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Ironic Echo: Live-Action TV

  • The Christmas That Almost Wasn't: Prune, after his Heel-Face Turn, sings a much happier "Why Can't Every Day Be Christmas?" originally sung by Whipple in the department store.
  • Agents Of SHIELD:
    • In "Nothing Personal'', outed HYDRA mole Ward defends himself against Skye by claiming it was nothing personal, he was Just Following Orders when he betrayed S.H.I.E.L.D. and Coulson's team. A few minutes later, after nearly being killed by Deathlok in order to force Skye to give up information, his outrage is met with Deathlok's calm, "It was nothing personal. I was just following orders."
  • Angel:
    • Holland tells Angel he "just can't seem to care" that people die because of Wolfram & Hart's Special Projects Division's schemes. Later, when Darla and Drusilla are about to kill everyone in the Special Projects Division, Holland pleads for help, but Angel replies, "And yet, somehow, I just can't seem to care" before leaving, locking the door on his way out.
    • Earlier in Angel, Doyle's line in his final episode: "Is that it? Am I done?"
    • Less notable, but in one episode Gunn threatens his snitch, saying among other things, "Survival of the fittest, bro. And right now you're not lookin' too fit." Said snitch later turns out the Monster of the Week. Ouch.
    • At the start of one episode, Spike and Angel are having a vicious, violent argument... over who'd win in a fight between cavemen and astronauts. The episode's climax has the team's scientist and Adorkable girl, Fred, dying so her body can be used as a shell for a primordial entity. "The cavemen win. Of course the cavemen win."
    • In one episode Lindsey and Angel both shoot biting remarks at one another on how the situation is all a matter of "how you look at the glass".
  • Army Wives: Season 3 "M.I.A."
  • Babylon 5:
    • Season 2, "The Fall of Night": Sheridan is ordered to apologize for opening fire on (and destroying) a Centauri cruiser, despite the fact that the cruiser was first to fire and that the retaliation was in self-defense. When Sheridan asks if the apology would be written for him, he's told it isn't; "as with everything else, it's the thought that counts." Later, Sheridan's practicing an epic Backhanded Apology in front of his mirror, capping it off with those same words.
    • Season 4, "Moments of Transition": In a private moment, Shakiri notes to Neroon that, to a warrior, death is neither good nor bad: simply a release from one's obligations. Later, when Shakiri is reluctant to undergo a Trial by Ordeal, Neroon calls out Shakiri's cowardice by throwing his own words right back at him.
  • Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined):
    • In this miniseries, the newly sworn-in President Roslin tries to convince Adama to leave the fight and run away, taking the fleet with him, saying that if the human race is to survive at all, they have to escape and "we have to start having babies!" Adama doesn't reply and simply leaves the room, but later on he apparently realises the sense in the plan while watching Billy and Dee flirting, causing him to comment under his breath "They'd better start having babies." to the confusion of the people around him.
    • "Is that an order?"
  • Being Human: In the first season finale, Herrick's line, repeated later by George: "You shouldn't have come for Mitchell. It caught my attention."
  • The Big Bang Theory: In the episode "The Bus Pants Utilization", Sheldon is explaining to Leonard why telling Penny about his idea for a smart phone app puts it at risk of being stolen:
    Sheldon: Consider this unlikely, but very plausible scenario: A young woman alone in the big city, her ridiculous dream of becoming an actress lies shattered about her.
    Penny: Hey, wait a minute!
    Howard: Hang on, let's see where he's going.
    Sheldon: Then it hits her— how is she going to survive? She has no prospects, no marketable skills. And then one day, she meets a group of geniuses, and their friend Howard.
    Howard: Hey, I—
    Penny: Hang on, let's see where he's going.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Has an episode in the fourth season where Faith and Buffy switch bodies; practicing for the impersonation of her rival, Faith acts how she believe Buffy does — prissily announcing to herself in the mirror that you can't do that "Because it's wrong". Much later, after living a day in Buffy's life, Faith is about to skip town and escape entirely when she hears of a vampire attack upon a church and, not quite knowing why, heads out to confront them. Battling the vampires, she stops their plan to slaughter the congregation "because it's wrong" — now entirely sincere. (Sarah Michelle Gellar acts the hell out of the latter scene, too, playing beautifully against how much she camped it up in the beginning of the episode where she is prancing about in front of the mirror as Faith doing her Buffy impression.)
    • Another example is Doppelganger!Willow's "Bored now" line, which is echoed by Willow when she undergoes a Face-Heel Turn after Tara's death— the line is spoken to Warren, Tara's killer, right before she flays him alive.
      • And then, in comics, Willow is captured and a resurrected Warren asks her: "Are you bored now?"
      • Another one in same episode: earlier Faith killed Deputy Major despite Buffy's warning "Faith, no!" Here Willow has to cry "Buffy, no!", so Vamp Willow is spared she dies anyway.
    • In "What's My Line, Part 2", Willy manages to pull off the quickest version of this ever: telling Buffy "Here you go. Don't ever say your friend Willy don't come through in a pinch" as he leads her to the church where Spike's crew is about to sacrifice Angel, and then repeating the line about five seconds later to Spike's bounty hunters, indicating that he's selling her out.
    • And then there's Xander and the zombie bomber: who has the most fear?
    • In "Becoming, Part 1," Darla tells Angel to "close your eyes" right before turning him into a vampire. In "Becoming, Part 2," Buffy tells Angel to "close your eyes" right before sending him to Hell.
    • In "The Gift," Spike mockingly refers to Xander as a glorified bricklayer. He uses this in a Bond One-Liner after nailing Glory with a wrecking ball:
    Xander: And the glorified bricklayer picks up a spare.
    • Drusilla repeats Spike's "I'll see that you get strong again" line when she gets her strength back, and effortlessly carries him to safety.
