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I call and I call

Just to make things right

Have I lost the fight?

Where were you last night?
Nightwish Ankie Bagger, "Where Were You Last Night?"

Daddy scratches his key against the doorknob, stumbles in reeking, and tries to get to bed without Mommy hearing. Your teenage daughter didn't come home last night yet shows up in the afternoon with her friend who wears too much makeup. These are scenes where Jane is home, John wasn't, and that's a problem.

Two other phrases you often hear in these scenes are, "I called the office" and "You Are Grounded!". This trope covers any scene where one character's in trouble with another because the first wasn't at home. The most common versions of this trope are a cheating spouse or a youth partying without parents' permission.

Examples of Where Were You Last Night? include:

  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: Jim Carrey's lady went to the bar without him and stayed out late.
  • Mad Men: From the first episode Don regularly cheats on his wife. It's not 'til later she asks where he has been.
  • Skins: In the first episode, Tony is shown covering for his sister to avert such a scene.
  • The Wire: In its fifth season, Jimmy has such a scene with his lady, who knows he's cheating.
  • Wendy asks Van this in episode 3 of Gun X Sword. (He was hungover thanks to one shot of tequila, because he Can't Hold His Liquor.) Played comically, because it reveals that although she's far younger than he is, she's already nagging him.
  • Monkey Dust turns this into a recurring gag with Clive, a character who disappears from his wife for extended amounts of time (usually an evening, sometimes as long as years) and, when questioned as to his whereabouts repeats the plot of a film, book or (in one memorable episode) nursery rhyme. The actual explanation is typically something immensely revolting, humiliating and sexual.
  • Double-barreled example from 1994's Prêt-à-Porter: a fashion designer sneaks back into his hotel room, having spent the night cheating on his supermodel wife with her identical twin sister, only to find that she didn't spend the night there, either (for exactly the reason you're thinking - it's that kind of movie). So when they catch up with each other at the Fashion Show later and he asks this question of her, she ends the conversation by replying, "I was with my sister, where were you?"
  • The Awful Truth: Jerry comes home to find that not only is his wife not there, she's spent the night in the country with another man.
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