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Anti-Climax Cut

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Distantly related to the Description Cut, the Anti-Climax Cut is a scene change where the resolution to a setup is much less exciting, sexy, dangerous, or supernatural than what the audience was led to expect. The resulting Anti-Climax is Played for Laughs, making this a Comedy Trope.

For example, Bob's in a tricky situation and at the end of his rope. He announces with much drama to his friends that he's about to head into the lion's den to do battle. Cut to: Bob in Alice's apartment, begging her for a loan.

This may also play on a specific audience expectation: For example, if Bob is the holder of a Dangerous Forbidden Technique and declares that he must now "do something he'd promised never to do again", you can expect some befuddlement when the scene cuts to Bob at his old part-time job as a Burger Fool.

Works very effectively in hybrid genres such as action/comedy or dramedy, as the audience might have a reasonable expectation of something sexy/dangerous/supernatural/etc. happening. In pure comedy, almost any dire pronouncement is liable to end in this trope, making them easier to spot coming.

Compare Charge-into-Combat Cut, Description Cut, and Not so Dire. See also Anti-Climax. If only the audience perceives any Anticlimax while the characters take it seriously, may overlap with Mundane Made Awesome or Faux Horrific. If the lead in to the cut is about how the Big Bad must be planning something terrible, the cut will be to the Villains Out Shopping.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The final episode of Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu features the entire class (and, after much hilarity, the entire school) being accidentally infected by a biological weapon Sousuke brought to the school. At the episode's climax, Sousuke brings his Love Interest Kaname to the sick room, puts her on a bed, and tells her to strip. Kaname obviously expects a specific tropeuntil a cut reveals that the 'biological weapon' was an experimental nylon-dissolving bacteria. It only causes light flu-like symptoms in humans, but dissolves practically all clothing on the school grounds. Sousuke brought her to the sick bed because it was the closest source of cotton curtains Kaname could use to stay modest.
  • In the 4Kids dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! the scenes in which Yugi, Tristan and Tea are searching for Joey cuts straight to Tristan announcing he's found him while riding away on his motorcycle. (The Japanese version has a scene where Tristan confronts Joey about running away from his sister and punches him to snap him out of his depression, likely edited out due to the "violence")

    Comic Strips 
  • A Dilbert strip has this exchange:
    Dilbert: We've been dating for a year now, Liz. There's something I'd like to do tonight... there are some needs that I can't fulfill at work.
    Liz: I understand.
    [cut to: Dilbert and Liz working on his computer]
    Dilbert: Yes! Yes!
    Liz: How long has your internet connection at work been broken?

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In 21 Jump Street, Schmidt and Jenko get excited over all the "badass" things they'll be doing after graduating police academy. This is followed by an immediate cut to them patrolling a park on a quiet, peaceful afternoon.
  • In the 2000 remake of Bedazzled, Brendan Frasier's character wants supernatural proof that the Devil is who she claims to be. He wishes for a Big Mac and a large Coke. Cut to...them riding on a bus, then standing in front of a counter at McDonalds, where the Devil orders a Big Mac and large coke, and stiffs Brendan Frasier for the bill. There's a similar scene in the original, except that Stanley wishes for an ice cream, and ends up having to pay for it.
  • Garfield: The Movie has Garfield figuring out where to save Odie. Cut to outside, and he's already outside, totally out of breath... and he's barely reached the end of the driveway! So he goes back inside, fuels up on snacks and TV, and then continues his quest.
  • In Go, the Victors head to L.A. after their run-in with Simon to take revenge on him. They track down Todd (whose credit card Simon was using) instead. A brutal beat down follows? Nope. Instead, we see Todd and the Victors sitting a table together while Todd draws a map to Simon's place.
  • Kiss Kiss Bang Bang: Harry delivers a Badass Boast to a scumbag at a party and promises him some karmic justice. Instead of an epic fight or beatdown, we cut to the scumbag simply sitting on Harry's chest and slapping him around like a big brother while Harry lies helpless, having apparently put up no fight at all.
  • Kung Pow! Enter the Fist uses this in a series of flashbacks, when Master Tang reveals his knowledge of the Chosen One.
    Master Tang: He told me there would be a Chosen One
    Ling's Father: [in flashback] There will be... a Chosen One!
    Master Tang: And then he told me of the significance.
    Ling's Father: [in flashback] It will be... significant!
  • The Man Who Knew Too Little: In one scene, Wallace tells Lori that he's not completely a good guy, and that if she wants his help, she'll have to do something for him. The dialogue is set up to make the viewer think Wallace is talking about sex...then the scene cuts to Wallace driving Lori's Cooper Mini.
  • In Orgazmo, Chode-boy thinks back to the time he vowed never to use his hamster style again. Cut to a little kid telling his father, "I'm not going to do hamster style anymore." "Okay."
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. The World features this as Scott is about to face Nega Scott (a Shout-Out to Dark Link). Scott warms up to take him on: and then it cuts to Scott and Nega Scott talking about having pancakes as they exit the Chaos Theater.
  • In Venom, Eddie looks out through the busted window of an 80-story building:
    Venom: Jump.
    [cut to Eddie using the elevator]
    Venom: Pussy.

