Created By: Discar on July 24, 2011 Last Edited By: queenbri on October 14, 2011

Obsessive Question

Someone has a question that they really want the answer to.

Name Space:
Page Type:
Spun off of this TRS thread for Armor-Piercing Question.

Previous Title: Mad Question

Needs a Better Description, may Need A Better Title

A question that is repeated many times to show the asker's obsession with it. e.g. "You gonn' help, huh? You gonna look out for me? You gonna look out for me, Sergeant Carver? You mean it? You gonna look out for me? You promise?! You got my back, huh?!" which is only repeated for rhetorical effect: both parties know the answer. "Are you my mummy?"

See also Madness Mantra and Armor-Piercing Question.


Live-Action TV
  • In the Doctor Who two-parter "The Empty Child" and "The Doctor Dances," the titular Creepy Child asks everyone he meets "Are you my mummy?" Turns out this is because his "sister" was actually his mother.
Community Feedback Replies: 16
  • August 3, 2011
    Discar: You might want to copy over all of the examples on Armor Piercing Question that belong here instead. That will make it clearer that this has enough examples to launch.
  • August 3, 2011
    • "What can change the nature of a man?" is both this and an Armour Piercing Question. Ravel asked it to as many people as possible, and tortured them to death when their answer wasn't satisfactory. Subverted, however; she only ever cared about the Nameless One's answer. Asking it to random strangers was just for kicks.
  • August 3, 2011
    ^^ I don't know the examples on that page well enough to know where they belong. They looked like they should be there to me, but if you see any I missed (and I obviously didn't move any), then bring them here.
  • August 7, 2011
    Inverted in The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy The answer to life, the universe, and everything is 42. Arthur constantly seeks the question.
  • August 7, 2011
    Obsessive Qestion or Question Mantra sounds like better titles.
  • August 8, 2011
    Radio: In one episode of The Goon Show, Captain Hugh Jampton keeps turning up to ask the other characters, "Could you tell me the price of smoked ham per portion?" At the end of the episode somebody tells him, and he's so disappointed with the price that he shoots himself.
  • August 28, 2011
    I don't recall the characters' names, but in The Eagle, the Roman protagonist repeatedly asks the Britainian "What did he say?" when he suspects the village chief of insulting his father.
  • September 11, 2011
    Tenga in Inhertiance Cycle, Angela's former teacher, has more than one Obsessive Question. When he manages to answer one he moves to another. Some fans speculate he may be looking for name of Ancient Language.
  • September 11, 2011
    The 2009 Star Trek reboot had Kirk constantly asking for Uhura's first name.
  • September 29, 2011
    Real Life: Small child says, "Why? Why? Why? Why?" This is usually because they're looking for a good answer and a lot of the time they get the brush off.
  • September 29, 2011
  • September 29, 2011
    It's a very little overlap. The reason a child keeps asking "Why?" is typically because the answer he's getting genuinely isn't good enough, he wants to understand. The Elephants Child is asking about everything. The repeated "why" is trying to find, in depth, the answer to the original question. Studies have shown that the 'why' is repeated with a bullshit or ambiguous answer, but is quashed with a genuine or I Dont Know answer. The solution is honesty. The Elephants Child would just move on to a different subject, the nonstop whyer is focused on a single subject.

    As usual, because I'm talking about real life, some kids are just dicks and realize that asking 'why' over and over is a good way to piss someone off. Trolling, I suspect, may be innate.
  • September 30, 2011
    • In Dances With Dragons, the latest A Song Of Ice And Fire book, Tyrion goes around asking everyone "where do whores go?", almost to the point of Narm.
  • October 10, 2011
    Not sure if this is quite what you're looking for, but we're lead to believe the protagonist of Veronica Mars can't go a day without asking herself "who killed Lily Kane?"
  • October 14, 2011
    In Planescape Torment, Ravel Puzzlewell is obsessed with asking "What can change the nature of a man?" of her inquisitors.
  • October 14, 2011
    ^ Subverted in that Ravel didn't actually care; she just wanted to hear the anser of the Nameless One. Played straight in that he was desperate to learn the answer.