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What's the matter? Haven't you ever seen this trope before?

When you hear this familiar Stock Phrase, the chances are that one of the following is the case:

  • A character has been caught in some sort of embarrassing act, and, for want of a better tactic, is attempting to shrug off the embarrassment and avert the stares of onlookers by pretending that there is in fact Nothing To See Here. Sometimes a character is doing this on another character's behalf. Example from the film Splash:

 Freddie: What you looking at? You never seen a guy who slept with a fish before?

  • As above, something unusual is going on, but this time the character is using the line ironically, or at least knowingly. In such cases the character is evidently aware that the sight before him is well out of the ordinary, but, instead of gawping with his cohorts, greets it like The Stoic and/or Deadpan Snarker he is. Example from The Spy Who Loved Me:

 Sub Captain: What's the matter, sailor? You never seen a major taking a shower before?

(The major is an attractive woman.)

  • A Deadpan Snarker is mocking another character's shocked reaction to something by which the former is unfazed. Example from the film The Big Sleep:

 Philip Marlowe: What's the matter? Haven't you ever seen a gun before? What do you want me to do, count three like they do in the movies?

  • The line is being used similarly to You Look Like You've Seen a Ghost, with no, he hasn't being implied instead of yes, he has. Example from Amazon Women on the Moon:

 Butch: What's she looking at? She acts like she's never seen a man before.

Queen Lara: She hasn't. Have you, Alpha-Beta?

Alpha Beta: No, My Queen.

Examples of Haven't You Seen X Before? include:


  Tsubasa: What's the matter? Never seen a real guy before?


 Dr. Benjamin Franklin: What's the matter? Haven't you ever seen a great man before?

 Frylock: Haven't you ever seen a bra before?

  • Atanarjuat

 Oki: What are you all looking at? Haven't you ever seen anyone kick a dog before?

  • Coal Miner's Daughter

 Patsy Cline: You act like you ain't never seen a glamorous country music singer before.

 Darian Forrester: What's the matter, haven't you ever seen a Valiant before?

  • Emmanuelle V

 Emmanuelle: What's the matter? Why are you so shy? Have you never seen a naked woman before?

 Phil: What's the matter? You never seen a satyr before?

 Tony Stark: Let's face it, this is not the worst thing you've caught me doing.

  • Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008)

 Sean: [running from a dinosaur] Haven't you ever seen a dinosaur before?

Trevor: Not with skin on it!

 Sing: [to ice cream vendor looking at him strangely] What're you looking at? Never seen an ice cream thief before?

 Flynn Carsen: What's the matter? Haven't you guys ever seen a naked guy in a sheet before?

  • Mad Monster Party?

 Felix: Golly. What's the matter with them? Haven't they ever seen a tourist before?

  • Mask (1985)

 Rusty Dennis: What's the matter, never seen anyone from the planet Vulcan before?

 Sergeant-Major: Don't stand there gawping! Like you've never seen the hand o' God before!

 Mushu: [disguised as a messenger riding the panda] Urgent news from the General. [beat] What's the matter? Never seen a black-and-white before?

  • Oliver! (1968)

 The Artful Dodger: [to Oliver, who has just arrived in London] Whatchu starin' at? 'Aven't you never seen a toff?

  • In Police Academy 2, after Mahoney replaces Lt. Mauser's hair conditioner with quick-acting epoxy resin while the latter takes a shower, Mauser's hands get glued to his head. Unfortunately for him, the shampoo runs into his eyes, so he's quite blind as he staggers out and rants at his men about how immature and un-funny this is. By the time he can see again, though, he's wandered out of the locker room altogether and is in the police station itself, in his birthday suit, hands stuck to his shampooed head, leading him to inquire of the stunned civilians and fellow cops:

 Mauser: "What's the matter? Haven't you ever seen a man washing his hair before?"

 Mr. Marks: WHAT? You've never seen someone humiliated before?

  • Raising Helen

 Helen Harris: It's like they've never seen a dress before!

 Sunshine: [coming into the game to replace Rev because Rev's wrist was broken during the previous play] What's the matter? Haven't you ever seen a football injury before, you wimps?

  • Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

 Sam the Snowman: What's the matter? Haven't you ever seen a talking snowman before?

  • Seven Samurai

 Heihachi Hayashida: Haven't you ever seen anyone cut firewood before?

 Ally: What are you staring at? Haven't you ever seen a pair of boobs before?

  • Young Guns of Texas

 Martha Jane Canary: What are you gawking at? Ain't you never seen a pair of pants before?

  • Shoot To Kill (AKA Deadly Pursuit) after Sidney Poiter scares off a bear.

 "Everyone else around here acts like they've never seen a black man before; why should he be any different?"

Live Action TV

  • The Andy Griffith Show

 Barney Fife: What's the matter, haven't you ever seen a man take off a dress before?

  • Due South (episode "An Invitation to Romance")

 Ray Vecchio: [while dressed as Fraser, to a passing pedestrian] What are you looking at? You never seen a Canadian before?

 Billy: Exactly. Anybody would think we'd never seen a bloke in a dressing gown up to his waist in water strangling a swan before.

 Sisko (disguised as a Klingon): What's the matter, Dukat? Haven't you ever seen a Klingon before?

 Brenna O'Dell: And what are you staring at? You never seen a woman before?

  • Tour of Duty

 Private Alberto Ruiz: What's the matter? Ain't none of you niggers ever seen a spic before?

 Karen: [to woman] What are you looking at, preggo? Haven't you ever seen herpes before?

 Josh Exley: What's the matter, Arthur? You look like you ain't never seen a black man before.

  Maddy: Yes, all right. Haven't you ever seen a transvestite before?

  • Barney Miller (when Nick Yamana was convinced that a suspect was turning into a werewolf)

 Barney: It's called a beard! Haven't you ever seen a beard before?

Yamana: Not in my family.

 Lou: What's the matter, Kid? Ain't you ever seen a girl before?

  • MASH (when Winchester receives a package of truffles as part of a Care package from his family):

 Winchester: Haven't you ever seen truffles before?

B.J.:Nobody knows the truffles I've seen.

 Vanco: What's the matter, Schraeder? You act like you've never seen a severed human head on a tortoise before!

  • Queer as Folk when Police Chief Stockwell and Brian's boss shows up at Brian's and find Brian and Justin (who also happens to be an intern at Brian's company at the time) having sex, Brian sarcastically asks if they've never seen two guys fucking before. It just so happens that the thing they're most upset about isn't the fucking, but that the floor is littered with half-finished anti-Stockwell propaganda posters of the kind that have been showing up all over the city without anyone having a clue as to who made them.


  • "Y'all act like you've never seen a white person before", the opening line to Eminem's "The Real Slim Shady", as a response to all the hoopla over the fact that he was a white guy who made it famous as a rapper.


 Celebrant: What are you staring at? Haven't you ever seen an accident before?

    • In context, the celebrant has just thrown down and shattered the consecrated elements, so the moment is shocking.

Video Games

 Spyro the Dragon: Hey stop staring! Haven't you ever seen a dragon before?

 Tatl: What? You don't know about the [target creature]?

    • Rather tellingly, only for enemies that also appeared in Ocarina of Time.

Web Comics

  • DMFA 820. Since the dimension usually doesn't have humans...

 "What? Never seen a black woman before?"

Web Original

 Dacey 'Dawson' Ashcroft[after being revealed as a female to male crossdresser]: "You mean you've never seen a guy with boobs before?"

Western Animation

 Tails: What's everybody afraid of?

Sonic: Yeah! You'd think they never saw a blue hedgehog before.

 Bugs Bunny (after mutating into a green rabbit-like beast): What's eating them? You'd think they'd never seen a rabbit before!

 Cubert Farnsworth: What? Haven't any of you seen a genius' wiener before?

Everyone: No.

Fry: Well, once in the park.

 Bowser: Hey, what're you staring at? Haven't you ever seen a reptile ready to conquer the world?!

 Brock: You could have told me Sasquatch was a... a dude.

Steve Summers: Huh? You couldn't tell?

Brock: Not until I had to... sh-have him.

Steve Austin: What're you, shy? Sasquatch doesn't have anything you haven't seen before.

Brock: Sasquatch is something I haven't seen before!


  • Star Tours Disneyland ride

 G2-4T: Hey! What's the matter? Haven't you people ever seen intelligent life before?

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