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Fauxlosophic Narration
aka: Fauxlosophical Narration

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Max's voice: The bartender is shiny stuff and dreams are made of stooped necromancers. He sings like a banana wrist, having strayed too close to the constellation on their shaved skulls. The rain of frogs ended and the rain of blood comes down. Doing the flips and then I'll be gone! The whole city was an image, riding the bar. He yearns to get a taste of those tentacles—
Max: It was a bad line and a prank call, someone spouting insane babble. I couldn't make sense of it. [hangs up]

Philosophical narration, dialogue, or exposition that has little to do with the plot, usually of the same vague nature as what first-year philosophy students use to pad out their term papers.

When a movie, television show, or other such narrative wants to create the illusion of more depth than it actually possesses, it can use this trope to have some character, whether it be protagonist, villain (especially the Straw Nihilist), or innocent bystander, (especially The Philosopher) talk about "Big Topics", like Life, the Universe, and Everything. This overall doesn't add anything to the story; rather the intent is to put more Faux Symbolism and Mind Screw, and make the story's characters and events seem grander and more fantastic, while also being increasingly vague. This usually backfires, as the faux intellectualism is both insulting and distracting to anyone who has the brains to figure out this narrator is speaking a lot of words and phrases and clauses that don't actually mean anything, and in-universe, this just ends up as a Red Herring.

It may be an attempt to change a character's purported wisdom from an Informed Ability. It doesn't work.

This trope often has an "Emperor's New Clothes" effect on the more pretentious members of the audience: wishing to appear wise, intelligent, and cultured, and fearful of being perceived otherwise, they convince themselves they are privy to some profound truth. In fact what they are indulging in is often merely pompous, self-important nonsense with no discernible virtue to it. But of course, if you tell them that, it's because you "just don't get it"...

Keep in mind, on the other end of the spectrum, that more cynical or attention-span lacking audience members may often call on this when bashing something for petty reasons, wishing to appear down to Earth and wise in their own way, "seeing through the bullshit" when they're really just bashing things they don't wish to take the time to analyze, or have some other gripe with.

The point is, judge cautiously.

Post Episode Trailers use this quite often to mask the actual events of the coming episode.

A product of the desire to Contemplate Our Navels, and maybe of attempts to do a Private Eye Monologue. Is not used so that Evil Sounds Deep. When the author uses this to convey a message, it can overlap with Author Tract. When a character, not the author, does this, it becomes Holding the Floor. If particularly nonsensical, this can become Word Salad Philosophy or Ice-Cream Koan.

Also compare Patrick Stewart Speech, Blah, Blah, Blah and Wall of Text.

