Turn Off the Camera

A Stock Phrase. Comes in three versions:

Something to Hide: The Corrupt Corporate Executive, rock star or other celebrity on a TV show is asked a rather uncomfortable question, and doesn't want to damn himself in front of thousands of witnesses armed with video recorders.

Blocking The Fourth Wall: This covers all the other times, when the person just wants the camera crew to stop sticking a camera in his face.

Have Some Decency: Rarer is when it's an offence to human decency - it's not something that should be filmed and used as entertainment.

In any case, the plea is the same: "Look, Turn Off the Camera". Very much Truth in Television.


Blocking the Fourth Wall
  • Paparazzi in general.
  • It was said by Bree in an episode of Desperate Housewives, after she tried decorating a croquembouche on a TV interview and failed miserably. Specifically, she said, "Turn off the damn camera."
  • This is also used in Mockumentary BlairWitch-type movies, and the cameraman always has some feeble answer, like "People will want to know" or "It keeps me sane," to justify the inevitable payoff of his 1st-person death scene.
  • Appears in Reality Show outtakes when someone is upset. Probably after someone says, "I'm Not Here to Make Friends".
  • In the fictional documentary "Under the Hood", part of the Watchmen movie universe, the Comedian says to get the camera out of his face, and the voiceover says he is unavailable for comment.
  • Used on several occasions by Terrence in KateModern, and memorably by Rupert in "The Last Work".
  • On Top Gear's Polar Special, Clarkson tells May to turn off the in-car camera just after they've hit a large ice block and are getting out to look at the damage, presumably to make room for a whole heckuva lot of profanity.
  • Brock Lovett says it in Titanic (1997), after failing to find the diamond in the safe at the beginning of the film.
  • Meg Griffin from Family Guy says it once she's had her fill of the family's reality show.
  • Grand Theft Auto IV does it in one of its cutscenes.
  • Played with for a Mind Screw effect in The Nines during the "Reality Television" segment, which shows parts of an in-universe documentary series about the creation of a TV show. After having fallen out with Melissa McCarthy over replacing her as the star of his show, writer/show runner Gavin storms out onto the street and tells the camera man that he isn’t doing the reality show anymore. The Mind Screw comes in the form of Octavia Spencer looking toward the camera and asking, "Who are you talking to?" Gavin looks at where the camera man had been; the audience still sees him from the camera’s perspective, but nobody is there.

Something to Hide
  • Used by the CEO of Little Chef when Heston Blumenthal confronted him about his 'nationwide' rollout of Heston's new menu... over three cafés.
  • Liz Lemon 30 Rock and Tracy Jordan go through gymnastics trying to keep their feuding off Angie's reality show.
  • A variation in NCIS: A news network makes it look like Gibbs is pulling this in response to a question regarding a supermodel's death on a Marine base; in reality, Gibbs was never asked the question, and he only ended the interview because a reporter spilled his coffee.
  • Played for laughs in Transformers: More than Meets the Eye. Rewind wants to make a documentary about the Lost Light crew, but in order to get permission to do so he must agree to let Ultra Magnus edit it before release. Any footage of Magnus doing something embarrassing ends up replaced with a card explaining that it was removed.

Have Some Decency
  • Invoked by Terry Pratchett in a BBC documentary about his Alzheimer disease.
  • Used in the Stargate SG-1 episode "Heroes" when Dr. Frasier dies.
  • In Die Hard 2, the reporter pushes the camera down when the McClanes reunite, partly to highlight that she is better than the guy from the first movie.
  • Done on a season 9 episode of The Office (US) by the sound guy (who got in trouble for it later) when Pam started crying after a big argument with Jim.
  • Rex from Generator Rex, stops a camera crew from filming a family after he's unable to turn one of them back into a human, arguing that he agreed to be filmed but they did not.