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It’s called the science of listener attention. We did repetition, we did floating opposites and now you end with the one that’s not like the others.
—Toby Ziegler, The West Wing, "Somebody's going to emergency, somebody's going to jail."

A dialogue trope where a character makes a list of items, groups or individuals and then deviates from the pattern established with the last one, sometimes the penultimate one. Usually Played for Laughs.

In literary criticism, this is called a syllepsis, or semantic zeugma.

Typically used for comedy, the last item is normally a focus of insult or Butt Monkey status. However it is possible to just delight in the subversion of the theme listing.

A Sub-Trope of Non Sequitur.

A Super-Trope to:


Compare Step Three: Profit.


Examples of The Last of These Is Not Like the Others include:

Comic Books

  • This panel has several superheroes reacting to a warning of doom for them and anyone they've touched -- the rest worry about their female signifiant others; Batman worries about Robin. Of course, what makes it funny is the insinuation that the last one isn't really all that different....

Fanfic

  • When Bella is describing the Cullens in Luminosity:

 [N]ow I had identifications for all five: Emmett the bear, Jasper the lion, Rosalie the Aphrodite, Alice the pixie, and Edward, the one who expected something to happen with or to or near me that wasn't[.]

Film

 Being the adventures of a young man whose principal interests are rape, ultra-violence and Beethoven.

  Lewa: But what will come out of this? Some claw-tooth monster? A new Mask of Power? A Matoran marching band?

  • Played with brilliant subtlety in Ghostbusters when Peter Venkman introduces his team at the library:

 Roger Delacorte: I'm Roger Delacorte. Are you the men from the university?

Dr. Peter Venkman: Yes, I'm Dr. Venkman, Dr. Stantz, Egon...

 Milo: What else have you got in there?

Vinny: Oh, you know: gunpowder, nitroglycerin, notepads, fuses, wicks, glue, paper clips (big ones). You know, just office supplies.

 Moe: There goes Shemp with a left jab! There goes Shemp with a right uppercut! There goes Shemp with a haymaker! [[[Offscreen Crash]]] There goes Shemp...

  We once laughed at the horseless carriage, the aeroplane, the telephone, the electric light, VITAMINS, radio, and even television!

 Dave: And this is...Everybody Loves Raymond. You know, that's not supposed to be in there. It's just a good show.

Literature

  • One of the sections of Gulliver's Travels is titled "A Voyage to Laputa, Balnibarbi, Luggnagg, Glubbdubdrib, and Japan." Admittedly, at that time Japan was almost completely closed off to foreigners and thus almost as fantastic as said other countries.
  • The Doctor Who Expanded Universe short story "Walkin' City Blues" by Joffy Brown has the Doctor describing a Femme Fatale's "glamour implants" to his companion "A subtle combination of exotic pheromones, AI wetware wit-routines, genetically-enlarged pupils, and a spray-on tan."

Live Action TV

  • On QI, Alan is always treated as the Butt Monkey of the group and there are several running gags to this effect. For instance each episode has a theme for the buzzers and then Alan will always reveal his one last as something comedically different e.g. the first three together are sections of the Westminster Chimes and his is a cuckoo clock; the first three get a cow bell, a bicycle bell, a tea bell and then Alan gets Leslie Phillips going "Ding Dong!". They also are often introduced with some extraordinary adjective or other theme and then a similar twist for Alan e.g.

 Stephen (introducing the panel as "four people who look a bit like other people"): Please welcome Tony Blair (Rory Bremner)... Tommy Cooper (Phill Jupitus)... Ruby Wax (Ronni Ancona)... and... Alan Davies.

 Dick: You are missing the real earth, like the happiness in a child's eye, when a loving parent tucks him in at night.

Sally: Or the wonder of two young lovers as they stroll down the beach, dreaming of what is yet to be.

Tommy: Or the quiet contentment of a couple in their autumn years as they sit and reflect on a life well spent together.

Harry: Or hookers (Beat) Cheap painted hookers.

  • The Daily Show: In October 7, 2008, while analyzing the "stupid" vote, John Oliver broke it down into twelve sections: paste eaters, numbskulls, nitwits, fucktards, people whose hands get stuck in pickle jars when they eat pickles, people who lose arguments to babies, douchenozzles, tiger petters, people who jump up and down on frozen lakes, shaved gorillas who've somehow managed to acquire a driver's license, the voluntarily lobotomized, and Cubs fans.
    • In their commentaries on the television news media, they'll often show the news media's hive-mind collective latches onto a particular key-word or -phrase and repeats it incessantly by means of a montage. They'll show sometimes upward of a dozen clips of different news anchors, reporters, and pundits repeating the same catch-phrase about an item, then end it with one of the talking heads (usually a Fox News pundit) saying something ... really bizarre, though still on-topic.
  • From The Big Bang Theory:

 Rajesh Koothrapali: Doctor Gablehauser.

