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Narration Echo

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"Having characters repeat stuff we already read in the captions was a joke he got mileage out of for 45 years."
Jaime J. Weinman on Frank Doyle of Archie Comics

A character repeats what was just said by the narrator, word-for-word (or very nearly) for comedic effect.

A stealth version can show up in a script by having the character repeat the stage directions word-for-word (e.g. "Character is sad and confused" Character: I'm sad and confused!).

Can be combined with a Said Bookism for serious overkill: Tom was fuming. "I'm fuming!" he fumed.

Often a sign of a Lemony Narrator or Interactive Narrator, especially if said narrator retorts "I just said that." In news broadcasts, this is a sign of a bad newswriter.

Subtrope of Department of Redundancy Department. Similar to Ironic Echo Cut, but with the Fourth Wall instead of actual cutting. Can involve That Makes Me Feel Angry.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Sgt. Frog:
    • In the dub of episode 15, when the others imagine Keroro and Dark Momoka teaming up to conquer the world, the narrator warns, "But their dark union was not that simple." Cut to Dark Momoka informing the platoon, "Our dark union's not that simple."
    • Used again in episode 22:
      Narrator: [coming back from the eyecatch] Ten seconds ago on Sgt. Frog, Tamama became leader of the platoon and banished the Sarge down a previously unseen well.
      Keroro: Why has Tamama dropped me down this previously unseen well?
    • And in the first beach episode.
      Narrator: And so they splashed, while Momoka stewed in the juices of her own anger.
      Momoka: Look at them... and here I am stewing in the juices of my own anger...
    • This is obviously one of their favorite gags. In episode 3, the narrator talks about "the foulest of funks emanating from the Hinatas' basement". Natsumi complains by saying "Man, that is one foul funk."
    • They manage to invert it once.
      Mois: Well I blame that lazy narrator!
      Narrator: Sorry, I was napping. Did someone call me lazy?
  • In an early episode of Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts, we see a one of the animals kids put on their cell phone straps lying on the ground, and the narrator gives a quick explanation of what it is and who would have it. Yoshii picks it up and starts saying the same thing, at which point the narrator angrily points out he already said that.
  • Inverted in an early episode of Dragon Ball:
    Yamcha: Those fools have not heard the last of Yamcha!
    Narrator: It would seem that our heroes haven't seen the last of Yamcha...
  • Used in the dub of Chibitalia:
    Narrator: Stuffy Mr. Austria is very strict about rules and discipline.
    Austria: I am very strict about rules und discipline.

    Comic Books 
  • In Animorphs #1: The Invasion, when Jake's narrating to the others about his plan to morph into a lizard to spy on Chapman, he says that "Marco didn't like it". Right underneath, Marco says, "I don't like it."
  • The last panel of Scarlet Spider #3:
    Kaine: ...they'll be coming for me.
    Narration: Next: They Come For Him!
  • Giant Days issue #6
    Narrator: Susan couldn't stand it. She has a keen sense of personal justice.
    Susan: I can't stand it! I have a keen sense of personal justice!

