Created By: ampthelectrifing on May 18, 2013 Last Edited By: ampthelectrifing on May 31, 2013

Caught In The Ripple

Huge change that goes unnoticed by the characters because they are affected by the change.

Name Space:
Page Type:
Say you're watching your favorite TV show. All of a sudden, and usually at the beginning of an episode, something happens - a character who died is now alive, or the setting is completely different. Something is obviously up here, and you can't wait to see how the characters react. But then, they don't. It's not that they don't notice this change, but it's treated as if it's completely normal.

This could be anything from a dream to an alternate universe. The point is, the audience doesn't know what's going on because the characters are, at first at least, treating this interlude as a completely normal occurence. Like In Medias Res, the audience only finds out what is happening later on. Compare Elephant in the Living Room, when aren't talking about it but do notice, and contrast Ripple Effect-Proof Memory. When a timeline has been changed, everyone who doesn't have a Ripple Effect-Proof Memory is covered by this trope. Examples of that trope don't have to be added here.


Anime and Manga
  • The "Endless Eight" arc in the Haruhi Suzumiya anime was like this too during the beginning of the "Groundhog Day" Loop.
  • The aborted anime Usagichan De Cue has Mimika, a bunny-girl formed from skilled fighter Mikami Inaba merging with a pet rabbit. When Mimika appears in the home of Haru, the rabbit's keeper, nobody seems surprised, not even noticing that Mimika has rabbit ears and a powderpuff tail. Mimika explains that she can project Thought Control, so that people regard her as perfectly normal.

  • In Robert Sheckley's Mindswap, the ending is the protagonist getting his body back in a parallel dimension, and then doubting whether he's back in his own universe, or still in a parallel one. He checks carefully, but... no. Same three red suns, same egglaying mother.
  • Ursula K. Le Guin's The Lathe of Heaven. When Reality Warper George Orr has an "effective dream" and changes the world, no one remembers what the original world was like except him and anyone who was present when he had the dream.

Live-Action TV
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Superstar" even the credits are changed to show the change of a spell that makes Jonathan into a Black Hole Sue.
  • Supernatural
    • "My Heart Will Go On" has Sam and Dean casually climbing into a Mustang while Ellen is alive again as Bobby's wife.
    • Another episode of Supernatural has Sam & Dean Winchester leading completely different lives as unrelated people Dean Smith and Sam Wesson, an executive and an IT guy working at the same firm who get sucked into a supernatural mystery. Turns out it's a ploy by some angels.

Community Feedback Replies: 10