  • Burn Notice:
    • In the episode "No Good Deed", quoth Eve, the villain of the episode, "Remember that part about me letting you live if you helped me rip off my buyer? I Lied." Quoth Westen back at her a minute later, after Fiona's rescue is a success and Eve is on the ground and disarmed, "You remember the part about me helping you getting away with the money and the drive? I lied."
    • Simon, the psychopath whose history was given to Michael in order to burn him repeats the mantra we've heard from Michael since the show started: I want my life back.
  • Castle:
    • In following a lead in the case, Richard Castle has gotten himself involved in an illegal high-stakes 'no limits' poker game with a group of Russian mobsters. During the climactic hand, the lead mobster goes all in and taunts Castle by saying 'what's money to a millionaire, huh?'. Unfortunately for him, Castle wins the hand; as he collects his winnings he cheerfully comments 'what's money to a mobster, huh?' Not surprisingly, the mobster is less amused when his words are thrown back in his face.
    • Towards the end of the series, Castle happens to catch Beckett's new boyfriend asking her out on a date and is obviously unhappy about it; Beckett taunts him about it slightly, confirming that she's going out with him "unless you have a problem with that." Later, Beckett is reconnecting with an old friend, who remarks that she could use some moral support at a dinner she's attending that night — Castle leaps in and asks her out, but not before stopping to say to Beckett "unless you have a problem with that." Beckett, obviously unhappy with the situation, is less amused this time.
  • Charmed: When the sisters confront a Darklighter in one episode:
    Alec: (pointing crossbow at Phoebe) Never used this on a witch before.
    (Alec gets thrown into a bathroom stall, dropping his crossbow)
    Prue: (picks up crossbow) Never used this on a Darklighter before.
  • Cold Case: From the episode Stand Up And Holler: "Don't move a muscle... bitch." First the killer says it to the victim as victim tries to leave, and then Lilly says this to the killer while the latter tries to walk away.
  • Community: Jeff at the beginning of the pilot episode says to Abed (rather condescendingly) "I see your value now." Later, after demonstrating a moment of vulnerability to the group, Abed repeats this phrase to Jeff, without the condescension.
  • Corner Gas: In one episode, Hank's car is impounded and accidentally sold to Wanda. Wanda rubs it in by saying "There are no words to describe how pleased I am with myself." When, to get back at Wanda, Hank gets her car impounded and buys it, Hank attempts to perform an Ironic Echo but fails miserably, mangling the quote to a level of incomprehensibility: "I can't express happy words how I feel right." Which makes it all the more funny because he can't express how pleased with himself he is.
  • Coupling: During the finale of the second series, Steve and Susan's relationship is presented as becoming stale, with Steve always responding to Susan's questions with "It's up to you" and Susan always asking Steve "Where are you going?" At the end, after an argument, Susan storms out of the house. Steve asks "Where are you going?" Susan responds, "It's up to you."
  • Criminal Minds: In the episode "True Night", Johnny McHale is suffering from a psychotic break due to the trauma of being attacked by gang members. During that incident, the gang leader told him "You're not gonna wanna miss this" before killing his pregnant girlfriend. Eventually, Johnny McHale hunts down the gang leader and just before killing him says "You're not gonna wanna miss this."
  • Dark Angel: At the start of the episode "Pollo Loco", Max unconcernedly snaps the neck of a live chicken in order to eat it. At the end of the episode she is forced to kill a violently insane transgenic sibling and uses the same method. Naturally she finds these circumstances considerably more traumatic.
  • Desperate Housewives: The line Orson tells Bree about what people do who love each other is repeated by Bree to Karl as justification for cheating on Orson.
  • Dinosaurs: A scene at the very end of the first episode has Earl telling the Baby while standing at the window that he and his brother and sister were born dinosaurs, "and dinosaurs rule the world...and we're gonna rule the world forever." In the final episode, he admits to Baby that he's screwed up the world to the point where there isn't much of a world left for his children. He also says desperately, "And hey, I'm sure it will all turn out OK. After all, dinosaurs have been on this earth for 150 million years. It's not like we're going to just...disappear." One of the final scenes is Earl at the same window, watching the encroaching Ice Age that will doom the dinosaurs.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In the episode "The Stolen Earth", Harriet Jones keeps introducing herself as "Harriet Jones, former Prime Minister." The listener always responds with "I know who you are." When the Daleks break in, the sequence is repeated, much less humorously.
    Harriet Jones: Harriet Jones, former Prime Minister.
    Dalek: Yes, we know who you are.
    Jones: You know nothing of any human, and that will be your downfall.
    • In several episodes across three series, the Doctor's companions attempt a regional accent, with the Doctor telling them "Don't. Don't do that. Don't." After a traumatic event involving a voice-mimic in "Midnight", the Doctor uses the phrase in a far more serious manner when Donna repeats one of his catchphrases.
    • And in "The End of Time'' Part Two "Get out of the way"
    • Also in The End of Time Part Two, consider Rassilon's introductory scene after he vaporises a dissenting Time Lady. And then think back to the Dalek Emperor's final words to Rose and the Ninth Doctor...
      'I will NOT DIE!'
    • This in a way builds up to the Doctor's own echo. Remembering how his entire civilization had been destroyed centuries ago and how he became more callous in manipulating others, he mused "sometimes I think Time Lords live too long." Later after seeing just how far the other Time Lords would go to live and faced with the choice of sacrificing himself to save Wilf he began to rage at the unfairness of it... only to remind himself "live too long."
    • Also, "You never would... you coward!" echoes a previous episode, "The Doctor's Daughter" when the Doctor tells the man who shot and apparently killed Jenny "I. Never. Would."
      • Another example from The End of Time: The line the Doctor delivers when trying to convince the Master to join him on his travels ("You don't need to own the universe, just see it!") echoes the reply the Doctor gave the Master when the latter asked the Doctor to join him and his megalomanic plans.
