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Offscreen Moment of Awesome

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"And so our heroes defeat the muffin in an exciting battle, which we can't show you because it would be much too expensive for a cheap show like this."
Narrator, Dave the Barbarian

Something big is about to go down. Everyone knows it. The Big Bad is about to get schooled by the Old Master. A horde of mooks are about to be mowed down in an awesome fashion. Whatever it is, this will no doubt be one of the most awesome moments you will ever see.

Except you won't.

All you'll get (if you're lucky) is the characters talking about how awesome the scene was to behold.

Just like the expectation of something scary is more frightening than the actual scare, so is the expectation of an awesome scene. Except you never see the awesome scene, and are forced to imagine how it went down.

Compare Anti-Climax, Writer Cop Out, and Noodle Incident. If it is occurring just outside of the viewer's field of vision, it is a Battle Discretion Shot. Not to be confused with They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot, where the awesome thing in question never actually happened at all.

This trope used to be called "Missed Moment of Awesome". If you want to find a trope for a time when a character's Awesome Moment fails to reach its expected level of epicness, try Negated Moment of Awesome. Stories or events that don't turn out as cool as you expected might belong in either They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot (a YMMV trope) or What Could Have Been (a Trivia trope).

Example subpages:


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     Newspaper Comics 
  • There's a Sunday strip in which Calvin and Hobbes are about to go sledding down a hill, but Hobbes jumps off at the last moment. Then the view remains centred on him and we only get to see a hint of how spectacularly Calvin's ride goes (and fails) by the look of Hobbes's reactions.
    • There's another strip which is done from Hobbes POV during another sled ride...and he closes his eyes a couple of times during the ride.

  • The year is 1968. The New York Jets are beating the Oakland Raiders 32 to 29 with 65 seconds left in a critical late-season game. Fans across the country are on the edge of their seats. And NBC cuts the game off to start showing Heidi, a children's movie. And then Oakland scores two touchdowns in the time left, beating the Jets 43 to 32. Executives tried to preempt this, but they couldn't reach operations. No one on the East coast got to see Oakland's comeback. People were rather put out. This has been ranked as the fifth worst television blunder of all time and has led to sports matches generally being ordered to preempt anything else if they run late (to the ire of non-sports fans).
  • In 2007, bitter rivals Buffalo and Ottawa were meeting in the NHL playoffs. The game went into overtime as both goalies were red hot that day. But oops! the game was on NBC, which still hadn't learned its lesson. Overtime was shunted to Versus, an upstart cable channel which few providers carried, in favor of an hour of pre-race coverage of The Preakness Stakes.
  • 2010, July, a hot summer afternoon. England's first match in The World Cup. Expectations are high. All around the country fans gather in pubs, homes and at parties. Three minutes of tense action goes by. The crowd are on the edge of their seats, England has the ball and are soaring upfield as if unopposed. Sky TV cuts out. Two minutes later it cuts back in to the action. The score? 1-0.
  • During the Evo 2010 Super Street Fighter IV grand final match, the online stream, being watched by over 27,000 people at the time, went out. During the final moments of the match.
  • Leroy "Satchel" Paige may have been one of the greatest baseball pitchers of all time. However, he spent the bulk of his prime years in the Negro Leagues with spotty record keeping and no press coverage. By the time the Major Leagues started integrating he was still a good pitcher but past his prime years. We'll never really know how good his best actually was. The same goes for many of the greats of the Negro Leagues.
  • The first maximum break in a televised snooker tournament was made by John Spencer at the Holstein International in 1978. Unfortunately, while the tournament was televised, it was generally only the later stages of each match. Spencer scored his maximum in the second frame of his quarter-final, while the TV crew were on a break.

Comes up quite a lot to cover unstageable events—sometimes, these days, with the actors facing straight at the audience as if it's happening on the fourth wall.
  • Was standard for Ancient Greek theatre that everything that actually happened was offstage and characters only appeared to talk about it—it doesn't seem to have been until quite recently that it occurred to dramatists that people might like to actually see this stuff happen
  • Was therefore also done like this in the early days of Opera, as the whole genre was initially heavily influenced by Greek theatre


