Two of These People are Lying was a web series by The Technical Difficulties, and a Spiritual Successor to their Citation Needed series. It ran for three seasons between 2019 - 2020, and a holiday-themed pair of specials in 2021.
The basic premise is that the three members of The Technical Difficulties crew - Gary Brannan, Matt Gray, and Chris Joel - each all have to pick and remember a Wikipedia article and write down the articles' title in a small pile of cards. Tom Scott then pulls one article title out of the pile at random and ask each of the participants what the article is. Each of them will claim that they know what the article is about, but two of them will be...well...lying, and they have to bluff their way through the round since they (ideally) haven't actually read it themselves. Tom has to guess which person is telling the truth, and the person who bluffs the best gets a point if they fool Tom, and if Tom guesses correctly who's article it was, he gets a point instead. There is a scoring system, but none of the participants are keeping track, and, according to Tom, "you shouldn't have, either".
Like a lot of media in 2020, the show went on hiatus due to COVID-19 making production difficultnote . However, a pair of festive specials was released on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve 2021, with comments in the latter video confirming the end of the series.
Compare with Trust Me, I'm a Game Show Host, which has a similar premise, only with game show host trivia, rather than almost-random Wikipedia articles. Also compare with Would I Lie to You?, another show about deception and facts, but with the guests in the studio, not The Other Wiki.
It was succeeded by Adventures, in which Tom and the rest of the TechDif crew go on...well... adventures around the UK, film their experiences, and report back and narrate over it and engage in friendly banter.
Do note that since the show is about deception, bluffing, and counter-bluffing, the trope list below will be full of unintended and unmarked spoilers, so be warned! Now has a recap page in progress.
Two of These People are Troping:
- Accidentally Correct Writing: The first round of Series Three's third episode is very notable for Matt accidentally getting the subject of the article correct after Chris, whose article it was, messed up and misremembered what the Lule Sámi was.
- Aerith and Bob: Discussed in the first episode when a man called Marcel Kebakko allegedly married... Judith. The fact their names are so different that you probably wouldn't make them up on the spot together is what convinces Tom that the story isn't "utter bollocks". He's wrong.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: Tom has regularly ruled out an answer for being too bizarre, only for it to turn out to be correct or based on something real. Notably:
- Gary's explanation of Kebakko being meat balls on a stick and Matt's explanation of Lentokenttä being a region of Finland because he once went to Finland. The most famous example is the entire first episode, where Tom fails to correctly guess both articles, dismissing
- note is a Sonic Artist who can hear pitches outside of normal human hearing which lets her hear edits. Tom doesn't believe that being able to hear higher pitches lets you do that and so rules Gary out. While it's not Gary's article, he does reveal that he based his description on a real friend of his who actually can hear edits if the higher frequencies aren't kept in check. In 2x02, Gary states that Evangelia Psarra
- Anachronistic Clue: Occasionally, the participants have to give details on something that happened in history, but include something anachronistic that immediately makes them less trustworthy (although Tom rarely picks up on this). Examples include:
- Matt's claim that there were "tractors everywhere" during an agricultural protest in 1878 (2x01). (Though it very well could have been entirely a joke, or interpreted as a joke by Tom.)
- Chris' story about a drunkard in "Ancient Roman times" is well told and convinces all the other participants, but has one glaring flaw: it claims to both have happened in Caesar-era Rome and after Jesus became a public figure.note
- A spoiler example: Gary claiming Lule Sámi was a Eurovision singer in 1995 becomes a different variant when Tom messes up the year by thinking it's 1985 and Gary doesn't correct him.
- A Rare Sentence: Tom saying "I like 'minor vehicular events'" prompts the panel to joke about how that phrase should end up on a t-shirt. Gary saying "fucker put me in the nominative" about Matt prompts a similar reaction from Chris earlier in the show.
- Bad Liar:
- Gary's main shtick in this show is going back and forth between this and Cassandra Truth, much to Tom's frequent frustration.
- Spoiler example: In 3x02, Matt doesn't even bother trying to lie; he immediately starts panic-corpsing, then straight up admits to Tom that it's not his card after giving his 'it's this' answer.
