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"Bills... Bills... Bills... [sigh] Why do we keep getting Bill's mail?"
Hank Hill, King of the Hill

You might be looking through menu items. You might be interviewing candidates for a job. You might be digging through a pile of Applied Phlebotinum for something useful. You might even just be sorting through your mail. What matters is that you're making a quick series of snap judgments, and, this is key, you voice each one.

The title refers to the most common form of this trope; finding a plot-relevant letter in a stack of bills and junk mail. Most often, it'll be the third one in line.

Bonus points if combined with Odd Name Out. Sometimes accompanied by Blind Shoulder Toss. Not to be confused with Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick, although these examples may contain both tropes. Also, even if the mail is unusually full of the type other than bill, It's All Junk is something else.

Example... Example...Shoehorn...Example...

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    Comic Books 
  • From Ultimate Spider-Man #54: Sam Raimi, Avi Arad, and Tobey Maguire are filming a Spider-Man movie in New York, and Spidey finds out he's not entitled to any of the profits. He goes to the set to give them a piece of his mind:
    Spider-Man: You suck! You suck and you suck and you suck and... Okay, Evil Dead 2 was cool but the rest of you suck!
  • Wonder Woman (1987): In Issue 126 Julia goes through the pile of mail that added up while she and Vanessa were on a camping trip, quicly sorting the assorted envelopes with ''""

    Fan Works 
  • Examples from the Calvinverse:
  • Happens at the beginning of chapter 2 of Fluttermom, as Fluttershy checks the mail:
    Junk, junk, bill, junk, royal proclamation, junk...royal proclamation?
  • Of Eagle and Lion:
    Harry: Bill. Bill. Oh, sale on hiking boots. Bill. Vernon. Bill. Petunia. Dudley's grades. My grades. Oh, one for me. What the Emperor is Hogwarts?
  • In Faery Heroes Harry goes through Dolohov's desk while he, Hermione and Luna are looting the place.
    Harry: Paperwork, paperwork, invitation to a ball, bill from St. Mungo's...
  • Harry and the Heart of Magic:
    Harry: Bills, bills, magazines for you and Uncle Vernon, Dudley's comics, and a letter to me?
  • A Law & Order: UK fic that had a vengeful killer stalking the team found Alesha going through her mail, musing as to why all her monthly bills showed up at the same time—then freezing in terror as she came across a threatening note from the man in question.
  • In Raised By GLaDOS GLaDOS goes through the contents of Vernon Dursley's office at Aperture Science.
    GLaDOS: File, file, disk, porn, porn, porn, porn, porn, picture of family, porn, porn, baby, por... wait what!
  • In This Bites!, after escaping an Inevitable Waterfall, Nami asks if anyone else has any more impending disasters. These are the responses she gets: "Nope!; NO thanks!; No...; Not at all, Nami-swan!; Cross is gonna be the third mate.; I'm good..."
  • In Intervention Deadman possesses Voldemort and goes through the latter's possessions.
    Deadman: Extra wand, portkey watch, portkey pen, portkey handkerchief... You'd think the guy wanted a way to get out of Dodge or something. Knife, knife, another knife. Poisoned knife, potion, potion, potion. Hey! A gun?
  • In Say a Prayer Harry goes through Hermione's book bag after she gets petrified.
    Harry: Library book. Library book. School book. Personal book, school book, school book...blah, blah, blah.
  • In A Different Beginning Harry goes through a list of Hogwarts points of interest.
    Harry: Saw that. Saw that. Been there... found that. That too. Oh, what's this? Huh. Sounds interesting.
  • In It Never Gets Any Easier Lily and Marlene try to find a Hogwarts Express compartment with cute boys.
    Marlene: Full, full, Slytherins, full, not cute, not cute, firsties, full...oh wait this one's not full yet.
  • In Blessed Blood Remus goes through his clothes closet.
    Remus: Dirty, dirty, dirty, falling apart, dirty, falling apart and dirty...
  • Personality Conflicts:
    • Lita Kino does this while going through the mail for she, Rocky, Jason and Tommy when they're staying at the De Santos family cabin in the first story:
      "Bill, bill, letter for Jason, magazine- 'Martial Arts World,' what a surprise, oh, Rocky, a postcard for you," she handed it to him, "and a letter for me from- Cousin Mako."
    • Skull does it in Dark Mirror One: Tiger, Tiger; it's springtime, explaining his reaction to one item he gets:
      "Hmm, bill, bill, Bill Clinton, Ed McMahon, letter from Aunt Edna, fruitcake from Aunt Millie- what, does she think it's Christmas? Newsweek, Biker Monthly, letter from- Bulk!"
  • Somos Familia: Hector sorting his mail in Chapter 32. "Fan mail, fan mail, bill, monthly bar tab, fan mail..."
  • The MLP Loops: Used on a few occasions.
    • In Loop 179.21, by Discord when going through a stack of mail he's delivering, trying to find a letter for Fluttershy:
      "Bill, bill, eviction notice, bill, bill, bill, coupon for Sugar Cube Corner, bill, bill, invitation to the Grand Galloping Gala, bill, bill, bill, bill, ah here we go! One letter to Fluttershy from Derpy Whooves."
    • In Loop 198.2, by Twilight when going through her mail:
      "Bills, junk, junk, zoning warning, death threats..." she muttered, leafing through them. "Ah. Fluttershy! You have a letter!"
    • In Loop 202.18, by Vinyl Scratch when going through a chest that holds part of her sunglasses collection (she finally finds Kevyn Andrayson's sunglasses in the second chest she looks in):
      "My normal sunglasses, Renji Abarai's style of sunglasses, yellow sunglasses from Alucard, yellow sunglasses from Vash, triangle shades, Cyclops-style visor... when did I pick that up? Ooh, authentic Blues Brothers sunglasses!" ... "Horatio Caine's sunglasses that he gave me... nope... nope... not that one... drat, it doesn't look like they're in this chest."
  • A Fist Full of Galleons:
    Hermione: Electricity, circular, circular, Mum's romance book catalogue. .. . Harry!
  • The Many Dates of Danny Fenton: Daria checking her mail in Chapter 57 of Danny and Kim.
    Daria: Bill... bill... junk... so original...
  • A Diplomatic Visit: In chapter 12 of the sequel Diplomat at Large, while going through the letters the yaks missed due to an overzealous sentry, Prince Rutherford reads off a few of them:
    "Junk... junk... yaks may have already won ten thousand bits... junk..."
  • Where Is My Love?: In chapter 5, Twilight's going through the mail, and starts to freak out when she finds a notice saying that she missed a package (which is quickly explained as being because the package was too heavy to deliver without magical assistance, so she would have had to go pick it up herself even if she had been home at the time, or ask a convenient unicorn to do so for her, which she does):
    "Bill, junk mail, junk mail... undelivered parcel? But... the library is open to the public during the day!"

    Films — Animation 
  • In The Emperor's New Groove, Kuzco looks down a row of potential new brides, rejecting them all in the course of ten seconds:
    "Hate your hair. Not likely. Yikes. Yikes, yikes. And, let me guess, you have a great personality."
  • Ratatouille, when Remy is checking the rats' foodstuffs for poison:
    "Clean...clean...cleaneriffic...cleanerino...close to Godliness." [The rat he said this to looks confused.] "...which means clean. You know, 'cleanliness is next to—'? Never mind, move on."

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Keeping the Faith the young Jake Schram sorting though his "Heroes of the Torah" trading card collection: "Need it, got it, got it, need it..."
  • George of the Jungle, when Lyle is in the police lineup. "Too short, too sweaty...that's the guy!" Made extra funny as Lyle has been arrested in Africa, and is the only white guy in the line-up.
  • Pride & Prejudice: A Latter-Day Comedy has Elizabeth narrating a flashback of her horrible dates. Too tall, too short, actually her second cousin, illiterate, etc.
  • Batman (1989). When the Joker looks through a collection of Vicki Vale's photographs, he says "crap" five times for normal pictures, and "Now that's good work" when he gets to the gruesome Corto Maltese picture.
  • J. Jonah Jameson does it with Peter Parker's photographs in Spider-Man. "Crap, crap, mega-crap..." Continued in the videogame tie-in for the second movie, with "Bad, bad, worse, bad, barely passable..."
  • In the vampire spoof Love at First Bite, Dracula does it with the pile of magazines Renfield has brought him: "Filth... trash... [pauses to examine a centerfold for a moment] pornography. Give me my fashion magazine."
  • The Twilight movie had an example, with Edward listing what people are thinking as he reads their minds.
    Edward: Sex, sex, money, sex, money, cat...
  • In History of the World Part I, Empress Nympho lives up to her name by lining up a couple of dozen potential male escorts, having them expose themselves, and then sorting through which ones she wants. It actually becomes quite musical by the end.
    Nympho: Yes, no, no, no, no, no, no, yes, no, no, no, no, yes, no, no, yes, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no...YES! Ooowee!
  • From Half Baked:
    Scarface: Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, you're cool, and fuck you, I'm out!
  • Clark Griswald addressing his boss and his boss's yes men from Christmas Vacation:
    Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Kiss my ass. Kiss his ass. Kiss your ass. Happy Hanukkah.
  • In the film Chutney Popcorn, one of the main characters and some of her lesbian posse regularly comment on the women who walk past their store: "Dyke." "Dyke." "Big ol' dyke."
  • The "lost scene" animated short which is a bonus feature on the Clerks DVD shows Randall flipping through "death cards" at Julie Dwyer's funeral. "Got it...need it..."
  • Happens in The Addams Family. When Debbie Jellinksy is sorting through Fester's financial papers to estimate his (considerable) wealth, this trope comes in.
    "Fester Addams. My, my. Stocks and bonds, deeds, gold bullion."
  • The 2000 movie version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
    • The Grinch does this in reverse to the Whos, sending unpleasant mail to random destinations in the post office: "Jury duty! Jury duty! Pink slip! Blackmail! Chain letter! Eviction notice!"
    • He also flips through the town phone book alphabetically, and loudly voicing his hatred with each name he reads. "Hate, hate, hatehatehatehate, double-hate, LOATHE ENTIRELY!!"
  • The black comedy Ruthless People has the character Sam Stone doing exactly this.
  • In It's a Wonderful Life, Mr. Potter takes a rather cavalier approach to his role as head of the draft board.

