Trope Workshop:If You Want Something Done Right, Do it Yourself

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A Stock Phrase. Some characters will occasionally utter this phrase. They're usually people who decide to do something their subordinates failed to do on their behalf. Never send an amateur to do a job you need an expert for, namely, the guy in charge.

The hero, anti-hero, or sidekick was about to day when he finds out that his fellow Five-Man Band dropped the holy gem needed to defeat the god villain, gotten killed off, or missed the plane. Sighing, "If you want something done right, do it yourself."

If it's a villain, anti-villain, or the last remaining only sane mook, who then sees that the other mooks didn't kill the hero. He then gathers his weapons, spells, and doomsday devices, and mutters "If you want something done right, do it yourself."

Whatever the case, someone - possibly a Non-Action Guy, Non-Action Big Bad, Retired Badass, or someone who otherwise avoids getting involved is sick of having to relay the important tasks to incompetent underlings who keep messing up. Punishing or berating them doesn't help, and the replacements are just as bad. Whatever his reasons are for avoiding it, he can't any longer. Time for Orcus to get off his throne.

If Authority Equals Asskicking, then this is a character's chance to prove it; otherwise, he may prove to be a Paper Tiger. In short, this may lead to a rather potent and epic confrontation, or it may lead to whoever it is remembering just why he doesn't do it more often. One way or another, however, it's going to end differently.

Compare Risking the King.

Examples of If You Want Something Done Right, Do it Yourself include:


Film[edit | hide | hide all]

  • The Fifth Element: Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg mutters "If you want something done, do it yourself" as he marches up the stairs, holding a ray gun and crate.

Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Power Rangers Zeo: After so many monsters failed to defeat the Rangers, King Mondo decided to destroy them by himself. There was a reason the episode where he did it was titled "Mondo's Last Stand", namely a lying writer.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • In Overwatch, one of Torbjörn's kill quips in gameplay was this. It made sense, since he sees himself as responsible if his inventions fell into the wrong hands, like Talon's.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Dick Dastardly occasionally invoked this trope in Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines.
  • Baron Otto Matic twisted the trope in a Tom Slick episode where he entered his lackey Clutcher in a blimp race. As the Baron explained, if you want something right to go wrong, do it yourself.
  • Garfield and Friends:
    • Episode "The Pizza Patrol" featured a pizza parlor that featured the Thirty Minutes or It's Free policy. After Garfield tricked the delivery boys into missing the deadline every time one of them had to deliver a pizza, the pizza parlor's owner tried to deliver it himself.
    • In another episode, local mailman Herman Post was fired and his former boss, not able to find a mailman willing to take over the turf out of fear of Garfield, decided to deliver the mail himself. After enduring Garfield, he begged Herman to take the job back.
  • In Steven Universe, Holly Blue Agate uttered this line as she draws out her whip and attacked Steven and company.
  • In the Samurai Jack episode "Jack vs Aku", after the robot assassins that Aku sends after Jack fail even worse than they usually do, he slumps in his throne and mutters, "Guess it's true what they say, if you want something done, you gotta do it yourself..." Then he gets an idea on a way he can do just that, leading to the conflict in the title.
  • In the Codename: Kids Next Door episode "Operation: T.R.A.I.N.I.N.G.", Father invokes this Trope after yelling at his moronic henchman who didn't know the vault at the Arctic Base was locked, and starts burning it open on his own.

Real Life[edit | hide]