Created By: carla on November 13, 2010 Last Edited By: willthiswork on February 6, 2016

Fill In The Missing Dialogue

A character acts out dialogue that he feels should have been said.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope

Ready for launch! PLEASE let me know which title you think fits better!

Laconic: A character acts out dialogue that he feels should have been said.

Index: Dialogue, maybe Oh Great, a Snark Index?

Alternate titles: Thanks For Asking, Dialogue Said For You, Informed Dialogue, Snark Dubbed Dialogue, Solo Dialogue.

Tags: Seen It a Million Times, Needs More Examples, Needs a Better Title, Rolling Updates, No Launching Please.

A type of snarky quip or Self-Deprecation when a character interjects dialogue he/she believes some other participant of the conversation should have said, but didn't. Bonus points if they try to imitate their fellow characters' voices.

Usually happens in situations such as:

  • The character has just been in some kind of accident, but the other character(s) are in too much of a hurry to express their concern-- he/she's alive, that's all that matters.
    "Oh my god, Alice, are you okay? Does anything hurt, do you need me to take you to the hospital? Oh, I'm alright, Bob, just a few bumps and bruises. Don't worry about me, just go on and save the world..."
  • A character is so eager to get to the point that he/she skips proper conversation etiquette.
    "Hi, Alice. It's been a while, how are you doing? I hope things are going well. Oh, I'm doing good, Bob, thanks for asking. You're so polite, as always..."
  • A variant where the character continues or alters a serious conversation between other characters in a completely inappropriate direction, just for Rule of Funny.
    "Okay, bye, Alice! Bye, Bob. By the way, did I ever tell you that I think you're hot and I want you so bad it hurts? Oh, Bob, I feel the same way! Kiss me, kiss me now!" (Smooching sounds).

Generally Played for Laughs, and usually said in a mutter or a whisper, or when the other characters are out of earshot. If the other parties in the conversation do hear it, expect eye-rolling or someone feeling sheepish for being impolite.

May prompt a My Friends... and Zoidberg. Compare Snub by Omission.

Examples:

Film

  • In Date Night, the Forresters plays a game where they guess the "story" of other couples in the restaurant. In one case, both Forresters start mimicking dialogue for the other couple.
  • In the National Treasure 2, Riley also fills in the missing dialogue for Ben and Abigail when they are (very blatantly) seeming to disregard him after he has chosen to stay behind. "I've been doing the math too... just promise you'll come back for me. [In a high pitched voice] Riley! No Riley! We won't leave you behind! [Back to his normal voice] No, I'm kidding, just go."

Literature

  • Gaspode the Wonder Dog in the Discworld series, especially in Moving Pictures.
  • In the first book in The Dresden Files series, Harry gets a call from Karrin Murphy, head of the Chicago PD's "weird stuff" unit:
    Murphy: Harry, I need you at the Madison in the next ten minutes. Can you be there?
    Harry: Why, Lieutenant Murphy, it's good to hear from you too. It's been so long. Oh, they're fine, fine. And your family?
  • Ben Gunn in Treasure Island. His thing with "X, says you; Y, says I" is a very good way to get across the point that he's been marooned for too many years.
  • Deadline: After Shaun risks the wrath of the AI in Maggie's home killing him to get a wireless signal booster, the entire team hops online without a word once it connects.
    Shaun: Thank you, Shaun. We really appreciate your getting us back into contact with the rest of the world, Shaun. You're awesome, Shaun.

