Main Brick Joke Discussion

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08:26:32 AM Mar 27th 2017
As the sub-pages gets longer, they're also getting harder to follow. I think it's time to start alphabetizing them. Who agrees?
10:47:50 AM Feb 13th 2017

Get it? It's a literal brick joke! It might even be the original.

Also, where would one put it? There's no web animation folder, so would it go under web original, real life, or should we make a new folder?
08:13:21 PM Feb 13th 2017
I was just about to post about that.
01:00:17 PM Jan 31st 2017
Regarding Advertising, if we're going to talk about paired commercials, the section's missing the Pistachios Super Bowl commercials with Stephen Colbert from a few years ago.
08:51:02 AM Jun 12th 2015
edited by macks2010
is the word blush in the first line of this trope's description meant to be self-demonstrating? Because if so, I don't see the other part of the joke. Should it just be removed?
09:04:45 AM Jun 12th 2015
Uh, no. It's just a phrase. It's synonymous with "at first glance"
09:34:43 PM Dec 30th 2013
Based on the descriptions on Brick Joke, Call Back, Chekhov's Gun, and Chekhov's Boomerang, most of the examples I've read through so far are NOT brick jokes. I didn't want to ruthlessly cull with no peer review first.

The key element of a brick joke seems to be that the first instance/joke/reference/appearance doesn't make sense or isn't funny until the second happens. Live action films is my most familiar area, so I'll start down the list to give a couple examples.

A Guy Thing: possibly not a brick joke because the person appears immediately after the joke. His appearance later might just be a call back. Does the later appearance make the first instance funnier in retrospect?

Airplane! is definitely a brick joke, classically set up. Without the stinger, the guy in the cab isn't really funny. You assume he just got out and got another cab. It becomes extremely funny once we find out what happened to him.

Neither Forrest Gump instance is a brick joke. Bubba's mom is just a call back. The interaction with the bus driver is totally unchanged by the later reference, but may be a Chekhov's Boomerang because both references are significant to the story.

None of the Pirates of the Caribbean instances are brick jokes, except possibly one of the appearances of the dog that isn't even listed. The dog/key instance is a good example of what I mean because the second appearance is the only significant one. The dog showing up a second time doesn't make the first time funny or give it new significance.

Sky High: more like a Chekhov's Gun. Again, the initial reference isn't affected at all by the second.

Naked Gun: possibly a brick joke, but it seems more like a call back with a hint of irony.

Monty Python: the bit with the Frenchmen seems more like a Chekhov's Gun that happens to be funny, but might be a brick joke. The first reference makes sense by itself, although it does gain more significance later. All the stuff with the swallows are just call backs. Later appearances lead no more significance to the initial (or even to other previous) references.

Johnny English is another perfect brick joke.

Spice World is a pretty good brick joke.

That's three definites and three maybes out of nineteen different items in nine different films. Even if you are very generous and round up to 50%, this page needs some serious revision.
02:44:46 PM Jun 12th 2015
This is still a problem on this page. The majority of examples in all the sections I looked at are callbacks or running gags, with a few Chekhov's Guns thrown in there even though page does specifically say that Chekhov's Gun is the dramatic version. (the Lord of War example under live-action films is a literal Chekhov's Gun!)
03:24:36 PM Dec 15th 2013
When a brick "joke" is actually serious, what is it called? The film shows you a small thing at the beginning, clearly meaningful to our hero, but he can't have it — then the storyline seemingly forgets about it. At the very end, kind of out of nowhere, someone gives it to him. (This is a small thing, seemingly only peripherally relevant to the main story, not a maguffin or something he's had to work for.)
12:52:44 PM Dec 7th 2013
The entry about the Naruto fanfic "Blind" has no link, so anyone who's looking for the scene in question would have idea which one it's referencing.
09:47:04 AM Nov 14th 2013
May I just say, for the Doctor Who section in Live Action TV, there is one missing. Perhaps the longest Brick Joke of the Series. Back in Season 3, Episode 8, the Gunfighters, way back when William Hartnell was the Doctor, he and the companions traveled back to the days of Wyatt Earp. After calling the cowboy clothes of his companions ridiculous, one of them (Dodo, I believe) gave the Doctor her stetson. Later, in the same episode, the Doctor is placed in jail, he tells someone that "If I say 'Stetsons are cool' ever again... Well... Just feel free to shoot it off my head."

