What's the matter? Haven't you ever seen this trope before?
When you hear this familiar Stock Phrase, the chances are that one of the following is the case:
- A character has been caught in some sort of embarrassing act, and, for want of a better tactic, is attempting to shrug off the embarrassment and avert the stares of onlookers by pretending that there is in fact Nothing To See Here. Sometimes a character is doing this on another character's behalf. Example from the film Splash:
Freddie: What you looking at? You never seen a guy who slept with a fish before?
- As above, something unusual is going on, but this time the character is using the line ironically, or at least knowingly. In such cases the character is evidently aware that the sight before him is well out of the ordinary, but, instead of gawping with his cohorts, greets it like The Stoic and/or Deadpan Snarker he is. Example from The Spy Who Loved Me:
Sub Captain: What's the matter, sailor? You never seen a major taking a shower before?
(The major is an attractive woman.)
- A Deadpan Snarker is mocking another character's shocked reaction to something by which the former is unfazed. Example from the film The Big Sleep:
Philip Marlowe: What's the matter? Haven't you ever seen a gun before? What do you want me to do, count three like they do in the movies?
- The line is being used similarly to You Look Like You've Seen a Ghost, with no, he hasn't being implied instead of yes, he has. Example from Amazon Women on the Moon:
Butch: What's she looking at? She acts like she's never seen a man before.
Queen Lara: She hasn't. Have you, Alpha-Beta?
Alpha Beta: No, My Queen.
- Ranma ½:
Tsubasa: What's the matter? Never seen a real guy before?
Victor: Now, I want you to tell me how the fuck you encoded your plans into these shitty blueprints.
Huey: Encoded? Please, Victor. These blueprints are exactly what they appear to be. They are the creations of a man who, while much younger than us, deserves our respect. These blueprints were all created in the nineteenth century, and several of these items have been properly patented. I'm sure even you have seen a talking clock before.
- An old joke about a stand-up comedian taking off his clothes:
"What's the the matter? Haven't you ever seen a comic strip?"
- In Duel a newly magically-mature Gabrielle burns off Dumbledore's beard with a fireball in front of a shocked Triwizard Tournament crowd.
Gabrielle: What's the matter? Never seen a Veela before?
- In Teenage Mutant Ninja Kneazles a fight between Gryffindor and Slytherin students occurs right before the Triwizard Tournament.
Hannah: Really, hadn't these French girls seen half a school engaged in a brawl over breakfast?
- In the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "Who's That Smurfette?", when the Smurfs just stop and stare as they meet Smurfette for the first time, Hefty says this:
"Well, what are you all smurfing at? Haven't any of you seen a female Smurf before?"
- Universe Falls: In "Scary-oke", the Crystal Gems are surprised to see Stan helping to fight off a horde of zombies, and he quips "What are you three looking at!? Haven't you ever seen a man beat a zombie's head in before?"
- In Time to Ascend Harry changes in a crowded Hogwarts Express corridor while his girlfriend and her friends are changing in their compartment.
Harry: What? Never seen a guy in his underwear before?
- Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters
Frylock: Haven't you ever seen a bra before?
Phil: What's the matter? You never seen a satyr before?
Mushu: [disguised as a messenger riding a panda] Urgent news from the General. [beat] What's the matter? Never seen a black-and-white before?!
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
Sam the Snowman: What's the matter? Haven't you ever seen a talking snowman before?
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: What's the matter? Haven't you ever seen a great man before?
Oki: What are you all looking at? Haven't you ever seen anyone kick a dog before?
- Coal Miner's Daughter:
Patsy Cline: You act like you ain't never seen a glamorous country music singer before.
- The Crush:
Darian Forrester: What's the matter, haven't you ever seen a Valiant before?
- Emmanuelle V:
Emmanuelle: What's the matter? Why are you so shy? Have you never seen a naked woman before?
- Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008):
Sean: [running from a dinosaur] Haven't you ever seen a dinosaur before?
Trevor: Not with skin on it!
- Kung Fu Hustle (2004):
Sing: [to ice cream vendor looking at him strangely] What're you looking at? Never seen an ice cream thief before?