    Films — Animation 
  • The LEGO Movie: A running gag is made of dramatic buildups set to swelling music and sweeping set motions only to cut to a distant shot of the set pieces being bluntly moved around against a hand drawn with mouth sounds like someone's playing with them.
  • Rango has an idea where the water source could be and forms a posse. They ride off into the desert, where one of the townsfolk asks where they're going. Rango turns to answer... and because he doesn't know where he's going, they sheepishly head back to town.
  • In Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Miles wants to test his powers, so he decides to go up to the roof of a tall building, walks up to the edge, takes a deep breath, and... cut to him taking the stairs back down.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel ("Underneath"): Eve is saying that Lindsay is trapped in some terrible hell dimension. Cut to Lindsey snuggling in bed with a beautiful blonde. Eve isn't entirely wrong however, as it's revealed to be a Stepford Suburbia with a nasty twist.
  • On Atlanta, Darius brings a Handcuffed Briefcase of money to a drug deal but forgets the key to the cuffs. The drug dealers tell them ominously that they will get their money... and after the break, we see that they have simply opened the briefcase, which was not locked, and put the money in another bag.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date", Giles refuses to let Buffy go on a date because the Anointed One is supposed to rise.
    Giles: Tonight, you go into battle!
    [cut to Buffy and Giles in the graveyard, bored out of their minds]
  • Keegan-Michael Key's turn as Inigo Montoya in Home Movie: The Princess Bride has him for the scene where Inigo is communing with his dead father on his revenge mission against the six-fingered man. Key appears to be doing so in a forest, like in the original, until it suddenly cuts to his other side to reveal the scene is being shot in a little landscaping patch bordering a city, complete with cars driving by in the background. As he has his revelation, he turns on the glass collector's lightsaber he was using as his sword, complete with an audible lightsaber-y "whoosh".
  • Narcos: When Rafa is buying a mansion, his ominously tells the real estate agent that due to the nature of their work, they sometimes engage in activities that are unpleasant, but necessary, and they need to do them in privacy and without interference....cut to the narcos racing around the mansion on motor bikes.
  • Several of these are used in Scrubs, frequently involving one of the doctors starting a furor or tearing frantically through the hallways as though racing to the side of a coding patient or preparing to receive emergency arrivals from the ER, only for the reason they're running to be revealed as something utterly mundane. For example, the Cold Open of one episode shows JD and Turk dramatically running in semi-slow-mo to dramatic music — they're practicing their slow-motion running. Another involves JD's voiceover proclaiming an incident to be one of the biggest emergencies of his life as he plows through a crowd in a panic to get to a patient's room — where Dr. Cox's young son is getting two stitches in his forehead after falling off the jungle gym.
  • One episode of Sex Education opens with an oblique shot and vocalizations that make it sound like two characters are having sex, then cuts to Ola and Otis playing a video game and expressing a lot of excitement about it.
  • In the troperiffic episode "200" of Stargate SG-1, this is used as a device for explaining how SG-1 is able to get to the Stargate through an army of Goa'uld, in under 30 seconds, before the bomb goes off to destroy the Replicators chasing them. When the SG-1 (who are reading the script) complain, Martin explains the use of "hanging a lantern" to avoid explaining things like that.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In The Muppets (2011) Rowlf complains that he wasn't shown in a montage of Muppets being recruited for a revival show. Cut to his scene:
    Kermit: Hey Rowlf, you wanna get back together?
    Rowlf: Okay.

  • In Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues, Emmanuel gets in a fight with the Dark Dragon and ends up getting sent flying into a tree, cracking a few of his ribs. Mirielle hears the battle over the phone and pleads with Benjy to fly to the scene as quickly as possible... then there's a Time Skip to evening, where it's off-handedly mentioned that they found Emmanuel offscreen, bandaged him up, and then brought him along to their night-time meeting. He's a little ticked at how casually they treat his injury.

  • Irregular Webcomic! lampshades it here, with a link to this page. Despite the link, the actual trope the comic seems to be referring to is Offscreen Moment of Awesome.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Strip #328: After having passed the Tests of the Body and Mind, one guarded by a hydra and the other a riddle, the Order finds themselves face-to-face with the guardian of the final Test of the Heart.
      Undead: Pray to what gods you serve that you will be deemed worthy of this rare honor! Find your reserves of courage, warriors, for the Test of the Heart begins — NOW!!
      [cut to: Roy in a chair at a doctor's clinic, a stethoscope over his heart]
      Undead: Pulse rate is 60... blood pressure is 85 over 60... You pass. Next!
    • Happens again in strip #378, when Nale has disguised himself as Elan and wants to find information about the Gates:
      Nale: I need to devise some scheme, some elaborate machination, by which I could unearth more information concerning this gate...
      [cut to Shojo telling the heroes, and Nale, everything about the Gates]
      Nale: Huh.
  • At the end of Book 12 of Schlock Mercenary, Tailor and Ennesby discuss what will happen in Haven Hive after they removed the prior power structure, leaving Shep with a squad of milspec robots to control things. Right after Ennesby predicts some unscrupulous outsider will take charge, it cuts to Shep's mom, in charge, with one of the 'bots holding a tray of lemon bars as she orders the drains vacuumed.
  • The Teaser in the Latchkey Kingdom chapter "Titan" ends with a mysterious traveler ready to to take on said Titan. The next panel shows Willa stepping in something red and gooey.

    Web Videos 
  • In "Bring on The Thundah!", Jerma985 played up the epicness of his personal favourite map pl_Thundermountain, complete with lightning appearing on the screen for more badass effect, even Star_ has his steam name changed to THUNDER for this video, only for the server to change the map to cp_Egypt, to Jerma's dismay.

    Western Animation 
  • The follow-up comic "The Promise" makes this out of Zuko's last scene in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Zuko confronts his father in prison and demands to know where his mother is. Ozai's response? "Bring me some tea."
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold: While working with the Marvel family, Batman is deaging, and Mr Mind has managed to get the Marvels to stop working with each other. Batman, by now a toddler, muses on how he can bring them back together with cunning psychological manipulation... which, since The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body, takes the form of using bat-gadgets to send each one a crayon sketch of them fighting while Baby Bats cries in the background. It works.
  • From Bojack Horseman, when Hollyhock and Bojack are going to Gina's house to get his pills:
    Hollyhock: Do you have a key?
    Bojack: [ominously] I have my ways.
    [cut to Bojack checking under the mat and not finding anything]
    Bojack: Welp, I'm out of ways.
  • In Chowder episode "The Flibber Flabber Diet", after Chowder puts on a bigger shirt to feel less fat from all the flibber flabber he's eaten, Mung says that gives him an idea. It then cuts to him being spit in the face by with flibber flabber by Truffles for the umpteenth time, before cutting back and saying he has another idea.
  • From Danny Phantom:
    Tucker: Looks like we're gonna miss the movie.
    Sam: Unless we find some way to ignore all speed limits, red lights, and certain laws of physics.
    [close-up on Danny looking sly; cut to: ...the kids in an RV going about 120 miles an hour, driven by Danny's dad]
    Tucker: Couldn't you've just flown us?
    Danny: The way my dad drives, this is faster.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: When Timmy, Cosmo and Wanda entered a scavenger hunt, one of the items was a Pot of Gold from the 15th century. Timmy commented on how leprechauns are usually protective of their gold. Cut to a leprechaun willingly giving them his pot.
  • Family Guy:
    • "You May Now Kiss the... Uh... Guy Who Receives" has an obvious Cutaway Gag setup where Stewie complains about missing an awesome parade featuring nude cheerleaders performing acrobatics all choreographed to the music of Queen, with other highlights being an F-16 airshow and a hundred-foot chocolate teddy bear. "I remember that day!" ...cut to Stewie sitting on his couch, bored. "Shoulda gone to that thing."
    • An older one involves Lois quickly changing the subject at hand to her aunt coming to stay with the Griffin household for exactly one week. One flip cut later, they're standing at the door waving goodbye to Lois' aunt and then returning to the previous plot.
  • From Futurama:
    Bender: You mean people will pay good money for romance? I think I have a scheme so deviously clever that I—
    (Smash Cut)
    Judge: (bangs gavel) $500 and time served.
    Bender: Stupid anti-pimping laws!
    • Another one from Bender:
      Bender: I need professional help, and damn the expense!
      (Cut to Bender in front of a 5-cent gypsy fortune telling machine.)
      Bender: Damn the expense!
  • Gravity Falls: In "Irrational Treasure", a search for the secret of who really founded Gravity Falls takes Dipper and Mabel to the local history museum, where Dipper dramatically announces "We're going to have to break in." Cut to Dipper and Mabel receiving guest passes (since admission is free on Pioneer Day) and complementary balloons from a costumed staff member.
    Dipper: [in the same dramatic tone] We're in.
  • In the Kung Fu Panda special Secrets of the Furious Five, Po is telling Viper's story to a group of rabbit children:
    Po: Now I bet you're wondering... where's the kicking butt?
    Rabbits: Yeah!
    Po: Patience, o small ones. It begins... NOW!
    [scene cuts to a night sky]
    Po: Okay, well not right now...
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Bart the Fink", the Simpson family will inherit their Great Aunt Hortense's estate, with the provision that they must first spend the night in her creepy haunted house. "Yes," says Homer as they enter the dilapidated building on a stormy night, "there's no such thing as ghosts." And on that note, we cut to a pleasant sunshiney morning as the happy and well-rested family depart.
      Homer: Best night's sleep I ever had!
      Lisa: Their tap water tasted better than ours!
    • In "The Wandering Juvie", during Bart's stay at a youth detention center, he gets to watch an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon for Juvie Movie Night. The cartoon, titled "The Battle of Slaughter-loo", features Itchy and Scratchy fighting with their respective armies of mice and cats. However, the cartoon was edited for prison viewing, so the film abruptly cuts out at the first clash and returns with Itchy's victory speech at the end followed by two mice doing That Russian Squat Dance, skipping the actual violence... which, judging from said speech, was such a spectacle, it was even in 3D.


Video Example(s):


The Biggest Hit of the 70s

Todd hypes up one of the biggest, most successful singles in music history, and the single biggest hit of the 1970s... and its a sappy love song called "You Light Up My Life" By Debbie Boone. Even he is slightly underwhelmed.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / AntiClimaxCut

Media sources: