A character is ready to reveal their secret. Maybe they're gay, maybe they're a vampire, maybe they're a superhero, or maybe they're the one who stole the cookies from the cookie jar. All that matters is that they've kept this a secret for a while, and now they're ready to come clean. However, when they finally tell the truth, the only shocked reactions they get, if any, are at the realization this was supposed to be a secret. Everyone already knew.
Transparent Closet is a common subtrope, where a character's sexuality isn't as much of a secret as they think it is. See also Open Secret where it's painfully obvious from the get-go that no one is fooled by the secret. The metafictional version, where a writer reveals a twist that the audience already figured out, is the Captain Obvious Reveal.
Expect spoilers below, as the revelation that a character knew a secret all along may or may not already be known to the audience.
- In Mai-HiME when Akira decides to wear a mask and use her ninja skills to help defend the school from the rampaging Orphan Monsters; Akira's roommate Takumi realizes instantly, but tries to humor the whole "secret identity" thing.
Takumi: Oh, if only there was a ninja protector who could save us!
Akira: <rolls eyes> I'm going for a walk.
Takumi: <happily smiles>
- The end of Magical Project S has Sasami's class telling her they knew she was Pretty Sammy, they just figured they weren't supposed to talk about it.
- In To Love-Ru, the general reaction to finding out Lala is an alien goes along the lines of "Oh. So that's why she has the tail." All while Rito, the only one who cares about The Masquerade, freaks out and panics.
- In the School Rumble manga, Yakumo's friends clumsily prepare her a surprise birthday party and she spends the rest of the day pretending she doesn't know. She comes home to find Tenma also preparing her a party.
- Near the end of Martian Successor Nadesico Nagare dramatically reveals that he is the CEO of Nergal Industries. Someone replies, "Yeah, I figured it was something like that." In fact, everyone except Akito and Yurika'' knew about it.
- Humorously done in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders with Polnareff trying to surprise the others with the revelation that Abdul survived a seemingly fatal attack and had been recovering the whole time he was gone only to find out that he was the only one who didn't know (the others wanted to give Abdul enough time to recover from his injuries and didn't trust Polnareff not to blab about it).
- From Mahou Sensei Negima!:
- Setsuna tries to hide the fact that she has Bodyguard Crush on Konoka. No-one is fooled, so when Rakan reveals that she had her first kiss with Konoka, no-one even blinks their eyes. Even Negi.
- When Takane tells Yuuna that her father is a mage, she just says she figured it was something like that since she recognized the person working at the gates was a friend of her father's. And from there she figured that Mahora is a magic school. Only really applicable to Yuuna, everyone else was pretty surprised.
- In an episode of the Pokémon anime, there is an Old Superhero named Gligarman who is really the owner of a toy store. He gets shocked when everyone in town starts calling him by his real name during a climactic battle.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, it seems that Ed has "I performed a human transmutation" written on his shirt. Most alchemists he meets figure it out within an episode. While his automail arm and leg aren't much of a clue (lots of people have automail, and it's implied that some people even replace fully functional limbs with it), the fact that his brother is a suit of Animated Armor tends to be a dead give-away.
- Subverted hilariously in the last chapter of Ouran High School Host Club: The girls eagerly declare that they already knew Haruhi's "secret" when she wears a dress and begins dancing romantically with Tamaki. It isn't until later that they actually find out that she's a girl, and it turns out that they thought her "secret" was that "he" and Tamaki were gay and that "he" liked wearing women's clothing.
- Nano Shinonome from the Nichijou manga is a robot who goes to school and believes she's convinced everyone she's not a robot. This despite the fact that one complaint that she has on returning to school one day is everyone keeps turning the big wind-up key on her back.
- Bleach: Ikkaku is willing to throw fights to avoid revealing his bankai, despite having willingly told Yumichika, Renji and Keigo. When chastising Ikkaku for his attitude, Iba reveals he's always known. Komamura accidentally overhears but promises to keep his mouth shut. Later on, Mayuri's comment to Ichigo that he and Akon once patched up Ikkaku's broken bankai reminds Mayuri he wasn't supposed to reveal the secret. He concludes he doesn't care.
- All the girls in Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple are confused as to how all the men never realized that Kisara's right hand Shiratori is actually a girl. This revelation comes after a Love Triangle arc, showing that the object of Shiratori's affection was not who all the men thought it was.
- One Piece:
- Nami asked her older sister Nojiko to keep her efforts to buy back their village from the pirate Arlong a secret, even after Genzo had banished her from the village for joining Arlong pirates under the mistaken belief that she only wanted to get rich. It turned out that Genzo was unwilling to believe that Nami would join the pirates even with temptations like that, especially after Arlong had killed her mother. He and the other villagers eventually managed to get Nojiko to tell them but decided to keep it a secret from Nami so she could leave them if she wasn't able to complete her goal.
- The citizens of Dressrosa knew all along that the fairies are actually dwarves, and that Kyros/Thunder Soldier and Rebecca are father and daughter. They pretended not to know to protect their secrets, out of respect. They also know that Luffy didn't really kidnap Rebecca at the end of the arc, but pretend not to so they can run after Luffy and his allies, thus preventing Fujitora from killing them.
- Played for Drama in Neon Genesis Evangelion, where the "secret" was that Asuka's father and the doctor who took care of Asuka's bed-ridden and driven-into-insanity mother Kyouko were involved behind Kyoko's back. Even Asuka knew, which is implied to be the reason why she refuses to live with her father and his "new" wife after her mother's suicide.
- On Himawari!, Himari hides that she's discovered that Azami is a spy for the boy's school, but all of the other girls already knew. Only she and their teacher, Hayato, didn't. When they discover that she's hiding it, they explain that he's a double agent and that he's a boy.
- In Assassination Classroom, after his first match with Itona, Koro-sensei decides he has no choice but to reveal a shocking truth about himself. He is actually an artificially created creature. No one in the class is surprised since Koro-sensei already said he isn't an alien and an artificial being was the only explanation left.
Entire class: Well, duh. And?
Koro-sensei: What a weak reaction! That was a pretty shocking thing to confess, wasn't it?!
- Retired Heroes: Some Fake Ultimate Heroes expose a couple of adventurers as demons. Not only did the entire village already know they were demons, but they're actually the people who the fakes are impersonating.
- Used to show Values Dissonance, and Heizo's unique character, in the episode The Man of the Past in the Anime adaptation of Onihei Hankachou. When Heizo asked to marry Hisae, her parents had just told him that she had a former lover who subsequently abandoned her for prostitutes and robbery. Neither Hisae nor her former lover Kanshiro Kondo knows that Heizo knows about this, and when he breaks the news to Heizo, he just laughs — not revealing that he knew (presumably to save face) but merely saying that this fact is insignificant to him because Hisae is a wonderful woman and he's simply happy to have her.
- In chapter 140 of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, Ishigami is surprised to learn that the entire student council already knew about his crush on Tsubame. It's probably a good thing that it wasn't mentioned that the entire school already knew thanks to his rather public accidental love confession.
- One old (prose) story suggested that most of Clark's close friends and co-workers knew he was Superman but were secretly government agents assigned to allow him the illusion of a "normal" life.
- One issue had an emergency that doesn't leave him time to get into costume at the Daily Planet, and everyone tells him to just go do it — they've just been humoring him about the "secret identity" thing. Wham issue? Nah, it was All Just a Dream.
- Various stories have also implied that his secret identity is widely known back in his hometown of Smallville, but the whole town keeps quiet about it out of loyalty and friendship.