    • The episode "Dalek" uses it to Tear Jerking effect, when the titular Dalek quotes the most famous catchphrase of the Doctor Who canon — only to be exterminating itself.
      • From that same episode, Goddard does this to Van Statten. His standard procedure for dismissing someone is having their memory wiped and dumping them on the side of the road in a city starting with the first letter of their last name. Her exact words...
      Goddard: Take him, wipe his memory.
      Van Statten: You can't do this to me! I'm Henry Van Statten!
      Goddard: And by tonight, Henry Van Statten will be a homeless, brainless junkie on the side of the road in St. Louis, Seattle, Sacramento...someplace beginning with S.
    • And a lot earlier in that episode, when the Dalek makes the observation it and the Doctor are the same (that being the last of their kind), a nerve is struck and the Doctor turns it on the Dalek in a very malicious way.
    Dalek: We are the same.
    Doctor: We're not the same! I'm not... no, wait. Maybe we are. You're right, yeah, okay. You've got a point. Because I know what to do. I know what should happen. I know what you deserve. *sadistic grin* Exterminate! *yanks down the shock lever*
    • In "The Waters of Mars", after the Doctor decides that he is the Time Lord Victorious and can do whatever he wants, he rescues the remaining Martian colonists from certain death by evacuating on the TARDIS. When they land back on Earth, the rescued astronauts stumble out of the TARDIS, one exclaiming in horror, "It's ... it's bigger on the inside!" This is a brilliant inversion of the usual exclamations of wonder and excitement given by companions on first seeing the TARDIS, and shows how much darker the Doctor has become.
    • In "Army of Ghosts"/"Doomsday", Yvonne whispers "I did my duty for queen and country" when she is dragged off to be upgraded by Cybermen. The upgrade goes a bit wrong, and she appears later in Cyberman form killing other Cybermen in a You Shall Not Pass moment.
    Cyber-Yvonne: I did my duty. For queen. And country. I did my duty. For queen and country...
    • In Warriors' Gate, the Tharls had enslaved people in the past — "The weak enslave themselves" — and now are slaves themselves. The Doctor gives them an Ironic Echo, and one concedes the justice, but they have suffered enough.
    • The Happiness Patrol has a famous scene where the Doctor talks a sniper out of shooting him by saying "Look me in the eye. Pull the trigger. End my life." This is repeated almost word for word in the later story Battlefield, only this time it's the Doctor being spoken to.
  • Dollhouse:
    • Throughout the series, there is a system of nested passphrases set up between Dolls (people with implanted memories custom-built for any given situation anyone with a ton of money could want) and their handlers. One set of passphrases confirms that the Dolls are working properly after having their memories wiped and restored to a blank, passive, helpless state.
    "Did I fall asleep?"
    "For a little while."
    "Shall I go now?"
    "If you like."
    • For most of the past season, the protagonists have been realizing just how unethical their job is and learned that it may soon lead to The End of the World as We Know It. In the second-to-last episode of the series, the Doll's passphrase system is inverted between the protagonist and The Chessmaster responsible for it all, formerly her own handler, just before he is given an order to blow himself up.
    • The "Do you trust me?/With my life..." passphrase between Doll and handler gets inverted in the second episode, when the handler is wounded and it's up to the Active to save them both.
    • The first episode, "Ghost," has Echo imprinted with a rape victim named Eleanor Penn. She recites a mantra: "You can't fight a ghost," which is supposed to remind her that it's only her memories that are making her Defiled Forever. When she actually confronts her rapist again he smacks her in the face, only for Penn!Echo to defiantly tell him "You can't fight a ghost"—the irony being that the real Penn killed herself years ago, while Echo is her "ghost" getting posthumous revenge.
  • Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman:
    • In the episode "The Campaign," Dr. Mike runs against Jake for Mayor. Because only men are eligible to vote, she seems to have little chance of victory. When Dr. Mike and Dorothy try to get Jake and Loren to consider a deal, Loren replies, "Why should we deal? We're winning."
    • Later, Sully finds a way to make all of the women in town eligible voters as well. Jake and Loren then ask Dr. Mike and Dorothy to consider a deal, and Dr. Mike replies, "Why should we deal? We're winning." Subverted in that Dr. Mike's echoing statement wasn't actually true. Jake tells her, "No, you're not. Even counting all the women's votes, you're still outnumbered." Dorothy reluctantly confirms that Jake is correct. However, Jake and Loren were still willing to make a deal, because it was now possible, however unlikely, that Dr. Mike might win the election.
  • Drop the Dead Donkey: In one episode, Pointy-Haired Boss Gus lambasts the security guard for not asking to see his identity card. The guard protests "But you're the guvner! I know your face!", to which Gus snarls "It doesn't say 'Identity cards must be shown, unless it's the guvner and I know his face'!" Inevitably, by the end of the episode, Gus has lost his card, and the guard won't let him in.
    Gus: But I'm the guvner! You know my face!
    Security Guard: It doesn't say "Identity cards must be shown, unless it's the guvner and I know his face".
  • The Dukes of Hazzard:
    • In the episode "Cool Hands Luke and Bo," Bo and Luke, and later Boss Hogg and Rosco, make the mistake of entering Osage County, ruled by the feared Colonel Claiborne and Sheriff Cathcarte. All four are captured and sent to Claiborne's road prison, on trumped-up charges. When Rosco protests, "You can't arrest me, I'm an officer of the law!", Cathcarte smugly replies, "We can do anything we want! This is our county now!"
    • In the climax of the episode, the four escape and race toward Hazzard, with Claiborne and Cathcarte in pursuit. The chase ends in a car crash. As everyone tries to clear their heads, Bo and Luke grin and point out that they've crossed the county line, and are now in Hazzard. As Boss Hogg and Rosco gleefully arrest their former tormentors, Cathcarte protests, "You can't arrest me, I'm an officer of the law!" and Rosco smugly replies, "We can do anything we want! This is our county now!"
