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Ocelot-hurf

I'm supposed to stop repeating after you, huh?


Naomi: I also put some nootropics in there.

Snake: Say what?

Naomi: Nootropics. It's a class of drugs which will help improve your mental functioning.

Snake: It'll make me smarter, huh?
Metal Gear Solid, in a typical demonstration

Parrot Exposition, huh?

So, you're told something of great importance, something that is either too incredible to believe or part of some larger thing that you don't know about. The typical response to this is What Is Going On?, or Let Me Get This Straight.... Unfortunately, there's a problem with this scenario in media: more often than not, the viewer has about as much of a clue as to what's happening as the character being fed the information, and as we all know, Exposition is key in making media understandable and watchable. So, expect this trope to be used over and over and over again in nearly every conversation, as the informee is given the Idiot Ball for the sake of explaining everything to the viewers. Do it too often, and the informee begins to act like they can't go two steps without requiring Mr. Exposition to come in and point out the glaringly obvious. Combine well with Dull Surprise to get a character that really looks out of it and perpetually clueless.

Truth in Television, especially in the form quoted above. Sometimes you just want a bit more detail. Worth noting that Japanese, the language that many examples are translated from, does this a lot as a mechanic of the conversational language.

Often done by The Watson. Compare Repeating So the Audience Can Hear, for when we can't hear the other side of the conversation, and Parrot Expowhat, where the exposition is so shocking, Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness, or obscure that the other party can't repeat it.

Examples of Parrot Exposition include:


Examples?

Anime and Manga

 Sven: It must be... Nanotechnology.

Train: Nanotechnology?

Sven: Nanotechnology.

Eve: Nanotechnology...

    • Considering nanotech is one of the most popular current Hand Waves in every other light sci-fi vehicle, and that practically every viewer knows what it is by now, this sounds like an intentional lampoon.
  • Kyōji Kōriyama from Noein practically defines this trope. It seems like over half his dialogue is just repeating back what his partner Ryōko Uchida says to him.
  • Bowdlerized anime dubs seem fond of this to really pound the point home that the thing that looks a whole lot like a gun and is being held a lot like you'd hold a gun isn't actually a gun. For example, the duel in Yu-Gi-Oh! between Yugi and Arkana. Try and count how many times they repeat "If that dark duel disk touches me, it will send my mind to the shadow realm!" I dare you.
    • Don't do it! It's a trap!
  • Likewise in the dubbed Sailor Moon, EVERYONE'S magical ability to tell that Haruka and Michiru Amara and Michelle and Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune are cousins; even the random Monster of the Week; and comment on it.
  • In the Mega Man Star Force anime, Geo does this every time Omega-Xis uses a new term. Or describes the situation. Or yawns. Particularly funny is his habit of parroting whole sentences at a time: "Cygnus is creating a dimensional portal to the Twilight Zone!" "He's creating a dimensional portal to the Twilight Zone?"
  • Sort of parodied in Darker Than Black. When a Clueless Detective accidentally stumbles onto the edges of a case involving The Masquerade, he runs into someone who wants his trenchcoat back. They have a conversation that involves a lot of repeating things back at each other- because they have no idea what the hell the other one is talking about.
  • The Slayers frequently uses Gourry Gabriev as a Dumb Blonde or even an outright Idiot Hero in order to use this trope to manage info dumps about mystical stuff (powerful spells, monster society, magical items, etc) that the other characters (all being powerful, well-studied magic-users) would know, but the audience doesn't.
  • Countless Ranma ½ stories begin this way. The first panel will have Ranma (or whoever) repeating something which was said just before the story began, usually the name of a new martial arts technique or MacGuffin which will drive the plot. The exposition character (Soun or Genma at first; in later stories it's usually Happosai) will then explain things for everyone's benefit. Something of an aversion in that we don't hear the first part of the conversation; the story always starts with Ranma going "Martial Arts Tea Ceremony?!?" or whatever.
    • A lot of humor manga use this variation on the trope to get stories moving quickly, and Takahashi herself popularized it in her earlier series Urusei Yatsura (though it wasn't used nearly as much as it is in Ranma.) Even her more serious works will use it on occasion.
  • Speaking of Takahashi, she modifies the above approach for Inuyasha, which likes to pick itself up from cliffhangers this way. A chapter will end with a character delivering a shock revelation ("Kikyo's alive!") Then the next chapter will start with everyone else parroting it back ("What? Kikyo's Alive?!") which handily puts the reader back in the moment and brings them up to speed. Then the character who dropped the bombshell will proceed to explain the details.
    • Many plot-heavy manga love to use this variation, though again, Takahashi seems to be one of its biggest fans.
  • In the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS manga