  • In Relativity, Melody scanning the newspaper: "Sex scandal, sex scandal, political scandal, three car pile-up on the freeway, sex scandal..."
  • The Kane Chronicles: In The Red Pyramid, Doughboy is going over the books in Dejardin's library to find the one they need (the Book of Thoth):
    "No. No. Boring. Boring. Oh, Clive Cussler! No. No. There."

    Live-Action TV 
  • The 'sorting through post' version has been featured in every Brit Com in existence like Fawlty Towers and Blackadder. The Red Dwarf episode "Better Than Life" has this too, with Lister listing the mail, complete with Rimmer snarking through the whole thing. "Me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, you, me, me, me ... SMEG! Outland Revenue!" The revenue letter turns out to be for Rimmer.
  • In an episode of Amen, Deacon Frye enters the house, sorting through the mail, muttering, "Bill, bill. [cheerfully] Postcard! (turns it over and immediately goes back to his depressed monotone) Reminding me that I forgot to pay a bill."
  • The Big Bang Theory visits to the comic book store result in this as Sheldon and Howard go through the back issue boxes.
    'got, got, got, got, trash, ohh'
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Faith did this when describing her boyfriends in "Revelations": "Ronny: deadbeat; Steve: klepto; Kenny: drummer..."
    • Spike's description of Giles's life in "Intervention": "Cup of tea, cup of tea, almost got shagged!, cup of tea."
    • In the fourth season premiere, "The Freshman", Sunday, the Monster of the Week, goes through a victim's CD collection: "Boring, boring, boring, boring...astonishingly boring. We, we have to kill some cooler people, will someone please remind me?"
    • Buffy sorting through Giles' mail in "Living Conditions".
      Buffy: Boring... boring... bill... bill... What's with the motorbike and scooter magazine? You're not having one of those mid-life things, are you? 'Cause I'm still going 'ick' from the last time you tried to recapture your youth.
  • Stephen Colbert's mailbag on The Colbert Report: "Electric bill, telephone bill, subpoena, restraining order, restraining order, restraining order..." He was looking for his invite to Jenna Bush's wedding, but hasn't found it yet.
    • On an episode of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart takes it upon himself to answer some of President Bush's questions: "Yes, no, four, the Niña the Pinta and the Santa María, and it's a trick question: the surgeon is a woman."
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Dalek": The Doctor searches a crate of scavenged alien artifacts, hoping to find a weapon to use against the titular rampaging Dalek (against whom human weapons are useless).
      "Broken... broken... hair dryer..."
    • A variation occurs in "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship", after the Doctor picks up Amy and Rory (and Rory's dad) for his latest adventure:
      Amy: Okay, where are we, what's that noise and hello, ten months!
      The Doctor: Orbiting Earth — well, I say "orbiting", more like "pre-crashing" — on a spaceship, don't know, and hello, Pond! [hugs Amy] Ten months, time flies! Never really understood that phrase.
  • In an episode of Full House, Jesse looks at wallpaper samples for the Smash Club restoration:
    Jesse: Maybe... maybe... if I had to... not in this lifetime...
  • Happens in the second episode of Family Matters, when Laura is sorting through mail. Considering Estelle has just moved in by this point, she must be quite popular.
    Laura: Grandma... Grandma... Grandma... *beat* Grandma...
  • Done in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1981) TV series, though parodied, deconstructed or just weirded, since Ford goes through many futuristic-sounding devices, laughing it all off as obsolete junk, then finds just what he needs... a towel. This moment originated in the book, and isn't in the radio series.
  • MythBusters tested the rumor that the U.S. post office would deliver an addressed, but unwrapped, coconut if it got the right postage. They addressed a coconut to themselves, stamped it, and put it in the mail. At the end of the episode, Jamie sorts through the day's mail, reciting, "Bill... bill... bill..." THUD! "...coconut...", whereupon Adam holds up the successfully-delivered coconut and declares the myth confirmed.
  • New Tricks: Sandra is asking her ex-boss for advice on other potential recruits for the new Unsolve Crime/Open Cases initiative.
    Jack: Ian Derby.
    Sandra: You know him?
