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One-Liner Echo

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"If you say 'live together, die alone' to me, Jack, I'm gonna punch you in your face."
Rose to Jack, Lost

A character delivers a One-Liner (sometimes a Catchphrase), especially as the punch-line to a meaningful speech. The other characters repeat it in turn, indicating their agreement.

Other characters may alter the One-Liner slightly in keeping with their personal quirks.

This is a popular rhetorical device in the real world as well, especially at a public rally.

Often used with Stock Phrases, especially "It's not your fault," "You Did Everything You Could," and "It's the Only Way."

Especially common during a Rousing Speech. Not to be confused with One-Liner, Name... One-Liner, which is when the same character repeats the line. Also not to be confused with another character throwing the one-liner back in the first character's face. Compare Phrase Catcher, when the echo is not welcomed by the catchphraser.


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  • A well-known commercial from financial firm J.G. Wentworth: "It's my money, and I need it now!"

    Comic Books 
  • Tintin's Thomson and Thompson do this constantly, with the added gag that the echo is always spoonerized or otherwise mangled (and often, unwittingly, more accurate):
    Thomson: "Mum's the word," that's our motto.
    Thompson: Precisely, "Dumb's the word," that's our motto.

  • "His name is Robert Paulsen," in Fight Club.
  • One word: "Attica!"
  • "O Captain! My Captain!" at the end of Dead Poets Society.
  • "I Am Spartacus" is a variation that qualifies as its own trope.
  • "Hoist the colors", Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
  • "Spaniard", the nom de guerre of Maximus in Gladiator, before his Badass Boast in which he declares "I Have Many Names".
  • In Die Hard, Hans Gruber attempts one with John McClane's "Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker"... and is shot.
  • Possibly the most well-known example: I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take it anymore!
  • In Cool Hand Luke, Luke's final sentence, "What we have here is a failure to communicate," is taken from a speech by the evil warden.
  • In Star Trek: First Contact, Data appears to have joined the Borg... but then shows his true colors by attacking the Borg Queen shouting "Resistance Is Futile"!
  • The Last Starfighter features a Rylan diplomat giving such a speech, ending with "Victory, or Death!" Which is followed by one of the Rylan officers repeating the phrase, starting up a chant among everyone assembled. (Except Alex.)
  • In Ghostbusters (1984), there is an exchange between Ray Stantz and Winston Zeddemore about the possible implications of the fact that they've been really busy lately. It ends with Stantz quoting Revelations 7:12: "And I looked, and he opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake. And the sun became as black as sack cloth, and the moon became as blood.". After the quote, there's a moment of silence, at which point Stantz finishes by saying, "Judgment Day". Zeddimore sighs, and repeats, "Judgment Day..." Its a surprisingly dramatic moment in such a comedic film as Ghostbusters.


    Live Action TV 
  • "I serve at the pleasure of the President," in The West Wing, also "Let Bartlet Be Bartlet" and "God bless America".
  • "So say we all," in Battlestar Galactica (2005): "Pilot".
  • "Better dead than..." in Red Dwarf: "Out of Time", each character finishing the sentiment with something personal.
  • "We live for the one, we die for the one." in Babylon 5, where it is the last line of the Ranger motto.
  • "To life, immortal." in War of the Worlds (1988), season 1.
  • Gilmore Girls often have Rory and Lorelai echo each other's one liners for comic effect.
  • Life On Mars was typically British about this trope.
    Sam: What now?
    Gene: Pub.
    Chris: Pub.
    Ray: Pub.
    Sam: ...Pub.
  • Lost
    • Jack's conclusion of a speech ("If we don't learn how to live together... we're gonna die alone") has been used at least six times, the most memorable ones being the one used in the page quote, and Kate replying to Sawyer's "It's every man for himself!" (Jack's original speech included: "Every man for himself is not gonna work!").
    • "Don't tell me what I can't do!" is Locke's catchphrase, but it's used many times during the series, sometimes by other characters and sometimes with little alterations.
  • A fairly Narm-y example comes from a Power Rangers S.P.D. Reunion Show. The Dino Thunder and SPD Rangers are facing down an army of Mooks, and Doggie Kruger says "No one gets inside our circle!" All eleven of the other rangers repeat, "No one gets inside!" This got parodied a lot on message boards, especially since seconds later, the team instantly *break* the circle charging in to take on the bad guys. So yeah.
  • Power Rangers Wild Force has the "Never give up" thing, though: usually, Danny or Max would say it, and the other would repeat it.
  • The MythBusters tend to repeat their verdict for a myth, especially if it's "busted".
  • On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the Jem'Hadar often do this with their Catchphrase:
    Jem'Hadar First: Victory is life!
    Jem'Hadar Soldiers: Victory is life!

    Video Games 
  • The Brotherhood of Nod from Command & Conquer: Tiberian Series loves using both repeated phrases and call/response pairs in their speeches and rallies:
    "In the name of Kane!" "Kane lives in death!"
  • In Soul Reaver 2, Kain tells Raziel that for attempting to defy fate, history is reshuffling to accommodate his decision to spare Kain's life, because "History abhors a paradox." When Raziel realizes at the end of the game that he cannot escape his final fate (the whole game being about him trying to do so), his last soliloquy has him utter the same phrase.

    Western Animation 
  • This happens in The Critic.
    "If the movie stinks, just don't go!"
  • Spoofed on South Park: Stan confesses to accidentally destroying a beaver dam, and one person mistakes this for an indication that everyone's partially responsible, leading to a chorus of "I broke the dam" while Stan tries to explain that he, personally, broke the dam.
  • Until all are one, men.
    "Until all are one."
    "Until all are one!"
    "Until all are one... UNDER GRIMLOCK!!!"