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"The only thing I hate worse than bad guys is meddling kids."
—The Chief, Teamo Supremo
When the evil character is finally brought to justice, he claims that he would've gotten away with it if it weren't for those "meddling kids" (or whoever it was who foiled his plot). He may be evil, but he gives credit where credit is due. The classic form is, "And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for you meddling kids!"
Pegasus: I can't believe I failed. All I wanted to do was steal an ancient Egyptian artifact, seize control of a billion dollar company, and resurrect my dead wife. And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for those meddling...
- Ironically, Professor Cobra actually says this line in its entirety in an episode of the Season 3 dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. Ditto for Bakura in the original's Season 5.
- Referenced directly in the Gag Dub of Ghost Stories, where Hajime exclaims, "And you would've gotten away with it too, if not for us meddling kids. I've been waiting five volumes to make that joke!"
- Ken borrows this line at the end of an episode of Digimon Adventure 02, despite being a hypocrite.
- There is an Archie issue where Archie and Jughead solve a crime and the crooks are being led away in restraints by the police. One crook complains about being stopped by a bunch of dumb kids and Jughead fires back "This 'dumb kid' is not the one wearing handcuffs!"
- In The DCU, Dick Grayson and Tim Drake investigate the sabotage of Grayson's circus. Eventually, they crack the case and caught the crooks. When one of the crooks says this quote, Grayson dismisses it saying that they were sloppy and the police would have figured it out on their own. However, since that would have created some really embarrassing press for the circus, it was better that the once and future Robins took care of this.
- The Pinky and The Brain story in the second-to-last issue of the Animaniacs comic book gave a Shout-Out to this in the form of Pinky's response to that issue's Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering??:
Pinky: I think so, Brain. But would the villains really have gotten away with it, if it weren't for those pesky kids and their dog?
- Klarion (bum bum BUM!) the Witch Boy inverted this in an issue of Young Justice. "I would've got away with it if it wasn't for you meddling grown-ups." Which is even cooler if you realize the grown-ups in question were kids in grown-up bodies.
- The first Wayne's World movie had Multiple Endings including a nonsensical Scooby Doo one which used the phrase, "you snooping kids!"
- In Toy Story 3, Mr. Potato delivers this line on the background while he's distracting the security team in Sunnyside. Except, of course, they are "meddling toys".
- One of the Troperrific chapter headings in Soon I Will Be Invincible is "And Now For Those Meddling Children".
- A main theme of the Animorphs series, where the kids were constantly foiling plots by the Yeerks.
- Occasionally happens in Monk.
- In Stargate SG-1, Daniel says "And you would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for us meddling kids" after a bounty hunter fails to capture SG-1.
- That line is made even funnier when you realize that Michael Shanks ad libbed it because he hates when the characters explain to the villain what the audience already knows.
- The Sarah Jane Adventures' teenaged protagonists, with help from Intrepid Reporter Sarah Jane, meddle often in the plans of would-be alien invaders.
- Seen at the end of an episode of Numb3rs in which Don, his team and his brother Charlie investigate spooky activity at a supposedly abandoned airbase. That was more of an inversion, though, as it was very ambiguous whether the person that said it was a villain at all, and he had helped them solve the case. He was also very wacky, talked in an invisible cell phone and appeared out of thin air. He also called three professors and an FBI agent meddling kids.
- Given a Shout-Out by Adam in an episode of MythBusters where the Build Team gets him to walk across hot coals unprepared to see if it really is a case of mind over matter. After he supposedly hurts himself by running:
"And I would have made it across too, if it hadn't been for you meddling kids!"
- Happens often on The Monkees.
- Said almost verbatim by the obnoxious aristocrat Ashton in the Suite Life On Deck episode "Kidney of the Sea" when London's dog Ivana literally sniffs out the evidence that he had attempt to frame Zack for grand theft.
- Said verbatim by Castle (putting words in the Killer of the Week's mouth) in "Wrapped Up In Death". It helps that the episode included multiple shout outs to Indiana Jones and Scooby Doo.
- In Magic: The Gathering, the Unhinged joke set has a card called Meddling Kids, which is also a reference to the real card Meddling Mage.
- Meddling Kids is the title of a RPG loosely based on Scooby Doo and its kin.
- Older Than Steam: In Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, after the inept police manage to catch Borachio, the henchman who framed Hero, the heroine, he says (to the noblemen he completely fooled): "What your wisdoms could not discover, these shallow fools have brought to light."
- In the Second Golden Sun game, one of the Pirates delivers the line if you visit them in jail after turning them over to the local government.
- An optional line of dialogue in Sonic Chronicles. If you know how this goes, you'll know what to say.
- Baron K. Roolenstein, the main antagonist of Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble, uses this line verbatim after his robot KAOS is defeated a second time.
- In Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, the Team Aqua/Magma goons accuse you of being a meddling kid after you stop them from stealing the Devon Goods again in Slateport.
- Used by the Prophet in Final Fantasy X-2 if he is fingered as the culprit in the Mi'ihen Highroad mystery sequence.
- Ace Attorney Investigations has this at the end.
Quercus Alba: And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you meddling prosecutors!
- In the web game Sonny 2, one villain says this after being defeated and unmasked. This is clearly a lampshade, as the characters in question are not actually kids.
- The human-disguised Harmoire says this when the hero and Curry capture him to foil his plans for the Sleuthhound Inn involving making the furniture come alive in Adventure Quest Worlds.
Curry: I can't believe you dunit! How dare you do this to the Sleuthhound Inn!
Ganondorf: The great Evil King Ganondorf, beaten by this kid?!
- Link has pretty much made a career of being this trope. Granted, destiny usually plays a hand in it, but even when it doesn't, he's still prone to meddling in whatever plan some villain is brewing up.
- Defeated Eternion says a variant of this line in Adventurers! (He then follows it up with a double My Friends and Zoidberg)
Eternion: "And I would have got away with it too if it wasn't for you pesky adventurers!"
- Used word for word in this strip of Emergency Exit by the villain's second in command
- Also used in this Order of the Stick.
- In Weregeek, Doug would have gotten away with using a projector to scare people if it weren't for those meddling NPCs
- In Bloody Urban, Shaun thinks those meddling kids are actually alright. YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
Grif: What the hell?! You just killed Simmons' ghost!
- Robotnik: "I hate that hedgehog!!!"
- The Trope Namer: While the exact wording sometimes varied, every episode of Scooby Doo ended in this vein, making you wonder what the local police were doing all that time.
- There was a Continuity Nod to this in one of the newer episodes:
"Hey, are you meddling... kids?"
- A Pup Named Scooby Doo consistently added "...and that mangy mutt!" and this seems to have become the most quoted version.
- Also played with in recent installments, such as when a villain attributes his capture to an unrelated character who'd tripped him as he was fleeing, or when two 10-year-old perpetrators claim they'd have gotten away with it, "if it wasn't for you meddling grown-ups!"
- Scooby Doo is even referred to as "those meddling kids" on Boomerang.
- Similar sentiments were often expressed in other Hanna-Barbera shows about crime-fighting teen with comic pet sidekicks: Josie and the Pussy Cats, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids, The Funky Phantom, Speed Buggy, Clue Club, and Jabberjaw.
- Scooby Doo Mystery Inc holds a lampshade on it... in the first episode.
"Monster": That is until you...
- The series then proceeds to goof around with it by making it a Mad Libs Catchphrase. Often just "you meddling [X]", but sometimes a more involved joke including thanking the meddling kids, blaming the meddling kids only to have them point out that others were responsible for the capture, avoiding the phrase altogether and lampshading that something's missing, or even cutting off the line claiming that it's been overdone.
- Outright parodied when the criminal is one of the other kids at the gang's school, who points out that if he would have got away with it, "if it weren't for you meddling...peers."
- In Scooby-Doo and the Legend of the Vampire, the group investigates the bizarre circumstances surrounding a music festival by posing as a band. Naturally, they're known as "Those Meddling Kids". Similarly, it's the name of one of the songs by recurring characters the Hex Girls.
- The criminal in Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase, the last of four videos depicting mysteries Scooby and his friends solve as adults, exclaims, "I would have gotten away with it if it hadn't been for..." Scooby's friends finish off the phrase with, "...us meddling kids!"
- Then there was the one where the villain said "interloping adolescents" instead. The gang promptly corrects him: "That's 'meddling kids'."
- An episode of Futurama had a Corrupt Corporate Executive remark "And I would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for those blasted meddling adults!"
- When Donald Duck foils one of his plans to shut down the House of Mouse, Pete remarks that he "would've gotten away with it if it weren't that meddling duck!"
- In an episode of Kim Possible, Kim cuts off a villain's post-foiling rant, citing the "meddling kids" line as cliche. The villain denies he was going to say it, but no one believes him.
- The Joker does a Shout-Out to this in an episode of Justice League. Referring to some superpowered children the government was trying to mold into tyke bombs, which he turns to his side, he states:
The Joker: "And they would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for me meddling with the kids!"
- Subverted in the relatively new (as of 2009) PBS Kids series "Martha Speaks," in which the villain, being taken to jail, says "[The plan] would have worked, too, if it wasn't for... it not working."
- In Sideshow Bob's first speaking appearance on The Simpsons, he takes this to its logical conclusion, adding "Treat kids as equals! They're smarter than you think!" Considering that he had spent most of his time that episode running quality children's programming, it's an especially good point.
- South Park uses this trope in the episode Child Abduction Is Not Funny: "I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for those meddling policemen."
- In an earlier episode, Stan and Wendy (somehow) foil Mr. Garrison (really Mr. Hat's) plan to kill Kathie Lee Gifford, to which Mr. Hat replies "Yeah, and I would've gotten away with it too if it weren't for those meddling kids."
- Lloyd in Space, "The Ride Along", has this somewhat opposite version: "I almost got away with it too thanks to those meddling kids"... referring to Lloyd and his friend Eddie who turned out to have chased down an undercover cop (the real baddie was cornered by Eddie's dad).
- The Teamo Supremo Halloween episode (which itself completely parodied Scooby Doo) used this trope.
- Lampshaded in Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law:
Old Man Backoff: I would've gotten away with it, too, if it wasn't for-
- A Shout-Out appears in the Daria episode 'I Loathe a Parade' when an obnoxiously overenthusiastic mascot collapses at Daria's feet because he can't breathe through his lion costume and Daria charitably pulls the head off.
Mr O'Neill: Oh.. hello... where am I?
- Averted in the 100th episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, (in a Scooby Doo parody, no less) when the number 100's dubious plan is foiled.
"And I would have succeeded, too, if it weren't for the fact that I failed."
- Hey Arnold! The Movie ends like this when the villain Scheck gets arrested for illegal demolition said, "And I would have gotten away with it, if it weren't for that meddling football head, that kid with all the hair, and that brat with the one eyebrow.
- Episode 4 of The Amazing Chan and The Chan Clan has the crook calling the children "lousy kid detectives" after Anne and Flip foil his escape.
- In the Veggie Tales video "Esther, The Girl Who Became Queen," the French Peas exclaim they would have successfully crushed King Xerxes with a piano "...if it wasn't for that meddling queen!"
- 1973/74 Superfriends episode "The Balloon People". After Noah Tall is captured by Superman he says "I could have gotten away with it if it weren't for you, Superman."
- Lampshaded in Danny Phantom - 'I always wanted to be called a meddling kid!'