Created By: warriorpoet on March 22, 2011 Last Edited By: warriorpoet on October 28, 2017

Pacing the Floor

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This is where a character is thinking about something (usually critical to the plot) and is pacing the floor as he or she is doing it. Often they will walk back and forth across a room, but occasionally they will walk in a circle instead.

One example is the Spongebob episode where Spongebob and Patrick are playing imagination games in a box and Squidward is seen pacing the floor trying to figure out how they are making the sound effects he is hearing.

Another example is in the Great Mouse Detective where Basil is pacing the floor and smoking his pipe while thinking about the case.

More examples appreciated!
Community Feedback Replies: 12
  • March 23, 2011
    Eh, might be kind of People Sit On Chairs.
  • March 23, 2011
    There's a scene in How To Murder Your Wife where the Jack Lemmon character and his lawyer are both trying to pace in a small cell and keep getting in each other's way.
    Lemmon: If we're both going to pace we need to establish a traffic pattern.
  • March 23, 2011
    You could revamp it to describe odd or unusual methods of pacing, or ones where it's played for comedy (as Lee M's example). For example, in the 60s Batman movie Batman, Robin, Gordon and Chief O'Hara are all pacing in a bizarre cross-hatch pattern on the floor, just barely missing running into one another multiple times as they stew the case.
  • March 23, 2011
    Good idea! What kind of title do you think would be appropriate?
  • March 23, 2011
    Strange Pacing?

    Scrooge Mc Duck had often paced so much that hes in least feet inside the floor. In one extreme case, only his hat was visible above the floor.
  • March 23, 2011
    Maybe something like Extreme Pacing?
  • March 23, 2011
    When it's played for laughs, sometimes there's a rut (if not a carved path) worn in the floor.
  • March 24, 2011
    • Superman II. Lois, Jimmy Olsen and Perry White are in Perry's office wondering where Superman is. Both Perry White and Jimmy Olsen are pacing back and forth in tandem. Perry realizes that Jimmy is subconsciously imitating him and glares at him.

    • In one of the Horatio Hornblower novels the title character is pacing back and forth in his inn room trying to work out a mental problem. The person in the room below him complains to the innkeeper about it.
  • December 9, 2012
    i like the current name sometimes there's nothing wrong with a trope being what it says on the tin
  • December 11, 2012
  • December 17, 2012
    Often in older works (1960s and earlier) we see a soon-to-be father pacing and smoking in the hospital waiting room while his wife is giving birth. Used as a visual shorthand - you see a man in a waiting room pacing & smoking and you know without having to be told his wife is giving birth.
  • October 28, 2017
    I'm in favor of the "wearing a rut in the floor" idea. We definitely need it. I actually have a non-pacing example (crosswick from Gone Behind The Bend):