Basically a comic trope where someone says Your Honor, I Object!, followed by a non-reason, such as "I object on the grounds that it sucks for me" or "I object for it being objectionable!". Can be used as a reply for almost anything, ranging from "normal stuff" such as having to do the dishes to being fed to the sharks.
Not solely a subset of Courtroom Antics; is also commonly used in normal dialogue. Compare I Take Offense to That Last One. Intentionally excessive use of this (see Real Life below) can be a type of Chewbacca Defense. See also Disregard That Statement.
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Turnabout Storm has Twilight objecting during the trial on the grounds of "This can't go on!". Of course, considering the target of and the circumstances behind the objection, it's anything but Played for Laughs.
Prosecutor: Chicolini, you are charged with high treason, and if found guilty, you will be shot. Chicolini: I object. Prosecutor: You object? On what grounds? Chicolini: I couldn't think of anything else to say.
This gag was also used in the Marxs' Flywheel Shyster and Flywheel radio show; in that version, Groucho is serving as the judge, leading to the follow-up:
Groucho: Objection sustained. Prosecutor: Your honor, you sustain the objection? On what grounds? Groucho: Well, I couldn't think of anything else to say either.
In Inherit the Wind, Drummond objects to Brady's title of Colonel, saying that it makes Brady look more important than Drummond and "predudicing the case in favor of the prosecution." Drummond ends up becoming an honorary Colonel on the spot.
Truth in Television: this actually happened, with Clarence Darrow vis-a-vis William Jennings Bryan, in the real-life Scopes trial upon which the play and film were based.
In The Exorcism of Emily Rose, the attorney for the priest accused of criminal neglect of Emily Rose puts on a "demonology" expert to testify that Emily was possessed. The prosecutor objects. When the judge asks for a reason, he says, "How about silliness, your honor?"
Though he could have phrased it better, that's still a reasonable objection.
A borderline example in A Few Good Men. The prosecution puts on a doctor to give his opinion as to the cause of Willie Santiago's death. Lt. Cmdr. Galloway objects on the basis of his qualifications. When the judge overrules her, she "strenuously objects" and is again overruled. She ends up just making it look like they're afraid of the doctor's testimony.
Lt. Weinberg:Strenuously object? Is that how it's done now? "Objection." "Overruled." "No, I strenuously object." "Well, if you strenuously object, I guess I'd better reconsider, then."
Combined with Ironic Echo Cut. One of the defense attorneys, who is also a law professor, is shown giving a lecture to his students:
Facher: A plaintiff's case depends on momentum. The fewer objections he gets, the better a case will go. ... Relevance - objection. Hearsay - objection. Best evidence - objection. Authenticity - objection. If you should fall asleep at the counsel table, the first thing out of your mouth should be...
Cut to Facher sleeping during the trial...
Judge: Do you swear to tell the whole truth, so help you God? Facher: [waking up] Objection!
A bit of Truth in Television as shown in the real life examples below. Prior to beginning a Mock Trial, the advisers or teachers sometimes show this movie.
In Idiocracy, Joe's lawyer tries to object to the judge's clear bias, forgets and objects that "he won't be able to pay ME after he gives back all the money he stole from the hospital!"
Underrated Coen Brothers comedy Intolerable Cruelty does this brilliantly; a witness gushes an endless stream of incredibly incriminating testimony that could easily get the case thrown out. The other side's attorney responds with "OBJECTION! IRRELEVANT!"
Also hilariously: "Objection! Strangling the witness!"
Even better (at least in the trailer) the Judge's response: "I'll allow it."
Dave Barry Hits Below The Beltway includes a few ridiculous objections in a courtroom scene representing one of the trials over the 2000 Presidential election recount in Florida. This is one of them:
Lawyer: Mr. Glompitt, can you state your name for the court? Witness: Sure. Lawyer: Objection, your honor! Hearsay! Lawyer: How is that hearsay? Lawyer: I heard him say it! [laughter] Judge: Sustained.
The illustrated version of The Wee Free Men includes a transcript of the case "Princess Sandy of Brokenrock vs. Fairy Nettle". When the wicked witch is mentioned, her lawyer jumps up and says "I object!" on the grounds she isn't actually wicked. The judge responds "Oh good. I was hoping someone would."
