Reading Ahead in the Script YKTTW Discussion

Reading Ahead in the Script
When one of the characters outright reads ahead in the script,
Needs Examples Better Name Up For Grabs
(permanent link) added: 2012-11-13 07:58:04 sponsor: tustin2121 edited by: StarSword (last reply: 2013-01-19 12:32:01)

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Needs a Better Title? Needs More Examples. Seen It a Million Times in comedy.


The actors have to read the script in order to know what to act. That's just a given. This, however, is when the characters read the script so that they know what's going to happen next.

Usually a comedy trope, and a part of behind the scenes comedy. But sometimes this trope can be played straight with something else standing in for the script, such as when a children's show is doing a Reading Is Cool Aesop story which rips off from one of the classics, and the children in the show are outright reading the classic book in question to see what comes next in their plot.

A type of Medium Awareness (and, by extension, often a sign of No Fourth Wall in the comedy varation). Closely related to Noticing The Fourth Wall; also compare Genre Savvy, This Is the Part Where..., and Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud. Contrast both Reality Ensues and This Is Reality. Can overlap with Animated Actors.

Examples of Comedy

  • In Bloom County, Opus was once lost without direction in a desert, and finally got a script, and edited it so that the inbred psycho who's picked him up hitchhiking turns into Zsa Zsa Gabor. Then when Zsa Zsa drops him off in Vegas, he leaves the script in the car, and is stuck back in the desert again.

Fan Fiction

Film - Live Action
  • In The Muppet Movie, the Electric Mayhem come to rescue Kermit and the others when they get stranded in the desert. How did they knew they were there? They read it in the script Kermit had given them earlier.
  • In the movie Spaceballs, the Spaceballs watch the VHS of the movie to find out where the heroes have escaped to. This causes great weirdness when they first get to the part of the video that's currently going on.
  • Played for Laughs in Robinhood Men In Tights, when Lucky Lucha bests Robin, during Prince John's archery contest, by splitting his arrow. Robin literally pulls out the movie's script and quickly flips through it, 'til he finds where it says he gets another shot. Prince John and the Sheriff of Rottingham, along with the rest of the cast, consult their own copies and see that he's right. Cue Robin's "Patriot Arrow".

Live-Action TV
  • Happens in the Red Dwarf miniseries Back to Earth. The characters then start writing the script to make each other do humiliating slapstick routines.
  • That Mitchell and Webb Look features fly-on-the-wall style sections with the actors having chats as themselves on the set. In one of them, Robert Webb points out that these are as scripted as the rest of the show, and shows David Mitchell the script for the sketch they're in, which includes the direction "David looks at the script. It reads: David looks at the script. It reads:..."
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: In several episodes characters would read the script to find out what was going on or what they (or another character) were supposed to do.
  • In an episode of Raumschiff GameStar, Captain Langer figures out the villains' Evil Plan by reading it from the script of the episode.

  • Forbidden Broadway Strikes Back has a weird variation - the characters from Rent read ahead in the script for La Boheme (the opera on which the plot of Rent is VERY loosely based) to see what they should do next.

Web Comics
  • A weird subversion in DM of the Rings #29 where the DM reads a script he was supposed to read later. When he realizes his mistake he tells the players to forget what they just heard. But given the players' dislike of the Wall of Text backstory and NPC monologues, they weren't listening anyway.

Western Animation
  • In the Looney Tunes short "Wind-Blown Hare", The Big Bad Wolf reads a copy of Three Little Pigs to know what to do. When Bugs Bunny pretends to be Little Red Riding Hood, he gives the wolf a copy of that book to catch up.
  • In the Drawn Together movie, when trapped in a slowly-filling underwater carriage and at a loss for what to do next, the housemates listen to the DVD commentary.
  • Disney's Aladdin. The Genie pulls out a copy of the movie's script and tries to feed Aladdin his next lines, which will have him use his third wish to free the Genie.

Examples of Playing Straight

  • This kind of happens in the novel Lanark, when the tite character meets the author and learns about some of the things that are in store for him.

Live-Action TV

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