  • Earth: Final Conflict:
    William Boone: It was you. You killed my wife.
    Agent Ronald Sandoval: You don't have to thank me.
    A few episodes later Sandoval's CVI is breaking down and the resistance needs to re-implant him with a new one to keep up Boone's cover.
    Agent Ronald Sandoval: Where's my wife?! Where's Dee Dee?!?
    William Boone: I can assure you that she felt no pain. Beat You don't have to thank me.
    • He's lying; she's still alive, but Boone wanted Sandoval to feel the pain that he felt before the CVI took hold.
  • Eureka: Another rather quick ironic echo comes from an episode, after Beverly is caught after accidentally murdering Kim while attempting to sabotage an experiment, in which Allison asks, "Why, Beverly? Why would you betray your own government? What could possibly be so important?" She then hints that if Beverly tells her everything she knows about the artifact, she'll consider using her influence to get her out of the rather deep trouble she's in. Beverly throws the exact same line back in Allison's face - only the name is changed. (The audience doesn't yet know why Beverly did it, but knows exactly why Allison is.)
  • Family Matters:
    • Done to applause in Season 3, Episode 19, "Woman of the People". Laura runs against Cassie Lynn Nubbles as class president, and the latter tries hard to find some dirt on her. When Laura falls into Steve's arms, she has her photographer friend Becky Sue snap pictures of them.
    Cassie Lynn: Look, Becky Sue. Poor Laura has worked so hard, and now she's gonna have to drop out of the race.
    Laura: What are you talking about?
    Cassie Lynn: Well, we just got some very hot photos of you being romanced by the prince of passion, here.
    Steve: What? But she just slipped and I caught her, that's all.
    Cassie Lynn: Becky Sue, we should put those pictures in the school paper!
    Becky Sue: (sarcastically) Oh, we couldn't do that. Everyone would think that Laura's in love with Steve Urkel, and no one would vote for her.
    (Cassie Lynn and Becky Sue gasp and giggle)
    Steve: But I told you, I just caught her, that's all!
    Cassie Lynn: That may be what happened, but that won't be what people believe. They just love juicy gossip.
    • Steve takes matters into his own hands following this, getting Cassie Lynn alone and then having Eddie snap pictures of them as he kisses her dramatically. This exchange follows:
    Steve: Why, I can see the headlines now! "Nubbles Sucks Face with Nerd!"
    Cassie Lynn: You wouldn't.
    Steve: Would.
    Cassie Lynn: You couldn't.
    Steve: Could.
    Cassie Lynn: But, it's a lie! You kissed me. I didn't kiss you.
    Steve: Well, that may be what happened, but it won't be what the people believe. People just love juicy gossip!
    • Three guesses as to who won the election after that.
  • Farscape:
    • The episode "Vitas Mortis" has an Ironic Echo Type 1 exchange between Aeryn and Chiana: part one has Chiana doing the laundry in a knee-deep basin of Moya's amnexus fluids, refusing to wash Aeryn's clothes with the statement "Since when did I become your servant?" Part two has Chiana trapped in solidified amnexus fluid, and Aeryn gleefully refusing to help her, throwing "Since when did I become your servant?" back in her face.
    • Type 2 example: in "Unrealised Reality", the Time Master Einstein introduces himself to Crichton by saying "Time" five or six times. Crichton mockingly responds with a game of "finish the sentence" before trying and failing to kill him. When they next meet in "Peacekeeper Wars", Crichton's taken the advice Einstein gave him that episode to heart, and when they play the wordgame again, he acknowledges the possible wormhole-induced disaster that he was warned of:
    Einstein: Time.
    Crichton: Flies.
    Einstein: Time.
    Crichton: Bandits.
    Einstein: Time.
    Crichton: Wounds all heels.
    Einstein: Time.
    Crichton: (singing) Rosemary and—
    Einstein: Time?
    Crichton: (solemnly) Time ends.
    • In the episode "Liars Guns And Money Part 1", Crichton leaves Scorpius to die in the Shadow Depository, while singing The Star-Spangled Banner as a form of Psychic Static. Two episodes later, Scorpius briefly hums a verse of the song before entering the Diagnosan's surgery, taking the neurochip and leaving Crichton paralyzed and incoherent.
  • Firefly:
    • In the episode "War Stories", an early scene has Kaylee proclaiming "No power in the 'verse can stop me!" after playfully wrestling an apple from River. Much later in the episode, River says the same line to a shocked Kaylee after coldly killing three men that Kaylee was unable to shoot at. The same episode also has a much looser ironic echo, in that two separate characters (Book and Niska) ruminate over the works of Shan Yu.
    • The episode "Jaynestown" comes with a subplot where the local magistrate hires Inara to sleep with his son, because he's 26 years old and "not yet a man!" So they do the deed and the son finds himself disappointed that nothing, apparently, has changed. Inara tells him that whatever his father thinks, having sex has nothing to do with being a man — what's important is what you do with yourself, sex or no. At the end of the episode, the heroes are very nearly caught because the magistrate has a landlock on Serenity, until suddenly the landlock vanishes. Cut to the magistrate's home, as the magistrate berates his son for daring to defy him by lifting the landlock. His son just gives him a smug look and says, "Well, father, you wanted to make a man of me. I guess it worked."
  • Frasier: Possibly one of the quickest Ironic Echoes ever:
    Frasier: They spoke once and Dad said that she wasn't his type. So, it's over - done! He's completely cut her out of his life. I just don't understand what would make him do that.
    Niles: Oh, who knows why anybody does anything?
    Frasier: Remind me again what you do for a living? (Beat) You see the thing is, it was just one phone call. How can anyone make a sound judgment about another person on the basis of one phone call?
