Thetis:As you know, we are Describing the trope As You Know Here.
Why then, child, do you lament? What sorrow has come to your heart now? Tell me, do not hide it in your mind, and we shall both know. Achilleus:
You know; since you know why must I tell you all this?
This is a form of exposition
where one character explains to another something that they both know, but the audience doesn't or may have forgotten.
"As you know, Jennifer, my Death Ray depends on codfish balls."
In discussions of science fiction, this is often "As You Know, Bob" (abbreviated AYKB), or occasionally, "Tell me, Professor [about this marvelous invention we all use every day and have no reason to be talking about except to inform the audience]"
. Other common variations involve a newspaper reporter sent to cover events, or conversation between two supporting characters — hence another name
, "maid and butler dialogue".
refers to the fantasy fiction version as the "As you know, your father, the king..." speech.
This is also a common feature of pilot episodes, where characters' backgrounds and relationships need to be established for the first time. Likewise, when new characters are introduced or the writers believe a reminder is in order, characters will explicitly refer to each other by name during a regular conversation, when this is rarely done in real life: "Say, Alice, how are you enjoying your coffee?" "Why, it's delicious, Bob, thanks for asking. How are you coming along, Carol?"
This is also quite common on medical drama shows like ER
, and Grey's Anatomy
, where common medical phenomena and simple procedures must be explained to the laymen in the audience. In most cases, this is achieved by explaining the disease or procedure to an intern or non-professional character
On some shows, characters will "As You Know" in order to provide information that was already provided in a previous episode (that viewers might have missed) or even earlier in the show
(for those who just tuned in), to the great annoyance of dedicated fans. (e.g. Just Tuned In: "Remember, Bob, you only have 20 minutes to defuse the bomb..." or Previous Episode: "Jane is really mad at you for running over her dog last week, isn't she?") Soap operas or adventure-type shows will often circumvent this with a "When we last left our heroes
" recap at the beginning of each two-parter.
This may also happen with solitary characters (in thought rather than in speech), who, apparently, have such bad memory problems that they have to constantly remind themselves what they're doing right now and what happened in the near past.
Although writers try to avoid this by using The Watson
(since not explaining anything sometimes results in the audience being too busy trying to figure out what's going on to enjoy the show), using this trope is not always a bad thing.
Also, the most common alternative is to give the protagonist amnesia
so he doesn't
know, which isn't really considered a better option. The Idiot Hero
and Fish out of Water
are also acceptable tropes to employ to make this trope more believable. A third form is to have two characters comparing information to each be sure that the other does in fact know. A fourth is to have the characters have an argument, since arguments are among the few real-life situations in which people remind each other of things they both already know.note Breaking the Fourth Wall
to have the characters know they are informing the audience is very old, but obviously suitable only for broadly comic works.
It was ridiculously common in post-World War II literature, to the point that readers expected it and could become confused if the writer left it out. This might be the most universal trope found in postwar literature; you find it in works by everyone from George Orwell
to Barbara Cartland to Rex Stout. (One wonders which one of the three would be most insulted by that grouping.)
Generally more acceptable when dealing with characters who are in situations where exposition is actually going on in-universe, e.g. military briefings or scientific lectures. In these cases, the phrase is less used to explain something and more to bring focus to a particular fact. ("As you know, we lost contact with Delta Squad this morning..." or "As you may know, the proton has a mass of...")
See also: Mr. Exposition
, The Watson
, Captain Obvious
, Viewers Are Morons
. A subtrope of Show, Don't Tell
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Anime & Manga
- '80s anime series The Mysterious Cities of Gold employed this trope regularly. This was mostly because, unlike many other '80s cartoons, it featured an on-going storyline that frequently built upon events from previous episodes. Children couldn't be expected to watch a show that patiently, so cue many long conversations with characters telling each other "Yes, you may remember the golden condor we discovered underneath the Inca ruins," etc., etc. This trope is only present in the English version, however; in the original French (the show is a France/Japan co-production and the writing team was French) characters never use this trope. At best it's them applying what they previously learned to new situations (if X was solar powered, then Y must also be!).
- The anime version of Witchblade tends to occasionally fall back on this.
- Team Aqua and Team Magma meet for the first time onscreen in Pokémon Advanced, and not only speak in an As You Know, but also make an Introdump at the start of that dialog.
- Early chapters of the Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch manga have Lucia constantly being reminded she's a princess, a mermaid, forbidden to date humans, can't go into water in public, and various things she already knows. Then again, she's always been a bit headstrong about these limitations anyway. The anime got rid of this by tacking on a prologue on every episode explaining the whole situation.
- Rebuild of Evangelion:
- Hit hard by Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone, during the scene in which Ritsuko explains the specifics of Operation Yashima to Misato, the person who came up with the plan in the first place. The dub tries to fix this by turning it into a Let Me Get This Straight. It helps... a bit.
- Mari in 2.22 frequently gives exposition... to herself.
- In episode 112 of Bleach, Urahara and Isshin Kurosaki have an extended conversation telling each other things they both already know about the two new sets of bad guys on the plot horizon, for the benefit of both the audience and some other characters standing off to the side. What is most inexplicable is that they don't just tell the other characters instead of talking to each other, which would have made the scene make sense!
- Used rather neatly in Naruto with the explanation that the main character is an idiot who never paid attention in school. Things frequently have to be explained to him several times in gradually simpler terms. This is usually done during training segments, so it has a natural feel to it. Sasuke, on the other hand, is improbably ignorant given his backstory. Plenty of other characters among the rookies are clueless about things they absolutely should know as well, especially the members of team "InoShikaCho," whose fathers have been grooming them as heirs.
- Kiddy Grade uses this trope right off the bat in the first episode to set up the show's premise.
- In Episode 14 of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, Fate quizzes her adopted children Erio and Caro on history as a way of providing the viewer with exposition on the origins of the TSAB.
- In the first chapter Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, Sakura and Shaolan tell each other how they first met and for how long they've been friends, obviously to fill in the reader on their backstory.
- This way of recapping is constantly and irritatingly used in World of Warcraft manga. A commander telling his fellow warriors about the great battle in which they all participated...
- There's a strange example from A Certain Magical Index. After the first arc, Touma has had his memory erased, so whenever someone like Stiyl starts talking about something that happened then, Touma is more or less completely in the dark, even though it's something he should know. It'd be a fine example of As You Know if he actually did know.
- Yu-Gi-Oh!, GX, and 5Ds. Every time an effect is activated, the player has to explain exactly what it does — sometimes more than once for the same card in the same duel in the same episode. Either this is because most players do this in real life, or it caused most players to do this in real life. The Chicken or the Egg? Strictly speaking, this is actually a rule of the game. Made no less funny when Kaiba lampshaded it as unnecessary in The Movie, then explained it anyway.
- In the first two episodes of Sailor Moon S, the Professor retells his plan to Kaolinite for the audience's benefit, even though she, as his second in command, should already know it in the first episode and definitely knows by the second.
- IGPX Immortal Grand Prix does this at the end of episode one. As Team Satomi prepares to race Team Sledgemamma in the first race of the IGPX-1, equivalent to the major league, the announcer Benjamin Bright explains the rules of IGPX to thousands of fans, and the racers. In the English dub, he actually says, "Let's recap the rules of the IGPX for those two or three of you who don't know."
- Fairy Tail:
- When Lucy meets Natsu and Happy for the first time, she goes into detail explaining to them what guilds are and that she wants to join the most popular guild around (the eponymous Fairy Tail guild), and then laughs it all off as something the two wouldn't be interested in. She doesn't realize until later that the two are from the guild she's trying to join. Granted, Lucy doesn't refer to Fairy Tail by name in her description, and Natsu and Happy really don't seem very interested in what she has to say, but considering how everyone in the series seems to know what guilds are (in fact, there probably isn't a character in the series who hasn't heard of Fairy Tail) it's all the more obvious that she's explaining it to the audience.
- Master Hades has one later on, explaining the nature of the wizards in his guild — to nobody but himself.
- One Piece invokes it during Impel Down, when Bon Kurei (in the disguise of the vice warden Hannyabal) wants to know more about the phenomenon "demoning away" that has apparently taken away his great hero Ivankov. He asks a jailer to explain it, and when the jailer confusedly says that Bon Kurei already knows, Bon Kurei asks him to tell it again since it is "such a great story". Fortunately, the real Hannyabal is weird like that, so the jailer doesn't get suspicious.
- In Sonic The Hedgehog The Movie, Robotnik begins his exposition by stating that the world the story takes place in is split in two- the outer half called the Land of the Sky, and the inner half called the Land of Darkness. At the Land of the Sky part, Sonic says, "Tell us something we DON'T know." and Robotnik snarls, "Shut up! Heed me!"
- In Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, the villains Scanty and Kneesocks often explain their plans to each other, saying they both already know but like to hear themselves talk.
- The Big Bad of the 2003 Fullmetal Alchemist reveals her backstory by explaining it to literally the only other person in the world who already knows. You'd think it would have been easy to avoid that.
- The first issue of Mouse Guard introduces the three protagonists (Lieam, Kenzie and Saxon, as you know) along the lines of this:
Lieam: (captions next to him illuminates his and his two partners' names) So tell us [Kenzie], what were the three best of the Guard sent to do?
- Lampshaded in one issue of the X-Men comics.
Cyclops: This isn't good, Emma. Warren isn't answering and I can't even tell if my calls are going through.
Emma Frost: You needn't narrate, dearest. I'm sitting right here.
- Lampshaded (via emphasis) and subverted: Beast begins an As You Know introduction of Hansel to Prince Charming, but Charming protests he really has no idea who Hansel is.
- Since Fables primarily focuses on a small community, the members of whom have lived together for centuries, early issues in particular are prone to this trope, as the author tries to catch the reader up without benefit of a Naïve Newcomer. This gets lampshaded in the very first issue; Bigby Wolf is talking to Snow White about Rose Red, and refers to her as "your sister, Rose Red" and Snow promptly tells him that she does in fact know who her sister is.
- Lampshaded in Justice League International with General Glory, an old Golden Age superhero. The Leaguers are all shocked by his "comic booky" dialogue and wonder aloud how he can possibly cram so much pointless exposition into his sentences.
- Star Wars: The comic-book adaptation of The Thrawn Trilogy features Lando Calrissian telling Chewbacca about the adventures they just had off-screen (on-screen in the novels). For all we know, Chewbacca is reprimanding him for being Mr. Exposition; we'll never know.
- Done endlessly in Silver Age comic books, particularly those involving Superman, where the villains would explain their plan to each other after they had carried it out. As often as not, Superman would overhear this conversation and swoop down to capture them, having had no clue prior to this what had been going on.
- Used all the time in Donald Duck comics, usually clumsily as anything; the picture at the top of the page shows a rare lampshading from Don Rosa's The Last Lord of Eldorado.
- ElfQuest largely avoids this, but some examples still stands out:
- One is the story of Madcoil told around a campfire, which allows the main character's love interest to find out about his backstory (through eavesdropping). It's told because of tradition, and because the children present haven't heard it yet.
- A far more jarring example is found in the Discovery books (written by the same original author, but a good three decades later) in which the characters... well, talk like this.
- Another jarring example occurs in the first issue of Siege at Blue Mountain, the second print series which began after a 2-year hiatus. In lieu of a synopsis, the Wolfriders explain the whys and wherefores of the story so far to each other, ostensibly as part of their decision-making process. Later series got a lot better at integrating the backstory into the dialogue.
- A particularly bizarre example appears in an early Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 comic. Willow is visiting Buffy and Xander, and asks about their love life. Xander replies jokingly that all women desire him, a statement which Willow appears to take seriously, as she gratuitously adds that she herself had once been attracted to him. Given that the only people in the room were both there at the time of Willow's infatuation (in Seasons 1-3), it's not clear whom Willow felt was likely to benefit from this information. It's a doubly strange case because not even the audience needs to know about Willow and Xander's backstory, as, thus far, it hasn't been relevant to a single Season 8 plot thread.
- Sam & Max: Freelance Police frequently uses this as a simple ploy to avoid having to show them travelling: one panel in an early comic has Sam saying "We're off to the Philippines!" In the next panel they're standing in front of a bunch of weird buildings:
- The first issue of Mega Man is especially guilty of this, having Light explain to Wily that he lost his credintals years ago, and to Mega Man and Roll about their origins.
- Turned into a Running Gag by Astérix: as it is stated in every book (and, in many editions, explained on the presentation page), Obelix isn't allowed any of Getafix's magic potion because he fell into a cauldron full of the stuff when he was little. Obelix himself remarks in one story "We'll never hear the end of it!" A few times they skip the story, with Obelix grumbling "Of course, I don't get any because grumble grumble..."
