Created By: Goldfritha on February 11, 2012 Last Edited By: Goldfritha on March 24, 2012

Forgetting Favor

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Trope
Dr. Bellfriar: And just who are you?
Blake: Well, according to the Federation, I'm a political criminal. You may have heard of me. My name is Blake.
Dr. Bellfriar: Yes, but then were absentminded scientists, you see. In fact, we've forgotten your name already. Haven't we, Gambrill?
Gambrill: Whose name, sir?
--Blake's 7

A character asks another to forget something -- what he just did, that he was there, what his name is. The other asks what he is talking about -- did what? who was here? what name?

Or a character may tell another Could Say It, But..., and reject thanks by wondering what it was for.

This, of course, is always feigned, but the odds of this character ever telling are very low indeed.

When the character really is ignorant, see Cloud Cuckoo Lander, or Left Fielder when it's the request that inspires it. Compare Let Us Never Speak of This Again, I'll Pretend I Didn't Hear That.

Examples

Film
  • The Sting. The con artists are setting up their operation. One of them, Kid Twist, has just paid the landlord to rent several rooms.
    Kid Twist: This is the last time I expect to see you down here.
    Owner: Never heard of the place.

Literature

Live-Action TV
  • In Blake's 7, scientists profess to have forgotten Blake's name moments after he told them.
  • On Friends, Phoebe realizes someone lied about having a girlfriend so as to get close to Monica. She agrees not to mention it, though, as she's rooting for the guy.
    Pete: Thanks.
    Phoebe: For what?
    Pete: [laughing]
    Phoebe: No, seriously, I'm intuitive but my memory sucks.
  • The episode "Born Under A Bad Sign" of Supernatural has the following exchange later in the episode after a demon that had possessed Sam had killed a fellow hunter:
    Bobby: You boys ever hear of a hunter named Steve Wandell?
    Dean (seeing something leading about Bobby's expression): Why do you ask?
    Bobby: Just heard from a friend. Wandell's dead. Murdered in his own house. You wouldn't know anything about that?
    Dean: No, Sir, never heard of the guy.
    Sam: Dean...
    Bobby: Good. Keep it that way.

Web Comics
  • This Crimson Dark strip.
    Alison: [I trust some random free-trader] better than I trust you...which is still better than I trust Admiral Felton. Don't discuss this mission with anyone, especially him.
    Larissa: What mission?
    Alison: Well done.
  • Eastwood and Virus from Exterminatus Now forget the location of a mercenary base here.
    Steve: I hope I can count of you Inquisitors to conveniently forget the Cesspool's location. Maybe this massive case of alcohol will help?
    Eastwood: What's a cesspool?
  • From The Order of the Stick prequel Start of Darkness:
Xykon: You should probably forget that last part, though.
Mit D: What last part?
Xykon: Very good.
Mit D: What's very good?
Xykon: Perfect.
Mit D: Huh?
  • Crimson Flag has a variant, when a mage summons a (theologically illegal) spirit.
    Bryce: Spirits are deceitful beings. In the beginning, the Lady warred with them. To take a spirit guardian is not only to reject the Lady, but to side against her. [polishes glasses] Shame...my glasses were dirty, and I didn't see where that blue spirit came from.
  • Moloch von Zinzer in Girl Genius adapts to the situation very quickly.
    Gil: And of course my father always says it's best if we're the only ones that find out.
    Moloch: Aaaah -- find out what?
    Gil: Good man.

Western Animation
  • In "Missionary Impossible" from The Simpsons, Homer was shipped off by Reverand Lovejoy to be a missionary in the South Pacific (to escape from a mob of PBS characters). When Homer arrives at Microatia, he meets two real missionaries named Craig and Amy, who leave him to deal with the natives:
    Homer: You're leaving? Wait! What do I do here? Amy: First of all, forget everything you learned in missionary school. (beat) Homer: Done.
    • Double subverted in the end of the episode "Skinner's Sense of Snow", where Principal Skinner asks Bart to pretend an embarrassing series of events never happened. Bart responds this way, and Principal Skinner says, "Exactly." But then Bart says "No, really, I wasn't listening," and Principal Skinner irritably begins to repeat himself, until Bart admits he was just joking.

