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Mathematicians Answer / Live-Action TV

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Mathematician's Answers in live-action TV.

  • The Americans: When Claudia identifies a woman in the US as a Nazi collaborator who killed Soviet POWs based on them being the same age and height, Philip asks whether this means they're really the same person, or just share the characteristics. Claudia says "Yes".
  • Andromeda:
    Dylan Hunt: Are you dead or alive?
    Trance Gemini: Yes.
    Dylan Hunt: Crystal clear as usual.
    • Given that Trance is the avatar of a star, this makes some sense.
    • Another Trance Gemini moment (with a touch of Deadpan Snarker), when she locates an imprisoned Dylan Hunt and offers him water;
      Dylan Hunt: Water...How...
      Trance Gemini: Well, when two hydrogen atoms love each other very much, they bond with an oxygen atom...
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  • On Angel, after Angel gets in a fight with Buffy and tells her to get out of LA.
    Wesley: Do you want to go after her?
    Angel: Yes. [He doesn't move.]
  • In The A-Team, an exchange between Hannibal and Murdock goes something like this:
    Hannibal: How does that sound?
    Murdock: Well, Colonel, it doesn't make much of a sound at all!
  • The Vorlons of Babylon 5 love this trope.
    Kosh: They are alone. They are a dying people. We should let them pass.
    Sinclair: Who? The Narns or the Centauri?
    Kosh: Yes.
    • Everything that Kosh says is not exactly helpful:
      Sheridan: Ambassador, I've been looking for you. Um, last week, after you saved my life, I didn't really get a chance to thank you properly. I've tried to reach you since then, but you haven't answered my calls. Is everything all right?
      Kosh: Being seen by so many at once was a great strain. I returned to my ship to rest. You have a question?
      Sheridan: Nobody knows it was you. Everyone saw something different, something from the — the legends of their own world. But it was still a terrible risk. After taking such care to hide what you really are, why take that chance?
      Kosh: It was necessary.
      Sheridan: (sighs) Well, as answers go, short, to the point, utterly useless, and totally consistent with what I've come to expect from a Vorlon.
      Kosh: Good.
      Sheridan: You know, I just had a thought. You've been back and forth to your homeworld so many times since you got here — how do I know you're the same Vorlon? Inside that encounter suit, you could be anyone.
      Kosh: I have always been here.
      Sheridan: Oh yeah? You said that about me, too.
      Kosh: Yes.
      Sheridan: I really hate it when you do that.
      Kosh: Good.
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    • In one case, Sheridan had asked what was in the random access hatch Kosh had led him to. Kosh's answer was "One moment of perfect beauty." Sheridan lampshades this: "Well, as answers go, short, to the point, utterly useless and totally consistent with what I've come to expect from a Vorlon." It turns out, this is a completely factual statement, though it makes no sense until you can see the context. This gets lampshaded again in the same episode when Ivanova asks Sheridan what Kosh showed him. Sheridan responds "Beauty... in the dark." Ivanova remarks that Kosh's lessons must be working, because Sheridan is starting to talk like a Vorlon.
    • According to the RPG, the Vorlon don't usually do it on purpose: their language is fully telepathic, and most of the usually deep meaning is lost in translation due them not being used at voicing it. Then again, sometimes we get Vorlon like Kosh, who is capable of expressing himself (relatively) well with a voice but still leaves out details, either to have people think and realize what he mean by themselves, because what he was asked is meant to stay secret, or just for the hell of it.
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    • The Drakh do the same in season 4: "Drakh? Is that your name or your species?" "Yes."
    • J. Michael Straczynski himself has used it on occasion. (warning: link contains spoilers) "Was Kosh's line about Sheridan going to Z'ha'dum a warning or a threat?" "Yes."
    • At the Year-End feast in Parliament of Dreams, Londo asks "Do you know what the last Xon said before he died? AAAAHHHHH!"
