Loving Details

"I would give her flowers every day. And not just any flowers, okay? Her favorites are orchids. White. And breakfast in bed. Six loaves of wheat toast with butter on both sides. No crusts. The way she likes it."
Melman, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

This trope happens when a character in love recites (or otherwise shows knowledge of) tiny details about the object of his/her affection, showing how well he/she knows the other. The amount or obscurity of the detail suggests the intensity of feeling on the part of the speaker, although practical circumstances may limit the amount of information that is available.

A common variant is when the speaker lists every tiny detail about a past experience with the beloved, especially about the day they first met: the weather, what each of them was wearing at the time, what they both ate, and so on.

This is usually played as romantic, but it can take on a creepy tone if the person reciting detail is a Stalker With a Crush. However, there should be affection of some kind involved in order for this trope to be in play. (Non-romantic love may also qualify, though this version is less commonly seen in media.)

Overlaps with Ludicrous Precision when precise numerical details are given (such as calculating down to the minute or second how long it's been since the couple met), especially when it's Played for Laughs.

Not to be confused with Description Porn, though they may overlap if the speaker gets really carried away.


Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Towards the end of Cross Ange, the Big Bad, who is unhealthily obsessed with the title heroine, tries to demoralize her boyfriend Tusk by telling him how exactly he will seduce her. Tusk quickly no sells his attempt, saying that he already knows Ange in more intimate ways than the Big Bad can ever hope to, including how many moles she has on her inner thigh.

    Film 
  • Just before the climactic penultimate scene in Ball of Fire, Sugarpuss has a Love Epiphany during her shotgun wedding to the gangster she was desperate to elope with and realises that she has feelings for the shy English professor Bertram. Her boyfriend doesn't believe her, so she lists all the little things she finds cute about Bertram, from his waistcoasts always being misbuttoned to his naivety towards love, seen in the scene when she kissed him three times and he ran out of the room flustered.
  • In Cover Girl (1944), Rusty recites to the minute how long it's been since she met Danny as a way of subtly reassuring him that she still cares about him despite her newfound fame as a model.
  • In Easter Parade, Hannah accuses Don of not noticing her as a woman, and to prove it, she closes her eyes and challenges him to tell her what color they are. He answers, "They're brown" and kisses her.
  • In Follow the Fleet, when Bake is reunited with his former girlfriend and dancing partner Sherry, he orders a chocolate sundae without whipped cream for her. This signals both his continuing feelings for her and his desire to reconcile (showing that he both remembers what she likes and wants to give it to her). Sherry is not quite ready to forgive him, so she immediately tells the waiter to make her sundae with whipped cream—"and plenty of it!"
  • The "remember a time together" variation is parodied in the song "I Remember It Well" from Gigi. Honoré tries to convince Mamita that she's the love of his life by reciting details about their last evening together (before he cheated on her), but he gets them all wrong. She, on the other hand, remembers the details perfectly and corrects him each time he makes a mistake.
  • Phil in Groundhog Day attempts this with Rita by using his "Groundhog Day" Loop to learn tons of facts about her, but instead of endearing him to her, it creeps her out. The only time it causes her to be interested is when he's proves his time loop is real by reciting details about everyone in the town, though the interest is caused more by concern than by attraction.
  • Love Actually: When Sarah is called in to speak with her boss Harry at the start of the film, it seems at first that she simply keeps very close track of her own employment history. It soon becomes apparent, however, that she can only recite the details because they're relevant to the first moment she met her crush Karl.
  • Snow Day: Stalker With a Crush Hal is a one-sided example of this, as he knows more tiny details about Claire than her boyfriend Chuck actually knows, such as the fact that her favorite gum is Watermelon Bubblicious, that she can't go a whole day without diving, that she has brown eyes, and that (he assumes) her favorite animal is the whale. Hal even lampshades this early in his narration of the movie by saying he knows the the exact number of times she blinks per minute.
  • During Harry's Love Confession at the end of When Harry Met Sally..., he lists several of Sally's small quirks as things he loves about her.

    Literature 
  • Ciaphas Cain, at the end of his career while composing his secret memoirs, can still remember every detail of the first time he met Amberley Vail.
  • In Dune, when Paul's future lover Chani imbibes some Spice, she has a premonition of this. She has a vision of their child and is amazed that she can recognize Paul's "every feature."
  • In the Earth's Children book The Valley of Horses and those following, Ayla demonstrates a remarkable memory to Jondolar—specifically, when she learns that his morning routine includes a cup of tea and a small stick with which to clean his teeth, she makes a point of having those available to him every morning. At first he is impressed, but eventually it becomes routine. Then in the following book, The Mammoth Hunters, they break up—but then, Jondolar realizes that she's still putting them out for him every morning. This makes him realize that she still loves him.
  • A feature of Aeran culture in M.C.A. Hogarth's Paradox universe. In the short story "Rosettes and Ribbons," an Aera tries to convince his wife that he's having an affair with a Seersa anthropologist by telling her sordid tales of their liaisons in vivid detail in an attempt to get her to divorce him. Fortunately, said Seersa is able to talk the wife out of a Duel to the Death by showing off a birthmark he would have mentioned had their affair not been total fiction.
  • Subverted in Rakkety Tam: Yoofus at one point reassures Doogy that he is not lost, because he knows the woods like his dear wife's face. Doogy responds by standing between him and Didgety and challenging him to name her eye color. He can't, even after several guesses, giving the excuse that when he's looking into them he's too enchanted to think about colors.

    Live Action TV 
  • When Emma Peel departs on The Avengers (the British Spy Drama), she meets her replacement, Tara King, on the stairs. A little wistfully, Emma tells Tara, "He likes his tea stirred anticlockwise." The series had always been very coy about the nature of the relationship between Emma Peel and John Steed, so this plays as a final bit of Ship Tease.
  • In The Big Bang Theory episode "The Clean Room Infiltration," Sheldon and Amy agree not to exchange gifts on Christmas, but after he learns that Amy bought him a gift anyway, Sheldon decides to punish her by getting her a personal gift to make her feel guilty. He goes to the store with Bernadette, who asks what Amy would like. Sheldon responds by rattling off many details about Amy's taste and then adds, "Now let's find the kind of gift that makes her feel small and worthless."
  • The Commish: As Tony is talking about the case of the week with his wife, she mentions that it must be particularly vexing for him because he's absentmindedly playing with his wedding ring while he talks about it, which is something he always does when he's annoyed by a case. This serves as Tony's Eureka Moment for the case: a man whom they have arrested for murder claims that his wife set him up to take the fall, but she claims that they're not married and he was her stalker. Tony asks him to identify something that "only a husband would know," and he mentions that his wife hates to see a cup away from its saucer—if he walks around with a cup, his wife follows along with the saucer to make sure they stay together. Tony visits the woman and asks for a cup of coffee, then wanders around her place and she follows along with the saucer.
  • Hilariously subverted in an episode of The Drew Carey Show where Drew and Oswald try to pass for a gay couple to hide the fact that Drew used his company health insurance to pay for surgery for his dog. Mrs. Louder and Mr. Wick separate them and interrogate them to see how well they know each other. They fail miserably.
  • Leverage: In "The Mile-High Job" (season 1), Sophie and Nate's relationship is in a tentative stage. Sophie becomes upset when Nate apparently doesn't remember their first meeting—he dates it as two years later than she does. She takes this as a sign that he's not really into her. Later, he recites details of the first time he saw her (which matches her date), but adds that he didn't properly meet her until two years after that. Sophie is reassured by this.
  • The Newlywed Game (known to British viewers as Mr and Mrs) invokes and practically tests out this trope: winning demands you know what your spouse would answer to a given question.
  • In Parks and Recreation, Tom ropes his coworkers into participating in a test run of his game show concept, Know Ya Boo, a thinly-veiled ripoff of The Newlywed Game with a CGI puppy co-host. Drama ensues when this trope is subverted; platonic friends Donna and Jerry turn out to know more about each other than newlyweds April and Andy.
  • In NCIS: Los Angeles, this comes up at least twice for Kensi and Deeks. In "Neighborhood Watch," while Undercover as Lovers, the "married" couple are asked how they met. Kensi and Deeks give an embellished version of their actual first meeting at the MMA gym. The follow-up question is "Do you remember what the other was wearing?" Both can remember with absolute clarity, and no hesitation.
    • Later, in season 6's "Traitors," a bickering argument about whether or not Kensi ate Deeks' food from the office fridge turns into a Loving Details moments as Deeks tries to prove he knows Kensi better than she thinks he does.
    Deeks: I know you hate liver but love bulgogi.
    Kensi: So does everyone else.
    Deeks: I know your favorite movie on the planet is Titanic.
    Kensi: Me and a billion other people.
    Deeks: I know that you love mojitos and techno music at the Apex Hotel.I know that you played college softball.I know that you dressed up like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle as a kid for Halloween. I know that you keep a journal. I know you wanna have an oregano garden, even though you are a notorious plant killer. I know that your favorite New Kid on the Block was Joey McIntyre. And why not? Because he was the dreamiest. Bam. Oh, and I also know that you hide girlie magazines under your bathroom sink.
    • Bonus points for all of these details being canon. All of them can be traced to previous episodes. There's a great vid on YouTube illustrating it here.
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Deadly Years," Kirk's Old Flame Jan Wallace knows (almost) exactly how long it's been since she last saw him: "Six years, four months, and an odd number of days. You mean you don't know?"

    Music 
  • "Crazy Love" by Mindy Gledhill is about the impulse to learn all these things about the object of your affection.
  • Ty Herndon's "What Mattered Most" is about a guy who was so focused on the details about his ex that he didn't pay enough attention to her as a person.
  • The Ben Folds / Nick Hornby collaboration "Password" is sung from the perspective of a guy who memorizes small details about his crush in an attempt to win her over. While she's a little creeped out at first, she does agree to a relationship which ends when she gets bored and cheats on him. The song suggests that knowing the details of a person's life isn't the same as knowing the person.

    Newspaper Columns 
  • Israeli columnist Dana Spector, who writes the column ‘Soon I’ll Go Far’ on the Yediot Akharonot extra ‘7 Days’, mentioned in a column how relationships start off as this, when you can practically paint an accurate painting of your beloved’s eyes and their colour pattern from gazing into them for so long, but ultimately looking so closely at someone for so long makes the image blur and the passion wane. This became Harsher in Hindsight when not too long after writing this column, she left her husband Alex Levitt for screenwriter Ran Sarig.

    Video Games 
  • Played with in episode three of Tales of Monkey Island. Adventurer Coronado de Cava suspects Guybrush of moving in on his old sweetheart, the Voodoo Lady. Guybrush tries to defuse this by pretending to be married to Morgan la Flay; Coronado tests this by forcing them to play a round of The Newlywed Game at the peril of being dropped down the gullet of a giant manatee. Morgan knows all about Guybrush because she's a huge fan, and Guybrush must deduce the answers to the questions based on clues he encountered earlier.
  • Characters in Tomodachi Life who are in a relationship will sometimes ask you if they can tell you something about their significant other, then go on a long ramble along these lines, and parents will sometimes brag about their children the same way. The game lampshades this by using a Fast-Forward Gag to reduce everything after the first few lines to Blah Blah Blah.

    Web Video 
  • In the first season of The Guild, Stalker With a Crush Zaboo shows up on Codex's doorstep announcing that he wants to move their online "relationship" to real life. He casually rattles off all the things he has learned about her, including her cell phone record, medication dosage, and "every floor plan of every place you have ever lived." Codex is flustered, but it's Played for Laughs.

    Western Animation 
  • In Madagascar 2, Melman recites a lot of minor details about Gloria when he interrupts her date with Moto Moto, including her favourite meal. This convinces Gloria that Melman really loves her, while Moto Moto is only interested in her because of her bulk.
  • The Simpsons: In "Blood Feud", Marge demonstrates an intimate knowledge of not just her husband but her whole family, including Homer's blood type and earmuff size, Lisa's ring and shoe sizes, and Bart's number of teeth and allergies.

    Real Life 
  • If an immigrant spouse of a US citizen applies for a green card and the immigration authorities suspect the marriage to be fraudulent, then they will question the couple to see if they can provide these loving details about each other. This New York Times article gives examples of the sorts of questions asked.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/LovingDetails