"What." or "Wut."
A Stock Phrase when it comes to reactions, but a simple one. Although it is just one word, the way in which it is pronounced can speak volumes about how absurd (or mundane) the situation can be, simply by how and where the inflection in a speaker's voice (if any) is used. In written speech, it's supplemented by the punctuation following it. For an example:
- "What?" Standard reaction when someone notices that someone spoke to him, but didn't hear well what was said. Common in the real world, little used in fiction as it goes against The Law of Conservation of Detail (unless it is used to point that that the character is partially or completely deaf).
- "What?" Standard reaction, used in everyday speech; slightly rising inflection (clarify what someone said, being asked a favor, etc.)
- "What?!" Sharper inflection indicating a level of surprise (disturbing news, something you may need to sit down for, etc.)
- "What!?" An accusatory or intimidating statement; "I'm in your face, what are you going to do about it!?", or in defense against accusatory stares if the speaker believes that whatever earned them those glares was normal
- "WHAT?!" "WHAAAAAT?!?!?!" et al; New levels of absurdity have been hit (Variations on the length of the word and (ab)use of ? and ! as needed; this is the one most often used for comic effect.
- "What." You've just been witness to something so bizarre, so eye-crossingly stupid (or possibly so mind-crushingly terrifying as to put you beyond the capacity for rational thought), that your brain no longer has the cognitive faculties to put together a more articulate response.
And that's exactly how it's written, too: "what" with a period at the end.
When the speaker recovers, What Were You Thinking? tends to be invoked.
Unless it is being listed as a trope, DO NOT Pothole this trope on other pages.
- One of the best parts of the dubbed Pokémon episode "Electric Shock Showdown!" was Lt. Surge's Flat What after Pikachu nullifies his Raichu's Thunderbolt by grounding its tail. This is also a remarkably accurate representation of what every fan of the Pokémon games said at that exact moment.
- Kyon pulls one after Haruhi announces the SOS brigade will be hosting a movie screening at the culture fest in episode 20 of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.
- Seitokai no Ichizon has a knocked-out Sugisaki Ken trying to cross the river of Hell to reach his "harem". Hell Girl, who happens to be passing by on her ferry, responds to this bizarre scene with a flat "Oi..." after he passes her.
- In a chapter of Shin Mazinger Zero, a Mazinger Z spin-off, Kouji and Minerva-X are together inside the cockpit. During the battle Minerva lands on Kouji on a very awkward and embarrassing position. Sayaka, Clingy Jealous Girl and Action Girl who has just arrived and destroyed three Mechanical beasts in a fit of jealous rage, sees him, and they - after displaying tremendously comical Oh, Crap! stares - try to explain it is not what it seems, and Minerva is not human but she actually is a Super Robo created by The Professor Dr. Kabuto to be Mazinger-Z's partner. Sayaka's reaction?
- In Toradora!, Ami, Kitamura, and Minorin do a flat what after Ryuuji tells them that he and Taiga are going to run away and get married.
- In Yankee-kun to Megane-chan (Flunk Punk Rumble in the American release), Izumi reacts this way after the student council finds a necklace that claims to grant three wishes... and Chiba immediately suggests wishing that 5th-period PE get cancelled.
- In the last episode of Ladies Versus Butlers!, after Sernia and Tomomi hfe had one of their biggest battles ever over a ticket to the amusement park Try Aqualand for a date with Akiharu (won by Sernia), the guy is so Oblivious to Love that he completely misunderstands their enthusiasm, and gives the other ticket to Tomomi as a "sort of consolation prize". Cue absolutely deadpan Flat What from Tomomi, followed by some verbal abuse from most of the named cast, and topped with an earth-shaking double Armor-Piercing Slap from BOTH Tomomi and Sernia.
- Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei: This is Nozomu Itoshiki's standard reaction to whatever Kafuka Fuura's most recent, outlandish explanation was.
- Axis Powers Hetalia: Russia mixes one of these with a creepy, intense stare when Stalin informs him that the White Sea-Baltic Canal he spent a year breaking his back digging is totally useless.
- In one particular filler/flashback episode, Naruto (or, more accurately, one of his shadow clones) has this reaction to Tenten summoning what appears to be thousands of syringes to rain down on him.
- In Corsair, in the midst of discussing Aura's wish to marry Canale, Ayace decides to bluntly let everyone know that Canale is his lover. While the others' reactions vary from awkwardness to surprise, Aura simply says "...what."
- Uryuu Minene aka the 9th, a terrorist of some repute, of Future Diary does this when the police officer Nishijima proposes to her while they were on the run from other police officers. He even had a ring.
- Shinji gives a very amusing one in chapter 612 of Bleach when Soifon gives Yoruichi's little brother, Yushiro, pocket money.
- Tokyo Ghoul:
- Kaneki gives one after meeting Dr. Kanou, who reveals that Manager Yoshimura is deeply connected to Aogiri. Namely being the father of its leader.
- Saiko from :Re gives one after Haise announces that they're all going to become girls.
- In the Assassination Classroom anime adaptation, Koro-sensei panics and does one when his students, having exploited a loophole in his offer to let them destroy one tentacle for each top score they took in finals, inform him they want to claim their "prizes" while the class is on the island vacation they also won for their top scores. The reason this frightens Koro-sensei senseless? He's severely weak to water, which clogs up his tentacles and slows him down.
- Accel World: Kuroyukihime has this reaction when Haruyuki tells her that he went through with her suggestion to cable link with his childhood Chiyuri.
- Witch Hunter: This is Tanya's reaction to Tasha being a boy.
- In chapter 120 of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, this is Hayasaka's reaction after Kaguya finally admits that she's in love with Shirogane.
- This is Doctor Nemesis's reaction to an unexpected teleport in the X-Men one-shot Blind Science.
- A particularly amusing example from The Invisibles. A Mexican god of death tells to a very young Lord Fanny that she has to give her body/soul to a passage to the next level of her ritual to become a witch. She doesn't want to... so she offers the god a joke. A god of death answering with a flat what its just priceless (mostly because a lot of readers were asking themselves the same).
- The Devil's response when John Constantine nonchalantly comments that the candles made booze out of holy water. The booze the Devil just drank, and the candles that Constantine promptly kicks over.
- At the end of the first issue of The Sandman: Overture, Morpheus is being summoned somewhere and declares that he is Dream of the Endless and he is prepared for whatever comes next. Then he sees all the different facets of himself from throughout the universe in one giant meeting and goes "What."
- In one issue, Atomic Robo found himself facing off against yet another rogue Dr. Dinosaur experiment, the Futuresaurus Rex. Robo's 'what' moment came when, after revealing most of its weaponry, the F. Rex coughs up a pair of Mauser pistols and catches them in its tiny hands.
- The Ultimates
- Nick Fury has dispatched a huge army force to an alien factory in Micronesia... and it's empty.
- Herr Kleiser is preparing to leave the planet, when the technicians inform him that they detected an abnormality of 5 hundred meters radius. A force field, perhaps? Cue the Big Damn Heroes.
- Advice and Trust:
- In chapter 4 Asuka uttered one after finding out that Shinji had accidentally touched Rei's breasts once.
Asuka narrowed her eyes. "Yes, that was a sudden, convenient little 'accident' you had out there. What was Wondergirl about to say? You touched her somewhere?"
"He touched my right breast," Rei calmly supplied.
Asuka stared at her, mouth gaping. "What." She shook her head. "Explain, rapidly."
- In chapter 8, Asuka starts explaining Shinji her plan to simultaneously tell Misato that they are together and have her accepting that they are also sleeping together.
Shinji: Ok, so what's our first plan?
Asuka: Strip chess.
- In chapter 4 Asuka uttered one after finding out that Shinji had accidentally touched Rei's breasts once.
- In Amazing Fantasy, Izuku gives this response when the Caucasian man he'd electrocuted by accident introduces himself as Peter Parker, who is supposed to be fictional.
- In the Homestuck fanadventure Be the Sea Dweller Lowblood, Karkat does this thrice after finding out that Eridan, on top of breaking into (and locking Karkat out of) his private quarters, has been using his Trollian account to troll his friends, out-manipulating Vriska and single-handedly rescuing an organization devoted to upthrowing Aradia (and Karkat) from the hands of one of Karkat's best (and certainly closest) legislacerators.
- Black Hole Heart: Team 7 gets a mission to protect a runner in a race that will determine which of two gangs will run a town (a mission from Filler Hell). Sakura's reaction to the briefing combines this with Punctuated! For! Emphasis!.
Sakura: What. The actual. Fuck.
- Given the frequency of positively bizarre crap that happens in the Pokémon fic Brave New World, one can hardly blame Pikachu for reacting this way often. You know it's approaching critical mass when Leo does it though.
