Follow TV Tropes


They Just Don't Get It

Go To

The floating sign unnerves me. I'm not sure why or what it means, but I look forward to learning in class tonight!

A character, or more often a whole group of people, has something elementary and basic explained to them, but for some reason, they just aren't getting it.

They aren't being deliberately obtuse and stupid. They simply do not understand the rather obvious implications of what has been said to them. To the character trying to do the explaining, and to the audience, the train of thought is painfully easy to make work logically, but the target simply isn't getting it. Usually, this is because the concept is so foreign to them that they cannot grasp it. This is not a case of What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?, where an alien species has no concept of the idea, but rather a case of a greedy character not understanding the concept of charity, or someone with a Complexity Addiction failing to grasp a Mundane Solution.

Sometimes this is because of Selective Obliviousness or Obfuscating Stupidity, but only rarely does the audience know this at the time. Compare Sustained Misunderstanding, Cassandra Truth, and Evil Cannot Comprehend Good. Contrast with Too Dumb to Fool.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Touta from UQ Holder! Ikkuu and Jinbei convince him that he needs to go "all the way" with Kirie during their trip to Kyoto; she is told the same thing by Karin (everyone in UQ Holder is shipping them pretty hard). When the two are using an outdoor bath in their hotel room, he tells her he's going to go all the way with her (both of them are naked), and... he just kisses her. When she gets confused, he tells her he thought that kissing in a romantic context was going "all the way." In the very next scene she tries to explain what sex is through a flower metaphor. He doesn't get it. She then explicitly tells him what it is. He still doesn't really get it. She puts on some porn. He (apparently) finally gets it.

  • Aziz Ansari has a bit where he claims that he was sitting in a restaurant when he overheard 50 Cent asking for grapefruit juice, receiving grapefruit juice, and repeatedly not understanding why the grapefruit juice wasn't purple.
  • French comedian Fernand Raynaud had a very famous sketch where a patron in a café asks for a coffee and two croissants. When the waiter explains they are out of croissants, the patron says he understands and changes his order into a tea with two croissants, and it goes on like this for a while with the patron changing his order into any other beverage with two croissants as the waiter tries to make him understand that croissants is what they don't have. In the end another patron comes to berate the first one for wasting the waiter's time, and tells the waiter that if he had been in his place he would already have hit the first patron in the face with his bloody croissants.

    Comic Books 
  • Astro City: In one story about a doorman at a high class hotel, he explains that when people come to Astro City the first time, they just don't understand how different it is. This included a snobbish agent who was trying to contact Samaritan and almost got herself killed, a normal crook who didn't understand the rules of the underworld in Astro City, and a family that was stopping there during a layover. Most of the folks left and didn't come back.
  • The Mighty Thor: The mortal Bill Cobb is dating the goddess Kelda and so is allowed to live in Asgard. At one point, Bill decides to teach the Asgardians how to play basketball. When he tells them about the scoring system, the Asgardians are completely unable to understand what points are no matter how much he tries to explain.