- Cleverly played in Deadpool: Wade Wilson's War. Many times, Deadpool explains the context of the operation, and the senator cuts him saying that he knows. The brilliance is that every time, what Deadpool explained is true in the real world (America's implication in Soviet/Afghan war...), but readers may not know this stuff as a senator does.note
- In the Doctor Who comic "The Forgotten", Turlough goes to the effort of explaining the rules of cricket to Tegan, who already knows them since she's Australian.
- One of The Simpsons comics has Bart telling Lisa what had happened as exposition for the reader. When Lisa asks why he's telling her what she already knows, Bart says he's filling in the readers, which confuses Lisa until he further explains he's filling in their new neighbors, whose last name is Reader, on the situation.
- Frequently turns up in Doonesbury's earliest days. "Well, here I am..."
- Lampshaded in the newspaper comic Sally Forth: the title character asked her daughter what she was doing "for Earth Day next week", and was told that was the most obvious bit of exposition she had pitched since "As you know, Hilary, you are my daughter."
Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- This was also going to be spoofed in the original script of Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, in which the film's Mr. Exposition (appropriately named Basil Exposition) tells the main character: "You're Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery, and you're with Agent Mrs. Kensington. The year is 1967, and you're talking on a picture phone." Austin then replies: "We know all that, Exposition."
- Avatar has the Corrupt Corporate Executive explain to Dr. Augustine — who has been there for years — why they are on Pandora, how much unobtainium is worth, and the Na'vi problem. Given his tone, though, he's probably doing this to remind her that he's the guy in charge, not her, and she'll have to use whatever he gives her.
- Back to the Future has to drop a lot of "As You Know" exposition on the audience, where characters discuss past events that we the audience will soon witness when Marty travels back in time. For example:
- Lorraine tells the story of how she and George met, which elicits a groan from daughter Linda: "You've told this story a thousand times." Once Marty travels to 1955, he finds himself embroiled in the events his mother is narrating.
- In Back to the Future Part II, Lorraine recalls to her granddaughter how Marty lost his guitar skills in an automobile accident. Back to the Future Part III later shows Marty avoiding this accident.
- At the beginning of Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, Rufus brings several famous musicians from across history to his classroom. If the audience already knows who the musician is, he just introduces them by name, if they don't (ie, the musician is from after 1991), he explains what they did, which is somewhat jarring. It's then played with:
- Parodied during a flashback in Black Dynamite: "I am 18-year-old Black Dynamite, and you are my 16-year-old brother!"
- Blade Runner has an awkward early scene where Captain Bryant gives entry-level exposition about replicants to Rick Deckard, an experienced hunter of replicants. It's an odd exception to the rule, for most of the rest of the film does an excellent job of showing or implying rather than telling outright; for instance, the prohibitive cost of owning real live pets is alluded to repeatedly, but it's left to the viewer to figure out that real animals (besides pigeons, evidently) are scarce in this super-urbanized world. This could be an oblique reference towards the fact, in some versions, that Deckard is a replicant himself and may have no further knowledge above them. His whole history as hunter may be only faked.
- Done in Blazing Saddles just to set up a joke. Everyone in the town is gathered in the church to discuss what to do about the bandits ransacking the town - and the preacher begins by letting everyone know that bandits are ransacking the town. He even begins his speech by saying that he doesn't have to tell them any of this: sheriff murdered, crops burned, stores looted, women stampeded, and cattle raped.
- Cabin Fever: There's a deadly disease going around and at one point, only two healthy people are left in the cabin - everyone else having fled or being at death's door. For reasons that are hard to fathom, and difficult to write convincing dialogue for, they characters impulsively have a screw. Mid-way through the activity (i.e. after penetration has occurred) the man asks the woman with surprise if she doesn't use condoms. Both parties involved would clearly be aware that they aren't using one. But the filmmakers need to be clear about it because it turns out the woman already (unknowingly) has the disease and as it's quite explicit that the sex was unsafe, we realize that she has sexually passed the disease to the man.
Paul: Don't you use condoms?
Marcy: It's okay. I'm healthy.
- In The Dark Knight Rises, Daggett explains the function of the Clean Slate Drive to Selina even though she obviously knows what it does. Mitigated in that, not only does Daggett explain its abilities in a sarcastic tone of voice, he adds, "Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it?", implying he had been lying about it all along and is now mocking Selina for having been stupid enough to believe such a thing could exist.
- Flawless example in the movie Dragonfly: a speaker at a funeral says of the deceased, "From her colleagues at the university to her young patients here in Chicago Memorial's pediatric oncology ward, she will be sorely missed" — speaking to the deceased's family, her colleagues from the university and her associates from the pediatric oncology ward, none of whom needed to be informed what city they were in, what hospital she was associated with, or what field of medicine she specialized in.
- In Drinking Buddies, Kate goes back to Chris after they'd broken up. Up to this point, the audience is led to believe she dumped him for kissing another girl. However, when he sees Kate he says "we've been over this..." and goes on about how he had in fact dumped her.
- Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb: "As you know, the Premier loves surprises."
- In The Game, a secretary reminds Van Orton that he is trying to be reached by a certain Elizabeth. She then reminds him that it's his ex-wife. He replies with a bitter "I know that!". After she is gone, he comments on how little he likes her for that.
- In Godzilla (2014), when the Janjira reactor collapses and starts venting radioactive gas into the structure, Joe feels the need to remind his wife (and, by extension, the audience), that she has to hurry out of there, otherwise she "won't last five minutes, with or without the suits". Never mind that she's one of the (if not the) lead technicians at the plant and is probably more aware of the risks than he is.
- In the beginning of The Golden Compass, while Lyra spends minutes telling a pointless boasting tale, she doesn't have the time to show that she and her best friends are, well, best friends. Instead she just points this out by saying that they are.
- The first ten or so minutes of Gone with the Wind is packed with this kind of dialogue on Scarlet's ways with men, her pining for Ashley, her father's dangerous style of horseback riding, her father's Irish heritage...
- In The Great Escape Ives reminds Hilts that the problem in tunnel-making is not only digging but also shoring up with wood and getting the dirt out.
- In The Hunger Games, the adaptation to film removes Katniss' first-person perspective and thus in-universe explanations. The film gets around this by featuring scenes with announcers explaining certain aspects of the games to new viewers. Justified in that every year, there will naturally be new viewers somewhere in Panem, the arena is different each year, and not everyone will be able to tell on sight that (for example) the stinging insects are tracker jackers, not just bees or wasps.
- Bill in Kill Bill bringing up his love for comic books.
- The Last Airbender puts on an As You Know clinic! Perhaps it's because, As You Know, they had to condense 20 episodes of show into 103 minutes of film....
- Lincoln wears this trope on its shoulder from the very first scene, in which several Union soldiers recite to the titular president the Gettysburg Address verbatim.
- The Lord of the Rings:
- Gandalf, upon seeing a Palantìr, says to Saruman — his superior — "They are not all accounted for, the lost seeing-stones".
- Saruman beats Gandalf at the As You Know game, though, hands down. At another point in the same encounter, there's this summary of things Gandalf knows at least as well as Saruman.
Saruman: Concealed within his fortress, the lord of Mordor sees all. His gaze pierces cloud, shadow, earth, and flesh. You know of what I speak, Gandalf: a great Eye, lidless, wreathed in flame.
- There's even a point at which Saruman solemnly tells Gandalf, who's leading the Fellowship toward the mines of Moria, that "you know" what evil lurks beneath them (the Balrog) — except Saruman is in his tower, hundreds of miles away, talking to himself, so it's really more of an "As I Know":
Saruman: You know what they awoke in the darkness of Khazad-dum: shadow and flame.
- In The Two Towers, Galadriel repeats back to Elrond his own prophecies:
Galadriel: The strength of the Ringbearer is failing. In his heart, Frodo begins to understand. The quest will claim his life. You know this. You have foreseen it.
- Discussed, then defied in The Lost Skeleton Returns Again as aliens Kro-bar and Lattis explain their part in the previous film and why they've come back to Earth for this film.
Kro-bar: And, as you know, our instruments tell us that they may be in great danger.
Lattis: ... But we waste time explaining things we already know.
Kro-Bar: We waste time acknowledging that we already know these things.
Lattis: You're wasting time even saying that.
Kro-Bar: Very well, Lattis, let us accept that we both waste time and cease this wasting of time!
- Done effectively in Mortal Kombat:
- When Shang Tsung taunts Raiden by pointing out the limits to his dominion.
Shang Tsung: ...until we reach the island, where you have no dominion.
Raiden: My dominions are well known to me, sorcerer!
- Done much more clumsily later on as Shang Tsung explains to Goro, who should know the hierarchy of Outworld as well as backs of his four hands:
Shang Tsung: Princess Kitana is ten thousand years old! She is the lawful heir to the throne of Outworld!
- In Murder on the Orient Express, Hercule Poirot tells Colonel Arbuthnott that in his opinion the late Colonel Armstrong should have been awarded the VC, "which stands, as you may know, for Victoria Cross and is awarded for valor."
- Early in North By Northwest, the Professor presides over a meeting of national security types and explains the situation, so that we in the audience can be ahead of Roger Thornhill, who is still clueless at this point. He explains what's going on (that Roger Thorhill's been mistaken for secret agent George Kaplan, that there is no such person as George Kaplan, and that the real secret agent is someone else entirely) in exacting and repetitive detail — to an assembly consisting of the only people in the world who already know all this. Clumsy, awkward, excruciating.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest: The two comic relief pirates, watching the main characters duke it out in an epic battle over the MacGuffin, wonder exactly how they got into this situation and briefly recap the whole movie up to that point for the benefit of anyone still watching. For extra points, they couldn't have possibly known everything they recapped.
- The Princess Bride "It's odd, [Evil Right-Hand-Man who was in on the plot], but when I hired Vizzini to have her murdered on our engagement day..." This conversation is made even more awkward by being so close to Inigo's drunken "You told me to go back to the beginning" exposition rant.
- In the film version of The Reader, Michael's daughter asks "Where are we going" while they're on a train. He replies with "I said I'll tell you when we get there."
- Parodied and lampshaded in Spaceballs, when Colonel Sandurz unnecessarily explains the evil plan to Dark Helmet, who turns to the camera and asks, "Everybody got that?" According to Mel Brooks, filmmakers are obliged to provide the audience with a Minimum amount of plot. That was it.
- In Roxanne, this trope is used to explain the inevitable Fridge Logic that comes with transporting Cyrano de Bergerac into modern times: why doesn't he just get a nose job? In an early scene, CB visits the local plastic surgeon, who must remind him that he's allergic to anaesthetic, and therefore can't get a nose job.
- Used painfully in Shark Attack 3: Megalodon when two coworkers explain their job to one another, laughing uproariously after every line to inform us that they are jovial people.
- In Spartacus, Batiatus greets Crassus, Glabrus, and their consorts by reeling off their names and personal histories to them (and the audience).
- Used in Star Trek VI, when Valeris demonstrates that firing an unauthorized phaser aboard ship sets off an alarm. The reason it's particularly painful is that she's demonstrating it for Commander Chekov, the ship's Chief of Security and the one who probably set the system up in the first place.
- Star Wars:
- A New Hope has a pretty egregious one when Vader and Tarkin discuss the escape of the Falcon from the Death Star:
Tarkin: You're sure the homing beacon is secure aboard their ship?
- Count Dooku pulls this in the middle of Attack of the Clones.
Obi-Wan: Qui-Gon Jinn would never join you.
Dooku: Don't be so sure. You forget... he was once my apprentice just as you were once his.
- Superman. Lois Lane to a Native American chief she's interviewing.
Lois Lane: As you know, my newspaper, the Daily Planet, is very interested in that dam, Chief.
- Sort of done in Tales from the Darkside: The Movie. In one story, a hitman lectures an elderly billionaire on how addictive the pharmaceutical that made him rich was. The strange thing with this was that, while the billionaire should have known this already, it seems bizarre that the hitman, even having looked into his client's past, would have researched such a trivial and tangential detail.
- Transformers Film Series:
- In Revenge of the Fallen Galloway recaps the events of the first movie over a secure video link. Or not so secure, since Soundwave is linked to the satellite and monitoring most broadcasts on Earth. He now knows exactly where the NEST base and the last Allspark piece is.
- Also occurs in Dark of the Moon, when the new intelligence director appears for her first scene and hurriedly informs somebody about all of the important things she is in charge of.
- WarGames has an early scene that consists mostly of two senior-level military-industrial-complex types saying things they both must already know since they run the program in question. In the DVD commentary, the screenwriters point out that this is less bad if the characters are getting into an argument (which they were), since arguments are about the only time someone will say things the person he is talking to already knows.
- Watchmen journalists will explain things to characters who already know them.
- During Adrian Veidt's introduction, a reporter begins the scene by explaining Veidt's past to Adrian himself. Justified, as reporters will often do this in real life to confirm that their information is correct.
- During the press conference scene, another reporter stands up and explains the entire purpose behind the Doomsday Clock to Dr. Manhattan before actually asking the question. Since they're on live television, he's probably just doing it for the sake of the more ignorant members of the audience who are only watching because it's Dr. Manhattan on the telly.
