Preemptive Declaration

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A form of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy where someone says something seemingly out of the blue, causing just enough pause to allow the statement to be true (if it isn't true already; if it's not true, it's gonna be true very soon). There are three types to this trope:

1. When a character announces something he is about to do, much to the surprise of everyone else. Very often, it's a very indirect, off-hand remark, an unnatural segue in the conversation. Bonus points if the confusing line is also mumbled. Example:[1]

[The Master puts on a gas mask]
Cabinet Minister: Excuse me, Prime Minister, do you mind my asking - what is that?
The Master: It's a gas mask. [is forced to repeat it, as mentioned above]
Cabinet Minister: Yes, but why are you wearing it?
The Master: Well, because of the gas.
Cabinet Minister: What gas?
The Master: This gas.

*gas floods the room*
Of course, this might also happen when the person says something, realizes afterwards it isn't true, and then makes steps to fix it:
"For since her old father who, when he seemed about to recover, suddenly felt the icy hand of death upon him."
2. A character pulls a weapon or insult on another character. The attacked shrugs it off, quips something like "How will you do that with a broken sword?" and promptly snaps the sword in half.

Gandalf: Saruman, your staff is broken!

Saruman's staff is firmly in his hands... and despite that, Kerboom! it goes.
Specific subtrope: Character is pulled over by a Corrupt Hick sheriff:

Guy: What seems to be the problem, officer?
Sheriff: Busted tail light.
Guy: Which one?
Perfectly functional tail light is BATON'D
Sheriff: That one.

3. The trope is not used in a confrontation, but as a backhanded joke where perhaps the joker was confused, or hiding something a bit.

Alice: How did you get in?
Bob: I used your back door.
Alice: I don't have a back door!
Bob: ...you do now.

See also Preemptive Apology, Pre-Mortem One-Liner, the fact that your monitor is smashed in...


Foreshadowed listings

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

Jacuzzi: Please, lower your guns! I don't want anyone to die!
Thug: You mean you don't want to be killed, right?
Jacuzzi: No, you're wrong, I don't want you to be killed! So Donny, please wait a little longer! I'm sure they'll lower their guns. Please!
Thug: Who the hell are you talkin' tooaaaAAAAAAHHHHGH! [Immediately has his hand broken by aforementioned and insanely huge Donny.]

Recruit: I heard there's a vampire in this unit, that true?
(laughter from other recruits)
Seras: (steps close to the recruit) Oh dear, it seems there's something wrong with your gun.
Recruit: What?
Seras: (Bends barrel) Oh, it seems your barrel is bent, you might want to get that looked at.

  • This style of attack is how Brook from One Piece got the nickname "The Whistling Swordsman." He tends to make quips along the line of "Sorry for defeating you," and this whistles as he sheaths his sword. It is not until the sword is sheathed that the opponent realizes they have already been defeated.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

Captain America: C'mere, let me get a closer look at that big gash on your cheek...
Bruce Banner: But I haven't got a gash on my cheek.
[Cap kicks Bruce in the head]
Captain America: You do now, son.

Kimura: X-23 has killed three facility heads. She has to die.
Third facility head: Three? That's not right, she only killed--
[Is shot in the head by Kimura]

  • Watchmen—Dr. Manhattan puts an end to a police riot:

Dr. Manhattan: Pay attention. You will all return to your homes.
Rioter: Oh yeah? And what if we don't, ya big blue fruit?
Dr. Manhattan: You misunderstand me. It was not a request.
(He teleports the rioters en masse, each to his home.)


Film[edit | hide]

Grumpy: [after placing the money bags by the door, he draws his Glock 17 on Bozo] I'm bettin' the Joker told you to kill me as soon as we loaded the cash.
Bozo: [sighs and checks his watch] No, no-no-no...I kill the bus driver. [edges off to one side]
Grumpy: "Bus driver"? [Bozo glares at him] What bus dri-[The back end of a school bus bursts through the front doors and runs over him]

    • also

Joker: You wanna know how I got these scars?
Batman: No, but I know how you got these! *cue the shurikens*

      • and again

Two-Face: You're a lucky man. *flips the coin again* But he's not.
Muroni: Who?
Two-Face: *buckles seatbelt* Your driver. *shoots the driver*

Cobb: Nice suit. Shame about the bloodstains, though.
"Bill": What bloodstains?
[Cobb headbutts Bill, and proceeds to beat the tar out of him.]