 Nanoha: Ah, that reminds me, Fate-chan! Do you still have pictures of those kids with you? I want to show them to Vita-chan and the others.

Signum: (turning to Shamal) Those kids?

Shamal: You know, them. The kids that Fate-chan always visits before a mission. Remember?

  • Dragonball Z - It's OVER NINE THOUSAAAND!
    • What!? Nine thousand? There's no WAY that can be right, CAN IT!?
  • Yu-Gi-Oh 5D's has this by the truckloads. A fair warning: Don't make a drinking game out of this, specially involving long duel episodes, or you'll most likely die of alcohol poisoning.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has this happen in episode 3: GATTAI DA!!!
  • The manga version of Magic Knight Rayearth stretches a little longer than the anime in places, primarily thanks to the girls' tendency to break every sentence spoken to them down to its component nouns and then repeat them as questions ("You have to get to the Fountain of Power to create your magic weapons." "Fountain of Power?" "Magic weapons?").
  • Saint Seiya did this a lot. Saint Seiya did this a lot?
  • Transformers anime do this. A LOT. Headmasters is a worst case offender, where characters also feel the need to narrate whatever they do, as well.


Fan Works

  • Naturally, this can carry over into Metal Gear Solid fanfiction, although certainly not as often. One memorable example from a tongue-in-cheek Snake/Otacon Slash Fic, in which Otacon, more from being a nerd than a pervert, films the 'action' using the Metal Gear MkII and its new "accessory."

 Snake: Otacon, what's that?

Otacon: It's a microphone boom, Snake.

Snake: A microphone boom?

  • Done several times by Phoenix in Turnabout Storm, a lot of times out of sheer disbelief at the stuff he gets told in Equestria. One instance in particular:

 Twilight: My name is Twilight Sparkle. I'm a disciple of Princess Celestia, the monarch of this land. I'm chronicling in the magic of friendship for her, and you're in the town of Ponyville.

Phoenix: Celestia? Magic of friendship? Ponyville?... Wait a minute, are you saying there's more talking ponies!?


Films -- Animated

 Gingy: Do you know... the Muffin Man?

Farquad: The Muffin Man?

Gingy: The Muffin Man...

Farquad: Oh yes, I know the Muffin Man... Who lives on Drury Lane?

Gingy: Well... she's married to... the Muffin Man.

Farquad: The Muffin Man?!

Gingy: THE MUFFIN MAN!!

Farquad: She's married to the Muffin Man...

 Computer: Proceed to the nearest evacuation facility.

Computer: Proceed to the nearest evacuation facility.

Neil: I think we should proceed to the nearest evacuation facility.


Films -- Live-Action

 Hubert Hawkins: I've got it! I've got it! The pellet with the poison's in the vessel with the pestle; the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true! Right?

Griselda: Right. But there's been a change: they broke the chalice from the palace!

Hubert Hawkins: They broke the chalice from the palace?

Griselda: And replaced it with a flagon.

Hubert Hawkins: A flagon...?

Griselda: With the figure of a dragon.

Hubert Hawkins: Flagon with a dragon.

Griselda: Right.

Hubert Hawkins: But did you put the pellet with the poison in the vessel with the pestle?

Griselda: No! The pellet with the poison's in the flagon with the dragon! The vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true!

Hubert Hawkins: The pellet with the poison's in the flagon with the dragon; the vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true.

Griselda: Just remember that.

 Phantom of Krankor: Prepare to leave Krankor.

Scientist: What's that?

Phantom of Krankor: Prepare to leave. Each of you will enter a space capsule.

Scientist: What?

Tom Servo: For crying out loud... EACH! OF! YOU! WILL! ENTER! A! SPACE! CAPSULE!

