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You Didn't See That

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"You forget a thousand things every day. Make sure this is one of them."
Michael De Santa, Grand Theft Auto V

While Bob and Alice are going about their business, something happens that reveals a (possibly embarassing) fact about Bob he would rather have kept for himself.

Two possible scenarios can follow:

  1. Bob knows Alice saw everything and says something like, "Er... you didn't see that," or "You better forget you ever saw that."
  2. Bob isn't sure whether Alice did see anything incriminating and asks her, "Did you see anything?" This can result in a Suspiciously Specific Denial.

Can lead to Let Us Never Speak of This Again. In some cases, Bob may try to resort to Laser-Guided Amnesia to make sure Alice forgets what she saw.

Sometimes, authors will have this reaction about a work they have backlash against, and then there are those things we all have never seen. This trope is not limited to sight, but can also be invoked for the other senses. Though sight and hearing are the most common examples, for obvious reasons. There are also many non-romantic or embarrassing examples.

See also Implausible Deniability. Compare I Was Never Here, when Alice specifically seeks out does not seek out Bob and I'll Pretend I Didn't Hear That.

May be connected to You Can See That, Right?.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Baccano!!'s Luck Gandor takes this approach in Drugs & the Dominoes after a bookstore owner witnesses him get right back up after a hitman slit his throat. It's a bit easier to pull off when you're part of The Mafia.
    Luck: My, my, that was dangerous. If not for the timely rescue by this book, I'd probably have just died.
    Store Owner: Uh, but, that, no, blood...
    Luck: It was the cover of this book scattering everywhere- you saw wrongly. Because it was too sudden.
    Store Owner: But-
    Store Owner: N-, no! I can't take your money...
    Luck: What that bastard cut just now was this book. Do you understand?... Very good. Only those who understand the times can stand out. The smart alone will succeed in business. Keep up the good work!
  • Cross Ange: When Ange says goodbye to Tusk after her first meeting with him, she tells him to forget everything that happened during his Accidental Pervert moments:
    Ange: You didn't see anything, touch anything or suck anything, do you understand?
  • In One Piece, a very dark example happens when some Marines intercept communications between Dragon, leader of the Revolutionary Army, and his subordinate Sabo. After Sabo, who's in the kingdom of Lulusia, reveals that he saw someone sitting on the Empty Throne, and has learned of the existence of Imu, the secret ruler of the World Government, someone tells the Marines that they did not intercept any communications and that Lulusia never existed, just as Lulusia is literally and figuratively wiped off the map.

    Fan Works 
  • Advice and Trust: Shinji, Asuka and Rei are talking with a classmate. When their classmate asks if Rei is implying Asuka and Shinji have had sex, Asuka denies it. Trying to placate her, the girl says that Shinji would obviously never do anything indecent with Asuka. Infuriated, Asuka replies that Shinji would anything he could with her, all night long, and beg for more. Then she pauses and mutters: "That didn't just happen and none of you remember anything. Or I will scoop out your brains and make a pie, understood?"
  • The Child of Love: In chapter 3 of the sequel while the pilots are changing Rei mentions Asuka has gotten fatter and her breasts bigger. Shinji tells the new kid he did not hear that, and Takuma answers "Hear what?"
    Asuka:"Well, someone messed up my measurements then! […] Ack! They got the chest measurement all wrong..."
    Rei:"No, it is more likely that your breasts have enlarged, due to the fact that you are a mother and currently breast-feeding a baby. Since the plug suits were never designed for the possibility that one of its users might have gone through pregnancy. Furthermore, you might have gained body fat during that period. […] I believe your bra size has increased by at least 3 sizes."
    Asuka:"What? […] Why you little! Just wait until you have kids! Then we'll see what happens to you!"
    Shinji:"I think you should forget what you just heard about my Asuka,"
    Takuma:"What...what? I didn't hear anything."
  • Doing It Right This Time: When Maya unexpectedly says yes to Ritsuko's semi-jokingly asking if she wants to be her "torrid lesbian rebound fling", Ritsuko mutters: "Uh... We never had that conversation, okay?" Then they have a Relationship Upgrade anyway.
  • Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: In chapter seventh chapter's omake Shinji catches Asuka playing with dolls. She asks what did he see and he screams he did not see her playing with her dolls:
    Asuka: "What did you see?!"
    Shinji: "Nothing! [...] I didn't see you playing with your dolls!"
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series Kid Fic Insontis II, at one point, as Kirk is chasing the pajama-clad Spock down the hall, he encounters Sulu and mutters for him not to say a word. Sulu responds, "Didn't see anything, sir."
  • Powers of Invisibility has a variant, after Marinette accidentally transforms back from Ladybug in front of Juleka (and not for the first time, as she soon finds out):
    Marinette: I don't suppose there's any way you didn't just see that?
    Juleka: See what?
    Marinette: (perking up a little) Wait, really?
    Juleka: No. (snorts as Marinette deflates again) We can talk about this later.
  • The Great Alicorn Hunt: Chapter 22 sees Rarity meeting Mudpuppy. Mudpuppy is a Unicorn who nearly falls over but stabilizes herself at the last second with her wings.
    Mudpuppy: You didn't see nuthin.
  • 12 Days of Smashmas: Samus says this to Marth, Roy and their respective wives in response to the mistletoe above her and Pit after she shoots it. They agree.