- The Bridge:
- Anguirus pops this upon first encountering an erratically flying Derpy Hooves.
- Rodan pops this after receiving a letter asking him to join Rainbow Dash in performing an air show.
- Celestia tends to induce these in Celestia takes a Vacation whenever she decides to screw with people for her own amusement, such as reacting to Princess Henrietta entering the room by loudly declaring her plot foiled and teleporting away with Siesta, with whom she'd been having tea.
- In Children Of The Stars, upon waking to a situation that's already taxing her mind, Keleria is further confused by Ayuri saying she's taken a courier job leading to Stranglethorn Vale.
Keleria blinked, feeling about as intelligent as a suffocating fish, "what."
- In Children of the Sun this is Draco's reaction to Harry's statement that his golden anaconda familiar got the defensive runes on its body by protecting him from his abusive Muggle relatives.
- In Cross Cases, total incredulity is Harry's reaction to Sam claiming he's from an alternate reality.
Sam Winchester: "This isn't my reality."Harry Dresden: "What."
- A Crown of Stars:
- In chapter 32:
Daniel flinched slightly at something and put a hand to the side of his head. "Ow. Alright, before half my children jump in with suggestions, I'm going to head them off with at least one of my own; You need to stand right up, put your right hand on your hip, your left hand in the air, and start signing the 'I'm A Little Teapot' song while Asuka throws pies at you and I play the accordion."
Shinji stared at him. Asuka's head came up off Shinji's chest and joined in. "What," they said flatly in stereo.
- Chapter 74 provided a rare non-humorous example:
"Ching, come with me. Asuka, you should stay here," Shinji said, avoiding Asuka's eyes.
"What." Asuka's voice was dangerously flat.
- In chapter 32:
- In D Gray Man Abridged, there is a short starring Kanda and Allen:
Kanda: Hey Allen. You're a bean sprout.
Allen: Your mom's a bean sprout.
Kanda: Your beansprout's a mom!
- In Dead Man Walking this is Ron's reaction to a Hufflepuff ducking into his, Harry and Draco's compartment to escape some flying quills.
- In Deserving of More this is Harry's reaction to being given a toy owl after Draco learns that he received no birthday or Christmas presents while growing up.
- In Despair's Last Resort, Takara Tsukuda can only react to Monokuma's appearance with this.
- In The Difference a Good Solicitor Makes this is Ron's reaction to Harry being Sorted into Slytherin.
- Doing It Right This Time:
- When Shinji and Asuka meet after the timeline restarts:
Asuka: Trying to stab you when we ran into each other by Misato's memorial was spur of the moment. I've had three months to plan this meet-up. Besides, [...] you masturbating over my comatose body was far from the worst thing to happen to me that week. At least it proved you were too dumb to know when you're being hit on instead of just gay.
- In the first draft Misato uttered one when she saw Asuka had been reading "The Ethical Slut":
Misato couldn't help but smile... until she happened to glance at the cover of the book Asuka had been reading, and realized it was a copy of The Ethical Slut. And Asuka had apparently been taking notes.
- When Shinji and Asuka meet after the timeline restarts:
- In Dragon Age: The Crown of Thorns, people occasionally exhibit this reaction when the protagonist issues some strange command, like telling Branka to make golem-sized pickaxes.
- Dragon Ball Z Abridged gave us a great one: Piccolo and Krillin use the Multi-Form technique to attack Nappa, but Nappa is still able to dodge their attacks. Piccolo ponders what kind of mental discipline Nappa had gone through to be so powerful, but Nappa is simply singing Patty-Cake in time to his attacks. Afterwards we get this:
Nappa: Good effort, but I'm still the patty-cake champion!
- Another one in Episode 16:
Yamcha: What the hell? I waxed off everything! I waxed off your car, I waxed off your house, I even waxed off your monkey!
Piccolo: Okay, I just started paying attention - what.
- Aaaand Episode 15:
Vegeta: Look at you, Dodoria. You're always so damn proud. And now here you are, crying like a woman!
Dodoria: I am a woman!
- When the heroes ask for one of the legendary Dragon Balls.
Nail: Learn your place, Earthling! you have some nerve demanding-
Guru: Here, take it.
Nail: I... what.
- Here's another one from their Bardock Special:
Zarbon: Mm, too bad. And that Bardock was such a dashing rogue.
- This was also Shenron's reaction in the Christmas Tree of Might Christmas Special when the group summons him and go on about the forest being devastated by fire. Naturally Shenron thinks they want him to restore life to the forest, but Krillin's response that nah, Krillin just wants a great Christmas tree first makes Shenron do a Flat What, then marks his breaking point from being a Benevolent Genie into a Jackass Genie.
- Another one in Episode 16:
- In Empire's Gleam, a time-traveling Merlin has this reaction when Arthur states he would never bring his manservant out hunting or on campaign with him.
- Happens in Ewar's Tale once, when the signature characters meets a pair of bats that he thought were spirits, the Author seems self-aware too for some reason.
- In From the End to the Start this is Hermione's reaction to Luna's statement that pudding, according to her mother, "can be served for medicinal purposes for poison consumption and for irritable bowels."
- A Running Gag in Glorious Shotgun Princess, whenever someone from the Mass Effect universe is exposed to the over-the-top martial-arts "bullshit magic" of the Exalted setting or just about anything that Autochthon does or says.
- Becomes really hilarious when a Reaper does it.
- Admiral Hackett's reaction to seeing raptors escaping from the crew quarters (read: a private tropical beach) is a simple 'Oh god what the fuck'
- Presumably many readers had a similar reaction when Hackett started beating the crap out of said raptors and even suplexing one!
- Draco Malfoy has this reaction in Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality when told that Harry needed a bit of cash, after using the money he'd stolen from his own Gringotts vault to buy a gift for Hermione Granger. Exactly which part of that the Flat What is in response to is left to the reader.
- Harry also ends the first chapter with one.
- Harry Potter and the Power of the Coven:
Ariadne: We are highly trained, highly skilled assassins. Part of Dumbledore's own original Order of the Phoenix, a branch that no one was aware existed.
- In Harry Potter Wishing for a friend this is McGonagall's reaction on learning that Dumbledore and Grindlewald were lovers.
- When Sola-Ui worries about Berserker - suspected to be Achilles - allying with Lancer for personal motives in Holding Back the Sea, Kayneth playfully suggests to let Lancer handle crafting the alliance. Needless to say, the Servant does not appreciate the joke.
- In the Totally Spies!/Ranma ½ crossover How I Learned to Love the Wild Horse Mandy has this reaction when she finds out Alex, Clover, and Sam are spies, and have been, "Since freshman year."
- Understandably, this is Miranda Lawson's reaction to the Illusive Man telling her to turn Shepard into a man/woman/robot/werewolf/gun hybridnote in It Got Loose and Killed All Our Guys: The Project Lazarus Story.
- In The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, John traps a number of adventurers neck-deep in mud and Ringo goes to talk to them. One of the adventurers says to him, in effect, "Hurry up and torture us and get it over with already!" To which the Actual Pacifist Ringo responds: "Y'what?"
- Continuing the tendency marked by his canon counterpart, Kyon in Kyon: Big Damn Hero gives a Flat What when Haruhi announces that, due to Kyon inadvertently making her believe he was upset with her, she can no longer trust him to put his costume on by himself and asks Yuki to hold him down.
- In The Last Dark Lord Ginny invokes the Life Debt she owes Harry while under the belief that he's ignorant of the proper ritual responses.
Harry: She came in here to die. Sorry.
- In Worm fanfic "Like Mother Like Skitter", Tattetale has this reaction when a notorious, psychopathic serial killer breaks into her loft and tells that he wants her team's services "in helping a young woman come to terms with her sexuality!"
- In Monsters In Paradise, this has become the characters' stock response to anything absurd enough to break their thought processes, such as Skarmory's ability cancelling out Flandre's. Marisa eventually lampshades this:
"Say it. You know you want to."
- In More Powerful Than Magic this is Abraxas' reaction to Harry appearing in Malfoy Manor after Draco wishes for him to be there.
- In the Soul Eater oneshot Oblivion, this is Shaula's reaction when Medusa, after abusing her younger sister all throughout their childhood and continually mocking her and hitting her when they meet again as adults, demands that Shaula help her with one of her experiments.
- In the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha fanfic Proper Equipment, Yuuno gives one in response to hearing that his new device Raising Heart is designed for long-range offensive magic. Apparently Mazda, the Scrya clan matriarch who gave it to him, didn't realize that he specialized in defensive and support magic, or that he was actually a boy.
- Poor Hayato in Red like the Storm when Harry crashes his training camp on a bike, pursued by Squalo insulting her and Skull riding an octopus. Yeah...
- Then you have Mukuro in Chapter 17 when Harry is replaced by her future self who Curb Stomps the Estraneo Famiglia, offers him chocolate - his favourite kind! - and a kiss on his forehead then manages to talk the Vindice into letting her go. The kid is left speechless and frankly, can you blame him for it?
- The Rivalry:
Harry: It isn't that I thought it was worth it, it's that I wasn't willing to go back to nothing. This pain was something, even if it was pain, and anything was better than nothing. But now...now I miss nothing. And I don't want to hurt anymore.
Draco: Nothing is over-rated. It keeps your head clear and it keeps people at a distance but you'll never be happy. You can't be happy when you have nothing. Awards and galleons and large houses with empty rooms can never fill the spaces inside of us that ache against our will. Some of us choose this path. You don't have to be one of them.
Harry: You seem fine with it.
- Sailor Moon Abridged the Movie: Promise of the Lost Rose
Kisenian: Fiore, go! Kill him! He's shitfaced; it'll be easy.
Fiore: But... he's my lover.
Kisenian: ... What.
- Second Wind: Buggy gives one of these when Luffy proposes to do nothing while the former executes him.
- In Sharing Is Caring this is Draco's reaction to Harry's comment that Hermione spelled him and Ron to look and feel seven months pregnant for a week after Ron made an unwise remark about Hermione's own pregnancy.
- Several characters in the Pokémon fanfic Silver Blood demonstrate this reaction, usually to unexpected information. Brendan seems to be a particular cause for them, one notable example being when he caught Domino off-guard by turning her attempt to fight into an impromptu dance with her.
- Happens fairly often in the Yu-Gi-Oh! fanfic Skin, more often than not followed by a Big "WHAT?!" when the weirdness factor hits critical mass.
- Atem in Slightly Haunted gives this response when Yugi informs him almost everyone in Japan can read (in Atem's time, this was restricted to scribes and certain members of the upper class).
- In Step Back in Time Harry explains that the locket Horcrux being in a particular location in his timeline doesn't necessarily mean it's in the same place.
Dumbledore: You have been to Grimmauld Place, my boy. Could you feel it?
Harry: What. With all the other dark magic in that house? You want me to pick out just one item?
- Surrogate of Zero: In this fic, the ghost of Asuka narrates all what her husband Shinji does, and she has a... very particular style, and Shinji - who is mind-linked to her - sometimes has this kind of reaction:
Asuka: The waters are red, not like blood, but the broken dreams of Communism.
- Sword Art Online Abridged:
- This, along with sarcastic laughter and Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises, is Kirito's reaction when Rosalia suggests that Silica, who's been following him around, has "found someone on her level."
- Asuna has this response when she wakes up from a nap to see Kirito smirking at her, and after she draws her sword on him, he confesses that he drew cat whiskers on her face. More specifically, she's shocked that's all he did to her.
- Suguha reacts this way when Kirito finally introduces himself in Alfheim Online, letting her figure out that the Spriggan she was just roleplaying with as Princess Leafa is actually her much-ridiculed brother, Kazuto. Who she complimented for his "sweet patootie." Then she logs out and the Cluster F-Bomb begins.
- This Bites!:
Nami: (solemnly) Alright, Cross, we'll let you stay on the crew But first... you have to answer a few questions for us... Cross, listen to me very closely. I need to know... How rich are we going to get?
- Chapter 14, following The Reveal and Cross' tearful begging to stay on the crew:
Cross: (mentally) ...what. (out loud) What.
- Chapter 25... several times.
- Chapter 32, during the accidental landing in G-8, when the crew realizes that Vivi and Carue are being pampered in luxury by a barrack of overly-chivalrous Marines.
- Chapter 38, Sengoku goes from Flat "What" to Big "WHAT?!" when he realizes the island the Straw Hats plan to pillage and burn is Enies Lobby.
- From A Very Potter Musical, Snape's reaction to Cedric's reaction to Snape's House roll call:
- Wind Shear:
Charlus: And speaking of those great nieces... you made quite the impression on young Bellatrix.
Harry: ... What?
Charlus: Yes. She has been quite the adamant defender of you to her family. Very... vigorous in making her case. Extremely passionate.
Harry: ... What.
- In With Age Comes---Absurdity? this is Harry's response to giving birth to twins after believing he was pregnant with only one child.
- In a Worm fic "Worm Loops", Taylor has this reaction when Belldandy, Urd and Skuld tell her that, when she manages to get out of the time loops, she'll become another goddess.
"The only actual way for you to end the loops is if you were to ascend to a full admin. In order to do that, you need experience. Fortunately, you can gain plenty of that in the loops." She gives me a smile, "The closer you get towards the endpoint the greater control you'll have over your own loops. Eventually, down the road, you will get out of the loops."
The three goddesses bowed to me again, smiles on their faces. "And on that day, we will welcome you as one of us."
- You Got HaruhiRolled! uses this on occasion. A notable example is when Haruhi gets crushed by a blimp.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series:
Dartz: Here's what we're gunnah do, mayn. We're gunnah find Yuu-gay Mowtoe, and we're gunnah take his dayck.
- Yu Yu Hakusho Abridged:
Kuwabara: Urameshi... I need you to finger bang me.
Harry: Sirius was in prison for years, and he was the last heir to the house. His mum—Walburga—died sometime in the eighties, I think. And when he was here, he didn't have much motivation to keep the place up.
Draco: The house-elf should have.
Harry: Kreacher was depressed, and didn't want to serve Sirius, and mostly wanted to be dead and have his head chopped off so it could be put on the wall like all the other house-elf heads.
- In Certain Dark Things Snape says it when he learns that Harriet hasn't been seen in Little Whinging since the previous August.
- A Goofy Movie: Goofy says this in response to Pete telling him that Max had changed their road map so that they are heading to Los Angeles. Pete also uses this when Goofy says that he doesn't believe him on that.
Pete: Your kid's dupin' ya.
Goofy: What do you mean?
Pete: Well, I heard the little mutant telling PJ that he changed the map so... you're headin' straight to L.A., pal.
Pete: Oh, you tried, Goof. He's just a bad kid, that's all.
Goofy: I don't believe you, Pete.
Goofy: I don't believe you.
Pete: Well, hey, don't take my word for it. Check your map.
- Disney's Aladdin features a memorable example between Iago and Jafar:
Iago: To think we gotta keep kissing up to that chump, and his chump daughter for the rest of our lives...
Jafar: No, Iago. Only until she finds a chump husband. Then she'll have us banished—or beheaded!
Iago: Oh! Wait a minute! Wait a minute! Jafar? What if you were the chump husband?
- Hoodwinked!: Red Puckett delivers one in reaction to seeing Japeth wearing a set of horns that have helicopter blades built into them.
- Ralph Breaks the Internet: When the Disney Princesses start talking about getting inspiration for an "I Want" Song by staring at a body of water, Vanellope responds with a deadpan "What?"
- Strange Magic: The Bog King does this when his princess hostage starts singing about how much she loves him, even though this is the first time they've actually met. She's been love potioned but he doesn't get it until after she's halfway through the song.
- Elizabeth in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, when Jack uses his vote to make her the Pirate King.
- General Bethlehem from The Postman pulls one of these when a village refuses to open its gates to his army. He doesn't take it well.
- The best Flat What in history belongs to Kevin Spacey in L.A. Confidential when Guy Pearce expresses doubts about the Nite Owl case.
- Somehow, Buster Keaton manages to pull out one in The General, a silent film. His deadpan face is like a physical Flat What.
- Joe Turner in Three Days of the Condor drops a few after Joubert shoots CIA Deputy Director Atwood when Turner confronts him in his home.
- The Fifth Element: Zorg's response when he learns one of his lackeys failed to take Korben Dallas' spot on the plane.
- Fight Club: After Jack explains to Marla Singer that Tyler Durden is a separate personality that he's only just been made aware of, she delivers one that manages to be both flat and epic at the same time.
- In response to "I want you to hit me as hard as you can."
- Trinity says this to Neo in The Matrix when he says that Morpheus thinks he's something he's not.
- In National Treasure, Ben responds with this when his dad tells him he doesn't have the Silence Dogood letters.
- Honey, I Shrunk the Kids - this is Diane's initial reaction when Wayne tells her that his shrinking machine zapped their kids. It becomes a sharper "What?!" as she realizes the implications.
- Equilibrium: The Nethers squad commander, after Preston kills two of his men. With their own shotguns. simultaneously.
- There's a fantastic example in Team America: World Police after Spottswoode tells Gary that he will have regained his trust if he performs oral sex on him. It Makes Sense in Context... kinda.
Gary: Uh, what are we doing?Chechen Leader: This jeep is filled with explosives! We're going to take their lives, and our own!Gary: We're, we're gonna what?