     Web Original  
  • Whateley Universe: in the combat finals for the end of fall 2006 term at Whateley Academy, the authors have showed us over a dozen combat finals ranging from awesome to hysterical to embarrassing. But every character keeps talking about Chaka's unbelievably awesome combat final against three superpowered opponents, in a disaster scenario with a tornado and earthquakes. It wasn't shown, and Word of God says it never will be.
  • The Cinema Snob's main complaint about Super Hornio Brothers.
  • Everyman HYBRID has Evan charging at Slender Man with a baseball bat, and later the group attempts to run him over with a car. Both times the end result is cut away.
  • The Homestar Runner cartoon "Weclome Back"[sic] had Strong Bad talking about checking an e-mail in mid-air. Unfortunately, he pulled the "mash stop when you think you're mashing record and mash record when you think you're mashing stop" routine, so all we get is footage of Strong Bad in an airplane talking about how excited he is, and then footage of Strong Bad talking about how incredible the whole thing was, mentioning that they met various celebrities and apparently encountered a narwal. Of course, this being Strong Bad, he might have exaggerated it.
  • The final episode of Red vs. Blue Season 9 has Caboose recounting their daring rescue operation. None of it is shown due to the perspective of the narrator.
    • Season 13 ends just after Epsilon does a speech on how he's making an Heroic Sacrifice to ensure the Reds and Blues will survive taking on an army. We never see said battle, which the characters assure in a later season that was quite awesome.
  • The Gmod Idiot Box:
    • In Das Bo Schitt's Computer Quest [1] (a side-action Gmod animation explaining why The Gmod Idiot Box episode 10 hadn't been released yet), Metrocop #1 and Chuck Norris fight for the final piece of Bo Schitt's brand-new computer: the motherboard. Too bad the scene went missing just as they were going to come to terms, coupled with Peter Griffin's laugh. Doubles as a Funny Moment.
    • Episode 15: Albert Wesker, who is for some reason an evil moon ala Majora's Mask, charges at a superhumanly muscled Chris Redfield. The presumably awesome battle cuts out right before Chris lands his first punch, with the explanation that "this video is no longer available due to a "fuck you" from Nintendo."
  • Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog:
    "Captain Hammer threw a car at my head."
  • The second episode of the Yogscast Tekkit series, starts out with an exchange by the players about (supposedly sometime between episodes 1 and 2) converting a wooden pickaxe to a banjo, lighting it on fire and playing a solo, and a helicopter.
  • During filming for Shadow of Israphel, Simon Lane reportedly caught up to Jock_Fireblast and owned him straight away. However, Lewis Brindley served as the cameraman at the time, and thus the awesomeness was not seen. Subsequently, the fight had to be reshot and took considerably longer.
  • Episode 36 of Jesse Cox's Let's Play of Saints Row: The Third ends with Jesse stepping away when his pizza arrives while his partner Wowcrendor protects him. However, because the videos are streamed from Jesse's point of view, the final five and a half minutes consist of Jesse's character just standing there while Crendor runs back and forth reacting out loud to whatever he's shooting at. The only action we see are the rare moments when Crendor happens to kill something in front of Jesse. Fortunately, Crendor's reactions and the insertion of Yakety Sax turn the Offscreen Moment of Awesome into a Crowning Moment of Funny.
    WowCrendor: How long does it take to get a pizza? How long?! Aahh!! The car set me on fire!
  • In Worm:
    • The Siberian is The Juggernaut and a well-known Hero Killer, to the point that the Protectorate actually avoids engaging her because they've never been able to make any headway. After the Undersiders discover and publicize her weakness, however, Dragon hunts her controller down and kills him offscreen.
    • Later, there's Heartbreaker, who throughout the entire story has been built up as a scary background villain, a mind-controller who can permanently force his victims to fall in love with him and uses this power to build up an entire family of parahumans. At some point during the Time Skip, Imp — Grue's kid sister — murdered him.
    • Golem got one when he fought at least ten members of the Slaughterhouse Nine. And apparently won.
  • Parodied in Jacksfilms' Breaking Dawn in a Minute.
    Edward: There's going to be an epic not-battle that we need to prepare for.
    Bella: What's a not-battle?
    Edward: It's like a really cool battle that plays out, but only in someone's head.
    Bella: Well, what happens?
    Edward: In reality? Nothing. You use your force-field powers and everyone walks away.
    Bella: I have force-field powers?
    Edward: Sure.
  • Ultra Fast Pony, being an abridged series, will sometimes leave action-packed scenes on the cutting room floor because of the time limit, or for the sake of changing the plot from the original. So, in "Ponynet Fight!" the characters run into a vicious hydra, but their escape is replaced with a "14 hours later..." transition card. And "How to Control Freaks" shows Twilight Sparkle breaking Discord's mind control over most of her friends, but skips over Rainbow Dash. There's even a Lampshade Hanging via subtitle: "Rainbow Dash normalized off-screen."
  • In the promo for Season 3 of Epic Rap Battles of History, Adolf Hitler kills a Rancor with a regular Luger pistol. All we see is him picking up the Luger, the screen going black, shortly followed by a gunshot.
  • Heirophant Green and Silver Chariot beat Lovers offscreen during the Lovers arc in Vaguely Recalling JoJo. Joseph mentions that involved many difficult battles.
  • RWBY:
    • Team CFVY are a week late returning from their mission. There's not a scratch on any of them, and they turn out to be such phenomenal fighters they can fight side-by-side with the teachers. However, all Velvet reveals about the over-extended mission is that they're a week late due to being overrun by an incredible amount of Grimm... but it's okay because Yatsuhashi was looking out for her.
    • There's been a large chunk of off screen fights in Volume 5. The most egregious one being the final battle with Ruby, Weiss, and Blake vs. Emerald, Mercury, and Hazel, all of which happened off screen in favor of a What the Hell, Hero? speech from Yang to Raven.
  • In 'Let's Drown Out Final Fight', Yahtzee and Gabriel were mad at the fact that their audio recorder died and allegedly lost some good jokes and deep discussions, in addition to Gabriel having to play the whole thing again and Yahtzee have to sit through the whole thing again.
    • Apparently, during the technical difficulties in 'Let's Drown Out Assassin's Creed Brotherhood' video, Gabriel saved Yahtzee from a team of ninjas..
  • After the final battle of Der Disneygang, a crossover between Disney and the characters from the Hitler Rants phenomenon, Himmler casually tells Fegelein he never expected Cinderella to handle an AK47 as well as she did. Unfortunately, she's never seen doing so.
  • In the final episode of Critical Role's first campaign, Grog draws the Void card from the Deck of Many Things, causing him to lose his soul. Since the whole party is Level 19 or 20 by this point, the resulting venture into Pandemonium is treated (especially by the DM) as nothing more than an annoying side jaunt, and the session cuts to two weeks later with Grog's soul being restored.

Alternative Title(s): Missed Moment Of Awesome