->'''Howard:''' [to Penny] Try telling him it's a non-optional social convention.
->'''Penny:''' What?
->'''Howard:''' Just do it!
->'''Penny:''' [to Sheldon] It's a non-optional social convention.
->'''Sheldon:''' Oh! Fair enough.
->'''Howard:''' He came with a manual.

Plots would move more efficiently if difficult people had manuals. Convenient humanoid manuals, like {{best friend}}s who know all the intricacies of their personality and are looking to clear the conflict up for the sake of their friend.

Often packaged as a convenient one-liner in response to a confused/abused expression or exclamation, the Manual Moment is a dialog device. It's a short, essential insight into understanding why someone is suddenly wanting to act out a chapter of "How to Deal with Difficult People," given by someone who can get inside their head.

Its three strengths are that it establishes a meaningful relationship between the Manual and the... "Blinking VCR character"; it provides characterization for the VCR; and most importantly, it skips over the messy "coming to an understanding" process that would otherwise require awkward frustrated encounters and use up the time slot.

The Manual, usually a friend, ex-lover or family member, has already leveled up in the area of understanding that particular model of VCR. They're ready to shepherd the n00b around the traps and over-reactions into greener pastures with a simple and unintuitive insight. Compare CloudcuckoolandersMinder.



[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* ''VisualNovel/GakuenHeaven'' sets characters up in neat pairs, so you don't have to reach far for the Manual. Omi/Saionji, King/Hideaki...
* In ''Manga/{{Haikyuu}}'', Akaashi has a list of weaknesses for his partner Bokuto, along with measures to counter them depending on the situation.
* ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'': Kurama/Hiei after the gate of betrayal, to bystander Yuusuke.
-->'''Yuusuke:''' You're a hell of an actor. Not everyone can pretend to laugh at their dying friends.\\
'''Hiei:''' Friends are a crutch for the weak. I only saved you because I might need you later.\\
'''Kurama:''' That's his way of saying 'You're welcome'. You will learn.
* The ''Takumi-kun'' series has Akaike show up and dispense advice concerning Gii for [[ShrinkingViolet Takumi]].


[[folder: Film ]]

* ''Film/HowToLoseAGuyIn10Days'' has the mother let slip that Andie is the first girl Ben ever brought home. It's not exactly advice, but it's a "head's up" insight that lets her see the context.


[[folder: Literature ]]

* ''Literature/KillTimeOrDieTrying''
** James acts as this for Dylan, and there is also a real manual which is circulated by email amongst new Warplings.
--->'''James:''' You don't just wake him up! There's a procedure.
** This trope is also lampshaded for Nathan.
--->'''Brad:''' Isn't there a manual for him?\\
'''James:''' It's in Chinese. Hence Chan.
* ''Literature/JourneyToChaos'': Eric spends the early parts of ''Literature/AMagesPower'' studying his teammates' manuals because he likes puzzles. Thus, by the end of the adventure he's able to translate for others. For instance, when Tiza says, "You better do a good job healing (the patient) because I'm gonna beat them up later" what she ''really'' means to say is "I want (the patient) to be at full strength when I challenge them to an honorable duel".
* Dr. Watson, in his own way, is this for SherlockHolmes, which makes this OlderThanRadio. He doesn't necessarily help other ''characters'' understand the Great Detective better, but he does help the ''readers'' understand him better.


[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* ''Series/{{House}}''
** Much of the dialog is devoted to troubleshooting. They're not really manuals when throwing out conjectures, but House's ex-girlfriend and Wilson, and later his former team, have enough experience to strip him down sometimes.
** House, being a character inspired by Franchise/SherlockHolmes (with his manipulative tendencies dialed way past eleven) owns a manual for every major character, patient of the week, clinic patient, and passer-by on the show.
-->'''Dr. Chase''': Do you have to do that?\\
'''House''': You mean cheapen everyone's attempt at a human moment by identifying the real calculations that go into it?\\
'''Chase''': Yeah.\\
'''House''': Yeah, I do.
* ''{{Series/Bones}}'':
** Angela often provides tips on dealing with the title character.
** Booth is also a heartwarming reversal of sorts, being a personal interpreter for the socially incapable Temperance to successfully interact with the outside world.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'': Riley solicits advice from Willow on how best to approach the Slayer.
* Frequently used in ''Series/TheBigBangTheory'' regarding Sheldon - most often to [[FishOutOfWater Penny]], but sometimes from Leonard to the other guys who aren't quite so used to him (as evidenced by the page quote). Justified in this case as Sheldon really did come with a manual, in the form of The Roommate Agreement which Leonard had to sign. It's full of various rules for their interactions, most of which let Leonard know not to do X thing that will annoy Sheldon sufficiently to make him unbearable.
** Sheldon's mom also acts as a manual on occasion, since she's the only person who can handle Sheldon when he's acting particularly crazy.
** {{Averted}} in later seasons, as Penny's finally gotten smart enough to just roll with Sheldon's quirks and not ask why.
---> '''Leonard:''' *In regards to Sheldon's latest freak out* Aren't you going to ask?\\
'''Penny:''' What is this, [[LampshadeHanging my first day]]?
* ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'': Not just with the main HeterosexualLifePartners JD and Turk, but other characters either start out close enough for this, or develop it as the series progresses.
* Alex Eames is this for her police partner, Robert Goren, in ''Series/LawAndOrderCriminalIntent.'' She's the only person, possibly in his entire life, who cares for and understands him enough to really understand how he ticks.


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice'': Kaldur explains Wally's disbelief in magic to the rest of TheTeam. Kaldur is himself a practitioner, and he and Wally have known each other for years.