    Jack: Yeah. He's dead.
    Sandra: Alan Adams?
    Jack: Dead.
    Sandra: D.I. John Farley. Oh, I know John! He's -
    Jack: Dead.
    Sandra: But he only left last December!
    Jack: 65% of C.I.D. officers are dead within five years of leaving the job. [flips through photographs] Dead... dead... as good as... alive, but he bores for England... retired but currently under investigation by the C.P.S. ... ditto the D.T.I. ... dead... alive, but don't leave him alone with your kids... "retired sick" - well, insane, really... dead... dead... would be if I got a hold of him... No, I think you'd better advertise.
  • Shawn Spencer from Psych dismisses a room full of nanny candidates with one-word reasons that he later explains to Gus.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch:
    Salem: Infomercial. Infomercial. Ooh! Hawaiian talk show. No, Infomercial. Yes! The Mod Squad, and it’s a sixties marathon. An entire night of Peggy Lipton. Be still my heart- [burps] -oh, be still my stomach.
  • The Todd on Scrubs does this when he becomes a resident (and thus a full doctor on equal footing with everyone). He tells all the women in sight whether he'd sleep with them. "Yes, yes, no, yes, yes, no, and yes if I've been drinking."
    The Todd: I'm changing you to a yes because you're feisty.
  • Shake it Up episode "Apply It Up":
    CeCe: Bill for mom... Bill for me that I'll give to mom... catalog for mom that will take for me...
  • An episode of The Suite Life of Zack & Cody had Mr. Moseby looking at the mail at his front desk: "Bill, bill, bill... Hey Bill! Your mail's here!"
  • After Chrissy moves out on Three's Company, Jack and Janet are having a hard time making the rent. Jack sorts through their mail to show Mr. Furley how hard things have been on them: "Look at this: We got a bill from the gas company, a bill from the electric company, there's a letter from Chrissy, telephone bill..." Janet calls Jack's attention to Chrissy's letter, hoping it contains a check for her share of the rent. Instead there's an I.O.U. for Mr. Furley.
  • Torchwood episode "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang", when Captain John Hart walks into a bar and orders the patrons to leave - except for those he finds attractive.
  • In an episode of the short lived series Veritas: The Quest, the protagonists find Albert Speer's secret bunker. One of them starts going through a record collection in the corner: "Wagner...Wagner...Wagner...Best Of Wagner..."
  • Frequently used by Colin on Whose Line Is It Anyway? during Hollywood director: "Crap. Crap. Not too bad."
  • Xena: Warrior Princess did a variation in the "Groundhog Day" Loop ep "Been There Done That", as she is explaining her predicament to Gabrielle and Joxer, answering the questions she know that they'll ask in advance:
    Gabrielle: We've repeated the same day that many times.
    Xena: Yes.
    Gabrielle: But I...
    Xena: No, No, Yes, No, I tried that, yes both ways, no, I don't know, no again, are there any more questions? Good.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Calvin and Hobbes did this once: Calvin sorted through the mail, finding nothing of interest to him, and then left it back in the box and informed his mom the mail was here.
  • FoxTrot:
    • In one comic Paige sorts through the mail discarding it as nothing but junk except for the last item. The Reveal was that the "junk" was in fact personal letters while the last item was a shopping catalog.
    • In another comic, she sorts through the mail to find letters for herself, gets disappointed that they're all for her parents, and hands the stack to her mother, musing "You grown-ups have it so nice." Andy's reply? "They're called 'bills', Paige."
  • Garfield:
    • When Garfield is switching the channels:
      Garfield: Garbage... Junk... Garbage... Junk... Garbage... Junk... Ah! Trash!
    • In a later strip:
      Garfield: Quality, quality, quality, quality, quality, quality, dreck, quality... Whoa! Back up there!
  • Dilbert: The engineers are sorting through resumes submitted for a new position. "We've got resumes in pencil... crayon... pencil... eyeliner..."
  • One The Far Side cartoon had a mummy step out of his tomb and pronounce upon the archaeologists who disturbed him: "Let's see, now ... that's a curse on you, a curse on you, and a curse on you."
  • Baby Blues: The January 22, 2007 strip may be the Trope Namer.
  • Hi and Lois:
    Lois: Ad for me, bill for you, ad for me, bill for you...
    Hi: I'm starting to see the cause of our money problems...


