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Is It Always Like This?

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"We are a treacherous, inhuman terrorist organization. We are taking over this ship starting now!"
At the serious-faced masked man's words, the Jindai High School students yell out in a fed up voice,
— Typical high school field trip in the world of Full Metal Panic!

A new character will walk into a situation that seems bizarre, flaky, extremely dangerous, or otherwise very much out of what he considers ordinary. He asks someone, "Is it always like this around here?" The answer typically says that, yes, it is ("Welcome to My World" or "You get used to it"), perhaps with a suggestion that the questioner hasn't seen the half of it ("No, today's rather quiet") or a bit of reassurance ("Well, just on Tuesdays").


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  • Variation: A Budweiser commercial in the United States had horses in a snowy field kicking an extra point as one would during an NFL game. Cut to the two ranch hands watching: "Do they always do that?" "Nah. Usually they go for two."

    Anime and Manga 
  • Sieg Hart, the only good guy who doesn't frequently aid the manga's humor in Rave Master, is rather taken back when he finally sees how most of the gang usually behaves. When asking if they usually act that way, Musica, the next closest to normal at that point in the story, replies "Fun, isn't it?"
  • Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei often has characters asking this question or variants on it, usually regarding the teacher's antics.
  • In One Piece, Robin asked this when she joined the crew and noticed how lively they were.
  • While terrorist attacks aren't really routine in Full Metal Panic!, when the page quote took place, the class in question had just had its school trip hijacked by terrorists for the second time that year. This is in addition to the mayhem caused by the Behemoth attack on Tokyo that summer, Sousuke's excessively paranoid behavior, and a direct terrorist attack on the school the following spring. The hilarious part is that in this case, the speaker and the rest of the "terrorists" are actually Sousuke and his Mithril buddies staging a mock hijacking as a cover for a counter-terrorist operation.
  • In To Love Ru, Yami's assassin associate Black is quite astonished by the variety of ecchi antics that happen around Rito.
  • In the Fairy Tail episode "Fire Dragon, Monkey, and Bull", the scene at the beginning has Lucy walking in to the guild hall with Natsu, who then proceeds to kick off a Guild-wide fight. Lucy then asks Mirajane "shouldn't we stop them?" Mirajane responds "It's always like this around here, I just leave them alone, besides (Elfman lands on her, dazing Mirajane) it's kinda fun, don't think(passes out)"

    Comic Books 
  • In superhero-city police procedural Top 10, new recruit Robyn "Toybox" Slinger is led through the station on her first day where superpowered cops are bringing in superpowered perps, she asks this. The reply is "No. Mondays are usually quiet, but it picks up later in the week."
  • Wild Cats Wild Storm: "Wow, a guy just turned into a giant blueskinned monster. You don't see things like this every day" "Tell me, you're new in the city."
  • Atomic Robo volume 4 depicts Bernard Fischer's first few days as an Action Scientist, which includes an invasion of other-dimensional vampires and a visit from the disembodied consciousness of Thomas Edison. Near the end, he asks Robo the traditional question; Robo's reply is, "No, sometimes it gets weird."

    Fan Works 
  • In the Facing the Future Series story "Stolen Years", one of Jack's experiments causes a Big Blackout that envelops half the city, resulting in an angry mob forming on the front stoop, led by Sam's parents. Upon seeing this, newly adopted Danielle invoked this trope, with Jazz responding with a disappointed yes.
  • In This Bites!, after the Straw Hats see Franky and Iceburg arguing the moment they come into contact:
    Leo: Uh, are they...always like this?
    Paulie: (With an exasperated sigh) Sadly, yes. Seriously, half of Water 7 sets their clocks to these damn fights...
    Kaku: Half nothing, I take my lunch breaks whenever they clash.

    Films — Animated 
  • At the climax of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars Pilot Movie, Anakin and Ahsoka return Jabba the Hutt's kidnapped son to him... and Jabba, having been led to believe that the Jedi were responsible for the kidnapping in the first place, immediately orders their execution.
    Ahsoka: Does this always happen to you?
    Anakin: Everywhere I go.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Men in Black:
  • From Backbeat: John Lennon goes off on a tirade against artistic types in one of his first run-ins with Klaus and Astrid. Astrid asks Stu Sutcliffe, "Is he always like this?" Stu replies, "No, he can get really bitter and cynical."
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade:
    • After swinging in through the window in a castle, rescuing his dad, shooting a team of Nazis, getting captured, tied up, setting fire to a room (and nearly being been burned to death in the process) and going through two hidden passages, Indy and his father are trying to escape from a Nazi stronghold.
    Henry Jones Sr: You say this is just a typical day for you?
    Henry Jones Jr: No! This is better than most.
    • And later, after being chased, shot at and bombed by aircraft:
    Henry Jones Sr: Those men are trying to kill us!
    Henry Jones Jr: I know, dad!
    Henry Jones Sr: Well, it's a new experience for me.
    Henry Jones Jr: It happens to me all the time.
  • The Blues Brothers. Upon entering Elwood's noisy apartment, Jake asks how often the train comes by. Elwood replies, "So often that you won't even notice it."
  • My Cousin Vinny. Vinny asks the hotel clerk if the freight train always comes through town at 5:00 in the morning. The clerk says, "No sir, it's very unusual." When the same thing happens the following morning, he goes back to the clerk and says, "Yesterday you told me that freight train hardly ever comes through here at 5:00 am." The clerk nods and replies, "I know. She's supposed to come through at ten after 4:00."