    Film — Animated 
  • In Madagascar, after accidentally tunnelling into Marty's enclosure, the penguins tell him about their plans to escape into the wild before retreating back into the hole. Their leader Skipper is the last one to leave:
    Skipper: [slowly retreating] You didn't see anything... [abruptly pops back up] Right?
    Marty: Yes, sir— I-I mean, no, sir.
    [Skipper, satisfied, disappears into the hole]

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Towards the end of the film Detroit (based on the Algier Motel Incident during the Detroit riots of 1967, a police officer demands that a man tell him that he doesn't see the two dead men lying on the floor of a room. When the man refuses to deny their presence, he becomes victim #3.
  • A particularly scary variant in No Country for Old Men; Anton has just killed someone in front of a witness. The terrified witness asks if Anton is going to kill him too. Anton replies "That depends. Do you see me?" then the scene changes. We never find out how the witness answered that question, nor whether it was the right answer. Considering Anton's incomprehensible code yet apparent lack of concern for how much attention he draws to himself, it really is anybody's guess what Anton wanted to hear, or whether he would actually let the witness go upon hearing it, or whether it was simply rhetorical.
  • In Spaceballs:
    • Colonel Sandurz barges in while Dark Helmet is playing with his action figures.
      Dark Helmet: You didn't see anything, did you?
      Colonel Sandurz: No, sir, I didn't see you playing with your dolls again!
    • Also to a lesser extent, when the instant movie is played and they reach the point where the emergency brake was pulled.
      Dark Helmet: No, no, no. Go past this. Pass this part. In fact, never play this again.

  • The Ballad of the King's Jest by Rudyard Kipling, about a rumour-monger throwing himself between the gears of the Great Game:
    And travelled, in hope of honour, far
    To the line where the gray-coat squadrons are.
    There have I journeyed too — but I
    Saw naught, said naught, and — did not die!
  • Ascendance of a Bookworm: Late in Part 4, Rozemyne accidentally finds out that she has access to magical instructions on how to become Zent, which is required of the country's ruler but not fulfilled by the current king, who came to power after a civil war. Since she's not interested in actually using that information for its most obvious possible purpose, she's told by someone who knows said information to act as if she never discovered it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Done in House, when Amber sneaks out of Dr. House's office and escapes via Wilson's office. "I Was Never Here."
  • One of the catch phrases of The Fast Show: "You ain't seen me. Roight."
  • In Ned's Declassified, Vice Principal Crubbs often says this when he's caught lazing around in his office when he's supposed to be doing something productive.
  • In the Red Dwarf episode "Me2", Lister catches the Cat up to no good:
    Cat: "Did you see him clearly? Could you spot him in a parade? I don't think so. I could've been anybody."
  • Seinfeld: Kramer's intern says that when Jerry went to the restroom, George washed his hands in Jerry's drink and then told the intern "This never happened."
  • Sgt. Schultz does this to himself often in Hogan's Heroes, as he knows that pressing the issue will just go worse for him somehow.
    I know nothing! I see nothing!
  • In the fourth season finale of The Big Bang Theory, when Penny and Raj wake up naked in bed together after a drunken night Penny tells Raj "This never happened."
  • In the Stargate SG-1 episode "Avalon", when Colonel Mitchell tries to convince Carter to join his team:
    Mitchell: What if the world needs saving?
    Carter: Well, if the world needs saving, I will be there to do what I can.
    Mitchell: What if the world needs saving because I screwed up because you weren't here in the first place.
    Mitchell: How about we pretend I didn't say that?
  • One of the ending segments on Sesame Street features Oscar the Grouch kissing his worm Slimey good-night and wishing him sweet dreams. Recalling that he's on TV, he tells the audience, "Hey, you didn't see that, all right? Now scram!"
  • Sherlock "His Last Vow":
    Mycroft Holmes: "That name you think you may have just heard. You are mistaken. If you ever mention hearing that name, in this room, in this context, I guarantee you on behalf of the British Security Services that materials will be found on your computer hard-drives resulting in your immediate incarceration. Don't reply, just look frightened and scuttle."
  • M*A*S*H: At the end of "Some 38th Parallels," Hawkeye has a bag of garbage dropped from a helicopter onto a colonel who took a rather "win some, lose some" approach to the death of one of his soldiers. As Col. Potter said:
    Potter: I didn't see it, but I loved every minute of it!
  • Law & Order: UK. Chief Crown Prosecutor George Castle returns from an outing to find suspended Senior CP James Steele working on his defense with Junior CP Alesha Philips. The two fumble for an explanation, but George matter-of-factly declares, "I'm still at the Opera."
  • The Barrier: The Rich Kid Turned Social Activist member of La Résistance finds out the hard way that she has mutual everyday life acquaintances with Álex, the person among the protagonists who tends to end up with the odd jobs (including contacting La Résistance). Her response to the encounter is to ask Álex to pretend he never saw her in the resistance headquarters.

