Yes. It might be wise to appoint a new Lord, to make sure the old Lords vote the right way. Prince George:
Good thought...new Lord...any idea who? Edmund:
Well, sir, one name does leap to mind. Prince George:
Does it? Edmund:
Yes, sir. Prince George: [long pause]
You couldn't make it leap any higher, could you?
Whenever a woman wants something from the significant man in her life, she will usually tell him. Not directly, mind you; in true passive-aggressive spirit she will drop vague and subtle (or not-so-subtle) hints here and there (often in unrelated occasions), expecting he will put the pieces together himself.
Such Hint Dropping
almost never works. The man won't take the hints (heck, he may not even notice
the hints), and the woman will end up furious at him for it. And, more often than not, since she is often wiser
and he is most likely a Bumbling Dad
, the writer will expect the viewer to take her side, seeing him as insensitive and clueless and her as blameless.
This can be Truth in Television
, but TV (especially Sit Coms
, where the trope is quite popular) highly exaggerates the phenomenon. One would expect a man who's lived with a woman for umpteen years to be able to read her hints with at least some degree of accuracy; but this never carries over into fiction. Nor does said fictional woman ever just speak directly about what's on her mind.
Further, despite the gender slant of this entry, both women and
men are subject to this trope. Fiction, however, tends to show us more women than men
dropping such hints.
Naturally, with this trope nobody dropping hints ever thinks that the recipient got the hint and merely disagrees with it. Additionally, it is a little bit odd to blame the recipient of a piece of communication for not understanding the communicator's message; one shouldn't criticise a German, after all, for not understanding French. (Now, English, of course is spoken all over the universe!
A subtrope of Cannot Spit It Out
; this is where the character will
not spit it out. If the other person actually gets the hint, it's Glad You Thought of It
. This is itself a supertrope to Prompting Nudge
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- A car insurance ad in Australia for a company called AAMI (pronounced 'Amy') features a woman called Amy in a jewelery store talking directly to the camera, giving a message to "my man Todd". She turns on a CD player that starts playing the bridal march. She talks about how much AAMI could save him on his car insurance and 'who knows what he could do with the money he saves'. She ostentatiously droops her hand forward to display an engagement ring (with the price tag still attached) and pointedly tells Todd to "give AAMI a ring" as the phone number flashes up.
- A follow-up ad had the now married Amy standing in a travel agency, complaining the cheapness of the honeymoon and waving a brochure for Paris.
- The Vince Vaughn/Jennifer Aniston movie The Breakup is all about this, though in this case neither one is favored by the audience; he seems to be dedicated to being incredibly insensitive, and she fancies herself a mistress of manipulation, though her many plans backfire. In the end, nobody wins; contrary to expectation, they actually break up, each wiser for the wear, apparently.
- In Django Unchained, Lara Candie and the ranchers are trying to device a Fate Worse Than Death for Django in the wake of Calvin's death. Stephen painstakingly recalls how he repeatedly made "casual" mentions to each suggestion that Lequint Dickey Mining Company slaves have it way worse than any of that, before anyone took the hint.
Live Action TV
- An example from the Zits comic strip:
Jeremy: Some people are going to a movie tonight... Wanna go?
Sara: I can't. I'm babysitting.
Sara: Until midnight. By myself. At 6539 Windmill Lane. It's a light gray house. With a big comfy couch and a kid who goes to sleep at 8.
Jeremy: So you're busy then, huh?
Sara (thinking): Sara, he's a GUY... You have to be more obvious.
- In the second act of Spamalot, after telling Arthur that his Broadway musical needs to end with a wedding, The Lady of the Lake proceeds to drop a series of increasingly blatant hints that his wedding should be to her. He gets it eventually.
- Hilariously used near the conclusion of Dragon Age: Origins, where your character can be completely oblivious to Leliana's invitations to bed the night before the final battle, forcing her to speak more frankly.
- One Wapsi Square story arc included a segment where a sphinx repeatedly dropped hints that Shelly should cut open a sacred tree with a sword, but she repeatedly missed them.
- The Simpsons:
Marge: Oh, Homey, look at that watch. I've always wanted a watch like that.
Homer: (slyly) Well, maybe someone will give you one for Christmas...
Marge: (happy sound)
Homer: (thinking) Now she'll really be surprised when she opens that ironing board cover!
- In Family Guy, Stewie drops hints that Meg should become Bulimic.
- In another episode, Chris gives Lois smoker's toothpaste for her birthday, asking her to "take the hint."
- Subverted in Aladdin: The Series, in one episode Aladdin is shopping for a locket for Jasmine. When Genie asks why he sarcastically mentions she's been dropping "little hints" like pointing at them and shouting "I want one!"
- How Isabella tries to reveal her crush on Phineas in Phineas and Ferb. It...doesn't work...