    Fan Works 
  • The Bridge: Several Kaiju get sent to Equestria and transformed into native species, including Destroyah, who looks like an Alicorn. After she saves the Cutie Mark Crusaders from Timberwolves (she only attacked them because they were attacking her as well), the CMC repeatedly cheer her as a princess and a hero. No matter how many times she says she's not a princess, that she's actually a villain, and that they are annoying, they don't stop.
  • In Career Day, Bruce Wayne and his sons come to visit Marinette's classroom. Lila had naturally claimed to be connected to the family, specifically insisting that Damian was her boyfriend. After Bruce mentions in passing that Marinette invited them, Alya repeatedly tries to 'correct' him, ignoring his repeated insistence on telling the truth.
  • The Exodus: When Danny gets Larry to work at the Union, Larry simply can't wrap his mind around the idea of a job that doesn't require him to literally work 24/7 just to earn decent pay.
  • In the Infinity Train: Blossomverse, you can shout at the Apex all you want, but they will never admit that they are hurting denizens and others for their fun or that the purpose of the Train isn't to get the highest number like a game but to work on your issues and return home. In Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail takes the death of a child, combined with the death of their co-leader to make them realize that they aren't as invincible as they thought they were and they have fucked up, leaving an entire train of pissed off denizens who want their heads or to throw them into the wheels.
  • Throughout Infinity Train: Court of Cyclamen, Bede refuses to acknowledge the idea that he needs to change his ways. Even when Chloe declares that she saw his soul and all the pain he's endured (both from being rejected and rejecting others), he continues to resist the concept, so much so that he would rather wheel himself than work on his problems.
  • Three Can Keep a Secret: Mabel doesn't understand why Dipper doesn't want to fix their strained relationship and let it revert back to normal, as he's realized that she was All Take and No Give. She's so used to their toxic dynamic that she sincerely believes things were better that way, and no amount of explaining the problems to her or that he simply wants her to be honest and fair seems able to get through to her.
  • Worm-in-Waiting: Alexandria, Eidolon and Legend can't seem to grasp the idea that Tāwhirimātea isn't an Endbringer, but an Outside-Context Problem.
  • In this Sly Cooper/Zootopia ficlet, Nick and Judy capture one of Muggshot's guard dogs and keep it in the interrogation room. Carmelita tries to explain the difference between dogs like Muggshot and dogs like the guard dog but to no avail.
  • Rupert and Earl, villainous aliens from The Calvinverse, believe Calvin is the Earth Potentate solely because Galaxoid and Nebular told them. They steadfastly hold this to be true, and dismiss any evidence to the contrary (including Calvin himself straight-up telling them). Retro Chill finally subverts this when they get their hands on a guide that tells them that the Earth does not have a Potentate.
  • One Step Ahead: After a particularly cruel prank, Mac stops visiting Fosters, cutting off all contact with Bloo and the rest of the residents. Even after three years without a word from his creator, while being snubbed by all the other imaginary friends, Bloo continues to insist that it's only a matter of time before Mac comes crawling back. It takes seeing firsthand just how happy Mac has become since they stopped seeing each other for Bloo to slowly start grasping the notion that he's never getting his buddy back.
  • Webwork:
    • Jade fails to understand why Widow isn't adapting to her new form as quickly as her, Jumper or Tara, since all three of them love their spider forms. Along similar lines, she doesn't get why her family wants to return her to normal.
    • Tarantula doesn't get why Jade won't become a Fully-Embraced Fiend like herself, since she uses her new form as an excuse to unleash her sadistic desires.
    • Origami can't comprehend why Jade betrayed him.
  • For His Own Sake: Naru spends the entire work blaming everyone else for her troubles, lashing out at everyone around her and torching every relationship she has. She's then left absolutely gobsmacked and furious beyond belief when all of her attempts at Crossing the Burnt Bridges are rebuffed, continuing to act like a massively Entitled Bastard and raging at how nobody is willing to put up with her abuse.
  • Throughout Chloé's Lament, Chloé proves completely unable to grasp why nothing turns out the way she anticipates. She can't see where she's gone wrong because that would require her to recognize that she's done wrong — and in her mind, she deserves everything she desires. So why, for instance, does Adrien find it so abhorrent that she'd gladly turn everyone into her mindless thralls? They should be happy to serve her! She also can't wrap her mind around the notion that Marinette's kindness isn't an act, and that she's not a Secretly Selfish Bitch in Sheep's Clothing. No matter how much evidence piles up, she continues to insist that she must be just as self-serving as Chloé herself is.
  • In i'll come back like a boomerang, Marinette exposes Lila for a Manipulative Bitch at her fashion show years after graduation. When her former classmates clamor for forgiveness, she calls them out for dismissing her warnings and taking her for granted. Cue Adrien stepping forward and declaring that since he didn't fall for Lila's claims and knew all along, that means there's nothing to forgive with him, right? Naturally, he's quite surprised to hear that she considers him to be unforgivable for precisely those same reasons — he claimed to be on her side, but stood by and let her be bullied.
  • The Karma of Lies:
    • No matter how many times Plagg, Marinette, or anyone else try to explain to Adrien why it's a problem to let Lila continue deceiving their classmates and running her various cons, he continues to insist that it isn't an issue since he's not being directly affected. He also dismisses the notion that he'll ever have to deal with the consequences of his actions, blithely insisting that he hasn't done anything wrong. He retains this attitude even as said consequences come calling, convinced that things should go precisely the way he wants because he's one of the heroes. The story ends without any Heel Realization or even an Ignored Epiphany, as he continues to wonder what went wrong, unable or unwilling to recognize how he was Hoist by His Own Petard.
    • The same applies to Alya, who schemes to force Marinette to forgive them by bombarding her parents with sob stories until they make their daughter forgive them. When this blows up in her face, she continues to insist that she deserves everything she once took for granted.
  • Leave for Mendeleiev:
    • No matter how many times it's explained to him, Adrien never grasps the concept of why it's so important to keep their secret identities secret. This leads him to casually out Lila when he thinks that she's the Fox Heroine, while she's being held hostage by an akuma. Even by the end of the story, he barely hesitates before telling his father that he was Chat Noir; while this was spurred by a slip of the tongue, he still reveals himself, fishing for sympathy.
    • Adrien also never wraps his head around the notion that he's not entitled to Ladybug's love, taking for granted the notion that they have to get together because 'they're partners'. Even when Ladybug tells him that love takes time and work to build up, he simply declares that it's a good thing they don't have to worry about that.
  • In Never to Be, even after years of working together, Chat Noir refuses to take "No" for an answer. Even after Ladybug spells out that she has never been interested and that his constant flirting has ruined their partnership, he remains persistent... and is furious to learn via eavesdropping that she's gotten engaged. When he confronts her over this, Ladybug asks him outright whether he actually would have accepted it and finally moved on, or if he'd have tried to sabotage her relationship.
  • Tales of Karmic Lies Aftermath, a Recursive Fanfiction for The Karma of Lies, has its own share of examples:
    • Alya remains insistent that she can't be blamed for anything she did under Lila and Adrien's influence, and that Marinette just needs to hurry up and forgive her already so they can be besties again! She also believes that she's entitled to being a superhero, to the point where she seriously considers stealing Miraculi from their rightful users, failing to understand why anyone might have problems with this.
    • Ms. Bustier makes clear that she hasn't learned anything when she taps Marinette and the other active members of Team Miraculous to serve as Character Witnesses in her upcoming divorce/custody trial. Despite her former 'star student' having already called her out for her poor teaching methods, she sincerely expects them to have nothing but good things to say about her, and tries to take credit for Chloé's Character Development despite being one of her worst enablers. And even after being called out again and having things painstakingly spelled out for her, she continues to insist she hasn't done anything wrong to deserve her Laser-Guided Karma.
  • Two Letters:
    • This proves to be a bit of a Running Theme, as several characters refuse to recognize the part they played in driving the original Ladybug past her breaking point, spurring her to retire and pass the Earrings on to a Sketchy Successor.
    • Even after Marinette spells out to Alya in explicit detail why she considers it so unforgivable that she betrayed her trust and secretly told Nino that she was Rena Furtive — namely, that she was running the risk of exposing Marinette's Secret Identity to Hawkmoth — Alya continues to insist that she shouldn't make such a big deal out of it, because "Everyone makes mistakes!"
    • Similarly, Marinette hits Adrien with two blistering speeches about why she helped Ladybug strip him of the Ring, taking him to task for being such a self-centered, Entitled Bastard and Spoiled Brat. Despite her making it incredibly clear that she doesn't care for him one whit, Adrien implies that he still intends to make her his girlfriend.
  • The Wolves in the Woods:
    • After getting into serious trouble for threatening Ben over a misunderstanding, followed by her and the rest of the Gang of Bullies in their class being severely punished for their actions, Alya shows that she has learned absolutely nothing from the experience when she corners and threatens Lila in a way that parallels the way she threatened Ben. Right down to being caught in the act by a family member, no less.
    • Adrien also has elements of this, as he continues to blame Marinette for the high crime of standing up for herself against her bullies, claiming that everything would have been fine if she'd just kept her mouth shut and never tried warning them about Lila. He also refuses to accept that he isn't entitled to Ladybug's love.
    • Then there's Ms. Bustier, who continues to consider Marinette to be one of her students even after she transfers into St. Catherine's — something she sees as a betrayal while blithely ignoring how she stood by and watched as most of the class brutally bullied her. In fact, she turns her class into a mob and sets them on Marinette twice, leading the way the second time herself with the intent of forcing her former student to come back... and when this gets her arrested and put on trial, she blames Marinette for the resulting fallout. Even after Ms. Mendeleiev points out her flagrant Moral Myopia months later, asking her why Marinette isn't allowed to be upset with her classmates when Bustier is still holding a grudge over her "betrayal" — Bustier simply sulks.
  • What Goes Around Comes Around: Chloé spends the entire story threatening to have her father use his powers as mayor to hurt anyone who defies her or gets in the way of what she wants. She continues this long after such threats have any impact. Even witnessing her father being arrested for obstruction of justice does nothing to slow her down; her final scene has her screaming that "You Have No Idea Who You're Dealing With" and threatening to have her daddy turn the juvenile detention center into a spa, having completely failed to parse that her go-to tactic simply won't work anymore.
  • Cain: No matter how many times and how many ways Toshinori and others try to explain it to him, Katsuki simply cannot grasp the notion that there's more to heroism than just having raw power. Nor does he comprehend the notion that Izuku has what it takes to become a Pro Hero.
  • Dekugate: The titular online community is made up of Conspiracy Theorists who completely refuse to believe that All Might is Happily Married to Parakeet or that Izuku is actually their son. No amount of evidence will ever be enough to convince them of reality. Even when Toshinori publicly calls out and chastises them for harassing his family, the fanatics continue to insist he's being forced to denounce them.
  • In The Great Alicorn Hunt, when the group has several things to celebrate, Pinkie Pie wants to throw a massive, giant party to try and cover it all. Rainbow Dash tries to explain the value of having several smaller, separate parties rather than mashing them all together, but quickly realizes Pinkie just doesn't understand the concept no matter how she tackles it.
  • Androgyninja's A Drop of Poison: Played for Drama with Team Seven, where Sakura's teammates Dramatically Missing the Point is a Running Theme:
    • Sasuke insists that Sakura is doomed to be nothing more than glorified Cannon Fodder because she comes from a civilian family. While she eventually earns something approaching respect from him, he only cares about her skills as a shinobi, and doesn't understand why she gets mad when he continues acting like civilians are completely worthless.
    • Naruto proves to be incredibly naive about how dangerous the lives of shinobi can be. Despite being repeatedly called out on his recklessness and on endangering his teammates with his stubborn Determinator attitude, he continues to assume that things should work out the way he wants.
    • Kakashi dismisses Sakura as little more than the Token Girl on their team, expecting her to act as the Only Sane Woman and keep the boys in line even as he uses her to encourage them by invoking I Was Beaten by a Girl. Even when he sees her potential, he thinks to himself that it was just bad luck that she ended up on his team, doing nothing to support or encourage her.
    • This all comes to a head in "Snapped Thread". While Kakashi finally started to catch a clue after the attempted Konoha Crush, it comes as too little, too late, as Sasuke and Naruto both continue dramatically failing to understand just why Sakura is so irritated with both of them. This spurs her to write Team Seven off as a lost cause and walk away. When Naruto later attempts to apologize, she rejects it, as it's clear from his approach that he still doesn't understand why she's so upset.
  • In Full Circle, Olympia and Oona attempt to explain the concept of Shipping to Otis, first by listing couples in pop culture and then by boiling it down to "when a person wants two people to be a couple". It takes them a full two hours, to the point where Olympia's ponytail has come undone, Oona's lab coat is (somehow) on a beam in the ceiling, and one of the latter's suspender straps has broken, and the only way Otis is able to get it is by Oona showing him the famous GIF of Vladimir making two of his ceramic unicorns kiss that she has saved on Pinterest, since he's a visual learner. And then he has to ask what Pinterest is.
  • If Bella Were Sane: Edward refuses to accept that Bella isn't swayed by his charms, doesn't believe that Stalking Is Love, absolutely despises him, and wants him out of her life. At one point, he takes this as far as kidnapping and spiriting a drunken Bella to Las Vegas to get hitched while she's in no condition to deny him, and expecting her to simply be okay with that.
  • Tough Love: Despite her father calling her out on her entitled and self-centered behavior, repeatedly stressing that he's calling her bluff and kicking her out of his house after she threatened to leave, Bella refuses to believe that he's serious. After repeatedly warning her that he's only giving her an hour to pack, Charlie finds her sulking on her bed once time is up, whining about how Edward broke up with her after overhearing their argument. She's beyond shocked when this results in her being stuck with a single duffel bag that Charlie throws together for her.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery:
    • During a discussion of Austin's teeth.
      Vanessa: And then there's this. [shows Austin a dental hygiene kit complete with floss, toothpaste and toothbrush]
      Austin: Let me guess. The floss is garrote wire, the toothpaste is plastic explosives, and the toothbrush is the detonation device.
      Vanessa: No, actually. Since you've been frozen, there have been fabulous advances in the field of dentistry.
      Austin: What do you mean?
    • Cleverly inverted in the scene where Scott Evil wonders why they are going to all the trouble of putting Austin and Vanessa into a deathtrap.
      Scott Evil: I have a gun. In my room. You give me five seconds, I'll get it, I'll come back down here. BOOM! I'll blow their brains out!
      Doctor Evil: Scott, you just don't get it, do ya?
  • Idiocracy. Joe Bauers encounters this problem in every scene where he tries to explain something to someone, or tries to be subtle about something, because everyone in the future is Too Dumb to Live. The most notable instance is when he is explaining to the Cabinet his plan to use water on crops instead of Brawndo energy drink. He has to pretend that he can talk to plants before they listen to him.
  • In John Wick, Iosef has a hard time grasping that he's just pissed off Death incarnate by stealing the title character's car and killing his dog, just a few days after the death of his wife. He repeatedly brushes off his father's warnings, and at one point even says that he'll go back and kill Wick himself. It takes a club full of mooks getting systematically slaughtered right in front of him before he starts to grasp just how screwed he is.
    Iosef: Father, I can make this right.
    Viggo: Oh? How do you plan to do that?
    Iosef: By finishing what I started.
    Viggo: What the... did he hear a fuckin' word I said? [...] John will come for you, and you will do nothing because you can do nothing.
  • In Kaamelott: Premier Volet, Arthur tries to explain the concept of standing guard to Perceval and Karadoc. They simply can't understand what "going some way on the path and standing guard there" means.
    Perceval: So we go along the path and if we don't see anybody coming, we come back, right?
  • In The Last Samurai, when the samurai Katsumoto learns the story of General George Custer and Custer's Last Stand, he admires him as a warrior who fought to the bitter end without fear of death. Algren tries to tell him that Custer was an arrogant fool who needlessly got himself and all his men killed and not a man to be admired at all, but Katsumoto fails to see Custer's faults.
  • In Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the lord of Swamp Castle has to struggle immensely to get a pair of his guards to understand the simple order: stay here and keep the prince from leaving the room until the lord comes back to fetch him for his wedding. They make every possible misinterpretation of the order that it's possible to make, including: not letting the prince leave even after the lord comes back; not entering the room until the lord comes back; making sure the prince doesn't leave until the lord or anyone else comes for him; preventing the prince from entering the room; and asking whether it would be alright for the prince to leave if they accompanied him? When the lord thinks he's finally gotten through to him he turns to leave, only to find the guards trying to follow him out. Exasperatedly explaining it one more time, they seem to finally understand the concept of stay here and don't let the prince leave the room — and then stand there smiling without interfering while the prince scribbles a plea for rescue on a note, ties it to an arrow, and shoots it out the window.
  • This happens in Mystery Men when one of the characters realizes that Captain Amazing is just Clark Kenting. The other characters don't understand the way this train of thought works, since without glasses, Captain Amazing would not be able to see.
  • One of the most famous moments in Spinal Tap cuts both ways from the point-of-view of the other character. Marty can't seem to make Nigel get that "ten" could be made louder to make for a more intuitive numbering system, while Nigel can't seem to make Marty get that "eleven" is clearly better than "ten".
  • In Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Cal Naughton Jr. just doesn't seem to understand why his friendship with Ricky Bobby should be affected by something trivial like Cal sleeping with Ricky's wife.

  • In Alien in a Small Town, the Jan seem to be like this about lying. They understand it well enough to know that other races may lie to them, but for themselves to say something they know to be false is practically beyond their comprehension. This is because they evolved from hive insect-like communal prey animals for whom cooperation was absolutely necessary to survival.
  • In Robert J. Sawyer's novel Calculating God, one of the alien races we meet is perfectly self-aware and in some ways extremely intelligent; but is utterly, neurologically incapable of even the most basic mathematics. Even counting is essentially beyond their ability.
  • Discworld:
    • In the novel Sourcery, Rincewind doesn't understand that he can just leave the growing wizard problems behind if he stops being a wizard, which would be easy for him since he can't do magic. Subverted later when he finally does get it, but says that he can't just stop being a wizard since it's more than just the ability to do magic.
    • In Wintersmith, the Feegles encounter a caravan of travelling librarians who have just run out of firewood in the middle of winter. They try to hint that they could use their books, but the librarians are simply unable to understand the connection between books and lighting a fire. The Feegles in turn can't understand the librarians' befuddlement over something so simple.
  • Cersei Lannister in A Song of Ice and Fire is so incomprehensibly self-centered and arrogant that she's pathologically incapable of grasping the concept of an "ally" (an equal partner with whom to work together in a give-and-take relationship for a common end), instead dividing the entire world into "servants" and "enemies". Her house only holds the Iron Throne through the support of the powerful House Tyrell, who married their daughter Margaery to Cersei's son King Tommen, but she's convinced that they're enemies trying to undermine her and seize the throne for themselves, so she dedicates more of her efforts towards trying to undermine them than any of her actual enemies. When her uncle Kevan advises her to appoint a competent and efficient Tyrell bannerman like Mathis Rowan or Randyll Tarly as her Hand of the King, patiently explaining that this will strengthen her and weaken the Tyrells by depriving them of one of their strongest supporters and compromising his loyalty to them, she can only see it as treason, preferring instead to surround herself with talentless lickspittles who will bow and scrape to her every whim without question.
  • In Watership Down, when Blackberry figures out that the rabbits can escape on the humans' boat if they chew through the rope tying it to the shore, he has a very hard time explaining it to the other rabbits because they are, well, rabbits, and even the simplest human technology is beyond their comprehension. We're told that even many of the rabbits who participate in the escape and see exactly how it was done still can't quite wrap their heads around what has happened, let alone explain it to anyone else later.

    Live-Action TV 
  • One sketch on All That has Superdude, played by Kenan Thompson, being confronted by an impostor played by an 11-year-old Amanda Bynes wearing a copy of his costume. The townspeople, incapable of determining the fraud based on physical appearance, are further unable to distinguish the difference in Power Levels when they see Superdude bending a giant pipe and the impostor tearing up a piece of paper.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In the fifth season, the fact that mild-mannered doctor, Ben morphs into the Big Bad Glory is concealed from anyone who finds this out by means of a spell which makes them instantly forget it. When several of the Scooby gang actually see Ben morph into Glory in front of them they cannot comprehend what they saw, even when directly and repeatedly reminded of it by Spike (who is immune to the forget spell). This, of course, drives Spike to utter distraction. Particularly when the spell no longer works:
    Xander: Wait, guys... I think... Ben IS Glory!
    Spike: Well, look at the big brain on you! I've only been saying that for the last two weeks!
  • Father Ted: Once, Father Ted tried to explain to Father Dougal the difference between cows that are small and cows that are far away.
  • Friends: Alice mentions that Frank Junior wants to name his future son "Frank Junior Junior". When Chandler points out that it should be "Frank the Third", Alice responds with an exasperated "Don't get me started", implying that she's already had this argument with Frank to no avail.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia:
    • Charlie brings up that he finds it crazy that Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are in the same state, while Dennis and Mac don't see it crazy. Charlie asks how two cities can be in one state, thinking Philadelphia is Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh must be in Philadelphia. Dennis and Mac try in vain to explain how all states have more than one city.
    • While Dennis, Mac, and Charlie try to work out their roles, Dennis tells Charlie there's no use for Wild Cards and Charlie nods seemingly in agreement. Dennis points out it appeared he agreed with him but didn't understand what he just said. Charlie responds by saying yes and pointing at Mac despite not saying anything, When he points this out Charlie just says good. Mac slowly explains to him that there's no benefits to having someone who makes wild decisions for no reason and Charlie agrees. Mac and Dennis talk with each other about whether he's actually listening or not, with Mac proposing he is just not understanding any of it and Charlie agreeing that he doesn't get them despite the fact he's the one they were talking about. Dennis just gives up on it for the sake of moving on.
  • Kaamelott: A frequent source of humour in the series is the characters being unable to understand a simple fact no matter how long it is being explained to them (Perceval and Karadoc are the most common offenders).
    • Perceval can't understand that the Lady of the Lake is a Spirit Advisor visible only to Arthur. He thinks she's Arthur's cousin, and that she never shows up because she's shy.
    • Perceval also has a hard time with The Undead, asking whether they are living or dead. Arthur's attempt at explaining such Oxymoronic Beings to him doesn't go anywhere.
    • Gauvain can't understand that his father having rebelled against King Arthur means he will have to choose between his loyalty to his father and to the Round Table.
      Gauvain: But even if my father betrayed you, you and him are still friends, right?
    • After his failed suicide attempt, Arthur doesn't have the will nor the strength to feed himself. Karadoc tries bringing him food, and when Arthur repeatedly tries to explain that he's not hungry, Karadoc (who's a Big Eater) just cannot grasp the concept.
  • Key & Peele:
    • Mr. Washington is told by a friend that, since doctors get paid for every prescription they write, he can score medical marijuana, and all he has to lie about the reason. When he goes to the Doctor he tells him he has AIDS. The Doctor explains that if he had AIDS, he'd have to verify it with tests while something they couldn't test for would work better and even lists examples. Mr. Washington changes it to Leprosy and pulls the removable finger trick as proof. The Doctor keeps telling him to keep it simple but he keeps listing examples of things that require more proof or can't be treated with marijuana. The Doctor eventually slaps him in the face and gives him a prescription for the pain.
    • Cousin Delroy's getting married to another man and the Johnson family want to be supportive. So they ask Larry's gay co-worker Gary for advice. Gary simply tells them that a Gay Wedding is just like a Straight Wedding. The Johnsons each ask him if outrageously gay things at the wedding (Gay Hymns, Straight Sections and Gay Sections, Gay Celebrities being there) and Gary keeps reiterating that it will just be like a straight wedding. Gary eventually gets fed up and leaves.
  • Leverage: Parker, having Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training, falls victim to this trope regularly.
    • Series wide, she can never seem to keep track of what "normal" people do or act like no matter how many times the team try and explain it to her. She eventually grows out of it, but it's pretty egregious in the early seasons; her attempts at playing Succotash fall flat because all of her guesses involve stealing things, her idea of hanging out with someone is stealing a painting, and it takes her almost five seasons to realize Hardison really was terrified every time he was forced to jump off a high point.
    • She spends the entirety of "The Miracle Job" convinced Saint Nicholas and Santa Claus are the same person. Parker gets it by the end of the episode, but she keeps having to be corrected way too many times.
    • Throughout "The Juror #12 Job", she just cannot remember that "Alice White" is one of her aliases and not someone else entirely. Three seasons later, Parker still can't fully wrap her head around the notion that she is Alice.
    • She really struggles to grasp the concept of Sophie faking her death in "The Two Live Crew Job", to the point where she worries that Sophie might be a ghost.
    • She doesn't get that the Fiddle Game con they're running in "The Studio Job" has Eliot as the fiddle until halfway through the episode.
    • She spends most of "The Cross My Heart Job" convinced that the island they just came from, nicknamed the Emerald of the Caribbean, had actual emeralds somewhere on it, much to Eliot's exasperation.
  • Limmy's Show: In this sketch Limmy fails to grasp that a kilogram of steel weighs the same as a kilogram of feathers, even when his friends demonstrate with a literal kilogram of each material on a scale.
  • On one Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode, Tom Servo is completely unable to grasp the concept of Trivial Pursuit, giving nonsensical answers that have nothing to do with the questions and sticking with answers even after being told they're wrong. Joel finally says the trope name word-for-word.
  • Red Dwarf:
    • This exchange from the episode "Stasis Leak":
      Cat: [to Rimmer] What is it?
      Rimmer: It's a rent in the space-time continuum.
      Cat: [to Lister] What is it?
      Lister: The stasis room freezes time, you know, makes time stand still. So whenever you have a leak, it must preserve whatever it's leaked into, and it's leaked into this room.
      Cat: [to Rimmer] What is it?
      Rimmer: It's singularity, a point in the universe where the normal laws of space and time don't apply.
      Cat: [to Lister] What is it?
      Lister: It's a hole back into the past.
      Cat: Oh, a magic door! Well, why didn't you say?
    • Not to mention the Trope Namer for Everybody's Dead, Dave, where Lister simply cannot comprehend that all of his shipmates have been killed. Either that or he can't get past the first stage of grief.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: The episode "Symbiosis" featured drugs. Wesley Crusher says he doesn't understand why anyone would take drugs because the health problems associated with them are well documented. Tasha Yar tries to explain drug addiction and how people turn to drugs to escape from their problems, but he is completely unable to comprehend the concept.
  • Survivor:
    • Russell Hantz still has no idea why he lost the game twice in a row, despite everyone from interviewers to fellow contestants, to Jeff Probst himself explaining that you just can't piss off the people who will be casting the votes that decide whether or not you get the million. Instead, he's going with the theory that the game is flawed — especially since the two girls he lost to beat him by being less reprehensible than himself. Even Parvati was seen as the lesser of two evils in "Heroes vs. Villains" (and received three jury votes).
    • He and his allies also didn't realize why he was evicted from "Redemption Island" so early despite that unlike the first two times he played, people knew who he was, and he had made no visible effort to change his game. (There is more or less no excuse outside of having never seen the show before for not knowing Russell's game by now.)
      Jeff: [in a sneak preview for Redemption Island] He still doesn't get it! He still thinks that everybody loves him.
  • One sketch on That Mitchell and Webb Look featured a young doctor working in a Carry On style saucy seventies hospital, where everyone communicated in sexual Double Entendre and he responded by offering to get his cock out. He was ultimately fired after failing to understand the difference.
  • The Whitest Kids U' Know
    • In the bank robbery sketch, the leader shows blueprints for the bank they plan to rob. Train Bike has a problem with understanding it's two levels of the same building and not two different buildings. This ends up costing them their first attempt. The next attempts don't go any better.
    • In the underwater sketch, a teenage girl tells her father that she’s eloping with her boyfriend and live under the ocean. The father tries to explain that they can’t live underwater but they just think they don’t approve of them.

  • One of Frank Muir's Feghoots on My Word! ends with him having to explain to a man that his fiancée and his best friend have just eloped. Frank attempts to explain this in several different ways, but the man's mind is just incapable of grasping the concept. Finally Frank works out that the only way he can comprehend the message is if it is expressed as a nautical metaphor.

  • Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues:
    • Jenna realizes that she has no clothes on and starts to panic. However, at this point, she's been turned into a mass of insects with no recognizable human biology, so the people around her are left confused about what she's freaking out about.
    • It takes a good minute for Ivy to explain to her parents that she has superpowers. They first take her confession to mean that she's an alcoholic, and then that she's doing drugs, only to finally realize what she means when she uses her power to reconstruct their TV remote.

  • In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the 2013 musical), Willy Wonka sings the I Am What I Am song "Simply Second Nature" when he realizes that the adults in the Golden Ticket tour group don't understand why he created the beautiful but largely "useless" Chocolate Room — he simply loves to create beautiful things. The lead-in dialogue is as follows:
    Mr. Salt: [a businessman] Look here, Wonka, the waterfall makes sense, but what's the point in all the rest of this stuff?
    Willy Wonka: The point?
    Mr. Salt: Well, what's it for?
    Willy Wonka: It's my creation.
    Mr. Salt: How does it make money?
    Willy Wonka: It doesn't.
    Mrs. Gloop: [a Fat and Proud glutton] It's a little cupboard of treats for a midnight feast.
    Willy Wonka: No, madam.
    Mr. Beauregarde: [a showbiz Shameless Self-Promoter] You use it for photo shoots.
    Willy Wonka: Certainly not.
    Mrs. Teavee: [a Stepford Smiler housewife] It's therapy.
    Willy Wonka: No.
    Mr. Salt: Well if it isn't for anything and it doesn't make money then why on Earth does it need to exist at all?
    Willy Wonka: You really don't see, do you?
  • In A Very Potter Sequel, when Lucius Malfoy explains the evil plan he had just choreographed to travel back in time and kill Harry Potter, the other Death Eaters just don't get it. Ironically, it's not until he explains it in a more convoluted way that the lightbulbs go off and they all suddenly get it.
    Lucius: The Dark Lord would have survived, had they never met.
    Death Eater #2: So you're saying that he wouldn't be destroyed?
    Lucius: He'd be alive, what don't you get?
    Death Eater #3: Still not understanding...

    Video Games 
  • ANNO: Mutationem: At the end of the Mysterious Console DLC, after learning of Noni's Dark and Troubled Past, Ayane is told that Noni's family was involved with an Anonymous Benefactor that gave them a large sum of money, but still has trouble piecing together on solving the connection.
  • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony: Gonta Gokuhara, upon leaving a virtual reality simulation, claims to not have any clue what anyone's talking about when they mention a "ver-chew-ul world". Justified in that he's an idiot and plugged the cords into his VR headset incorrectly so that his memory of the virtual world was wiped upon logging out.
  • Dawn of War II: Retribution had its beautiful example of "Orky logic".
    Kaptin Bluddflagg: 'ang on a squig! If dat Kyras git is anglin' ta zog da whole sector...
    Miss'ta Nailbrain: Right...?
    Kaptin Bluddflagg: ... an' Kyras is in da sector...
    Miss'ta Nailbrain: Okay...
    Kaptin Bluddflagg: ... an' Kyras don't want ta get zogged...
    Miss'ta Nailbrain: Yeah... yeah... right...
    Kaptin Bluddflagg: an' dose big humie ships won't dakka dat place dey dakka'd before...
    Miss'ta Nailbrain: Yeah?!
    Kaptin Bluddflagg: Den Kyras... would go... to da place... dey wouldn't dakka! Which is dat place!
    Miss'ta Nailbrain: [Beat] Still not followin' ya, Kaptin.
    Kaptin Bluddflagg: Kyras is dere! OOOOOOH! Get ready, ya great, posh, tin-plated stomp bait! DA ORKS IS COMIN'! WAAAGH!!!
  • Henry from Double Homework is prone to this. The protagonist is used to just giving up and feeding Henry a bullshit explanation that he understands rather than trying to hammer in a real one that he doesn’t.
  • Ensemble Stars!: No matter how many times someone tells him, Souma just can't seem to understand that it's a bad idea (for both legal and social reasons) to constantly carry around a sword. By the time of the Main Story Keito admits that he puts up with it due to Souma being his junior in Akatsuki and instead just tries to at least keep him from brandishing it when he can.
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice For All: Adrian Andrews doesn't seem to understand that refusing to testify, legally permissible or no, will not help her frame Matt Engarde for murder when the evidence now points to her instead. Justified however in that she does have a mental illness that would cause this behavior.

    Web Animation 
  • In the How It Should Have Ended video "How Frozen Should Have Ended", the Elder Troll tells Elsa that she must control her powers and fear will be her enemy. Elsa's parents ask if he's saying they should do what they did in the movie, which the Elder Trolls points out what they're suggesting has nothing to do with what he said and just flat out tells them The Power of Love will save their daughter. The Elder Troll decides to just take them someplace who can actually help Elsa: Charles Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters.
  • Season 6 of Red vs. Blue sees Sarge completely unable to grasp the idea that in the time Red Team was split up, Grif got promoted to captain. Once it gets to the point where Sarge asks where their invisible captain who has the exact same name as Grif is, Grif tells Simmons to stop trying to explain it to him, noting that he just doesn't have the mental capacity.
    Grif: Dude! I don't think he's physically capable of understanding what you're telling him.
  • In the RWBY episode "New Challenges", Jaune decides to get the rest of Team JNPR to defeat their opponents through tag team attacks similar to what Team RWBY does. However, when he does so, tossing out the names "Flower Power" and "Arkos", the entire match grinds to a halt as Pyrrha, Ren and Nora are confused about Jaune's talking about and their opponents are confused as to why they're arguing in the middle of a match.

    Web Comics 
  • In this strip of Ctrl+Alt+Del, a man is confused about the phrase "Exit Mech" while playing the demo for Titanfall. Another man explains that its for when you want to leave the giant robot suit, however the man playing the game claims to hear only gibberish when the other man talks about anything other than piloting the suit.
  • Jennie of The Devil's Panties has a bit of an addiction to cake.
  • Ennui GO!: When Dr. Bald bemoans he won't makes money from his failed "Frankenhooker" experiment, Noah points out to him that he invented reanimation, which he could easily be monetized. Dr. Bald doesn't get how people could want their departed ones turned into hookers. Noah insists that he doesn't HAVE to turn them into hookers.
    Dr. Bald: I don't follow.
  • Agatha of Girl Genius has trouble understanding the idea of not bringing lots of tools.
  • Girls with Slingshots: No matter how many times or how extensively Hazel's lesbian friends try to clue her in, Hazel can't let go of the idea that lesbian sex isn't primarily "taking turns with a strap-on."
  • Subverted in Gunnerkrigg Court, where Annie keeps trying to explain her completely rational reasons for splitting her psyche in two rather than dealing with her anger over her father's actions, but Ysengrim keeps dismissing the explanations, and she eventually tells him this. In actuality he understands quite well; he's trying to get her to face the real reason she's angry by pointing out how feeble her given reasons are.
  • Loserz: When Ben asks high school playboy Adam for advice about asking his crush Jessica out to the spring dance, Adam tells him that Jessica is notoriously chaste, and no-one has ever even been able to get past second base with her. She's actually gay. Ben, who's fine just spending time with her, tells Adam that they don't have to have sex just because they're on a date. Adam reacts like he's speaking utter gibberish.
    Ben: You know? Not have sex?
    Adam: There's words coming out of your mouth, but they're not making any sense!
  • The Order of the Stick: Because their god Thor occasionally strikes trees with his lightning, the dwarves as a whole consider trees as their mortal enemies. Trying to argue with them that they are inoffensive, inanimate plants is bound to failure. Including when the explanation is given by Thor himself to a pair of his clerics.
  • Rusty and Co.: In one Critical Missive, Anti-Madeline has lots of trouble with the concept that there is more to life than blowing up stuff.

    Web Original 
  • Binder of Shame: Blobert is entirely incapable of understanding the use of drama cards in TORG. Al Bruno tries to explain that they're there to enable cinematic stunts that go beyond the normal dice-rolling system and uses specific scenes from movies as examples of what it would look like, but that just confuses Blobert even more since movies are movies and not roleplaying games.
  • Dream High School opens with a floating sign telling you you're dreaming. Your response? "The floating sign unnerves me. I'm not sure why or what it means, but I look forward to learning in class tonight!" Readers could have voted on an option to invoke this trope again immediately: "I pinch myself." You even quote the sign on Page 5 and still don't get it.
  • The Surprised Pikachu meme is all about people being surprised by the incredibly obvious, usually detrimental outcome of a stupid action.