    Films — Animated 
  • After Anton Ego's meal at Gusteau's in the third act of Ratatouille, Remy is narrating Ego's reactions. When he says that Ego got up from his chair and thanked the restaurant staff for the meal, Ego can literally be heard quietly saying, "Thank you for the meal."
  • Done in-universe in the introduction to Up.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Reversed in Plan 9 from Outer Space, where one of the characters says of the aliens, "I wonder what their next move will be?" and the narrator says "What will their next move be?"
  • Something similar happens at the beginning of Magical Mystery Tour:
    Ringo on screen: Good afternoon.
    Ringo, narrating: ... said Richard. "Good afternoon," said the bus driver.
  • The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash:
    Narrator: It was a bombshell for the Rutles. They were shocked... and stunned.
    Dirk McQuickly: Well, we're shocked.
    Ron Nasty: Yeah, shocked.
    Barry Wom: Shocked.
    Dirk McQuickly: And stunned.
    Ron Nasty: Yeah, stunned.
    Barry Wom: Very stunned.
  • Done several times in Forrest Gump, due to Forrest's thoughts being so straightforward.
    Forrest: [narrating] When I got home, I had no idea, but Mama'd had all sorts of visitors.
    Mrs. Gump: We've had all sorts of visitors.
  • Done in George of the Jungle:
    Narrator: And they responded with awe.
    Cast: Awwwww...
    Narrator: I said "awe". A-W-E.
    Cast: Oooooh...
    Narrator: That's better.
    • Also:
      Narrator: Ursula was amazed that she was lost in the wilderness with a jungle man.
      Ursula: Here I am, lost in the wilderness with a jungle man.
  • Repeatedly done in The Castle, to emphasise the down-to-earth and no-frills nature of the narrator character and his family.
    Dale: [voice-over] Dad also had a way of making everyone feel important.
    Darryl: Go on, Dale, tell him. Tell 'em. Go on, tell him.
    Dale: [voice-over] Like the time I dug a hole.
    Darryl: Dale dug a hole.

  • Bored of the Rings:
    • Done, then lampshaded, near the beginning of the book.
      They were among the most dubious-looking mushrooms Spam had ever seen, and, rather rudely, he said so.
      "These are among the most dubious-lookin' mushrooms I'm ever a-seeing," he stated.
    • And a few chapters later, more redundantly:
      Frito toyed with the Ring and wondered at her great beauty. As he stood, as if in a trance, Lavalier turned to him and saw him toying with the Ring and wondering at her great beauty.
      "I see, Frito," she said, "that as you toy with the Ring, you wonder at my great beauty."
    • And a third example:
      Goodgulf fell silent, and a shadow seemed to pass over his face. "I would say more, but a shadow seems to have passed over my face."
  • Blessed are the Cheesemakers:
    She knew that Corrie and Fee made cheese...but Lucy assumed the cheese was made with machines, in big vats, with milk from a factory. "I thought cheese was made with machines, in big vats, with milk from a factory," she said.
  • P. G. Wodehouse:
    • In the short story "Rough Hew Them How We Will" in The Man Upstairs, the narrator says, "Bredin [a restaurateur] was a pig. He looked like a pig; he ate like a pig; he grunted like a pig. He had the lavish embonpoint of a pig. Also a porcine soul. If you had tied a bit of blue ribbon round his neck you could have won prizes with him at a show." Later, when a policeman enters the story: "It was at about five minutes after one that afternoon that Constable Thomas Parsons, patrolling his beat, was aware of a man motioning to him from the doorway of Bredin's Parisian Cafe and Restaurant. The man looked like a pig. He grunted like a pig. He had the lavish embonpoint of a pig. Constable Parsons suspected that he had a porcine soul. Indeed, the thought flitted across Constable Parsons' mind that, if he were to tie a bit of blue ribbon round his neck, he could win prizes with him at a show.
    • Bertie Wooster has a tendency to do this to himself:
      My soul was darkened by a nameless fear.
      "Jeeves," I said, "My soul is darkened by a nameless fear."
      "Indeed, sir?"
  • Christopher Moore's A Dirty Job has a sort of delayed version: the first line of the chapter "A Fucked-Up Day" is the narrator saying "It was a fucked-up day." The first line of the following chapter is a character saying (of the day described in the previous chapter) "That was a fucked-up day."
  • The Prince from Sleeping Beauty has this as his shtick in There's A Princess In The Palace. Lampshaded by a pair of mice who have been commenting on each story.
  • The Scrambled States of America:
    • Used a couple of times, narrated by Uncle Sam:
      Uncle Sam: [narrating] Well, it was just your basic, ordinary day in the good old U.S. of A. States all over the country were waking up, having their first cups of coffee, reading the morning paper, and enjoying the beautiful sunrise. All the states, that is, except for Kansas. He was not feeling happy at all. How do I know this? Because he said,
    • Later, after the states have all switched places
      Uncle Sam: [narrating] And worst of all, Kansas, who had switched places with Hawaii because he was sick of being stuck in the middle of the country, was now stuck in the middle of NOWHERE, feeling lonesome and seasick.
      Kansas: [singing] In the middle of nowhere, feeling lonesome and seasick, my guitar is soggy and I feel so blue...
  • Legacy by Cayla Kluver does this all the time.
    "I don't care much about that," Semari scoffed, not sharing my interest in the least.
  • In Rally Round the Flag, Boys!, Oscar Hoffa suspects that Angela is divorcing him because she has found another guy, and hires a private detective who turns up this lead: "Subject left Putnam's Landing on the 10:07 train this morning. Subject registered at the Plaza Hotel at 11:54, checked into Room 921. Man came to Room 921 at 12:15 p.m. and was admitted by subject. Man is tall, in mid-thirties, wearing tan topcoat and gray flannel suit, looked nervous, no distinguishing marks." One page later, the narration leaves Oscar behind and takes up with Harry Bannerman, described thusly:
    A tall man in his mid-thirties, wearing a tan topcoat and a gray flannel suit, looking nervous, and bearing no distinguishing marks, raised his knuckles to rap on the door of Room 921 of the Plaza Hotel, and then changed his mind and stuck his hand in his pocket.
  • Done for no comedic effect multiple times in A Series of Unfortunate Events.
  • The beginning of Paul Goodman's poem "The Lordly Hudson":
    "Driver, what stream is it?" I asked, well knowing
    it was our lordly Hudson hardly flowing.
    "It is our lordly Hudson hardly flowing,"
    he said...
  • Downplayed in The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul:
    A haze of light greeted Hillow ... but nothing about this struck him as odd. A haze of light was simply what he expected to see whenever he opened this door. The first time ever he had opened it he had simply thought to himself, "Oh. A haze of light. Oh well..."
  • At one point in True Grit:
    It was a cashier's check for $2,750 drawn on the Grangers Trust Co. of Topeka, Kansas, to a man named Marshall Purvis. I said, "This is a cashier's check for $2,750 drawn on the Grangers Trust Co. of Topeka, Kansas, to a man named Marshall Purvis."

