A phrase for cutting between different storylines. The phrase itself probably originated in theater, then became common in radio drama, where all scene changes had to be signaled verbally. Also a very common Stock Phrase in Comic Books.
From "Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch," the narrator's catchphrase announcing such a scene-change in Bonanza.
A side effect of Two Lines, No Waiting.
Meanwhile, in the examples...
- In Hetalia: Axis Powers, when the scene switches to England (both the character and country).
- Used hilariously in the Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfiction Chasing an Empty Dream, when Prussia tries to get Germany to call Italy and tell him that Germany knows about his past as the Holy Roman Empire.
Prussia blinked. "I called him by his name. You really gonna think he'll believe that?"(In Italy)"Hey fratello, who was that?"
- Adventures of the writer mentions "Scene change time."
- Parodied in Yu-Gi-Oh: The Abridged Movie: "Meanwhile, thousands of miles away" was stated at almost every scene change, even when the scene was shifting between two rooms in a building. This is alleged (anonymously) to be yet another Monty Python reference, but the closest actual Monty Python's Flying Circus quote would be "Meanwhile, not very far away..."
- Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: The Abridged Series: Meanwhile, At the toolshed...
- Dragon Ball Z Abridged:
- The narrator says the Bonanza line to cue a scene of the all the side characters talking about the earlier series when they actually, y'know, did things besides watch fights on TV and collect the corpses afterward. The subsequent scene shift is the narrator delivering a deadpan "Meanwhile, back at the plot..."
- Done a few other times, too, including the Hall of Justice version once.
- In The Secret Life of Dolls, Cleolinda Jones parodies this, linking to this trope page:
I will leave behind the Middle-earthers (and the annoyerist fugitives) for a moment, if only so that I get to say, "Meanwhile, back at the ranch" and mean it literally. So. Meanwhile, back at the ranch..."
- Used as a bit of Audience Participation for The Room (2003), which helpfully has an Establishing Shot showing us the film is still taking place in San Francisco about every five minutes — oddly, each successive shot gets longer and longer, including the same previously used footage. So, every time an Establishing Shot is shown, the audience shouts "Meanwhile, in San Francisco...!!"
- In Silent Hill, Rose's husband is seen wandering the non-Dark version of Silent Hill as Rose descends further and further into the Dark version.
- Parodied in the film Spaced Invaders as Blaznee spins through the radio dial while stuck on board the spaceship while it's hidden in the barn as "Meanwhile, elsewhere on the planet..." which lets him discover that the whole invasion was caused by misinterpreting the Orson Welles War of the Worlds Halloween radio broadcast being done by a local radio station.
- Spoofed too in the French comedy La Cité de la Peur; at some point during an action scene, we cut for a few seconds to a bar in Vera Cruz and a few characters that haven't been seen once so far. It's used as a Brick Joke at the end of the film. The phrase "Pendant ce temps, à Vera Cruz..."note has reached Memetic Mutation in France.
- The second book of A Series of Unfortunate Events repeats the Bonanza line several times - each time swearing to never use it again afterward.
- Philip Pullman's Spring-Heeled Jack begins every chapter with a quote. "Meanwhile, back at the ranch..." begins the second chapter, and names the first book in which it appears. Later in the book, the line "Meanwhile, back at the orphanage..." is used. The source? "Philip Pullman, ''Spring-Heeled Jack.'"
- There's a children's book titled Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch, about a farmer who takes a trip into town while his wife stays home. Guess who has a more exciting day.
- The children's book called 'The Meanwhile adventures', part of the Rover's adventures series by Roddy Doyle, is riddled with this trope, as is the basis of the plot.
- All in the Family: "Edith's 50th Birthday" cuts between the attempted rape scene in the Bunkers' living room and the Stivic house, where Archie and Mike are arguing over the whereabouts of a punchbowl for the surprise party they've got planned for Edith.
- Bonanza: The Season 14 premiere, "Forever," uses this very darkly. When Mr. Sloan, a ruthless gambler, is unable to convince Little Joe's wife, Alice, to give up her music box and she attempts to flee, Sloan sics his giant muscleman on her to brutally beat her up. Viewers are spared watching a one-sided beating; instead, we see the trope kick in with Joe, Candy and Ben at work on the Ponderosa, anticipating what they think will be a hearty supper and an evening of visiting and fellowship with family over at Joe's new home.
