It Will Never Catch On

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What the gaming community thought before the launch of the Wii.
"Groups are out. Four-piece groups with guitars particularly are finished."
Dick Rowe, Decca Recording Company executive, 1962 (turning down The Beatles)[1]

Anachronisms are funny. As are "prophecies" uttered by people who are in a position to lose a great deal of influence, money or credibility if they are wrong.

The best thing about Alternate Universes is that they have things we can't possibly imagine being true. Why can't the reverse also fit?

Oftentimes, be it a medieval setting or anything else where things we know about have no business existing, something abundantly familiar to our modern audience is put forth as a hypothetical. The punchline is that no one thinks it could possibly be popular, allowing us to laugh at how wrong people's predictions of the future really are, and pat ourselves on the back for being so clear-eyed.

Compare Call Forward and Who Would Want to Watch Us?, which is specific to TV shows, and Historical In Jokes that re-interpret the past in terms of the show. Contrast I Want My Jetpack, where our present makes a wrong prediction about the future. Note that this is also Truth in Television, as many things/people that are now legendary were considered potential failures: neither Elvis Presley nor the Beatles got good reviews when they were obscure, and many people couldn't see any use for a home computer. The polar opposite is This Is Going to Be Huge.

People reinventing things that did catch on didn't know It's Been Done. Not to be confused with Hilarious in Hindsight. Contrast Cassandra Truth, where no one believes the dissenting voices who say that some new famous or trendy product, idea or phenomenon is wrong. See also And You Thought It Would Fail - and They Called Me Mad, Who's Laughing Now?

Examples of It Will Never Catch On include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

Hohenheim: Haven't you studied Einstein's theories?
Ed: No-one believes him.

    • Which at the time that episode took place in was mostly Truth in Television. Certainly some believed him by then, but relativity was still controversial enough to be passed over by the Nobel committee.
  • School Rumble's "caveman" episode.
  • In the Crayon Shin-chan episode "Concerto in the Key of Butt Minor", Shin's father remarks that DVD was a passing fancy upon getting a videotaped invitation to Ai's piano recital. Erm, no.

Animated Films[edit | hide]

  • In Ice Age, Manny passes a Stonehenge-like structure and remarks, "Modern architecture. It'll never last." Later, he scoffs at Sid's ridiculous notions of "global warming".
  • One scene in Disney's |Hercules plays with this, showing the Fates, expounding on their ability to see Past, Present, and Future, giving an aside mentioning the popularity of indoor plumbing.
  • When Merlin in The Sword in the Stone predicted reminisced about the advent of flying machines, his owl familiar chides him for his crazy ideas of men ever being able to fly about in such things.
  • Here's a memorable exchange from The Lion King (which, may or may not be in modern times, since we never see any humans)

Pumbaa [looking up at the night sky]: Hey, Timon, ever wonder what those sparkly dots are up there?
Timon: Pumbaa, I don't wonder; I know.
Pumbaa: Oh. What are they?
Timon: They're fireflies. Fireflies that, uh....got stuck up on that big bluish-black thing.
Pumbaa: Oh, gee. I always thought they were balls of gas burning billions of miles away.
Timon: Pumbaa, with you, everything's gas.

  • Both the film and comic of Asterix in Britain have Asterix introduce tea to Britannia. However, the film ends with Getafix declaring it will never catch on.

Comics[edit | hide]

  • The "caveman" segments of Archie Comics often bring up futuristic technology. Jughead once drew pictures of a telephone and a car; the girls scoffed at his nonsensical pictures. They would also have characters use modern words and slang in spoken sentences, and then have other characters inquire just what those words meant.

Caveman Reggie: (after an accident) Look what he did! He rubbed all the greasy kid stuff out of my hair!
Caveman Jughead: What's a greasy?
Caveman Archie: What's a kid?

