As You Know

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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Uncle Scrooge tells it like it is.


Thetis: Why then, child, do you lament? What sorrow has come to your heart now? Tell me, do not hide it in your mind, and we shall both know.

Achilleus: You know; since you know why must I tell you all this?
The Iliad, Book I

A form of Exposition where one character explains to another something that they both know, but the audience doesn't. It has been described as a "pernicious form of Info Dump through dialogue".

"As you know, Jennifer, my Death Ray depends on codfish balls."

"Damn it, Simon, you know full well that Jennifer hasn't been the same since that tragic codfish incident."

In discussions of science fiction this is often "As You Know, Bob" (abbreviated AYKB), or occasionally, "Tell me, Professor [about this marvelous invention we all use every day and have no reason to be talking about except to inform the audience]". Other common variations involve a newspaper reporter sent to cover events, or conversation between two supporting characters—hence another name, "maid and butler dialogue".

Terry Pratchett refers to the fantasy fiction version as the "As you know, your father, the king..." speech.

This is also a common feature of pilot episodes, where characters' backgrounds and relationships need to be established for the first time. Likewise, when new characters are introduced or the writers believe a reminder is in order, characters will explicitly refer to each other by name during a regular conversation, when this is rarely done in real life: "Say, Alice, how are you enjoying your coffee?" "Why, it's delicious, Bob, thanks for asking. How are you coming along, Carol?"

This is also quite common on medical drama shows like ER, Scrubs, and Grey's Anatomy, where common medical phenomena and simple procedures must be explained to the unfamiliar audience. In most cases, this is achieved by explaining the disease or procedure to an intern or non-professional character.

On some shows, characters will "As You Know" in order to provide information that was already provided in a previous episode (that viewers might have missed) or even earlier in the show (for those who just tuned in), to the great annoyance of dedicated fans. (e.g. Just Tuned In: "Remember, Bob, you only have 20 minutes to defuse the bomb..." or Previous Episode: "Jane is really mad at you for running over her dog last week, isn't she?") Soap operas or adventure-type shows will often circumvent this with a "When we last left our heroes" recap at the beginning of each two-parter.

Solitary characters prefer to use "Here I am..." instead.

Although writers try to avoid this by using The Watson (since not explaining anything sometimes results in the audience being too busy trying to figure out what's going on to enjoy the show), using this trope is not always a bad thing. Also, the most common alternative is to give the protagonist amnesia so he doesn't know, which isn't really considered a better option. The Idiot Hero and Fish Out of Water are also acceptable tropes to employ to make this trope more believable.

Was ridiculously common in post-World War II literature, to the point that readers expected it and could become confused if the writer left it out. This might be the most universal trope found in postwar literature; you find it in works by everyone from George Orwell to Barbara Cartland to Rex Stout. (One wonders which one of the three would be most insulted by that grouping.)

Specific variants:


See also: Mr. Exposition, The Watson, Expospeak, Captain Obvious. A subtrope of Show, Don't Tell.

Examples of As You Know include:


Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • 80s anime series The Mysterious Cities of Gold employed this trope regularly. This was mostly because, unlike many other '80s cartoons, it featured an on-going storyline that frequently built upon events from previous episodes. Of course, children couldn't be expected to watch a show that patiently so cue many long conversations with characters telling each other "Yes, you may remember the golden condor we discovered underneath the Inca ruins," etc., etc.
    • This trope is only present in the English version however, in the original french (The show is a France/Japan co-production and the writing team was French) characters never use As You Know. At best it's them applying what they previously learned to new situations (If X was solar powered, then Y must also be!).
  • The anime version of Witchblade tends to occasionally fall back on this.
  • Team Aqua and Team Magma meet for the first time onscreen in Pokémon Advanced, and not only speak in an As You Know, but also make an Intro Dump at the start of that dialog.
  • Early chapters of the Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch manga have Lucia constantly being reminded she's a princess, a mermaid, forbidden to date humans, can't go into water in public, and various things she already knows. Then again, she's always been a bit headstrong about these limitations anyway. The anime got rid of this by tacking on a prologue on every episode explaining the whole situation.
  • Inverted in Neon Genesis Evangelion. Explanations were scarce at the best of times. (Not to mention the ending!)
    • Although the Bridge Bunnies often make some sort of explanation of what is going on, especially in The End of Evangelion, where they manage to survive long enough to narrate The End of the World as We Know It.
      • Of course, their explanations are so jam-packed with Techno Babble as to be virtually incomprehensible. For instance, Aoba's warning that "Soon individual entities will be unable to maintain their separate forms!" just seems bizarre until, a couple minutes later, you see what he's talking about.
    • Hit hard by Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone, during the scene in which Ritsuko explains the specifics of Operation Yashima to Misato, the person who came up with the plan in the first place. The dub tries to fix this by turning it into a Let Me Get This Straight.... It helps... a bit.
    • Mari in 2.22 frequently gives exposition... to herself.
  • In episode 112 of Bleach, Urahara and Isshin Kurosaki have an extended conversation telling each other things they both already know about the two new sets of bad guys on the plot horizon, for the benefit of both the audience and some other characters standing off to the side. What is most inexplicable is that they don't just tell the other characters instead of talking to each other, which would have made the scene make sense!
  • Used rather neatly in Naruto with the explanation that the main character is an idiot who never paid attention in school. Things frequently have to be explained to him several times in gradually simpler terms. This is usually done during training segments, so it has a natural feel to it.
    • Sasuke, on the other hand, is improbably ignorant given his backstory, and plenty of other characters among the Rookies are pretty much clueless about things they absolutely should know, especially Ino Shika Cho whose fathers have been grooming them as heirs.
  • Kiddy Grade uses this trope right off the bat in the first episode to set up the show's premise.
  • Subverted in Cowboy Bebop where Faye is shocked by some objects getting trapped in hyperspace; this confuses the other characters as everyone in the time period should know how hyperspace works. Hyperspace travel is then explained to her as if she was a child.
  • In Episode 14 of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, Fate quizzes her adopted children Erio and Caro on history as a way of providing the viewer with exposition on the origins of the TSAB.
  • In the first chapter Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, Sakura and Shaolan tell each other how they first met and for how long they've been friends, obviously to fill in the reader on their backstory.
  • This way of recapping is constantly and irritatingly used in World of Warcraft manga. A commander telling his fellow warriors about the great battle in which they all participated...
  • There's a strange example from To Aru Majutsu no Index. After the first arc, Touma has had his memory erased, so whenever someone like Stiyl starts talking about something that happened then, Touma is more or less completely in the dark, even though it's something he should know. It'd be a fine example of As You Know if he actually did know.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!!, GX, and 5Ds. Every time an effect is activated, the player has to explain exactly what it does—sometimes more than once for the same card in the same duel in the same episode. Of course, either this is caused by the fact that most players do this in real life, or it caused most players doing this in real life. The Chicken or the Egg?
    • Given that the anime predates the game, it's probably the latter.
  • In the first two episodes of Sailor Moon S, the Professor retells his plan to Kaolinite for the audience's benefit, even though she, as his second in command, should already know it in the first episode and definitely knows by the second.
  • IGPX does this at the end of episode one. As Team Satomi prepares to race Team Sledgemamma in the first race of the IGPX-1, equivalent to the major league, the announcer Benjamin Bright explains the rules of IGPX to thousands of fans, and the racers. In the English dub, he actually says, "Let's recap the rules of the IGPX for those two or three of you who don't know."
  • In Fairy Tail, when Lucy meets Natsu and Happy for the first time, she goes into detail explaining to them what guilds are and that she wants to join the most popular guild around (the titular Fairy Tail guild), and then laughs it all off as something the two wouldn't be interested in. She doesn't realize until later that the two are from the guild she's trying to join. Granted, Lucy doesn't refer to Fairy Tail by name in her description, and Natsu and Happy really don't seem very interested in what she has to say, but considering how everyone in the series seems to know what guilds are (in fact, there probably isn't a character in the series who hasn't heard of Fairy Tail), it just makes the fact that she's explaining it to the audience all the more obvious.


Comics[edit | hide]

Lieam: (Captions next to him illuminates his and his two partners' names) So tell us [Kenzie], what were the three best of the Guard sent to do?

    • Very modest indeed, Lieam. Not only were the three plain and undecorated guardmice at that time, but especially a recruit like Lieam should not talk like that (that is, poshly lionising them and himself in third person).
  • Lampshaded in one issue of the X-Men comics.

Cyclops: This isn't good, Emma. Warren isn't answering and I can't even tell if my calls are going through.
Emma Frost: You needn't narrate, dearest. I'm sitting right here.

    • Although he was talking to her, not narrating.
    • And on the other hand she is a powerful telepath who is also trying to reach Warren at the same time with her own skills.
  • Lampshaded (via emphasis) and subverted in Fables. Beast begins an As You Know introduction of Hansel to Prince Charming, but Charming protests he really has no idea who Hansel is.
  • Star Wars: The comic-book adaptation of the Thrawn Trilogy features Lando Calrissian telling Chewbacca about the adventures they just had off-screen (on-screen in the novels). For all we know, Chewbacca is reprimanding him for being Mr. Exposition; we'll never know.
  • Done endlessly in Silver Age comic books, particularly those involving Superman, where the villains would explain their plan to each other after they had carried it out. As often as not, Superman would overhear this conversation and swoop down to capture them, having had no clue prior to this what had been going on.
  • Used all the time in Donald Duck comics, usually clumsily as anything; the picture at the top of the page shows a rare lampshading from Don Rosa's The Last Lord of Eldorado.
  • Frequently turns up in extremely early Doonesbury comic strips. "Well, here I am..."
  • In the newspaper comic Sally Forth, the title character asked her daughter what she was doing "for Earth Day next week", and was told that was the most obvious bit of exposition she had pitched since "As you know, Hilary, you are my daughter".
  • Elf Quest largely avoids this, but two examples still stands out: one is the story of Madcoil told around a campfire, which allows the main character's love interest to find out about his Backstory (through eavesdropping). It's told because of tradition, and because the children present haven't heard it yet. A far more jarring example is found in the Discovery books (written by the same original author, but a good three decades later) in which the characters... well, talk like this.
    • Another jarring example occurs in the first issue of Siege at Blue Mountain, the second print series which began after a 2-year hiatus. In lieu of a synopsis, the Wolfriders explain the whys and wherefores of the story so far to each other, ostensibly as part of their decision-making process. Later series got a lot better at integrating the Backstory into the dialogue.
  • A particularly bizarre example appears in an early Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 comic. Willow is visiting Buffy and Xander, and asks about their love life. Xander replies jokingly that all women desire him, a statement which Willow appears to take seriously, as she gratuitously adds that she herself had once been attracted to him. Given that the only people in the room were both there at the time of Willow's infatuation (in Seasons 1-3), it's not clear whom Willow felt was likely to benefit from this information. It's a doubly strange case because not even the audience needs to know about Willow and Xander's Backstory, as, thus far, it hasn't been relevant to a single Season 8 plot thread.
  • Sam and Max Freelance Police frequently uses this as a simple ploy to avoid having to show them travelling: one panel in an early comic has Sam saying "We're off to the Philippines!" In the next panel they're standing in front of a bunch of weird buildings:

Sam: Well, here we are in the Philippines.
Max: Drawn without reference material, apparently.

  • The first issue of Mega Man is especially guilty of this, having Light explain to Wily that he lost his credintals years ago, and to Mega Man and Roll about their origins.
  • Turned into a Running Gag by Asterix: as it is stated in every book (and in many editions, explained on the presentation page), Obelix isn't allowed any of Getafix's magic potion because he fell into a cauldron full of the stuff when he was little. Obelix himself remarks in one story "We'll never hear the end of it!" A few times they skip the story, with Obelix grumbling "Of course, I don't get any because grumble grumble..."
  • Cleverly played in Deadpool: Wade Wilson's War. Many times, Deadpool explains the context of the operation, and the senator cuts him saying that he knows. The brilliance is that every time, what Deadpool explained is true in the real world (America's implication in Soviet/Afghan war...), but readers may not know this stuff as a senator does.
  • In the Doctor Who comic "The Forgotten" by US publisher IDW, Turlough goes to the effort of explaining the rules of cricket to Tegan, who already knows them since she's Australian.


Fan Works[edit | hide]

Yugi: Your brother's been kidnapped?
Mokuba: Yes, that is exactly what I just finished telling you.

    • Episode 25:

Tea: Now we are at the museum!
Yami: (annoyed) I know.

    • Episode 42 takes the lampshading to new extremes:

Mai: I can't believe Joey is dueling Marik!
Yugi: Yep, that sure is the current situation.

  • An interesting variation appears in the Mass Effect Self-Insert Fic Mass Vexations. Author Avatar Art has already heard all of the exposition in the game prior to experiencing it himself; however, the characters giving the exposition aren't aware of this fact, so to them they're just telling the story of the game as it happens. It's Lampshaded the first time it happens, and a few times it cuts away before said exposition can be said. It's played straight later to help him prove that he really is from another dimension.
  • Averted in Kira Is Justice in the case of giving names. They are usually just given in the narrative, as sometimes when a new character is introduced, he/she is introduced in his/her own point of view. For example, Ronan.
  • The early chapters of Hogwarts Exposed are full of (well) Expospeak which often takes this form, even using the actual phrase "As You Know" at one point.
  • Inverted by Tricia Glasswell in Sburb Patch Notes when explaining the current situation to a newbie:

Tricia Glasswell: "As those who are watching from beyond the Fourth Wall already know..."

  • Used in Ponies Make War, when the Cadet begins a report to General Esteem with this exact phrase, and goes on to quickly sum up what happened during the one month Time Skip. The trope is then lampshaded by the narration, which points out that, yes, Esteem does know all this already.


Films -- Live-Action[edit | hide]

  • This was also going to be spoofed in the original script of Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, in which the film's Mr. Exposition (appropriately named Basil Exposition) tells the main character: "You're Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery, and you're with Agent Mrs. Kensington. The year is 1967, and you're talking on a picture phone." Austin then replies: "We know all that, Exposition."
  • Parodied and lampshaded in the movie Spaceballs, when Colonel Sandurz unnecessarily explains the evil plan to Dark Helmet, who turns to the camera and asks, "Everybody got that?" According to Mel Brooks, filmmakers are obliged to provide the audience with a Minimum amount of plot. That was it.
  • Sort of done in Tales from the Darkside: The Movie. In one story, a hitman lectures an elderly billionaire on how addictive the pharmaceutical that made him rich was. The strange thing with this was that, while the billionaire should have known this already, it seems bizarre that the hitman, even having looked into his client's past, would have researched such a trivial and tangential detail.
  • There's a hilarious scene in the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie where the two comic relief pirates, watching the main characters duke it out in an epic battle over the MacGuffin, wonder exactly how they got into this situation and briefly recap the whole movie up to that point for the benefit of anyone still watching. Extra points for the fact that they couldn't have possibly known everything they recapped.
    • Also, a rather glaring one in the first movie:

Maid: You're the governor's daughter.

      • To the maid's credit, Elizabeth didn't seem to realize why she should run or at least 'not tell the pirates she's hostage material.
  • Early in North by Northwest, the Professor presides over a meeting of national security types and explains the situation, so that we in the audience can be ahead of Roger Thornhill, who is still clueless at this point. He explains what's going on (that Roger Thorhill's been mistaken for secret agent George Kaplan, that there is no such person as George Kaplan, and that the real secret agent is someone else entirely) in exacting and repetitive detail—to an assembly consisting of the only people in the world who already know all this. Clumsy, awkward, excruciating.
    • Almost every Hitchcock film has an expository Info Dump near the beginning, and they're almost always done in very heavy-handed "as you know" style. Another particularly grating example is in Vertigo, when Scottie Ferguson and Midge Wood are discussing why he had to leave the police force -- it's Title Drop.
  • Flawless example in the movie Dragonfly: a speaker at a funeral says of the deceased, "From her colleagues at the university to her young patients here in Chicago Memorial's pediatric oncology ward, she will be sorely missed" -- speaking to the deceased's family, her colleagues from the university and her associates from the pediatric oncology ward, none of whom needed to be informed what city they were in, what hospital she was associated with, or what field of medicine she specialized in.
  • Done in Blazing Saddles just to set up a joke. Everyone in the town is gathered in the church to discuss what to do about the fact that bandits are ransacking the town - and the preacher begins by letting everyone know that bandits are ransacking the town. He even begins his speech by saying that he doesn't have to tell them any of this.
  • The X-Files first movie had to introduce Mulder and Scully for cinemagoers who hadn't watched the series, so Mulder spills his Backstory/woes to a bartender while Scully falls into this, telling Mulder about the last few years.
  • At the beginning of Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey, Rufus brings several famous musicians from across history to his classroom. If the audience already knows who the musician is, he just introduces them by name, if they don't (ie, the musician is from after 1991), he explains what they did, which is somewhat jarring.
    • Of course, it's then played with:

Rufus: And a special treat from the 23rd century, Miss Ria Paschelle. Miss Paschelle, as you all know, was the inventor of the statiophonic oxygenetic amplifier graphiphonideliverberator. Kind of hard to imagine the world before we had them, isn't it?

  • Played straight in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Galloway recaps the events of the first movie over a secure video link. Or not so secure, since Soundwave is linked to the satellite and monitoring most broadcasts on Earth. He now knows exactly where the NEST base and the last Allspark piece is.
    • Also occurs in the next movie, Dark of the Moon, when the new intelligence director appears for her first scene and hurriedly informs somebody about all of the important things she is in charge of.
  • The movie adaptation of Red Sonja starts out with the title character laying barely conscious in a field as some kind of spirit grants her the power to get her revenge, but first explains Sonja's own backstory to her in great detail. It's especially awkward because it presumably all happened to her moments before the movie started, and involves her being raped and having her family killed off, which are things you'd think she wouldn't need (or want) to be reminded about.
  • Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb: "As you know, the Premier loves surprises."
  • Used painfully in Shark Attack 3: Megalodon when two coworkers explain their job to one another, laughing uproariously after every line to inform us that they are jovial people.
  • Bill in Kill Bill bringing up his love for comic books.
  • Done effectively in the first Mortal Kombat film, when Shang Tsung taunts Raiden by pointing out the limits to his dominion.

Shang Tsung: ...until we reach the island, where you have no dominion.
Raiden: My dominions are well known to me, sorcerer!

    • Done much more clumsily later on as Shang Tsung explains to Goro, who should know the hierarchy of Outworld as well as backs of his four hands:

Shang Tsung: Princess Kitana is ten thousand years old! She is the lawful heir to the throne of Outworld!

  • Avatar has the Corrupt Corporate Executive explain to Dr. Augustine why they are on Pandora, how much Unobtainium is worth, and the Na'vi problem despite the fact that she's been there for years.
  • Blade Runner has an awkward early scene where Captain Bryant is giving Rick Deckard, an experienced hunter of replicants, very basic, entry-level exposition about replicants. It's an odd exception to the rule, for most of the rest of the film does an excellent job of showing or implying rather than telling outright; for instance, the prohibitive cost of owning real live pets is alluded to repeatedly, but it's left to the viewer to figure out that real animals (besides pigeons, evidently) are scarce in this super-urbanized world.
  • In The Great Escape Ives reminds Hilts that in the art of tunnel-making the digging is not the problem but also the storing up with wood and getting the dirt out
  • The Last Airbender puts on an As You Know clinic! Perhaps it's because, As You Know, they had to condense 20 episodes of show into 103 minutes of film....
  • WarGames has an early scene that consists mostly of two senior-level military-industrial-complex types saying things they both must already know since they run the program in question. In the DVD commentary, the screenwriters point out that this is less bad if the characters are getting into an argument (which they were), since arguments are about the only time someone will say things the person he is talking to already knows.
  • In Murder on the Orient Express, Hercule Poirot tells Colonel Arbuthnott that in his opinion, the late Colonel Armstrong should have been awarded the VC, "which stands, as you may know, for Victoria Cross and is awarded for valor."
  • Watchmen journalists will explain things to characters who already know them.
    • During Adrian Veidt's introduction, a reporter begins the scene by explaining Veidt's past to Adrian himself. Reporters will often do this in real life to confirm that their information is correct.
    • During the press conference scene, another reporter stands up and explains the entire purpose behind the Doomsday Clock to Dr. Manhattan before actually asking the question. Since they're on live television, he's probably just doing it for the sake of the more ignorant members of the audience who are only watching because it's Dr. Manhattan on the telly.
  • In the beginning of the film The Golden Compass, while Lyra spends minutes telling a pointless boasting tale, she doesn't have the time to show that she and her best friends are, well, best friends. Instead she just points this out by saying that they are.
  • Parodied during a flashback in Black Dynamite: "I am 18-year-old Black Dynamite, and you are my 16-year-old brother!"
  • In Roxanne, this trope is used to explain the inevitable Fridge Logic that comes with transporting Cyrano De Bergerac into modern times: why doesn't he just get a nose job? In an early scene, CB visits the local plastic surgeon, who must remind him that he's allergic to anaesthetic, and therefore can't get a nose job.
  • Used in Star Trek VI the Undiscovered Country, when Valeris demonstrates that firing an unauthorized phaser aboard ship sets off an alarm. The reason it's particularly painful is that she's demonstrating it for Commander Chekov, the ship's Chief of Security and the one who probably set the system up in the first place.
  • Used, then lampshaded, then beaten all to hell in The Lost Skeleton Returns Again as aliens Kro-bar and Lattis explain their part in the previous film and why they've come back to Earth for this film.

Kro-bar: "And, as you know, our instruments tell us that they may be in great danger."
...
Lattis: "But we waste time explaining things we already know."
Kro-Bar: "We waste time acknowledging that we already know these things."
Lattis: "You're wasting time even saying that."
Kro-Bar: "Very well, Lattis, let us accept that we both waste time and cease this wasting of time!"

Obi-Wan: Qui-Gon Jinn would never join you.
Dooku: Don't be so sure. He was once my apprentice just as you were once his.

  • In Spartacus, Batiatus greets Crassus, Glabrus, and their consorts by reeling off their names and personal histories to them (and the audience).


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Dicken's A Christmas Carol and any parody/homages to it. Because of the time travel aspect of voyeuring into people's lives it somewhat requires them to explain the situation to each other in order to further the plot.
  • Within the first chapter of the original Shannara book a character tells shares, quite literally, "As you know, [Entire history of the world]".
  • Subverted in the Orphans of Chaos trilogy: "Headmaster Boggin" starts off on one of these at the appropriate time to provide valuable backstory to the eavesdropping protagonists, but is immediately headed off by the audience, who point out that they already know what he's talking about.
  • Isaac Asimov's I, Robot and Foundation were rife with it, as a result of the serialized format in which the stories originally appeared. As it was possible that a magazine buyer reading one of the stories had not read the previous ones, Asimov felt it necessary to re-summarize the Three Laws of Robotics, or the Seldon Plan, through Expospeak in the early parts of each story.
    • The fact that one character needed Seldon's plan explained to him actually served as a plot point in one Foundation story—his lack of knowledge revealed that he wasn't who he claimed to be.
    • Somewhat justified in Foundation because the stories happen centuries apart, and Seldon actually misled everyone more often than not, leading to a lot of skepticism regarding the Plan.
    • Asimov has also written that the Three Laws are actually a cheap Techno Babble way of explaining more complicated terms... which is really Truth in Print. An atom is like a solar system... except it ain't. Repeat it enough and people will stop asking why.
    • The robot stories often have Powell and Donovan going over the Three Laws to each other, though being professional robot field testers they're both well aware of them. This mostly functions as a Placebo Eureka Moment for one or both of them, as stating the principles helps to figure how their interaction is causing a robot to behave unexpectedly.
  • Done in the first chapter of The Great Pacific War. The Japanese cabinet meets to discuss the dangerous riots and the seeds of revolt that are gaining strength, and the Premier opens by pretty much saying "As you know, our country is experiencing dangerous riots, and the revolts are gaining in strength."
  • Used to the point of being beaten to death by David Weber. Every single Honor Harrington book has this at least once, maybe twice. It's particularly painful, because most of these recaps appear to be at the end of a meeting that just talked about the recapped stuff. These meetings often take up an entire chapter, and their sole purpose is just to recap the situation, tell the reader what everyone's going to do, and use more adjectives than anyone ever would in a normal conversation.
  • The Assassins of Tamurin: S.D. Towers fills the reader in on the entire Backstory of the Empire of Durdane by devoting most of a chapter to covering a History class.
  • Older Than Feudalism: Occurs in The Bible, when God tells Abraham to sacrifice his son: "Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest..." According to commentaries, the extensive exposition was given either a) to soften the blow of the request to sacrifice him, or b) to increase Abraham's reward, as he was rewarded for every word of the request.
    • Also "for Rachel thy younger daughter." This latter one has become an idiom in spoken Hebrew. A rare case when tropes can actually improve your vocabulary.
  • Robert A. Heinlein's novel Methuselah's Children opens with a meeting of Howard Foundation members where one character goes on for several pages, detailing the history of the foundation, its goals, and his plans for the future. While very interesting (to the reader), the entire monologue is framed as an As You Know. As the characters are all extremely long-lived and therefore very patient, they don't mind too much.
  • Novelist Harry Turtledove has a tendency to fall into this trap in his multi-volume alternative history epics (such as the Worldwar and Timeline-191 series); he will often recap complicated alternative histories and the plots of two, three or more previous novels in the series by having characters engage in conversations or think to themselves about things that they would already know.
  • In the novel Frankenstein, the title character receives a letter from his sister which basically tells him his own life story in nauseating detail. The phrase "You will recall..." pops up a few times.
  • James Hogan rather neatly avoids this trope while still managing to do huge Infodumps in his Ganymede series, by managing things so that there's always someone present who justifiably needs the infodump, whether it's a biologist getting briefed on extremely advanced physics, a physicist being brought up to speed on political matters, or a businessman being briefed on the fine points of biochemistry. It helps that Hogan's got a huge multi-disciplinary team to work with, and even better, the main character is a man who's biggest talent is his ability to cross-correlate information from many areas without being a specialist in any of them himself. This means he often specifically requests an infodump from a specialist.
  • Brave New World has an obscenely long lecture describing the way people are modified and replicated at the very head of the book, from a professor of the subject to collegiate students who must already know all this. Aldous Huxley: Good thinker, good writer, clumsy panda at exposition.
  • In early 20th century dystopian sci-fi, Yevgeny Zamyatin's We averts this: the novel, written as a journal, is addressed to an alien readership; therefore, it's natural that the narrator explains some of the most basic facts of his everyday world.
  • In 1984, Orwell uses the very clever trick of getting the basic facts explained to us by the secret book of the Brotherhood, which works as a subversive primer to the indoctrinated population. Of course, we learn later on that the Brotherhood and the Inner Party are the same, so everything in the book could be wrong too...
  • Subverted in Cowboy Feng's Spacebar and Grille: "Don't tell me what I already know."
  • In Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke, the character Jan Rodricks explains the theory of relativity to his sister in a very long letter, which she should already know, seeing as how this was a highly scientifically advanced society, almost to the point of dystopia.
  • Averted in Dan Simmons' Hyperion and its sequel where almost no technology is ever explained unless there is a very good reason for the character to need the information explained. Most prominently, characters use various sorts of "EMVs" as transport but exactly what EMV stands for is never stated (though it's made clear that they are Electro Magnetic Vehicles).
  • In Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson's Hunters of Dune, the old couple Daniel and Marty do this a lot in the last chapters (when it is revealed that they are really Omnius and Erasmus),
  • This is lampshaded in King Haralds Saga by Snorri Sturluson.

"I will believe in the banner's magic power," said Svein, "only when you have fought three battles against your nephew King Magnus and won all three of them." Harald retorted angrily, "I am well aware of my kinship with Magnus without needing you to remind me of it..."

  • At the very beginning of Harry Potter, Dumbledore and McGonagall have a discussion about things each one of them knows in detail. Of special mention are the specifics of the war they have just been fighting, the introduction of the villain's name, which has a vague justification, and telling Dumbledore he's noble, just to establish him as a good guy in the books. Also, they refer to each other by last names, while they are on first-name terms in later books and have known each other for decades.
    • The scene with Dumbledore and McGonagall differs from most uses of As You Know in two ways: first of all, it's mostly gratuitous, in that most details in that scene relevant to that book are also covered later, being told to Harry directly; and second, it also refers to a lot of things that aren't apparent until later books, like Sirius Black.
    • This also shows up in a peculiar form (you might call it an inversion) partway through Philosopher's Stone, when Hermione is telling Ron and Harry about the Philosopher's Stone, which can be used to achieve immortality. Ron repeats the word "immortal" in surprise, only for Hermione to explain "It means you'll never die," just in case any of the kids in the audience don't know that word. Ron gets indignant and says "I know what it means," because there's really no reason for him not to.
    • In the first chapter of Prisoner of Azkaban, a school textbook Harry is reading feels the need to explain to its readers what "Muggle" means.
    • Somewhat Inverted with Harry Potter's Dementors: every character refers to them as simply "guards of Azkaban" until the chapter where a Dementor first appears. Also, the phrase "Death Eater" never shows up until Goblet of Fire, although in hindsight it would be natural in many previous conversations, e.g about Sirius.
      • In Prisoner of Azkaban, Fudge mentions a team of "hit wizards" sent to arrest Sirius. In the next book, Goblet of Fire, Harry is told these wizards are called "Aurors." In every case, once the actual term is explained to Harry, no character ever refers to them as anything else afterwards.
  • Susanna Clark's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell has an unending supply of footnotes stuffed with as-you-know facts about the world of British magic, as well as strange anecdotes, discussions of magical theories and other "as you might already know but may well find interesting" divergences from the main story.
  • Averted to an almost pathological degree in Catch-22, where characters will often refer to major events like the Loyalty Oath Crusade or the Great Big Siege of Bologna Noodle Incident style for half the book before you get the slightest hint what they're talking about. It doesn't help that the scenes aren't in chronological order.
    • It's the kind of book you might have to read a few times to understand. Luckily, it is good enough to be worth the effort.
  • Dune is as appallingly loaded with As You Know as any book ever written. The chapter where the villain first appears consists entirely of As You Know dialogue, complete with having the villain introduce himself to his chief henchman: "Is it not a magnificent thing that I, the Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, do?"
    • At least they did it with style.
    • Probably justified in that the good Baron in a Large Ham and loves the sound of his own voice Chewing the Scenery.
    • Also, there is a lot of other justified ranting in that chapter. The baron explains to his nephew the plan to take out the Atreides family on Arrakis, which he had never heard before, though he does go into details about Arrakis and other mundane(in world) topics he knew quite well before.
    • The Spice must flow! (usually accompanied by a summary of its multipurpose nature)
  • Lampshaded in a Redwall book where an important tribal custom is explained to the son of the recently deceased chieftain.[1] He yells at the minion telling him this to get to the point.[2]
  • CS Forester neatly justifies it in a couple of places in the Horatio Hornblower books, where a junior officer begins an explanation to a senior officer with an As You Know in order to maintain a properly deferential tone while in fact telling the senior officer something he probably didn't know, but should have known.
  • His Dark Materials averts this. Anything the lead character already knows (i.e. daemons) aren't explained and must be understood by inference (at least until she meets Will, who doesn't know about daemons). Everything that is explained is something that is honestly unknown to Lyra.
  • SF writer Poul Anderson referred to this as an "idiot lecture", in the sense that either the lecturer must be an idiot, or the lecturer must think the lecturee is an idiot. Nevertheless Anderson used the device often at the beginning of short stories, usually to establish historical details when an operative was briefed by a superior. Lampshaded at least once via the lecturee thinking to himself "He must think I'm an idiot!" and similar.
    • In more than one Anderson story, such a speech is delivered to an enemy and reveals something that really ought not to be revealed to an enemy ("and that's why we 'elves' can't stand iron"), followed by "added hastily" in a blatant (yet always successful) attempt to distract from said revelation.
  • Hugo Gernsback's classic SF novel Ralph 124C 41+ frequently uses this phrase to explain how the future works.
  • The T'ang Chinese characters in the Judge Dee mysteries spend a surprising amount of time explaining their own culture and customs to each other for the benefit of the Western readers.
  • The problem is routinely—and hilariously—lampshaded by narrator Bertie Wooster in the Jeeves and Wooster stories by PG Wodehouse, since the plot arcs often span several books.
  • In Otherland, the first meeting between the Grail Brotherhood that the readers see is liberally peppered with As You Know, despite occurring close to the culmination of their Evil Plan. Justified by having Dedoblanco play The Watson by having failed to RTFM, much to the exasperation of Jongleur, the group's leader.
  • About half of Fredric Brown's short story "Keep Out" is one character giving backstory to a group of other characters, including the narrator, who then tells the reader, "Of course we had known a lot of those things already."
  • Justified in the Lord Darcy books, where Master Sean natters on about the underlying principles of whatever spell he uses to examine crime scenes and clues, even though Darcy's surely heard all this before. Darcy actually insists that Sean do this, as it helps him overcome his own innate Muggle mental blocks about how magic operates; plus, as Master Sean is also a professor, he performs best while in classroom-lecture mode.
  • Subverted in the Dresden Files books. Harry has a spirit advisor who informs him of details of magic relating to the particular case he is working on. Usually, Harry either doesn't know about the juicy tidbits, or needs a little help remembering them. The origin of this character is from the author's writing class, where he was told not to make the research assistant he was thinking of a "talking head". His solution? A Talking Skull named Bob. The teachers response? "You think you're funny, don't you?"
  • Played with in The Science of Discworld, where Ponder, speaking to the senior wizards, precedes his explanation of fundamental Discworld physics with "As I'm sure you know", but only out of politeness. A footnote explains that what he actually means is "I'm not sure you know this..."
  • Codex Alera.
    • The fundamentals of furycrafting are presented by Tavi to Max as if it's a necessary refresher because he's such a bad student.
    • The author has noted that there were some significant bits of backstory and world-building that he ended up leaving out or delaying in order to avoid slipping into this trope. He took four books to explain that "-ar" at the end of someone's surname name meant they were illegitimate, and never got round to explaining that the line of Gaius had restarted at "Primus" dozens of times in the past (with Gaius Sextus being the fourth First Lord with that name) because all of the viewpoint characters would have already known all about it from basic history classes.
  • David Foster Wallace mentions this in a footnote in The Pale King, calling it an irksome and graceless dramatic contrivance.
  • Sort of, in Splinter of the Minds Eye. Luke Skywalker, pretending to be a local miner, asks a real local a question about the locale. The response starts with an As You Know - the real local thinks Luke knows the first part of what he's imparting, though just like the readers, he does not.
  • Played with during the last part of George Stewart's Earth Abides. The protagonist, Ish, is now an old man, spending most of his time in a mental fog, cared for by others. When this fog lifts, Ish discusses the current state of the Tribe with Jack, his great-grandson and caretaker. Almost every answer Jack offers is punctuated with, "...as you yourself well know, Ish," even though Ish is, at this point, just about as clueless as the reader.
  • Robert Jordan beat this trope to death with the copious amounts of exposition in his Wheel of Time series to recap events already firmly established in previous novels in the series, many of which was delivered through character dialogue; somewhat justified by the Door Stopper size of the series and difficulty in keeping track of the myriad of dangling plot threads.
  • Subverted in the Sword of Truth books, whenever the scene includes Richard and two other mages. On finding some kind of magical oddity or artifact, the two or more learned mages will start talking to one another, entirely leaving out the "As You Know" bits...until Richard, who barely knows a thing about magic, tells them to stop and explain in terms he can follow.

Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Doctor Who ran into this problem when Romana (another Time Lord who actually was cleverer than the Doctor) travelled with the Doctor. In this case, however, the sheer quality of the two actresses who played Romana meant that few really noticed—plus Romana was meant to be a bit naïve.
    • Ironically, part of the original intention of the companion was to have an Audience Surrogate, so it would be less of an "As You Know?" and more of a "Did You Know?"
    • A particularly bizarre Doctor Who example occurs in the final episode of "The Armageddon Factor", where two incidental characters As You Know a recap of the Doctor's current predicament for the audience's benefit—despite the fact that the Doctor is across the star system and out of contact, and has been for some time: there's no way they could have known the events they relate.
    • Another extremely blatant example is in the serial "Resurrection of the Daleks", when the character rescuing Davros from cyrogenic suspension explains the plot of "Destiny of the Daleks" to him. This doesn't even start As You Know; Davros reacts as if the events that led to him being placed in cryogenic suspension are entirely new to him. To be fair, it was implied that the prolonged period of cryogenic suspension had given Davros partial amnesia, so he needed the recap.
  • Spoofed on the series Allo Allo, in this case, as with the show in general, it was meant to mock the format of wartime dramas of the day. However, as the show was later aired on other networks with episodes out of order, the utterly tongue-in-cheek recaps became somewhat necessary.
    • Even the characters themselves occasionally got confused by what was going on after it was explained to them by another character. The constant shell game with the real and forged copies of the Fallen Madonna (With the Big Boobies) was a particular offender at this.
  • Babylon 5 had a painfully straight instance of this in its pilot.
  • 24: Nearly every episode starts with CTU in a room having a meeting in which they recap the last episode. Lampshaded with Chloe O'Brien, who As You Knows constantly and tactlessly, to the great annoyance of her co-workers.
  • Lampshaded in Life On Mars during an interrogation.

Sam: Guv, you have just used unnecessary restraint on a suspect by handcuffing him to a chair.
Gene: (disgustedly) What are you, the narrator?

