktor Suvorov lampshaded this in his semi-autobiographic book where his teacher in the Spy School tells all the students to forget their fighting skills. James Bond skills may be cool, but they give a false sense of security, and once they make you slip up...well, in real life, it's much harder to fight off a regiment of troops backed up by two dozen helicopters.
  • The breeding of the Africanized Killer Bee. They wanted a better, more robust bee and ended up with hyper aggressive Ax Crazy bees.
"Warwick E. Kerr created them in Brazil during the 1950s by crossing a European bee with an African bee. He wanted a bee that could live in the jungle. He got a bee that swarms by the hundreds of millions, is insanely territorial, mindlessly aggressive, has killed anywhere from a few dozen to a few thousand people. And, can live in the jungle."
    • It turns out they do fine in the desert, too.
    • It seems this accident is slowly producing positive results. Those Africanized honeybees which have migrated southwards have turned out to have lost a lot of their original aggression and pugnaciousness, and produce approximately one and half times more honey than ordinary bees. It has become the choice of the beekeepers in Brazil and Argentine. Likewise, when mating with European drones, the Africanized bee tends to become tamer and less vicious yet maintaining its ability to produce more honey than other bees.
  • The Chaser's APEC stunt. In early September, 2007, the APEC summit was being hosted in Australia. It's an incredibly important event that features 21 world leaders, and involved a part of the city being completely cordoned off and an inordinate amount of security. The Chasers had the idea of testing the security by sending a fake Canadian motorcade. The motorcade featured someone dressed as Osama Bin Laden, fake security passes with "JOKE" and "It's pretty obvious this isn't a real pass" clearly visible, and a man dressed as OSAMA BIN LADEN. Considering this, their lawyers said it would be fine, as APEC security would easily identify the motorcade as fake and turn them away before they got into any serious trouble. APEC security didn't identify the motorcade as fake. They were not turned away. They got into serious trouble. How far did they get? The Chasers reached the hotel George W. Bush was staying at, and realised that they had completely fooled APEC security.

Julian Morrow: The stunt that went horribly right.

  • When keepers at a Seattle aquarium moved a giant octopus into a larger tank with a more diverse population of predators, they figured its intelligence, stealth, and natural camouflage would keep it safe. They were right, but the sharks already in the tank weren't so fortunate.
  • Australian rabbits. Somebody at the end of the 19th century decided that it would be nice to have some European rabbits in Australia for hunting and released some pairs. The rabbit population, lacking proper competitors and predators, skyrocketed by the millions and became a problem for the native fauna and flora, as well as crops and livestock (since the rabbits ate their food). They tried to correct it releasing European foxes and it went even worse, as the foxes did not have competitors or predators either and found that hunting weaker and slower marsupials was actually easier than going after the rabbits at all. So in 1950 somebody developed the Myxomatosis virus, a form of an American disease found in cottontail rabbits. It worked fine, and rabbit population in Australia went from 600 million to 100 million in a couple of years. But then, a French farmer that was bothered by his neighbour's rabbits getting in his property everyday learned of the Myxomatosis success in Australia and decided to inoculate one of the rabbits with it. In the next years the Myxomatosis virus expanded like fire across Europe, and the rabbit population of the continent, which unlike in Australia did have real competitors and predators, plunged drastically and has not recovered to this day. Native predators that live mostly off eating rabbits like the Imperial Eagle and the Iberian Lynx have plunged as well and now are critically endangered (the latter being down to less than 200 living examples, and on the verge of being the first cat species to become extinct in over 10,000 years). All this because somebody wanted to hunt rabbits in Australia. It's getting worse - The Rabbits are slowly becoming immune to it. At least until the virus mutates.
    • It's even worse than that. The government tried to put rewards for hunting rabbits, but that had little effect. In the end, they decided to create a huge fence spanning the entire country to keep the rabbits out. It failed, so they made a second fence. And then a third. Right now, there are three big fences (hundreds of miles long) to keep rabbits out from areas they never got into yet. Less that 10% of Australia was saved by these fences. There's even a movie, Rabbit-Proof Fence, about some lost Aborigine people who try to get back to their family by walking along the fence for DAYS.
  • Cracked.com's How a Biotech Company Almost Killed the World with Booze, an excerpt from Robert Brockway's book Everything Is Going To Kill Everybody. A biotech company decided to genetically modify a plant bacterium to break down dead plant material into something useful to humans. The intended byproduct was an alcohol. It wasn't until its imminent release that it was actually tested on plants, and then only by an independent scientist. It was soon found that the bacteria got to work before the plant was actually dead and produced lethal levels of alcohol. Plants with the modified bacterium were dead in a week. The native bacterium is found in every root system of every land plant species that has ever been tested. Oh Crap indeed...
