A mode of exposition
where the camera switches between two groups of people as they receive the same information.
Lines of dialogue carry across the two scenes, sometimes to the point of the two scenes answering the other's questions (or even Finishing Each Other's Sentences
. Bonus points if those sentences are going in completely different directions, a la Shrek 2)
. For example:
"Tom Smith, Number One on the wanted list."
Cut to Scene 2
"Committed three murders, two bank robberies."
Cut back to Scene 1
"Considered armed and dangerous."
A variation seen in romances, usually just after He and She meet for the first time, has the camera switching between Her telling her friend(s) about Him, and Him telling his friend(s) about Her. Often, humor is generated by highlighting discrepancies between their accounts
often mixes this with Inaction Sequence
and the Combat Commentator
. It's not uncommon for Loads and Loads of Characters
scattered far and wide to have the exact same conversation, explaining what's happening to the audience.
The musical version is Distant Duet
. See also News Monopoly
. Compare One Scene, Two Monologues
, Finishing Each Other's Sentences
and Astonishingly Appropriate Interruption
. Contrast Twisted Echo Cut
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Anime and Manga
Films — Animated
Films — Live-Action
- This is done twice in The Fifth Element. The first involves the revelation that the four elemantal Stones weren't stolen by the Big Bad's Mangalore mercenaries. The second intercuts between a spacecraft launch, the Big Bad killing a blundering subordinate, and a sidekick character having sex with a stewardess, all at the same time. From the first scene:
Zorg: "...This case... is empty!"
[Cut to Leeloo laughing]
Cornelius: "What do you mean, 'empty'?"
[Cut back to Zorg with the empty case]
Zorg: "Empty — the opposite of full. This CASE IS SUPPOSED TO BE FULL! Anyone care to explain?!"
[Cut to Leeloo explaining]
Cornelius: "We're saved."
[Cut to Zorg]
Zorg: "I'm screwed."
- The Summer Nights number at the start of the film Grease is a good example of the "romantic" variation.
- First used in Fritz Lang's M, where the police and the mobsters have parallel discussions about the child murderer loose in the city.
- Once all five tickets have been found in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the scene switches between the five winners each reading the instructions on their Golden Tickets out loud as the fateful tour draws near.
- Trainspotting, the scene in the night club with Spud and Tommy by the dance floor and Spud's "girlfriend" and Lizzie in the ladies' room.
- The romantic version is used in the theatre adaptation of High School Musical with the introduction to "The Start of Something New", with Troy claiming he met Gabriella snowboarding. It may be directly inspired by the Grease example mentioned above.
- Used in the heist scene in The Dark Knight.
- Used in Wedding Wars when the two brothers are describing to their significant others how they lost touch.
- Done in Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, when Ryu talks with his girlfriend about finding the black market organ dealers who ripped him off and ruined everything, and Park Dong-jin speaking with a police detective about finding the man who (accidentally) killed his daughter. When both characters are asked what they'll do when they find the people they're looking for, they respond "Kill them".
- Done in Annie Hall, in a pre-breakup variation:
[Alvy and Annie are seeing their therapists at the same time on a split screen]
Alvy Singer's Therapist: How often do you sleep together?
Annie Hall's Therapist: Do you have sex often?
Alvy Singer: [lamenting] Hardly ever. Maybe three times a week.
Annie Hall: [annoyed] Constantly. I'd say three times a week.
- Used in the opening scene of 50 First Dates, as several women are all talking on the phone with their friends describing their encounters with Adam Sandler's character, culminating in this:
Woman 1: I'll never forget my week with....
Woman 2: Henry Roth.
Woman 3: Henry Roth!
Woman 4: Harry...Hairy pair of testicles.
- During the preparation for the final campaign in Independence Day, the various Air Forces of the world lay out the battle plan they've received from the Americans, each scene showing combat planners from each Air Force discussing or briefing the next step of the plan.
- Shaun of the Dead features the titular character sitting down to watch television. A news report comes on about the rising zombie apocalypse, but he boredly starts flipping channels. No matter what comes on, it sounds like a continuation of the news report.