Live Action TV

  • Angel:
    • In his first scene Spike hilariously fills in both sides of a dialogue between Angel and the woman he's just rescued while lurking on a rooftop watching them.
    • In the season 5 episode "Hellbound," Fred brings a problem to Wes that needs solving right away.
      Fred: I need these as soon as possible. (Turns to walk out of the room).
      Wesley: Hello, Wesley. Nice to see you.
      Fred: (Turns back to face Wesley). Oh. Sorry. Little preoccupied.
  • In an early episode of Bones, Hodgins calls Brennan to inform her of something he discovered on the victim's corpse. Once he's said what he has to say, Brennan abruptly hangs up on him. He stares at the phone and goes: "Good job, Hodgins. What would we do without you?"
  • Friends:
    • Chandler, being the resident Deadpan Snarker, uses pretty much every variant of this.
    • Phoebe uses it a few times, as well. "Ooh, Rachel, I'm so sorry. That's okay, Ross, let's get back together. Okay! (Beat). Hey, did anyone hear that?"
  • Humorous example from Happy Days: Richie is trying to talk to Fonzie who's apparently ignoring him so Richie finally resorts to this trope. It's only his horrible impression that finally gets a reaction from the Fonz.
    Fonzie: I don't go "Heeeeey." I go "Ayy."
  • House mocks the original Ducklings in the second season episode "No Reason," imitating their voices and mannerisms:
    House: Okay, I'll be you guys: [With a thick Aussie accent] "No way, mate, too much blood to just be a vein!" [Trying to sound "gangsta"] "No way, hizzy! If it was an artery, he'd still be bleeding." [In a high-pitched voice] "Actually, he'd be dead." [Pathetic face].
  • On How I Met Your Mother, Barney to Lily: "Yeah, yeah, yeah... Barney what are you doing here... I can't believe it's really you... Come in, have a seat... You want some tea... I know the apartment's small but I don't need much space... let me show you some of my paintings... I think it's some of my best work ever. JUST STOP IT!"
  • Abby in NCIS has done this several times, once acting out an argument between Gibbs and Director Shepard to stop them from arguing ("The kids don't like it when mommy and daddy fight,"), and once acting out a conversation between herself and Gibbs (complete with digression on her part and "Gibbs" having to remind her to stay on topic).
  • In Stargate SG-1 Jacob comes through the Stargate, talking about how much trouble everyone's in, causing Jack to invoke this trope, resulting in a hilarious exchange.
    O'Neill: Jacob!
    Jacob: Jack, we've got a problem. We need to talk.
    O'Neill: "Hi! Hello. How are ya? Long time, no see. What's doing? What's up? Hey, buddy!"
    Jacob: I'm sorry, Jack. It's good to see you again. Congratulations on your promotion.
    O'Neill: Thanks.
    Jacob: You deserve it.
    O'Neill: Yes. Well... What's up?
    Jacob: The Replicators. They've launched an all out attack on the Goa'uld. If the Goa'uld can't find a way to stop them, the Replicators will easily overrun our galaxy, in a matter of weeks.
    O'Neill: Why didn't you say so?
    [Jacob gives O'Neill a look and walks off]
    O'Neill: [after a pause, hurrying after Jacob] I'm sorry. You said we have a problem, not a big galactic emergency.

Tabletop Games
  • KULT supplement Rumours. The introduction to the chapter "Violence and Destruction" is a story about a man named Nathaniel switching out a prop gun with a real gun in a play in order to commit a murder. When he hands the gun to an actor named Mannet, Mannet ignores him. Nathaniel walks away mumbling "Why THANK YOU, Nathaniel for your kindness. Oh, you are so welcome, Mr. Mannet."