- Spider-Man's secret identity is like this sometimes, especially in Ultimate Marvel. In one issue, Daredevil (not in costume, of course) walked up to him, at school, to recruit him for a mission. In another issue, the Human Torch and Iceman showed up at school mostly because they were bored (Iceman: "Hey, aren't you—" Peter: "Don't you dare."). And finally, Kong — a jock who deduced it on his own — tells Peter to go help a friend, and when Peter looks ambivalent, he mocks him. "What do you want me to say? Should we have a code? Should I just throw up my hands and say 'Oh, if only Spider-Man were here...'!?" This was lampshaded, parodied and subverted in one issue when he's knocked unconscious and wakes up in the X-Mansion without his mask (they wanted to make sure he was OK); upon learning this, Peter engages in a very long rant about how he's trying to keep a Secret Identity here and is getting a bit sick of everyone somehow knowing that he's Peter Parker... only for them to point out that while they knew what he looked like, until now they didn't know his name. Oops.
- Played for Laughs by Peter David in Wolverine. The X-Men were currently "dead" when Logan found out that Jessica Drew and some of his Madripoor friends recognized him in his "Patch" disguise. It turned out they'd humoured him, on the basis that he must have had his reasons. Considering that Patch is Wolverine with an eyepatch and the claws not extended, this should really not have been such a shock.
- In one issue of Batman and the Outsiders, Alfred reveals Batman's identity to the team while Batman is unconscious after being poisoned, so they won't waste crucial time by trying to contact Bruce Wayne, who they know as the team's rich patron. When Batman later reveals his identity to the team, they pretend to be surprised.
- In Gold Digger, Britanny Diggers did a brief stint as a superhero in her school days. While the villains remained oddly oblivious, the rest of the students had no trouble figuring out the superhero 'Cheets', was actually their classmate Brittany, the only member of the student body who also had fur and a tail and was the only were-cheetah on Earth.
- The Human Torch's features in Strange Tales involved him protecting his secret identity...despite the fact that he was a celebrity in his main title. Presumably, this was due to a lapse in Stan Lee's memory (which actually has some precedent); eventually, it was retconned that all the supporting cast were simply going along with the Torch's masquerade out of concern for his privacy...
- Green Arrow's "secret identity" as Oliver Queen. Between his not-particularly-concealing mask and incredibly distinctive facial hair, anyone who's met them both will know that it's him. In one case a policeman working with Green Arrow came to his house and, on being asked how he knew his identity, hadn't even known it was supposed to be a secret. His to-be sidekick Mia also recognized him instantly, not least because he was claiming to be a good friend of the Green Arrow. The best he could hope for is people thinking he's got a twin.
- Right before the Flashpoint, Vicki Vale had figured out everyone in Batman's inner circle's real name sans Stephanie Brown. She had no hard evidence so she didn't run the story. She also didn't count on Batman's baby mama being the daughter of an international terrorist who'd kill her if people figured out who they were by extension.
- Two examples in ElfQuest:
- The first occurs when Leetah accidentally yells out Cutter's secret soul name in front of Cutter's best friend, Skywise. It turns out Cutter and Skywise have such a strong mental link, they've known each other's soul names since they were kids.
- The second one occurs when Big Bad Winnowill reveals Cutter's animal heritage to Leetah. Not only did both Leetah and Cutter already know, but they're also actually both proud of it.
- Both averted and played straight in Birds of Prey, when Barbara Gordon revealed to her father, then-former Commissioner Jim Gordon that she has been operating as Oracle for several years after being shot in the spine and paralyzed by the Joker. Jim Gordon was surprised, but ultimately assured Barbara that he was proud of her. Barbara then pulled out her old Batgirl uniform and added, "I'm afraid there's something else I need to tell you, Daddy." Jim replied, "Oh. Well, that I knew about."
- It's been implied numerous times that Gordon knows the identity of each and every one of the Batfamily. He simply chooses to not acknowledge it, even to himself in his thought bubbles.
- Several stories have had Batman make comments where he's assumed Gordon has long known who he really was, just as he assumes Perry White (who was a very good investigative reporter) knows full well Clark Kent is Superman.
- Right from the first issue, it's almost become in a Running Gag in Demon Knights that everyone knows "Sir" Ystin is really a woman. Until a later issue reveals that Ystin is, in fact, some sort of genderqueer/intersex/non-binary gender identity, but it's not elaborated on.
- The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye has the following exchange when Skids asks Chromedome if the latter can try restoring some of his lost memories:
Chromedome: "Anyway, I thought you liked having amnesia."Skids: "Who told you that?"Chromedome: "You told Swerve, right? So assume everyone on board knows. In fact, assume everyone on Cybertron knows. In fact, assume that distant alien races, otherwise untouched by civilization"Skids: "Okay, okay, point taken."
- The Walking Dead has two lesbians in the New World Order arc who reveal they're having a relationship on the way to meet Eugene's contact. Eugene and most of the others react with a mixture of "already knew", and "cool, don't care." Only Juanita reacts positively.
- A Cure for Love: 1) Light is gay. 2) Light and L's "secret" relationship. 3) L, the Astraea Organization, Matt... pretty much everyone but the Kira Taskforce knows that Light is Kira.
- In Kim Possible canon, Dr. Drakken tells his mother that he's a radio talk show host. A fair number of fanfics have her knowing perfectly well that he's a Mad Scientist villain trying to Take Over the World.
- In Heir, a Dark!Harry fic, Harry, Tom, and Draco aren't nearly as careful with their scheming as they think they are-Ron, Blaise and perhaps half of Slytherin house knows that Harry is the Heir but have so far kept quiet.
- Like any good orphan protagonist, Scootaloo in the MLP:FiM fan fiction Our True Colors tries hard to keep her status a secret. But it turns out everyone except Twilight Sparkle (and maybe Fluttershy) knew she was an orphan.
- In the Glee fanfic We have a problem, Kurt and Puck go to great lengths to keep their relationship a secret. When they finally decide to come out, it turns out that more or less everybody already knew.
- From A Taste of the Good Life:
Sweetie Belle: Do you think this means Scoots mom and dad will stop pretending they arent dating now?
Main: Wait, what?
Scootaloo: I'm not stupid, Dad.
- "To Absent Friends": Yeah, Earth to Kanril Eleya, your Secret Relationship with your operations officer? Not so secret.
- In Why Am I Crying?, Scootaloo expresses relief that Diamond Tiara, or anypony else, never knew that her mother walked (flew?) out on her family when she was five. Later on, however, she learns from Miss Cheerilee that everyone knew about it when it happened, but nobody spoke of it out of pity.
- In The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, the disguised George and Ringo are quite startled to find out that the Six Step Combo knew they were outworlders from the moment the band met them. In fact, the band thought the two were lying or exaggerating when they said they were musicians, since the band had never met a competent outworlder musician before, and planned to humiliate them on stage. George finds that admittance quite funny.
- In Chapter 20 of Origin Story, Alex confesses to Louise that she murdered Henry Peter Gyrich, and did it in order to protect Louise from further attack. Alex then begs for Louise's forgiveness. Louise's only reaction is to gently let Alex know that she figured it out days before and that she forgave Alex as soon as she figured it out.
- In a Zootopia fancomic by Eric Schwartz, Clawhauser catches Nick and Judy together in a station house broom closet. When Judy begs Clawhauser to keep the secret, Clawhauser dismisses her with "Who would I tell?" Turns out, both Nick and Judy had been putting out pheromones broadcasting their mutual interest. Everyone in the station with a sensitive enough nose already knew about them. Then, as if to put a bow on how much of a not-secret their relationship was, Chief Bogo makes the scene and tells Nick and Judy that if they were going to carry on their relationship, keep it out of the station.
- In the Miraculous Ladybug fanfic Perception Adrien and Marinette eventually start dating, and, fearing Chloe's reaction, wisely decide to keep it secret. Then one day they get too affectionate... And it turns out that not only were the only ones fooled Chloe herself and maybe Sabrina, but Alix was genuinely surprised that it was supposed to be a secret.
