Created By: PopcornInsomniacJanuary 27, 2013 Last Edited By: PopcornInsomniacJune 16, 2013

Time Savvy

Someone says the amount of time that has passed, but says it in the timeframe of the audience.

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Trope
Today, Bob's teacher announces a pop quiz. He spends all night studying, but passes out early. When the teacher hands out the test, all Bob can think to say is "I've only had one and a half sentences to study!"

When a character announces the amount of time that has passed from the audience's perspective, instead of the amount of actual story time that has gone by, the character is being Time Savvy. The amount can very between mediums; for comics they can talk about the amount of pages/volumes, and for video or webcomics they may just use minutes, hours, or months. This is usually just a throwaway joke, not influencing the plot nor the people surrounding them, but everything has exceptions.

Because of its nature, this trope can never happen in Real Life. Time Savvy is a Sub Trope of Breaking The Fourth Wall.

Examples

Literature

Web Comics
  • Bob And George. George spends most of the Megaman 3 parody arc hanging from the ceiling of Dr. Wily's lab. The story arc only lasts a day in-universe, but George and a few other characters mention that he's been hanging for months (the length of Real Life time the arc took). George actually claims that hanging from the ceiling for that long has driven him insane.
  • In Order Of The Stick #572, the oracle makes a prophecy that 'Belkar will draw his last breath before the end of the year', then gives an Aside Glance to the audience and says "That's an 'in-comic' year, not a real-time year, Oracle fans!"

Web Original
  • In Eddsworld: Moving Targets, Tom complains that they've only been training for one minute and thirty four seconds, the length of the training montage that came just before that scene.

Western Animation
  • In Futurama, Fry and the Slurm Factory, Fry says, "I'll never go twelve minutes without drinking Slurm again," after whining about how thirsty he was for twelve minutes of screen time.
  • In an episode of The Simpsons Marge is in jail for shoplifting and Homer is spending A Day In Her Apron. Lisa asks when he will be doing laundry, commenting that "It seems like I've been wearing this same red dress forever!"
Community Feedback Replies: 21
  • January 27, 2013
    Koveras
    Does it also count if the characters count time in chapters/episodes/pages/etc.?
  • January 28, 2013
    Astaroth
  • January 28, 2013
    PopcornInsomniac
    @Koveras, yes. Maybe I should make that more clear.

    Edit: I clarified what Koveras mentioned. I also shortened the laconic and added Astaroth's example. Added subtrope category.

    I have a question. How would one format episode citings?
  • January 28, 2013
    McKathlin
    I wouldn't call this a subtrope of Leaning On The Fourth Wall; many Time Savvy examples outright break it. Medium Awareness is a supertrope, though.
  • January 28, 2013
    PopcornInsomniac
    Well, it's not talking directly to the audience, so it's just leaning on the fourth wall.
  • January 28, 2013
    MetaFour
    • Bob And George. George spends most of the Megaman 3 parody arc hanging from the ceiling of Dr. Wily's lab. The story arc only lasts a day in-universe, but George and a few other characters mention that he's been hanging for months (the length of Real Life time the arc took). George actually claims that hanging from the ceiling for that long has driven him insane.
  • January 29, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In an episode of The Simpsons Marge is in jail for shoplifting and Homer is spending A Day In Her Apron. Lisa asks when he will be doing laundry, commenting that "It seems like I've been wearing this same red dress forever!"
  • January 29, 2013
    Connorses
    In the webcomic Blaster Nation there is a fighting game scene that seemed to drag on due to time between updates and one character said "Man, this has been like, the longest fight ever".
  • January 29, 2013
    Connorses
    Does anybody remember which episode of Dragonball Z it was that someone said a thing happened in a certain episode?
  • January 29, 2013
    PopcornInsomniac
    This is turning out to be a nice trope, but the description still needs some help.
  • January 30, 2013
    MetaFour
  • January 30, 2013
    MorganWick
  • January 30, 2013
    PopcornInsomniac
    Morgan Wick, that trope is unrelated.
  • January 31, 2013
    Elbruno
    @Popcorn Insomniac: No, Leaning On The Fourth Wall happens when characters say stuff that might sound like they are Breaking The Fourth Wall or are Medium Aware, but it still manages to make sense in the work's context. For example, if a series' known piece of soundtrack is playing in-universe, breaking the wall would be saying "Hey, that's our battle theme!" or something like that, while leaning on it would be "That song sounds awfuly familiar..."
  • January 31, 2013
    Astaroth
    Some more examples from Order Of The Stick (there are probably more that I've missed, if I find them I'll edit them into this post):

    • Elan is aware that there was a three month gap between posting #863 and #864 (due to Rich Burlew injuring his thumb).

    • Strip #458:
    Thog: nale only been gone four panels.
    Sabine: Thog, when someone in a comic strip says, "He sure is taking a long time," it's to indicate that time has passed between panels.
    Thog: ohhhh! sabine smart!

    • Strip #732: Durkon tries to get papers to legally stay in the city of Bleedingham:
    Checkpoint Guard: How long do you think you'll be staying in the city?
    Checkpoint Guard: So, like, what? Twenty strips?
    Durkon: Make it thirty. They always run long.
  • February 1, 2013
    PopcornInsomniac
    @Elurno ah. I'll fix that then.
  • February 11, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In the children's book Mrs. Coverlet's Detectives, on page 72 of a 154 page book, one character asks another, "if this [adventure they are having] was a 154 page book what page do you think we'd be on now?" and the other character replies, "oh, page 72 or so."
  • February 11, 2013
    LeeM
    There's a Freefall strip where Florence lampshades the real amount of time one day in the story has taken. (Over two years as I recall.) Good luck finding the exact strip.
  • June 16, 2013
    AhBengI
    I'm inclined to disbelieve that this trope can't occur in Real Life, because it's like saying that Breaking The Fourth Wall can't have Real Life examples. Especially not if the example in Thursday Next is a valid one.
  • June 16, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Another Simpsons: During the Writing Lines portion of a Couch Gag during the show's 11th season, Bart is writing "I should not be 21 by now."
  • June 16, 2013
    DRCEQ
    • Sponge Bob Square Pants has a couple examples given by Squidward, both referencing how long your average Quarter Hour Short actually is.
      • When Squidward, Spongebob, and Patrick get stranded in the middle of a jungle, Squidward laments the situation
        Squidward: Why must every eleven minutes of my life by filled with misery??? WHY??!!
      • When Spongebob decides to abandon civilization to live in the nature with his jellyfish brethren, his friends wonder how long he'll last.
        Sandy: I'll give him a week.
        Squidward: I'll give him eleven minutes.

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