  • Shown in many Not Always Right stories. For example:
    • A woman enters a bakery and asks them to create a wedding cake and bill her for it, totally ignoring the submitter's insistence that they don't sell cakes or send bills out before she leaves; naturally, none of what she asks for is accomplished. She then begins sending attorneys to the bakery, apparently oblivious to the reason why they all immediately drop her case against the bakery, and ends up going through four of them, probably wasting thousands or even millions of dollars in the process, before she gives up (or, less charitably, before she gets enough of a bad rep amongst attorneys that they won't take her case).
    • To summarize this story, "Do I need bags for this vacuum?" "No you don't need bags." "Okay, but do I need bags?"
    • Another perfect case, where a woman drops a pair of dogs off at an animal shelter — please note, by "drops off" we mean that literally: dropped from the top of a five-foot fence just so she didn't have to pay a fee —, then comes back long after said dogs have been adopted by someone else looking for them, assuming the place was a boarding kennel and refusing to believe otherwise. She ends up dragging a police officer into the mess, who immediately arrests her for animal cruelty and neglect — and the story ends with the reveal that she also had contempt of court charges added to that, for still not understanding that the place was not a kennel and even spitting in a judge's face for siding with them in the case.
    • To this elderly customer, "born and raised here in this very town" is apparently meaningless gibberish.
    • "I don't care if the Washington Monument is closed, I want to visit it now!"
    • "I don't think you understand the whole 'you're not allowed in here' part."
    • This customer completely fails to comprehend the bartender telling her three times they don't have any Carlsberg. Especially odd in that she does understand the other half of what he's telling her, it's just "we don't have Carlsberg" she's completely tuning out.
    • This customer asks for a Green Card photo, and the photo tech in charge explains that the software won't allow it. Multiple times. As the customer in question speaks very good English, and is accompanied by his wife (who speaks even better English), it's not a case of Language Barrier. When the customer finally gets what he's being told, he has the gall to ask:
      "Well, why the h*** didn't you just tell me that?!"
      "I did, love. Five separate times. Have a great day, folks!"
    • This person doesn't seem to understand the concept of a yard sale, and threatens to report them to the BBB for selling used items.
    • This customer refuses to listen to a pizzeria worker when calling in an order: no response when asked whether it's a delivery or carryout, to two requests to pause the order when the computer crashes, or to a request to be put on hold. After the worker gets the computer fixed, the caller hangs up, calls again, and asks why they were hung up on.
    • This customer seems to be interpreting "we know what you're asking for, but we don't have it" as "we don't know what you're asking for", because the customer restarts his description of the part every time he gets the former answer. Eventually the manager passes the buck by telling the customer to try a big box retailer... who he knows doesn't have the part either.

    Web Videos 
  • Achievement Hunter once features a scene where Gavin marvels at his newfound realization that Star Wars is not set in the Milky Way Galaxy in the distant future, while the others marvel at how he never picked that up from the fact that every movie begins with the words "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away", which he still fails to grasp is pretty explicit as the conversation goes on.
    Gavin: It has actually blown my mind that it's way in the past and really far away. They should have put that at the beginning of the movie.
    Everyone Else: THEY DID!!!
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series movie, when Yami finally confronts Anubis, he asks him why he wants to destroy the world. Anubis doesn't understand the question, even as Yami exasperatingly repeats that he surely must have a reason for destroying the world, considering all the trouble he went to to do it.

