This trope is when a character says something to another character but then will immediately whisper or silently mouth the opposite
sentiment, but done so in a way that the other character doesn't hear/see. This might be done because they don't want to hurt the person's feelings; they'll tell a white lie but then immediately reveal their true feelings in an aside to a different character. This might also be done purely to deceive, such as a villain agreeing to hero's demands but then quietly ordering his mooks to attack the hero when his back is turned.
A generic example with, say, Bob and Alice, will have Alice asking Bob if he likes a particularly gaudy outfit. Bob doesn't want to hurt Alice's feelings, so he'll tell her "Oh yes! Love it!". However, as soon as she turns away, he'll look over at a friend and shake his head while mouthing "noooo...
". An alternate example might be Alice asking Bob if he wants to go shopping. Bob, not wanting to anger her, will exuberantly say "Sure! I'd love to!". As Alice turns away, Bob then desperately whispers "Help me!
" to passerbys.
A work or character fond of Breaking the Fourth Wall
may direct this remark straight to the audience.
See also Hypocritical Humor
, for the more comedic use of this trope. For the more dramatic use, compare False Reassurance
and I Lied
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Films — Animation
- The Castle of Cagliostro: After being cornered on the roof by the Count and his men, Clarisse offers to surrender her ring to him on the condition they let Lupin and Fujiko go. Cagliostro pretends to agree to these terms. Yet when his right hand man, Gordo, asks, he promply replies low enough so only Gordo can hear him: "When she moves away, shoot 'em."
- From Ursula's Villain Song "Poor Unfortunate Souls" in The Little Mermaid:
And I fortunately know a little magic
It's a talent that I always have possessed
And dear lady, please don't laugh, I use it on behalf
Of the miserable, the lonely, and depressed!
(aside to Flotsam and Jetsam) Pathetic.
- A slightly more blatant example is when she says the following toward the end of that song:
(whispering) Flotsam, Jetsam now I've got her boys!
- In Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, the mayor, venting to Brent, calls the town's inhabitants "sardine-sucking knucklescrapers." Brent chimes in, "But not me, right?" The mayor assures him that he didn't mean him, but immediately grimaces and rolls his eyes once he turns away.
Films — Live-Action
- Mean Girls featured this. Cady is talking to Regina, who calls out to a passing girl that she loves her skirt. Once the girl has moved on, Regina says to Cady, "That is the ugliest effing skirt I've ever seen." Cady laughs... and then flashes back to their first conversation, when Regina complimented her bracelet in exactly the same tone.
- The Princess Bride. When Buttercup asks Humperdinck to promise he'll return Westley to his ship:
I swear it will be done. (aside to Count Rugen)
Once we're out of sight, take him back to Florin and throw him in the Pit of Despair. Count Rugen: I swear it will be done
- In the Beatles movie Help!, when Ringo is about to have his finger shrunk with a potion so a magic ring can be removed, George speculates that there might be some insurance they could get out of it. John indignantly says "I wouldn't think of such a thing!", before whispering "Find out, eh?"
- Masterfully executed in the film adaptation of Richard III starring Ian McKellen.
- Home Alone 2 had Buzz doing this, apologizing and being very contrite to the family for his part in the choir debacle, and then when Kevin is ready to do the same, he whispers, "Beat that, you little trout-sniffer."
- In one segment of Chappelle's Show, a reporter is investigating a "Jedi abuse scandal" analogous to the Catholic priest pedophilia scandals. While interviewing a "Jarth Mader", an anonymous victim who wears a helmet and has a respiration problem, Mader breaks down and puts his head in his hands in tears. The reporter says, out loud, to the cameraman, "Cut", but mouths the words "Keep rolling" when Mader's not looking.
- Doctor Who
- In the episode "The God Complex", the Doctor is very impressed with Rita.
Doctor: Oh, you're good... Amy, with regret, you're fired.
Doctor: Kidding! (mouthing to Rita) Call me.
- Inverted in the episode "Smith and Jones", when Martha steps into the TARDIS for the first time:
Martha: It's bigger on the inside than it is on the outside!
(Midway through Martha's line, the camera cuts to show the Doctor mouthing her words at the same time)
The Doctor: Really? Hadn't noticed.
- In the Everybody Loves Raymond episode "Turkey or Fish", Ray tells his mother he'll eat her turkey and then mouths to Debra that he won't.
- In the Babylon 5 episode "The Quality of Mercy", Mollari goes to a bar with Lennier (mostly so he can rip him off, making him pay everything). Lennier then proceeds to bore him with his entire life story. Mollari, looking pained, says: "Really? That's really interesting." Then he whispers to the female bar tender: "Kill me?"
- In Slings and Arrows, Holly is introduced as the nice lady taking over a company, then, whispered, "She's the devil".
- Hannah Montana: A judge tells the defendant he'd have a chance to explain himself but later he whispers to Miley and Lily he actually won't.
- In the UK dub of The Mr. Men Show episode "Cooking":
Miss Naughty: Did you enjoy the salads?
Mr. Grumpy: Oh, yes, it was delicious.
Mr. Quiet: It was?
Mr. Grumpy: (aside) That's not true.
Mr. Quiet: Oh.
- In the Futurama episode "The Sting", Farnsworth is seated between Leela and Bender:
- The Simpsons
- Parodied in the episode "Homer the Whopper" when Homer has a fitness trainer. Whenever the trainer is on the phone, he says nice things to the person on the phone, then immediately tells Homer that he really felt the opposite way, and hates that person. He even does it when he says goodbye at the end of the conversation, turning to Homer and saying, "Bad bye." This is driven to the extreme when he does this while having a conversation with Homer in person and still making opposing statements as asides. When Homer asks him to stop, he says, "I'm sorry," then as the aside, says, "I'm not sorry." Remember: he's only talking to one person here.
- This was a Running Gag with stereotypical Italian chef Luigi Risotto: he would be incredibly polite to his customers, run in the kitchen and immediately badmouth them to his unseen cook Salvatore unaware that they can hear him.
Luigi Risotto: Oh, you miss you friend, huh? Don't-ah you worry, my cook can surely cheer you up-ah. (enters kitchen) Hey Salvatore, give-ah the ugly kid a plate of the red-ah crap-ah!
- Metalocalypse. Ofdensen offers Dr. Rockso the Rock-and-Roll Clown a ride home from the compound, telling a minion "Give him whatever he wants", then quietly, "Put the boots to him, medium-style."
- The Critic Vlada Veramirovich will always greet the cast kindly, but then state insults about them to his waiter in a foreign language. Parodied in From Chunk to Hunk.
Vlada: I do it because I love you.
Announcer: Vlada Veramirovich is paid 5 million dollars for his service and does not love any of you.