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Late To The Realization
aka: The Last Horse Crosses The Finish Line
"The audience loves the slow thinker."

In any form of comedy and/or drama, whether it be Eastern or Western, important characters will be painfully oblivious to the events that are occurring right in front of him or her. Usually but not always happens to main characters, it is up to the rest of the cast, way before the revelation is necessary, to figure out the painfully obvious characteristic of the new personality, or find out a clue so shocking, that it canít refuse to be overlooked. Instinctively, said support will try any which way to get the information known to the leading man/woman, with unsuccessful results. When the main character eventually does find out what the others have been trying to tell him/her, one of the two outcomes will happen, depending on the situation:

  1. If in a comedy, the character will step back, stunned, and contemplate the news before properly freaking out.
  2. If in a drama, the character will usually be confronted by the villain, who will deliver a pre-mortem or James Bond-esque zinger, with the main character attempting a desperate What the Hell, Hero? or "The Reason You Suck" Speech, with results that vary wildly with each work.

Subtrope of Idiot Hero, Too Dumb to Live, Late to the Punchline and Genre Blindness. May involve some elements of Failure Is the Only Option, and might become a Running Gag if used on more than one occasion. For the romantic varieties of this, see Everyone Can See It ("It" being the fact that a couple is in love/attracted to each other, which is a known fact to everyone except the couple) and Oblivious to Love (where one person is oblivious to either someone else's affections, or the stirrings of their own heart.) If it becomes the entire character's mindset, it is destined to become Flanderization.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime And Manga  

  • A visual example in the first episode of Ouran High School Host Club, Tamaki was the very last person to figure out that Haruhi was a girl, visualized by the six lightbulbs, Tamaki's being the sixth and final one to light up, at which point the camera pulls back to show that the bulbs spell out the kanji for woman. The rest of the Host Club had a hell of a good time making fun of him for that.
  • Gourry from Slayers becomes known for doing this a few times across the series. It'll take him numerous episodes for him to make the connection that someone is the bad guy. This length of time almost crosses into Brick Joke territory for taking so long.
  • In his debut episode in Axis Powers Hetalia, Sealand went for a whole 3/4's of the episode believing that the countries were ignoring him just to be jerks. It takes him to the last quarter of the episode, while nicely enjoying a meal with himself, that the reason that the other countries ignored him is because he hasn't been recognized as a country himself.
  • The thirteenth episode of Baccano!! ends with Isaac and Miria finally catching on to the fact that they've stopped aging... after seventy-two years.
  • In One Piece
    • At the start of the Drum Island arc, most of the crew realize that the temperatures were dropping as they approached the winter-seasoned island and take appropriate measures to keep themselves warm before they even reach the dock. At first they spend a little time in the village so they get to know what is going on around the island and gather supplies for the long trip up to the mountain in the center of the island. After leaving the village, roughly three hours into the trek up the mountain, Luffy finally realizes that its cold.
    • Surprisingly both played straight, subverted, and averted within the span of a few minutes during the halfway point of Luffy and Foxy's match during the Groggy Boxing round of the Davy Back Fight. While hunting down Foxy in his own cabin, who (Foxy) had just used his Foxy Face Transformation in an attempt to throw Luffy off. Luffy runs into a random room where he crosses paths with Foxy, who is donning a ridiculously-oversized Paper-Thin Disguise of a woman's mask. Luffy, being the Idiot Hero that he is, actually falls for it, only to walk out for a few seconds and then put the connection that the "woman" had the same chin as Foxy, bringing his own train of thought to the conclusion that the "woman" that he just encountered was Foxy's sister. Luffy still holds on to this belief, even after Foxy launches a surprise attack and makes a break for it right in front of his face,believing that Foxy's "sister" was purposely distracting Luffy from Foxy's "true whereabouts.".