  • In Dragon Bones, Ward's younger sister Ciarra is asked by a noblewoman whether Ward is "always like this", and rolls her eyes in response, to which the woman replies "Impossible! He can't be worse!"
  • In Son of the Mob, the eponymous main character invites his girlfriend over for dinner. During the meal, an uncle of his who has been stabbed. His father tackles the man at the door and drags him out to the garage to remove the thing with which he was stabbed, and his hideous screams can be heard through the rest of dinner. After the meal, the kid's girlfriend asks if dinner is usually like that, and he jokingly replies that his mother only cooks pasta on special occasions.
  • In a confusing reversal, in the book Firewing (which takes place in the bat underworld): a recently dead bat with no memory constantly asks a living bat if the weird shit that keeps happening around them, like mountains shooting up out of nowhere and deserts melting, is "supposed to happen" in the real world.
  • Reversed in The Mote in God's Eye. A more experienced shipmate tells the new recruit not to expect lives of constant excitement. They don't have missions to dive into a star (to retrieve a an interstellar craft decelerating via lightsail) all the time. The new recruit then points out that they're about to do exactly that, again, in search of an interstellar transfer point inside a red giant star.
  • Phoebe, when she was first introduced in The Magic School Bus book Inside the Earth, repeatedly inquired about whether Ms. Frizzle's class was always like this. She adapted and was treated as a regular student thereafter. Nevertheless, the TV show gave her the catchphrase "At my old school, we never <insert random occurence here>".
  • In the Doctor Who New Adventures novel Sky Pirates!, new companion Roz reflects that her first adventure with the Doctor ended with the possibility her friend could turn into a mindless berserker with no warning, her career in ruins, assassins searching for them, and a destroyed city, and asks old-hand companion Benny for reassurance that not all of their adventures will end like that. Benny is suddenly reluctant to continue the conversation.
  • There's one lesser known of Grimm's Fairy Tales about a man who wants to visit the godfather of his last child. When he comes to the house, the first thing he finds are a broom and a dustpan fighting on the stairs. He asks them for the godfather, the broom tells him "next floor". There he finds a lot of dead fingers - they also tell him "next floor". There he finds a heap of death's heads; again, "next floor". On that floor, a bunch of fish are busy frying themselves in a pan - they too tell him, "next floor". There's a door, he looks through the keyhole, and sees the godfather with long horns on his head. He walks into the room, but the godfather has already hidden in his bed. Then, this dialogue ensues, before the man decides to quickly leave:
    Man: "What's going on in your house? There were a broom fighting with a dustpan!"
    Godfather: "You're stupid, those were my servants, they were talking."
    Man: "On the second floor, there was a room full of dead fingers."
    Godfather: "You're being silly, those were scorzonera."
    Man: "On the third floor, I found lots of death's heads."
    Godfather: "Dumb man, those were cabbages."
    Man: "On the fourth floor, I found fish in the pan, frying themselves."
    [the fish come in and serve themselves]
    Man: "And when I looked into your room, I saw you wearing horns."
    Godfather: "Hey, that's not true!"

    Live Action TV 
  • Used in the Stargate SG-1 episode "Prodigy", where Carter takes a new recruit to another planet (well, moon) where they are attacked by a swarm of tiny alien energy beings.
    Hailey: Is it always like this?
    Carter: No, sometimes it gets really exciting.
  • In the new series of Doctor Who various companions beginning with Rose have asked if it's always as dangerous as their often inaugural adventure. Usually involves the Doctor offering to take them home, followed by a refusal. Credit to the Doctor, he never sugarcoats that yes it is dangerous, and yes he is a madman with a box.
  • Utilized with Ziva's arrival in NCIS.
  • Detective Sergeant Scott used this to Lampshade the rather high murder rate in Midsomer.
  • Babylon 5 would bring this up every time there was a significant visitor to the station. Usually a visiting oversight officer would comment on how strange behavior was a sign of inadequate leadership before leaving.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation: The pilot episode "Encounter at Farpoint", which involved giant space jellyfish, their first encounter with the god-like entity Q putting Humanity on Trial, and Counselor Troi clutching her head and reeling off every emotion in the book, ends with this exchange:
      Picard: Some problem, Number One?
      Riker: Just hoping this isn't the usual way our missions will go, sir.
      Picard: Oh no, Number One. I'm sure most will be much more interesting.
    • Star Trek: Voyager:
      • "Deadlock" ends with Captain Janeway remarking "We're Starfleet officers; weird is part of the job.".
      • In "Shattered", Voyager encounters a temporal anomaly and Chakotay gets flung across time to different points in the show's run, including just before the pilot episode "Caretaker":
        Chakotay: Two crews, Maquis and Starfleet, are going to become one. And they'll make as big a mark on the Delta Quadrant as it'll make on them by protecting people like the Ocampans, curing diseases, encouraging peace. Children like Naomi and Icheb are going to grow up on this ship and call it home. And we'll all be following a Captain who sets a course for Earth, and never stops believing that we'll get there.
        Past!Janeway: Are you going to be lecturing me like this for the next seven years?
        Past!Janeway: In that case, let's get back to work.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • An observation from Riley, discussing this trope in "A New Man":
      Riley: When I saw you stop the world from, you know, ending, I just assumed that was a big week for you. I suddenly find myself needing to know the plural of "apocalypse."
    • And later, from an exasperated Xander...
      Xander: Now there's something you don't see every day... unless you're US!
    • "Innocence": Oz's first mission for the Scoobies involves lending his van so they can steal a rocket launcher from a US military base.
    Oz: So, do you guys steal weapons from the Army a lot?
    Willow: Well, we don't have cable, so we have to make our own fun.
    Joyce: So, is this a typical day at the office?
    Buffy: No. [beat] This was nothing.
  • The fact that his family is horribly dysfunctional is part of Justin's plan in Wizards of Waverly Place to dump a clingy Girl of the Week. When she asks if his family is always that weird, he tells her yes, and that quickly causes her to reconsider the relationship.
  • Something like this is invoked at least once on Match Game, during one of Betty White's recurring instances of rolling up Gene Rayburn's pant leg.
    Allen Ludden (Betty's husband): Does this go on when I'm not here?
  • At the end of Firefly's pilot, Book asks Inara, "Is this what life is like out here [in the black]?
  • It happens a few times in House of Anubis:
    Eddie: "Is your friend [Patricia] always so..?
    Joy: "Yep."

    Fabian: She's [Patricia] not always like this, you know.
    Nina: Don't tell me this is her warm and fuzzy side?

    KT: What are we going to do, follow her? (Beat) We're following her, aren't we?
    Eddie: "You're starting to get the hang of how things work around here."
  • In the second episode of The Sentinel, Blair, after going to the police station to get his Observer's pass, said station getting taken over by terrorists, two of whom he takes out with (a) a restroom stall door and (b) a vending machine, getting held at gunpoint, pistol-whipped, taken hostage, etc. he asks Jim "is this a typical day for you?"
  • When Hugh Jackman was a guest on Conan, he pretended to be George Clooney and asked Conan to just play himself. Conan still insisted on acting as a woman (with feminine mannerisms), which prompted this exchange:
    Hugh Jackman: (turns to Andy) Does he always have to be the woman?
    Andy: Absolutely.
  • CSI: NY: The 7th season premiere introduces us to new team member Jo Danville, a former FBI agent. She arrives at the Crime Lab while everyone is away and finds the offices abandoned, save for the body of a young woman who shouldn't have had access to their floor. The case involves a premeditated murder and a crime of passion occurring almost simultaneously. There's also a thief who won't steal anything worth less than $50,000. The woman turns out to be pregnant...and had two lovers, one of whom was rich and married, the other was neither. After it's all sorted:
    Jo: Are all your cases like this?
    Mac: [nodding] Pretty much.

    Video Games 
  • Played for drama in Mass Effect 2. A NPC from the first game (Shiala) approaches you with a subquest involving medical contracts. If you choose to help her she thanks you and then utters the trope title in context of lingering problems arising in new forms. "Isn't anything ever just fixed?"
    Javik: Is this cycle always so strange?


    Web Original 
  • Whateley Universe: New girl Misty asks this question of her roommate She-Beast when she sees the madness that is Melville Cottage at Whateley Academy... and is assured that this was a calm day.

    Western Animation 
  • In one episode of Spongebob Squarepants, where Plankton's suing Mr. Krabs for something that didn't happen, the lawyer Mr. Krabs hires tells him that A.) he won't charge him anything unless they win the case and B.) suggests countersuing Plankton for everything he's got. At this point, Mr. Krabs' eyes turn into gold bricks and hit the floor. The lawyer turns to Spongebob and uneasily asks him if that's normal. Spongebob's response? "No. They're usually silver."
  • Jazz in Transformers: Animated also asks this during a battle with renegade police drones.
    Jazz: Is it always like this on this crazy planet?
    Prowl: Pretty much.
  • In Futurama, Fry determines when he needs to brush his teeth based on when the last Alien Invasion happened.
  • Inverted in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, where after fighting off a blob monster the size of the Statue of Liberty, Iron Man quips to Captain America that this must be nothing like what he went through in the war. Cap answers that no, it wasn't, because sometimes it got weird.
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle: "Hey, Rocky! Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!" "Again??"
  • In Phineas and Ferb one-shot or otherwise minor characters will occasionally ask this of Linda when they get pulled into Candace's "busting" antics.
  • Rocket to Zatanna in Young Justice, after the team gets ambushed and cornered by a small team of super-villains only to come out on top. Later, after they pull one over on Lex Luthor and Queen Bee.
    Rocket: It IS always like this!
    Zatanna: Told ya.