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Middleman has a tendency to invert this with its Scene Shift Captions. For example, one scene ends with Ida smugly announcing the address she's discovered they have to go to:
    Ida: 8660 Hawkins Lane, Apt 9. God am I underpaid.
    And the caption for the next scene is:
    8660 Hawkins Lane, Apt 9.
    God am I underpaid.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus. A milkman psychiatrist performs an odd psychological test on a doctor gynecologist.
    Milkman: Right...well I should definitely say you're suffering from a severe personality disorder, sir, sublimating itself in a lactic obsession which could get worse depending on how much money you've got.
    [Cut to the office of a real psychiatrist]
    Dr. Cream: I would like to take this opportunity of complaining about the way in which these shows are continually portraying psychiatrists who make pat diagnoses of patients' problems without first obtaining their full medical history.
    [Cut back to milkman and gynecologist]
    Milkman: Mind you, that's just a pat diagnosis made without first obtaining your full medical history.
  • In the That '70s Show episode "I Can't Quit You Baby", when Hyde tells the (false) story of how he got together with Jackie:
    Hyde: So, I'm hangin' out in the basement like I usually do, when Jackie showed up. It was obvious she wanted me.
    (fantasy clip, Hyde is in the basement, Jackie walks in)
    Jackie: I want you.
    Hyde: It's obvious.
  • One example in Penn & Teller: Bullshit!, while discussing Gandhi:
    Penn: (narrating) Wait a minute! He's sleeping naked with the girls? And the girls are naked too?
    Biographer: He's sleeping naked with the girls and the girls are naked too!
    Penn: (narrating) Cool!
  • Pushing Daisies was fond of this.
  • Inverted in Harry and Paul, in a Dragons' Den parody.
    Ken: I've left it in the car.
    Narrator: Ken has left the solution to all the world's problems in the car.
  • A regular feature of Chris Rock's narration in Everybody Hates Chris.
  • Arrested Development frequently uses a variation on this in which the characters and the narrator will say the same thing at the exact same time.
  • From one of Ronnie Corbett's chair monologues:
    The man was astonished.
    "I'm astonished!", he said.
    There, you see? I told you he was astonished!
  • Very commonly used in Garth Marenghis Darkplace:
    Dr. Rick Dagless M.D.: [narrating] Reed told me everything. How the monkeys now ruled Darkplace. How they'd taken over.
    Thornton Reed: [flatly] They've taken over.
    Dr. Rick Dagless M.D.: Oh no. Oh Jesus. They've taken over. They've taken over!
    Thornton Reed: I know!
  • Referenced in Drop the Dead Donkey :
    Henry: I'm obviously dim, but why are we bothering to interview Tom when he will simply repeat what I have said?
    Gus: Yes, but he'll be repeating it live from the scene.
    Henry: Why?
    Gus: Because TV's a visual medium, for God's sake! If nothing's happening, you have to show it's not happening, live, as it doesn't happen. Do you know nothing about this business, man?
    Henry: [furious] I know a great deal more than you, you (bleep)ing, sh(bleep)ing, pi(bleep)ing...

