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Exposition Already Covered

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Chris: There are only seven marshmallows on this plate. When I call your name, come up and claim your marshmallow. The camper—
Gwen: [quickly] Who does not receive a marshmallow must immediately return to the "Dock of Shame", catch the "Boat of Losers" and leave. Can't we just get this over with?
Chris: Fine. Whatever. Spoil the moment.

Exposition is used to give information to the characters, along with the audience, on what's going on. One way to give exposition is by having a character explain it, usually by Mr. Exposition. But when the character is about to start explaining things, they don't get the opportunity do it because someone else does it for them. When this happens, they will get annoyed or be disappointed because they wanted to explain it.

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There are several reasons why the expositor would get frustrated if this happens to them. The character probably did a lot of research on a certain subject and is ready to reveal what they discover only to find out that it was All for Nothing since someone else already has knowledge of the subject. The character knows how shocking and amazing the information is that they want to be the one to reveal it to surprise everyone, only to be disappointed that someone else beats them to it. The character is Mr. Exposition and their purpose is to explain things, but when someone does their job for them, they would get irritated because if someone already explains it then what exactly is their purpose then? They might also feel embarrass if the information they were about to give may be inaccurate, they're just stating the obvious, or Everybody Knew Already. Whatever the case, the expositor should have some kind of reaction when someone takes over for them.

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On the other hand, there's several reasons why the other character would takeover the exposition for them. The main reasons is the character just happens to have that exact knowledge of the subject or Mr. Exposition is among the group already and they explain it before the expositor even starts. Because the character already has the information they need before hand, they, along with the audience, don't want to hear the same exposition again, unless it has new details. If the other character doesn't explain the subject they could just make an accurate guess on what's going by observing their surroundings or with a Gut Feeling, and the expositor can only confirm their guess with an irritated tone. The character knows the information the expositor is giving is inaccurate so they interrupt them and tells the correct information. The information the expositor is about to give is long and complicated so another character takes over to give a short and simple version. The character can also take over for petty reasons or just to troll the expositor. Perhaps the expositor is about to say something they were not suppose to reveal so another character takes over before the secret is revealed and they give a less revealing exposition. That way The Reveal can be discovered later on in the story.

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This may backfire on the character who takes over for the expositor because while they may know what's going on, they may not have all the facts and details on the subject and expositor will just assume since they know everything they probably don't want to hear what more they have to say. The expositor may come back later in the story to explain the missing details. Regardless of who gives the exposition, the audience is still informed on what's going on.

Compare As You Know.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • In How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift? Chapter 42, "Burn Machine", when Hibiki, Akemi, and Satomi find a burn machine in the gym and questions what it is, Jason Sgatham is about to explain it to them but Hibiki ignores him and asks Machio about it. Jason gives him a Death Glare with a creepy smile.
  • Sometimes happens on Yu-Gi-Oh! when one duelist will start to explain the effect of one of his cards, only for his opponent to interrupt by revealing that he already knows what the card does.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End: Played for Laughs. Mr. Gibbs, the series resident Mr. Exposition, begins explaining to Will what a green flash of light at sunset means, commenting that he's seen his fair share despite the rarity of the event. Cue Pintel, somewhat excitedly, blurting out that it just means a soul has returned from the land of the dead. Pintel notices Gibbs glaring at him and he apologizes.

    Literature 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Beakman's World: Normally when both Beakman and Lester are dealing with a problem it's Beakman who does the explanation. However, there are several times across the series when it's Lester the one who explains the solution to that particular problem. Subverted in that Beakman doesn't get annoy himself but asks Lester how he knew about the solution.
  • In the Benson episode where Governor Gatling runs for reelection, it first appears that he loses. One of his opponents who also lost asks for a recount. While the the staff is pondering what they're going to do next, Kraus runs in to tell Gatling something. Before she can get it out, Katie runs in and excitedly tells them that the recount actually showed that Gatling won much to Kraus's dismay.
  • In The Big Bang Theory Season 4 "The Toast Derivation", everyone except Sheldon is gathered at Raj's apartment for dinner, and someone proposes a toast. They then tell Raj's sister Priya that if Sheldon were present, he would talk about why it's called a toast (because of an ancient Roman tradition), even though they all know that, because it's just one of his quirks. Later, when Sheldon joins them, he starts to explain that very fact to Priya only to have her preempt him by repeating what the others have told her, much to his dismay.
  • Friends: In Season 2, "The One with Ross's New Girlfriend", Rachel is so upset over Ross having a new girlfriend named Julie, when Ross and Julie try to talk about their horrible bus ride, Rachel immediately gives away the ending to the story under the excuse that the story was just so good, it was all she could think about, leaving Ross and Julie just a bit irritated with her.
  • In Monk, Season 2 "Mr. Monk Goes to Jail", Monk's assistant Sharona discovers the solution to the mystery independently of Monk, and the climax had her tell it to the other characters as they were searching for him. Once they rescued Monk, he begins to explain the mystery when Sharona interrupts him, making him mildly annoyed.
    "Yeah, we know - I just did the whole summation!"

    Video Games 
  • Explanations behind elements in OFF use a montage-filled cutscene; when Zacharie reveals the secret of the fifth element, the same cutscene plays until the Batter tells him that he already knows.
  • Professor Layton has Stachenscarfen. He was the one who gave the hint coin tutorial in the first game and he has tried giving it multiple times since, only to be beaten to the punch by someone else.

    Webcomics 

    Western Animation 
  • In Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Season 7 "Kangarilla and the Magic Tarantula", the trio meets a ghost who tells them he's from Smiley Junction. When Frylock asks him if he meant Three-Arm Junction, Meatwad asks what it is and then Frylock explains the history of Smiley Junction. When Frylock finishes, the disappointed ghost tells him that was his story and he was going to tell it.
  • In the first episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Sokka cuts off Katara's exposition of what waterbending means. She's annoyed less because he did it, and more because he called her weird in the process.
  • In Bob's Burgers, Season 4 "Purple Rain-Union", after Linda has a nervous breakdown and flees from her high school reunion when her old high school band isn't going her way, Jen the babysitter gives her a Rousing Speech about not worrying about what people will think and do what you love, which gives Linda the courage to return to her reunion. When Linda returns, Bob, who has a huge pimple on his nose, was about to give Linda his own inspirational speech similar to Jen about his worries about his pimple but he was brave to be seen in public and still had fun, but Linda cuts him off and tells him Jen already gave her the inspirational speech and she's fine. Bob didn't mind and he went back to hang out with his new friends, thanks to his pimple.
  • In DuckTales (2017) Season 1 "The Missing Links of Moorshire!", when Scrooge and his family, along with Glomgold, are transported to a mystical golf course, they meet two kelpies, Briar and Bramble. When Bramble asks them if they wonder where they are, they already figured out where they are and the purpose of the golf course by observing their surrounding, which annoys the kelpies.
    Bramble: Bet you're all wondering what this place is?
    Louie: It's a mystical golf course, right?
    Huey: Did ancient Scottish Druids build a secret course so they could keep playing golf, even after Black Donald got it banned?
    Briar: (annoyed) Uh, yep. That's all correct.
    • Also happens in "From the Confidential Casefiles of Agent 22!". In a flashback, Ludwig Von Drake is trying to brief SHUSH Agent 22 (the future Mrs. Beakley) on her mission. To his annoyance, Agent 22 has already been reading the casefile, and interrupts him every time he speaks to give the exact same exposition from it. Von Drake's exposition only goes uninterrupted when he introduces Scrooge McDuck as Agent 22's mission partner.
  • In Futurama Season 4 "Teenage Mutant Leela's Hurdles", when the Planet Express Crew are searching for the Fountain of Aging, Farnsworth and Leela notice everything in the solar system they're currently in is getting older the closer they get to an ancient burnt-out sun. Before Farnsworth could state the Fountain of Aging is located on the burnt-out sun, Leela beats him to it, which angers him.
    Farnsworth: News flash! Everything's getting older the closer we get to that ancient, burnt-out sun.
    Leela: Dude, the Fountain of Aging must be on the sun itself.
    Farnsworth: Shut up! I was gonna say that!
  • In Home Movies Season 2 "Class Trip", Brendon, Jason, and Melissa are filming a scene in a hotel room. When Jason's character enters the scene, Melissa's character explains to Brendon's character who he is and what he's going to do. Jason tells her that she actually spoke a couple of his lines, which Melissa apologizes for.
    Melissa: Oh, no! It's Mr. Shock, my father's very own private private eye! He's been hiding in the bathroom and heard the whole thing. He must have followed me here to take the diamonds back and probably turn you into the police. He's not a man you can reason with.
    Jason: Um, I think you did a couple of my lines.
    Melissa: Sorry.
  • In House of Mouse Season 3 "Pete's Christmas Caper", in the cartoon segment "The Nutcracker", when Ludwig Von Drake is about to give Minnie a nutcracker doll, the narrator interrupts him and spoils the surprise for Minnie, which annoys Ludwig.
    Narrator: This year, Godpapa Drosselmeyer made a special gift for young Maria.
    Ludwig: Alright, little one, now this took me-
    Narrator: It has taken him all year to built.
    Ludwig: Right, all year. (back to Minnie) It's a beautiful-
    Narrator: A beautiful nutcracker.
    Ludwig: Oh! You're not a narrator, you're just a great, big, surprise spoiler!
    Narrator: Ignore me and just give her the doll!
    Ludwig: Fine, fine. (back to Minnie) Alright, here's the no longer surprise nutcracker, take it already.
  • Defied in the Rick and Morty episode "The ABCs of Beth", before Tommy can introduce himself, Rick and Beth cut him off, having already just deduced that he forcibly mated with the inhabitants of Froopyland for a source of sustenance, but he ignores them and continues to introduce himself.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In Season 9 "This Little Wiggy", when Principal Skinner is about to surprise Bart's class by introducing a special visitor, Bart cuts him off telling him that the visitor is a robot and they already saw him before coming into class. Skinner thanks Bart in an irritated tone.
      Skinner: We have a very special visitor today. But he's no ordinary visitor. In fact, uh, you might say-
      Bart: He's a robot. We saw him on the way in.
      Skinner: (irritated) Thank you, Bart. (to the robot) All right. Come in. They know.
    • In Season 10, "Treehouse of Horror IX", Homer gets a hair transplant from a deceased Snake whose hair takes over Homer's brain and controls him to get revenge on Apu, Moe, and Bart. When he gets to Bart, Lisa explains what's going on but Marge cuts her off saying everyone's already figured it out, which annoys Lisa.
      Lisa: Of course. The transplant. Somehow Snake's hair must be controlling-
      Marge: Oh, please, Lisa. Everyone's already figured that out.
    • In Season 14, "The Great Louse Detective", after Homer and Sideshow Bob corner the person who has been trying to kill Homer throughout the episode and discovers the killer's identity, Lisa arrives on the scene saying she figured out the killer's identity with the killer's name on a piece of paper. When Lisa is about to announce it, Homer interrupts her saying they already know the killer is Frank Grimes Jr., leaving Lisa embarrassed because the name she has on the paper is Bumblebee Man so she crumbles up the paper and kicks it away and pretends she figured it out instead of admitting her mistake.
  • Steven Universe: In "Serious Steven", Garnet breaks the floor to reveal a spinning mechanism under the room they were trapped in. Pearl deduces that this made the corridors they explored always wrap around to the main chamber, creating a seemingly endless loop, only for Garnet to interrupt that Steven had already figured that out. Pearl quickly shuts up in embarrassment.
  • In Total Drama Island, when one team loses, they have to vote off one of their teammates and have a ceremony at night and Chris explains to them that the camper who doesn't get a marshmallow has to leave the island. But in "Paintball Deer Hunter", Chris does the same explanation again but Gwen cuts him off and quickly finishes it for him so they can move on, which angers Chris. This scene is also the page quote.
  • In Twelve Forever Episode 23, "A Stranger Forever", after Todd and Esther discover Elmer is a thief who steals people's favorite things, they run to Reggie to warn her. When they get to her, Esther is about to warn Reggie but needs to catch her breathe, Todd comes in behind her and tells Reggie the truth about Elmer, which angers Esther since she was going to tell her.


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