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Ad-Break Double-Take

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Common in animated shows, the Ad Break Double Take is an establishing shot or establishing line that appears on both sides of a commercial break; the show being wound back a few seconds to allow the scene to be reintroduced to the viewer in a coherent fashion. These repeated scenes are also often used as Padding to fill out an episode's running time and, particularly in the case of hour-long reality shows, can be used to disguise the fact that not much actually happens in a given episode.

Sometimes the scenes on both sides of the break are identical, but some shows change the second part by giving the repeated line to another character, or having them rephrase it. To the outside observer, the Ad Break Double Take thus looks like the hero standing calmly waiting to be decapitated while saying, "This doesn't look too good." followed by a pause and then, "Man, this is baaad!". In extreme cases, an unexpected change in continuity that wasn't present before the break may suddenly work in the heroes' favor, in which case you have a Cliffhanger Copout.

Medium Aware characters might be able to sense the slight stitch in time and take advantage of it (much to the confusion of the unaware villains), but it's hardly necessary: the heroes will always recover from the threat in plenty of time. Some hang a lampshade on the repeated line with a yell of "I know we're in trouble, stop saying that!".

It's usually not edited out when released for home video or syndicates that use fewer commercial breaks than the original broadcaster. Unless commercial breaks are punctuated by an Eye Catch, this leads to odd situations where a dramatic line is uttered, Fade to Black, fade back in, then the dramatic line is uttered again.

See also: Act Break and Commercial Break Cliffhanger.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba would always have at least a few EyeCatches per episode in the Animated Adaptation and repeat a couple seconds from before the eye catch. The eye catch would usually in the form of the illustrations used at the end of the manga chapters adapted into that episode.
  • The DiC dub of Sailor Moon had this added on occasion. Sailor Moon Abridged parodies this with Venus's entrance.
    Commercial break! Let's recap!
    Luna: I already said this line!
  • Saban's dub of Digimon Adventure did this a lot. One of the more notorious examples is from early on, with Matt saying "We're caught between a rock and two sets of teeth!" both before and after the commercial break.
  • Done a few times in Samurai Pizza Cats. One of the Clip Show episodes parodied this, by having the repeating clips be the result of a projector fault.
  • 4Kids Entertainment would often have these kinds of moments added in their anime dubs, most notably Yu-Gi-Oh! and One Piece.
  • This shows up in several episodes of the first season of Magic Knight Rayearth.
  • Pok√©mon: The Series: In "The Water Flowers of Cerulean City", Misty demands to fight Ash on either side of an ad break.
  • In the Kingdom Hearts II manga, or at least the Yen Press version, scenes shown at the very end of each chapter seem to be repeated at the beginning of the next.
  • In episode 15 of Jewelpet Twinkle☆, Tour announcing the first round of the Jewelpet sweets-making competition and its house theme comes right before the commercial break. At the beginning of the second half of the episode, Tour's dialogue is repeated.
  • One episode of The Girl I Like Forgot Her Glasses did this with the Cold Open. After the opening credits, the last ten seconds of the cold open were replayed, though with Komura's reaction to Mie's presence changed from crying out in shock to stammering, "M-M-Mie-san?!"
  • Inuyasha does this but with eye-catches. A specific scene played before the Eye Catch will be played again immediately after it.

    Comic Books 
  • Common in '80s Strontium Dog, where the first panel of each installment would often be a repeat of the previous week's final panel.
  • Lampshaded in Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew!, when one comic begins with the same dialogue from just before the end of the previous issue, drawn from a different angle and labeled "At the risk of repeating ourselves..."

    Fan Works 
  • Parodied in Friendship is Witchcraft, when lightning strikes a tree next to Twilight's house (and Spike, who's on the roof holding the lightning rod in place).
    Spike: [first time] Augh!
    Spike: [second time] Augh! Not again!

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang follows up its intermission with a replay of the scene preceding it. The intermission is included on VHS and DVD releases of the film.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Project Runway: during runway elimination.
  • The Biggest Loser: during weigh-ins, repeatedly.
  • Human Target (the latest one) likes this trope, and oftentimes the double-take is paraphrased a bit.
  • How I Met Your Mother has very few commercial breaks without the double take.
  • Ice Road Truckers exemplifies this trope. In the tense seconds leading up to the commercial break, it will frequently look like some unexpected event that caught a driver off guard is about to lead them to their death at the bottom of a frozen lake or an icy cliff. Cut to commercial, come back, and we find out that there's a loose bolt on one of their back wheels or something.
  • Storage Wars has two versions of this: a cliffhanger during bidding that leaves viewers wondering if, say, Jarrod will get the locker or Dave will throw in a last-second bid; and the setup for a reveal - for example, Barry looks in the box and exclaims "Whoa, check THIS out!"... cut to commercial... show comes back, we see what was in the box. In both instances the scene-ending dialogue is repeated upon rejoining.
  • Any Food Network reality series, including Restaurant: Impossible and Mystery Diners, which usually seem to imply that some kind of takedown or confrontation is about to take place... only for a big letdown in the end when the confrontee agrees with the observation made.
    • Similarly, this is a common tactic on shows featuring Gordon Ramsay, particularly the more dramatic ones like Hell's Kitchen. Lamented by many viewers, given the general over-use of certain reality-TV conventions on these series.
  • Happens all the time in Supernatural, especially if the Winchester boys fall through windows or the screen goes white.
  • Occurs many, many times in Power Rangers. Often times, the dialogue will be different after the break when it's supposed to be a replay. It's helped by many of these bits using easily-dubbed Sentai footage.
  • Doctor Who had a variation of this throughout the classic era. As each individual story was told across several episodes (with two exceptions), each episode within a story except the last one would end in a cliffhanger. The following episode would start by repeating the cliffhanger, revealing the resolution, then continuing on with the story. The cliffhanger was to make the audience want to come back, the repeat was to remind the audience why they came back.
    • It also didn't hurt that when the show started in the 1960s, most episodes only ran once with little to no way to view it again.
  • On My Cat from Hell, it is very common for the very last thing that was shown going to break to be repeated coming back afterwards. This can be somewhat distracting when watching from a digital episode without commercials.

    Video Games 
  • In Tales of Monkey Island, at the end of episode 1 and beginning of episode 2, Morgan Le Flay apparently says "Guybrush Threepwood! I've been waiting a long time for this!" twice, as his response is different in each episode.
  • Being a love letter to Anime, Asura's Wrath uses this after returning from a loading screen (which look like an Eye Catch themselves).

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog lampshades this in the episode "Over the Hill Hero" when Robotnik gloats that Sonic is trapped and "Mobius is mine! All mine!" Fade to commercial break. In the next scene, Robotnik says that Sonic is trapped and "Mobius is mine! (pause) Did I say that already?"
  • South Park:
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: In "St. Olga's Reform School for Wayward Princesses", the scene of Pony Head revealing her brainwashed state to Star and Marco is repeated after it comes back from commercial break.
  • Done many times in The Simpsons:
    • The season 3 episode "Separate Vocations" spoofs this when Bart is about to be run down by a car. After the break, the action returns with the announcement of "Act II: Death drives a stick" and Snake repeats his cry of "See you in hell, punk!"
    • Subverted in the season 6 episode "Lisa's Rival". Lisa tires herself up while having a saxophone duel against Allyson, triggering a fade-to-black when fainting. When she wakes up, she's told Allyson won the part, prompting her to scream as another fade-out occurs. Except the ad break doesn't come, but rather a phony double take follows showing the exact same scene. When she wakes up, she's told Allyson won the part, except "this time it's NOT a dream!", prompting her to scream as a third fade out occurs and the actual break finally begins. The scene that comes after the actual break is not a double take at all.
    • Spoofed in the season 7 episode "Lisa The Iconoclast" when the group unearthing Jebediah Springfield's grave, upon opening the coffin, give a collective melodramatic "OOOOOH!" gasp. The shot then fades out, then fades back in to repeat the same gasp without any ad break.
    • The season 15 episode "Simple Simpson" repeats Homer's unmasking. In fact, this trope often goes hand-in-hand with unmasking, especially in Western Animation.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Particularly obvious with Momo's introduction.
  • Happens in several The Land Before Time movies, which is OK when you watch them on TV, but especially awkward when you watch them on video.
  • Happens in an episode of Martha Speaks, "Secret Agent Dog".
    TD's Dad: [at the end of part one] Someone stole the secret formula for the soup — and they say a dog helped them!
    TD's Dad: [at the start of part two] Someone stole the secret formula for the soup! And they say a dog helped them.
  • My Little Pony:
    • Parodied in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, "Sweet and Elite": Rarity is surprised by her friends greeting her unexpectedly and faints, as they may catch her in a lie, and we go to commercial. When the show returns, Rarity wakes up, and Pinkie Pie says "Hi again!"
      • Played straight in "Bridle Gossip" with "What if she's making Apple Bloom soup?".
      • Also played straight in "A Heart's Warming Tail". Twilight interrupts the story she's telling so that Spike can refill his cup of cocoa, which happens during the commercial break.
    • When The Hub aired My Little Pony: Equestria Girls, the scene of Twilight screaming was repeated when the show came back from its first commercial break.
    • Lampshaded in "Honest Apple":
      Applejack: What?
      Rarity: You already said that, darling.
  • Centurions, such as when a lava flow is encroaching on a prone character, then has receded again after the commercial break, as if to give the character a second chance to roll away.
  • The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, like in "Robo Koopa" when the title villain pushes over an electronic tower to crush the heroes. When viewed without commercial breaks, the tower looms at the audience twice in a row!
  • Played straight in Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension, where Phineas says, "So far it's not going as well as we'd hoped" twice.
  • Clarence parodies this trope in "Rise and Shine" when Clarence sees a mountain lion in his backyard:
    Clarence: Oh no, a bear!
    [fade out]
    [fade in]
    Clarence: Oh no, a bear!
  • Done in Gravity Falls, especially in "Tourist Trapped."
  • Sometimes used on Care Bears: Welcome to Care-a-Lot, such as in "Sleuth of Bears" when the group encounters the supposed ghost of Benefair.
  • This happened twice in the Beavis and Butt-Head episode, "Washing the Dog". First when the titular duo arrive at the laundromat and the other when they were chanting "Washing the dog, washing the dog". Averted when the episode was released on home video, where the double takes were edited out.
  • Blaze and the Monster Machines started using these since the show's introduction of Commercial Break Cliffhangers in Season 3. Some even begin minutes before it left off. These are absent on all digital releases.
  • One of the strangest examples is Cyberchase. It doesn't even make sense for the show, since it aired on PBS Kids, which doesn't even have commercials, yet for some reason, it featured fade outs and fade ins as if there were, and a few times (for example, showing the kids screaming at impending danger) repeated things after the fade in.
  • One episode of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends features Spidey getting caught in the grip of a giant mechanical fist and crying out "Can't breathe... IT'S CRUSHING MEEEEE!" Back from commercial, Spidey repeats the line, but mumbles it quietly rather than screaming.
  • A variant occurs in TV broadcasts of the Ready Jet Go! two-parter, "Mindy Turns Five".note  At the end of Part One, Mindy says, "This is one small step for Mindy, and one giant leap for Stuffy Bear!" and she steps on the camera. At the beginning of Part Two, Mindy says it again and her stepping on the camera is accompanied with puff effects and the other kids cheering.
  • The Owl House
    • "Adventures in the Elements" has Eda say to Luz, "You angered the Slitherbeast" at the end of act 2 and again at the beginning of act 3 after the commercial break.
    • "Wing It Like Witches" has Boscha telling Luz to "Think fast!" twice.
    • "Elsewhere and Elsewhen" repeats a shot of Lilith getting grabbed and pulled into the darkness by a Stonesleeper.
  • An episode of X-Men: The Animated Series has Bishop firing a gun at the camera and declaring, "Traitors!" just before the commercial. When the show returns, he fires the gun again but this time says, "For the future!".


Video Example(s):


Mindy Turns Five

At the end of Part One, Mindy says, "This is one small step for Mindy, and one giant leap for Stuffy Bear!" and she steps on the camera. At the beginning of Part Two, Mindy says it again and her stepping on the camera is accompanied with puff effects and the other kids cheering. Also, PBS doesn't have commercials, so live-action segments with Astronomer Amy Mainzer are used to fill the timeslot on this show.

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