Community Feedback Replies: 42
  • February 12, 2012
    dalek955
    • Klatchian Foreign Legion members in Soul Music do this for real. They join up to forget, and boy do they succeed.
  • February 13, 2012
    Antigone3
    At one point in Polgara The Sorceress, Polgara needs to drop by the royal palace in Sendaria, and needs the visit kept quiet. The king's reply is "What visit was that? I have a terrible memory."

    (I'll double-check the quote later, but I'm pretty sure that's how it went.)
  • February 13, 2012
    dalek955
    • This Crimson Dark strip.
      Alison: [I trust some random free-trader] better than I trust you...which is still better than I trust Admiral Felton. Don't discuss this mission with anyone, especially him.
      Larissa: What mission?
      Alison: Well done.
    • Eastwood and Virus from Exterminatus Now forget the location of a mercenary base here.
      Steve: I hope I can count of you Inquisitors to conveniently forget the Cesspool's location. Maybe this massive case of alcohol will help?
      Eastwood: What's a cesspool?
  • February 14, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Could be a genuine response from a Cloud Cuckoolander, and/or the requester being a Left Fielder.
  • February 14, 2012
    Arivne
    Film
    • The Sting. The con artists are setting up their operation. One of them, Kid Twist, has just paid the landlord to rent several rooms.
    Kid Twist: This is the last time I expect to see you down here.
    Owner: Never heard of the place.
  • February 15, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Needs A Better Title: "Instant Amnesia" sounds too much like Laser Guided Amnesia.

    Informed Amnesia? Not a great replacement, but it might be a start.
  • February 16, 2012
    Frank75
  • February 18, 2012
    dalek955
  • February 19, 2012
    Goldfritha
    Forget What sounds like dialog.

    Obedient Amnesia?
  • February 19, 2012
    dalek955
    it's not that dialog-y, and it does capture the trope's flavor.
  • February 20, 2012
    MorganWick
    Laconic: "Forget that." "Forget what?"

    From The Order Of The Stick prequel Start Of Darkness:
    Xykon: You should probably forget that last part, though.
    Mit D: What last part?
    Xykon: Very good.
    Mit D: What's very good?
    Xykon: Perfect.
    Mit D: Huh?
    (not going to tell what was forgotten for spoileryness)
  • February 23, 2012
    NESBoy
    In "Missionary Impossible" from The Simpsons, Homer was shipped off by Reverand Lovejoy to be a missionary in the South Pacific (to escape from a mob of PBS characters). When Homer arrives at Microatia, he meets two real missionaries named Craig and Amy, who leave him to deal with the natives:
    Homer: You're leaving? Wait! What do I do here? Amy: First of all, forget everything you learned in missionary school. (beat) Homer: Done.
  • February 23, 2012
    Damr1990
    Obedient Amnesia makes me thing more like it works under some kind of Hypnosis (like a Manchurian Agent) mhmmm, Mutual Agreement Amnesia perhaps?
  • February 24, 2012
    Stratadrake
    ^ Agree. Adjective Amnesia won't work here because it's not really about amnesia (unlike Laser Guided Amnesia or Easy Amnesia).
  • February 24, 2012
    dalek955
    Nothing To Forget?

    Also, the trope works if someone is begging forgiveness.
  • February 24, 2012
    Omeganian
    Isaac Asimov's robots have been shown to obey such orders.
  • February 24, 2012
    Stratadrake
  • February 25, 2012
    dalek955
    • Crimson Flag has a variant, when a mage summons a (theologically illegal) spirit.
      Bryce: Spirits are deceitful beings. In the beginning, the Lady warred with them. To take a spirit guardian is not only to reject the Lady, but to side against her. [polishes glasses] Shame...my glasses were dirty, and I didn't see where that blue spirit came from.
  • February 25, 2012
    nman
  • February 25, 2012
    randomsurfer
  • February 25, 2012
    nitrokitty
  • February 26, 2012
    Stratadrake
  • February 26, 2012
    benjamminsam
    In How I Met Your Mother, Robin demands that she and Barney both forget that they ever slept together, and she refuses to acknowledge that the event ever happened when he tries to bring it up later.
  • February 27, 2012
    Arivne
  • February 27, 2012
    zealotguy
    Played For Laughes when a character says to forget it.
    Forget what?
    The guy we killed
    What guy?
    THE GUY WE JUST KILLED
    But you said to forget it!
    SHUT UP!!
  • February 27, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Not too fond of "affirmation", that sounds like somebody flipped a page too far in their thesaurus. "Agreement" rolls off the tongue much easier (not just because it's one syllable shorter).
  • February 27, 2012
    Goldfritha
    Agreement sounds like a deal -- like Let Us Never Speak Of This Again.
  • February 27, 2012
    dalek955
    But this IS a deal.
  • February 27, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Implied, but yes.
  • February 29, 2012
    Goldfritha
    It's not a deal. A deal is an exchange.
  • February 29, 2012
    dalek955
    ^Wrong.

    deal: (n) a bargain or arrangement for mutual advantage.

    Says nothing about anything being exchanged.
  • February 29, 2012
    nitrokitty
    Maybe Already Forgotten?

    Also, the How I Met Your Mother example is Let Us Never Speak Of This Again, not this trope. It should be removed.
  • March 1, 2012
    Goldfritha
    Wrong. Sure it does talk about an exchange. It says "for mutual advantage." Many of these cases are for the advantage solely of the person asking. It's a favor, not a deal.
  • March 1, 2012
    Premonition45
    The Simpsons also did it in the end of the episode "Skinner's Sense of Snow".
  • March 1, 2012
    surgoshan
    • On Friends, Phoebe realizes someone lied about having a girlfriend so as to get close to Monica. She agrees not to mention it, though, as she's rooting for the guy.
      Pete: Thanks.
      Phoebe: For what?
      Pete: [laughing]
      Phoebe: No, seriously, I'm intuitive but my memory sucks.
  • March 2, 2012
    chico
    Frau Hoffner: Come along, child. The auction is about to begin.
    Mata Bond: Auction?
    Frau Hoffner: Tonight we are selling one of the finest art collections in Europe.
    Mata Bond: Le Chiffre's collection?
    Frau Hoffner: Who?
    Mata Bond: Le Chiffre.
    Frau Hoffner: Who's Le Chiffre?
    Mata Bond: The man who owns the collection.
    Frau Hoffner: What collection?
    Mata Bond: The collection that's about to be auctioned.
    Frau Hoffner: Who said anything about an auction?
    Mata Bond: You did.
    Frau Hoffner: Who am I?
    Mata Bond: Frau Hoffner.
    Frau Hoffner: Never heard of her. You're insane, my child, quite insane.
    Mata Bond: I think she's right!
    --Casino Royale (1967)
  • March 2, 2012
    ClockStopping
    • Double subverted in another episode of The Simpsons, where Principal Skinner asks Bart to pretend an embarrassing series of events never happened. Bart responds this way, and Principal Skinner says, "Exactly." But then Bart says "No, really, I wasn't listening," and Principal Skinner irritably begins to repeat himself, until Bart admits he was just joking.
  • March 3, 2012
    TBeholder

  • March 5, 2012
    BackwardThgindiM
    Still Needs A Better Name.
  • March 6, 2012
    Stratadrake
    @chico: That doesn't look like an example. If it is, it's missing the part where she's told to "forget" it, and without it the remainder just doesn't work. And either way, it's too long.
  • March 9, 2012
    NightNymph
    • The episode "Born Under A Bad Sign" of Supernatural has the following exchange later in the episode after a demon that had possessed Sam had killed a fellow hunter:
      Bobby: You boys ever hear of a hunter named Steve Wandell?
      Dean (seeing something leading about Bobby's expression): Why do you ask?
      Bobby: Just heard from a friend. Wandell's dead. Murdered in his own house. You wouldn't know anything about that?
      Dean: No, Sir, never heard of the guy.
      Sam: Dean...
      Bobby: Good. Keep it that way.

    There is much unspoken communication fueling the conversation so that Dean knew what his answer should be. Bobby's subsequent dialogue explains why Dean and Sam should "keep it that way" as Wandell's hunter friends will likely come looking for whomever killed him and may not wait to listen to the fact that Sam was possessed and had no control over his actions when Steve was killed.
  • March 10, 2012
    cygnavamp
    There was an episode of Spiderman And His Amazing Friends where they had to deal with an interdimensional being. The being apologized for all the mischief he caused and said "After I leave, you will have no memory of me." As soon as he vanishes, Spidey says "Wow! I can't believe we're going to forget everything that just happened!" Iceman replies "Forget what?" Spidey scratches his head and shrugs, having forgotten himself.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=tcq553jon6r7uw3clh7t97bu