  • Often used in the Storyteller skits on John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme, for example:
    Storyteller: We were interrupted mid-training swim by a woman from the RSPCA.
    Woman from the RSPCA: Excuse me, I am a woman from the RSPCA.
    Storyteller: ...she said, which is how I knew.

  • At the start of Act Two of Spamalot, the Historian recaps the end of Act One, ending with, "King Arthur and his knights fled for their lives and were instantly scattered and lost in a dark, and very expensive, forest." Soon after, King Arthur moans, "This is a total bloody disaster. All my knights have fled, and we're lost in a dark, and very expensive, forest."
  • Michael Frayn's Afterlife inverts the variety with stage directions.
    Reinhardt: [...] And here, on the cathedral square in Salzburg, we shall [act out parts in a play] as simply and naturally as children do in their games. No sound effects. Only the cathedral bells. Only the distant sound of traffic in the streets.

    Sound effects
  • The Musical of Musicals: The Musical!:
    Spoken Stage Direction: Jidder trips and falls on his own knife.
    June: Oh, Jidder tripped and fell on his own knife. He's dead.

    Video Games 
  • Portal 2, to the point of overlapping with Department of Redundancy Department:
    GLaDOS: Well, this is the part where he kills us.
    Wheatley: Hello! This is the part where I kill you.
    On-screen Caption: Chapter 9: The Part Where He Kills You.
    Achievement Unlocked: The Part Where He Kills You (The achievement's subtitle: This is that part)
    Soundtrack: The part where he kills you

  • Homestuck: When Aradia's true nature is revealed, the narrator declares that "We are all completely blown away by this stunning revelation. Wow. Dead. Really? Like a ghost? Huh." And, on the chat log on the very next page...
  • This happens with Moustachio's recollections of his creator in Skin Horse:
    Moustachio: He was the greatest mechanical genius of the age, if not all time.
    Madblood, Count Ximes: Again I've proven myself the greatest genius of the age, if not all time! BEHOLD!

    Web Original 
  • Rain Quest features an exchange like this:
    Player command: > If all else fails, go back to the mayor and ask for the key.
    Lightning bolt: Oh, and don't even think of going back to the mayor and asking for the key! I took it from the Town Hall while the mayor was distracted!
  • Played With in Red vs. Blue (and setting the stage for a frequent Running Gag). Church describes to Tucker and Caboose how Tex massacred his platoon but left him alive, the flashback is full of this.
    Church: Private Mickey was the first to go. He was halfway across he base, when all of a sudden, he just started screaming bloody murder.
    Private Mickey: Bloody murder! Bloody murder!
    • It culminates in him explaining that Tex pulled Private Jimmy's skull right out of his head and beat him to death it.
      Tucker: Wait a second! How can you beat somebody to death with their own skull? That doesn't seem physically possible.
      Church: That's exactly what Jimmy kept screaming.
      (Smash Cut)
      Private Jimmy: (as Tex beats him to death with his own skull) This doesn't seem physically possible! (dies)
  • Zero Punctuation: In the review of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night we get this when Igarashi shows the game to the imps seated in the audience next to the stage:
    Yahtzee: It's exactly what you wanted...
    Imp: [jumps up from the audience and says, at the same time...] It's exactly what I wanted!

    Western Animation 
  • The WordGirl episode "Mecha-Mouse" is narrated by the usual Interactive Narrator and his Darker and Grittier twin brother. At one point, they muse, "Will WordGirl be able to stop Dr. Two-Brain's plan to buy his own private island?" "Or will Two-Brains Island become the center of evil and villainy for all eternity?" Later on, as Dr. Two-Brains goes to buy his island, he cackles to himself, "Two-Brains Island will become the center of evil and villainy for all eternity! The narrator told me so."
  • Happened a lot in Lucky Luke. Most of the time, it was Luke himself repeating the narration, but now and then, some other character would do it for him...
  • Happens in the Merrie Melodies short, "The Scarlet Pumpernickel"; the Narrator (Daffy Duck), announces, "The Lord High Chamberlain was simply furious."
    Lord High Chamberlain (Porky Pig): I'm simply furious!
    Narrator: But Milady Melissa was simply delighted.
    Melissa: I'm simply delighted!
  • The Histeria! sketch about the Boston Tea Party contains this:
    George Washington: And so the British Parliament passed the Stamp Act, which taxed newspapers, playing cards, and all printed material imported by the colonies. The American colonists were not happy.
    Charity Bazaar: We're not happy.
    Pule Houser: Hey, this tax is unfair!
    Froggo: We won't pay! [Redcoats surround them with their guns.] Unless they make us.
    George Washington: Then in 1767, Parliament passed the Townend act, which taxed tea, paper, glass, and lots of other items. Now the colonists were even less happy.
    [The Redcoats surround Froggo, Charity, and Pule with their guns again.]
    Charity Bazaar: Now we're even less happy.
  • The script for the unproduced Invader Zim episode "The Trial" includes this:
    Zim: Escape with me to the surface!
    Skoodge: (terrified but okay) Sounds terrifying, but okay!
  • Inverted in an episode of Toxic Crusaders; Toxie, in his role as the narrator, keeps repeating everything Dr. Killemoff says until he's told to shut up.
    Killemoff: Soon, hordes of pollution-breathing aliens from the planet Smogula will be arriving to take over Tromaville!
    Narrator: Soon, hordes of pollution-breathing aliens from the planet Smogula would be arriving to take over Tromaville!
    Killemoff: (angrily, towards the camera) IS THERE AN ECHO IN HERE?!
  • Lampshaded in the Phineas and Ferb episode "What'd I Miss?":
    Phineas: (voiceover) It all started simply enough. I got up early to help Isabella earn her surf patch.
    Isabella: Thanks for helping me earn my surf patch!
    Phineas: (voiceover) And I told her it was no problem.
    Phineas: No problem!
    Phineas: (voiceover) It was at that point that I decided to stop narrating.
  • Rugrats: Happens during the "Passover" episode, as Boris tells the story of Passover to the babies:
    Boris: (narrating) Just then, Pharaoh saw something in the bulrushes.
    Pharaoh (Angelica): Hey, what's that in the bulrushes?
  • Happens In-Universe in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "The Laughing Fish" in the Joker's commercial for "Joker Fish":
    Joker: (voiceover) Say, Mom, wondering what to feed the family tonight?
    Harley Quinn: What will I feed the family tonight?
  • The Powerpuff Girls does this in the episode "Mr. Mojo's Rising".//
    Narrator: Oh Mojo Jojo, what are you up to this time?!
    Professor Utonium: Oh Mojo Jojo, what are you up to this time?
    Mojo Jojo: You'll find out soon enough.


Video Example(s):


The Fast Show

Done in a one-off documentary-style sketch with Arabella Weir as a marine biologist. After the narrator has echoed her a few times, they accidentally talk over each other and get into an argument where he starts insulting her.

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Main / NarrationEcho

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