    • When G'Kar gets let out of jail for his Mind Rape of Londo, he tells Ta'Lon of a revelation he had. Ta'Lon asks what kind of revelation. G'Kar tries this trope on Ta'Lon, who is having none of it.
      G'Kar: A most profound and substantial one, Ta'Lon. The kind of revelation that transforms your mind, your soul, your heart-even your flesh-so that you are a new creature, reborn in the instant of understanding.
      Ta'Lon: That was a stirring reply, Citizen G'Kar. Unfortunately, while all answers are replies, not all replies are answers. You did not answer the question that I asked.
  • Better Off Ted had a great one:
    Lawyer: Could you describe your job?
    Veronica: Yes.
    Lawyer: How would you describe your job?
    Veronica: Cleverly.
  • Barney Miller: Wojo is questioning a prostitute he has just arrested:
    Wojo: Any prior convictions?
    Prostitute: I used to think that cleanliness was next to godliness.
  • In Rik Mayall's Believe Nothing (made when David Blunkett was Britain's Home Secretary):
    Receptionist: The Home Secretary is in the waiting room. He wants to know if he can see you.
    Adonis Cnut: Of course he can't see me. He's blind.
  • The Big Bang Theory had an instance when Raj (who usually has trouble talking to women) was getting a little too attached to Siri, to the point that his friends described it as "dating a phone". When Bernadette asked if it was cute or creepy, Howard simply said "uh-huh".
    • In the episode "The Engagement Reaction"
      Leonard: So, how is she?
      Howard: They’re running tests. I don’t know. It may have been a heart attack or heart-attack-like event.
      Penny: What’s the difference?
      Sheldon: A heart-attack-like event is an event that’s like a heart attack.
      Penny: Thanks for clearing that up.
    • Also this exchange from "The Apology Insufficiency" after someone knocks on the door:
      Leonard: Want to get that?
      Sheldon: Not particularly.
      Leonard: Could you get that?
      Sheldon: I suppose I could if I were asked.
      Leonard: Would you please get that?
      Sheldon: Of course. (beat) Why do you have to make things so complicated?
  • When Blackadder tries to teach Baldrick addition by adding four beans together, Baldrick gives the following answers:
    "Some beans."
    "Three beans." "And that one."
    "A very small casserole."
    • When Prince Edmund asks how the Archbishop of Canterbury died, he is told "Horribly."
  • In episode six of the first season of Boardwalk Empire, Margaret tells a friend in the Temperance League that a man has made her an offer. The friend asks, "Financial? Domestic? Sexual?", and Margaret replies, "Yes."
  • In Breaking Bad, Walt calls up Mike to find out where Jesse is.
    Walt: Where is Jesse?
    Mike: He's with me.
    Walt: Put Jesse on!
    Jesse: Yo.
    Walt: Where are you?
    Jesse: I'm with Mike.
  • Cheers:
    • Cliff Clavin attempted to use such an answer on Jeopardy! when asked to identify three actors by their original, non-stage names. His reply was "Who are three people who have never been in my kitchen?" Correct, but ...
    • One conversation:
      Frasier: O death in life, the days that are no more — who said that?
      Woody: Who said what?
      Frasier: "O death in life, the days that are no more."
      Woody: You did.
      Frasier: No, I mean, who said it first?
      Woody: You said it both times.
    • Another example had Cliff give a long and detailed explanation about why they drank ice cold beer in the middle of winter (which essentially centred around the need to equalise your internal and external temperatures). When he had finished, Carla then asked him why they also drank it summer. His response was "What else are we going to do with it?".
  • In Charlie Shakes It Up, Deuce says he "has the situation under control", which prompts this:
    Teddy: So when he says he has it under control, should we be relieved or worried?
    Cece & Rocky: Yes.
  • El Chavo del ocho: In one episode, El Chavo is selling refreshments and agrees to reveal Don Ramon's location if the landlord buys one. El Chavo then reveals that Don Ramon is still in the country.