    Niles: Remind me again what it is you do for a living?
  • Heroes: After Hiro's countless "Comes Great Responsibility" quotes, Ando repeats many of them back at him to enlist him to help Hope.
  • House:
    • The season three premiere features an irate Cuddy denying one of House's odd treatments by ranting, "Twenty-four times a year you come in here telling me you can help someone, only you never put it that way. Instead you say, 'This guy's pancreas is going to explode because his brain is on fire!'" Later, when House thinks he's worked out what's wrong with the guy, he says, "See? His brain really is on fire," that being a colloquial but reasonably accurate summary of what the problem appears to be.
    • In another third season episode ("Informed Consent"), House tries to scare his patient from refusing tests by describing how he'll die. Later, the patient parrots House's words back to him arguing that he should be free to kill himself, because he'll die as House describes while being tested.
    House: Fine; you don't help us, we don't help you. Your lungs slowly fill with fluid. You gasp to catch every breath but never can. Every breath is petrifying. It'll be slow, painful, torturous.
    • 24 hours and many tests later...
    Patient: My lungs will slowly fill with fluid. I'll gasp to catch every breath but never can. Every breath will be petrifying. It'll be slow, painful, torturous. You really gonna let me die like that?
    • At one point during "Damned If You Do", Cuddy takes House off Sister Augustine's case because she thinks he gave her a higher dosage of epinephrine by mistake. ("I am going to do you the biggest favor one doctor can do for another. I am going to stop you from killing your patient.") When House later discovers that Augustine has been drinking figwort tea, which interacted with the epinephrine and caused the heart attack, it's the first thing he says to her.
    • In "Nobody's Fault" House comments that his patient suddenly coughing up blood was when the case became "interesting". The person evaluating his behavior points out the odd use of the word when his patient is in pain. House asks if that's bad, and receives the answer "It's interesting."
  • How I Met Your Mother: It's a Running Gag that Barney may or may not have slept with Ted's mother. In one later episode, there's an additional Running Gag where he denies it, winks, and then denies having winked. When he later demands that Ted stop sleeping with his sister, Ted responds in exactly the same way. Trying to be clever, he asks Carly to stop instead, but she just follows Ted's lead.
    • Early on in season 9 episode "Platonish", Barney says "I don't want to win, I want to keep playing!" in regards to continuing to accept silly challenges from Lily and Robin. Near the end, the Mother, after seeing through how Barney was upset and heartbroken over Robin, the former asked Barney, "Do you want to keep playing or do you want to win?". Barney then answers, "I want to win," in regards to winning Robin.
    • In “Mary the Paralegal”, Barney introduces Ted to Mary, a beautiful woman whom Barney has everyone believe is a prostitute. Barney later suggests that the two of them get a room that he already paid for. He then tells the others that Mary isn’t really a prostitute, which causes all of them to be shocked and him to say “Come on! If you don’t laugh, it just seems mean!”. When Ted finds out the truth (after embarrassing himself in front of Mary) he decides to take advantage of all the perks that come with the room Barney paid for (including massages and a very expensive bottle of champagne), shocking Barney and prompting Marshall to say: “Come on! If you don’t laugh, it just seems mean!”.
  • Human Target: In the finale, a rogue CIA agent who'd tried to have Chance and his team killed found out about Guerrero's son while searching for leverage. Later, after Guerrero's beaten him up and handcuffed him to the steering wheel of a car he's rigged to explode, the agent justifies his actions with "Look, it was nothing personal, it was just business." As Guerrero walks away from the car, he mutters "Nothing personal, dude. Just business." a moment before the agent starts the ignition and blows up.
  • Hustle: Quoth The Mark, owner of a largescale nasty loan shark business, in the episode "Old Sparks Come New", "Only a moron lets hard-earned cash slip between their fingers. They deserve everything they got." And later on, "A contract's a contract; it's either legal or it isn't." After conning her out of 500 grand, the team comes back to gloat, and quotes both of those statements back at her.
  • I Carly: The "iStill Psycho" episode features Nora, and her mother, and her father, continuously repeating to the iCarly gang after making it clear that they were keeping them there for Nora's birthday party that they would be staying, "forever...and ever...and ever...and ever...and ever..." in a creepy, monotonic unison. Once the iCarlys have been rescued, Nora wakes up from her beating and asks what's going on. Carly, Sam, and Freddie savor saying that she and her parents are going to prison, "forever...and ever...and ever...and ever..."
  • John Adams: In this HBO Mini Series, for most of the series Adams is told by members of the Continental Congress and the first Congress of the United States to "Sit Down" and stop talking. After he's elected the second President of the United States, his wife Abigail is sweeping up the debris in the executive residence and Adams is sitting in a chair. Abigail tells him, "Stand Up".
  • Just Shoot Me!: Subverted Trope in one episode. In an early scene in which Nina refers to something non-ironic as ironic, Maya says, "It's not ironic; it's just what happened." In a later scene, something truly ironic happens and when Maya calls it ironic, Nina replies, "It's not ironic; it's just what happened."
  • Law & Order: A suspect in a kidnapping-homicide flees to Ontario, is arrested, and during the extradition hearing the defense attorney argues that, because the death penalty is not off the table, and Canada is opposed to it, the judge should not allow the extradition. The judge questions whether that would make Canada a haven for criminals fleeing from capital crimes, and the attorney, slightly obnoxiously, insists that is purely a theoretical issue which shouldn't affect the judge's determination. Then the American ADA states that they do not want to extradite the man for kidnapping and murder, but for the car theft that was part of the kidnapping and murder, which is, of course, not a capital crime. The defense attorney protests that as soon as they have the man, they'll charge him with the more serious crimes. With a grin, the judge responds that such an event is a purely theoretical issue which shouldn't affect his determination.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Once featured a semi-recurring rapist who was taunted his victims with the question "Is that how you like it?" John Munch deadpanned the same question when they finally arrested him.
