Created By: blueranger on July 18, 2011 Last Edited By: blueranger on July 23, 2011

Ironic Song Echo

A song a character sings early on appears later with a new meaning

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Closely related to the Ironic Echo and the Dark Reprise, the Ironic Reprise comes from when a character sings a song early on in the story. Then later on the song is sung again but this is after a significant amount of story has passed so the song's meaning will be very different from when it was first sung. It can often be part of a heartwrenching moment such as the character's favourite song being sang to them as they are dying but the first appearance of the song can be negative when the reprise is positive. A whole song need not be sung, only a few lines will count as well.

Do not confuse with Dark Reprise or Triumphant Reprise, which are tropes related to musicals. This only occurs outside a musical setting. The song only counts as an Ironic Reprise if it isn't a musical number.

  • The Secret Garden (the 1994 film) has the children mockingly sing the nursery rhyme "Mary Mary, Quite Contrary" at Mary because of how grumpy she is. Later on in the garden Dickon starts singing it. Mary remarks about how the children used to sing it to her, and then happily sings along as well.
  • House of Flying Daggers Mei performs a dance for Jin in her first scene, singing a song about a woman whose beauty causes the fall of a kingdom. At the end of the film Jin sadly sings it to her as she lies dying.
  • At the start of Vertical Limit Peter sings a song and his sister says "that's not a song, you made that up". At the end of the film as he's visiting her in the infirmary she sings him that song and they have the same exchange.
  • Jack sings "Come Josephine" to Rose in Titanic during the King of the World scene. Later on he sings it again as he lies freezing to death in the ocean.

Video Games
  • Doubles as a Chekhov's Gun in Final Fantasy IX where Garnet frequently sings a song she remembers from her childhood. Towards the end of Disc 2 in Madain Sari, she hears Eiko singing the same song which makes her realise she is really from the village.

Western Animation
  • A twofer in The Rugrats Movie as after Didi and Stu sing a lullaby to Dil (completely ignoring Tommy), Tommy sadly sings one for himself. Later on when he and Dil have finally bonded in the woods, he sings a happier version of the lullaby.
  • From the Charlottes Web animated movie:
    "There must be something more to us than you and me; it must be tangled up somehow with destiny..."
Community Feedback Replies: 10
  • July 18, 2011
    The Simpsons: Apu is fired from the Kwik-E-Mart and goes to live with/work for Homer. He and the family sing a song, "Who needs the Kwik-E-Mart?" which is dismissive of the Kwik-E-Mart. After the wrap of the song, the family gathers 'round the TV.
    Homer: Everything really wrapped up nicely. checks his watch Ooh, much quicker than usual.
    Marge: I guess we've learned that happiness is wherever you find it.
    Homer: And we've all found happiness, every one of us.
    Apu sobs in the background
    Homer: Hey, what's that sound?
    outside, they see Apu on the roof
    Apu: singing folornly Who needs the Kwik-E-Mart? I do.
  • July 18, 2011
    I think that's more of a Dark Reprise since it's an actual musical number.
  • July 19, 2011
    I don't see how this is any different from the Dark Reprise. Your first example of The Secret Garden is just an inverse.
  • July 19, 2011
    Dark Reprise is for musical numbers. This is where a character sings a song casually outside of a musical. It's not an actual performance
  • July 19, 2011
  • July 20, 2011
    An Ironic Echo specifically for songs that aren't musical numbers. A Dark Reprise couldn't happen in real life since in musicals, the numbers are said to happen in a universe of their own. An Ironic Reprise could happen in real life though
  • July 20, 2011
    ^^ More like less specific. This could be a supertrope to at least Dark Reprise and Triumphant Reprise, and maybe examples that don't fit either trope. Anyway...
    • From the Charlottes Web animated movie:
      "There must be something more to us than you and me; it must be tangled up somehow with destiny..."
  • July 22, 2011
    Changed the title so people will stop confusing it with Dark Reprise and Triumphant Reprise.
  • July 22, 2011
    Even if it doesn't refer to an actual musical number... this is still Dark Reprise.
  • July 23, 2011
    The examples refer to a few lines of song, sung casually by a character, sometimes a canon performance. Like I keep saying Dark/Triumphant Reprise is specifically for musicals and episodes with a musical theme.