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What Is This, X?

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Zoolander: What is this, a center for ants? How can we be expected to teach children to learn how to read... if they can't even fit inside the building?
Mugatu: Derek, this is just a small...
Zoolander: I don't wanna hear your excuses! The building has to be at least... three times bigger than this!

This Stock Phrase is usually said in exasperation or annoyance to highlight an unlikely, unusual, nonsensical, or out of character moment. It is most often said by the Plucky Comic Relief or the Deadpan Snarker.


The related phrase "Who are you, and what have you done with X?" is used when a character is Not Himself. It may or may not be Leaning on the Fourth Wall.

Not to be confused with the outraged "WHAT IS THIS!?!?" usually expressed by medieval heroes or the biggest of bads - very often followed by a resounding Oh, Crap!. A close relative of If I Wanted X, I Would Y.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the Funimation dub of Dragon Ball, in one episode, when Bulma gets surprised that she has to wear a Playboy Bunny costume: "What is this, Easter?!"
  • The Streamline dub of The Castle of Cagliostro gives us the following when Jodo's assassins open up the door to Lupin and Jigen's rented cabin:
    Lupin: Hey, what is this, a tour group from hell?

    Fan Works 
  • In Run Harry is picked up by the Ministry of Magic after living on the London streets for three years with no knowledge of magic.
    Harry: Funny lookin’ coppers you are, wha’ is this the damn nut ‘ouse?
  • In Deaf, Mute, and an Owl to Boot a judge orders Marge Dursley to be arrested when she becomes unruly during a child abuse trial involving Harry's aunt and uncle.
    Marge: This is ludicrous! I demand you unhand me, you vicious brutes! What is this, America?

  • The film Holiday Inn makes use of it:
    Dance Extra: What is this, a daisy chain?
    Ted Hanover: Sorry, we're just looking for the back of a girl we don't know...
  • The Black Ranger uses it in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie
    Adam: What is this, pick on the Frog day?
  • Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory has two examples:
    • As the group makes its way through a variety of optical illusion-based corridors to get to the Chocolate Room, Mr. Salt asks "What is this, Wonka, some kind of funhouse?" Mr. Wonka replies, "Why, having fun?"
    • During the creepy boat ride, Violet asks "What is this, a freak-out!?"
  • From Garfield: A Tale Of Two Kitties, after Garfield is served a Carlyle Log:
    Garfield: What is this, Fear Factor?
  • A variation in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, when Eddie tries to pay for a Red Car ride with a check:
    Conductor: What do I look like, a bank?
  • Good Burger: Dexter's reaction when Ed explains how he climbed the giant food on Mondo Burger's roof.
    Dexter: What is this, American Gladiators!?

    Live Action TV 


  • In one "Bullseye" page of Entertainment Weekly Issue #1248 (March 1, 2013): "Downton Abbey adds to its body count. What is this, a Saw movie?"
  • In the November 2002 issue of Game Informer, Matt Helgeson's review of Shox starts off with, "What is this, National Mediocre Games Month?"

    Newspaper Comics 

    Video Games 

    Web Original 
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd
    • In "Game Glitches", the Nerd is distracted by the Glitch Gremlin messing up Rocky Balboa (Bug-Eyed Balboa) and Spider Rico (Spider Rico with no jaw) on the Rocky PS2 game:
      AVGN: They're like zombies! What is this, "Rocky: The Undead Edition"? You are really one sick fuck, you know that?
    • In the Pong episode:
      AVGN: You get 4 different kinds of Pong, like...
      [The TV screen shows two walls with small holes replacing the paddles]
      AVGN: ...what the hell is this, Reverse Pong? Okay...
      [The TV screen shows one regular paddle at the left and an extra long paddle at the right]
      AVGN: Oh, now what's this? Asshole Pong? That's not fair!
      • Also, in the Nerd's and The Nostalgia Critic's collaboration review of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Coming Out of Their Shells Tour, when they see the Shredder crashing the turtles' party:
        AVGN: OH, MY GOD, THAT IS THE WORST SHREDDER I'VE EVER SEEN! What is it, fucking Iron Chef Shredder?
  • From Occupy Richie Rich:
    "what is this, the goddamn Flintstones?"
  • In the Zero Punctuation review of Velvet Assassin, when Yahtzee discovers that the game is a World War II game made in Germany, he thinks about the other game about World War II made in Japan:
    Yahtzee: Between this and Valkyria Chronicles, what's with all the World War II games being developed by the Axis forces? What is this, community service? [while he is speaking, we see Valkyria Chronicles wearing a Japanese headband and mowing the lawn, while Velvet Assassin wears a German army helmet and holds up a sign that says, "Sorry about that."]
    • In his review of Shantae and the Seven Sirens, Yahtzee sees Shantae's using her hair and dancing moves as weapons and says, "Hair attacks and dance attacks? What is this, the Bayonetta Saturday morning cartoon?!"

    Western Animation 
  • In one episode of FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman, Ruff does this when he sees Chet pasting an underwater wallpaper on the studio wall:
    Ruff: Chet, an under-the-sea motif? What is this, "FETCH! with Ruff Rumblefish"? Come on!
  • Family Guy gives us this example:
    Pearl: *spits* What is this, spit soup!?
    Brian: Tomato bisque.
    Pearl: *spits* What is this, snot soup!?
    Brian: It's tomato bisque.
    Pearl: *spits* What is this, diarrhea soup!?
    Brian: Look, I'm not going to make you anything else, so just eat it, OK?
  • In an episode of Futurama, when Bender's automatic beer dispenser screws up, he angrily complains "What is this, the Middle Ages?!"
  • Danger Mouse and Penfold are captured by an alien craft in "Close Encounters Of The Absurd Kind," and DM thinks it's Greenback's craft. He also thinks the alien leader Dr. Zok is Greenback in disguise. As he's being assimilated in front of Dr. Zok's class:
    DM: What is this, the Greenback Supporters Club outing?
  • "What is this? Communist Russia?" is Daffy Duck's standard response whenever he is asked for an innocuous piece of information in The Looney Tunes Show.
  • In an episode of Rick and Morty, alien parasites with the monikers of Ham Samurai (a samurai armoured in ham) and Amish Cyborg prompt Rick to ask "what is this, 90s Conan?"
  • In the Ed, Edd n Eddy episode "Urban Ed", in response to a traffic jam, obnoxious loudmouth driver Eddy repeatedly honks his horn and cries out, "What is this, a funeral?!"

Alternative Title(s): What Is This Hilariously Silly Title