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Brian: Check please!

Steve: We already paid!

Brian: I know. It's what you say after restaurant weirdness.

The usual punchline uttered at the end of any sustained mayhem in a bar or a restaurant. Usually delivered by whatever major character either instigated or was caught up in the melee. When not, it is instead delivered by an otherwise nondescript background character who has made it through the entire disaster completely unscathed. Also heard when a guy gets lucky in a bar, just before he heads out to consummate his newfound luck.

Further drama and hijinks can be milked out of the scene as those around the table now starts to fight over who is going to pay/not pay/looks like he wants to pay but is not actually going to pay/wants everyone to notice that he is paying...

Usually restricted to comedies and those dramas which are not afraid of the occasional lighter touch.

Examples of Check, Please! include:

Advertising

  • The Zales Jewelry Store chain has a commercial showing a woman at a table in a restaurant looking at the jewelry the man she is dining with gave her, then at him, with a sparkle in her eyes. The side message literally reads, "The 'Check Please' store" while the song playing at that moment has the lyrics, "It's nice to see you in my bed."

Film

  • After the Sunset has Pierce Brosnan's character saying "Check!" after he and his fiancé are having dinner with a couple who casually admit that they like to swap partners.
  • Happens twice in Spaceballs.
  • In the movie Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Prince John says this when the fight that's broken out at the big banquet scene lands on his table.
  • In the animated film The Iron Giant, after the squirrel Hogarth wants to keep as a pet escapes and causes havoc in the diner.
    • The mayhem begins when the Squirrel gets In Dean's Pants, and he has to unzip in public in order to let it out. His phrase before the mayhem? "I would like to apologize to everyone in advance for this!"
  • Star Wars IV: A New Hope, when Han Solo tosses a few coins to the bartender saying "Sorry about the mess" after killing Greedo.
  • Dumb and Dumber, after they inadvertently kill someone (they get away, too).
  • In the first Major League movie, Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn uses this trope at a bar when a beautiful woman makes a very flagrant pass at him, just before taking her back to his hotel room. (Only later does he learn that she's the wife of one of his teammates and slept with Vaughn for revenge on her husband, provoked by his own infidelity.)
  • Sneakers, uttered by Liz after her nerdy computer date, Werner, insinuates the predictable follow up to the dinner
  • Said by Batty in Fern Gully.
  • In Sahara, there's a scene where Dirk and Al are having lunch, and Al just wants to get the check and can't figure out how to say it in French. Dirk eventually wanders off for plot-important reasons (taking the camera's point of view with him), leaving Al to repeatedly call for the check. We never find out whether he gets the check or just leaves, or how long he sits there.
  • Hudson Hawk. Eddie and Anna Baragli are sitting in a cafe. Eddie has just told her that he was in prison.

 Anna: You were in the joint. Doing hard time. It's funny, but that excites me.

Eddie: Check please!

  • In Fatal Attraction, after Alex bluntly acknowledges the sexual tension between them, Dan calmly declares, "Let's get the check". The next scene is of them going at it in her apartment.
  • A non-comedic example in Our Man Flint. Flint is going to every restaurant in a section of Marseille to find a restaurant that serves bouillabaisse made with a specific recipe. After tasting the bouillabaisse at one restaurant, he immediately calls for the check so he can move onto the next one.
  • In Big, Josh and Billy are at a diner, looking through the classifieds for a job for Josh to support himself until he can find the Zoltar machine. Billy is eating an ice cream sundae, and Josh takes the cherry, puts it in his mouth and rolls it around on his tongue, disgusting the adjacent customers. It goes to show you the things you do at 13 aren't so amusing at 30.

Live Action TV

  • In Boy Meets World, Shawn tries this in a classroom.
    • Another episode had Eric saying this repeatedly in a restaurant while hanging out with (if I recall correctly) a very annoying girl. He can't take anymore, Eric screams, "CHECK! For the love of God, WILL SOMEONE PLEASE BRING ME A CHECK!" The waitress in question, who was only a few feet behind him at the time and taking another order, jumped about a foot in the air.
  • In one episode of Sex and the City, Samantha and another woman have fought for the attentions of a man in a restaurant. Samantha then corners the other woman and tells her, bluntly, that she doesn't have a chance with the guy in question. The woman concedes, whereupon Samantha triumphantly declares, "Check!"
  • The page quote is from The Sarah Silverman Program, in which Laura, Jay and Sarah Silverman have a discussion about Laura's marriage to Jay. Jay alludes the marriage to Sarah living with her dog Doug. "Sarah!" "Laura!" "Check, please!"
  • A regular sketch in the BBC sketch show Goodness Gracious Me involved a man in a restaurant who would invariably say something offensive or disturbing to his date. When she stormed out, he would look up at the waiter sadly and say "Cheque, please".
    • Which you can put down to Popcultural Osmosis; it's almost universally called the 'bill' in the UK, but the "check please" punchline is still recognised.
  • One episode of The Golden Girls deals with Rose dating a man who is impotent. After a raunchy discussion over dinner, he tells her it's time. "Check, please!" Rose cries.
  • A variation of this takes place in the Firefly episode "Shindig," after Mal and Jayne start up a bar fight. Inara doesn't actually ask for a check, but she does tell the barkeep that she'll recommend the place to her friends as she hurries out.
  • In Babylon 5 episode "Objects in Motion", as star-crossed lovers Stephen Franklin and Tessa Holloran (Number One) realize they have about an hour before he departs the station permanently, Stephen dashes off to prepare a rendezvous while Tessa throatily calls out, "Check! Check please!"
  • Even though this is a little differently quoted The Suite Life of Zack and Cody had a Check reference from the dog Ivana was supposed to mate with, but she went with Scamp.
  • Keith Olbermann's fallback response to something truly baffling.
  • In The Mentalist, after Patrick Jane shoots who he believes to be Red John, the man who killed his family, in the mall. He then sits back down, and calmly asks for the check. The waitress however fled in terror (along with everyone else in the mall), leaving Jane to simply leave the money on the table, finish his tea, and let himself be arrested.

