Relative-Revealing Remark YKTTW Discussion

Relative-Revealing Remark
Casual comment reveals that two characters are relatives
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(permanent link) added: 2013-03-21 22:21:50 sponsor: capsaicinfinity (last reply: 2013-07-28 19:30:22)

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A version of The Reveal, often played for comedy.

Two characters are shown interacting, often in a well-defined professional or social capacity. One day, to the audience's surprise, one makes a comment that reveals that they're related to each other. Onlooking characters may be surprised as well, but the two characters in question knew about their familial relationship all along; they just didn't feel the need to reference it until now.

Many types of family connection have a corresponding Stock Phrase to be used as the remark in question. For instance, "How's Mom?" is often said between siblings, while "You never write" is a favorite for the parent-to-child variation.

Not to be confused with Relationship Reveal, which deals with a romantic pairing being acknowledged as canon.

Warning: Spoilers abound!


  • During the intro of How to Train Your Dragon, Hiccup narrates about his life in a viking village and introduces us to various characters, including the chief. It isn't until later that Hiccup calls the chief 'dad', which is supposed to be a shock to us given how different they are and the way they treated each other earlier.
  • In Disney's Mulan, the general leaves Shang in charge of the troop while he leads the charge against the Huns, mentioning among his qualification his "impressive military lineage". As the general leaves, Shang quietly says "Good luck, father."

  • When the wizards and priests start squabbling in the Discworld novel Reaper Man, the only two who can talk civilly are Archchancellor Mustrum Ridcully and the High Priest of Blind Io. Towards the end of the conversation, the priest mentions that their mother was very annoyed Mustrum never made it home for Hogswatchnight. Later books name him as Hughnon Ridcully.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's The Puppet Masters, Sam is an agent of an unnamed U.S. government agency run by a person he calls The Old Man. It's more than a third of the way through the book that Sam calls The Old Man "Dad", revealing to the reader that they're father and son.

Live-Action TV
  • In the first episode of Sherlock, the final scene reveals that the mysterious and sinister figure who accosted John is Mycroft Holmes.
  • In the first episode of The Andy Griffith Show Barney has a throwaway gag line referring to Andy as "Cousin Andy", suggesting that that's the only reason he has the job. It's never mentioned afterward.

Newspaper Comics

Western Animation
  • On The Simpsons, after a great many seasons of Lenny and Carl pushing the envelope on Ho Yay to the point it almost rips as a Running Gag, one episode has them nonchalantly and offhandedly mentioning that they're (half-) brothers. Negative Continuity keeps the fact from being mentioned again, but after that the Ho Yay jokes keep on going, with at least once Carl lampshading that these gags make people think that they're gay.
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