Created By: CaveCat on January 8, 2014 Last Edited By: CaveCat on May 23, 2014
Troped

Mock Surprise Reaction

A character pretends to be surprised at the sight of another character or object.

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Page Type:
Trope
Nermal: Hey, look! Garfield's dancing with Odie! They're like buddies now!
Garfield: What's the matter? [Sees Odie dancing with him and pretends to be surprised] Oh my god! Odie! What are you doing here?!? [Pushes Odie away] I was doing a solo dance and this creepy dog comes right up next to me! Did you see that?
Garfield: The Movie

This is a Reaction Shot, where a character pretends to be surprised at the sight of another character or an item. The trope is commonly used as a response when one encountered an event or a person that they already expected, as either a Deadpan Snarker or otherwise a bad actor/liar. As the actor in question was either doing it for the snarks or awkwardly improvising to avoid further awkwardness, this is always played for laughs.

A variation of this would be where one character would say to the other "Fancy meeting you here!", even though the first character already knew that the other character would be there.

May be used as a weapon of choice for either a Deadpan Snarker or a Tsundere.

Compare: Sarcasm Mode, Hidden Heart of Gold

Can often overlap with a Suspiciously Specific Denial.


Examples:

Advertising
  • In a TV commercial for Netflix a husband & wife are watching an action TV show together and, as we learn, she watched ahead on Netflix so she has to pretend to be surprised by all the twists.

Film
  • The page quote comes from the first Garfield film, where Garfield and Odie start dancing together to a music video of The Black Eyed Peas' "Hey Mama" until they start dancing on the front porch. When Nermal and Arlene come by and Nermal comments on this, Garfield immediately pushes Odie away, claiming that he was doing a solo dance when Odie came up to him when he wasn't looking.
  • In Larger Than Life, Jack Corcoran is trying to get a train ticket while bringing his father's pet elephant Vera cross-country. When the ticket master asks Jack if the elephant wants a ticket too, Jack questions about this, turns to see Vera, and screams in mock surprise.
  • In Dance Flick (loosely a parody of Save The Last Dance) where a white ballet dancer falls in love with a black hiphop dancer. As thery're in the park and about to have an intimate moment,
    Guy: Uh oh, black girls. [Loudly] So what you want to do is make that left, go up three blocks - I don't know you..."
  • Jumbo
    Police Officer: Hey You! Where are you going with that elephant?
    Bowers: Elephant? What elephant?
  • Men in Black. Jack Jeebs is a small time fence (buyer of stolen items). When Edwards walks into his pawn shop, Jeebs indicates surprise at the watches sitting on the counter.
    Jeebs: Oh, hey, how did these get here? I thought I turned these into the proper authorities.
    Edwards: The way I hear it, Jeebs, you're into something a little hotter than some stolen Rolexes.

Live-Action TV
  • In a long sketch on The Benny Hill Show which is a musical production by a voluntter fire brigade, the Captain (Benny) pushes a dimwitted member in front to introduce him. The Captain ends up Playing Cyrano, feeding him the introduction phrase by phrase, then acts surprised by all the praise heaped on him in the introduction.
  • In Upstairs Downstairs, the cook Mrs. Bridges feigns surprise when Lady Majorie tells her the big news that the King is coming over for dinner because Mr. Hudson the butler has already told her in secret.

Theatre

Video Games
  • In the Star Trek Online Foundry mission "Bait and Switch" the player can express surprise that the captain of the USS Marduk is a Cardassian. Said captain, Bronok Zell, says "No! How'd you find me out? Was it the ears?" He then more seriously explains that he's used to that reaction.

Web Comics
  • In Crimson Dark, Vaegyr asks that nobody watch ahead on Walker Wars so they can all enjoy it together, but Kari occasionally does anyway and then pretends to be surprised.

Web Original
  • In Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog Billy has actually purchased an extra frozen yogurt for Penny, but he's too shy to tell her...
    Billy: Hey, this is weird. I ordered one frozen yogurt and they gave me two. You don't happen to like frozen yogurt, do you?
    Penny: I love it!
    Billy: You're kidding? What a crazy random happenstance! Here.
    Penny: Thank you.
  • In Jerma985's video called 'Damnation-Breakfast Time with Doofus and Goofus!', he and STAR__ did an improvised skit with the game's weird glitch in a clip:
    Jerma: Star?
    STAR_: Yes?
    Jerma: Didn't want to be the first one to say it but I truly think this weird agency is poisoning the water supply!
    Both: (in a flat tone while their player character held their head in 'terror') Oh nooooooo!