    • Why yes, yes he was. He was in fact speaking for the benefit of a concealed microphone.
  • Used straightly, if a little awkwardly, in the first episode of Angel. Since Angel is a spinoff of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, new viewers would not be aware of Angel's intricate backstory. It was worked in by a new character, Doyle, showing off how much he knew about Angel by reciting Angel's life story. It was also played with at the start of the episode, when Angel starts pouring out his life story to a man in a bar, as he's pretending to be drunk while stalking some vampires.
    • Angel lampshades the first one by pointing out to Doyle that yeah, he knows, he was there.
  • Smallville: Chloe stops Clark from leaving so that she can remind him of the very reason that he's leaving, which both he and the audience are well aware of, just so that she can spill a secret to one of Lex's henchmen, secretly listening. This isn't surprising as Chloe is saddled with about 90% of the show's exposition in every episode anyway, so it was only a matter of time before she got sloppy.
    • She does it again, even worse, with the guy who can become invisible. When they have figured out he's evil and Clark needs to stop him and all, Chloe thinks he might have figured Clark's Achilles' Heel since he can become invisible, so she asks him and he is there and finds out. Quite infuriating because she asked "Are you sure he doesn't know you feel bad around meteor rocks?" instead of the safer "Are you sure he doesn't know your weakness?". And made double infuriating by the fact that she had about 2 seasons or so calling them "Kryptonite", and only went back to "meteor rocks" for that one scene.
  • House almost always explains to either his team or to Wilson or to the patients just what and how they were dying. It's perhaps justified by House having an obsession with this, and in one episode, he gets in a bad mood when a dying patient doesn't want to hear what she's dying of. This gives him the epiphany he needed to solve the case and cure her.
    • Mocked in an episode where House stops a surgery by spitting all over the sterile equipment; in case the dimmer members of the audience didn't get the significance, Nurse Exposition points out "There's no way we can do the surgery now!" The exasperated surgeon gives her a withering look and yells "YA THINK?!?"
    • And then for some more metaphors. But these are lampshaded quite often.
  • On Law and Order (and presumably other Law Procedural media), lawyers summarize court opinions to each other. Sometimes a lawyer or judge will explain an opinion to the person who cited it.
    • Pretty much the entire franchise does it, SVU the most painful at it, almost always using it in an As You Know/Idiot Ball/Writer on Board combo.
    • Somewhat justified—lawyers have to be able to distinguish the case's meaning from the facts, and then apply it to their particular situation. And they have to be able to challenge arguments that the case they just cited shouldn't apply. And in the case of the judges, it's often done as a method of interpreting the law based on the arguments of the lawyers (and playing Devil's Advocate in the process by challenging their interpretation), which is partly what judges are supposed to do.
    • Also, judges very often don't read the briefs. Lawyers humor them and summarize the arguments.
  • The CSI detectives are always explaining rudimentary forensics to one another.
    • Lampshaded in the season 10 episode "Working Stiffs". Hodges explains what a machine (D.I.V.A) does while Langston is using it; after Hodges finishes, Langston says, "I know how it works -- I'm doing it." Hodges retorts, "Yes, but it was a lucid and an entertaining explanation of the process."
    • Subverted (well, sort off...) when Nick (IIRC) explains Paul Milander's MO to Greg (the only character at the time not to know about him).
    • This is particularly bad on the spinoffs, where characters have a tendency to explain a scientific concept to each other right after the other character suggests it.
    • Occasionally justified, if the character doing the explaining is implied to be practicing the As You Know for later presentation in court. A jury is bound to need this kind of information, so reviewing how a test works to whomever is at hand could be viewed as practice for testifying about the results in layman's terms.
    • Also justified in the CSI: Miami episode where Tim Speedle got killed; it is determined that he was left momentarily defenseless when his gun jammed; then Caleigh and H begin bantering back and forth that Speed's previously established bad gun maintenance habits might be to blame, but that conclusion would require speculation and "we don't speculate." They're not telling each other stuff they already know; rather, they're rationalizing their decision not to sully Speed's name by implicating him in his own death.
  • In the series The L Word this duty often falls to the gossipy character Alice, who, coincidentally, is a blogger, journalist, and TV personality. She knows everyone else in the show, they tell her what is happening and she occasionally recaps everyone else's life.
  • An episode of Stargate Atlantis uses it so blatantly (starting by emphasising the phrase "as you know") it seems rather like a soliloquy. The fourth wall goes back up as soon as the infodump's finished.
  • This happens all the time in the later seasons of Stargate SG-1 as there's more and more backstory to be filled in as it becomes plot-relevant. Similarly, since Atlantis often runs into situations very similar to ones that have already happened in the Milky Way, there's a lot of exposition required to explain how the previous situation relates to the current one, which most characters would already know.
  • In one last-season episode of Boston Legal, there's a casual mention of "Finlay-Crevette, a law firm you know well". Justified in that Paul's talking to Denny, who has Alzheimer's and may well have forgotten.
  • Friends usually subvertes this by explaining things to a cast member who wasn't there at the time or forgets. For instance, when Joey doesn't remember about Chandler's former roomate, prompting Rachel to explain him (and thus, the audience) how her situation paralleled his. That one worked. Unlike the time Ross (uncharacteristically) forgot about Mark (a chief reason for his relationship with Rachel going to the crapper) and Rachel had to remind him about who he was.
    • In fairness, no one had mentioned Mark for at least five years, and Ross did know who he was once Rachel had jogged his memory.
  • At the beginning of the pilot episode of The Big Bang Theory, the theoretical physicist with a master's degree, two Ph.D.s, and an IQ of 187 is explaining the Double Slit Experiment to the experimental physicist with a Ph.D and an IQ of 173.
    • But it was for a T-Shirt!
    • Sheldon often takes the role of Mr. Exposition, justified in-universe, he's just the kind of guy who likes to explain everything he knows. Also lampshaded when Sheldon tries to teach Raj about his (Raj's) own culture.
  • On Oz, they did this frequently as they went from one storyline to another.
  • Fringe gets away with this pretty well by giving all the As You Know lines to Cloudcuckoolander Walter Bishop. After a few months, everyone else just accepts it and stops trying to remind him that they already know this stuff.
    • Walter has brain damage and spent many years in a mental institution. As a result he forgot a lot of important things he did and is extremely scatterbrained. His use of As You Know speeches is portrayed as him reminding himself that he knows this stuff.
  • Mercilessly parodied in Brass whenever one of the characters needs to remind viewers of the plot.
  • Used in the season 2 finale of Veronica Mars, in which the Big Bad and Veronica take a 5 minute timeout before he tries to kill her, for them to confirm yes, she knows everything. Veronica Mars is smarter than me, so I was thankful and disbelief-suspending, for the explanation
  • On The X-Files, Mulder would often explain the definition of various medical conditions to Scully. Actually, he was explaining it to the audience, but that didn't make it any less silly one considered that Scully was a medical doctor and Mulder wasn't.
  • Dollhouse has a scene with Dewitt explaining how a rich psycho got out of a bunch of crimes, followed by Boyd saying "And by that, do you mean..." and she responds with what she was actually hinting at. After he does it twice she hangs a lampshade on it with "There is no need to continue to translate me."
  • Done a fair amount by Winston in Human Target, although tends to be of the form "Now, remember..." or "Here's the plan..." although it's something the putative listener wouldn't forget or already knows.
  • Star Trek

Spock: As we know, the value of pi is a transcendental figure without resolution. The computer banks will work on this problem to the exclusion of all else until we order it to stop.

    • Star Trek: The Next Generation
      • In the episode "The Pegasus", Admiral Erik Pressman briefs Captain Picard and Commander Riker on the loss of his former ship, the USS Pegasus. He chooses to open his briefing with the words "as you know..." and then proceeds to tell Picard and Riker what they already know. Picard chimes in with an "I remember reading about that", and continues to tell the story of the Pegasus for the benefit of no one else in the scene.
      • Subverted in the episode "Code of Honour", where Picard starts to describe events in Earth history, before lampshading the fact that as the captain he's "Entitled to ramble on about something everyone knows"
  • How I Met Your Mother usually averts this by having future Ted provide an explanation for his kids, but sometimes it's played straight, often lampshaded.

"We know, Barney, we were there."

  • Done especially badly in the TV movie Rose RED (film), when Sister notices that the roses in the greenhouse are blooming and gasps in disbelief, "They're coming to life again!". Presumably Easy Amnesia is to blame, as she's the one who'd pointed out this very phenomenon to the same character in the previous episode, and hadn't even been surprised about it then (because her psychic little sister makes such things happen all the time). This is particularly jarring when the miniseries is played in its entirety on the same day, as these two scenes are shown less than an hour apart.
  • An annoying one from the second episode of Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger had the team telling the story of how they were put in stasis by their tribes in case of Bandora's return. It's abundantly clear that everyone in the room knows the story.
  • This shows up on Monty Python's Flying Circus, complete with blatant fourth-wall breaking:

Psychiatrist: Er, nurse!
Receptionist: Yes?
Psychiatrist: (whispering) Er, you don't think you should make it clear that I'm a psychiatrist?
Receptionist: What?
Psychiatrist: Well, I could be any type of doctor.
Receptionist: Well I can't come in and say "Psychiatrist Larch" or "Dr Larch who is a psychiatrist". Oh, anyway, look, it's written on the door.
Psychiatrist: (still whispering) That's outside.
Receptionist: Well, I don't care, you'll just have to do it yourself.
Psychiatrist: (goes "brr brr", then picks up phone) Hello. Er, no, wrong number I'm afraid, this is a psychiatrist speaking.

    • Also Lampshaded in the sketch about painting the Last Supper where the bishop introducing Michalangelo to the Pope launches into a recitation of Michalangelo's history before being cut off by the Pope.
  • Poorly done in the recent Chopped Championship. Each round featured chefs who had won an episode in the past. So host Ted Allen starts off with "I'm sure you remember the rules..." before going right into his standard rules script.
  • In order for viewers of The West Wing to know what the hell was the significance of any of the laws/political issues/etc. the characters were talking about, someone, (usually Donna, who was both politically inexperienced and very inquisitive) would ask someone else to explain the issue, in the vein of interns on ER. Although the writers of The West Wing usually described this trope as a necessary evil, they occasionally could get pretty creative with it, such as leaving the audience intentionally in the dark for a good chunk of the episode, only showing the characters' reactions to the mysterious problem, which resulted in the audience either waiting for the point to be revealed or trying to puzzle out Noodle Implements, making for a more suspenseful episode and lots of Genius Bonuses. Or they sometimes would forego the explain-to-the-non-expert version in favor of a character being out of the loop for various reasons and humorously trying to bluff knowledge, or having someone (usually Toby) rant about the issue at length, providing exposition but not just exposition.
  • Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman: Colleen, trying to stop Jake from shooting Sully: "He saved your life! Those Indians wanted to kill you after you accidentally shoot one of them, and he persuaded them not to! You owe him your life."
  • The first episode of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers used the "introduction by name" version; the five Rangers-to-be are all mentioned by name in the first fifteen seconds.
  • This might be the reason why the characters in My So-Called Life were almost always referred to by full name. Although it does happen in high schools, considering your social circle can technically extend to include all of the students at your school, and all of the students that have graduated in the last two years. There are a lot of Jordans at a school of 5,000.
  • Lampshaded in She Spies episode 16:

Jack: It goes without saying...
Cassie: Then why say it?
Jack: What?
Cassie: Whatever it was you were about to say.
Jack: Because it needs to be said.
DD: Not if it goes without saying.
Jack: But it's very important information.
Shane: It's already been said.
Jack: Yes.
DD: To us?
Jack: Of course.
Cassie: So you're just saying it for the benefit of someone who might be watching who didn't hear you say it before?
(pause) Jack: I guess I am.
(on other phone) Jack: Dr. Frankel, it's happening again. The unshakeable feeling I'm a sidekick whose only purpose is to give exposition in an action-adventure show.

    • And in episode 20:

Cassie: What a day, huh?! Parachuting into a cemetery because the (?) was being guarded and it was the only way in, and exposing a deadly double agent who was trying to elude capture by faking his own death and being buried with an oxygen tank only to be dug up later.
DD: We knew all that, you know.
Cassie: Oh, I know. I was just saying that for anyone who might have been wondering why we were going through all the trouble.
Shane: Who would be wondering?
Cassie: I don't know, anyone.
Cassie: Look, I never told you guys this. It's kind of embarrassing. But sometimes I get the weirdest feeling that people are watching us. Like they're listening in on every single thing we do or say.
Shane: Hey, I get that feeling too.
DD: So do I.
[[[Aside Glance]] They all look at the camera.]

  • Played with in Porridge, in the episode "Pardon Me", with Barrowclough informing the prison governor of a way they can get out of a huge media event over one of the prisoners' proposed hunger strike. Instead, they can simply pardon said prisoner (his goal). Barrowclough prefaces every statement about the Penal Code with "As I'm sure you know ...", but only out of politeness; it's patently obvious that the prison governor does not know:

Barrowclough: There may be a way out of this, you see, a solution to our problem. As I'm sure you're ... well aware, given your deep knowledge of the Penal Code.
Governor: Yeeeeesss ... Refresh my memory, would you, Mr Barrowclough, please?
Barrowclough: Well, you see, it's Subsection 23, Part 3, Paragraph D.
Governor: Yes, D, of course, D ... Jog my memory again, would you, Mr Barrowclough?
Barrowclough: Well, as I'm sure you ... know, sir ...

