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Confirm Before Reveal

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Troy: Uhhh guys, what does a pregnancy test look like?
Jeff: (not looking up from something he's reading) It's like a thin piece of plastic with a thing on the end of it.
Troy: (pulls a revolver from Annie's purse) Okay, so this is definitely a gun.
Jeff: Whoa! Yeah, put that away.

A character saw or remembers something important happening right now and wants to tell someone about it. But before they can do that, they need to make sure what they're about to reveal is accurate. They ask questions about it and make sure that it lines up with what they're revealing. The other character can't see what they're seeing so they have to rely on the other character's knowledge to confirm their answer. They can't take too long because they will miss the opportunity to reveal it and whatever is happening might be gone or too late to stop it. When they feel confident with the information they have, then they reveal it.

Confirm Before Reveal is when a character notices something important off-screen or in the background or they just remembered something important and instead of revealing it right away, they ask questions about it first.

There are several reasons why they don't reveal it immediately. They don't want to jump to conclusions and give them false information. What they see might be unbelievable to them so they want to make sure they're not seeing things. They might be Locked Out of the Loop and they want to make sure they're in the loop. Perhaps the character is The Ditz and doesn't realize what they're seeing is very important so they ask someone about it first. Maybe the other character did something wrong or told them a lie and the consequence of their actions is happening without their knowledge, so before they can call them out on it they want to know what they know first. Perhaps the character forgot an important detail and they need the other character to remind them before making the reveal. Or this may be their first time seeing whatever they're seeing and they want to make sure it matches the description they were told about. Or perhaps they did something really bad or know something really bad is going to happen and they're afraid that the others will be mad, disappointed, or scared so they want to know how they'll react before revealing it.

After the other character answers their question, expect them to ask them why they would ask that. From their perspective, it seems odd to them that they would specifically ask this question at this moment, or they find it concerning and they have a bad feeling that they know something is wrong.

Depending on how serious the reveal is, you can expect the other character to have an Oh, Crap! reaction after the reveal. They might have a Delayed "Oh, Crap!" or Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap! reaction when they immediately realize what's going on.

Sometimes, the character doesn't need to reveal it or have their question answered, the thing they're about to reveal will get the other character's attention and they'll eventually figure it out. This could potentially backfire on them because if they take too long to reveal it, then it'll be too late and it won't matter anymore. It's good that they want to make sure they have all facts, but it's meaningless if they don't reveal it soon.

This will usually become a Five-Second Foreshadowing because the audience will immediately know what's going to happen when they see the character start asking questions. This can sometimes be a Wham Line if what they're questioning or revealing dramatically shifts the story.

If they reveal it after it becomes irrelevant, it's Now You Tell Me. Compare Bearer of Bad News if the reveal is something bad and Confession Deferred if the reveal was lied about beforehand.


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    Comic Book 
  • Anya's Ghost: Anya and Dima are at the library looking through microfilms to find newspaper articles regarding the murder of the titular ghost, Emily. After they have spent a while looking, Dima asks, "We're looking for a murder by a person named Emily Reilly, right?". Anya dismisses it at first because it wasn't what she's looking for until it clicked in her head when she realized what Dima just said and she sees the article he found.

    Film - Animated 
  • Up: When Russell meets Kevin for the first time, he believes it's the "snipe" that Carl had told him about earlier and asks him to confirm its appearance.
    Russell: I found the snipe!
    Carl: Oh, did you?
    Russell: Are they tall?
    Carl: Oh, yes, they're very tall.
    Russell: Do they have a lot of colors?
    Carl: They do, indeed.
    Russell: Do they like chocolate?
    Carl: Oh, yea... Chocolate?
    (Carl turns around and sees a very tall, colorful bird)
    Carl: Yah! What is that thing?!
    Russell: That's the snipe.

    Film - Live Action 
  • In Air Bud, Josh is revealing Buddy to his mom.
    Josh: Mom, do you remember when I had a hamster?
    Jackie: Do you want another hamster?
    Josh: Not exactly.
    (cue Buddy knocking his ball down the stairs hitting a paint can)
  • Star Trek III: The Search for Spock: At the end of the film, the Klingons have boarded the Enterprise and are looking around, confused at how empty it is. The Klingon officer Torg informs Captain Kruge that the computer is the "only thing speaking," but Torg doesn't know English. Kruge does: it's a countdown. He screams a warning, but Torg is too confused to react, then the bridge explodes around him.
    Torg: The ship appears to be run by computer. It is the only thing speaking.
    Kruge: Speaking? Let me hear it.
    Computer: Six... Five... Four...
    Torg: (slow reaction)

