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Captain Obvious: Live-Action TV
  • Once on Air Farce Live: seen here
    Lisa LaFlamme: Dr Blide, are you sick?
    Dr. Blide: Am I sick? Oh! Stop the press! The Nobel Prize for Medicine goes to Lady Obvious!
  • The Nickelodeon show All That has a sketch called "Vital Information for your Everyday Life" that was built around this trope, amongst other things. Some kernels of Vital Information include:
    • "When it rains it pours. When it's snows it's cold!"
    • "If your dog sniffs you, it wants to get to know you. If your friend sniffs you, you've got a weird friend."
    • "If you accidentally flush your friend down the toilet... you either have a huge toilet or a really tiny friend!"
  • In a video from America's Funniest Home Videos, a kid discovers he was born on his birthday and tells his mom.
  • The Aquabats! Super Show!: "ManAnt!":
    ManAnt: Crash McLarson, we meet again!
    Crash: You're tiny!
    (ManAnt's henchmen gasp)
    ManAnt: You're tiny, Captain Obvious!
  • Boomer from Battlestar Galactica sometimes loves to state the obvious.
  • Battlestar Galactica ("Daybreak") after Cavil's forces realise Boomer has taken Hera back to the Colonials.
    Cavil: Time for us to go on the offensive.
    Simon: We must be cautious. Too much force could risk killing the child.
    Cavil: Really? You think? Please continue stating the perfectly obvious; it fills me with confidence.
  • The editors of Big Brother tend to be this for the audience. In just about every episode, they will show recaps of previous episodes right before the titles. Then, after the titles, they will show the scene again, accompanied by a Diary Room excerpt of one of the Houseguests explaining what we just saw and are seeing again. A Houseguest in danger of being voted out will try to convince the others to keep them by saying "I don't want to go home."
  • In Blackadder, Edmund, George and Baldrick have come under heavy machine-gun fire in no-man's-land:
    George: They're firing, sir, they're firing!
    Blackadder: Yes, thank you Lieutenant. If they hit me, you'll be sure to point it out?
  • In Breaking Bad, the phone rings. Walt's voice says, "Skyler, it's me." Skyler announces, "It's him!"
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Subverted and lampshaded often, severely, and, on occasion, simultaneously. The best example likely being when Spike is nearly tearing his hair out by the unbleached roots telling the Scoobies over and over that the Hell Goddess Glory just turned into Joyce's caregiver Ben. They miss the point every time. Darn that memory spell... What makes the situation funnier is that the other Scoobies (save for the comatose Buffy) actually get it near the end of the first go-around with a little help from Spike:
    Willow: So... Ben and Glory... a-are actually the same person?
    Xander: Glory can turn into Ben, and Ben turns back into Glory.
    Anya: And anyone who sees it instantly forgets.
    (about a half a minute later)
    Giles: Excellent. Now. Do we suspect there may be some kind of connection between Ben and Glory?
    • It kind of makes you wonder how many times he tried to get them to figure it out if he considered bitch-slapping Xander upside the head worth the pain. He's pretty close to thinking that most of the time anyway.
    • Every so often, Oz dips into this, as part of his Deadpan Snarker routine.
      Oz: Our lives are different than other people's.
    • When Xander is split in two: "If Xander kills himself, he'll die!". It Makes Sense in Context. "If Xander kills himself, he's dead," could also be taken as a rather empty threat.
    • Faith shoots a guy through the heart with a bow and arrow:
      Vampire minion: You killed him!
      Faith: What are you, the narrator?
    • Vi upon arriving at a demon bar: "They're demons! It's a demon bar! It's like a gay bar, only with demons."
  • Played for laughs in CNNNN, in Charles Firth's report on teenage drug use. At one point he holds up a human brain to the camera and says "This is the brain from a kid who took drugs. Guess what happened to him? He’s now dead. Our investigation shows that every single drug user who’s had their brain removed is now dead."
  • In the Corner Gas episode "Full Load," Davis pulls Hank over for having a broken taillight. He says he'll follow as Hank drives his truck to the police station to be impounded. Hank agrees, but says, "Hey. Don't rear-end me. My taillight's broke."
  • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
    • Upon finding a severed head in the trunk of a car, Grissom delivered a particularly groan-worthy one-liner:
      Grissom: [...] six to eight hours ago, somebody lost his head. And then... somebody lost his head.
    • In one episode, they find a mutilated corpse. After someone else says "someone wanted her ugly", Grissom one-ups with "Ugly and dead".
  • Attending to a stabbing victim, an EMT on CSI: Miami checked her blood pressure, then told his co-worker that the woman was hypotensive. Not how low her BP had fallen, just that it was lower than normal: something that would be self-evident from how she'd been bleeding all over the floor for several minutes.
  • Jack from Days of Our Lives has his moments.
    Jack: Now that he's dead, there's no way he could be alive.
  • A major part of Demetri Martin's stand-up routine ("Large Pad"), and by extension, Important Things With Demetri Martin. Likewise, a recurring gag in Bill Engvall's stand-up. "Here's your sign."
  • In later seasons of Dexter, our Villain Protagonist would frequently describe what is happening in front of him in his Inner Monologue, to his dead father, out-loud, to no one in particular, or all three. By the time of season 8, it's not even unusual to have this kind of situation (paraphrasing):
    (Dexter runs a DNA test; the results show that Oliver Saxon is Dr. Vogel's son)
    Dexter: (thinking) Oliver Saxon is Dr. Vogel's son!
    Harry's ghost: Dexter, Oliver Saxon is Dr. Vogel's son! It must be the child she mentioned once!
    Dexter: (out-loud) You're right, Oliver Saxon is Dr. Vogel's son! She's his mother!
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Amy's Choice":
      Dream Lord: Now then, the prognosis is this: if you die in the dream, you wake up in reality, healthy recovery in next to no time. Ask me what happens if you die in reality.
      Rory: What happens if you die in reality?
      Dream Lord: (withering) You die, stupid, that's why it's called "reality"!
    • "The Parting of the Ways":
      (Daleks fire missiles at the TARDIS, after Rose says she can't predict what the Doctor's going to do)
      Rose: You can't! The TARDIS doesn't have any defences, you're gonna kill 'im!
      Dalek: You have predicted correctly.
    • "The Three Doctors":
      (John Benton enters the TARDIS for the first time)
      The Doctor: Well, Sergeant? Aren't you going to say, "It's Bigger on the Inside than it is on the outside?" Everybody else does.
      John: Well, it's... pretty obvious, isn't it?
    • In "The Rebel Flesh", the Doctor determines that "something corrosive" is flowing through the pipe marked "DANGER: CORROSIVE."
    • And again after the storm causes leaks. To be fair, he did just almost get a face-full of Hollywood Acid.
      The Doctor: It is too dangerous in here with acid leaks!
    • K9 has his moments as well, such as in "School Reunion" with Mickey Smith.
      Mickey: Okay, no time to explain, we need to get inside the school. Do you have, like, I don't know, a lock-picking device?
      K9: We are in a car.
      Mickey: Maybe a drill attachment?
      K9: We are in a car.
      Mickey: Fat lot of good you are!
      K9: We are in a car.
      Mickey: Wait a second. We're in a car.
      K9: Affirmative.
    • In "Night Terrors", the resident Muggle has a real insight to add to the conversation.
      The Doctor: I'm not just a professsional, I am The Doctor.
      Alex: What is that supposed to mean?
      The Doctor: It means that I have traveled a long way to get here, Alex. A very long way. George sent a message. A distress call, if you like. Whatever that is inside that cup-board is so terrible, so powerful that it amplifies the ordinary fears of a ordinary little boy across all the barriers across time and space. Through crimson stars and silent stars and tumbeling nebulosas on fire, Empires of glass and civilizations of pure though. And a whole terrible, wonderful universe of impossibilities. You see these eyes? They are old eyes. And one thing I can tell you, Alex? Monsters are real.
      Alex: ... you are not from Social Services, are you?
    • In "Evolution of the Daleks": "They killed them, rather than let them live."