- The Librarian: Quest for the Spear:
Flynn Carsen: What's the matter? Haven't you guys ever seen a naked guy in a sheet before?
- Mad Monster Party?:
Felix: Golly. What's the matter with them? Haven't they ever seen a tourist before?
- Marvel Cinematic Universe:
- Mask (1985):
Rusty Dennis: What's the matter, never seen anyone from the planet Vulcan before?
- Monty Python's The Meaning of Life:
Sergeant-Major: Don't stand there gawping! Like you've never seen the hand o' God before!
- Oliver! (1968):
The Artful Dodger: [to Oliver, who has just arrived in London] Whatchu starin' at? 'Aven't you never seen a toff?
- In Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment, after Mahoney replaces Lt. Mauser's hair conditioner with quick-acting epoxy resin while the latter takes a shower, Mauser's hands get glued to his head. Unfortunately for him, the shampoo runs into his eyes, so he's quite blind as he staggers out and rants at his men about how immature and un-funny this is. By the time he can see again, though, he's wandered out of the locker room altogether and is in the police station itself, in his birthday suit, hands stuck to his shampooed head, leading him to inquire of the stunned civilians and fellow cops:
Mauser: "What's the matter? Haven't you ever seen a man washing his hair before?"
- The Producers (2005):
Mr. Marks: WHAT? You've never seen someone humiliated before?
- Raising Helen:
Helen Harris: It's like they've never seen a dress before!
- Remember the Titans:
Sunshine: [coming into the game to replace Rev because Rev's wrist was broken during the previous play] What's the matter? Haven't you ever seen a football injury before, you wimps?
- Seven Samurai:
Heihachi Hayashida: Haven't you ever seen anyone cut firewood before?
- Shoot to Kill (a.k.a. Deadly Pursuit) after Sidney Poitier scares off a bear.
"Everyone else around here acts like they've never seen a black man before; why should he be any different?"
- Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers:
Ally: What are you staring at? Haven't you ever seen a pair of boobs before?
- The Spy Who Loved Me. A submarine sailor is surprised to see Major Anya Amasova using the captain's shower. The Captain, without looking up from his desk, but knowing full well what the sailor must be looking at, asks "What's wrong, sailor? Haven't you seen a major using a shower before?"
- Young Guns of Texas
Martha Jane Canary: What are you gawking at? Ain't you never seen a pair of pants before?
- An example in Night Watch when bizarre magical events have caused Ridcully to greet the Watch wearing only his hat.
Ridcully: Haven't you lot ever seen a wizard before?
Captain Carrot: We've... never seen so much of a wizard, sir.
- In the bodice-ripper Whisper to Me of Love, the hero has just discovered that the pickpocket he caught is a girl disguised as a boy. She angrily snaps, "Blimey! What are you staring at?! 'Aven't you ever seen a female 'afore!?" He sardonically replies, "Yes, but not one who disguises herself as a boy."
- The Andy Griffith Show:
Barney Fife: What's the matter, haven't you ever seen a man take off a dress before?
- Due South (episode "An Invitation to Romance"):
Ray Vecchio: [while dressed as Fraser, to a passing pedestrian] What are you looking at? You never seen a Canadian before?
- Last of the Summer Wine (episode "The Swan Man of Ilkley"):
Billy: Exactly. Anybody would think we'd never seen a bloke in a dressing gown up to his waist in water strangling a swan before.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (episode "Apocalypse Rising"):
Sisko (disguised as a Klingon): What's the matter, Dukat? Haven't you ever seen a Klingon before?
- Star Trek: The Next Generation (episode "Up the Long Ladder"):
Brenna O'Dell: And what are you staring at? You never seen a woman before?
- Tour of Duty:
Private Alberto Ruiz: What's the matter? Ain't none of you niggers ever seen a spic before?
- Will & Grace:
Karen: [to woman] What are you looking at, preggo? Haven't you ever seen herpes before?
- The X-Files (episode "The Unnatural", after a Glamour Failure reveals his alien self)
Josh Exley: What's the matter, Arthur? You look like you ain't never seen a black man before.
- Jonathan Creek (episode "Time Waits for Norman"):
Maddy: Yes, all right. Haven't you ever seen a transvestite before?
- Barney Miller, when Nick Yamana was convinced that a suspect was turning into a werewolf:
Barney: It's called a beard! Haven't you ever seen a beard before?
Yamana: Not in my family.
- The Young Riders, when Kid has to remove Lou's pants to tend to a bullet wound in her leg:
Lou: What's the matter, Kid? Ain't you ever seen a girl before?
- Mash, when Winchester receives a package of truffles as part of a Care package from his family:
Winchester: Haven't you ever seen truffles before?
B.J.: Nobody knows the truffles I've seen.
- Breaking Bad:
Vanco: What's the matter, Schraeder? You act like you've never seen a severed human head on a tortoise before!
- Queer as Folk when Police Chief Stockwell and Brian's boss shows up at Brian's and find Brian and Justin (who also happens to be an intern at Brian's company at the time) having sex, Brian sarcastically asks if they've never seen two guys fucking before. It just so happens that the thing they're most upset about isn't the fucking, but that the floor is littered with half-finished anti-Stockwell propaganda posters of the kind that have been showing up all over the city without anyone having a clue as to who made them.
- Horatio Hornblower, "The Duchess and the Devil": Horatio uses this phrase when he wants to prevent one of his sailors from staring at the Duchess who is coming aboard.
Styles: Captain Pellew's coming aboard, sir. And, uh, a lady, sir. Nice dress, sir; good-looking.
Hornblower: Don't froth at the mouth, Styles. You've seen a woman before, man.
Styles: Not in six bloody months, I haven't.
- The Love Boat: The captain has sent Gopher on deck to tell a nude sunbather to cover up. Although she is not seen on camera, her voice is heard. When she stands up, Gopher is noticeably awed at the sight of her.
"Gopher, surely you've seen a female body before."
"I thought I had, but I was wrong."
- "Y'all act like you've never seen a white person before", the opening line to Eminem's "The Real Slim Shady", as a response to all the hoopla over the fact that he was a white guy who made it famous as a rapper.
- Survival of the Fittest
Dacey 'Dawson' Ashcroft: [after being revealed as a female to male crossdresser] You mean you've never seen a guy with boobs before?
- Leonard Bernstein's Mass, "Fracture". In context, the celebrant has just thrown down and shattered the consecrated elements, so the moment is shocking.
Celebrant: What are you staring at? Haven't you ever seen an accident before?
- Star Tours Disneyland ride
G2-4T: Hey! What's the matter? Haven't you people ever seen intelligent life before?
- Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!:
Spyro the Dragon: Hey stop staring! Haven't you ever seen a dragon before?
- The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
Tatl: What? You don't know about the [target creature]?
- Rather tellingly, only for enemies that also appeared in Ocarina of Time.
- From the text intro to Chapter 5 of Caribbean Hideaway.
Dewey: What could that be?
Barley: 'Aven't ya ever seen a rare magical talisman before?
Dewey: Well, if it's rare, why would ya think I'd 'ave seen—
- Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog
Tails: What's everybody afraid of?
Sonic: Yeah! You'd think they never saw a blue hedgehog before.
- The Looney Tunes cartoon "Hyde and Hare"
Bugs Bunny (after mutating into a green rabbit-like beast): What's eating them? You'd think they'd never seen a rabbit before!
Cubert Farnsworth: What? Haven't any of you seen a genius' wiener before?
Fry: Well, once in the park.
- The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3:
Bowser: Hey, what're you staring at? Haven't you ever seen a reptile ready to conquer the world?!
- Variant in The Venture Bros., after shaving the Sasquatch:
- The Simpsons: In "The Last Temptation of Homer", Homer imagines his attractive co-worker Mindy Simmons as The Burlesque of Venus, including cherub versions of his friends Lenny and Carl.
Cherub Lenny: Hey Homer, what's the matter?
Cherub Carl: Ain't you ever seen a naked chick ridin' a clam before?