    Western Animation 
  • The centerpoint of the Chicken Boo sketches on Animaniacs is that the Only Sane Man is trying, and for most of the sketch failing, to explain why Chicken Boo, who walks like a chicken, clucks likes a chicken and looks like a chicken is, in fact, a chicken.
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Master Shake, Meatwad, and the Mooninites try to cash a check (actually a medical bill) at a convenience store. The clerk tries in vain to tell them they don't cash checks but they just think he's refusing to cash it. They try again later by having Meatwad (badly) impersonate Carl to cash it. Which the clerk sees through but doesn't care since, again, they don't cash checks.
  • Archer:
    • The title character is simply unable to grasp the notion that a rigid airship filled with non-flammable helium is considerably safer than, say, The Hindenburg. Lampshaded at one point:
      Lana: What part of that aren't you getting?
      Archer: Obviously the core concept.
    • Archer is, in fact, unable to grasp a number of basic concepts related to his job. He's competent, but also an idiot.
      Mallory: Most secret agents don't tell every hooker from here to Hanoi that they're a spy!
      Archer: ...then why be one?
    • Archer, as well as the other characters, keep trying to shoot Barry, despite him having become a cyborg who is completely Immune to Bullets, and Archer even stupidly tries to fight him hand-to-hand on several occasions. Effectually Archer finally does get it, and buys explosive shotgun shells during their second-to-last meeting
      Barry: Yeah, remember right now, when I'm a friggin cyborg?!
  • In the Celebrity Deathmatch Christian Bale vs Adam West fight, everyone thinks Adam West is dead and was brought back with the Deathmatch Time Machine. Despite West reminding them they sent him a car, everybody still think he died. This helped him turn the fight around when Bale pushes the dead button one too many times.
  • Dexter's Laboratory: In "Chess Mom", Dexter competes in a chess tournament. His mother loudly cheers for him, but everybody tells her to be quiet so the players can concentrate. She doesn't get it and keeps cheering louder and louder until she is kicked out of the building.
  • In the first episode of Drawn Together, Captain Hero seems to believe that the reality show in which he and the other characters is participating is one in which the contestants are gradually eliminated and the last one receives a prize. As such, he's in favor of Clara's plan to vote out Foxxy, even as Foxxy tries to set him straight.
  • Duckman: Similarly to the Simpsons example, Duckman once contracted an incurable disease from ingesting a mix of ingredients, one of which included acid from a car battery, that made him grow uncontrollably whenever he lost his temper. When Dr. Stein tried to explain it, Duckman kept demanding it "in English".
    Stein: Okay.... the square thingie in your car has a goo inside it...
  • DuckTales (2017): In an episode, Launchpad's response when Mrs. Beakly suggests he try driving a subway train without crashing it is confusion at the concept.
  • In Family Guy, when Peter is trying to help Mort get more business for his pharmacy he explains the concept of sales and selling things at a discount, however all the stereotypically Jewish Mort can hear is gibberish. He understands just fine when Peter talks about sales at others business's, just not his own.
  • Futurama: Averted in an episode. The Professor shows everyone a complex equation. Amy gasps as she realizes it describes the impending end of the world. Then Hermes reacts as he realizes what it means. Fry just says "Don't wait for me."
  • Invader Zim: This is Dib's problem. No matter how much he tries, no-one believes his claims that Zim is an alien from another planet. Whenever he's not foiling one of Zim's schemes (or trying to), he's trying to get the proof he needs; but even when he does get something, something else happens and he loses his credibility. (His sister Gaz knows, she just doesn't care, mainly because she realizes Zim is too incompetent to actually conquer Earth.)
    Dib: ZIM IS AN ALIEN! Why do I even have to try and prove it this much!?
  • King of the Hill, Hank Hill and his friends can't wrap their head around their neighbor Kahn Souphanousinphone not being either Chinese or Japanese, even after he corrects them:
    Hank: So, are you Chinese or Japanese?
    Kahn: I live in California last twenty years, but first come from Laos.
    Hank: Huh?
    Kahn: Laos. We Laotian.
    Bill: The ocean? What ocean?
    Kahn: We are Laotian! From Laos, stupid! It's a landlocked country in South East Asia between Vietnam and Thailand, okay? Population 4.7 million!
    Hank: So, are you Chinese or Japanese?
    Kahn: D'oh!
  • Phineas and Ferb: Dr. Doofenshmirtz, who would be at least mildly competent at the whole Mad Scientist thing if it weren't for the fact that he just cannot grasp that Phineas and Ferb's pet platypus is, in fact, his arch-nemesis, Perry the Platypus. As long as Perry doesn't wear his hat, Doofenshmirtz is simply incapable of recognizing him, even if he changes right in front of him.
    • Similarly, Heinz's ex-wife Charlene Doofenshmirtz seems incapable of realizing that her ex-husband is a Mad Scientist and would-be super-villain, despite their daughter telling her this.
  • The PJs: Yet another doctor example, when Thurgood's doctor tries to explain high blood pressure to him.
    Doctor: Your blood is bad, especially when you get mad, and if you die, you'll be very sad!
    Thurgood: Now was that so hard?
  • Rick and Morty: In "Rattlestar Ricklactica", the residents of a bar tell Jerry to get rid of the large rock he's carrying, even after he explains that it's the only thing weighing him down while his "floaty" state is still in effect. They then order him to stop floating even when he tells them he simply has no control and is hit by ceiling fans. They simply throw him out.
  • Shadow Raiders: Played for drama with Lord Mantle, whose sheer pigheaded arrogance seemingly makes him incapable of accepting that Planet Rock can't possibly hope to hold off the Beast on its own. It ultimately gets him killed by the Beast General, Blokk, but only after he causes a lot of casualties for the Alliance.
  • Sheep in the Big City: This is frequently the case between the Angry Scientist and General Specific.
    Angry Scientist: We are not needing a plan! We simply go having to the house of Little Lisa Rental!
    General Specific: I see. And she knows where Sheep is?
    Angry Scientist: She has Sheep! She has Sheep! What she calls a dog is really Sheep! The dog is Sheep! Can I be making it any clearer to you!
    General Specific: Perhaps. Do you have any charts? I love charts!
    Angry Scientist: The dog is Sheep! The dog is Sheep! The dog is Sheep!
    General Specific: I'm finding you hard to believe without any charts.
    Angry Scientist: AAAAAAAAAAARRRRGH!
    • General Specific eventually figures it out when he wakes up to Sheep bleating in the night. Rendering Angry Scientist making all those charts worthless.
  • The Simpsons: Homer Simpson more than once.
    • Most famously when the doctor was trying to tell him that he needed a coronary bypass/heart surgery, and Homer continually asking him to use simpler terms until Hibbert said, "We're going to cut you open and tinker with your ticker," in a slow and deliberate fashion as though talking to a child. Homer still asked him to dumb it down.
    • In another episode, the family is in a witness relocation program, and given the surname Thompson. Homer is given instructions to say "Hello" back when someone says "Hello, Mr. Thompson." Homer claims to understand that he is Mr. Thompson, but doesn't respond when prompted immediately afterwards. Time passes and the next thing we see is Homer failing to even non-verbally acknowledge the agent stomping exasperatedly on his foot, believing the other agent to be the "Mr. Thompson" that the first agent is trying to talk to.
    • In "Bart Carny" when Homer and Bart are working the ringtoss booth at the carnival. Wiggum tries to get Homer to bribe him, (Bart, of course, gets it immediately) but after three tries (one of which includes mentioning his friend "Mr. Bribe"), Wiggum decides "screw this", and shuts the booth down. Later in the episode, Wiggum refuses to help the Simpson family when the owners of that booth took over their house. Homer still doesn't get it.
    • In Black Widower, Bart had figured out Sideshow Bob's plan to murder Selma and tells Homer they need to save her while they still have time. Homer doesn't understand it despite Bart explaining it four times. Eventually Bart decides to go to Marge instead who gets it on the first explanation and manages to save Selma in time.
  • South Park:
    • This happens pretty often when one of the kids tries in vain to explain the facts of the situation to the adults, and the adults either just don't get it or else get it horribly, horribly wrong. For example, in two separate episodes, Stan and Kyle (respectively) try to demonstrate that psychics are fake by explaining their methods. Both times, they are revered as psychics themselves.
    • Another episode has a moral equivalent to this when Butters is arrested for toilet papering a house when the main characters were the ones who really did it. Cartman cannot understand why the others think this is a bad thing, since he's a sociopath who simply does not care about other people in the slightest.
    • One episode has the military ask M. Night Shyamalan and Michael Bay for help in defeating the terrorists occupying Imaginationland. The first describes a bunch of plot twists, the second a long action sequence where everything explodes. When told what they just said doesn't help at all, their response is to stare blankly back at the general. When Mel Gibson comes in, he's insane, but they say at least he understands story structure.
      General: Those aren't ideas, those are special effects!
      Michael Bay: ... I don't understand the difference.
      General: I know you don't.
    • Another episode has Sharon repeatedly expressing her annoyance at how Randy and seemingly everyone else are so concerned with the massive piece of crap Randy excreted, going "Why are men so obsessed with how big their crap is?!" Stan tells her later in the episode "You don't understand, Mom. You just don't understand," much to her exasperation. (Both a news anchor and a employee at Guinness World Records, both of whom are also female, also express their annoyance, though in the latter's case, she's heard explaining to someone on the phone that Guinness simply doesn't want to handle the flood of men calling about their giant craps and instead redirects them to another organization.)
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In Mermaidman and Barnacle Boy III, SpongeBob and Patrick try to rehabilitate Man Ray. One trick is to teach him to return lost wallets, with Patrick dropping his wallet. Man Ray tries to return the wallet but Patrick claims it’s not his. Man Ray pulls out Patrick’s ID from the wallet and explains that since his ID is in the wallet that means it is his wallet. Patrick agrees with the logic but stills claims the wallet isn’t his.
  • VeggieTales: The silly song "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything" features Pa Grape and Mr. Lunt singing about all the pirate-related activities that they have never done, but Larry sings about completely random and ridiculous things he has never done. Pa and Mr. Lunt try to explain to him that "we're supposed to sing about pirate-y things", but get sidetracked into a debate on whether Pa looks like Cap'n Crunch. Larry sings another gleefully un-piratey verse and Pa shakes his head and proclaims "You just don't get it" before the song ends.

You still don't get it, do you?


Video Example(s):


The Harley Bikers

The bikers are genuinely distraught about everyone calling them fags, but they simply don't grasp the fact that their loud motorcycles and obnoxious behavior are the reason. They come to believe no one thinks they're cool is because kids are surrounded by loud things and that their bikes aren't loud enough, which only makes both sides double down.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheyJustDontGetIt

Media sources: