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A simple comedy dialogue trick is to have something bizarre happen, and then have someone say "not again", implying it's happened before. The actual phrasing can vary. A slightly less funny version (unless done just right) is where it actually has happened before, on-screen, and the character is just pointing that out
A variation is to have the character say something along the lines of "This is just like X all over again," where X is something typically ordinary, such as prom, or graduation.
See also Here We Go Again
, and This Is Gonna Suck
, which can be combined with it. Is often used in conjunction with the Noodle Incident
(especially if what happened the last time hasn't been mentioned or seen before, particularly if the "This is just like X all over again" variation is used).
Related to Didn't We Use This Joke Already?
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- Jared's second Dave/GPS commercial; naturally, Dave invokes this trope as he remembers what happened last time.
- In the second video in Game Fly's "Bad Game" commercial, a man who looks like Owen Wilson says "Not again..."
- The head guard in a Captain Morgan rum commercial manages a nonverbal version of this, shaking his head and glaring with a look that's all too clear when he sees Captain Morgan breaking someone out of prison.
Anime & Manga
- In the beginning of Chrono Crusade, Rosette wails, "Why does this sort of thing always happen to me?!" after her mission to exorcise a demon ends in her crashing a ship into the Statue of Liberty. The very next chapter confirms that this sort of disaster happens because of her all the time.
- Early in Cyborg 009 when the cyborgs were painting their ship, 007 accidentally knocks down a bucket of paint on 008's head while arguing with 006. A noisy chase ensues, which 004 comments laconically:
004: Not again.
- Dragon Ball Z
- During the Buu Saga, after Piccolo and Gotenks discover the ruins of the Lookout, Piccolo states "the Lookout is destroyed... again." Those who've watched the Anime will most likely think back to the Garlic Jr. Saga, which is the only other time that the Lookout was destroyed (onscreen, anyway).
- Similarly, when Krillin, when trying to come up with an excuse for Gohan's whereabouts to Chi-Chi, considered saying "Gohan's been kidnapped again!" The only other onscreen times he was kidnapped was during the events of the film Dead Zone, and when Raditz kidnapped him at the start of DBZ.
- Boss from Mazinger Z has his made-of-scraps-and-junk Humongous Mecha (Boss Borot) wrecked nearly each episode, so often he utters one sentence along the lines of "Why it is always me?", or "Not again!". He even lampshades it in one UFO Robo Grendizer manga chapter: He is going to fight Great Mazinger (long story), and he is knocked down with a mere backhand. Then he says "The most painful thing is I knew what this would happen."
- In the Great Mazinger vs Getter Robo features, Boss Borot's arms gets eaten by a Robeast. Later his Humongous Mecha gets rebuilt, he fights that Robeast again... And his robot's limb gets eaten again. Boss yells: "What? AGAIN?"
- Silver Age Superman once flew through Hell, causing Hitler to look up and shout "Oh no, not again!" Golden Age Superman had defeated Hitler in one of Action Comics's first issues.
- Negation had the Catch Phrase BOHICA (Bend Over — Here It Comes Again).
- The image at Joker Immunity is from The Batman Adventures comic Mad Love. It has the last two words of this trope. (The panel before showed Batman hitting the Joker out of a train and him saying: "Oh, no...")
- The Trope Image comes from Batman issue 246 where he discovers Robin dead in a clock tower.
- Transmetropolitan: A particularly deranged-looking Spider hails/hijacks a cab.
Cabbie: Please don't kill me and eat me! I couldn't bear to be killed and eaten again!
- The Don Rosa Duck comic, The Quest for Kalevala, the sea-monster Iku-Turso wreaks havoc on Helsinki. An citizen calmly comments:
"Wow, that is the second biggest frog I have ever seen."
- In an early Fox Trot arc, Andy becomes quite paranoid that her husband Roger is having an affair, when he calls to tell her he'll be home late again. As Andy continues to think of ways he could be lying to her about what he's really doing, Roger counters her questions with substantive answers. He even puts the phone up to his desk chair and says "Listen — you know how my chair squeaks?" "Sounds like bedsprings", Andy replies, and Roger yells for a coworker named Fred to "get over here and talk to [his] wife", to which the coworker groans "Not again..."