  • If Tommy is any indication, it's probably best not to use this one in front of an impressionable kid who just witnessed a murder, or he might take "You didn't hear it / You didn't see it" literally and become blind and deaf.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In an early Garfield strip, Garfield walks up to Odie, pats him and walks on. In the final panel, Garfield looks at the reader and says, "You didn't see that."
    • In a later Garfield strip, Odie licks Garfield, and the latter responds by taking a swing at the former. Odie ducks, Garfield misses, and Odie licks him again. The dog hops away victorious, for Garfield to point at the Fourth Wall saying "You didn't see that!"
  • One The Boondocks strip has Huey daydreaming and humming a song, then snap out of it and tell the viewer, "No offense to (name of band), but... you didn't hear that."

    Video Games 
  • Final Fantasy VII: Cloud spends a tender moment with Tifa near the end of the game. Depending on how your Relationship Values with her are, the scene can get more blatantly... physical. When you later come back aboard the airship and it becomes evident that the other party members know that they met up, Tifa will either say "Were you listening?" and stand a little awkward, or say "Were you watching?!" and fall on her knees in embarrassment.
  • Combines with Let Us Never Speak of This Again in Tak: The Great Juju Challenge. Lok's bad luck with animals (Being hated by fish and lusted for by apes) culminates in him being sat on by a mammoth. When Tak finally gets Lok free, the older warrior rather testily declares, "This didn't happen... DO YOU HEAR ME?!"
  • Stavros invokes this trope in the Allied ending to Command & Conquer: Red Alert, though it takes a repetition or two before the soldier to whom he's speaking gets his drift.
    Stavros: I don't believe you heard me, private. I don't see anyone here... do you?
  • Michael from Grand Theft Auto V, being the Noble Demon he is, prefers to avoid collateral damage during his heists as much as possible; this brings him to say his Catchphrase whenever someone is on him. In-universe, it is said he took the quote from one of his favorite movies; this ends up being how Trevor finds him all those years after the North Yankton job. In an optional phone call to Solomon Richards after Ending C, it's heavily implied that this quote was actually used in a Let Us Never Speak of This Again scenario, which is ironic and fitting considering all the trouble it got Michael into.

    Web Original 
  • Rainbow Dash's comment to the reader on this Tumbler entry.
  • In the Retsupurae video BillyMC's Christmas Adventure, a poorly timed edit catches Slowbeef and Diabeetus off-guard, making them think that he loaded a save state. The two "chide" him, telling him that they're gonna pretend they didn't see that and that they were going to look the other way.
  • When YouTuber NerdECrafter makes a mistake or a fumble, she will often insist, "You saw NOTHING!"

