Derived from the old horse operas where action at one point was interrupted to go to the ranch in question; This line being spoken by the narrator in order to assist the hard of thinking. ( A hold over from radio narration style )
B:'OK, I guess . . . Did you know she was a hermaphrodite?"
A:"Meanwhile, back at the ranch . . . "
B: Maybe red.
A: Brown matches the rest of the room though.
C: I like bananas.
A: *odd look* ...meanwhile, back at the ranch
Derived from old Western TV shows or movies. Something exciting would be happening out on the range somewhere (or in town, etc), but at the same time something else would be happening at the home base, i.e. the ranch.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, little Betsy has discovered a gold nugget in the family's stream.
GIRL 2: OMG, did you see Justin today? He is so totally hot. His eyelashes go on forever. Do you think I should dye my hair? My roots are totally showing and I was thinking about going more red this time.
Sheila: (Pause) Yeah. So, meanwhile, back at the ranch... I think Kerry is kind of creepy, but Bush is totally f**cking everything up. Maybe I should go Nader.