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Trivially Obvious

Other guy: It definitely has a lot of qualities. A real conversation starter! [...] By sharing this with me, you are truly making a statement.
Chad: You seem to be saying things that sound positive, but when taken literally are just statements of fact.

Of all the Comedy Tropes out there, this... is one of them.

A character is called upon to say something positive about a subject or a person, but they can't think of anything nice to say that wouldn't be blatantly untrue. Rather than lying, they give some neutral statement that would make Captain Obvious proud, and dress it up like a compliment. Alternatively, the resident smartass may deliberately quip this way in order to Damn With Faint Praise.

Commonly used in the service of Self-Deprecation. Compare Shaped Like Itself and Overly Narrow Superlative. See I Believe That You Believe It.


The following examples are truly... examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime 
  • In Zero no Tsukaima, the principal of the magic academy lays down some praise for Louise, Kirche, and Tabitha after they capture Fouquet. He praises Kirche and Tabitha on their magic abilities. Louise receives praise for coming from a noble family that has created very capable mages. Combine that with the fact that every mage at the academy comes from a noble family of mages, it's kind of obvious that she does.
  • In Honey and Clover, Yamada's fanclub instantly jumps at the opportunity to eat a meal she prepared. Little do they know, she's a Lethal Chef, forcing them to describe the meal with words that could be used to describe something either truly magnificent or utterly catastrophic.

    Film 
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie had the Tag Line: "Every year Hollywood releases hundreds of movies. This is one of them!"
  • The pull quote on Brian Orndorf's review of Dragonball Evolution: "I'm not sure what I just watched, but I just watched it".
  • In the Pink Panther series, Chief Inspector Dreyfus (Herbert Lom) is called on to make a speech praising Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers). With everything neutral (there was no one else like him) he says, he bursts out laughing, while others believe he has lost control of his emotions and is crying. Once at the funeral of the supposedly dead Clouseau, and once when programming the computer which will find the missing Clouseau.
  • In Dinner for Schmucks, Paul Rudd's character comments on an artist's paintings with "Really tremendous work. They're so big, and you're in all of them."
  • Kung Pow!: "Behold the symbols. One, over here. The other, over there." That's all the explanation they get.

    Literature 
  • In Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, the narration describes WayForward Technologies as being the only British software company that can be mentioned in the same sentence as American companies like Microsoft or Lotus. It then goes on to note that the sentence would probably start something like "WayForward Technologies, unlike such major U.S. companies as Microsoft or Lotus..."
    • One edition of the book advertised itself on the cover as being "Shorter than War and Peace!"
  • One of the blurbs for Atlanta Nights:
    "Maybe once in a lifetime, there comes a book with such extraordinary characters, thrilling plot twists, and uncanny insight, that it comes to embody its time. ATLANTA NIGHTS is a book."

