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Haven't You Seen X Before?

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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 weird or embarrassing act, and, for want of a better tactic, is attempting to shrug off the awkwardness 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.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Baccano!:
    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.
  • Ranma ½:
    Tsubasa: What's the matter? Never seen a real guy 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?"

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • In Cronus people stare at Harry and Hermione after they walk into the Great Hall together for breakfast.
    Harry: What? Have none of you ever seen someone eat before?
  • In Dreams of Home when a time-traveling Harry first encounters the younger Remus and Peter, they stare at him.
    Harry: What, never seen the Potter genes at work before?
  • 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 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?"
  • In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Hermione, who's been worried about coming out of the closet, kisses Luna in the Great Hall while Harry shoos away the spectators.
    Harry: What? Never seen two people kiss before?
  • Harry Potter and the Order of Merlin:
    • Harry turns Remus pink shortly before they go shopping at Honeydukes. Remus, clueless about the color change, is annoyed by people staring at them in the shop.
      Remus: Haven't you seen a knight shopping for his lady before?
    • Joseph and Millicent's True Love's Kiss breaks the curse which gave Millicent a trollish appearance in front of an arena of jeering spectators.
      Joseph: What? You haven't seen teenagers kiss?
  • In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Harry keeps staring at Ginny because he saw her in a vision several years ago.
    Ginny: What? Never seen a girl with red hair before?
  • In Harry Potter's Secret Weapon Luna curtsies to Callidora and then levitates herself out of the pool, leaving Cedric gaping.
    Hermione: What? You've never seen a curtsey before?
  • In Mistakes Ron stares at Harry changing clothes.
    Harry: What, never seen a pregnant bloke before?
  • Son of Morgaine:
    Harry: What, haven't you seen anyone sorted into Slytherin before?
  • In Stronger Harry walks into his workplace shortly after breaking up with his cheating boyfriend and nearly everyone stares at him.
    Ron: What? You never saw a guy walk in a room before? Get to your seats and let's start this meeting?
  • 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 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?
  • Too Many Champions:
    Harry: Well, what are you guys gawking at? Never seen two people falling asleep in the common room before? Go find yourselves your own girlfriend instead of ogling mine!
  • In Unexpected Companionship Fenrir laughs when Harriet thanks him for wiping the blood from her face.
    Harriet: What's so amusing? Never seen a nosebleed 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 Venenum Vinco Bane a potions accident turns Snape into a fifteen-year-old and he's forced to pretend to be his own son.
    Snape: What? Never seen a Snape before?

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 1776:
    Dr. Benjamin Franklin: What's the matter? Haven't you ever seen a great man before?
  • Atanarjuat
    Oki: What are you all looking at? Haven't you ever seen anyone kick a dog before?
  • Battle Beyond the Stars. Nanelia touches Shad when he turns up on her space station, mistaking him for one of their androids, and is startled to find that he's warm-blooded.
    Shad: Of course I'm warm; I'm organic. Haven't you ever seen an organic form?
    Nanelia: No, except my father. There are only the androids.
  • 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:
    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?
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Iron Man (variant)
      Tony Stark: Let's face it, this is not the worst thing you've caught me doing.
    • In Avengers: Infinity War, as Peter Parker's classmates look from the schoolbus to see a giant spaceship looming over New York, the bus driver asks:
      Stan Lee: What's the matter with you kids? You've never seen a spaceship before?
  • 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!:
    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's character 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?"
  • Stone Cold: FBI agent Lance turns up at our hero's home and finds a gorgeous woman asleep in his bed.
    Joe: What's the matter, Lance? Haven't you ever seen one of those before?
    Lance: Yeah, but... not quite that well-made.
  • These Are the Damned: Joan first gets Simon Well's attention while he's playing tourist and she snarks, "Never seen a clock tower before?" After luring him off to get mugged by her brother's gang, she later turns up hoping to use his Convenient Escape Boat to get away from her brother, and on seeing her Simon says dryly, "Never seen a boat 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 Romance Novel 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."

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Andy Griffith Show:
    Barney Fife: What's the matter, haven't you ever seen a man take off a dress 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.
  • Breaking Bad:
    Vanco: What's the matter, Schraeder? You act like you've never seen a severed human head on a tortoise 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?
  • 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.
  • Jonathan Creek: Maddy's method of justifying why she is in the men's toilets in "Time Waits for Norman":
    Maddy: Yes, all right. Haven't you ever seen a transvestite 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.
  • 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."
  • M*A*S*H, 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.
  • Queer as Folk (US) 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.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (episode "Apocalypse Rising"):
    Sisko (disguised as a Klingon for an upcoming op): What's wrong, 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.
  • 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?

  • "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?

    Theme Parks 
  • Star Tours Disneyland ride
    G2-4T: Hey! What's the matter? Haven't you people ever seen intelligent life before?

    Video Games 
  • 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—
  • 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.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog
    Tails: What's everybody afraid of?
    Sonic: Yeah! You'd think they never saw a blue hedgehog before.
  • 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?!
  • Futurama:
    Cubert Farnsworth: What? Haven't any of you seen a genius' wiener before?
    Everyone: No.
    Fry: Well, once in the park.
  • 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!
  • 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?
  • Not to mention TaleSpin-episode "The Balooest of the Bluebloods".
    Baloo: (Dresses as a woman, complete with big fake breasts and a set of bongos) What's with you buddy? Never seen a set of bongos before?
  • Variant in The Venture Brothers, after shaving the Sasquatch:
    Brock: You could have told me Sasquatch was a... a dude.
    Steve Summers: Huh? You couldn't tell?
    Brock: Not until I had to... sh-have him.
    Steve Austin: What're you, shy? Sasquatch doesn't have anything you haven't seen before.
    Brock: Sasquatch is something I haven't seen before!

Alternative Title(s): Havent You Ever Seen X Before