Eric Gablehauser: Doctor Koothrapali.

Leonard Hofstadter: Doctor Gablehauser.

Eric Gablehauser: Doctor Hofstadter.

Sheldon Cooper: Doctor Gablehauser.

Eric Gablehauser: Doctor Cooper.

Howard Wolowitz: Doctor Gablehouser.

Eric Gablehauser: Mister Wolowitz.

 Rose: We are not giving away Fluffy, Muffy, Buffy, and Joanne.

Dorothy: Rose, they are non-breeding minks who eat their weight in food every day—Joanne?

  • In an episode of Boy Meets World, Cory arrives at a party and greets a trio of nerds names Alvin, Simon...and Ubaldo.

Music

 In the morning the film crews start arriving

With donuts, coffee and reporters

  • "We Are the World" (the original one from the 1980s, not the remake made in light of the earthquake in Haiti) had an all-cast of musicians...and Dan Aykroyd.

Theater

 (Acclamations. Applause in the boxes. Flowers and handkerchiefs are thrown down. The officers surround Cyrano, congratulating him. Ragueneau dances for joy. Le Bret is happy, but anxious. The viscount's friends hold him up and bear him away.)

The Crowd (with one long shout): Ah!

A Trooper: Tis superb!

A woman: A pretty stroke!

Raguenau: A marvel!

A Marquis: A novelty!

Le Bret: O madman!

 "Seven million crumbs and a gravy spot,

Teaspoon stuck in the mustard pot,

Napkin on the floor,

Ashes in the cup

And--one Canadian dime!"

Video Games

  • In World of Warcraft is a quest which has players delivering a package containing compressed blasting powder, a tempered mithril bomb casing, and some safety goggles. If you don't understand why this qualifies, then you don't know Goblins. [1]

Webcomics

  • Homestuck: The tapestries displaying the elemental symbols of the four kids hanging in the white castle read thus:

 They wait for he who would extinguish candles whilst fanning a fire.

They wait for she who would thaw solid flesh and resolve it into a dew.

They wait for she who would breed lilacs out of the dead land.

They wait for he who would drop it like it's hot whilst the pimp's in the crib.

Western Animation

 Morbo: "I now present: puny human #1, puny human #2, and Morbo's good friend Richard Nixon."

 Gorrila Grodd: [We are not in it for the money] Sinestro has a blood oath against all Green Lanterns, Parasite simply hates Superman, Giganta is totally devoted to me.

The Shade: And the other one?

Gorrila Grodd: Killer Frost? She just likes to kill things.

Web Original

 Top Man: I want to be in the Indy 500!

Quick Man: I want to break the sound barrier!

Turbo Man: I just want to sit at home and eat chips.

  • Zero Punctuation loves to do these these in the animation. In the LA Noire review, there is a mention of the main character "hopping around between four different police departments", which is illustrated with four doors marked Traffic, Homicide, Vice and Biscuits.
  • In Bonus Stage, the last of the Cool And Unusual Punishments that Joel gets to choose from when going to hell is eating Satan's mom's spaghetti, when the first two were related to watching something 24/7.
  • How It Should Have Ended: Mortal Kombat has the free-for-all confrontation between Liu Kang, Scorpion, Shang Stung, and ... a guy with a gun.
  • Homestar Runner: "Coming up later on Three is 4 Tonite: join Mandy, Brandy, Andy, and Scurge, as they learn how to give a care."

Real Life

  • The Onion published a list of those we lost in 2011. Unless you have a particular hatred for the author of Family Circus, this trope is in full effect, since boring cartoons are not akin to mass murder.
  • Australia's Today Tonight ran a story in early 2007 about a man who was, quote, "an armed robber, drug traffiker, and shonky builder."
  • Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation or IBC of the Philippines. Unlike most networks, which already have advanced technologies, IBC has mostly dilapidated and damaged technologies, and has a very poor line-up of shows.

Notes

  1. They are fans of Stuff Blowing Up, but are not very big on safety.
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