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Sometimes lampshaded.
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When a character asks a question, and the movie cuts, pans, or otherwise shifts to an image of the implied answer. A variant of this will have the character make a significant remark (e.g., "Some people just naturally make fools of themselves"), and the camera cuts to a character doing exactly that sort of thing. A still further variant is to have another character, completely uninvolved with the first conversation, answer the question with a line identifying the answer ("What kind of loser takes a job at Burger Fool?" "Hey, did your brother tell you he got a new job?").

The usual question is Who Would Be Stupid Enough?, but there are many questions that can be answered this way. It is a critical tactic if the viewers need to know the answer, but the character asking for it must be kept in the dark.

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In literature, the usual accompanying phrase is "As if in response...".

Sometimes used as Foreshadowing. Occasionally used for an Inadvertent Entrance Cue.

Compare/contrast Gilligan Cut, Description Cut, "I Know What We Can Do" Cut, Ironic Echo Cut and Oblivious Mockery.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • GEICO's Rhetorical questions advertisements. All of them start with Mike McGlone asking "Could switching to GEICO really save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance?":
    • Is Ed "Too Tall" Jones too tall? [Cuts to Jones in a doctor's office being measured for his height. Since he is too tall for the maximum length of the measure; the nurse breaks it and decides to guesstimate]
    • Does Charlie Daniels play a mean fiddle? [Cuts to Daniels energetically playing a fiddle in a classy restaurant after taking it from a violinist. Once he finishes, he hands it back and states "That's how you do it, son"]
    • Does Elmer Fudd have trouble with the letter R? ''[Cuts to Elmer hunting and telling us to be vewy quiet while he's "hunting wabbits", the director correcting his rhotacism to the former's frustration, and eventually stalking off while muttering about how "this diwector is starting to wub me the wong way".]''
    • Did the Waltons take way too long to say good night? [Cuts to the exterior of a house, while inside, the Walton family says "good night" to each other numerous times]
    • Does a ten pound bag of flour make a really big biscuit?" [Cuts to a child buttering an enormous biscuit on the kitchen counter humming as his mom walks in with a dismayed look upon her face]
    • Did the Caveman invent fire? [Cuts to the GEICO caveman sitting in a living room on a couch with a female companion. He looks disdainfully at the camera, then activates the fireplace by remote control before scowling at the camera once more]
    • Was Abe Lincoln honest? [Cuts to an old-style black and white film of Mary Todd Lincoln asking "Does this dress make my backside look big?" After a lengthy pause and deliberation, Lincoln sheepishly responds, saying "Perhaps just...", interrupted as she gets up and walks out perturbed]
    • Is having a snowball fight with pitching great Randy Johnson a bad idea? [Cuts to Johnson helping a man to his feet, the latter with a hole in the arm of his jacket, in a snowy street. After lamenting the smashed in garage door behind them, they agree to go sledding instead]
    • Is a bird in the hand worth two in the bush? [Cuts to an Antiques Roadshow appraiser examining a small statue of a bird cupped in a human hand. He tells the owner that the figure is indeed, worth two in the bush]
    • Can fútbol announcer Andrés Cantor make any sport exciting? [Cuts to Cantor loudly and very energetically calling a slow-paced chess match, screaming his trademark "¡GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!"]
    • Does a former drill sergeant make a terrible therapist? [Cuts to...]
    Patient: And that's why yellow makes me sad, I think.
    R. Lee Ermey: That's interesting. You know what makes me sad? YOU DO! MAYBE WE SHOULD CHUG ON OVER TO MAMBY PAMBY LAND, WHERE MAYBE WE CAN FIND SOME SELF-CONFIDENCE FOR YOU, YA JACKWAGON!!!!! Tissue? [chucks a box of Kleenex at the patient] Crybaby.
    • Do woodchucks chuck wood? [Cuts to a jovial pair of woodchucks throwing chopped logs into a river and being admonished by the farmer who chopped them, after which they run away]
    • Did the little piggy cry "wee wee wee" all the way home? [Cuts to a pig named Maxwell riding in the back seat of an SUV holding pinwheels, yelling "wee wee wee" out the window, before being dropped off at his house by his friend's exasperated mother]
    • Does it take two to tango? [Cuts to a man and woman dancing the tango while another man tries to dance with them.]
    • What, do you live under a rock? [Cuts to a man living underground who moves a rock so he can raise his head above ground to see outside, and then gets excited when he sees a GEICO billboard and invites his friend Rick to move his own rock and take a peek]
    • Do dogs chase cats? [Cuts to a dog and cat engaged in a Bullitt-style car chase]
    • Is the pen mightier than the sword? [Cuts to a ninja menacingly demonstrating his swordsmanship to his opponent, who countermaneuvers by using a pen to sign for the delivery of his new taser, with which he promptly zaps the ninja]
    • Would Foghorn Leghorn make a really bad book narrator? [Cuts to a recording studio where Foghorn is reading A Tale of Two Cities — his ad-libbing and talking over the director cause an exasperated Henery Hawk to get up from the control panel and whack him with a club]
    • Do people use smartphones to do dumb things? [Cuts to three office workers using very silly smartphone apps to help celebrate the end of the workweek]

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Chapter 52 of Assassination Classroom:
    "There isn't a single student stronger than him in this school." [speaking with regards to the Chairman's son]
    [cut to a yawning Karma]
  • Azumanga Daioh: Who screamed at the cockroach first? Who suggested that everyone's stuffed animals be brought and put on display? The answer to both questions appears to be Sakaki, though we have only the editing as proof.
  • In Baccano!!'s The Grand Funk Railroad, Firo tells Ennis a bit about Claire's circus days and wonders if "Maybe the train's getting treated to a little acrobatics show right about now." Cut to a woman in fatigues taking an Outside Ride on the Flying Pussyfoot "like an acrobat" and who's eventually revealed not to be Claire at all. The real Claire's been going around drenched in blood and playing the role of the Rail Tracer. And is a guy. He's a bit annoyed with the name for obvious reasons.
  • During Gundam 00: A Wakening of the Trailblazer's final battle, Patrick Colasour contacts his mother ship to tell his commanding officer (and wife) Kati Mannequin that his mobile suit has been disabled. She tells him to get out of there, and the film cuts to show that Patrick's cockpit has almost been completely enveloped by the ELS' assimilation crystals.
    Patrick: I can't really do that right now...
  • In Mai-HiME, Natsuki briefly muses about one's "most important person," some time after hearing that if a HiME's Child is destroyed, her most important person will die. The scene then cuts to Shizuru, who's Natsuki's best friend and most important person.
  • In an early episode of Pokémon, Ash and friends find a Pokémon village protected by various traps, including pitfalls (one of which Misty had triggered). Ash wonders how safe the village is, saying, "You'd have to be pretty stupid to fall into one of those holes." After an indignant Misty yells, "HEY!", we cut to Team Rocket at the bottom of a hole.
    Jessie: This is the THIRD hole we've fallen into!
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    Comic Books 
  • As seen from the page image, lampshaded in Archie Sonic issue #124. The context is that Robotnik was complaining about being attacked by some alien invader, though the king didn't believe him because of his past treachery. When Sonic asks, as in the page image, who would be responsible if it were true, said alien invaders send out a telepathic message not only about what they're doing but also about why they're doing it. They say that a while ago, they sent an emissary to offer an alliance with the human species, but, instead, humans dissected it, and thus the Xorda are out to destroy the whole planet in retaliation.
  • In the first Clerks comic book, Randall is seen leaving Steve-Dave and Walt's comic shop after having pissed them off. Walt asks, "What kind of place would hire a guy like that anyway?" Next page: an establishing shot of Quick Stop and RST Video.
  • Fused with Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking in one X-Men comic as Iceman and Angel find themselves taking on a massive alien. Iceman demands to know where the Avengers, Fantastic Four, and military are. Cut to the Avengers being held in force bubbles by Kang the Conqueror, the Fantastic Four being trapped by Annihilus, and the military...well...
    Namor: For the last time, I can't "surrender"! This isn't an invasion of your surface world! I just wanted a bagel!
  • In Mai-HiME, Natsuki gazes out to sea, musing to herself about a HiME's "most important person," who will die if the HiME's Child is destroyed. The next scene cuts to Shizuru, Natsuki's best friend and her most important person.

    Fanfiction 
  • Kyon: Big Damn Hero's prologue includes, among other things, Kyon being attacked by Asakura Ryouko, having possession of a lot of supernatural tools his canon counterpart doesn't have, and Haruhi not batting much of an eye to Kyon's admission Asakura is an humanoid interface like Yuki. At some point after that, Kyon asks himself, "It started off such a nice day, too. How had it come to this, anyway...?". Cue scene change to the first non-prologue scene.
  • From Calvin and Hobbes: The Series:
    Hobbes: How many six-year-old kids get money?
    Calvin: Lemonade stand, why?
    Woman at Calvin's stand: And what do we have here?
  • Fantasy of Utter Ridiculousness: Coop wonders at one point just who in their right mind would enjoy tofu. Cue cut to the kitsune Ran Yakumo, wondering why she feels she ought to defend her snack choices.
  • Hop To It has this at the end of a long How We Got Here section:
    Chat Noir: So, LB. What's the plan?

    Ladybug: (To Rabbit) The plan was for you to gain Cottontail’s trust, figure out her weakness, and lure her away from Alya so Chat and I could rescue her. What was so hard about that?
  • Parodied in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: What Came After. The sequence goes as follows:
    • Riolu asks his teammates if they think Trevenant will be okay with them going to save his son (he still holds a grudge over Alesia apparently stealing one of his books), and the scene cuts to Trevenant's bookstore where he yells at them not to.
    • Trevenant sarcastically asks Team Everlasting if they think Braviary will permit them to go on the mission, and the scene cuts to Braviary's courthouse where he says yes.
    • Popplio encouragingly asks Alesia, "How big can those woods be?", and the scene cuts to Izolo Woods where Riolu reads a sign saying that the woods are 400 acres.
    • Alesia asks Popplio why he likes his Special Band so much, and the scene cuts to Team Everlasting on the roof of Braviary's courthouse somehow where they understandably wonder how they got up there (but not before Popplio answers the question).
    • Alesia asks if it's safe to jump down from the roof into a pile of leaves, and the scene cuts to them back in Izolo Woods where Riolu affirms that it was.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: Multiple:
    • In Beryl's Plan, when Morgania's spymaster talks about Ami:
      "Since she is clearly much more powerful than we were led to believe, things don’t bode well for her final opponent.”
      [Cuts to Queen Beryl, clearly implying her as the "final opponent"]
    • From Underworld Army Attack:
      "Oh. OH." Cathy sounded chagrined as she looked at Mercury with pleading eyes. "Please tell me we are not going to charge the enemy army head-on!"
      [Cut to the Underworld Army facing The Avatar, Mercury, Jadeite, Rabixtrel some automatons, and some golems.]
  • Triptych Continuum: Multiple, spread across A Total Eclipse Of The Fun:
  • First one:
    Trial run... it still felt like unveiling a masterpiece before the official gallery opening. But really, what harm could it do?
    (scene change)
    The sisters looked over the wreckage in the Lunar Courtyard.
    • Chapter 4, when Luna asks what the problem would be with having Twilight Sparkle write the one-sheet educational briefing on eclipses for distribution to the general public. One location switch later, she gets her migraine-inducing answer. Which included quantum.
  • Oversaturated World: From the second chapter, Tones:
    who'd want a school full of disharmony?
    [Cut to Discord, the spirit of Disharmony, or at least his human version.]

    Films — Animated 
  • In Beauty and the Beast the last line of the prologue is "...for who could ever learn to love a Beast?" Guess who shows up onscreen next?
  • In Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs:
    Manny: (to Ellie) Boy, you're starting to sound like Diego. Wait a second. Where is Diego? (Cut to Diego trying to hunt an antelope)
  • The Iron Giant: When Mr. Stutz says that he really did call the government and that they were sending someone to investigate, Dean asks, "Who in the hell would the government send?" Cut to the power plant where Kent Mansley gets out of his car.
  • In The Lego Movie 2 The Second Part, Wyldstyle, having realized that the Systarians aren't actually evil, and actually want good relations with the Bricklanders, asks who the real bad guy is. Cut to Rex Dangervest, who's convinced Emmet to destroy the temple and stop the Queen from marrying Batman.
  • In Lilo & Stitch:
    Jumbaa: So, tell me, my little one-eyed one, on what poor, pitiful, defenseless planet has my monstrosity been unleashed?
    [Cut to Earth — Hawaii, specifically]
  • At the very end of My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Legend of Everfree:
    Sunset: There is one thing I’m still wondering about, though.
    Twilight: What’s that?
    Sunset: Where did the magic that hit this cave come from?
    [Cut to Canterlot High, showing a crack in the top of the still-destroyed statue, where Equestrian magic is leaking through.]
  • Shark Tale: "How long must this reef live under siege? Is there no hero among us? Who can stop this shark menace?" Cut to Oscar.
    • Another example occurs later during Frankie's funeral when Don Lino hears about the Sharkslayer, vowing to find out who he is and avenge his son's death.
    Don Lino: I wanna find this guy. I wanna know everything about him. I wanna know where he lives, where he sleeps. He pops a gill. I wanna know about it: Who is the Sharkslayer?
    [scene cuts]
    Guy on PA: Here he is! The Sharkslayer! (Oscar turns around and winks)
  • At the beginning of Shrek 2, Prince Charming asks who Princess Fiona is on honeymoon with. The scene immediately cuts to Shrek's face.
  • In The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, after Plankton unleashes the final phase of Plan Z, turning all of the citizens of Bikini Bottom into his mind-controlled slaves and captures Squidward, who was the only one who figured out what he was up to:
    Plankton: Who can stop me now?! [Evil Laugh] WHO?!
    [Cut to SpongeBob and Patrick driving in the Paddy Wagon while laughing silly]
  • On at least three occasions in Toy Story 3:
    • When Andy's toys are trapped in the Caterpillar room and Buzz points up to the transom, Rex asks: Oh, great. How do we get up there? Cut to the next scene where they have built a Rube Goldberg Device that helps getting Buzz up there.
    • As a Tempting Fate, when Lotso orders Andy's toys to stay at Sunnyside and Jessie asks who is gonna stop them from leaving. Cue brainwashed Buzz Emerging from the Shadows.
    • After the climax, when the group of toys want to get back to Andy's place, Rex concludes "We'll never get there in time". Then the camera pans over to a shot of the garbage truck.
  • Trolls: The Bergens believe that the only way to be happy is to eat a Troll. After all the Trolls have escaped, Prince Gristle asks his father, "What's going to make me happy now?" Just before his father replies "Nothing!", there's a brief shot of Bridget.
  • In Zootopia, when Nick wonders how Judy could possibly get access to the jam cams, she replies that she knows somebody who could help. Cut to Bellwether at the ZPD headquarters.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • At the end of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Yoda wonders if Darth Maul was the Sith master or apprentice. Pan to Palpatine, who is the master.
  • The movie Airport, where the Customs agent is curious about the flight his niece will be taking and turns to the Airline Passenger Supervisor, Mrs. Livingston. "Oh, with all this snow, do you think it will take off on time?" The film then cuts to a reservation agent who says, "Flight Two, The Golden Argosy, will depart on schedule", and then cuts back to the man on the phone who had called her, who says, "Thank You." Very slickly done.
  • A variant of this happens in Superman Returns, when Jimmy shows Lois and Perry a photograph of sky with a red dot:
    Lois Lane: It's a bird.
    Perry White: It's a plane.
    Jimmy Olsen: No, look, it's...
    Cut to Clark entering the office.
    Clark Kent: Were you looking for me?
  • The trailer for the 2009 Watchmen shows someone beating up Edward Blake, and immediately cuts to Ozymandias. Twice. A unique example in that you would only notice it if you already knew the answer beforehand.
  • The Mummy (1999):
    Dr. Chamberlain: They are led by a woman. What does a woman know?
    • This is, of course, immediately before we cut to Evelyn explaining exactly what she knows about the situation.
  • The X-Files: Fight the Future had one of the Consortium say, in reference to Mulder, "Then you must take away what he holds most valuable, that with which he can't live without." Immediate cut to Scully. And Chris Carter claims he's not a shipper.
  • The Lord of the Rings: During a conversation at the Hall of Meduseld in The Two Towers, Gandalf asks Théoden, "And what is the King's decision?". An offscreen voice over starts to say "By order of the King, the city must empty! We make for the refuge of Helm's Deep", cutting to a shot of Rohan refugees preparing to leave.
  • The Mist: early on, Brent's car has been destroyed by a fallen tree. He casually asks, "You wouldn't happen to be going into town today...?" Immediately cut to them in David's landrover.
  • Fritz Lang does this a lot in his German films. Particularly in The Testament of Dr. Mabuse, almost every scene cut 'responds' in some way to the preceding scene, sometimes subtly and sometimes not.
  • In The Hunt for Red October, Captain Ramius discusses the officers' plan to defect with Borodin. Ramius says that the Soviet Navy is not the biggest problem for them, since he knows their tactics, but rather the Americans, since he doesn't know how they will respond. But he says, "We meet the right sort, this will work. We get some . . . buckaroo?" Cue to Jack Ryan on a jet plane in high turbulence - bucking just like a cowboy.
  • Fritz Lang also did this in Metropolis. After rescuing the children from the flooded worker's city, she asks, "Why are all the lights out?" Cut to the workers dancing around the destroyed machines that caused it.
  • The first scene of Sister Act takes place in a Catholic school classroom in 1968, with a young Deloris (the film's protagonist) being a Class Clown and answering her teacher's question of "Name all the Apostles" with pop music references: "John, Paul... George and Ringo!" Her teacher, a nun, scolds her, warning her she's on the fast track to Hell and asking her, "Have you any idea what girls like you become?!" Young Deloris grins. Cut to 1992 and adult Deloris as a nightclub performer singing oldies in a Reno casino.
  • In Dracula's Daughter, Dr. Garth asks "What could have made those two small puncture marks on the neck?", and, immediately, a maid announces, "Countess Zalenska!"
    • This exchange is actually a reference to the original Dracula film.
      Johnathan Harker: What could have caused those marks, Professor?
      Maid: [Announcing the arrival of their guest] Count Dracula.
    • And in Dracula: Dead and Loving It, this is picked up once more. One character asks, rhetorically, who in England could possibly be a vampire. Immediately, the maid announces "Count Dracula." The character who asks concedes, "All right, maybe him."
  • In Bride of Frankenstein, Elizabeth describes a vision of an evil apparition which will entangle Henry, and says she sees it drawing nearer — nearer — and the camera cuts to the evil Dr. Pretorius knocking at the door.
  • In Sinbad the Sailor, when Sinbad informs the look-out Yusuf that all ships have to fly colors, as it is "the law of the sea", Yusuf contemptuously asks, "What law is stronger than Strength?" Immediately, the evil Emir's Pirate myna-bird swoops into shot, shrieking, "Jamal! Jamal!"
  • In the 1939 version of The Hound of the Baskervilles, Dr. Mortimer's wife, conducting a seance, asks the spirit of the victim, "Tell us, Sir Charles! Who was it that killed you?" — to be answered by an eerie "AROOOOOOOOO!" from off the moor.
  • Played with in Fantastic Mr. Fox. Having successfully trapped the animals underground, a character asks his fellows, "How long can a fox go without food or water?" Cut to Kylie saying to the camera "Well, I can only answer as an opossum, but I don't think I can last more than another couple of hours before I get completely dehydrated and starve to death." After that, we cut further back and he doesn't appear to be talking to anyone in particular.
  • Used in The Sixth Sense when Cole says to Malcom, "I see dead people", it not only cuts to Malcolm, who is dead, but slowly zooms in on him. At first, the filmmakers didn't even want to include this shot, fearing it might give away the ending.
  • The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy: "Who would be so stupid as to sign the order to destroy Earth?" Cut to Zaphod wearing a "thinking cap" (fueled by lemons) and grinning like an idiot.
  • In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Loki has just brainwashed SHIELD operatives, claimed the Tesseract, and escaped. Agent Coulson asks "What do we do now?" Nick Fury doesn't have an answer, but cue title card: The Avengers. Made even cooler in the UK release as the title there is "Avengers Assemble."
  • In the third film of The Naked Gun series, Rocko, a notorious mercenary is threatened by his sponsor in the event of his failure. He responds with "Fail? show me one man who can stop me!". Cut to Frank Drebin trying to remove a supermarket trolley from a stack.
  • In the remake of Ocean's Eleven, Danny and Rusty decide to ask Reuben to finance their heist. As they leave to go see him, they posit aloud, "I wonder what Reuben will say?" Cut to Reuben shouting, "You're out of your goddamned minds!"
  • Dumb and Dumber When Mary is watching "A Current Affair", where a report about a blind boy who was duped into buying a dead parakeet, Mary ask "Who are these sick people?". Followed by Mary answering the door to Lloyd.
  • In Zoolander, Mugatu is told he must find a model dim-witted enough to be brainwashed into killing the prime minister of Malaysia. He wonders aloud where on "God's green goodness am I gonna find someone that....BEEF-HEADED?!" Cut to a photoshoot with the title character.
  • In Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Ferris has just called his less-than-enthusiastic friend Cameron to come play hookey with him, leading to this:
    Ferris: I'm so disappointed in Cameron. Twenty bucks says he's sitting in his car right now debating about whether or not he should go out.
    (cut to Cameron sitting in his car)
    Cameron: He'll keep calling me. He'll keep calling me until I come over. He'll make me feel guilty...
  • At the beginning of Mulan, the Emperor responds to Shan Yu's attack by amassing as many soldiers as possible, saying, "A single grain of rice can tip the scales. One man could mean the difference between victory and defeat." Cut to Mulan..
  • Guardians of the Galaxy:
    • Early on, Yondu says "What we do need to worry about is who else out there wants that Orb!" - Cut to an Establishing Shot of the villain's spaceship, introducing us to the Big Bad Ronan.
    • At Knowhere, while waiting for the Collector, Drax says, "This is no respectable establishment! What do you expect us to do while we wait?" Cut to Drax, Rocket, and Groot drinking and placing bets on small lizard creatures that are being chased and eaten by a larger alien.
  • In A Thousand Clowns, Murray says his supervision by the Child Welfare Board "sounds like a parole board." Cut to Chuckles the Chipmunk shilling potato chips: "Yes, it certainly does!"
  • The World's End: Oliver asks Steve and Peter if they'd figured out who the biggest loser was for letting Gary convince them to do the pub crawl again - Cut to Andy who just arrived at the depot.
  • In Pacific Rim, when Chuck Hansen asks who is supposed to be his copilot after his father got injured, the camera pans over to Marshal Pentecost approaching from the hangar gate.
  • Tremors
    • In the first movie, the characters debate what to do once they realize the Graboids are closing in on their town. One of the townspeople says they should just sit and wait for rescue, because someone outside their valley will surely notice that the town's phone lines are down and the only road out has been blocked by a landslide and come to check on them. Cut to show somebody did come to try and check on them... the key word being tried.
    • In the first sequel, Earl and Grady realize they're in way over their heads trying to hunt the Graboids, and Earl suggests they might need help. Grady replies that anyone would be crazy to want to help them.
    (cuts to phone ringing)
    Burt (picks up phone): Yeah?
  • The pre-title opening scenes of Serenity end with the villain asking the rhetorical question, "Where are hiding, little girl?' re. River Tam. The next frame is the film's title card, which also happens to be the answer. As the scene progresses the title merges with the opening shot, the letters now painted on the side of the ship Serenity herself as the ship gets a loving establishing shop to reinforce the answer.
  • In the opening scene of Spider-Man: Homecoming, the Department of Damage Control takes over the cleanup of New York City from Toomes, who asks who their superiors are. Cut to a news broadcast with Tony Stark as the leader of this cleanup effort.
  • In Avengers: Infinity War, Scarlet Witch enters the battlefield to save the other Avengers from the massive saw-blade vehicles that dig under Wakanda's shield. Okoye asks why she had been up there the whole time, impressed by Scarlet Witch's performance and annoyed that they'd been holding her back. And then Corvous Glaive enters Shuri's lab and is able to attack Vision directly.
  • In Avengers: Endgame, Doctor Strange and his sorcerers are creating dozens of portals to bring resurrected heroes and their armies to the final battlefield. He turns to Wong and asks, "Is that everyone?" Wong, incredulous, replies, "You wanted more?" Then a gigantic Ant-Man bursts out from the Avengers compound's wreckage.
  • From History of the World Part I, in a scene set at the Last Supper:
    Jesus: Yea, yea, so you say, but one who sits amongst us has already betrayed me this night.
    Apostles: Who? Who could it be?
    Waiter: JUDAS!
    (Judas gasps)
    Waiter: Do you want a beverage? Try the mulled wine, it's terrific!

    Literature 
  • Discworld:
    • In Pyramids the narrative relates how the greatest mathematician in the world has just looked up in astonishment, having sensed something weird happening with the numbers. Cut to Teppic looking at a camel, who turns out to be that mathematician. Bonus points because, when read the first time, it appears that the camel's mind is wholly engaged in detesting Teppic, because that's what its expression implies.
    • Lampshaded in Mort:
    Princess: You're a wizard. I think there's something you ought to know.
    Death: There is?
    Narrator:That was a cinematic trick adapted for print. Death was actually in his study, talking to Mort. But it was quite effective, wasn't it? It's probably called a fast dissolve, or a crosscut/zoom. Or something. An industry where a senior technician is called a Best Boy might call it anything.
    • In Interesting Times, Ridcully wonders what sort of sad, hopeless person would need to write 'WIZZARD' on his hat. Cut to Rincewind.
  • Used at least once a book by David Weber.
  • The Boscombe Valley Mystery: As Sherlock Holmes is about to reveal the identity of the murderer, a servant announces his entry.
  • In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are trying to figure out how to get a book out of the restricted section and Hermione suggests getting a permission slip. Ron promptly says "no teacher's going to fall for that, they'd have to be really thick...". The chapter ends right there and the next opens up with a lesson with Gilderoy Lockhart.

    Live Action TV 
  • At the end of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode featuring Mitchell, when the Mads learn of Joel's escape from the Satellite of Love, Frank nervously suggests shooting someone else into space, to which Dr. Forrester angrily retorts, "Who are we gonna find at this late date to send into space?" Just then, Mike Nelson, whom the Mads had hired as a temp to help with an audit, shows up asking them to sign his time card. Cue the Mads laughing maniacally and Mike joining in, unaware of what they now have in mind.
  • In the TV adaptation of The Colour of Magic, again at the beginning, the classic question is answered by a cut to Twoflower.
  • The Friends season 7 finale. Chandler asks Monica, "If you're not pregnant, who is?" Then the camera settles on Rachel.
  • Played with on Community, during an elaborate heist episode. An informant tells Troy about the security systems inside the college, narrating over Obstacle Exposition. The crucial element is obtaining a certain key. "And where is that key?" he asks; an Answer Cut shows it's around the Big Bad's neck. Cut back to Troy, who asks where it is. The informant, embarrassed, says it's around the big bad's neck; it was very clear in his head.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In the episode "The Big Bang", after Rory accidentally shoots Amy, he's holding her, wishing for a "ridiculous miracle." Right as he finishes the sentence, in pops the Doctor, wearing a fez and holding a mop.
    • In what might be the filthiest joke to ever pass the censors, in "A Good Man Goes to War" we have the Silurian Vastra and her human side-kick/girlfriend Jenny that helped The Doctor secure a military base.
    Jenny: [Admiring The Doctor on a video screen] Clever, isn't he?
    Vastra: Rather attractive...
    Jenny: You do realize he is a man, don't you, Vastra?
    Vastra: Mammals. They all look alike.
    Jenny: [looks offended] Thank you...
    Vastra: Was I being insensitive again? I don't know why you put up with me.
    [Vastra notices one of their prisoners trying to escape and knocks him out from across the room with her prehensile tongue]
    Jenny: [Smirks]
  • Lost, "The Other Woman": Goodwin asks Juliet, "What could Ben do?" about their affair. Cut to the plane crashing, and Ben sending Goodwin off to infiltrate the tail section.
  • In the The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, the Tipton employees compete for "Employee of the Month" and start advancing their work, such as Maddie converting a maid's cart into a candy cart. Mr Moseby asks Maddie where she got the maid's cart and Maddie gets an Oh, Crap! look. Cut to a maid upstairs being forced to carry her cleaning supplies by hand.
    Maddie: Online.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode, "Earshot", Buffy is bedridden due to being unable to control her temporary telepathy. The only cure is the heart of a certain demon. Giles wonders who will kill the demon, since Buffy herself is out of commission. Cut to Angel beating the crap out of the demon.
    • Parodied in a later episode, where Giles asks Buffy how she plans to fight the incorporeal manifestation of evil itself. Buffy responds that she has "the best plan ever". Cut to her googling the word "evil."
  • Dollhouse: "Omega", the finale of Season 1 as originally aired. Ballard asks where Caroline's original imprint is. Cut to a shot of Wendy waking up in a chair with Caroline in her head.
    • A few episodes later DeWitt and Topher travel to DC to meet with some of Rossum Corporation's higher-ups, one of which asks Topher, who's in charge of monitoring the Actives, to which Topher replies "the only one I trust". Cut back to the Dollhouse we see that the person Topher is referring to is Victor, imprinted with a copy of Topher's consciousness.
  • In the Battlestar Galactica episode "No Exit," Boomer and Ellen Tigh are talking about The Power of Love on the Cylon baseship. Boomer says, "Who would I want to love?" Cut to Chief Tyrol.
  • Used numerous times throughout the seasons of Top Gear (UK), usually a response to "How hard can it be?"
    • The Vietnam special had this amusing moment:
    Richard: Do you think [Jeremy's] enjoying his first biking experience?
    *Cuts to Jeremy riding alone on a road, pitch black, except for his own self-blinding headlights*
    Jeremy: I AM THE MOST MISERABLE HUMAN BEING ALIVE!
  • Used frequently in Coupling. In the episode "Jane and the Truth Snake", the question "What could possibly be more disappointing?" is followed by a cut to Patrick just before he and Jeff each realize that the other one is the "friend" that Lynda invited to their threesome.
  • Desperate Housewives uses this when Katherine taunts Susan, who is working trash detail, by throwing a cup out of her car window. When the supervisor wishes he had seen her license plate, Susan asks, "What could you do with her home address?" Cut to Katherine also picking up trash.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Used to answer a long-held question in "The Winds of Winter". After the young Ned Stark (in Bran's vision) reaches his sister to find that she has given birth, and with her dying breath, she asks him to protect the child, the camera focuses first on the infant's face and then makes a cut to the face of the adult Jon Snow, heavily implying that Jon is Ned's nephew, rather than his bastard son, as had been believed to be the case
    • In "Oathkeeper", Littlefinger talks about his new allies and a friendship "growing strong", then we cut to Margaery and Olenna strolling the gardens.
    • In "Mockingbird", Tyrion asks who Cersei's champion will be, then we cut to Gregor Clegane using condemned prisoners as dummies for his morning sword practice.
    • When cautioned to hide his face because of an enormous bounty on him, Tyrion muses, "How many dwarfs are there? What's Cersei going to do, kill them all?" Cut to a dwarf's severed head being presented to Cersei.
  • Done repeatedly to hilarious effect in Laverne & Shirley when, in a typical example, someone would ask, "Who could be stupid enough to do something like that?", resulting in Lenny and Squiggy's iconic "HEEEEELLLOOOOO!"
  • In Once Upon a Time "Witch Hunt", Emma and Regina conclude they need to make everyone think that they have made a cure for the memory loss in order to draw out the Big Bad.
    Regina: (grinning) I know just who to tell...
    (cut to Grumpy bursting into Granny's diner)
    Grumpy: BIG NEWS EVERYBODY!!!
  • In season 3's Kafkaesque of Breaking Bad Jesse asks, "What's more important than money?" followed by a cut to Walt's family in the hospital.
  • Subverted in The West Wing sixth season episode "Things Fall Apart". When classified information about a military space shuttle is leaked to the press, Annabeth remarks to Toby that the reporter wouldn't have gone public without a very reliable source. "Whoever leaked it, it's somebody big," she tells Toby. Cut to CJ sitting silently in her office. The following season reveals that it was not CJ, but in fact Toby himself who leaked the information.
  • On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, while The Squad is investigating a group of toughs who assault the homeless, Finn suggests luring them out with "the laziest bum they ever met." Cue Munch roaming the streets shouting conspiracy theories.
  • In episode 7 season 1 of The Good Fight:
    Adrian Boseman: We need to find out what (Andrew Hart) said to the grand jury about our firm.
    Barbara Kolstad: How do we do that?
    (Boseman, Kolstad & Diane Lockhart all turn to look at Elsbeth Tascioni)
    Cut to: Andrew Hart sitting in the witness box.
    Elsbeth Tascioni: What did you say to the Grand Jury about the plaintiff's firm?
  • Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color: Done cleverly at the beginning of the first episode, in which The Teaser is a clip from Donald in Mathmagic Land. After Donald Duck asks himself "What kind of crazy place is this?", the scene cuts to the title sequence.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Bloom County: When Steve Dallas, as lead singer and spokesman of the metal band Deathtöngue, negotiates a deal with CBS Records, he quotes the lyrics of their next song which goes "Let's run over Lionel Ritchie with a tank". Cut to the CBS CEO sitting in front of a huge portrait of Lionel Ritchie.
  • In one Dilbert strip, Wally notes how difficult it will be to find a new CEO for the company because "no ethical person would board a sinking ship just to plunder its treasure." Cue Dogbert signing up for the job.
    Scott Adams: This is only funny if you already know how evil Dogbert is. It's the anticipation that sells it.
  • FoxTrot uses this on occasion, usually with regard to something Jason has done.
    Jason: Mom, I was thinking we should go to some tiny tropical island this summer.
    Andy: Oh?
    Jason: It'd be perfect. No phones... no hassles... no extradition treaties...
    Andy: What do extradition treaties have to do with our family vacation?
    Jason: Who's talking about a vacation?
    Andy: NOW what have you done?
    Peter: Man, you wouldn't believe this story on the news about some wayward model rocket...
  • And then there's this bizarre incident from Pearls Before Swine:
    Goat: Did you hear the Vietnamese government has lost the preserved body of Ho Chi Minh?
    Zebra: Lost it?
    Goat:: Yeah...they were having it transported for restoration and there was a shipping mix-up.
    Zebra: But he was their former leader. Where could he be?
    (cut to Pig and Rat standing next to a box with Ho Chi Minh's body)
    Rat: That's the last time I buy rice on eBay.

    Radio 
  • I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again
    Radio Announcer: We have just heard that David Hatch has left Radio Prune to create his own radio station, and it falls upon me to say...three years later.
    (gentle piano music in background)
    David Hatch: (drunkenly) Where...where did it all go, Sam?!

    Video Games 
  • Xemnas asks Roxas what his true name is...and before Roxas answers, it immediately cuts to a flashback of Sora, complete with Kairi saying "Sora?" almost immediately after the cut.
  • From Age of Mythology:
    Arkantos: "You don't think [these ships] will make it to Atlantis?"
    (behind him, one of them gently sinks into the sea)
    Ajax: "No."

    Visual Novels 
  • Early in his first season in Queen of Thieves, Nikolai informs the heroine that they'll be breaking into a museum soon so that she can practice for her part of their upcoming heist. Cut immediately to the next night and the heroine hissing incredulously to Nikolai as they break into:
    Heroine: The Louvre?!

    Webcomics 
  • Hilariously done in this strip of The Adventures of Dr. McNinja.
  • Hannelore's dream man in Questionable Content.
  • Used often in connection with the Rumormongers in the webcomic Station V3.
  • A nice, kind of subtle one in Sluggy Freelance:
    Torg: Gwynn, Fred was shaping his rice cakes like people and biting off their heads! He was unbalanced! Crazy! The closest thing I've seen in your world to homicidal. After weeks of training, the best he could manage in a life-and-death situation is one barely squashed demon-toe. Do you know what that means for the rest of you?
    Zoë: (comes in with a plate, offers the contents) "Toast?"
  • Lampshaded in this Femmegasm strip:
    June: Heh, don't you like it when life answers your questions for you?
  • El Goonish Shive:
    • Even if this page is not foreshadowing... Susan spends the first four panels contemplating her not being attracted to anybody in part because she is uncomfortable with men being attracted to her, then wonders just what kind of guy would be her "type"... and then is interrupted by Elliot, who is by far the least pervy (straight) guy that she knows and is comfortable around.
    • During an online conversation between Justin and Susan, Susan asks what kind of person "lurks around like a vulture waiting for a couple to break up." The next panel cuts to Diane who was obviously planning to do just that.
  • Rusty and Co. has Yuan-Tiffany asking Who Would Be Stupid Enough? to invade a vampire stronghold without means of hiding from the undead?
  • The Order of the Stick:
  • In the Y2K Kevin & Kell storyline, Rudy is worried about the animals that are leaving civilisation in panic, since the Wild contains a cult that "gains strength with every confused, easily influenced and slightly dim person who joins!" Cut to his Uncle Ralph signing up.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: When Onni and Lalli reunite via the Talking in Your Dreams system for the first time since Lalli has left, Onni asks Lalli if he has made any friends on the expedition and Lalli answers he may have made one. The comic promptly cuts back to Emil and Sigrun's plotline, with visual focus on Emil.

     Web Original 
  • I'm a Marvel... and I'm a DC - In Happy Hour, Joker tells Harly to "Name one (hero) who could possibly stop me." Cut to Spidey serving drinks at Stan's Place. Considered a crowning moment of funny.
  • Todd in the Shadows - In his Best Songs of 2011 video, when delivering an extended seizure warning for #2, Todd asked what kind of asshole would release a video that causes seizures in this day and age. Cut to footage of Kanye West's most notorious moment at the MTV Video Music Awards.
  • In one of the "Evil Council" videos of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, Dartz is telling his minions who will soon be joining them, saying that the newest member "is none other than..." Cut to Marik saying "Bakura," addressing his second-in-command while unknowingly finishing Dartz's sentence.
  • It happens in a Philosophy Tube video, Steve Bannon, although it easy to miss the first time round. After Olly asks if anyone smells gasoline, we get a shot to the arsonist reading a paper.

    Western Animation 
  • South Park lampshades it in "Proper Condom Use" while explaining the problems with over reliance on in-school sex ed:
    Chef: "I know it can be hard, parents, but if you leave it up to the schools to teach sex to kids, you don't know who they're learning it from. It could be from someone who doesn't know, [pans to Mr. Mackey] someone who has a bad opinion of it, [pans to Ms. Choksondik] or even a complete pervert." [pans to Mr. Garrison]
    Garrison: "What— why did you pan to me just now? What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
  • Teen Titans used a bit of a subversion. Robin is approached by Slade about joining him, and asks "Do we have a deal?" There's a shot of Starfire trying to reach Robin with her communicator, then we see Robin dressing up in his new outfit.
    • A straight (and very awesome) example occurs in the fifth season finale. The Brain is making his big villain gloat to a captured Robin, and at the end he asks, "Who among you can possibly stop me now?" It promptly cuts to Beast Boy. He's defeated the agents the Brain sent to take him out and blowing up his communicator and ship so they can't track him.
  • From The Fairly OddParents! after Mark Chang flees from marrying Princess Mandie.
    Princess Mandie: WHERE IS HE!?
    (cut)
    Crocker: Earth. Which I will someday rule.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic we get a very straightforward example.
    Spike: If that was an Ursa Minor... what's an Ursa Major like?
    *answer cut to the actually rather scary reveal*
    Twilight Sparkle: You don't wanna know.
    • In Twilight's Kingdom Part 2, when Tirek screams "Where is your magic?!?", immediately cut to Twilight blowing the door off her library, blowing a crater in the town square, and blowing past Rainbow Dash with a sonic boom.
  • In the Total Drama special bridging Season 1 and Season 2, the contestants are fighting over the million dollar briefcase. When it lands in Lindsay's hands, Justin parachutes from the staff airplane. Cut to Chris and Chef watching from the "Playa De Losers" resort. When Chris rhetorically asks how Justin got the keys to the plane, his aide looks at an autographed photo of the mega-hot Justin, conceals it, and professes ignorance.
  • The Hair Bear Bunch episode "Whatever Happened To Goldilocks and the Three Bears?" has a movie director asking who would be dumb enough to play a chew toy of an evil prince in his revisionist version of the fairy tale (with the Bunch as the three bears). Right on cue:
    Peevly: They're around here somewhere, and I'm gonna find 'em!"
  • In Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, the Queen of the Ren-Faire says to keep out people dressed as pirates because ""Who knows what shambling low-lives will arrive?". Enter Shaggy and Scooby dressed as pirates.
  • In the Ren & Stimpy episode "Hermit Ren", Stimpy asks Ren if he had a nice day at work. The scene then cuts to Ren carrying a pink slip with skid marks on the back of his head, plus a knife and ""Kick Me" sign on his back.
  • In American Dragon: Jake Long episode "Fu and Tell", Haley needs a Show and Tell item to outdo a classmate's exotic pet cat. "But what could be better than a kitty?" Cut to Fu Dog, who adamantly refuses to be brought in- until Haley mentions that her school cafeteria is serving Sloppy Joes that day.
  • "What could be strong enough to leave claw marks in solid stone?" Fade to the title: Gargoyles.
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle subverts this and combines this with Breaking the Fourth Wall in the Goof Gas storyline, after a think tank in Washington has sent their smartest investigator to investigate the country's brain drain, and he comes back as an idiot:
    Professor: We must start from the opposite direction. We have to find a stoop with no brain to affect. We need the services of the greatest numskull in America!
    (Dissolve to Bullwinkle)
    Bullwinkle: And that-
    The Narrator: No. (Bullwinkle looks at the camera, confused) You're getting ahead of the story.
    Bullwinkle: Oh.
    • And then played straight a few seconds later:
    Professor: (holding a piece of paper) Gentlemen, on this one nitwit rests the fate of our entire nation.
    Other Committee Members: And his name?
    (Dissolve to Rocky holding an envelope)
    Rocky: (reading the envelope) "Bullwinkle Moose, Frostbite Falls, Minnesota."
  • From BoJack Horseman:
    Sextina Aquafina: [Sarah Lynn] should go wherever famous people go when they're done being famous and nobody cares wherever they live or die!
    (Cut to BoJack and Diane in his office as the doorbell rings)
    BoJack: Who could that be?
  • A Running Gag in Archer, as a transition between Two Lines, No Waiting, where a character usually asks a question near the end of a conversation with a cut to another scene where another character begins a conversation with a line that could serve as a pertinent response.
  • This is one of the Once per Episode Running Gags in Phineas and Ferb:
    Phineas: Hey, where’s Perry?
    [Cut to Perry putting on his secret agent hat and entering his lair]
  • In the Rugrats episode "Sour Pickles", Grandpa Lou tells a story of when Stu and Drew got in trouble for fighting when they were babies.
    Didi: So what happened next, Pop?
    Lou: Well, I was angrier than a swarm of hornets. It was time to teach 'em a lesson.
    Angelica: What'd you do, Grandpa? Push 'em in the mud? Make 'em eat bugs? Put itching powder in their diapers?
    Lou: Nope. Something much worse...
    (flashback to Lou switching off the television set)
    Past!Lou: No more Blocky and Oxwinkle!
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "The Smoking Peanut" has an interesting variation where the answer isn't exactly correct.
      SpongeBob: Now, let's see now. Who could never hate me no matter what I do?
      (cut to SpongeBob knocking on Squidward's door)
      SpongeBob: Squidward! Squidward! Oh, Squidward!
    • In "Clams", when Mr. Krabs announces that he's taking SpongeBob and Squidward on a trip in honor of him making his millionth dollar.
      Squidward: I can't believe it, Mr. Krabs! Where we going? Fancy Springs?
      Mr. Krabs: No.
      Squidward: Pamper Island?
      Mr. Krabs: Try again.
      Squidward: Ooh, ooh, Bikini Bottom Folk Village?
      Mr. Krabs: Better than that!
      (cut to all three on a boat wearing raincoats)
      Squidward: Clam fishing? This is the reward we get for all our hard work? Fishing for stinky clams on a smelly, old boat on a filthy lagoon?
    • In "Krusty Love", Mr. Krabs falls in love with Mrs. Puff and learns she's single despite her prefix.
      Mr. Krabs: Then what happened to Mr. Puff?
      (cut to a live-action shot of a hand turning on a blowfish lamp)
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender: Near the end of "Heart of the Lion", when Sendak's forces foil the Paladins' attempt to disable his Zaiforge cannons thanks to a traitor in their ranks.
    Keith: Sendak must have known we were coming! But how?!
    (cut to Sendak speaking to Admiral Sanda aboard his cruiser)
    Sendak: Your intel was correct after all.

 
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William Earle finds that Lucius Fox has replaced him as CEO of Wayne Enterprises. Earle asks Fox "on whose authority?"

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