- Beyond the Impossible: In quite possibly one of the most bizarre coincidences possible, Chris thought that he was telling the truth about the Lule Sámi by stating that it was a river in northern Sweden. It's actually the name of the native peoples who live on the Lule River. While one of the hosts messing up their own article would be note-worthy enough, it becomes truly astonishing in that Matt's lie ended up being almost completely true, right down to where the river actually flows.
- Blatant Lies:
- Gary seems to specialise in seeming untrustworthy even when he actually is telling the truth, zigzagging the trope. One stand-out example of his bluffing comes from the third season: Gary first claims that somebody performed a specific song at Eurovision Song Contest in 1995. However, Tom later misremembers the year given as 1985, and Gary makes no attempt to correct him.
- Since the whole show is improv, some of the lies are more obvious than others. Anachronism Stew has some examples played straight.
- British Brevity: Just twelve episodes, across four series.
- Buffy Speak:
- Matt is prone to this, such as describing a cricketer as striking a certain pose whenever he, "and I'm gonna have to use a proper cricketing phrase here: did a good thing" during his matches.
- When Tom asks Gary what "Hurcon" means, the panel collectively engages in an exercise of the many ways to say "it windy!"
- Call-Back: The group does a brief one to the first episode of Citation Needed, specifically the LOBBO! bit, complete with YouTube bubble that links you to the episode when pressed.
- Cassandra Truth: Gary falls into this role fairly often when his article is picked, though his attitude on the show does not help.
- Couch Gag: Just like in Citation Needed, Gary ad-libs a silly sentence and Chris usually, but not always, says a short "hello." The difference is that Matt doesn't say hi to the audience, but instead explains the rules of the game. The third season also has Chris use more varied intro sentences.
- Christmas Special: The Christmas special has some decorations and tinsel on the mic stands, but that's about it. One of the articles was claimed by Gary to be an obscure celebration, which fits nicely into this theme.
- Every Episode Ending: "We still don't have an outro." [Smash to Black]
- Everyone Has Standards: the Tech-Dif regularly take the piss out of each other for even minor slip-ups, but they will almost always unite when they feel that Tom's reasoning is being too unfair.
- Hidden Depths: Matt, the bounciest and Buffy Speak-pronest member, has a GCSE in Latin. Even Tom has to be reminded of this occasionally.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Setting aside when Tom embarrassed himself in the Finland-centric first episode, a fair amount of his wrong guesses come from him either overthinking one of the panellists' actions, such as when Matt straight up said he had never seen the prompt before which leads Tom to think that he's bluffing, or his extreme hubris. The latter is almost a running gag in the first season, where Tom regularly strikes the right answer out of consideration because it sounds too bizarre.
- I Am One of Those, Too: A variation happens in 2x03: Gary tells a lie about something Tom had just done his research on independently of the show, exposing his bluff immediately.
- I Lied: Whenever Tom picks one of the liars, they will reveal such.
- Imagined Innuendo: Gary claiming that "it [ie. a foodstuff] comes with a sauce" just as he reaches below the desk prompts Matt and Chris to have fun with how dirty the implications are. (Gary lampshades the innuendo a few moments later, however.)
- "It" Is Dehumanizing: In the very first episode, Gary takes (joking) offense to being referred to as "that."Gary: Don't refer to me as "that"; "the object over there"! Fucker put me in the nominative..!
- Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Tom can regularly come across as one when he doesn't believe the right answer because it sounds too ridiculous. This is best showcased in the very first episode where "having been to Finland" is apparently all Tom needs to know in order to rule out both correct answers.
- Mad Libs Catchphrase: When Tom announces his guess, he always says "[Chris/Gary/Matt], I believe you. Am I right?"
- Metagame: The show so far has four examples, all spoilers.
- 1x03: When asked what "Willoughby Run" is, Matt takes the text of a completely different Wikipedia article (namely, Roland Kirk's album Slightly Latin) and uses that as the basis of his "lie." Tom even says of it "Oh, you are metagaming this! I don't like this!"
- 2x03: Gary had the article about the Hagia Sophia, and Chris knows an interesting, obscure detail about it, so he uses the detail as his "lie."
- 3x02: Matt admits upfront that the card is not his and uses a paper-thin lie as his explanation. Tom still goes for him.
