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?
: Whose name, sir?
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
- In Barbara Hambly's Ran Away, Benjamin January asks Natchez Jim to forget he ever saw him. He answers, "We ever saw who?"
- In John Hemry's Rule of Evidence, Sharpe, the master-at-arms, elaborates at great length that his help would taint the evidence and so he can't tell him to do these things to get at it. Sinclair thanks him. Sharpe asks, in a bewildered tone, what the thanks are for.
- Klatchian Foreign Legion members in Soul Music do this for real. They join up to forget, and boy do they succeed.
- 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."
- Isaac Asimov's robots have been shown to obey such orders.
- 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.
Phoebe: For what?
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.
Bobby: Good. Keep it that way.
- 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.
Xykon: Very good.
- 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:
You're leaving? Wait! What do I do here? Amy:
First of all, forget everything you learned in missionary school. (beat) Homer:
- 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.