  • Batman Returns has one from Penguin, responding to a crack from one of his image consultants which has everyone laughing (including Penguin, who laughs right along with them).

Penguin: Still, could be worse! My nose could be gushing blood!
[Everyone laughs except Josh, who looks mystified]
Josh: Your nose could be...what do you mean by that -- !
[The Penguin proceeds to viciously bite Josh's nose and draw blood.]

Agent Smith: What use is a phone call if you are unable to speak?

Seraph: You seek the Oracle.
Neo: Who are you?
Seraph: I am Seraph. I can take you to her, but first I must apologize.
Neo: Apologize for what?
Seraph: For this. [attacks Neo]

Oracle: Oh, and don't worry about the vase.
Neo: What vase? [looks around, knocking over a vase in the process]
Oracle: That vase.

Patient: What the hell do you want? I don't need a goddamn wheelchair.
James Bond: No?
(punches him)
James Bond: You do now.

Narrator: What is this?
Tyler: This...

  • pours lye on the Narrator's hand*

Tyler: ...is a chemical burn.

Vaughn: Get your taillights fixed, sir.
Hamilton: What's wrong with my taillights?
[*smash*]
Vaughn: They're broken.

Sheldon: Oh, you didn't have to get off the phone.
Nora: If I didn't you'd still be here.
Sheldon: I am still here.
Nora: I'm hoping to correct that.

Innocent Bystander: If you haven't noticed, others are waiting to use the phone.
Foster: Others want the phone?
IB: Right, asshole!
Foster: Jeez, that's too bad, because you know what?
[shoots the phone down]
Foster: I think it's out of order.

Pirelli:You, boy! Get on that chair!
Toby: Me, sir?! I haven't got a twinge! Not the slightest pain!
Pirelli: *smack* You do now.

Metatron: What are you gonna do? Hit me with that...fish?

  • cut back to Bethany, whose baseball bat has miraculously transformed into a big fish*
  • Frank Capra's A Pocketful of Miracles, paraphrased from memory:

- I'm off to Havana, sir.

- With two broken legs?
—My legs, sir? Oh, they're quite... Oh! Very cleverly put, sir.
  • A confrontation between the title character of Major Payne and a Badass Biker: the former claims to be about to deliver a kick to the latter's head, but then goes for the Groin Attack. Writhing in pain on the ground, the biker protests:

Biker: "You said you were gonna kick me in the head!"
Maj. Payne: "You callin' me a liar?" Kicks biker in head.

Iron Monger: You had a great idea, Tony, but my suit is advanced in every way!
Iron Man: How'd you solve that icing problem?
Iron Monger: Icing problem?
Surely enough, Iron Monger's suit ices over and begins to fail
Iron Man: Might want to look into it.
He raps his fist on Iron Monger's frozen helmet as the suit fails and plummets to the ground

Lau: You give me the diamond, for this antidote.
Indiana: Antidote? To what?
Lau: To the poison you just drank.

  • Victor Victoria uses this trope for slapstick, practically citing it by name.

Club owner: Be careful.
Private eye: I am always careful.
Club owner: That chair is broken.
Private eye: It is? (chair collapses)

The Operative: You are fooling yourself, Captain. Nothing here is what it seems. You are not the plucky hero, the Alliance is not an evil empire, and this is not the grand arena.
Inara: And that's not incense.
[A flash bomb goes off, allowing Mal and Inara to escape]

  • At the end of the Tollywood movie Pokiri, Mahesh Babu's character has just taken out the Big Bad, but there's one more loose end to take care of...

Pandu (on the phone): Sir, it's me. Your daughter is safe. Ali Bhai is dead. Bad luck...our SI[2] too is dead.
[Sub-Inspector Pashupathy gets an Oh Crap face as Pandu hangs up.]
Pashupathy: What are you saying, sir?
[Pashupathy tries to kill Pandu, but is gunned down without mercy.]


Literature[edit | hide]

Kate: I'm not letting go of your tie until you tell me why you were following me.
Dirk: You haven't got hold of --
Kate: I have now, mister!
Dirk: Unhand me!

  • In Moving Pictures Silverfish offers Victor Tugelbend a job in moving pictures after he saves him from muggers, but when Victor arrives at the studio, he tries to get out of it.

Victor: I did save your life twice.
Silverfish: Twice?
Victor Yes, sir. Then. (deep breath) And now.

    • Used as a Noodle Incident in another Discworld novel. According to Sam Vimes, Nobby's way of informing the family of murder victims is something along the lines of "I'll bet you a dollar you're the widow Johnson."
  • In Mikhail Bukgakov's The Master and Margarita, Satan has this interesting line: "Annushka has not already bought the sunflower oil, but spilled it as well. So the meeting won't take place."
  • Obi Wan Kenobi from the novelization of Revenge of the Sith:

Kenobi:: (riding on Boga, the giant battle-lizard) You may want to get another ship, General! There appears to be some damage to your main sublight drives!
Grevious: Damage? What damage?
Kenobi: Show him, Boga.
*KRUNCH*

Jaime Lannister to Ryman Frey: "Only a fool makes threats he's not prepared to carry out. If I were to threaten to hit you unless you shut your mouth, and you presumed to speak, what do you think I'd do?"
'Ryamn" "Ser, you do not unders-" (cut off by Jaime backhanding him in the face)

  • Used by Father Brown in G. K. Chesterton's story "The Blue Cross." The priest was trying to get police detectives to follow him before any crime has been committed.

Waiter: 'The parson at the door he says all serene, `Sorry to confuse your accounts, but it'll pay for the window.' `What window?' I says. `The one I'm going to break,' he says, and smashed that blessed pane with his umbrella.'


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

Xander: Blackmail Is Such an Ugly Word.
Amy: I didn't say blackmail.
Xander: Yeah, but I'm about to blackmail you, so I thought I'd bring it up.

  • There's an episode of Monk where Captain Stottlemeyer asks a perp why he is talking so much with a broken jaw, and then, as expected, punches the perp in the face when he responds that his jaw isn't broken.
    • This one from "Mr. Monk and the Birds and the Bees":

Dewey Jordan: [seeing his friend pulling a revolver] What's that?
Rob Sherman: This, uh, this is your gun, Dewey.
Dewey Jordan: My gun? [Sherman promptly conjures a nickel-plated handgun in his right hand]
Rob Sherman: This one's mine. This is the one that I'm gonna kill the intruder with.
Dewey Jordan: Intruder? [Sherman shoots and kills Dewey]

    • From "Mr. Monk Buys a House":

[Jake and Ramone, holding Monk and Natalie hostage, have found their money]
"Honest" Ramone: Jake! Jake! Whaddaya wanna do with your share of the money?
"Honest" Jake Phillips: Same thing I'm gonna do with your share: spend it! [shoots and kills Ramone]

Kendrick: I'm sorry, sir, but it's my duty. I shall have to inform them.
Lumic: And how will you do that from beyond the grave?
Kendrick: I don't quite understand...
Lumic: (to Cyberman) Kill him.

Doctor: When does this Amy step into the box? We need to maintain the timeline.
Amy: Ah. As soon as she's slapped Rory.
Rory: OK... No. Why do I get slapped?
Doctor: Because we have to stick to the established chain of events. One mistake and the whole timeline could collapse. We'd end up with two Amy Ponds forever, and then what would you do?
Rory gives Amy a suggestive look. She slaps him.

Blackadder: He'd better watch out. One more insult and the contract between us will be as broken as this milk-jug.
Baldrick: But that milk-jug isn't broken.
Blackadder: You really do walk into these things, don't you? [Smashes the jug over Baldrick's head]

    • And, from Blackadder Goes Forth:

Capt. Darling [explaining why he didn't bother rescuing Blackadder]: ...we weighed up the pros and cons, and decided it wasn't a reasonable use of our time and resources.
Lord Flasheart [argumentatively]: Well, this isn't a reasonable use of my time and resources, but I'm going to do it anyway!
Darling: What?
Flasheart: This! [head-butts Darling into unconsciousness]

    • In Blackadder The Third':

Blackadder Does your father know?
Amy: He had to go
Blackadder: You mean he's dead?
Amy: Yes, as dead as that squirrel.
Blackadder: Which squirrel?
Bang!
Squeak!

  • Sherlock helpfully explains to the police over the phone that the robber fell out the window. Moment of confusion. Then . . . crash.
  • Coupling:

Sally: "I didn't marry her!" How do you think that makes me look?
Patrick: I had to say something, you slapped me!
Sally: Twice!
Patrick: Once.
Sally: (slaps him) Don't argue!

  • From early in Heroes third volume, when Hiro meets Daphne after she compromises his time-stop:

Daphne: This whole time-stopping thing, how does it work, exactly? I mean, if you chase me to Bangkok, will time stay frozen in Tokyo?
Hiro: I don't know.
Daphne: Well, something to think about when you get back on your feet.
Hiro: But... I am on my feet.

Luke McDonald: How's that lip?
Jason Stackhouse: It's okay. How's your nose?
Luke McDonald: Huh? [Jason punches him in the nose.]

Jones: Unless you're answering my questions, don't speak. I want you to tell me everything or I'll cut off her other hand.
Juliet: What?!
Sawyer: Other?
Jones: The first one isn't negotiable. It's just to illustrate how serious I am.

Monica: How about I don't book you for the broken tail light? Call it a warning.
Cheryl: I don't have a broken tail light.
Monica smashes the tail light out with the breathalyzer.

  • From the Eureka episode "Momstrocity":

Carter: It's only a matter of time before Allison sees you for what you really are, which is a smug, selfish, Einstein wannabe with no moral compass and only one functioning kidney.
Grant: Both my kidneys function fine, thank you.
Carter: Well. The day's not over, is it.

  • This happens in an episode of That '70s Show when Kelso, Hyde and Jackie fight over who Donna gets to take to a Led Zeppelin concert. Kelso brings a batch of cookies to persuade Donna into taking him:

Kelso: Don't touch. Those are for Donna.
Hyde: Kelso, Donna doesn't want a bunch of dirty cookies.
Kelso: They're not dirty.
Hyde kicks them off the table
Hyde: They are now.

  • Happens in an episode of Friends. When Rachel doesn't want to run with Phoebe because of the...erm, interesting manner in which Phoebe runs, she tells Phoebe that Monica tripped her and hurt her ankle.

Monica: Rachel, I'm sorry about your ankles.
Rachel: Ankle.
Monica: We'll see.

  • In the iCarly episode iFind Lewbert's Lost Love, when Spencer discovers that Chuck is the one who stole all of the TV remotes from the apartments, we get this exchange:

Spencer: I'm calling the police
Chuck: Then you'd better tell them you need a new PearPhone
Spencer: Why, this is the new G5, what's wrong with it? ( Chuck smashes it against the wall.)

  • In the Grey's Anatomy episode "What Is It About Men", this exchange occurs as Dr. Hunt approaches the ER, where a very large, angry patient is beating up a guy in crutches.

Dr. Hunt(to nurse): Book OR[3] 2 for a possible concussion and a broken jaw.
Nurse: We have a patient with a broken jaw?
Dr. Hunt: We're about to. [Knocks the large patient out with a punch to the jaw]

  • From the Fringe S4/E9 episode "Enemy of my Enemy", An agent of David Robert Jones is a doctor in an Emergency Room. She calls up Fringe Division, asks them to listen closely, and walks out the ER (leaving a canister behind her):

Orderly(to the exiting Dr. Samuels): Doctor Samuels, do you want me to give that little girl with the bike injury a Tetanus?
Dr. Samuels: Not necessary. I don't think she's gonna make it. (Orderly gives her a confused look as the canister begins to release a gas that kills everyone in the ER)

  • In an episode of How I Met Your Mother, after Ted's girlfriend embarrasses her on air, Robin announces "In other news, later today a Manhattan architect gets punched in the throat". One Gilligan Cut later...


Music[edit | hide]

  • In Ray Stevens's song "Sitting Up With the Dead", a man who died with a crooked back "sits up" during a nocturnal wake. The song amusingly describes the ensuing mass panic. In one passage:

Well when Fred sat up so did everybody there
And there came a great partin' of the folding chairs.
The preacher nearly knocked me down, he said
"I'm headed out that kitchen door over there."
I said "Rev, that kitchen ain't got no door in it!"
He said "Don't worry son, it will have in a minute!"
And I ain't never seen so much jumpin' and shovin' before.


Web Original[edit | hide]

Bubs: Saying 'sbu' makes me lose my super power.
Strong Bad: What's your super power?
Bubs: Being able to fly.
Strong Bad: (excitedly) You can fly?
Bubs: Not anymore.

  • Someone within the impenetrable depths of the Round Robin website Addventure, there is a part where your character is dealing with a Jerkass Ronald McDonald in a restaurant. At one point, you find a coupon in your Happy Meal which makes you eligible to become king of the world. When you show it off, Ronald promptly declares that tickets snapped in two are not accepted. When you protest that it isn't snapped, Ronald immediately tears it. "Well, now it IS!"
  • From Dragon Ball Abridged:

Namekian: Come on! Bring it! There's three of us and one of you!
Dodoria: Man, you must suck at math even worse than me.
Namekian: What do you mean?
Dodoria: Theres only two of you.
Namekian: That's not right...(gets punched through) Aargh!


Webcomics[edit | hide]

Daysun Tingo 'Bot: Agreed, but it must be adjusted back up a bit to account for the two Daysun-Tingo robots you've destroyed.
Captain Tagon: You can take my terms as they are, or you can adjust the payment up to account for the destruction of three Daysun-Tingo robots.
Daysun Tingo 'Bot: But you've only... oh. Your terms are fine as-is.

Art: My wardrobe is fine. I don't need any new--

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh; the gang try to open a treasure chest by dropping it on an anvil at Piglet's house:

Piglet: Where'd it go?
Tigger: In the basement.
Piglet: But I don't have a basement.
Tigger: You do now.

D.W.: Speaking of birthdays...
Arthur: Who's speaking of birthdays?
D.W.: No one, but now that you mention it my birthday is coming up.

Stan: Mad? Why would I be mad? Just because I'm being held without bail for domestic abuse, animal cruelty, child pornography, and attempted murder?
Roger: Attempted murder?
Stan: I'LL KILL YOU!

    • In "100 A.D.":

Stan: Jeff, you're not good enough for our daughter. You have no job, no future, and you're always wiping your face!
Jeff: No, I'm not...
Stan: sprays Jeff with a hose

Squirrel: Here, take this aspirin.
(dog complies)
Dog: Wait, I don't have a headache!
Squirrel: Oh yes you have! (pulls out a mallet).

Brian: I just need some time to think. Alright?
Stewie: Oh, yes. You have got lots to think about, haven't you? Public drunkenness, grand theft auto...
Brian: You left out the part where I made you smash your head against the windshield.
Stewie: Huh, I don't recal...
(Brian slams on the brakes, which propels Stewie forward into the windshield)
Stewie: Well, I suppose I walked right into that one.

Joe: And I see you've got a flesh wound. (shoots him in the leg)

  • In The Simpsons, Chief Wiggum tears down Bart's t-shirt stand since he doesn't have a licence to do so. Then he busts one of the lights on Bart's sneakers.


Meta[edit | hide]

Cop: I'm citing you for a busted tail-light.
Victim: What busted tail-light?
Cop: [*SMASH*] That one.

Interrogator: Tell me or I'll break the other [arm/leg/etc].
Suspect: But my [arm/leg/etc] isn't--!
Interrogator [breaks their arm/leg/etc]


It's OK, by the way, you can put the monitor down.

  1. This one is edited for space, because the Master initially speaks each line through his gas mask.
  2. Sub-Inspector
  3. operating room