- Another example comes earlier on, when Gary, in 'disguise' as Ahmed, is sat in a fleeing jeep with some terrorists, who have turned around and started driving towards Gary's teammates:
- This is the mall Santa's reaction in SHAZAM! (2019) when Darla in her adult form tells him very earnestly that she's been a very good girl this year.
- Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The first evil-ex "boss battle" is already beyond absurd to everyone present in the scene, from Matthew Patel's crashing-in appearance to Scott surprisingly fending him off in fantastical fashion, but when Patel breaks out into a Bollywood-esque number (with demon hipster chicks) in the middle of the fight, a disbelieving Stacy Pilgrim can only manage a "what."
- Toward the end of Super 8 after Joe is speaking with the Alien, and the Alien sets Joe down very nicely and starts to leave Cary delivers an extremely confounded Flat What.
- In Full Metal Jacket, an officious The Neidermeyer type Colonel confronts Pvt. Joker about his peace sign necklace and helmet which reads "Born to Kill".
Joker: I'm trying to suggest something about the duality of man, sir!Colonel: What.
- In The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Aragorn does this when Gimli asks him to toss him to the stone bridge leading to the gate of Helm's Deep, claiming that he "cannot jump the distance".
- In Police Academy, when Lt. Harris is asking who has prior military experience and Mahoney raises his hand:
Harris: You have had prior military training, Mahoney?Mahoney: Yes, sir, but not in this life.Harris: What.Mahoney: In a previous life I served with Her Majesty's forces in India.
- Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Eddie does this when he hears that Marvin Acme has been murdered.
- In Guardians of the Galaxy, this is Ronan's reaction when Quill interrupts his epic final speech by singing and dancing to "Ooh Child" and then challenging Ronan to a dance-off.
Ronan: (completely, totally flabbergasted)....what are you doing.
- A rather more dramatic case from Quill in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, when Ego reveals he placed a tumor inside Quill's mother's head. It's enough to snap Star-Lord out of what is essentially brainwashing.
- In Maleficent, when Aurora first meets the title character.
- In the 2013 movie adaption of Carrie, when Tommy asks Carrie to the prom, after a moment of stunned silence this is the only reaction she is able to produce.
Tommy: So you know the prom is next week? I was wondering, if you don't have a date already, maybe you want to go with me?
- Ant-Man features two 'tip montages' narrated by Luis, whose mouth moves so fast that the only thing Scott has to say by the end is "...What."
- Trainspotting: When Begbie goes picking a fight in a restaurant just for fun and a massive Bar Brawl suddenly erupts, the rest of his fellow drug addicts just stand on the balcony overlooking all this mayhem with this reaction on their faces.
- In Iron Man 3, Tony Stark is getting his ass kicked by the Big Bad until a superpowered Pepper Potts comes crashing Out of the Inferno and rescues him.
Stark: (Beat) ...I got nothin'.
- Attributed to Richard Nixon as the epigraph to the fourth part of Gravitys Rainbow.
- In The Zigzag Kid, Nono says "What is this" instead of asking, because he's too shocked to "wrinkle his voice at the end to make a question" when he finds out his friend the Con Man is also his grandfather.
- Harry Dresden occasionally punctuates "what" without a question mark.
- In The Aeronaut's Windlass, this is the reaction when a character casually mentions that she is speaking to the airship. Note that this and The Dresden Files are by the same author.
- In Jingo Vetinari is talking with Leonard of Quirm about Leshp, the island that's just come up out of the sea, and Leonard casually mentions he did some sketches there once. After leaving the room, Vetinari thinks for a moment, turns around, goes back into the room and flatly asks Leonard, "You did what?" The island reappears and sinks back into the sea periodically, but at that point Leonard is the only living person who knows anything about it.
- David Letterman tends to quickly bolt out one if he hears something over the course of his show that's weird or otherwise catches him off-guard.
- Frequently, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert on their respective shows in response to stupid world events.
- Barbara Walters interviewed Herman Cain as one of her most fascinating people of 2011 and gave this when he answered a question about theoretical cabinet positions with he would like to be Secretary of Defense. This from a man who admitted (and demonstrated) he didn't know squat about foreign affairs.
- The Apprentice: This is Lord Sugar's response to Karthik's boast "Give me a laptop, I'll make you a billion-dollar company." For context, this was following the defeat of Karthik's team by over £40,000.
- Blackadder uses this fairly regularly.
- Perhaps best demonstrated in Blackadder teaching Baldrick how to count:
Blackadder: Right Baldrick, let's try again shall we? This is called adding. If I have two beans, and then I add two more beans, what do I have?
Baldrick: Some beans.
Blackadder: (pause) Yes... and no. Let's try again, shall we? I have two beans, then I add two more beans. What does that make?
Baldrick: A very small casserole.
Blackadder: Baldrick, the ape creatures of the Indus have mastered this. Now try again. One, two, three...
Blackadder: So how many are there?
Baldrick: And that one.
Blackadder: Three... and that one. So if I add that one to the three, what will I have?
Baldrick: Oh! Some beans.
Blackadder: Yes. To you Baldrick, the Renaissance was just something that happened to other people, wasn't it?
- Perhaps best demonstrated in Blackadder teaching Baldrick how to count:
- The Catherine Tate Show: Kate (Catherine Tate) insists that Ellen (Ella Kenion) guess how old her salsa instructor thought she was. Ellen guesses 42, prompting a flat "what" from Kate although you can still tell she was restraining her anger.
Kate: Guess how old Tony thought I was.
Ellen: I really wouldn't like to.
Kate: Go on, just guess!
- Community, right after Jeff telling off Abed's father for trying to control Abed vaguely backfires:
Abed's Dad: Fine! You want to raise him? You raise him! I'm out!
- This was Troy's reaction when Pierce brought his late mother's essence (a lava lamp) to class.
- Doctor Who:
- The Fourth Doctor was very fond of saying "what".
- The Tenth Doctor gets in at least one of these per season. Often combined with a Triple Take.
- His first use of it may have been in "Army of Ghosts", when the Cyber-Leader reveals the Cybus Cybermen didn't build the Void ship that broke the barrier between universes.
- Also used in his first encounter with Donna Noble (at the end of series 2's final episode "Doomsday" and again, when the same scene is replayed at the start of "The Runaway Bride"), when she suddenly, inexplicably appears out of thin air inside the flying TARDIS and starts berating him.
- Used exquisitely in "Last of the Time Lords", "Voyage of the Damned" and the mini-episode "Time Crash" (which reuse the same scene). The prow of (what looks like) an antiquated (read: early 20th century) ocean-liner smashes through to the interior of the TARDIS (while the TARDIS is in space!) and the Doctor, as any sane man would, responds in surprise. And then repeats himself for emphasis. Finally, upon discovering that the ship is, in fact, the Titanic, he finishes off in a perfectly flat "What."
- Martha does one in "Gridlock", when she learns that a ten-mile trip on "the motorway" in New New York will take six years.
- In "The Eleventh Hour", this is Young Amy's reaction when the Doctor tells her that the blue box he crashed in is actually a time machine.
- Eleven's flattest one was probably in "Closing Time":
Val: Well there is the silver rat...
The Doctor: [turns around slowly] What.
- Family Ties: This was Alex P. Keaton's response to Mallory and Nick's decision to get married.
- Full House: In episode 17 of season 7, this is Michelle's reaction to Papouli's death.
- Game of Thrones: Arya reacts this way after the Waif plays 'the game of faces' with her.
- Good Luck Charlie:
Amy: I made Charlie, so, in some way, I made that painting too!
Bob: But honey, by that logic, I made that painting too.
Amy: Oh really? So you carried that painting inside of you for nine months?
- Life's Captain Tidwell reverses the usual scenario by using the Flat What as his go-to response to other people's reactions to his odd comments.
- Mad Men:
- Don Draper is fond of this. Very fond of this.
- Peggy has two when Stan confesses that he's in love with her.
- The Muppet Show: Sam the American Eagle looses a fine one on learning that his requested concerto would be played by The Electric Mayhem. Sam is rather famous for these. He has a particularly beautiful one while reading "The Ant and the Grasshopper"; he reads the traditional Aesop's fable until he reaches the last line:
Sam: And so it was, dear listeners... that the Grasshopper drove his sports car to Florida, and the Ant got stepped on.
- The Office (US): This is Pam's reaction in the Season 2 finale when Jim confesses his love for her.
- Poirot: In the 2010 adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express, Mrs. Hubbard interrupts Poirot's evaluation of the crime scene by calmly saying that she saw the murderer, eliciting a dull "...Quoi."
- Power Rangers Mystic Force: This was Koragg's reaction when Nick rode in to battle on Koragg's own Cool Horse, Catastros. Previously, Koragg had been the only one able to tame and ride Catastros.