Frasier: Dear God, she believes they're genuine sapphires.
Martin: [sarcastic] Gee, ya think?

  • Game of Thrones has a lot of exposition, given the amount of plot, backstory and worldbuilding that it has to get through. Often times it's given to characters with a reason for not knowing the information, while other times, they're saying it to people who already do.
    • Jaime mentions the fact that he's Cersei's brother during their first conversation.
    • Pycelle asks Ned if he knows that Varys is a eunuch. Ned somewhat defensively says that everyone knows that.
  • Near the end of the first season of True Blood, Bill is forced to turn someone. He is asked if he knows how to do it, and responds that, though he has never done it personally, he knows how to do it. The next few scenes consist of vampires explaining how it works, with Bill repeatedly telling them that he knows how it works.
  • Supernatural has a very awkward exposition scene in the pilot that consists of Sam describing his life story to Dean, despite the fact that Dean grew up with him so already knows all of this. Eric Kripke has admitted that he regrets writing this scene, and that when he watches it he just wants Dean to interrupt and say "I know! I was there!"
    • Especially in the first series, the brothers have very hammy conversations about hunting methods which should be utterly basic to them - two people who have been monster hunting all their lives. For example, every single mention of salt comes with an entire explanation that it slows down spirits, regardless of how many times it's been in an episode before.
  • Lampshaded on Seinfeld when they abandoned Negative Continuity in season 4.

JERRY: I mean, the whole thing is ironic. Think of it: Here the guy is nice enough to give you a box of very fine Cuban cigars...
GEORGE: Yeah, I know what happened.
JERRY: No, but wait, wait: And then you dump them off onto Kramer...
GEORGE: I know.
JERRY: ...Who proceeds to burn the man's cabin down with one of those very same cigars! It's very comical.

  • Used rather blatantly in Sons of Anarchy when Clay returns a bloody knife to the man he's been blackmailing, which factored into events of the previous season. Clay then explains that it's a murder weapon with the man's fingerprints on it, like you could forget something like that. The man snaps that he knows what it is.
  • In the second episode of Young Blades, D'Artagnan recaps the events of the first episode by telling Jacqueline, in the tone of a lecture, "But we must never forget, even for a moment, that you are a fugitive, wanted for murder." Most of the other episodes have a short dialogue where Jacqueline and D'Artagnan remind each other that Jacqueline is a woman disguised as a man, in case the audience didn't notice.
  • Played with in Yes Minister. Not having read the papers, Jim Hacker often seems to know as much as the audience, but tries to hide it from his officials. In "A Victory For Democracy", notably, neither Hacker, sir Humphrey or Bernard seem to precisely know what is happening (or where St. George's Island is). The trope's name is invoked during a conversation between Humphrey and the Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs, with Humphrey mainly making educated guesses and agreeing with whatever is said.
  • In episode 2 of Luck, Ace has a rather awkward monologue explaining why he was in prison. They actually try to sell us on the idea that the person he's talking to (his bodyguard and best friend) wouldn't already know this, but it's very hard to believe.
  • Sunset Beach in absolute spades. "Since you were almost killed by that tidal wave you've been... preoccupied, to say the least."


Radio[edit | hide]

  • Frequent in radio drama, where characters not only have to detail the back-story, but frequently have to describe things everyone there can see.
  • Spoofed in the I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue spin-off The Doings of Hamish and Dougal:

Dougal: Well, here we are on London's busy Oxford Street.
Hamish: Why did you say that?
Dougal: Well, it doesn't do any harm.

  • The Audio Adaptation of The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents is, for much of the time, narrated by Maurice himself. Towards the end, it becomes apparent that he's telling the story to Dangerous Beans. Who a) was right there for most of it and b) is mostly dead.
  • Warhorses of Letters used this extensively and knowingly.
    • “You must remember that all horses are arbitrarily given the same birthday, January 4th. Oh wait...you do not have to remember, as you are also a horse.”


Theater[edit | hide]

  • Spoofed as early as Plautus's The Braggart Soldier (2nd century BC): Palaestrio insists on explaining the plan to Acroteleutium again; she repeatedly protests that she's not an idiot and not only does she understand the plan, she actually devised much of it. Similarly, the exposition in The Brothers Menaechmus is presented in such a ludicrous manner (essentially, "Tell me, Menaechmus, what have we been doing for the last six years?") that it's obviously a big wink to the audience.
  • The classic instance is in the Play Within a Play in Sheridan's The Critic. Hatton asks Raleigh what the military preparations for the Spanish attack mean, and Raleigh replies in a series of speeches all beginning with the assertion that "You know...", while Hatton agrees that he indeed knows. Finally Mr. Dangle interrupts to ask "as he knows all this, why does Sir Walter go on telling him?" Mr. Puff retorts that "the audience are not supposed to know anything of the matter, are they?..... Here, now you see, Sir Christopher did not in fact ask any one question for his own information."
  • The first act of the musical Spring Awakening ends with the two main characters having sex on stage. In case, during intermission, the audience forgets this, the opening of the second act is them still going at it. (The continuous action is used to inform the audience that no time has passed since Act I, unlike in many if not most plays and musicals, time passes between acts.)
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream. When Oberon explains to Puck for the audience's benefit that fairies do not vanish when the sun rises.
  • Shakespeare does this to establish location, since the theatres of his time didn't have painted scenery. "So, this is the forest of Arden!" "Yes, now are we in Arden."

"As I remember, Adam..."

    • The Merchant of Venice: "'Tis not unknown to you, Antonio/How much I have disabled mine estate..."
    • The opening lines (not counting the Frame Story) of The Taming of the Shrew have Lucentio telling his servant, Tranio, all about how he was born in Pisa, raised in Florence, and has now arrived in Padua to study the arts. (He even tells Tranio all about what a great, trustworthy servant he is, just so we're aware.) Made even more ludicrous later in the play, when we find out that Tranio has been living with Lucentio's family since he was three years old.
  • Lampooned unmercifully by Tom Stoppard in The Real Inspector Hound by Mrs. Drudge, (The Help). Virtually every single line she has is an As You Know. A sample:

Mrs Drudge: (to Simon Gascoyne) I'm Mrs Drudge. I don't live-in, but I pop in on my bicycle when the weather allows to help in the running of charming though somewhat isolated Muldoon Manor. Judging by the time (she glances at the clock) you did well to get here before high water cut us off for all practical purposes from the outside world.

  • Cyrano De Bergerac: In Act V Scene I, we have the conversation of two supporting characters, Sister Claire and Mother Margarita: The first ask Mother Margarita if Cyrano has been visiting Roxane in the nunnery for the last decade, and Mother Margarita answers that it has been for 14 years… a question that is for the audience benefit.
  • In Return to the Forbidden Planet the second act starts with a news reporter giving a recap of the first act. After the recap the action really starts with a repeat of the last scene from act 1.
  • Happens a few times in Medea. Mostly for the audience's sake, although at one point Medea and Jason have an argument where they each recount the backstory again from their point of view.


Video Games[edit | hide]

"Yeah, thanks for giving me a tour of my own office."

  • In the Babylon 5: I've Found Her game tutorial this was deftly lampshaded: engineer filling in (instead of instructor) explained controls to presumably experienced pilot as introduction to new craft, with implications of Newtonian dynamics smuggled in as reminder about consequences of said craft's propulsion superiority.
  • In a (deeply failed) attempt to reduce this in Metal Gear Solid 2, Kojima came up with the idea of making the player character a character who didn't know, allowing the other characters to tell the player things that the main character would already know. For the segment where the main character was the one receiving the exposition, it was compensated for by the fact that the person giving the Info Dump was a compulsive nag. The whole thing failed miserably, however—partly because everyone hated the new guy, and partly because Kojima infodumps are so turgid that As You Know actually makes them more accessible.
  • Used by Force Commander Indrick Boreale in Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War: Soulstorm. "As you know, most of our Battle Brothers...." He reminds his Space Marines of the reinforcements waiting in orbit to be used against enemy forces invading their stronghold. However, due to the weird timing and accent, it ends up sounding hilarious. (see here: http://1d4chan.org/wiki/Indrick_Boreale)
    • Also of note is the Imperial Guard mission, where a Commissar tries to pull this on General Vance Stubbs and fails miserably.

Commissar: Tank crew, munitions, and parts are arriving on schedule sir. As you know, it takes only the most highly trained crew to properly operate a--
Stubbs: I know.
Commissar: ...Very good general."

  • This trope is used to explain the Zero Gravity mechanic to the player character in Dead Space. It's especially weird however, because the player would have already dealt with zero gravity by that point and the character himself has operated in that kind of environment for a good few years!
    • Where you are given the As You Know sequence is the first time the player encounters Zero-G, so it's justified in that part. Second, Isaac is being told what that is because that's the first time he's been in the Ishimura, and Hammond doesn't know that Isaac knew all of that (he's a systems engineer).
    • Hammond probably does know, given that the first thing he says in this explanation is "as you know". It seems especially clumsy when you consider that prior to this the game was fairly up-front about just having tutorial text pop up on screen (best example: Isaac's RIG projecting text and an audio recording telling him how to stomp). Useful for players, absolutely silly in terms of story and immersion.
    • Made even more jarring is the fact that Hammond had just been complaining that the radio was full of static moments before. However, his "As you know..." transmission comes through loud and clear. Immediately after Hammond's perfectly clear transmission, tutorial text pops up telling you how to jump in Zero-G.
  • Half-Life 2. Some of the info dump comes from people who are not in their right minds and who tend to babble.
    • Also subverted in the fact that you, without hunting down the clues yourself, never really find out how the world reached the state it's in.
    • However, from the original Half-Life's manual:

"As you know, Dr. Kleiner, your former professor at the Massachusets Institute of Technology, ..."

