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I know I've seen it quite a lot on TV and in film, some examples being:

  • The Simpsons - Radioactive Man [1995?]

  • Shaun of the Dead [2004]

I'm sure there must be many examples from much earlier, but which was the first?

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  • The trope you are looking for is "Twisted Echo Cut"; you can probably find earlier examples on that page.
    – DavidW
    Feb 8, 2023 at 21:32
  • @DavidW thanks David, while similar that seems to be more about a joke created by cutting a characters sentence short and having another unrelated separate character finish it.
    – Praxiom
    Feb 9, 2023 at 14:15
  • No, that's exactly Twisted Echo Cut; the music video, football game and nature documentary all continue the thought of the previous newscaster, even though they are completely unrelated.
    – DavidW
    Feb 9, 2023 at 19:18
  • @Praxiom, Typically that's played as an Answer Cut where one character asks a question and the next line after a cut is the answer. Feb 9, 2023 at 20:28
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    It seems TV Tropes doesn't have a dedicated page for it; the Sean of the Dead example is on the Astonishingly Appropriate Interruption page, and the Simpsons example is on the News Monopoly page.
    – Showsni
    Feb 11, 2023 at 23:53

1 Answer 1

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Based on the unique criteria that you provided:

  • It has be a combination of TV shows
  • The dialogue has to flow between one character and the next

I would say Shaun of the Dead is the first film to use different types of broadcasts (news reel, music video, documentary) to create the narrative. This is why the film is so relevant and respected to this day, much to the chagrin of Simon Pegg, who hates the idea of retreading the same movie with a follow up.

The scene is explained on the TV Tropes page for 'News Monopoly' in the link provided by @Showsni in the comments (emphasis mine):

Sent up, and mildly subverted in that only every other channel is showing the news and covering the story, while the other channels conveniently fill in the blanks in the sentences with unrelated statements

This indicates that this is unique, and not so much a direct cliche.

In addition to Astonishingly Appropriate Interruption (also mentioned by @Showsni), there is an element of Two Scenes, One Dialogue where two scenes that intercut appear to continue a dialogue:

Lines of dialogue carry across the two scenes, sometimes to the point of the two scenes answering the other's questions or even Finishing Each Other's Sentences. For example:
Scene 1
"Tom Smith, Number One on the wanted list."
Cut to Scene 2
"Committed three murders, two bank robberies."
Cut back to Scene 1
"Considered armed and dangerous."

Indeed, the example links for Two Scenes, One Dialogue mention Shaun of the Dead:

Shaun of the Dead features the titular character sitting down to watch television. A news report comes on about the rising zombie apocalypse, but he boredly starts flipping channels. No matter what comes on, it continues the sentence of the previous channel. He doesn't notice.

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