Well This Is Not That Trope
Greenslade:You know how
Into this complex world of crime, of move and counter move, stepped a man of great ingenuity, daring, resource and brains. Eccles:
Ain't me, folks.
—The Goon Show
when someone describes something they actually tell you about the thing itself? Well, this is not that trope.
distilled to its purest essence: you directly build up the audience's expectations with an elaborate description of something, then tell them that you're actually talking about something else — often the exact opposite of everything you've just said.
Closely related to Dissimile
, where the simile is broken down by successively removing all the crucial elements.
Most often a Comedy Trope
, but can be Played for Drama
if done correctly. Compare Analogy Backfire
, Bait-and-Switch Comparison
. Related to Bait-and-Switch Credits
open/close all folders
- From chapter 8 of Rob Haynie's Ranma ½ fic, Girl Days:
The walk back was uneventful.
No, sorry, that was a different walk back. THIS walk back was something other than uneventful.
- Done twice in Piers Anthony's book Under A Velvet Cloak. First he describes the story of King Arthur and follows it up with "This is not that story." Then he describes the story of a girl who would be an ancestor to many Incarnations and says "This is not that story either."
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
And then, one Thursday, nearly two thousand years after one man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change, a girl sitting on her own in a cafe in Rickmansworth suddenly realized what it was that had been going wrong all this time, and she finally knew how the world could be made a good and happy place...
This is not her story.
- Even this subversion is subverted a few books later, in So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish. It opens up the same way as Hitchhiker's Guide, then says, "This is her story."
- There's also a sequence where Arthur asks Ford about how the universe was born, and Ford goes off on a tangent about buying a bathtub, filling it with sand, then watching all the sand drain down while filming it, and then playing the film back in reverse. Which, he adds, is nothing like how the universe was born.
- "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." ó Adam-Troy Castro
- The winner of the 2007 Lyttle Lytton Contest freeform challenge:
"Scaling Everest was, by far, the most amazing and transformative experience of my life. Unfortunately, this is a thesis on context-free grammars."
- The Adventures of Pinocchio opens with one: "Once upon a time, there was a king! No, there was a piece of wood."
- Used at the start of Stephen Leacock's short story Gertrude the Governess:
It was a wild and stormy night
on the West Coast of Scotland. This, however, is immaterial to the present story, as the scene is not laid in the West of Scotland. For the matter of that the weather was just as bad on the East Coast of Ireland.
But the scene of this narrative is laid in the South of England...
Live Action TV
- On Malcolm in the Middle, Lois tells Reese, "Some people have book smarts; some people have street smarts. You have neither."
- One of the sketches on Monty Python's Flying Circus featured a narrator who would introduce various on-screen characters in detail, only to remark that they were not going to be the protagonist and move on to someone else they run into. This happens several times.
- Subversion: The "Science Fiction Sketch" begins by introducing Mr. and Mrs. Brainsample as a "perfectly ordinary couple" and promptly disregards them as being too ordinary to be of interest. Then they reappear at the sketch's climax to help resolve the plot.
- "Mount Everest. Aloof, terrifying, the highest mountain in the world. (Camera pulls away from a poster of Everest to show a travel agency's office) No, we don't fly there."
- "In 1943 a group of British Army officers, working deep inside enemy lines, carried off one of the most dangerous and heroic raids in the history of warfare. [Beat] But that's as may be. And now..." (segue to the Army Protection Racket sketch)
- In the Wonder Showzen Season 1 DVD, we have this:
- In the Charmed episode "The Wedding from Hell":
Allison Michaels: I love that show.
- On Roseanne: "Mark, remember all those times you screwed up? This ain't one of them!"
- In one episode of Hogan's Heroes, an American prisoner is brought to camp, and Hogan notices he's got a black thimble lens. When he looks into it, Klink asks him what he's seeing:
Hogan: You know that famous picture of George Washington crossing the Delaware?
Klink: Yes, I'm familiar with it.
Hogan (grinning): This ain't it.
- The Doctor (especially the 11th) does this a few times, using an analogy then saying immediately after (or after a convoluted explanation that goes nowhere) that the analogy is actually completely wrong.
- Used memorably in the pilot of My Name Is Earl:
And if you took the time to really get to know me, find out what kind of person I really am instead of just stereotyping me because of the way I look... well, you'd be wasting your time. 'Cause I'm exactly who you think I am. Hell, I'll pretty much steal anything that's not nailed down.
- An episode of the Scottish sketch show Naked Video had a Radio Times listing that went something like "Today Tony Sopernote will be looking at the many kinds of wildlife and birds that can be found in the South East of England. Unfortunately, he's not on TV. We are. Sorry, Tony."
- The Tenacious D song Tribute is about an encounter between Tenacious D and a Demon, who threatened to take their souls if they did not perform the Greatest Song In The World for him. After singing about it for the entire song, they reveal that the song you have been listening to sounds nothing like that song, as "this is a Tribute" to that song. *
- Some schools of philosophy and theology hold that since certain concepts (such as God) are beyond human understanding, the only way one can describe them is by stating what they aren't. (e.g. "immortal", an attribute commonly given to gods, literally means "not mortal".)
- Aristotle uses this trope frequently in the Metaphysics. To introduce new concepts, he will begin with an inaccurate-but-simpler version of whatever concept he wants to discuss, and once that is understood, he moves on to more-accurate-but-harder-to-understand iterations.
- FreakAngels kicks off with variation of this trope: "23 years ago, Twelve strange children were born in England at the exact same moment. Six years ago, the world ended. This is the story of what happened next."
- Computer Animation Showcase, a collection of computer-animated shorts, started one of them with this voiceover: "Every once in a great while, a movie comes along that touches everyone's lives. *beat* Eh, but not this one.
- In one Animaniacs episode, the Warner siblings are being chased off. Soon enough, they start climbing back into the water tower, and Yakko sobs, "I know when we're not wanted." When the antagonist is gone, he adds, "And now is not that time," and climbs back down.
- From the first episode of Freakazoid: "Only one hero can track down Cave Guy. Only one hero has the heart to fight this fiend. That hero is... On another network. Thus, we have no choice but to turn to... (zip pan to Dexter Douglas) this fellow."