Music

  • Ray Charles' At The Club: *whistle* "Hey barkeep! You better come here and get your bread. This little girl's getting ready to split, and I'm about to go out of my head."

Newspaper Comics

  • Garfield comics have been doing this for years, practically every time Garfield and Jon visit Irma's diner. The hijinks range from cheese that has been aged in the back of Irma's pickup truck, ice cream cones with scoops of mashed potatoes on top, and lobster so fresh that it grabs the chef's nose (off-panel). Out of those comics, a few use the phrase word-for-word. Witness such strips here.
  • In Pearls Before Swine, it's practically Goat's Catch Phrase. One example.

Reality TV

  • The Bachelorette season where Trista Rehn chose Ryan Sutter. In each season the remaining 3 men have a one-on-one date with the Bachelorette. At the end of the dinner, the pair receive a message saying they can spend the night together. During Trista and Ryan's date, after the message arrived, in a Crowning Moment of Funny Trista says "Waiter!" and Ryan says "Check please!". Watch it here starting at 4:20.

Theater

  • In Rent, during the wild song La Vie Boheme, the "straight man" Benny calls anxiously for the waiter after the lines "to sodomy/it's between God and me/to S&M". Of course, he also actually yells "CHECK!" in the Broadway version, later on after the waiter-calling.
  • Check, Please is a one-act play by Jonathan Rand about a series of hilariously awful dinner dates. "Check, please," is also the last line of the play, and it's said by a guy in a burlap sack. To a mime.
  • In Legally Blonde the Musical, after Elle and Warner have an awkward breakup during their dinner date, Warner utters this line.

Web Comics

Web Original

Western Animation

  • In the 5th episode of season 1 of Dilbert , Dilbert is at a dinner party in another country where it is revealed that he is left handed (being left handed makes you a member of the oppressed minority.) The guards raise their guns at Dilbert, who replies with the trope.
  • Family Guy once featured a cut-away gag with "Check Please" as one of the many cliche lines on the CD "Sitcom Punchlines of the 80's".
    • And also said by Death in the episode "Death Lives", after he kills an environmentalist woman he's on a date with.
  • Also used in The Iron Giant when Dean discover's Holgarth's newest pet.
  • Robot Chicken did a Golden Girls / Sex and the City mashup with Bea Arthur and her friends discussing their torrid, explicit love affairs. A man in the booth next to theirs immediately asked for the check when they started... and kept pleading for the check when it was not delivered promptly after tale after tale.
    • He just left money on the table in the end.
  • The Venture Brothers - Hank and Dean pull it off, even while unknown to them, Dr. Orpheus, who was following the boys incognito, mind raped two foul-mouthed rednecks and imprisoned their souls in a little plastic action figure.
    • Not just any action figure, but a "Homiez" action figure.
  • Said by Shego to Drakken after she got soundly beat by Kim Possible in a restaurant.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man: After he and the Sinister Six have finished their meal, Doc Ock says this to a nearby waiter. The waiter stammers out that it's on the house, which is only natural, considering it's a party of six supervillains. Presumably he wasn't planning to pay either way, and it was just part of the power trip he's been on all episode.
    • "How kind of you... and wise."
  • Said in a House of Mouse episode by Red Riding Hood when the Big Bad Wolf comes on stage for his musical performance.
  • Said in Veggie Tales "Asparagus of La Mancha" when Archibald playing Don Quixote lands on the sign.
  • Said by Rocko after he accidentally knocks out his date while cutting some meat.
  • Invoked several times during an episode of Adventure Time. The phrase is used while characters are filming a movie as a blatant attempt to inject some comedy into their work, but isn't really used in a restaurant at any point.
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