  • Community: "Basic Human Anatomy"
    Annie: So, I'm number two again, which is what it is. But you know, if I'm not going to be valedictorian, I'm glad it will be you.
    Shirley: Me too.
    Annie: You mean, you hope it's me if it's not you, or that you're glad it's you?
    Shirley: Yes.
  • The Daily Show:
    • In a parody of government officials avoiding giving direct answers, Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell had this exchange:
      Stephen: There are things I don't tell you.
      Steve: Oh, you tell me everything.
      Stephen: No, I don't.
      Steve: Like what?
      Stephen: I can't tell you.
      Steve: Well, does it involve you or me?
      Stephen: Yes.
      Steve: Who? Me, or you?
      Stephen: Steve, we've exhausted this topic.
    • Another example: In 2003, when Prince Charles was alleged to have had a gay experience, Britain's strict libel and slander laws prevented anyone from commenting publicly on the charge. Colbert, doing a report on the scandal, was asked by Jon Stewart if he had learned any specifics. Colbert said, "Yes I have, Jon."
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Wheel in Space":
      Zoe: This Doctor friend of yours. Is he a scientist?
      Jamie: He is in a way I suppose, yes.
      Zoe: What's his specialty?
      Jamie: His what?
      Zoe: Well, is he a physicist, biochemist, astronomer, biometrician?
      Jamie: Yes, he is.
    • "The Two Doctors":
      The Doctor: I closed my respiratory passages as soon as I detected any danger.
      Peri: Well, then how did you breathe?
      The Doctor: With difficulty.
    • "The Eleventh Hour":
      The Doctor: Twenty minutes. Run home to your loved ones and kiss them all goodbye, or stay and help me.
      Amy: No. [she traps his tie in a car door and demands an explanation]
    • "Flesh and Stone": River is working with a bunch of people who know nothing about the Doctor:
      Bishop Octavian: Doctor Song, do you trust [the Doctor]?
      River: I absolutely trust him.
      Bishop Octavian: He's not some kind of madman, is he?
      River: I absolutely trust him.
    • "The Big Bang":
      • An exchange between the Doctor and Rory:
        The Doctor: So, 2,000 years. How did you do?
        Rory: Kept out of trouble.
        The Doctor: Oh. How?
        Rory: Unsuccessfully.
      • Between the Doctor and River:
        The Doctor: Are you married, River?
        River: Are you asking?
        The Doctor: Yes.
        River: Yes.
        The Doctor: No, hang on. Did you think I was asking you to marry me, or asking if you were married?
        River: Yes.
        The Doctor: No, but was that yes, or yes?
        River: Yes.
    • "The Doctor's Wife":
      Amy: How do you leave the universe?
      The Doctor: With enormous difficulty!
    • In "A Good Man Goes to War", we meet Madame Vastra, a female Silurian in the late 1800s:
      Madame Vastra: Jack the Ripper has taken his last victim.
      Jenny Flint: How did you find him?
      Madame Vastra: Stringy, but tasty all the same. I won't be needing dinner.
    • During the events of "The Name of the Doctor":
      Vastra: Professor. Help yourself to some tea.
      River: [she has a champagne bucket] Why, thank you.
      Jenny Flint: How did you do that?!
      River: [smiling] Disgracefully.
    • Played with in "The Day of the Doctor". The Doctor interprets Osgood's non-answer literally:
      The Doctor: Hey! You! Are you sciency?
      Osgood: Yes.
      The Doctor: Got a name?
      Osgood: Yes.
      The Doctor: Good. I've always wanted to meet someone called "Yes".
  • In Dollhouse, the newly composited Echo gives one to Alpha, after turning on him:
    Alpha: Something must have gone wrong with the composite.
    Echo: Nothing went wrong. Every imprint this Active has ever had is alive and awake in her head right now.
    Alpha: Then why did you hit me in the head with a pipe?
    Echo: It was handy!
