While Bob and Alice are going about their business, something happens that reveals a (possibly embarassing) fact about Bob he would rather have kept for himself.
Two possible scenarios can follow:
- Bob knows Alice saw everything and says something like, "Er... you didn't see that," or "You better forget you ever saw that."
- Bob isn't sure whether Alice did see anything incriminating and asks her, "Did you see anything?" This can result in a Suspiciously Specific Denial.
Can lead to Let Us Never Speak of This Again
. In some cases, Bob may try to resort to Laser-Guided Amnesia
to make sure Alice forgets what she saw.
Sometimes, authors will have this reaction
about an Old Shame
, and then there are those things we all have never seen
. This trope is not limited to sight, but can also be invoked for the other senses. Though sight and hearing are the most common examples, for obvious reasons
. There are also many non-romantic or embarrassing examples.
See also Implausible Deniability
. Compare I Was Never Here
, when Alice specifically
does not seek out Bob and I'll Pretend I Didn't Hear That
May be connected to You Can See That, Right?
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Anime and Manga
- Baccano!!'s Luck Gandor takes this approach in Drugs & the Dominoes after a bookstore owner witnesses him get right back up after a hitman slit his throat. It's a bit easier to pull off when you're part of The Mafia.
Luck: My, my, that was dangerous. If not for the timely rescue by this book, I’d probably have just died.
Store Owner: Uh, but, that, no, blood...
Luck: It was the cover of this book scattering everywhere- you saw wrongly. Because it was too sudden.
Store Owner: But-
Store Owner: N-, no! I can’t take your money...
Luck: What that bastard cut just now was this book. Do you understand?... Very good. Only those who understand the times can stand out. The smart alone will succeed in business. Keep up the good work!
- The Ballad of the King's Jest by Rudyard Kipling, about a rumour-monger throwing himself between the gears of the Great Game:
And travelled, in hope of honour, far
To the line where the gray-coat squadrons are.
There have I journeyed too — but I
Saw naught, said naught, and — did not die!
Live Action TV
- Done in House, when Amber sneaks out of Dr. House's office and escapes via Wilson's office. "I Was Never Here."
- One of the catch phrases of The Fast Show: "You ain't seen me. Roight."
- In Ned's Declassified, Vice Principal Crubbs often says this when he's caught lazing around in his office when he's suppposed to be doing something productive.
- In the Red Dwarf episode "Me^2", Lister catches the Cat up to no good:
Cat: "Did you see him clearly? Could you spot him in a parade? I don't think so. I could've been anybody."
- Seinfeld: Kramer's intern says that when Jerry went to the restroom, George washed his hands in Jerry's drink and then told the intern "This never happened."
- Sgt. Schultz does this to himself often in Hogan's Heroes.
I know nothing! I see nothing!
- In the fourth season finale of The Big Bang Theory, when Penny and Raj wake up naked in bed together after a drunken night Penny tells Raj "This never happened."
- In the Stargate SG-1 episode "Avalon", when Colonel Mitchell tries to convince Carter to join his team:
Mitchell: What if the world needs saving?
Carter: Well, if the world needs saving, I will be there to do what I can.
What if the world needs saving because I screwed up
because you weren't here in the first place.
Mitchell: How about we pretend I didn't say that?
- One of the ending segments on Sesame Street features Oscar the Grouch kissing his worm Slimey good-night and wishing him sweet dreams. Recalling that he's on TV, he tells the audience, "Hey, you didn't see that, all right? Now scram!"
- If Tommy is any indication, it's probably best not to use this one in front of an impressionable kid who just witnessed a murder, or he might take "You didn't hear it / You didn't see it" literally and become blind and deaf.
- In an early Garfield strip, Garfield walks up to Odie, pats him and walks on. In the final panel, Garfield looks at the reader and says, "You didn't see that."
- In a later Garfield strip, Odie licks Garfield, and the latter responds by taking a swing at the former. Odie ducks, Garfield misses, and Odie licks him again. The dog hops away victorious, for Garfield to point at the Fourth Wall saying "You didn't see that!"
- One Boondocks strip has Huey daydreaming and humming a song, then snap out of it and tell the viewer, "No offense to (name of band), but... you didn't hear that."
- Percy in this Sinfest.
- In Questionable Content, where Marten walks in on Hanners... wearing underwear on her head and doing a ninja-stance, presumably inspired by Pintsize's 'Underwear Ninja' act in the previous strip.
Hanners: If I karate-chopped you really fast, do you think you'd get amnesia about this?
Marten: Nope, sorry. Probably not.
- In Looking for Group, the undead warlock Richard loses his hood. After Cale gives him back his hood, Richard tells him "You didn't see anything." Judging from Cale's reaction, it was either a very horrendous or a very surprising sight.
- In NSFW Comix, Becky comments on a sexy photo of a girl who's way out of Cuthbert's league:
"It's a trap. He's a male. I can tell because he's using that clever camera angle that doesn't show off the manly features. And I've used it myself plenty of - Erm - Nobody heard that, right?"
- In the Sluggy Freelance "Nombie Apocalypse" storyline, after BunBun breaks free from the nombie brainwashing with a Cute lil' Bunny Barf he pointedly tells Riff: "This! Never! Happened!"
- Yoda's advice to the reader in Blue Milk Special after Luke pulls up something surprising from the swamp.
Yoda: Ignore that, you will.
- Used in Ears for Elves after Luero catches Tanna tresspassing in the temple. She saw an injured dark elf there, who was meant to be a secret. Luero's words are likely for her own protection.
Luero: Listen to me. Forget what you saw back there. Not a word. Not to anyone. This did not happen. Understand?
Tanna: I... understand...
- In The Simpsons, when Lisa is visiting Smithers, his PC starts up with an intriguing graphic of Mr. Burns.
Computer: Hello Smithers,- you're- quite- good- at- turning- me- on.
Smithers (to Lisa): Um... you probably should ignore that.
- The penguins in Madagascar. As they disappear down a hole, the rear one says to the sole witness, "You didn't see anything."
- In an episode of Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, after Phil Ken Sebben gets a rather bad haircut, he encounters Harvey in the bathroom and starts sobbing into the sink. "Tell me I'm pretty...I'm a pretty little girl - you didn't hear that."
- In the Duck Dodgers episode Enemy Yours, Dodgers tries to impress the Martian Commander and his "Arch Nemesis" with an army of.... five adorable kittens. After Dodgers' embarrassing retreat, The Eager Space Cadet remarks "L-l-let's pretend this never happened."
- XR in Buzz Lightyear of Star Command lost his arm while bragging about the qualities of the alloy of which he's made. "It's OK. Nobody saw that."
- In the Kim Possible episode Mind games, when a guard of a top secret facility finds out that something has been stolen from that facility he shouts out "The neutronalizer!"... then looks at the people at the dinner table he was sitting at. "Y'all weren't supposed to hear that."
- Ed, Edd n Eddy, after Edd's hat goes off for the very first time:
Edd: If you say one word to anyone, I'll... I'll... never speak to you again!
Ed (with a skull on his head): I am dead from the neck up.