    Live Action TV 
  • Whose Line Is It Anyway?: The fictional albums in the "Greatest Hits" game are often advertised by Colin and Ryan with the line "Every song a hit, every hit a song!".
  • Rimmer's emotional farewell speech in the Red Dwarf episode "Holoship" ends: "I just want to say that over the years, I have come to regard you as people I... met."
  • Played with in one episode of M*A*S*H:
    Winchester: Hunnicutt, I've known many people in my life. You are not among them.
  • In one episode of Frasier, the eponymous character is writing a foreword for a book that he didn't like, and desperately reaching for something positive to say. Eventually, he writes that the book can "stand on the shelf next to" many great books of psychiatry.
  • The back cover of the Police Squad! DVD proclaims: "There are 8 million stories in the Naked City. Here are six."
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun. Dick has to write a eulogy for a very unpleasant man he barely knew. After a few tries that used Gallows Humor, he eventually went with describing matter turning to energy at light speed as a poetic metaphor for the moment of death. Most of the humans, including his girlfriend Mary, loved it; his alien family laughed over how trite it was (apparently it's an overused cliché by galactic standards).
    Dick:How can we honor the memory of a man like Leonard Hanlin? Like all men, he was governed by the laws of physics. It is a scientific fact that hearts and clocks slow down as they approach the speed of light. Dr. Hanlin's heart reached that speed at 7:35 pm last night, according to the coroner, transforming his matter into energy, into pure white light. Though he is no longer with us, he is all around us.
  • On Muppets Tonight, the host would always open with a self-deprecating comment about the show. In one episode, he said, "Muppets Tonight: the show critics everywhere are calling... Muppets Tonight."
  • This sketch from That Mitchell and Webb Look uses such statements for comic effect.
    "Then on Sunday, live! The battle for the northwest, as Shrewsbury meet Macclesfield in a match already being described as 'on this Sunday'!"
  • In the Firefly episode "Jaynestown", Jayne starts giving a speech praising the mudders, but isn't sure where to go with it:
    Jayne: The way I figure it, you mudders got the shortest end of the stick ever offered to man. But you took that stick and... well, you took it, and that's something.
  • In a 30 Rock episode, Liz walks into the writers' room and ecstatically declares, "Hey, did you see our shout-out in Variety? They called us a comedy show!"
    • After Liz gets a book published, she takes a copy to Jack and he proudly reads the blurb he wrote for it: "Lemon numbers among my employees."
    • Jack described TGS as a show TV Guide once called "still on".
    Liz: I framed that article.
  • Lampshaded on Parks and Recreation when Leslie's mother Marlene won an award and Ron had to make a speech.
    [Confession Cam shot]
    Ron: I refuse to lather Marlene up, kiss her ring like everybody else. Instead, I’ll be delivering a speech of facts.
    [cut to Ron behind the podium]
    Ron: Marlene is a woman. She has worked in the government for three decades. Thirty years. Properly applied, that's how long a good varnish should last. So Marlene... it is true that you have won this award.
  • In Good Luck Charlie, Bob says that the grandpa has great qualities, when he is asked to name one, he just says that he expells Carbon Dioxide, Plants need it.
  • In an episode of Complete Savages, Nick reassures his sons: he has always wanted his five kids, smart, cute, cool, athletic and, er... and Kyle!
  • It's a Running Gag in Veronica Mars that when anyone asks a Neptune resident if they know a good lawyer, the response is always, "I know a lawyer."
  • The IT Crowd: The reviews for Gay! : A Gay Musical:
    "The audience applauded. More than tolerable. Not as long as some musicals."
  • A slightly darker usage in Buffy the Vampire Slayer in which the gang are investigating a girl who's been turned invisible by the Hellmouth after being treated as invisible. They read her yearbook which is filled with the phrase: "have a good summer", the thing you write when you have absolutely nothing to write. Buffy points out that even Willow contributed.
    Willow: "Have a great summer. See, I cared."
  • In Mystery Science Theater 3000's presentation of Horrors of Spider Island, one host segment reveals Crow as to having a newspaper column that reports on such things as "Shoelaces are handy, even necessary, for many of today's shoe styles" and "television shows aired last night".
  • On Cheers, Sam's friend, sportscaster Dave Richards, stops by the bar, and Norm excitedly asks him to repeat his closing remark from his report the night before. Dave says, "Oh, I said, uh, 'Good night, and remember: the world is full of winners and losers. Here's hoping you're one of them.'" Norm, a little deflated, says, "Well, I guess I did hear it right."

    Magazines 
  • MAD did a feature called "Exciting but Meaningless Movie Studio Blurbs" (in issue #292), which contained such examples: "You'll laugh until you stop!" and "The Film that Received Many Reviews FROM TODAY'S TOP CRITICS!" Also from MAD: "Every once in a while a magazine comes along. This is such a magazine!"
  • Game Informer reviewers Jeremy and Reiner about House of the Dead
    Jeremy: Well I have seen a lot of movies in my day, and this is certainly one of them.
    Reiner: I really appreciated how the film... managed to fill my entire TV screen. It worked in my DVD player.
    Jeremy: Yes, it worked in mine, too. I really liked that about the movie. I also liked that it didn't steal my lunch money or abduct my cat.

    Music 
  • Calibretto 13's (unreleased) third album: Making the World a Place.
  • This press release: "Critics unilaterally concur: Delicate Steve is a band who creates music."

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In a Garfield strip, Jon says: "Odie, you're such a good boy! And Garfield, you're such a... such a... cat."

    Radio 
  • In Saturday Night Fry, Stephen Fry says (of the theme song) "You know, the more I get to hear that tune, the better I get to know it." (This trope is clearly a favourite of his - he once wrote in chess magazine Kingpin "If more people read this magazine, it would have a higher circulation").
  • Steve Leveille, the former overnight host on WBZ-AM in Boston, describes himself as "One Of America's Broadcasters" on his personal website. (His entire sense of humor tends to lean in roughly this direction.)
  • "This is WJZ, New York. No other station can make that statement." The call letters having been reassigned to a Baltimore station, no station can now make that statement.

