Common in animated shows, the Ad Break Double Take is an establishing shot or establishing line that appears on both
sides of a commercial break; the show being wound back a few seconds to allow the scene to be reintroduced to the viewer in a coherent fashion. These repeated scenes are also often used as Padding
to fill out an episode's running time and, particularly in the case of hour-long reality shows, can be used to disguise the fact that not much actually happens in a given episode.
Sometimes the scenes on both sides of the break are identical, but some shows change the second part by giving the repeated line to another character, or having them rephrase it. To the outside observer, the Ad Break Double Take thus looks like the hero standing calmly waiting to be decapitated while saying "This doesn't look too good." followed by a pause and then "Man, this is baaad!". In extreme cases, an unexpected change in continuity that wasn't present before the break may suddenly work in the heroes' favor, in which case you have a Cliffhanger Copout
characters might be able to sense the slight stitch in time and take advantage of it (much to the confusion of the unAware villains), but it's hardly necessary: the heroes will always recover from the threat in plenty of time. Genre Savvy
types sometimes hang a lampshade
on the repeated line with a yell of "I know we're in trouble, stop saying that!".
It's usually not edited out when released for home video or syndicates that use less commercial breaks than the original broadcaster. Unless commercial breaks are punctuated by an Eye Catch
, this leads to odd situations where a dramatic line is uttered, fade to black, fade back in, then the dramatic line is uttered again.
See also: Act Break
and Commercial Break Cliffhanger
- Done a few times in Samurai Pizza Cats. One of the Clip Show episodes parodied this, by having the repeating clips be the result of a projector fault.
- Common in 80s Strontium Dog, where the first panel of each installment would often be a repeat of the previous week's final panel.
- Lampshaded in Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew!, when one comic begins with the same dialogue from just before the end of the previous issue, drawn from a different angle and labeled "At the risk of repeating ourselves..."
Live Action TV
- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang follows up its intermission with a replay of the scene preceding it.
- Fox Family airing of Mumfie's Quest played the scene where Whale blows to take Mumfie, Scarecrow and Pinkey to the island, the scene where Eel recharges her batteries, and the scene where Mumfie goes to the holding cell before and after ad breaks.
- Project Runway: during runway elimination.
- The Biggest Loser: during weigh-ins, repeatedly.
- Human Target (the latest one) likes this trope, and oftentimes the double-take is paraphrased a bit.
- How I Met Your Mother has very few commercial breaks without the double take.
- Ice Road Truckers exemplifies this trope. In the tense seconds leading up to the commercial break, it will frequently look like some unexpected event that caught a driver off guard is about to lead them to their death at the bottom of a frozen lake or an icy cliff. Cut to commercial, come back, and we find out that there's a loose bolt on one of their back wheels or something.
- Storage Wars has two versions of this: a cliffhanger during bidding that leaves viewers wondering if, say, Jarrod will get the locker or Dave will throw in a last-second bid; and the setup for a reveal - for example, Barry looks in the box and exclaims "Whoa, check THIS out!"... cut to commercial... show comes back, we see what was in the box. In both instances the scene-ending dialogue is repeated upon rejoining.
- Any Food Network reality series, including Restaurant: Impossible and Mystery Diners which usually seem to imply some kind of takedown or confrontation is about to take place…only for a big letdown in the end when the confrontee agrees with the observation made.
- Similarly, this is a common tactic on shows featuring Gordon Ramsay, particularly the more dramatic ones like Hell's Kitchen. Lamented by many viewers, given the general over-use of certain reality-TV conventions on these series.
- Happens all the time in Supernatural, esp if the Winchester boys fall through windows or the screen goes white.
- Doctor Who had a variation of this throughout the classic era. As each individual story was told across several episodes (with two exceptions), each episode within a story except the last one would end in a cliffhanger. The following episode would start by repeating the cliffhanger, revealing the resolution, then continuing on with the story. The cliffhanger was to make the audience want to come back, the repeat was to remind the audience why they came back.
- In Tales of Monkey Island, at the end of episode 1 and beginning of episode 2, Morgan Le Flay apparently says "Guybrush Threepwood! I've been waiting a long time for this!" twice, as his response is different in each episode.
- Being a love letter to Anime, Asura's Wrath uses this after returning from a loading screen (which look like an Eye Catch themselves).
- South Park:
- Stan aiming a gun at a disguised Cartman in "Volcano".
- The bus splitting in two and falling off a cliff in "City on the Edge of Forever".
- Done many times in The Simpsons:
- The season 3 episode "Separate Vocations" spoofs this when Bart is about to be run down by a car. After the break, the action returns with the announcement of "Act II: Death drives a stick" and Snake repeats his cry of "See you in hell, punk!"
- The season 15 episode "Simple Simpson" repeats Homer's unmasking. In fact, this trope often goes hand-in-hand with unmasking, especially in Western Animation.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: Particularly obvious with Momo's introduction.
- Happens in several The Land Before Time movies, which is OK when you watch them on TV, but especially awkward when you watch them on video.