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Distantly related to the Description Cut, the Anticlimax Cut is a scene change where the resolution to a setup is much less exciting, sexy, dangerous, or supernatural than what the audience was led to expect. The resulting Anticlimax is Played for Laughs, making this a Comedy Trope.
For example, Bob's in a tricky situation and at the end of his rope. He announces with much drama to his friends that he's about to head into the lion's den to do battle. Cut to: Bob in Alice's apartment, begging her for a loan.
This may also play on a specific audience expectation: For example, if Bob is the holder of a Dangerous Forbidden Technique and declares that he must now "do something he'd promised never to do again", you can expect some befuddlement when the scene cuts to Bob at his old part-time job as a Burger Fool.
Works very effectively in hybrid genres such as action/comedy or Dramedy, as the audience might have a reasonable expectation of something sexy/dangerous/supernatural/etc. happening. In pure comedy, almost any dire pronouncement is liable to end in an Anticlimax Cut, making them easier to spot coming.
Compare Charge Into Combat Cut, Description Cut, and Not So Dire. See also Anticlimax. If only the audience perceives any Anticlimax while the characters take it seriously, may overlap with Mundane Made Awesome or Faux Horrific.
- The final episode of Full Metal Panic Fumoffu features the entire class (and, after much Hilarity Ensues, the entire school) being accidentally infected by a biological weapon Sousuke brought to the school. At the episode's climax, Sousuke brings his Love Interest Kaname to the sick room, puts her on a bed, and tells her to strip. Kaname obviously expects a specific trope -- until a cut reveals that the 'biological weapon' was an experimental nylon-dissolving bacteria. It only causes light flu-like symptoms in humans, but dissolves practically all clothing on the school grounds. Sousuke brought her to the sick bed because it was the closest source of cotton curtains Kaname could use to stay modest.
- In the 2000 remake of Bedazzled, Brendan Frasier's character wants supernatural proof that the Devil is who she claims to be. He wishes for a Big Mac and a large Coke. Cut to...them riding on a bus, then standing in front of a counter at McDonalds, where the Devil orders a Big Mac and large coke, and stiffs Brendan Frasier for the bill. There's a similar scene in the original, except that Stanley wishes for an ice cream, and ends up having to pay for it.
- The Man Who Knew Too Little: In one scene, Wallace tells Lori that he's not completely a good guy, and that if she wants his help, she'll have to do something for him. The dialogue is set up to make the viewer think Wallace is talking about sex...then the scene cuts to Wallace driving Lori's Cooper Mini.
- In Orgazmo, Chode-boy thinks back to the time he vowed never to use his hamster style again. Cut to a little kid telling his father, "I'm not going to do hamster style anymore." "Okay."
- Kung Pow! Enter the Fist uses this in a series of flashbacks, when Master Tang reveals his knowledge of the Chosen One.
Master Tang: He told me there would be a Chosen One
Ling's Father (in flashback): There will be... a Chosen One!
Master Tang: And then he told me of the significance.
Ling's Father (in flashback): It will be...significant!
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- "Witch" (episode 3):
Giles: I make allowances for your youth, but I expect a certain amount of responsibility, and instead of which you enslave yourself to this, this…cult?
(Reveal: Buffy in cheerleader uniform)
Buffy: You don't like the colors?
- "Lessons" (premiere of season 7):
Buffy: Vampires, demons… they're nothing compared to what's coming.
Dawn: I know. I just can't believe it's back.
Buffy: Believe me, I thought I was long past it. I guess you never are. Just a few more days til it starts, and then we'll never know what's coming next.
(Cut to the opening ceremony at the new Sunnydale High School.)
- Fridge Horror subverts this when you realize that it is being built in the same location as the old one, right over the Mouth of Hell.
- Angel. Eve is saying that Lindsay is trapped in some terrible hell. Cut to Lindsey in bed with a beautiful woman.
- In the Troperiffic episode "200" of Stargate SG-1, this is used as a device for explaining how SG-1 is able to get to the Stargate through an army of Goa'uld, in under 30 seconds, before the bomb goes off to destroy the Replicators chasing them.
- Several of these are used in Scrubs, frequently involving one of the doctors starting a furor or tearing frantically through the hallways as though racing to the side of a coding patient or preparing to receive emergency arrivals from the ER, only for the reason they're running to be revealed as something utterly mundane. For example, the Cold Open of one episode shows JD and Turk dramatically running in semi-slow-mo to dramatic music -- they're practicing their slow-motion running. Another involves JD's voiceover proclaiming an incident to be one of the biggest emergencies of his life as he plows through a crowd in a panic to get to a patient's room -- where Dr. Cox's young son is getting two stitches in his forehead after falling off the jungle gym.
- A Dilbert strip had this exchange:
Dilbert: We've been dating for a year now, Liz. There's something I'd like to do tonight... there are some needs that I can't fulfill at work.
Liz: I understand.
Cut to: Dilbert and Liz working on his computer.
Dilbert: Yes! Yes!
Liz: How long has your internet connection at work been broken?
- The Order of the Stick
- #328: After having passed the Tests of the Body and Mind, one guarded by a hydra and the other a riddle, the Order finds themselves face-to-face with the guardian of the final Test of the Heart.
"Pray to what gods you serve that you will be deemed worthy of this rare honor! Find your reserves of courage, warriors, for the Test of the Heart begins--NOW!!"
Cut to: Roy in a chair at a doctor's clinic, a stethoscope over his heart.
"Pulse rate is 60... blood pressure is 85 over 60... You pass. Next!"
- Happens again here, when Nale has disguised himself as Elan and wants to find information about the Gates:
Nale: "I need to devise some scheme, some elaborate machination, by which I could unearth more information concerning this gate..."
(cut to Shinjo telling the heroes, and Nale, everything about the Gates)
- Irregular Webcomic lampshades it here, with a link to this page. Despite the link, the actual trope the comic seems to be referring to is Offscreen Moment of Awesome.
- From Danny Phantom:
Tucker: Looks like we're gonna miss the movie.
Sam: Unless we find some way to ignore all speed limits, red lights, and certain laws of physics.
Closeup on Danny looking sly. Cut to: ...the kids in an RV going about 120 miles an hour, driven by Danny's dad.
Tucker: Couldn't you've just flown us?
Danny: The way my dad drives, this is faster.
- One episode of Family Guy has an obvious Cutaway Gag setup where Stewie complains about missing an awesome F-16 airshow featuring nude cheerleaders performing acrobatics all choreographed to the music of Queen. "I remember that day!" ...cut to Stewie sitting on his couch, bored. "Shoulda gone to that thing."
- From Futurama:
Bender: You mean people will pay good money for romance? I think I have a scheme so deviously clever that I-- *Smash Cut*
Judge: $500 and time served.
Bender: Stupid anti-pimping laws.
- Batman the Brave And The Bold: while working with the Marvel family, Batman is deaging, and Mr Mind has managed to get the Marvels to stop working with each other. Batman, by now a toddler, muses on how he can bring them back together with cunning psychological manipulation...which, since The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body, takes the form of using bat-gadgets to send each one a crayon sketch of them fighting while Baby Bats cries in the background. It works.