- The Far Side. A hippie stops at a house to ask for directions; upon noticing that the person he's speaking with is an elephant-bird-giraffe-man, the man says, "Oh, wow, déjà vu."
- In a Garfield strip, Garfield is complaining about how there's only reruns on TV, and leftovers in the fridge. Then Jon runs by, screaming about how the plumbing has backed up, and pirahnas are spawning in the toilet. Garfield's reaction? "Again?!"
- In A Very Potter Musical, when Voldemort and Malfoy are making an Unbreakable Vow (i.e. a spit-shake):
Malfoy: (before Voldemort can get out of the shake) And you have to be my slave for a whole day starting now!
Voldemort: You little shit! You got me, oh this is so embarassing! That's the second time that's happened!
- In the Potter Puppet Pals episode "The Vortex", we have this exchange:
Hermione: Professor Dumbledore! Ron's trapped in an alternate dimension!
Dumbledore: Oh no, not again!
- Yet more Harry Potter silliness: Oh God Not Again is a breezy Peggy Sue-parody fic in which 23-year-old Harry gets to relive his entire childhood fortuitously having done it all before.
- Used to lampshade the increasingly frequent instances of "darkness enfolding him" in Toy Hammer.
"Darkness enfolded me. Again."
- Said by Fakir in Princess Tutu Abridged: "Did I just get taken out by a ninety pound ballerina? Damn, not again."
- Takamachi Nanoha Of 2814 has a spectacular example that is entirely in line with canon.
"I am going to die a virgin," Tuxedo Kamen
said, then added conscientiously, "Again
- Negi Springfield in Equal And Opposite Attraction quotes this verbatim before passing out when he discovers that, yet again, he is teaching mages in his class.
- Sasaki says this almost word for word (she drops the "no") in chapter 54 of Kyon: Big Damn Hero. It's the third time she's been captured by the Sumiyoshi-rengo.
- Said by Sam in Strength In Numbers when she learns that Danny had a two-hour eating binge again.
- This is Apollo's reaction in Turnabout Substitution when Phoenix Rick Rolls him over the phone.
Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- Used twice in Mouse Hunt. First, when the Mayor faints after swallowing half a cockroach, his wife yelps, "Oh, no! Not again!" Later, when Lars and Ernie go to the animal shelter and ask for a vicious cat, Mory tells them he has the perfect one: "I had all but given up hope of anyone wanting him. We were about to gas him again."
- John Hurt's character gets out this line during his cameo in Spaceballs when a miniature Alien bursts out of his chest — which is, of course, an Actor Allusion to his role in Alien.
- This is Mark Hamill's response to his hand getting chopped off in Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back. It's also a Shout Out to the last time Mark Hamill lost a hand.
- Along similar lines, in Attack Of The Clones when Anakin dives off the side of a speeder in the middle of high-speed, flying traffic, all Obi-Wan can come up with is, "I hate it when he does that."
- In Mary Poppins, about fifty chimney sweepers roll out of the Banks family's fireplace and start dancing around singing. And the first thing the cook says when she sees them is, "They're at it again!"
- After a hotel-roof shootout in Last Action Hero, culminating in a crane causing a helicopter to crash, Jack Slater (portrayed by Ah-nold), asks his kid sidekick to bring the car around. Upon being informed that the helicopter landed on it, he replies, "I hate it when that happens."
- Die Hard 2: "How can the same shit happen to the same guy twice?"
- In Beerfest, Jay Chandrasekhar's character wakes up naked in the middle of a field after a night of heavy drinking. Lying next to him is a dead deer with blood around its neck, Jay's character with blood all over his mouth. "Ohhh, not again!"
- Rick O'Connell in The Mummy Returns upon seeing the Soldier Mummies back in action. "Oh no, not these guys again!"
- In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Scott's sister Stacey finds out Wallace has seduced her new boyfriend behind her back. Her response? "Wallace? AGAIN?!"
- In Airplane! II: "Ted, I have the strangest feeling we've been through this exact same thing before."