- In The Wolverine, when he saw the old pit where he saved Ichirō, Wolverine was about to tell what had happened there... and Mariko stopped him: she already knows that story.
- The X-Files: Fight the Future had to introduce Mulder and Scully for cinemagoers who hadn't watched the series, so Mulder spills his backstory/woes to a bartender while Scully falls into this, telling Mulder about the last few years.
- Almost every Alfred Hitchcock film has an expository Infodump near the beginning, and they're almost always done in very heavy-handed "as you know" style. Another particularly grating example is in Vertigo, when Scottie Ferguson and Midge Wood are discussing why he had to leave the police force — it's Title Drop.
- Star Trek Into Darkness: Because the film begins In Medias Res with the crew on an action-filled away mission, Sulu has to tell his co-pilot that the shuttle wasn't designed for the heat of a volcano, Spock has to tell everyone that the volcano will destroy the planet, Uhura has to tell Spock that he might die, Sulu has to tell Spock that the shuttle wasn't designed for this amount of heat, Spock has to tell everyone that his device will detonate when the timer reaches zero, and Sulu and Scotty have to tell Kirk that the ship won't withstand the heat. They should've covered that in the pre-mission briefing, and some dialogue indicates they have.
- The 1964 political drama Seven Days in May includes a scene where the President of the United States explains to his best friend, a United States Senator — in a speech studded with repetitions of the phrase "you know" — the concept of the nuclear football.
"You know who that gentleman is down there with the black box. There are five of them — you know that one of them sits outside my bedroom at night? You know what he carries in that box. The codes. The codes by which I, Jordan Lyman, can give the orders sending us into a nuclear war."
- Wedding Crashers. John surely doesn't need Jeremy to explain exactly what the idea is behind crashing weddings, especially since they've been doing it for years.
- Possibly justified in Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels. Before the big card game, the dealer spells out the rules of three-card brag very clearly. On one hand, you'd expect people who are playing a game with a hundred grand buy-in to know the rules, but on the other hand, when you are playing cards for a hundred grand a head, making sure everyone is playing by the same rules isn't a bad idea.
- In Victor Hugo's Les Misérables it is very, very common to insert a large portion of Real Life historic data that the reader is expected to already know, but Hugo still would like to remind them.
Narrator: The arrest of the pope took place, as we know, on the night of the 5th of July.
- Dicken's A Christmas Carol and any parody/homages to it. Because of the time travel aspect of voyeuring into people's lives it somewhat requires them to explain the situation to each other in order to further the plot.
- Within the first chapter of the original Shannara book a character tells shares "As you know, [Entire history of the world]".
- Subverted in the Orphans of Chaos trilogy: "Headmaster Boggin" starts off on one of these at the appropriate time to provide valuable backstory to the eavesdropping protagonists, but is immediately headed off by the audience, who point out that they already know what he's talking about.
- Isaac Asimov's I Robot and Foundation were rife with it, as a result of the serialized format in which the stories originally appeared. As it was possible that a magazine buyer reading one of the stories had not read the previous ones, Asimov felt it necessary to re-summarize the Three Laws of Robotics, or the Seldon Plan, through Expospeak in the early parts of each story.
- The fact that one character needed Seldon's plan explained to him actually served as a plot point in one Foundation story — his lack of knowledge revealed that he wasn't who he claimed to be.
- Somewhat justified in Foundation because the stories happen centuries apart, and Seldon frequently misled everyone, leading to a lot of skepticism regarding the Plan.
- Asimov also wrote that the Three Laws are actually a cheap technobabble way of explaining more complicated terms... which is really Truth in Print. An atom is like a solar system... except it ain't. Repeat it enough and people will stop asking why.
- The robot stories often have Powell and Donovan going over the Three Laws to each other, though being professional robot field testers they're both well aware of them. This mostly functions as a Placebo Eureka Moment for one or both of them, as stating the principles helps to figure how their interaction is causing a robot to behave unexpectedly.
- Done in the first chapter of The Great Pacific War. The Japanese cabinet meets to discuss the dangerous riots and the seeds of revolt that are gaining strength, and the Premier opens by saying "As you know, our country is experiencing dangerous riots, and the revolts are gaining in strength."
- Beaten to death by David Weber. Every single Honor Harrington book has this at least once, maybe twice. It's particularly painful, because most of these recaps appear to be at the end of a meeting that just talked about the recapped stuff. These meetings often take up a chapter, and their sole purpose is just to recap the situation, tell the reader what everyone's going to do, and use more adjectives than anyone ever would in a normal conversation.
- The Assassins of Tamurin: S.D. Towers fills the reader in on the entire Backstory of the Empire of Durdane by devoting most of a chapter to covering a History class.
- Older Than Feudalism: Occurs in The Bible, when God tells Abraham to sacrifice his son: "Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest..." According to commentaries, the extensive exposition was given either a) to soften the blow of the request to sacrifice him, or b) to increase Abraham's reward, as he was rewarded for every word of the request.
- Alternative c): to hit hard the sacrifice God is demanding, emphasizing strongly that "You really don't want to do this." i.e. the opposite of a).
- Or, just as a reminder. The stories in Genesis-2 Kings were originally a bunch a disconnected episodes that were compiled and edited multiple times over several centuries. Readers/hearers may not have known every detail of the final story, only bits from earlier versions. Alternatively, it may have been intentional irony on the part of the writer/editor, who would have known that Abraham DID have another son at this point, but Ishmael apparently didn't count.
- Also "for Rachel thy younger daughter." This last one has become an idiom in spoken Hebrew.
- Robert A. Heinlein's novel Methuselah's Children opens with a meeting of Howard Foundation members where one character goes on for several pages, detailing the history of the foundation, its goals, and his plans for the future. While very interesting (to the reader), the entire monologue is framed as an As You Know. As the characters are all extremely long-lived and therefore very patient, they don't mind too much. He is however called on it by Lazarus Long, who has better things to do - mostly involving sex.
- Inverted in Heinlein's Starship Troopers. It's used toward the reader as an excuse to skip exposition. Specifically, Rico's narration skips over a lot about the powered armor by telling the reader something along the lines of, "I'm not going to bother telling you the details since you've already seen so much of them on the news."
- Novelist Harry Turtledove has a tendency to fall into this trap in his multi-volume alternative history epics (such as the Worldwar and Timeline-191 series); he will often recap complicated alternative histories and the plots of two, three or more previous novels in the series by having characters engage in conversations or think to themselves about things that they would already know.
- In the novel Frankenstein, the title character receives a letter from his sister which tells him his own life story in nauseating detail. The phrase "You will recall..." pops up a few times.
- James Hogan rather neatly avoids this trope while still managing to do huge Infodumps in his Ganymede series, by managing things so that there's always someone present who justifiably needs the infodump, whether it's a biologist getting briefed on extremely advanced physics, a physicist being brought up to speed on political matters, or a businessman being briefed on the fine points of biochemistry. It helps that Hogan's got a huge multi-disciplinary team to work with, and better, the main character is a man whose biggest talent is his ability to cross-correlate information from many areas without being a specialist in any of them himself. This means he often specifically requests an infodump from a specialist.
- In early 20th century dystopian sci-fi, Yevgeny Zamyatin's We averts this: the novel, written as a journal, is addressed to an alien readership; therefore, it's natural that the narrator explains some of the most basic facts of his everyday world.
- In 1984, Orwell uses the very clever trick of getting the basic facts explained to us by the secret book of the Brotherhood, which works as a subversive primer to the indoctrinated population. We learn later on that the Brotherhood and the Inner Party are the same, so everything in the book could be wrong too...
- In Childhoods End by Arthur C. Clarke, the character Jan Rodricks explains the theory of relativity to his sister in a very long letter, which she should already know, seeing as how this was a highly scientifically advanced society, almost to the point of dystopia.
- In Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson's Hunters of Dune, the old couple Daniel and Marty do this a lot in the last chapters (when it is revealed that they are really Omnius and Erasmus),
- This is lampshaded in King Harald's Saga by Snorri Sturluson.
Svein: I will believe in the banner's magic power, only when you have fought three battles against your nephew King Magnus and won all three of them.
Harald: (angrily) I am well aware of my kinship with Magnus without needing you to remind me of it...
- Harry Potter:
- At the very beginning of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Dumbledore and McGonagall have a discussion about things each one of them knows in detail. Of special mention are the specifics of the war they have just been fighting, the introduction of the villain's name, which has a vague justification, and telling Dumbledore he's noble, just to establish him as a good guy in the books. Also, they refer to each other by last names, while they are on first-name terms in later books and have known each other for decades. The scene with Dumbledore and McGonagall is mostly gratuitous, in that most relevant details in that scene are also covered later, being told to Harry directly; and it refers to a lot of things that aren't apparent until later books, like Sirius Black.
- This also shows up in a peculiar form (you might call it an inversion) partway through Philosopher's Stone, when Hermione is telling Ron and Harry about the Philosopher's Stone, which can be used to achieve immortality. Ron repeats the word "immortal" in surprise, only for Hermione to explain "It means you'll never die," just in case any of the kids in the audience don't know that word. Ron gets indignant and says "I know what it means," because there's really no reason for him not to.
- There's a strange in-universe example in the first chapter of Prisoner of Azkaban; a school textbook Harry is reading feels the need to explain to its readers what "Muggle" means.
- Susanna Clark's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell has an unending supply of footnotes stuffed with as-you-know facts about the world of British magic, as well as strange anecdotes, discussions of magical theories and other "as you might already know but may well find interesting" divergences from the main story.
- Dune is as appallingly loaded with As You Know as any book ever written.
- The chapter where the villain first appears consists entirely of As You Know dialogue, complete with having the villain introduce himself to his chief henchman: "Is it not a magnificent thing that I, the Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, do?"
- "The Spice must flow!" (Usually accompanied by a summary of its multipurpose nature.)
- Lampshaded in a Redwall book where an important tribal custom is explained to the son of the recently deceased chieftain note . He yells at the minion telling him this to get to the point note .
- CS Forester neatly justifies it in a couple of places in the Horatio Hornblower books, where a junior officer begins an explanation to a senior officer with this in order to maintain a properly deferential tone while in fact telling the senior officer something he probably didn't know, but should have known.
- Averted in His Dark Materials. Anything the lead character already knows (e.g. daemons) isn't explained and must be understood by inference (at least until she meets Will, who doesn't know about daemons). Everything that is explained is something that is honestly unknown to Lyra.
- SF writer Poul Anderson called this an "idiot lecture", in the sense that either the lecturer must be an idiot, or the lecturer must think the lecturee is an idiot. Nevertheless Anderson used the device often at the beginning of short stories, usually to establish historical details when an operative was briefed by a superior. Lampshaded at least once via the lecturee thinking to himself "He must think I'm an idiot!" and similar. In more than one Anderson story, such a speech is delivered to an enemy and reveals something that really ought not to be revealed to an enemy ("and that's why we 'elves' can't stand iron"), followed by "added hastily" in a blatant (yet always successful) attempt to distract from said revelation.
- Hugo Gernsback's classic SF novel Ralph 124C 41+ frequently uses this phrase to explain how the future works.
- The T'ang Chinese characters in the Judge Dee mysteries spend a surprising amount of time explaining their own culture and customs to each other for the benefit of the Western readers.
- The problem is routinely — and hilariously — lampshaded by narrator Bertie Wooster in the Jeeves and Wooster stories by P. G. Wodehouse, since the plot arcs often span several books.
- In Otherland, the first meeting between the Grail Brotherhood that the readers see is liberally peppered with As You Know, despite occurring close to the culmination of their Evil Plan. Justified by having Dedoblanco play The Watson by having failed to Read the Freaking Manual, much to the exasperation of Jongleur, the group's leader.
- About half of Fredric Brown's short story "Keep Out" is one character giving backstory to a group of other characters, including the narrator, who then tells the reader, "Of course we had known a lot of those things already."
- Justified in the Lord Darcy books, where Master Sean natters on about the underlying principles of whatever spell he uses to examine crime scenes and clues, even though Darcy's surely heard all this before. Darcy actually insists that Sean do this, as it helps him overcome his own innate Muggle mental blocks about how magic operates; plus, as Master Sean is also a professor, he performs best while in classroom-lecture mode. Darcy also claims to almost always learn some new little tidbit of information each time.
- Played with in The Science of Discworld, where Ponder, speaking to the senior wizards, precedes his explanation of fundamental Discworld physics with "As I'm sure you know", but only out of politeness. A footnote explains that what he actually means is "I'm not sure you know this..."
- Codex Alera:
- The fundamentals of furycrafting are presented by Tavi to Max as if it's a necessary refresher because he's such a bad student.
- The author has noted that there were some significant bits of backstory and world-building that he ended up leaving out or delaying in order to avoid slipping into this trope. He took four books to explain that "-ar" at the end of someone's surname name meant they were illegitimate, and never got round to explaining that the line of Gaius had restarted at "Primus" dozens of times in the past (with Gaius Sextus being the fourth First Lord with that name) because all of the viewpoint characters would have already known all about it from basic history classes.