  • From the Even Stevens episode "Raiders of the Lost Sausage":
    Steve: Beans, why are you dumping dirt in my laundry room?
    Beans: Because there's a big scary bird in the backyard!
  • Sometimes pops up on Family Feud questions, mainly ones that require numerical answers.
    • On at least two instances, "Morning" was given for "Name a time that most people get up." On the first, the same contestant answered "Night" for "Name a time that most people go to bed." That got two points.
    • On the Combs version, there was the question "What birthday do men dread the most?" Instead of giving a milestone such as fortieth or fiftieth, a contestant guessed "Their wife's" which got two points.
    • A Harvey-era question asked "How old do you think Joan Rivers is?" with a contestant answering "Old."
  • In The Flash (2014), after the disastrous encounter with the Reverse-Flash, Joe explained to the stunned Eddie about the existence of meta-humans. He appears to convince Eddie that the Flash is one of the good ones, despite Eddie having been attacked by the whammied Flash in an earlier episode. We then get this exchange:
    Eddie Thawne: And the Flash. Do you know who he is?
    Joe West: Yeah, I do. He's the guy that saved both of our lives tonight.
    • For reference, Joe really does know that Barry is the Flash, but it's not his secret to reveal.
  • From the opening scene of the later Mayall/Edmondson/Planer/Elton series, Filthy Rich & Catflap:
    Richie: What are you doing in my bed?
    Eddie: Well I was sleeping. But now I'm talking to a git.
  • The Following has this exchange in "Whips and Regrets":
    Parker: So, are you an alcoholic, or just a problem drinker?
    Hardy: Yes.
  • Friends:
    Joey: Hey Phoebes, do you think it would be okay if I asked out your sister?
    Phoebe: Why? Why would you want to do that?
    Joey: So that if we went out on a date, she'd be there.
  • Game of Thrones:
    Tyrion: What sort of accent is that?
    Shae: Foreign.
    • And again:
      Catelyn: Why did you push my son from the window?
      Jaime: I hoped the fall would kill him.
  • The French-Canadian sitcom Un Gars, Une Fille (A Guy and a Girl), has the Guy in the title ask his girlfriend which of two wines she wants for supper. She answers "Yes." This prompts him to reply "When someone gives you a choice between two things, you can't answer with yes! If you're afraid of committing to a decision, do you want me to pick for you, or do you want me to leave choices up to you?" Her answer? "Yes! Yes Yes Yes!"
  • In Get Smart, one of Maxwell Smart's many catchphrases is a mathematician's answer. When asked how he did something, or how he planned to do something, he would respond: "With great difficulty."
    • ...and, loving it.
  • A guest of The Golden Girls tells the girls his wife has just had triplets. "What are they?" asks Dorothy. Rose answers, "That's when three babies are born at the same time."
  • In Happy Endings Penny fakes being engaged in front of her safety Shershow, who's about to get married to a beautiful woman.
    Shershow: So Penny that's great, you got engaged. To who?
    Penny Uh... my fiancé.
  • In the Horatio Hornblower Courtroom Episode "Retribution", Dr. Clive is asked if Captain Sawyer "was or was not fit for duty" when the lieutenants removed him from command. Clive replies "yes." The court, naturally, demands that he elaborate, and it turns out this was a prelude for Clive to accuse the lieutenants of coercing him.
  • From House:
    Masters: House, how many prostitutes have you had?
    House: As in eaten? Ever? This year?
    Masters: Slept with. Since you've been here.
    House: All but one. She did my taxes.
  • In The IT Crowd, Roy runs into this trying to run tech support.
    Roy: Is it a PC, or a Mac?
    Judy: ...Yes!
    • From the same episode:
      Roy: What was that name, was it Julie or Judy?
      Moss: Yes. One of those.
  • How I Met Your Mother dipped into this when Barney tells Ted about a special type of bingo he invented, and Ted tries to figure out the endgame, and Barney answers with an intonation like Ted's the strange one.
    Ted: So, how many people are in on this Party School Bingo thing?
    Barney: Oh, it's just me.
    Ted: So what's the point, then?
    Barney: The point is to get five in a row.
    Ted: And what do you get when you get five in a row?
    Barney: ... I get Bingo.
    • Barney gets it done to him when he tries to surprise the group with tickets to "Robots versus Wrestlers".
      Barney: Guess what I've got behind my back!
      Lily: Oh, wait, wait, wait. I got this one: left.
      Barney: Wrong game, but correct.
  • While fictional Jeopardy! examples are based on the contestant's responses, the clues themselves can seem like this if you go along with the concept that they're the answers to the questions that the correct responses ask. Who, when asked "what are chairs?" would answer "George Hepplewhite was known for designing the backs of these in such shapes as hearts & shields"?!
  • On Just Shoot Me!, when Elliot asks Dennis if he's licking stamps, Dennis answers sarcastically "I was, now I'm answering obvious questions." When a pretty model asks the same question, Dennis cordially responds "Why, yes I am."
  • Lost provided a perfect example during the flight to return to the island:
    Jack: How can you read? [at a time like this]
    Ben: My mother taught me.
    • He's lying as usual. His mother died shortly after giving birth to him.
    • Another one from when Richard Alpert gives the Time Jumping Locke a compass.
      Locke: What's it do?
      Alpert: It points North, John.
  • Malcolm in the Middle has grizzled old coot Pete scrub up for a date, looking at himself in a mirror. When Francis walks in on him, we have the following gem:
    Francis: Pete, is that really you?
    Pete:! It's a reflection!
  • M*A*S*H: In one episode, as Hawkeye is forced to treat several Koreans who each successively give him the same ID card that says Kim Luck, this exchange happens.
    Hawkeye: Can you identify yourself?
    Kim Luck #2: This is me.
  • Mock the Week has a Jeopardy! parody called If This is the Answer, What is the Question?, which naturally wound up like the Jeopardy example above on occasion.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus had several.
    • One such example with a mathematician's riposte thrown in:
      Woman 1: What's on the television then?
      Woman 2: (looks over to see the TV turned off and a penguin standing atop it) Looks like a penguin. Funny that penguin being there, innit? What's it doing there?
      Woman 1: Standing.
    • Another example occurs at one point in the Secret Service Dentists sketch, where Arthur Lemming, a customer in a book store, is thrown in a Spy vs. Spy dental-related imbroglio, where he has no idea what's going on (or so we think...) except that it's something suspicious despite the repeated denials of the store owner, while the whole cast is repeatedly held at gunpoint by the next entering character:
      Brian: (holding a bazooka) Not so fast!
      All: Brian!
      Arthur: Ooh, what's that?
      Others: It's a bazooka!
    • The sketch "How to Do It" features instructions for how to play the flute: "You blow there and you move your fingers up and down here."
  • One bit of edutainment featured a musical sketch with the Ridiculously Human Robot "Mr. Computer Man" who boasts in his song that he can do anything we humans can. When asked how to spell a simple word, he spells it out. When asked "How do you spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?" however, he thinks a moment and then replies "With letters!"
  • The Muppet Show :
    • Some dancing rats were in Christopher Reeve's dressing room.
      Scooter: Christopher Reeve, fifteen seconds to curtain, Christopher!
      Christopher Reeve: Oh thanks a lot, Scooter. Hey listen, can you tell me what these rats are doing in my dressing room?
      Scooter: I think it's the Foxtrot.
    • Kermit's contribution to a string of "fly in the soup" jokes.
      "So I ask the waiter, 'What's this fly doing in my alphabet soup?', and the waiter answers, 'Standing in for an apostrophe'."
  • The Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nóg: In a Courtroom Episode, Angus was facing trial and, when it seemed he'd be convicted, the truth was revealed. In the end, Angus asked the judge if he'd be acquitted or convicted without the new evidence and the judge said he'd certainly be one of those.