- When Harry Met Sall: After Harry and Sally sleep together in the third act, they call Marie and Jess, who are just waking up. A complicated four-way conversation follows.
- The Smallville / Charmed crossover, Charmed: The Boy From Smallville. features a scene where The Charmed Ones and the forces of evil are separately briefed on Clark Kent's powers and abilities. Both sides mistakenly believe that he is a dangerous monster that needs to be taken out.
- The deconstructive Glee-fic Hunting The Unicorn uses three scenes and two dialogues in the twelfth chapter, denoted by then, now, and later. The "then" portions are a Flash Back where Blaine breaks up with the first guy he dated and lost his virginity to, while the "now/later" portions are where Blaine talks about it to his therapist Sarah and Kurt.
- In one story of the Facing The Future Series, Team Phantom is split into two groups and encounter Freakshow's old circus trope which has also been split up. Following that is the trope members explaining to the members of Team Phantom what happened to them after the first encounter with Freakshow in the cartoon as the scene keeps going back and forth between the two groups.
Live Action TV
- Disney's Austin & Ally has Austin mistakenly believing Ally has fallen for him when he reads her Secret Diary; meanwhile Ally elaborates on her crush on the Cell Phone accessory cart guy
- An episode of Family Matters has this, with Waldo and Maxine explaining their first date to Eddie and Laura, respectively.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- In a season 4 episode, to highlight the differences between the Scooby gang and The Initiative, Giles explains the ancient lore of this week's demon, while the Initiative is briefed on the nature of the same "HST" (Hostile Subterranean) in military jargon.
- It's featured prominently in "Graduation Day Part 2", where the camera cuts between the Scooby gang and the Mayor's evil army as they discuss and set up their battle plans for the moment of the Ascension.
- In the season seven episode "Same Time, Same Place": for whatever reason, Willow and Buffy are unable to see each other throughout most of the episode. In the school basement, Willow has a conversation with Spike. Suffering from a slight case of crazy at the time, Spike carries on what seems to be a disjointed dialogue with Buffy, at times speaking randomly and out of turn. Then we see Buffy and Xander talking to Spike, in the same room, with Spike repeating the exact same responses as before, but making a lot more sense now that we know he was talking to two people at once.
- Angel features this in the season 3 finale "Tomorrow". Angel and Cordelia get similar speeches, he from Lorne, she from the Groosalugg, that the two really are in love with each other, even if they haven't acknowledged it yet.
- Red Dwarf did this during the time anomaly in Future Echoes. Rimmer walks in and has a very weird conversation with Lister - then walks in again, and says the exact same things, except now they make sense. The previous Rimmer was an 'echo' of this one, and couldn't see or hear Lister at all.
- A regular staple of Battlestar Galactica episodes directed by Michael Rhymer.
- Has been done so many times on Scrubs that it is difficult to pinpoint one specific occurrence.
- In the very first scene of the first episode of Spaced, Tim and Daisy appear to be talking to each other, but are actually having two separate conversations with other people, who aren't seen until The Reveal at the end of the scene; Tim's splitting up with his long-term girlfriend, and Daisy's kicking out a one-night stand. The whole it-looks-like-they're-in-a-relationship-but-they-aren't nature of the scene sets the tone for the series, which crosses a Will They or Won't They? plot with a Three's Company-style fake relationship.
- In Doctor Who, in the episode "The Doctor's Daughter", when Martha and the Hath, and Doctor/Donna and the Humans, are looking at the holographic map.
- Also in Doctor Who, in "Last of the Time Lords", when the identity of the toclafane is revealed in both Martha's scene in Professor Docherty's workshop, and the Doctor's scene with the Master aboard the Valiant.
- A variation involving split-screen is used a lot on That '70s Show, having two people on each side (Such as Eric and Kelso/Donna and Jackie) discuss the same thing, sometimes echoing each other word for word.
Donna (to Jackie)/Eric (to Kelso): I mean you and Kelso/Jackie have done it, like, a million times!
Jackie (to Donna): Michael and I have never done it!
Kelso: (to Eric): Yeah.