 Grave Robber: "Zydrate comes in a little glass vial."

Shilo: "A little glass vial?"

Everyone else: "A little glass vial."



Grave Robber: "And Amber Sweet is addicted to the knife."

Shilo: "Addicted to the knife?"

Everyone else: "Addicted to the knife."



Grave Robber: "Mag's contract's got some mighty fine print."

Shilo: "Some mighty fine print?"

Everyone else: *disinterested murmurs*

  • The Cat In The Hat - Making Cupcakes scene. The cook, all the way from CHE-SHIRE ENGLAND, states that the "Amazing Kupcake-Inator" can turn ANYTHING into delicious cupcakes...

 Host, The Guy in the Sweater Who Asks All the Obvious Questions: Wait a minute, did you say anything?

Cheshire England Cat: Anything!

Host: Anything?

Cheshire England Cat: Yes, anything!

Host: Anything?

Cheshire England Cat: ... anything.

Host: ... aaanythingg??

  • Star Wars: The Phantom Menace - the explanation of what midichlorians are was delivered by Anakin starting with a question of what they are and continues like so:

 Qui-Gon Jinn: Midichlorians are a microscopic life form that resides within all living cells

Anakin: They live inside me?

Qui-Gon Jinn: Inside your cells, yes. And we are symbiont with them.

Anakin: Symbiont?

    • In Anakin's defense, the first line sounded like an expression of disbelief, with the second line being more like asking "What is symbiont?"
    • Since nobody in the audience can understand what Chewbacca can say, almost all his conversations involve someone repeating what he's (assumingly) just roared, as if to clarify. One imagines this must be annoying for him.

 C-3PO: This is madness!

Chewbacca: *roars*

C-3PO: No, I will not be quiet, Chewbacca!

      • An exception occurs when Chewie simply roars, and Han replies, "You said it, Chewie." Listening to the original tape reveals that he said "That old man's mad!" Han's next line however, is "Where did you dig up that old fossil," so Chewbacca's line can be reasonably guessed.
  • Galaxy Quest Lampshades this, given that Gwen's job is to repeat the computer voice - it's stupid, but it's her only job, so she's doing it anyway.

 Gwen: I'm doing it. I'm repeating the computer!

 Hauk: You go in, find the President and bring him out in 24 hours, and you're a free man.

Snake: 24 hours, huh?

    • In Snake's case, it seems that he's planning to cheat Hauk. This is before, of course, the bomb capsules are implanted.
  • This is a common tool in old Film Serials; the most obvious manifestation would be the "Previously On..." text recap of the last chapter's Cliff Hanger, but it also shows up a lot in dialogue as the characters remind each other[2] what their goals and plans are ("Here we are, finally ready to assemble our Neutron Bomb with which we can blow the Earth out of its orbit, so that our planet Mars may take its place").


Literature

  • In 1Q84, pretty much half of Tengo's spoken dialogue is parrot exposition, often word-for-word. It's why the book is a thousand pages long.
    • "It's why the book is a thousand pages long," said Tengo.
  • A writer to Roger Ebert's Questions For The Movie Answer Man took note of this Trope in action.
  • Harry Potter is known for doing this:

 Voldemort tried to kill me?

Voldemort put something of himself... into me?

    • Notably, he's most likely to do this during scenes where it is revealed he's important. Or, to put it more simply, he has a hard time believing he's special. He is, after all "Just Harry".
  • Michael Crichton in Sphere has a character use Parrot Exposition on purpose as a psychological trick (the character in question is a psychologist, and wants to get more info without putting much in). The other person catches on soon enough.
  • Used quite often in Deep Storm, usually by Dr. Crane. One example:

 Dr. Asher: Also, we'll need to get you chipped.

Dr. Crane: Chipped?

Dr. Asher: Tag you with an RFID chip.

Dr. Crane: Radio frequency identification? Is that necessary?

 "Your refuse to sell to me!"

"The Varden, who are my friends." "The Varden!"

"I'm a Rider!"


Live-Action TV

  • Doctor Who episode Midnight had this where an alien possessed one of the passengers and repeated everything the others and the Doctor said. It lasted the entire episode.
  • House MD, for obvious reasons, has this every time a disease or treatment is mentioned.
    • Of course, after the other parrots him, he lampshades it.
    • Made a little more believable by (a) the frequent occurrence of extremely rare diseases it's possible they wouldn't all be familiar with, and (b) House's general condescension and near-compulsive habit of using layman's-terms analogies, which other characters have expressed annoyance at.
  • Done regrettably often in the mytharc episodes of The X Files, especially as the show progressed. (No, Mr. Carter, just because you make every last one of your poor actors stop and summarize the alien conspiracy storyline at least twice per episode doesn't mean it's actually going to make sense this time...)
    • Particularly egregious in the two-part episode at the beginning of the fifth season. The first half of the episode consisted of nothing but voice-overs summarizing the plot. The entire episode could have been condensed down to three and a half minutes. The name of that episode? "Redux".
  • Bones uses this, dealing as it does with forensics, but it's only used when Agent Booth is in the room. If, for instance, Zach and Cam are alone in the lab dealing with X-rays, the average viewer will have no clue what they're talking about. And Bones tends to reciprocate when they're in the field, leading to her Catch Phrase; "I don't know what that means."
  • In an episode of Wizards of Waverly Place, Alex animates the figures in various famous paintings (and apparently the Mona Lisa, Blue Boy and The Scream are all located in New York) and can't get them to go back to their paintings. She calls her brother who repeats exactly what she's saying until she tells him 'Stop repeating everything I'm saying.' Which he repeats, then figures out that she's talking about magic and he's standing around a non-wizard.
  • In Emmerdale when Val is revealed to have cataracts everybody who witnesses it repeats the word (about a total of five times) and then...
  • Harry Hill's TV Burp parodies the Emmerdale scene after watching it as he telephones other television shows and various characters and presenters just say the word "cataracts?"
    • This is called back to later when a man accuses Val of getting worked up over a misunderstanding, she gets angry and asks if her ears have cataracts as well.

  Harry Hill: "Ear cataracts?"

  • This happened regularly in Allo Allo, mostly by Rene, and out of disbelief of the next "bird-brain" plan they were going to do. Usually it helps set up the jokes.
    • The Christmas episode gives us this conversation.

 Hans: The pill [in the till] contains a drug.

Rene: The pill in the till?

Hans: (nods) Take it and put it in [this jug of wine].

Rene: Put the drug in the jug?

Hebert: [entering the cafe with the bomb disguised as a cake] We almost forgot the most important part!

Rene: Oh my god... It's the gateau from the chateau!

Hans: What about the gateau from the chateau?

Rene: In contains a bomb!

Hans: A bomb in the gateau from the chateau?

  • Used to disastrous consequences in Malcolm in the Middle. A therapist tells Lois and Hal to try repeating what their children say in their own words, which culminates in Lois parroting Malcolm ad nauseum instead of helping him through his problem.

 Malcolm: Stop repeating what I say!

Lois: [Clearly perturbed by her inability to stop] You say something... I say it back...


Theater

 Horatio: My lord, [I saw] the king your father.

Hamlet: The king my father!

 Captain: And I'm never ever sick at sea.

Crew: What, never?

Captain: No, never!

Crew: What, never?

Captain: Well...hardly ever!


Toys

  • Bionicle featured this very often. One notable example from the "Visorak" story arc:

 Nuju: Visorak spinners are wheels of energy. Let's see what happens... (creates ice)

Kualus: ...when it hits a mirror of ice.

Whenua: (sees the spinner be reflected) It's reflecting!


Videogames

  • Metal Gear Solid has its protagonist, Solid Snake, repeating everything that whoever is telling him about something, or going "huh?". Used less in Snake Eater (although when the name "Metal Gear" is mentioned for the first and only time, of course Naked Snake has to say it), but still pretty abundant. Snake's voice actor, David Hayter, made fun of this tendency in a podcast, in which he joked that most of his dialogue was "repeating whatever everyone else says but with a question mark on the end." This happens less often in Metal Gear Solid 4 Guns of the Patriots, though it's less because Snake understands what people are saying and more because he just doesn't care. So, rather than saying "So it'll make me smarter, huh?", he'd say, "Okay, so... what now?". This was Lampshaded in Metal Gear AC!D2, when an amnesiac Snake accesses a terminal and comes across data on the eponymous machine.

 "Metal Gear?!"

"Huh? You're familiar with it?"

"...No. Just... had to blurt it out."

 Hunter: Snake! Be careful. Those cars are actually transgenants that use cars as a kind of shell. They're metal crabs.

All 6 Snakes: METAL GEAR?!

Hunter: What? No! No one said anything about a metal gear!

Snake: Metal Ge-

Hunter: Shut up snake. They're transgenants, just shoot them.

 Andy: What's an airport?

 Jody: Mr. President, the information management department received an email that might interest you

Michael: An email?

  • Hilariously played straight in Fallout 3, where the higher your intelligence stat, the worse it gets. Here's an abridged sample dialog:

 Three Dog: I fight the good fight with GNR as my weapon.

PC: [Intelligence] So you use the GNR radio to fight the good fight?

  • All the time in ~Star Ocean: The Second Story~, at least when Claude's the main character. Although he's justified as he's pretty much a stranger to place he just landed in while Rena's lived there her whole life.
    • When Claude's the main character? Christ. Every other freaking line of his dialogue in the first four hours is Parrot Exposition.
  • In its sequel, Fayt cannot stop using this trope.
  • Final Fantasy V Advance (this version is noted for its very tongue in cheek translation) lampshaded this tendency when the sage Ghido described the twelve legendary weapons.

 Bartz: "Twelve legendary weapons?"

Ghido: "Sometimes I wonder if you say things like this to spite me.... Yes, the twelve legendary weapons. They are weapons. They are legendary. There are even twelve of them."

 Dr. Eggman: Metal Sonic has finally transformed!

Sonic: So THAT'S Metal Sonic?

  • There's plenty of this in the Shadow Hearts series, but it's most common (and annoying) in Covenant.
  • Combined with Heroic Mime in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Time/Darkness/Sky. The hero's thoughts are related via Inner Monologue, but rather than give them actual lines the game simply has their partner or other characters paraphrase and summarize whatever the hero just told them.
    • Of course, the hero does speak normally at the end of the game, while's he/she is fading from existence.
  • The main character of Sigma Star Saga descends into this when and only when he's being told what to do next. Typically, the original speaker was perfectly clear about what was going on, and he uses almost the same words when repeating back, so this is probably a tie-in with Viewers Are Goldfish.
    • It could also be a case of military protocol. When you give someone complex instructions, you typically want to hear them recite said instructions back to you, to avoid any Poor Communication Kills. Granted, most of the instructions aren't terribly complex, but still.
  • Knights of the Old Republic, both games: Whenever T3-M4 says anything, somebody will repeat what it said back to him so the player can understand. (Oddly, all the various incomprehensible alien languages get subtitles...but T3's subtitles are just transliterations of his beeps.)
    • Lampshaded in the second game, during the Exile's first conversation with the HK-50 unit on Peragus.

 HK-50: Objection: Master! To commit such an act would be in violation of the ethics programming most droids are believed to possess. I am afraid there is nothing that can be done.

The Exile: Believed to possess?

HK-50: Irritated Statement: Master, if you insist on echoing everything I say, this already tedious conversation is in danger of becoming even longer.

  • Basically every RPG ever allows you to do this.
  • Zero does this quite often in Mega Man Zero, along with gratuitous use of ellipses. In his defense, after a Cryonics Failure before the first game and a year in exile after that, he probably is very out of it.
  • Frank West tends to repeat things too, usually out of disbelief.
  • This happens quite often when Ryo asks someone about something in Shenmue; he will often bring up the subject of the conversation, and someone will ask about it ("Did you see a black car go by?" "A black car?"). This was parodied in the Electronic Gaming Monthly review of Shenmue II, which mentioned the awkward dialogue between the characters.
  • Xenosaga is perhaps one of the most constant users of this trope, with one of the most common things you'll hear in the cutscenes is one character expositing, and another repeating a keyword with a questioning inflection. And this happens at least once in every. Single. Cutscene.
  • Lampshaded in Planescape: Torment, in a dialogue with Nordom.

  Nordom: Repeated word choice confirmed (Echo?)

 Announcer: Intruder alert! RED Spy in the base!

Soldier: A RED Spy is in the base?

Announcer: Protect the briefcase!

Soldier: We need to protect the briefcase!

 Dr. Kasal: I'm not sure it's directly related, but they found extremely high levels of syprohedrine in her blood.

Derek: Sypro...? What's that?

Angie: It's a new antihistamine, Doctor. They're usually used to treat allergies.

Derek: ...I know what antihistamines do.

 GLaDOS: Well, this is the part where he kills us.

Wheatley: Hello! This is the part where I kill you.

Chapter 8: The Part Where He Kills You

Achievement Earned: The Part Where He Kills You (This is that part.)


Web Originals

 Paul: Why do you keep doing that?

Morgan: Doing what?

Paul: Repeating everything I say, just using less scientific terminology.

Morgan: Dumbing it down?


Western Animation

  • If we had a leg of meat for every time this happened in the more recent episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants, we'd be able to feed most of the hungry children in this world. The eponymous sponge even managed to do this with the long and rather clumsy S.D.E.A.S.E. ("Snail Disease Expert and Snail Expert") - no fumbling over it or anything, he just did it. I know I'd have trouble with it.
  • Used in Freakazoid in a classic exchange between Freakazoid and Roddy McStew.

 Roddy McStew: From what ya tell me, it sounds like you can only use your telekinetic powers when you're really angry!

Freakazoid: Then I'll only use them when I'm really angry!

Roddy McStew: THAT'S WHAT I JUST SAID!! CAN YOU HEAR ME OR IS THERE A WEE GOBLIN IN YOUR HEAD EATING MY WORDS!?

Freakazoid: I... don't think there's a goblin in there...

  • Chowder uses this a lot with Schnitzel. Occasionally lampshaded when he gives exposition and needs to tell Chowder to stop repeating everything he says.
  • Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy: Ed does this a lot.

 Eddy: Ed! Quick! Hide these magazines!!

Ed: Hide these magazines?

Eddy: What are ya, a parrot? Hide 'em! Now! Quick, quick!!

Ed: Huh? Who? Where? What?

Eddy: *shoving Ed away* Numb-skull.


Real Life

  • The whole thing is standard procedure within (probably) any armed forces. When an order is given the receiver will repeat the order to make sure it was understood properly because failure may have lethal consequences.
    • Of course, Murphy's Law of Combat states it they'll be misinterpreted anyway.
    • Ditto for civilian pilots. Partly because this is what happens if they don't.
  • Also happens in food joints, though the consequences are less lethal.
  • Also recommended when talking to toddlers and small children who are learning to speak; not only does it give the kid a chance to clarify if he or she wasn't understood, but it gives the adult a chance to demonstrate the proper way to say it.
    • It doesn't actually make a child learn language any faster - the rate of language-learning is fixed at biological level - but it helps the adults to figure out what the child is trying to say.
  • Also a technique some use to help remember names. When you first meet someone, you try to say their name three times (in conversation) within a minute or so. Some say it works. Some say it makes you sound like a massive tool. Some say both.
    • It's also used sometimes to help oneself remember instructions.
  • Also a helpful technique for doctors and nurses to get patients to clarify their problems. Example:

 Patient: My stomach hurts.

Nurse: Your stomach hurts?

Patient: Yes, it feels like someone is stabbing a knife down here. *points*

    • In particular, Rogerian psychotherapy is largely based on this, at least in parodies such as Joseph Weizenbaum's ELIZA and this one from the Journal of Irreproducible Results:

 Patient: Why are you parroting me?

Therapist: You seem concerned about my parroting you.

  • Also useful to call center operators, especially with details like numbers, dates, or unusual spellings of names. Making sure you understand the caller correctly allows you to not waste time solving the wrong problem, which makes the number-crunchers who might decide you're taking too long on calls for them to continue to employ you feel a little better.
  • This is how most memes are used. The majority of comments on YouTube simply repeat what was said in the video.



Notes

  1. The character of Solid Snake from the Metal Gear series is largely a Shout-Out to Snake Plissken, the protagonist of this movie, for those of you who didn't get the joke.
  2. and the audience
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