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This is not apostrophe (no, not that kind of apostrophe) or anagnorisis; this is when a character communicates a exposition on some aspect of the story's background or context (e.g. how FTL travel works; why the families are at war) ostensibly to another character (often a foreigner or recluse) but actually in place of simple omniscient narration.

I'm not criticizing the practice; I just want a word for it.

Thanks in advance

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It is often called info-dumping or "as you know, Bob". see also –  The Photon Aug 9 '13 at 4:56
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Are you thinking of "expository dialogue?" Or the broader "exposition?" –  user867 Aug 9 '13 at 5:15
    
@ThePhoton you should write that as your answer, and include the link too. –  Mari-Lou A Aug 9 '13 at 6:44
    
@ThePhoton The link you provide also refers to it as an idiot lecture. –  bib Aug 9 '13 at 12:52
    
The fifth business is a related concept, though not exactly a name for this. –  batpigandme Aug 9 '13 at 13:38
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1 Answer

up vote 2 down vote accepted

What you're describing is expository dialogue.

More colloquially, it's also called an info dump or "as you know, Bob" dialogue.

The last term is generally used in a critical sense, referring to dialogue in a movie or tv show that is obviously unnatural and presented only for the audience's benefit. For example:

Dr. Smartly: As you know, Bob, giant robots have a universal weakness for high-fructose corn syrup, and I've been researching this in my lab. If a giant robot ever attacks Pleasantville, it's a good thing the soda pop factory is nearby...

[90 minutes later]

Bob Dogood (our hero): Eat sweet justic, infernal menace!

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