Zoolander: What is this, a center for ants? How can we be expected to teach children to learn how to read... if they can't even fit inside the building?
Mugatu: Derek, this is just a small...
I don't wanna hear your excuses! The building has to be at least... three times bigger than this!
This Stock Phrase
is usually said in exasperation or annoyance to highlight an unlikely, unusual, nonsensical, or out of character moment. It is most often said by the Plucky Comic Relief
or the Deadpan Snarker
The related phrase "Who are you, and what have you done with X?" is used when a character is Not Himself
. It may or may not be Leaning on the Fourth Wall
Not to be confused with the outraged "WHAT IS THIS!?!?" usually expresed by medieval heroes or the biggest of bads - very often followed by a resounding Oh Crap
. A close relative of If I Wanted X, I Would Y
Needs a Better Description
Anime & Manga
- The Aquabats! Super Show!, episode "ManAnt!", after Jimmy the Robot fires a buttermint at the MC Bat Commander:
- In an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, when Morgan discovers a secret bunker in the middle of a desert:
What is this, LOST
- On MythBusters, just before a test regarding alkali metals in a water-filled bathtub:
Okay, but instead of a bathtub, we should do a toilet
! You know, like how you used to throw cherry bombs down the toilet in high school. Tory:
Yeah, well, I wouldn't know anything about that; I was too busy studying chemistry.
...What is this? Opposite land?
- In one "Bullseye" page of Entertainment Weekly Issue #1248 (March 1, 2013): "Downton Abbey adds to its body count. What is this, a Saw movie?"
- In one episode of FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman, Ruff does this when he sees Chet pasting an underwater wallpaper on the studio wall:
Ruff: Chet, an under-the-sea motif? What is this, "FETCH! with Ruff Rumblefish"? Come on!
- Family Guy gives us this example:
Pearl: *spits* What is this, spit soup!?
Brian: Tomato bisque.
Pearl: *spits* What is this, snot soup!?
Brian: It's tomato bisque.
Pearl: *spits* What is this, diarrhea soup!?
Brian: Look, I'm not going to make you anything else, so just eat it, OK?
- Danger Mouse and Penfold are captured by an alien craft in "Close Encounters Of The Absurd Kind," and DM thinks it's Greenback's craft. He also thinks the alien leader Dr. Zok is Greenback in disguise. As he's being assimilated in front of Dr. Zok's class:
DM: What is this, the Greenback Supporters Club outing?