  • MythBusters: When Adam is taken to Jamie's secret locationnote , this exchange ensues:
    Adam: Where are we?
    Jamie: We're right here.
  • David Tennant once hosted a Doctor Who-themed episode of comedy quiz show Never Mind the Buzzcocks, which featured the following question:
    Tennant: Knock knock.
    Panellist: Who's there?
    Tennant: Doctor.
    Panellist: Doctor who?
    Tennant: Correct!
  • The Newlywed Game: Bob Eubanks asked "If you don't win the game today, what would be the reason?" The husband answered "Because we didn't answer the questions right." (The answer on his wife's card read "(Because she) Laughs too much")
  • Night Court: Bull helps deliver a baby. Asks the exhausted mother, "What is it?", wanting to know the gender. Bull: "It's a baby!"
  • NUMB3RS: Although there are a few mathematicians in the group, it's actually physicist Larry who is most prone to these.
    Charlie: Larry, is everything all right?
    Larry: Everything? Well, I'm not sure that I can account for the state of all matter...
  • Famously in the Only Fools and Horses episode "If They Could See Us Now", in which Del Boy is on a quiz show hosted by Jonathan Ross:
    Jonathan Ross: In what state was President Kennedy in when he was shot?
    Del Boy: Well he was in a terrible state, he died!
  • In Party Down:
    Ron: What am I not hearing?
    Roman: I don't know... a squid? There are other options...
    • Roman is supposed to be DJ and is not at his post.
  • Person of Interest has this rather hilarious example after Root crashes a car to keep the Victim of the Week safe:
    Finch: Whose car was that?!
    Root: Someone who needs a good mechanic.
  • Police Squad!:
    • A Running Gag where Frank holds a cigarette out to a witness or suspect and asks "cigarette?" The implication is that he's asking if they want one, but they always answer "Yes, I know," or "Yes, it is."
    • Another example, which appeared both on the show and in one of the movies. When the squad raids a criminal hideout, a pretty gun moll asks "Is this some kind of bust?". While looking at her chest, Drebin replies "Yes, it is very impressive".
  • QI:
    • "Atoms":
      Stephen Fry: What's the difference between a hydrogen atom and a grand piano?
      Jeremy Hardy: Well, size... shape... and possibly Iraq did have the capability of splitting a grand piano.
    • "International", when talking about pilots being brought their food:
      Stephen: Yes, it must be Deirdre with the lunch - the lunches. Why do I say "lunches?"
      Bill Bailey: Because there's more than one!
    • "Invertebrates":
      Stephen: What do bees do better than dogs?
      Jimmy Carr: Make honey?
  • Quantico: Simon notices that Nimah pins her hijab on the left sometimes, other times the right, and wonders whether this is because of her ambidexterity, or it has some cultural significance. Nimah answers "yes". This turns out to be because Simon actually saw her twin sister Raina, who'd pinned it on the left side, and Nimah tells her to always pin it on the right so no one notices this again. They're also opposite-handed.
  • Ripping Yarns:
    Man 1: What did your father say before he died?
    Man 2: EEEEUUUUURRRRRGGGGHHHHHH... *death rattle*
    Man 1: No, before that.
    Man 2: Oh.
  • Scrubs:
    Dr. Kelso: Would someone explain what that bird is doing in my hospital?
    Janitor: Sanchez appears to be flying, sir. I've named him Sanchez.
  • Done as a Take That! to a telemarketer in an episode of Seinfeld. Jerry at one point answers the phone and is asked, "Would you be interested in a subscription to the New York Times?" He casually answers "Yes," before hanging up.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017): In "The Penultimate Peril" the Baudelaires are working at a Hotel run by a pair of identical twin brothers, Frank and Ernest who are actually triplets -Frank, Ernest, and Dewey. Frank is good, and Ernest is evil. However, the two make no attempts at distinguishing themselves, which causes problems for the protagonists.