- Often played with for laughs in the British sitcom Coupling, mostly to show different interpretations of events between the men and the women.
- Used in the House episode "Maternity". Foreman and Cameron have to explain a treatment to two different couples in two different places and using different medicine names (because House still isn't sure which of the two is working).
- Used again in "Love Hurts" in the aftermath of House and Cameron's date. The scene switches between Cameron talking to Chase and Foreman and House talking to Wilson.
- Criminal Minds does this a lot to cut down on time during briefing or interview scenes.
- There's an especially neat version in "Nameless, Faceless", in which Reid, Prentiss, and Garcia make a decision not to tell the other team members that Hotch is missing in order to devote all of their concentration and resources to solving their current case quickly, instead of finding Hotch. As a result, Reid's explanation to the man they're trying to help plays very well over scenes of Prentiss searching Hotch's apartment for clues alone, without any help from the rest of the team: "This is about choice. The last time you made a choice, it devastated this killer, so this time, he's forcing you to choose again."
- Firefly, "Bushwacked" - a Funny Moment: when Zoe is asked about her marriage, she claims that she and Wash are "private people". Cut to Wash going on about what he likes about Zoe.
- Dollhouse, "Spy In A House of Love"
Echo (to Ivy) : I'm just trying to narrow down your feelings about the Dollhouse.
(Cut to) Boyd: We're pimps and killers... But in a philanthropic way.
- Stargate SG-1, "Heroes", Part2.
- CSI has done this on more than one occasion.
- Used in the beginning of the Kings episode "First Night".
- The Time Shifts from Star Trek: The Next Generation 's "All Good Things".
- Skins did this in Katie and Emily's episode, with Katie and Emily, and Freddie and JJ, having the same conversation at the same time. There's even simultaneous spit takes from the potato moonshine they're both drinking.
- Hilariously done on the Swedish comedy show Hey Baberiba during the Familjen ("the Family") segment (the segment, which featured once per episode, was a parody of the Swedish royal house). An interview with crown princess Victoria intercuts with an interview with her boyfriend Daniel Westling, and features them both getting really upset by something the other says in their interview, to the point where they start arguing and he gives her back the (gigantic fairytale style) key to the castle. There is absolutely no logic as to which interview took place first when Victoria gets mad about Daniel's response to her previous comment, and so on...
- A particularly adorable one was done on Malcolm in the Middle, showcasing the similarities between the father Hal and estranged son Francis. Hal is here at his house and Francis is hundreds of miles away in Alaska.
Hal (lecturing a guy at a poker match): Did you ever stop to think that women are independent human beings who are capable of making their own -
Francis (lecturing his buddy from boot camp): -choices? I mean, you look at any good relationship and what do you see? Trust.
- A first season episode of Mad About You had Paul telling Selby the story of his third date with Jamie, intercut with Jamie telling Lisa the same story, but with one major difference.
- During the "Two Crew Live Job" of Leverage, Nate and his team are preparing for the heist just as the rival team are doing the same. Both Nate and his Evil Counterpart are also stating that they each have the right to the painting in almost exactly the same way.
- Used for a Moment Of Heartwarming on a Las Vegas Christmas Episode, with several cast members simultaneously reading "Twas The Night Before Christmas" in separate scenes, all over the city.
- Early on in the first Kingdom Hearts, the game intercuts between two simultaneous scenes unfolding in Traverse Town: Aerith is providing plot exposition about Ansem, the other worlds, the Heartless, and the Keyblade to Donald and Goofy, while Sora's receiving similar exposition at the same time from Leon and Yuffie. Each listener's follow-up question cuts to a character in the other scene giving the answer.
- A very, very long cutscene in Last Scenario consists of three people giving the same speech to different groups, describing the real history of the war with the Havali.
- Spoofed at the beginning of the Homestar Runner cartoon "Date Nite". The camera constantly cuts between Homestar scolding Marzipan for dating The Cheat, and Strong Bad scolding The Cheat for dating Marzipan. Eventually, Homestar and Strong Bad end up in the same place, yelling at each other, then getting confused while Marzipan and The Cheat go on their date.