- At the very end of the Doctor Who television movie the Doctor is just settling down to relax in his TARDIS when his gramophone starts to skip, causing it to repeat the word "time" over and over again, just like it did at the start of the movie. The last line is the Doctor's despairing "Oh no... not again!"
- The "This is just like X all over again" variation occurs in The Avengers. Black Widow comments that the fight they're currently in is "Budapest all over again." Hawkeye snarks, "You and I remember Budapest very differently."
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, where two missiles in flight are turned into a whale and a bowl of petunias. The whale has an entire internal monologue, but the bowl of petunias just thinks "Oh no, not again." One of the sequels actually explains why it thinks this, turning it into a Brick Joke.
- A subtle example from Discworld: In the kingdom of Lancre, a child's legal name is whatever the priest calls them at christening. One of the characters later mentions a former king named "My God He's Heavy the First".
- The Office: "He's put my stapler in the jelly again!"
- Stargate Atlantis
- When Dr. Weir's mind is taken over by an alien, everyone reacts with shock. Except McKay, who just whines, "not again". We'd seen another character taken over by aliens a few episodes before. Before that, McKay himself had had a woman's mind inhabit his brain and take over his body.
- McKay also says this when he's trapped in a sinking ship for the second time.
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a warning of the impending apocalypse is met with a Collective Groan of "Again?" by the Scoobies. We've seen several near-apocalypses before.
- 30 Rock
- In an episode, Liz, trying to figure out why a hot man wants to date her, tells him at one point that "If you're a gay guy looking for a beard, I don't do that anymore!"
- In another episode, she asks Jenna, "What's going on? Why are being so happy and nice? Are you soaking your tampons in vodka again?"
- Get Smart
- A more specific version is one of the best-known running gags from Maxwell Smart.
Max: The old Professor-Peter-Peckinpah-all-purpose-anti-personnel-Peckinpah-pocket-pistol-under-the-toupee trick. That's the second time I've fallen for it this month.
- He also notes that some absurdly large items are "the second biggest __ I've ever seen."
Chloe: Clark has amnesia.
- Queen Machina in Power Rangers Zeo when Mondo is struck down by the Super Zeo Megazord.
- Tenaya on Power Rangers RPM, the second time Dr. K grabs her violin.
- The Mad TV sketch "Gump Fiction" had Phil LaMarr reprise his role from Pulp Fiction. As a nod to the meta, he shouted out, "Not again!".
- On Press Your Luck, one of the Whammy animations featured one attempting to blow up the contestant's winnings with a Plunger Detonator, only to have it blow up in his face instead; this is followed by "Not again..."
- On The Big Bang Theory, when Sheldon sees Leonard and Penny kissing after they've broken up, he sighs "Oh, friggity-frack, not this again."
- Played with on Parks and Recreation:
Some guy handcuffed himself to a pipe in my office because we wouldn't put a copy of Twilight
in the time capsule. Ben: (sarcastic)
- A Sabrina the Teenage Witch episode had her aunts warning Sabrina about wish magic in which if a witch desires something or someone enough that their magic can make them spontaneously appear. The aunts demonstrate this by saying the name of singer Randy Travis three times and he promptly appears in their kitchen. Travis looks around and instead of freaking out he sighs and says “Hello Hilda, hello Zelda and you must be Sabrina. I’ve heard a lot about you.”
- In a late season 6 episode, How I Met Your Mother went meta when Ted responded to something Barney said with him having the feeling that in fact, they collectively learn the opposite lesson at least once every year for a while now.
- Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide: In the Guide to Money, one of Cookie's several failed attempts involves a failed ventriloquism act. Moze sees the poster, and she invokes this trope. (And since no further description is given in the series, it can be assumed that she is referring to a Noodle Incident of some sort.)
Moze: Oh, no. Not Baxter Bear!
- Doctor Who
- And this gem, from "Night Terrors":
- In the end, Amy died twice and Rory died ten times (and only three times off-screen). Rory deserves particular mention for dying of old age twice without use of any rapid-aging phlebotinum.