- David Foster Wallace mentions this in a footnote in The Pale King, calling it an irksome and graceless dramatic contrivance.
- Sort of, in Splinter Of The Minds Eye. Luke Skywalker, pretending to be a local miner, asks a real local a question about the locale. The response starts with an as you know — the real local thinks Luke knows the first part of what he's imparting, though just like the readers, he does not.
- Played with during the last part of George Stewart's Earth Abides. The protagonist, Ish, is now an old man, spending most of his time in a mental fog, cared for by others. When this fog lifts, Ish discusses the current state of the Tribe with Jack, his great-grandson and caretaker. Almost every answer Jack offers is punctuated with, "...as you yourself well know, Ish," even though Ish is, at this point, as clueless as the reader.
- Subverted by Robert Jordan: he seems to beat this trope to death with the copious amounts of exposition in his Wheel of Time series to recap events already firmly established in previous novels in the series, many of which was delivered through character dialogue; somewhat justified by the Door Stopper size of the series and difficulty in keeping track of the myriad of dangling plot threads one might think. But the reiterations most often are either new information for one or more of the people present, discussions about different opinions, or depictions of events that were influenced by the ones shown in earlier books.
- From the book Wonderstruck, we have this clunky bit of exposition (granted, considering that part of the story was told entirely in pictures, it was hard to do it any other way):
Girl: (writes) Thank you!
Man: (writes) You're welcome, sister!
- An in-universe example at the beginning of The Ruby Knight
(Sparhawk takes cover as a troop of soldiers marches by)
Lieutenant: It's that place in Rose Street where the Pandions try to hide their ungodly subterfuge. They know we're watching, of course, but our presence restricts their movements and leaves his Grace, the primate, free from their interference.
Corporal: We know the reasons, Lieutenant. We've been doing this for over a year now.
- A top secret memo in Icons by Margaret Stohl explains "as we all know, the Lords activated the Icons and [killed one billion people]," just in case the ambassador to the aliens forgot that they conquered the planet.
- Before They Are Hanged includes an early briefing for military officers ending, "That fortress, as we all know, is already in the hands of the enemy." This is an aversion, as the officers in question are useless nobles who have only the faintest grasp of the war. The briefing officer is a commoner who rose through the ranks and has enough sense not to say, "as you ought to know."
- Used to lead off the briefing on the VX nerve gas at the beginning of A Deeper Blue. Given a Lampshade Hanging a few paragraphs later with the acknowledgement of the speaker that he's covering old ground for those at the briefing.
- Mr. Exposition tells the protagonist her own life story in Against a Dark Background.
- The final novel in the Tower and the Hive series by Anne McCaffrey opens with a scene in which not only do the characters recap the previous novels to each other, but in order to make it clear to the reader who he's talking about, Thian Raven-Lyon refers to his grandparents as "Jeff Raven and Angharad Gwyn, a.k.a. the Rowan".
- Averted in Sheeps Clothing. While the reader probably knows a thing or two about vampires, Doc—and most frontier folks west of the Mississippi—isn't familiar with them at all.
- Played with in Star Carrier: Earth Strike when Rear Admiral Koenig explains to his Senate liaison John Quintanilla why the way their engines work means they can't reinforce the twelve SG-92 Starhawks they sent on a near-c Alpha Strike at the start of the book. Quintanilla's a civilian and probably doesn't understand this stuff.
- Aunt Jocelyn in Strength & Justice: Side: Justice says this phrase word for word while telling Teremy the reason why anyone can possess a superpower. It's very clearly for the benefit of the reader, since Teremy obviously knows it already.
- In Destined to Lead book 2, Healing, Resurge, the Proud Warrior Race Guy uses this trope to explain why he knows who on Mysterium 'Gakkar' is, and by extension the giant stone golem they are conversing with.
- The Animorphs have the character narrating the book explain the Animorphs' origin story and what the Yeerks are at the beginning of just about every book in the series, as well as sometimes discussing it with the other characters. By the last few books the narrating characters start throwing in "but you know this already."
- In The Terminal Man by Michael Crichton, a forensic pathologist tells psychiatrist Janet Ross "As you know, the male pubic hair" is different from the female pubic hair. Ross replies, "No, I didn't know that." The pathologist offers a reference.
- Broud, the newly selected leader of The Clan of the Cave Bear, calls a meeting of the Clan, and begins by stating, "As you know, I am now your leader." This causes the clan members to exchange puzzled looks, since they obviously did know.
- Orson Scott Card's manual How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy includes an entire chapter about how to how to handle exposition in a Speculative Fiction tale without resorting to this trope. Card notes that this trope was very common in the early days of SF, and he provides a humorous example of what it often sounded like:
"As you know, Dr. Smith, the rebolitic manciplator causes the electrons of any given group of atoms to reverse their charge and become anti-electrons."
"Yes, Dr. Whitley, and of course that will cause an immediate explosion unless the rebolitic manciplation is conducted inside an extremely powerful Boodley field."
"And the only facility in Nova Scotia that is capable of maintaining a Boodley field of sufficient power is—"
"That's right. Dr. Malifax's lab on his houseboat in the Bay of Fundy."
- The novel Mirage by James Follett is based on the real life espionage by Israel of the blueprints of the Mirage fighter aircraft after France stopped supplying the aircraft and parts after the initial sale and Israel wanted to keep the ones they had in flying condition (and eventually built their own version, the Kfir). During the briefing given during the planning of the operation a politician asks why they can't simply reverse-engineer or copy parts from their existing stocks or by removing them from planes. While one engineer who obviously knows why has a "for god's sake" reaction a second more people savvy engineer cuts him off saying that from a layman's perspective it's a reasonable question and deserves an answer. He then explains about while they might be able to physically copy the shape of a particular part it's much harder to exactly duplicate the alloy used and the manufacturing processes such as the correct hardening and tempering required to make the part able to correctly handle the stresses involved in combat flight conditions. He uses the analogy of his pocket lighter saying that if they made their best efforts, they could eventually duplicate the lighter but it's performance would be inferior to the production model and prone to malfunction and unexpected failures. Multiplying the few components of the lighter up to thousands of parts in a modern jet fighter makes the entire idea untenable. The politician then understands the reason detailed blueprints with all of the technical specifications of each part are required and gives the go ahead to the espionage attempt.
- In Auction Kings, the experts will often tell Paul/Jon/Cindy things they would know for the benefit of likely less educated home viewers.
- Doctor Who:
- Spoofed on the series 'Allo 'Allo!, in this case, as with the show in general, it was meant to mock the format of wartime dramas of the day. However, as the show was later aired on other networks with episodes out of order, the utterly tongue-in-cheek recaps became somewhat necessary. Even the characters themselves occasionally got confused by what was going on after it was explained to them by another character. The constant shell game with the real and forged copies of the Fallen Madonna (with the Big Boobies) was a particular offender at this.
- Babylon 5 tended to use this frequently throughout the series ("Supplies have been hard to come by since we declared independence from Earth.") due to a lack of Previously On segments. IIRC, in Babylon-Squared there was literally "As you know, Garibaldi, all Earth Force ships are equipped with a transponder..."
- 24: Nearly every episode starts with CTU in a room having a meeting in which they recap the last episode. Lampshaded with Chloe O'Brien, who As You Knows constantly and tactlessly, to the great annoyance of her co-workers.
- This tendency was parodied in this fourth wall-breaking parody on the Australian sketch comedy show The Big Bite.
- Lampshaded in Life on Mars during an interrogation. Except indeed, he was: he was in fact speaking for the benefit of a concealed microphone.
Sam: Guv, you have just used unnecessary restraint on a suspect by handcuffing him to a chair.
Gene: (disgustedly) What are you, the narrator?
- Inverted in Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 7, when Robin needs to be brought up to speed on Spike's chip, soul and curse, without annoying the regular viewers to whom it's not news. Buffy's condensed exposition hits all the keywords but leaves Robin still in the dark.
- Chloe stops Clark from leaving so that she can remind him of the very reason that he's leaving, which both he and the audience are well aware of, just so that she can spill a secret to one of Lex's henchmen, secretly listening. This isn't surprising as Chloe is saddled with about 90% of the show's exposition in every episode anyway, so it was only a matter of time before she got sloppy.
- She does it again, even worse, with the guy who can become invisible. When they have figured out he's evil and Clark needs to stop him and all, Chloe thinks he might have figured Clark's Achilles' Heel since he can become invisible, so she asks him and he is there and finds out. Quite infuriating because she asked "Are you sure he doesn't know you feel bad around meteor rocks?" instead of the safer "Are you sure he doesn't know your weakness?". Doubly infuriating because for about two seasons she had already been calling them "Kryptonite", and only went back to "meteor rocks" for that one scene.
- House almost always explains to either his team or to Wilson or to the patients just how they were dying. It's perhaps justified by House having an obsession with this, and in one episode, he gets in a bad mood when a dying patient doesn't want to hear what she's dying of. This gives him the epiphany he needed to solve the case and cure her.
- Mocked in an episode where House stops a surgery by spitting all over the sterile equipment; in case the dimmer members of the audience didn't get the significance, Nurse Exposition points out "There's no way we can do the surgery now!" The exasperated surgeon gives her a withering look and yells "YA THINK?!?"
- And then for some more metaphors. But these are lampshaded quite often.
- On Law & Order (and presumably other Law Procedural media), lawyers summarize court opinions to each other. Sometimes a lawyer or judge will explain an opinion to the person who cited it.
- The franchise does it, SVU the most painful at it, almost always using it in an As You Know/Idiot Ball/Writer on Board combo.
- Somewhat justified — lawyers have to be able to distinguish the case's meaning from the facts, and then apply it to their particular situation. And they have to be able to challenge arguments that the case they just cited shouldn't apply. And in the case of the judges, it's often done as a method of interpreting the law based on the arguments of the lawyers (and playing Devil's Advocate in the process by challenging their interpretation), which is partly what judges are supposed to do.
- Also, judges very often don't read the briefs. Lawyers humor them and summarize the arguments.
- The CSI detectives are always explaining rudimentary forensics to one another.
- Lampshaded in the season 10 episode "Working Stiffs". Hodges explains what a machine (D.I.V.A) does while Langston is using it; after Hodges finishes, Langston says, "I know how it works — I'm doing it." Hodges retorts, "Yes, but it was a lucid and an entertaining explanation of the process."
- This is particularly bad on the spinoffs, where characters have a tendency to explain a scientific concept to each other right after the other character suggests it.
- Occasionally justified, if the character doing the explaining is implied to be practicing the As You Know for later presentation in court. A jury is bound to need this kind of information, so reviewing how a test works to whomever is at hand could be viewed as practice for testifying about the results in layman's terms.
- Also justified in the CSI: Miami episode where Tim Speedle got killed; it is determined that he was left momentarily defenseless when his gun jammed; then Caleigh and H begin bantering back and forth that Speed's previously established bad gun maintenance habits might be to blame, but that conclusion would require speculation and "we don't speculate." They're not telling each other stuff they already know; rather, they're rationalizing their decision not to sully Speed's name by implicating him in his own death.
- Parodied in the Castle episode "Swan Song", where the title character is followed by documentary film producers. Castle prompts Beckett to "As You Know" to explain who Lanie is, for the benefit of the audience.
- In The L Word this duty often falls to the gossipy character Alice, who, coincidentally, is a blogger, journalist, and TV personality. She knows everyone else in the show, they tell her what is happening and she occasionally recaps everyone else's life.
- An episode of Stargate Atlantis uses it so blatantly (starting by emphasising the phrase "as you know") it seems rather like a soliloquy. The fourth wall goes back up as soon as the infodump's finished. Another example is actually justified in universe, Sheppard mentions his recent promotion to Lieutenant Colonel a month after it supposedly happened. It turns out he has been slipping it into every conversation he could that whole time.
- This happens all the time in the later seasons of Stargate SG-1 as there's more and more backstory to be filled in as it becomes plot-relevant. Similarly, since Stargate Atlantis often runs into situations very similar to ones that have already happened in the Milky Way, there's a lot of exposition required to explain how the previous situation relates to the current one, which most characters would already know.
- In one last-season episode of Boston Legal, there's a casual mention of "Finlay-Crevette, a law firm you know well". Justified in that Paul's talking to Denny, who has Alzheimer's and may well have forgotten.
- Friends usually subvertes this by explaining things to a cast member who wasn't there at the time or forgets. For instance, when Joey doesn't remember about Chandler's former roomate, prompting Rachel to explain him (and thus, the audience) how her situation paralleled his. That one worked. Unlike the time Ross (uncharacteristically) forgot about Mark (a chief reason for his relationship with Rachel going to the crapper) and Rachel had to remind him about who he was. In fairness, no-one had mentioned Mark for at least five years, and Ross did know who he was once Rachel had jogged his memory.
