Suspiciously Specific Denial

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Gunnerkrigg Court - 549 Denial.jpg

Jazz: By the way, Danny, just so you know, I'm onto your little secret.
Danny: (spits out water) W-What?! What secret?
Jazz: The clumsiness, the nervousness, I can't believe I didn't figure it out before. You have a girlfriend!

Danny: It's a lie; I'm not a ghost!...(Beat)...I mean, she's not my girlfriend.

A False Reassurance works because the speaker is being vague and non-specific enough to pull the wool over someone's eyes. A Suspiciously Specific Denial, on the other hand, fails because the speaker is Saying Too Much. This may be unintentional, such as when the speaker is panicked, a Bad Liar, or perhaps just a little stupid. Often used to establish that you're Most Definitely Not a Villain.

Sometimes, this is used more deliberately, such as when the speaker is trying to give out information that they shouldn't but doesn't want to be too obvious about it (Or So I Heard may follow). A Trickster type may also use it as the misdirecting component of a Batman Gambit, an Infraction Distraction, or Kansas City Shuffle; by making an oddly specific denial that is actually true, the mark may be led to believe that the denial is false. (For example: the mark is told that there aren't 2,300,009 invisible vampire ghosts—so the mark believes there are, when in fact there are no invisible vampire ghosts at all.) In rare cases, the speaker may be telling the truth and have no intent to deceive, but it just comes out wrong.

Oddly, it can happen in two opposite ways, with the same result: the specific denial ("I won't kill you using a poisoned stiletto!") was a lie (he does, and the fact that the question and/or answer was so specific means that someone already had the answer in mind), or the specific denial was technically true, but it left so many doors open that it was suspect anyway (he kills the other guy with a non-poisoned stiletto, or a gun). Bonus suspicion points if the statement was made apropos of nothing.

This is a favored tactic of a Tsundere who got caught being dere—in fact Memetic Mutation has made this the motto of the Tsundere ("Stupid [love interest]! I-it's not like I'm [doing something affectionate] because I like you or anything!")

When the speaker is assumed to be telling the truth, a listener might suspect this if the denial was expected to be more general.

When The Mafia uses it, it's the Legitimate Businessmen's Social Club. If you insist that you'd NEVER make a Suspiciously Specific Denial (while doing so), then it's I'll Never Tell You What I'm Telling You. This is not comparable to Bad Liar; a character who invokes this trope could certainly be a bad liar, but when used alone it's not indicative of Bad Liar.

See also: Could Say It, But....

Super Trope of Have I Mentioned I Am Sexually Active Today? and People's Republic of Tyranny.

Compare Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant, Saying Too Much and I Never Said It Was Poison.

Contrast False Reassurance, Blatant Lies, and Implausible Deniability.


These are certainly not examples:


Nothing General About It[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Frequently seen on Police Procedurals when someone under a confidentiality requirement (lawyers and doctors mostly) make a very specific inclusion or omission in an answer to the investigators that provides a clue where they should be looking.
  • Also a device in mysteries. Someone makes a statement or denial including information that they could only know if they were the perp. "Well, I didn't shoot him!" "No one ever mentioned how he was killed."
  • The phrase "...for now", as in "I don't plan to do anything evil, for now."
  • Also occasionally used in negotiations over payment, as in "My five partners and I charge only X$ for our services." "Okay, done!" "Fine, that'll be (6 x X)$ total for all of us."


Most Certainly Not Advertising[edit | hide]

  • A famous ad run during a break of the 81st Annual Academy Awards shows Tom Cruise and Jimmy Kimmel escape from a burning house. Kimmel immediately says he hopes Cruise doesn't think he burned Cruise's house down as part of a plot to get him to do Kimmel's next show. Cruise sees through the denial and tricks Kimmel into going back into the house to rescue a nonexistent cat.
  • Several tourism commercials for New Orleans and Florida reference the Gulf oil spill. One even insisted that "everything's normal" right after showing a bowl of shrimp.
  • From an Australian radio ad for a home redesign company with a running joke about the crew resembling The Smurfs:

Guy 1: ...and the carport's clearly a winner. How'd you do it?
Guy 2: Well, with my talent, my skill...
[odd background noise]
Guy 2: Shush!
Guy 1: What was that?
Guy 2: It was not a team of Smurfs who helped me.

Most Certainly not Comedy[edit | hide]

  • Hannibal Buress in The Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber:

Hannibal: Justin, they say you roast the ones you love, but I don't like you at all, man...I don't like your music, man, I'm not a fan of it. I listened to some of it, I'm not a fan. (distractedly) I don't like your music. I think it's bad. I think it's bad, man, I don't like it. I hate your music, man.

Definitely Not Anime & Manga[edit | hide]

  • In Fever, one guy tries to sneak his dog on a bus by hiding it in his bag. He then asks the bus driver "1300 won without a dog?" The bus driver looks suspicious, but is allowed on anyway.
  • In Pani Poni Dash Becky does not do this.
  • Part of the Onikakushi arc of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, while Rena and Mion seem suspicious to Keiichi, he in turn makes them suspicious of him by claiming that he wasn't talking to the police about them when they never asked if that was the case in the first place. In fact, a lot of the stuff in that arc was a suspiciously specific denial, thanks to delusions.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima
    • In one scene, Negi is in the middle of freaking out. Long story short, Ayaka asks what's wrong, and he replies, "Nothing! Nobody told me they loved me or anything!" The girls figure it out right away.
    • It happens again later with Ku Fei: "It's not like I'm keeping anything secret from Negi, or... um... ah..."
    • And as soon as the second chapter of Negima Neo, Negi didn't see Asuna's bear panties.
    • When Yuicchi disappears before getting a pactio in Negima?! Neo!, Chamo the ermine blatantly denies that Yuicchi found out about Negi being a mage and the fact that she ran awa—Aw crap...
  • In Full Metal Panic!, Sôsuke has to pretend to be Mizuki's boyfriend (so she can save face in front of her friends). Unfortunately, this is no easy task, considering that Sōsuke has a hard time pretending to be a normal boy due to his being socially inept and only having knowledge about military life. After receiving "coaching" from Mizuki, he tries his best to convince her friends during the outing. His response when they tell him that he looks like he's been through lots of battles and is not at all like Mizuki described him? "You perceive wrongly. I wear common clothing that has no use in battle whatsoever. I feel unimaginable happiness wasting time talking with women. I'm that type of human." Sure. They are not convinced.
  • Mai-Otome has a scene early on, after Arika and Mashiro have their Green Rocks exploded in an organ accident and Arika has to substitute her Orphan's Plot Trinket. Since this action is very much against the rules, Arika has to feign injuries through most of her classes that require her to have a non-exploded Green Rock. Eventually Shizuru asks her why she's been acting strangely, and Arika responds, "Nothing! I was nowhere near that organ when it went off!" Shizuru pretends she didn't notice and walks off, apparently satisfied. (All she and Natsuki really wanted to know about was the organ, which turns out to be an Ancient Weapon with which they are painfully familiar.)
    • In Mai-Otome 0~S.ifr~, Lena asks Shirou if he saw the mark on her breast, and he denies seeing or touching it. Naturally, she finds out that he's lying.
  • The weapon of choice against the angels in Neon Genesis Evangelion when no Evas are available are N2-bombs. The name doesn't tell us anything what the bombs are made of, only that they are Non-Nuclear. They still look and behave just like massive nukes.
  • The Tsundere version of this is lampshaded in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei.
  • Early on in Bleach, Ishida defends Rukia from Renji and Byakuya. When asked by Rukia what he's doing wandering around at night, he answers that he had to go shop at a 24-hour sewing store. "It's not like I took off because I was concerned when I sensed Shinigami energy and brought this bag from home just for an excuse to be outside." Rukia even mentally points out how blatant this lie was.
  • Azumanga Daioh has a few:
    • Yukari makes sure the class knows that the reason they all stayed in her class for the second year (except for Kagura, whom she brought over to win the sports festival) was NOT because she didn't want to learn any new names. (Oh, and please don't change your seating arrangement, either.)
    • Tomo, cosplaying as a giraffe, stands up during class to say, "I'm not bothering anyone." (link)
    • Osaka asks Kaorin if she's gay, to which Kaorin replies, "The correct term is lesbian!" She then tries uses the power of logic to explain to Osaka why she's not a lesbian. (link)
    • "There aren't any dead cats or nothing." says Osaka, trying to convince Nyamo to come to their café during the second culture fest.
  • Bubblegum Crisis 2040 has Mackie accidentally stumbling upon the Knight Sabers' secret lair and entering the girls locker room. He later tries to defuse the situation by stating that he did NOT see Nene's pink underwear.
  • In the Thriller Bark arc of One Piece, when Usopp, Chopper, and Nami get caught peeking into Dr. Hogback's lab, Usopp says, "I didn't see anything! Especially not the unfinished zombie!"
  • Subverted in AIR. In one scene, Hijiri finds Yukito and Kano embracing each other, and wants answers. Yukito tells her, "I know I'm embracing her like this, but it's not what you think! I didn't use alcohol to seduce an innocent little girl and take her to a secluded place to-", even though he really wasn't going to do anything to her (and in fact had been searching for her at Hijiri's request).
  • Ruby in Rave Master manages to nearly get Haru killed by insistently telling his captors that there isn't one more member of their group who has yet to arrive and, when this lie is seen through, adds that the person who isn't coming definitely isn't the Rave Master.
  • In the first episode of Keroro Gunsou, after Keroro gets captured by Natsumi and Fuyuki, he goes on to claim he's just an ordinary frog who's larger and smarter than normal, and he's "never even thought about invading Pekopon."
  • In Ah! My Goddess, Urd confronts Peorth after Peorth's love potion backfires. Peorth says, "I don't know anything about going to your room, taking your medicine, and then trying to monopolize Keiichi's heart." Urd hasn't even asked her the question yet. Of course, Peorth was in a pinch because as a first-class goddess, she's not allowed to lie.
  • In the first Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai! light novel, Kyousuke thinks the following about Manami, a childhood friend he's always described as completely plain and unremarkable:

Kyousuke: I wanted to go to the same university as her. It's not that I'm in love with her or anything, it's that I want this comfortable "have-been-together-forever relationship" to continue for as long as possible. And if I’m right beside Miss Average – Manami, I might be able to have the normal life that I yearn for. That was what I thought.

    • In the anime adaptation, his friend Akagi calls him out over his suspiciously specific denials.

Akagi: So basically she's nothing more than a childhood friend to you, you're not going out with her, you have no feelings for her, but you won't allow other guys to make a move on her?

  • Simon Brezhnev from Durarara!! will tell you that there is definitely no human meat in their sushi, it's all pure non-human stuff. One wonders why he has to go advertise like that, and the fact that he at some point threatens some Yellow Scarves that he'll make them into sushi doesn't help his case any.
    • He has also been quoted as saying that Russia Sushi "will not kill you."
  • Dee and Ryo get taken off a case in one episode of FAKE, leading to this line from Drake:

Drake: Chief! I've managed to apprehend Ben Lloyd, sir! I nabbed him all by myself and definitely not with anyone else's help!

  • Most of Zero no Tsukaima consists of Louise insisting to everyone in sight that she definitely has no feelings for Saito.
  • There's an example in one episode of Makai Senki Disgaea, when the Netherland Empresses come in looking for Maharl, who is hiding under the table, and Flonne tells them, "With God as my witness, there is no-one hiding under this table!"
  • Miyagi from Junjou Romantica is fond of this.

Hiroki: *Walks in on Shinobu and Miyagi in an embrace*
Miyagi: "I am not doing anything scandalous!"

    • Also,

Miyagi "Ah, don't forget, this is totally, completely hypothetical.
Hiroki: "Got it, got it. So what is it?"
Miyagi "Uh, see, there's this kid who just won't leave me alone, keeps following me around and confessing love for me. [...] So if someone showed up and started saying all these things to you, how would you feel?

Misato: "Y-You're nothing special to me. Got it?"

  • In one chapter of Wandering Son Shuuichi is looking at some Geisha, and there's a sign that talks about "Apprentice Geisha". Doi comes up and just stares at him for a few seconds, causing this conversations.

Shuu: *blushing and nervous* "I wasn't thinking I wanted to dress like that or something".
Doi: "I didn't say nothing".

Akane: He's your father, isn't he? Why not be more concerned?
Ranma: Who gives a damn about my rotten pop?
Akane: I didn't know you were so heartless. It's lucky I didn't fall in love with you!
Ranma: Me, too! Lucky I didn't fall in love with such an uncute chick!

  • The title of Oniichan no Koto Nanka Zenzen Suki Ja Nai N Dakara Ne means I Don't Like You at All, Big Brother!!. In fact, the person who said that totally has the hots towards her big brother.
    • A minor example is their father's "lack of interest" one of the SM porn Nao found in Shuusuke's Porn Stash.
  • In Nisemonogatari, when Shinobu materialized in Araragi's bath and was seen by his sister

Tsukihi: Where's that girl? (Holding a knife)
Araragi: There was no girl with golden hair, pale white skin, a flat chest and a haughty, old-style voice, but appearing to be eight years old.

Medaka Isahaya the third-year, are you the culprit?
Isahaya No! I don't know anything about that... I didn't use scissors on Ariake-san's spikes! And never sent a letter telling her to quit track!

Kanata I haven't been sleeping! A-Absolutely have not been sleeping!


No Such Things as Card Games[edit | hide]

  • The card game Ninja Burger includes the "Not a Ninja" T-Shirt which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin and gives a bonus to the disguise skill.
  • Magic the Gathering: House Dimir does not exist. Of course the Guildpact relies on ten guilds of all possible mana combinations, but the blue black one is just a myth. That tenth symbol on the wall showing all the guilds? Artist's license. Duskmantle, House of Secrets? Never built, don't know what you're talking about. Those mysterious spirits that the Boros legion fought last week? I don't remember that, and you don't either.


Couldn't Possibly Be Comics[edit | hide]

  • At the end of Young Justice: Sins of Youth, Klarion (bum bum BUM) the Witch Boy swears that "everyone on Earth has been restored to their normal selves.", prompting Batman to say "'On Earth...' Odd phrasing." As it turns out, Klarion was telling the truth... but alien bounty hunter Lobo, who was off-world throughout the ordeal, soon turned up on Earth looking for the fraggin' bastitch that turned him into a teenager.
  • DC Comics covers from The Silver Age of Comic Books often include amazing premises (e.g., the hero Killed Off for Real!) accompanied by promises like "Not a hoax! Not a dream! Not an imaginary story!" Invariably, the promise turns out to be literally true, but not specific enough to cover the cheap trick they did use (e.g., an alternate universe.)
  • Marvel Comics tended to do this sort of thing less often during The Silver Age of Comic Books, but when they did...
  • Joe Quesada claimed that Spider-Man's unmasking would not be undone by a "magic retcon". One More Day then proceeded to use magic to conceal his identity (as well as undo a very-well established relationship between him and Mary Jane, which Joe hated).
  • In Transmetropolitan, Spider Jerusalem starts watching porn based around his persona, preceded by this disclaimer: "This Is a Work of Fiction not intended to represent anyone living, dead or writing a weekly column for a newspaper."
  • Was Empowered ever spanked by Sistah Spooky? She doesn't want to comment.
  • In volume 4 of Scott Pilgrim, Scott is leaving his house when he randomly runs into his Stalker with a Crush ex-girlfriend Knives, who greets him with "H-hi! I'm not even stalking you!"
    • Ramona is also guilty of this in Volume 2 when talking to Scott about Lucas.

Ramona And I didn't even string him along or cheat on him with any cocky pretty boys.

"Thank you...registered nurse I've never met."

Has Nothing to Do with Fan Works[edit | hide]

  • There is no such thing as Special Services in Aeon Natum Engel.
  • First Impressions: Murdoc Niccals is accused of ordering Noodle as a mail-order bride, and insists that "I got my limits, okay, fatarse? I don't do little kids or coma patients, and for the record that thing with the cat was taken entirely out of context!" The "little kids" part is presumably entirely true. The "Suspiciously Specific" part is because coma patients had not been previously mentioned, so 2D is naturally suspicious. Technically Murdoc's telling the truth. No more details about the cat thing, though. Also, earlier on, Murdoc ropes 2D into helping him kidnap Russel. When Russel notices that 2D is nervous and asks if he's okay, 2D responds with "Oh yeah, I'm fine, and I'm doin' absolutely nothing suspicious at all!"
  • Hanyuu in Kyon: Big Damn Hero follows Kyon when he's bathing only because she's worried about him. She has no ulterior motive to keep an eye on him, or admire his surprisingly toned physique as he patiently watches over one of his younger cousins. She's just ensuring he was okay, unhurt after the mysterious events, and that's the only reason she's staring at him so closely!
    • Kanae didn't slide into Kyon's bed intentionally, nor did she do anything with him while sleeping there. Subverted, because Haruhi believes her (as Kanae was telling the truth) though she can't help but to lampshade it.
  • RE-TAKE pulls one off: after killing Arael, Shinji is called into the infirmary to determine whether he suffered mental contamination or not. When asked whether he's seeing things that should not be there, he looked at the vision of Future!Asuka sneering at him and said that he doesn't see anybody. Notice the slip-up? Misato does too.

Hyuga: What happened, Major? Shinji said he didn't see anythin--
Misato: Wrong. He said anybody. Replying to a question about things with anybody means he's seeing someone and he's trying to cover it up.

  • In The Time It Took, Harry Potter has broken it off with a guy named Roger because he saw him kissing a woman. Later, Roger shows up drunk at Harry's apartment while Ron is there, leading to this conversation:

Roger: I might have a problem with women, but it didn't mean that--
Harry: You also told me you didn't drink.
Roger: Fuck you! I am not an alcoholic.
Ron: No one said you were, mate, but if you're bringing it up, what are we supposed to believe?

Snape: Well, you did declare your loyalty to Hogwarts and the Ministry rather late in the day.
Draco: I didn't know that Voldemort had already been defeated.
Snape: You spent the previous half-hour hexing parties on both sides of the conflict, while making your way towards the Forbidden Forest.
[...]
Draco: Alright, I may have been moving in a Forest-related direction. But that hardly means that I was planning to flee to the south of France to spend my life and remaining fortune drinking cocktails in the company of nubile Veelas.
Snape: Of course not.

Draco Malfoy: You know who the last girl I'd ever ask to the Yule Ball would be? That Hermione Granger. Not even if we were the last two people on Earth and she looked stunning in her ball gown so that every time I looked at her I got butterflies in my tummy. Not even then.

  • In Yu-Gi-Oh the Abridged Series, Alex Brisbane's first line to the gang is: "My name is Dr Alex Brisbane, and I'm definitely not a villain." He continues to say this throughout, even when talking about his evil schemes.
    • In the beginning of the Duelist Kingdom tournament, Pegasus assures the contestants that "this tournament is 100% genuine, and is not in any way an elaborate ruse thrown together at the last minute so that I can get my hands on an Ancient Egyptian artifact."
    • In "The Other Abridged Movie", we see that Seto Kaiba has "cameras all over Japan" and uses them to spy on Yugi to be always "one step ahead". Even when Yugi is in the shower. When they duel, we get this exchange:

Kaiba: When I'm through with you, you'll going to have to take a shower to wash away the smell of defeat! And I won't be watching you do it!
Yugi: ...why would you be watching me?
Kaiba: I don't know. I just wanted you to make sure you knew I wouldn't be.
Yugi: But I never thought...
Kaiba: Good! Because I won't!
Yugi: ... why would I think that you'd be watching...?
Kaiba: I dunno.
Yugi: ... OK...

    • This one speaks for itself:

Mai: So, Joey, about that dream you had--
Joey: I was not wearing a dog suit, and I was not having dream sex with Kaiba!

    • "Attention, duelists! My hair is definitely not leading you into a trap!"
    • Marik: "I am Malik Blishtar, in no way related to Marik Ishtar!"
  • Dragonball Z Abridged, regarding Planet Vegeta's fate: "Stupid monkeys hit by falling rocks. (not deathball thrown by Freeza)"
    • Also used by Gohan to try to hide his dragon radar from Vegeta:

Vegeta: Stupid-looking watch you got there.
Gohan: Yes. It tells time. And nothing else.

Vegeta: I need you to, and follow me on this one... almost kill me.
Krillin: Almost ...kill you?
Vegeta: Yeah.
Krillin: ...And there's no repercussion for this?
Vegeta: (beat) I will not punch you.
Krillin: Oddly specific.

Man: If you excuse me, I need to do some important work upstairs. And that's all.
(cue onscreen text) [ This is what happens when you let Zeromaster improv his lines... o3o ]
Man: Nothing suspicious about that. Definitely not downloading porn. Nope, just me doing work upstairs. That's about it.
Kyon: Okay, he is so up to something.

  • Teen Titans: The Abridged Series: Starfire says she uses happy thoughts to fly. Raven asks what she thinks of and Starfire says she thinks of Robin. Raven asks if she means her friendship with Robin. Starfire says that's it, and nothing else, and certainly nothing involving chains and hot wax.
  • Yu Yu Hakusho Abridged: Hiei in part three of the movie. It is, of course, lampshaded by Kurama.

Hiei: Well I didn't float here downriver if that's what you're asking.
Kurama: Nobody insinuated that, Hiei.
Hiei: Good, because that's not what happened!

    • Episode 20 was well (Hiei again)

Yusuke: What are you doing this for, anyway? Isn't this supposed to be Botan's thing?
Hiei: I'm not hurting for work, I don't know what you're talking about.
Yusuke: ...good to hear, I guess...

  • From Option 4 by Vex The Warlord, a Homestuck fanfiction:

She had to be cool, composed...
"I assure you that I am not entering into any sort of perverse alien redrom situation involving multiple matesprits!" It was the perfect lie.
Kanaya stared at Karkat for several tense moments, watching as he began to believe her clever lie.
"WHAT?!" Karkat shouted suddenly, his voice loud and filled with equal parts confusion, shock, incredulousness and more shock. Clearly he did not read the part about it being the perfect lie.

  • In the Glee fanfic Summer 2010, Kurt's dad gives Finn a summer job at his garage. Kurt gives him a pair of overalls and says that they should fit since the last guy who wore them was about Finn's size.

Finn: Uh. Should I ask what happened to the last guy?
Kurt: I didn't sell his kidneys on the black market, if that's what you're worried about.
Finn: Huh. I really wasn't until just now.

    • To clarify, Kurt didn't sell his kidneys on the black market. He was fired when he slapped Kurt on the ass and called him Princess when Kurt's dad was within earshot.
  • In Unfamiliar, Siesta does this with regards to not speaking ill about Count Mott. It's also inverted, however, when Kirche notes a lack of denial about Alex being a plaguebearer.
  • The Bleach fanfic Please Stop Eating the Hell Butterflies has this note to Aizen.

Our plans to counter you do not involve zombies. You should not be taking steps to counter zombies. There will be no zombies. This is not a Zombie Apocalypse. We did not get the idea from Kuchiki Rukia's movie night. Kurotsuchi-taicho is not working on a virus to turn otherwise healthy beings into flesh-eating, brain-craving horrors. There are no zombies involved. Zombies do not exist. There will be no zombies. This is not a suspiciously specific denial.

Ishida: Would it modify Ichigo's memories in any way?
Mayuri: It is perfectly safe! Only the first test subjects went insane!
Ichigo: Um…

  • The My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic fanfic Progress has several examples from Princess Luna:
    • When asked if she's still hung up over having been Nightmare Moon: "I'm not thinking about it or worried over it and she doesn't appear in my dreams!"
    • When trying to keep her identity a secret: "This is not at all an elaborate deception to conceal anything."
    • And again, reassuring everyone that her fake identity is in fact real: "Y-Yes! A perfectly normal librarian who is not in any way, shape or form Princess Luna so nopony needs to feel embarrassed for any behavior they may have committed!"
    • And in a fan-written chapter, Celestia most certainly was not considering getting her guards to sex up Luna.
  • From the opening of the How It Should Have Ended parody of Harry Potter, quoth Dumbledore, "Welcome, everyone, to Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft, a place, I assure you, is safe for children, and has absolutely no history that might threaten our entire existence."
  • Hogwarts Exposed: nudity has nothing to do with sex, and in case you don't believe us we'll keep bringing up sex in relation to nudity over and over again in the course of the next 700,000 words.
  • Exaggerated Trope in Calvin and Hobbes The Series:

Radio Shack employee: Welcome to Radio Shack. How may I help you?
Sheila: SPY EQUIPMENT! IT'S FOR MY SON'S BIRTHDAY! NOT FOR ME! MY SON! NOTHING SUSPICIOUS ABOUT BUYING SPY STUFF!

  • Turnabout Storm: Apple Bloom claims in her testimony that the heard a lighting bolt while in the forest, and says that it definitely didn't scare her. Phoenix catches wind of this and presses further, revealing more information in the process.
  • Inverted in Floating Hands' Countdown To Infinite Crisis, in which Blue Beetle concludes Batman is hiding something from him because of Batman's Suspiciously General Denial that anything's wrong.

Blue Beetle: When there's really nothing wrong you always say stuff like "There's always something wrong in Gotham!" or "Is anything ever right in this world?" Am I right?
Batman: ... I hate you...


Never Involved Live-Action Films[edit | hide]

  • Star Wars: Subverted with "These are not the droids you are looking for," since this highly suspicious statement raises no suspicion whatsoever, as the recipient was being mind controlled.
  • From Spaceballs:

Helmet: Did you see anything?
Sandurz: No, sir! I didn't see you playing with your dolls again!

Woodward: They said Hunt hadn't worked there for three months. Then a PR guy said this weird thing to me. He said, "I am convinced that neither Mr. Colson nor anyone else at the White House had any knowledge of, or participation in, this deplorable incident at the Democratic National Committee."
Simons: Isn't that what you expect them to say?
Woodward: Absolutely.
Simons: So?
Woodward: I never asked about Watergate. I simply asked what were Hunt's duties at the White House.

    • There's another scene with a suspicious denial: Woodward's call to the Committee to Reelect asking about Kenneth Dahlberg.

MacGregor: I don't know. You're implying that I should know. If you print that, our relationship will be terminated.
Woodward: ... sir, we don't have a relationship...

  • At the end of Iron Man, Tony says that it is one thing to question the official story but quite another to suggest he was some sort of superhero. When the lady reporter says she wasn't suggesting that he then says good, because that would be bizarre and fantastic (with emphasis on the fantastic).
  • The aliens from The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra do a very bad job pretending to be human. "My wife sometimes forgets that she is not a space alien."
  • In Outbreak, Morgan Freeman's General Ford has a change of heart about the imminent incineration of an infected town. He gets on the horn to the chopper carrying Dustin Hoffman's character—who has been unable to convince the army to call off the bombing—to deliver the following warning:

"This is General Ford. I remind you that you are interfering with presidential authority. Sandman has a specific line to the target. If you are in his way, he cannot complete his bombing run and there will be hell to pay. Do you understand?"

  • Wag the Dog: Conrad uses this trope to start a war.
    • Exploited by the protagonists:

Brean: And it's most certainly NOT about the B-3 bomber.
Levy: There is no B-3 bomber.
Brean: I just said that! There is no B-3 bomber. I don't know how these rumors get started!

Danny: You know, Ross said the strangest thing to me just before I left. He said that the platoon commander, Lieutenant Jonathan Kendrick, held a meeting with the men and specifically told them not to touch Santiago.
Sam: So?
Danny: I never mentioned Kendrick. I don't even know who he is.

President Marshall: (held at gunpoint by the bad guy while a phone line is covertly open to the White House) What more can my people do? Tell the F-15s to fire at the plane? Even if they tried, we're equipped with tactical countermeasures.... I just want you to feel secure. That way no one will get hurt. The computer will fly circles around any missile they fire at us. And no hit, just a shock wave. Believe me, all that would happen is that we'd get knocked off our feet. That's all!

  • In Quiz Show, it is suggested that when Charles Van Doren agrees to issue a denial before he's personally been accused of anything, it's deliberate, knowing that it will give an impression of guilt.

Dick Goodwin: I said to myself, "Why would he do that? He knows I'll come after him." And then it occurred to me: "He knows I'll come after him."

  • A counterexample is found in Sahara: "No gold belonging to the United States...". Since the gold they recovered belonged to the Confederate States, this is False Reassurance behaving very similarly... unless the once being reassured were unaware there was gold at all.
  • Clue:

Motorist: (stumbling into the affair after his car breaks down, after having asked about using the phone) So where is it?
Wadsworth: The body?
Motorist: The phone. What body?
Wadsworth: No body! There's no body here!

Major: Search the thickets.
Man in front end of tiger suit (in Africa): Oh come on! I mean, do we look like the sort of chaps who'd creep into a camp at night, steal into someone's tent, anaesthetise them, tissue-type them, amputate a leg and run away with it?
Major:...Search the thickets.

  • How to Irritate People: The entire airplane sketch is based on this trope. Due to boredom, the pilots point out that there is "no cause for alarm", followed by "the wings are not on fire" and more absurd screwing with the passengers.
  • From The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear, the members of Police Squad interrupt a formal banquet and ask the people to evacuate the building.

Nordberg: I want you to calmly file toward the exits... that's it, that's it, nobody run, just walk, single file... that's it... now if we just stay calm, no-one's gonna be harmed by the huge bomb that's gonna explode any minute.

    • Inverted, as it's not a denial of the bomb which will explode (which is kind of key to it being a suspiciously specific denial).
  • Inverted (or similar) in There Will Be Blood. Daniel and H.W. are scouting out the Sunday ranch for oil, but they don't want to let the Sundays know. So, even though the Sundays display no evidence of suspicion, Daniel repeatedly emphasizes, "We're just hunting quail, that's all."
  • From The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult

Jane: Now I know why Ed's been calling every half hour. You've been back on a case, haven't you?
Drebin: No, no, I swear, it's another woman.
Jane: In your wildest dreams.

  • In Men in Black 2, K does this after neuralizing several witnesses when he doesn't have time to make up a decent story. It's a bit of an inversion in this case, though, since it is deliberately used to rewrite the witnesses' memory, as opposed to raising further suspicion of the event.

"You did not just see a room full of shiny weapons, you did not see four alien nightcrawlers. You will cherish and love each other for the rest of your lives."

Garbage Man 1: Did you see that?
Garbage Man 2: No, and neither did you, so shut up.

  • In Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian, General Custer signals the charge by yelling, "WE ARE NOT GOING TO ATTACK... RIGHT NOWWW!"
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Elizabeth asks Jack Sparrow where Will Turner is, to which he replies:

Jack Sparrow: Darling, I am truly unhappy to tell you this, but through an unfortunate and entirely unforeseeable series of circumstances that has nothing whatsoever to do with me, poor Will has been press-ganged into Davie Jones' crew.

  • In Nineteen Forty One, Ned Beatty's character, Ward Stevens, recites the following from memory while performing the actions on the anti-aircraft gun the army had left in his yard.

Ward: Do not disengage the gun carriage lock.
Do not place a clip of ammunition into the feed rollers.
Do not pull the charging handle to the rear.
Do not return the charging handle to the forward position.
Do not turn the traverse wheel to align the gun.
Do not align the sight on your target.
Do not disengage the safety lever on the right side of the gun.
And do not, under any circumstances, ever depress the foot trigger!

Assistant Marshal: We need some information about a Dr. Lentz who was on the staff here. I want to know if he knew or had any contact with a Dr. Richard Kimble?
Orderly: I haven't seen Dr. Kimble.
Marshal: That's not what I asked, sir.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: The following is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Especially you Jenny Beckman. Bitch.

  • In the Riff Trax for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, when Harry asks Hagrid what he was doing in Knockturn Alley, Hagrid assures Harry that he was looking for flesh-eating slug repellent and "certainly not hookers."
  • Done intentionally in Good Morning Vietnam when a news report about a bomb is censored.

Adrian Cronauer: In news, officially nothing happened today. A bomb unofficially went off in Jimmy Wah's and 4 G.I.'s unofficially died.

  • In Stripes, when John and Russell are sitting at the recruiter's office, the recruiter asks them have you ever been convicted of a crime, Russell looks at him, and says, "Convicted? ... No, never convicted!"
  • In Casino, gangster Nicky Santoro, explaining his move to Vegas to Ace Rothstein, does this:

Nicky: Don't worry about it. What am I gonna do? I'm especially not gonna involve you in anything.

  • In Clerks, "but you're a sexy motherfucker, I'd get down on my knees and suck your dick and four other guys' dicks, like a circus seal...No, no, I hate guys, I love WOMEN!"
  • In The Children's Hour, Martha lapses into this, rambling after her best friend said her boyfriend broke up with her due to believing the rumor the two woman were lovers. She starts talking about how she loves Karen, just as a friend, and that it's perfectly natural..Right before having a breakdown and telling Karen she's in love with her.
  • In Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie, Tom Servo has Exetor act like this for This Island Earth.

Servo: (as Exetor, freaking out) I'M NOT AN ALIEN!
Servo: (as Exetor) ...then I ram my ovipositor down your throat and lay your eggs in your chest, but I'm not an alien!

  • In GoldenEye, Jack Wade officially claims that he is not currently meeting James Bond in Cuba, and the CIA has nothing to do with his mission there.
  • In Talladega Nights the Ballad of Ricky Bobby, when gay driver Jean Girard takes the first-place position at the time trials, the commentator reminds his viewers that him "sitting on the pole" is merely a statement of fact and in no way a comment on his sexuality.
  • In The Three Stooges' "Sing a Song of Six Pants":

Terry Hargan: All right, bub, where's that piece of paper that was in my pants pocket?
Shemp: You mean the one with the numbers on it?
Terry Hargan: That's it. That's it.
Shemp: And the letters "L-R-L-R-L"?
Terry Hargan: Yes! Yes! Where is it?
Shemp: ...I never saw it.

  • In E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, when the mother asks where Elliot has gone. Gert: "Anyways, why Elliot go to the forest? Why would he do such a thing?" Smooth.