  • Kudzu was brought to the United States from Japan in 1876, mostly as an ornamental plant. And it does have very pretty purple flowers. However, being a creeper vine, from about 1935 to the early 1950s it was deliberately cultivated in the southeastern US. What they wanted was a plant to reduce soil erosion. What they got was a plant that readily grows in just about any conditions whatsoever, reacts to many herbicides like plant food, suffocates native plant life, and has no natural predators in the US. And it reduces erosion. Oops. The soil erosion they were trying to prevent? The bases of train tracks. Which means they deliberately planted it everywhere they could along rail lines. Which were the superhighways of the nineteenth century. As if that weren't enough, it also produces ground-level ozone.
    • For perspective, kudzu can grow a foot a day. There are places in the South where you can still literally watch it completely take over buildings within a week. According to The Other Wiki, it spreads 150,000 acres a year and costs six million dollars in damages.
      • And it gets better: kudzu is edible, and rich in nutrients, and contains molecules beneficial for treatment of diabetes and Alzheimer's. It can be used both as human food and animal feedstock. It is considered in China as one of the 50 essential herbs.
  • In 1982, Commodore released the Commodore 64, a cheap computer that nearly everyone could afford and was great for gaming. It was so successful that they couldn't cancel it, even after the disk drive cost more to manufacture than the computer itself, which eventually contributed to Commodore going bankrupt.
  • The PC Engine, an 8-BIT MACHINE that held its own against SEGA and Nintendo's 16-bit machines and had the longest official life of any console (1987-1994). Thanks to dual 16-bit graphics processors, and an extremely well designed CD add-on (not to mention the card slot went directly into the motherboard, allowing NEC to continually expand the amount of system RAM available) the system was very popular in Japan. It was so popular, in fact, that NEC kept the system alive and kept pushing back the release of the system's replacement. This meant that when the replacement was released, it was horribly out the date. The PC-FX, which was sort-of a more powerful version of the Mega Drive, would have done extremely well in the 16-bit era that it was designed for; but its 32-bit competitors had all been designed to support polygon-based 3D graphics, making the system somewhat quaint.
  • In the 1980's, Osborne Computer Corporation released an announcement that a vastly more powerful model was going to be released in the near future. People were interested - but unfortunately for Osborne, this anticipation of an upcoming superior system caused a rapid decline in the sales of their existing models.
  • In 1971 the government of the Turkmen SSR (today Turkmenistan) was looking for deposits of natural gas. They found them - and the gas reserves are still burning today. Locals call it the Door to Hell.
  • In 2007, adult swim wanted to promote the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie by placing several signs depicting a Mooninite giving the finger in several major cities in North America. The campaign got a lot of attention...after someone in Boston thought one was a bomb. It could also count as such for the Boston Police, as they reacted swiftly to a terrorist threat that had the slight problem of not being a terrorist threat.
  • The Stanford Prison Experiment managed to become both this and Gone Horribly Wrong simultaneously. The foreground objective was to maintain order within a makeshift prison, and this absolutely went awry. But the actual objective was to see if that violence in prison results from system factors, not sadism of some people.
  • The breakup of the rigid system of rules organizing life in the Communist Soviet Union was supposed to allow common people to gain wealth, freedom, and a general improvement of personal life. For most, it succeeded failed more or less. For a few, it succeeded a little TOO well.
  • Speaking of Communism, Mikhail Gorbachev wanted to make the Soviet Union less repressive, and allowed for openness. What he didn't expect was people in the Soviet satellite states to be more open about the fact that communism sucked, all the Warsaw Pact governments to be overthrown within less than a YEAR, and ultimately the Soviet Union itself to fly apart.
  • H. R. Giger tried to implement some of his nightmares into his artwork. The rest is history.
  • A sadder example: Due to the stigma of depression and the notion that most people are just Wangsting (especially teens), sufferers often feel the need to prove that they're unhappy by doing something drastic—because only a really unhappy person would take their own lives. The "lucky" ones end up in emergency rooms. The unlucky ones end up in coffins.
    • Chronic self-harming is another common result. The fact that much of the public considers even this to simply be attention seeking (rather than evidence of severe psychological problems) tends to lead to the conclusion that Humans Are the Real Monsters.
    • Part of the problem is that a not-insignificant portion of the people who do this are simply seeking attention. The fact that it's easier to dismiss this as such rather than take the time to actually investigate, though, still falls under Humans Are the Real Monsters.