- The Big Bang Theory:
- At the beginning of the pilot episode, the theoretical physicist with two Ph.D.s and an IQ of 187 is explaining the Double Slit Experiment to the experimental physicist with a Ph.D and an IQ of 173. But it was for a T-Shirt!
- Sheldon often takes the role of Mr. Exposition, justified in-universe. He's just the kind of guy who likes to explain everything he knows. Also lampshaded when Sheldon tries to teach Raj about his (Raj's) own culture.
- On occasion, Sheldon explains science-related things to Howard on the assumption that he won't know them (being an engineer, he's not what Sheldon thinks of as a real scientist). This enables him to inform the audience, for example, who Richard Feynman was, without implying the exposition isn't considered weird in-universe (as Howard always objects to being patronised in this way).
- On Oz, they did this frequently as they went from one storyline to another.
- Fringe gets away with this pretty well by giving all the As You Know lines to Cloudcuckoolander Walter Bishop. After a few months, everyone else just accepts it and stops trying to remind him that they already know this stuff. Walter has brain damage and spent many years in a mental institution. As a result he forgot a lot of important things he did and is extremely scatterbrained. His use of these speeches is portrayed as reminding himself that he knows this stuff.
- Mercilessly parodied in Brass whenever one of the characters needs to remind viewers of the plot.
- Used in the season 2 finale of Veronica Mars, in which the Big Bad and Veronica take a 5 minute timeout before he tries to kill her, for them to confirm yes, she knows everything. Veronica Mars is smarter than me, so I was thankful and disbelief-suspending, for the explanation.
- The X-Files:
- Mulder would often explain the definition of various medical conditions to Scully. Actually, he was explaining it to the audience, but that didn't make it any less silly considering that Scully was a medical doctor and Mulder wasn't.
- And vice versa: Scully often explained pretty basic terminology to Mulder includuing definitions from his specialist field, criminal psychology. In one particularly good example, Mulder doesn't know what Munchausen-by-Proxy is, and Scully has to explain it. Yet about two scenes later, when she uses the term to a complete layman (the father in question) he immediately understands the implication.
- Dollhouse has a scene with Dewitt explaining how a rich psycho got out of a bunch of crimes, followed by Boyd saying "And by that, do you mean..." and she responds with what she was actually hinting at. After he does it twice she hangs a lampshade on it with "There is no need to continue to translate me."
- Done a fair amount by Winston in Human Target, although tends to be of the form "Now, remember..." or "Here's the plan..." although it's something the putative listener wouldn't forget or already knows.
- Star Trek:
- How I Met Your Mother usually averts this by having future Ted provide an explanation for his kids, but sometimes it's played straight, often lampshaded. However, Ted constantly explaining things to the kids gets a little weird in that the kids are supposed to be hearing this whole story in one sitting (they don't age or change clothes for nine seasons) but the audience is likely to forget details because they are hearing it over nine years. For example, in the late season 5 episode "The Wedding Bride," Ted explains that he had been engaged to Stella but she left him at the altar to get back together with her ex, Tony. This is necessary because the plot of the episode is about a movie written by Tony that clearly is mocking Ted, and the audience hasn't seen Stella or Tony since the end of season 4, and then only briefly. But the kids would have heard the story about Ted's engagement to Stella anywhere between fifteen minutes to a few hours ago (depending on how long it's actually taking Ted to tell the story), so recapping this would seem incredibly odd from their point of view.
- Done especially badly in the TV movie Rose Red, when Sister notices that the roses in the greenhouse are blooming and gasps in disbelief, "They're coming to life again!". Presumably Easy Amnesia is to blame, as she's the one who'd pointed out this very phenomenon to the same character in the previous episode, and hadn't even been surprised about it then (because her psychic little sister makes such things happen all the time). This is particularly jarring when the miniseries is played in its entirety on the same day, as these two scenes are shown less than an hour apart.
- Super Sentai/Power Rangers:
- An annoying one from the second episode of Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger had the team telling the story of how they were put in stasis by their tribes in case of Bandora's return. It's abundantly clear that everyone in the room knows the story.
- The first episode of its counterpart Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers used the "introduction by name" version; the five Rangers-to-be are all mentioned by name in the first fifteen seconds.
- Power Rangers Lost Galaxy has a case like Zyuranger's, where the episode after Magna Defender made a Heroic Sacrifice has Mike recapping his story to the Rangers, even though they were there.
- Monty Python's Flying Circus:
- This shows up in a skit, complete with blatant fourth-wall breaking:
Psychiatrist: Er, nurse!
Psychiatrist: (whispering) Er, you don't think you should make it clear that I'm a psychiatrist?
Psychiatrist: Well, I could be any type of doctor.
Receptionist: Well I can't come in and say "Psychiatrist Larch" or "Dr Larch who is a psychiatrist". Oh, anyway, look, it's written on the door.
Psychiatrist: (still whispering) That's outside.
Receptionist: Well, I don't care, you'll just have to do it yourself.
Psychiatrist: (goes "brr brr", then picks up phone) Hello. Er, no, wrong number I'm afraid, this is a psychiatrist speaking.
- Also Lampshaded in the sketch about painting the Last Supper where the bishop introducing Michalangelo to the Pope launches into a recitation of Michalangelo's history before being cut off by the Pope.
- Poorly done in Chopped Championship. Each round featured chefs who had won an episode in the past. So host Ted Allen starts off with "I'm sure you remember the rules..." before going right into his standard rules script.
- In order for viewers of The West Wing to know the significance of any of the laws/political issues/etc. the characters were talking about, someone (usually Donna, who was both politically inexperienced and very inquisitive) would ask someone else to explain the issue, in the vein of interns on ER. Although the writers of The West Wing usually described this trope as a necessary evil, they occasionally could get pretty creative with it, such as leaving the audience intentionally in the dark for a good chunk of the episode, only showing the characters' reactions to the mysterious problem, which resulted in the audience either waiting for the point to be revealed or trying to puzzle out Noodle Implements, making for a more suspenseful episode and lots of Genius Bonuses. Or they sometimes would forego the explain-to-the-non-expert version in favor of a character being out of the loop for various reasons and humorously trying to bluff knowledge, or having someone (usually Toby) rant about the issue at length, providing exposition but not just exposition.
- Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman: Colleen, trying to stop Jake from shooting Sully: "He saved your life! Those Indians wanted to kill you after you accidentally shoot one of them, and he persuaded them not to! You owe him your life."
- This might be the reason why the characters in My So-Called Life were almost always referred to by full name. Although it does happen in high schools, considering your social circle can technically extend to include all of the students at your school, and all of the students that have graduated in the last two years. There are a lot of Jordans at a school of 5,000.
- She Spies:
- Lampshaded in episode 16:
It goes without saying... Cassie:
Then why say it? Jack:
Whatever it was you were about to say. Jack:
Because it needs to be said. DD:
Not if it goes without saying. Jack:
But it's very important information. Shane:
It's already been said. Jack:
To us? Jack:
Of course. Cassie:
So you're just saying it for the benefit of someone who might be watching who didn't hear you say it before? Jack:
) I guess I am. Jack:
(on other phone
) Dr. Frankel, it's happening again. The unshakeable feeling I'm a sidekick whose only purpose is to give exposition in an action-adventure show
- And in episode 20:
What a day, huh?! Parachuting into a cemetery because the (?) was being guarded and it was the only way in, and exposing a deadly double agent who was trying to elude capture by faking his own death and being buried with an oxygen tank only to be dug up later. DD:
We knew all that, you know. Cassie:
Oh, I know. I was just saying that for anyone who might have been wondering why we were going through all the trouble. Shane:
Who would be wondering? Cassie:
I don't know, anyone. Cassie:
Look, I never told you guys this. It's kind of embarrassing. But sometimes I get the weirdest feeling that people are watching us. Like they're listening in on every single thing we do or say. Shane:
Hey, I get that feeling too. DD:
So do I.
(they all look at the camera
- Played with in Porridge, in the episode "Pardon Me", with Barrowclough informing the prison governor of a way they can get out of a huge media event over one of the prisoners' proposed hunger strike. Instead, they can simply pardon said prisoner (his goal). Barrowclough prefaces every statement about the Penal Code with "As I'm sure you know...", but only out of politeness; it's patently obvious that the prison governor does not know:
Barrowclough: There may be a way out of this, you see, a solution to our problem. As I'm sure you're... well aware, given your deep knowledge of the Penal Code.
Governor: Yeeeeesss ... Refresh my memory, would you, Mr Barrowclough, please?
Barrowclough: Well, you see, it's Subsection 23, Part 3, Paragraph D.
Governor: Yes, D, of course, D... Jog my memory again, would you, Mr Barrowclough?
Barrowclough: Well, as I'm sure you... know, sir...
- Mocked in an episode of Frasier:
Frasier: Dear God, she believes they're genuine sapphires.
Martin: (sarcastic) Gee, ya think?
- Game of Thrones has a lot of exposition, given the amount of plot, backstory and worldbuilding that it has to get through. Often times it's given to characters with a reason for not knowing the information, while other times, they're saying it to people who already do.
- Jaime mentions that he's Cersei's brother during their first conversation.
- Pycelle asks Ned if he knows that Varys is a eunuch. Ned somewhat defensively says that everyone knows that.
- Arya tries to explain the Lannister family structure to Sansa during the King's arrival at Winterfell, but Sansa keeps telling her to shut up. This one also suffers from being obviously dubbed in, thanks to being added late in the game when some friends of the producers who hadn't read the books hadn't picked up on Jaime and Cersei being twins by the time of a certain reveal. In the DVD commentary, they joke about it being "our finest writing moment."
- Theon Greyjoy is being driven mad by the besieging forces blowing a warhorn. Maester Luwin says they're doing it to make sure he's constantly on edge and can't sleep.
- Lady Arryn explains to Littlefinger what evil acts he told her to do earlier. The viewer is the only one who didn't already know this.
- Oberyn Martell tells Tyrion that Gregor Clegane killed his sister's children and then raped her with their blood still on his hands before killing her too. Three times in one season. Tyrion told him he heard rumours about it before the first explanation too.
- Tyrion spells out Jon's place in the Stark family to Jon himself, which is justified as firmly reminding him that no one else will ever forget he's a bastard, so he shouldn't try to deny it.
- Jaime gives Jon a lot of exposition about the Wall and the Night's Watch, framed as a subtle warning about what he's getting himself into.
- Tyrion describes the Greyjoy rebellion and why Theon Greyjoy is the Stark's ward to Theon himself. Maester Luwin is also fond of doing this. Of course in both cases they're just reminding Theon that he is not as awesome, important, or even welcome as he thinks.
- In the second season, Stannis recounts the reason he knighted Davos to Davos himself to explain why he considers Davos his best knight.
- In "The Climb", Tywin says to Olenna "I'm sure you're familiar with the Kingsguard vows," and proceeds to list them, anyway.
- Near the end of the first season of True Blood, Bill is forced to turn someone. He is asked if he knows how to do it, and responds that, though he has never done it personally, he knows how to do it. The next few scenes consist of vampires explaining how it works, with Bill repeatedly telling them that he knows how it works.
- A very awkward exposition scene in the pilot consists of Sam describing his life story to Dean, who grew up with him so already knows all of this. Eric Kripke has admitted that he regrets writing this scene, and that when he watches it he just wants Dean to interrupt and say "I know! I was there!"
- Especially in the first series, the brothers have very hammy conversations about hunting methods which should be utterly basic to them — two people who have been monster hunting all their lives. For example, every single mention of salt comes with an explanation that it slows down spirits, regardless of how many times it's been in an episode before.
- Lampshaded on Seinfeld when they abandoned Negative Continuity in season 4.
I mean, the whole thing is ironic. Think of it: Here the guy is nice enough to give you a box of very fine Cuban cigars... George:
Yeah, I know what happened. Jerry:
No, but wait, wait: And then you dump them off onto Kramer... George:
...Who proceeds to burn the man's cabin down with one of those very same cigars! It's very comical
- Used rather blatantly in Sons of Anarchy when Clay returns a bloody knife to the man he's been blackmailing, which factored into events of the previous season. Clay then explains that it's a murder weapon with the man's fingerprints on it, like you could forget something like that. The man snaps that he knows what it is.
- In the second episode of Young Blades, D'Artagnan recaps the events of the first episode by telling Jacqueline, in the tone of a lecture, "But we must never forget, even for a moment, that you are a fugitive, wanted for murder." Most of the other episodes have a short dialogue where Jacqueline and D'Artagnan remind each other that Jacqueline is a woman disguised as a man, in case the audience didn't notice.
- Played with in Yes, Minister. Not having read the papers, Jim Hacker often seems to know as much as the audience, but tries to hide it from his officials. In "A Victory For Democracy", notably, neither Hacker nor Sir Humphrey nor Bernard nor, indeed, the Foreign Secretary seem to precisely know what is happening on St. George's Island (or even where it is). The trope's name is invoked during a conversation between Humphrey and the Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs (the one person who knows anything about it), with Humphrey mainly making educated guesses and agreeing with whatever is said. The Foreign Secretary, despite clearly picking up on Humphrey's ignorance, humours him because Sir Humphrey is very on the ball in most cases, and there really has been no reason for Humphrey to know about the globally irrelevant island until now.
- In episode 2 of Luck, Ace has a rather awkward monologue explaining why he was in prison. They actually try to sell us on the idea that the person he's talking to (his bodyguard and best friend) wouldn't already know this, but it's very hard to believe.
- Sunset Beach in absolute spades. "Since you were almost killed by that tidal wave you've been... preoccupied, to say the least."
- Justified and lampshaded in Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode "Time Chasers"; Crow, having changed history so Mike didn't get shot into space, returns to find Mike's Jerkass brother Eddie on the Satellite instead. When he asks how Eddie got there, Eddie responds "You were there! What are you, stupid?!", and Crow says "Assume I am, Edward."
- Played for Laughs in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air where Will states that he got into an argument with a new boyfriend of a girl he likes, and states that the fight will be easy based on how the person sounded. When the person walks in, Will freezes with an Oh, Crap face as he recognizes him. This works brilliantly for people who watch the show later or just didn't know exactly who he was at the time. Geoffrey turns this into a Crowning Moment of Funny, having heard Will's remarks about easily beating him in a fight.
Geoffrey: Introducing Mister Evander Holyfield. (beat) Undisputed Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World!
- Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy had a good justification. George Smiley puts out a couple of milkbottles on the steps of a safehouse, then goes inside and confirms that this is, in fact, the correct "It's safe to come in" signal.
Peter: Yes George, for the second time.
Smiley: Is it? Well let's not pretend we're not nervous.
- Lampshaded in Psych, like virtually every other trope in existence. Juliet explains to Shawn and Gus that Lassiter is holding off The Chief for 24 hours so they can find Shawn's dad and Juliet's stepfather prompting this exchange:
Gus: You already told us that in the car, Jules.
Juliet: (mockingly) Well, I need to cover my bases, Gus.
Shawn: (confused) For who?
- The Netflix season of Arrested Development just loves doing this, and then lampshading it, repeatedly. One scene in episode 11 consists almost entirely of Sally Sitwell and Tony Wonder expositing their plans to each other, while saying things like, "As long as we're recapping things we both already know..."
- Parodied in Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Wayne (as Sting) says "My real name is Gordon. I used to be a teacher before I joined The Police. That's a bit of general knowledge."
- Get Smart. Averted in "The Impossible Mission" when Max gets a taped briefing from the Chief.
We know the Leader plans to get the theory out of the country tonight. Should he succeed in delivering Dr Helman's theory to KAOS headquarters in Europe, the human race will face extinction through Helmanitus. Max:
What is that?! Chief: I don't have to tell you what that is.
- The Blacklist: In "The Kingmaker", Elizabeth Keane tells the titular villain his own MO. This was after he'd already (justifiably) spelt it out to his latest victim, by which point it was already obvious.
- The pilot of Intelligence is full of this. One exposition starts with the phrase "as most of you know".
- The Outer Limits (1995): The opening of season 1's "The New Breed" provides an infodump on nanotechnology that also contains several basic biological principles that the audience in the room (all scientists) should already be perfectly aware of.
- America Unearthed: uses this frequently when Scott is interviewing an expert and at other points.
- Frequent in radio drama, where characters not only have to detail the back-story, but frequently have to describe things everyone there can see.
- Spoofed in the Im Sorry I Havent A Clue spin-off The Doings of Hamish And Dougal:
Dougal: Well, here we are on London's busy Oxford Street.
Hamish: Why did you say that?
Dougal: Well, it doesn't do any harm.
- The Audio Adaptation of The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents is, for much of the time, narrated by Maurice himself. Towards the end, it becomes apparent that he's telling the story to Dangerous Beans. Who a) was right there for most of it and b) is mostly dead.
- Warhorses Of Letters used this extensively and knowingly.
"You must remember that all horses are arbitrarily given the same birthday, January 4th. Oh wait... you do not have to remember, as you are also a horse."
- Spoofed as early as The Braggart Soldier (2nd century BC): Palaestrio insists on explaining the plan to Acroteleutium again; she repeatedly protests that she's not an idiot and not only does she understand the plan, she actually devised much of it.
- Similarly, the exposition in The Brothers Menaechmus is presented in such a ludicrous manner (essentially, "Tell me, Menaechmus, what have we been doing for the last six years?") that it's obviously a big wink to the audience.
- The classic instance is in the Play Within a Play in Sheridan's The Critic. Hatton asks Raleigh what the military preparations for the Spanish attack mean, and Raleigh replies in a series of speeches all beginning with the assertion that "You know...", while Hatton agrees that he indeed knows. Finally Mr. Dangle interrupts to ask "as he knows all this, why does Sir Walter go on telling him?" Mr. Puff retorts that "the audience are not supposed to know anything of the matter, are they?..... Here, now you see, Sir Christopher did not in fact ask any one question for his own information."
- The first act of the musical Spring Awakening ends with the two main characters having sex on stage. In case, during intermission, the audience forgets this, the opening of the second act is them still going at it. (The continuous action is used to inform the audience that no time has passed since Act I, unlike in many if not most plays and musicals, time passes between acts.)
- A Midsummer Night's Dream. When Oberon explains to Puck for the audience's benefit that fairies do not vanish when the sun rises.
- William Shakespeare:
- Done to establish location, since the theatres of his time didn't have painted scenery. "So, this is the forest of Arden!" "Yes, now are we in Arden."
- In Cymbeline, the first act begins with two gentlemen discussing events in the kingdom before stopping to note that this happened twenty years ago and how it is strange that twenty years later, they still haven't solved the mystery, but that's not important because the king is coming.
- The very first line of As You Like It is this trope.
"As I remember, Adam..."
- The Merchant of Venice: "'Tis not unknown to you, Antonio/How much I have disabled mine estate..."
- The opening lines (not counting the Frame Story) of The Taming of the Shrew have Lucentio telling his servant, Tranio, all about how he was born in Pisa, raised in Florence, and has now arrived in Padua to study the arts. (He even tells Tranio all about what a great, trustworthy servant he is, just so we're aware.) Made even more ludicrous later in the play, when we find out that Tranio has been living with Lucentio's family since he was three years old.
- Lampooned unmercifully in The Real Inspector Hound by Mrs. Drudge (The Help). Virtually every single line she has is an As You Know. A sample:
- Cyrano de Bergerac: In Act V Scene I, for the audience's Sister Claire asks Mother Margarita if Cyrano has been visiting Roxane in the nunnery for the last decade, and Mother Margarita answers that it has been for 14 years.
- In Return to the Forbidden Planet the second act starts with a news reporter giving a recap of the first act. After the recap the action really starts with a repeat of the last scene from act 1.
- Happens a few times in Medea. Mostly for the audience's sake, although at one point Medea and Jason have an argument where they each recount the backstory again from their point of view.
- In Aristophanes's The Wasps, one guard does this to the annoyance of the other, until the first points out that the audience doesn't know.
- Trauma Center:
- In the Babylon 5: I've Found Her game tutorial this was deftly lampshaded: engineer filling in (instead of instructor) explained controls to presumably experienced pilot as introduction to new craft, with implications of Newtonian dynamics smuggled in as reminder about consequences of said craft's propulsion superiority.
- Metal Gear Solid:
- In an attempt to reduce this in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Kojima had a player character who didn't know as much information, allowing the other characters to tell the player things as the character was also learning them. In terms of conveyance, it sufficed but there were issues that made it less than perfect — partly because many player hated the new guy, and partly because Kojima infodumps are so exhaustive.
- Done in a redundant manner in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots during the 4th chapter briefing. It opens with video footage gathered by the MKII of Liquid Ocelot explaining his plan to go to Shadow Moses island and use Metal Gear Rex to launch a nuclear warhead at the core of the patriots AI in orbit. The video concludes, and Snake, Otacon and Campbell then proceed to spend a considerable timespan reiterating Liquid's plan in the process of discussing their next move against him.
- Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance does this, though it does get lampshade hung in the cutscene at the start of the Abkhazia insertion mission, where Raiden tries to say that he's been through the briefing material, only for Kevin to insist by reminding him of a Noodle Incident presumably brought about by Raiden previously averting this.
- Dawn of War: Soulstorm:
- "As you know, most of our Battle Brothers...." He reminds his Space Marines of the reinforcements waiting in orbit to be used against enemy forces invading their stronghold. However, due to the weird timing and accent, it ends up sounding hilarious. (see here: http://1d4chan.org/wiki/Indrick_Boreale)
- Also the Imperial Guard mission, where a Commissar tries to pull this on General Vance Stubbs and fails miserably.
Commissar: Tank crew, munitions, and parts are arriving on schedule sir. As you know, it takes only the most highly trained crew to properly operate a—
Stubbs: I know.
Commissar: ...Very good general."
- This trope is used to explain the Zero Gravity mechanic to the player character in Dead Space. It's especially weird however, because the player would have already dealt with zero gravity by that point and the character himself has operated in that kind of environment for a good few years! Even more jarring, Hammond had just been complaining that the radio was full of static moments before. However, his "As you know..." transmission comes through loud and clear. Immediately after Hammond's perfectly clear transmission, tutorial text pops up telling you how to jump in Zero-G.
- From the original Half-Life's manual:
"As you know, Dr. Kleiner, your former professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, ..."
- Done to death in Infinite Undiscovery. Every other scene, someone is stopping to explain to the main character something that the rest of the cast takes for common knowledge.
- Shuji Ikutsuki does it verbatim in Persona 3. "As you know, I can't summon a persona." Of course, he's Mr. Exposition. At least, in the beginning part of the game.
- Knights of the Old Republic:
- Used in the first game and played with in the second. The first NPC you meet in KotOR 1 spends a few minutes telling you things your character would obviously know unless the Jedi mind-wipe only just cleared up. In 2, however, in many cases it is avoided as your character can respond in ways that imply you know the information, given that they have a real history with a lot of the events mentioned.
- Also, in the first game, there are limits to what the first NPC will tell you before even he starts to think it's stupid. Specifically, he'll react to your not recognising the name of the ship you're on (which the player can only guess at that point and so may well ask about).
- HK-47 lampshades this if the player character asks him about the Mandalorian Wars or Revan, pointing out that as a veteran of the Mandalorian Wars that served under Revan he's surprised that he should even have to explain any of this.
- In Phantasy Star II, the first person you meet hits you with a triple whammy: "Good morning, <player>. How are you? Almost two years have passed since you started working for me, the Commander of Mota. As you know, Algo has been brought up by Mother Brain..."
- Final Fantasy:
- Fallen into in the unskippable tutorial in Final Fantasy XII, which seems perfectly plausible until you realize that while you as the player really need the information on basic controls, your current character is a soldier in the middle of battle who really should not have to be told how to attack enemies, open gates, and run away from battle. The military cannot have been that desperate.
- Inverted in Final Fantasy VII. Cloud can enter a tutorial hall to brush up on the basics, but when NPCs offer to give him pointers, he will decline and instead offer to teach them. He makes it clear that he knows his stuff.
- Final Fantasy X: Tidus is an accomplished blitzball player; before the big game, Wakka offers him a recap of the rules of Blitzball. Slight modification in that since Tidus is slouching and looks rather bored in the scene afterward, it's implied he wasn't really paying attention and that Wakka was just drilling his team, who are uniformly awful. Additionally, given Tidus has been insisting he's really from an ancient, ruined city that hasn't been inhabited for centuries, Wakka may think he's taken a heavy blow to the head and needs some reminding.
- In Final Fantasy XIII, Hope gives Vanille an explanation of relations between Pulse and Cocoon, the nature of fal'Cie and l'Cie, and why a Cocoon resident really doesn't want to wind up a l'Cie of a Pulse fal'Cie. The trope is played with a bit in that Hope clearly believes that Vanille ought to know all of this, but she's not acting like he thinks she should if she knew it.
- Paper Mario as well as Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga occasionally did this during the tutorials with characters asking if they needed to explain things and otherwise say things like "Oh sorry, of course you know how to do that! Silly me!" (After all, He Knows About Timed Hits.)
- Rather egregious in Quest for Glory III, which begins with an "As you know..." where the events of the second game are related to the main character, who actually caused all of them to happen (and mere days earlier, at that.) Either he has Swiss cheese memory, or Aziza does.
- Lampshaded in Dark Cloud: At one point it's necessary to ask your mother what furniture was in your house before the start of the game. She tells you, but also wonders aloud why you can't remember what your own house is supposed to look like.