- When Leverage's Eliot uncharacteristically starts making Sophie tea, Parker asks her if she's hypnotized Eliot "again".
- Two separate occasions with Joy in My Name Is Earl:
Joy: Darnell, get me a rag! Somebody kicked me in the face in the bathroom again!
Joy: Darnell, call the police! Exterminator sprayed me in the face with rat poison again!
- This brief exchange in House, reinforcing the title character's "everybody lies" belief.
Random Patient: I'm still a virgin.
House: (flatly) You're pregnant.
Patient (exasperatedly resigned) Again?
- Scrubs as the exact same scene as part of a montage that eventually breaks Turk. It's played for laughs. Kinda.
- Hilariously used by George Takei in Psych. Throughout the episode, there are references to a horrible experience he had at a convention in San Antonio. Shawn and Gus (who have tricked Takei into thinking they're assistants he doesn't remember hiring) end up solving their case on stage just as Takei is about to go on, with Shawn pretending to use Gus' "magic head" to channel his psychic abilities. Off to the side, Takei angrily remarks that this is the same thing that happened in San Antonio.
- In an episode of Father Ted, Ted is showing Bishop Brennan a number of security measures to stop Father Jack from sleepwalking, one of which is a rope snare:
Ted: I'd like to see him chew through that. (Bishop moves out of earshot) Again.
- From David Lang's "Are You Experienced? I. On Being Hit on the Head": "What happened? That felt like... a blow to my head! That's twice this week!"
- In The Great Muppet Caper when Beauregard drives his cab into the Happiness Hotel and then into the kitchen:
Pops: Well, it looks like steering wheel soufflé for dinner.
- From Dinosaurs, when Robby is sent home with a letter from his teacher.
Fran: "Dear Mr. and Mrs. Sinclair, your son Robert was expelled from school today for rejecting all known belief and threatening to obliterate the foundations of social order!"
Earl: AGAIN!? What is it with you?
- In the Sherlock Holmes novel The Sign of Four, Holmes has been forgoing sleep out of frustration with the case, and Mrs. Hudson remarks to Watson, "I hope he's not going to be ill, sir." The radio adaptation with Clive Merrison changed this line to "I hope he's not going to be ill again," highlighting Holmes's habitual self-neglect.
- In Halo 3, if you stick a Grunt with a plasma grenade with the "I Would Have Been Your Daddy" Skull turned on, you will occasionally hear them utter "Not again!" before they explode.
- Baldur's Gate 2 has a moment like this has a moment that is somewhere between Heartwarming Moment and Narm, if you pursue a romance with (widowed) Jaheira you will at one point be ambushed by bandits, and you have the option of taking an arrow for her... Which causes the somewhat narmy reaction of "Blast you filthy bogslimes! Not Again!"
- In the Wario Ware series, Ashley's theme song includes the lyrics "Pantalones giganticus! / Oh no, not again!" to conclude a presumed spellcasting attempt by the young witch. What actually happened is left as an exercise to the audience.
- At the beginning of the Team Fortress 2 video "Meet the Spy", the huge wall-o'-signs that light up in combinations to form messages like "ALERT" — "RED SPY" — "IN THE BASE" has one that just says "AGAIN", meant to be used at the end of any message. (This board was later turned into an actual in-game prop in the map Double Cross.)
- The boat captain from God Of War, every time Kratos pwns him.
- Super Mario Bros
- Said by Grunts/Unggoy in the Halo series when struck by a plasma grenade or chased by needles from a needler.
- Monkey Island
- Guybrush Threepwood has a tendency to say "that's the second-[superlative] [noun] I've ever seen!"
- In Tales Of Monkey Island Chapter 5: Rise of the Pirate God, Guybrush will say, "Not again," and get dispossessed if he keeps trying to escape from jail using the secret passageway without the Spirit Gum.
- Also, during the Battle in the Rain in Chapter 1, when Guybrush botches up the recipe for the Cutlass of Kaflu due to LeChuck's meddling by breaking the bottle of root beer, Elaine sighs and says, "And now we're going to die. Again. Heh. Wonderful."
- One of the quotes that a Gruntz may say when it dies.
- In Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, if Frank West wins a match, zombies will show up and chase him down. Sometimes, he'll angrily complain, "Again? Why do you guys always go for me?"
- In Kings Quest VI Heir Today Gone Tomorrow, Alexander says "Not again!" when he gets caught by the druids on his second trip to the Isle of the Mists. This "Not again!" quote marks the second time that he's been captured (the first time was by the Winged Ones).
- Raiden's incredibly deadpan reaction to losing another arm in Metal Gear Rising Revengeance is a simple "Shit. Not again.".
- In a Heart of It All comic, a spinoff of Concession, the Author Avatar exclaims "Not again!" upon being bodily carried away by an FBI agent as he's slowly turning into a Martian.
- Girl Genius: "A bucket? Again?"
- xkcd: The Alt Text for this comic is "Why do all my attempts at science end with me being punched by Batman?"
- The Order of the Stick
- Roy; yes, it's the second time this day they've misplaced a party member.
- Celia gets her turn later:
- Darth Vaarsuvius being frustrated for the second time from using his incredible powers.
- And in the prequel book On the Origin of PCs, when Sir François the paladin can't stand any longer his herald's stupidity and ditch him... guess what's the reaction.
Elan: Awww, not again.
- Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic
Nike: It's your goblin friend, Gren! She's been captured by pirates!
Bob: Oh no... not again!
Bob: Your majesty, I wish to complain about your husband. He's chained himself to my girlfriend.
Drow Queen: Again?
- Questionable Content
- Not in these exact words, but the implication is there.
- And much later, the gang is playing a drinking game where they sit in a circle and say something nice about the person to their left (Faye describes it as "Group therapy with booze")
Steve: (hugging Martin) I love you man! I love you!
Martin: Dude, we have talked about this.
- Drowtales: Even though the line isn't spoke aloud, fans agree that this is what was going through Quain'tana's head when Syphile jumped out to shout a challenge. It's all in the expression.
- Bobwhite: Ivy leaves some fish in the care of her roommate Marlene. Seconds later, several of the fish are dead. Marlene says, "I wish I could say this is the fastest a friend's pet has died in my care. I really do."
- The Pigs Ear: "That is the third strangest thing I've ever seen in a pub toilet." The mind boggles at what the first two might be.
- The Simpsons
- Barney Gumble often says this. Once after mistaking a life-sized, woman-shaped bottle of maple syrup for a woman, knocking "her" over and flooding the store.
- Another time, after drinking an "all-syrup Squishee" and waking up in a Greek cargo ship wearing a sailor's outfit.
- In another episode, Homer organizes half the population of Springfield into forming the world's largest human pyramid. However, thanks to human stupidity, the pyramid collapses and instead turns into a giant ball of people that rolls down the streets of Springfield. As he runs for his life from the ball, Hans Moleman cries out, "Not again!"
- When virtually all of Springfield has joined the Movementarians, Rev. Lovejoy is seen spreading gasoline on the church floor.
Rev. Lovejoy: I never thought I'd have to do this again.
- "Can't we have one meeting that doesn't end with us digging up a corpse?"
- "Can't we just call in David Bowie?" — He's already done so much for this church.
- "Now, now dear. It's just until Daddy pays for the destruction of a priceless American artifact. (despondant sigh) I never thought I'd have to say that again."
- In The Venture Brothers first episode "Dia Los Dangerous", Doctor Venture wakes up in a bathtub full of ice, with a missing kidney, and says, "Not again," then realizes this means he's missing both kidneys, causing him to calmly say, "This is serious."
- In a reference to one of the original shorts that inspired South Park:
Put the hat on the snowman
, Tweek. Tweek:
But what if it comes to life and tries to kill us?! Stan:
C'mon, when has that EVER happened, except for that one time?
- SpongeBob SquarePants
- In an early episode, Mr. Krabs' arms pop off while attempting to pull a dime out from a drain. Spongebob says the stock phrase exactly, implying that Mr. Krabs loses his arms on a regular basis. Even within the same episode Mr. Krabs lost his arms again, and it became a running gag that in a state of shock, disapproval or other emotional duress, he sometimes literally falls apart. There's also the repeated occurrence of Squidward accidentally swallowing his clarinet, but Spongebob only references it in a later episode when it grows from a simple gag to a plot-guiding calamity- he pulls the clarinet out of Squidward's throat, but its reed breaks off and remains stuck, requiring medical attention from Sandy to remove it.
- Mrs. Puff says this after briefly considering changing her name and moving to another town after giving Spongebob a boating license before he's qualified to drive.
- When he and Squidward think SpongeBob ate a bomb disguised as a pie, Mr. Krabs said he's seen this before. When questioned on it, he simply replies he'd seen it 11 times. Then Squidward, in guilt, calls the doctor for help, the doctor apparently tells him the exact same thing as Mr. Krabs.
- Code Monkeys: "Goddamn it, that's the second time I've eaten shit this week!"
- In The Grim Adventures Of Billy And Mandy Christmas Special, the mall they visit for Christmas is ultimately burned to the ground (Billy's fault), causing Grim to wonder why every time he takes them to the mall it burns to the ground. Billy blames the economy.
- From The Critic: "Oh good heavens!! Can't one single dinner go by without our having to discuss your rotting corpse?!"
- The classic bumpers from Rocky And Bullwinkle:
Rocky: And now...
Bullwinkle: Hey, Rocky! Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!
- Phineas And Ferb The Movie Across The2nd Dimension:
- Rugrats: When Charlotte arrives at the office late, her relieved assistant Jonathan says, "I thought you'd been abducted by eco-terrorists again."
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
- In the episode "The Cutie Mark Chronicles", the Cutie Mark Crusaders' attempt to earn their Cutie Marks via zipline fails and ends with them covered in tree sap and pine needles. Frustrated, Scootaloo gives the following statement:
Scootaloo: It's no use. No matter what we try, we always end up without our Cutie Marks... and surprisingly often, covered in tree sap.
- In the episode "A Friend in Deed", Pinkie says she accidentally put the confetti in the oven and the cake in the confetti cannon... again!
- In an episode of Wildfire, the title horse agrees to be a wage in an effort to rescue a friend of his. To win, the heroes have to find out where a certain troll lives and what his name is. After they find the troll, he says they'd need six clues. Based on their experience trying to find the troll, Sara deduces his name and won. She then returns to the mortal realm, where her Native-American friend, Helen, learns her dream name but isn't allowed to tell anyone. Sara then asks for a clue and Helen says she'd need six. Sara then invokes the trope.
- Wakfu, season 2 episode 4:
Evangelyne: Amalia and Ruel have gotten themselves turned into ghouls!
Sadlygrove: Again? Ruel will end up getting a taste for it...
- Sam And Max Freelance Police
Max: Curses. Foiled by a clip on tie. It's Prom Night all over again.
- From Animaniacs when the Warners meet Sherlock Holmes and need to borrow Watson for a scavenger hunt:
This always happens. Every time we get our hands on a fat chubby sidekick,
whammo, he's kidnapped by a Scottish guy with a huge sombrero in a flying contraption!
- Happens to Shendu in the Jackie Chan Adventures episode: "Re-Enter the Dragon" when Uncle, Tohru, Captain Black and all of Section 13 used the same spell that Lo Pei originally used to turn Shendu back to stone and to sever him from his talisman power. Even attempting to disrupt the spell was met with failure.
- A variation, from Archer:
Cyril: I'm so sorry I slammed you in the gut. Geez, that's how Houdini died!
Pam: Houdini died of AIDS!
Cyril: No! Why do you always say that?
- The classic Looney Tunes cartoon Rabbit Fire:
Daffy: (to Elmer) What are you?
Elmer: I'm a hunter.
Daffy: And what season is it?
Elmer: Wabbit season.
Bugs: (points to Daffy) And if he were a rabbit, what would you do?
Daffy: Yeah, you're so doggone smart! If I were a rabbit, what would you do??
Elmer: Well, I'd... (aims at Daffy)
Daffy: (weakly) Not again... (gets blasted)
- Said word-by-word by Caillou's father when Caillou climbs out of the bathtub again.