- The Practice. Murder trial, pretty routine for lawyers, prosecutors, and judge, obviously guilty defendant... and the Common Nonsense Jury surprises everyone with a verdict of Not Guilty. Helen does this, then delivers an epic "The Reason You Suck" Speech to the jury.
- Sherlock: In "A Scandal in Belgravia", right before they go to visit Irene Adler, Sherlock asks John to punch him in the face. This is his response.
- Skins: Emily launches one when Katie tells her she does have to ask her who she sleeps with.
- Cameron Mitchell of Stargate SG-1 says "what" with varying inflections so often that he's been accused of using it as his Catchphrase. Obviously, at least one Flat What has come up.
- While she doesn't actually say it, Teyla's facial expression just screams this upon Sheppard telling her in a matter-of-fact tone what the last two digits of McKay's password mean. For reference, the password is 16431879196842.note
Sheppard: It's the Ultimate Answer to the Great Question of Life, the Universe and Everything.
Teyla: ... (slowly turns back to her own computer)
- Happened quite a few times on Star Trek: The Next Generation. One of the funniest ones came from the episode "First Contact" (not to be confused with the later film of the same name) where Riker is trapped while undercover on a planet of aliens and tries to enlist the aid of a nurse to escape from the hospital they're keeping him in.
- Teen Wolf: Jackson's reaction at being demoted to co-captain... alongside Scott.
- Third Watch: After a bad night, Doc does the math on how much they make on each run. Faith's response to the $13.85 is a Flat What.
- Titus: Both forms are running gags; the flat what is often used by Ken Titus, usually toward an unseen observer of his behavior.
- Torchwood: Miracle Day: At the end, when the team finds out that because of the blood transfusion, Rex is as immortal as Jack, Jack, Gwen and Rex let out three Flat Whats in a row. Doubles a Call-Back to the Doctor Who examples above.
- The Vampire Diaries: Jenna's reaction upon learning that John Gilbert is Elena's father.
- White Collar: Once, Neal is given tranquilizers and strapped to a bed. When Peter finds him, Neal's still in the bed (singing, no less) even though he freed himself a while ago.
Peter: We gotta get you out of these binds.
Neal: Oh, you mean these? (raises arms and straps fall to the floor) What.
- The X-Files: In "Die Hand Die Verletzt", Mulder admits that he agrees with a hick sheriff that a creepy woodland murder scene looks ritualistic, he simply didn't want to start a panic. Scully is Scully until she's interrupted by a rain of toads.
Mulder: So... lunch?
- The Japanese pop duo WaT has nothing to do with this trope. The comments on their YouTube video, however...
- In The Lonely Island's song "Jack Sparrow'' this is the reaction Andy Samberg gives when Michael Bolton interrupts their Boastful Rap with..this:
Michael Bolton: [singing] This is the tale of Captain Jack Sparrow! Pirate so brave on the seven seas!
- In Eminem's "Just Lose It", he tells a male chorus to grab their left nuts to make their right ones jealous. This is their response.
- The lyrics to Christina Aguilera's song "Dirrty" ends with one.
- Taylor Swift:
- "We are Never Ever Getting Back Together":
We hadn't seen each other in a month
When you said you needed space — what
- "Look What You Made Me Do":
You ask me for a place to sleep
Locked me out and threw a feast — what
- "We are Never Ever Getting Back Together":
- A now infamous recent example stems from a RAW where Michael Cole, after Jerry Lawler was driven through a table by a rampaging Mark Henry, announcing that Lawler had several injuries and, "with all due respect... anal bleeding." Booker T 's expression for a split-second is priceless. It's one part "they actually cleared that line?" Another part, "he actually said that?" and another part "Who Writes This Crap?!?" Booker's thrown off so badly in he beginning that he could only utter one word. "What."
- Delivered by the character Culverton Smith in BBC Radio 4's production of the Sherlock Holmes story, 'The Dying Detective', when he realizes Holmes has been faking a terminal illness the whole time and he's just confessed to a murder. You can hear the character's face collapse, the word is so deftly underplayed by the actor.
- 'night, Mother: Jessie has announced that she will kill herself, that night. Her mother gets increasingly frantic as she tries to talk Jessie out of it, only to sort of collapse into despair. Jessie says she knows Mama liked the preacher who did Jessie's father's funeral, so Mama can get the same one to do Jessie's. Mama's answer?
Mama: (Not an answer, just a word) What.
- The real time strategy game Age of Mythology features several flat whats.
- The Second Life griefing group "W-Hat" takes its name from a Something Awful emoticon containing a W immediately followed by a hat, used in much the same way as the Flat What.
- In Recettear, a very flat "What." is spouted by Tear in a pub conversation where a very drunk Charme says, unflinchingly, that she became a thief out of necessity, but eventually grew to like the whole "being a murderous thug" thing..
- In Touhou 10.5: Scarlet Weather Rhapsody, Alice pulls one after being defeated by Remilia in the latter's story.
Remilia Scarlet: To make rain fall, you... control dolls...
Alice Margatroid: What.
Remilia Scarlet: Hey, Sakuya, that makes no sense! Bring up the next!
- In the Boss Rush of Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, this is most possible characters' reaction to Ultros.
- A very flat what appears in the intro to WCW/nWo: Revenge, when a truck driver notices that Sting has lit a bunch of barrels on fire in the middle of the road for no apparent reason. Dodgy voice acting may be to blame.
- This is Qualstio's reaction to seeing Tatzylvurm in The Reconstruction.
- Raz of Psychonauts gives a perfectly flat "What." when the true identity of The Phantom is revealed. Rightfully so, because it's Jasper. How can all that fat fit into that cloak?
- Nick from Lollipop Chainsaw is full of these.
- Upon waking up for the first time as a zombie in Kingdom of Loathing as part of the special challenge path Zombie Master, and seeing your gravestone, this is your response.
- One of the post-battle skits in Tales of Graces has this.
Asbel: Sometimes, I can't help but regret the past.Cheria: Asbel...Asbel: Why didn't I push hard for a raise in my allowance?!Cheria and Hubert: What.
- Raiden gives off a couple in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.
- In Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, after Starlow finally runs out of quips regarding the Massif Bros.' bizarre obsession with beef.
Big Massif: BEEF!
Lil' Massif: FOR!
Big Massif: TWO!
Both Massif Bros.: BEEF STEW!
- In the most recent Disgaea Dimension 2, Laharl has one of these after Sicily, the angel who came to take over his Overlordship, reveals herself to be his Little sister.
- In Dragon Age: Origins, this and Big "WHAT?!" tends to be Alistair's standard reaction to the Warden's eccentric hiring policy for new companions, especially in the case of an assassin who had only moments before tried to murder them all.
- Morrigan delivers one when Flemeth reveals she's sending her with the Warden's party. Subverted later on, when it's revealed this was actually their plan all along.
- As per her role as one of the Only Sane Men of BlazBlue, Makoto has uttered this trope a few times. The most notorious involved the absurdity of the casting in her gag reel (one of which was silenced by Ragna of all people), but she has done it in canon - namely, after heading off with Noel to get some food after first contact with Kagura.
Makoto: I can't believe that guy.
Noel: Makoto... I think Kagura... might be a good person.
Makoto: *exasperated* What the hell. You are one cheap date.
- In Five Nights at Fuckboy's 3, this is Springtrap's reaction to particularly bizarre events (i.e. being transported into Atari Land, or watching two animatronics have sex).
- In Borderlands The Presequel, this is Wilhelm's reaction to Lilith's explanation to why she and Roland aren't up to helping, initially.
Roland: We're out of the vault hunting business.
Lilith: Too many tentacles.
Roland: We thought Jack was going to open a vault and use it to wipe us off Pandora, but thanks to some intel I stole from a Hyperion convoy, I found out we were wrong.Lilith: What.Roland: He's not going to open a vault. He's going to control it.Lilith: I'll just go ahead and repeat myself: what.
- Similarly, twice in Borderlands 2:
- Angel: You'll definitely want to hear this. She's a siren.Jack: What.
- In Undertale, this is Undyne's reaction when you try to hit her after she challenges you to a final duel to restore her pride during a Pacifist Run. You can choose to fake a hit, but even if you don't, you will be incapable of summoning enough intent to harm her to deal more than 1 HP of damage. Undyne, upon realizing this, is reminded of someone else equally innocent (most likely Asriel) and decides that she can't bring herself to hurt you either.
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Proves that this reaction can even come from a Silent Protagonist like Link. After smashing the Spider boss Arhmogohma three times with the Dominion Rod, the creature finally convulses and dies, bursting into smoke. Link gives a triumphant flourish of the Master Sword, only to gape in disbelief when the smoke clears to reveal the boss's true form: A comparatively tiny and entirely non threatening spider.
