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So You Were Saying...?

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Alice resolves to confess her love to Bob the next time she sees him, and when she runs across him she starts to confess, when Bob interrupts her gushing about his own crush on Charlie. When he finishes, he remembers she was about to speak and asks her what she was going to say. She loses her nerve and lies, saying she needed to tell him his favorite brand of milk was on sale.

Charlie's spent the whole story trying to find out who his mother is and fighting a villain. Bob knows Charlie's mother is that villain. One day, Bob speaks the information to Charlie, but Charlie didn't hear him and asks him to repeat himself. Bob declines saying something like "it was nothing."

Charlie needs to tell Alice he's the one who trampled the rose bushes. He's gotten to "Alice, there's something I need to tell you" when Alice replies with "Yes?" Charlie says something like “nevermind.” If Alice didn't prompt him, it's likely he would have gone ahead with his confession.

The common thread between these examples is that a character tries to share a secret, but something happens and they fail to share it. They’re prompted to say whatever they were going to say, and they don’t. In other words, there’s a False Start, and the speaker is urged to proceed with their confession, to make that false start a true one. They don’t.

There’s usually an interruption, but not always: see Bob’s failed confession. There need not even be any logical relationship between what the interruption was about and what the confession was about. As long as the confessor’s audience doesn’t get the message. If there is an interruption, it need not be separate from the prompt to continue: Charlie’s prompt to continue was also the interruption that stopped him from confessing. And a character confessing to something different still qualifies as not confessing, as in Alice’s case.

Subtrope of Un-Confession. The person attempting to confess often Cannot Spit It Out. Compare On Second Thought. Often overlaps with Interrupted Declaration of Love. Simply using the phrase "So you were saying?" does not count as this trope.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The Idolmaster: Haruka has been getting increasingly upset about what's been going on, but no one seems to notice and she couldn't even place it herself. When she's finally ready to let it out, the Producer shows up and she starts to tell him. Before she gets to anything important, however, Miki interrupts. When the Producer and Miki are finished, the Producer asks Haruka to finish. Unlike typical examples, when Haruka insists it was nothing, the Producer doesn't buy it, but he doesn't get to find out anyway.
  • Nisekoi had its share of missed confessions, but one truly takes the cake for this trope. When Raku Ichijo and one of the main heroines, Kosaki Onodera, are alone at a pier, Kosaki decides to go for a confession and asks for a kiss. While it seems like Raku heard the whole thing, the very next chapter revealed that he was actually extremely drowsy and didn't hear a word of what she was saying, asking her to repeat herself. Understandably, the bewildered and heartbroken Kosaki doesn't bother for a second take.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In "Buffy vs. Dracula" , Giles invites Buffy over to tell her that he's going back to England because he no longer feels needed. But before he can say anything, she starts to tell him how she discovered that she still has much to learn about being a Slayer and wants him to be his Watcher again.
    Buffy: So, I just talked all over you. You had something to say too.
    Giles: No. It was... it was nothing.
    • In "Revelations", Willow is going to tell Buffy that she's been cheating with Xander. Then a demon attacks, so she decides to Confess to a Lesser Crime instead (peeking at her test questions).
    • Then in "Wrecked", Buffy is going to confess to Willow that she slept with Spike last night. She's interrupted by the discovery that Amy has returned to normal after being turned into a rat for the past few years, then claims what she was going to say is nothing important.
  • Castle: Beckett has finally worked through her feelings and is ready to accept Castle's invitation to join him at the Hamptons over summer and resolve their UST. Then his ex-wife/publisher walks in and explains that she'll be joining him (to keep the pressure on him to finish his book, but also most likely rekindling their relationship), and Beckett changes her statement to "Have a great summer."
  • Father Ted: Ted, while explaining how peaceful and quiet the parochial house will be for the recuperation of Chris the burping sheep, is interrupted by Father Jack tumbling down the stairs, swearing loudly and breaking assorted furniture. Once Jack has left, Ted continues by saying "...I think it would be an insult to you if I finished that sentence."
  • Inside Schwartz: Schwartz has just been phoned to tell that he's being approached for an MTV job concerning the Super Bowl. When he decides to tell this news to the Girl of the Week, he finds out she's been approached... and accepted. So Schwartz talks about doing great on a Maxim quiz, before phoning his agent about it later.
  • Devil In Ohio: In the first episode, when Peter comes home deflated from a bad work meeting, he prepares to tell Suzanne the news about their now dire financial situation. Before he can however, she gushes to him about how fortunate she feels to have him as a husband and how proud she is of his drive to strike out on his own in his career. She then prompts him to share what he was going to say and he brushes it off.
  • Once Upon a Time: Mulan, having finally gotten up the courage, is about to confess to Aurora that she loves her. But Aurora interrupts her because she can't hold in her own exciting news—she is pregnant with Philip's baby! Naturally, when urged to continue with what she was going to say, Mulan can only feign happiness for Aurora's news, then claims she only wanted to say she's joining Robin Hood's Merry Men...and walk off heartbroken.

