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The plot counterpart of dialog's One Thing Led to Another. A sexual pairing is portrayed with a couple opening lines of flirt (or normal conversation), then an immediate cut to the bedroom. Often used for comedic effect. In poorly written scripts, the pairing may be unlikely and the device is used to gloss over this fact. However, it's most likely that the writers themselves have so little experience with seduction that they wouldn't know how to illustrate it believably, even if there were time.

Differs from a Gilligan Cut not only in that it is specifically used for sex, but that the lines or actions leading up to the cut do not necessarily refer directly to the upcoming sex or post-sex scene.

Examples of Next Thing They Knew include:

Comic Books


  • One exception, where a seduction is shown with far more detail than normal, occurs in Groundhog Day, as Bill Murray is living the same day over and over and the writers have a chance to show the (fantastical) process of failure and correction.
  • In Cabin Fever, Marcy casually suggests to Paul that people who are in a certain-death situation would probably just want to have one last screw, with any available partner. Literally the next thing we see is the two of them naked, and Marcy is throwing a seemingly reluctant Paul down on the bed to ride him vigorously. The foreplay was aparrently so brisk that Paul didn't even have time to ask Marcy about using a condom until after they were already having sex.
  • Used in An American Werewolf in London
  • Used in Lost in Translation. The lounge singer sits down next to Bob, says "Hi", and this trope occurs. Well, it cuts to the morning after.

Live Action Television

  • Appears a lot on AMC's Mad Men TV series.
  • The Wire: Jimmy McNulty frequently produces these. Memorably, he once managed to pick up a waitress while drunk out of his mind and having just crashed his car. Twice. In the same place.
  • "Six Feet Under": Happens to Nate early on in the Pilot.
  • Happened in Friends as Joey and an actress discussed on how to make their characters' relationship seem more fiery.

Video Games

  • This can happen between Kent and Fiora if you decide to pair them up. While it's not outright stated that this is what happened, it's rather evident that this is the case. You can best appreciate the irony of it all by watching it here.

Web Comics

  • In the webcomic Skin Horse, with Tip and Dr. Lee. Played for laughs, since Tip's ability to convince women to sleep with him is something of a Running Gag.

Web Original

  • The season 3 finale of The Guild, with Cyd and Fawkes.

Western Animation

  • Zapp Brannigan and Leela in the Futurama episode "Love's Labours Lost in Space". Used as a quasi plot-device because Leela is bewildered ever after as to why she slept with him.
    • In "Proposition Infinity":

 Amy: Don't tell me to shut up! You know what happened with the last guy who told me to shut up?

Bender: What?

(Cut to them in bed)

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