Created By: MrInitialManJune 25, 2011 Last Edited By: MrInitialManJuly 10, 2011
Troped

It seemed trivial

Someone has no idea that what they know is important

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
You never tell me anything, so how the hell should I know what might be important?
Michael, SSDD

This is when someone knows a fact that would be of great importance to the heroes but never says anything, for the simple reason that that person has no idea the fact is important. A subtrope of Poor Communication Kills.

Compare and contrast You Didnt Ask, which is where the person who knows the clue also knows its importance, but simply wasn't asked to divulge.

The revelation of the fact may bring about Why Didnt You Just Say So, with "It seemed trivial" (or some variant thereof) being the answer.

Examples

Literature

  • Vimes has a moment or two of this in every book he stars in, but Feet of Clay and Thud probably have the most.
  • In the Dante Valentine series, Danny is forever begging Japhrimel to tell her things. He doesn't until it comes up in battle. When Danny asks why he didn't tell her sooner, he shrugs it off answering, "I did not want to trouble you with something so trivial." He abuses this excuse to the point Dante is often ready to scream.

Live Action Television

  • It seems like in House every other episode or so features this -- the key turns out to be something that the patient would have gladly divulged (especially as an alternative to the humiliating but irrelevant parts of his life that they unearth while looking for the clue), but couldn't see that it would possibly be relevant.
  • The Columbo episode called "Lady In Waiting" has a wealthy woman kill her brother and make it look like she accidentally mistook him for a burglar after he tripped the alarm system. Her fiance came to the house unexpectedly as her setup was unfolding. Only later did he realize (with Columbo's help) that he heard the three fatal shots first, then heard the alarm sound.
  • In the season one episode of Farscape, I, E.T., the crew is desperately searching for an anesthesia to use on Moya located somewhere on an alien planet, only to find out, at the eleventh hour, from a befriended local that its a common spice they used in their food.

Video Games

  • In Tales Of Vesperia, Judith knew the truth about the blastia and how they were effecting the planet. Did she share any of this information? No. And when Rita and the others asks, "why didn't you say anything?" Judith's response (as seen during one of the private scenes between her and Rita) amounts to, "it didn't seem important at the time."

Webcomics

  • In SSDD, Michael knows that British Intelligence created something called the Echelon Plug-in; he was given a copy of it. Unfortunately, Michael is generally treated like a Butt Monkey and has been so locked out of the loop that he doesn't know what the Oracle is or that it even exists. Of the group trying to prevent the Oracle from gaining control, Michael is the only person who is not from the future, but nobody else listens to him, so they don't know about the existence of the Echelon Plug-in. Only when they finally tell Michael what the Oracle is do they learn about the Echelon Plug-in; Michael makes a comparison of the two programs and the others realize that the Oracle and Echelon Plug-in are one and the same. In other words, the Oracle already exists in Michael's time, which explains a lot.

  • * Antimony Carver, from Gunnerkrigg Court. At the point of Chapter 33, she had enough information about Jeanne, one of the Court's founders, whose information was deliberately hidden or destroyed. This is even lampshaded at some point in Chapter 23 by Jones:
    "A lot of information about the origin of the Court has been lost or, in my opinion, deliberately hidden. If you have somehow come across information from that time, it could provide valuable insight. (...) However, such information is useless until properly investigated. When you feel you have uncovered the whole story, please, tell me about it."

Possible Titles

  • It Seemed Trivial
  • No Clue It's A Clue
  • I Didnt Know It Was Important
Community Feedback Replies: 20
  • June 25, 2011
    Maklodes
    It seems like in House every other episode or so features this -- the key turns out to be something that the patient would have gladly divulged (especially as an alternative to the humiliating but irrelevant parts of his life that they unearth while looking for the clue), but couldn't see that it would possibly be relevant.
  • June 26, 2011
    GinaInTheKingsRoad
    Compare and contrast with You Didnt Ask.
  • June 26, 2011
    TheFifthWall
    Vimes has a moment or two of this in every book he stars in, but Feet of Clay and Thud probably have the most.
  • June 26, 2011
    Prfnoff
    Needs A Better Title and a better laconic description.
  • June 27, 2011
    GuesssWho
  • June 27, 2011
    Damr1990
    related to many checkovs tropes.... Checkov Knowledge ?
  • June 27, 2011
    Aielyn
    It's not a Chekhov trope, as Chekhov tropes have to do with something happening or being introduced early in a plot, seemingly trivially, that will come to be used later on. While this trope can have a Chekhov element to it sometimes, such as where you actually see the character finding out the information, but it seems trivial at the time, in most cases either the relevance of the information is known beforehand (to the audience), or you don't actually see the character learn the information.

