In the viewing party episode of The Office (US), office worker Jim describes some special events which are broadcast live on television as:

Some events are so news worthy, so historic, that you have to stop everything to watch. Balloon Boy, Michael Jackson's funeral. Things that if you didn't see them live, you wouldn't really care that you didn't see them at all.

There are of course phrases to indicate they you only get a joke or statement when you were at a certain event, for example the phrase had to be there. This phrase, however, excludes those who saw events as they unfolded on television, I am looking for a phrase which includes those people.

To put it more generally, I am looking for a phrase or idiom, possibly slang, to later describe a situation you should have seen live (either by having witnessed the event(s) in real-life or by having seen it unfold as they happened on television) to fully understand a statement, joke or feeling?

Can you come up with such a phrase or idiom? I get that the description in the popular-culture quote slightly differs from how I phrased it, however, I would point out that any answer which captures the sentiment of having to have followed it live, in real time is within the scope of this question.

  • See-it-to-believe-it. As in "It was a see-it-the-believe-it moment/ episode, when he peed in his pants during police investigation"
    – AMN
    Commented Nov 17, 2020 at 9:31

2 Answers 2


Something like:

"Had to have been there".
"Should have been there".
"Heat of the moment"?
"Once in a lifetime"


believe it when (I,we) see it TFD

I highly doubt that could happen or is the case. The phrase implies that one would need to witness or see proof of such a thing to believe it.

  • I'd like to think you were right… Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 22:14

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