Prosecuting Attorney: You claim that the accused attempted to persuade Ms. Shaw not to accompany you. When he went, had you not gone and had she, if she had wanted to and were able, and if there were no restraints on her to go, would Ms. Shaw not have been brought forcibly, meaning along with the Korozhet that you state was carried, netted to the tractor? Defense Attorney: Objection! That question should be taken out and shot, Your Honor. It's a traitor to the English language. Judge: Indeed. Rephrase it please, Captain Tesco.
Subtle example in The Krytos Trap. The setting is a military trial, where Tycho Celchu has been charged with the murder of Corran Horn. Commander Ettyk, the prosecutor, is direct-examining a witness (Iella Wessiri) who had partnered with Horn in the past, and who had also participated in the retaking of Coruscant with Horn. The direct examination concluded more or less as follows:
Ettyk: So you had no reason to believe that Corran Horn might be mistaken? Wessiri: Actually, there was one thing that bothered me. Ettyk: ...Move to strike as nonresponsivenote According to Wikipedia, a "nonresponsive" objection is made because the witness answered a question that was not asked; this was not the case here., Admiral. Ackbar: No, Commander, you asked one more question than you should have, and now you must deal with the consequences.
Live Action TV
On Unhappily Ever After, Ryan once rattled off three or four of these in a quick montage. The most memorable one was this: "I have contempt for this court!"
Alan Shore on The Practice, and later Boston Legal. A lot. On one occasion, he objected when the court stenographer read out her transcript of him insulting the judge on the basis that her reading "lacked nuance". He's also objected on the grounds that "You can't preface your second point with 'first of all'."
Happens with Denny Crane in Boston Legal season 3 episode 10 "The Nutcracker" after opposing counsel badgers a witness
Subverted in an episode of The Practice, in which Bobby Donnell is so exhausted due to lack of sleep that he can barely stay awake in the courtroom. Opposing counsel says something ridiculous that the judge (and by this point, the audience) would reasonably expect Bobby to loudly object to. The judge looks at Bobby, who is dozing off, waits a beat, and just says "Sustained" anyway.
An interesting variant in Picket Fences. After Wambaugh pulls a completely legal but morally slimy legal maneuver, Judge Bone orders him jailed for contempt. When he asks why, Bone replies "for being contemptible."
Played with on The Closer. The lawyer gives two perfectly reasonable objections, then follows it with a silly one for kicks.
" ...and it ended with a preposition."
In an episode of Las Vegas an Amoral Attorney tries to net a hefty salary by encouraging his client to pursue a Frivolous Lawsuit against the Montecito. He objects during a meeting with the casino's bosses and main lawyer when he's not even in a courtroom, which is duly pointed out to him.
In the Red Dwarf episode "Justice", Kryten's defence of Rimmer on 1,169 counts of manslaughter is to present him (accurately) as a sad incompetent. Naturally, Rimmer can't bring himself to let this slide, and repeatedly objects to his own defence. After he's found innocent, he objects again. YouTube clip
Kryten: What are you objecting about now? Rimmer: I want an apology.
Star Trek: The Next Generation: In the episode "Measure of a Man" Picard defends Data in a courtroom process, objecting to a plan that would see him labelled as Starfleet "property" and dismantled. The prosecution, for their case against Data, requests to remove the defendant's hand. Picard is immediately on his feet with his objections before realising that he can't actually object in a legal manner -in typical Picard style, he just doesn't like the idea of them removing his second officer's body parts- and withdraws his objection.
In the episode "Devil's Due", Picard argues a court case against a woman claiming to be the Ardra, a supernatural being in Velexian myth, with Data arbitrating. Ardra objects when Picard leads a witness, while Data himself objects to Ardra's Courtroom Antics in displaying her "powers" ("The advocate will refrain from making her opponent disappear"). When the Enterprise crew get hold of her technology and Picard starts displaying the same powers, Ardra objects again, but Data decides he's allowed some leeway in the circumstances.
In an The Addams Family episode, where Gomez is participating in a trial with the family observing, the entire family drives the judge nuts, including Uncle Fester who sounds "I Object!" just so he can participate in the trial, despite the fact that he is in the audience and thus obviously not supposed to interfere.
