How Homer Simpson remembers the last town hall meeting.
I used to be an Asian Boy Scout! Wasn't that a weird week?
Bart: Is that story true, Grampa?
Abe: Well, most of it. I did wear a dress for a period in the forties. Oh, they had designers then!
This trope is when a character reminisces about something so outlandish and wild, it probably isn't true. Perhaps this character is out-and-out lying in an attempt to be interesting or shocking, or they might just be crazy enough to believe their crap. On occasion, if nobody else believes this person, it may actually prove to be true. In cases such as these they are quickly forgotten and never brought up again
Typically, this trope is played up for comedic effect and will often occur in lonely old people. Adventurers are also prone to these as they like to brag about their past adventures. Also common amongst the Cloud Cuckoo Lander
If multiple characters have one of these about the same event, it could lead to a "Rashomon"-Style
story. If the event is frequently discussed, but never shown, it could be a Noodle Incident
Compare Noodle Incident
, Cutaway Gag
, Big Lipped Alligator Moment
, and Imagine Spot
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Anime And Manga
- Used in the Pokémon anime: Burgundy recounts her first encounter with Cilan: he thrashed her in a Gym, then he and his Pansage loom over her with their rape faces on, much to the horror of poor little Burgundy and her Oshawott. Arguably subverted, since Cilan acted rather unsettling during their rematch. Doesn't help that he's also a Memetic Molester.
- In Love Lab, Maki does this a lot, like having a flashback of her and Riko having a Lover Tug-of-War with a human Huggy (Huggy is a pillow with a man drawn on it).
- In Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Dr. Evil describes his father as this.
Dr. Evil: He would make outrageous claims, like he invented the question mark.
- Happens during the riffing of Pirates of the Caribbean
Bill Corbett: I don't blame her, I'd rather jump off a cliff than marry a man in a tri-corner hat.
- Speaking of which, Jack Sparrow actually has a couple of moments like these throughout the series. Most notable is an ending to a story he's telling two guards where he claims "and then they made me their chief."
- Was that before or after he built a raft out of a couple of live sea turtles and a rope made from his own hair?
- I think it was around his trip to Singapore.
- The entire point of Secondhand Lions. Great-uncle Hub's story is outlandish and wild about being in the French Foreign legion, fighting a sheik for the love of a princess, and all that sort of nonsense. The ending scene shows that it was all true.
- The whole premise of Big Fish is that Edward Bloom's stories about his life couldn't possibly be true. In the end it seems that some of the details might have been exaggerated, but the general events actually happened.
Live Action Television
- Invoked in Community when Troy is being initiated into the Air Conditioner Repair School so no one would believe him and think he was just remembering a dream. Highlights include a black Hitler and an astronaut cooking paninis.
- The entire history of the Janitor from Scrubs. If you think you know something about him, you don't, or it is disproved later and re-proven after that.
Janitor: My father died [when I was young].
JD: I met your father!
Janitor: You met a man.
JD: Was any of that true?
Janitor: I don't know. Someone would have to read it back to me.
- When the janitor tries to grow facial hair:
JD: It looks like tiny hamsters died all over your face!
Janitor: That happened once.
- The Twilight Zone episode "Hocus-Pocus and Frisby" was about a man who told outrageous lies to his friends about his past. It comes back to bite him when he's abducted by aliens who have no concept of lying. Fortunately, the one thing he's really good at - playing the harmonica - turns out to give them excruciating pain.
- The first season of Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place had a recurring character of a crazy patron who would tell stories about his life that were all actually plots of popular movies. Then he was Put on a Bus.
- Captain Jack Harkness in Torchwood does this often in the form of references to relationships with historical characters (which could very well have actually happened since he's a time traveler and he's taken The Slow Path) and impossible situations like being pregnant (which we really, REALLY hope didn't actually happen.)
- In Doctor Who, the Doctor will often slip in references to stories which may or may not involve Michelangelo, arrows, alien super-computers and pepper-pots with plungers. Random bystanders will think he's a madman. Well, he is a madman, but his stories are probably all true. Also, he's second only to Captain Jack at this point in terms of relationships with historical figures.
- In one episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Frank tries to pass off more than one story from John Rambo's life as something that happened to him. No indication is given that he doesn't genuinely believe these things happened to him.
- Beans from Even Stevens was a lot like this.
- Future!Ted from How I Met Your Mother occasionally had some of these, which were usually implied to be him simply misremembering things or being unable to recall what happened outside of his biased perspective, leading to the events of the episode suddenly veering into totally surreal territory for a few minutes. Usually prefaced by "Kids, I swear this is what happened next..."
- Barney often claims to have done some pretty crazy things. On the one hand, he does lie/exaggerate a lot, on the other hand...he is Barney so really anything's possimpible...
- Bloom County. Milo sometimes did this, but about Binkley's life, not his own. Note that Milo and Binkley are both children.
Milo: Tell me, Binkley, if you had your life to live over again, would you do everything the same? Would you have left home to join those Bohemian resistance fighters? Would you have married that Turkish leopard smuggler? Would you have spent those twenty years chasing white tigers in the mountains of Ceylon?
- The late Dave Allen frequently gave different reasons on how he lost one of his fingertips in order to derive material from his injury; the reasons included his brother accidentally bit it off, he maimed himself to avoid war, it was stuck in a bottle of whiskey that eventually dissolved it and he wore it down by obsessively brushing dust off himself (to name a few).
- The play "The Time of Your Life" takes place in a San Francisco bar over the course of a single day in 1938. One patron is an odd old man in strange clothing. Throughout the day, he tells a series of unbelievable stories, every one of which starts with him stating the unlikely event, the place, and the year. In the final act, he tries to make a corrupt vice cop stop harassing a dancer/prostitute and is thrown out of the bar. Minutes later, the vice cop is shot offstage. The old man returns to the bar, and someone says the cop has been killed. The old man says,
I killed a man once. San Francisco, 1938. I didn't like the way he talked to ladies, so I went and got my pearl-handled pistol, waited for him to get out of the bar, and shot him . . . I had to throw that beautiful pistol into the bay . . .
- As the above quote indicates, Chester A. Bum of Bum Reviews has a lot of these. He will often talk about times in his life where crazy and outlandish scenes from the movies he saw were actually like things that happened to him. Expect the line "except, instead of (insert activity here), I just did drugs" to follow many of these statements.
- "I got stabbed in the part of my brain that produces flashbacks."◊
- Red vs. Blue has Caboose who couldn't remember anything correctly to save his life, and Donut who's probably aware that he's making things up, but we never get any proof.
- Solomon "Duke" Todd of Shadow Unit is prone to these, though it can be difficult to tell when they're real memoried and when he's just making them up...
- A common gag on Homestar Runner, most of the times that any of the characters remember something, it is bound to be something along these lines. Strong Bad himself admitted that he had a very unphotographic memory... More like a drawing or doodle memory actually.