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Hey! Phrasing!
November 5, 2012 11:11 PM   Subscribe

I'm watching the show Archer and they use a device where a character will be saying something or will ask a question and there's a cut to a completely different scene with a different character essentially picking up the exact same conversation thread.

Example:
Pam, Carol, and Ray are in the break room. Ray asks "So do you really Odin's going to get rid of everybody?"

The scene switches to a restaurant with Lana and Barry (from Odin) and Barry picks it up with "No, not everybody. In fact, Odin plans to promote a very select few personnel..."

This episode does it a ton, but it's a consistent theme throughout the show, which makes it even more fun to watch. I've definitely seen other shows do this, but not quite to this extent. Sometimes the conversations flow exactly like in this example, sometimes it's just a clever play on words or a repeated word he uses to tie into the next scene.

I'm wondering what the device is called, if it has a name? And if you have any other examples of shows that make it work really well, hit me with them, too.
posted by disillusioned to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
I can't think about any particular show that does it quite as much as Archer. But the comic writer, Brian Azzarello, uses it all the time. You'll be hard pressed to find any issue written by him that doesn't have one example, and generally a bunch of other fine word play.

Check out "100 Bullets" for a great read with plenty of examples.
posted by bswinburn at 11:17 PM on November 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Two scenes, one dialogue.

It's even specifically called out: "Archer is the absolute god king of this for comedic effect."
posted by lantius at 11:27 PM on November 5, 2012


This is referred to as the Twisted Echo cut.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 11:32 PM on November 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


There we go. Thanks!
posted by disillusioned at 11:32 PM on November 5, 2012


30 Rock and Community make it work really well. I'm watching the live episode of 30 Rock and it's FULL of it.

Basically, any super smart show. Not so much in Parks & Rec, It's Always Sunny or The League that I remember though.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 11:44 PM on November 5, 2012


If you like Archer, its creator did a very short show beforehand called Frisky Dingo, in which he pulls a lot of the same hilarious comedic tricks out of the bag.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:31 AM on November 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you like Frisky Dingo, its creator did a very short show beforehand called Sealab 2021, in which he pulls a lot of the same hilarious comedic tricks out of the bag.
posted by outlaw of averages at 12:32 AM on November 6, 2012 [11 favorites]


For comedy value you can't beat the Austin Powers rocket launch joke.

It looks like a giant...
posted by hardcode at 2:30 AM on November 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sounds like a special case of what David Bordwell talks about in this essay.
posted by Dr Dracator at 2:35 AM on November 6, 2012


There's a bit of this in the film The Fifth Element.
posted by dismas at 4:55 AM on November 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've also seen this called a "semi-pre-lap". Screenwriter John August did two posts about it:

Archer’s semi-pre-laps
More on Archer’s odd pre-laps
posted by sharkfu at 12:51 PM on November 6, 2012


If you like that sort of thing, you might like some of Firesign Theater's work. Not quite the same, but for a lot of their stuff, the writing approaches the information density of a viral genome. One stretch of dialog might deliver one gag, but then if you start listening in the middle, or any other point, you realize there are more gags packed in.
posted by Good Brain at 4:51 PM on November 6, 2012


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