    Live-Action TV 
  • Community: Subverted in Season 3 "Remedial Chaos Theory" where Troy looks through Annie's purse while she goes to get the pizzas and finds an odd object. He asks Jeff to describe what a pregnancy test looks like. Once he realizes the object isn't a pregnancy test, he pulls it out of Annie's purse and reveals she has a gun.
  • In Cousin Skeeter Season 2 "New Kids on the Planet", after Skeeter sneaks Bobby, Nina, and Nicole into a space shuttle called the "Prometheus 7" and accidentally launches the ship into space, this gets the attention of mission control in Houston, Texas.
    Mike: Say, Dave.
    Dave: Yes, Mike.
    Mike: What day is it? Tuesday, right?
    Dave: (checking his watch) Yep, Tuesday. Why?
    Mike: The Prometheus 7 just took off. I thought that wasn't scheduled to happen until Thursday.
    Dave: (checking a clipboard) Yep, Thursday.
    Mike and Dave: Aaaaaaaaah!
  • In Family Matters Season 4 "Mama's Wedding", Eddie is planning to throw a flyer party at his house next week after Estelle gets married at their home and his parents go out of town. On the day of Estelle's wedding, Steve tells Eddie there's a problem with the wedding that involves Eddie's party. Steve asks Eddie to remind him when his party is supposed to be and when Eddie tells him it'll be next Saturday, Steve pulls out the flyer for the party and reveals Waldo messed up and put today's date on it and now they have a hundred teenagers in their backyard ready to boogie, which freaks Eddie out because this will anger his dad and possibly ruin the wedding.
  • In Fear the Walking Dead Season 4 "Blackjack", after Martha kills Quinn and steals Althea's SWAT truck, she warns Morgan on the radio to stop helping people or there will be consequences. After ignoring her warning, while riding in the trailer of Sarah's truck, Martha calls them again and reminds Morgan of her warning. Morgan puts his foot down and tells her he'll continue to help people and he'll gladly help her. Suddenly, Sarah interrupts them to ask Althea what her truck looks like. After Althea describes it to her and asks her why, Sarah reveals she found her truck, which is currently being driven by Martha and is pursuing them, which freaks everyone out because the truck is equipped with machine guns.
  • In The George Lopez Show, Season 4 "Friends Don't Let Friends Marry Drunks", George and Angie are watching Ricky because Ernie has a date with someone tonight. When George and Angie take Max and Ricky to a restaurant to eat, Angie notices Ernie with Ricky's alcoholic mom, Tammy, at a table eating together. Angie confirms with George if they're watching Ricky because of Ernie's date tonight, but George assures her that date is already over because it's Ernie. Then Angie reveals Ernie is with Tammy right now, much to George's shock and disgust.
  • Late in the Saved by the Bell episode "House Party", Screech manages to get enough money by hosting a party at his house while his parents are away so that Slater can use the money to buy a replica of Screech's mother's Elvis statue that was accidentally broken earlier in the episode. Things take a bad turn when his parents come back earlier than initially planned, as Kelly and Lisa, who are watching through the front window, inform everyone else.note 
    Kelly: Screech, when did you say your parents are coming back?
    Screech: Sunday. Why?
    Lisa: Because... THEY'RE HERE!

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!:
    • In "Every Which Way But Lose", Roger notices that Steve had one of his ears ripped off while a winning football play and asks, "Before the game, how many ears did you have?".
    • In "One Fish, Two Fish", in order to help Klaus get his U.S. citizenship, Harley decides to have a Citizenship Marriage with him while transferring her mind into a goldfish body to make it more legit. While in the same fish bowl together, Harley asks Klaus a fish question: "I was napping in the treasure chest yesterday and all of these little pellets fell out of me. Is that normal?" Klaus immediately realizes that Haley unknowingly laid eggs because he was milting inside the treasure chest, and opens the chest to reveal baby fish coming out of it.
  • In Bless the Harts Season 2 "Mega-Lo-Memories: Part Deux", while waiting in line during Black Friday at Mega-Lo Mart, Jenny talks about the time she discovered she's pregnant with Violet while Wayne talks about the time he worked as delivery driver for dairy products. In Jenny's story, after everyone in the store discovered Jenny is pregnant, she ran to the back of the store to avoid confronting Betty and has a conversation with someone who was stocking up the eggnogs in the fridge on the other side and they can't see each other's face. When Wayne asks Jenny if the part of the store she ran to was the dairy section and Jenny confirms it and asks him why, Violet realizes that Wayne was the one who was stocking up the eggnogs and that moment is the first time Wayne and Jenny met without realizing it, and it's when Wayne inadvertently gave Violet her name when he gave Jenny a violet flower to cheer her up.
  • In Bob's Burgers, Season 6 "House of a 1000 Bounces", when Teddy has been eating at Bob's restaurant for the last 20 minutes, he finally asks Bob and Linda if the pigeon sitting on their restaurant TV is real. When Bob and Linda are confused with Teddy's question, he reveals there's a pigeon inside their restaurant sitting on their TV, which they now just notice. Teddy was worried he was seeing things because he got pretty drunk at the lodge before coming here.
  • In Central Park, Season 1 "Garbage Ballet, the garbage trucks for Central Park has been rerouted to a further location, and Owen and his park staff can't keep up with all of the trash and all the dumpsters are quickly filling up, resulting in the park being full of litter everywhere. And it gets worse when people are taking pictures of the trash.
    Park Worker: (on the radio) Owen. Is it bad if a busload of tourists just pulled up and start taking pictures of the trash?
    Owen: Yes.
    Park Worker: So it's worse if three busloads just pulled up.
    Owen: Gah!
  • In Craig of the Creek, Season 2 "Camper on the Run", the Stump Trio meets a runaway camper named Roxy who ran from camp in a canoe. She tells the trio the camp she was at is horrible and one of the things she tells them is they have horrible food. While fixing Roxy's canoe, Craig finds a bag of brand name cheese puffs inside. Craig confirm with Roxy if she said the camp didn't have good food, and after she confirms it he reveals the snack he found. Roxy claims she stopped by the Duck Mart and got one, despite the fact that she travels in a canoe, but this is one of the few hints that she's lying about her experience at camp.
  • In Family Guy Season 11 "Joe's Revenge", Peter, Quagmire, and Joe enter a strip club in Atlantic City to find a stripper who knows the location of the man who crippled Joe. While in the club, Peter notices something off-screen and asks Quagmire if he's been in Atlantic City before. When Quagmire confirms he was in Atlantic City once 20 years ago and he asks why, the camera cuts to a pair of twin strippers who resembles Quagmire while having a high-pitch voice, indicating they're his illegitimate daughters.
  • In The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy Season 7 "Yeti or Not, Here I Come", when Grim, Billy, and Mandy are trying to catch the Yeti and the Yeti brings them to his home, they pass by a glacier and he tells them that a glacier can move six feet a day. After the Yeti escapes them several times, Grim finally corners him at the same glacier they passed by. Grim pulls out a tape measure and asks the Yeti to remind him how far can a glacier travel in 24 hours while measuring how far the glacier will move, the Yeti reminds him six feet and asks for his point, and then Grim reveals that it's about to be midnight right now and the glacier moves and crushes him.
  • In King of the Hill, Season 12 "Suite Smells of Excess", Hank and his friends take Bobby to watch a college football game and Bobby leaves to buy a drink at the concession stand. While watching the game, Dale, watching the game through his binoculars because they're all seating in the last row of stadium, asks Hank if Bobby knows an oil tycoon or a Saudi prince. When Hank responds with a confused look, Dale reveals he sees Bobby sitting in a luxury box by himself and Hank goes to the box to see why Bobby is there.
  • In Rugrats Season 3 "Under Chuckie's Bed", while Chuckie is telling his friends about how wonderful his crib is, the other babies notice their parents taking parts of his crib out of his room after replacing it with a new bed.
    Tommy: Uh, Chuckie. Is that the crib with the wide bars on it?
    Phil: And the tall sides?
    Lil: And the picture of the pink and blue sheep?
    Chuckie: Yep, that's the one. Why?
    Tommy: Well, I think the grown-ups just carried it out of your room in pieces.
    Chuckie: 'WHAT?!'
  • In The Simpsons, Season 20 "The Burns and the Bees", in order to preserve the honeybees that are healthy, Lisa has the bees form a beard on her face. When Homer is about to reveal this to Marge:
    Homer: Marge, remember when we were talking about our worst fears?
    Marge: Mmm-hmm.
    Homer: Mine was snakes, and yours was...
    Marge: Never being a grandmother.
    Homer: Really? I thought it was Lisa with a beard of bees. Well, whatever. Brace yourself.
  • In TaleSpin episode "From Here To Machinery", while talking to Rebecca, Baloo was prompted to ask why she was busying about the office, to which Rebecca replied she was preparing for a visit from an important client:
    Baloo: (Looks out the window) Short guy, lots of feathers, bad toupee?
    Rebecca: Yes, why?
    Baloo: (Still looking out the window) Somebody beat you to him.
    Rebecca: (Looks out the window to see the client signing a contract with Professor Torque and his Auto Aviator) WHAT?!


Video Example(s):


Hamburger Man Beatdown

Butt-Head tricks Beavis into taking his place as the hamburger mascot after learning the boyfriend of the girl who's butt he touched is coming to beat him up so he has Beavis take the beating for him.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheScapegoat

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