That's What She Said

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
(Redirected from So to Speak)

Brian: Okay, insert rod support A into slot B.
Peter: (giggling) That's what--
Brian: If you say "that's what she said" one more time, I'm gonna pop you.

To take a perfectly innocent phrase That Came Out Wrong said by one person and then irk that person by turning it into an innuendo. It's also interesting to note that it pretty specifically kept to what she said with its uses leaning towards things a woman would say in response to a man's actions or physical attributes. So if it is been used in disparagement of someone, that someone is most likely a man.

Learned gentlemen of numerous disciplines have pondered as to whether or not said "she" is, in fact, Your Mom.

Whoever "she" is, the use of the phrase as a stock expression is Newer Than They Think. Any use at all before 1992 and most uses before about 2005 can be considered instances of Have a Gay Old Time. Not to say that a similar sentiments weren't expressed with different wording, of course; the phrase "as the actress said to the bishop", the punchline to a joke lost to the mists of time, is a notable older version.

On a related note, H. Rider Haggard wrote a book called She, in which "She" refers to sorceress/queen Ayesha, who also goes by "She-who-must-be-obeyed". She does not, however, enjoy making sex jokes.

A Sub-Trope of If You Know What I Mean. Not to be confused with that's all she wrote, which usually signifies an abrupt termination of best-laid plans.

Compare Can't Believe I Said That.

Examples of That's What She Said include:

Anime and Manga

  • Subverted in Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle when Syaoron says it- and means exactly that, that is what she said! The fact that the 'She' is Yuuko didn't hurt much.

Comic Books

Batgirl: "Hopefully you won't hold this against me."
Supergirl: "That's what she said."
Batgirl: "You're funny."
Supergirl: "I try."

  • Starman used the older "as the actress said to the bishop" version, pulling it on himself after noting that "my rod feels good in my hand".

Fan Works


Garth: Okay, are you done yet? Because I'm tired of holding this thing.
Wayne: That's what she said.

Alfred: You must stand in your place, or it will not come out right: as the girl said to the soldier.


  • Witches Abroad has Nanny thinking to herself, "Just grab the first thing you see, said the High Priest to the Vestal Virgin" (a take on the antecedent to "That's what she said," "...said the Actress to the Bishop"). A footnote indicates that this is the punchline to a joke that everyone on the Disc has forgotten.
  • In a book called A Play of Knaves, one character is getting grief from all the others about sleeping around, to the point where he's fed up with everything they say, even if it's to mock someone else, and we get this:

Ellis snapped, "Leave off with the Hewwwgo, too, will you?" "That was probably the other thing Titha said," Joliffe grinned, and added in a shrill girl's voice, "'Leave off, Ellis.'"

Live-Action TV

  • The Office: Michael Scott is almost incapable of resisting an opportunity to use this joke. Even in the midst of a legal deposition.
    • In an episode when Michael is being forced by his boss to not tell inappropriate jokes around the office, Jim deliberately starts saying things that could have double meanings until he finally gives in.
    • Occasionally, someone else will make the joke before Michael can. This always annoys him.
    • In fact, the very last words Michael Scott says on the show (after he has removed his mic, so we don't actually hear them) are "That's what she said."
    • One of the DVD box-sets is titled "The Office Ultimate Package (that's what she said)".
  • On Saturday Night Live Amy Poehler's recurring character Amber (with one leg, etc.) used it as a Catch Phrase. For example, when she was on America's Next Top Model:

Tyra: Amber, it was very hard for us to find a good picture of you.
Amber: I bet it was hard.
Tyra: But we did our best.
Amber: That's what she said.
Tyra: You're not using that right.
Amber: That's what she said.
Tyra: Better.

    • On the season 35 episode of SNL hosted by Tina Fey, during a sketch about Tiger Woods's first game back from his sex scandal, Tina Fey plays a hooker named Ashlyn St. Cloud who says, "That's what Tiger said," after one of the commentators says, "Let's take a look at the hole through the aerial cam."
  • In an episode of Rules of Engagement, Russel is dating a woman who speaks in almost nothing but unintentional Double Entendre. Adam suggests that she might be the 'she' who actually says all those 'that's what she said' remarks.
  • How I Met Your Mother: "Top 10 Things Marshall said on his wedding night"
  • NCIS. Gibbs (not DiNozzo for once) says this line when Kate is thrown against him during a submarine's emergency surfacing. Cue a smirk from a watching crewman and a Death Glare from Kate.
  • In Bottom

Richie: Wait a minute. You were in love with Harry Belafonte?
Eddie: Well, that's what she told me her name was -- well, she sort of shouted it over her shoulder as she ran away into the night.
Richie: (sigh) Oh look, let's just forget it shall we?
Eddie: That's what she said!
Richie: Look, let's just drop it.
Eddie: She said that as well!
Eddie: This is uncanny! Were you there?

  • In an episode of Corner Gas, Hank uses this line repeatedly (completely missing the point of the phrase in the process), only to be confronted with the perfect opportunity—only to decide that 'she' wouldn't say that, because 'she' is not that kind of girl.
  • News Radio has this when Dave & Lisa broke up, the rest unaware:

Dave: I know it's a crummy story but someone has to do a piece on the Williamsburg Bridge renovation.
Lisa: Give it to me, Dave. I'll take it.
Joe: That's not the first time Dave's heard Lisa say that.
Dave: Give it a rest.
Bill: I'll bet that's not the first time Lisa's heard Dave say that.
Lisa: Look you really don't want to get into this.
Catherine: I bet Dave's never heard that one before.
Dave: Seriously, this is a very sensitive area.
Beth: That's what she said.
Lisa: Okay, I'm telling them.
Bill: And I'll bet that's not... Actually that doesn't really work, does it?

Bud: I had sex! With a girl! And I did it good!
Kelly: Oh, my God.
Bud: That's what she said. Twice.

  • At the 2010 Country Music Association awards, hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood had this exchange about Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert's engagement ring:

Carrie: Right after they got engaged, she sent me a picture of it. And I have to say, it is beautiful and big and just perfect.
Brad: OK, I'm sorry, I have to do it... That's what she said!

  • This exchange from House when he was describing a recent case to a class of fifth-graders:

House: My current patient is a college student. He's actually in the hospital right now. And, yes, he really did cough up a large portion of dead lung tissue.
Sophie: How's that even possible?
House: That's what she said! (Beat) No, she did literally say that.
Masters: How's that even possible?

  • Mr. Mash in Are You Being Served indulges in a bit of this with the perfume salesgirl in "His and Hers".

(Holding an extension cord) "Here we are the are, then. Let's hope we don't get a short-circuit when we plug it Mae West said when she picked up the midget. I suppose it'll take a few moments to warm Mae West said to the Eskimo."

  • On Gilmore Girls Sookie say this when they look up at a gigantic house that Luke and Lorelai were contemplating buying. Lorelai repeats it not even ten seconds later.
  • On Morecambe and Wise, Eric Morecambe's version of this was, after anyone said anything that could be misconstrued as an Unusual Euphemism, to give an Aside Glance to the audience and say "There's no answer to that!"

Professional Wrestling

  • Easily missed on the DVD, but during the commentary of a match featuring Los Ice Creams, Ultramantis Black says this to Chris Hero, after a fan calls out "Watch the cherry!" to the Ice Creams' opponent.


  • Hello Cheeky often used the phrase "Your private life's your own concern!", and less commonly "There's no answer to that" to note that an innuendo had just passed by.

John: Do you believe in fortune telling?
Barry: I've got a crystal ball.
John: ...Your private life's your own concern.


  • In a Jára Cimrman play Hospoda na mýtince:

Prisoner: ... she told me, a stranger: "Drink!"[2]
Count: That's what she said?!

Web Comics

  • The surprise ending of this Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal strip.
  • An xkcd strip parodies the overeager use of the phrase here when somebody uses it in response to a something said by a woman in a highly sexualized context.

That's what SHE said! (poses)
Yes. Yes, it is.
(Awkward silence)
I was there, dude.

Web Original

LK: Well, it's good to know that Joey is loved in various areas. *Beat* Wait a minu--
Wayne: That's what she said!

  • This trope was spoofed in Yu-Gi-Oh: The Abridged Movie. Joey's standing in the way of Yugi, who says "Joey, get your butt out of my face!" Joey comes back with "Yeah, that's what she said." Doesn't quite work, does it?
    • This same style is also in the Christmas special, where the first 'ghost' to visit Kaiba is Yugi. Kaiba eventually gets pissed off and tells Yugi to "get the hell out of my bedroom." Yugi responds with an incredibly witty: "Yeah, that's what she said."
    • And again in a Depraved Bisexual moment in What Would Yugi Do:

Yami: "Silence, slave!! Or do you want me to yank on your leash again?"
Yugi: "Ouch! Not so tight, Pharoah!"
Yami: "That's what she said. Or he, I could go either way, really. And that is also what she said!"

Burter: Oh, you can't beat my speed. I'm the fastest in the universe!
Krillin: (offscreen) That's what she said!

Let's Play

Western Animation

  • Futurama - Spanish Fry - Lrr from Omicron Persei 8 is threatening to remove certain appendages from Fry to be used as an alien aphrodisiac. Of course it used this phrase:

Fry: But in this case, I just don't think it's going to work.
Bender: That's what she said. Whooooo!

"Charles Fatless": Then let me have your puny, scrawny little body for just fifteen minutes a day!
Camp Gay Man: Mmmm, I've heard that one before, ducky! [Is punched squarely in the jaw]

All finished now. Please come again.
That's what she said!

  1. aka, Greed
  2. In Czech, "drink!" ("pij!") is a homophone of "penis" ("pyj").