Caroline: Objection, your honour! Judge: On what grounds? Caroline:...I'm thinking...
In the same episode, although she didn't actually object, Angela took the fifth to prevent from incriminating someone else. She was told that the Fifth Amendment only protected her from incriminating herself. She wound up taking the First, which protects freedom of assembly, including friendship, and is four better than the Fifth! The judge was not impressed.
Caroline: Objection! It is just rude to accuse me of murder.
Parodied in Extras in the Orlando Bloom episode, which opens as usual with a scene from the movie-within-a-show that's being filmed, which appears to be a courtroom-drama-romantic-comedy-of-manners. Bloom, the prosecuting attorney: "It seems very odd that you would send your wife flowers and not include a card. Whenever I send my wife flowers, I always write a card." Up pops the defense attorney: "Objection! When did you ever send me flowers?" This escalates into an argument, which the judge resolves by declaring, "I order you two to kiss and make up!"
In one episode of Gilligan's Island, during a mock-courtroom scene, the following exchange occurs:
Mr Howell: I would like to press charges against Mary Anne. Professor: For what? Mr Howell: Murder. Her testimony is killing me.
On The Good Wife, Alicia Florick is up against her former boss Stern. Stern is in the early stages of Alzheimer's Disease, something he's only told Alicia and she can't tell anyone else because he told her at a previous time when he was her client. She gets around this by repeatedly raising frivolous objections during one of Stern's cross-examinations, causing him to become confused and forget what he was going to ask next.
An accidental one in Law & Order: SVU, Novak objects that the lawyer is leading the witness on cross-examination. This is allowable and expected. The witness already told their story on direct, the opposing counsel is now giving their side. In some cross-examinations the only word the lawyer wants to hear from their witness is "Yes" as they confirm what's being said.
JAG: Deconstructed in the second season episode "Rendezvous", when incriminating evidence is presented and the defendant asks defense counsel to object.
Chief Petty Officer Holst: Do something! Major Mackenzie: What? Chief Petty Officer Holst: Object! Major Mackenzie: On what grounds? I'm not a magician, chief. I can't make a murder go away.
One Bloom County strip had legal assistant Opus damning the torpedoes and going for the gusto in court:
"I object! I object to that motion! I object to your nose! I object to crummy TV mini-series! I object to the arms race! And I object to chronic hunger in a world of plenty!!I object! I object! I object! I object! BY GOLLY, I OBJECT!"
In a "Pearls Before Swine" strip where the Crocs, represented by Rat, are suing Zebra, who's lawyer is the Guard Duck. At one point in the deposition, Rat says "I object. I object to you. I object to your face. And your mama's fat." After which, the Guard Duck tells Zebra "this could get contentious."
In one of Denis Norden's humorous monologues on My Word, he described how he was in court for allegedly assaulting his ballroom dancing partner. At one point, the prosecutor dances with her in order to demonstrate how the ordeal has ruined her ability. Norden instantly jumps up.
Norden: Your honour, I object! Judge: On what grounds? Norden: On the grounds that the counsel is leading the witness.
The Trope Namer is the first game, where at one point in the second case, a hole gets shot in Miles Edgeworth's case, and he reacts with, "Objection! I object! That was... objectionable!".
During the third case, as Wendy Oldbag rattles on about her life, Edgeworth eventually cuts her off with "Objection! O-objection! I... object to the witness's talkativeness." The judge sustains. That is actually a valid objection: an attorney can object to a narrative response if it goes beyond what was askednote He also could have objected with "nothing pending," "irrelevant," and "non-responsive," since "non-responsive" isn't limited to literally not responding but also extends to "will not shut up." As the player learns well in the next case, in fact, because the prosecutor for that one uses that kind of objection very heavily.
Edgeworth's "Objection! I was hoping to come up with a question while I was objecting, Your Honor...", also in the third case; he immediately objects again, stalls for a moment with the memorable phrase "Indeed! Verily, I say!... Ergo!", and then comes up with a valid objection.
Phoenix uses this a bit earlier to stall in an optional dialogue tree. The judge sympathizes.
