Let's say some woman buys a new dress. If it's fancy enough, and she gushes over it, that dress is getting wrecked. Or say a guy has a fear of flying even if that is never shown before. Odds are he is going to get over it by the end (except when you're being ironic in the Alanis Morissette sense).
Note this is strictly when the clue is in the fiction itself. If the clue is meta to the story, it's another trope.
Let's say Sgt. Bilko in The Phil Silvers Show has a Get Rich Quick Scheme. Even if we know it's not going to work, it doesn't count because it's what always happens on the show. Now if he had a certain part of his plan that made it clear exactly how the plan would fail, that would be this trope.
Or let's say Dr. House thinks he's solved the latest disease mystery. If the only clue that he hasn't solved it yet is the fact that the episode is only half over, that is not this trope. That is Spoiled by the Format.
Tempting Fate is a subtrope of this, and covers characters saying something that dares the universe into making things miserable for them, with the universe happily complying.
Finally, examples shouldn't be specific, so much as be just about the clue, and what is going to happen next.
- The Disney Ducks Comic Universe practically has its own private set of Undead Horse Tropes, elements that have been used to death and back again during the trillions of stories so far. For example:
Donald Duck: "Hey, I have this problem."
Gyro Gearloose: "You're in luck, I just invented something that will help you with that."
"That's cool, can I borrow this?"
"Sure. Just make sure not to do X or it will all Go Horribly Wrong."
"Yeah, sure, whatever."
- Lampshaded like hell in Last Action Hero, where in-universe action movie plot is Strictly Formula to its Genre Savvy young viewer. This continues to be brought up during his visit within the movie's universe.
- In Urban Legend, familiarity with the urban legends involved can spoil the experience. The "Aren't You Glad You Didn't Turn on the Light?" sequence is particularly foreshadowed.
- Oh look, the Cranes are throwing a party. Cue A Simple Plan, with the occasional Fawlty Towers Plot.
- For at least the first few seasons, if an attractive woman showed up on Two and A Half Men for one or two episodes, if Charlie wasn't sleeping with her, Alan would be.
- A big-name guest star is on one of the Law and Order shows (Particularly The Mothership or SVU). If this star isn't the victim or the defense lawyer, (s)he's the perp. Criminal Intent likes to disrupt the curve by offering up multiple guest stars.
- If, on nearly any episode of Monk, something is given somewhat significant notice, it will be used to solve the crime.
- Oh, look, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers are showing interest in a topic or issue that they usually don't. I wonder if the Big Bad in the moon will find some way to turn it into or summon an appropriate monster, inadvertently teaching them a valuable life lesson on the issue in the process.
- One of the girls on Sister, Sister just got two hot dates. Everyone knows there'll be a Twin Switch coming.
- The First 48: The police have a suspect in interrogation. Is his face blurred? If the answer is "yes", he's not getting arrested.
- Dr. House has a new patient with a mysterious ailment. Said patient has a minor symptom that is mentioned, dismissed as irrelevant, and not mentioned for the next 30–40 minutes. Bet you ten bucks House's brilliant final diagnosis is based mostly on that one symptom.
- Spoofed in That Mitchell and Webb Look's "Get Me Hennimore!" sketches, parodying old A Simple Plan sitcoms. Bumbling assistant is given two incredibly easy-to-confuse tasks by his oblivious boss, who has to leave the office for some contrived reason - Gilligan Cut to the inevitable chaos that the boss comes back to.
- Exploited by Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger. The protagonist's vast knowledge of Super Sentai tropes allows him to notice when something happens during a battle that leads to the heroes winning, cuing the team to start turning the tables.
- A sporting event is coming up on a teen sitcom. The good guys will win at the last minute, usually with help from the last person anyone expects, leading to An Aesop about friendship and teamwork and so on.
- Unless it's the one-off about being a good loser or something. If that's the case, then the episode will usually begin with the loss rather than having it at the end.
- A good guy and a bad guy are synchronized. There will be a Heroic Sacrifice before the end.
- Swords over a fireplace, where any characters have any sword experience whatsoever, or even if they don't, as in How I Met Your Mother. There will be a sword fight, almost certainly with lots and lots of Flynning
- Although it is Just for Fun, the page on How to Survive a War Movie has a good number of examples as well.
- Hot chicks are swarming the music star. At least one will be underage and lying about it and/or will sue for paternity within the next nine months.
- The guy being interviewed in the heart-wrenching human interest piece about drugs will overdose.
- In the same vein (bad pun), the guy who says AIDS is a myth always has AIDS and will die from AIDS related complications.
- It's early in the show and a potential disaster looms. It's going to happen.
- Two people are having sex. They are unmarried and really enjoying it. One or both will die. If it's one, the survivor will be accused of the other's death.
- If a Wild Teen Party is being thrown at a house with a pool, someone is going to be involuntarily thrown in with their clothes on before the end of the night. 50/50 chance between the lead and the Alpha Bitch.