Created By: Premonition45 on June 30, 2011 Last Edited By: Premonition45 on February 21, 2012

Subtext Bait And Switch

A character talking about another ends up talking about someone else, often themselves.

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Trope
Have we got this one already? This trope, often a comedic trope, turns up when one character is talking about another character, though loses track and starts saying things that easily apply to themselves:

Examples

Literature
  • The Truth: When William is telling Otto why he dislikes his father, and starts listing his father's faults, Otto stops him at one point to make sure this is still his father he's talking about.

Live-Action TV
  • In The Nanny episode "Curse of the Grandmas", Fran is worried that Maxwell doesn't realize it's her first anniversary of being hired.
    Niles: (seeing Maxwell look through his pocketbook) May I help you, sir?
    Niles: Something to look forward to, sir.
    Maxwell: C.C., maybe you can shed some light on this. You're a woman.
    Niles: I'm still waiting for the DNA results.
    C.C.: You men just don't get it. She doesn't hate you. it's her life. She doesn't have a boyfriend. She has a dead-end job with no prospects. She's working for a man who hardly knows she's alive. Her own dog hates her. A blind date stole her stereo... Who was I talking about again?
    • C.C. is obsessed with winning Maxwell's affections, but Maxwell never notices, regarding C.C. as nothing more than a business partner.
  • In a variation, in Malcolm in the Middle Lois ends up on a jury and is the hold out for an aquital (and then a conviction). While she's giving a speech at the end she accidentally refers to the defendant as Francis (her eldest son), begins mentioning things he did and realises that she needs to recuse herself from the jury.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the episode Ted, Buffy is ranting to Giles about how annoying vampires are (while beating the crap out of one), how they kill people and steal your friends and kiss your mom and make everyone pizza bagels...
    Giles:Buffy, I believe the subtext here is rapidly becoming ... text. Are you sure there's nothing you wish to share with me?

Web Comics

Community Feedback Replies: 12
  • July 1, 2011
    PaulA
    • The Truth: When William is telling Otto why he dislikes his father, and starts listing his father's faults, Otto stops him at one point to make sure this is still his father he's talking about.
  • July 1, 2011
    Bisected8
    • In a variation, in Malcolm In The Middle Lois ends up on a jury and is the hold out for an aquital (and then a conviction). While she's giving a speech at the end she accidentally refers to the defendant as Francais (her eldest son), begins mentioning things he did and realises that she needs to recuse herself from the jury.
  • August 10, 2011
    TBeholder

  • October 14, 2011
    arbo
    Can overlap with Oblivious To His Own Description if the character is talking about someone else and ends up describing himself without realizing it.
  • October 14, 2011
    surgoshan
    First, the name would have to change. Maybe Subtext Bait And Switch. For example,

    • In Buffy The Vampire Slayer, the episode Ted, Buffy is ranting to Giles about how annoying vampires are (while beating the crap out of one), how they kill people and steal your friends and kiss your mom and make everyone pizza bagels...
      Giles:Buffy, I believe the subtext here is rapidly becoming ... text. Are you sure there's nothing you wish to share with me?
  • October 28, 2011
    TBeholder
  • October 29, 2011
    FastEddie
    Needs a name that does not sound like dialog.
  • October 29, 2011
    Bisected8
  • October 31, 2011
    Premonition45
    Okay, it's now Subtext Bait And Switch. Any more examples?
  • November 4, 2011
    Premonition45
    Since Oblivious To His Own Description has been launched, is it worth still working on this?
  • November 7, 2011
    Premonition45
    Will someone tell me if this is still worth troping?
  • February 21, 2012
    TBeholder
    It's the opposite of Oblivious To His Own Description. There people get the description of "someone" and can't connect it with themselves. here, they describe themselves supposedly describing someone else.

    Look At Them Through The Mirror?
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=9t9go2neq9z91ixwhnop7pfg