Web Video
  • In Jerma985's video called 'Damnation-Breakfast Time with Doofus and Goofus!', he and STAR__ did an improvised skit with the game's weird glitch in a clip:
    Jerma: Star?
    STAR_: Yes?
    Jerma: Didn't want to be the first one to say it but I truly think this weird agency is poisoning the water supply!
    both(in a flat tone while their player character held their head in 'terror'): Oh nooooooo!

Western Animation
  • In the first episode of "Golan the Insatiable" from Fox's Animation Domination High Def Golan goes to a waterpark intending to "accidentally" run into his crush Alexis. Golan feigns surprise when they meet there.
  • In the Futurama episode "Anthology of Interest I", Leela does one when Zoidberg, who had been investigating the murders she had been committing, declares that one of the people in the room was the murderer.
  • Discussed in a Flash Forward episode of The Simpsons where Lisa learns of her future.
    Lisa: Wow. Now that I know all this, isn't there any way to change the future?
    Fortune Teller: No...but try to look surprised.
    • Mr. Burns is "surprised" by the existence of a large sum of money on a table in his office. He suggests that he & Smithers leave the room, and perhaps the money will mysteriously disappear while they're gone, as a government inspector is in the room. The inspector meanwhile is pretending to not realize that Burns is trying to bribe him.
      Government Inspector: Mr. Burns, in 20 years, I have never seen such a shoddy, deplorable—
      Mr. Burns: Oh look! Some careless person has left thousands and thousands of dollars just lying here on my coffee table. Uh, Smithers, why don't we leave the room, and hopefully, when we return, the pile of money will be gone.
      (Mr. Burns and Smithers exit for a moment and then return to the office.)
      Mr. Burns: D'oh! Look, Smithers, the money and a very stupid man are still here.
      Government Inspector: Burns, if I didn't know better, I'd think you were trying to bribe me.
      Mr. Burns: Is there some confusion about this? (stuff money into his pockets) Take it! Take it! Take it, you poor schmo!

Needs More Examples
Community Feedback Replies: 27
  • January 8, 2014
    DAN004
    Too close to Hidden Heart Of Gold, I'm afraid
  • January 9, 2014
    CaveCat
    ^It can be related to Hidden Heart Of Gold, though. I mean, how many times has someone expressed mock surprise at something that they already acknowledge?
  • January 9, 2014
    randomsurfer
    • In Dance Flick (loosely a parody of Save The Last Dance) where a white ballet dancer falls in love with a black hiphop dancer. As they're in the park and about to have an intimate moment,
      Guy: Uh oh, black girls. Loudly So what you want to do is make that left, go up three blocks - I don't know you..."
    • Jumbo
      Police Officer: Hey You! Where are you going with that elephant?
      Bowers: Elephant? What elephant?
  • January 9, 2014
    StarSword
    Video Games:
    • In the Star Trek Online Foundry mission "Bait and Switch" the player can express surprise that the captain of the USS Marduk is a Cardassian. Said captain, Bronok Zell, says "No! How'd you find me out? Was it the ears?" He then more seriously explains that he's used to that reaction.
  • January 11, 2014
    StarSword
    I think the description is more specific than the title and Laconic.
  • January 14, 2014
    randomsurfer
    I was just thinking similarly. Would this also cover Alice saying "Fancy Meeting You Here!" when she knew very well that Bob would be there, and in fact went there because Bob was there?
  • January 15, 2014
    CaveCat
    ^It would be a variation, though.
  • January 21, 2014
    randomsurfer
    ^Well then...
    • In the first episode of "Golan the Insatiable" from Fox's Animation Domination High Def Golan goes to a waterpark intending to "accidentally" run into his crush Alexis. Golan feigns surprise when they meet there.
  • January 21, 2014
    dalek955
    • In Crimson Dark, Vaegyr asks that nobody watch ahead on Walker Wars so they can all enjoy it together, but Kari occasionally does anyway and then pretends to be surprised.
  • January 22, 2014
    randomsurfer
    ^OOH!

