Hey Champ, do you like movies? Sure you do; the talkies are all the rage these days, and with good reason. Ample bosoms, explosions, riveting drama -- there's nothing that isn't available at your local theater. Plus you can get delicious popcorn and sometimes beer. But wait a sec, some of these movies seem a little suspect. A little peculiar, if you will. Yeah, it turns out that some of that dialogue is what Grandpa used to call "fucking dumb." Characters in movies say things all the time that you and I don't say, because our lives aren't dictated by a script some coke-head wrote out on a napkin at Starbucks.
#5. "Did I Say That Out Loud?"
I'm almost positive this joke was used twice a season on Friends for its entire run, like one simian on the writing staff would endlessly chortle-snuffle their way through the idea of Chandler "accidentally" spilling his inner dialogue until they shot Yoo-hoo out of their snout and then forced it into the script at the threat of tearing off the limbs of other writers and using them as clubs. It was probably funny once, to a tween, the first time they heard it in something in the '80s, and that's where it died.
The reason this line isn't funny and has no business being plumbed for any depth of comedy is simple -- it's as hollow as my uncle's wooden leg. What kind of madman actually goes through life questioning whether or not they've actually just uttered random thoughts aloud? No one with all their faculties does this, and those without should not be the subject of NBC Thursday-night lineups. That's cruel and unnecessary.
Warner Bros. Television
Chandler Muriel Bing never had a chance.
You've never genuinely said, "Did I just say that out loud?" about anything in your life, and you know it. Moreover, if you met someone who said it, some smug prick who'd say it then look around the room waiting for laughs like an organ grinder's monkey waiting for nickels, you'd punch that fuckwit right in the jejunum and be totally justified in doing so, because that asshole deserved it.
#4. "We Need To Talk"
20th Century Fox
From Taken to Terms Of Endearment to Horns, this trope is endlessly available to slip under the radar and annoy those of us who own a phone more or less for the purpose of using it to speak to others who aren't in the room.
More or less.
Picture it: You're watching the latest hilarious rerun of Family Feud starring Steve Harvey and announced by former N'SYNC member Joey Fatone, and you get a call. You lift your cellphone, see it's from your good friend, and answer right away:
You: Hey, what's up?
Friend: We need to talk.
Friend: Meet me at 5th and Main. Bring gasoline and a disguise.
That's how shit goes down in movies and on TV. In real life, this would be your conversation:
You: Hey, what's up?
Friend: We need to talk.
You: Good thing we are, then. What's going on?
Friend: I have lupus.
"Damn you, Obamacare!"
For whatever reason, "We need to talk" is code in movies for "Let's meet somewhere and change the scenery. If you're super lucky, my character will actually die before you find out what I wanted to talk about."
No one in real life should ever abuse a phone this way. Call someone, say you need to talk, and then ... what? Not talk? The phone is for talking. Talk on the goddamn phone. Don't needlessly complicate things. If for no other reason than you're causing undue stress on the person who now has no idea what your deal is. Are you dying? Are they? Are you pregnant? Is your lupus sexually transmitted? Say what you mean right away; it's why we invented telecommunications in the first place -- to make conversations easier.
Saying "We need to talk" is one of those curious redundancies that language needs to weed out anyway. Once you start talking, you're talking, no need to say you need to do it; you already are. It's like asking someone if you can ask them a question. So help me God, you just did. You just did ask, and what if the answer was no? You already broke the goddamn rule once; just keep going with it and ask the important question.
#3. "What Did You Just Say?"
You're in a tense situation. All hope seems lost, you're at your wit's end, and suddenly some unsuspecting dingus says something that gives you a perfect eureka moment. But because you're in a movie you must make it stunningly clear just what that person said. So you ask, "What did you just say?" and the person hilariously says what they said after the important line. And then you say, "No, before that." And maybe here we double down on hilarity by having them say the thing they said before the important part, so it bookends what you focused on and also makes it abundantly clear that you heard them clearly and they also somehow know exactly that you wanted them to say, because it's the only thing they omitted. How could this happen? The script said so!
In real life this utter-bullshit scenario has never and will never occur. The only time you ask this in real life is when you legitimately didn't hear the person, not when you've been struck by insane inspiration. Because in that scenario you heard them and it inspired you! Of course you heard it; it's what set off that little lightbulb above your head. The only possible reason for the repetition is so an audience can join in the fun of trying to figure out the mystery.
"Coffee bean ... beanbag chair ... electric chair ... the defendant is totally guilty! Great job, guys!"
"What did you just say?" is the only way the screenwriter could think of making that character's internal monologue external. Because the movie doesn't have a narrator, or they would have said it, so the only other option is this stupid-as-balls maneuver. It serves one purpose: to inform an audience that must be watching the events playing out, which means it doesn't exist in the "real world" of the film; it exists in our world of the audience watching a film. It's the same as Deadpool talking directly to us, only dumber, because it's less honest.
The only reason you would ever say this in real life is if you think people are watching you or you're one of those awful people who has changed the way they speak to reflect fictional narratives. Like, I knew this kid in school who really had a thing for early Jim Carrey movies and would speak in that annoying early-Jim-Carrey-movie dialect, like from Ace Ventura and The Mask, where he wasn't so much speaking to other people, just to a room in a series of catchphrases. Made me want to punch him all the time, because he ended every statement with "alrighty then!" and would often turn his head in such a way that suggested he was looking away from a camera that wasn't even there. I hope he lives an unhappy life these days.