Almost fifty years later, over in the new show, sixth series, fist episode, the Impossible Astronaut, the Doctor greets Rory and Amy wearing a stetson, and said, "I wear a stetson now, stetsons are cool." Moments latter, River shoots the hat off his head.

06:24:04 PM Jul 27th 2013
In the book Lord of Light, by Roger Zelazny, while the protagonist is considering an offer to obtain a new body, he meets up with a character named the Shan of Irabek. He convinces this character to take his place, thinking the body offer may be a trap. Some thirty pages later, he meets the character post-body, and it looks like his paranoia was misplaced. Quoting now:

"Then the fit hit the Shan."

I'll have to drag out the book and get page numbers and actual interval between setup and payoff. But seriously, Roger freaking Zelazny?
06:25:48 PM Jul 27th 2013
I just found out there's a whole Lord of Light page in TV Tropes, and they classify this only as Pun, but I think it's Brick Joke.
06:30:26 PM Dec 17th 2012
There's a little bit of debate over this Real Life example:

I believe that a brick joke has to be intentionally set up, not just people capitalizing on something which was unknowingly reflective of later events. Given that, I feel this isn't an example.

The adder, Tuckerscreator, obviously feels otherwise; we agreed to take this to discussion. So, any opinions on the matter?
10:58:17 PM Jan 15th 2013
I vote that the above is NOT an example of a brick joke. I think intentional set-up is an important requirement, otherwise any callback would be a Brick Joke, which shouldn't be true given the definition.
08:02:07 PM Oct 14th 2012
edited by Gorlom
ok, I got 2 riddles that seems to fit the brick joke bill..

Q1a: why shouldn't you enter the jungle on Fridays between 3 and 4 PM? A: because elephants weekly parachute practice takes place then.

Q1b: what is green,4 meters below ground, 5 meters long, eats iron and breathes fire? A: The green subterran iron eating dragon.

Q2a: why are crocodiles so flat? A: they went into the jungle on Friday between 3 and 4 PM.

Q2b: If you drop an 2 kilo iron ball down a tunnel hollowed out straight through the earth to the other side of the planet. How far would it go? A: 4 Meters. Because the green subterran iron eating dragon living there would eat the iron ball.

They work best when some other riddles are asked in between. Are these Brick Jokes? and if so where would they fit? Real Life?
01:12:33 PM May 11th 2012
Last night's Community effectively confirmed that Dan Harmon reads tvtropes when the pre-title bit landed the brick joke from 304.
01:29:50 PM May 11th 2012
Not really. "Brick Joke" is a pre-existing term. TV Tropes didn't come up with it.
01:46:55 PM Nov 23rd 2011
I have one for Live Action (Is this brick joke?) iCarly: iHave a Lovesick Teacher Ms Ackermen buys Spencer a Pear Pod with 500 pirated songs They break up Carly "interviews" Spencer and Lauren Ackerman, and asks about the iPod FBI comes to the school and arrests Lauren for 500 counts of piracy
04:37:34 PM Jan 14th 2012
More like a Chekov's Gun.
07:05:35 AM Oct 13th 2011
This was added:

  • There were two different "The World is Just Awesome" ads run by the Discovery Channel. The Mythbusters make an appearance in both of them. In the first, Adam lights Jamie's arm on fire (at about :50). In the second, at about :32 in, Adam's tied up in a cauldron, which Jamie has just lit a fire underneath.

Is it really a Brick Joke? It seems more like two unrelated jokes to me.
10:28:56 AM Sep 28th 2011
Why is this indexing?
05:39:07 PM Sep 28th 2011
What do you mean?
09:11:13 AM Oct 2nd 2011
edited by MangaManiac
It was showing up on pages as an index. It doesn't seem to be doing that any more, though.
03:28:55 PM Sep 4th 2011
edited by Nocturna
This example was added under Video Games:

"Septerra Core. Maya has to get tattoos on to sneak into Connor's fortress. In the ending cinematic, you see the tattoos right there."

As written, it doesn't seem to be a Brick Joke because the return doesn't seem to be funny. However, I have no experience with that game, so I can't judge whether it actually is an example or not.

Could someone familiar with Septerra Core please weigh in?
02:51:17 PM May 15th 2011
Shouldn't this be called Chekov's Joke?
03:25:29 PM Sep 4th 2011
If you wish to propose a title change, bring it to TRS. But I'm guessing that such a suggestion wouldn't fly, because we already have a lot of Chekhov titles, and adding more (especially one so similar to Chekhov's Gag) is likely to only cause confusion, especially when Brick Joke already makes sense and has a strongly established presence on the wiki.
06:46:59 AM Apr 16th 2011
edited by pittsburghmuggle
I'm seeing some confusion about this and Chekhov's Boomerang in some entries. Wouldn't Brick Joke not be important to the plot?
03:21:09 PM Sep 4th 2011
A Brick Joke can be important to the plot or unimportant to the plot. The defining element of Brick Joke (what makes it a Brick Joke) is that it is funny when it reappears. If a Chekhov's Boomerang is funny each time it reappears, then the example is both a Chekhov's Boomerang and a Brick Joke. If it's not funny, then it's just a Chekhov's Boomerang and shouldn't be on this page.
11:33:00 AM Apr 15th 2011
edited by
I don't get it. I followed the link to the brick joke itself. I didn't get it. Oh, never mind.
09:20:12 AM Jan 11th 2011
edited by Meeble
This page is being split due to length. It has reached a size where it is in danger of causing server performance issues. See this thread for details.

To alleviate this, I will split off the current content along the lines of the current folder structure. Below are the subpages I've completed so far (Rolling Updates):

12:13:38 PM Aug 31st 2011
Link to them on the article page. If you can't be bothered to do that, I'm reverting the changes, server be damned.
05:16:14 PM Sep 1st 2011
The trope has been re-defined. (See this TRS thread for the discussion.) The sub-pages no longer belong with this page, which is why there are no longer links to them on the article page.
02:36:21 AM Oct 17th 2010
To whomever put in the 4Chan Code Geass Slowpoke brick joke into "Real Life" —> I love you. That was amazing.
09:19:31 AM Jan 11th 2011
edited by Meeble
edit: Disregard
05:47:00 AM Oct 15th 2010
  • The Pokémon anime contains what may be the longest ever time between the brick leaving and returning. In an early episode Ash is given a Thunderstone which he decides not to use. It shows up in an eerily similar episode a few days short of ten years later.
    • There is also the Pokemon Ho-oh, which Ash sees in the first episode. It isn't made a plot point for another 150+ episodes.
    • The very first episode has an example, with a Spearow who Ash angered. At the end of the Indigo saga, it returns as a Fearow, and it still has a grudge...
    • There's also the Magikarp salesman from episode 15, who sells James a Magikarp and disappears before James can demand a refund. He shows up again several times throughout the Johto series, over one hundred episodes later. Two hundred forty-two episodes after his first appearance he tries to sell Team Rocket yet another Magikarp. James recognizes him after a moment and demands a refund. (He doesn't get it. He does, however, trade his Victreebel for a Weepinbell and the salesman runs off immediately.)
      • He returns a few more times to sell James a Chimecho and a Feebas, but they turn out to be a Hoppip and a Magikarp.
        • And then he returns to sell Team Rocket a mecha that can force Pokemon evolution in an episode where the Pokemon of the day are Magikrap and Feebas.
    • Another possible example: In the episode "Mean With Envy!" May meets a Clingy Jealous Girl who fantasizes about winning a contest together with her boyfriend and splitting the ribbon between them. May's response? "Yeah, like that is ever gonna happen...". 76 episodes later, May and Ash do exactly that.
      • That ribbon comes back with May during the Wallace Cup arc in sinnoh, over 100 episodes later.

Every one of these seem more like Continuity Nods, some of which are jokes, some of which aren't.
05:52:52 AM Oct 15th 2010
From Real Life:

  • Any time someone fails to come up with a retort to an insult, only to have L'esprit d'escalier later and tell the original insulter.
  • Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson has been supporter of spinal injury research for decades and specifically continued funding the Miami Project for years after the rest of the NFL had decided to direct their charity donations elsewhere. In 2007, a technique developed by the Miami Project was used on Buffalo Bills player Kevin Everett after a critical neck injury and possibly saved his life.
  • Christmas presents (most of the time).

There's no audience to show something and set up for a later payoff in these examples. (In the other two Real Life examples, there were.)
06:00:15 AM Oct 15th 2010
  • In Total Drama Action,the running gag of Beth's boyfriend Brady qualifies. Everyone in the show and quite a few real people dismiss it is Beth making things off, but then in the final episode Brady actaully shows up, much to the shock of the audience.

Can a Running Gag really be one of these? After all, you're not counting on the audience to forget it.
06:04:00 AM Oct 15th 2010
edited by Ununnilium
More Continuity Nods:

  • In The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Haruhi mentions early one episode that they needed a mysterious transfer student. The plot continues, having no other mention of that wanted character. The next episode (which takes place significantly later), Haruhi mentions that she has found said transfer student.
    • The SoS Brigade Clubroom is full of Brick Jokes, due to the Anachronic Order of the episodes. Notable examples include the bamboo tree and the frog-head costume, both references to episodes that occurred chronologically during the first season but weren't actually shown until the second.
    • During one of Kyon and Haruhi's first conversations, she asks if they've met before, and Kyon replies that no, they haven't. Fast forward to the next season, and it turns out Haruhi had met Kyon before, but Kyon at that time hadn't, thanks to Time Travel.
  • From YuYu Hakusho:
    • Don't forget about Yusuke's Spirit Egg introduced very early on and forgotten about until several story arcs later.
    • The joke about tickets returns when Kuwabara is going off to see a pop band in the middle of a world-saving mission, stating that Yusuke would've gone too if it was floor seats at the Tokyo Dome.
  • In Psyren, Ageha is being pursued by two fake cops trying to grab his Psyren card before it activates to get the 500 million yen reward it entails. They appear again in Psyren much, much later and are dangerously close to killing Nemesis Q. One of these would be the giver of the huge reward herself.
  • From Mahou Sensei Negima!:
    • Chapter 1: Negi says "Our magic is not omnipotent... a little bit of courage is the real magic". Chapter 297: The keyword to leaving Cosmo Entelechia is "Audacia Paula" — "A little bit of courage".
  • From Phineas and Ferb:
    • In one episode, Major Monogram tells Perry that Dr. Doofensmirtz is apparently giving him a vase for Christmas. Guess what Perry gets from Doofensmirtz at the end of the Christmas Special?
  • On the first episode of Invader Zim, Tallest Purple mentions that they had banished Zim to the planet Foodcourtia; Zim off-handedly mentions that he "quit" that ("You quit being banished?!). More than a full season later, Zim's old boss from Foodcourtia captures him on Earth and drags him back.
    • Then there's Invader Skoodge and his mission to invade Planet Blorch, "home of the slaughtering rat-people", with the expectation he will die horribly, only to return later having successfully conquered the planet.
  • In the Arthur episode about the blizzard, we discover at the end that this was the winter D.W. got her special snowball.
  • From South Park:
    • The animals themselves are from a story Cartman wrote during a Christmas special.
    • And from the same episodes, Man Bear Pig, a fictional creature that Al Gore thought was real in a earlier episode.
    • Let's not forget the recent 200th episode, in which they bring back several characters and plotlines from earlier on in the show. Including Barbara Streisand, Tom Cruise (and the closet gag), Super Bestfriends, Muhammed not being allowed to be shown on TV and, to top it all off, gingers.
  • From Family Guy:
    • In "To Love and Die in Dixie", the Griffin family moves down south, and Peter and Brian are acting out Dukes Of Hazzard. Peter encourages Brian to jump in through the window of the car, but then conveniently forgets to wind it down, knocking Brian out cold. Four years later, in "The Fat Guy Strangler" Brian hits Peter with a rock, claiming; "That's for rolling up the damn car window when I tried to jump into the General Lee."
    • The "Surfin' Bird" song:
      • The song also appears in "Big Man on Hippocampus", where Peter gets amnesia, and thinks that it's new.
      • And once again in 'April in Quahog', when Peter's trying to get out of jury duty. The best bit being that the preparatory "oh, haven't you heard?" is played almost completely deadpan so the song (THAT FUCKING SONG) comes out of nowhere. Mericfully, it's only played for a short time.
      • It comes up A-FUCKING-GAIN in 'Welcome Back Carter,' this time as a slow version Peter sings to 'set the mood' for Carter to apologize to his wife for his affair.
  • From Futurama:
    • Said monster appears again "Beast With a Billion Backs" to bust the Professor and Wernstrom out of prison, saying that the Professor still had one wish left.
    • The Australian man shows up two seasons later in "A Pharaoh to Remember", apparently now working as a slave on an entirely different planet.
    • The 2010 revival features an astonishing 10-year brick joke: In "How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back," the crew waits at the end of a very long line to see the Central Bureaucracy, informed by a very old man in front of them that he is there waiting on his birth certificate. Ten years later, in "Lethal Inspection," the very same old man has finally reached the front window, now requesting his death certificate as he promptly falls over. The woman at the window then informs the collapsed (presumably dead) man that he had actually gone to the wrong building.

06:09:57 AM Oct 15th 2010
edited by Ununnilium
  • A very short brick joke comes in Class of 3000. When it's said that the cafeteria trays are made out of recycled trampolines, there's a cutaway to a kid being served green slop and it bouncing off the tray into the air. Cut back to the main kids and then it's said the gym's trampoline is made out of recycled cafeteria trays. Cue a cutaway with a kid trying to bounce on the trampoline and hurting himself on the hard surface, followed by the green slop from the previous cutaway landing on his face.
  • Strange version happens in an episode of Rex the Runt when the eponymous character enters the house and tosses his umbrella off to the left, only to have it fly back into the scene from the right and hit him.

Too short; the Brick Joke relies on you forgetting the original joke. These are just, well, jokes.
06:36:19 AM Oct 15th 2010
  • Frisky Dingo used this in its first season. Watley continually advises his supervillain boss, Killface, on establishing boundaries with his petty son; in the final episode, Killface's archnemesis blames his outlandish behaviour - which eventually dooms the planet - on not having had boundaries established by his parents as a child.
    • Which actually leads into another brick joke as Killface mentions the only reason the world wasn't destroyed due to melted couplings, something that was referenced several times in season 1.
    • It's brought up yet again at the end of Season 2, when Wendell declares that it's time for him and Antagone's baby to establish some boundaries.

These seem more like Running Gags.
07:52:28 AM Oct 15th 2010
edited by Ununnilium
  • From Mahou Sensei Negima!:
    • The most far reaching example yet: in Chapter 15 or so, a rumor goes around class 3-A that Negi is a prince. Some 240 odd chapter later it turns out yeah, he's a prince.
    • Gah, you people missed the most important one. When Negi asks Chao who she is, she replies that she is a Martian, and while fighting, her skin turns black with glowing lines. Many chapters later, Negi learns Dark Magic, which makes his skin turn black with glowing lines. And it turns out Mundus Magicus is Mars in an alternate dimension.
    • Remember Evangeline (pure mage, not magic knight) saying early on that over time the differences between magic knights and mages basically stopped mattering? She wasn't kidding.
  • In the second episode of Godannar, minor character Hayashi is absorbed by a memetic beast, leaving Anna, the series' main heroine, to save her. Afterwards Hayashi's main role is as one-half of a Sickeningly Sweethearts Running Gag. Until the very last episode, where it turns out her contact with the memetic beast made her the key to the human race's survival.

These are straight examples of Chekhov's Gun.
03:55:05 PM Oct 16th 2010
About the Pokemon examples, how is the split ribbon a Continuity Nod (the fact that they win it, not that it was mentioned later)? It's a seemingly meaningless idea that used again over a year it was first mentioned. Now I'm not sure if it's a Brick Joke, but that doesn't sound like a Continuity Nod to me...
05:36:01 AM Oct 15th 2010
The 8-Bit Theater quote doesn't make a lot of sense unless you already know the strip, methinks.
10:14:32 PM Sep 25th 2010
Is this a brick joke or continuity nod- Buffy bitching to Willow in season two about Cordelia drooling over Angel. Willow says something about Angel never falling for Cordelia. Cue the spin off, down the line, Angel is in love with Cordelia.
05:37:54 AM Oct 15th 2010
It's more a Reverse Funny Aneurysm than either.
09:19:03 AM Jun 6th 2010
Advertising - I don't think the Geico one qualifies - Geico has commonly had two or more advertising campaigns running at the same time, and both of these have run pretty much continuously the past couple of years.
05:32:53 AM Oct 15th 2010
Yeah, they've been interweaving the two. Not really the same thing:

  • There was a series of Geico commercials where the slogan was "So easy a caveman could do it," then having a couple of (surprisingly civilized) cavemen getting pissed off about it. These suddenly stopped in favor of the Geico Gecko and "15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance." The caveman thing was largely forgotten... Until a recent commercial for the Geico Glovebox App, which ended with "so easy a caveman could do it" cue the off camera spokesperson (presumably a caveman) leaving in a huff.
    • They also had another one which was lost on people who hadn't seen some of their older commercials. Back when the gecko was complaining about getting calls intended for Geico, one spot had him asking to get a name change. His choice? Komodo Dragon. In a much more recent commercial, When the gecko comes back to work after having a day off, someone remarks that the replacement wasn't doing a great job. Cue shot of a Komodo Dragon.
05:34:36 AM Oct 15th 2010
edited by Ununnilium

  • Wrong on three parts. (1) The Gecko pre-dates the Caveman. (2) The Caveman has shown up fairly regularly. (3) It was a Bearded Dragon, not a Komodo.

If it's wrong, edit it, don't point out why it's wrong
"Actually" is an adverb, not an excuse for a song
If you are correct, monsieur, share knowledge all day long
Oh if it's wrong, edit it, don't point out why it's wrong!
10:36:54 PM May 12th 2010
Do some of the story-related ones REAAAALLY count? Shounen has a habit of running a very very very very very very (understatement) long time due to fight scene padding and navelgazing. Due to the length of time required to reach this point, pretty much any setup could be considered a 'brick joke.' One example in particular I'd like to point out is Sasuke's crying comment. (as it is fairly obvious it was setup for something.) That seems less like a brick joke/chekhov and more like postponed character development. As a counterpoint, the Kiyomi Takeda one fits the bill.
12:43:39 PM Apr 5th 2010
The first thing you do in the game comes back after the last.

This image doesn't really illustrate the trope very well unless you already know Earthworm Jim. Maybe if there was a split-screen effect of the launch and the crash of the cow, but otherwise I don't think it fits.
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