- Mass Effect:
- Done in the games. Much of it is optional, and there are things brought up that it's not unreasonable to believe your character is unfamiliar with, but once in a while, you can ask about something your character really should know all about. Though often, if you do that, the NPC you're talking to will be surprised at your ignorance about the topic.
- More egregious in the sequels, when returning characters often introduce themselves with way too much detail ("Hello, I'm Shiala. You met me on Feros. You saved me from the Thorian".) Which would make sense for newcomers to the series who don't know the backstories as much — but unfortunately they will get generic characters anyway, so it is not even of use to the player. However, given that acts of heroism and life-saving can very much be a case of But for Me, It Was Tuesday to Shepard (and thus the player,) a brief reminder (both in and out of universe) is not entirely unreasonable.
- Your engineer and personal shopkeeper in Red Faction Guerrilla, Samanya, is all about this trope. Because you'll be popping in to buy upgrades roughly every twenty to forty minutes throughout the campaign, the game feels that this is a good time to remind you of vital plot points. Unfortunately this can lead to Sam telling you that the Hydra is coming and that we're all doomed about thirty times, and the player character Mason demonstrates repeatedly through his actions that he's aware of the plot points in question.
- Kingdom Hearts:
- In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Axel recaps what happens when a person turns into The Heartless. Annoyed, Larxene points out she already knows this, and then Axel gets to his point that unlike a normal person, Sora was able to retain his feelings when this happened to him.
- In Kingdom Hearts II, if you choose to hear the Struggle rules during the prologue, the NPC who explains them will begin "You already know the rules, but a refresher can't hurt." Later, Master Yen Sid recaps the Heartless to Sora, Donald, and Goofy before introducing the Nobodies.
- In Kingdom Hearts 3D, Sora's side of the Prankster's Paradise chapter starts with Jiminy Cricket talking to himself and recapping Pinocchio's origins and quest to Become a Real Boy as part of a "what was that boy thinking, running off on his own like that?" lament.
- Mega Man Battle Network: How many times has Lan gone through some sort of homework assignment, field trip, lecture from his dad, etc., learning the basics of battling against a bunch of Mettaurs? Slightly justified in the first game that he hasn't done any serious net battling yet — though it's implied he's still rather knowledgeable on the subject — but it gets increasingly odd as the series goes on seeing as how he's used these exact skills to save the world multiple times before...
- In Jade Empire, you, the senior student at the Two Rivers school of martial arts, can quiz a junior student serving as a guard for information on health, chi, focus and other topics. This is at least preceded with telling the student that if he's to be a gate guard he should be able to endure a little testing. Choose not to test Si Pat, and it never comes up.
- If you Talk to Froderick in A Vampyre Story, you don't have a conversation with him then and there; instead, Mona has a flashback to when they were just shooting the breeze and doing nothing in particular. The conversation is laden with exposition, but, bafflingly, Mona has chosen to flask back to a conversation where she and Froderick were talking about stuff they already know; particularly the story of how the two met, which Froderick seems to be getting a little sick of telling over and over.
- World of Warcraft:
- In the new Goblin starting area, Sassy Hardwrench tells your character things about their life that they should already know about themselves. That you're in the running to be a Trade Prince and that you're very close to doing so.
- Justified a bit more in the Gnome starting area. A couple characters give you some pointers about Gnomish culture and the more important Gnomes around, then mention that they're telling you this because the radiation in the city you had just escaped from could have resulted in memory loss.
- In L.A. Noire, when you are playing as Jack Kelso, the receptionist at his place of work tells him where to find his own office.
- Sam & Max: Freelance Police has this due to how much continuity piles up in Telltale Games. Lampshaded in "The Penal Zone", when Grandpa Stinky complains about Sam doing this.
Sam: Max is all short-term memory; I occasionally have to bring him back up to speed.
Max: Aah! GIANT TALKING DOG!
- Also occurs in season one, episode 5:
Max: It's a good thing your protective hat and my non-compatible brain render us both impervious to hypnotism!
- In the beginning of Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, you can say you are having temporary amnesia from the cruel experiments you've been subjected to just prior, but the first characters you meet — some of your party members from the first game — are inclined to recap their relationship with you even if you don't.
- In Icewind Dale II, the first time the mayor of Targos will actually talk to you - after clearing the docks of goblins and collapsing their insertion point - he starts with "As you no doubt already know, Targos has been under siege from the goblinoids for months now..." but this is just a preface for him to start filling you in on useful information.
- Justified in Sudeki. While the combat tutorial is excessive basic for season soldier Tal, he's putting on a show for a visiting dignitary. And while using her staff and combat magic to smash pots is overkill for Ailish, she's showing off for someone at the time.
- Lampshaded hilariously in Grim Fandango. Manny clearly has been working as a Reaper for years, but since the game dumps you into the plot without much backstory, the basics still have to be explained. The first character you meet that you can talk to is Manny's boss's secretary Eva, who, if you keep bothering her with questions in order to figure out what to do, asks Manny if she has to explain his job to him again. Answering "yes" leads to her describing Manny's job like a movie plot, in the third person, complete with "our hero." It's revealed Manny is just hitting on Eva, and Eva eventually tells him to stop wasting time doing that and go to the poisoning already.
- The flash game Gyossait plays with this in a very ominous fashion. A sudden and brief Exposition Break ends with "but you know all of this" in red font - because the mid-boss has figured out who and what the main character, Oyeatia, is. The very next area is the Boss Room.
- Played with in Harvester. The main character Steve has amnesia, but no matter how many times he says it, nobody will believe him. Not that they won't play along anyway and answer any questions about things Steve should already know if he didn't have amnesia.
- Played with all over the place in Injustice: Gods Among Us. Aquaman asks an Atlantian historian about Superman's rise to power, something that is common knowledge. When the historian is confused, Aquaman explains that a recap might help him gain a new perspective for his upcoming diplomatic talks. In actuality, Aquaman is from an alternate dimension and has no clue as to how Superman took over the world. Further complicating the matter, the tie-in comics suggest that the historian was actually the Martian Manhunter in disguise, who would have telepathically known this.
- Subverted in Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People. When Strong Bad tries to run the Race to the End of the Race in disguise as Homestar, he can ask Coach Z to explain the rules. Coach Z refuses because Homestar should already know the rules, having trained for weeks beforehand.
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind has an justification in terms of the main quest. As an outlander, the Player Character isn't going to be any more aware of the local Dunmer politics and religion than the player in the real world. Even the non-natives living in Morrowind can be ignorant of such things, since a common response to asking a non-Dunmer about the Nerevarine Prophecy is "some Dark Elf superstition." So as the character learns more about these things, so does the player. (This applies to a Dunmer player character as well, since they were born and raised outside of Morrowind).
- The final case in Murder, She Wrote 2: Return to Cabot Cove begins with Jessica Fletcher telling an employee of the place how very much she appreciates being able to use the library at "St. Brigid's College here in beautiful Waterford, Ireland."
- Ace Attorney:
- Averted in a slightly awkward way. The first case in each game requires the player to get a quick introduction to the gameplay details. This makes perfect sense in the first game, but requires some hoop-jumping to be plausible in subsequent games, considering they star the same main character who is obviously a seasoned lawyer at that point. The second game featured a convenient bout of amnesia, whereas the third one was actually a flashback to the second case of Mia Fey, Phoenix's mentor (strangely enough, when you actually get to play her first case she doesn't get any As You Know assistance). The fourth game introduced a new protagonist, Apollo Justice- but you can actually skip the tutorial here.
- The Miles Edgeworth spin-off uses his partner, Clueless Detective Gumshoe, as The Watson handle this. It still sometimes has some odd things, like several characters hamhandedly reminding Edgeworth how to use logic. Yes, I think he's got that down pat, thanks.
- Parodied in the Homestar Runner cartoon "A Decemberween Pageant". It opens with Homestar talking to Marzipan about how the night of the titular pageant has arrived "After all the weeks and weeks of rehearsing and practicing and memorizing lines," when Marzipan tells him "Homestar, I don't think those are your lines." A Reveal Shot shows Homestar and Marzipan are standing on the stage, and Homestar has been delivering his exposition in the middle of the performance.
- Red vs. Blue:
- Parodied somewhat, where the exposition is for another character's benefit rather than the audience. Church, Tucker and Tex are held at gunpoint by Wyoming. Church uses his radio to try and surreptitiously tell Caboose what's going on, but none of the other characters present know he's doing this and can only wonder why he's suddenly become "the narrator".
- Par for Caboose, he fails at figuring out the massive hints.
Church: (deadpan) We're at Red Base. Wyoming. You found us and are holding us prisoner. At the Red Base. Wyoming.
Caboose: Uh, Red Base, no, I'm in the ship.
- Spoofed/lampshaded repeatedly in the webcomic Order of the Stick. At one point, Elan compliments Roy for working the exposition into his angry tirade so smoothly. (He also cries at weddings, but only when there's really good exposition.)
- Spoofed in Killroy and Tina here with a fourth wall lampshading.
- Lampshaded in Starslip Crisis:
Admiral: I know what it is! There was no reason for you to say that out loud!
- In Darths & Droids, the character playing R2-D2 gives an awesome recap in this strip.
- Darths and Droids is absolutely full of this stuff, as one of the characters or NPCs regularly recaps the convoluted Idiot Plot resulting from the players' actions.
- Jokes about recaps are one of the most common running themes on Sluggy Freelance: an As You Know is never played straight. Some jokes played on the concept include:
- "Quit recapping and keep your eyes on the road!"
- The legacy of the ancient Greek island of Wrekappe, home of the primeval festival that eventually became America's Thanksgiving, is upheld by the Recappers, warriors dressed as pilgrims who will recap at the slightest opportunity.
- "But Sweral, you quit your recapping habit years ago!"
- A footnote in Intragalactic lampshades this here.
"... this is more or less the equivalent of a customs inspector lecturing people on what an orange is."
- Played for drama and done very well in this strip.
- Goblins also has "As you know Bob comic strips" consisting of nothing but info-dumps.
- Psimax delivers one to his version of Kin here.
- Lampshaded in one of Dinosaur Comics' many Alternate Universe panels;
"Wow, personal jetpacks are so compact, efficient, safe and easy to control!"
"Uh, obviously I already know that, we live in the same universe! Duhhh..."
- As you know, Irregular Webcomic! hangs a lampshade on its use of tropes, and then gives us a Shout-Out in the Alt Text. And they've done it again.
- Lampshaded in this Antihero for Hire: "I'm just making sure we're on the same page."
- Played for Laughs in a Precocious strip, aptly titled "Relive those memories".
- Head Alien from the Walkyverse loves this. Lampshaded in one strip.
Alien: Hey, Boss? We know all this.
Head Alien: Hush. I enjoy this.
- El Goonish Shive: One of the immortals following Elliot recaps the plot points related to them. When her companion calls her on it, she points out that it helps compensate for their Easy Amnesia.
- Lampshaded in this Slightly Damned strip.
"My master spared your life and allowed your 'children' to remain in hell as long as you acted as The Grim Reaper.
"Yes, I remember. I also remember your punishment for abandoning your post. He decapitated, cursed and ordered you to help fulfill my promise in disguise.
"Rub it in, why don't you?"
"Sorry, I thought we were supposed to explain things we already knew to each other."
- Exterminatus Now: Sometimes it's because your co-conspirators just weren't paying attention.
- The B-Movie Comic does it as unsubtly as possible in the fourth movie. In the very first scene after the credits.
- Homestuck: Used very tongue-in-cheekly in the Act 6 Act 3 Intermission walkaround. Through the first part of the flash, Meenah, who has been missing for a really long time, has been playing something of The Watson to the other characters, allowing them to fill her (and the audience) in on what has happened in the meantime. At the end of the first part, however, Aranea starts explaining at length about things that she does know but the audience doesn't. Why? Because Aranea is an extremely wordy writer and a very dedicated Ms Exposition, so much so that she offers to pay Meenah to listen to her lecture. Meenah agrees reluctantly, though not without complaining about the pointlessness of the whole thing.
- Used in Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name, though it's really more a case of Don't Explain the Joke:
Whoa. She just called you a pussy. Sorry, dude.
YES, Mr. Cross, I know. I was there.
- Shifty Look's Katamari does this twice with the Future!Prince. First he feels obligated to explain to his present self how their cousins like to hang out on the Space Mushroom from the original game, then later summarizes the plot of Katamari Forever while explaining how the RoboKing pulled a Face-Heel Turn afterwards.
- The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: Slightly parodically done in "A Cumberland Ninja in King Radical's Court":
"You're familiar with Cumberland's zombie defense system, put in place by the late mayor Chuck Goodrich?"
"Yes, the city retrofitted every single building with defense equipment, and networked them all together so that the mayor's office could activate them all at once should it have to."
"Yes, I know that. I was just asking if you knew that."
"I know that."
- In Schlock Mercenary, Tagon pretends to provide a slice of exposition for the crew, who already know all that. He's not recapping for the benefit of the audience, however, as Pi seems to think: it's a neat little ploy to renegotiate their contract with the Gavs.
