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"Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice"...

Cutting between different storylines. The phrase itself probably originated in theater, then became common in radio drama, where all scene changes had to be signaled verbally. Also a very common Stock Phrase in Comic Books.

From "Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch," the narrator's Catch Phrase announcing such a scene-change in Bonanza.

A side effect of Two Lines, No Waiting.

Meanwhile in the Future is a related trope. See also Meanwhile Scene, which only happens for a short scene rather than an entire plot thread. Sometimes brought home with an Establishing Shot.

Meanwhile, in the examples...

Anime and Manga

Fan Fiction


 Prussia blinked. "I called him by his name. You really gonna think he'll believe that?"

(In Italy)

"Hey fratello, who was that?"

"Wrong number!"

(Back in the plot…)



  • In Silent Hill, Rose's husband is seen wandering the non-Dark version of Silent Hill as Rose descends further and further into the Dark version.
  • Parodied in the film Spaced Invaders as Blaznee spins through the radio dial while stuck on board the spaceship while it's hidden in the barn as "Meanwhile, elsewhere on the planet..." which lets him discover that the whole invasion was caused by misinterpreting the Orson Welles War of the Worlds Halloween radio broadcast being done by a local radio station.


  • The second book of A Series of Unfortunate Events repeats the Bonanza line several times - each time swearing to never use it again afterward.
  • Philip Pullman's Spring-Heeled Jack begins every chapter with a quote. "Meanwhile, back at the ranch..." begins the second chapter, and names the first book in which it appears. Later in the book, the line "Meanwhile, back at the orphanage..." is used. The source? "Philip Pullman, Spring-Heeled Jack.'"
  • There's a children's book titled Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch, about a farmer who takes a trip into town while his wife stays home. Guess who has a more exciting day.

Live-Action TV


 Crow: (as excited newsreel announcer) "Meanwhile, in the same room, across town!"

  • Also parodied in M*A*S*H, when during a break in another character's long and serious speech, Hawkeye leans to Trapper and solemnly intones, "Meanwhile Aunt Martha, after taking a tramp through the woods, is lying in a ditch at the edge of town."
  • Meanwhile, across town...
  • The Adam West Batman series used it.
  • Laredo used this convention for the title of an episode ("Meanwhile, Back at the Reservation").


  • In the Ray Stevens song "Shriner's Convention", the cut from the refrain back to the next verse is always "Meanwhile, back at the motel..."
  • The Cadets' song "Stranded in the Jungle" (covered by the New York Dolls) contains this, transitioning between verses and choruses using "Meanwhile, back in the jungle" and "Meanwhile, back in the States"
  • Also done in "Meanwhile Back at the Ranch" by the Clark Family Experience, a short-lived country music band composed of six brothers (who are also cousins to Ryan Tedder of One Republic).
  • "Meanwhile Back At The Ranch/Should I Smoke" is the last song on Badfinger's Wish You Were Here album.


  • Frequently played with in The Goon Show, often cutting away to places that hadn't been seen before and wouldn't be seen again:

 Greenslade: Meanwhile, in a teahouse in Saigon...

[A few seconds of music and wordless singing]

Greenslade: We just thought you'd be interested... We return you now to our story.


Video Games

Web Comics

Web Original

  • Parodied in Yu-Gi-Oh: The Abridged Movie: "Meanwhile, thousands of miles away" was stated at almost every scene change, even when the scene was shifting between two rooms in a building.
  • In DBZ Abridged, the narrator says the Bonanza line to cue a scene of the all the side characters talking about the earlier series when they actually, y'know, did things besides watch fights on TV and collect the corpses afterward. The subsequent scene shift is the narrator delivering a deadpan "Meanwhile, back at the plot..."
    • Done a few other times, too, including the Hall of Justice version once.
  • In The Secret Life of Dolls, Cleolinda Jones parodies this, linking to this trope page:

 I will leave behind the Middle-earthers (and the annoyerist fugitives) for a moment, if only so that I get to say, "Meanwhile, back at the ranch" and mean it literally. So. Meanwhile, back at the ranch..."


Western Animation

  • As suggested by the quote at the top of the page, played straight on Superfriends.
  • South Park parodied this (and of course Superfriends) in the episode "Super Best Friends", including "Meanwhile, at the exact same location..."
  • Family Guy did this in the episode "A Perfect Castaway" with a Frank Welker soundalike dating Meg. "Meanwhile, under Megan`s bra..."