Western Animation

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Toph directs a rock slide away from Sokka. Sokka is only concerned about his girlfriend Suki (who who had been pushed out of the way already).
    Toph: Thanks for saving my life, Toph. No problem, Sokka.
  • Batman: The Animated Series: Robin saves Batman from Kyodai Ken and gets no thanks.
    Robin: Thanks for saving my bacon, Robin. Hey, no problem, Batman.
  • From the Dan Vs. episode "The Wolf-Man":
    Dan: What took you so long?!
    Chris: Nice to see you, too.
  • In the Real Adventures of Jonny Quest episode "The Alchemist," Hadji falls down a scaffolding in a museum. Jonny and Jessie barely pause to see if he's alive before running off in pursuit of the antagonist du jour. As he gets up and brushes off the dirt, he goes on a small "Hadji! Are you alright? Yes, my friend, do not worry about me" rant.
Community Feedback Replies: 68
  • November 13, 2010
    Micah
    • In his first scene on Angel, Spike hilariously fills in both sides of a dialogue between Angel and the woman he's just rescued while lurking on a rooftop watching them.
  • November 13, 2010
    LKtheGreat
    Ben Gunn in Treasure Island. His thing with "X, says you; Y, says I" is a very good way to get across the point that he's been marooned for too many years.
  • November 14, 2010
    randomsurfer
    In Stargate SG 1 Jacob comes through the Stargate, talking about how much trouble everyone's in, causing Jack to invoke this trope, resulting in a hilarious exchange.
    O'Neill: Jacob!
    Jacob: Jack, we've got a problem. We need to talk.
    O'Neill: Hi! Hello. How are ya? Long time, no see. What's doing? What's up? Hey, buddy!
    Jacob: I'm sorry, Jack. It's good to see you again. Congratulations on your promotion.
    O'Neill: Thanks.
    Jacob: You deserve it.
    O'Neill: Yes. Well... What's up?
    Jacob: The Replicators. They've launched an all out attack on the Goa'uld. If the Goa'uld can't find a way to stop them, the Replicators will easily overrun our galaxy, in a matter of weeks.
    O'Neill: Why didn't you say so?
    [Jacob gives O'Neill a look and walks off]
    O'Neill: [after a pause, hurrying after Jacob] I'm sorry. You said we have a problem, not a big galactic emergency.
  • November 14, 2010
    Unhari
    That went a bit wrong, sorry.
  • November 14, 2010
    randomsurfer
    Fixed it for ya.
  • November 14, 2010
    carla
    thanks, everyone! i've added all these examples now.
  • November 14, 2010
    Duncan
    Gaspode the Wonder Dog in the Discworld series, especially in Moving Pictures.
  • November 15, 2010
    henke37
    I get the feeling that House has done this. But I can't quite remember any examples.
  • November 15, 2010
    carla
    added the Discworld example!

    ^ yeah, i seem to remember him doing the voices for the original ducklings, but i can't remember exactly what the situation was.
  • November 15, 2010
    JoieDeCombat
    Abby in NCIS has done this several times, once acting out an argument between Gibbs and Director Shepard to stop them from arguing ("The kids don't like it when mommy and daddy fight,"), and once acting out a conversation between herself and Gibbs (complete with digression on her part and "Gibbs" having to remind her to stay on topic).
  • November 16, 2010
    carla
    i've added the NCIS example.
  • November 22, 2010
    carla
    bump! i know this happens a lot, so i think we can start it off with a few more examples.
  • November 22, 2010
    SalFishFin
    Avatar The Last Airbender: Toph directs a rock slide away from Sokka, who is only concerned about his girlfriend Suki (who who had been pushed out of the way already).
    Toph: Thanks for saving my life, Toph. No problem Sokka.
  • November 22, 2010
    randomsurfer
    In Angel season 5 episode "Hellbound" Fred brings a problem to Wes that needs solving right away.
    Fred: I need these as soon as possible. turns to walk out of the room
    Wesley: Hello, Wesley. Nice to see you.
    Fred: turns back to face Wesley Oh. Sorry. Little preoccupied.
  • November 22, 2010
    Darthcaliber
    Batman the Animated Series: Robin saves Batman from Kyodai Ken and gets no thanks. Robin: Thanks for saving my bacon Robin. Hey no problem Batman.
  • November 22, 2010
    carla
    awesome, i've added those examples.

    hey, everybody okay with the trope title? i keep thinking it's so very blah, but i can't think of anything else that might sound better. suggestions welcome!
  • November 22, 2010
    Darthcaliber
    Humorous example from Happy Days: Richie is trying to talk to Fonzie who's apparently ignoring him so Richie finally resorts to this trope. It's only his horrible impression that finally gets a reaction from the Fonz.

