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Recap by Audit

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"I just wanna see the scene where Bruce has to explain his goddamn expense report!"

When the past events of the episode or series are revisited via a looking over of damages and expenses. In short, a common Framing Device for a Clip Show. Often played for laughs.

Compare Captain's Log, which revisits events through a more general report. Sub-Trope of Framing Device (a story within another story). Sister Trope of How We Got Here (the story stops and retells the events prior leading up to that point).


Anime & Manga

  • Excel♡Saga: In one episode, Il Palazzo justifies his decision not to include Excel in the current mission by showing her a Clip Show of all her mission failures from previous episodes.
  • Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon: A few episodes have Lilie recap the events of the previous one while writing in her diary.
  • Speed Grapher: Used explicitly in the episode "Audit the Wicked".

Comic Books

  • The Avengers: The story "Lo! And There Shall Come an Accounting!" was about this. In the end, the money counters let the superheroes off the hook. Who's going to rag on Captain America for saving them?

Film — Live-Action

  • Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe uses the device of Sam Axe being interrogated by the United States military about his activities in Colombia; which we learn have involved a journalist, a medical aid clinic, CIA agents, an apparent rebel group, the Colombian national police, and a rogue unit of the Colombian army.
  • Slumdog Millionaire: The accounting is not of expenses, but of the main character's life experiences that led to his presence on a quiz show, and his knowledge of esoteric answers despite a dirt-poor childhood.


  • Heechee Saga by Frederik Pohl: In the "present", the hero is obscenely wealthy, plagued by guilt, and going through therapy with a computer-generated psychologist. Most of the actual plot of the book is in his explanations to the computer of where the wealth (and guilt) came from.
  • The Kingkiller Chronicle: For the first two books, it's unknown how Kvothe became a Broken Ace and a Failure Hero as both The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear center around how he became the stuff of legends in the first place. As a result, all clues to his fall from grace are hidden in the mess his life is now—he's a recluse barkeep in the middle of nowhere (the shame he feels at having failed his goal is unbearable) who cannot perform Sympathy magic anymore (so the event probably crushed his will) and has taken a Fae as his apprentice of sorts (so he's returned to the land of the fae at least a second time).
  • Vorkosigan Saga: Borders of Infinity by Lois McMaster Bujold is actually a thinly disguised short story collection, with an audit as a framing device for the stories.

Live-Action TV

  • Angel:
    "Illyria destroyed 11 torture units before she found your man; 2 troop carriers, an ice cream truck, and 8 beautifully maintained lawns."
  • Hunter (1984): Da Chief does this about an offscreen car chase, before deciding to get Hunter and Dee Dee new partners.
  • JAG: In "Soul Searching", Harm and Bud go over the budget request for the office in which it appears that Harm's firing of an H&K in the courtroom (two seasons earlier in "Heroes") has caused structural damage to the roof. Through clever lawyering, Bud makes the outstanding expense go away under a building health plan.
  • Malcolm in the Middle: One episode used the parents going over their finances and strange expenditures to frame a clip show. For instance, "When did we spend so much on sequins?" transitioned to Bryan Cranston's roller dancing scene.
  • Night Court did this plot once.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: "Trials and Tribble-ations" is told via flashback as Sisko explains what happened to the Department of Temporal Investigations.
  • Stargate SG-1: The Clip Show episodes.


  • La oreja de Van Gogh: The lyrics of "Pop" recounts the chaotic, shallow life of a soulless Queen of Pop by describing all that she leaves behind —bills, alcohol, and tons of money. The song also explains how she became such a sensation —she has pretty hands, speaks French, is talented (she sings, acts, and paints), and has culture.


  • Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar: This is, in fact, the radio drama's format. All of Johnny's adventures are narrated as he goes down the list filling out his expense report.

Western Animation

  • Bounty Hamster: In "The Trial", the final episode to be produced, Marion has to face a licensing tribunal when he's accused of conduct unbecoming his bounty hunter license. Cue Clip Show. (In the end, the tribunal does strip him of his license — and awards one to Cassie, having concluded that she's done more to earn one over the course of the series than Marion has.)
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: In "Storm Over Ryloth", mid-way through Anakin has to recount the losses from the failed first attempt to break the Separatist blockade over Ryloth to Mace Windu and Obi-Wan Kenobi, which hammers home just how much of his fleet he's lost.
  • Transformers: Rescue Bots:
    • In two-parters, Huxley Prescott often recaps the events of part one as part of his news show.
    • In "The More Things Stay the Same", Quickshadow recaps the events of "The More Things Change..." in the context of it being a report to Optimus.
    • In "Today and Forever", Frankie convinces Cody to document the situation due to the absurdity of it. To recap, Griffin Rock was teleported to the North Pole after a large active teleportation crystal accidentally was dropped onto the island's underground Reactaline veins.