- The tsundere AI, *Mute, from Analogue: A Hate Story fires of a bunch of these over the course of the game.
- From Katawa Shoujo:
- And again in Lilly's route:
Kenji: I've confirmed that Lilly is in the Mafia.
- Come to think of it, just about any interaction with Kenji tends to have this effect on Hisao, even if it isn't always played straight in the actual dialogue.
- Junpei utters one in Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors after Santa tells him he hates the number 4 for being a "half-ass number".
- In SC2VN, this is Mach's response to being tricked into a bet match with a high schooler.
- In Spirit Hunter: NG, this is Akira's reaction when Kaoru asks him, seemingly out of the blue, to take his clothes off. She wanted to ink a protective incantation on him but didn't bother explaining that beforehand.
- In Charlie the Unicorn 2, Charlie reacts this way when he and his two... um... friends encounter a giant letter Z.
Blue: ¡El hombre con el sombrero nos envió!
Pink: ¡Él nos cuenta muchas historias asombrosas!
Z: (makes pinging noises)
Blue and Pink: Hohohoho!
- Freeman's Mind:
- Freeman says this when he is confronted with an elevator that finally goes up, but is blocked by boxes of explosives.
- Adrian Shephard in Shephard's Mind does this twelve times in response to unleashing a swarm of snarks.And again:
Jon: I'd be down with a cool black star like that.
Emile: Actually, it's official name is Ztar.
Jon: ... What.
- In Red vs. Blue, at the start of Season 10 Church finds out that while he's been in the Memory Unit (Which makes up most of Season 9's plot), Washington has replaced him fully. His reaction is hilarious:
Caboose: We sort of call the new guy Church, y'know, sometimes.
- In the C Boyardee animation Dilbert 3, Alice delivers one in response to a murderous Dilbert's "ranch or cool ranch" Doritos trick questions before she is promptly shot after answering "ranch".
- Sonic in Jaws:
Conker: Nice hairdo.
- Team Fortress 2:
- The Expiration Date short has Engineer switch from happy to terrifyingly angry with just this trope after hearing that Soldier teleported bread.
- Some videos use the Spy as a Straight Man and chop the "What" from his response lines into a short statement of incredulous disbelief. Showcased nicely by this Team Service Announcement.
- At the end of the Bee and Puppycat episode "Beach", Cardamon is attempting to unclog Bee's toilet. An assumed hour later, we see him fishing out a can of food lodged in the toilet. When it's out, he simply says:
- The Strong Bad Email "sisters" has Strong Bad's malfunctioning computer accidentally deleting an email from a girl named Ali and her sister. He receives another email and thinks it's from Ali, only discovering it to be nonsensical gibberish.
Strong Bad: Whaaat... You're not Ali. You're not even literate!
- In the Elements of Cringe Celestia has priceless flat what reaction to Flame Majesty's demands to turn him and his brony friends to their OC's. Considering this is one of their main motives for capturing The Elements of Harmony and launching an unprovoked invasion it's understandable.
- Parson Gotti of Erfworld, on Maggie unexpectedly casting a suggestion spell on Stanley to make him leave the room and appoint Parson chief warlord.
- 8-Bit Theater uses this a lot, mostly by Black Mage and Sarda (the latter involving an incident that almost completely broke his brain).
- It's important to note that Sarda (Barring Chaos. Who he turns into.) is the most powerful character in the comic and downright omnipotent as well as only about 30 seconds younger than the universe itself and due to a Stable Time Loop has already experienced this same event from his younger self's perspective. He just had his mind broke by a character who managed to Dual Wield longbows with two arms twice resulting in wielding four bows, each with three arrows apiece loaded.
- The Lich reacts this way after Black Mage pulls a Not Now, Kiddo on him (discussing killing his son, Vilbert, right in front of him, on his own property, without even bothering to turn around to address Lich.)
- Explorers of Souls:
Pikachu: I have no idea what you're going on about. Partners? Adventures? Sounds too tough for me. Plus, I don't even know who you are...
Mel: WAIT, WAT.
- The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: Part of a Running Gag is that whenever something on TV mentions him in some fashion (the infamous "McNinja Burgers" from McDonald's, mayor Goodrich fingering him as the partner in the town's zombie defense system), the titular doctor will spend one brief panel staring at the TV in surprise and saying "What." in the next.
- Also, this is how Dan McNinja opens his tirade against the pirates in the bar he's hiding in, declaring his intention to burn the place down on the way out.
- A sort of extended variation of this trope is used for the doctor reacting to how Dan McNinja wound up on fire. "You. Lit. Yourself. On fire. Why did you light yourself on fire." Punctuated as it was in the comic.
- In the Army of One storyline, Doc's reaction to Franz Rainer defending himself against the McNinja clone horde, taking full advantage of the Inverse Ninja Law.
- And then there was that time the Doctor was shocked by his own improbable motorbiking skills. This time with no punctuation whatsoever.
- In Hark! A Vagrant, Sucre elicits one of these from Bolivar after suggesting that maybe they shouldn't be fighting for freedom all the time. Which, of course, is a completely incomprehensible idea to Bolivar.
- In the Order of the Stick "Snips, snails and Dragon Tales" segment where the members of the Order make up stories (read: Take famous stories from Real Life and parody them in a 3.5 context), Roy's retelling of Hamlet has Hamlet (played by Roy) utter this when the play he set up to make Claudius (played by Xykon) admit to his father's murder gets... Slightly derailed (The leader of the theatre troupe was played by Elan, and the rewrite went slightly Off the Rails).
- Mort the ghost from Gunnerkrigg Court does this one when Annie has her other undead friends scare the bejeebers out of him (as a roundabout way of apologizing) in this strip. (This one is the setup for it.)
- Diane from Iron Crown gets a nice one when she hears about traitors being the cause of the current mess she's in for the first time. One can only imagine she shares the same attitude her father (a dictator) has towards them.
- Mike of College Roomies from Hell!!! has been known to use it.
- In The Last Days Of FOXHOUND, Psycho Mantis' reaction to being told that Berthold could talk. Being psychic and thus differently-brained, Berthold couldn't get through to him.
Liquid: Say, huh... Why don't you levitate yourself up here? You can do that.
- Also, this strip:
Psycho Mantis: Couple of reasons. First, it takes a lot of concentration, and getting blown up sort of threw me off a little. Second, there's a stalactite the size of a goddamned baseball bat lodged in my chest.
Vulcan Raven: Stalagmite.
Psycho Mantis: What.
- Many webcomic artists attribute this to Ryan North of Dinosaur Comics.
- Occurs in pictures for sad children a couple of times.
- This Blank It comic is both named for, and delivers, upon Aric finding that the world contains an infinite loop.
- Questionable Content has a good one from Faye.
- Mike Warner of Shortpacked!! had this reaction upon learning that Amber had adopted a pair of hamsters.
- Dumbing of Age has one here, as Joyce plans to hook her roommate Sarah up with her boyfriend's roommate Jacob.
- From this installment of Touhou Nekokayou:
Eirin: Yes, it tastes almost exactly like "Tewi is trying to get me and Mika to pull a prank."Reisen: What
- Here's a great one in Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name, from the mouth of a sassy bat.
- And also from the mouth of Conrad, who is NOT invited to the party.
- Occurs in Mountain Time when an onion sensei is asked about the human status of Donna the Bears, a woman whose mind is several bears.
- Since the protagonists of Homestuck are only connected through IMs, bouts of confusion are common.
KARKAT: WHAT HAPPENED TO VRISKA? WHY IS SHE PASSED OUT ON THE FUCKING FLOOR?!JOHN: because i punched her in the face.KARKAT: WHATJADE: oh yeah by the way dave...JADE: youre a pretty good kisser!JADE: even when youve got cat lips ;)DAVE: WHAT
- El Goonish Shive has it as a Running Gag.
Dan Shive: I love it when characters say 'what.'
- Even in Japanese.
- From Johnny Wander, we get this gem.
- Manly Guys Doing Manly Things has this triple one.
- Awkward Zombie demonstrates the appropriate male reaction to the Pokémon Musical.
- Alicia does one of these in Growing Up Grunge.
- The revelation of the premise of The Fancy Adventures of Jack Cannon.
- Nita's reaction to "THE AWESOME (untested) POWER OF YOGIC FLYING" in the Scary Go Round Spin-Off Giant Days.
- In GastroPhobia, Phobia's reaction◊ to being told that Philia is her and Klepto's daughter.
- Avatar of Far Out There does one in reaction to a particularly flamboyant mad scientist.
- Nick gets one in General Protection Fault when Trudy accidentally slips that she isn't the alternate universe self everyone thought she was.
- The nameless mercenary from Flaky Pastry reacts appropriately to this rather... unconventional technique.
- Done hilariously by Zelda in this (spoileriffic!) fan comic◊ of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
- Strip #343 of Michael Firman's Moe, accompanied with an extra-large speech bubble for emphasis.
- In the "Crux's Climb" story arc of A Moment of Peace, Story asks Ito if he thinks she is happy sitting by the pool waiting for Crux, for which he answers "yes". Apparently it wasn't the answer she expected.
- In Spare Keys for Strange Doors, Marion reacts to the arrival of a unicorn this way.
- In Dream*Scar, this is Vix's reaction to seeing what happened to Ophelia.
- This is Axe Cop's reaction when he enters Narnia through a wardrobe... though it should be noted there's nothing special about magically entering a world with talking animals and fantasy creatures compared to what goes on in his comic all the time. In fact, his arrival makes Narnia considerably weirder.
- Page 86 of Grrl Power: After dealing with Sydney's skittishness for several pages, they finally find out what she's hiding in the tube on her back. Seven unmarked orbs float into the air and do nothing. Maxima looks at this and says "what." It's so much less than what everyone was anticipating.
- TwoKinds February 10, 2012. Mike insists that Keith — a member of a race incapable of magic — once transformed him into a girl.
- Waterworks: (mild spoiler) A particularly confusing conversation eventually elicits this reaction from Slick after a couple of beat panels.
- Kiwi Blitz has this moment.
- Schtein's reaction in String Theory when he's been told that he's been assigned to the garbage duty at the prison.
- This is Megaman's catchphrase in Megamanspritecomic, almost beginning each comic strip with a flat "what".
- The Team Fortress 2 tie-in webcomic "The Naked And The Dead" has Miss Pauling drop one when Soldier's fiancee Zhanna tells her to "stay away from [her] man" - in this case, because a) Miss Pauling is confirmed lesbian by Word of Gay, and b) Soldier is so much of a complete frickin' lunatic that only the similarly unstable Zhanna would really be that interested in him. For bonus points, at the moment this is being said, Soldier is resting between waves of robots, which he has been fighting while naked and covered in honey, and the only element that makes it make sense in context is that it's the Soldier doing it.
- Pick an image hosting site or image forum, any you can think of, that allows people to tag the images. Search for any images labelled wat or what, and that's exactly what it'll get out of you. Expect the results to cross over with Nightmare Fuel and/or Nausea Fuel.
- Cinnamon Bunzuh!: Ifi's reaction after reading The Capture.
- The "LOL WUT" meme.
- Alternatively, "Wat."
- In the long form, "what is this i dont even" (sic), additionally, "i'm 12 and what is this" is used in similar fashion.
- In the longest form (verbose): "I have become quite profounded from your previous statement, so much so that it has become quite humorous how abnormal the said statement is."
- The unofficial Aetolia: The Midnight Age wiki has an entire page devoted to this trope here.
- Pretty much the primary catchphrase of the Goosebumps series review blog Blogger Beware.
- Uttered by Ironyuppie in AH.com: The Series "Casino Imperiale", after she finds out that Landshark beat her nemesis before she could.
- The RPGNet Hive Mind is fond of "man what" (no punctuation) as a response to any completely brain-spraining statement.
- Notably inspired by and associated with (by those in the know) a certain photograph of Bob Marley in a state of absolute man what
- The hive mind seems to have determined it actually came as a response to someone discussing the Inferi from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince... to the tune of "The Happy Wanderer" (the "Valderie, Valdera" song). "In-fer-iiiii... in-fer-aaaaaaa..." The first post after that was a prematurely-launched post consisting entirely of "man what"
- NOTE: The absence of a period at the end of the previous entry is entirely deliberate and proper. The phrase expresses such a profound and utter state of confusion that it eradicates any and all punctuation and grammar within a radius of one post.
- Inventing Swear Words 4 has a good example, right after Stag complains to the GM that every other class is more powerful with him, to which the GM responds with a "What." Made funnier by how Stag then demands that every class be nerfed except his, which is, without even a beat, followed by the GM teleporting him away.
- Very good one in The Fine Bros.' Kids React to Nyan Cat, at 3:01.
- Vixen used this to describe a scene from Revolutionary Girl Utena. The scene in question has Utena jump down from a balcony, tear off her own dress to reveal her uniform, take a table cloth from a nearby table, then form a dress to cover her heterosexual life partner Anthy's Wardrobe Malfunction.
- A staple in the commentaries at The Classic Doctor Who Twitter Blog. Frequently goes hand-in-hand with "Wait." Lots of them.
- The page quote is from Mark Reads Twilight, a truly insightful blog not for Twilight fans.
- It's become NothingNow's defacto Catchphrase in AH.Com: The Creepy Teen Years.
- On various image-sharing sites, "what" is used as a tag for bizarre, shocking, or absurd images, usually involving physical or anatomical impossibilities.
MostNearly all examples will be NSFW at the least, so seek them out at your own risk.
- Don't tell my dad!
- A very popular subject of Image Macros.
- Survival of the Fittest: There was an infamous death in v2 involving Spontaneous Human Combustion. Said character's post-game evaluation on the wiki is, of course, one of these.
- During the production of A Super Mario Thing on the talkhaus forums, this was raocow's reaction upon discovering that Rule 34 had been made of Demo (the main character of ASMT and Raocow's own creation; a female demon alien minion with no arms, blue hair, and a face composed of a single giant eye).
- The Biting Pear of Salamanca (otherwise known as the "LOL WUT" pear), which probably deserves its own page.
- Smart Bitches, Trashy Books sometimes resorts to this, such as in a review of a (thankfully short) e-book called ''Ravished By the Triceratops'' (NSFW, obviously}.
- The Nostalgia Critic's review of Alone in the Dark (2005):
N.C. (Through Speakonia): How did you get in here?Spoony: I'm from the future.N.C. (Through Speakonia): What.
- The same site's Bum Reviews give us this, from the review of Burn After Reading:
Chester A. Bum: And at the end, something happens, but at the same time, nothing happens! What.
- "You, your mate, and your Johnson."
- A particularly good example is when he figures out the evil plan in Future 5.
- The Nostalgia Critic also does this in his review of The Room.
NC: Where are we?NC of the future: The future!NC: Okay, but...why are we downstairs in the basement?NC of the future: Oh, it's the only place we can hide to stay away from the seahorses.NC: Oh, okay.(beat)NC: What.
- Then there's the Critic's reaction to the plot twist of The Secret Of Nimh 2...
- The same site's Bum Reviews give us this, from the review of Burn After Reading:
- The Nostalgia Chick made good use of this too when she reviewed Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, letting out three in quick succession:
Nostalgia Chick: What.[cue noise and running around as the Tim Curry tries to kill Belle and the Beast through the power of dramatic organ music]Nostalgia Chick: What.
[The Beast throws a piano at organ!Tim Curry]
Nostalgia Chick: What... EVER, please, for the love of God, END!
- The Cinema Snob got one in Kickassia when The Nostalgia Critic revealed that yes, he really did order twenty tons of dynamite.
- Allison Pregler gave one in her review of "Fatal Deviation", when out of nowhere, with no bearing to the plot, there's a naked man in a cowboy hat taking a bath outside.
- Nash uses it so often, it ought to be classified as one of his catch phrases. But then, considering the nature of his show's content, it seems natural.
- Used as a tag on the imagesite Danbooru for those images that make no sense whatsoever. A user was quoted as saying, "Does it make your brain shut down for a second when you see it? Then it's a 'what' picture."
- On some "booru" image sites there's also a "no seriously what" tag, for when "what" is not enough.
- In this review of Eversion one reviewer has already written the game off as a generic Super Mario Bros. clone, when the second reviewer casually mentions 'and then there's your power to warp reality to your whims'. The first reviewer's response is of course 'What.'
- In Nakar's Ultima VI Let's Play, during the parodic "cannon"ical ending, Draxinusom utters the Gargish version of this upon seeing something truly bizarre:
Draxinusom: To be saying what.
- On LoadingReadyRun's Daily Drop feature at The Escapist, the utter indestructibility of one object lead the captions to declare, "DOES NOT COMPUTE", "SERIOUSLY?" and finally the Flat What.
- This video collects hundreds of these scenes from various webcomics.
- Let's Drown Out:
Yahtzee: "Okay, theories? That was the puzzle, by the way, we now have the sticks we needed."
- Gabriel offers this reaction when Yahtzee challenges him to observe, then explain one of Curse of Enchantia's many surreal Solve the Soup Cans-type puzzles.
Gabe: "I saw a special needs girl throw a goat on Friday."
- Gabe gets Yahtzee back when they review Adventures in the Galaxy of Fantabulous Wonderment, where Gabe gets to drop a mildly relevant non-sequitur into the discussion and derail Yahtzee's train of thought.
Yahtzee: "What. Was that like a Mad Lib?"
Gabe: "No, no, this was a real thing that's happened in my life."
- In the Staying Alive episode of How Did This Get Made?, Paul Scheer is taking audience comments and has a Flat "What." reaction upon hearing that there was actually a Staying Alive Choose Your Own Adventure book.
- Cinematic Excrement's response to the final battle in Breaking Dawn Part 2 turning out to be the vision Alice shows Aro.
- JonTron has this reaction in the episode "Anti Drug Games":
Drug dealer: Take one hit and you'll do anything to cop more. Steal from your mama...
JonTron: (concerned) H-Hey, man, did you get bit by a mosquito or somethin'...?
Drug dealer: (now transformed into a snake man) Do I look like the kind of guy who do that to a child like you?
JonTron: YOU LOOK LIKE A SNAKE!
Drug dealer: YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS!
JonTron : WHAT? WHAT THE FUCK?
- In The Booth at the End The Man, normally unflappable, has this reaction to learning that Willem kidnapped and is keeping prisoner the girl he agreed to protect so he could "be the hero."
- Joel lets out a series of them in episode 9 of Meme House when a member of the chat points out that, according to his moodlet bar, Dio is pregnant. Thankfully, it was only a glitch.
- The Simpsons: Lisa Simpson is fond of this expression. Notably, the episode "Bart's Inner Child" and motivational speaker Brad Goodman:
Brad Goodman: Young man, what made you yell out that remark?
Bart: I dunno...
Brad Goodman: You just wanted to... express yourself, yes?
Bart: I do what I feel like.
Brad Goodman: Why, that's marvelous! 'I do what I feel like'. Ladies and gentlemen... this little boy here is the inner child that I've been talking about.
(cut to Lisa, who is wearing an expression of Tranquil Fury.)
- South Park:
- Cartman gives one in "T.M.I." when he finds out that the school actually didn't post the boys' penis sizes.
- Cartman also does it in "Crack Baby Athletic Association" when Kyle proposes using 30% of the company's profits to build an orphanage for the crack babies.
- In the later seasons the boys' Functional Genre Savvy (especially Stan) has reduced many of their reactions (to ever-increasingly improbable events) to "what." Sometimes they upgrade it to a deadpan "Dude, what the fuck?".
- In the second season première of The Venture Bros., this is the reaction of The Monarch to escaping from prison through the sewers, grasping the arm of what he believes to be one of his henchmen, and finding that it is instead the arm of Doctor Venture (and that the rest of the doctor is elsewhere, due to a teleportation accident.)
- Teen Titans
- The episode "Troq". Cyborg and Starfire (well, Cyborg's doing the talking) inform Robin that "Troq" is a very offensive anti-Tamaranian slur (they had been assuming it was just a nickname, as they had all been given one). His Flat What is one of the few times it's not intended to be funny.
- Robin also gets a Flat What of the second variety in "Apprentice, Part One", as Slade is revealing his We Can Rule Together ploy. Like the first example, it's not very funny.
- In "Every Dog Has Its Day" when the Titans decide that what they really need to catch the alien dog-thing they're chasing (which has been constantly jumping on Raven and enthusiastically licking her every time it sees her) is "some bait". Raven gives the flattest "...what." you will EVER hear.
- A few moments earlier, everyone thought the alien-dog was Beast Boy with Power Incontinence. Then it burps up a car bumper.
- In The Batman's fourth season premiere, "The Batman/Superman Story", Lex Luthor can only manage a strained "Whaaat" when it becomes clear his plans have been foiled and Superman is hovering just outside of his Humongous Mecha.
- Kim Possible does this occasionally, such as when she finds out Monique is a huge wrestling fan.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender, the gang is talking about some strange creature, and Aang simply gives a perfect flat "What."
"Well, that was random."
- After Combustion Man blows up their campsite and starts a five-minute Full-Contact Magic brawl, Toph Beifong has just one thing to say;
- Beavis and Butt-Head: This trope is Butt-Head's immediate reaction to the music video for "Real American" by Rick Derringer (Hulk Hogan's WWE theme song), but once the video transitions from Hulk playing bass in front of the U.S. flag to clips of him in WWF matches, he and Beavis get excited.
- In a "Dial M for Monkey' cartoon on Dexter's Laboratory, the Justice Friends say this after Rasslor's big melodramatic speech.
- In Total Drama Noah gives out one of these after watching the Japanese Total Drama Action promo.
- Futurama: Bender delivers this after being asked, "Have you any idea how it feels to be a fembot living in a manbot's manputer's world?"
- The Powerpuff Girls give a flat "say what?" in "Him Diddle Riddle" when they find that they have gone through white heat solving Him's riddles only to fail the last one, and now the Professor will pay... full price for a pancake breakfast. Even the narrator can't finish his "once again the day is saved" bit.
- Adventures of the Gummi Bears pulled one or two. Gusto Gummi had carved a wooden statue of a Gummi Bear that artistically parodied the Statue of Liberty, then it promptly got devoured by a super termite. Cue "What."
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
Fluttershy: Pinkie Pie, look to your left and ask your best friend to pass the cucumber sandwiches.
- Spike, who really should be used to this sort of thing by now, gets one in the episode "Fall Weather Friends" when Pinkie Pie goes off on a tangent about how grudge rhymes with fudge while the two are announcing for a race.
- Lyra, upon learning that Bon Bon is actually Sweetie Drops, a secret agent of a monster hunting agent gone undercover by Celestia's orders after a bugbear they sent to Tartarus escaped could only respond with a series of these.
- In "Scare Master", Fluttershy manages to induce one from Pinkie Pie of all characters during her first attempt to scare her friends.
Pinkie Pie: Huh? I-I can't. There's nopony there.
Fluttershy: That's right! Because she didn't care to show uuuuuup!
Pinkie Pie: What.
- Pinkie's sister Maud has this reaction when she learns that Pinkie gave up her party cannon to buy her a present. Surprisingly enough, it's not played for laughs.
- On Daria, when she reads from Trent's journal of song lyrics.
Daria: "My heart is like an open wound/That reads the tea leaves of its doom." What. "Soothe me with redemption's love/Like a heat-proof kitchen glove." God, I hope this is a first draft.
- In Adventure Time, Marceline drops this after Finn says a suggestive line.
- In the Phineas and Ferb episode "A Real Boy", Vanessa has this reaction when her father mistakenly says that he wishes he had a son instead of a daughter:
Dr. Doofenschmirtz: What? You're wearing headphones? So you haven't heard a thing I've said all day...
Vanessa: Why do you think I wear the headphones?
Dr. Doofenschmirtz: So you're not mad at me for saying I'd rather have a son than a daughter like you?
Dr. Doofenschmirtz: Oh, nothing, nothing! Just... (puts the headphones back in Vanessa's ears) put these back on... there you go. (leaves)
- Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy: Princess Peach when Mario asks her if he can have a kiss after he rescues her.
- Used frequently on The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack:
Cap'n K'nuckles: I aint' bustin' my back for no barber's nickel!
- During the card game in "Kid Nickels":
Cap'n K'nuckles: Flapjack! What'd I tell you about using yer eyeballs?
- From "Fish Heads"
- During the card game in "Kid Nickels":
- In the Looney Tunes short "Duck! Rabbit, Duck!", after Daffy Duck quips "I guess I'm the goat," Bugs holds up a sign reading "GOAT SEASON OPEN", and Daffy delivers this kind of "What" right before getting shot by Elmer Fudd.
- Steven Universe: In "Super Watermelon Island", Peridot reacts with one of these while Steven and the rest of the Crystal Gems are discussing the consequences of some rather strange events she didn't witness (including a fusion and one rather unusual incident involving watermelons).
- A variation of this is one of Darkwing Duck's Catch Phrases whenever something weird and/or stupid happens.
- In the season 1 finale of DuckTales (2017), Magica DeSpell has weaseled her way into Scrooge's grounds in the guise of her nephew, and spends most of the walk up to Scrooge's front door loudly boasting of the awesome final conflict brewing between herself, unfathomably powerful sorceress of the shadows, and Scrooge McDuck, world's greatest adventurer, arch-nemesis and heroic figure of legend. Unfortunately, Magica is not aware that owing to a separate familial argument in the previous episode, Scrooge has been abandoned by his family, and subsequently is not in the best frame of mind for a battle:
Magica: At last, a vanquishing for the ages. A final clash between the Sorceress of the Shadows, and the world's greatest adventurer, Scrooge McDu—
[Scrooge opens the door. Obviously deeply depressed, he is slovenly, gazing listlessly around and wearing nothing but a stained under-shirt. He scratches himself obliviously.]
Magica: Wait, what.
Say "what" again! Say! "what"! again! I dare you! I double-dare you, motherfucker! Say "what" one more goddamn time!