    • To look at it another way, of course they're doing it "for attention". The point is that if you think the best way to get attention is self-harm, you need psychological help.
    • To look at it yet another way, yes, they're doing it "for attention", but the "attention" they're looking for is psychological help.
    • And to look at it still another way, one of both the causes and symptoms of depression in many cases is the sense that no one cares about you. So of course people who feel ignored and abandoned want attention. People say things like "oh, he's just looking for attention" as if that were some frivolous thing and not one of the most basic human emotional needs.
  • In typography, Helvetica was designed to be the 'perfect' typeface; meaning it could be used on almost any design or purpose. By the end of the 20th century, it and its clones has been overused by amateurs and professionals alike to the point that it's on the verge of becoming the most hated typeface alongside Comic Sans and Papyrus.
  • In order to warm the Brazilian economy up, the government cut taxes on cars. It did warm up the economy quite well...but at the cost of making traffic issues worse than they used to be since many people which were used to public transportation were buying cars.
  • Acclaim tried to make a David Ferris game more controversial by adding in sex, nudity, and crude humor in an attempt to boost sales, resulting in BMX-XXX. They succeeded in creating controversy, all right, but it backfired when it became apparent that the controversy resulted in most outlet stores refusing to carry the game, resulting in Acclaim becoming bankrupt.
  • Humans in general. Our intellect made us great hunters, allowed us to use tools, allowed us to cultivate, we reproduced, and our population grew and we spread. Now each year our growth rate is bigger, each year we need more food, each year we need more space, the energy sources of which we depend to sustain our society are changing the weather, forests are disappearing in order to build homes or crops, each year the humans produce more waste, more contaminants, more species disappear, and so on. And the worst part is that if we can afford the changes, we can end up doomed by our own success.
    • There's an argument (made by Matt Ridley, among others) that human intelligence is a runaway sexually selected trait, like the peacock's tail. In other words, human ancestors got smarter and smarter merely because smart proto-humans were better at flirting, getting mates, and sleeping around than their stupider brothers and sisters. It worked...to the extent that one species of African apes — Homo sapiens — are now flirting, getting mates, and sleeping around on seven continents.
      • Humans didn't just win the brain lottery. We won the whole damn genetic jackpot. We're #1 in intelligence, #2 in pound-for-pound strength, the second largest pack-hunting predator, have one of the most efficient digestive systems, can control our body temperature in ways that no other vertibrate can, and the only wild animal that can actually keep up with us over long distances (i.e. days of travel) is called a wolf. We can also strike from a distance, which is something that no other mammal can do.
        • And on top of all that we've also been gifted with the most wondrously efficient liver of any living thing on Earth. Humans can eat a wider range of things without being poisoned than any other animal.
    • There is also the cultural-heritage thing to consider, though. Once we got language, genetic advantages stopped being the primary factor in our survival rates; instead it shifted to what sorts of ideas we'd inherited for things like agriculture and force-multipliers. The accumulation of brilliant not-dying ideas are what have made us go Horribly Right, rather than the genetically defined quality 'cleverness.' (Or at least, that's what the few raised-by-wolves cases science has had access to indicate.)
    • More generally, the history of life on Earth is full of examples of species for which natural selection worked so well that they ended up becoming extinct for the sole reason that they were too good at hunting prey.
  • This can often be seen in politics in general: to use the American example, to get a Presidential nomination one has to appeal to the party's core constituency in order to secure the nomination. Unfortunately, the candidate who succeeds too well in appealing to the "base" can end up looking more unappealing to the majority of voters who are not party members.
    • The reverse can be true as well. During the 2004 US Presidential Primary, researchers found that many of the people voting for John Kerry did so not because they saw him as the best candidate, but because they thought that swing voters would. So the Democrats wound up with a candiate that the party base didn't really believe in, and that in turn failed to convince swing voters to vote for him instead of Bush.
    • Another example from recent US politics: Elizabeth Warren, currently running for the Senate in Massachusetts, is the architect of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. When Senatorial Republicans refused even to consider her nomination to head that agency, President Obama nominated a new person: Richard Cordray. Before this nomination, Cordray served the CFPB as the head of the enforcement division. Now, instead of just being chief enforcer, he may end up running the whole show. Nice job fixing it, Republicans!
      • To add salt in the wound (at least from the Republican point of view) Ms. Warren is now running (and polling well) for the US Senate seat once held by Ted Kennedy. A seat currently held by Republican Scott Brown.