  • Slightly awkwardly averted in the Ace Attorney games. The first case in each game requires the player to get a quick introduction to the gameplay details. This makes perfect sense in the first game, but requires some hoop-jumping to be plausible in subsequent games, considering they star the same main character who is obviously a seasoned lawyer at that point. The second game featured a convenient bout of amnesia, whereas the third one was actually a flashback to the second case of Mia Fey, Phoenix's mentor (strangely enough, when you actually get to play her first case she doesn't get any As You Know assistance). The fourth game introduced a new protagonist, Apollo Justice- but you can actually skip the tutorial here.
    • The Miles Edgeworth spin-off uses his partner, Clueless Detective Gumshoe, as The Watson handle this. It still sometimes has some odd things, like several characters hamhandedly reminding Edgeworth how to use logic. Yes, I think he's got that down pat, thanks.
  • Done to death in Infinite Undiscovery. Every other scene, someone is stopping to explain to the main character something that the rest of the cast takes for common knowledge.
  • Shuji Ikutsuki does verbatum in Persona 3. "As you know, I can't summon a persona." Of course, he's Mr. Exposition. At least, in the beginning part of the game.
  • Used in Knights of the Old Republic 1 and played with in 2. The first NPC you meet in KotOR 1 spends a few minutes telling you things your character would obviously know unless the Jedi mind-wipe only just cleared up. In 2, however, in many cases it is avoided as your character can respond in ways that imply you know the information, given that they have a real history with a lot of the events mentioned.
    • Also, in the first game, there are limits to what the first NPC will tell you before even he starts to think it's stupid. Specifically, he'll react to your not recognising the name of the ship you're on (which the player can only guess at that point and so may well ask about).
  • In Phantasy Star II, the first person you meet hits you with a triple whammy: "Good morning, <player>. How are you? Almost two years have passed since you started working for me, the Commander of Mota. As you know, Algo has been brought up by Mother Brain..."
  • Fallen into in the unskibbable tutorial in Final Fantasy XII, which seems perfectly plausible until you realize that while you as the player really need the information on basic controls, your current character is a soldier in the middle of battle who really should not have to be told how to attack enemies, open gates, and run away from battle. The military cannot have been that desperate.
  • Paper Mario as well as Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga occasionally did this during the tutorials with characters asking if they needed to explain things and otherwise say things like "Oh sorry, of course you know how to do that! Silly me!" (After all, He Knows About Timed Hits.)
  • Subverted in Final Fantasy VII. Cloud can enter a tutorial hall to brush up on the basics, but when NPCs offer to give him pointers, he will decline and instead offer to teach them. He makes it clear that he knows his stuff.
  • Rather Egregious in Quest for Glory III, which literally begins with an "As you know..." where the events of the second game are related to the main character, who actually caused all of them to happen. Either he has Swiss cheese memory, or Aziza does.
  • Lampshaded in Dark Cloud: At one point it's necessary to ask your mother what furniture was in your house before the start of the game. She tells you, but also wonders aloud why you can't remember what your own house is supposed to look like.
  • Done in the Mass Effect games. Much of it is optional, and there are things brought up that it's not unreasonable to believe your character is unfamiliar with, but once in a while, you can ask about something your character really should know all about. Though often, if you do that, the NPC you're talking to will be surprised at your ignorance about the topic.
  • Your engineer and personal shopkeeper in Red Faction Guerrilla, Samanya, is all about this trope. Because you'll be popping in to buy upgrades roughly every twenty to forty minutes throughout the campaign, the game feels that this is a good time to remind you of vital plot points. Unfortunately this can lead to Sam telling you that the Hydra is coming and that we're all doomed about thirty times, and the player character Mason demonstrates repeatedly through his actions that he's aware of the plot points in question.
  • In Kingdom Hearts II, if you choose to hear the Struggle rules during the prologue, the NPC who explains them will begin "You already know the rules, but a refresher can't hurt."
  • Similarly in Final Fantasy X. Tidus is an accomplished blitzball player; before the big game, Wakka offers him a recap of the rules of Blitzball. Slight modification in that since Tidus is slouching and looks rather bored in the scene afterward, it's implied he wasn't really paying attention and that Wakka was just drilling his team, who are uniformly awful.
  • Mega Man Battle Network: How many times has Lan gone through some sort of homework assignment, field trip, lecture from his dad, etc., learning the basics of battling against a bunch of Mettaurs? Slightly justified in the first game that he hasn't done any serious net battling yet—though it's implied he's still rather knowledgeable on the subject—but it gets increasingly odd as the series goes on seeing as how he's used these exact skills to save the world multiple times before...
  • In Jade Empire, you, the senior student at the Two Rivers school of martial arts, can quiz a junior student serving as a guard for information on health, chi, focus and other topics
  • If you Talk to Froderick in A Vampyre Story, you don't have a conversation with him then and there; instead, Mona has a flashback to when they were just shooting the breeze and doing nothing in particular. The conversation is laden with exposition, but, bafflingly, Mona has chosen to flask back to a conversation where she and Froderick were talking about stuff they already know; particularly the story of how the two met, which Froderick seems to be getting a little sick of telling over and over.
  • In the new Goblin starting area of World of Warcraft, Sassy Hardwrench tells your character things about their life that they should already know about themselves. That you're in the running to be a Trade Prince and that you're very close to doing so.
    • Justified a bit more in the Gnome starting area. A couple characters give you some pointers about Gnomish culture and the more important Gnomes around, then mention that they're telling you this because the radiation in the city you had just escaped from could have resulted in memory loss.
  • Tales of the Abyss: The main character was a sheltered aristocrat that had never seen outside the walls of his mansion, thus forcing the other characters to explain to him the most basic information on the universe.
  • In L.A. Noire, when you are playing as Jack Kelso, the receptionist at his place of work tells him where to find his own office.
  • Sam and Max Freelance Police has this due to how much continuity piles up in Telltale Games. Lampshaded in "The Penal Zone", when Grandpa Stinky complains about Sam doing this.

Sam: Max is all short term memory; I occasionally have to bring him back up to speed.
Max: Aah! GIANT TALKING DOG!


Web Animation[edit | hide]

  • Parodied somewhat in Red vs. Blue, where the exposition is for another character's benefit rather than the audience. Church, Tucker and Tex are held at gunpoint by Wyoming. Church uses his radio to try and surreptitiously tell Caboose what's going on, but none of the other characters present know he's doing this and can only wonder why he's suddenly become "the narrator".
    • Par for Caboose, he fails at figuring out the massive hints.

Church:(deadpan) We're at Red Base. Wyoming. You found us and are holding us prisoner. At the Red Base. Wyoming.
Caboose: Uh, Red Base, no, I'm in the ship.

  • Parodied in the Homestar Runner cartoon "A Decemberween Pageant". It opens with Homestar talking to Marzipan about how the night of the titular pageant has arrived "After all the weeks and weeks of rehearsing and practicing and memorizing lines," when Marzipan tells him "Homestar, I don't think those are your lines." A Reveal Shot shows Homestar and Marzipan are standing on the stage, and Homestar has been delivering his exposition in the middle of the performance.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Spoofed/lampshaded repeatedly in the webcomic Order of the Stick. At one point, Elan compliments Roy for working the exposition into his angry tirade so smoothly. (He also cries at weddings, but only when there's really good exposition.)
  • Spoofed in Killroy and Tina here with a fourth wall lampshading.
  • Lampshaded in Starslip Crisis:

Admiral: I know what it is! There was no reason for you to say that out loud!

  • In Darths and Droids, the character playing R2-D2 gives an awesome recap in this strip.
    • Darths and Droids is absolutely full of this stuff, as one of the characters or NPCs regularly recaps the convoluted Idiot Plot resulting from the players' actions.
  • Jokes about recaps are one of the most common running themes on Sluggy Freelance: an As You Know is never played straight. Some jokes played on the concept include:
    • "Quit recapping and keep your eyes on the road!"
    • The legacy of the ancient Greek island of Wrekappe, home of the primeval festival that eventually became America's Thanksgiving, is upheld by the Recappers, warriors dressed as pilgrims who will recap at the slightest opportunity.
    • "But Sweral, you quit your recapping habit years ago!"
  • A footnote in Intragalactic lampshades this here.

"... this is more or less the equivalent of a customs inspector lecturing people on what an orange is."

  • Played for drama and done very well in this Goblins strip.
    • Goblins also has "As you know Bob comic strips" consisting of nothing but info-dumps....
  • Lampshaded in one of Dinosaur Comics' many Alternate Reality panels;

"Wow, personal jetpacks are so compact, efficient, safe and easy to control!"
"Uh, obviously I already know that, we live in the same universe! Duhhh..."

Alien: Hey, Boss? We know all this.
Head Alien: Hush. I enjoy this.

"My master spared your life and allowed your 'children' to remain in hell as long as you acted as The Grim Reaper."
"Yes, I remember. I also remember your punishment for abandoning your post. He decapitated, cursed and order you to help fulfil my promise in disguise.
"Rub it in, why don't you?"
"Sorry, I thought we were supposed to explain things we already knew to each other."


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • In the first episode of Cause of Death, it seems the killer is about to tell the audience and the man why he's come to the house, but then simply drops the subject and then kills him. Brutally.
  • Spoofed in Shrove Tuesday Observed's "If All Stories Were Written Like Science Fiction Stories".

“There are more people going to San Francisco today than I would have expected,” he remarked.
“Some of them may in fact be going elsewhere,” she answered. “As you know, it’s expensive to provide airplane links between all possible locations. We employ a hub system, and people from smaller cities travel first to the hub, and then to their final destination. Fortunately, you found us a flight that takes us straight to San Francisco.”

  • Repeatedly lampshaded in A Very Potter Musical. Their first scene together features Quirrell doing an Expospeak of their plan for the audience, to which Voldemort replies "Yesss, no one must know any of that." Whenever Quirrell delivers some bit of exposition to Voldemort, Voldemort replies, "I know, Quirrel! I hear everything you hear!"
    • Also:

Hermoine: Professor Snape, what exactly is the point of this lecture?
Snape: Oh, just important things that ALL of you should know. *points to a person in the audience* Especially YOU!

