The Answer Is CONNECTION LOST


(permanent link) added: 2009-07-19 12:32:27 sponsor: ledge (last reply: 2009-07-19 14:00:12)

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This trope is about that scene where someone is receiving, or has found, some important piece of information only to have <CONNECTION LOST>

<CONNECTION REESTABLISHED> then the battery gets plugged into <CONNECTION LOST>

<CONNECTION REESTABLISHED> except the coconut gets in the way <CONNECTION LOST>

<CONNECTION REESTABLISHED> and then the goat <CONNECTION LOST>

<CONNECTION REESTABLISHED> but the absolutely most important part is when <CONNECTION LOST>

Note: Rolling Updates

Also note: desperately Needs a Better Title

It's a subtrope of Poor Communcation Kills and can be related to Sound Effect Beep. There are a couple of variations on the trope:

Type 1a: Some list of important information is being conveyed. Whether because of technical reasons (network failure, radio static, the tape breaks, etc) or unintentional stupidity, some of the information is lost. Inevitably it is going to be the most important piece of information. It's the one single piece required to complete the task you are being given, or prevent you from being killed while performing the task. The last clear part of the message will invariably be something like "Under no circumstances should you ever..." or "It's vitally important that you...". See the Gla DOS example.

Type 1b: There's a variation of this where it's the audience that's left in the dark, but in-universe everyone is clued in. See the Planet Terror example.

Type 2: You have some kind of communication or tome of information, part of which has been either intentionally or unintentionally redacted, leaving something much more mysterious, suggestive and/or humorous than the original could possibly have been. There doesn't necessarily have to be important missing information, you just wind up with a non-sequitur without the information that would have naturally linked Point A to Point Z and you are left wondering just exactly how the heck Point A and Point Z could possibly be connected. See the Monty Python and World of Warcraft "Nat Pagle" examples. Note: It's not just redaction, it's redaction where the result is something funny. See the SCP Foundation example.

You can also mix the two in the same instance, see the article intro and the Ask A Ninja example.

The important thing is you wind up with something funny (or humorously dangerous) at the end. You aren't simply missing necessary information as with a puzzle or in context of a mystery. It's also not a case of misunderstanding what was said or translation error. You know there is another piece and there is no way for you to get it; communication has effectively become a one-way street and you are getting all you are going to get without the chance to ask "Can you please repeat yourself?" In a best-case scenario you are left going "Huh?" in a worst-case scenario you are left holding a pair of wire snips and a dead cellphone going, "Hello? It's still ticking. You just said 'Never ever do...' Never ever do what? Are you still there? It's started to make beep-beep noises now. Hello?"

  • This "Ask a ninja" episode
  • Gla DOS' opening lines from Portal:
    "For your own safety, and the safety of others, please refrain from *crackle* *static* Por favor de donde fallar muchos gracias de fallar gracias. *crackle* I'm back."
  • In Planet Terror, we get a "Missing Reel" screen. During the missing reel, it's implied, we'd have gotten to see Rose Mc Gowan totally naked, plus the entire plot surrounding Ray's mysterious origins would have been explained.
  • The Harvey Birdman episode with the "Sebben & Sebben New Employee Orientation" film has plenty of instances where the audio or filmstrip skips, skipping a piece of information that was about to be disclosed, or connecting two unrelated topics in the middle of the topic
  • Monty Python had a sketch in episode 30 where periodically the scene would cut to a set of instructions being read that included "and paste down the edge of the sailor's uniform, until the word 'Maudling' is almost totally obscured." Near the end of the show, the scene cuts to BBC Newsman Richard Baker at a newsdesk making increasingly strange hand gestures, however there is a voice over preventing us from hearing what he says. Finally the voice over ends and the normal audio concludes with Richard saying "... until the word 'Maudling' is almost totally obscured." Bonus points for never knowing what the instructions are supposed to be for to begin with.
  • In World of Warcraft there's an item called "Nat Pagle's Guide to Extreme Anglin'" that's missing every page but the last. What does it say? "... and so that's where you'll find the legendary sword of the Scarlet Highlord, Ashbringer. Ain't it amazin' what you run into in an ordinary day of fishin'?"
  • The Jonathan Coulton song Chiron Beta Prime
    "That's all the family news we're allowed to talk about/ We really hope you'll come and visit us soon/ I mean we're literally begging you to visit us/ And make it quick before they -MESSAGE REDACTED-"
  • A song from this troper's childhood involving a billboard that had been pasted over with innumerable new advertisements. The top layers had begun peeling off, leaving words from underneath exposed. When putting the whole thing together, you had a wonderful medley of nonsense made from mixing up phrases from all the various ads.
  • If you've ever seen copies of those documents concerning the military's UFO research, you'd wonder if someone didn't just block out 80% of the text just to screw with you. Its in weird places too. Half a paragraph will be blocked, only to pick up on stuff like "...to which, the witness responded, 'I don't know WHAT they would want with my cattle, that's why I called you.'"
  • The SCP Foundation uses this to a great extent to ensure that humanity isn't exposed to [REDACTED] or [REDACTED] the bottle [REDACTED] except for the balloon.
  • The Paranoia RPG is chock full of this kind of stuff. "Instructions on how to use your newly-assigned experimental Personal Fuel/Air Explosive Knapsack and Lunchbag are classified at your security level. You will be held fully accountable for any damage caused to the device or facilities due to misuse of the device, Troubleshooter."
  • This exchange from Ocean's Eleven
    Linus (receiving instruction)
    Rusty: ...Don't use three words when one will do; don't shift your eyes, look always at your mark but don't stare; be specific but not memorable; funny but don't make him laugh; he's gotta like you then forget you the moment you've left his sight; and for God's sakes whatever you do, don't under any circumstances --
    Livingston (off screen): Rust, can you come here a sec?
    Rusty: Sure thing. (leaves)
    Linus: ...
  • This troper is certain he's seen at least one sitcom involving a video will that plays out something like:
    "If you are seeing this, I must be dead. I hate all of you. There's only one of you that I like, and to that person I leave my entire vast fortune.." [tape suddenly cuts to a hand-held shot of the dead person in front of the bathroom mirror singing "You Light Up My Life" into a brush, then back to video will] "... and so that is the person who will be receiving my entire vast fortune."
  • An episode of kids' show Martha Speaks has the kids and Martha hiding a tape recorder to record the plans of what they think are a couple of criminals getting ready to rob a bank. They retrieve the recorder later and take it to the police. When they play the tape, just as the criminals are starting to discuss their plan, the tape has been recorded over with Martha singing pop tunes. (No explanation over how she managed to get time to record herself singing between the time they retrieved the tape and arrived at the police station... Even for a kids' show, that always bothered me about this episode.)
  • In the GDI campaign of the original Command And Conquer, there's a mission where you must sneak a Commando into a Nod base and blow up one specific building. Which one? Well, your mission briefing was over a black and white, fuzzy, static-filled channel: "Make sure you take out the - (bzzzzzzz) - and get the hell out of there!"
    • If you blow up the wrong building, you get to do a follow-up mission where you attack the base with a conventional force, but the enemy has had time to expand their defenses.
  • This trope can be invoked if you are about to explain something about the Candle Jack trope, like how it's very important to
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