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You will now describe this Trope.

Alice really wants a date/permission to go to a concert/something else from Bob, but is convinced that he won't agree, and has prepared for this. She asks, then gets her response in without really listening to what Bob has to say. After all, he obviously said no, didn't he... wait a minute, did Bob just agree? Alice has to do a sort of verbal Double Take, before responding to what Bob actually said.

Examples of Won't Take Yes for An Answer include:

Anime & Manga

  • In chapter twelve of the Love Hina manga, Keitaro learns that he did not fail the test, because "most of his random answers were good". However, the girls either refuse to listen to him or to believe him, leading to them throwing a "bath party" to cheer him up. When they "discover" that he didn't fail, they Why Didn't You Just Say So? and go Ax Crazy (he manages to flee this time, though). Yes, he's a Butt Monkey when those girls are around.

Comic Books

  • This exchange between Laurie and Jon in Watchmen:

 Laurie: My whole life's a joke. One big, stupid, meaningless... aw shit...

Jon: I don't think your life's meaningless.

Laurie: Oh no, well, obviously that's what you're going to say because anything I'm stupid enough to believe is true, you just disagree with it and... uh... you don't?


Comic Strips

  • In FoxTrot, Peter's first attempt to ask Denise out is like this. He launches into a prepared speech about she probably doesn't remember him, completely oblivious to fact that she keeps telling him she knows who he is. She eventually tells him to put down the script.

Fan Works

  • In Dungeon Keeper Ami, Ambassador Camilla, as a represenative of the Shining Concord Empire, brings a list of requirements before Mercury. These requirements (for the Shining Concord to consider establishing any kind of diplomatic relations with the newly-minted Empress ) include a lavish embassy that turns out to be a scaled-down model of their own imperial palace, built at Mercury's expense. Mercury is floored when she realizes that the total cost is greater than eight dungeon hearts (who are implied to cost aproximately one ton of gold- each). Camilla is so certain that she will refuse to build such a costly embassy that she is initially confused by Ami's simple agreement.
  • In In Flight, Uzume asks Shirou to heal her Ashikabi, not expecting Shirou to simply agree. To be fair, Shirou has been building a reputation for being ruthless and doing whatever it takes to win, to the point where even his own Sekirei are surprised by his immediate acceptance.

Films -- Live-Action

  • In Tommy Boy, Tommy does an unbelievable sell... then the guy he's selling to says he'll buy from Tommy, and Tommy starts to act like he says no, then both he and business partner Richard do a Double Take and yell "What?"
  • In Quiz Show, a contestant on Twenty-One answers a question correctly and is initially told that he is incorrect before the host realizes he said the correct answer, thus providing more evidence that the show is rigged.
  • A variant in Iron Man 2: Tony tells Pepper he wants her to run the company for him, and Pepper angrily replies that she's trying to run the company, but she can't because he's never there.

 Tony: Pepper, I'm trying to make you CEO. Why won't you let me?



  • In the Xanth novel Heaven Cent, Prince Dolph is allowed to go on a quest, so long as he travels with an adult. He wants to go with snarky troublemaker Grundy Golem, but knows his parents will disapprove. So he compiles a list of choices he thinks they will object to even more vehemently, believing that when he names Grundy last they will acquiesce. To his disbelief they agree to the first option listed, and he must travel with animated skeleton Marrow Bones.
  • In Harry Potter, Hagrid does this when trying to defend Harry in Dumbledore's office (while waving a dead rooster he happened to have on him). Only the film version, however, includes the actual verbal backstep part.

 "It wasn' Harry, Professor Dumbledore! I was talkin' ter him seconds before that kid was found, he never had time, sir!" (Dumbledore tries to interrupt) "It can't've bin him, I'll swear it in front o' the Ministry o' Magic if I have to -"

"Hagrid, I-"

"Yeh've got the wrong boy, sir, I know Harry never-"

"Hagrid! I do not think Harry attacked those people."

"Oh. Right. I'll wait outside then, Headmaster."