    Fonzie: I don't go "Heeeeey". I go "Ayy"
  • November 23, 2010
    carla
    added the Happy Days example.
  • November 23, 2010
    Prophet
    Suggested Title: Thanks For Asking
  • November 24, 2010
    carla
    cool, i'll add that to the possible titles. everybody, please make sure to tell me which title you think is better!
  • November 25, 2010
    Arivne
    Seconding Thanks For Asking.
  • November 25, 2010
    carla
    alright, i'll take your vote into account. =)
  • December 9, 2010
    Darthcaliber
    Thanks For Asking would seem to imply including examples where the speaker answers an unspoken "are you okay" but does not imitate the other party speaking for example:

    Star Wars The Clone Wars: Having narrowly prevented a deadly plague from being unleashed Anakin speaking to Ahsoka over the comm link asks if Padme's alright.

    Ahsoka: She's right here. I'm fine too. Thanks for asking!
  • December 10, 2010
    carla
    ^ true, it might be confused for a stock phrase. do you think the original title is better, though? or if not, any other suggestions?
  • December 27, 2010
    carla
    bump. this looks pretty much ready to go, now if i could only get some more input on what the best title is...
  • December 28, 2010
    wordweaver
    Title suggestion: Dialouge Said For You. The original title suggests actual absent dialouge.
  • December 28, 2010
    carla
    ^ good idea, i'll add that one to the list.
  • December 29, 2010
    CrystalBlue
    Thirding Thanks For Asking. And I have another example: In National Treasure and the sequel there is an instance of this - both times by Riley. In the first movie, after Ian and his men have finished shooting at them and Ben has rescued Abigail, he asked her, "Are you all right?" causing Riley to pipe up "A little on edge from being shot at, thanks for asking." in a somewhat sarcastic tone. In the sequel, Riley also fills in the missing dialogue for Ben and Abigail when they are (very blatantly) seeming to disregard him after he has chosen to stay behind. "I've been doing the math too ... just promise you'll come back for me. [In a high pitched voice] Riley! No Riley! We won't leave you behind! [Back to his normal voice] No, I'm kidding, just go."
  • December 29, 2010
    smartkidpete
    On How I Met Your Mother, Barney to Lily: "Yeah, yeah, yeah... Barney what are you doing here...I can't believe it's really you...Come in, have a seat...You want some tea...I know the apartment's small but I don't need much space... let me show you some of my paintings...I think it's some of my best work ever. JUST STOP IT!"
  • December 30, 2010
    carla
    i finally remembered the House example! so i've added that, the HIMYM example and one of the National Treasure ones. thanks!

    @CrystalBlue-- i think that first example doesn't really fit the trope, especially since ben did ask her. sounds more like a snarky response to Ask A Stupid Question. the second one does fit, though, so i've added it.

    VOTES SO FAR: 3 for Thanks For Asking, 1 for Dialogue Said For You. please keep voting, guys! i'll probably wait until the weekend to launch this.
  • December 30, 2010
    StarryEyed
    In Date Night, the Forresters plays a game where they guess the "story" of other couples in the restaurant. In one case, both Forresters start mimicking dialogue for the other couple.

    Thanks For Asking is perfect...for all the cases where it's a response to when someone should have asked about them, but didn't. But a bunch of the examples don't fit that at all, so calling the whole trope as it is now Thanks For Asking would be confusing. I almost wonder if there's material here for a separate subtrope Thanks For Asking, plus a general trope to cover all the other instances Dialogue Said For You (or another title if someone comes up with a better one.)
  • December 30, 2010
    CrystalBlue
    In my opinion, Starry Eyed has a good point about the titles - I put in another vote for Dialouge Said For You, as it fits quite well for the generalization of the trope, though Thanks For Asking might be a potential subtrope.

    @carla I guess I took the first alternate title too seriously, hence my first instance with the example in National Treasure, which doesn't really match the trope. Whoops. I'm glad the second one did though! :) by the way, this is a very good trope, it's common, and relevant, and it's often very funny, given the examples here. :)
  • December 31, 2010
    bluepenguin
    In the first book in The Dresden Files series, Harry gets a call from Karrin Murphy, head of the Chicago PD's "weird stuff" unit:
    Murphy: Harry, I need you at the Madison in the next ten minutes. Can you be there?
    Harry: Why, Lieutenant Murphy, it's good to hear from you too. It's been so long. Oh, they're fine, fine. And your family?

    ... Looking at it again, maybe it doesn't quite fit since he's not filling in her dialogue so much as responding to the things he thinks she should be saying, but it seems in the spirit of the trope.
  • December 31, 2010
    AFP
    Informed Dialogue when they're dubbing over a conversation we don't get to hear? Or maybe even Snark Dubbed Dialogue?
  • January 3, 2011
    carla
    @StarryEyed-- i've added the Date Night example. also, i think that's a very good point, this could very well be two tropes. i don't know if the examples we have so far are solid/distinct enough to start them off as two separate tropes, but maybe it could be split later. =) this discussion is archieved so the idea will still be there in case that happens in the future.

    @CrystalBlue-- thanks! yeah, i do think it could be split eventually. in the meantime i'll add one vote for Dialogue Said For You, then.

    @bluepenguin-- yeah, that definitely fits with the second scenario of this trope. i've added the example.

    @AFP-- you mean only for scenario three? anyway, i've added both as alt titles. i'm really liking Snark Dubbed Dialogue, actually. thanks!

    VOTES SO FAR: 3 for Thanks For Asking, 3 for Dialogue Said For You. please note we have two new title suggestions.
  • January 4, 2011
    ElementX
  • January 4, 2011
    Xtifr
    I oppose Thanks For Asking for the reason given by Starry Eyed. I also oppose Dialouge Said For You because it's misspelled, but would be fine with Dialogue Said For You. Just to confuse matters, I'll toss out Solo Dialogue as another possibility.
  • January 4, 2011
    Evalana
    • From the Dan Vs. episode "The Wolf-Man":
      Dan: What took you so long?!
      Chris: Nice to see you, too.
      • And then later in the episode:
      Dan: You are like the slowest driver in the world.
      Chris: 'Thanks for helping me, Chris.'
  • January 5, 2011
    carla
    i've added the Dan Vs. example.

    @xtifr-- i'll take your vote into account, and add your new suggestion as an alt title. PS: you'll notice Dialogue Said For You is spelled correctly in the alt titles line. ;)

    VOTES SO FAR: Thanks For Asking and Dialogue Said For You are still tied at 4. there's been opposition for Thanks For Asking, though.
  • January 31, 2011
    FireWalk
    Bumping due to Order Of The Stick example at the end of this strip
  • March 3, 2011
    CrystalBlue
    I'm putting another vote in for Thanks For Asking. Does that count? Are you even allowed to vote for the same title twice? :S :)
  • March 3, 2011
    Kayube
    A common variation is saying "You're welcome" when the other person has not thanked you for something they should have.
  • March 3, 2011
    BraveHoratio
    I like Thanks For Asking the best in and of itself, but I also agree with all the problems with it.

    How about Filling In The Lines ? Same meaning as the original, but possibly a little snappier?
  • March 7, 2011
    SalFishFin
    bump
  • March 7, 2011
    fs1034
    Thanks For Asking seems to fit best of the ones listed, though I think there could be something better.
  • March 7, 2011
    NESBoy
    A sizable number of riffs from Mystery Science Theater 3000 work like this, with the characters watching the movie in the theater providing the dialogue.
    (from A Date with Your Family) Mike: (as Daughter) Yeah, go piss up a rope! Crow: (as Brother) Ah, sit and spin, you cruddy skank! Servo: (as Father) Perhaps booze would alleviate this situation.
  • March 7, 2011
    randomsurfer
    The Nostalgia Chick, at the top of "Top Ten Evil Nostalgic Characters." Trapped in the fridge, she's let out by the robot.
    Chick: I gotta go. runs off
    Robot: You're welcome.

