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Comically Missing the Point

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"I started to walk down the street when I heard a voice saying: 'Good evening, Mr. Dowd.' I turned, and there was this big white rabbit leaning against a lamp-post. Well, I thought nothing of that, because when you've lived in a town as long as I've lived in this one, you get used to the fact that everybody knows your name."
Elwood P. Dowd, Harvey

A character completely misses a really obvious point for comic effect. The point is the sort of thing that any reasonable or informed person will spot and understand given a few seconds or enough information. However, the center of this trope is a person who, despite having all the time in the world and all the information, comes to a conclusion so wrong it's hard to be even further from correct. Commonly elicits a response along the lines of "that's not what's wrong here". Visual gags are often involved.

A Sister Trope to Dramatically Missing the Point.

For the fandom equivalent, see Misaimed Fandom.

Compare Alternative Joke Interpretation, Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?, Bad News in a Good Way, Bait-and-Switch Comment, Cloudcuckoolander, The Ditz, Failed a Spot Check, Insane Troll Logic (logic that consists of comically missing the point), I Take Offense to That Last One, Mistaken for Profound, Need a Hand, or a Handjob?, Not Actually the Ultimate Question, Proportional Article Importance, Right for the Wrong Reasons, Sidetracked by the Analogy, and Skewed Priorities.


In-Universe Examples Only. We'll have to spend a lot of money just to make another subpage for real life. Note 

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  • In a 2010 T-Mobile commercial, the NBA's Dwyane Wade, then of the Miami Heat, finds himself locked in his hotel bathroom. He then issues a video call for help: "Get me outta here!" When the video goes viral on the internet, the public misinterprets it as a plea for a trade. Wade is eventually helped out by a maid who tells him he's on the news. He responds with a "huh?" look.
  • A commercial for Heineken Light Beer has Neil Patrick Harris try to drink the bottle of beer during the commercial. They explain to him that he is not allowed to drink the beer during the commercial. He keeps up trying to come up with ways to get around the restrictions, all of which are comically missing the point that no one is allowed to drink any sort of alcoholic beverages during American commercials.
  • An Israeli commercial for a sale offered to the holders of a local credit card in a hotel chain featured a family preparing to move in permanently to a hotel room. In the commercial Stinger, the father is shown nailing a sign to the door. A hotel employee stops and looks in astonishment at what he’s doing, and the father asks, ‘Is it crooked?’
  • A 1985 spot for GMAC financing shows a couple at a car dealer requesting financing for a Pontiac Fiero. This sparks a swarm of miscues as the head of financing (and the Christmas Club, which he covers with a financing sign as the couple enters) thinks they are asking about an Italian car. The would-be customers then clarify it was a Pontiac, then reference the other brands General Motors produced at the time — only for a second guy to mention that those were "not Italian cars". After all this (and the announcer spiel), the first guy now thinks the couple is buying a large number of cars and adds that they need to know what they were intending to do with all those cars.
  • In the Mercedes commercial "Beauty Is Nothing Without Brains", a woman asks for a burger, fries and a shake. When she is informed that she is in a library, all she does is ask the same question quieter. Then again, she's blonde.
  • The Chase credit card company runs a series of commercials in which couples relay outrageous travel tales to their friends, e.g., "We became fast friends with Chevy Chase", "our son discovered a dinosaur", etc. The friends are stunned...because the couple was able to use their frequent flier miles on a whim, over a holiday and to a desirable destination.
  • A series of GEICO ads has somebody remarking "That's amazing!" after seeing something unusual and amazing happening on screen to which someone else inquires about that same strange occurrence only to be told that the person was talking about how it's amazing how much money they saved switching to GEICO.
  • In this commercial for Faygo Sugar-Free Redpop, football legend Alex Karras is seen eating a platter of pizza. An off-screen voice comments that he thought Alex was on a diet. Alex then tells him that he was on a diet, proceeding to shill the Sugar-Free Redpop. It leads to this bit of dialogue afterwards.
    Off-screen voice: Yeah, but Alex...what about the pizza?
    Alex: (looks at pizza, then smiles at the camera) Faygo doesn't make pizza.
  • Yellow is prone to moments like this in the M&M's advertisements. In one instance, he, Red, and several people are held up at a convenience store and their captor threatens to eat one of his hostages. Yellow automatically assumes he's intending to eat one of the humans. There's also the following exchange, which also doubles as an Actor Allusion considering that Yellow is voiced by Law & Order semi-regular J. K. Simmons.
    Red: Coming up next, the new Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon of everyone's favorite celebrities!
    Yellow: Oh boy! A Law & Order balloon?!
    Red: (beat, annoyed) I was talking about us.
    Yellow: (beat) We're gonna be on Law & Order?
  • The Aldi low-budget supermarket chain has a series of advertisements where a character will buy another character a delicious meal in preparation for telling them some devastating news (e.g. a man telling his wife he is cheating on her), only for the other person to be more interested in the fact that they were able to buy the entire meal at Aldi.

  • BoBoiBoy: In "The Haunted House", to explain what a ghost is to Adu Du, Computer shows him a "find the differences between two pictures" test before jump scaring him with a picture of a ghost. A terrified Adu Du instead thinks that "ghost" refers to the technology used for the jump scare.
  • Happy Heroes:
    • In episode 3, the microwave monster defeats Happy S. while he's in his mecha. Happy S. and Sweet S. then mention how dangerous the monster really is, to which Smart S. replies "I don't believe it! ...look at this, he totally messed up my hair!"
    • In episode 13, Big M. is watching where the heroes are through a little robot fly camera. He notices the magic beans they've found and says that he thinks the heroes may have found something good. Little M.'s response is "Yeah, I've never seen so much ice cream before!", referring to a bowl of ice cream located right next to the beans.

  • In episode five of Mystery Show, Starlee asks a friend to approach Jake Gyllenhaal in a restaurant, but another woman approaches before she can. Starlee's concern is that that woman is going after the same information and is going to get it first.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • To show he could do "characters", Scott Hall did an imitation of Scarface (1983). Vince McMahon thought it was an original concept that just needed some tweaking.
  • During his Impact Championship Wrestling debut, Yoshihiro Tajiri yelled "Shut The Fuck Up!" at the referee admonishing him for putting then rookie Low Ki in an illegal hold, shocking everyone from the ref, to the commentators to the fans in attendance. Nobody knew Tajiri could speak English!
  • Curry Man (not that one) thinking he had gotten a title shot when he pulled a pink slip out of his "feast or fired" briefcase.
  • Santino Marella's complaints of "sexual discrimination" for not being allowed to compete in the "Miss Wrestlemania" battle royal.
  • When Natalya proclaimed Laycool's combined IQ was lower than their non existent waist sizes, they took it as a compliment.
  • Away from Wrestlicious, Bandita's got a restaurant and it doesn't have any roaches thanks to the rats eating them all.
  • CM Punk's reason for not joining the walkout on Triple H on Monday Night Raw was that Punk left the company before because his contract was up, and was tired of trying to change the company, arguing that the 'hippie barbeque' was a pussy move if the participants actually wanted change.

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Big Garage had an episode where Scrap wanted to learn how to make friends, and asked Rusty to pretend to be a stranger so that he can have someone to practice with. Rusty then says "Hello, nice place you've got here!" to which Scrap replies with "Go away, I'm busy!" After Rusty tells Scrap that the key to making friends is to sound nice and friendly, he tries again, and Scrap responds with "Go away, I'm busy!" in a nicer tone.
  • The Mr. Potato Head Show: Several of the show's jokes use this. For instance, after Mr. Potato Head showed his "masterpiece script" to Queenie, she screamed at the top of her lungs and fell over. As she was on the floor moaning, "the horror...the horror..." Mr. Potato Head asked her, " don't like it?"
  • Sesame Street often uses this trope for comedic effect to teach simple concepts and moral lessons. One well-remembered example was "Cookie Monster at the Library," where Cookie repeatedly asks the librarian for a box of cookies (after giving the title or subject of a book). Cookie eventually gets it and asks for a book about cookies, but then causes the librarian to faint dead away when he asks for a glass of milk to go with it.
  • This is a stock-in-trade trope of Wilbur, a children's series about a group of anthropomorphic barnyard friends who learn lessons from books. The character in question will sometimes miss the point of the story in question, often in a comical manner that at times could almost qualify as a Spoof Aesop. This will force another reading of the story. In the event that the character doesn't miss the point, there'll be some other reason for the story being re-read, such as another character needing to learn the lesson.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse: Guise, following an (as expected from Guise) goofy sequence of events, learns that the True Meaning of Christmas is about generosity and the rewards of he turns to several other characters and generously extends them the opportunity to experience said rewards by giving him stuff.
  • Warhammer Fantasy has a Chaos God of, among other things, Atheism. He has followers. When dealing with Chaos Cultists, do not expect an overabundance of anything resembling sanity or logic. A god of Atheism is made weaker through worship.
    • There is a reason he tries to keep any and all material regarding him hidden from mortal eyes as much as possible.

  • This Older Than Steam. In Sheridan's The Critic, Tilburina, anticipating her lover's peril in the clash of the English and Spanish ships, launches into an "I see..." vision of the coming battle. Whereupon her father objects "The Spanish fleet thou canst not see, because... it is not yet in sight!"
  • In Christopher Durang's Beyond Therapy when Bruce makes a reference to horses in the play "Equus" and his blind date (through the personals) Prudence says he should be a vet, Bruce rebukes her for missing the metaphor and says he could never respect anyone who missed a metaphor.
  • Cyrano de Bergerac: In-Universe: Cyrano (a Broken Ace with an enormous nose) invokes two famous historical romances (Cesar and Cleopatra, Tito and Berenice) and compares himself to the Cesar and Tito to justify why he cannot win the beautiful Roxane’s love. The point is that Cesar and Tito were loved not because they were fair, but they were highly charismatic leaders (like Cyrano himself, as his best friend Le Bret lampshades). Given that Cyrano is a Broken Ace and certainly this point would be obvious to him, this shows us how talking about love he will always deceive himself.
    CYRANO (shaking his head): Look I a Caesar to woo Cleopatra?
    A Tito to aspire to Berenice?
    Le Bret: Your courage and your wit!
  • The Farndale Avenue plays, which are supposedly incompetent amateur productions, have a Once an Episode running gag where, somewhere around the beginning of the second act, the leader of the amateur dramatic society will remark to another character that she noticed a significant number of people leaving during the intermission. She always comes up with an innocent interpretation and never realises that they're being driven away by the awfulness of the production.
  • Harvey: "I started to walk down the street when I heard a voice saying: 'Good evening, Mr. Dowd.' I turned, and there was this big white rabbit leaning against a lamp-post. Well, I thought nothing of that, because when you've lived in a town as long as I've lived in this one, you get used to the fact that everybody knows your name."
  • In the musical and Showtime movie of Reefer Madness the main characters sing about how much they are like Romeo and Juliet. They even state that they haven't read the ending, but they're 'sure it turns out real swell.'
  • Anne Boleyn thinks that what people will take away from Six: The Musical is that "Jane can't dance". Whether this is a manifestation of her It's All About Me personality or Obfuscating Stupidity is up to the audience.

    Theme Parks 


The youth in Asia

Ali G talks about if euthanasia is morally right. Or rather, the youth in Asia killing people.

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Main / ComicallyMissingThePoint

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