    • A very recent example from American politics is the 2016 Presidential election. Wikileaks-released emails from various senior figures in the Democratic National Committee reveal that they were looking forward to, and discussing plans on how to quietly encourage, Donald Trump's winning the Republican nomination -- because they thought he'd be the easiest one of the opposing contenders to beat. Well, they got him... and then he won the election.
  • Mr. Yuk commercials are a perfect example of this. The creators wanted to instill a fear of household chemicals so kids wouldn't get into stuff they shouldn't. It did that and more. Many reported nightmares over the commercials and some as adults still have a fear of the cabinets, the closets, the area underneath the sink, household chemicals, knives, electrical plugs, matches, you name it.
  • Singapore used to have a "Stop at two" policy that discouraged people from having more than two children due to fears of overpopulation. It worked very well. Now, with birth rates on the low and the government frantically throwing Baby Bonuses at the problem to little effect, some of the old guard are wondering if they shouldn't have instituted the policy, since even if the birth rate is proportionately low, having a higher base population to work with would still give more absolute births.
  • After winning the French and Indian War (known in Europe as the Seven Years' War), the British government in London was unhappy over how much it had spent, and was still spending, to defend its North American colonies, and wanted the colonies to assume a greater share of the financial burden of their own defense. Only a few years later, thirteen of the colonies were paying the entirety of the cost of their own defense.
  • To fight the Napoleonic invasion of Spain, liberal Spanish guerrillas met during the Cádiz Cortes to agree on a plan to defeat the French and restore deposed king Ferdinand VII to the throne. They achieved their goals and... well... let's say things went sooo right afterwards.
  • Winning the lottery is like this for a lot of people.
  • For years, in fact decades, the United States government interfered extensively in the housing market in order to make housing more affordable for more Americans. As a direct and entirely predictable result of these policies, in 2007 the price of housing dropped dramatically. We wanted to make houses cheaper, and we succeeded. And then everyone got upset.
  • In the late 1970s, the newly-elected Bloc Quebecois implemented Bill 101, or the Charter of the French Language, which made French the only official language of the Canadian province of Quebec. Though successful in rescuing French language out of limbo, it led to a lot of English-speakers and companies relocating to neighbouring Ontario. This proved to be a liability for Quebec, until the Supreme Court struck down Bill 101 as unconstitutional roughly 10 years after its passage.
  • Both this and Gone Horribly Wrong: Some Soviet guys simulated a coolant failure on a nuclear power plant. They ended up with the Chernobyl disaster.
  • In 1981, Australia launched its "Slip-Slop-Slap" campaign to encourage Australians to "slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen, and slap on a hat" to reduce sun exposure, to great success. Since then, even though rates of the two most common forms skin cancer (basal-cell and squamous cell carcinoma) dropped, instances of melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) have increased. Vitamin D deficiencies (from which UV rays are the best natural source) also increased with it.
  • Japan's (in)famous work ethic since World War II. On the one hand, a miraculous bounce back from losing the war to becoming an economic giant that scared the world (especially America) in believing they'd be running things and despite the bubble bursting, still remains the one of the top tech spots in the world mindset and home of, if not the most long-living people. However, this is at the cost of "Karoshi," a term that had to be invented for otherwise young, healthy men literally working themselves to death (without paid overtime,) a population with increasingly more retirees than actual workers, otherwise fertile husbands not being home enough to actually father children, women entering the work force with the same results of drinking all night and marrying later, if at all, "Herbivore Men" who're too lazy and selfish to bother with relationships and an infamous though subtle xenophobia that sees even Japanese-Brazilians as Gaijin, making immigration virtually impossible in a fading population that looks to lose a third of its population within 50 years, which will affect the future world economy.
  • Accidental Nightmare Fuel, right there in the name. They didn't mean to give you nightmares and shivers for all of your childhood! Honest, they didn't...
  • By his own admission after being captured and interrogated[2], Saddam Hussein's strategy for avoiding the threat of invasion by Iran after the first Gulf War obliterated the majority of his army was to start a massive disinformation effort to convince Iran that his inactive WMD programs had been secretly reactivated and were ready to spam large amounts of deployable chemical weapons at the turn of a switch. This effort succeeded so well that he managed to convince most of the intelligence agencies in the Western world of the exact same thing, which got him invaded again in 2001 -- this time successfully.

Notes

  1. Although it is strongly implied that Hojo deliberately and knowingly sent Sephiroth on a mission that would inevitably cause him to revolt so he could further manipulate him into completing his research that would cause the destruction of the planet.
  2. Source - http://www.cbsnews.com/news/interrogator-shares-saddams-confessions/4/