Subverted Sequitur
Dialogue that sounds like it is referring to a certain topic, only to end in a comedic twist.


(permanent link) added: 2012-02-11 15:32:14 sponsor: Terrane (last reply: 2012-03-27 16:58:10)

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A type of Bait and Switch, used for comedy.

A character will describe or react to something in a way that looks like it's heading toward an obvious conclusion, but instead it ends differently. The key is the build up to the punchline. The longer the character goes on, the more ridiculous it becomes when their actual topic is revealed. When exaggerated, the character will expound with such specific detail it seems like they couldn't possibly refer to anything else, and yet still will somehow.

Compare with Non Sequitur, which will not make any logical sense and feel completely random. In this trope, the final comment will follow some sort of logic (if at least only to the person who brings it up), but the dialogue leading up to it will appear as if it's heading in another direction. A Bait-and-Switch Comment is when a sentence gains a different meaning only after being said in full. Innocent Innuendo and Stab The Salad are subtropes.

Examples

Live-Action TV:
  • In the Frasier episode "Hot Ticket", Frasier and Niles are trying to think of a way to get tickets to a sold-out play:
    Frasier: Niles, there is another way.
    Niles: You don't mean...
    Frasier: Yes. I know it's a calculated risk. It is a little uncertain.
    Niles: You can't be serious. It's unthinkable.
    Frasier: Niles, what other choice do we have?
    Niles: But the indignity, it reeks of desperation.
    Martin: Now, now, before you do anything desperate, at least go stand in the cancellation line. [He leaves.]
    Niles: What did he think we were talking about?
  • Used in Married... with Children:
    • In "How Green Was My Apple":
      Al: Look at her swinging back and forth. The way the sunlight hits her skin. I'd sure like to have that in my mouth.
      Peg: Al, you are talking about a stupid apple swinging from a tree.
    • In "Twisted", everybody is hiding in the basement as a tornado blows over them. The danger of the situation excites Peg and Marcy so much that when the lights go out, they ravish their husbands. Moments later the radio announces that the tornado is going to double back:
      Jefferson: Dear God, no! I can't live through that again.
      Al: The darkness... the cold... the awful suction!
      Jefferson: I'm not talking about the tornado, Al.
      Al: Neither am I!

Western Animation:
  • The Simpsons uses this a lot:
    • In "Deep Space Homer", Homer is sure he's going to win the "Worker of the Week" award because everybody has to win it at least once, and he's the only person at the plant who has never won it before:
      Mr. Burns: I can't believe we've overlooked this week's winner for so very, very long. We simply could not function without his tireless efforts. So, a round of applause for... this inanimate carbon rod!
    • From "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson":
      Homer: Now what do you have to wash that awful taste out of my mouth?
      Street Vendor: Mountain Dew or Crab Juice.
      Homer: [Disgusted.] Blecch! Ew! Sheesh! I'll take a crab juice.
    • In "Homer the Heretic", Homer decides to stop going to church, which Marge describes as being "wicked":
      Homer: Kids, let me tell you about another so-called "wicked" guy. He had long hair and some wild ideas and he didn't always do what other people thought was right. And that man's name was... I forget. But the point is... I forget that, too. Marge, you know what I'm talking about. He used to drive that blue car?
    • Similarly, in "The Springfield Files":
      Reverend Lovejoy: I remember another gentle visitor from the heavens. Who came to earth, and then died, only to be brought back to life again. And his name was... E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. I love that little guy.
  • Futurama, "Space Pilot 3000":
    Fry: My God, it's the future. My parents... My co-workers... My girlfriend... I'll never see any of them again. [Pause.] Yahoo!
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