- In White Sheep Blake eventually reveals to her team (Yang, Ren, and Nora) that she's a faunus by taking off her bow, only for them to wait for her to reveal whatever secret she mentioned. Turns out, Nora saw her in the shower and told the other two teens weeks ago.
- Mended: Professor Oak and Delia tried to keep a Secret Relationship, but it was an open secret amongst their neighbors.
Samuel: "Mrs. Ketchum and I are going to get married."
Gary: "Well, it's about time! Don't look so surprised, Grandpa. Everyone in Pallet Town knows you and Mrs. Ketchum have had a thing going for years."
Samuel: "They do?"
Gary: "Sure. It's the worst-kept secret in town."
- An Open Secret has most everyone in the Jedi Temple bar a few (like Mace Windu) be aware that Anakin and Padme are a thing.
- Played for Drama in Cicada Psalms. At age 23, Mion tearfully reveals to her grandmother about the accidental permanent Twin Switch she and Shion did as kids. It turns out that Oryou suspected it for years. She doesn't mind that Mion was born Shion. It was so long ago that it doesn't matter much anymore. The twins have long since become more accustomed to being each other.
- In The Emperor's New Groove, Yzma has a "secret lab". It's not.
Kuzco: Yzma's got that "secret lab." (He makes Air Quotes.) I'll just snap my fingers and order her to change me back!
- In Kung Fu Panda 2, Ping is legitimately shocked that Po already realized he was adopted. They're a goose and a panda, respectively.
Mr. Ping: Oh, who told you?
Po: No one! I mean, c'mon, Dad!
- Jacob's Ladder does it almost shamelessly. For one, the Bad Doctor actually spoils the entire movie, if you take what he's saying at face value.
Jacob: Get me out of here.Evil Doctor: Where do you want to go?Jacob: Home.Evil Doctor: Home? This is your home. You're dead.Jacob: Dead? No. I just hurt my back, I'm not dead.Evil Doctor: What are you, then?Jacob: I'm alive.Evil Doctor: Then what are you doing here?Jacob: I don't know. This isn't happening.Evil Doctor: What is happening?Jacob: Get me out of here.Evil Doctor: (sighing with frustration) There is no "out of here". You've been killed, don't you remember?
- Earlier in the film, he gets the same thing from the woman reading his palm.
Palmreader: It's not funny. According to this, you're already dead! You're outta here baby!
- Louis himself states, "If you're frightened of dying, and you're holding on, you'll see devils tearing your life away. If you've made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the Earth."
- Earlier in the film, he gets the same thing from the woman reading his palm.
- Captain Shakespeare's cross-dressing in Stardust. Outsiders don't know, but his crew is fiercely protective of his "secret".
Crewmember: We always knew you were a whoopsie. (Rest of crew pulls him back to shut him up.)
- The only people who don't know that nightclub owner Johnny Kelly is really mob boss Johnny Dangerously are his mother and baby brother. This is explained to Johnny by the Pope.
- Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy: Wally is the only one who doubts he's gay, despite being Camp Gay.
Psychiatrist: Well, Wally, because you are one of them. You are gay. You are gay. You are a homosexual. The opposite of straight, you're gay. I know it. Your family knows it. DOGS know it! Everyone seems to know it except you.
- In Hot Fuzz, everyone besides Angel already knew that "Cousin Sissy" was an Embarrassing Nickname for Simon Skinner, who practiced ballet in his youth. He doesn't even seem to be actually embarrassed by it.
- In The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, Katniss admits that she was never under orders to kill Snow; Cressida points out that none of them had believed her, but chose to trust it was the right thing anyway.
- In A Brother's Price, after returning to his brides, Jerin confesses that he might have committed adultery. They just laugh, as they already know exactly what happened because the woman who rescued him, Cira, was actually Halley, the one bride he hadn't yet met, who was operating under a cover name, so even if more than kissing had happened, it wouldn't have been a problem.
- In Great Expectations, Pip confides in Herbert about his love for Estella, to which Herbert replies, "Exactly. Well?" When Pip asks him how he knew, Herbert exclaims, "Told me! You have never told me when you have got your hair cut, but I have had senses to perceive it. You have always adored her, ever since I have known you. You brought your adoration and your portmanteau here, together. Told me! Why, you have always told me all day long." Unlike most other examples on this page, Pip feels relieved instead of annoyed that his secret was known all along.
- Horatio Hornblower suffers from horrible seasickness every time he puts out to sea, something which he is mocked for earlier in his career. Once he gains command of his first ship, he takes pains to not let the crew know about his seasickness, for fear of appearing weak. It is years before he finally realizes that his men have always been aware of his seasickness, and have simply chosen not to comment on it out of respect for their captain.
- In Superfudge by Judy Blume, Peter is asked by his parents to humor Fudge's belief in Santa, despite never having believed himself. After receiving his coveted red bicycle, Fudge confides to him that he's never believed, either, and pretends for their parents' sake.
- In Starclimber, by Kenneth Oppel, Matt and Kate are in love but have to keep it secret because of class differences, and Kate is engaged to someone else to make her parents happy. They're both on the crew of a spaceship that's about to crash-land, and Kate throws her engagement ring to the floor and announces that she loves Matt. Then another character informs her that this was obvious to everyone already.
- In Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files series, Harry is afraid to reveal the demon in his head to his Knight in Shining Armor buddy Michael, whose job is pretty much to bring down said demons. When he finally does, the reaction is of course "I know." Harry has forgotten that, at least in theory, Michael's job is to give people possessed by those demons a chance to repent and be freed.
- Harry also forgot that he got possessed because he metaphorically Took the Bullet to protect Michael's toddler son... on Michael's front lawn... while Michael was home...
- It takes several books before Tavi in the Codex Alera finds out that his "aunt" Isana is actually his mother, and his father was Gaius Septimus: he's the heir to the throne. Ambassador Varg is a Wolf Man who could tell this by smell as soon as he met him. Besides, Tavi could pretend to be haughty and imperious very well.
- In Simon R. Green's Beyond the Blue Moon, it is revealed that Hawk and Fisher are Prince Rupert and Princess Julia from the Forest Kingdom books. They attempt to hide this fact from the other characters, but at the big denouement at the end, everybody is relieved that they can finally drop the pretense.
- In Shadow of the Hegemon, Peter finally reveals to his parents that he's Locke and that he's been manipulating events via his articles. His parents tell him that they've known all along, they didn't want to interfere at all, and that they're proud of him (Mrs. Wiggin revealed to Bean earlier that she's known all along, so this isn't a shock to the audience by that point).
- It also shouldn't be a surprise that the parents who produced three brilliant children are themselves pretty smart.
- At the end of Megan Whalen Turners The Thief, when it is revealed that Eugenides is really the Thief of Eddis and cousin to the Queen of Eddis, not some random half-Sounisan peasant, he is sorely disappointed to find the magus had figured it out already... as had virtually everyone but Sophos, actually, and the readers.
- In House of Chains, the fourth book in Malazan Book of the Fallen, the true identity of Sergeant "Strings" is blindingly obvious to both the reader and everyone around him. Halfway through the book, people tell him to stop being ridiculous, and he—after a moment of indignation at having his cover blown—reluctantly agrees to go by the name Fiddler again.
- By the end of Honor Harrington book The Short Victorious War, Honor learns to her discomfiture that everyone in her chain of command knows that she's going steady with Paul Tankersley — from the members of her crew on the Nike up to and including Admiral Parks, who chooses her ship to transport Tankersley back to Manticore because of it.
- Similarly, the relationship between Honor and Hamish (White Haven) doesn't come as much of a surprise to anyone, though their solution to it does.
- In Wraith Squadron, the younger members of the Wraiths are attempting to keep the condition of Myn Donos a secret from their immediate superiors, so that they won't report to their superiors about him. It turns out to have been an unnecessary step, since said immediate superiors (Wedge Antilles and Wes Janson) already know, but are also trying to give Myn time to recover (by not reporting to their superiors). This is revealed when one of the younger Wraiths, Kell Tainer, overhears Wedge and Wes talking about Myn. Played with in that the secret was unsuccessfully kept from Wedge and Wes, but it was successfully kept from anyone higher up in the chain of command.
- In the novel The Martian, at one point the Hermes crew decide to reduce habitat space to keep from overtaxing the ship's life support. Lewis announces that Beck should bunk with Johanssen, confirming that yes, she did know that Beck and Johanssen had indeed hooked up.
- Danny, the Champion of the World: After Danny's father is injured during a poaching excursion, Danny wonders what story he is going to tell the doctor. It turns out that the doctor, and pretty much every other authority figure in their village (including the police officer and The Vicar), knows that people are poaching Victor Hazell's pheasants and is either turning a blind eye or having a go at it themselves.
- In Animorphs, the team recruits disabled teenagers from the long-term ward of a local hospital. One girl, Collette, had always told everybody that she was hurt in a skiing accident but would be healed up shortly; when she finally admits that her condition is congenital (meaning that morphing won't heal it), her fellow patients say that they'd already gleaned that from her medical chart.
- In the young adult novel Say You Are My Sister, the eldest Keddrington daughter, Georgie, is introduced as Mr. Keddrington's daughter from a previous marriage and the half-sister of narrator Ramona Louise and her baby sister. But partway through the story, Ramona inadvertently learns that this was a fabrication; Georgie's mother was newly widowed and already pregnant (from her late husband) when she married Mr. Keddrington, who took Georgie as his own and raised her with his second wife (Ramona's mother) after Georgie's mother died in childbirth. Even more shockingly (for the 1940s American South setting of the story), Ramona also learns that Georgie's mother was half-African American. The family friend who reveals this to Ramona tells her that she must never tell Georgie, who was raised as white because it could devastate her. Ramona spends several chapters agonizing over her secret before she can no longer bear it and tells Georgie anyway. But instead of being shocked as Ramona expected, Georgie tells Ramona only that she knows, and has since she was a toddler.
- An episode of Criminal Minds had J.J. trying to keep the fact she was having a relationship with a detective she'd met the year before a secret to keep her personal life personal, causing problems when the team encountered him again and she didn't want to acknowledge it. When she finally gave in and kissed him in public, the response from her co-workers who saw it was amusement that she was finally admitting it.
- From Torchwood:
- In the premiere, Gwen is cleverly (she thinks) infiltrating the Hub as a pizza delivery person, only to have the group unable to keep up the charade that she's fooling them and break out laughing.
- Torchwood as an organization is theoretically a secret. However, they use vans labeled "Torchwood", and most everyone nearby has at least a general idea as to where they're located.
Ianto: Ask about Torchwood, and most people point towards the bay.
- From Scrubs
Dr. Cox: Heaven help me, I love newbie theater. Honest, I do. It's... the way you both play your parts with such wonderful commitment that almost had me believing that you aren't having whiny, neurotic, extremely pale sex with each other.
J.D.: What are you talking about?
Dr. Cox: Please stop. The whole floor knows. We do. Watch this. [turns around] Laverne, did you know?
Laverne: Was it supposed to be a secret?
Dr. Cox: And Carla?
Carla: Please. I knew before they did.
Dr. Cox: So, there it is. And if you go ahead and listen very carefully, you'll hear the familiar sound of no one caring.
- Eric on That '70s Show hid his money in a Candyland box, only to discover just about everyone already knew about it (and had been dipping into it).
- An episode of Blackadder had Percy preparing to lend Edmund the savings he has hidden, only to be told that not only do Blackadder and Baldrick know about it, but Blackadder has also already taken it.
Percy: You've seen it then?
Blackadder: Seen it, pinched it, spent it. And the same goes for the two farthings Baldrick thinks he's got hidden inside that mouldy potato.
Baldrick: Oh bloody hell!
- Top Gear frequently introduces a Top Secret Test Facility of one kind or another, and then helpfully provides detailed directions to it.
- On the True Life episode "I'm Coming Out", they profiled three (closeted) gay teens. Towards the end of the piece, one young man worked up the courage to come out to his best friend. He sits her down, lets her know how much their friendship means to him, and that he has something to tell him that he's never told anyone else. He tells her that he's gay. Without blinking, she looks at him and replies, in a slightly confused tone "Yes. What was the secret you wanted to tell me?" In fact, the girl's first words on the Confession Cam were "From the moment I met [him], I knew he was gay."
- From Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Towards the end of season 3, during class awards towards the end of prom on her senior year, Buffy is awarded the "Class Protector" award. Jonathan makes a speech admitting that everyone knows that Buffy had been acting as their protector. She's the reason their year had the lowest mortality rate ever at Sunnydale High.
- In the season 5 episode "I Was Made To Love You", Warren makes a dramatic, unbelievable revelation: his girlfriend is actually a robot! Which would have had more impact if everyone else hadn't (easily) figured that out several scenes earlier.
- On Northern Exposure, this is the townsfolk's reaction when Joel and Maggie announce that they are now having sex: "I assumed you'd been doing it for months."
- From The Nanny:
- In one episode, Niles admits that he was once secretly in love with the housekeeper, Catherine. Maxwell replies, "The whole house knew! We were taking bets on when you two would get together!"
- In the episode "Whine Cellar," Fran and C.C. are locked inside the Sheffield wine cellar and to pass the time, try to have a conversation. When asked if she has a crush on anyone, C.C., whom everybody knows is obsessed with Maxwell, "confesses" that she has a crush on him, adding that "My therapist says I'm obsessed with him!", to which Fran responds, "How much did you pay to figure that out?".
- On The Shield, Shane tries to break Ronnie's loyalty to Vic by revealing how he and Vic killed Det. Crowley in the pilot episode. Ronnie is neither moved nor surprised.
- From How I Met Your Mother
Ted: (knowingly) I'm right with you, buddy.Barney: (nodding) You are now. Because I explained it to you.
- Barney reveals his season-long crush on Robin to Ted, who (like everyone else in the series) had figured this one out episodes ago.
- Ted's insistence on hiding the fact that he was "edgy" radio show host Dr. X in college. Not only does everyone know it (including Barney and Robin, who didn't even go to Wesleyan), but they all tell him time and again that they know it. Finally, in season 8's "The Stamp Tramp," Ted admits that he was Dr. X, with Lily leading everyone else into a coordinated Spit Take to show their "surprise".
- On The Invisible Man, Darien prevents a priest in a chemical-induced psychosis from bludgeoning a man while he is invisible. Later he goes to the confession box after the priest has been administered the anti-psycho serum. To his surprise, the priest knew about him and the project that made him invisible.
Father Tom: You stopped me from killing a man.Darien: What're you talking about? I got there right after you dropped that poker. Surely that must've been God that saved you.Father Tom: I don't think God sneaks up on a man and puts him in a half-nelson. It was you. Invisible you.
- On The Mentalist, when Wayne Rigsby and Grace Van Pelt revealed that they were in a relationship, Cho comments that "Half the building knew. The only person who didn't know is the one glaring at you." As Lisbon glares at them.
- May only half qualify but in an episode of Psych while drunk Lassiter admits that none of the higher-ups at the police department actually believes he's a psychic and are only playing along due to his impressive track record. Though, it is also clear that a good number of officers do buy into the psychic act.
- Being Human, first episode: New vampire Lauren corners George and does her big scary build-up reveal about the stuff of nightmares being real and herself being a vampire about to kill him. Then she is perplexed when he doesn't react scared. Too bad George is a werewolf and has been sharing a house with another vampire for some time.
- Law & Order: Criminal Intent: When Megan Wheeler finally tells Ross she's pregnant, he's less than shocked. She only replies that if they'd been female, they would have figured it out weeks ago.
- It's implied earlier in the episode that Nichols had figured it out some time ago, but Ross convinced him not to bring it up with Wheeler because of the potential implications of asking a woman if she's pregnant.
- On M*A*S*H, Frank Burns and Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan had a secret relationship for the first few seasons. Although as Hawkeye once observed, "The only person in Korea who doesn't know about them is MacArthur's pipe stuffer."
- ER's fourth season started with ex-lovers Dr. Doug Ross and Nurse Carol Hathaway (George Clooney and Juliana Margulies) reconciling and having a "secret romance" (due to past experiences, she was a bit shy to commit at first). During the season's Christmas Episode, Carol announced at the hospital's Christmas party that she and Doug were together again. After an awkward silence, a nurse's aid(who had apparently won the office pool) held out her hand and said, "Pay up!"
- Lanie and Esposito are trying to keep their relationship a secret from their co-workers, and several times just barely manage to cover up verbal slips or dodge questions about their weekend plans. At the end of the episode, Castle, Beckett, and Ryan talk about how cute it is that they think nobody knows.
- Castle, Beckett and Esposito are torn up about telling Ryan that his fiancee slept with a pick-up artist a month after they started dating. When they're finally about to break the news, Ryan nonchalantly announces that he already knows and doesn't care because they weren't exclusive at the time.
- Castle and Beckett are finally on the receiving end, multiple times.
- Martha reveals she knew they finally had sex even though they thought they'd fooled her by Beckett hiding in a closet and then sneaking out of the apartment.
- After just about everyone else knows they still keep it secret from Captain Gates, assuming she'd use their relationship as an excuse to break them up. When Castle saves Beckett from a bomb, Gates tells her that this would be a good time for Beckett to kiss him as a thank you. She's offended that they didn't think she was a good enough detective to realize what was going on.
- On Glee, Kurt believes that his father doesn't know he's gay. In the episode "Preggers", he comes out to his father, who says that he's known since Kurt was three and he asked for a "sensible pair of heels" for his birthday.
- In one episode of Simon & Simon, the B-plot revolved around the partners trying to dispose of their recently deceased father's possessions without letting his widow learn about his truly impressive magazine collection. At the end of the episode, she quite calmly and casually asks over dinner, "Have you decided what to do with your father's dirty magazines?"
- On The X-Files, there are a lot of secrets. The paternity of Scully's baby is not one of them. Even though it's played up as Who's Your Daddy? and Scully doesn't volunteer any information about her pregnancy at all, everybody knows who William's father is. Skinner and the Gunmen admit as much at various points that they know it's Mulder.
- On The Amazing Race 19, Ethan & Jenna wanted to keep it a secret that they had both won Survivor in order to keep the other teams from targeting them. However, at the same time they were telling this to the camera, the other teams were talking about it while waiting for their flight.
- On Once Upon a Time, Mary Margaret (a.k.a. Snow White) admits to her roommate Emma that she's been having an affair with David (Prince Charming). Emma says she knows, and Mary Margaret demands to know how she found out:
Emma: I'm the sheriff. You're a lovesick school teacher. It wasn't hard.
- The relationship between Renly and Loras in Game of Thrones is the worst-kept secret; everyone seemed to know.
Jaime: It's all true about Renly. His proclivities were the worst-kept secret at court.
- As the seasons go on, the fact that Cersei's three children were fathered by Jamie, her twin brother, may have eclipsed it, if it weren't already the worst-kept secret.
- This is part of the premise of the very first season of The Wire. Officially, Avon Barksdale is just an unassuming Baltimorean from the West Side projects with no criminal record whatsoever, and almost no one in the Baltimore Police Department has any reason to have ever heard his name. Except, anyone who lives anywhere near the projects knows that he's actually the biggest drug dealer in the city and that he's had countless people murdered. The Police Department's embarrassment from having to admit that they're some of the few people who don't know this is part of what spurs the criminal investigation in the first season.
- On Lois & Clark, Clark missed several opportunities to reveal his secret identity to Lois. At the beginning of the season two finale, he finally musters the courage to tell her, only to cop out with a Last-Second Word Swap. And at the beginning of the next episode, immediately after the cliffhanger... it turns out that she figured it out already in the interim.
Clark: Will you marry me?
Lois: Who's asking — Clark or Superman?
- Similar to the above instance, in the ninth season finale of Smallville, Lois finally realizes that Clark is the Red-Blue Blur, the mysterious savior of Metropolis. She spends the first couple of episodes in Season Ten dealing with this revelation, briefly visiting Carter Hall's archeology team in Egypt before returning to Metropolis. When Clark finally admits to Lois that he's the Blur, she rushes into his arms hard enough to knock him off his feet, kisses him and asks, "What took you so long?"
- Earlier in the series, Clark likewise came out to Chloe as having powers several episodes after she discovered this for herself (with some help from a teleporting guest star who wanted her to know). What she didn't know was that he's not a Meteor Freak — he's a freaking alien.
- From Yes, Minister:
Sir Humphrey: Ladysmith House is top secret.Hacker: How can a seven-story building in Walthamstow be top secret?
- Star Trek: Voyager. Security officer Tuvok catches fellow officers Tom Paris and B'Elanna Torres making out on an Engineering console while on duty. Tom asks Tuvok not to report this to Captain Janeway, but Tuvok coldly rejects the suggestion that he might lie to his captain. It turns out Tuvok didn't tell Janeway, but she knows anyway as half the ship is gossiping about their affair.
- On The Orville, Claire and Isaac reveal to Claire's children Ty and Marcus that they're dating, to a complete non-reaction. On a ship as small as the Orville, a secret like that doesn't stay a secret for very long. They note that about the only thing they were wondering was when they were going to actually tell them.
- Saturday Night Live has a parody of Undercover Boss in which Kylo Ren goes undercover at Starkiller Base as "Matt, the radar technician". He spends so much time playing up how awesome Kylo is — and Force-chokes one guy who pisses him off — that when he announces who he really is, nobody is surprised.'
- In another sketch parodying Superman, Lois, Perry White, and Jimmy all clearly know that Clark is Superman, and he's doing a very sloppy job at trying to keep it a secret (you could even see his tights peaking out underneath the sleeves of his shirt). They spend the entire sketch having fun and trolling him.
- Childish Gambino's "That Power" is about making all details of his life into this trope, so they can't be used against him.
- It was treated as a big deal when Insane Clown Posse revealed themselves as being evangelical Christians in a 2010 interview. Which is odd, since their music had always been full of Christian ideas and symbolism and they had already spelled it out in the track Thy Unveiling back in 2002.
- Much to his surprise, this was pretty much the reaction of Barry Manilow's hardcore fandom when he came out as gay.
- There were a lot of jokes along these lines on late-night TV when Ricky Martin came out as gay.
- Meanwhile, when Clay Aiken came out, a group of fans reportedly sued his label for misrepresenting him as implicitly heterosexual.
- Triple H's marriage to Stephanie McMahon is an outright Open Secret. Long story short, Hunter and Steph were married in-storyline and "divorced" in 2002, before getting married for real in 2003. All the smarks knew about it, and with Hunter all but outright murdering the Fourth Wall continuously over the years (especially during his second run in DX in 2006), the general audience came to know about it as well. It finally reached a point where they finally admitted it and used it to build up a WrestleMania match between Triple H and Randy Orton in 2009. Hunter even explicitly stated that their marriage is "the worst-kept secret in the business."
- Before he officially came out, everyone knew that Pat Patterson was gay. However, asides from some thinly-veiled references, everybody stays away from the topic. It's just one of those things that everybody knows but nobody talks about.
- To quote an in-character passage from Glantri: Kingdom of Magic, about one of this Mystara-setting nation's several wizard-princes: "He hides the fact that he's a werewolf? How droll! We've all known that for years."
- Played with in Fallout: New Vegas: Dead Money, when Vera Keyes confesses to Sinclair that she has been scamming him all along in an attempt to get at his money. Sinclair already knew, and had been playing along and biding his time until he could deliver an act of truly brutal revenge... but Vera ultimately having a change of heart and admitting the truth on her own convinces him to forgive her.
- In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Woozie's blindness. He's convinced that he acts normally enough to be indistinguishable from someone sighted, but he feels his way around everywhere and fires a MP5 like... well, someone who can't see. Everyone humours him.
Woozie: I have a confession to make. I... I'm blind.CJ: No shit.
- It was a somewhat shocking twist at the end of Art of Fighting that the mysterious Mr. Karate was actually Takuma Sakazaki, Ryo and Yuri's father and teacher of the Kyokugen style. Unfortunately, Takuma must be senile, because he pulls the grand reveal a few more times, including The King of Fighters 96 and 97, well after everyone else already knows.
- Lee can actually invoke this in Episode 3 of The Walking Dead, where he can tell anyone in the group that he was a convicted murderer. If Lee tells Kenny but not Lily, then she is shocked to find out he knows this later in the Episode.
- In Tales of Vesperia, Estelle thinks she's managed to hide her status as an Imperial Princess from the rest of the party, but by the time it's officially revealed, both Yuri and Rita have figured it out. Only Karol is surprised.
- Similarly, though much more tragically, in Tales of the Abyss, Luke thinks he's hidden his impending disintegration - yeah, literally, from everyone except Jade, who, of course, figured it out right away. Tear finds out not much later from Mieu, who had overheard Jade and Luke, and in the ending, Guy and Anise reveal that they, too, knew all along.
- From Dwarf Fortress:
- HFS, the Hidden Fun Stuff, is always hidden in spoilers as per a community tradition. Nowadays, though, nearly every player discovers them through the forums or the DF wiki. The 'secrecy' is not helped by the fact that the wiki article on them is protected only by a scroll down wall, and they are discussed on the forums openly in every way save the name, which, as it was told above, is always hidden in spoilers.
- Adamantine, too. Also called 'cotton candy', the name coming from an extended metaphor of freakin' Hell itself being a 'clown car' (probably due to endless numbers of HFS in there), and adamantine essentially being a cork that seals the entrance into there, thus being next to it. Heck, the words 'cotton candy' are often coloured cyan on the forums, further playing up the Open Secret status of it. Furthermore, it's not even much of a secret in-game, since it can be found in the status screen's 'stone' tab.
- In Avernum 3, the player characters are spies from Avernum (Beneath the Earth) exploring the surface in secret. Anyone with a brain knows or suspects you're Avernite spies immediately, due to your pale skin and conspicuous behavior. No one really cares enough to report you, since the Empire has much more important things to worry about.
- In Magicka, you discover to your shock and horror halfway through the game that your mentor Vlad, who repeatedly assures you he's not a vampire, wears evening-wear all the time, has a Romanian accent, slick hair, opera cape and is seen sucking blood fro-, I mean, 'having a conversation' with some poor villager that happens to get tossed off a cliff the moment he notices you've been observing him... Is actually a werewolf! No, wait. Not a werewolf. The other 'v' monster. 'Vampire', that's it. He's secretly a vampire. Shocking, we know. We apologize for the lack of spoiler tags.
- In City of Heroes, the existence of Oroborous and Time Travel, in general, is supposed to be a secret. (The badge that you get when you gain access to their headquarters outside of time is even called "Entrusted With The Secret".) In practice, however, its utility as a teleport nexus for getting around the city quickly means that heroes frequently open glowy/whooshy time portals in plain sight, right in the middle of Atlas Plaza, and most characters arrange to gain access as soon as possible rather than waiting to learn the "secret" by doing one of the mission arcs that are intended to award it.
- In World of Warcraft since the Cataclysm expansion, the zone of Azshara has a secret goblin R&D facility, cleverly named the Secret Lab. Several goblin non-player characters talk about how it'll make a good tourist attraction, and there's a visitor's guide book about the lab to be read at the nearby rocketway terminal. Goblins being goblins, "secret" and "R&D lab" are not particularly compatible concepts.
- A variation occurs in Mass Effect 3 with Barla Von, the volus agent of the Shadow Broker on the Citadel. He makes a big deal of impressing Commander Shepard with some of the Shadow Broker's secret plans, since, of course, he is one of the few in regular contact with the super-secretive galactic information broker ... otherwise known as Liara T'Soni, who became the latest person to assume that identity with Shepard's help; who is running the operation out of Shepard's ship; who is currently sitting in a cafe less than 100 yards away from Barla Von's office; and — if you so choose — whom Shepard is sleeping with. Shepard is too polite to tell him. Or is amused by the squirt's delusions of grandeur.
- The best part? Barla Von doesn't know who the Shadow Broker really is, but at that point in the series, he's about the only one. Liara's identity is not only known to Shepard, but it's also known to the Normandy crew, Cerberus, Admiral Hackett (and presumably Alliance command and their Council allies, if nothing else Aethyta and the asari governments know), the geth, the krogan, the quarians, the Reapers...
- Team Fortress 2: One of the Spy's taunts upon dominating an enemy Spy: "We all knew you were a spy!"
- Not to mention the map Double Cross. From the map description:
"Secret bases concealed behind the unassuming facades of a factory and a farm built next door to each other fool absolutely no one in the area, who sometimes gather around to 'watch all them mercenaries fight over that Spy base'."
- Not to mention the map Double Cross. From the map description:
- In Persona 5, it turns out the whole party knew who The Mole was all along, and what looks like you falling into their trap was actually them falling into yours.
- Bioshock 2: Stanley Poole desperately tells Delta not to let Lamb know he was the one who drowned everyone in Dionysus Park to hide the fact he was spending her money on women, booze and plasmids. When Delta confronts him, Lamb laughs over the loudspeaker and tells him she knew already, and Delta can do whatever he wants to Poole.
- Near the start of don't take it personally babe, it just ain't your story, Akira realizes he's gay and works up the courage to come out. Turns out everyone, up to and including his mothers, was perfectly aware of it, and they're just surprised at how long it took him.
- During the Prologue of Grisaia in Grisaia no Rakuen Yumiko was apparently under the impression that nobody knew she was the rich daughter of the Sakaki family. They did, but they just didn't care. If nothing else, Makina and Michiru are from decently wealthy families themselves.
- Little Busters!: If Riki manages to beat him, the mysterious Mask The Saito will finally reveal himself to be...Kyousuke! Riki's reaction is basically 'yeah, I know', given that that'd been pretty obvious since at least the moment he opened his mouth. Kyousuke is quite disappointed by the lackluster reaction, so Riki makes an attempt to humour him and pretend he really didn't know, but Kyousuke just advises him not to bother.
- Check, Please!: When Bitty and Jack finally come out to the team as a couple, not only did nobody was surprised, they actually had bets over when they would come out to them. Dex and Nursey don't seem surprised either, with Chowder being the only one surprised by it.
- Gilgamesh Wulfenbach of Girl Genius has saved Punch and Judy and still thinks his father doesn't know about it. Granted, they both have huge spy rings, so he probably won't be terribly surprised when he finds out...
- Friendly Hostility: Collin realizes he's gay and tells this to his boyfriend Fox. Fox's reaction is less than surprised, to say the least. It's more understandable if you know that Collin has been insisting that he's asexual, and probably views being attracted to only one man as less shameful than being attracted to men in general. Still, considering that Fox has been Collin's boyfriend and only romantic partner for years, come on now...
Collin: Act surprised, or I'll strangle you with your intestines.Fox: Sorry, but this is like that "Pope is secretly Catholic" shocker.
- El Goonish Shive:
- When Nanase came out of the closet, only Tedd didn't know. Most everyone found out independently one way or another, with several (including her crush) learning minutes after Nanase herself realized it. Everyone conspired to keep quiet and let Nanase come out when she was ready, something Justin wished he could've done.
- On the other hand, when Rhoda learns that Diane and Lucy knew she was in a relationship with Catalina and that she's been living a lie for basically no reason, she is... less than pleased.
- Ice by Faith Hicks: Cirr's parentage.
- After five years of being in a Transparent Closet, Marluxia of Ansem Retort comes out. As Namine put it, it was anti-climatic. Zex even asked why this was more important than Seinfeld reruns.
- In Girls with Slingshots, Jamie thinks she's obtained "proof" that Thea and Angel weren't actually "playing board games" in the back. Hazel tries to tell her that everybody knew about them. Subverted when Jamie's "evidence" is revealed to show Angel with someone who isn't Thea.
- In Dragon Tails, when Lemuel reveals his crush on Firewing, Goldy responds with this gem:
Goldy: You know, for a dragon that's normally unwilling to speak up when his tail's on fire, you've sure been broadcasting that you like this girl. Everyone in the forest thinks your crush on Firewing is very cute.
- In PvP, Max comes out to the office. The response: "And...?" note Francis was the only one who hadn't figured it out already.
- In Spinnerette, Mecha Maid - under the influence of a Hate Plague - accuses Spinny of being ashamed of her, inadvertently outing them both in front of the Canadian superheroes. Green Gable's stunned response to this revelation is "That was a secret?"
- In Homestuck, Terezi and Gamzee begin a kismesis in secret and constantly sneak around the asteroid to see each other. Within a year, however, everyone else has already found out, although Dave and Karkat don't know that the other knows and try to keep it a secret from each other.
- Karkat lives in a caste system which determines everyone's place in society by their blood colour. Karkat's is bright red, a mutant colour which would get him killed if it were public knowledge; he's spent his whole life fearing discovery. All of the other players know his blood colour by now, and nobody cares...they have much more pressing concerns and they're all pretty much friends by that point. Unfortunately, Karkat himself doesn't know this.
- In Drowtales, it's implied after a 15 year timeskip that most of the city of Chel'el'sussoloth heavily suspects that The Empress Diva'ratrika has been dead for close to 30 years but just haven't been able to prove it until Kiel'ndia very publicly assassinates the Body Double they were using as a stand in which finally gives an allied clan an excuse to pull out of the conflict. Likewise, it's implied that most of the Sarghress already know that Ariel's biological mother is actually Mel'arnach and not Quain'tana despite the official story to the contrary.
- Lavali of Sandra on the Rocks genuinely believed that she managed to keep her homosexuality a secret from her brother and their parents, up until she "came out" to said brother after he witnessed her and her girlfriend breaking up. However, it does seem like she managed to successfully keep it a secret from everyone who has never lived in the same house/apartment as her.
- Olga from Sister Claire believed her relationship with fellow nun Jackson was a well-guarded secret. That delusion lasted up until she met Azi, who put it together in literal minutes of showing up. And to her further annoyance, every other Sister already knew as well.
Jackson: That cat has been out of the bag a long time.
- Nineteen-Ninety-Something: When Kendra confesses to Jocelyn and Michelle that there was a boy she liked, they already knew she was talking about Aaron.
Jocelyn: You only talk to our boyfriends and one other guy. Who the fuck else would it be?Michelle: Also, all these drawings of naked guys with long hair.note
- In Red vs. Blue, due to a complicated chain of events, Simmons is pretending to be a Blue. Church knows it's really Simmons the entire time but doesn't say anything, instead using it to needle him mercilessly.
- In Recreation, when the other fill Tucker in on what happened in Reconstruction, his response to the revelation that Church is the Alpha AI is that he'd figured that out a long time ago, and was surprised no one else had noticed.
- In Marble Hornets, not even Jay is particularly surprised to find that Tim is actually Masky. It's those sideburns, man.
- Missy Kix from Moshi Monsters is supposed to be a secret agent, but she released a song about it.
- In Death Note: The Abridged Series (kpts4tv) A random receptionist at the police station knows that Light is Kira because he watched Death Note.
- Dragon Ball Z Abridged does this with Freeza's transformations:
Freeza: You have no idea what true power I possess...
Vegeta: It's that you can transform, right?
Freeza: I can transform-okay, when and how?
Vegeta: Guldo told me.
Guldo: So...did you know that Freeza can transform?
Vegeta (uninterested): Huh. That right?
Guldo: Yeah. And Burter's gay.
Vegeta (legitimately surprised): Really!
- Taken Up to Eleven in the SCP Foundation tale Everyone Knows, where everyone in the world (except for one person) has known about anomalies for years but kept them secret. The SCP Foundation alone employs almost 3.5 billion people.
- On Daria, Quinn spent four-and-a-half seasons pretending that Daria was anything but her sister, especially to her friends in the Fashion Club. When she finally admits that she and Daria are sisters, Sandi tries making a big deal about it, only for Stacy and Tiffany to reveal they already knew, but simply never said anything. When you think about it, it actually makes a lot of sense that they would already know—Daria had revealed to pretty much everyone in the first episode that she and Quinn are sisters.
Quinn: Why shouldn't I act sisterly towards her? After all, she's my sister.Sandi: Oh my God, did you hear that? Quinn just admitted that weird girl is her sister!Stacy: Um, of course she is, Sandi. We knew that.Tiffany: We were just being polite about it.
- The Simpsons:
Homer: Hey Marge, here's another bombshell: I like beer!
- When Patty Bouvier came out of the closet, Homer treated it as though she'd done something as simple as waxing her car that morning. Marge, on the other hand, was completely shocked by it, despite the fact that she once saw Patty making out with another woman just a few feet away from her.
Homer: As you know, theres been a lot of talk about divorce lately, and I think your mom might not be happy with me.Lisa: Youve done a lot of crazy stuff over the years, and she stood by you. Why would she leave you now?Homer: Cause theres lots of stuff she doesnt know about!Lisa: You mean like your poker shack out in the swamp?Homer: Mmm-Hmm.Lisa: She knows.
- From "A Milhouse Divided":
- In Kim Possible, Area 51 is rumored to be a secret alien research base. The main characters eventually arrive at Area 51 to discover that it actually is a secret alien research base, but with a twist — authorities let the secret out, knowing that the public would believe it to be wild rumors, thus keeping the "secret" safe.
Ed: Dude, seriously, what type of secret hideout is this? Everyone knows you live here, man!Drakken: One magazine subscription and suddenly everyone's got your address...
- Most of the villain lairs, which are obviously intended to be secret and untraceable by the villains themselves but are easily found by a ten-year-old boy, Global Justice and/or pretty much anyone the plot wants to know. Particularly notable with Dementor and Drakken, who really push the "secret lair" schtick. In one memorable case, Drakken's lair was found no problem by his mother. Like everything, Lampshaded—this time by Motor Ed.
- An episode of Drawn Together deals with the housemates doing a role-playing exercise to help Xandir tell his parents he is gay. They (pretending to be his parents) initially simply exclaim "Duh!" when he tells them, but he accuses them of not taking it seriously. Thus, the rest of the episode is an extended fantasy in which the characters all take on roles and act out an elaborate story of what might happen when he really tells them, involving running away, prostitution and eventual murder. At the end of the episode, he finally comes out to his real parents... who simply exclaim "Duh!"
- In King of the Hill, when Peggy finds out about Nancy's years-long affair with John Redcorn, she confesses this discovery to Hank. Hank's more distressed that this is news to Peggy than over the revelation itself. Peggy, in turn, is horrified that everybody seemed to know except her. (The only people who didn't know were Peggy, Nancy's husband Dale, and their suspiciously dark-skinned son, Joseph).
- In The Fairly OddParents!, Timmy travels back to the time of Dimmsdale's founding to meet its founder, Dale Dimm. Alden Bitterroot, the witch hunter, is unmasked as a witch himself when Timmy points out that his feet don't touch the ground. The Mayor says that "many of [them] were quite perplexed about that."
- In American Dad!, Steve discovers that Stan, his dad, is bald, and they promise to share with the world their secrets and live with them, which Stan doesn't. From the half on, is a race between Steve wanting to reveal Stan's secret and Stan wanting to avoid this—in the end, the rest of the family reveals that they already knew Stan was bald and that he wore a wig, but simply never said anything.
- Moral Orel revealed sometime in the second season that Orel's father Clay is actually the mayor of Moralton...and everyone but Orel and the audience knew it already.
- In the Doug episode "Doug Says Goodbye", everyone was able to recognize Skeeter despite his Paper-Thin Disguise.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- "Green Isn't Your Color": Spike confesses his crush on Rarity to Pinkie Pie and Twilight Sparkle. While Pinkie is surprised, Twilight isn't, and claims that nearly everyone in Ponyville can tell. The joke is pushed further by having him wear a shirt decorated with Rarity's face and heart throughout the episode. But for Spike's sake, Pinkie tells Twilight she should keep it a secret anyway. Though she ends up accidentally blurting it out to somepony, as a result of the stress for keeping both Rarity and Fluttershy's secret of each other from each other.
Pinkie Pie: (sighs) You were doing so well.
- This is later referenced in "Secret of my Excess", when Spike tries to confess his crush on Rarity at the end, only to be interrupted by Rarity's hoof on his mouth, as Rarity knew all along.
- In "Brotherhooves Social", Big Macintosh fools absolutely no one (except maybe the love-struck stallion judge) when he disguises himself as a mare to compete in the Sisterhooves Social with Apple Bloom, but manages to enter anyway after talking with the judges. He later gets in big trouble after his disguise falls off, but only circumstantially; even the judges could tell he was a stallion, clarifying the term "sister" is incredibly loose in definition. He got disqualified for roughhousing.
- "Green Isn't Your Color": Spike confesses his crush on Rarity to Pinkie Pie and Twilight Sparkle. While Pinkie is surprised, Twilight isn't, and claims that nearly everyone in Ponyville can tell. The joke is pushed further by having him wear a shirt decorated with Rarity's face and heart throughout the episode. But for Spike's sake, Pinkie tells Twilight she should keep it a secret anyway. Though she ends up accidentally blurting it out to somepony, as a result of the stress for keeping both Rarity and Fluttershy's secret of each other from each other.
- The Futurama episode "Crimes of the Hot" features a condensed variant after Bender receives an invite to an all-robot party from President Nixon.
Zoidberg: Strange. Why would Nixon, an awkward, uncomfortable man, suddenly throw a party, one of the most social events imaginable? (clicks claw) It's a trap is why! They're going to deactivate all the robots! (beat) I don't hear any gasping.
Leela: We all figured that out.
Zoidberg: (disappointed) Awww.
- Arthur had a slight variant on this. In "I Wanna Hold Your Hand," Binky spends most of the episode trying to keep a secret from the Tough Customers that he sometimes still holds his Mom's hand. When he does get caught out, it's not that they already knew, but the reaction is complete disappointment... that Binky's secret wasn't something more interesting. The Tough Customers don't think any less of him for holding his mom's hand but chide him that next time he has some big secret, it had better be something really juicy.
- Hey Arnold! creator-Craig Bartlett has mentioned that he wanted to do a scene where Helga hides from everyone else and recites her love poems to Arnold in secret, only to have everyone suddenly yell that they already know that she's in love with him. In the actual show, the only people who know about Helga's crush on Arnold are Phoebe (Helga's best friend), Lila Sawyer (Helga's love rival), Dr. Bliss (Helga's psychologist), and Brainy (Helga's Stalker with a Crush).
- Meta-example on South Park: We are introduced to the mysterious Kid Hero Mysterion, and the audience never finds out who, exactly, he (or she?) is. Then Mysterion reappears as part of the Coon and Friends Trilogy. The whole first episode passes, still without revealing Mysterion's identity...only for Stan to casually address him by name ten minutes into the second episode. It's Kenny.
- In the episode "Over the Edge" of Batman: The Animated Series, Jim Gordon learns that Barbara is Batgirl after she's killed while in costume, and everything goes to complete crap: In his grief, Jim swears vengeance against Batman, and even recruits Bane to help bring him in. Batman's identity is exposed, Bruce Wayne is a wanted criminal forced to flee Wayne Manor forever, and all the villains he's ever beaten up want to sue him. Of course, that was All Just a Dream caused by Scarecrow's fear toxin. Barbara then tries to confess her identity to her father for real to prevent him from finding out the same way he did in the dream, only for Jim to cut her off and imply that he knew all along and is proud of her, but he doesn't want to "officially" know.
- In the Looney Tunes short Plane Daffy, Nazi spy Hata Mari uses an x-ray to reveal a military secret Daffy swallowed to Hitler. The message turns out to be "Hitler is a stinker", to which Goering and Goebbels say that everybody knows that. When Hitler gives them a Death Glare over it, they shoot themselves.
Daffy: I lose more darn Nutzis that way.
- Enid once spent an entire episode of OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes trying to keep her childhood friends from finding out she's a ninja and not a witch. In the end, they admit they knew already.
- In "The Tale of the Dash in the Dark" on Peter Rabbit, Benjamin spends most of the story trying to hide the fact that he's afraid of the dark from Peter and Lily, only for him to finally say that he has something to tell them and them to say "You're afraid of the dark?"
- Throughout the first season of Gravity Falls, Dipper tries his hardest to keep his crush on Wendy a secret. Mabel finds out almost immediately and Soos offhandedly mentions knowing it during the first season finale. When he finally admits it to her in season two, Wendy tells him it was obvious and she could hear him repeatedly admitting it. Making him feel more embarrassed.
- The nature of the Horde in She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. Adora is portrayed as the only character who fully bought into the Horde's propaganda and believed that they were a force for good. The first instance of her learning this is played for laughs, while the second coincides with her HeelFace Turn after seeing a Horde battalion destroy a civilian village first-hand.
- Mid-way into the first season of Voltron: Legendary Defender, Pidge reveals to the whole crew that she is actually a girl. Lance is the only one surprised by this: The audience had already seen that Shiro and Allura found out by this point. Keith and Hunk had suspected as much. Coran assumed Pidge's actual gender immediately and never thought otherwise.
- In the series finale to Littlest Pet Shop (2012), Blythe finally reveals to her dad that she can talk to pets only for him to admit that he knew all along.
- In "I Want to Play Hide and Seek" on Little Princess, Princess is highly impressed at herself for finding a dusty, cobwebby storage closet and nobody thought to look in there to find her. She's so impressed that she decides she's going to make it into her special "secret room." It later turns out that pretty much everyone in the castle already did know about the room, it's just that they didn't think to look for her there the first time because they didn't think she would want to hide in such a dismal, dusty room.
- A running gag in the DuckTales (2017) episode "The Missing Links of Moorshire!" is that the two kelpies haunting the mystical golf course the characters have become trapped in keep showing up to gloatingly explain various dangers of the situation to the ducks... seconds after the ducks have worked it out for themselves.
- One episode of Miraculous Ladybug opens with Alya announcing to Alix, Mylene, Rose, and Juleka that they have a major reveal: Marinette has a crush. Alix immediately points out that everyone even knows it's on Adrien. Marinette is mortified, until Rose assures her that Adrien himself doesn't know.