     Film  

  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End:
    • When Tia Dalma uses her sand crabs to locate and bring Jack back to the crew of the Black Pearl, it takes a while for "Witty Jack" to figure out that his ship is suddenly being ferried, without effort, across Davy Jones' Locker. It takes even longer for him to realize that the ship is moving at breakneck speed, and he will soon be left behind if he does not catch up.
    • Also, at the end, Jack is taking his ladies to see the Black Pearl, but they only find a dinghy. It takes him a moment to realize his ship is missing. Again.
      Scarlet: Is that it? The Black Pearl. Not very big.
      Jack Sparrow: Love, that is a dinghy. My vessel is magnificent and fierce and huge-ish... And gone. Why is it gone?

     Literature  

     Live-Action TV  

  • Very common on Friends with Joey, complete with the other five watching him work through the concept they all got two minutes ago.
  • Doctor Who
    • In the episode "A Good Man Goes to War", the Doctor, usually the first one to twig to what's going on in any particular situation, is the very last person to realize the implications of Amy and Rory's daughter having Time Lord DNA, having to be led through a "birds and bees" explanation by Vastra before he even understands the question being asked. Next, he fails to realize the obvious fact that his capture of Demon's Run was too easy and their recovery of said baby is a trap, having to be told by the villain. And finally, River Song has to literally hold his hand through the final reveal of her identity.
    • In the episode "Let's Kill Hitler", Mels makes a Running Gag out of the main characters not realizing what's going on with her "penny in the air", "penny drops" line. First is in the introductory flashback when Amy finally realizes that Rory is in love with her. Second is when Mels reveals to the Doctor and company what they really should have figured out a while ago: she's Melody Pond, Amy and Rory's daughter, in a new regeneration. To the Doctor's credit, he immediately recognizes the implications of this and takes precautions against her.
  • Father Ted: "THOSE WOMEN WERE IN THE NIP!!!"

     Video Games  

  • In Tales of the Drunken Paladin, we get this line from our Idiot Hero Anebriate, some time well after meeting with a new character named Karla.
    Karla: Zhat is correct, paladin. But zhat is not even zhe peculiar zhing. After zhat, zhe man stood up and valked avay.
    Anebriate: Wait, wait wait... did you just say "valked?"
    Karla: ... Yes, he valked avay. Zhat is vhat I zaid.'
    Anebriate: HOW DID I JUST NOTICE YOUR ACCENT?
  • In Psychonauts, it's only after the fight with the first brain tank that Raz realizes Oleander is the villain.
  • At one point during the "Future" arc in Tales of Graces it's revealed that Hubert has an Arranged Marriage he doesn't really want to go through with. While Malik and Richard quickly figure out the reason for this (and use the opportunity to tease the hell out of him), his brother Asbel spends the entire conversation wondering what everyone's talking about... Until he finally gets it at the end.
    Asbel: HOLY CRAP!
    Malik: I think your brother has finally figured it out. What do you think Asbel?
    Asbel: Hubert's in love with-
    Hubert: That's enough! We're done talking about this!
    • For those curious, the women in question is Pascal

     Webcomics  

  • This VG Cats comic has Cloud!Leo realizing a bit late that Vincent is gone.

     Web Animation  

  • In Eddsworld, this is said almost word for word by Tom, who in Hammer and Fail 2 states "Aaaaaaand the last horse finishes the crossing line."
  • Vegeta is prone to being the last horse in Dragon Ball Z Abridged.
    Piccolo: Trunks? What are you doing here?
    Vegeta: Ha! That's a girl's name.
    Krillin: Isn't that the name of your kid?
    Vegeta: What, are you trying to imply that this wannabe Super Saiyan from the future is my saaaaaahhhhh...
  • Caboose of Red vs. Blue. Heck, just look at his name.

     Western Animation  


Late to the PunchlineComedy TropesLaughably Evil

alternative title(s): Late To The Realisation; The Last Horse Crosses The Finish Line; The Slow Thinker
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