Note: This trope has been subjected to misuse. Do not simply add philosophical narration that you don't like. Also, do not just add any contemplative speech that you can find. If it has a clear relation to the plot, it is not this trope. Philosophical musings are not inherently bad. If done well, they should enhance the work.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Eureka Seven's next episode previews. This one is pretty ingenious, actually – it actually is relevant, usually, but the ambiguous language ("the boy" and "the girl" instead of "Renton" and "Eureka", for example) makes it sound like it could be talking about anything.
  • The narrator from Armored Trooper VOTOMS displays some of the funniest and yet most entertaining examples.
  • Outlaw Star episodes always start with an opening narration, some of which fall into this category; most of the rest are universe building or exposition.
  • The ruminations about life and love that begin and end each episode of Boys Be....
  • Vash does a form of this in the Post-Episode Trailer at the end of each Trigun episode. There are three exceptions: Meryl recites a capsule description of him for the preview to the Recap Episode; Vash as a child does the narration for "Rem Saverem" (the Whole Episode Flashback); and Vash gives up on the philosophy entirely and breaks down for the trailer to the penultimate episode, "Live Through".
    • However, in Trigun's case, Vash's narrations tend to be more in line with upcoming subject matter, so it's somewhat subverted.
    • It's worth mentioning that the Japanese cast were very intrigued by this, as Trigun was one of the earliest anime to use this style for next-ep previews.
  • Ergo Proxy, to the point of overuse — practically to the point of parody.
    • As well as its spiritual predecessor, Witch Hunter Robin, the narration of which (if anything) made even less sense.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Mechanic par excellence Leeron gives one of these around episode 22, about... gyroscopes.
  • Glass Fleet features Fauxlosophic Narration from Michel before the opening credits of each episode.
  • Code Geass tends to do this during the Previously on… segments that are part of several episodes. They feature narration from C.C., trying to sound deep, describing Lelouch's situation in abstract terms ("The actions one takes are answered by consequences...") and finishing with something like, "At least, that was the hope Lelouch carried in his heart back then," or "But their fate has already been determined, with inevitable outcome." That last one is particularly noteworthy, since it actually contradicts a theme of the series — the constant What If? moments, the way Lelouch's entire argument against his eventual enemies his father and Schneizel is that humanity should have free will and shouldn't be controlled by either of their plans. So thanks for that, C.C.
  • Bleach would sometimes, albeit rarely, do this. One such involved Yumichika saying a rather obvious musing of "Compared to letting it fall apart, holding it together is so much more difficult", when observing that Renji's taken the tougher path to holding onto his resolve over many decades to reclaim his past relationship with Rukia rather than the easier route of simply giving up in frustration at ever being able to achieve it. And the Bount filler arc spends almost the entire last episode talking about circles. And saying the same things about them. Repeatedly.
  • FLCL. Naota usually begins each episode with some sort of semi-emo philosophical musings. He says several times throughout the six-episode series that "nothing exciting ever happens here. Everything is ordinary", which is clearly not the case, what with the fighting robots and such (though this is probably meant to be ironic, especially as the series goes on). As the single most mature individual in the series, Naota is probably affecting what he thinks is an "adult" outlook. But most of his monologues are largely meaningless and inaccurate.
  • A contrary-to-popular-expectations aversion: Neon Genesis Evangelion, despite actually having massive themes to talk about, focused its very occasional narration on either what's going on right now, the big alien that shows up next episode, or the Fanservice. You would really expect a story about Man-destroying Angels and Screwing Destiny to have some of this going on. Rei's monologue, too.
  • Used for effect in the Post Episode Trailers for Higurashi: When They Cry in its first season. The text that flies across the screen appears to be far more relevant to the next episode, and the deeper voice that talks stuff sounds like Fauxlosophic Narration — until you watch the second season when you realize exactly whose voice it is and how relevant it actually is to the real central plot.
    • Also subverted in the second season, when the real protagonists do some narration that would normally be fauxlosophic... but not in their situation.
  • On very rare occasions, the narration at the beginning of each episode of GUN×SWORD refers to previous plot events in a helpful way, but it frequently falls into this sort of pseudo-philosophy. The over-the-top voice doing the narrating on the English dub makes matters worse.
  • Every Next Episode Preview in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood consists of the pretentious musings of Father, and ends with a fauxlosophic one-liner for the ages (many of which border on So Bad, It's Good in their blatant pseudo-profundity). What makes this especially fun is that these musings are entirely in-character for Father.
  • Paranoia Agent has the Mysterious Old Man rambling on about seemingly completely random things during each preview. Not helping is that it includes puns that only work in Japanese.
  • Berserk: Episodes from Anime often begin with a Pastel-Chalked Freeze Frame of a giant, mutated hand holding the Crimson Behelit while a deep, ominous voice gloomily narrates about how mankind has no true free will. Seems like pseudo-profound pretext so the audience can pretend that this over-violent storyline actually has depth. Then last few episodes reveal exactly who the narrator is, why we needed to remember this, and just how fucked up this story really is.
  • Invoked in After War Gundam X when Roabea muses that one path on a crossroad must be heaven and the other hell. Witz immediately complains that he hates people who say stuff like that. (Ultimately, however, the comparison proves apt—the paths lead to their hometowns, and when they meet up again both claim to have found hell.)
  • Digimon Adventure tri.: Most of the movies begin with a narrator rattling off philosophical stuff which has nothing to do with the film's events. The final one, meanwhile, isn't this, it's just the narrator saying "everything will turn out fine" in the most flowery way possible.

    Comic Books 
  • Done to Green Lantern by Tommy Monhagan in Hitman. Kyle Rayner is hoodwinked from all sides and ends up helping Tommy put the smack down on homicidal government agents. He ends waxing Fauxlosophic after the adventure. Before Kyle comes to his senses and arrests Tommy, he sneaks off.
  • The infamous panel in the Doom Comic where the Doom Guy suddenly starts rambling about the need to preserve the environment for mankind's children in a somewhat eloquent way when he stumbles upon some toxic waste. All of this between spurting one-liners and killing monsters left and right.
  • Druuna: Some of the more elaborate philosophical meanderings of various characters can come across as overwraught attempts to pad out the more action- or sex-focused parts of the comic.

    Fan Works 
  • My Inner Life is a huge example of this. Jenna attempts to convince the readers that she is a deep, philosophical thinker in her prologue about dreams and past incarnations. The story is about Jenna's deluded fantasy that she was a Mary Sue of epic proportions in an alternate universe.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Beast of Yucca Flats was composed almost entirely of the director Coleman Francis performing this sort of narration to avoid having to sync the soundtrack. Much of it has nothing to with the movie. Flag on the moon. How did it get there? A man murdered. A woman's purse. Nothing bothers some people. Not even flying saucers. A couple vacations, unaware of scientific progress. Man's inhumanity to man. Flag on the moon. Caught... in the wheels of progress.
  • The Phantom Planet has an especially cringe-worthy example, fully lampshaded on an episode of MST3K where it turns into a running gag.
  • Subverted in Stranger Than Fiction The narration means something, even the scenes that appear to be random filler fold into Emma Thompson's story, and when the narrator talks about objects and events being meant to save our lives, she is talking literally... and literarily.
  • Criswell's narration in Plan 9 from Outer Space and Night of the Ghouls, both written and directed by Ed Wood. Neither examples are helped by the fact that the dialogue is extremely awkward or the fact that Criswell delivers it very oddly. You can tell he's reading it off of cue cards, likely without any prior rehearsal.
  • In Glen or Glenda, Bela Lugosi's addled delivery of obtuse philosophical rants over Stock Footage of buffalo herds is memorable in a way Wood surely did not intend it to be.
  • The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day opens with a Rocco voiceover that finds a fancy way to say "Doers do and talkers talk." It isn't very long-winded though.
  • Deckard's narration on the rooftop with Roy Batty from the theatrical cut of Blade Runner definitely veers into this territory.
    Deckard: I don't know why he saved my life. Maybe in those last moments he loved life more than he ever had before. Not just his life, anybody's life, my life. All he'd wanted were the same answers the rest of us want. Where did I come from? Where am I going? How long have I got? All I could do was sit there and watch him die.
  • Teenagers from Outer Space's opening scene. In fact, many B-movies from the 1950s and 1960s either began or ended with some amount of Fauxlosophic Narration.
  • Howard the Duck, though it may have been a failed joke.
  • Parodied in The Big Lebowski: the narrator is not only Wrong Genre Savvy, but can't keep his fauxlosophy straight and keeps getting sidetracked. At one point he repeats "Sometimes there's a man" a few times before trailing off and stating that he lost his train of thought. He eventually just gives up ("Aw, hell, I done introduced him enough."), and at the very end even lampshades it ("Huh — I'm ramblin' again."). Ironically, the last time he realizes this and gives up is when he's actually on the verge of making a sage, relevant point for once.
  • Parodied in The Rocky Horror Picture Show with the Criminologist, especially his closing lines.
  • The first Left Behind movie opens with a Fauxlosophic Narration: short but tedious, described as "a vaguely foreboding series of non sequiturs".
  • Raising Arizona. Done intentionally.
  • The B-movie Zardoz begins with this, but there is no way to be profound when Sean Connery is running around in a red thong.
  • Anatomy of Hell, a cold, sexually-explicit, coma-inducing arthouse film by Catherine Breillat. As put by Roger Ebert: "They talk. They speak as only the French can speak, as if it is not enough for a concept to be difficult, it must be impenetrable. No two real people in the history of mankind have ever spoken like this, save perhaps for some of Breillat's friends that even she gets bored by. "Your words are inept reproaches," they say, and "I bless the day I was made immune to you and all your kind."
  • The opening and closing of Sucker Punch involves narration about guardian angels, and taking back the power, which are basically Sweet Pea's musings on the role that Baby Doll played in her life and, more immediately, springing her from the Bedlam House. They also state that you have power in your own life. It ends You have all the weapons you need, now FIGHT.
  • Tons of Mondo-style films. To quote a review of Faces of Death, "we get long stretches where real or not, the footage has no death. And at one point, there aren't any 'faces' either, because the movie stops cold(er) for a good ten minutes to warn us about the dangers of littering and pollution. I bet your schoolyard pal never boasted about the cool scene where you see a bunch of beer and soda cans on a beach. We also get lectured on hunger, World War II, nuclear weapons, and being careful while hiking."
  • While all of Terrence Malick's films are noted for their use of philosophical voiceovers, To the Wonder took this so far many critics accused it of this. Reportedly, some audiences straight up laughed at certain sequences.
  • Any film narrated by Werner Herzog (e.g., Encounters at the End of the World, Grizzly Man, Cave of Forgotten Dreams). All of Herzog's musings are (presumably) meant in earnest but some of his more out-there ideas, delivered in his unmistakable voice, have been known to provoke laughter.
  • Parodied in Withnail and I. Marwood's voiceovers are magnificently self-important rubbish.
  • Zero Effect: Darryl Zero's narration is mired in this. It isn't as bad as in some other cases, but usually the point he's trying to make isn't worth the time it takes to make it.
  • Done in an Anviliciously stilted manner throughout the cheesy sci-fi movie R.O.T.O.R..
    Coldyron: Remember what I said at R.O.T.O.R.’s christening? First prototype of a future battalion, on the battlefield highways of the future. He’d be the Judge, Jury and Executioner. Now I’ve got to wonder, were we playing God, breathing life into our artificial Adam? Or have we lost sight of Paradise? What was it Milton said? "Did I request Thee, Maker, from my clay to mold me Man? Did I solicit thee from darkness to promote me?" Is it his fault he is what he is, or is it ours?
  • Fatal Instinct: Parodied in-universe, with the protagonist's internal monologue comprising constant non-sequiturs, nonsensical analogies, and meaningless insights.
  • Curse of the Headless Horseman is accompanied by a narration that tries to sound profound, but usually just ends up weird, confused and pretentious: not helped by the fact the narration often seems to have little to do with what is happening on the screen. One sample gem:
    “Remember childhood innocence and freedom? Remember it, for it is gone now.”
  • Parodied at the end of Death Race 2000. When Frankenstein runs over racing journalist Junior Bruce, his colleague Harold proceeds to solemnly pontificate about Humanity's history of violence as the credits roll.
  • The Naked Witch opens with a strange narration musing on the nature of good and evil, and what lurks beyond edge of light. It makes little sense, especially as the witch was seemingly just a wronged widow before she was killed and rose from the dead, and did not indulge in any of the acts the narration is rambling on about.
  • The 1981 movie Lifepod (not to be confused with the 1993 TV movie) riffs on this trope appearing in B-Movie Science Fiction when it opens with a narrator blathering on about the wonders of space travel in The Future, only it's an advertisement for tickets on the space liner the eponymous lifepod comes from.

  • Haruhi Suzumiya has some of this from Koizumi. Though knowing this series, the things he say might be laced with significance down the line.
  • In How NOT to Write a Novel, this is discussed, with the example it provides being a page worth of narration that relates, of all things, Niestchze and adultery.
  • In the fictional The Princess Bride, characters go on about existential matters, such as Inigo going into a 6 page "who am I" speech. Fortunately, William Goldman excises such ramblings in his abridged version of S. Morgenstern's tale.
  • The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan begins each book with an intro (to the intro) of the book which, despite being rather short relative to the books themselves, is still quite huge by conventional standards. Pops up additionally throughout the writing as well.
  • Terry Pratchett does this occasionally, especially at the beginning of books, sometimes introducing a later-important Chekhov's Gun at the same time (just look at Interesting Times and the Quantum Weather Butterfly, which ends up saving Rincewind's life.)
    • In-story example: Vetinari occasionally gets very non-sequitur-ishly philosophical. Could be deliberate, though, because anyone talking to him at the time finds it seriously disconcerting.
    • The Fauxlosophic Narration is most often Played for Laughs as a parody of works that do this in all seriousness.
    • Played straight in Raising Steam, where the plot grinds to a screeching halt and the scene shifts to an irrelevant character in a very different country so that said character can whinge about how terrible cultural assimilation is.
  • R.A. Salvatore used to fall into this. Especially in Drizzt series that contain pages of his journal with musings of the protagonist on matters like morality, faith, and emotion. However, Drizzt was very young (by elven standards), grew up in a rather isolated city and had education focused less on what local high priestesses or even wizards learn and more on swinging a pair of oversized razors and not dying while trying to wage war in caverns full of ridiculously deadly critters... through which he later wandered alone until gone half feral. It's not like he could do much better when trying to make sense of the suddenly complex world.
  • This makes up about half of Jason X: Death Moon.
  • Ape and Essence by Aldous Huxley has a lot of narration droning on about subjects such as fear and ignorance, much of it in blank verse.
  • The writers of early "Penny Dreadfuls" were paid by the word. Writers would often insert a large chunk of information only peripherally related to the story, sometimes lifted from travelogues or articles, just to pad out space and get paid.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: A badly done Patrick Stewart Speech can seem like this.
  • Heroes has a few of these, with one of the main characters, Mohinder, starting and ending a large number of episodes (season openers, finales, and any episode that lends itself to it) with a philosophical note that extrapolate on the events of that episode (and some that merely capitalize on the mood). Occasionally other characters, such as Linderman or Sylar, got in on the act, usually exhibiting their own dark tones to deviate from Mohinder's (usually) more positive narration.
  • The eponymous protagonist of Dexter often has inner monologues about his double life that is consistently used to remind us that the "hero" is a Serial Killer with a disturbed mind.
  • Tends to pop up in the opening video packages for WWE pay-per-view events, probably somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of them.note  The rest are pretty blatant, "Hey, come check out grown men hitting each other with chairs and throwing each other around to make it look like it hurts without actually breaking their necks! Only this time ON A LADDER!!!"
  • The beginning and end narrations on Desperate Housewives are full of musings on love, loss etc with only the barest of connections to the actual show.
  • This applies to The X-Files, where it was common either for Mulder to go on at length about how there are more things in heaven and earth etc., or Scully to lecture about how science is the only reliable guide to the truth without which nothing makes sense yada yada. These voiceovers are most often framed as being readings of the case reports Scully (and sometimes Mulder) are seen writing. It's interesting to think what Skinner's feelings were about all the pretentious quasi-philosophical stuff in what should have been straightforward accounts of events.
  • Meredith's opening and closing narrations on Grey's Anatomy sometimes fall into this rut.
  • VR Troopers. Every one of the episodes (save one) over two seasons opened up with Ryan Steele musing about Life, The Universe, and the Monster of the Day, always tying it into some memory of his father. The guy had issues.
  • Scrubs does the opposite with JD talking about the world and modern life in relation to events that are happening in the episode. This doesn't make it any less predictable or irritating though, especially when he literally does it every episode. Also, JD must have some latent psychic abilities to make connections between his philosophy of the day to things he has no in-character knowledge of, no matter how tenuous the link may be. This was lampshaded in one episode, where JD openly admitted that he was taking advice that was given to somebody else and using it for his own solution. When Jordan explained that seemed rather convenient, he would agree "except that he does it nearly every week."
    • JD's constant talking and his vivid fantasy are one of the defining aspects of the series. The fauxlosophic narration is just one part of it.
    • Touche, magic hallway
  • The Hitchhiker had a few of these, that tried horribly to give the show a feeling of Film Noir.
  • Early Edition often had this.
  • The Outer Limits, both original and 90s revival, had the Control Voice give one of these speeches. Say it with me: "Do not attempt to adjust your set..."
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer did this in "Passion", "Becoming, Part 1" (which was more of a case of bookends delivered by Whistler) and "Redefintion", including one narration by the villain.
  • Gil Grissom often lapses into Fauxlosophic Narration on CSI whenever the team encounters something offbeat, generally on the subject of human nature.
  • Dead Like Me often has it, and often reiterates the same message that death is random, seems unfair, but is inevitable.
  • Due South often opened or closed with Fraser Sr.'s voiceover reading extracts from his diary. But the man wrote beautifully, and the text always offered an interesting commentary on the main action.
  • Carrie's Captain's Log s in Sex and the City- justified in that she's writing a newspaper column based on the events of her life.
  • Are You Afraid of the Dark?: The Midnight Society had a variant on this: The kids knew they were spewing nonsense in the prefaces to their stories; it was all just to build atmosphere, and sometimes to mislead the audience on what their story was actually about.
  • Bit of a subversion, Criminal Minds begins and/or ends each episode with one of the characters narrating a quotation, usually philosophical. And surprisingly, they usually DO have something to do with the episode, typically the nature of the killer.
    • And a beautiful subversion on the episode where TV Genius Spencer Reid gives a victim's watch back to her father, telling him that he doesn't recognize the piece of poem in it. The guy starts reciting it, and it is clear that it fills him with emotion, so much that he cannot bring himself to finish it. Reid then leaves, and, being a genius who remembers each letter of every text he's read in his life, the finishing narration is him finishing the poem.
      What though the radiance that was once so bright, be now forever taken from my sight. Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower; We will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind.
    • The episode "True Night" opens with the killer, in voiceover, delivering an odd monologue about real darkness and how most people don't see it. It does make some sense when you watch the rest of the episode, though, and the killer is Ax-Crazy anyway.
    • The subversion at the end of the fourth season finale "...And Back" is probably one of the best. Rather than give the usual quote, Hotch gives his own opinions on the matter as he arrives at his home after a beatdown of a case only to discover that George Foyet aka "The Reaper" is waiting there for him.
      Hotch: Sometimes there are no words, no clever quotes to neatly sum up what's happened that day. Sometimes you do everything right, everything exactly right, and still you feel like you failed. Did it need to end that way? Could something have been done to prevent the tragedy in the first place? Eighty-nine murders at the pig farm, the deaths of Mason and Lucas Turner make 91 lives snuffed out. Kelly Shane will go home and try to recover, to reconnect with her family but she'll never be a child again. William Hightower, who gave his leg for his country, gave the rest of himself to avenge his sister's murder. That makes 93 lives forever altered, not counting family and friends in a small town in Sarnia, Ontario, who thought monsters didn't exist until they learned that they spent their lives with one. And what about my team? How many more times will they be able to look into the abyss? How many more times before they won't ever recover the pieces of themselves that this job takes? Like I said, sometimes there are no words or clever quotes to neatly sum up what's happened that day.
      The Reaper: You should have made a deal
      Hotch: Sometimes, the day just...
      (Screen fades to black, then a gunshot is heard)
      Hotch: ...ends.
  • During the ending credits of each episode of Riget, show creator Lars von Trier gives a "Lesson of the Day" Speech with bizarre rants about the evil and the good. He delivers it with a smirk grin, as if he's parodying this very trope.
  • Profit, though it's more like a demented corporate speaker spouting uplifting cliches that are undercut by the action just seen.
  • MacGyver usually starts an episode with some unrelated adventure backed by a fauxlosophic voice-over by the man himself.
  • Gossip Girl sometimes does this.
  • How I Met Your Mother has Future!Ted provide narration like this, in addition to commenting on all the stupid things he and his friends used to do.
  • In Plain Sight does this a lot, to the point that the narration often has an entirely different version from the subtitles.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959). Rod Serling's opening and closing monologues are simultaneously brilliant and brain-twisting. One generally needs to re-listen to Serling's soliloquys three or four times before they stop sounding like so much word salad and start making sense. It's honestly just easier to read them. A lot of this is due to Serling's gumshoe delivery, which adds a healthy dose of mystery to what would otherwise be a commonplace prologue or summation.
  • The second season opener of the horror anthology series The Hunger gives its narrator (played by David Bowie) a backstory that also helps explain his ramblings in subsequent episodes: He's a Mad Artist obsessed with death and shunned by society.
  • Andromeda opened with the text of a different quote (usually at least bordering on this trope), sometimes real ones from actual real-world sources, often from some in-universe source.
  • Godiva's used this to open and close each episode, even though the monologues (which were often food-related in keeping with the show's setting) rarely had anything to do with the story.
  • In the Doctor Who serial The Horns of Nimon, Soldeed interprets everything Nimon says as this.
  • Touch (2012) (from the same producer as Heroes) begins and ends each episode with a rambling philosophical monologue from Jacob, which tend to follow the same pattern as Mohinder's speeches. One episode begins with him talking about how army ants are amazing because they can cooperate, then ends with a discussion about how humans are amazing because they are the only species that knows how to cooperate.
  • In The Wonder Years, Kevin seemed to begin and end every single episode with a monologue. Often times it could be relevant or meaningful but other times it felt like writers were trying to garner something inspiring from completely mundane events. After a while, Adult Kevin seems to wax nostalgically about everything that has ever happened to him.
  • Dark Shadows opened almost every episode with Victoria introducing herself for the 500th time and then say something philosophical sounding that usually was either stating the obvious or completely falls apart once you think about it.
  • Revenge opens and ends with Emily giving an over the top the narration each week. Sometimes it manages to fit the episode theme very well. Other times...
  • Oz often included odd narration segments from Augustus Hill (Who is also a main character) regarding the theme of the episode. Sometimes they were beautiful and insightful. Other times they were just bizarre. He also delivered exposition on prisoners and their crimes, making his exact nature (Augustus as a character couldn't possibly know some of the facts) somewhat ambiguous.
  • Joe Friday's "This is the city" narrations from Dragnet very rarely fell into this, mostly because the narration is used to set up the plot of the episode, very little waxing philosophical is ever done. However when it does happen, it tends to be very strange; one example is form the infamous O.J. Simpson episode. Friday has a longer-than-usual introduction where he tells the audience about all the things that boats are used for in Los Angeles. The episode has absolutely nothing to do with boats, or anything related to water.
  • This is how Rust talks on True Detective
  • Every episode of The Invisible Man starts with Darien narrating a quote by a famous figure. It usually has something to do with the episode's plot. It's established in the pilot that, despite Darien never going to college and spending a chunk of his life behind bars, he is actually pretty well-read (he immediately spots Arnaud's bullshit when the latter appropriates one of Mark Twain's quotes for himself). Lampshaded late in the series, when he's attacked in his apartment after delivering the requisite quote, and a book falls of his shelf. The book is basically a compilation of quotes from famous people.
  • Every post-pilot episode of First Wave has Cade quote one of the "lost quatrains" of Nostradamus he found. While the quatrains themselves are made up for the show, they do usually have something to do with the episode's plot, as Cade usually uses them to figure out what to do next.
    On the seventh dawn of the seventh day,
    A twice-blessed man will roam the fields.
    Doomed to shadows with his brethren,
    Or savior to all who walk the ground.
  • The excerpts from Jerry's act at the start or end of "Seinfeld" often contain philosophical musings relating to what happens in the episode.
  • A show called Deadly Sins, which tells about real crimes and the events leading up to them, has a bald narrator guy in a church dramatically saying inanities about how the events shown ostensibly relate to the Seven Deadly Sins.
  • The narrator for the TV advertisements for Kingdom Hospital, while not entirely inaccurate, made the show seem like an overly dramatic, extremely intense, straight horror series. Anyone who actually watched an episode of the show knows it doesn't take itself nearly as serious as the narrator made it out to be, who exaggerates even the silly comedic or mundane moments in the series to make them sound ominous or exciting. One example would be "The head doctor is inducted into a secret society!" The actual "secret society" is a standard fraternity deal with ridiculous hats and silly secret hand gestures, and its hazing ritual is mostly played for laughs. Narrator: "The dead cause the Earth to tremble!" The reality: Minor earth tremors occur at Kingdom hospital occasionally, and while they technically caused by the dead it really isn't as big a deal as the narrator made it sound.
  • Taken: Throughout the series, Allie Keys' narration includes numerous comments on growing up, humanity and human nature, for better and for worse.

  • Dr. Harley of Find Us Alive is prone to lapsing into this. In a particularly funny in-universe acknowledgement, it turns out to be something he tends to do when he's drunk.
    Harley: You really can see it all from here. A dozen little worlds on a dozen little screens. A hundred little places where anything and everything can go wrong. And very likely will. But maybe not right now. Maybe right now it will stay just this quiet. With any luck we can keep it this quiet for-

  • The Mystery of Irma Vep ends with a melodramatic rambling speech by Lady Enid as she stares off over the blasted heath that ultimately has no purpose except to make fun of Victorian melodrama.
  • The Narrator from Finale tends to fall into this trope with her Exposition Dumps.

    Video Games 
  • In the Game Mod Batman Doom, the text screens that pop up a few times throughout the game are filled with Batman's musings about how he's "the chosen one" to fight evil. They don't have much to do with the actual game. On the other hand, if you assume that Batman in this game is actually Azrael, it's pretty in-character for him to brood like that.
  • Kingdom Hearts opens with Sora's disembodied voice saying "I've been having these weird thoughts lately. Like, is any of this for real? Or not?" which sounds deep, but has no connection to the story itself. Director Tetsuya Nomura even admitted that the line was originally from a scenario that didn't make it into the final game, but he kept the quote because it sounded cool.
  • Kreia from Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords skirts this trope for the majority of her dialog, but tends to pull off something more to the effect of Contemplate Our Navels.
  • Max Payne: Max's Private Eye Monologue musings often stray into this when he takes time off from capping mafiosos in order to muse about the nature of choice, the true meaning of fairy tales, and the end of the world.
  • The Super Mario World rom hack "Rise to the Challenge" is filled with this.
  • Xenosaga has a generally good-quality narrative, but there are more than a few wince-worthy moments in ~120 hours of series gameplay.
  • The cave in Mt Ember where the Ruby is found in Pokemon FireRed and LeafGreen contains the following inscription, in braille: "Everything has meaning. Existence has meaning. Being alive has meaning. Have dreams Use power." This doesn't relate to the game's plot or themes in any way at all, and just seems there for the sake of it. Contrast the braille inscription near the Sapphire, which is an elaborate metaphor for cross-version trading, which the gems enable you to do. This could be a hilarious subversion as within the confines of the game, unlike its counterpart, the text has absolutely no meaning despite what it preaches.
  • The introduction of Gadget: Past as Future is accompanied by the main character rattling off strange symptoms and sensations, and how "from the beginning on, never moved a step. Nothing at all is beginning." It continues at the ending which is just as surreal as it started. Given that you're repeatedly exposed to the Sensorama within the game proper, this may be the only thing in the game that is clear.
  • The Witness: The game is littered with audio recorders that read out quotations from the likes of theoretical physicist Albert Einstein, NASA astronaut Russell Schweickart, spiritual teacher Gangaji and astronomer Arthur Eddington; the quotes provide a very esoteric story for the game itself.
  • In The Stanley Parable, a few of the more esoteric routes impel the narrator to rambling monologues about choice or narrative direction, particularly during the "Stanley Parable Adventure Line™" sequence (which is described as "nonsense philosophy" in that route's ending).
  • The various character endings of Resident Evil: Outbreak's scenarios have the characters brood over the zombie outbreak going on around them, and what it means for humanity going forward, in various levels of depth.


    Web Original 
  • Parodied in episode 6 of The Strangerhood, where Nikki does the narration and goes on rambling, repetitive musings about the nature of things. All she does is make Wade even more confused than he usually is and even she admits at the end that she has no clue what she's talking about.
  • Cecil's opening and closing narrations in Welcome to Night Vale come off like this, given they're usually quite random and have little to do with the plot. Example:
    "The desert seems vast, even endless. And yet, scientists tell us that somewhere, even now, there is snow."

    "Sleep heavily and know that I am here with you now. The past is gone, and cannot harm you anymore. And while the future is fast coming for you, it always flinches first, and settles in as the gentle present. This now, this us, we can cope with that. We can do this together, you and I, drowsily, but comfortably."
  • Discussed and Played for Drama in the Alice Isn't Dead episode "Omelet", as out of nowhere, the Character Narrator begins a long, ambivalent digression on the pointlessness of ascribing traits to the night sky, which is a void of nothingness. Though she self-deprecatingly notes that the listener can ignore her, she says that humans are also nothing. Abruptly, she reveals that she witnessed a Humanoid Abomination casually murdering a man, which gives her prior nihilistic musings context as a coping mechanism for her fear.

    Western Animation 
  • The final moments of Fantastic Four: The Animated Series feature one of these between the Silver Surfer and Reed Richards, throwing in something about understanding humanity's nobility that didn't have a great deal to do with the plot. The DVD release cuts Reed's response as the Surfer flies off, removing the final shot of the series in doing so. Fortunately, the Liberation Entertainment release is slated to fix this.
  • Futurama:
    • Spoofed at the end of the episode "Love And Rocket," with Zoidberg's meditation on Valentine's Day:
    "As the candy hearts poured into the fiery quasar, a wondrous thing happened, why not. They vaporised into a mystical love radiation that spread across the universe, destroying many, many planets... including two gangster planets and a cowboy world. But one planet was at exactly the right distance to see the romantic rays, but not be destroyed by them: Earth. So all over the world, couples stood together in joy. And me, Zoidberg! And no one could have been happier unless it would have also been Valentine's Day. What? It was? Hooray!"
    • The narrator of The Scary Door intros tends to do this as well, in a spoof of The Twilight Zone. And boy howdy do they play with it:
    "Imagine, if you will, an announcer you can barely understand. He refers to a (mumble) but you're not sure what he said. He seems to be eating or maybe he's a little drunk. It's possible he just said something about... The Scary Door."
  • Each episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars opens with a philosophical quote or pseudo-quote that tries to tie it in to the episode.
  • Parodied in almost every episode of The Tick, as the eponymous character was quite fond of it.
    Tick: Everybody was a baby once, Arthur. Oh, sure, maybe not today, or even yesterday. But once. Babies, chum: tiny, dimpled, fleshy mirrors of our us-ness, that we parents hurl into the future, like leathery footballs of hope. And you've got to get a good spiral on that baby, or evil will make an interception.
  • Spoofed to hell and back in Xavier: Renegade Angel.
  • Parodied in the special 100th episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, which features this Inner Monologue from Gummy the alligator.
    "What is life? Is it nothing more than the endless search for a cutie mark? And what is a cutie mark, but a constant reminder that we're all only one bugbear attack away from oblivion? And what of the poor gator, flank forever blank, destined to an existential swim down the river of life to... an unknowable destiny?"
  • This was spoofed on an episode of The Simpsons when Agent Mulder starts one of these in the day and by the time he finishes it has become night and everyone else including Scully has left the area.
    Mulder: "Voodoo priests of Haiti! Tibetan numerologists of Appalachia! The unsolved mysteries of... Unsolved Mysteries!"

    Real Life 


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Waxing Philosophic, Fauxlosophical Narration


Harley's Drunken Soliloquy

Dr. Harley lapses into philosophical rambling while drinking with Officer Raddagher... who then lampshades it by pointing out how weird he sounds.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / FauxlosophicNarration

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