    Theater 
  • In the play of Beauty and the Beast, Lumiere prompts the Beast to "say something" about Belle's new dress. The Beast addresses Belle quite gracefully and informs that the dress is blue. Cue the Beast being dragged aside for the clarification of something complimentary.
  • Lano and Woodley used this in their stage show The Island, saying that "Of all the cities we've toured, [Insert City Here] is definitely one of them."

    Theme Parks 
  • One popular closing joke on the Jungle Cruise is: "Of all the crews I have ever had while working the Jungle Cruise, you have been, by far, the most... recent."
    • Similarly, "Of all the crews I have ever had while working the Jungle Cruise, you are definitely one of them."

    Web Comics 
  • Gunnerkrigg Court, Author's note: "Of all the pages I've drawn so far, this is one of them."
  • Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki has Christmas specials that traditionally end in "Truly, this was a holiday occurrence."
  • White Mage in 8-Bit Theater, paraphrasing:
    White Mage: It was certainly... [She thinks of several adjectives, including "bearable"] ...an experience to meet you guys...
  • In Homestuck, Jade is chatting online with Tavros, who claims that if he believes in something hard enough that makes it partially more true. Jade replies:
    GG [Jade]: that
    GG: sure is a philosophy you have there!
  • Fruit Incest has the Tag Line: The web comic that critics say is a web comic.
  • The Order of the Stick:' This page.
    Malack: Should you defeat him, save his skull. I will pay handsomely for it to adorn my study.
    Elan: That is, uh, certainly a thing that... someone could do.
    • And this one.
      Tarquin: Sabine! It's been too long. You're looking lovely.
      Sabine: That's a meaningless compliment to a shapechanger, Tarquin.
      Tarquin: Yes, I know.
  • During ''Shortpacked!'s Pull the Drama Tag arc, the overly serious story is countered by absurd narration boxes, including:
    Tomorrow: Thursday!
  • Penny Arcade: Gabe had this to say about the reveal of the Xbox One:
    Gabe: The hall was full- and I mean full- of breathable air. Everyone was breathing like crazy.
  • Wondermark #972. An unnamed man is shown an old children's toy and snarks that "it has a lot of qualities. [...] Playing with this is such a unique experience!" The other guy hangs a lampshade on this trope, and the snarker answers, "If you don't think I like this, Chad, I just don't know how to convince you!"
  • This xkcd explains that "contains a clinically-studied ingredient" is a trivially obvious statement on par with "this movie was watched by Roger Ebert".

    Web Original 
  • Homestar Runner: The Strong Bad Email "stunt double" has a variation. The stunts in question are most certainly not done by him.
    Strong Bad: Wow, watching that gives me goosebumps every time, man. I mean, the stunts I do are so... done by me.
    • And the title Dangeresque 2: This time it's not Dangeresque 1. Critics agree, it "sure was a movie."
  • The page picture was featured on Cake Wrecks.
  • From Ken Begg's review of The Swarm.
    "And now, amazingly, someone went back to the vaults and reinserted forty minutes of deleted footage. The result is an "expanded video edition" of The Swarm that clocks (aside from the audience) an impressive, and horrifying, two and a half hours (!). To be fair, though, the added running time does make the movie more, uhm, longer."
  • From Cracked:
    Part I was an artistic achievement like few others, Part II proved that sometimes sequels can surpass the original and there is a Part III.
    Facebook is a wonderful and useful thing. OK, well, maybe it's just a wonderful thing. Well, it's certainly a thing; you have to give us that.
  • In The Nostalgia Chick's review of Showgirls, she has the NC-17 scenes acted out fully-clothed by her "crack team of...humans."
  • Dr. Winston O'Boogie (formerly known as Albert) of The Agony Booth seems to like this trope.
    Dr. Winston O'Boogie: Well, of all the scenes in this movie, I can definitely say that was one of them.
    • His description of the pilot for the 2009 remake of V: "Of all the new shows that debuted last fall, ABC's V was, without a doubt, one of them.

    Western Animation 
  • Futurama: As That Guy dies horribly of bone-itis, his last words are, "My only regret is that I have... bone-itis."
    • Additionally, Bender telling Fry "Of all the friends I've had, you're the first."note 
    • "From the makers of Futurama".
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force: When Carl is trying to convince Meatwad to take him to the Super Bowl. From Meatwad's reaction this might be the nicest thing anyone has ever said to him.
    Look, Meatball. Ever since my son was... never conceived because I've never had consensual sex without money involved, I've always kind of looked at you as a... thing, that I could live next to... in accordance with state law.
  • On Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist, Ben lists some possible career paths for himself. When he mentions bartending, his father says, "Out of all the ones you've mentioned so far, that was the third."
  • Marge Simpson, telling her family to Be Themselves at the country club:
    Homer, I like your in-your-face humanity. I like the way Lisa speaks her mind. I like Bart's ... I like Bart."
    • Similarly, when Homer thinks he's dying, he looks in on his kids while they're asleep.
    "Goodbye, Maggie. Stay as sweet as you are. Goodbye, Lisa. I know you'll make me proud. Goodbye, Bart. (Beat) I like your sheets."
  • Similar to Seanbaby's Super Friends observations, in "Whiners Can Be Losers" Luthor noted "Cheetah, you have razor-sharp claws! Brainiac, your mind games are deadly! Scarecrow, you're...YOU'RE MADE OF STRAW!!"
  • In the Strawberry Shortcake's Berry Bitty Adventures episode "The Berry Best You Can Bee," Lemon Meringue calls on Strawberry to help her fix a client's (unknowingly) botched hairstyle. To keep the other girl unaware that her style isn't going as planned, Strawberry simply comments, "That's a hairstyle, all right," as she surveys the damage.
  • From My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic "Suited For Success," after Rarity shows the others the dresses she designed for them:
    Twilight: Wow, they're...
    Rainbow Dash: Yeah, they're...
    Applejack: They sure are, uh, something.
    Twilight: Yes! Something!
    Pinkie Pie: I love something! Something is my favorite!
    • From the same episode, Rainbow Dash says "I love fun things!".
  • Similarly, from Beavis And Butthead:
    Butt-head: "I don't like stuff that sucks".
    • In a later episode, Van Driesen is holding a mock graduation to boost the student's self esteem. When Butt-head comes up to gets his, he tells him "Butt-head, you have many...qualities." With Beavis he just says "Here's your diploma."
  • Family Guy: A commercial for the ball-in-a-cup toy is basically one long description of a ball-in-a-cup toy.
  • On Total Drama World Tour, Beth has to come up with a haiku that highlights one of Heather's positive attributes. The first line is "Heather has ten toes."

    Videogames 
  • In the third Ratchet & Clank game, Ratchet does this in his eulogy to Captain Qwark.
  • In Professor Layton and the Curious Village, a minigame revolves around distributing decorative items between Layton and Luke depending on who prefers which. Each character provides a quote for each item which provides an indication of how much they would appreciate it, some of which come under this.
    Luke: Yep. That's a globe all right. No two ways about it.

    Real Life 
  • UK publication Private Eye has a regular feature called Colemanballs which chronicle notable gaffes from sports commentators, some of which fall under this trope (due to their low brain-to-mouth reaction time). A few examples:
    "Both sides have scored a couple of goals, and both sides have conceded a couple of goals."
    "It's now 1-1, an exact reversal of the score on Saturday."
    "He's one of those footballers whose brains are in his head."
  • Abraham Lincoln was once asked his opinion of a man's book. He didn't particularly enjoy it, but wanted to be nice, so he said "For people who like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing that they would like."
  • Groucho Marx's blurb for Dawn Ginsburgh's Revenge: "From the moment I picked this book up to the moment I put it down I could not stop laughing; someday I intend reading it."
    • Also from Groucho: "I had a wonderful evening, but this wasn't it."
  • The story goes of a rabbi who was called upon to say something at a funeral for a man he didn't much like. He said, "What can I say about this man? He was like King David, he was like Moses our Rabbi, he was like the Holy One, Blessed be He!" Later on, he explained his praises: "David died when he was seventy, he died when he was seventy. Moses stuttered, he stuttered. 'God is not a man'—and frankly, neither was he."
  • From Roger Ebert: "Magoo drives a red Studebaker convertible in Mr. Magoo, a fact I report because I love Studebakers and his was the only thing I liked in the film. It has a prescription windshield."
  • There's a story about a vicar who always made a good impression with mothers bringing their babies in for christening, though nobody ever remembered his precise words on seeing the baby, only that it was "something nice". Invariably, his actual opening remark was: "My, this is a baby, isn't it!".

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