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Theres a definite technique where the cameraman is focusing solely on character A who is speaking to character B, and character B is not within view for the TV viewer. Then, when it is revealed who person B is, it is completely surprising and often to comedic effect.

I'd like to read more about this technique, but without a name there is little to search for. Is there one?

There are 2 examples where I see this semi-frequently:

  • Simpsons: (I may not have this accurately recalled) Homer Simpson is giving a stern warning that her daughter's radical behavior will not be tolerated in this house. Then the footage cuts to what turns out to be Maggie, the baby.
  • WWE: at least every couple of weeks, there is a wrestler backstage and he is talking to someone off-camera about something very specific and serious with the storyline he's involved in. But when the camera pans to the recipient, it's someone unexpected (e.g. a midget, a female valet etc.) which is funny but still makes 100% sense by the speaker.

Does this technique/trope have an name?

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TV trope name for monologue to unexpected off-camera recipient?

Theres a definite technique where the cameraman is focusing solely on character A who is speaking to character B, and character B is not within view for the TV viewer. Then, when it is revealed who person B is, it is completely surprising and often to comedic effect.

It is close to the Trick Dialogue, with a bit of Subverted Trope, not a Fourth Wall Psych.

  • Trick Dialogue:

A subversion of the most fundamental aspect of Dialogue: whether a character is talking to someone else or not.

Commonly, a character will appear to be making a brave confession, and then be revealed to have just been practicing before a mirror. Or, he will seem to be explaining his life to someone, and then be shown to be talking to a gravestone.

Alternatively, a character will clearly be talking to himself, but we find out that someone just happened to overhear. (Bonus points if it was the intended recipient of a difficult request.) This can follow on the first kind for a Double Subversion of dialogue.

Visual media typically use a Reveal Shot, often a Close-Up on Head, to execute Trick Dialogue. Compare Fourth Wall Psych (where the character appears to be speaking to the audience but is actually talking to another person). See also Not So Dire.

  • Subverted Trope:

Basically, this is playing bait and switchnote with a trope. A work makes you think a trope is going to happen, but it doesn't.

But how could people know a trope is going to happen? Well, tropes live in the minds of the audience. As such, sufficiently Trope Savvy audience members can predict a familiar trope coming based on the hints dropped by the writer. So when the writer decides to build on this expectation, only to reveal that the expected "trope" was a Red Herring while an entirely different situation results, you have a Subverted Trope.

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  • Great answer. And can someone add a tag for trope? It’s not an available tag. – Sridhar Sarnobat Jul 24 '18 at 4:34
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    @Sridhar-Sarnobat - Thanks. Apparently I have enough Rep to create a Tag so I will add it. – Rob Jul 24 '18 at 4:41

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