  • The Sandman:
    • In "August", the Emperor Augustus says "That will not last" about the names of the months July and August, named after himself and Julius Caesar.[2]
    • In "Men of Good Fortune", Hob Gadling comments that there'll "never be a real demand" for printing. The same issue also has an elderly 15th century man complaining that chimneys are a bad idea, and it was much healthier when houses were full of smoke.
  • Watchmen has the editor of The New Frontiersman react to a possible run for the presidency by Robert Redford by saying, "This is still America, goddammit! Who wants a cowboy actor in the White House?" In the film, he leaves off the actor part and just says "cowboy".
  • B.C. used this one all the time. In an early strip, one of the girls is getting B.C. to try on a new outfit she's designed; he comes out wearing a three-piece suit and says "It'll never sell." An early running gag is that the wheel will never catch on.
  • In All-Star Western, Dr Amadeus Arkham is rather taken aback by Nighthawk and Cinnamon, masked vigilantes who stalk the night in New Orleans. He's glad there'll never be any call for that sort of thing in Gotham City.
  • Way before an apple fell on Sir Isaac Newton, another one fell on Pitheco. He tried (and failed) to pitch the idea. Of course, Isaac Newton probably didn't go around dropping apples at people's heads.

Fan Works[edit | hide]

  • Yu-Gi-Oh the Abridged Series has a reference to Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, having Tristan say that "In the future, card games will be played on motorbikes." when asked why he's riding one. Yugi comments that it had to be the dumbest thing he's ever said and scoffs at the idea. Then it cuts to a picture of the promotional poster to drive the point home.
    • It became Hilarious in Hindsight when, during the debut panel for the 5Ds dub, the voice of Yusei was revealed to be Frank Frankson (Tristan's VA from episode 11 on).
  • From I Won't Say It, during a staff meeting in the Underworld:

Possibly the only interesting item had been a job request from a set of personifications in the east. It hadn't exactly been easy, but they had been told to come back when they could come up with a better name.
In his [Hades'] opinion, a name like "the Seven Deadly Sins" was never gonna sell.

It appeared to be a simplified version of the film Raiders of the Lost Ark, only with a scantily-clad female as the hero.
"By the way, I’m trying to come up with a name for the game. How do you like 'Grave Robber'?"

Literature[edit | hide]

  • In the sci-fi novel The Cross-Time Engineer, one character tells a bartender that women in bunny outfits (à la Playboy bunnies) will help business. Also something of a subversion, in that the bartender takes his advice, but eventually has trouble finding new employees when the girls keep running off to get married.
  • This joke is done a lot in the Discworld novels.
    • In one scene in Witches Abroad, the witches discuss whether they could fly people about on a "really big broom" in a manner reminiscent of commercial airline travel, alluding to the names of several Roundworld airlines in the process. Naturally, they decide it'd never catch on.
    • Mad Scientist Leonard of Quirm has developed sticky notes, espresso (or "very fast coffee", as he calls it), and the bicycle, among other things, but is never quite sure if the devices he invents will catch on. Leonard of Quirm tends to do this most often with his weaponry designs. He will often devise a weapon capable of annihilating whole armies or destroying mountains, but is naive enough to believe that no one would build or use such a destructive weapon.
      • He seems to be learning, however; in Jingo he designs an underwater war machine then reconsiders and destroys the design... but only after Nobby Nobbs has spent nearly the entire book pointing out to him the ways it could be used in war.
      • Leonard also invents an encryption machine (at Vetinari's request) which he calls something long and convoluted.[3] The initials of its name work out to Enigma, a real-world encryption engine used by the Germans in WW 2. Leonard's inventions are brilliant, but the names never catch on. In the same vein, he calls the previously mentioned underwater war machine affectionately the boat, in lieu of calling it the Going-Under-The-Water-Safely Device. He points out, that he came up with the convoluted name after considering that the boat is submersed in a marine environment.
    • Rincewind in The Last Continent: "What kind of idiot puts beer in tins?" Also the practice of hanging corks from a hatbrim to keep flies off. People he meets disbelieve that this could work, because surely someone would have thought of it by now.
    • Rincewind in Sourcery: "Telling stories in a harem? It's not bloody normal! It'll never catch on!"
  • Done in Good Omens with Agnes Nutter, a precognitive witch. She is considered mad for her belief in such bizarre health ideas like washing up and jogging.
    • On the other hand, Agnes also does predict some things that really DID never catch on. (Doe Notte Buy Betamacks.)
  • Believe it or not, this goes all the way back to Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities; first when Darnay gets yelled at for suggesting that George Washington will become better known than George III, and again, played for irony, when Monsieur the Marquis remarks that the line of Kings Louis of France will continue for eternity—and he says this during the reign of Louis XVI, of course.
  • In another example, also Older Than Radio, Edgar Allan Poe used this in his 1845 story "The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Scheherazade". It is written as an epilogue to the Arabian Nights, in which Scheherazade makes the mistake of putting modern (for Poe's time) inventions in one of her stories, causing the disbelieving sultan to have her executed.
  • Marc Acito's novel How I Paid for College, which takes place in the 1980's, has a few of these, but the one that stands out is one character claiming that "Madonna's a flash in the pan. She'll never last."
  • Marcus Didius Falco, a Private Detective in Ancient Rome, writes a play, The Spook Who Spoke, whose plot is remarkably similar to Hamlet. The actor he describes it to instantly rejects the idea, as ghosts don't speak in plays. On another occasion Falco encounters a Gaulish cook, which he finds ridiculous, as that country will never be famous for good food.
  • Two examples in Neal Stephenson's The Baroque Cycle: Enoch Root's friend thinks tea is too esoteric for the English to ever warm up to, and Eliza mocks Jack's butchering of thaler into dollar.
  • In the Night Angel trilogy, King Logan says he wants to write a book about words. Not with words, about them. Telling what they mean. A Dictionary. Kylar doesn't buy it.
  • In Jericho Moon, set shortly after the Trojan War, a Canaanite prince excuses his never having learned Greek, because nothing worth reading ever has been, or likely will be, written in that language. Also, a caravan drover is considered crazy for insisting that his camels are "the ass of the future": everyone knows that those over-sized, smelly, bad-tempered beasts can't be domesticated.
  • The Wheel of Time does this once or twice, since it's hinted that it takes place in a past/future Earth. The funniest comes in The Great Hunt (not direct quotes, but close enough.