    • In a TV commercial for Netflix a husband & wife are watching an action TV show together and, as we learn, she watched ahead on Netflix so she has to pretend to be surprised by all the twists. He catches on when he notices that her reactions are exactly the same as his but a beat behind.
  • January 22, 2014
    Duncan
    • In Dr Horribles Singalong Blog Billy has actually purchased an extra frozen yogurt for Penny, but he's too shy to tell her...
      Billy: Hey, this is weird. I ordered one frozen yogurt and they gave me two. You don't happen to like frozen yogurt, do you?
      Penny: I love it!
      Billy: You're kidding? What a crazy random happenstance! Here.
      Penny: Thank you.
  • January 27, 2014
    NESBoy
    In the Futurama episode "Anthology of Interest I", Leela does one when Zoidberg, who had been investigating the murders she had been committing, declares that one of the people in the room was the murderer.
  • February 11, 2014
    randomsurfer
    Discussed in a Flash Forward episode of The Simpsons where Lisa learns of her future.
    Lisa: Wow. Now that I know all this, isn't there any way to change the future?
    Fortune Teller: No...but try to look surprised.

  • February 19, 2014
    StarSword
    Description still needs rewriting. It's still reading as a more specific case than either title or Laconic.
  • February 23, 2014
    CaveCat
    ^How else was I supposed to write the description? I can't think of any other way to rewrite it.
  • February 23, 2014
    needsanewhobby
    ^Just don't specify what the person is pretending to be surprised by.
  • February 26, 2014
    Arivne
    Now that the Description has been loosened up:

    Film
    • Men In Black. Jack Jeebs is a small time fence (buyer of stolen items). When Edwards walks into his pawn shop, Jeebs indicates surprise at the watches sitting on the counter.
      Jeebs: Oh, hey, how did these get here? I thought I turned these into the proper authorities.
      Edwards: The way I hear it, Jeebs, you into something a little hotter than some stolen Rolexes.
  • February 27, 2014
    StarSword
    Fixed a link in the draft.
  • April 4, 2014
    randomsurfer
    In a long sketch on The Benny Hill Show which is a musical production by a voluntter fire brigade, the Captain (Benny) pushes a dimwitted member in front to introduce him. The Captain ends up Playing Cyrano, feeding him the introduction phrase by phrase, then acts surprised by all the praise heaped on him in the introduction.
  • April 6, 2014
    JoeG
  • April 11, 2014
    sgtpendulum
    • In Jerma985's video called 'Damnation-Breakfast Time with Doofus and Goofus!', he and STAR_ did an improvised skit with the game's weird glitch in a clip:
      Jerma: Star?
      STAR_: Yes?
      Jerma: Didn't want to be the first one to say it but I truly think this weird agency is poisoning the water supply!
      both(in a flat tone while their player character held their head in 'terror'): Oh nooooooo!
  • April 11, 2014
    sgtpendulum
    Edit: My bad, didn't know I can edit the draft like that, kinda new to YKTTW thing.
  • April 22, 2014
    WonkyTonkBotty
    I assume this would be a sub-trope of Deadpan Snarker? (Or any trope related to sarcasm for that matter)
  • April 25, 2014
    sgtpendulum
    Yeah, that would fit as a sub-trope.
  • April 29, 2014
    meeg
    • In UpstairsDownstairs, the cook Mrs. Bridges feigns surprise when Lady Majorie tells her the big news that the King is coming over for dinner because Mr. Hudson the butler has already told her in secret.
  • April 29, 2014
    randomsurfer
    The Simpsons: Mr. Burns is "surprised" by the existence of a large sum of money on a table in his office. He suggests that he & Smithers leave the room, and perhaps the money will mysteriously disappear while they're gone, as a government inspector is in the room. The inspector meanwhile is pretending to not realize that Burns is trying to bribe him.
    Government Inspector: Mr. Burns, in 20 years, I have never seen such a shoddy, deplorable—
    Mr. Burns: Oh look! Some careless person has left thousands and thousands of dollars just lying here on my coffee table. Uh, Smithers, why don't we leave the room, and hopefully, when we return, the pile of money will be gone.
    (Mr. Burns and Smithers exit for a moment and then return to the office.)
    Mr. Burns: D'oh! Look, Smithers, the money and a very stupid man are still here.
    Government Inspector: Burns, if I didn't know better, I'd think you were trying to bribe me.
    Mr. Burns: Is there some confusion about this? (stuff money into his pockets) Take it! Take it! Take it, you poor schmo!

  • May 22, 2014
    Statzkeen
    Can often overlap with a Suspiciously Specific Denial.
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