Looking for dialogue with a certain form
July 7, 2013 4:54 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for lines of dialogue from movies, novels, or elsewhere, in which someone says that something is not an X, even though it is an X, just not a mere X or typical X. An example of the type of exchange I'm looking for: "Wow, you spent a year's salary on a car?" "A car? This is isn't a car. It's a Lamborghini!" The second person knows that their Lamborghini is a car, but means to express that it isn't just a car. (It's important for my purposes that the person doesn't say 'just'.) There must be some recognizable instances of this type of speech, but I'm drawing a blank. Any ideas?
posted by painquale to Writing & Language (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: This is isn't a car.

posted by painquale at 4:56 PM on July 7, 2013

One classic form of this (although it is not clear if it meets your needs) is the joke:

Q. Who was that lady I saw you out with last night?
A. That was no lady, that was my wife!
posted by Mr. Justice at 5:02 PM on July 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

Just about any scene with James Bond and Q in the same room.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:06 PM on July 7, 2013

I'm not sure if this works, but from Zombieland: "There's a box of Twinkies in that grocery store. Not just any box of Twinkies, the last box of Twinkies that anyone will enjoy in the whole universe. Believe it or not, Twinkies have an expiration date. Some day very soon, Life's little Twinkie gauge is gonna go... empty."
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:07 PM on July 7, 2013

From Fight Club: "That wasn't just my apartment [that just blew up], it was my life!"
posted by seemoreglass at 5:13 PM on July 7, 2013

Best answer: HBO's slogan: "It's Not TV. It's HBO."
posted by malhouse at 5:14 PM on July 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

That's not a knife.. this is a knife.
posted by sacrifix at 5:22 PM on July 7, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfNzZre-sIU

This isn't a bag, sir. This is SO much more than a bag.
posted by goodbyewaffles at 5:22 PM on July 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

This isn't a perfect fit because no brand name is mentioned, but in Casino Royale:
James Bond: I have a dinner jacket.

Vesper Lynd: There are dinner jackets and dinner jackets; this is the latter.
posted by ceribus peribus at 5:39 PM on July 7, 2013

From "Happy Days": Fonzie's motorcycle is smashed to pieces. Mr. C: "It's just a motorcycle". Fonzie: "Just a motorcycle?! Just a motorcycle, Mr. C? And I suppose your mother was just a mother."
posted by Melismata at 6:02 PM on July 7, 2013

TVTropes has got you covered: No, Except Yes
First you say what it isn't. Then you say what it is. Both of them effectively have the same meaning.

This is when a character rejects a word in preference of a more colorful (or much blunter) one — often with the same practical meaning, given the circumstances, but with some extra connotations.
Lots of examples across all media inside.
posted by Rhaomi at 6:02 PM on July 7, 2013 [4 favorites]

This might be a borderline example, but in the Seinfeld episode called "The Smelly Car" (season 4), George runs into his ex-girlfriend Susan in a video store. She asks what movie he's holding, and he says it's Rochelle, Rochelle. Then he explains: "It's a foreign movie. A film is what it is, actually." Now, he doesn't explicitly say, "It's not a movie." But his implication (in trying to impress his ex-girlfriend) is that he shouldn't have initially called it a "movie," because it's actually something more respectable than your average movie: it's a "film." This could be seen as a twist on your example, since the speaker is correct himself instead of someone else.

TVTropes has got you covered: No, Except Yes

That's not the same thing — that's where the the character says X isn't true — Y is true — but X and Y are synonymous. The main example given by TV Tropes is, "We're not lost, we just don't know where we are." Not knowing where you are is the definition of being lost. Another example from TV Tropes is, "I'm not asking you to hide, I'm just asking you to go someplace where no one can find you." Again, those two are synonymous: if one is true (you've decided to go to a place where no one can find you), then the other must be true (you're hiding). "Lamborghini" isn't synonymous with "car"; most cars aren't Lamborghinis. Lamborghini is an outstanding example of a car. In the OP's trope, the speaker's motive for saying something literally false is "I want to emphasize how great [or terrible] this particular thing is"; in the TV Tropes trope, it's: "I hate to admit this, so I'm going to stall by denying it for one second, but then I'm going to admit it (with slightly more delicate language)."
posted by John Cohen at 7:00 PM on July 7, 2013

Best answer: "This is not a jersey." (#6 on the Buzzfeed list of The 24 Most Pretentious Things Ever)
posted by iviken at 6:22 AM on July 8, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for the comments everyone! I've marked the suggestions that I think work as best answer. The HBO and Pulp Fiction ones are particularly good. A few comments on why I don't think some of the others are quite what I had in mind:

Q. Who was that lady I saw you out with last night?
A. That was no lady, that was my wife!

I think the humor here comes from an ambiguity in 'lady': it can mean "woman," or refer to a woman with a certain genteelness. The response depends on reading 'lady' in the latter way, and if you read it that way, it doesn't say something that is literally false. A wife is necessarily a lady in the first sense, but not in the second sense. Note that the joke doesn't work if you say "That was no mere lady, that was my wife!"

That's not a knife.. this is a knife.

This one is extremely close, but it doesn't have quite the right form. I need dialogue that uses a word X to only apply to mere Xs. This is the opposite: Crocodile Dundee is applying the word 'knife' to only exemplary knives.

TVTropes has got you covered: No, Except Yes

I was hoping this page would have a lot of instances of what I'm looking for---one of the first ones listed is the HBO slogan, which seemed to bode well---but it didn't really have anything that fit well. (To be honest, that is one sloppy TVTropes page; a lot of the examples that are cited don't really have anything to do with one another.)

"It's a foreign movie. A film is what it is, actually."

This would suit my purposes if George said "It's a foreign movie. Well, it's not a movie. It's a film." I need him to explicitly say "it's not an X" when it is an X.

Any of these suggestions that don't quite fit are due to my not being sufficiently specific in my question, so I appreciate everyone brainstorming and contributing!
posted by painquale at 5:46 PM on July 9, 2013

Best answer: "He's not a man, he's a loving machine."
Nina Cherry
Song: Buffalo Stance
Album: Raw Like Sushi
posted by LonnieK at 7:01 PM on July 10, 2013

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