    Klaus: Are you Frank or Ernest?
    Frank/Ernest: I am.
  • Irene Adler seeks refuge in Baker Street in Sherlock:
    Sherlock: So who's after you?
    Irene: People who want to kill me.
    Sherlock: Who's that?
    Irene: Killers.
  • In Smallville, when Clark wants to talk to Lois about their relationship:
    Clark: Lois, what are we doing?
    Lois: I'm eating a maple donut and you're kind of invading my personal space.
  • In Square One TV segment Mathnet, a musician plays Air Guitar complete with sound effects. This prompts the following exchange with George Frankly:
    George Frankly: How did you do that?
    Musician: Bloody Perfectly.
  • Star Trek has come up with the Heisenberg compensator, allowing the transporter to get around the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. When asked how it works, Mike Okuda's response was '[It] works just fine, thank you.'
    • Star Trek: The Original Series:, In "Space Seed", a recently-awakened Khan has Doctor McCoy by the throat:
      McCoy: Well, either choke me or cut my throat. Make up your mind.
      Khan: English. I thought I dreamed hearing it. Where am I?
      McCoy: You're in bed, holding a knife at your doctor's throat.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: In "The Forsaken", Odo is asked by Lwaxana Troi if Odo is his first or last name. Yes, it is.
      • In a later episode, "Heart Of Stone", we get to know that Odo is his first name. His second is Ital. (The Cardassian word Odo'ital means "Unknown Sample," which is exactly what he was to the scientists who discovered him.)
      • Well, he was named on Bajor, where the Eastern name order is accepted, so it's still Mathematician's.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation: In "When The Bough Breaks", Wesley talks to The Custodian (a computer), after having been told he's allowed to ask of it any question:
      Wesley: Custodian, can you show me where Harry is?
      The Custodian: Yes.
      Wesley: Custodian, show me Harry.
      • In "Parallels", the Enterprise crew throws Worf a surprise party for his birthday. Picard asks Worf how old he is, to which Worf simply says "Old enough."
    • Star Trek: Enterprise: In "Fortunate Son", while the crew is helping to repair a cargo ship:
      Boy playing hide-and-seek: Have you seen Nadine?
      T'Pol: I'm sorry. I don't know which child is named "Nadine".
  • The Suite Life of Zack and Cody: London Tipton gets bonus points for this gem:
    Cody: London! What's twelve times twelve?
    London: [beat] A math question?
  • Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad: In one episode, the heroes were playing with a game that told people's luck with basis on their dates of birth. Mrs. Starkey decided to try and asked Amp when he was born. Despite knowing about the game, he told the hour. When she explained she wanted to know the day, he said he was born on Wednesday.
  • Supernatural:
    • Castiel irritates Dean with a couple mathematician's answers when they first meet and Dean is trying to figure out who or what Castiel is. Played with somewhat in that Castiel might believe his answers to be legitimately helpful, while the audience is well aware that he's just telling Dean superficial things he already knows while avoiding the deeper explanation Dean wants.
      Dean: Who are you?
      Castiel: I'm the one who gripped you tight and raised you from perdition.
      Dean: Yeah.
      (a few moments later)
      Dean: Who are you?
      Castiel: Castiel.note 
      Dean: Yeah, I figured that much, I mean what are you?
    • And from the episode "Hunteri Heroici":
      Dean: Hey Cas, what's the word?
      Castiel: It's a shortened version of my name.
  • In Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, this is sometimes how Cameron responds to questions.
  • That '70s Show provides this example when 2 state troopers arrive at the Foreman house during a party:
    State Trooper: Ma'am, are you the owner of this house?
    Midge: No, I'm not.
    State Trooper: Do you know the owners?
    Midge: Yes, I do!
    State Trooper: Could you get them, please!?
    • Showing that the trooper is a bit slow, or he would've realized that Midge can answer, "Yes, I could."
  • In The Thundermans episode "Change of Art", Nora is trying to keep her mother from knowing where her siblings are:
    Barb: Where's Max?
    Nora: With Phoebe.
    Barb: Where's Phoebe?
    Nora: With Billy.
    Barb: Where's Billy?
    Nora: Hey look, they're starting.
  • On an episode of Two and a Half Men Jake had a test where he wrote that Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in... pen.
  • Under the Umbrella Tree devoted an episode to the characters telling jokes, including:
    Gloria: How did you find the weather on your vacation?
    Jacob: I just went outside, and there it was!
  • Given a serious purpose in an episode of The West Wing, when White House counsel Oliver Babish is preparing C.J. to testify before Congress:
    Babish: Do you know what time it is?
    C.J.: It's five past noon.
    Babish: I'd like you to get out of the habit of doing that.
    C.J.: Doing what?
    Babish: Answering more than was asked... Do you know what time it is?
    (C.J. stares at him silently for several moments)
    C.J.: Yes.
    • Though also played for laughs when Will is attempting to obfuscate an angry Assistant Secretary of State:
      Assistant Secretary of State: Are you rewriting the foreign policy section?
      Will: Yes.
      Assistant Secretary of State: Dramatically?
      Will: I like to think I have a certain flair...
    • Done twice in the pilot, both times played for laughs. First, when Leo is looking for Josh and goes to Donna, who's sitting at her desk:
      Leo: Is [Josh] there?
      Donna: Yes.
      Leo: Could you get him?
      Donna: (yelling towards Josh's office) Josh!
      Leo: Thanks.
    • And then a bit later, between Leo and Mrs. Landingham, when they're talking about the President's bike accident:
      Mrs. Landingham: Have they done an X-ray?
      Leo: Yep.
      Mrs. Landingham: Is anything broken?
      Leo: A $4000 Lynex Titanium touring bike that I swore I'd never lend anyone.
  • On What's My Line?, since contestants were supposed to answer only "yes" or "no", the correct response to a question like "Are you involved in television or movies?" would be "yes". More than one contestant over the course of the run forgot this, and answered the question the usual way, to the panel's benefit. And more than once, one of the more comedic-minded panelists would ask something like "Well, which is it?" when the contestant did answer in the correct manner.
  • Wolf Hall: Played for drama when Thomas Cromwell recalls serving Thomas More as a boy and asking him what he was reading. More only replied, "Words." More's casual dismissal of Cromwell was just one of many times More treated Cromwell as Beneath Notice, and Cromwell has never forgotten.
  • In The X-Files episode "One Breath", Melissa Scully comes to visit Mulder at his apartment, where he is sitting in the dark hoping to surprise an intruder.
    Melissa: Why is it so dark in here?
    Mulder: Because the lights aren't on.
  • From The Young Ones:
    Rick: Alright, what's the stair carpet doing on the fire?
    Vyvyan: Burning! What's it look like?!
    • Also:
      Neil: (answering the phone) Someone's asking if we know the name of a short fat comedian.
      Mike: Yes.
      Neil: (into the phone) Yes we do! (hangs up)
    • Another:
      Vyvyan: 11:05 and it's still raining. I wonder how hard it is.
      Rick: Not very hard, seeing as it's only made of water.
    • Mike walks in holding a fish. He asks "What is this!?" Everyone else replies, "A FISH!" He realizes they are right and leaves. Later in the episode he comes back with the fish, having figured out what he meant to ask. He asks, "What is this fish doing in my bed!?" Someone points out to him it is not in his bed, he is holding it in his hands. He realizes they are right and leaves. Still later, he comes back, sure he has figured it out for good, with NOTHING in his hands. He says, "What is this fish doing in my bed!?" Everyone says, "WHAT FISH?"
    • Still another:
      Girl: Oh, is that the time?
      Mike: No, that's a wristwatch. Time is abstract concept.


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