  • Law & Order: UK: A similar scene. After raping Alesha, Dr. Merrick tauntingly asks her "Didn't that feel good?" The rest of the team hears this will reviewing the tape of the attack. As Matt handcuffs Merrick while he and Ronnie arrest him, Merrick whines, "You're hurting me!", to which Matt snarls in response, "Yeah, I know. Didn't that feel good?"
  • Leverage:
    • "My name is Nate Ford, and I am a thief."
    • Leverage seems to be good for these. The season one finale starts out with a scene that echoes the beginning of the previous episode, with Nate parroting the villain's line from that episode — "Are you here to kill me?"
      • And then again at the end of the episode. At the start, the villain, an insurance agent, has a smug rant about how you can't let personal feelings get in the way of business and how he has a responsibility to his shareholders. After the heist, Nate Ford shouts the exact same rant back at the insurance agent while simultaneously disarming him and bankrupting him.
  • Lois and Clark: In the first episode, Lex Luthor gives Lois Lane and Clark Kent an interview from his penthouse office at the Lexcorp Building, saying, "I like being at the highest spot in the city. I like knowing that everyone in Metropolis has to look up to see me." Later, when Superman confronts Lex to let him know he would be watching him, Superman smiles and says before flying away, "And if you ever need to find me, just look up."
  • LOST:
    • In early season 2, Desmond leaves Jack in a flashback, saying, "See you in another life, Brother." In the season 4 finale, as they part, Jack says the same line to Desmond.
    • It's all over the place in the final season.
    • Lost loves repeating lines in general, though not always ironically. Some of the scenes in the last few episodes were almost as if the writers just didn't want to come up new lines (but they made up for it with self-referential meaningfulness).
    • "He was standing over his dead body with a bloody dagger. So yeah, I'm pretty damn sure."
  • Masters of Horror: In the episode "Incident On and Off a Mountain Road", Ellen echoes the killer Moonface's signature "Sssshhhh...!" when she shoots Buddy at the end.
  • My So-Called Life: "Life of Brian": Jordan tells Angela he doesn't believe in fate; "whatever happens, happens." She says she respects that. Later at the dance, Brian tells Angela he doesn't believe in fate; "Whatever happens, happens." She calls it the stupidest thing she ever heard.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: A recurring riff, where the guys will intone a film's title in a pompous, mock-important tone of voice when it's not living up to its premise. Examples include "Manos" The Hands of Fate (during the long, boring sequences), Horrors of Spider Island (when it's not focusing on horror or spiders), and Pumaman (when the titular hero isn't particularly heroic).
  • Not Going Out: The lesbian episode has Lee inviting around a lesbian couple who have just moved in, justifying it as "offering a welcome hand of friendship". Later, when one of the women and Lucy spend the rest of the evening together, she explains that it's not romantic, but her "offering a welcome hand of friendship". It's lampshaded by Lee:
    Lee: Alright, you've made your point.
    Lucy: What?
    Lee: I wasn't talking to you, I was talking to God.
  • The Office (US): When Michael is fired for starting a competing company and tries to say his goodbyes, Charles tells him "No more, Michael. You're done." However, when Michael gets his job back and Charles is sent back to corporate in the ensuing deal, Michael cuts off his goodbye with "No. You're done."
  • Once Upon a Time: This, Ironic Echo Cuts, Meaningful Echoes, and pretty much any other echo trope out there; every episode is half past and half present, meaning that there's an example at least Once per Episode.
  • One Foot in the Grave: The message on Margaret's mother's answering machine is along the lines of "Victor? Margaret? I'm sorry that I'm not here now, but it's because I'm somewhere else. I say, I'm somewhere else. But I expect you'll both be up here soon, won't you? So I'll see you then. Hello?" At first, this is just somewhat charming and funny, the result of her being an old woman who doesn't really understand how the machine works. Then she dies. Now read it again.
  • Only Fools and Horses: When stolid constable Terry Hoskins questions his Dirty Cop boss DI Slater, Slater snaps "It's not your job to think". Later, when he's on the point of being arrested, and offers Hoskins a cut, he ask Hoskins to think about it. Hoskins replies "It's not my job to think".
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In the episode "Better Luck Next Time", two evil Body Surfing aliens named Gerard and Kimble - one of whom was revealed as the true form of Jack the Ripper in the episode this one is a sequel to - use "Better luck next time" as a catchphrase, usually when killing or screwing someone over. At the end of the episode, they realize they are in big trouble because both of their human hosts are mortally wounded and the only nearby human is a policewoman named Terry:
    Gerard: Her body is mine!
    Kimble: Wait! Where am I supposed to go!?
    Terry: Nowhere! Game over, better luck next time. (points her gun at her head and fires)
  • Person of Interest: In one flashback scene in "Flesh and Blood", when Elias' father decides to have some of his men kill his illegitimate son, he has them tell Elias that he's sorry that he couldn't be there at the end. At the end of the episode, Elias calls his father and half brother and tells them that he's sorry that he couldn't be there at the end. Then the car they're in explodes.
  • Pretty Little Liars: Emily field was deep into the closet while her friend Hanna had been told what she was.
    Emily: Why did you think I would take Maya to the dance?
    Hanna: What?
    Emily: You thought I wanted her as my date. Why?
    Hanna: “A” sent me a picture of you and Maya kissing. So, can I just ask — You took Toby to the dance, but then you took that picture with Maya?
    Emily: [Pregnant paus] ... I think I know what I want. ... But if I say yes to Maya, everything would change. You know it would.
    Hanna: Yeah, it would. You wouldn’t have to pretend you’re someone you’re not.
    ...
    About 20 episodes later when Emily had gone trough all kind of hell because her own closet trauma, talking with a closeted friend while trying to convince her to come out:
    Paige: If I say it out loud... if I say.... that I am Gay (gasps) ... the whole world is going to change!
    Emily: [smiles wistfully] Yeah. It will.
  • Queer as Folk: Melanie and Lindsay are getting married, and Michael and Ted have decided to buy a joint wedding gift, only Michael doesn't have any money, so Ted says he'll pay for it. Then Ted has to leave, so he gives Michael the money and tells him to buy something nice. Michael ends up buying an African statue from someone selling things off a blanket at a street corner. When Ted sees it, he tells Michael to take it back because it's hideous (it is), and Michael says he can't because he got it off a blanket. This starts a fight which ends with Ted saying something insulting, prompting Michael to tell him to take it back, to which Ted responds by shouting: "I can't! I got it off a blanket!"
  • Red Dwarf: In the second episode, Lister discovers that, at some point in the future, he will become a father. He admits he doesn't know how that's possible — there are no living women in the known universe — but says it'll be fun finding out. Two series later, Lister is impregnated in a mirror universe where reproductive roles are flipped. Rimmer gleefully quotes his line about how it would be fun.
    • Also from the second episode, when Rimmer is moping that he's dead, Lister reassures him that "being dead isn't the handicap it used to be in the olden days". Later in the episode, when it seems like Lister will die, Rimmer gleefully recites the line back to him.
  • Revolution:
    • What Rachel says to Aaron, in "Home", after Aaron found his ex-wife, Priscilla:
    Rachel: You think that you'll apologize, and everything will be okay.
    • In "The Love Boat", Miles Matheson has Monroe militia Major Pete Bowers at his mercy, and comments on the fact that Pete got captured so easily, saying that he thought he taught Pete better than that. When he gives Pete the chance to tell him information on Sebastian Monroe, Pete responds that he's not a traitor and that Miles taught him better than that.
  • The Sarah Connor Chronicles:
    • Has two, both courtesy of Cameron. The first appears in the third episode, "The Turk," where John explains to Cameron that she needs to blend in, telling her "Don't be a freak." Later on, when he tries to rescue a girl who commits suicide by jumping off the roof of the gym, she throws the same words back in his face while physically restraining him, since trying to rescue her would draw attention to him.
    • The second instance is in the second season episode "Ourselves Alone," in which Cameron has the line "What am I going to do with you?" The first time she says it, she's talking to a pigeon that's taken up a nest in the chimney. She accidentally kills it when her hand malfunctions. The next time she says the line, it's to Riley, which puts it in a much darker context and creates a legitimate fear in the viewer that Cameron is actually going to kill her. She doesn't, but Riley's dead by the end of the episode anyway.
  • Scrubs:
    • Doctor Cox is trying to find a pediatrician for Jack, and teases one potential doctor for talking to his patients through puppets (calling them dolls). "It's not a doll, it's a collectible!" is echoed when Cox is holding his favorite puppet hostage, and the pediatrician begs him to let the puppet go. "It's just a doll!" "No, David, it's a collectible."
    • In a similar scenario, Dr. Cox needs to find a pediatrician to give his daughter Jennifer Dylan a shot. Earlier he had told his interns to buckle down when a patient didn't want to be treated by interns, and tell them "I am your doctor, deal with it!" Later, when he needs someone for his daughter, the interns reply that they were asked to give the shot, and when Dr. Cox protests, they reply with "We are your doctors, deal with it!" Subverted in that they then act very incompetent, leading Dr. Cox to change his mind before they can give the shot.
      • Possibly double-subverted in that we don't quite see who it was that ends up giving the shot, but it looks from the back like one of the interns.
    • Also, when J.D. feels responsible for a patient's death, and Dr. Cox explains it as a slippery slope and when you start going down that line, "you never come back." Later, when Cox's hasty actions kill three patients (one of which could've waited another month), J.D. states "Once you go down that road, you never come back." Cox then flatly states "Yeah... you're right," and walks out the door, not planning to come back.
  • Smallville:
    • In Season 3's Delete, computer genius Molly asks Lex Luthor how he found her. He shrugs and says "Birds of a feather." Later, when Clark walks in to search for the CD containing the program she's been using to hurt his friends, Lex has already surreptitiously stolen it. When Molly responds with shock and asks "How did you get that?" he replies "Birds of a feather."
  • Sons of Anarchy: In the season 4 premiere, at a meeting between SAMCRO and The Mafiya, Mafiya leader Putlova inquires about Jax's recovery from the prison shivving he had ordered in retaliation for SAMCRO's double-cross last season. Jax's response is "Fine. Just business, right?" Jax repeats the "Just business" part at the end of the episode after stabbing Putlova to death.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • Played with between series. Upon meeting their android commander, Data for the first time, and hearing of his desire to be human, Will Riker ascribes him the nickname "Pinocchio". In the next series, when Riker is forced into playing against Data in a court case which could, if Data loses, very well see him dismantled beyond repair (i.e. killed), he plays out a devastating scene culminating in switching Data off:
    Riker: Pinocchio is broken. Its strings have been cut.
    • Consider that this is, effectively, the same as knocking a person unconscious when they're sitting at a table minding their own business. Worse, in fact, given that turning him off effectively renders Data dead...
    • Done again in "Descent, Part II". A young ensign points out that their tactical officer's calculations, if wrong, would bring them crashing into a planet's atmosphere, and the officer says, "Well then I'll just have to make sure my calculations are correct, Ensign." Later on in the episode, when that ensign figures out how to use a solar eruption to destroy a Borg ship, the tactical officer points out that the flare could destroy them as well. The ensign snaps back, "Well then I'll just have to make sure my calculations are correct, Lieutenant." Rimshot!
    • In the episode "The Most Toys" Data is held captive by an eccentric collector named Kivas Fajo. In order to force Data to accede to Fajo's desires Fajo threatens and eventually kills a crewmember of his trade vessel. After doing so, Fajo taunts Data for the android's inability to retaliate over the death:
    Fajo: If only you could feel rage over Varria's death... feel the need for revenge... then maybe you could fire. But you're only an android.
    • Then, after Fajo is placed in custody for his crimes and has his extensive illegally obtained collection returned to their respective owners, Data visits Fajo in the brig. Fajo bitterly remarks over how he has lost everything and is now in Data's collection, which he assumes gives Data "great pleasure." To which Data replies:
    Data: No sir, it does not. I do not feel pleasure. I am only an android.
    • Riker delivers a particularly ripping one to Captain Jellico in "Chain of Command Pt 2"
    Jellico: Let's drop the ranks for a minute. I don't like you. I think you're insubordinate, arrogant, willful, and I don't think you're a particularly good First Officer...but you are also the best pilot on this ship.
    Riker: ...Well, now that the ranks are dropped, Captain, I don't like you, either. You ARE arrogant, and closed-minded. You need to control everything and everyone. You don't provide an atmosphere of trust, and you don't inspire these people to go out of their way for you. You've got everybody wound up so tight, there's no joy in anything. And I don't think you're a particularly good Captain.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series: The androids of Mudd's Planet reply to any question they are unwilling to answer with "I am not programmed to respond in that area." As central-control android Norman succumbs to the liar paradox, Kirk echoes that phrase back at him when he desperately asks for an explanation.
  • Supernatural:
    • In Dean's Dream Sequence in "Dream a Little Dream of Me" when he meets his doppelganger, he tries to snap his fingers to get himself out. Doesn't work. At the end of the episode, just after he says he doesn't want to die, the same shot appears. Except it's Evil!Dean this time, with black eyes and a huge smile, doing the clicking and ending the dream.
    • Earlier, Dean mentioned to Sam that their mom often told Dean that angels are watching over him. It would be the last words she ever said to him. Then, came season 5 and turns out Michael and the rest of the angels saved Mary's life so she could give birth to Dean, who is Michael's vessel. Mary commenting how angels are watching over them changed a once harmless, almost heartwarming line into something much more eerie and ironic.
      • As of 8x08, Cas outright says "I'll watch over you." To Dean.
  • That '70s Show: In the May the Farce Be with You episode, Donna gets mad when Eric says David, the Vader character, has only been spending so much time with her talking to her, and listening and sharing ideas ("What's that about!?") because he wants to see her naked. In a later argument, Donna's trying to prove him wrong, and David gives the exact same examples Eric did, ending with "What's that about!?" in the same tone as Eric.
  • On The Thin Blue Line when Fowler finally settles the ethical dilemma that's been troubling him over the Honey Trap that Grim has set up and declares he wants no further part in the operation, Grim gloatingly replies that he'll hold Fowler to his promise that Grim will get 'full and complete credit' for the operation. Then, Habib drags the mark in, appearing to validate Grim — until the mark points out that he's seen through Habib and has in fact dragged her in as part of a citizen's arrest. Fowler decides it a good time to remind Grim that he's now taking 'full and complete credit' for the operation.
  • Torchwood: In the episode "Everything Changes", Gwen tells Rhys to "say you forgive me" after she's told him she's working an extra shift at her police job. In "Combat" she says the same words after confessing to him that she's been having an affair.
  • The Twilight Zone (the 1980s revival): A poor couple is offered a box with a button. If they push it, they get a bunch of money. Oh yeah, and someone they don't know will die. Eventually, they push it, they get the money, and the box is taken away. To be given to someone they don't know.
  • The Vampire Diaries: Right before Katherine turns Caroline, she says "Hello, Caroline. Good-bye, Caroline." Later on, Caroline manages to trick Katherine into entering a room that has a spell placed on it so she can't get out. Stefan reveals himself with a stake in his hand, and says "Hello, Katherine". Caroline says "Good-bye, Katherine" before leaving.
  • Veronica Mars: The title character's father, Keith, uses the line 'who's your daddy?' near the start of the first episode, which is answered by Veronica saying she hates him saying that. The line is almost forgotten until the end of the story arc, when at the end of the final episode Keith (on his way to hospital, having just saved her life) asks her 'who's your daddy' and gets the tearful response 'you are' - it's their version of an 'I love you'. It's made even more heartwarming by the fact that for awhile, they weren't sure if he really was her father, and they had just recently found out that he was.
  • Victorious: In one episode, there is a slight example of Ironic Echo. Beck and Tori nearly kiss, but Tori pulls away because she doesn't want to be the girl who kisses Jade's ex-boyfriend, even though Jad has never done anything nice to Tori. Tori says, "I can't do that to a friend." Little does she know that Jade has watched the entire scene on a webcam. Now, Tori used to have the spotlight for this major event, but it was taken away from her and was given to Jade. Jade feels shocked after seeing the scene on the computer. When Tori comes to watch Jde perform and offer moral support, Jade says that this is all wrong, that this was supposed to be Tori's time to shine. Jade then let's Tori perform instead of herself, saying, "I can't do that to a friend". This is one of the very few times Jade does something nice for Tori.
  • Yes, Minister: Sir Humphrey makes a big show of chewing Bernard out for allowing the Prime Minister's constituency agent into Number Ten without a proper pass, despite Bernard's assurance that the constituency agent is known and recognised by the police and staff; he orders Bernard to ensure that all who enter Number Ten via the front door must either have a proper pass, an appointment or must be otherwise cleared. Humphrey's pomposity comes back to bite him later in the episode when he's paranoid about his job because he's gradually being denied entry to Number Ten; he attempts to enter via the front door, but the policeman guarding the door stops him from entering because he has no appointment, no Number Ten pass and Bernard cannot be found to clear him.

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