  • In Questionable Content, where Marten walks in on Hanners... wearing underwear on her head and doing a ninja-stance, presumably inspired by Pintsize's 'Underwear Ninja' act in the previous strip.
    Hanners: If I karate-chopped you really fast, do you think you'd get amnesia about this?
    Marten: Nope, sorry. Probably not.
  • In Looking for Group, the undead warlock Richard loses his hood. For some reason, this causes him to act uncharacteristically politely while Cale stares in horror. After Cale gives him back his hood, Richard tells him "You didn't see anything." Cale can only stutter "He's not dead."
  • In NSFW Comix, Becky comments on a sexy photo of a girl who's way out of Cuthbert's league:
    "It's a trap. He's a male. I can tell because he's using that clever camera angle that doesn't show off the manly features. And I've used it myself plenty of - Erm - Nobody heard that, right?"
  • In the Sluggy Freelance "Nombie Apocalypse" storyline, after BunBun breaks free from the nombie brainwashing with a Cute lil' Bunny Barf he pointedly tells Riff: "This! Never! Happened!"
  • Yoda's advice to the reader in Blue Milk Special after Luke pulls up something surprising from the swamp.
    Yoda: Ignore that, you will.
  • Used in Ears for Elves after Luero catches Tanna tresspassing in the temple. She saw an injured dark elf there, who was meant to be a secret. Luero's words are likely for her own protection.
    Luero: Listen to me. Forget what you saw back there. Not a word. Not to anyone. This did not happen. Understand?
    Tanna: But-
    Luero: Understand?!!
    Tanna: I... understand...
  • In The Wretched Ones, Jack threatens to throw Nicky off a roof if he did not pretend he did not just see Jack use his teleportation power to save him... From falling off that same roof.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court: Donald Donlan catches himself making a midly misogynistic remark to Antimony.
    Don: She wouldn't ask him out. She was waiting for him to do it.
    I mean, you know how girls are~
    Motion to strike previous comment.
    Antimony: Granted.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Simpsons, when Lisa is visiting Smithers, his PC starts up with an intriguing graphic of Mr. Burns.
    Computer: Hello Smithers,- you're- quite- good- at- turning- me- on.
    Smithers (to Lisa): Um... you probably should ignore that.
    • In "Home Away from Homer", when Bart and Milhouse watch a live webcast featuring two college girls doing sexy things, and they find out they're doing the show from neighbor Ned Flanders' house without his knowledge.
      Bart / Milhouse: FLANDERS?!
      Ned: That's odd. I could have sworn I just heard someone shriek my name.
      Bart: Uh... you heard nothing!
      Ned: Oh, that's better.
  • A Running Gag in the spin-off series The Penguins of Madagascar.
  • In an episode of Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, after Phil Ken Sebben gets a rather bad haircut, he encounters Harvey in the bathroom and starts sobbing into the sink. "Tell me I'm pretty... I'm a pretty little girl - you didn't hear that."
  • In the Duck Dodgers episode Enemy Yours, Dodgers tries to impress the Martian Commander and his "Arch Nemesis" with an army of... five adorable kittens. After Dodgers' embarrassing retreat, The Eager Space Cadet remarks "L-l-let's pretend this never happened."
  • XR in Buzz Lightyear of Star Command lost his arm while bragging about the qualities of the alloy of which he's made. "It's OK. Nobody saw that."
    • In another episode Buzz and Zurg team up to take down a force of extra-galactic invaders. After escaping the explosion of the mothership we see Buzz holding Zurg in his arms, bridal style. After they separate Buzz says "Nobody saw that."
  • In the Kim Possible episode "Mind Games", a guard of a top secret facility finds out that the facility was robbed. He shouts out "The Neutronalizer!"... then looks at Kim's family (with whom he is having dinner). "Y'all weren't supposed to hear that."
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy, after Edd's hat goes off for the very first time in "Stop, Look, and Ed":
    Edd: If you say one word to anyone, I'll... I'll... never speak to you again!
    Ed (with a skull on his head): I am dead from the neck up.
    Eddy: I'll just save it for ammo when I need it, Double-Dee.
    Ed: Eddy is always a step ahead.
  • Whenever Mr. Weatherbee witnesses something as a result of Sabrina's magic on The Archie Comedy Hour, he would turn to the camera and say, "I didn't see that! I did not see that!!"
  • In the second season premiere of Gravity Falls, when Grunkle Stan was photocopying the pages in Dipper's journal on operating the Universal Portal before giving it back to Dipper, Mabel's pig, Waddles, is watching.
    Stan: (To Waddles) You didn't see nothing!
  • In the Hey Arnold! episode, "Stinky's Pumpkin", Ernie drives down the street showing off his new wrecking ball to Arnold and Stinky, only for him to accidentally swing it and knock over a fruit stand and then drives away while telling the boys, "You didn't see nothing".
  • The Hair Bear Bunch episode "Love Bug Bungle" had the zookeepers Peevly and Botch committed to a hospital padded room after Botch tells two police officers that they were chasing three bears on an invisible motorcycle. The keepers break out and pursue the bears. The two officers see them.
    1st Cop: Same two kooks still chasing bears.
    2nd Cop: Well, I didn't see it if you didn't.
    1st Cop: I didn't see nothin'.
  • The Cuphead Show!: When Elder Kettle and the boys accidentally uncover an old billboard with an Embarrassing Old Photo of Elder Kettle as "Diaper Baby", he burns it down with a flamethrower, warning the boys that "You saw nothing."


Video Example(s):


Celty's Phone Call

While Celty sneaks up on Mikado's and Aoba's meeting, her cover gets blown away as she gets a phone call from Shinra.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / CompromisingCall

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