Created By: Evalana on September 10, 2010 Last Edited By: Evalana on October 11, 2010
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Placebo Eureka Moment

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Needs a Better Title. Alice has a problem and she goes to Bob for some advice. She pours her problems out to him, unaware that he isn't paying attention, or even there, but by the end of their "conversation" she's figured out the answer to her problem and thanks Bob for his help. On the other hand, Bob may be all set to give her some advice, but before he can get a word in, Alice comes up with a solution and runs off, thanking him, and leaving Bob bewildered, though he'll still probably say, "You're welcome."

Basically, this is when a character has a Eureka Moment without being inspired by the other character, but acts like the other character gave them just what they needed.

Examples:
  • In the South Park episode "Are You There, God? It's Me, Jesus," Kyle asks his baby brother Ike for advice and just gets gibberish in response, but he comes to a conclusion on his own.
  • In TinkerBell and the Lost Treasure, Terence vents his frustations with Tink to an owl, and actually answers the owl's hoots ("Who?"), working through his problem this way. After he leaves, Fairy Gary shows up, looking for advice about the guys making fun of his kilt.
Community Feedback Replies: 22
  • January 30, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    Truth In Television, as my mother would tell me.
  • January 31, 2010
    Arivne
    Related to (but not the same as) Eureka Moment, where another person's actual comment leads to an insight and the solution to a problem.
  • January 31, 2010
    Idraena
  • January 31, 2010
    Vree
    Could this be 'Eureka Moment, or is it about just the need to discuss your ideas with someone else?

    There is an old academic advice that basically says, if you want to understand what you're learning, find someone who knows even less than you to explain it to. In other words, in the process of breaking down an idea for someone else to understand you also get a better understanding of it (this is very much a truth; even if you though you got it before it can reveal a lot of mistakes or parts that you have skipped.)

    This also got lampshaded by a politician (I don't remember the name or the direct quote) who travelled with Albert Einstein to a conference and wrote: "On the train Mr. Einstein has explained to me his theorem and by the time we arrived to the final station I was convinced that he understood it."
  • January 31, 2010
    Siranae
    In Legendary Frog's flash video "Kerri's Big Invention", Kerrigan asks a monkey for advice, which responds to her in generic monkey noises. Kerrigan admits that she has no idea what the monkey said, but is now somehow inspired. She then immediately gets back to tinkering.
  • January 31, 2010
    Evalana
    @Vree: the key to this trope is the character acts like they got advice, even though they didn't actually get any and came up with their solution on their own.
  • February 1, 2010
    Vree
    That's Eureka Moment.
  • February 2, 2010
    Evalana
    The way I see it, this trope is when a character acts like the other character gave them an Eureka Moment, but it was all them. Hence the new title.
  • February 2, 2010
    LeeM
    Truth In Television indeed. There used to be a "psychoanalytic" computer program where people would type in their problems (ie "People don't like me") and it would just throw their statements back at them in the form of questions ("Why do you think people don't like you?") IIRC the majority of users said the program helpled them feel better.
  • February 4, 2010
    Arivne
    @LeeM: You're thinking of the ELIZA program.
  • February 4, 2010
    TBTabby
  • February 4, 2010
    RegShoe
    Happens in Black Books where Bernard and Manny (at different points) go to a therapist. The therapist just sits there and says nothing while the character talks and has a Eureka Moment.
  • February 4, 2010
    KnownUnknown
    Can also be subverted, when a character does this and comes to their own conclusion before the other person can get a word out, but ironically their conclusion is incredibly bad and they leave before the other person was trying to give them the right advice.
  • February 4, 2010
    Dcoetzee
    I have a feeling I've seen something like this on YKTTW before...

    In software development, "teddy bear debugging" is a well-known technique where you try to fix a problem by describing it to a coworker, friend, or even a stuffed animal. The mere act of putting it to words often allows you to figure it out on your own.
  • February 8, 2010
    Evalana
  • July 12, 2010
    johnnye
    See also the YKTTW for The Talking Cure. Whichever gets launched first should merge the other one's examples.

    Sometimes the adviser isn't actually listening in the first place - they're asleep, or they've left the room, etc. Sometimes it's an animal or someone who doesn't speak English.

    Come to think of it, has anyone seen a subversion where the person doing all the talking berates the advisor for not being any help? They always seem to praise them.
  • July 12, 2010
    AlsoFriscalating
    Some of Hermione's I-think-I-just-had-an-epiphany-I'm-off-to-the-library moments in Harry Potter were like this. Lampshaded by Ron at least once (he hates it when she figures something out and then leaves without telling them what it was).
  • July 12, 2010
    Xeuorux
    In The Lion King One and A Half, this happens the second time Timon meets Rafiki:

    *Rafiki appears before Timon from a tree*
    Timon: You! No, no, don't say a word. I know what you're going to say.
    *Imitates Rafiki*
    Timon: Did you find Hakuna Matata?
    *Normal*
    Timon: Well, yes, I did! Thank you very much.
    *Laughs*
    Timon: And I am happy. Happy, happy, deliriously happy.
    *Imitates*
    Timon: Ho ha ha! I see. Happy, is it? So, if you're so happy, why do you look so miserable?
    *Normal*
    Timon: Miserable, you say? Why should I be miserable? Oh, I don't know. Maybe my two best pals in the world deserted me. They - they've headed off on some heroic mission... . My friends... . are gone.
    *Realizes*
    Timon: And... . my Hakuna Matata went with them!
    *Rafiki smiles and nods*
    Timon: *points to his head* Would you mind?
    *bows his head down*
    *Rafiki lightly hits him on the head with his stick*
    Timon: Ay. Thanks. I'm glad we had this talk.
    *Timon runs off screen*
  • July 12, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    Also known as Rubber Ducking IRL, as seen in the other other wiki: http://www.c2.com/cgi/wiki?RubberDucking
  • August 3, 2010
    johnnye
    bump
  • August 3, 2010
    imagine0134
    Self-Imposed Eureka?
  • October 11, 2010
    Evalana
    • Happens in the Castle episode "Punked." Alexis asks her dad how to know if she's in love, but before he can give her any advice, she rambles on about it, coming to her own conclusion, but thanking him as if he gave her the answer. Quoth Castle as she runs off, "Glad we had this talk."

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