  • A non-comedic version of this is what basically sets the plot of The Demolished Man into motion. The protagonist is so convinced that a hated business rival will refuse his offer to merge their firms that he literally cannot see that the coded answer he gets is actually an agreement and thus starts to plot the man's murder. Different from most other cases here in that the misunderstanding is only cleared up weeks after he has already succeeded.
  • In Aldous Huxley's Island, the protagonist, a world-weary journalist, refers to himself as "the man who won't take yes for an answer." Not an example of this trope, since he's joking about his cynicism--probably means that, as a journalist, he interviews people and disbelieves what they say--but it echoes this trope's title.

Live-Action TV

  • Seinfeld exchange between Kramer and Elaine on the episode titled "The Millenneum":

 Kramer: (pleading) Elaine, you can't go to Newman's Newmanniun [party].

Elaine: (neutral) Okay.

Kramer: (frantic) No! No! No! You gotta spend New Year's 1999 with me and Jerry!

Elaine: (neutral) Fine.

Kramer: (frustrated shout) Oh COME ON!!

  • Full House when D.J. is petitioning for her own room.

 Danny: All right, I've made a decision...

D.J.: Dad, that's so unfair!

Danny: You haven't even heard what it is yet.

D.J.: Sorry, just a habit.

  • Variation: An episode of Dharma and Greg has Greg running for office. Dharma readily agrees, but he seems reluctant, after a while, Dharma says "Wait... you had a big convince Dharma speech planned didn't you?"
  • Played a good deal more seriously in a later episode of Frasier. Niles has a minor tooth ache which he mentions in jest has a very small chance of being caused by a severe heart condition. When a series of increasingly improbable occurrences keep happening around him, he becomes paranoid that he may in fact have a problem, though this fear is initially played for laughs. When he goes to get a check up, he seems afraid right up until the doctor gives him his results, when he immediately seems to relax and mention how relieved he is... until he realises that the doctor has just told him that he does have a heart condition, and will require serious surgery.
  • In The West Wing, Blonde Republican Sex Kitten Ainsley Hayes has been invited to the White House to meet with Chief of Staff Leo McGarry. Expecting she's going to be chewed out for having beaten Sam on a talking-heads TV show, she begins defending herself, not stopping to notice that Leo has just offered Ainsley a job. When she does figure that out (lampshaded with Leo's "here it comes..."), she starts objecting to the offer. Despite wanting it pretty much more than anything else in life:

 Leo: Don't you want to work in the White House?

Ainsley: Oh, only since I was two. It has to be this White House?

  • Used in the first episode of Yes Prime Minister, newly elected Jim Hacker speaking with his Chief of Defense:

 Hacker: It's going to be very unpopular with the armed forces, but... there it is. I intend to cancel Trident.

Chief: Good idea.

Hacker: Now, hold on! It's no good trying to talk me out of it, because once I've made up my mind, I... what did you say?

  • In a News Radio episode, Matthew asks Dave if he's being fired, and after Dave says no, Matthew doesn't hear it that way. As he begins to leave, he realizes his mistake and asks, "Were you just going to let me leave?" Dave nods mischievously, having fully expected him to not listen (he is the Spaz, after all).
  • Stargate SG-1
    • In the episode "The Broca Divide", Daniel is trying to argue to General Hammond that they should spend more time on their latest contacted planet, even though there's nothing to be gained militarily. Having clearly lost several rounds of this argument already, he's so determined to make his case that it takes him a minute to realize that this time the General is saying yes.
    • This happens to Daniel a few times when he underestimates the General's Genre Savvy-ness. In another episode, he's ready to go in with rhetorical guns ablazin' to convince Hammond to act on a tip he got from a Prophetic Dreams, when the General agrees instantly on the basis that that's hardly the weirdest thing he's heard while in command of the SGC.
  • The trope was said verbatim in an early episode of Saved by the Bell.
  • One episode of Deep Space Nine features Odo telling Quark that he has no choice but to do something. Quark protests "That's not fair." Odo points out that he hasn't said what it is yet, and then makes Quark a temporary deputy. Quark again starts to say "That's not fair!" but only gets halfway through before reacting.
  • Mash
    • One episode has Radar reacting this way when he asks a new nurse to go out with him, and she agrees to.
    • An earlier episode has half the camp coming down with the flu, including Colonel Blake and Major Burns. At one point Major Houlihan tells Hawkeye that, as ranking officer among the well, she should be in charge rather than him. Hawkeye agrees, but she keeps stating her case, leading him to invoke the trope name.
  • In the final moments of Popular, we see Brooke storming out of a restaurant with Sam, saying "This isn't what I wanted", concerning an unseen-by-viewers decision by Harrison over who he's going to take to the prom. This prompted viewers to assume that he had picked Sam. Even the Television Without Pity recap said as much, although it also said that others argue that it could have been the other way. Ryan Murphy later revealed that this was (would have been?) the case.
  • In the second season finale of Parks and Recreation, Leslie goes to Chris to argue in favor of holding a childrens' concert in spite of budget cuts. Leslie has barely begun her points before he agrees with her. She then explains she wasn't expecting him to say yes so quickly, so he lets her go through her carefully-prepared argument anyway.
  • Variation: In an episode of Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip, Jack is displeased with Jordan for not making her approval known during a pitch meeting. She interrupts by saying she's not going to bid on the show, and Jack carries on for a few more sentences before realizing she's already said she's not bidding at all.
  • Fringe: Broyles calls Olivia on this at one point:

 Broyles: Dunham. I came in here to begin making the calls I'm going to need to make in order to get the interview that we both agree is necessary. And I would also request that you stop cutting me off every time I'm about to tell you to stop drilling, you've struck oil, as I was going to do when we first came through that door.


Puppet Shows

  • Emily Crachit (Miss Piggy) does this to Scrooge (Michael Caine) when he's talking to Bob (Kermit the Frog) in A Muppet Christmas Carol.

 Scrooge: And therefore, I intend to raise your salary!

Emily: And therefore, I'm gonna raise you RIGHT off the pavement and... what?


Video Games

  • Okami: Issun does this when Amaterasu agrees to help people, but only for things that Issun really doesn't want to do. He makes out that if "his boss" (i.e. you) says no, his hand are tied, and instinctively assumes you said no until he realizes what you said. This happens three times.
  • Given that Shion blew off Allen's requests for a date in the first two chapters of Xenosaga, he's rather surprised when she agrees in the third.

Visual Novels

  • It's a bit different from most examples, but happens once in Ace Attorney Investigations case 4 when Gumshoe asked Edgeworth that does he have a proof that there's other people in the hallway, Edgeworth said yes. Gumshoe's response:

 Gumshoe: As if you could! I mean, what are the chances of that...Wait, you do...?

  • In Katawa Shoujo, Misha and Shizune often try to get Hisao to do work for them on the Student Council in the routes besides Shizune's, in which Hisao joins as a member. In Lilly's route, the following exchange happens.

 Misha: Since we're just two poor little girls that need help with all the work we've been given just before the holidays begin~...

Hisao: Sure, I can help.

Misha: But Hicchan, we're really nee- What?

"I think I broke Misha."


Web Comics

  • The Order of the Stick
    • Our heroes are sued after accidentally destroying a Gate holding back the Sealed Evil in a Can. Fortunately, they manage to get a "not guilty" verdict, though it's clear they weren't expecting it. Amusingly, while the rest of the cast does manage to take "yes" for an answer once they get over the Double Take, Haley Starshine, temporarily cursed to be The Unintelligible, launches into a detailed rant about why they should have been found guilty under any sane legal code.
    • Also happens in the prequel book On the Origin of PCs, when Roy is trying to hire party members in a tavern. After receiving a "No" from at least thirty adventurers, comes Haley Starshine. Roy begins thanking her for listening and saying he understands, before realizing she actually said "Yeah, OK."
  • From A Miracle of Science, the scene where Mad Scientist Dr. Haas is explaining his plan to conquer the solar system with robots and institute a technocratic rule. This conversation is particularly apt because Dr. Juruna is trying to have a romantic dinner with Dr. Haas.

 Dr. Haas: Robots will be teachers, police, bureaucrats... an industrial chemist would be free to pursue works of the intellect without worrying where the rent or food money are coming from.

Dr. Juruna: That sounds wonderful, Virgil.

Dr. Haas: YOU JUST THINK ITS STUPID BECAUSE YOU HAVEN'T... did you just say it's a good idea?


Western Animation

  • The Powerpuff Girls episode "Cat Man Do". The girls are awaiting the Professor's decision on whether they can keep the cat. The Professor enters the scene and says, "We can keep Kitty!" Bubbles starts bawling instantly and the other two are complaining before they realize he said yes.
  • A variation happened in one episode of The Simpsons; Mr. Burns and another nuclear plant owner pit their plants' baseball teams against each other. Burns suggests a wager; his counterpart offers to bet a million dollars. Burns mocks the wager, and then realizes what it is; he apologizes and accepts the bet, explaining he thought his opponent would start small and they'd haggle their way up.
  • American Dad played with this trope in one episode. Steve propositions his date, she says yes; he sadly says he understands and leaves. Halfway home, he realises what she said.
  • Danny Phantom, when Tucker asks a girl out:

 Girl: Okay.

Tucker: All right, but I'll have you know, I'm persistent... wait, did you say "okay"?

  • An episode of Clerks the Animated Series has villain Leonardo Leonardo attempting to bribe Dante into keeping quiet about a drunken liaison that occurred between them. He first offers Dante the chance to coach a little league team. Dante is enthusiastic about the idea, but thinking he has rejected the offer, Leonardo begins to offer him a million dollars. He stops short once he realizes that Dante has accepted his first bribe.
  • In the Duck Dodgers episode "The Green Loontern", Green Lantern villain Sinestro tries to sway Dodgers to his side:

 Sinestro: Join forces with me, or be obliterated.

Dodgers: Okay.

Sinestro: Don't be such a sanctimonious fool! You don't realize the-- did you say "okay"?

  • In The Fairly Odd Parents Wishology trilogy, Timmy is forced to go to Crocker for help with the Darkness. Crocker gives the condition that he must admit he has fairies. Timmy admits he does immediately, sending Crocker on a rant of "no use denying it" before he realizes what's been said. He's disappointed it was so anti-climatic, but keeps his word.
  • Used in the My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic episode "Applebuck Season". Applejack tries to harvest all the apples in her orchard by herself, only to run herself ragged and cause chaos in town due to her sleep-deprived state. At several different junctures, Twilight Sparkle entreats Applejack to get some help, only to be rebuffed each time. Finally, after Applejack faints from realizing that she was barely half-done when she thought she was completely finished, Twilight begins another plea for Applejack to get some help, and Applejack agrees. Twilight, fully expecting Applejack to keep being stubborn, continues with "I won't take no for an answer," before she realizes what Applejack said.
  • In the episode "Dogs On A Wire" of the 2010 version of Pound Puppies, Strudel snaps after her pleas to go out on a mission are ignored. Team leader Lucky then gives her the opportunity to accompany a show dog back to the circus, after which she complains about being chosen for a few seconds before she realizes that's exactly what she wanted.

Real Life

  • Truth in Television, as anyone who has ever worked with the general public can attest. You tell a customer that yes, they can have whatever freebie they've asked for, and they'll still spend 20 minutes ranting about how they deserve it before they click that you've said yes. Browsing Not Always Right will reveal more than a few of these.
    • Or when two people are arguing, and neither of them realizes that the other is actually taking the same side as them. Sometimes pointed out as "I think you two are in violent agreement".
    • Another variant happens when a person gets "yes" when asking for a permission but is so afraid of being scolded for it by someone else that they will keep asking multiple times until the person gets annoyed - possibly to the point of threatening to say "no" if they ask even one more time.

And I will not have you goofing... wait, what?