Thom Merrilin: They say they don't need my stories! Some fool out there is pretending to BE Gaidal Cain! (continued rant on how ridiculous the idea of theater is)

  • In Gathering Blue, Kira sees indoor plumbing for the first time, but thinks of it as impractical, since she sees simply going to the river easier.
  • Paris in The Twentieth Century has (or, more accurately, is) an out-of-universe version of this. One of the reasons it was initially rejected for publication was that Jules Verne's predictions about the far-off future of 1960 were considered wildly implausible. He got a few things wrong, but the gist of the novel is either clearly correct (horseless carriages!) or correct if you're cynical (Corrupt Corporate Executives run the world!).
  • In Mary Renault's The Praise Singer, Historical Domain Character Onomakritos gets caught forging prophecies. A few are described. The one about a lightning-flash from Macedon which would burn the Great King's throne is obvious nonsense, but the one about Atlantis rising in the west and aspiring to rule the moon, sending up heroes in flying chariots, is crazier still.[4]
  • Gerald Kersh's Comrade Death. The main character, tractor salesman turned Arms Dealer, is laughed at by his first client and friends because the idea of a weapon salesmen is ridiculous at the start of the 20th century.
  • In the final Time Scout novel, one unpleasant downtimer goes on a misogynist rant when he encounters a female uptime reporter. He particularly laments that women are taking mens' jobs, usurping respectable professions like the secretary, polluting the office with their wanton ways.
  • In the first Dragonology book, Dr. Drake comments that he thinks the designs the Wright Brothers are experimenting with are impractical and unlikely to ever work. Considering that he's an expert on DRAGONS, there may be some overlap with Arbitrary Skepticism.

Music[edit | hide]

  • George Gershwin's They All Laughed is almost exclusively this trope. Among the concepts ridiculed by the mysterious "they": Christopher Columbus claiming the world was round, Thomas Edison's recordings, the Wright Brothers' airplane, Marconi's wireless, the creation of Rockefeller Center, Eli Whitney's cotton gin, Robert Fulton's steamboat, the Hershey bar, and the Model T Ford. Needless to say, the singer's relationship, to which he compared the above, was a similar success.
  • Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter of Daft Punk used to be in a garage rock band named Darlin'. The band received a negative review by a critic from Melody Maker that their rock music was a "bunch of daft punk". The magazine was right and their rock band fizzled, but the two took the name "Daft Punk" from the review and went on to become famous.

Puppet Shows[edit | hide]

  • In one episode of Dinosaurs, after traumatizing the Baby with a scary story, Robbie is forced to pacify him with candy. However, the Sinclair household is out, so they go to a neighbor's;

Old Dinosaur: What is this... a trick?
Robbie: No, it's a treat, for the baby.

The old dinosaur then rants on the absurdity of the two going to his house on October 31st, begging for candy, and slams the door on their faces. Robbie then wonders if they should have worn costumes...

Robbie/Baby: Naaah!

    • Robbie also once dropped a candy bar into a jar of peanut butter and after pondering the result for a moment dismissed it as idiotic.

Pro Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • Reportedly, after jobbing out "Stunning" Steve Austin to "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan in record time, WCW vice president Eric Bischoff had a phone conversation with Austin, who suggested a change in his character from Jerk Jock to no-nonsense Nineties Anti-Hero. Bischoff told Austin, "Steve, we can have you run around in your little black tights and your little black boots, but that just wouldn't be marketable," and then fired Austin. After a brief stint in ECW, Austin went on to the WWF, where he ran around in his little black tights and his little black boots—and became one of the two biggest wrestling superstars in the world (the other being The Rock).
    • Well, Austin did add a little black vest to the look...
      • As well as a shaved head and a goatee. Back in his WCW days Austin had flowing blond hair and a clean-shaven look.
  • WCW managed to do this a lot. While head booker, Ric Flair once asked the staff "Does anyone really see Mick Foley as the world champion?" and when no one defended Foley, Flair decided to keep him in mid-card status before Foley departed for ECW and the the WWE where he became a highly popular three-time world champion.
    • Speaking of Foley, he thought this way of The Rock back when he was Rocky Maivia. To quote his book, Have a Nice Day!:

"The next day, one of the guys asked for my impression of Rocky. 'Hey, he's a nice guy,' I said, 'but he just doesn't have it. The office should really cut their losses and get rid of the guy'. I had no idea I was talking about the future 'People's and Corporate Champion.'"

    • Bischoff also took Jim Ross off of commentary because Ross was fat and Southern and wouldn't appeal to mainstream America. J.R. then left for the WWE where he's become the Howard Cosell of pro wrestling.
    • WCW also dropped the ball with one guy named Mark Callaway. Name doesn't ring a bell? Well, you might know him better as The Undertaker, one of the most famous wrestlers in WWE history, almost universally considered the best big man wrestler of the past 20 years, and whose winning streak at Wrestlemania is one of the highest draws in any wrestling event ever.
  • Eric Bischoff (notice a pattern), along with Hulk Hogan and Goldberg, felt that a Squash Match between WCW World Heavyweight Champion Goldberg and WCW World Television Champion Chris Jericho would not have been a draw. The same Chris Jericho who would later unify the aforementioned WCW World Heavyweight Championship with the WWF Championship to become the very first WWF Undisputed Champion, but not before winning them off of Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock.
  • Kevin Nash, while a booker in WCW dubbed many of the cruiserweights as "Vanilla Midgits," smaller wrestlers who could never hope to become popular main eventers and lacked any charisma. Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, Jr.. Nope, none of them ever caught on.

Radio[edit | hide]

  • An episode of the Public Radio International magazine show This American Life involved the reminiscences of a man "with a negative ability to identify trends". At various points in his life, he had: watched a Detroit nightclub performance by a pre-record-deal Madonna and assumed she would never make it big because she couldn't sing worth crap, reviewed and rejected a manuscript submitted to a publishing house entitled Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus because it was trite and misogynistic, and turned down a job with a Japanese company that was working on a major precursor to the public Internet because only losers would talk to people through a computer terminal.
  • The BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play The Tobacco Merchant's Lawyer, set in 1780, has the lawyer deeply sceptical of a fortune teller who predicts the housing bubble, that Glasgow will be razed and replaced by tall tenement blocks so the poor may have water closets, and that one day everyone will have a box-shaped recepticle in the drawing room that shows plays and the town-cryer. Also, when his company's ships are supposedly lost to piracy, his only consolation is the thought that "the dread Pirates of the Caribbean may presently be enjoying a degree of infamy, but in the centuries to come their exploits will be forgotten as surely as a shipwreck at the bottom of the ocean".


Sports[edit | hide]

  • They said he was too weak, too slow and that he would flounder in the NHL
  • In the 1984 NBA Draft, Sam Bowie was drafted by the Portland Trailblazers, ahead of some guy named Michael Jordan. (Hakeem Olajuwon was the No. 1 draft pick).
    • In fairness to the Trailblazers, the reason they passed over Jordan is because they already had Clyde Drexler at shooting guard, and the reason they drafted Bowie is because they'd just lost their center and needed a replacement now.
  • Joe Montana and Tom Brady would become one of the most successful quarterbacks of their respective generations in the NFL, with them winning seven Super Bowls between them (Montana winning four of them, and Brady winning three of them), despite only being drafted in the third (82nd overall, 1979) and sixth (199th overall, 2000) rounds, respectively.