- 4x02: Chris uses "Celwyddyw'rdrefhon", a fake town in Wales whose name means "This Town Is A Lie" in Welsh. The catch being that the lie is itself a lie. In other words, there is no Wikipedia article because the fake town literally doesn't exist, and Chris made it up.Gary: That's unbelievable sh**housery! [shakes Chris's hand]
- Non Sequitur: Gary's trademark in the introduction - also serves as the #2 of Rule of Three. Tom introduces Chris, while Gary drops one of these leaving Matt to try and explain the show.Tom: Chris-!Chris: Hello!Tom: Gary-!Gary: He said "Why do you blow that bugle?" And I said "It don't work if you suck it."
- Obvious Rule Patch: Since the titles are all written by hand, the results could theoretically be decided by how well Tom recognises the other participants' handwriting. Tom has clarified that the others occasionally will "swap handwriting", hence he can't use that as a clue. From Series Two onwards, the rule is patched even further by printing the article names on the cards instead of writing them.
- Once Done, Never Forgotten: Tom's disastrously poor showing in the first episode of the series (directly accusing truth-telling players of lying about Finnish things on the grounds that he has been to Finland) leads the lads to keep bringing up Finland in every successive series as an example of Tom's haughtiness.
- Phrase Catcher/Catchphrase: Tom has a habit of describing the things other panellists say as "entirely plausible", especially when talking about Chris' claims.
- "Chris/Gary/Matt, I believe you, am I right?"
- The Points Mean Nothing: Tom put it best:Tom: Congratulations to whoever won. I haven't been keeping track of the scores, [turns to camera] and you shouldn't have, either!
- Precision F-Strike: Gary delivers one in 3x02 when Tom disregarded his answer for almost no real reason.
- Pretentious Pronunciation: Matt in 2x01 claims "Ghost Festival" is pronounced "host-festival" with a slight Croatian accent.
- Reverse Psychology: Gary tends to deploy this, which annoys Tom to no end.Gary: See, I'm backing you up like a cat. One minute he's all shaky, the next time he's confident, but last time I was shaky, I was telling the truth!Tom: That's not how the game is meant to work, Gary!Chris: It's got you on your toes though, to be fair.
- Running Gag: Tom's supposed lack of knowledge about anything related to Finland, after the first episode in which both rounds featured Finnish subjects, he expressed skepticism at both correct answers due to having been to Finland, and he guessed wrong both times.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Gary might as well be responsible for half the censor bleeps of the show, including a Cluster Bleep-Bombnote right in the first episode.
- So Crazy, It Must Be True: In one episode Tom explicitly says that the correct choice would be to guess Matt is telling the truth because his article is so dull, but still guesses Chris is telling the truth due to Chris' story being more interesting. Unfortunately for Tom, Chris was lying that time.
- Toilet Humour: as expected of The Technical Difficulties. 2x02 has a very literal case of this, where Gary corpses for several minutes after the panel has been joking about a toilet version of Bob's Full Housenote .
- Wham Line: The format lends itself well to this, especially on first time viewing when the viewer, like Tom, doesn't know who's telling the truth or not. Some standout examples include...
- 1x01, when Tom, having ruled out Gary entirely, guesses that Kebakko was Matt's article, gets proven wrong, and turns to Chris...Tom: So to be clear, everything that Matt said was a lie, none of that is factual?Matt: Yeah, correct, yeah.Tom: Chris?Chris: Also bulls***.Tom: Really?!Chris: Mmm-hmm.[Tom then looks up at Gary with a very stunned expression]Gary: F*** YOU!
- Also 1x01, when Matt (who he had also ruled out early) reveals what Lentokenttä means...Matt: Lentokenttä, which in English means "airfield"...[cue picture atop our very page]
- 2x03, when Tom gets a wrong guess, and then turns to Chris, thinking he has the right guess.Tom: Well, you get the point and the question is... Chris, should I have picked you again?Chris: No... However... so, the Hagia Sophia is a Near-Eastern religious site, it is now a museum with a sweaty column in it, that exists in much the way Gary described it...Matt: Oh, had Gary picked an article that you already knew something about?Chris: ...and it has in it a piece of Viking Graffiti, what says "Halfdan was here."
- 1x01, when Tom, having ruled out Gary entirely, guesses that Kebakko was Matt's article, gets proven wrong, and turns to Chris...