    How about It Seemed Trivial?
  • June 28, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    Television example: The Columbo episode called "Lady In Waiting" has a wealthy woman kill her brother and make it look like she accidentally mistook him for a burglar after he tripped the alarm system. Her fiance came to the house unexpectedly as her setup was unfolding. Only later did he realize (with Columbo's help) that he heard the three fatal shots first, then heard the alarm sound.
  • June 30, 2011
    ChimbleySweep
    In the season one episode of Farscape, I, E.T., the crew is desperately searching for an anesthesia to use on Moya located somewhere on an alien planet, only to find out, at the eleventh hour, from a befriended local that its a common spice they used in their food.
  • June 30, 2011
    MiinU
    Video Games

    In Tales of Vesperia, Judith knew the truth about the blastia and how they were effecting the planet. Did she share any of this information? No. And when Rita and the others asks, "why didn't you say anything?" Judith's response (as seen during one of the private scenes between her and Rita) amounts to, "it didn't seem important at the time."
  • July 2, 2011
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • In the Dante Valentine series, Danny is forever begging Japhrimel to tell her things. He doesn't until it comes up in battle. When Danny asks why he didn't tell her sooner, he shrugs it off answering, "I did not want to trouble you with something so trivial." He abuses this excuse to the point Dante is often ready to scream.
  • July 4, 2011
    TonyG
    In one episode of Perfect Strangers, Balki is taking care of a racehorse and it gets sick. He asks Cousin Larry to prepare a special cure for the horse, but it somehow doesn't work. It turns out Larry had omitted the most important ingredient... a sprig of parsley, which Larry thought was just an unnecessary garnish.
  • July 5, 2011
    NetMonster
    The example of House comes from Truth In Television: It's the doctors' responsibility to get the patient's history by asking the right questions, as patients often have no idea what might be relevant.
  • July 5, 2011
    Pyroninja42
    I think it should be called "Chekhov's Epiphany."
  • July 5, 2011
    c0ry
    No, we do not need any more Chekov clones.

    This can overlap with Have You Told Anyone Else if the person who knows the fact is Genre Blind enough to go to their evil superior with it.
  • July 5, 2011
    Aielyn
    More importantly, Chekhov's Epiphany would be a Bad Snowclone, unless the epiphany occurred early, and was then ignored until later, where it became relevant. It would at least be slightly less of a bad snowclone if it was Chekhov Epiphany, since it would reference Chekhov's Gun, but not be a Chekhov's Pun.

    But it doesn't quite fit this trope, hence it's still a bad name for it. But it might be an interesting idea for a new trope, if there's enough examples of characters specifically suddenly remembering their Chekhov's Guns, rather than just happening to use them at the right time.
  • July 5, 2011
    AFP
  • July 5, 2011
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    Dante Valentine goes under literature -- sorry.
  • July 6, 2011
    MrInitialMan
    This is not really Chekov's Epiphany--in the SSDD example, Michael had to have it spelled out to him why his knowledge was important.

    As for titles, how about Had No Clue It Was A Clue?
  • July 6, 2011
    AMNK
    • Antimony Carver, from Gunnerkrigg Court. At the point of Chapter 33, she had enough information about Jeanne, one of the Court's founders, whose information was deliberately hidden or destroyed. This is even lampshaded at some point in Chapter 23 by Jones:
      "A lot of information about the origin of the Court has been lost or, in my opinion, deliberately hidden. If you have somehow come across information from that time, it could provide valuable insight. (...) However, such information is useless until properly investigated. When you feel you have uncovered the whole story, please, tell me about it."

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable