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Hermes: Get ready for fun, Fry! Nowadays we have a type of game played entirely on video.
Leela: We call it a "video game".
Fry: A video game, you say? Well golly gee, you mighty space men of the future will have to show me how it works.

Basically either the Fish out of Water (or another character who's visiting from elsewhere) describes something or someone shows or describes something to them, usually in a very condescending or superior manner. This is met with something along the lines of "So it's like a..." or "We have those too". Truth in Television — don't ask foreign people "do you have cable TV in Russia?"

A variation involves the native being perplexed by the description because they passed that level of technology generations ago, and have much simpler ways of doing the same thing.

See also Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp". Not Rare Over There and Worthless Yellow Rocks are arguably the next level of this trope: not only does the other country/group of people have the item, they have more of it than you do.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Fan Works 
  • Referenced in The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World when Ringo gives Theecat his (extremely compressed) backstory. He wasn't sure if Theecat would understand what he was talking about, but it turns out the little steampunk Irorin is very familiar with mass media and its effect on people.

    Films — Animation 
  • Subverted in Disney's Pocahontas, when John Smith explains gold to the title character. She triumphantly produces an ear of corn, at which point Smith realizes there is no gold and Ratcliffe is deluded. The idea that a culture with no metal at all might have just not mined it never seems to occur to him.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Used in the Martin Lawrence vehicle Black Knight (2001). Martin tries to impress the English primitives with a Bic lighter. Cue unimpressed peasant, "We already have fire."
  • While trying to barter with a goblin in Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Liz offers him "magic eyes", to which he responds he already has binoculars.
  • In the 1997 live-action film of George of the Jungle, while in the jungle being guided by native guides, Lyle Van de Groot, rich snob white guy, attempts to impress his native guides by offering them lighters and showing off his camera... even though his guides are clearly familiar with such things. The guides play along for a bit, and then burst out laughing at him, whereupon their translator makes it clear they're not only unimpressed, they know more about cameras than he does.
    Kwame: He says that he likes your magic pictures... but he prefers the resolution of the Leica 35-millimeter transparencies. He also says that your lens is dirty, but he has the equipment to clean it for you.
  • In Zack Snyder's Justice League, Diana/Wonder Woman is not at all impressed at the fact that Alfred Pennyworth and Bruce Wayne/Batman have managed to create gauntlets that absorb and deflect energy, since she already possesses gauntlets that do exactly that. She even sarcastically asks if Alfred is going to try and make a version of her Lasso of Truth as well.

  • Not exactly vocalized, but in the book Bedknob and Broomstick, one of the children tries to scare a cannibal native into letting them go by showing him matches. Unfortunately, they've already got those.
  • A virtually identical scene happens in the book The Time Garden by Edward Eager.
  • In The Boggart, a Canadian and a Scot have a dialect mixup:
    Jessup: We could talk to each other, with flashlights.
    Tommy: ...What's a flashlight?
    Jessup: You don't have flashlights? Jeeze! A cylinder, like, with batteries inside it, and a lightbulb behind glass at one end—
    Tommy: We have a thing in Scotland that's a cylinder too. Very thin, made of wood, with graphite in the center. We call it a pencil.
    Jessup: You think we don't have pencils?
    Tommy: You think we don't have flashlights?! That's just American dialect. In the English language they're called torches.
  • Discworld:
    • From the novel Jingonote :
      Lord Rust: That's a Make-Things-Bigger device, isn't it? My word, you are up to date. They were only invented last year.
      General Ashal: I didn't buy this, my lord. I inherited it from my grandfather.
    • In Interesting Times Rincewind meets an Agatean merchant ("Disembowel-Meself-Honourably" Dibhala) who, unlike most Agateans, is terribly interested in establishing relationships with foreigners because he wants to sell them things. In a reversal of historical relations between China and Europe, all the things Dibhala mentions - tea, silk, porcelain - are freely available in Ankh-Morpork, because they were brought there by immigrants or invented by clever people. It's turned around on Rincewind when he brings up The Luggage, only to be reminded that it came from the Empire and they have plenty more.
  • The Final Reflection: During a Klingon diplomatic visit to Earth (set some decades before Star Trek: The Original Series) the Federation tries to impress the Klingons by unveiling the transporter, which has only just been certified safe for intelligent life. The Klingons just respond by having one of their officers beam up to their ship. (And their system runs much quieter.)
  • In Notes from a Small Island Bill Bryson mentions a conversation with a British couple, who asked if they had Woolworth's and cornflakes in America. Happens again when he returns to America in Notes from a Big Country.
  • Inverted in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, where it's commented on that every race seems to have a drink whose name is some phonetic variation of "gin and tonic", but the drinks themselves vary wildly — the Sivolvian "chinanto/mnigs", for instance, is merely water served at slightly above room temperature, while the Gagrakackan "tzjin-anthony-ks" "kills cows at a hundred paces."
  • The Dresden Files: In an encounter with Eldest Brother Gruff, Harry tells Eldest Brother that humans still tell stories about him and his brothers. Eldest Brother tells Harry that the Fae tell stories about him... because they are just as fond of good stories about plucky and clever underdogs as humans are.
  • In Time At The Top Susan, a time traveler from 1960 to 1881, offends contemporary Victoria Walker by asking if the latter knows what an elevator is.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The 10th Kingdom. Tony is in a fairy-tale world. He attempts to barter his wristwatch, using overly simplified language and referring to it as a "clock". The Tooth Fairy quietly turns around, opens a cabinet full of old-fashioned fob watches, and says "we call them watches."
  • On the first episode of The Dead Zone, someone starts explaining to Johnny what a CD is, only for him to tell them that they had CDs when he went into his coma in 1996.
  • An episode of Top Gear reports on Toyota's latest invention: "I didn't have the heart to tell them, but we have something like this in Britain already. It's called a wheelchair."
  • In Babylon 5, Narn ambassador G'Kar does this when introducing an Earth food to his colleague, which he then proceeds to justify:
    Na'kal: Breen. You've managed to import breen from homeworld. How?
    G'Kar: It... isn't actually breen.
    Na'kal: But the smell, the taste...
    G'Kar: It's an Earth food. They are called "Swedish meatballs". It's a strange thing, but every sentient race has its own version of these Swedish meatballs. I suspect it's one of those great universal mysteries which will either never get explained or which will drive you mad if you ever learned the truth.
  • In an early episode of Lois & Clark, Lois and Clark visit Clark's parents in Smallville. Lois at one point asks Ma and Pa Kent if there's a place in town that has a fax machine, and then goes on to (condescendingly) explain what a fax machine does. Ma Kent then offers Lois the use of her own fax machine, effectively shutting Lois up.
  • Similar to the Black Knight example above, in an early episode of Stargate Atlantis, Sheppard tries to impress the Athosians with his lighter. Teyla pulls out a much fancier lighter that also functions as a small flamethrower, much to his consternation.
  • Red Dwarf:
    • The episode "Waiting for God" has this exchange:
      Cat: You see, sometimes, in a book, we have a drawing of something that is happening in the story, and we call them "pictures".
      Lister: (amused) Yeah, yeah, we have pictures too.
      Cat: Hey, you monkeys are smarter than I thought!
    • Later inverted while the boys from the Dwarf are guests of a mysterious host named Legion. Rimmer, attempting to impress Legion, comments on the artistry of a mysterious object, and asks Legion what it is.
      Legion: The light switch.
      Rimmer: The light switch?
      Legion: Yes.
      Rimmer: I couldn't buy it, then?
      Legion: ...not really. I need it to turn the lights on and off.
  • Inverted in A Colbert Christmas when Jon explains Hanukkah to Stephen:
    Jon: We have latkes—
    Stephen: What are they?
    Jon: Potato pancakes. We have dreidels—
    Stephen: What are they?
    Jon: Wooden tops. We have candles—
    Stephen: What are they?
  • Meanwhile, over on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Anya and Giles visit a somewhat less than omniscient oracle.
    Beljoxa's Eye: The eye sees not the future, only the truth of the now and before.
    Anya: Yes, we've all got that — it's called memory.
  • In the season one episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. where Lady Sif guest-stars, Coulson tries to acquaint her with S.H.I.E.L.D.'s computerized database. In keeping with the interpretation of Asgardians as Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, she replies that she's already familiar with such systems, having used them when visiting other not-as-advanced worlds. She even calls S.H.I.E.L.D.'s system "antiquated". Coulson can be excused for thinking Sif would be impressed, since Thor was not familiar with the modern world back in his film.
  • In Sleepy Hollow, Lt. Mills at one point begins explaining the term "John Doe" to Crane. Since the term originated in England in the 1300s, he's entirely exasperated.
    • Averted in another episode when Lt. Mills tries to explain sidearms to Crane, only to be exasperatedly told that, as a soldier, he already knows how firearms work. When he ends up using the gun she gives him, he fires one shot and drops it, not realising how much weapons technology has evolved since the War of Independence.
  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Move Along Home", the visiting Aliens of the Week, who are looking to enjoy some gambling at Quark's casino, present him with various commodities they are willing to put down as a wager. This includes chopstick-like implements that they seem to value a great deal. Quark, on the other hand...
    Quark: ...Sticks?
    Falow: Klon peags. Highly sought in our culture. They have many... different... uses...
    Quark: I'm sorry, but I have enough sticks right now.
  • In The Flash (2014), each visitor to Earth-1 from an alternate universe is gratified to learn that Big Belly Burger is apparently a multiversal constant.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In one B.C. strip, Thor is increasingly frustrated that he can't get his new invention, the wheel, to work properly. The girls (who are newcomers to the area at this point) see him from their cave, and decide to bike over and find out why he's upset.

    Video Games 
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda:
    • At one point a background conversation can be heard between two angaara wondering what this "ice cream" thing the humans have is. When one realises it's like something similar they have, they exclaim a relative of theirs who makes and sells it can make a fortune.
    • In a conversation between teammates Liam and Jaal, Jaal listens to a joke Liam makes, then dryly adds "we have people who aren't funny here too".

    Web Comics 
  • In Homestuck, Terezi dialog with Dave shows that troll society has things like orange creamsicles and cotton candy, while invoking this trope. Of course, this actually ties in with how the trolls made the protagonists universe to begin with. Karkat's bedroom posters show that many Earth actors have Alternian troll equivalents.
    The thing that most people don't realize is that John Cusack is a universal constant.
  • In this Modest Medusa strip, Marah is unable to pay for her stay at an inn with "copper pieces" (copper-plated zinc US pennies). Instead they have to barter with the Medusa's Nintendo DS.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons:
    • In the original "Treehouse of Horror", Kang and Kodos are showing the Simpsons the luxuries of their spaceship, including a most incredible form of digital entertainment... Pong. The family is predictably unimpressed.
    • In the episode "Lisa's Wedding", Lisa's fiancĂ©e tells Homer that they have the "pull my finger" joke in Britain.
      Homer: I said pull my finger!
    • Another time, Ringo Starr answers a letter from Marge:
      Ringo Starr: Dear Marge, thanks for the fab painting of Yours Truly. I hung it on me wall. You're quite an artist. In answer to your question, yes, we do have hamburgers and fries in England. But we call French fries "chips." Love, Ringo. P.S. Forgive the lateness of my reply.
    • Another episode has the cops eating at Krusty Burger; Lou says that while he was in Shelbyville, he went to McDonald's, and instead of being called a non-dairy partially-gelatinated gum-based beverage he is surprised to hear it's called a "shake". This is, of course, a spoof of the "McDonald's in France" scene in Pulp Fiction.
  • Futurama has a lot of these.
    • The best example would have to be:
      Hermes: Get ready for fun, Fry! Nowadays we have a type of game played entirely on video.
      Leela: We call it a "video game".
      Fry: (deadpan) Oh, well you mighty space men of the future will have to show me how it works.
      (the next scene has Fry kicking their asses six ways to Sunday)
    • And then there's this:
      Giant Amazon: What men good for anyway?
      (Amy whispers in her ear)
      Giant Amazon: Ohhh... you mean snu-snu!
    • The first time crew encounter the sewer mutants, Fry quickly lights a makeshift torch and starts swinging it around threateningly. One of the sewer mutants casually lights a cigarette from the torch.
  • In the episode of The Venture Brothers "Escape from the House of Mummies Part 2", Doctor Venture and Brock set up a Totem Pole Trench in an attempt to scare an Egyptian cult by pretending to be their "giant four-armed god". Doc aims a flashlight at one of them and boasts about his ability to create light from his hands. A cultist responds "It's just a flashlight!"
  • On Sabrina: The Animated Series, Sabrina and Gem Time Travel to ancient Rome and meet Julius Caesar. At one point Gem pulls out a flashlight and waves it around, trying to cow him into surrendering to their technological superiority. He's less than impressed.
    Julius Caesar: Ooh, a mini-lantern. Spooky.