Created By: SonicLover on September 10, 2011 Last Edited By: SonicLover on July 1, 2012

Chain Of Whys

Replying \'Why?\' repeatedly is one of the most annoying things a person can do.

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"Why?"

Because if you don't, there won't be any content on it.

"Why?"

Because trope pages doesn't write themselves.

"Why?"

Because the advanced code that would allow TV Tropes to be fully autonomous doesn't exist.

"Why?"

Because AI technology isn't that advanced yet.

"Why?"

Because... er... SCREW YOU, that's why! Now, where was I? Ahem.

This trope involves two people. Person A tells person B something. Person B, usually a child, asks why. Person A gives an explanation, and Person B asks "Why?" to the explanation. Repeat until Person A runs out of patience and cuts it short. It doesn't always have to be the one word "Why?", either; it can be a number of variations such as "How come?" and "Why X?" as long as it's the same in meaning.

Truth in Television, as anybody who's ever raised a kid can testify.

Examples

Literature
  • In Green Mars, the children being taught by Sax Russell will play the "why game" when they want to distract Sax and get out of having to do class. Since Sax loves explaining things and can't resist providing an explanation to a question, the children will start asking "why? But why, Sax?" over and over again. This leads to Sax drilling down in the more complex and ludicrous answers, touching on quantum physics and eventually philosophy before he's forced to just give up and say "I don't know!"

Video Games

Web Comics

Western Animation
  • In one episode of Ed, Edd n Eddy, the Eds train Johnny to be the biggest pest in the cul-de-sac. The Chain of Whys is one of the tricks they teach him.
  • Mindy of Animaniacs. Once an Episode, Mindy would walk up to someone and ask what they're doing. When they told her, she would ask why, they would give her a reason, rinse, lather, repeat, until Mindy said "Okay I love you, buh-bye."
Community Feedback Replies: 19
  • September 10, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Covered by Elephants Child.
  • September 10, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Which I'm putting up on ykttw.
  • September 10, 2011
    wanderlustwarrior
    This would probably be a specific subtrope of that (with a title that actually lets you know what it is).

    So you could probably migrate examples from that.

    Okay I love you buh-bye.

  • September 10, 2011
    Fanra
    Terminator 2: Judgment Day:

    John Connor: You just can't go around killing people.
    The Terminator: Why?
    John Connor: What do you mean why? 'Cause you can't.
    The Terminator: Why?
    John Connor: Because you just can't, OK? Trust me on this.
  • September 10, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Well I mean...Elephants Child is a character who asks this, and this is a question that's asked by a character. I don't see why we'd need both.
  • September 10, 2011
    GuesssWho
    Little kids do this a lot.

    It's actually a very interesting trope, because it proves that we don't really know the final reason for anything.
  • September 10, 2011
    Nocturna
    ^ I agree. It would essentially be two formulations of the same trope, which isn't needed.

    And I think DragonQuestZ probably meant to say that he/she was putting Elephants Child into the TRS (for a name change), not into a YKTWW.
  • September 10, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Yeah. I made a major typo there.
  • September 10, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    This is called the Socratic Method. And yeah, it's the reason we know pretty much anything, like the way light passing through oxygen diffuses into a kinda blue shade. Children do this because they previously had the intellect of a dirty diaper, suddenly they realize they know nothing and adults seem to be pretty knowledgeable. The children who keep doing this after they grow up are called Scientists and Philosophers.

    Columbo does this to trip villains into spilling their beans. Or so said my Philosophy professor if I recall correctly, I've never seen the show, but I take his word for it.
  • September 10, 2011
    Koveras
  • September 11, 2011
    NetMonster
    A little girl does this in one of the Broken Sword games.
  • September 11, 2011
    MorganWick
    Mindy of Animaniacs.
  • September 12, 2011
    Acebrock
    ^ To expand on that, once a segment Mindy would walk up to someone and ask what they're doing. When they told her, she would ask why, they would give her a reason, rinse, lather, repeat, until Mindy said "Okay I love you, buh-bye."
  • September 12, 2011
    Shnakepup
    • In Green Mars, the children being taught by Sax Russell will play the "why game" when they want to distract Sax and get out of having to do class. Since Sax loves explaining things and can't resist providing an explanation to a question, the children will start asking "why? But why, Sax?" over and over again. This leads to Sax drilling down in the more complex and ludicrous answers, touching on quantum physics and eventually philosophy before he's forced to just give up and say "I don't know!"
  • September 12, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    @ CommanderPanda Your professor is right. He'd wonder why there's water on a pool deck; turns out it lacks pool chemicals and was sprayed from a hose to cover the killer's footprints. He asks people how they know what they just said, and why they did the things they said they did or the things they just did in front of him. Both the number of his relentless questions and the tendency to take nothing for granted contribute to his success.
  • September 13, 2011
    Karalora
    Truth In Television: Every toddler ever.
  • July 1, 2012
    Noah1
  • July 1, 2012
    nitrokitty
    Eh... I could get behind this if there were some kind of problem with Constantly Curious, but there really isn't.
  • July 1, 2012
    raven2785
    • Louis CK has a comedy routine about just this thing with kids [1]

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