During 3-5's segment where you play as him, one of Edgeworth's default "losing" objections is a hilarious Chewbacca Defense.
Really, Edgeworth in general is this trope, as he himself says:
Edgeworth: I, myself, never let an opportunity to shout "Objection!" pass me by!
Franziska does this again in Justice For All. "Objection! I...object...for the sake of objecting!" Hilariously, this is actually a case of Reality Is Unrealistic — she'd already objected, so while the outburst itself wasn't necessary, it would technically be a continuing objection.
In Case 3-2, Godot issues an objection which consists solely of throwing a cup of hot coffee in Phoenix's face.
Apollo Justice once gave us:
Objection! Th...that's just dumb! note This was a fairly accurate assessment of the prosecution's suggestion, but it could have been phrased better. Depending on the judge, it could sail through in real life.
In Tales of Monkey Island, Guybrush has the option of doing this while on trial; it's one of many ways to anger the judge (necessary to solve a puzzle).
Fooker: ...I object! Judge: I told you before, you can't object to your own testimony.
Case 2, Man vs. Mold. Upon being told that her plaintiff (Trent) had been convicted for attempted murder before:
Mercedes: I object! ...the plaintiff did not share this information with me! Judge: I'm afraid that isn't acceptable grounds for an objection. Overruled. Now take your seat, counsel. Another outburst like that and I'll hold you in contempt. Mercedes: Then I object on the grounds that the plaintiff is a complete idiot. Judge: As much as I agree, that isn't sufficient grounds either. Overruled.
Richard: Objection! Judge: On what grounds? Richard: I wish to stab him [the prosecutor].
There was a Ctrl-Alt-Del comic about Metal Gear Ac!d where a guard, after facing a card which allows him to be shot, says "I object on the ground that it sucks for me".
In one episode of Duckman, Bernice is testifying as to Duckman's character.
Cornfed: Objection! King Chicken: On what grounds? Cornfed: The need to distract the jury from hearing the truth.
The Fairly OddParents: Timmy Turner didn't have better grounds than the case above when he had to convince the Fairy Council he's not the worst godchild ever. He objected on the grounds he was losing. Later on, when the case was turned on his favor and the Fairy Council was about to acquit him, the Prosecutor objected and, whan asked for grounds, he started searching through his papers until he found Timmy's Secret Wish.
In the Manson trial, Kanarek's closing statement (for one defendant out of four) consumed seven court days of time. The jury actually sent a note to the bailiff asking for NoDoz for themselves and sleeping pills for Kanarek.
Also in the Manson trial, prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi actually had objections sustained to questions for being "ridiculous", "nonsensical", or repeated "ad nauseam". (These objections might more properly be phrased as questions being "prejudicial" or "asked and answered," but the spirit is reasonable). Depending on which book you consult, there are over 150 objections, and of the two dozen that are most used, several are very similar. It's up to the lawyer to know how to phrase his objections to the presiding judge, and given the outlandish behavior in question, Bugliosi was probably moved to the judge's good side for stating the obvious.
Ms Olschner: Your honor, I wish to swat Mr. Buck in the head with his client's [deposition transcript]. Judge: You mean read it? Ms Olschner: No, I wish to swat him in the head with it. The [Rules of Procedure] clearly state that a deposition may be used for "any purpose" in court, and this is the purpose for which I want to use it. Judge: Well, it does say that. (Pause.) Judge: There being no objection, you may proceed. Ms Olschner: Thank you your honor. (She swats Mr. Buck in the head with a copy of deposition.) Mr. Buck: But Judge... Judge: Next witness. Mr. Buck: We object! Judge: Sustained. Next witness.
The best part of this story is the pause. It's clear the judge was giving Mr. Buck a chance to object, but apparently he just wasn't paying attention.
A witness examination competition, presided by an actual judge...
Attorney: I object! Judge: On what grounds? Attorney: It's... it's... the question's FUCKING RETARDED. Judge: ... you know what, I'll sustain that. (Turns to opposing counsel.) It's otherwise known as a "prejudicial" question.note Basically, a question where the answer is so obvious the question is irrelevant, e.g. "Is the sky blue?" "Is the Pope Catholic?" Opposing counsel: Uhhhh... OK?