- Half in the Bag: Played straight and lampshaded in Episode 73 by Future!Mike and Future!Jay, who give an Info Dump about the Bad Future where Carol took over the world.
- In the first episode of Cause of Death, it seems the killer is about to tell the audience and the man why he's come to the house, but then simply drops the subject and then kills him. Brutally.
- Spoofed in Shrove Tuesday Observed'snote "If All Stories Were Written Like Science Fiction Stories".
"There are more people going to San Francisco today than I would have expected," he remarked.
"Some of them may in fact be going elsewhere," she answered. "As you know, it's expensive to provide airplane links between all possible locations. We employ a hub system, and people from smaller cities travel first to the hub, and then to their final destination. Fortunately, you found us a flight that takes us straight to San Francisco."
- Atop the Fourth Wall: In Linkara's review of Uncanny X-Men #424, he mentions how the Church of Humanity decides the best time to discuss their plan even though they would undoubtedly know about it is just before the X-Men arrive.
- How David Weber orders pizza.
- MLB Trade Rumors has a tendency to repeat things that regular readers are fully aware of like if a player has received a qualifying offer or not.
- While Noob has heavy use of The Watson and Forgetful Jones, some cases of referring to characters by anything else than their Online Alias fall into this. First of all, two of the characters are brothers, their respective teammates know it, yet they frequently get called "your brother" by these very same people or "my brother" by each other. The hacker and the gold farmer of the setting also frequently get their role attached to their Online Alias when they are spoken about in conversations where the audience needs the reminder much more than the characters do (and the hacker's alias alone has three syllables, so picture the mouthful).
- Allison Pregler:
- In Brad Jones Demo Reel, Braddie gets Gretchen to introduce herself this way.
- One episode lampshades this practice. A character from an earlier episode returns, and Charles/Mambo (siamese twins who have one body with two heads) tell Duckman it's that woman he used to date, who used to be hideous but became gorgeous through plastic surgery and left him. Duckman responds to the effect of "Don't you think I know that?", to which the twins respond with "That wasn't for you. That was exposition for the 99.9 percent of the audience who are usually out having a life on Saturday night instead of staying home and flipping through obscure cable channels hoping to catch a little softcore pornography"
- Another example: To suggest how ordinary his life is, Duckman describes the ironically ridiculous premise of the show to Cornfed in one sentence: "I'm just another duck detective, who works with a pig and lives with the twin sister of his dead wife, has three sons on two bodies, and a comatose mother-in-law whose got so much gas she's fire hazard."
- Bernice: "As I explained to you before and will repeat now, not as clunky exposition but just because it feels so damn good..."
Expositor: (yelling to everyone in earshot) Make way for the Princess of Dendron! Make way for the Princess of Dendron!
Duckman: Thanks for the exposition. Who's tall, dark and creepy?
Expositor: Beware! Beware! That is the Sultan's Fahaer Achmed Amazher. An evil man full of tricks and tourchers and torments. It is said when the moon is full he...
Duckman: All right. Thank you. We'll be in touch. (dismissing the character who has completed his purpose and will not appear gain)
- Subverted in an episode of Justice League Unlimited, where Flash, in Lex's body, asks for an As You Know recap from Dr. Polaris over the "Big Plan". Polaris, on the other hand, is angry that "Luthor" couldn't remember the plan he announced to them that morning.
- In Kim Possible, Drakken is very fond of this trope. It is lampshaded by Shego in the episode "Clean Slate".
Shego, at last! Pure nanotronium is mine! The smallest, most powerful energy source known to m— Shego:
Are you for real? I was with you
. I know
what it is, Dr. Exposition
- Spoofed on the old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. In the episode "Super Rocksteady and Mighty Be-Bop", Shredder explains that he had to entrust the job of setting up a mind-control device to his bungling mutant lackeys Rockstead and Bebop because they're immune to the device, while Shredder would fall under its sway if he set it off himself.
You don't have to explain it to me! I invented it, remember? Shredder:
I wasn't explaining it to you
... (he points to the audience
) I was explaining it to them
- On the Phineas and Ferb crossover with the Marvel Universe — "Mission Marvel" — Doofenshmirtz lampshades this by telling Perry the Platypus that his brother is the mayor, and then completing: "I know I may have touched upon the subject from time to time, but, you know, I figured, why not mention it again just for clarity?"
- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- An incident features Sokka bumbling through an explanation of his battle plan, finally getting so nervous that he just starts recapping the entire series, getting to the sixth episode before his father steps in.
- The show featured some elegantly natural subversions or Lampshade Hanging, as well: in the very first episode, Katara irately tries to exposit at Sokka, who cuts her off with an "I know, I know..." before delivering the exposition himself. Similarly, Zuko asks Azula a question almost anyone in-universe would know the answer to, prompting her to ask "Didn't you pay attention in school?" while giving the exposition anyway.
- At the end of the episode, Zuko, having been told by Iroh to find the secret history of how his great-grandfather died, angrily complains about having been told to look for something everyone in the Fire Nation knows, but it turns out Iroh was talking about his other great grandfather, Avatar Roku.
- It was even exploited by the villains. While disguised as Kyoshi Warriors, Ty Lee and Mai gave some quite clunky exposition to each other. After a spy scurried off to give this information to his boss, it was revealed they knew he was listening, and wanted to leak their identities.
- The Simpsons:
- Lampshaded in the episode "24 Minutes" (which was a 24 parody), where Lisa begins some exposition...
- Spoofed outright in another episode in which Homer needlessly recounts step-by-step his purchase of an ice cream cone with no plot significance whatsoever, to his family, who were there, a few minutes ago. And when he's called out for it by Bart, he starts narrating this very same dialogue that just happened, before being interrupted by the plot.
- "I hope nothing unsavory happens during my visit. As you know, I am the president of the United States."
- Another obvious spoof:
Homer: Well, here we are at the Brad Goodman lecture.
Lisa: We know, Dad.
Homer: I just thought I'd remind everybody. After all, we did agree to attend this self-help seminar.
Bart: What an odd thing to say.
- And yet again:
Marge: How exciting! Watching a movie outside with the whole town!
Comic Book Guy: Yes, thank you for talking to all of us like we just tuned in.
- In the episode, "Lisa the Simpson", Lisa imagines a bad future where she's an obese white trash mother who's married to Ralph Wiggum. When Ralph walks in he says, "Hi Lisa. It's me Ralph, your husband" as if she didn't already know. This gets spoofed later in the episode, when present day Homer goes, "Hi Lisa. It's me, your father, Daddy."
- Spoofed in an episode of Freakazoid!, during a conversation that came with captions indicating which of the statements were "IMPORTANT" or "NOT IMPORTANT". The As You Know conversation eventually degraded into spewing frivolous things like "I'm wearing blue socks" (captioned with "NOT IMPORTANT") and "You know, if you mix baking soda and vinegar together, you can make a little volcano." ("NOT IMPORTANT... BUT INTERESTING")
- This comes up rather often in Code Lyoko Season 1, since the series starts In Medias Res. Jérémie is usually the one stuck with frequently reminding his friends about information that they would already know — like the basic properties of the world of Lyoko, the monsters' stats, the fact that they couldn't let anyone die before a Return to the Past or that their main goal is to materialize Aelita.
- American Dad!:
- Francine is talking to her sister while Stan eavesdrops and calls her "sis", then remarks how strange it is for her to call her that, then mentions her age and where they grew up for no reason.
Francine: I didn't know what to do, sis! What? I've never called you "sis" before? You're right, it is oddly clunky and expositional. I mean, I know you're my sister, so who am I saying it for?
- In another episode, "Stan's Night Out", CIA agent Dick discovers that his car is on Fernando Jaramillo's property.
Oh, good, we all know who Fernando Jaramillo is, so we don't have to waste time explaining it to each other! Janitor:
(appearing from nowhere
) I don't know who he is... Stan: Oh, well let me explain it to you
- In a different episode, we have this exchange:
Hayley: They think you're Kevin Bacon!
Roger: Yes, Hayley, I understand things that happen around me.
- In yet another episode ("You Debt Your Life"):
You saved Roger's life? I guess you guys are even now. Stan:
Yeah, you know; the life debt.
I understand too, Hayley, but would you explain it anyway? I love to hear things summarized.
- Sealab 2021 has a similar Double Subversion:
Captain: You know what that means Stormy? (Stormy nods)
Someone else: But I don't know, Captain, what does it mean?
- The Fairly OddParents makes fun of this trope whenever a character comes back and some exposition is needed for any viewers who aren't up to date. Rather than simply say the character's name, Mr. or Ms. Exposition also has to spout out a long-winded explanation of who they are. The most blatant example is when they explained to the audience that Mark was an alien and now living on Earth disguised as a human, even going so far as to have Timmy place a device in front of the fourth wall that lets the viewer see Mark under his disguise.
- Family Guy:
- Quagmire's "That one was also sexual" line. Initially it looks like Don't Explain the Joke, but according to the DVD commentary, it was a spoof of characters saying things that no-one would really say to explain the plot, like "I can't wait for the bake sale this afternoon!"
- In-Universe example: Brian writes a play, which begins with the main character coming on-scene and saying "Donna, it's Brent, your new husband!"
- Occasionally justified in Chaotic since Tom started out as a newbie, so he shouldn't have known about some of the things in Chaotic and Perm. But everytime a piece of battle gear more complex than a torwig (jetpack) or a creature special ability is used someone has to explain it. The forehead slapping begins however, in that in order to make it to Chaotic, one must become highly ranked in the online card competitions.
- Lampshaded in Chowder. After Chowder asks Mung several questions pertaining to the plot, Chowder asks him why he asks so many questions. Mung replies that it's the easiest way for their loyal fanbase to learn about the episode's plot.
Chowder: (waving to the screen) Hi, loyal fanbase!
- In the episode "High Noon" of Gargoyles, when the Weird Sisters show up at the end they spend the entire scene explaining to each other why they orchestrated everything they did in that episode.
- 1973/74 Superfriends episode "Too Hot to Handle". Professor Von Knowalot explains basic solar system astronomy to the Superfriends.
Professor: As you know, all the planets revolve around the Sun, staying in their precise orbits because of a delicate balance — a balance between the Sun's gravitational pull on the planets and the centrifugal force trying to pull the planets away as they speed around the Sun. If this delicate balance between the Earth and the Sun was upset, we might fly away from our own solar system.
- On The Boondocks, Huey sets up a Noodle Incident as to how "because of [Ed Wuncler Sr.], [Huey] gave a girl a 'permanent and severe limp'". Grandad even says "Look, nobody needs to be reminded of that tragic day you gave that girl a 'permanent severe limp'" right before telling the story.
- Transformers Prime:
- The recap episode "Grill" gives a decent justification. Agent Fowler is being interrogated for what happened with Nemesis Prime, and he's giving a report not only to his direct superior, but is also being recorded for the sake of those higher up the chain of command. The guy he's speaking to knows what's going on, but the people who would be watching the video wouldn't necessarily.
- It also happens when Megatron is using the Forge of Solus Prime to craft the Dark Star Saber, and the onlooking Knock Out and Dreadwing explain the Forge's abilities to no one in particular by Finishing Each Other's Sentences.
- Lampshaded in the pilot movie of Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: one of Zurg's not-particularly-bright scientists is called on to tell Zurg how things are going. He then explains in some detail how they believe that since the Unimind allows the LGMs to share a Hive Mind, they should be able to alter it to give Zurg mental control over other people. Zurg replies "You're telling me my plan. I know what my plan is, I thought up the plan, it's MY plan. What I don't know is how close you are to ACCOMPLISHING MY PLAN!"
- Lampshaded in Adventure Time, when Finn and Jake are disguised as Fire Kingdom actors:
Finn: What's going on with the costumes?
Actor: This is a theater troupe! We're getting ready to perform for the King! Everyone in the Kingdom shall be in attendance! Of course, you know all this, being fellow actors of the exact same troupe.
- The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes establishes the reason for the animosity between Tony Stark and Hank Pym by having Hank remind Tony that five years before the Avengers' founding, the two of them worked on creating a robot controlled by the human mind, but Tony tried to sell it as a weapon without Hank's consent. It seems apparent that Tony didn't need Hank's help remembering this, especially since he brings up the robot first.
- In Barbie In A Mermaid Tale 2, a news report recaps the events of the first film.
- Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja: Randy and the viewers learned about Terry McFist (Hannibal's big brother) being the real heir to McFist Industries and yearly signing over the company to Hannibal when he overheard Viceroy reminding Hannibal of that fact.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: This happens fairly often on the show, generally whenever an episode relies on the events of a previous one they get a brief re-iteration ("It's great we got invited to the [plot device]!" "I know! Thanks for inviting us, [character]". This is due to Word of God stating they wanted the episodes to be watchable in any order.
- Played for Laughs on Daria, when the characters are signing each other's yearbooks: