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Walk-In Chime-In

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Alice and Bob (and any number of others) are having a conversation. Suddenly, Chuck walks in and responds directly to something someone has said, even though he wasn't in the room to hear it.

This trope only applies if the following conditions are met:

  1. Chuck was not eavesdropping and/or had no way of overhearing the conversation prior to stepping in (this also covers such things as: conversations in an open area (unless Alice and Bob are genuinely alone); conversations broadcast on a loudspeaker or similar system; or Chuck being told of the conversation after the fact and resuming it much later);
  2. Chuck is clearly responding directly to what someone has said, for instance answering a question; it's not just a coincidental dialogue.

Sometimes the joke comes from the fact that they're responding only to the last line, for which they didn't hear the preceding context; this can overlap with Right Behind Me.

This seems to be an inverted application of the Rule of Perception: because the audience has heard what Alice and Bob were saying, so too did Chuck. The point is that Chuck had no way of hearing the conversation, yet he enters the room and joins the conversation like a LEGO brick.

Compare Speak of the Devil. See also Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi, Ayaka does it over the phone. No one supports a relationship with Negi, unless it's her relationship with Negi.
    • Then she has an active conversation with the mostly silent Zazie, to the shock of others. Again ,over the phone.
  • In the last episode of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, when Fate protests that sealing the Book of Darkness will also seal Signum and the others, Signum arrives with Shamal and Zafira, and says that they will be able to live on.

    Comic Books 
  • Wonder Woman (1942): In the Huntress feature "Dying to Take You Away" Helena interrupts a bank robber talking to himself as she swings down from the rafters, but is replying things he'd said while outside the building and in another room rather than anywhere where it would make sense for her to have heard him.

    Film Animated 

    Film Live-Action 
  • In Spaceballs, during the wedding at the end: When asked if she takes Prince Valium to be her husband, Princess Vespa hesitates, giving Lone Star plenty of time to enter the chapel and answer the question for her.
  • Lampshaded in Muppet Treasure Island, whenever the landlady at the inn where Jim, Gonzo, and Rizzo work does this: "How does she do that?"
  • In The American President, Sidney and Andrew first meet while she's in a meeting with his staff, denouncing the President's weak stances when he strides in saying "let's get together and beat the hell out of him!". This is echoed near the end of the film, when they've broken up, and he's in the Oval Office, insisting that he needs to go to her apartment and apologize, when she walks in, saying "stay off Dupont Circle when you do; the traffic is murder at this time of day".
  • In Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, this is one of the many things that make Gay Perry awesome.
    Harry: [after a long diatribe about all the ways Hollywood girls are screwed-up] I mean, it's literally like someone took America by the East Coast and shook it, and all the normal girls managed to hang on.
    Harmony: OK, everyone who hates Harry, raise your hand!
    [All the women in the club raise their hands]
    Perry: [entering] See that? Obedient little bitches too.
    [A girl offscreen shouts "Fuck you!" and hurls her drink at his head; he ducks smoothly and keeps walking.]
  • In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Scott's sister breaks into his conversation with a practically-passed-out Wallace Wells by cell phone to call him out on two-timing Knives with Ramona. When asked how she knew, she tells him Wallace told her. Pan down to Wallace, who appears to have completely passed out but has still somehow texted the information to her.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel does this as a Running Gag—plausible due to his vampire hearing. It seems to happen twice as often whenever he becomes his Evil Counterpart Angelus (because Evil Is Hammy = Incoming Ham).
    Sasha: The castle is well guarded.
    Angel: (entering) Unlike this place.
    Wesley: (as rebels draw swords) It's alright! It's alright! He's a friend.
    Sasha: Glad we were keeping watch.
    Gunn: He's Angel. He does that.
  • Blake's 7. In "Volcano", the Liberator is surrounded by Federation cruisers. Avon wonders why they're not moving in for the kill, not knowing that a Federation Boarding Party has secretly teleported on board.
    Avon: They must be holding back for a concerted effort. They are all going to fire at once.
    Mori: [entering flight deck with soldiers] Wrong. If they did that they would destroy the ship, and we don't want that, do we Avon?
  • In Castle, various characters (but mostly Esposito or Ryan) walk in on an exchange that they could not possibly have heard, with something like "I might have the answer to that." This probably happens at least once per episode. The same device is used repeatedly on NCIS.
  • Community: The very first time the Dean drops in on the study group, he pulls one.
  • Doctor Who:
    • At the start of "The Leisure Hive", the Fourth Doctor and Romana walk into a room and comment on the techyonics demonstration that was taking place before they entered.
    • "The Fires of Pompeii": The Doctor does this when he enters the Sybilline temple to rescue Donna.
  • On Friends, Monica and Chandler are debating about whether it's OK to harmlessly flirt with others while in a relationship. Chandler argues that it's OK for him but not Monica, saying "There's a difference, you are way hotter than I am," and Joey, passing by, pipes in with, "True story!"
  • Game of Thrones. Jorah Mormont sees a ship anchored in the bay and quickly pulls Tyrion into cover, explaining that it's a slave ship. The slavers must have come on shore to look for... "Water," finishes the slaver captain, walking up on them with his well-armed crew.
  • In the first season finale of Heroes, Claire doesn't want to shoot Peter, saying that there must be another way. Peter says there isn't one. Nathan then comes flying in from a distance, and says to Claire, "Yes, there is."
  • Maynard G. Krebbs did this all the time on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. Someone (usually Dobie's father) would be talking about lazy, good-for-nothing teenagers, and Maynard would walk in and say "You rang?"
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus. What, you want more detail? Geez, I wasn't expecting a Spanish Inquisition!
    "NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!"
  • Gibbs does this on NCIS all the time. Tony attempted to copy him once by eavesdropping, thinking this was how Gibbs does it (it isn't, as Gibbs then goes on to demonstrate). You could probably rename this trope "Gibbsing". Somehow he's able to walk into a room with exact knowledge of the preceding five minutes of dialogue. At least once. Every. Episode.
    • "Spinning Wheel" then reveals that people's voices can echo off the skylight, allowing someone to eavesdrop on a conversation from across the room.
      DiNozzo: That's how he knows everything we're saying! There must be a sweet spot in this room. A little acoustic [popping noise] where he can hear every single thing we say. I betcha he comes in here early; and he waits, bides his time, like a howler monkey in heat, waiting for exactly the right moment to...
      Gibbs: [appears out of nowhere] Step in and finish your sentence?
    • Other characters also do it, with something alongs the lines of "I might have the answer...".
  • In one episode of Night Court, the group is running interference for Harry with a pushy bureaucrat, trying to cover Harry's absence (preparing a suicidal stunt); when at last the man demands to know where Harry is, the gang hems and haws for several seconds. And then Harry steps into the office and says, "He's right here!"
  • Rocky Jones, Space Ranger: Vena Ray is holding some pirates at gunpoint, telling them she'll use her gun if she has to. Then the (presumably airtight and soundproof) airlock opens behind her and the newcomer says "No, you'll drop it."
  • The first entrance of Jed Bartlet in the pilot for The West Wing borders on this: several clerical and political figures are arguing about what the First Commandment is, when suddenly the president is in the doorway and answers, "I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt have no other god before me."
  • On Will & Grace, at Karen's wedding, Jack offers Rosario an hors d'oeuvre by saying, "Shrimp?" The diminutive Beverly Leslie, passing by, retorts, "Queer!"
  • Homicide: Life on the Street. Gordon Pratt, a copkiller played by Steve Buscemi, is getting an erotic massage and wants the girl to talk dirty to him. Just then the police barge in and arrest him.
    Pratt: (to masseuse) No, be more explicit!
    Detective: (putting a gun to his head) Move and I'll blow your brains out!
    Pratt: That's explicit enough.

    Web Animation 
  • Red vs. Blue: Zero: Played with in "Shattered"; Axel walks in on Raymond and One conversing and chimes in with a non sequitur because he misheard.
    Raymond: I've been meaning to go over the tapes from our encounters with Viper. There's gotta be something in there that'll help us figure out countermeasures for their abilities.
    [Axel opens the door and walks in]
    Axel: You better believe it!
    Raymond: What?
    Axel: Oh. Huh? I thought you said... I thought you said something else. These walls are thick, it's... hard to hear through them, I— just come with me.

  • Girl Genius: Othar walks around the corner of a building during a loud battle in a storm and right into the conversation Agatha and Tarvek are having, where he somehow knows just the thing they're both trying to figure out is missing from the weapon Agatha is building.

    Western Animation 
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes: In "Gamma World, part 2", the Leader asks Thor who will stop him.
    (The Hulk crashes through the ceiling)
    Hulk: I will.
  • Batman does this all the time in Batman: The Animated Series —a villain will be monologuing, then Bats will crash in through the skylights and deliver a One-Liner in response.
  • A variation on Extreme Ghostbusters. During an episode where Eduardo is trying to bend the rules on a project, Kylie and Roland are arguing with him, with Garrett doing the chime-in:
    Eduardo: ...cut a few corners...
    Kylie: Yeah, and lie,
    Roland: Cheat,
    Garrett: Steal. What are we talking about?
  • Justice League: In "Injustice for All", Solomon Grundy grabs Luthor. He tells him to go ahead — it beats a slow death from the kryptonite he'd been carrying for years, and also guarantees that neither Grundy nor the rest of the villains he's hired will get paid for their work:
    Grundy: You're crazy. (lets go of Lex)
    Joker: (kicks door open and enters) And what's wrong with that? It's done wonders for me!
  • Parodied in The Simpsons episode "Midnight Rx". After Homer gets kicked off the Nuclear Power Plant's healthcare, the Simpson family tries to talk about their options.
    Marge: Well, the drug company won't do anything to help us...
    Abe: (kicks open the door) I've got the answer!
    Homer: Dad?
    Abe: Oh, thank God it's the right place. I burst into four homes before this one.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: As Tendi and Rutheford are discussing Mariner's reaction to her mother's trial.
    Tendi: I wonder how Mariner's taking it.
    Mariner: [enters] Oh, I'm taking it... taking it to the limit.
    Rutherford: Did you-- did you time your entrance to say that?
    Mariner: What? No.
    Boimler: [enters] Oh, yeah, she did.
    Mariner: No. I mean, like, only, like, a few seconds.
    Boimler: It was at least a minute. I was like, "Why are we hiding by the door?"
  • Star Wars Rebels, "Rise of the Old Masters": Kanan and Ezra realize the reason Kanan has been feeling like something is off about Luminara's presence in the force is that she's mummified in a coffin in her cell.
    Ezra: What happened to her? I don't understand.
    Inquisitor: [standing behind them, blocking their escape] No? It doesn't seem complicated.
  • Teen Titans: Dr. Light is in the middle of a vast, empty snowfield talking to himself — the Titans drive up in the T-ship from miles and miles away, jump out, and Robin responds to what he was saying.
    Dr. Light: And out here in the Arctic circle, no one can stop me!
    *Titans zoom up*
    Robin: Wanna bet?


Video Example(s):


Reaction to the Culprit

SPOILER WARNING: After Jaune and Jessica arrives to tell everyone they're in a virtual simulation and Ruby questions who's responsible, we get a split screen reaction when Batman makes his entrance. And when Superman states the name of the culprit, we get another reaction shot to the culprit.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / SplitScreenReaction

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