    Video Games 
  • In Dragon Age II, after Anders' second-chapter personal quest Hawke comes back to the clinic to find Anders sorting through papers.
  • In Miitopia, upon winning the Jolly Jaunt prize at the roulette and the Miis chosen are preparing for the trip:
    Left Mii: undies...selfie stick...
  • The Sloth live action trailer for Crusader Kings II has the king looking through a set of letters. "Bill, bill, junk, have this guy killed, kill him, invade him, tax this guy into space, oh my nephew! Have him killed."
  • Tales of the Drunken Paladin:
    Anebriate: Bills, bills, bills... oh yes! A coupon for Larry's Tavern!

    Visual Novels 
  • Katawa Shoujo has this in Lilly's route. On their first actual date, Lilly and Hisao go to a high-class restaurant. Unfortunately, the restaurant has no Braille menus. Even more unfortunately, several of the menu items are in English or French. Lilly asks if there's any entrees with fish. Hisao scans the menu...
    Hisao: No. No. No. No. Aren't those poisonous? No. No. No. They eat that stuff? No. No. No. No... ah, here we go.


    Web Original 
  • In The Sims 2: Election '08 webcomic (for lack of a better term), Obama goes around asking all the other candidates, "Do you like what you see?" The answers? "Too black." "Not enough makeup." "Too Obama!"
  • In One Ring to Rule them All 3, Sauron does this:
    "Bill...bill...bill...bill...ooh, 20 cents off laundry detergent! Ah yes, Tide: the one laundry detergent TO RULE THEM ALL!"
  • In an episode of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series:
    Nappa: What the (beep) is with (to Yami) your hair, (to Yami Bakura) your hair, (to Marik) your hair, (to Tristan) your hair, (to Odion) I like you, (to Gruber) your hair, (to Mai) your boobs, (to Tea) your hair, (to Kaiba) your personality, (to Mokuba) Uh! Oh my god! A rare Pokèmon, the shiny Mokuba. I got a Master Ball with your name on it.
  • Protectors of the Plot Continuum: Techno-Dann sifts through a box of assorted ray guns in search of a shrink ray, so that he can fit a dragon into your average small apartment:
    Dann: Death ray ... heat ray ... death ray ... freeze ray ... manta ray?
  • In Return of the Cartoon Man, Roy finds Peter's invitation in a pile of bills - including a cartoon duck bill.
  • In one sketch from CollegeHumor titled "Drunken Internet Distractions", a Chat Roulette function is attempting to find the user ladies to talk to, but gets nothing but dicks and for some reason, the Jonas Brothers.
    Chat Roulette: Dick, dick, dick, Jonas Brothers, dick.
  • From the opening of Scott The Woz's episode "Mario Kart 7 | Burnin' Rubber and Retinas":
    Scott: I have hobbies; I'm only human! I like talking harshly about Mario Kart 7, being somewhat critical of Mario Kart 7, negatively speaking about Mario Kart 7, hiking, f**king despising Mario Kart 7...

    Web Animation 

    Western Animation 
  • invoked Mr. Pickles has a sort of variation on this in the episode about the eponymous pup's doghouse. Sheriff and Grandpa are walking through various rooms while Sheriff drones about their contents with obvious apathy.
    Sheriff: Skulls... skulls... more skulls...
    Blood... blood... more blood...
    Jacuzzis filled with nipples... jacuzzis filled with nipples... even more jacuzzis filled with nipples...
  • Futurama: Notable in that Bender tosses the stack of junk and bills in the trash as soon as he gets to the plot relevant letter.
  • Little Bill has this happen to Big Bill; he just says that a series of envelopes is for him, in a tone which implies that they're bills. Then he perks up when he sees a letter for Little Bill, and he gives it to him.
  • The Looney Tunes Show: Daffy sorts through his mail, tossing each letter in the trash.
    Daffy: Restraining order...medical bill...invitation to my high school reunion...another restraining order...
  • Mission Hill: Ron lines up his employees and goes left to right trying to decide on an assistant manager:
    Ron: Woman. Freak. Woman. Vermin. Woman. (Notices Andy is missing) Where is Moron?
    • And after selecting Andy:
      Ron: Women, Vermin, and Freak! Get back to work!
  • Batman: The Animated Series,
    • In "Joker's Millions" Joker plays out this trope looking for a replacement for Harley Quinn. He takes a long pause on a large, fat man before dismissing him. Then after he makes his choice, he promptly muses if he should have gone with the fat guy. Even funnier when you realize the guy was an animated caricature of Harley Quinn creator Paul Dini.
    • Another episode, "Mad Love", has the Joker rejecting possible capers as being "Boring. Lame. Not funny. Been done. Too Riddler!"
  • The wrestling-themed cartoon ˇMucha Lucha! did something like this with a cursed chain letter, which gets lost while shuffling through junk mail and which the characters have to chase all over the world.
  • Done in an episode of The Critic. Jay Sherman is held captive in Iraq and sends a distress letter attached to a rat to his boss Duke Philips. The rat manages to get to his office but is immediately discarded in a bin filled with other letters from Jay attached to rats.
  • The Simpsons:
    • "Treehouse of Horror XII", whilst searching for a leprechaun:
      Bart: Okay, let's see ... nymph, fairy, pixie, goblin—
      Hobgoblin: That's hobgoblin!
      Bart: Sorry. Nymph, naiad, wood sprite, Katie Couric...
    • And in another episode:
      Homer: Bill, bill, summons, bill...
    • In "Dude, Where's My Ranch?", a Native American woman sorting through her mail: "Treaty, treaty, treaty, bill, treaty, Peace Pipe Aficionado Magazine..."
    • "Homer Goes to College":
      Marge: Homey, here the responses from the colleges you applied to.
      Homer: D'oh! D'oh! D'oh! Woo-hoo! A flyer for a hardware store! D'oh!
    • Krusty flipping through the channels in "Today I Am a Clown": "Seen it. Bad. Boring. Saw it on the plane. Rerun. Rerun. Telemundo. Me. Turned it down. ABC. Banned from the set. Lame. Lame. Regis".
    • Homer's gay roommate channel-surfing in "Three Gays of the Condo": "Gay, gay, gay, gay, bi, gay for pay, gay..."
    • "Brother from the Same Planet": "Ugly. Wiener. Crater-face. Soo-ee! Soo-ee!"
    • Man checking beer bottles at the Duff brewery in "Duffless": "Fine, fine, mouse, fine, mouse, rat, fine, syringe..." And then shortly after that, while the checker is distracted by Barney, Adolf Hitler's head goes by!
    • Man monitoring the x-ray machine at the power plant in "Deep Space Homer": "Clean. Clean. Pistol. Uzi. Two kids posing as an adult..."
    • "Faith Off": "Bill. Bill. Ooh, Llib! Wait a minute..." He turns it the right way up. "Bill! Springfield University Homecoming!"
    • "Das Bus": "Third notice... third notice... ooh, second notice (Homer drops the notice down a storm drain)..."
    • In "Homer's Barbershop Quartet", Homer is at a swap meet, sifting through a treasure trove of extremely valuable items on sale for a pittance: "Junk... junk... the airplane's upside down..., Stradi-who-vius?"
    • Bart reading prayers posted on the Wailing Wall in "The Greatest Story Ever D'ohed": "Sad, sad, sad, never gonna happen, sad, maybe if you were Brad Pitt..."
    • One of the comics had Homer checking the mail and saying "bill...bill...death threat...bill..." nonchalantly.
    • Marge's "Family Head count" in "Old Yeller Belly" is a variation.
      Marge: (Tapping the family members' heads) Pointy, pointy, spiky, stylish... Where's Baldy?
    • "Treehouse of Horror X" had Chief Wiggum using an airport X-ray scanner to check the children's candy. When examining Ralph's candy, he had this to say:
      Wiggum: Safe... safe... razor blade... syringe... ooh, white chocolate!
    • Artie Ziff surfing through his email: "Anti-trust suit... anti-trust suit... *yawn*"
    • Homer reaching under the couch trying to find his dropped peanut in "Boy-Scoutz 'n the Hood": "Ow, pointy! Eww, slimy! Uh-oh, moving! Ah-ha!"
    • In "The Front":
      Marge: Third notice... final notice... some guys are coming... an invitation to our high school reunion!
    • "I Married Marge":
      Marge: Tenth notice... 90 days over due... we break thumbs?
    • Homer listening for lottery numbers on the radio in "Kamp Krusty":
      Homer: D'oh! D'oh! Woo-hoo! D'oh!
    • In "The Great Louse Detective", Homer just tosses all of the mail in his George Foreman's Mail Sorter, which separates the positive mail and cooks the unwanted mail (a Visa bill, a jury summons and an invite to a party thrown by Patty and Selma) into a pressed patty.
  • The Venture Bros.:
    • In one episode, Brock goes through the items in an Office of Secret Intelligence field kit like this:
      Brock: Gay, gay, useless, never use 'em... [finds a pack of cigarettes] Smokes! These I can use. Do they do anything stupid?
      OSI agent: Well, the filters each house a tiny, state-of-the-art—
      Brock: [groans and crushes them].
    • Rusty plays this straight at the end of "Hate Floats", until he notices a package, apparently from The Monarch, sent over a year ago.
  • Happens in SpongeBob SquarePants. "Gary, Gary, Gary, Gary, Gary, Gary— hey! A magazine!"
  • Family Guy:
    • "I'd do her, do her, wouldn't do her, do her, ah, who hasn't done her? Do her, lose the pigtails and we'll talk, do her, do her..." Just the words leave out some important parts of this: One, this was being said by Stewie (who is a talking baby). Two, he indicated who by pointing and the camera shifts after a few words to show he's pointing at other babies. Three, this takes place at a funeral. And finally, this was before Stewie was gay.
    • Peter does this in golf when he misses the final hole.
      Peter: Damn...damn...damn...damn...mulligan...damn.
  • The Mad Hatter in The Care Bears: Adventure in Wonderland:
    Mad Hatter: Stuff. More stuff. Metronome?
  • Parodied in King of the Hill. Hank sorting through his mail: "Bills...bills...bills. Why do we keep getting Bill's mail?"
  • In Garfield and Friends, "Good Cat, Bad Cat", Garfield's evil side influences him to annoy the mailman by jumping into his mail cart. While he's there:
    - "Bill... bill... bill... you may have already won 17 million dollars... hmm, Mrs. Castanetti's new dentures are in, nothing much... hey, here's that package Jon was waiting for. Wonder what's in it."
  • Shego sorts through a few bills before reaching a plot-significant letter in an episode of Kim Possible. She immediately throws the bills on a fire.
  • Happened several times in Dexter's Laboratory. In one short, Dexter flies out to the mailbox on a hovercraft, and delivers the following exchange. "Bill bill bill bill bill IT'S HERE!" He then flies back inside, up to his lab, and opens the magazine to reveal a fold out...of a new wrench.
  • In Johnny Bravo: Bills, bills, jury duty, YES! JUNKMAIL!
  • Cow and Chicken: The Red Guy buys some pantyhose for his usual hijinks at the hypermarket and somehow manages to include the titular characters into the purchase at the counter.
    Cashier: Pantyhose... Pantyhose... Pantyhose... Pantyhose... Cow... Pantyhose... Chicken... Pantyhose... Pantyhose... Pantyhose... Hey, Mister... do you wear all this pantyhose?note 
  • Beetlejuice had the titular guy receive a "chain letter" (a literal chain) and "junk mail" (an old boot).
  • When the Hive temporarily took over the Teen Titans' headquarters, Gizmo rooted through their music collection. Unimpressed, he kept tossing compact discs over his shoulder as "Crud... snot... crud..."
  • In Metalocalypse, "Subpoena, subpoena, subpoena, Netflix. Huh, yeah, awesome. Naked lady fan mail, possibly awesome possibly horrible. Subpoena..." For those curious, Pickles takes the naked lady fan mail.
  • In Phineas and Ferb, Candace identifies the actual subjects of several supposed shots of a lake monster. "Elephant, log, dolphin, driftwood, tire, driftwood, rhesus monkey wearing a powdered wig, driftwood, driftwood,'re not old enough to know what that is, driftwood, driftwood... it's usually driftwood."
  • KaBlam!:
    • An episode had Henry and June looking through the show's mail. As June searches she notes, "Junk, junk, junk, junk...bill" and tosses them all aside.
    • One Life With Loopy sketch showed Loopy's father growing increasingly angry at only getting bills in the mail. Loopy tries to cheer him up by writing her own letter to him and sending it through the mail as a surprise.
  • Bratz: "Junk, junk, junk! More junk! Mother of pink, don't you know junk mail when you see it?"
  • In "Franklin the Spy" on Franklin:
    Mr. Turtle: Bill, bill, junk mail, junk mail AND MORE JUNK MAIL. Ah-ha! My Garden Monthly is here (hums away).
  • In the Rocket Power episode "Welcome to the Club":
    Otto: Boring, lame, electric bill, check, report card, don't know...crud, no new surf mags!
  • Histeria!: Napoleon going over his conquest of Europe: "Got it, got it, got it, got it, don't got it, got it, got it, got it, want it, got it, got it, got it, NEED it!
  • Beavis and Butt-Head look for a mad dog at the pound. "Wuss... wuss... Shih Tzu..."
  • The South Park Season 2 episode "Chickenlover" had the kids being forced to pick out a book to review for school at the book bus.
    Kyle: "".
  • Similar to his live-action counterpart, J. Jonah Jameson says this in an episode of The Spectacular Spider-Man. He dismisses two "garbage" photos, and one that's "literally garbage" (Peter was taking photos at a garbage dump), before stopping at a photo of Shocker standing over a defeated Spider-Man.
    J. Jonah Jameson: Garbage, garbage, literally garbage, garb…Woah!
  • In Doug the mailman gives Porkchop his mail which includes "Doggitude", "Bone of the Month", and a letter scented with perfume. He then turns to Doug and has bills, bills, bills, and a Bluffington school notice.
  • In the DuckTales (1987) episode "Sweet Duck of Youth":
    Launchpad: Hmm. Not a sign of old Mr. McDee. Nothing but swamp grass, cypress trees, Spanish moss, Spanish conquistador, snakes... [Beat] Conquistador?
  • In the DuckTales (2017) episode, "What Happened to Donald Duck" with Dewey and Webby looking through Donald's mail.
    Dewey: Bill...bill...bill; man, being an adult is not fun.
  • The mail sorting version occurs in The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin episode "The Ying Zoo":
    Quellor: Death threats, eviction notices, catastrophe predictions…how come I never get anything interesting?
  • At the beginning of the Sonic Boom episode, "Fortress of Squalitude", Dr. Eggman says this as he's going through his mail (with Cubot as his shredder);
    Eggman: "Junk..." [shredding sound] "...junk..." [shredding sound] "...junk..." [shredding sound] "...junk..." [shredding sound] ... "'Modern Lair' magazine..."
  • Kaeloo: A variant in the episode "Let's Play Catch the Mailman", where Stumpy gets his mail and keeps alternating between "bill" and "advertisement" before finding a letter at the bottom of the stack.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show: At the beginning of "I Was a Teenage Stimpy", as Ren checks the mail before finding the latest issue of Husk magazine (for the adult corn lover).
    Ren: Stimpy, Stimpy, Stimpy, Stimpy, Stimpson, Stimpy, Mr. Cat, Mr. The Cat, the cat, the cat...HOEK!
  • Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?: The Batman crossover starts with Alfred checking the mail. Upon finding an actual letter among the bills, Alfred stops to wonder who writes letters nowadays.
  • The Owl House: At the start of "Really Small Problems", Eda goes through her morning mail. "Junk... junk... death hex..." She tosses the third envelope in a trash can, which is disintegrated by black magic.
  • Looney Tunes Cartoons episode "Puma Problems":
    Bugs Bunny: Let's see what we got here: bill, bill, social security check. (Looks aside) You forget how old I am.
  • CatDog episode "CatDog Squared":
    Cat: Let's see: bills, chain letter, coupons, we just won 10 million dollars, more bills...
  • Ben 10: Gwen, while perusing Charmcaster's spellbook to find a cure for an age-regressed Max.
    "Nope... won't work... wrong spell... only applies to armadillos?"
  • The Raccoons: At the end of the final episode, "Go for Gold!", Lisa says "Bills, junk mail, bills..." while sorting through the mail before she notices a package Bert sent her that contains the gold medal from the race.
  • In the My Dad the Rock Star episode "Big Willy On Campus" Rock Zilla goes through the family's mail saying "Junk...junk...oooh, fancy junk!" and then throws it away. It turns out to be a letter from his old university.

  • From The Rejection Collection (cartoons rejected by The New Yorker): A very skeevy man is looking at the backs of milk cartons (i.e., missing children) in a supermarket: "Got him... got him... need him... got him... need him..."

    Real Life 
  • Got, Got, Need, Got: The mantra of the schoolboy trading in any collectible. Exemplified in Keeping the Faith, as seen above.
  • Sneaky kids playing "Duck, Duck, Goose" sometimes recite these words in a similar dull, repetitious tone to this trope, in hope they'll buy themselves an extra second's running-time when the "Goose" takes a moment to notice they've been tagged as such.
  • Combined with Monty Python's "Spam" sketch, this trope is why junk e-mail is called spam.


Video Example(s):


Franklin - Gardener's Monthly

In "Franklin the Spy" from "Franklin," Franklin's father Mr. Turtle gets the mail and discards bills and junk mail before finally coming to something he actually wants - his prized issue of "Gardener's Monthly" magazine.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / BillBillJunkBill

Media sources: