Created By: Benthelame on March 30, 2017 Last Edited By: Benthelame on May 29, 2017
Troped

Faux Final Line

False final line stated by a character to give the illusion a conversation was taking place and that everything was normal.

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Alice and Bob have just defeated the Monster of the Week, but there isn't time to celebrate. They haven't quite finished the second part of their daily routine and don't want the teacher to realize their absence. They manage to return seconds before the teacher enters the room. The pair tries to act as if they'd been there the entire time. Doing what? Talking of course. There's no time for a scripted conversation, so Bob simply turns to Alice and says: Anyway, that's what I did this weekend.

There we have it: The Faux Final Line.

Boilerplate: Character A pretends she's been conversing with character B by making a random and conclusive statement just as character C approaches This is done specifically to give the illusion of normalcy and/or to avoid being humiliated, exposed as heroes or villains etc.

The only essentials with respect to this trope are that no conversation was actually taking place between the two characters (It was only falsely implied to be) and that it was done to make an oblivious character believe that things were going smoothly or normally when the opposite is true. Often overlaps with Phoney Call.

Compare Orphaned Punchline for when A character randomly says a punchline without the setup. Contrast Last-Second Word Swap , where a conversation was indeed taking place, but words were altered to avoid exposition or embarrassment.


Examples

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes: In the January 23, 1989 strip, Calvin is ordering power tools over the phone. When his mom passes by, he pretends he's calling Susie about homework ("So, the assignment is pages two through four?") until she leaves.

    Film-Live Action 
  • Obsessed Features this. Lisa tricks the babysitter into letting her into the house so she can kidnap the child. She pretends to have a conversation with Sharon (the child's mother) and even implies that she is angry . It's taken Up to Eleven when Lisa offers the phone to the babysitter , who declines it.
  • Murder by Numbers Zigzags this trope. In order to make Justin believe they have a tape of the murder, Cassie instructs her fellow detective to whisper something into her ear. He says "Remember what I said about switching partners?" She responds "Are you serious? Where did you find it?"

    Literature 
  • Pinocchio has an instance of this. Honest John and Gideon pretend to engage in conversation just as Pinocchio is about to approach them.
    Honest John: Ah yes, Giddy. As I was saying to the duchess only yesterday...

    Western Animation 
  • The Wild Thornberrys Has an example in the episode "Pal Joey" Having been tasked, with babysitting a young Kangaroo, Eliza ends up in serious trouble but is ultimately able to get Joey back where they're expected to be just as his mother hops up. She says: "and that's why in Tolgo, Biscuits are called Joeys, the end".
  • Phineas and Ferb Has an example in the episode "Flop Starz." Realizing that she acted very strangely as Jeremy approached, Candace straightens up, looks at Stacy and says "And that is what a gorilla looks like when you try to take its food. "

Community Feedback Replies: 16
  • March 30, 2017
    arbiter099
    seems related to Orphaned Punchline
  • March 30, 2017
    darkemyst
    Currently the title brings Last-Second Word Swap to mind.
  • March 31, 2017
    Benthelame
    Thank you both.
  • March 31, 2017
    partner555
    "False final line to create illusion a conversation took place and everything is normal."

    Does the above work better as the laconic? It's shorter for one thing.
  • March 31, 2017
    Kartoonkid95
    • Pinocchio: Honest John and Gideon pretend to engage in conversation as P Inocchio is about to approach them.
      Honest John: Ah, yes, Giddy. As I was saying to the duchess only yesterday...
  • March 31, 2017
    Benthelame
    Thanks Partner 555. I do tend to be wordy. and that was pretty long. Thanks for another example Kartoon Kid 95. I'm glad I'm not the only one who knew what I was trying to say. So far it seems like everyone gets what I mean and that I didn't explain it so poorly that it got lost in translation. Please continue with the constructive criticisms. They're very needed. There's an example in Chowder too, but I can't remember the episode. It's getting to me.
  • March 31, 2017
    MetaFour
    The Example As Thesis is kinda long, and brings up a lot of details that aren't really relevant to the trope itself.
  • March 31, 2017
    Benthelame
    Edited.
  • April 2, 2017
    MetaFour
    There's a bit of overlap between this trope and Phoney Call, so you might be able to grab more examples from there.

    Newspaper comics:
    • Calvin And Hobbes: In the January 23, 1989 strip, Calvin is ordering power tools over the phone. When his mom passes by, he pretends he's calling Susie about homework ("So, the assignment is pages two through four?") until she leaves.
  • April 2, 2017
    Benthelame
    Added. Thank you very much. This might work out after all!
  • April 2, 2017
    eroock
    This draft is still a bit of a mess. The Calvin And Hobbes example is clear-cut Phoney Call (Type B). The Boilerplate paragraph is also describing Phoney Call Type B which has little to do with the trope as presented in first paragraph of OP.
  • April 2, 2017
    Benthelame
    Can you explain what you mean in more detail please? I mentioned that this and Phoney Call often overlap because the moderator already pointed out that the two often overlap. Secondly, the example fits perfectly because there was no conversation taking place between Calvin and Susie concerning any assignment. He only implied there was to make his mother, who was approaching believe that he wasn't doing anything wrong. That's the very definition.
  • April 3, 2017
    eroock
    1. As mentioned by another user above, the first Example As Thesis paragraph is filled with details that seem important to the trope but aren't. Like the characters pretending to be on location while they were absent. This example is too specific to the purpose of showcasing the trope.
    2. The statement of 4th paragraph (The only essentials with respect to this trope are that no conversation was actually taking place) does not apply to the Calvin And Hobbes example. There is a conversation taking place, but it is being switched to something else to avoid suspicion. You better relax your definition to also cover "switched" conversations.
    3. I am not sure the Obsessed example really belongs here. Is the character having a staged phone call to fake normalcy (this trope) or to manipulate the babysitter (Bavarian Fire Drill)?
  • April 3, 2017
    Benthelame
    Pretending to be on location??? What are you talking about? That first paragraph doesn't say anything about Alice and Bob pretending to be on location. It never did. . Secondly That comment is referring to an earlier draft. The first was wordy and brought up way too many other tropes that did not relate. Check the history. I think you mean well but the problems you mention are nonexistent. You stopped reading mid-sentence. Once again there was no conversation taking place between Calvin and Susie. It was only falsely implied to be. Please return with something substantial if you wish to discuss this further or say something that the moderator hasn't already said. All you've done is repeat what others have said and ask me to fix what I already have. I mean no disrespect, but that isn't help.

    As for the obsessed example, you can interpret it however you'd like, but she feigned a phone call with Sharon to make it seem as though her presence was expected and even that his mother was mad at her for barring her from doing what she allegedly came to do.

    I know you're capable of helping, so why don't you try and find some examples you think will fit instead of repeating others? That would be great!
  • April 4, 2017
    Arivne
  • April 4, 2017
    Benthelame
    Thank you Arvine.
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