  • August 31, 2011
    ThisIsATestTai
    I'm looking at Solo Dialogue, although the ideal would be Dialogue Said For You, if it weren't so wordy. How about DIY Dialogue?
  • September 18, 2011
    thegrenekni3t
    • In Phineas And Ferb, Dr. Doofenshmirtz occasionally does this while explaining his evil plans to Perry the Platypus, since Perry doesn't talk. For example, from "Leave The Busting To Us!":
      Doofenshmirtz: Hmm? What's that? Could it be Morse code for, "That evil gadget looks so manly and threatening. What on Earth does it do?" All right, I'll tell you. Sheesh! Stop bugging me!
      • In another example, the episode "Candace Gets Busted" has a Running Gag of Doofenshmirtz providing his own dialogue for a drive-in movie screen across the street (and later for various inanimate objects).
      Doofenshmirtz: (gruff voice) "Sheila, I love you. But now I have to defuse this bomb."
  • September 18, 2011
    randomsurfer
    MASH: Hawkeye, Trapper and Henry watch a home movie they stole from Frank which turns out to be his Wedding Video. It's silent so they make up dialogue, such as when they're about to drive away and she gets in the driver seat.
    Hawkeye as Mrs. Burns: Just shut up and get in the car, Frank.
    Henry as Frank: Come on, I want to drive.
    Hawkeye: Never mind that, just get in the car. Frank goes around to the passenger side and gets in. Sit down and shut up.
  • October 14, 2011
    CrystalBlue
    YTTYW Bump. This really needs to launch already, it's a good trope, we shouldn't let it be deleted! :)
  • October 14, 2011
    Shnakepup
    Psych had an example of this in it's second-ever episode, when the character of Juliet was introduced. Shawn meets her in a diner and starts attempting to flirt with her. She studiosly ignores him, so he decides to start Holding Both Sides Of The Conversation, using a high-pitched voice for her.
  • October 14, 2011
    UglyShirts
    Another vote for "Thanks for Asking."
  • October 14, 2011
    Omeganian
    Shota from The Sword Of Truth did it twice in her first appearance. Well, she's a witch with some not quite understood powers.
  • October 31, 2011
    CrystalBlue
    Bumping again. Does anyone else think this trope is ready to be launched now?
  • October 31, 2011
    sinesofinsanity
    Am I the only one who really likes Fill In The Missing Dialogue?
  • November 1, 2011
    GuesssWho
    I like Solo Dialogue or DIY Dialogue, with Thanks For Asking as a subtrope.
  • November 1, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    I like DIY Dialogue, and I think Thanks For Asking is a good subtrope name, but I fear the latter will be cut for sounding like dialogue.
  • November 15, 2011
    CrystalBlue
    Bumping again so doesn't face deletion. Anyone think that this trope should launch soon? I think it's ready to, a name just needs to be decided upon....
  • November 15, 2011
    StarryEyed
    • In The Italian Job one of the crew creates his own version of the dialogue between his Chick Magnet crewmate and the pretty female target he's busy seducing.

    Also, would the scene in Avatar The Last Airbender where Zuko mimics Iroh and then Azula to get "their" advice on his current situation count?
  • November 20, 2011
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • Deadline: After Shaun risks the wrath of the AI in Maggie's home killing him to get a wireless signal booster, the entire team hops online without a word once it connects.
      Shaun: Thank you, Shaun. We really appreciate your getting us back into contact with the rest of the world, Shaun. You're awesome, Shaun.

    ... are we at Just Launch It Already or are we waiting for something?
  • December 8, 2011
    CrystalBlue
    YKTTW Bump. And yes, I think we are at Just Launch It Already.
  • December 9, 2011
    FastEddie
    Incorrectly launched. Unlaunching.
  • March 4, 2012
    CrystalBlue
    Bump.... is this ever going to be launched? Tis a good trope I think :)
  • April 5, 2013
    spacemarine50
    Bump, again.
  • April 5, 2013
    PsiPaula4
    I think the name should be Snark Dubbed Dialogue.
  • April 6, 2013
    Arivne
    Tabletop Games
    • KULT supplement Rumours. The introduction to the chapter "Violence and Destruction" is a story about a man named Nathaniel switching out a prop gun with a real gun in a play in order to commit a murder. When he hands the gun to an actor named Mannet, Mannet ignores him. Nathaniel walks away mumbling "Why THANK YOU, Nathaniel for your kindness. Oh, you are so welcome, Mr. Mannet."
  • February 6, 2016
    DAN004
    How would this relate to Repeating So The Audience Can Hear?
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=y3mvqq2kg29qtx3lsroj3gsx