Hilarious In Flashback
A flashback occurs where the character mentions something that is only funny due to the irony of how it conflicts with their present character. For example, Alice is an expert chess player and Bob is always looking for work. A flashback has Alice telling Bob she's considering taking up chess but doubts it's her game, and Bob expresses optimism over being able to find a new job quickly.
Compare Hilarious in Hindsight
, which is the non-in universe version of this Trope, and Flashback Twist
, where past events are contrasted with a character's present-day statements.
See also Irony
and It Will Never Catch On
Anime and Manga
- Yu-Gi-Oh!, Grandpa Muto makes a vow in a flashback that if he ever loses a game, he'll give up adventuring, open a game shop and wear overalls for the rest of his life.
- Frasier, a flashback shows Martin has a pet goldfish named Eddie. His partner tells him to consider a "real" pet like a dog, but Martin says he isn't a dog person.
- The Big Bang Theory, when Leonard moves in Sheldon puts in the roommate agreement that they will set aside time to watch Firefly, "we may as well get it out of the way, it's going to be on forever".
- A flashback episode of Friends has the main characters meeting up in a bar, and being told it's getting demolished and replaced with a coffee house, to which Chandler remarks "Where are we going to hang out now?" For those who don't know, the six hanging out at the coffee house has been pretty much a Once an Episode thing for the whole show.
- A couple of these happen in Everybody Loves Raymond. There was one that had Marie not wanting to meddle in Robert's life and Debra thinking it's not meddling as long as it's out of love. Another has Robert saying he found the love of his life Joanne who he later divorce. But the biggest would be a flashback of a pregnant Debra wanting to move to the house thats next door to Marie and Frank, thinking it be perfect since they could see them all the time.
- One episode had Adam give his two cents on what would be the respective odds of each outcome before a test—specifically, 70% chance of the test failing and not allowing a retest due to damage, 20% chance of the test failing yet allowing a retest, and 10% chance of the test succeeding. Later on, when option B happens, he tries to claim he gave it a 30% chance of happening, then a 40%. Both claims were countered by a flashback to his original claim, leading him to quip "I Reject Your Reality, and substitute my own!"
- Another episode showed Adam and Jamie trying to be the first to find a needle in a haystack. At the beginning, Adam predicts that in a few hours, Jamie will still be searching while he'll "be kicking back, sipping mimosas in the shade." When he's unsuccessful a few hours in, he predicts this will happen right before it does.
- Platypus Comix used this in "The Lost Art Of TV Guide Advertising: Spring 1997". One of the ads shown was for the series premire of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and it was annotated with this:
"Not sure what this is. Something about a cheerleader? I'm sure there's something about it in a couple places on the Internet. I think there was a 1992 film by the same name, and then the guy who wrote it didn't like how it turned out and made it as a series instead.....who knows how it'll go. Maybe the geeks will get into it?"
- The article about Fall 1989 points out Alyson Hannigan, the actress of Buffy's witchy companion Willow, portraying one of the children in Free Spirit, a sitcom about a Cute Witch who becomes a Magical Nanny to three motherless children. The same article quotes a piece about Roseanne denying that the main character was going to win the lottery, which was true at the time; she won it in the 96-97 season.
- Phineas and Ferb: Before becoming famous as "Lindana", Linda Flynn once dated Heinz Doofenshmirtz. He mocked her dreams of becoming a star by claiming he'd rule the world by then. She then suggested him to start small. The Tri-State Area, for example. Well, Linda became a pop star. Did Doof take over the Tri-State Area? Not in this reality.
- An episode of Garfield and Friends flashes back to when Jon was a kid and adopting Garfield(who is just a kitten). He assures his mother he can handle taking care of him because after all, "how much an a cat eat?"
- Kim Possible: One of the time travel destinations in "A Sitch in Time" is Kim's very first adventure mission. She gets the call just as her first cheerleading practice is about to start; as she leaves, she earnestly promises that she will never ditch practice again.