Is Not Literature[edit | hide]

  • Discworld
    • In Interesting Times, Rincewind invokes this trope by informing enemy soldiers that there were definitely no invisible blood-sucking ghosts, said ghosts had not been grown to twice their size by the Great Wizzard [sic], there certainly weren't 2,300,009 of them... He was quite proud of the "9".
    • In the same book, Vetinari certainly did not receive a missive, which was not delivered by Albatross from the mysterious Counterweight Continent: Indeed, he has no contact with that far-away mythical place whatsoever. The missive, which as we all know does not exist, does not contain a message requesting the help of a "Great Wizzard".
    • A certain copper in Night Watch: "And for close-up fighting, as your senior sergeant I explicitly forbid you to investigate the range of coshes, blackjacks, and brass knuckles sold by Mrs. Goodbody at No. 8 Easy Street at a range of prices to suit all pockets, and should any of you approach me privately I absolutely will not demonstrate a variety of specialist blows suitable for these useful yet tricky instruments."
    • That selfsame copper in Thud cynically muses on whether "community leaders" are really the ones saying "do not use the shiny new axes in the cupboard... no, not that cupboard, this one right here."
      • Terry himself gives a suspiciously specific denial in Thud. Two troll thugs working for the troll crime boss Chrysophrase tell Commander Vimes that their boss wants to see him, and one of them makes a mistake of threatening Vimes and his family; later, when the two meet, Chrysophrase casually asks Vimes if he wants some gravel for his garden, and shows him a box that couldn't possibly hold an entire troll.
    • The Watch books have a recurring minor character called "Done-it Duncan", who will confess to anything if prompted (including stealing fire from the gods - of course, he was a bit younger back then). This actually makes him a useful informant, as most of his confessions are along the lines of "It wasn't X who did that, it was me."
    • Discworld features a couple of Suspiciously Specific Assurances too: Nobby Nobbs is definitely human. He has a little paper to prove it. Jeremy Clockson has one, too, to certify his sanity to anyone who asks. (In Nobby's case it's probably true, but the very fact that he carries the paper around makes people even more suspicious.)
    • In A Hat Full of Sky, Daft Wullie attempts to corroborate his brother Rob's tale of being thrown out of Fairyland for rebelling against the Queen by adding, "Aye, and it wasna because we wuz totally pished at three in the afternoon, whatever any scunner might say!"
    • Sergeant Jackrum, one of the Discworld's great liars, makes full use of this trope in Monstrous Regiment.
    • Averted by several trolls, who are specifically noted as having found that the general denial "I never done nothing" works better than specific refutation.
  • Dave Barry loves this trope.
    • Dave Barry Slept Here describes the Puritans as very religious people who "did not believe in drinking or dancing or having sex with hooved animals." Discussion Question #1: "Why only hooved animals?"
    • He also frequently references it when referring to statements put out by the (U.S.) Government. If the government says "not X," then "obviously" X is the truth.
  • Subverted in the Hercule Poirot novel Dumb Witness. Because a suspect denies putting strychnine in the victim's soup, the detective knows that the man is specifically avoiding mention of arsenic. Despite this, the man is innocent and the victim was not killed using arsenic, the man is just trying to protect his sister, whom he thought had killed their aunt with arsenic.
  • Invoked Trope in one of The Destroyer novels where Remo sneaks past an annoying security guard by vandalizing a public bathroom and loudly insisting to a bunch of reporters that "The guard had nothing to do with it."
  • In the YA novel Sprout we have the main character, Daniel, AKA Sprout, who becomes close friends with new student, Ty, in a Kansas high school. One afternoon they hang out in Ty's back yard where Ty shows Daniel the lake his twin brother drown in when they were eight. Ty is about to cry and as a comforting gesture, Daniel places his hand on Ty's shoulder, at which point Ty shouts at him: "Dammit, Daniel. I'm not gay!" and proceeds to run into his house.
  • In the Doctor Who Past Doctor Adventures novel Grave Matter, the Doctor is trapped in a Big Scary House with a character who is slowly being taken over by microscopic aliens. Since she is possessed, she is unable to overtly help the Doctor, but she discovers that she is able to obviously mislead him. They are thus able to escape, due to her saying things like: "There is not, I repeat NOT, a secret passageway hidden behind that bookshelf."
  • In the first The Kingdom Keepers book, Finn has to "borrow" something from the One Man's Dream museum in order defeat Maleficent. When a cast member speaks to him, he quickly blurts out "I'm not doing anything wrong!" This, of course, makes her suspicious.
  • The Lightning Thief has this:

Ares: I am the god of war! I take orders from no one! I don't have dreams!
Percy: Who said anything about dreams?

  • In the Dale Brown book Rogue Forces, Jon Masters is insistent that the XC-57 Loser is not a bomber, that the Slingshot laser is not an offensive tool and that the belly hatch is not a bomb bay. Subverted in that while the Slingshot does get used offensively later on, the Loser does not get used in a bombing capacity.
  • This trope describes all but the first paragraph of the back cover blurb of Of the City of the Saved... and extends into the "about the series" section:

Of the City of the Saved... is not a novel of violence and political intrigue, set against the backdrop of humanity's last resting-place. There is no evidence that it is the second in the series of original Faction Paradox novels.

"Here," said Wobbler suspiciously. "This is time travel, right? Do you know something horrible?"
[...]
"What, us? We don't know a thing," said Johnny miserably.
"Especially about burgers," said Bigmac.

  • In Catch-22, when Colonel Cathcart discusses holding prayer meetings in the officer's briefings with the chaplain, he's resistant to the idea of letting the enlisted men join in, but NOT because he regards them as dirty, common and inferior.
  • In O Brother, Where Art Thou? when asked who Everett is, Everett's estranged ex-wife says, "He's not my husband. Just some no-account drifter, I suppose." Uh, lady, he didn't ask if he was your husband.
  • In On Basilisk Station, Honor asks her bosun to look for people who "would be intimately familiar with the best way to hide contraband". When she is asked about looking for smugglers to man customs flights, her response is... telling.

"Of course not, Major. This is a Queen's ship. What would we be doing with smugglers on board?"

  • In Dirk Gentlys Holistic Detective Agency, Dirk apparently managed to attract a following at university thanks to the bizarre rumours he was constantly denying—although no one ever heard these rumours in any other context.
  • Diana Wynne Jones's short story "The Master" has many, many of these, all perpetrated by the character Eggs. Any question which he answers with "I don't not know"... you probably want to re-phrase.
  • The Gaunts Ghosts novel Blood Pact has a variant: Mabbon tries to hide the group from the Chaos witch by putting blood wards on Jaume's house so she cannot see that they are there. However, the witch casts her Blood Magic and zooms in on the curious spot that just so happens to be unreadable by her.
  • In The Va Dinci Cod, a parody of The Da Vinci Code, Robert Donglan is accused of the murder of Jacques Sauna-Lurker. The evidence: a three-foot codfish which has his fingerprints on every single scale. His defence:

'I never so much as touched this fish. I certainly didn't – handle – it, certainly didn't paw it over and over,' he shuddered, 'like some disgusting fish-pervert, like somebody who couldn't help himself, who just had to press his fingers into the soggy, firm, cod-smelling flesh again and again, as if he were kneading bread, touching it, caressing it, forcing it through my fingers like a potter moulding clay, throttling its silvery-shiny wetness, its fishy firmness, pressing it again and again and again, slapping it, faster and faster shouting out "bad fish! bad fish!" at the top of my voice, until losing myself in a foul conniption fit of ecstasy.' He wiped a small quantity of spittle from the edge of his mouth with his sleeve. 'I didn't do anything like that. I hope you believe me?'

  • In More Information Than You Require, John Hodgman makes it very clear that he does not have an elephant's brain pickled in a jar.
  • During a meeting under truce with Damodara, Belisarius Series asks for a few moments alone with Narses, the Byzantine traitor now working for the Malwa. When Damodara questions whether that would be something a sane man would allow, Belisarius makes an oath that what he wants to talk to Narses about will not threaten Damodara. After the meeting, Damodara realizes that Belisarius denied planning to harm him personally. He didn't mention anything about the Malwa Empire.
    • Damodara later uses this himself. When Narses discusses a course of action (based on his conversation with Belisarius), Damodara very specifically denies giving him any permission to do such a thing. As Narses notes later, there's a difference between not giving someone permission to do something and ordering them not to do something.
  • The beginning of HP Lovecraft's "The Haunter in the Dark" consists of a couple paragraphs explaining that the general consensus is that Robert Blake was killed by lightning. Sure, the window was closed, but maybe lightning can do that. And the expression on his face was probably just because of a muscle spasm, not anything he saw. His diary entries were just based on local legends (sure, he also said he didn't know anything about them, but who believes that?), and the deserted church was obviously vandalized by pranksters with whom he was somehow connected. The well-respected doctor who read Blake's diaries and subsequently broke into the church, grabbed the stone and the metal box from out of the windowless black steeple, and dumped them in the bay was just a crazy fanatic. Clearly.
  • And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there anymore be a flood to destroy the earth.
  • The puppeteer leader of one of the Ringworld missions takes pains to explain that his ship carries no weapons whatsoever, only tools. He then takes equal pains to explain the safety precautions that must be taken when using each of the tools, which could be incredibly lethal if used improperly.
  • In The Dresden Files novel, "Ghost Story", Dresden gives one to the readers: "'Grenades!' I ordered, in a firm and manly tone that did not sound at all like a panicked fourteen-year-old."
  • Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea: When Captain Nemo asked from the Power Trio The Promise of not trying to see “something they must not see”, he could not phrase it without sounding sinister and exciting Aronnax's suspicions:

It's possible that certain unforeseen events may force me to confine you to your cabins for some hours, or even for some days as the case may be. Since I prefer never to use violence, I expect from you in such a case, even more than in any other, your unquestioning obedience. By acting in this way, I shield you from complicity, I absolve you of all responsibility, since I myself make it impossible for you to see what you aren't meant to see. Do you accept this condition?
So things happened on board that were quite odd to say the least, things never to be seen by people not placing themselves beyond society's laws! Among all the surprises the future had in store for me, this would not be the mildest.

  • I Want My Hat Back: "Have you seen my hat?" "No. Why are you asking me. I haven't seen it. I haven't seen any hats anywhere. I would not steal a hat. Don't ask me any more questions."
  • Enforced in Gelsomino in Land of Liars. The backstory explains that when the current military junta overtook the government, they forbade to speak the truth - completely. After a while, the citizens (at least more brave ones) adapted and now theay are talkink only in such denials - i.e. "I am not going to theatre" means exactly the opposite. The people now understand each other quite well, while the effect on a strager is devastating.
  • I Am Not a Serial Killer.
  • The Perfectly Normal Beasts from Mostly Harmless.


Couldn't Be Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Modern Family, in a recent episode, Luke's line "I got scared because the cabinet didn't fall down".
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    • Xander is often guilty of this. However he is so seldom normal that many of his friends ignore it anyway.
    • Also, Anya does this in the episode "Sleeper", when Spike catches her snooping through his room while trying to find proof that Spike has been killing people. After being caught, Anya tries to cover it up by seducing him.

Anya: Why else would I be here? I mean, it's not like I'm snooping around looking for proof that you're some sort of wacked-out Serial Killer.

    • Likewise Anya when she tries to convince the Watchers that she's certainly not a demon, and does a suspiciously specific assurance:

Quentin: Excuse me miss? Do you work here?
Anya: Yes I do. Ever since I moved here from South-Eastern Indiana where I was raised both by a mother and a father!
...
Anya: (in a later interview) Anya Christina Emanuella Jenkins, twenty years old. Born on the fourth of July, and don't think there weren't jokes about that my whole life, mister, 'cause there were. "Who's our little patriot?" they'd say, when I was younger, and therefore smaller and shorter than I am now.
Watcher: (taking notes) So, you spell it A-N-Y-A, yes?
Anya: (sheepishly) Yes.
Watcher: Fine, now we can get to the questions.

    • When Buffy thinks Angel had read her diary, she is sure to mention that "hunk" could have any number of meaning, that "penetrating" eyes don't mean what he thinks, and "A" certainly doesn't stand for "Angel".
    • And of course there's the Sunnydale news, which is very clear on the fact that "Mayhem Caused: Monsters Definitely Not Involved".
  • Blackadder has several examples:
    • From Blackadder Goes Forth: "We didn't receive any messages and Captain Blackadder definitely did not shoot this delicious plump breasted pigeon, sir."

"YOU SHOT MY SPECKLED JIM? AAAHHHHHHHH!!!"

    • Three seasons earlier, in The Black Adder, Prince Edmund visits a peasant village wearing a Paper-Thin Disguise and finds two stakes with the ashes of the local wise woman and her cat at their feet.

Prince Edmund: Does anyone know what happened here?
Old Peasant: (raises his hand) No! I don't!
Peasant Youth: Me neither. I was on the other side of town when we burned her.

    • In the very first episode, Edmund accidentally kills Richard III. When he's asked how does he know he's dead, he says: "Errr, well, I wouldn't know, really. I was... nowhere near him at the time. I... I just... heard from someone that he'd, er... er... I mean, I don't even know where he was killed. I was completely on the opposite side of the field. I was nowhere near the cottage. Not that it was a cottage -- it was a river. But, then, I wouldn't know, of course, because I wasn't there."
  • iCarly: "Well hello, ladies; we were not just playing with a hand laser from Galaxy Wars; won't you come in?"
  • Victorious: "We were NOT just watching you kiss that girl!"
  • The League of Gentlemen. "We didn't burn him!" This being announced to a police officer investigating a missing person. While he was walking out the door.
  • Invoked Trope in Babylon 5, when Sheridan wants the other races to allow the White Star fleet to patrol their borders and head off conflicts. He tries to talk them into it, and is rebuffed. So he changes tactics, and makes Ivanova state on the Voice of the Resistance that, at a specific time, in a specific region of space, absolutely nothing happened. This is perfectly true—at that time, in that region, nothing at all happened—but the Suspiciously Specific Denial plus a White Star shooting at asteroids at another time makes the other races think he's covering something up. A series of similar ploys convinces them that Sheridan is hiding the existence of some terrible threat, and they demand protection by the White Stars.
  • In an episode of 8 Simple Rules, Bridget and Kerry are basically running away from home because they are mad at their mother. They call Kyle, who was unceremoniously dropped off at a sandwich place earlier and made his way to their house. He is told by their mother not to let them know he is with her. He answers the phone, saying something along the lines of "Hi Kerry. I am alone at home and we are not looking for you."
  • A sketch in John Cleese's How to Irritate People has two airline pilots mischievously causing trouble with random denials. "There is no cause for alarm. The wings are not on fire."
  • Scrubs
    • J.D. has realized Dr. Cox was using Reverse Psychology, "and I figured it out all by myself, without anyone helping me or explaining it directly to my face or anything."
    • There is also one from "My American Girl" when Janitor finds Elliot in the Men's Bathroom: "It's not like I came in here and thought these were some kind of new female urinals and then tried them and found them... oddly comfortable."
    • Six words: "I don't have gay jungle fever!"
    • Of course, who could forget...

J.D.: Its not like I took pole dancing classes or anything.

    • Elliot again: "I haven't bought a wedding dress. I mean, I'm not even seeing anyone, so that would be crazy. Even if it was half off".
    • Janitor: "I'll tell you what I was not doing. I was not taking a nap on company time in Dr Kelso's mobile home."
  • Supernatural, in the episode "The Monster At The End Of This Book", Castiel suggests Dean a way of thwarting Lilith this way.
    • Also in "The Devil You Know", when a nurse overhears Dean and Sam mentioning statues crying, Dean reassures the nurse that she heard wrong, because only crazy people would say something like that. And they're not crazy. Obviously. *cough*
  • Chuck has a variation: Chuck is trying to get a message to Casey in front of his family at Thanksgiving dinner. His sister asks him to say what he's thankful for.

Chuck: I'm thankful that Bryce Larkin is dead and is not in my room making out with my girlfriend.
(Casey excuses himself from the table)
Ellie: Wow, Chuck, that was... dark.
Captain Awesome: And specific.

Dick: This is about someone I'm deeply involved with.
Pitman: Dr. Albright?
Dick: How did you know? Have you seen the pictures?
Bug: What? Pictures of Dr. Albright?
Dick: There are no naked pictures!

    • Another example:

Harry: Also we're not aliens from a spiral galaxy millions of light years away. (gets shoved by Dick) What? I said not!

    • Harry is guilty of this fairly often. In another episode, he assures the rest of the aliens that he definitely didn't lose their mission statement by leaving it on the bus.
    • Nina explains the concept of social climbing:

Nina: You know, you try to fit in with a group of people by pretending you're just like them. You talk like them, you act like them until they think you're one of them. You know what that's like.
Dick: [panicked] No! No, I don't! And neither does Tommy, Sally, and Harry! No! We're not social climbers; we're humans!

    • When the Solomons get audited by the IRS, they worry that their lack of paperwork will expose them as aliens:

IRS Agent: Here on Schedule E --
Dick: [wistfully] Schedule E. Yeah, I remember the first time I saw Schedule E. It was around 1992. I was right here on Earth, as carbon-based as the next guy.

Landlady: This is Ron Vibbentrop.
Mr Johnson: Oh, not Von Ribbentrop, eh?
"Ron Vibbentrop": (shouting) Nein! Nein! (calms down) Oh. Ha ha. Different other chap. I in Somerset am being born. Von Ribbentrop is born Gotterdammerstrasse 46, Dusseldorf Vest 8... so they say!

      • The whole sketch is one long suspiciously specific denial from Mr. Hilter, Vibbentrop, and Bimmler.

Heinrich Bimmler: I am retired vindow cleaner and pacifist, without doing war crimes.

    • In the "Expedition to Lake Pahoe" sketch, the expedition itself was primarily to investigate reports of cannibalism and necrophilia in... The expedition itself was primarily to investigate reports of unusual marine life in the as yet uncharted Lake Pahoe.

Sir John Cunningham: May I take this opportunity of emphasizing that there is no cannibalism in the British Navy. Absolutely none, and when I say none, I mean there is a certain amount, more than we are prepared to admit, but all new ratings are warned that if they wake up in the morning and find toothmarks at all anywhere on their bodies, they're to tell me immediately so that I can immediately take every measure to hush the whole thing up. And, finally, necrophilia is right out.

    • From "Cycling Tour":

Grip: Come with us, please.
Pither: Oh, who are you?
Bag: Well we're not secret police anyway.
Wallet: That's for sure.
Grip: If anything we are ordinary Soviet citizens with no particular interest in politics.
Bag: None at all. Come with us.

    • From "Secret Service Dentists"

Arthur: No, but I think there's something going on here.
Bookseller: No no, well there's nothing going on here at all (shouts off) and he didn't see anything. Good morning.
Arthur: (coming back into shop) There is something going on.
Bookseller: Look there is nothing going on. Please believe me, there is abso... (a hand comes into view behind Arthur's back; Bookseller frantically waves at it to disappear; it does so) ...lutely nothing going on. Is there anything going on?
Van der Berg: (appears flettingly) No there's nothing going on. (disappears)
Bookseller: See? There's nothing going on.

    • From the episode "Live from the Grill-O-Mat"

John Cleese: Welcome to a new half-hour chat show in which me, vis the man what's talking to you now, and Brooky, to wit my flat-mate -- and nothing else, I've got to emphasize that...

    • The entire smuggler sketch.
    • In "Mr. Neutron", Captain Carpenter wears a shirt saying "Nothing to do with FEEBLE" on his back. Also, he continually refers to Teddy Salad as a US Ballet organizer, despite everyone seeming to know he is ex-CIA.
  • Arrested Development:

Lucille: I don't know where the flight records are!
Michael: You know Mom, it would be best to deny that after I asked.

    • Michael finds himself reassuring a woman he's just met that he isn't going to track her down and kill her in the style of Jack the Ripper. While this is true, that he brought it up at all isn't comforting.
    • For a while, Michael would say "and I'm okay with that" anytime someone mentioned his brother's relationship with a specific girl.
  • One Friends episode has several of these, related to why Joey is napping at Monica's, not at his:

"[The duck] did not get sick somewhere in there, and it was immediately found and properly cleaned up."
(later...)
"[The couch] is not one of the places the duck got sick."
(even later...)
"[The duck] did not eat your face cream..."

    • When Monica and Chandler hook up, and want to keep it as a secret:

Joey: Have you seen Monica?
Chandler: I'm not seeing Monica!

"There's nothing going on between me and Rizzo. Nothing happened in a trailer between the two of us. He has never put his penis inside of me, that I can recall. We have never made out, and he has never, never, fucked me from behind. It seems specific, you're thinking, and it is, but I have a photographic memory."
"So you had sex?"
"Yeah, we did."

  • In Green Wing, this is the only kind of denial Dr. Alan Statham seems to know how to make.
    • For instance:

Alan: You're probably thinking that in some bizarre way that my playing the recorder has caused, erm, an expansion down below.
Boyce: I wasn't thinking that, but I am now.

    • Subverted when a reporter finds him checking out a dead body (it's that kind of show) and Alan just can't come up with a denial at all.

Alan: Erm... you may be thinking that I am comparing my penis to that of a corpse. (awkward pause, walks off)

Carl: ...what are you all so on edge about?
Harriet: Nothing.
Laura: Nothing.
Eddie: There's nothing wrong with the car!

  • In the That '70s Show episode "Moon Over Point Place", when Jackie buys a paper bag of (what is strongly implied to be) marijuana in order to prove to Hyde that she's not just some preppy cheerleader. Unfortunately for her, a cop shows up while they're arguing.

Cop: Everything all right here?
Hyde: We're fine, officer. Right, Jackie?
Jackie: There's nothing in the bag!

  • A running gag in Fist of Fun. Richard Herring would say something; Stewart Lee would point out it was nonsense, ending with a rhetorical reducto ad absurdum such as "Or do you want to swim in raw sewage?" Richard would then reply "Honestly, if I wanted to swim in sewage then I'd..." and proceed to outline a highly detailed plan for breaking into his local sewage plant during the guard's teabreak.
    • They also have a sketch about ethical vampires, who wait for people to accidentally cut themselves.

Rich But what happens if none of your friends have cut themselves?
Vampire We have to bend the rules a bit, really... we'll hang about near local accident black spots and hope for the best. We don't try and cause accidents, though, you know, putting oil on the road and leaping out in black capes, or anything. Oh no.

  • Used on This Is Wonderland. A white woman beats up a black man, thinking he was trying to rape her. He takes her to court, and she is so expecting the race card to get played that the following conversation ensues:

Crown Prosecutor Kaye: Or was it just because he looked like a rapist?
Defendant: This has nothing to do with him being black!
'Crown Prosecutor Kaye: Black? I just said he looked like a rapist. Youre the one who attached "black" to "rapist".

  • On the Mamas Family episode "Child's Play", the kid they are babysitting, Eugene (who, by the way, is the son of the Reverend at their church) sits down to dinner with the Harper family. Thelma proceeds to say grace with her eyes open, because Eugene had caused more than a little damage around the house prior to dinner. He nitpicks enough to get Thelma to say the grace with her eyes closed, at which point he puts some hot sauce in the stew. When everyone gets up and starts running for water, this little exchange happens:

Thelma: (suspicious tone) Eugene...?
Eugene: (hastily) I didn't put anything in that stew!

Kate: What are you doing here?
Lewis: Well, I'm not freezing my penis, that's for sure!

The Middleman: I'm more like an independent contractor.
Wendy:' What's that mean? You build strip malls? You kill people? What?
The Middleman: I never build strip malls... I solve exotic problems.

  • Angel, from the episode "She":

Girl: Nice sweater. Handknit?
Wesley: Certainly not by me!

    • From "In the Dark":

Doyle: Manny the Pig said he didn't know anything about a vampire called Spike.
Angel: So?
Doyle: So he said that before I mentioned anything about Spike.

    • From "Bachelor Party":

Harry: Richard said having the former husband present was some sort of tradition. I was just wondering...
Aunt: Well, they're certainly not going to eat your ex-husband's brains (long pause) for instance.

Lassiter: Relax, I'm not shooting anybody.
Gus: Why didn't he say anything about knifing people?

  • In Community, when Troy and Pierce receive their letters of Valentine's Day.

Troy: Yeah, their definitely not fake.

    • And when the dean lets Señor Chang recruit security interns:

Chang: You won't regret this unless I rise up against you. I don't know why I said that.

  • In 2009, British illusionist Derren Brown successfully predicted the UK lottery numbers (a 1-in-14,000,000 chance), and on the follow-up show he offered three explanations: a) he faked a lottery ticket; b) he genuinely predicted the results, or; c) he fixed the draw. He immediately dismissed a), and spent most of the episode on b). At the end of the episode, he dismissed c), saying what he would need to do if he did that but he didn't because it's illegal and he hasn't done anything illegal. The actual answer is probably d) split screen to hide the person putting the balls with the "predicted" result into the stand as they're drawn. They did try to hide it with some artificial camera shakes (as most split screen needs a static camera), but the fact that Derren staying well away from the stand during the draw is a big hint, and people going through it frame by frame noticed one of the balls moving upwards as the pre-recorded side of the split screen disappeared, as on the live stand one of the balls wasn't placed correctly.
  • Have I Got News for You discussing Sir Alan Sugar.

Daisy McAndrew: People say he's a bit pleased with himself and he's a bit of a git.
Adrian Childs: I have never seen him stroking his nipples 'though.

  • Corner Gas:
    • In one episode, Oscar buys an outboard motor from Hank using money he "borrowed" from Emma. So Emma decides to go after Hank and we get this little gem:

Emma: We need to talk.
Hank: No, no we don't. No, talk to Oscar. He's the one that stole the money from your nightstand last Thursday while you were out with the church ladies getting ready for the bake sale, I don't know nothing about it!

    • In another episode:

Karen: I didn't sleep with Hank!

  • The Day Today did this absolutely brilliantly by informing the British public that if the Prime Minister were to die, they'd be the first to break the news. At least once every 5 minutes.
  • In a sketch on You Can't Do That on Television, the mother confronts her son about something he's done. When he finds out what it is, he says, "Oh, thank god!" His mother, unfortunately, is quick enough to pick up on this.
  • In Star Trek: Enterprise, T'Pol drops one of these on Commander Tucker in the process of talking him into submitting to a Vulcan relaxation technique. When he asks if it has even been tried on a human, she responds "The risk of paralysis is minimal."
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: "Oh, it's just Garak. Plain, simple Garak (in response to Bashir's probing questions)." If there's two words who have never described Garak whatsoever ...
  • In Season 6 of Twenty Four, Russian Consul Markov insists he doesn't know where Dmitri Gredenko is.
  • Castle, "The Double Down":

Suspect: You're not accusing me of killing my wife again, are you?
Beckett: I can assure you we are 100% certain you did not kill Ashley. [3]

    • In "The Final Nail", the very first thing a suspect says when he's caught trying to run from the cops: "Yo, if this is about that damn rich lady, I don't know nothin'!"
  • The Two Ronnies, "Death can be Fatal":

Taxi driver: (struggling with a heavy trunk) Blimey! Whatever have you got in there?
Piggy: Nobody.

  • In an episode of the 1978 Battlestar Galactica Classic, Starbuck leaves a helpless pilot on a frozen moon with a Cylon base and a weapon capable to destroy Galactica. To stop this, the crew devises a plan in which the computer must find an adequate team for the rough terrain. Starbuck goes in the computer room, tricks the only tech there to leave him alone with the machine, and inserts his name there, hoping that as he's not the volunteering type, nobody will ever guess. When confronted that he does not belong there, having no low-temperature survival skills, the following dialog occurs:

Boomer: Why don't you just tell the commander you're not qualified for this mission?
Starbuck: You talk like I programmed that computer myself.

  • In Just Shoot Me, Finch is trying to encourage his dad (a retired firefighter) to press on and uses his dad's heroism at the old lumber mill fire as an example.

Dad: What the hell were you doing at the lumber mill?
Finch: I wasn't looking at porn and shooting bottle rockets, if that's what you mean.

  • Inverted in the Doctor Who episode "Remembrance of the Daleks", where the Doctor tells Ace to "give me some of that Nitro-9 you're not carrying."
    • Played straight in the 2008 Agatha Christie episode "The Unicorn and the Wasp". The Doctor and Agatha question everyone on where they were at the time of the murder. We hear Roger stress how utterly, completely alone he was over a flashback of him holding hands with his footman. "Absolutely alone. Completely. All of the time. I wandered, lonely, as the proverbial cloud. There was no one else with me. Not at all."
  • How I Met Your Mother:

Robin: Who gets trapped under a fake boulder at the mall?
Ted: Not me in Ohio when I was nine, that's for sure.

    • Marshall does that every time when he has to lie.

Ted: I'm going blond.
Marshall: That is not the outcome we were hoping for.

    • When Ted asks how Barney's company plans to move current residents out of a building they're demolishing, the following happens:

Barney: (muttering) Snakes.
Ted: Did you just s-
Barney: I do not recall saying snakes.
Ted: -ay snakes?

    • Also in another episode:

Ted: Were you guys planning an intervention for me? What was it for? The Crocs? The hair product?
Marshall: Not Stella.

  • In the Seinfeld episode "The Reverse Peephole", when Elaine wants to talk to Newman, who has a crush on her:

Elaine: Newman, um, I wanted to talk to you about something.
Newman: This isn't about my opening your mail?
Elaine: What?
Newman: Because I don't, never have, anything I read was already open.

Lois: You'd like that, wouldn't you? Me, home alone, in a schlumpy robe, crying into a tub of Rocky Road? In your dreams, Kent.

  • The Big Bang Theory
    • The episode "The Griffin Equivalency" shows Raj answering his parents video chat with, "Hello mommy and daddy, good to see you. I'm not drunk."
    • In the episode "The Spaghetti Catalyst", Sheldon is told that he cannot hang out with Penny since she's Leonards ex. Trying to hide the fact that he has already made dinner plans with her, he sits down to eat with the guys. When asked if he wants the last dumpling, he thus says: "Certainly. It's not like I have to moderate my food intake because I'm planning on eating again very shortly."
    • In "The Desperation Emanation", Bernadette brings up a pact she made with her coworkers after a petri dish of genetically modified super-virus went missing.

Bernadette: That day we made a pinky swear never to admit we crossed Ebola with the common cold.
Howard: Why the hell would you cross Ebola with the common cold?
Bernadette: We never did. That would be a terrible, terrible thing.

Zora: Where is Sonny?
Connie: Well she's definitely not with Chad!
Zora: She's with Chad!

  • In the April 8, 2001 episode of Royal Canadian Air Farce, a Canadian Customs Official asks a man the purpose of his visit to Canada. He replies, "I am not going to blow up the embassy." The same episode has:

Sandie Rinaldo: Mr. Martin, are you sure there's nothing bothering you?
Finance Minister Paul Martin: Oh no, no, no. The government doesn't even keep a second set of books.

Jill: I don't like that look. What's going on?
Brad: Nothing.
Randy: Dad's not doing anything.
Jill: What exactly is Dad not doing?
Brad: He's not rewiring the vacuum.

Mark Watson: Room to let. No-one's died in it. No-one.

  • Lampshaded on Mystery Science Theater 3000, in the episode "Manhunt in Space" (from the Rocky Jones, Space Ranger series from the 50s), when one supporting character was identified as a traitor to the Space Rangers, siding with the evil alien queen. At one point, when Rocky says hello to the character, Crow cries out, "I'm not a traitor!" Later, when Rocky leaves, Crow answers, "See ya, Rocky. I'll just sit here and, uh, not be a traitor."
    • In The Movie of the series, which riffed on This Island Earth, one of the characters makes an embarrassing reference to "your composer" when speaking of Beethoven. Tom Servo promptly breaks in: "Uh, I'm NOT an alien!" Followed minutes later by "And then I ram my ovipositor down your throat and lay my eggs in your chest -- but I'm not an alien."
    • MST3K really enjoys this trope. In the Tormented episode, the protagonist is startled by a door opening moments after allowing his former mistress to fall to her death. Crow imitates his reaction by yelling, "I didn't kill her!"
  • One of the few memorable parts of Survivor Vanuatu had the women's tribe faced with a general accusation that not enough work was being done. Mia, the one contestant who did absolutely nothing, immediately protested that she specifically was doing plenty.
  • The main gag in Saturday Night Live's parody of Christine O'Donnell's infamous "I'm not a Witch" ad spot:

O Donnell: I promise to fly straight down to Washington -- on a plane! -- and do exactly what you would do: Not Spells.

    • Also, this cold open with the Clintons:

Hillary Rodham Clinton: Most of that money, about fifty million dollars, was made by Bill doing what he loves to do best... talking to people.
Bill Clinton: That is what I love to do best... talk to people. Nothing more.

  • In the Eureka episode "Welcome Back, Carter", Carter's been fired, so he isn't allowed to know anything about classified information such as the specialties of particular Global Dynamics personnel. Since he's trying to solve a mystery anyway, Allison eventually breaks down and says she can't tell him that the scientist he's looking for is Dr. Leonardo, nor that Dr. Leonardo has a lab on South Goddard Street.
  • When Jon Stewart of The Daily Show caught Brian Williams on Chatroulette, Brian was definitely doing a journalistic report. He wasn't, like, cruising.
  • In the Red Dwarf episode "Future Echoes", Lister catches the Cat holding a strainer, standing suspiciously near Lister's tank of robotic fish. The Cat stammers "Uh, uh, um, I... I was just making sure your fish were OK! I wasn't going to eat them!"
  • In an episode of A Different World, a distraught Whitley confides in her friend Kim that her fiancé Dwayne has cheated on her. As they sit in the cafeteria, Whitley points out various women, wondering if she's the one. Kim tries to reassure and placate her but finally gets fed up and screams, "IT'S NOT HER!". Whitley suddenly wonders how Kim can be so sure—as it turns out, Kim saw Dwayne with the other woman but was giving him the chance to confess to Whitley.
  • Smith Comma John is a human American presidential candidate, and not an advance scout for the Barconians, a race of superintelligent amphibians. Who would say such a thing?
  • A person caught on To Catch A Predator had a letter saying, in essence, that he certainly wasn't there to liquor up or have sex with a minor. In a subsequent interview segment, a police officer told Chris Hansen that these "alibi letters" are a frequent occurrence.
  • Boy Meets World: When Morgan runs into the room where Cory and Shawn are making illegal bets, Cory yelps that he's "not doing anything illegal!"
  • Mal successfully inverts this to deflect suspicion on Firefly. When an Alliance officer boards and asks the whereabouts of a brother and sister, Mal volunteers, "We don't have any children on board." "I never said they were children," which both of them already knew, since the brother and sister in question are Simon and River.
    • Inara also falls into the trope after kissing Mal and getting a dose of the drug that knocked him out on Our Mrs Reynolds.
  • Frequently seen on police reality shows from suspiciously acting people asked mundane questions by the cops, such as this brilliant mastermind from Campus P.D.:

Cop: Sir, what are you doing in this neighbourhood?
Man: What are you talking about? Black people don't go robbing other black people!

  • My Wife and Kids: After Michael discovers he taped over the video of Kady's first steps by accident and Junior walks into the room.

Junior: What are you doing?
Michael: I ain't erasing anything!

  • The Late Late Show had a version of the Doctor Who song with lyrics that was performed for the audience but pulled from broadcast at the last minute because the rights hadn't cleared.

Craig Ferguson: I sure hope it doesn't leak onto the internet!

  • In Two Guys, a Girl And A Pizza Place this happens after Johnny accidentally suggests that The Boys of Fire Island was a perfect film for fire fighters like Pete and him:

Sharon: What are you guys going to see?
Johnny: Not gay porn!

  • One episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show has Phyllis worried about her brother and Rhoda spending a lot of time together. She reasons that saying anything to dissuade them will probably just bring them closer together. To prevent that from happening she resolves to be "passive, even kindly," and when Rhoda walks into the room a moment later...

Phyllis: "Rhoda...I want you to know, dear...that I am not sick to my stomach over you and Ben."

  • In Cracker Fitz is interviewing a suspect and asks her what her father did. The woman responds that Fitz is talking nonsense and her father certainly never abused her. Fitz replies that he only meant what did her father do as a job.
  • In Soupy Norman, Soupy Norman arrives obviously drunk out of his mind on every occasion. Once, he says I haven't been drinking even though nobody accused him of being drunk (although it is obvious to the viewer, the nature of the show means the characters don't necessarily think he is).
  • At the opening of one show of Soul Train, host Don Cornelius comes on to announce that there is a vicious, untrue rumor that he had died of a heart attack after a drug overdose and that he was going to have his lawyers find out where it came from. What is interesting is Cornelius never stated that he didn't do drugs, all he said was the rumor that he had died of a drug overdose was untrue.
  • On White Collar, at the mention of a palladium mine in South Africa, Peter turns to Neal to ask him something. He immediately responds "I've never been near that mine." Peter just wanted him to give an Info Dump about palladium.
    • Also invoked in Need to Know, with Neal's political strategy. He tells the senator to deny that he has been involved in any talks about building a stadium in a specific location instead of a children's park. There never were any plans to build a stadium.
    • From Front Man:

Neal: Whatever I did, I have proof I didn't do it.

  • Lampshaded in Misfits when Alisha greets Simon normally and from her perspective completely out of the blue he answers with:

Simon: I'd never do anything to hurt you.
Alisha: Really? Because that makes it sound like you're going to do something to hurt me.

  • Played for laughs on the January 12, 2012 episode of The Colbert Report. Stephen Colbert signed over Colbert Super PAC to Jon Stewart, who promptly renamed it "Definitely Not Coordinating With Stephen Colbert Super PAC".
    • Not just for laughs, when Colbert launched a political campaign he was legally required to not run the PAC. And Stewart can not legally coordinate with Colbert on it. Colbert did mention that legally a candidate may talk to his super PAC through the media and the super PAC can listen, just like everybody else. Despite (or because of?) the humor, the Colbert Super PAC is a real political action committee. In a press release, the new PAC president, Jon Stewart, denied that he and Colbert would secretly coordinate their efforts:

"Stephen and I have in no way have worked out a series of Morse-code blinks to convey information with each other on our respective shows."

Riku: Kai!
Kuu: We finally found you.
Kai: I wasn't thinking that ray is cute, not at all!

    • In another scene:

Gangster: Hey, have you seen a girl wearing some crazy clothes?
Riku: We haven't, have we?
Kai: I haven't seen a girl wearing frilly clothes, no. Have you?
Kuu: I haven't seen a girl wearing pink, no.

  • In the Ellen Show, she has the "Most Certainly Not Rigged" Wheel that can give out a million dollars. It certainly isn't rigged.
  • In the Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode "Frank Reynolds' Little Beauties," Frank is roped into organizing a beauty pageant for preteens. He spends the whole performance assuring his audience that he is categorically not attracted to the little girls. At all. And that's the way it is.
  • The Colbert Report: "It's going to take a few more days for my team of not 8-year-old Malaysian child laborers to sort through your meaningful suggestions."
  • In one of the few surviving clips from the pre-Goodies show Broaden Your Mind, Dr. Findish describes a "little-known, but very nasty disease":

Turgonitis is just one of the many new and exciting diseases developed by us here at the British Institute Of Applied Science And Technology And Not Germ Warfare.


Absolutely Not Music[edit | hide]

  • Michael John Lachiusa song, "The Christian Thing To Do", is about a woman wishing her ex "well" after their breakup.

You look like you're relieved.
I hope that's what you are.
I hope you're never, ever trapped inside a burning car...
No, what I mean is this:
Stay healthy for me, please.
I'd hate for you to die of some incurable disease.

  • The Roy Zimmerman song "Ted Haggard Is Completely Heterosexual".

Way back in '82 there was that scandal with the pages
Involving certain congressmen and certain sexual outrages
And Ted Haggard denied it, but he had us all confused
Because he denied it in such detail, and before he'd been accused

  • While not a denial per se, in Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip's song "Thou Shalt Always Kill", one of the "commandments" is Thou Shall Not Go Into The Woods With Your Boyfriend's Best Friend, Take Drugs, and Cheat On Him. Someone's projecting...
  • The song "Lately" by The Helio Sequence is a Suspiciously Specific Denial of the singer's feelings after a breakup.
  • The trend of rappers qualifying a previous statement that could be construed as being homoerotic with "No homo".
  • Drowning Pool: "One! Nothing wrong with me! Two! Nothing wrong with me!"
  • Kanye West: "Now, I ain't sayin' she a gold digger..."
  • "Almost Easy" by Avenged Sevenfold:

I'm not insane, I'm not insane (hahahaha...)
I'm not insane, I'm not -- not insane

  • The chorus of John Waite's "Missing You":

I ain't missing you at all, since you been gone away,
I ain't missing you, no matter what I might say.

  • 10cc -- "I'm Not in Love":

I keep your picture upon the wall
It hides a nasty stain that's lyin' there
So don't you ask me to give it back
I know you know it doesn't mean that much to me
I'm not in love.

  • Most of the last verse of "We Get On" by Kate Nash is this:

I don't ever dream about you and me
I don't ever make up stuff about us, that would be classed as insanity
I don't ever drive by your house to see if you're in
I don't even have an opinion on that tramp that you are still seeing
I don't know your timetable
I don't know your face off by heart

  • Lampshaded by the title (and refrain) of Fastball's "Little White Lies":

I don't miss you all that much,
Don't miss your kiss,
Don't miss your touch.

  • The entire song "Three Monkeys" by Ookla the Mok is made of this trope.
  • "I Don't Miss You At All" by Selena Gomez.

It doesn't hurt
When I think of you
And all the things we'll
Never get to do
I don't dream at night about the way we were
Don't be fooled by all my tears,
Cause everything is fine

I'm not a large water-dwelling mammal
Where did you get that preposterous hypothesis?
Did Steve tell you that, perchance?

  • Disturbed's "The Game": "I kind of like the misery you put me through / Darling, you can trust me COMPLETELY!!!"
  • "Like Humans Do", by Talking Heads, may be this. The narrator is insisting that he does everything the way humans do. What is he, then?
  • The liner notes for The Beatles' Beatles For Sale include the line "Many hours and hard day's nights of devoted industry went into the production of this album. It isn't a potboiling quick-sale any-old-thing-will-do-for Christmas mixture". Many fans would disagree, as almost half the album consists of covers the band had been playing for years, at a stage in the Beatles career when they were becoming known for their large amount of original material. The fact they left the popular single "I Feel Fine" and "She's A Woman" off the album is a particularly noticeable indication of album filler (even though they didn't usually include singles on albums, this was still a cop out).
  • Wall Of Voodoo's 12" single "Mexican Radio" has "There's nothing on this side" written on the B Side label. There is, however an exclusive instrumental on this side. It is pretty clear to most people that the side isn't actually blank, due to it having grooves. So this was essentially done to see how gullible their fans could be.
  • The song "Not About You" by Jonathan Coulton is full of these; the viewpoint character seems to be in denial over his lingering feelings for her.

I haven't thought of you in fifteen days
And today I still won't think of you

  • The aptly named "This Song Is Not About You" by Get Set Go

It's not about me loving you, it's not about the things you do,
it's not about what isn't true,
oh, this song is not about you.
This song is not about the love that we once shared,
or the absence of you and the mountain of despair
upon which I have built myself a home.
A place where I live by myself, so alone.
No, it's not about these things at all.

  • The song "About A Girl" by The Academy Is...

I'm not in love
This is not your song

  • Bob Dylan's "Most Of The Time" is a long list of all the daily situations in which he doesn't think about his ex. Nope. Nuh-uh. Absolutely not.
  • Carly Simon's "You're So Vain"

You're so vain
You probably think this song is about you


Who Said Anything About Newspaper Comics?[edit | hide]

P.H.B.: I want to assure you that any rumors you've heard are false. We are NOT planning to relocate the company to the South Pole where easily trainable native Eskimos will replace you.

    • In another strip...

P.H.B.: These rumors are ridiculous. We're not considering lobotomies - certainly not at the prices we were quoted.

    • Then there was Dilbert's indignant protestation to his girlfriend: "I do not love that computer more than I love you!" Followed by his silent prayer: "Please don't ask about the laptop..."
  • Garfield has a Sunday strip where Garfield claims that Odie is going to lie about Garfield painting him green. However, he actually mentions painting Odie green, as well as what type of brush he used, in his denial.
  • Happened in Doonesbury with a fictional politician. A reporter had just begun a question when he shouted, "No! I don't even know the woman!" His advisor found this a singularly unpromising start.
  • From a Christmas strip of The Family Circus:

Jeffy: You know those packages hidden in your closet, Mommy? We didn't find them.

  • There's a variation in Calvin and Hobbes, when Calvin tells his mother aliens have landed in the backyard and demand to talk to her.

"You go on out! I'll guard the cookies in the kitchen!"

    • There was also the incident when Calvin and Hobbes pushed the car into a ditch and Calvin hoped to sneak out of the house before his parents found out. "No need to get up, or look, for example, out the window! Just stay where you are for another ten minutes!"
  • In Adam At Home, the principal announced the school closing early due to inclement weather, then added, "Be sure to tell your parents this has nothing to do with teachers wanting to get good seats at Julio's Cantina for Coach Baum's retirement party."

Simply Not New Media[edit | hide]


Bears No Likeness to Oral Tradition[edit | hide]

  • This is not the origin of the non-Chinese proverb "no three-hundred taels of silver beneath this ground":

Some guy digs a hole behind his house and put all his life's savings in it. Not feeling particularly secure, he scribbles a message on the wall: "No three-hundred taels of silver beneath this ground". His neighbor Wang gets the message, harvests the ground -- and then wrote: "This is not stolen by your neighbor Wang".


Absolutely Not Puppet Shows[edit | hide]

  • In the Roger Miller episode of The Muppet Show, the theater is swept with an epidemic of "Cluckitus", a disease that causes anyone infected to turn into a chicken. Kermit, worried that the news of this affliction may upset the guest star, orders that the epidemic be kept secret (an impossible feat, as Muppets-turned-chickens retain their normal voices). This leads to a specific denial from Robin:

Robin: We aren't turning into chickens!


Nothing To Do With Radio[edit | hide]

"If the tuition fees had been in place twenty years ago, the Middletons wouldn't have been able to afford finding out what university William was going to and getting Kate to spend every waking moment training to become his perfect woman. I'm not bitter, I don't care. I don't even fancy him."


Never Was Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • To emphasize the extreme secrecy practiced by students of the style, the description of the White Veil Style of Terrestrial Martial Arts from Exalted insists that there is no White Veil Society, they are not a secret political force in the Scarlet Empire, and they certainly don't teach their non-existent members a highly secret style of martial arts revolving around fighting in plain sight without anyone, even the victims, realizing it...
    • As of comic 251, the White Veil Society (which, of course, does not exist) has not made an appearance in Keychain of Creation, and certainly not in any kind of storyline-important way. That would be just silly.
    • Referenced by name in Compass of Celestial Directions: Autochthonia, using it to describe how the system of Militate promotions in Estasia definitely is not hugely corrupt.
  • Paranoia has not only a collection of insights from Friend Computer (such as specifying that no one has fallen in Food Vat #4589B), but the actual rules text has a few variations on this (such as pointing out a couple of possible options and saying that it Would Be Wrong to do so, in what can only be called an RPG variation of the Discworld example up in Literature).
    • Also, "This mission will be lots of fun and involves no dangerous targeted retroviruses."
  • In Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, there is no race of man-sized rat people, the so-called "Skaven", living in underground tunnels running throughout the Empire. They do not have advanced weaponry, specially-bred giant warrior rats, and warpstone, Chaos crystallized. Only insane people (and dwarves) make such irresponsible and absurd claims.
  • The humorous "Sacred Commandments of the Adeptus Astartes" related to Warhammer 40,000 feature this:

193. By order of the Inquisition: There is no such thing as the Inquisition, questioning this will have thou deemed heretic by the Inquisition.


Has No Resemblance to Theatre[edit | hide]

  • Near the end of Neil Simon's Rumors, a police officer arrives at the house where a neighbor had reported a domestic disturbance. Glenn Cooper, a politician at the house, is making small talk with the policeman once they're in the clear... but then blurts out "we didn't even hear the gunshots." The officer had not mentioned any gunshots at that time.
  • "Were you not to Ko-Ko plighted" in The Mikado, in which Nanki-Poo describes and demonstrates what he'd do with Yum-Yum if she wasn't engaged to someone else.
  • Marc Anthony in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, repeatedly says that he isn't there to praise Caesar because to do so would be to imply that Brutus was lying and, of course, Brutus "is an honorable man. So are they all, all honorable men."
  • Shakespeare himself made a Suspiciously Specific Denial in the epilogue of Henry IV Part 2, in which he directly told the audience that the character of Falstaff was not based on the nonfictional Sir John Oldcastle. (The character was actually named John Oldcastle in the first draft, but the real Oldcastle's descendants complained.)
  • "I Don't Remember Christmas" from Starting Here Starting Now features a man cataloguing, in detail, all the things he definitely doesn't remember doing with his ex.
  • From Moliere's The Miser. Gee, I wonder what is Harpagon trying to hide?

Harpagon: The fact is, I was only talking to myself about the trouble one has nowadays to raise any money; and I was saying that he is a fortunate man who has ten thousand crowns in his house. (...) I am very glad to tell you this, so that you may not misinterpret things, and imagine that I said that it was I who have ten thousand crowns. (...) Would that I had them, these ten thousand crowns!


Nothing to Do with Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Any "free" browser game that claims itself to be free in every sentence of its ads is an Allegedly Free Game.
  • Maria in Silent Hill 2 repeatedly assures James that "she's real". That's one of the main things that lets you know She's not.
  • In the Church in Chrono Trigger an otherwise plain wall sports a sign that states "There is no secret entrance here".
  • Capcom has stated that EX Troopers has nothing to do with Legends 3. The fact that they share the same engine and a very similar art style? Coincidence.
  • Strange Journey has an Archangel in a maze warn you about illusion traps in dead seriousness, then he insists that he's helping YOU out, and that he himself is most assuredly not lost.
  • Borderlands: Dr. Ned is not as good as his totally-not-made-up brother Zed, and they're totally different people. (Exact quote from cutscene in The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned)
  • In RuneScape, when talking to a goblin guarding the secret goblin temple, he says "We not let you in to secret temple that not down these stairs."
    • Also in RuneScape, when a player asks why all the carts he sees are broken and gets this reply:

CEO of cartmakers: It is unthinkable that our carts might break due to the use of low quality materials, inexperienced ogre labour and usage of enormous quantities of sticky-tape fastenings.

  • In the Quake series, Quake II has a number of voiceovers layered over one another at the beginning of its intro, which depicts the expository invasion by the Strogg. One of the voices says the following: "Contact with the colony on Mars will be re-established, and has nothing to do with the impending arrival of the mysterious aliens."
  • In Dragon Quest VII, a Hulkagon tells you that sometimes it's nice to lie in the grass and bask in the sunshine, and invites you to try it. While casually promising that he "won't crush you underneath his massive foot, leaving only a red smear in the green grass to remember you by. Ahh, sunshine..."
  • In Final Fantasy IX, Marcus is out to steal a Supersoft, necessary to revive his friend Blank, and Garnet agrees to help. Steiner reluctantly gets dragged into this in order to protect Garnet. When Doctor Tot (the character who owns the Supersoft) finds the three in his basement, Steiner insists that there's a perfectly good reason for it, and that they're not there to steal it or do anything else illegal.
    • An even better example is this exchange:

Steiner: Have you seen a young girl around?
Four-Armed Man: What? I haven't seen any beautiful girl with long black hair...
Steiner: What did you say?!
Four-Armed Man: N-Nothing! And I certainly didn't take any money from her!

  • Final Fantasy VI has Cyan act jittery around the Phantom Train. When questioned about it, he says: "It's not like I have an aversion of machines or try to avoid them as often as humanly possible or anything like that!"
    • Also "Zozo? Never heard of it."
  • In Rune Factory 3, there are 2 characters who always say things with a reversed meaning. For example, one (who is in a great mood) says "I feel terrible."
  • Subverted in Portal: "The Enrichment Center would like to remind you that the Weighted Companion Cube will never threaten to stab you and, in fact, cannot speak. In the event that the Companion Cube does speak, the Enrichment Center urges you to disregard its advice." The suspicious denial creates the expectation that the cube will speak, which it doesn't (although at least one other test subject thinks it does).
    • Parodied in a downloadable bonus map, where the cube actually can speak and stab players.
    • And a Garrys Mod add-on where, if you look away from the cube, it will make funny noises and when you turn back, it's right behind you. Don't turn and you die. Seriously.
  • Igor from Quest for Glory IV: "Igor not hear rumors. Igor not know Dmitri's grandfather ran off years ago. Igor not know squid carving eat people who try to open monastery door. Igor wonder if you will verify this rumor."
  • Darwinia: "This game is not in any way endorsed by SENSIBLE SOFTWARE."[4]
  • Crispin from Psychonauts. "I'm an orderly, you know. I am not an impostor!"
    • Earlier, Sasha Nein. "Even if you were to take that secret passage over there and sneak into his hidden sanctuary, Agent Cruller would never, ever give you a Marksmanship learner's permit. Never, ever."
    • And normal telephone repairmen in the Milkman Conspiracy.

"Telephone Repairman": I am a telephone repairman. I can listen to any phone call I want, but do not do so because of my sense of professional responsibility.

  • Happened twice in Riviera: The Promised Land. The first time was deliberate, the second time... not so much.
  • Happened in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Ryder was going to rob the Pizza Stack wearing a ski mask, but when the cashier recognized him due to his height, well, here's the quote:

Ryder: Give up the money! This' a raid!
Cashier: Ryder! Not this again!
Ryder: It ain't me, foo!

  • World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King: After the Wrathgate, a Forsaken Aleric Hawkins says this: "Oh, pay no attention to me. I'm just a messenger. The leader of the Deathstalkers certainly wouldn't be stupid enough to stand here on the dias waiting to be gutted. No need for history to repeat itself." The last leader of the Darkstalkers was the dreadlord whom the Horde kills, and then he just stands there... looking suspiciously unspecific...
    • A profession quest in Thunder Bluff has you gathering "magic" mushrooms for a recipe the quest giver wants to try. The item description for the mushrooms describes them as "Delicious and completely absent of psychedelic properties."
    • A Goblin on the Orgrimmar-Undercity zeppelin insists that there is no chance the zeppelin will explode into a ball of flames like a "helium bomb", which may be less of a Suspiciously Specific Denial when you consider that all Goblin technology has a penchant for exploding.
    • A Goblin Glider specifically notes that it "usually won't catch fire".
  • Invoked by the Colonel in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. Whenever Raiden asks him about Iroquois Pliskin/Solid Snake, his usual reply is "Do not trust that man. He's not a factor in this simulation."
    • In the non-canon NES sequel to Metal Gear, Snake's Revenge, an enemy spy disguised as an ally tries to gain Snake's trust by giving him such obviously specific denials such as "there are no traps in that car" or "there are no enemies". This is likely done unintentionally due to the game's questionable translation.
      • Interestingly enough, Snake's Revenge was made specifically for the European and American markets, and was never released in Japan (even though a Japanese team designed it). Making its linguistic faults even more hilarious.
      • Big Boss is NOT AFRAID OF VAMPIRES.
  • Sam and Max Freelance Police has Ted E. Bear's Mafia-Free Funland and Casino, which has its own song about the total lack of Mafia on the premises.
    • The slogans outside Stinky's Diner say, among other things, "No traceable arsenic".
  • Touhou:
    • In the forward to the recent Touhou Project guidebook "The Grimore of Marisa", Marisa assures the reader "[This] is absolutely not a copy of Alice's grimoire in any way."
    • Cirno about her hobby of creating frog popsicles: "This isn't playing, this is ice training. I'm definitely not doing it because frozen frogs are cute, or because their cries are annoying, or because it's exciting when juggling them because they might break."
    • Imperishable Night pulls this off at many passes. Keine hid the Human Village with her power and tells all the teams that there's "nothing around here." Yuyuko blames the endless night she caused (in her scenario) on the last boss, to the last boss's face, and is called out by Youmu. Magic Team does this all night long:

Marisa: C'mon, surrender those humans to us now.
Alice: Hey, wait, Marisa! Who told you that we were going to capture and eat humans?
Marisa: Nobody said we were going to capture and eat them.
...
Marisa: Okay, it's enough, I give up. You're right. This endless night, broken distorted moon, vanishment of the human village, and putting hats on stone statues, it's all Alice's fault. Now, get out of the way, bitch!

  • Mother 3. Right, Lucas?
  • Happens in the second Knights of the Old Republic if you accuse HK-50 of killing the inhabitants of the Peragus Mining Station.
    • You can also use similar logic to convince an astromech droid to go on a blaster-wielding rampage.

B-4D4: Thank you, T1-N1. Please do not abuse my trust and fire on the guards outside, thereby creating a diversion while I escape with the stolen files.

  • One Team Rocket agent in the Pokémon games will thoughtfully inform you that there is nothing behind the poster at the Celadon Game Corner. Naturally, when you whup the Rocket agent guarding it, you can pull a switch to reveal their main base.
    • The tradition is proudly continued in HeartGold and SoulSilver, where the sign outside their Mahogany Town base (opposite what is definitely not a fake tree with a radio antenna sticking out of the top. What are you talking about?) reads "Just a Souvenir Shop, Nothing Suspicious about It, No Need to Be Alarmed."
    • And also in HeartGold/SoulSilver (don't remember if there was such a line in the GSC originals), upon reaching Azalea Town, a Team Rocket grunt is seen in an argument with some dude, then bumping him and having him run away, and then closing the path to the Slowpoke Well. And when the player talks to him, he states that "Nothing is going on".
    • In Pokémon Emerald, when you run into Brendan at the Lilycove Department Store, he will specifically state that he wasn't buying any Dolls (a decoration). Without you bothering to ask him...
    • And then there's of course the Celebi from Pokémon Mystery Dungeon who at one point states that "It's not like I have special feelings for him!"
    • In Pokémon Black and White, a Team Plasma Grunt in Castelia City guarding one of Team Plasma's hide outs says that there are no other Team Plasma members nor any of the Seven Sages in the building behind him...despite the fact all you did was walk up to the guy.
  • Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis, Jess did not put her medicine in Nikki's sandwich to test it out, really! Or that she panicked and ran back to make an antidote!
  • In Kingdom of Loathing, if you're a member of the Department of Shadowy Arts and Crafts, Izzy the Lizard will offer you a quest to build a new meatcar, because he was mugged by gnolls.

Izzy: Yeah, mugged. Totally. And they stole the meatcar. Nothing to do with a poker game at all.

    • Uncle P's Antiques, also on the Wrong Side of the Tracks, is "absolutely, positively a legitimate establishment, and not a front for any sort of criminal activities."
  • Psychonauts's Psy-Pedia precedes Linda's page with a very detailed and anonymously written disclaimer assuring you that this page is a mistake, there is no mutated lungfish monster controlled by someone at the bottom of the lake, and that any suspicions or inquiries of such should be directed towards your devilishly handsome and talented Coach, Morceau Oleander.
  • Halo: Reach has this line, when Kat thinks of where to get the resources for their new plan:

Kat: "A good place to look might be... I don't know, the nearest nonexistent launch site in the nonexistent Sabre Program, dismissed by three administrations as preposterous rumor... And in which our newest member was certainly never a pilot."

  • In Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, Layton is trying to learn about the title artifact, the Elysian Box. He inquires with one resident of the community of Dropstone, who replies, "Oh, dear! I mean...I've never heard anything about that dreadful, dreadful thing!"
  • In Sonic Colors, when Sonic and Tails are riding the Space Elevator to the amusement park:

Eggman: (part of recorded announcement) "This amusement park has been constructed entirely out of a sense of remorse for my past transgressions and is in no way associated with any sort of evil plot or premeditated misdeeds."
Sonic: ... Well, that's a relief.

    • A good part of Eggman's PA announcements are like this: from his urging his guests to leave all their valuables in their vehicles since "in no way will roaming bands of robots will break into [them]" and asking Sonic to pass by the Security Office and not expect to walk into a trap since they "only want to return his keys".
  • Fallout: New Vegas:

Rhonda: One last thing. Is there any truth to the rumor that all Nightkin are slightly crazy from their overuse of psychologically damaging pre-War technology?
Tabitha: None at all, Rhonda!
Rhonda: There you have it, Utobitha! Nightkin, your benevolent overlords, who are most certainly...NOT crazy! We'll be back after this.

    • Another example, from a quest where you're asked to find some missing refugees:

Courier: Can you help me find some missing people?
Slave trader: I don't know anything about the refugees going missing from the Aerotech Office Park.

    • James Garret at The Atomic Wrangler wants you to obtain a sexbot, but it's not for him, because he finds the idea of having sex with robots to be disgusting, it's for some of his customers who may be robophiles, the horrible disgusting lowlifes.
  • In this Team Fortress 2 promotional material, Mann Co. claims that they were nowhere near the launch site of monkey astronaut Poopy Joe and had nothing whatsoever to do with the disastrous explosion.
    • Also, Mann Co.'s seemingly rushed sale of a high-powered rocket launcher was not in any way connected with Poopy Joe's tragic death.
  • A more subtle version of this trope is used in this Adult Swim flash game, where you play as an anthropomorphic cannabis leaf growing and selling "industrial hemp". The made-up strains of hemp each feature a list of equally made-up industrial uses, none of them having anything to do with getting high.
  • In the Ace Attorney series, the player ( who has been trained to look for suspiciously specific denials in this context after what happened in the previous game) may notice something strange about this exchange:

"Did you kill her?"
" I was not the one who took her life, no."

I have no idea what you're talking about, and neither do these large men carrying swords. (Beat) GET THEM!

  • In Echo Bazaar: The Exceptional Hat has never been observed to consume the brains of its wearers. These stories are without exception lies!
  • BlazBlue gets in on this in Noel's story in Continuum Shift while she's pouting over Ragna's treatment of her at the very beginning of the game and her response to said treatment. After the narration mentions how she feels like a little girl with a crush, she immediately breaks out of it and begins denying it outright despite no one else being around. By the end of her denial even she begins doubt what she's saying

Noel: ...No no no. That's not it. That's definitely not it! Definitely not...I think?

    • Kind of a Squick-making thought when you remember Noel is a clone of Ragna's little sister. Then again its been hinted that Ragna, Jin, and Saya are all artificial in the first place so that makes it totally not incest...or does it? ...My brain hurts.
  • In Fire Emblem Tellius, Danved is definitely not Devdan.
  • In Katawa Shoujo, Misha and Shizune are most certainly not trying to get Hisao to join the student council just because they would obviously benefit from him joining and therefore have an incentive to try and get him to join.
    • "I wasn't sleeping and welcome to the Shanghai."
    • In Shizune's route, Hisao, trying to work out Shizune and Misha's troubled relationship, tells Yuuko that he's worried about two of his friends, one of whom is worried about not seeing the other after graduation, and "It's not Shizune and Misha, by the way".
    • Defied during Shizune's route before her bad ending Lilly suggests Shizune surrounded herself with people who would agree with her, and Hisao notes she denied doing so. Hisao notes more specific denials are indicators of accusations being true, but says this doesn't apply to Shizune's denial in this case.


Not Like Web Animation[edit | hide]

  • A favorite gag of Homestar Runner.
    • In Sbemail 50, after Homestar accidentally causes Strong Bad's Compy to have a "flagrant system error", he sticks a fake error message on it that reads "Everything is fine. Nothing is ruined. This is real."
    • In the director's cut of Dangeresque 1: Dangeresque Too? seen in "dangeresque 3", when Homestar asks Strong Sad/Hot Tub what he knows about Perducci, what's Strong Sad's answer? "Only that I am not one of his minions."

Strong Bad (as Dangeresque): That stranger seemed to know a little bit too little about Perducci.

    • In episode 1 of Strong Bads Cool Game for Attractive People, Strong Bad argues that it wasn't Homestar who won the Tri-Annual Race to the End of the Race, but him "in a not-from-Marzipan's-float Homestar costume".
    • In episode 5 of SBCG4AP, Homestar insists that he didn't swallow his lucky quarter, "And it certainly didn't taste anything like butterscotch!"
    • In Other Days (SBEmail #111) Strongbad informs the viewers that on Saturdays he certainly doesn't wake up at 6am, put on a Speedo, and go to swim practice. No no, definitely not a Speedo.
  • One of Weebl's "Cat Face" cartoons includes a "cat" that insists that he does not find cats at all delicious.
  • In an episode of Red vs. Blue Recreation:

Simmons: Dogs are loyal too, but that doesn't mean you can't eat them when you're stranded in an arctic outpost and Command can't get rations through because of the seasonal blizzard.
Donut: That seem like an oddly specific exam--
Simmons: I don't want to talk about it.

    • Another example from Red vs Blue:

Grif: I can tell you what we weren't doing, and that's reenacting the greatest scene from The Dukes of Hazard ever!

    • On another occasion:

Simmons: Are you afraid of bats or something?
Grif: Afraid of bats? No! Why would you think that? And why would you even ask that? That's a pretty weird question to ask just for no reason!

  • Rooster Teeth (the guys that make Red Vs. Blue) love this trope. Two examples from the newest season of Rooster Teeth Shorts they've done:

Joel: You have a trapdoor. And you keep sending people through the trapdoor into the restaurant below.
[...]
Burnie: Okay, Joel, I don't know who told you this story, but listen to yourself, okay? Listen to how farfetched it is. Why would I even want a Henckman Bros. Model 607 trapdoor?

    • And:

Joel: Hey, Gus, back from the, uh, Gulf Coast there?
Gus: (with a pineapple in a bucket, two leis around his neck, and various other tropical attire) What? Yeah, of course I am. You can't even get a flight to Hawaii right now, don't be ridiculous.

  • Gordon from Freeman's Mind notes that the intercom wouldn't specifically warn them to not do obviously dangerous things unless someone has already tried them.
  • This is a high Definition version of Alice in Wonderland. It was created to be fun and entertain children with its quirky animation style, colorful palette and strangeness. It is in no way an attempt to emulate or imitate the Alice in Wonderland movies from the past or the future.
  • From the Weebl cartoon On the Moon:

Toast King: I'm trying to figure out where this black hole came from!
Insanity Prawn Boy: It wasn't me, I didn't build a supercollider!
Toast King: Good, because those things are Dan-- wait!

  • Don Paolo from Professor Layton and the Malignant Growth Part 6 can't seem to not say these, and doesn't have any sort of provocation at all.

Don Paolo: C'mere, sign this paper. I didn't rob this place. Here, sign this paper. Pedophile, paper, what-why do they sound so alike!? I don't rape kids, but they sound so similar!

Paul: Why did you kill this person, Carl?!
Carl: I do not kill people. That is, that is my least favorite thing to do.

Anything But Web Comics[edit | hide]

Alison: You know Illustrator, right?
Ivy: Oh, totally! I really do know that one. I wasn't lying to pad this resume or anything, 'cuz if I was lying, I would have to say I don't know Illustrator at all, and it's weird and scary to me!... Because that's not the case.

Frohman: Even though it looks like I'm just slapping my hands randomly on the keyboard, I'm actually placing the order! For guns! You're not being duped or lied to like you might think!"

T-Rex: I'm CERTAINLY not writing erotica in my head right now.
T-Red: (thoughts) Aw man! Why would I even say that??

  • Double K does this with Simon attempting to pose as a prostitute.

Simon: Just so we're clear, you want to pay for sexual favors, right? Not that I'm trying to establish probable cause or anything!

  • In Dragon Mango, Bleu Berry and her father Goz (a dragon) get into a heated row. When she counters his threat to tear her to little pieces and feast upon her entrails by pointing out that if he does, he might never have an heir, he threatens to eat one of her friends instead. In response, she makes a presentation to her class on how to defend against dragon attacks entitled, "Discussion Intended to Educate Defence Against Dragons" (DIEDAD), which includes a diagram of an "entirely hypothetical dragon" labelled, "Generic Dragon - Not Particularly Based on Anyone's Dad".
  • 8-Bit Theater. Every. Single. Episode. The first of which is Black Mage's "NO I AM NOT UNDRESSING YOU WITH THE POWER OF MY MIND!"
    • A significant aversion/lampshade here, where Thief forgets to do the "denial" part of this trope.
    • Another lampshade. ("We're heroes and totally not charlatans." "What an odd thing to say.")
  • El Goonish Shive does this with Tedd in this comic.

Tedd: Why, father, I have been in the bathroom all along and not sleeping with the squirrel girl as previously suggested.

  • This Exterminatus Now strip makes fun of this trope.
  • Full Frontal Nerdity: During a Dungeons & Dragons game, Frank describes a monster that runs down the hall, at which point Lewis and Nelson begin discussing whether they should chase it or not when suddenly there's the sound of pages flipping from Shawn's speakers (Shawn is a webcam). Frank asks if he's looking up the monster, but Shawn claims that he's merely checking out his company's health insurance policy, then announces that his policy is "so good, it would cover me if I was attacked by a reptile that spits acid and has razor-sharp claws with reach attacks."
  • In General Protection Fault, Nick gives these regarding his job offer from JCN even before he's given a situation where he should be denying anything (such as when he overhears Ki and Sharon talking about what Ki will do for a job). Ki presses him, making a few guesses about what has got him nervous, until she finally gets it right.

Nick: Nope! No job anxiety here! Didn't get an impossible-to-turn-down dream job! Nosiree! Not me!
Ki: Bingo.

Winsbury: Where is she?! Janet should have been back by now. I mean... Not that I care or anything.

?CG: AND JOHN, PURELY HYPOTHETICALLY, IF ONE OF US IN THE FUTURE DOES MAKE SOME SORT OF SOLICITATION YOU DON'T QUITE UNDERSTAND...
?CG: IT MIGHT BE THE CASE THAT THIS PERSON HAS GOTTEN TOO WRAPPED UP IN A SORT OF CALIGINOUS IDEAL
?CG: AND GET CARRIED AWAY, POSSIBLY SO MUCH SO THEY WERE BLIND TO HOW COMPLETELY FUCKED UP AND WEIRD IT WOULD BE TO PURSUE ANYTHING LIKE THAT WITH ANOTHER SPECIES
?CG: ESPECIALLY ONE THAT DIDN'T EVEN UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT OF A CALIGINIOUS RELATIONSHIP
?CG: BUT I'M NOT THAT PERSON. I HAVE A FIRM GRASP ON HOW DERANGED AND UNNATURAL ANY SORT OF INTERSPECIES RELATIONSHIP WOULD BE

Son: Dad, have you seen mom around lately?
Father: I don't appreciate you accusing me of killing your mother.

  • In Narbonic, when Artie asks Helen if the experiment she's part of had a control group, she says:

"You mean other clones... adopted out to ordinary families, living normal lives until madness sets in? Some half-dozen identical blonde women, eventually hunted down and assassinated by my mother for dissection, as I would be if I hadn't bought a rifle? Why, Artie! That would be deeply unethical!"

Qwerty (with a guilty expression): It's not because a middle school science fair project accidentally created a time/space vortex which sucked up the sacred Crimson Sea (and adjacent religious study center and theme park) transporting it all to a gas giant in a distant solar system in a temporal causality loop! (beat) Yeah, that's not why it's there.

Vaarsuvius: None of us have ever tampered with the fundamental natural order when bored. That would be wrong.

"Hi! I'm Elan! What's your name, Roy?"

Hanners: What?! I would never do that!

She goes on to explain why exactly it would be scientifically impractical, and that at most she could analyze Marten's genetic history. The room is very silent after this. (And they don't even know that she has just collected a sample of his blood).

Hanners: I promise I won't become so fixated on you I eventually murder you and make a suit out of your skin!

Unity: What were you doing to our lamp?
Phoebe: Um, not installing surveillance hardware?
Unity: OK, cool!
Phoebe: And I doubted Central when they said that'd work.

Bun-Bun: I can honestly say that I am not having sex with Cinny-Bun at this moment while we are having this conversation.

Torg: Don't be silly! Besides, the bathroom doesn't have any windows... or employee entrances, or air-ducts, or crawl-spaces. No forms of escape whatsoever.

    • And the Guacans of the Punyverse: "We have one of the most expensive, broad reaching tourism departments in the universe! You can't walk a block without seeing a 'Come to Chau-5, we won't eat you' billboard!"
    • In "Dangerous Days Ahead":

Riff: OK, Schlock. Where's Hereti-Corp holding Bert and Torg?
Schlock: They've got Gwynn and your girlfriend too. Just moved them to AyleeOrgNet.Com offices.
Riff: You sure?
Schlock: Check out this general employee e-memo that I snagged.
"All employees have the rest of the week off in celebration of No-Bert-Gwynn-Torg-Sasha-Here Day!"
Riff: Then that's where we're going.
Schlock: Riff, Aylee has that place armed like a fortress! This is obviously a trap!
Riff: You sure?
Schlock: Check out where that message originated!
"Department of Nonfortress-Arming Nontrapness."

"Oh, hi, Aubrey! Davan and I were just working on our nude ventriloquism act. Say hello to the nice lady, Davan! 'Hi, Aubrey! Boy, if there's one thing Kim and I didn't do today, it's have sex!'"

Mike: So...
Sandra: I'M NOT A DEMON!!!

Desmond: How come you and Fang aren't fighting anymore?
Umesh: What? No! I've never even had sex! How dare you sir!

Quite Unlike Web Original[edit | hide]

Matt: Heh, it would be pretty funny, though. Like, where would they go to the bathroom?
Paul: Oh... uh... ooh... I have to go now... because... I have a fire... stuck... in my pants...
(Paul turns and flees from the room)

Arturo: Where do you think you're going with that turkey baster?
Michael: Out of my way.
Arturo: But that doesn't belong to you.
Michael: Look, Arturo, it's not like I'm going to jack off into this thing and fill it full of semen so I can impregnate one of your female guests.
Arturo: I think that's exactly what you are going to do.

According to the great and trustworthy Chinese government, the eternal silencing of demonstrators was in no way carried out at 6:15 p.m., shortly after dusk, by officers of the People's Armed Police. Moreover, at this time, noxious gases were not at all fired into the teeming crowd, especially not at the children, who failed to fall like sacks of flour onto the pavement below. "Stop, you can't do this," a Tibetan woman reportedly cried as though she were being violently detained, which, as noted, was impossible. "Where are you taking me? Get your hands off me!"

And yes, my voice sounded different in ZP because I had a sore throat. There continues to not be a body-snatching conspiracy going on.

Q: Do ninjas ever get lonely?
A: You mean are there nights when I sit alone in a cave, eating Cheez-Whiz out of a can, naming my weapons and making little costumes for them, so we can put on elaborate theatric productions. (beat) No, I don't know what you're talking about. I've got friends.

  • During a That Guy With The Glasses charity drive, one of the viewers asked about the possibility of another Spooning With Spoony video. Spoony immediately flew into a rage about how it was never, ever happening. He had actually filmed said episode just hours earlier, and it was released the next week.
  • In episode 1 of Llamas with Hats (from the same people who bought us Charlie the Unicorn), one llama comes home to find a dead human in his house.

Paul: Why did you kill this person, Carl?
Carl: I do not kill people. That is... that is my least favorite thing to do.

Lester: Home so soon?
Alex: I didn't come from anywhere suspicious.

That's the most important thing to keep in mind when discussing the evil Atheist conspiracy (or eAc as its members call it, that is, if it had any members, which it doesn't, since it doesn't really exist). In fact, you can probably just disregard that first paragraph altogether.

"I do not have OCD. I've checked. Three or four hundred times. And I definitely don't. I stop myself catching it by washing my hands an even number of times. But I'm aware I'm at an at-risk group... I don't care about the odd pound, either, but I want the books balanced, only for the same reasons that if I saw two piles of actual books, I would want them literally balanced. It's neater that way. It's better. How can they not see that?"

Jabez: Thank you, thank you. I'd just like to say I deserve everything I've ever had and in no way sold my soul to the devil!
Partygoer: What?
Jabez: Foreshadowing.

  • This joke OK Cupid profile (at least, we all hope it's a joke). Starts with, "I'm a fun loving guy and a self-starter who has absolutely no interest in committing murder."... It Gets Worse.
  • "My name is Olan Rogers. I am not an astronaut, a geophysicist, nor am I dragon slayer."
  • "G is for Giraffe. An animal I have never licked. Never. Never."
  • This parody advertisement for New Girl insists that Zooey Deschanel is "definitely one hundred percent human" with human friends that she would "never dream of eating or enslaving."
  • This message board commenter states "I don’t have a secret stash of illegally taped sex."
  • In Hitherby Dragons "Meredith's Fairy Tale", a witch gives Meredith some tea leaves that are in no way cursed.
  • Happens quite often to Aidric Carter, partly because he's a rebel on the run from a dystopian government.

Aidric: "Uuuuh, no worries! Nothing to see here! Poor kid took a nasty and extremely unlikely spill that was in no way related to me, that's all!"

  • This post at The Panda's Thumb, discusses an e-mail they received titled "A legitimate question about Evolution with no agenda."
  • Skippys List has examples:

151. The proper way to report to my Commander is "Specialist Schwarz, reporting as ordered, Sir" not "You can't prove a thing!"

  • Twitter user @notarobotatall (description: "I am not infiltrating anything") posts exclusively lines like these:

No Western Animation At All[edit | hide]

  • From The Simpsons: "He said, uh, 'We wouldn't dream of sacrificing the blue-haired woman!'"
    • "Behind The Laughter:"

Lisa: To prolong the run of the series, I was secretly given anti-growth hormones.
Homer: That's ridiculous. How could I even get all five necessary drops into her cereal?... What?

    • Quoth Grandpa: "Homer is not a communist. He may be a liar, a pig, an idiot, a communist, but he is not a porn star!" However, he did seem to say this with such furious indignance that his response could be explained by his common portrayal as a senile Cloudcuckoolander.
    • Homer is typically unable to detect when someone is using this trope. Like when he's searching for his long-lost brother, and the worker at the department of records, who isn't allowed to tell him where his brother lives, says, "Your brother could be anywhere... even Detroit." Homer doesn't get it. After missing several other incredibly obvious hints, Homer bribes the man to tell him. Homer is then surprised to learn that his brother is in... Detroit!
    • Tiananmen Square:

On this spot, in 1989, nothing happened.

    • In "Please Homer, Don't Hammer 'Em", Marge tells Bart she got a letter from his school and he stammers, "A fire? I didn't start a fire in the teachers' lounge! I mean, what fire? I mean, a letter from school? Please elaborate."
    • At the end of "The President Wore Pearls," a subtitle informs viewers that the producers, on the advice of their lawyers, have never heard of a musical based on the life of Eva Peron.
    • From "Bart Has Two Mommies"

Homer: You haven't seen Bart for a few hours, so you automatically assume I let something terrible happen!
Marge: I didn't say that.
Homer: I know what you think: "when stupid Homer wasn't looking, Bart got kidnapped by a monkey!"
Marge: I could never think of something that horrible!
Homer: And now I'm using sarcasm to confess the whole thing, so later I can say that I already told you!

    • Homer again, in "Bart After Dark": "Now Marge, you're going to hear a lot of crazy rumors about Bart working in a burlesque house..."
    • A map at Area 51-A notes "You are here. We are not."
  • Futurama:
    • In the episode "Bend Her", a female Bender is seen singing a verse of a 'national anthem' atop an Olympic podium.

Coilette: Hail, hail Robonia -- a land I didn't make up!

    • A straighter example...

Fry: Leela, what have you done?
Leela: What do you mean why was I looking in the box?
Fry: I mean your hair. It's all different.

    • Yet another example:

Bender: (enters Fry's bedroom) Aha!
Fry: (hides holophonor behind his back) Bender? I was just not playing the holophonor!

    • From "Bender Should Not Be Allowed On TV":

Farnsworth : Well, that doesn't mean that no-one is coming, or that you two are total losers. Who gave you that idea?

    • "That Darn Katz!" manages to have a suspiciously vague suspiciously specific denial:

Nibbler: Can you at least tell us what's going on down there?
Farnsworth: We're certainly not building something sinister, if that's what you're implying. Now come on, Bender. Something sinister won't build itself.

  • Family Guy:
    • In the episode "Sibling Rivalry", Peter accidentally destroys all the samples in a sperm bank.

Nurse: Mr. Griffin, you've been there for an awfully long time. Are you all right?
Peter: Yep, yep, fine, fine. And just that you know, everything in there is exactly the way it was when I went in. There is absolutely zero chance, that I spilled all the jars, and had to refill it with my own sperm. Zero chance.

    • And from the episode "I Am Peter, Hear Me Roar":

Timeshare salesman: Each residence has 200 feet of pristine oceanfront. No city noise, no flesh-eating ogres, no pollution.
(all said while he flips rapidly through slides showing scenes of bloody carnage and ferocious monsters tearing people apart)

    • When Peter is digging in the backyard in "E. Peterbus Unum":

Stewie: If you find a human skeleton with a Lincoln Log in the temple, I didn't do it. But I need that log to finish my recreation of James Madison's cabin.

    • "A Picture is Worth a Thousand Bucks"

Brian: I roomed with Scott Hamilton at prep school. Nothing happened.

Officer Barbrady: You're probably wondering why we're standing here with a pile of money and no pants on.
Chef: Actually, uh...
Mayor: Well, I can assure you that it has absolutely nothing to do with the Japanese Mafia.
Officer Barbrady: Not a thingy-dingy.

    • In "A Million Little Fibers":

Geraldo Rivera: Who is this?
Oprah Winfrey's Asshole: ...this is definitely not Oprah Winfrey's Asshole.

    • In "The Coon", Cartman disguises himself as a raccoon-themed superhero and tries to fight crime. He meets another child superhero named Mysterion and immediately comes to hate him for supposedly stealing his idea. After several ineffective attempts to discover Mysterion's identity, Cartman/The Coon consoles himself with the knowledge that Mysterion cannot know his identity either, but unfortunately for him, Mysterion is not so easily duped:

Mysterion: Well I suppose you must be Cartman, because you're fat.
Cartman: No, I am NOT Eric Cartman AND HE'S NOT FAT!

    • "A Ladder to Heaven"

God: Saddam. I've been hearing rumors that you're secretly building weapons of mass destruction up here.
Saddam: Weapons of mass destruction? Nooo! This is a chocolate chip factory. See?
God: It looks like a chemical weapons plant.
Saddam: Look, God, if I was gonna secretly build a chemical weapons plant, I wouldn't make it look like a chemical weapons plant, would I? I'd make it look like a chocolate chip factory or something.
God:...Alright, just checking.

    • In "Bass to Mouth", Catatafish did NOT make an underage fish perform bass to mouth, or ass to trout, although that's the same thing, not that he did it.
    • "Creme Fraiche"

Randy: What are you doing?
Sharon: Just blocking some channels.
Randy: I wasn't watching the food channels!
Sharon: Then how did you know I was blocking them?
Randy: I know...because...I don't know that! That's what I'm trying to tell you!

  • Darkwing Duck does this several times...
    • ...starting in the very first episode:
    • Also, from the episode "Adopt-A-Con":

Darkwing: Hold the phone. You're not Megavolt; you're Tuskerninni, in a really bad Megavolt disguise.
Tuskerninni: I am not Tuskerninni, and this is an excellent disguise!

  • On Invader Zim, Zim's first words addressing the class: "Hello, friends. I am a perfectly normal human worm baby. You have nothing, absolutely nothing to fear from me. Just pay no attention to me and we'll get along just fine." The sad thing is, all but one kid in the class fell for it, or at least cared enough to actually hear what he was saying.
  • The Fairly OddParents loves this trope, and usually mixes it up with an Ironic Echo Cut. For example:

Timmy: Morning guys.
Dad: WHAT SUPER POWERS?!

    • Fortunately, Timmy already knew about the super powers but played along. The real surprise was Vicky, who's usually smarter than Timmy's parents (not that it says much about her), not suspecting anything near the end of "Channel Chasers" when she received a letter from someone who signed as "Deep Toot" and wrote in the back "I am not your sister".
  • Correction...Butch Hartman LOVES this trope! There are just so many in Danny Phantom, listing them all could take up so much of this section of the page!
    • In "Parental Bonding":

Jack: *Whislt being Overshadowed by Danny* I know these things because I'm his Dad, and not him.
And later:
Danny IT'S A LIE, I'M NOT A GHOST!

Buckley: "I never wear Louise's underwear!"
Eddie: "Who ever said you did?"
Buckley: "Nobody... but people talk and they might say that I sneak into Louise's room, put on her underwear and dance to "Don't Cha" by the Pussycat Dolls... but I don't do that."

Steve: There's a cure for ick! I picked some up at a pet store!
Klaus: Oh, that's great news! What a wonderful fact that I'm just finding out just now!
Steve: Wait a minute...
Klaus: What are you suggesting? That I deliberately infected you with ick so your friends would ostracize you and you'd be forced to stay home and keep me company? Don't be ridiculous!

    • In the episode "Francine's Flashback":

Stan: Hey, Jackson, ever do it with a dead mermaid?
Jackson: Mermaid? No.

Sweetiebelle: We didn't open [the box] and let a crazy, old dragon steal the wishing star, or anything. (Beat) Want a cookie?

  • Jean is quick to deny that she's spying on Scott in the X-Men: Evolution episode "Fun and Games". Scott, of course, never accused her of such.
  • In an episode of Drawn Together, during an incredibly elaborate role-playing exercise, "Chocalandra" (Foxxy) lays down to Xandir the ground rules for living with "Daddy" (Spanky).

"... and don't leave the stove on all night! And don't dry the laundry in the stove! And don't use the stove as a heater! [quietly aside] I ain't allowed to use the stove no more..."

Robotnik: Snooping as usual, I see!
Scratch: Not me! I didn't hear nothing about Von Schlimmer's dreamamajig!
Grounder: Me neither! Especially I didn't hear the part about the clown!

  • In an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Frylock kills a man and transplants his brain into the man's body to impress a woman. When the police come to arrest him, they ask if he's seen anyone resembling a police sketch of Frylock's original body. He responds, "French fries? That's ridiculous. Who'd want to date someone with french fries growing out of his head?" Naturally, the policeman points out that he didn't ask that particular question.
  • In the Bump in the Night episode "Not of This Boy's Room," Bumpy is accidentally kidnapped by aliens. Upon meeting one of them, Bumpy asks the alien if they are planning to do anything bad to the planet. The alien specifies that they have no such plans.
  • An episode of The Emperor's New School has Kuzco accused of stealing an exhibit from the museum. Molina suggests that Yzma is responsible for the crime. Principal Amzy states that she "hasn't committed any crimes... today".
  • Phineas and Ferb does this several times in succession in the episode "The Lake Nose Monster", although in a subversion, it doesn't work:

Phineas: Candace, I can assure you that a ferocious man-eating lake monster does not exist in Lake Nose.
Candace: Wait a minute, so does a friendly, non-ferocious lake nose monster exist? Do you have proof of that, hm?
Phineas: Do we have proof? No. (Winks at Candace)
Ferb: Well, if such a creature did exist, I believe it would all be our responsibility to look after and protect it.

(Three sisters notice Simpleton with the eponymous goose)
Sister 1: Are you sinking vot I am sinking?
Sister 2: No! I vould never shneak into zat man's room vile he vas sleeping und shteal a few golden feathers from his goose.

  • In the Mickey Mouseworks short "Purple Pluto", in which Minnie accidentally turns Pluto purple, she heads off to the store to find a solution. When Mickey asks what's up, she shouts out, "Pluto is not purple!"
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes: "This is not, I repeat not, a tasty cheesy trick!"
  • Newton, from Ned's Newt, whenever he shapeshifts into some kind of disguise, will introduce himself along the lines of: "Hello, I am [insert whatever disguise he's wearing] and absolutely no newt."
  • A slight variant in Archer:

Archer: Wow, that was impressive! Not many women can bring me to orgasm with my mother in the room. [beat] I would think.

  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, the second season premiere features several members of the cast getting brainwashed by the Big Bad. Turns out that even when brainwashed, Applejack is a terrible liar, as most of her lies consist of this trope.
  • A variant appears in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Flash and Substance," when Mirror Master responds to allegations that the Flash made him "eat [his] own laser kaleidoscope":

That's a rumor! A complete exaggeration! And anyway it was a laser pistol!

"No thank you please. I am sad about nothing and I do not have the boy troubles."

  • In an episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog that takes place in China, after Courage defeats the villain, background character, Di Lung, who is acting as the villain's right hand man in this episode, is found de-boning Muriel. When Courage goes to stop him, he insists that he isn't "de-boning" her, but is "re-boning" her and begins putting her bones back in.
  • In an episode of Two Stupid Dogs, Little Dog tried to use a cat puppet to distract a cat. During his long-winded introduction to the cat, he twice claimed to be "a cat, not a puppet" and ended stating he was "definitely not a dog".
  • Word Girl uses this trope a lot. For example:
    • The eponymous Word Girl (as her secret identity Becky) will often claim that she is not Word Girl.
    • The villains like to use this, too.

The Butcher: Hi! I'm not the Butcher!

  • In Batman: The Brave And The Bold episode "Menace of the Madniks", Booster Gold specifically denies being in any way to blame for the Apocalyptic wasteland. It takes Batman about three seconds to realise he's been meddling with Time Travel.
  • When Judy saw Doug at her school and her friends see him: "I don't know him, I've never seen him before, and he's definitely not my brother."


Totally Unrelated to Real Life[edit | hide]

  • "I'm not being racist, but [racist comment]".
    • For example, during Question Time with British National Party leader Nick Griffin, Jack Straw hung a lampshade on the fact that no other political party's spokesperson has to remind people they're not a racist every time they open their mouth.
    • Similarly, this line from the Ku Klux Klan site's front page:

"Bringing a Message of Hope and Deliverance to White Christian America! A Message of Love NOT Hate!"

    • "I'm not gay, but..."
    • Occasionally subverted for comedy purposes: "I'm not being racist, but [insert slur against women]"
    • Demetri Martin has a joke that goes: "I'm not a racist, but this is a really good steak!... What? I'm told you, I'm not a racist... you stupid Mexican."
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial is very common in people who have been arrested, and the trope is so firmly established that people may assume you're lying even when you're not. Which is why it is safer to use your right to remain silent until a lawyer can advise you further. When they warn you that anything you say can be used against you in court, they really mean it.
    • Sadly, all of the above is true in countries where they don't warn you about your right and "everything you say..." (France, for example).
    • Amusingly, Miranda Rights are a case of Suspiciously Specific Statement: when they say "everything you say can be used against you" not only do they really mean it, they mean it absolutely literally: anything you say can be used against you. But never for you. Any disculpatory comment you might make cannot be used in court, even if it's cast iron proof that you didn't do it somehow it'll fall under hearsay and be dismissed by the prosecution.
    • Some people like to subvert this trope as an act of protest against what they view to be unjust searches, by (for instance) telling a police officer that they have permission to search their entire car, except for their glove box. The intent of this is to arouse suspicion and frustrate the officer without giving them real probable cause for a search.
  • Many children do this at first when they are lying.
  • After he was famously headbutted by Zinedine Zidane at the 2006 World Cup final, Marco Materazzi was confronted with Zidane's claim that he (Materazzi) had insulted Zidane's mother and sister. Materazzi responded by denying that he said anything about Zidane's mother. Thanks for the clarification, Marco...
  • US homebrewer folklore holds that during Prohibition, when the popularity of canned malt extract and fruit concentrates shot through the roof for some reason, such products regularly carried "warning" labels describing what not to do with the sweet syrups and a packet of yeast in order to prevent the production of a batch of beer or wine (curiously, while recipes abounded, mailed out under the table by maltsters and vineyards like hardcore porn, the actual labels don't seem to show up much on GIS).
    • Currently seen with legal highs in the UK, which can't be sold as recreational drugs. As such, they're sold as plant food, bath salts, cleaning solutions, and so forth, with "warnings" such as "ingestion may cause euphoria".
    • In the same line, American 'head shops' will sell "water pipes" and similar as "tobacco smoking accessories." This is a legal fiction to protect the store.
  • The 14th century book Malleus Maleficarum ("Hammer of Witches") is a handbook written to help Inquisitors spot witches. The descriptions of witchcraft were so detailed that the book caused some people to take up witchcraft (or at least the kind described in the book). The book also claims that witchcraft does not exist. It also claims that denial of witchcraft is a mark of a witch.
  • O.J. Simpson: If I Did It. The Goldman family seized all profits for the book and released statements saying that they considered it a confession (the later covers notably print the "If" part of the title in such a small font size that it reads like "I did it" in all but high close-ups, which is followed by the mention of a "He Did It" commentary further down the cover). Interestingly, even if Simpson did confess, he could not be tried again due to "double jeopardy" laws.
    • That said, after the murders he left an apology note. That his attorneys' motion to dismiss went through is one of the biggest reasons he got off at all.
  • If you weren't aware of the context, a claim by a British military spokesman that "We can categorically state that we have not released man-eating badgers into the area" might be disconcerting.
  • "There are no American infidels in Baghdad. Never! They are not in Baghdad. They are not in control of any airport. I tell you this. It is all a lie. They lie. It is a Hollywood movie. You do not believe them. They're not even within 100 miles of Baghdad. They are not in any place. They hold no place in Iraq. This is an illusion ... they are trying to sell to the others an illusion. ...at Saddam Airport? Now that's just silly!"
    • Veered into Implausible Deniability as the invasion continued. At one point he specifically denied that American tanks were anywhere near the area, when said tanks were visible in the background, no more than a couple hundred yards away from where he held the press conference.
  • Company Denies its Robots Feed on the Dead.
    • POMPANO BEACH, Fla. - In response to rumors circulating the internet on sites such as Fox News.com, FastCompany.com and CNET News about a "flesh eating" robot project, Cyclone Power Technologies Inc. and Robotic Technology Inc. would like to set the record straight: This robot is strictly vegetarian.
  • The FBI does its own take on this trope
    • The FBI does not have the original plans for Tesla's Death Ray. In fact, those have been seized by the alien property office.
  • This [1] faq posted as part of North Korea's official website. 10 through 18 especially
  • Ted Haggard: "I've never said that I'm perfect, but I haven't had sex with a man in Denver."
  • When a corporation registers, it has to state the nature of its business. To allow for expansion, some simply use some variation of "any lawful activity," which sounds an awful lot like this, and sometimes is.
    • First you start out with the legal stuff, then you diversify.
  • This gem, from a 1932 Nazi paper denying they were planning to overthrow the government:

The next lie aimed against the Nazis will probably be that the Nazis are preparing a march on Switzerland to hang all speculators who fled from Germany and betrayed the German nation!

  • There are no giant man-eating alligators living in the sewers under New York. Really. They are not eight feet long, they do not have big teeth, and they do not eat homeless people and the garbage that washes down storm drains.
  • George W. Bush, when asked about Cocaine use, replied "I could have passed the [FBI] background check on the standards applied on the most stringent conditions when my dad was president of the United States -- a 15-year period", as opposed to Bill Clinton, when asked about an affair with Gennifer Flowers, responded by simply saying "she's lying" without referring to what she was lying about.
  • Anti-spammers are not members of The Lumber Cartel, which is not a secret society to advance the use of tree-made paper for advertising instead of email, its members do not hang out in the UseNet newsgroup news.admin.net-abuse.email, and they certainly never use this trope when referring to the Lumber Cartel.
  • On The Other Wiki, it's been a Running Gag almost since day one that "There Is No Cabal". Generally, the people saying that are presumed to be part of the non-existent Cabal that they're denying the existence of.
  • A billboard advertisement on train stations in the Netherlands says (roughly translated): "Youcom, the telecom provider that won't scam you."
  • "No one has the intention of erecting a wall!" ("Niemand hat die Absicht, eine Mauer zu errichten!") was uttered by General Secretary Walter Ulbricht of the Communist Party of the GDR on June 15, 1961 in an international press conference. The subject of the conference was the Berlin sector border, but no one had mentioned anything about putting up a wall on that border before. Two months later, guess what happened!.
  • Conservapedia assures you that none of its contributors has mental problems.
  • As seen on The Daily Show's "This Week in God" segment from the CEO of the NASCAR Dianetics car team: "Dianetics has allowed me to be happy in my life... There was one source to all my problems. It wasn't a million answers, it wasn't a million different possibilities. It wasn't mommy, it wasn't daddy, it wasn't what my twin brother did to me when we were six." Cut to Rob Corddry's horrified reaction.

"I don't want to do this story anymore. Please, God, make it go away!"

  • The CAPalert.com website used to have the following disclaimer:

NOT associated with Landover or Westboro Baptist in any way.

  • A few years ago there was an ad on TV in America for a product that quickly applied plastic straps. The idea was that if you had a loose collection of unwieldy items, sticks for example, you could use this product to quickly tie them up into an easy-to-carry bundle. The commercial gave some examples of other possible uses for the product, including "law enforcement", accompanied by an image of a man using the product to bind another man's hands behind his back. A reporter from the Chicago Tribune called the company to ask if they were trying to encourage this kind of use from the product. A spokesperson for the company responded, "We do not endorse or encourage that particular use of the product by anybody who is not a police officer. And I do not torture cats." No one had mentioned cats before then...
  • The contraceptive pill used to be illegal for contraceptive use. It was, however, allowed to regulate heavy periods and other things (such as correcting endometriosis). Some doctors and some women would invoke this trope to prescribe/get a prescription.
    • Similarly, many media outlets won't let commercials and ads for condoms actually say why most people use condoms, to avoid complaints from people opposed to any form of contraception. But hey, they're great for preventing transmission of communicable disease or infection!
    • Likewise, before the Food and Drug Administration was around to regulate medicine, pills were sold to cure headaches, with the disclaimer "for married women": Warning: May cause miscarriage.
  • I leave aside those times in which Cicero used this very technique to mention the disgraces of his enemies' private affairs and then claim the moral high ground by not dwelling on them; indeed, I pass them by and readily allow silence upon them lest such a suspiciously specific denial should be seen to have been used or, what is worse, that he was not called out on it.
  • Greene's a new face in politics, and he don't show porno to college chicks...
  • This sign. So what about 1898 then?
    • Looks similar to this London-based prank.
    • There's a similar example in Albany Township, Pennsylvania. It looks like a white marble tombstone, except that it's at the corner of the corn field which forms someone's front yard. A closer inspection reveals the inscription: "Albany Township -- On April 1, 1897, exactly 100 yards north of this spot, absolutely nothing happened."
  • Great way to insult people if you can't otherwise (and if they hopefully deserve it).
  • TV Tropes will definitely not cause you to spend hours upon hours searching through its content. You will in no way ever have many tabs open and wander from page to page through internal links.
  • Christine O'Donnell: "I'm not a witch."
    • Some background: She had earlier admitted to dabbling in witchcraft when she was in high school. Still, it seems a bit silly to go on national TV just to assure people that you aren't a witch anymore.
  • Any nation with 'Democratic Republic' in its name. Funny, the countries that definitely aren't oppressive dictatorships don't seem to do that...
    • And if it's People's Democratic Republic, run.
  • This strip of Our Valued Customers, which collect real comments from guests at a comic book shop.
  • The Chinese idiom which literally means "there is no silver buried here" refers to this trope. The origin story is that someone who wanted to make sure no one could find his silver made a sign on top of where he buried it, and you can guess what happened later.
    • The quote in question is "There aren't 300 taels of silver buried here." Tradition also has that the thief put up another sign that says "Wong from nextdoor didn't steal it". The guy took Wong to court, except the judge wasn't too bright, so he took the denials literally and ruled for Wong. Yeah.
  • In the midst of one of his rants about how everybody's out to get him, Glenn Beck suddenly said, "I'm not into child porn." Ooooookay, Glenn...
  • Failblog now has a whole tag because so many Suspiciously Specific instructions have been found. Can be viewed here.
    • Oddly Specific used to be its own site before just being a tag.
  • During World War II, British commander Claude Auchinleck wrote a letter to his commanders saying of how the troops were so afraid of Rommel that they were attributing him with superpowers. After several sentences saying how silly these things were, Auchinleck ended the letter with "I am not jealous of Rommel." Sure he wasn't.
  • Almost averted in the tale of the Youth Communication Award. A teenager comes to the front door selling magazine subscriptions for patients at St. Jude Children's Hospital and a chance at a communications scholarship for himself. The fuzzy fine print on the receipt: "No verbal agreement recognized. SYN, Inc. is a for profit company who's (sic) agents are not affiliated with any military, local school, or hospital." Lesson learned.
  • The correction at the end of this New York Times article: "No cows, smuggled or otherwise, ever fell from a plane into a Japanese fishing rig."
  • Articles in the magazine 2600 have disclaimers that they're only for educational purposes, and clearly not for scamming phone companies or hacking into computers.
  • In an impromptu press conference in 1983, Baltimore Colts owner Bob Irsay ranted against accusations that he was about to move the team out of Baltimore. He angrily denied that he was moving the team to Phoenix or Memphis. There was a third rumor which Irsay pointedly never mentioned: Indianapolis. The Colts moved to Indy four months after Irsay's statements.
  • Tim Pawlenty is definitely not gay.
  • On May 19, Atlus sent out a fake June 23, 1999 newsletter to Atlus Faithful. One of the things there is "This Week in News: Absolutely no new games releasing today in Japan"
  • Congressman Anthony Weiner ran right into this trope while trying to wheedle out of a sex scandal involving sending explicit pictures of himself to women through Twitter. Every single statement he made just dug him in deeper and deeper... Really, he should have known better.
  • Capcom would like you to know that Keiji Inafune leaving had absolutely nothing at all to do with the decision to cancel Mega Man Legends 3.
  • The China Incident. Which the Japanese government quite clearly stated was not a war at all, but rather a border clash that had gotten out of hand. An Incident. Not a war.
  • Any investment scheme that has a section of its sales pitch devoted to "why this is not a pyramid scheme" probably is. Or maybe they are truthful that it isn't a pyramid because it's a Ponzi scheme.
  • In the 70's, Tennessee Governor Ray Blanton said, right out of the blue, on a live TV interview, "I haven't sold a single pardon." Granted he was tipsy, but still...
  • Any email that states "This is not spam" most likely is spam. Same goes for anything claiming to be not a pyramid scheme, 419 scam or similar.
  • In the same way, if a religious group says, "We are not a Cult," you may want to do some more research on them before you join.
  • "I worked with Stephen Harper for five years and never once did he, in that time, eat a baby." Hmmm...
  • Any classified job ad that says said job is genuine and legal, or anything similar. Heck, some job companies use this to describe what they're about.
  • The website of Hepzibah House (a religious Boarding School of Horrors in Indiana) reassuringly informs parents that none of their students say they experienced physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. Can't possibly think where CNN might have got that idea....
  • The Global Times, a Chinese newspaper and government mouthpiece, released this headline after China refused to extend the visa of Melissa Chan, an Al-Jazeera correspondent in Beijing: "Chan case not a sign of growing tensions with journalists". Phew! That is so good to know.

This isn't a Tropes page, we swear.


Not at all.


Nope.


No way.


No how.


...


OH DEAR GOD, WHO DO WE THINK WE'RE KIDDING?!

  1. X-Men #42 (1968)
  2. X-Men #95 (1975)
  3. (He actually arranged to do a Strangers on a Train-style murder-swap with someone else -- and they know it.)
  4. The sound clip that accompanies this (randomly chosen) opening screen is from Cannon Fodder.