The Truth Sounds Crazy
Something that's true in-universe sounds crazy to other characters.
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(permanent link) added: 2012-06-20 12:20:27 sponsor: HiddenFacedMatt (last reply: 2012-11-25 01:43:21)

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I know that this is gonna sound crazy, but the truth sounds crazy sometimes.
- Linguini, from Ratatouille

This refers to when a character is saying something that sounds crazy, whether to other characters or to the audience (or to both) but in-universe it's true. Sometimes It Makes Sense in Context, and other times it relies on a revelation made later on.

No Mere Windmill and You Wouldn't Believe Me If I Told You are subtropes of this. Also, this can sometimes be one of the reasons for a Cassandra Truth. (Other reasons involve dismissing what is said for who is saying it, rather than necessarily because it sounds crazy.)

Two categories of works especially prone to this are fantasy works, for not holding to realistic standards but having characters who have intuitive notions about reality viewers could identify with, and comedy works, wherein the outlandishness of the situation is used to fuel the comedic value of the use of this trope.

Examples:

  • The page quotation from Ratatouille comes from when he was about to say that a rat under his hat was helping him cook.
  • This is a frequent theme in South Park; from Kyle's brother Ike being abducted by space aliens in the first episode, to Kyle claiming in The Movie that shooting Terrance and Philip would cause Satan and Saddam Hussein to Take Over the World.
  • In the movie They Live, the truth (Aliens control the world! They're disguised as humans! Everything is run by the alien conspiracy! You're all being mind controlled!) sounds like the ranting of paranoid schizophrenics.
  • In Chuck's second season, he's dating a woman who's suspicious of his relationship with Sarah and walks in on him mostly naked in the shower with her. He explains the situation, which is somewhat complex, and she responds,
    Jill: What kind of fruit punch?
    Chuck: Okay, now you're just messing with me.
  • Animorphs has a few instances like They Live, where most think the "aliens are disguised as humans and taking over the world" stuff is crazy and only the Animorphs realize they're telling the truth.
  • Tracker had this in "Eye Of The Storm". Cole attemps to tell Vic the truth, that he's an alien bounty hunter searching for extraterrestrial fugitives, but naturally, Vic thinks he's crazy. They never got to show what would happen when/if he did find out.
  • The Simpsons: In the seventh Treehouse of Horror episode, the short "Citizen Kang" shows Homer being abducted by the aliens Kang & Kodos. They reveal to him their plan to impersonate Bill Clinton and Bob Dole in a bid to get elected president and take over the U.S. (and then the world). They then spray Homer with beer and drop him off, since nobody will believe a drunk-smelling man raving about aliens impersonating politicians.
  • Back to the Future III: Emmet actually lampshades this when Marty suggests taking Clara back with them, to the year 1985. Inevitably, he ends up having to tell her anyway, since she wanted to know why he was leaving her, and had said she couldn't come with him. So he tells her, which leads to predictable results.
  • One Piece on the recent Mermaid Island arc, Mr. King Mermaid makes the (ludicrous) statement that Luffy abducted the Mermaid Princess in the mouth of a shark. Guess who was right?
  • In the Regular Show episode Grilled Cheese Deluxe, Mordecai and Rigby learn a lesson about telling the truth through buying a Grilled Cheese Sandwich for Benson by pretending to be astronauts. This causes them to be in the middle of a nuclear disaster that is narrowly avoided thanks to throwing the Grilled Cheese at the atom, ruining Benson's sandwich in the process. When they explain this to Benson, he thinks they're lying again, so Mordecai just tells him that the sandwich was ruined because they dropped it and it got run over by a car.
    • Also, in the Regular Show episode The Power, Benson doesn't believe that Mordecai and Rigby's magic keyboard sent Skips to the moon- until they take Benson himself to the moon.
  • Real Life example; much of modern physics, such as time dilation or quantum physics, seems very counterintuitive, yet as of yet we have reason to believe it's true.
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