    • In "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship", when the Doctor, Rory and Rory's dad are trapped in a cave with pterodactyls outside:
      Rory: What do we do now? There's no way back out there.
      The Doctor: Through the cave. Come on. (he hears big footsteps) That suggestion was a work in progress.
      Brian: We're trapped.
      The Doctor: Yes. Thanks for spelling it out.
      (footsteps getting louder)
      Rory: Doctor, whatever's down there is coming this way.
      The Doctor: Spelling it out is hereditary. Wonderful.
  • On Family Matters, Harriet gets a call that will tell whether or not she got a job. As the family huddles around the phone, the grandmother walks in and asks what happened. Carl responds, "She either got the job or she didn't." Grandma replies, "Those would be the choices."
  • Parodied in Fawlty Towers:
    Basil: Could we get you on Mastermid, Sybill? Next contestant Sybill Fawlty from Torquay, special subject; the bleedin' obvious!
  • Firefly: "It's a post holer. You dig holes for... posts." Well, yes, Kaylee. You could say it's justified, considering the good doctor's background (or lack thereof).
  • Played with on Frasier.
    • A couple of times, someone points out a psychological observation to another psychiatrist and said psychiatrist's response is the equivalent of "Duh".
      (after Niles is trying unsuccessfully to get a hold of Maris)
      Frasier: Honestly, Niles, by calling her so many times you've given her all the power. You're much better off coming from a position of strength.
      Niles: Don't pour that sherry on your shirt — it will stain.
      Frasier: What?
      Niles: Oh, I'm sorry. I thought this was the portion of the afternoon where we gave each other patently obvious advice.
    • "My hot and foamy must have exploded!" "He used to be a detective, you know."
  • Friends has this a lot. Dim-witted Joey is often the one being densely obvious, and Chandler the one answering humorously.
  • Grey's Anatomy
    • In an episode where Christina is "helping out" in Ped's. She is told to play Hide and Seek with a patient and look in strange places while all the while the kid is hiding underneath the blankets.
      Arizona: She might be hiding in your pocket!
      Christina: No she's right here.
      (pulls up bedsheet covers)
    • A particularly dark one when Dr. Percy is shot. Want to guess what he said after that to the people that witnessed it?
      Percy: (clutching his gunshot wound) He shot me— He shot me! I've been shot!
  • The Hannah Montana episode where Miley needs some money we see Rico's stand with a tent up.
    Lily: What's going on at Rico's?
    Oliver: Oh there's a tent up.
  • Heroes:
    • "So, you're here to kill me," says Arthur Petrelli, after his son's been pointing a gun at his face for a minute or so.
    • "Gabriel, you're here."
  • Carter alternates between this and Cloudcuckoolander in Hogan's Heroes.
  • Home Improvement has Tim doing an Enforced Plug on his Show Within a Show: "If it doesn't say Binford on it... someone else makes it."
  • House:
    • This exchange:
      Tritter: You're rude.
      House: Wow. You're, like, a detective or something.
    • House also gave us this gem:
      Chase: He has a partial HPRT enzyme deficiency. That means he could have Kelley-Seegmiller Syndrome.
      Cameron: But it's a partial deficiency. So it doesn't have to be Kelley-Seegmiller.
      House: Yeah, those are the two options. It either is or it isn't.
    • House loves this trope...
      Cameron: That's it. It's gotta be one of those [five diseases].
      House: You know what would be even better? Narrowing it all the way down to one.
    • He sure does...
      Student: You're reading a comic book.
      House: And you're drawing attention to your bosom by wearing a low-cut top. Oh, I'm sorry. I thought we were having a state-the-obvious contest. I'm competitive by nature.
    • Another one, though not from House this time:
      Nurse: (after House spits on a surgeon to prevent him performing a needless operation) We can't do this operation now!
      Surgeon: Ya think?!
  • iCarly: Freddie usually, often followed by Sam or Carly glaring at him.
  • Kamen Rider Kabuto: They seem to be worried that we're going to forget what Clock Up does, because every couple of episodes a voice-over jumps in to tell us (paraphrasing): "You see how everything else is moving in slow motion? That's because they're moving really, really fast."
  • In the Law & Order episode "Mammon," Ed Green looks at the body of a man who has been brutally beaten to death and says, "Somebody didn't like this dude."
  • Dr. Huang from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is frequently found guilty of committing this trope.
  • Kai, who filled the Spock/Data role in the cast of Lexx, has Captain Obvious duties.
    Zev: Who is "Poet Man"?
    Kai: A poet, perhaps.
  • In one episode of Lie to Me, the team comes across a dead body in the trunk of a car. Foster asks what happened to the victim, to which Lightman replies, "He died."
  • Jason in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers combined Captain Obvious with No Indoor Voice to hilarious effect.
    Jason: WHOA, THAT DUDE'S HUGE!

    Jason: IT'S GREEN RANGER!

    Jason: OH MAN, HE FROZE THE ZORDS. WE'RE HISTORY!
  • Nathan's "The probation worker's gone mental!" line from Misfits, when he'd already been warned about said probation worker's mentality and refused to believe it. In his defence, you probably wouldn't believe that your supervisor had suddenly turned into a murderous axe-wielding maniac until you saw it with your own eyes. Especially if you're The Ditz.
  • Monk has a number of these instances.
  • The narrator of Monsters Inside Me, a documentary series about parasites, has an annoying tendency to ask things like "But might this apparent spider bite be something more sinister...?". To which the answer is self-evident to anyone who knows what show they're watching.
  • Mythbusters often has someone reiterating what they've been doing, just in case you missed it. It alternates between individuals. Probably because there is a sizable segment of viewers who watch just for the kaboom. They need to be reminded how it works.
  • Parks and Recreation
    • Chris says that his "secret" to setting people up on dates is finding one person's best qualities, then finding someone else with those same qualities, and putting them together. Also in that same episode, when Ron has to make a speech at the art gallery:
      Ron: Welcome to "Visions of Nature". This room has several paintings in it, some are big, some are small. People did them and they are here now, I believe that after this is over they'll be hung in government buildings.
    • This is true to all of Ron's speeches. As he had stated, he hates making speeches.
    • An even better example is Perd Hapley, who simply embodies this trope.
      Perd: Issue number one is the first issue we're going to talk about.

      Perd: I have an update that contains new information.

      Perd: There you have it, where "it" is the thing Leslie Knope just said about this situation.

      Perd: Let's begin the show by starting it.

      Perd: There are some statistics that I want to share with you now, and they are numbers.
  • Subverted in the 1992 Australian mini-series Phoenix, a fictionalised account of the car-bombing of a Melbourne police station. Some hours into the investigation, Inspector Jock Brennan asks forensic scientist Ian "The Goose" Cochrane what he's come up with.
    The Goose: There was a bomb in that car, and it went off.
    Jock: Are you having me on?
    The Goose: Look, it could have been a mortar shell. The bomb could have been under a manhole cover and the car had nothing to do with it. There are solutions besides the obvious, you know.
Jock is so furious he tries to get his superiors to throw The Goose off the case, but is told that he's the Number One expert in post-bomb analysis in the Southern Hemisphere, so he'd better shut up and listen to The Goose.
  • Red Dwarf:
    • Plenty of comedic mileage comes from it:
      Holly: A stasis leak is a leak, right, in stasis. Hence the name "a stasis leak".

      Rimmer: (trying to save his past self) I've come to warn you, in three million years you'll be dead!
      Past Rimmer: Will I really?

      Cat: (examining an arrow) Yep, this came from a bow all right.
    • And it should be noted that at the very start of the series, the main character Lister comes out of a stasis and the computer tells him all crewmembers are dead. Lister promptly continues to ask of every single crewmember if they are dead, and the computer keeps saying that yes, that member of the crew is dead, too.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch invoked this trope with Salem Saberhagen. In one episode he announced, in a completely blasé tone of voice, that the phone was ringing. Later in the same episode, when a small tornado was tearing through the house, he said, "Tornado in the house" in the same tone.
  • Sharpe gives us this gem:
    (after being run through with a sword) "You have killed me, sir..."
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • Samantha Carter, in her position as SG-1's designated Ms. Exposition, has more than a few moments of this. Which was somewhat amusing during the first two seasons, where she actually held the rank of Captain.
    • In "Children of the Gods", the pilot episode of SG-1, a doctor is performing an autopsy on a Jaffa, and pulls out the Goa'uld symbiote.
      The Doctor: It's not human!
      Jack: You think?
    • O'Neill used his snarky, "You think?" quite often in the series to lampshade Captain Obvious moments. It became one of his Catch Phrases.
    • In the season seven episode "Birthright, Part 1", Bra'tac and Teal'c walk through a battlefield filled with dead Jaffa. Teal'c notes that there were two Goa'uld there with their respective armies. Bra'tac replies "This meeting did not go well." Really? Because when we see dead guys, we assume things were going great!
  • Zelenka on Stargate Atlantis is often dismissed as a Captain Obvious by McKay after coming up with some incredibly complex science idea which McKay already came up with. McKay, though, also has his share of these, to the point that in one episode, somebody called him Captain Obvious.
  • Varro in Stargate Universe presumably held the rank of Captain Obvious in the Lucian Alliance. In the episode "The Hunt", after an attack by a creature other than the one they're hunting, he chimes in with "there's more than one of them." His wisdom doesn't end there, though; he soon follows up with the equally astute observation that "the fact that we're dealing with more than one of them reduces our chances of finding T.J. and Reynolds alive."
  • Star Trek:
    • Counselor Troi from Star Trek: The Next Generation does this a lot. An alien will appear on the viewscreen and rant, rave, posture and threaten the Enterprise. Troi will lean over to the Captain and murmur, "I sense hostility..."
      Troi: ...You're upset.
      K’Ehleyr: Your finely honed betazoid senses tell you that?
      Troi: That and the table (Which K’Ehleyr just destroyed with her bare hands)
    • Troi was following in the footsteps of Leonard McCoy of Star Trek: The Original Series, who spat contemptuously at the medicine of previous eras, and yet, despite the miraculous 23rd-century technology that he possessed, seldom gave a diagnosis more detailed than "He's Dead, Jim!"
    • Also, in multiple Trek series, an enemy ship will go to warp, while the Enterprise (Voyager, Defiant, etc.) is damaged, busy, or just not fast enough to keep up. After watching this happen, someone will always say "they're gone," even if they've also just reported the enemy ship's departure. Once every third episode, you were liable to see a situation like this:
      (Zip! Phoom! Villains disappear as everyone watches on insanely big viewscreen)
      Paris: They went to Ultrawarp Factor Eleventy-Zillion, Captain. [Pause] They're gone.
    • This is often supposed to indicate that the departing vessel has slipped beyond sensor range which is supposed to be impressive given the range of Starfleet sensors.
    • Shows up in the Stargate Verse lately as well: Someone will always say "they're gone" after another ship departs via hyperspace window.
    • Babylon 5 spoofed Troi's solemn pronouncements with a similar moment where supercharged telepath Lyta Alexander simply commented, "Captain, they're pissed."
    • Spoofed after a fashion in Galaxy Quest (is there anything that movie missed?) with Sigourney Weaver repeating everything the computer tells them, making her every bit as useful as Troi. It's even Lampshaded ("Look, I got one job on this lousy ship — it's stupid, but I'm gonna do it anyway!!!!"). Then again, the computer would not respond to anyone else, so she still had her uses.
    • In the original series episode "The Changeling", a space probe called Nomad, convinced that its mission is to destroy all "biological units", mistakes Kirk for its creator. This buys the crew some time until Kirk lets slip that he is a biological unit. Nomad declares it needs to "re-evaluate" and floats off. Spock's response?
      Spock: Captain, it may have been unwise to admit to Nomad that you are a biological unit.
    • In "The Savage Curtain", Kirk is told "if you and Spock survive, you return to your vessel. If you do not... your existence is ended."
    • Kirk also has a tendency to repeat what was just said. From "Amok Time":
      Kirk: By Vulcan biology, do you mean the biology of Vulcans?
    • Justified here in that this was probably the only way Spock's particular problem in this episode could be brought up on 1960s television. What makes the line even funnier is that technically, the phrase "Vulcan biology" is syntactically ambiguous. "Vulcan biology" can refer to either the biological knowledge of Vulcans (as a body of work), or the actual biological functions of Vulcans. A request for clarification might have been completely justified... if the supplied alternative wasn't exactly as ambiguous as the original statement.
    • Here's another. Justified in-universe, as Kirk is saying that Spock's standard response, "Insufficient data", is not good enough as an answer. Because it's obvious.
      Kirk: Insufficient data is not sufficient, Mr. Spock.
    • In Star Trek: Voyager, a female Q pegs this trope as a trait of the entire Vulcan species.
      Female Q: The Vulcan talent for stating the obvious never ceases to amaze me.
    • Captain Kathryn "Obvious" Janeway of Star Trek: Voyager demonstrated an incredible grasp of temporal physics when Harry Kim was teleported to a whereabouts the crew was unable to ascertain.
      Janeway: How long until we have to leave?
      Bridge: I'd say we're safe for another two hours.
      Janeway: That gives us two hours to find Mr. Kim.
  • Lampshaded on Teen Wolf, when Scott and Stiles chase the Kanima into a club.
    Scott: Dude, everyone in here's a dude! I think we're in a gay club.
    (pan over to Stiles, surrounded by drag queens, one of whom is petting the side of his head)
    Stiles: Man, nothing gets past those keen werewolf senses, huh, Scott?
  • Midge from That '70s Show loves these.
    Midge: Bob, if you tell them, they'll know!
  • The Thick of It: "If somebody mentions my name, then my name will be mentioned." "Well, that's obvious."
  • Many of the headlines featured on The Tonight Show, such as this gem: "Starvation leads to health hazards." (Jay Leno's response: "Really? I find I'm feeling hungry all the time.")
  • The Torchwood episode "Dead Man Walking" gave us this scriptwriting gem: "What happened to the town when death walked among them?" "People died."
  • From the Victorious episode "Survival of the Hottest" (a.k.a. "Stuck in an RV"):
    Jade: We... we gotta get out of here.
    Tori: Yeah... Thank you! Catherine Obvious!
    Jade: The expression is 'thank you, Captain Obvious'.
    Tori: It's not 'Catherine'?
    Trina: No...
    Beck: Who would Catherine be?
    Tori: (upset) Catherine could be a captain!
  • From The West Wing, after CJ falls into a pool:
    Toby: CJ, you fell into the pool there.
  • In one sketch on the comedy-improv show Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Colin Mochrie was given the job of playing a superhero named, literally, Captain Obvious. "I'm standing. I'm looking around. That's air going into my lungs..."
  • In The X-Files episode "The Erlenmeyer Flask", a microbiology expert explains the rudiments of genetics — material taught in any high school's freshman biology class — to Agent Scully, a fully qualified doctor. While some viewers of the show might have needed the refresher course, Scully absolutely should not have, and turning her into The Watson for this kind of material just does her a disservice. The episode "Humbug" has something similar, with Mulder telling Scully what ichthyosis is.
  • From The Young Ones:
    Maggie: And now, I'm gonna be looking at what it's like to be a young unemployed adult! Because — more young adults are becoming unemployed on account of they can't find work! Basically, the problem is this: if you haven't got a job, then you outta work! And that means only one thing — unemployment!
  • Inadvertently inverted by one-time BBC snooker commentary: "For those of you watching in black and white, the blue's the one behind the pink." Actually, this was not inadvertent. It is commonly cited as a mistake, but is actually helpful when the blue ball has been knocked off its starting position, but the pink has not. And it was repeated whenever that case presented, further dispelling the myth that it was an error.
  • Local newsreaders generally stick to reading what's on their teleprompter, but they'll often have to ad-lib, during transitions from live shots back to the studio, transitions to weather and sports, filling in time, breaking news, etc. Unfortunately, most anchors aren't very good at ad-libbing, leading to lots of Captain Obvious moments.


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