  • In Linkara's review of Uncanny X-Men #424, he mentions how the Church of Humanity decides the best time to discuss their plan even though they would undoubtedly know about it is just before the X-Men arrive.
  • How David Weber orders pizza.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • An episode of Duckman also Lampshades this practice. A character from an earlier episode returns, and Charles/Mambo (siamese twins who have one body with two heads) tell Duckman it's that woman he used to date, who used to be hideous but became gorgeous through plastic surgery and left him. Duckman responds to the effect of "Don't you think I know that?", to which the twins respond with "That wasn't for you. That was exposition for the 99.9 percent of the audience who are usually out have a life on Saturday night instead of staying home and flipping through obscure cable channels hoping to catch a little softcore pornography"
    • Another example: To suggest how ordinary his life is, Duckman describes the ironically ridiculous premise of the show to Cornfed in one sentence: "I'm just another duck detective, who works with a pig and lives with the twin sister of his dead wife, has three sons on two bodies, and a comatose mother-in-law whose got so much gas she's fire hazard."
    • Bernice: "As I explained to you before and will repeat now, not as clunky exposition but just because it feels so damn good..."

Expositor: (yelling to everyone in earshot) Make way for the Princess of Dendron! Make way for the Princess of Dendron!
Duckman: Thanks for the exposition. Who's tall, dark and creepy?
Expositor: Beware! Beware! That is the Sultan's Fahaer Achmed Amazher. An evil man full of tricks and tourchers and torments. It is said when the moon is full he...
Duckman: All right. Thank you. We'll be in touch. (dismissing the character who has completed his purpose and will not appear gain)

  • Subverted in an episode of Justice League Unlimited, where Flash, in Lex's body, asks for an As You Know recap from Dr. Polaris over the "Big Plan". Polaris, on the other hand, is angry that "Luthor" couldn't remember the plan he announced to them that morning.
  • In Kim Possible, Drakken is very fond of this trope. It is Lampshaded by Shego in the episode "Clean Slate".

Drakken: Shego, at last! Pure nanotronium is mine! The smallest, most powerful energy source known to m--
Shego: Are you for real? I was with you. I know what it is, Dr. Exposition.

  • Spoofed on the old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. In the episode "Super Rocksteady and Mighty Be-Bop", Shredder explains that he had to entrust the job of setting up a mind-control device to his bungling mutant lackeys Rockstead and Bebop because they're immune to the device, while Shredder would fall under its sway if he set it off himself.

Krang: You don't have to explain it to me! I invented it, remember?
Shredder: I wasn't explaining it to you... (he points to the audience) I was explaining it to them.

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender features Sokka bumbling through an explanation of his battle plan, finally getting so nervous that he just starts recapping the entire series, getting to the sixth episode before his father steps in.
    • The show featured some elegantly natural subversions or Lampshade Hanging, as well: in the very first episode, Katara irately tries to exposit at Sokka, who cuts her off with an "I know, I know..." before delivering the exposition himself. Similarly, Zuko asks Azula a question almost anyone in-universe would know the answer to, prompting her to ask "Didn't you pay attention in school?" while giving the exposition anyway.
    • It was even exploited by the villains. While disguised as Kyoshi Warriors, Ty Lee and Mai gave some quite clunky exposition to each other. After a spy scurried off to give this information to his boss, it was revealed they knew he was listening, and wanted to leak their identities.
  • Lampshaded in The Simpsons episode "24 Minutes" (which was a 24 parody), where Lisa begins some exposition...

Lisa: Principal Skinner, as we both know but you may need reminding, the Bake Sale represents 90% of the school's annual revenue...

    • Spoofed outright in another episode in which Homer needlessly recounts step-by-step his purchase of an ice cream cone with no plot significance whatsoever, to his family, who were there, a few minutes ago. And when he's called out for it by Bart, he starts narrating this very same dialogue that just happened, before being interrupted by the plot.
    • "I hope nothing unsavory happens during my visit. As you know, I am the president of the United States."
    • Another obvious spoof:

Homer: Well, here we are at the Brad Goodman lecture.
Lisa: We know, Dad.
Homer: I just thought I'd remind everybody. After all, we did agree to attend this self-help seminar.
Bart: What an odd thing to say.

    • And yet again:

Marge: How exciting! Watching a movie outside with the whole town!
Comic Book Guy: Yes, thank you for talking to all of us like we just tuned in.

  • Spoofed in an episode of Freakazoid!, during a conversation that came with captions indicating which of the statements were "IMPORTANT" or "NOT IMPORTANT". The As You Know conversation eventually degraded into spewing frivolous things like "I'm wearing blue socks" (captioned with "NOT IMPORTANT") and "You know, if you mix baking soda and vinegar together, you can make a little volcano." ("NOT IMPORTANT... BUT INTERESTING")
  • This comes up rather often in Code Lyoko Season 1, since the series starts In Medias Res. Jérémie is usually the one stuck with frequently reminding his friends about information that they would already know—like the basic properties of the world of Lyoko, the monsters' stats, the fact that they couldn't let anyone die before a Return to the Past or that their main goal is to materialize Aelita.
  • On American Dad Francine is talking to her sister while Stan eavesdrops and calls her "sis", then remarks how strange it is for her to call her that, then mentions her age and where they grew up for no reason.

Francine: I didn't know what to do, sis! What? I've never called you "sis" before? You're right, it is oddly clunky and expositional. I mean, I know you're my sister, so who am I saying it for?

    • In another episode, "Stan's Night Out", CIA agent Dick discovers that his car is on Fernando Jaramillo's property.

Everyone: (gasps)
Stan: Oh, good, we all know who Fernando Jaramillo is, so we don't have to waste time explaining it to each other!
Janitor: (appearing from nowhere) I don't know who he is...
Stan: Oh, well let me explain it to you...

    • In a different episode, we have this exchange:

Hayley: They think you're Kevin Bacon!
Roger: Yes, Hayley, I understand things that happen around me.

    • In yet another episode ("You Debt Your Life"):

Hayley: You saved Roger's life? I guess you guys are even now.
Stan: "Even"?
Halley: Yeah, you know; the life debt.
[Everyone remembers]
Francine: I understand too, Hayley, but would you explain it anyway? I love to hear things summarized.

Captain: You know what that means Stormy? (Stormy nods)
Someone else: But I don't know, Captain, what does it mean?

  • The Fairly OddParents makes fun of this trope whenever a character comes back and some exposition is needed for any viewers who aren't up to date. Rather than simply say the character's name, Mr. or Ms. Exposition also has to spout out a long-winded explanation of who they are. The most blatant example is when they explained to the audience that Mark was an alien and now living on Earth disguised as a human, even going so far as to have Timmy place a device in front of the fourth wall that lets the viewer see Mark under his disguise.
  • Family Guy, Quagmire's "That one was also sexual" line. Initially it looks like Don't Explain the Joke, but according to the DVD commentary, it was a spoof of characters saying things that no one would really say to explain the plot, like "I can't wait for the bake sale this afternoon!"
  • Futurama lampshades this by having Bender defeating Elzar on an episode of Iron Chef, then pulling back to show him turning off the TV as his win is being broadcast.

Bender: And that's how I defeated Elzar!
Leela: We know. We were there. And we just got done watching it again on TV.

    • Subverted by Cubert: "As you probably already DON'T know..."
  • Occasionally justified in Chaotic since Tom started out as a newbie, so he shouldn't have known about some of the things in Chaotic and Perm. But everytime a piece of battle gear more complex than a torwig (jetpack) or a creature special ability is used someone has to explain it. The forehead slapping begins however, in that in order to make it to Chaotic, one must become highly ranked in the online card competitions.
  • Lampshaded in Chowder. After Chowder asks Mung several questions pertaining to the plot, Chowder asks him why he asks so many questions. Mung replies that it's the easiest way for their loyal fanbase to learn about the episode's plot.

Chowder: (waving to the screen) Hi, loyal fanbase!

  • In the episode High Noon of Gargoyles, when the Weird Sisters show up at the end they spend the entire scene explaining to each other why they orchestrated everything they did in that episode.
    • Although to be fair, they did it in a way that just raised further questions and heightened the sense of mystery for the viewers.
  • 1973/74 Superfriends episode "Too Hot To Handle". Professor Von Knowalot explains basic solar system astronomy to the Superfriends.

Professor: As you know, all the planets revolve around the Sun, staying in their precise orbits because of a delicate balance - a balance between the Sun's gravitational pull on the planets and the centrifugal force trying to pull the planets away as they speed around the Sun. If this delicate balance between the Earth and the Sun was upset, we might fly away from our own solar system.

  • On The Boondocks, Huey sets up a Noodle Incident as to how "because of [Ed Wuncler Sr.], [Huey] gave a girl a 'permanent and severe limp'". Grandad even says "Look, nobody needs to be reminded of that tragic day you gave that girl a 'permanent severe limp'" right before telling the story.
  • The Transformers Prime recap episode "Grill" gives a decent justification. Agent Fowler is being interrogated for what happened with Nemesis Prime, and he's giving a report not only to his direct superior, but is also being recorded for the sake of those higher up the chain of command. The guy he's speaking to knows what's going on, but the people who would be watching the video wouldn't necessarily.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Talking like this can be a hazard of the teaching profession, as relating things to students who don't know things can become such a habit that you slip into "lecture mode", even with colleagues already aware of the facts.
    • This trope can also be justified for students: asking someone to explain something you already know is one way of testing whether they know it. If the student does know, explaining something to someone that already knows it will naturally follow.
    • This is also a rather standard occurence in places with a 'spiral' school system. That is, every few years every subject comes back with a bit more detail and a bit more backgrounds and a bit different connections. As in: "We did tell you about this a few years ago. This is what we left out." Which will usually result in being told about any given subject multiple times, all but the first of them starting with a short re-introduction to the subject, frequently done in an 'as you know' style.
  • This trope is the entire "purpose" of the Swedish word ju. It is used when stating a fact that you assume that other party to already be a familiar with:

Swedish: Bussen anländer ju klockan nio.
English: The bus does arrive at nine o'clock, as you know.

    • It is often used needlessly.
  • "As you know" is often used in business correspondence to avoid insulting the recipient's intelligence, especially when the writer is not sure whether or not the recipient actually knows the information. It is especially common when at least one of the writer and the recipient is Japanese and can sometimes become an empty formalism.
  • "You have just plugged a device into the audio jack"
  • Used a great deal in politics to convince the audience that they've always agreed with the candidate "As you all know my opponent hates freedom and only I can save this nation." Crowd: "Oh yeah, we, uh, knew that."
  1. For the record, there's a sword with a wavy edge (the sea) and a straight one (the land). The chieftain throws the sword, and whichever side lands up determines the way they travel
  2. The minion is showing him how make the sword land the way he wants it to