"Poor build. Very skinny and narrow. Ended the '99 season weighing 195 pounds and still looks like a rail at 211. Looks a little frail and lacks great physical stature and strength. Can get pushed down more easily than you'd like. Lacks mobility and ability to avoid the rush. Lacks a really strong arm. Can't drive the ball down the field and does not throw a really tight spiral. System-type player who can get exposed if he must ad-lib and do things on his own." -- Tom Brady's scouting report for the 2000 NFL Draft

  • A Quarterback by the name of Brett Favre was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in 1991 as a backup QB. 33rd overall pick, so in the second round. But Coach Jerry Glanville did not approve of him. Favre threw 5 passes for the Falcons, two interceptions (one for a Touchdown) and not one of the 5 a completion. The following year (1992), he was traded to Green Bay and went on to be the Ironman of football and break virtually every passing record in the books. And also become the winningest QB in the history of the NFL.

Theater[edit | hide]

  • In the French play (and later movie) Les Palmes de M. Schutz, the title character tells in substance that they should give up on this "radioactivity" thing, as it will lead them nowhere... to Pierre and Marie Curie.
  • In The Musical of The Wedding Singer, Glen is told of a coffee shop from Seattle, and retorts that "no one will ever pay three dollars for a cup of coffee," then turns around and buys stock in New Coke.
  • The Strawman Political patriarch in An Inspector Calls (written in 1945, set in 1912) has a speech early on that consists almost entirely of this, including such claims as: Germany isn't serious about going to war, economic prosperity will be unlimited (except for Russia, which will always lag behind the rest of the world), and modern technology has created an "absolutely unsinkable" ocean liner.
  • In the Gershwin musical Crazy for You, the residents of Dead Rock, Nevada are skeptical of a suggestion of building a casino. "Who would come to Nevada to gamble?"
  • In the Kaufman and Hart play Merrily We Roll Along, Cyrus Winthrop, inventor of cellopaper, has by 1934 become a millionaire and is busy investing his profits in art. In 1922, when his name was Simon Weintraub, he wastes his time pitching his invention to a couple in the paper and twine business, who tell him the public won't buy it, "like that radio thing over there." There is also a scene where a producer says that he's turned down the melodrama Broadway because he expects "the play won't get a nickel."

Theme Parks[edit | hide]

  • This is a recurring joke in Walt Disney World's Carousel of Progress.
  • Back in it's early days, Disney Theme Parks in general, when Walt was trying to get funding to build Disneyland. The critics couldn't have been more wrong.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • In Assassin's Creed II, Antonio talks to Ezio about a drink that he brought back from Turkey called "caffe". Ezio tries it, says that he should consider adding milk or sugar. Antonio scoffs and says it's an acquired taste.
  • In World of Warcraft, one of the silly jokes for gnomes: "I had an idea for a device that you could put small pieces of bread in to cook, but in the end I really didn't think there'd be much of a market for it."
  • In Mafia 2, in one of the missions you can overhear one guard talking about how he bought a television set and the other guard demeaning television as "just a fad"
  • In one of her radio calls in Metal Gear Solid 3 Para-Medic pitches the idea that the future will have "movies where you control the characters yourself." Snake is astonished at the concept. Earlier in the conversation he had scoffed at Para-Medic's description of an early VCR.
    • Funnily enough, critics of the Metal Gear series often derisively compare the games to movies due to their unusually long cutscenes—Para-Medic thus also predicted one of the more common complaints about the game she's in right now.
    • Another radio conversation in the game has Snake and Sigint speculating the potential success of a walking, nuclear-equipped battle machine... specifically, the titular Metal Gear, whose designer Snake just met in conversation. Sigint thinks it's just about the stupidest thing he's ever heard, and hopes the designer was joking.
    • And another: Before the events of the game, Snake had no idea smoking was unhealthy.
    • When calling Sigint about the XM16E1 rifle, Snake seems to think the addition of three-round burst fire to the gun is a rather stupid idea. The M16 series shook off its Vietnam War-era infamy with the A2 version, which had three-round burst in place of full-auto.
  • In The Witcher, while Kalkstein is consider crazy by many people (and he might very well be), he has a theory (among others) that is the basic idea of the atom.
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion when you ask a guard about the Thieves' Guild the response "Some people say there's a thieves' guild, can you imagine? A guild of thieves?"
  • Destroy All Humans: Path of The Furon has main character Crypto considering starting a high-stakes poker tournament filmed for television a few decades before it actually happened: his companion Pox dismisses the idea, outright saying that televised no-limit Texas Hold 'Em will 'never catch on'.
    • Done again in the very same game, in which Pox and Crypto discuss the future possibilities of video games. Crypto pitches ideas for the very successful franchises of Mario, Sonic, and Halo. Pox quickly throws each pitch to the waste bin, and thus pitches the idea for movie-based video games, many of which are considered horrible.
    • In the first game, one thought from a German Scientist can be:

Scientist: I'm working on something called the Internet, but I'm worried it'll never catch on.

    • And in the second game, Crypto gives one after a conversation with Dr. Orlov:

Dr. Orlov: You are having excellent hand-eye coordination. You should trying computer game I am being developing.
Crypto: Games? On a computer? You're wastin' your time doc, it'll never catch on.

  • In Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, judging by the gossip, Larzuk the barbarian smith appears to be on the verge of discovering (and using against Baal's hordes) hot-air balloons and powder weapons, but all the other village inhabitants consider these ideas silly or even slightly insane.
    • Nihlathak even suspects him of dark magic because he was the only one in town not to catch some generic illness. The real reason? He washed his hands before meals. Given Nihlathak winds up being evil and using spells from the Necromancer's tree when you fight him...
  • Suikoden features a brilliant inventor adding an engine to a boat. Flik's response? "A machine that runs on oil? Sounds ridiculous."
  • In RuneScape, in the Meeting History quest, you go back in time, and talk to a boy/man named Jack. He mentions that some druids have started calling themselves "wizards" and are constantly locked away in their studies, figuring out new uses for runes. He laughs, and tells the player that they've also started wearing robes and pointy hats.

Jack: It will never catch on. It's a stupid look.

  • In the BioShock (series) 2 Minerva's Den DLC, you can find an Asteroids-esque game called Spitfire, created by Rapture Central Computing's engineers. Next to it is an Audio Diary where the lead designer claims their boss called it "a waste of time" (a rather odd sentiment considering Rapture's ultra capitalistic and entrepreneurial society).
  • The L.A. Noire DLC "The Consul's Car" has Cole and his partner discuss how the Navy is making 3D movies. His partner insists it will never catch on, but in a twist on this trope, Cole thinks it will, pointing out that people said the same thing about talking pictures and color.
  • Tank Dempsey, when acquiring a sniper rifle in the Moon map, wonders aloud if anybody would ever make a a fully automatic sniper rifle. A few people did just that.
  • In Red Dead Redemption, John isn't impressed by the bureau's automobile:

Marston: So much for this automobile of yours. If this is the future, God help us all...I can walk faster than this piece of shit! Give me a horse anyday!

    • Applied to the game as well: Rockstar San Diego were apparently told that they were crazy to make a game set in the Wild West. They revealed this tidbit upon being awarded the Game of the Year.
  • In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, when Mario signs up to fight in the Glitz Pit, Grubba, the manager, decides that 'Mario' is a terrible name for a fighter, and gives him the stage name of 'The Great Gonzales'.

Web Comics[edit | hide]

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • In Code Monkeys, which takes place in the Atari era, Mr. Larrity shoots down ideas for games that have become big in real-life (like God of War}} and Doom), pitched by young versions of their creators. Also, Dave thinks home computers will never be successful.
    • Also in Code Monkeys: Dave sells his movie ticket to ET to a young M. Night Shyamalan so he can go to the strip club. Dave blows the kid's mind when he says: "Do you think this is a good idea for a movie? A guy doesn't know he's a ghost until the very end."
    • Subverted when one of the programmers creates an 8-bit version of Halo that would have launched the Space Marine genre. Larrity admits it could have been one of the best-selling games of all time, but won't publish it because it was created by a woman and he's a first-class misogynist.
  • In Jimmy Neutron, Jimmy's dad reveals that he could have invested in the local Burger Fool years ago but declined. Jimmy, scheming to be rich, time travels and convinces him to. It turns out he'd actually refused so he could buy Judy an engagement ring.
  • In a Gummi Bears episode, Sunni competes in a fashion contest on Folly Day, a costume holiday where she wears a variant of 1980s Cyndi Lauper costume. The audience and even the MC laugh derisively at the sight of a girl apparently dressed as a Gummi Bear in a ridiculous costume and all Sunni can do is protest "Someday, everyone will be wearing this!"
  • Used extensively in the syndicated series of |Hercules. For example, during a crossover with Aladdin, which has Pain and Panic traveling to Agrabah and wearing their clothing:

Panic: What do they call these again?
Pain: Ermmm... "pants."
Panic: I like! No drafts!
Pain: Eh, it'll never catch on.

  • The Simpsons
    • Professor Frink, in a flashback, states that computers in the future will only be owned by the five richest kings in the world and will be the size of a baseball stadium. (In-joke to a quote attributed to Thomas J. Watson of IBM, "I think there is a world market for about five computers.")
    • In an episode where Smithers is taking a leave of absence to star in a musical based on the Malibu Stacy doll, Mr. Burns thinks it's ridiculous, "A musical about a doll? Why not one about the common cat? Or the King of Siam?" This isn't a flashback; Burns is just that out-of-touch.
    • In "That 90s Show", a young Comic Book Guy is heard declaring, "and that is why Lord of the Rings can never be filmed!"
    • Spoofed in an episode where, during Homer's youth (in a sequence parodying Stand by Me), Carl asks if the others have heard about this "Internet" thing...only to reveal he's talking about the inner "net" lining they're starting to put in swim trunks.
    • During Super Bowl III, Abe Simpson says "If people don't support this thing, it might not make it."
    • In the 1991 episode "Bart Gets Hit By A Car", the devil tells Bart "you're not due (in hell) until the next time the Yankees win the World Series." That would be 1996. And they've won it four other times since then.
  • This was brought up in The Critic (in a scene which is a parody of The Graduate):

Franklin Sherman: Son, I've got one word for you: Snapple.
Jay Sherman: Oh, Dad, you and your made-up words.

  • This is used twice in the Looney Tunes short What's Up, Doc? First, when Bugs is considering plays to appear he, he flings aside Life with Father saying, "Eh, this will never be a hit"; Life with Father went on to become (and still is) longest-running non-musical play on Broadway, ever. Later, he is sitting in a park with a number of out-of-work caricatures of some of Hollywood's biggest variety stars, Al Jolson, Jack Benny, Eddie Cantor, and Bing Crosby—of whom Elmer says to Bugs, "They'll never amount to anything."
  • In the animated series based on The Mummy:
    • The kid protagonist utters the line when some island tribespeople try and teach him to surf.
    • It's also uttered by the father in response to an early TV set in a "World of Tomorrow" exhibit.
  • In one episode of The Venture Brothers, in a flashback, Dr. Venture was listening about one of his dorm-mates talking about going into robotics after seeing a new film, Blade Runner. Dr. Venture then tells him that there is no future in robotics, and that he might as well major in Betamax.
  • In one episode of Tale Spin, a kooky scientist tells the main cast about this idea he had for "radio with pictures: TELEVISION!" The main cast, of course, laughs him off.

Rebecca: "What an odd little man."
Baloo: "Yeah! And what a dumb idea."

    • The trope is lampshaded by the iris out of the episode being a classic television test pattern.
  • On Arthur, Muffy tries her hand at fashion design. Her chauffeur Bailey, off-hand, comes up with the idea of multicolored plastic shoes with holes in the top. Muffy says it's too ridiculous to work.
  • In an episode of The New Batman Adventures, Killer Croc reveals a newspaper with Bruce Timm's picture on the front, along with the headline "B.T. Quotes: DVD the Next 8-Track." That's a swing and a BIG miss there.
  • In the TV Christmas Episode of Ice Age, Manny assures Sid that Christmas trees will never catch on, instead using Christmas rocks.
  • Pinky and The Brain: There was one episode set at the time television was being recently invented. Brain didn't believe it would ever replace the radios.
  • Garfield and Friends: In one episode where a Wild West tale was being told, a Wild West counterpart of Garfield said Television would never catch on.
  1. He ate his words later and picked up The Rolling Stones.
  2. Considering what happened to other (admittedly later) emperors' attempts to change the names (Nero and Domitian come to mind), this would not have been an unusual sentiment.
  3. Engine for the Neutralizing of Information by the Generation of Miasmic Alphabets
  4. The book mentions one other prophecy, bud since it's taken from Herodotus's account of the whole business, it's much less interesting.