Dispense with the Pleasantries

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Jerjerrod: Lord Vader, this is an unexpected pleasure. We're honored by your presence.

Vader: You may dispense with the pleasantries, commander. I'm here to put you back on schedule.

So let's say a conversation that's supposed to be about a particular subject is starting up. Perhaps it's part of a meeting at work. Perhaps you're being confronted about something you did in the past. Perhaps you're just chatting with a friend who is hell-bent on quickly discussing that subject.

One side of the conversation will start it with flattery and/or small-talk, perhaps out of fondness for such things, or perhaps simply as a way to put off addressing the relevant subject. The other side, however, will have none of it; they want to get straight to the point, and won't let flattery or small talk distract or even delay them. And so, they tell the other side to dispense with the pleasantries and get down to business right away.

Often overlaps with Don't Call Me "Sir"!. Shut UP, Hannibal/Shut Up, Kirk moments may qualify as this if the corresponding Hannibal Lecture or Kirk Summation is polite in tone.

Truth in Television, of course.

Sister trope to Hates Small Talk.


Anime[edit | hide | hide all]

  • In Haruhi Suzumiya: Remote Island Syndrome, Haruhi starts out extremely polite to the owner of the mansion. He then mentions that he's rather surprised since he has heard she's rather... direct. At this point she dispenses with the pleasantries and launches a barrage of questions about how many mysterious events, murders, etc. have taken place there.
  • Dragon Ball: When a squadron from the Red Ribbon Army comes to recruit Master Roshi, thinking he is a scientist, the leader of the group utters this phrase word for word after an extended conversation where Roshi is mocking the organization.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • In the Sandman graphic novels, at one point Morpheus sends Lucifer a message, wrapped up in highfalutin' diplomatic language. Lucifer cuts the messenger off midway through his recital of Lucifer's full list of titles (IIRC) and asks for "just the content".

Cain: From the Lord of the Dreamworld, Prince of Stories, Monarch of the Sleeping Marches, His Darkness Dream of the Endless, to His Infernal Majesty, Lucifer, called Morningstar: greetings. Our right trusty and well-beloved cousin -
Lucifer: No. Not the message. Just the content.


Film[edit | hide]

  • As implied by the page quotation, Vader's blunt dismissal of Jerjerrod's flattery in Return of the Jedi provides the trope name.
  • Subverted in Pretty Woman, where it at first seems to be this, but turns out to really be about redirecting the flattery to someone else.

[After Edward informs salesclerk Hollister that he will be spending an obscene amount of money buying clothes for Vivian at Hollister's shop]
Hollister: Mr. Lewis? How's it going so far?
Edward: Pretty well, I think. I think we need some major sucking up.
Hollister: Very well, sir. You're not only handsome, but a powerful man. I could see the second you walked in here, you were someone to reckon with...
Edward: Hollister.
Hollister: Yes, sir?
Edward: Not me. Her.

GOD: Arthur! Arthur, King of the Britons! Oh, don't grovel! If there's one thing I can't stand, it's people groveling.
Arthur: Sorry--
GOD: And don't apologize. Every time I try to talk to someone it's "sorry this" and "forgive me that" and "I'm not worthy". What are you doing now!?
Arthur: I'm averting my eyes, oh Lord.
GOD: Well, don't. It's like those miserable Psalms-- they're so depressing. Now knock it off!

  • D.E.B.S. Ms. Petrie (the team's boss) arrives for a visit.

Max: I just want to say what a pleasure it is to meet you.
Ms. Petrie: No time for pleasantries.

  • In Oliver and Company, when Fagin is visited by a mafia loan shark named Sykes; one whom Fagin owes money to and is implied not to be able to pay it back in time; he tries to put off admitting this by talking about the weather and about Sykes' dogs.

Fagin: Oh, lovely evening, I was just saying this to your two lovely pure-bred...
Sykes: ... the money, Fagin.

Eddie Haskell Jr.: You looked as though you just walked out the runway.
June Cleaver: Eddie?
Eddie Haskell Jr.: Yes Mrs. Cleaver?
June Cleaver: Cut the crap.

  • In Lean on Me, Clark makes abundantly clear at a teachers' meeting that flattery isn't going to work on him.

Mr. O'Malley: We want to welcome Mr. Clark to Eastside; we've heard so much about you; and tell you what we have done in anticipation of your arrival. Mrs. Levias, your other vice principal, and I, have appointed an executive committee to oversee certain areas where we have noted a need for improvement, and Mr. Zirella, for example...
Joe: You may sit down, Mr. O'Malley.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Inverted by Agatha Christie in The Pale Horse where Mr. Bradley is shocked at Mark Easterbrook dispensing with the pleasantries.
  • In The Count of Monte Cristo, this is a typical trait of the Baron Danglars's conversations; he's a very strict man with little tolerance for small talk.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • From Malcolm in the Middle, when Mr. Herkabe tries to give a villainous speech, but gets interrupted as such:

"Can we just skip the evil speech and explain how you're gonna try to torture me?"

  • Inverted in an episode of Stargate SG-1 when Daniel (who has at this point Ascended to A Higher Plane of Existence) shows up again, and O'Neill immediately asks him what's wrong. Daniel gets upset because O'Neill didn't even bother with such basic pleasantries as saying hello to him first.
  • The Vocational Guidance counselor sketch in Monty Python's Flying Circus begins with the client opening up with attempts at pleasantries before the councillor cuts him off with "enough of this gay banter".
  • On Thirty Rock, Josh's sleazy agent does this with Jack, phrasing as it as the lovely analogy, "Let's skip the foreplay and get right to the penetration."


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

Tezzeret: You do us great honor with your presence. It is my hope, Nicol Bolas, that together we can come to a mutually beneficial--
Nicol Bolas: Shut up. I hate you, artificer, and I find rare cause to bother hating anyone anymore. The only reason I'm not currently picking your spine out from between my teeth is because you were smart enough to arrange these wards ahead of time. More to the point, I know full well you feel the same about me, no matter how you choose to doll up your words and trot them out like perfumed trollops. So perhaps we can save the pleasantries for those who actually care about them, and simply tell me what you propose?


Theatre[edit | hide]

  • In Twelfth Night, Olivia will not allow Viola to continue with Orsino's declaration of love to her. In her case it's that the message is nothing but pleasantries, and nothing she hasn't heard from Orsino's messengers a hundred times before.

Viola: Most sweet lady, --
Olivia: A comfortable doctrine, and much may be said of it.


Video Games[edit | hide]

Dracula: What is a man?! A miserable little pile of secrets! But enough talk, have at you!

  • From Kingdom Hearts II, Luxord begins his battle saying, "I'd rather we just skip the formalities."