- Parodied on Mystery Science Theater 3000:
- Also parodied in M*A*S*H, when during a break in another character's long and serious speech, Hawkeye leans to Trapper and solemnly intones, "Meanwhile Aunt Martha, after taking a tramp through the woods, is lying in a ditch at the edge of town."
- Sex and the City: Meanwhile, across town...
- The Adam West Batman (1966) series used it.
- “Meanwhile Back At The Ranch” was the title of Chicago’s 1974 TV special(named for Caribou Ranch in Colorado, where it was taped and where Chicago recorded six albums in the mid-70s).
- In the Ray Stevens song "Shriner's Convention", the cut from the refrain back to the next verse is always "Meanwhile, back at the motel..."
- The Cadets' song "Stranded in the Jungle" (covered by the New York Dolls) transitions between verses and choruses using "Meanwhile, back in the jungle" and "Meanwhile, back in the States".
- Also done in "Meanwhile Back at the Ranch" by the Clark Family Experience, a short-lived country music band composed of six brothers (who are also cousins to Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic).
- "Meanwhile Back At The Ranch/Should I Smoke" is the last song on Badfinger's Wish You Were Here album.
- "Meanwhile Back at Mama's" by Tim McGraw. The song is about a city boy who wants to move back to the country because "meanwhile back at mama's" things are so much nicer. He does move back at the end.
- Frequently played with in The Goon Show, often cutting away to places that hadn't been seen before and wouldn't be seen again:
Greenslade: Meanwhile, in a teahouse in Saigon...
[A few seconds of music and wordless singing]
Greenslade: We just thought you'd be interested... We return you now to our story.
- Used as a one-liner in The Boys in the Band:
Michael: Meanwhile—back at the Evelyn and Walt Syndrome.
- Abused in The Town with No Name. MEANWHILE!
- E.V.O.: Search for Eden: You barely escaped. However, at that time the world of Dinosaurs was...
- In Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, the screen repeatedly cuts to LeChuck's fortress. Each time, the subtitles get more bored and snarkey sounding, ending in "Blah, Blah, Blah..."
- Played for laughs in this Under Power strip.
- Meanwhile, inside a nearby swordfish... (Yeah, it's that kind of comic.)
- Ethan has said that this is one of his favorite jokes.
- Meanwhile, near the galactic core...
- One Mountain Time episode demonstrates the importance of the "Back At The" portion of this trope.
- The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! has taken to using "Meanwhilst..."
- Slowbeef of Retsupurae is fond of parodying this trope, particularly when MSTing video games with silly or nonsensical plots. It's gotten to the point that, in "Resident Seavil 2," he mentions that several comments on the previous installment complained about his overuse of the joke. He subsequently spends the rest of the video trying not to say it, only to grow increasingly frustrated with himself as he repeatedly does so without meaning to.
- The last post in Darwin's Soldiers: Ship of State starts with "Meanwhile, back at the bridge"...
- The 'Meanwhile, in X' meme (X filling in for any location.)
- Ultra Fast Pony. The very first words in the series are the narrator's "Meanwhile, in Equestria. Oh yeah..." Then the second episode opens with "Meanwhile, in the previous episode..."
- "Meanwhile, at the presidential debates..."
- Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: The Abridged Series has the reoccurring joke of showing Slifer Red's small and unimpressive dorm, a narrator goes, "Meanwhile at the tool-shed!" At one point the narrator quits because he's sick of the joke, but comes back later when he's bought with every time he says "tool-shed" he gets a watermelon.
- As suggested by the quote at the top of the page, played straight on Superfriends.
- And also its companion, "Meanwhile, at the Hall of Doom..."
- South Park parodied this (and of course Superfriends) in the episode "Super Best Friends", including "Meanwhile, at the exact same location..."
- Family Guy did this in the episode "Perfect Castaways" with a Frank Welker soundalike dating Meg. "Meanwhile, under Meg Griffin's bra..."
- Lampshaded on the original run of Danger Mouse on at least one episode:
Narrator: Meanwhile...Is that all I have to say at this bit, "Meanwhile"?...I mean, I was on my tea break...
- Bounty Hamster always starts with The Narrator saying: Meanwhile, on the other side of the Universe...