  • When the Smothers Brothers sang "My Old Man", and Dickie got through singing all the lines of "my old man's a cotton-picking finger-licking chicken plucker" without making a mistake (mostly), Tommy starts suggesting other articles of clothing his old man might wear, such as socks and a striped necktie. Dickie does them, but when Tommy says, "What about a bra?", Dickie stops and says, "What did you say?" Tommy mumbles, "It wasn't that important."

  • The Order of the Stick: Haley is wounded and appears to be dying. She pulls Elan close and finally starts to say "I love you" when the party cleric Durkon pokes his head in to cast Cure Light Wounds on her. She quickly appends her statement to "I love ukeleles."

    Western Animation 
  • Danger Mouse: In "Close Encounters Of The Absurd Kind," Dr. Zok ejects DM and penfold in their Mk. III car out of his spaceship. As it plummets:
    Penfold: We're falling into the sea! (DM gains control as it now sails horizontally)
    DM: You were saying?
    Penfold: Well, I thought we were.
  • Dexter's Laboratory: In "Sole Brother", a Teleporter Accident causes Dexter to become Dee Dee's foot, and they can't fix the problem before she has to go to a ballet recital. The next scene shows her returning from the recital, furious at Dexter for allegedly messing her up, and says that she's doing to tell Dad about his secret laboratory. But before she can say anything, Dad interrupts her and says that her ballet instructor called him, saying that her performance was magnificent.
  • Family Guy: In "Brian Goes Back to College", Brian cheats on an exam and, feeling guilty, tries to tell his professor. As he is about to confess, the professor says that his performance helped lift him out of his suicidal depression.
  • The Flintstones: In "Ladies' Night at the Lodge", Fred is coaxed by Wilma into asking the Water Buffaloes to allow women to join at their next meeting. Before he can ask, another members makes the same suggestion, which gets him beaten up and kicked out. Fred wisely forgets what he going to say.
  • Hey Arnold!:
    • In "Timberly Loves Arnold", Arnold is about to tell Gerald's sister, the titular Timberly, not to hang out with him anymore when Lila passes by saying that she thinks they look cute together.
    • In "Monkey Business", Helga reads up on a book of monkey diseases after getting kissed by one and believes she has contracted "monkeynucleosis". Convinced she's going to die, she invited Arnold over to her deathbed and tries to confess her love for him. Before she can say anything, Phoebe bursts in to tells her one important detail about the disease that she overlooked: it doesn't exist!
  • House of Mouse: In the short "Mickey's Mistake", a depressed Minnie is about to tell Mickey something when he interrupts her so he can give her a present: a shiny new bow that he bought with an envelope full of money he found on the sidewalk. He then lets Minnie tell him what's bothering her, and she says she lost an envelope full of money meant for the orphanage's charity fund.
  • Justice League Unlimited: John Stewart does this to himself when he, Batman, and Wonder Woman have ended up in The Wild West.:
    Ohiyesa Smith: We're getting close. I wanna warn you, there's some downright unusual activity goin' on hereabouts; don't let it throw you.
    John: Don't worry about it, we've got a lot of experience with unusu- [a cowboy riding a pterodactyl flies towards them] ...I'm sorry, you were saying?
  • King of the Hill: In "Peggy's Headache", Peggy finally realizes that Joseph isn't really Dale's son and tries to tell him the truth. As she is about to, she witnesses Dale and Joseph sharing a happy moment, and she decides to keep it a secret.
  • Looney Tunes: The Bugs Bunny cartoon Wackiki Wabbit starts off with two adrift castaways. The skinny guy looks at his fat partner and imagines him as a hamburger:
    Skinny: And...hold the onions.
    Fat: Huh? What'd you say?
    Skinny: (composing himself) Oh...nothing.
  • Mike, Lu & Og: In "Sneeze, Please", Lu spreads Mike's cold to the other natives in a scheme to frame her and get her banished from the island. Feeling they have no other choice, they attempt to make to break the news to her, only for Mike to use Og's new invention to cure them all.
    Mike: So, what was it that you wanted to tell me?
    Margery: That... we're so happy you're here!
  • Miraculous Ladybug: Adrien is giving Marinette a ride home and loosens up and shows off a bit of his goofier personality. Marinette is feeling comfortable and seems finally ready to confess her feelings to him (well, she's had plenty of false-starts before, so she might have stopped herself anyway), when Adrien mentions "the girl he loves" hates it when he goofs around, causing her to lose her nerve and reconsider.
  • The Weekenders: In "Tish's Hair" the expected "reveal" conversation with the others finally telling Tish they do not like Tish's new hairdo... ends up not happening when two kids pass Tish and actually make a positive comment on her hairdo.


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