Bored To Sleep
A person is so boring that people around them can't stay awake.
Better Name Tropeworthy? Motion To Discard Up For Grabs

(permanent link) added: 2011-08-28 23:31:50 sponsor: aerojockey edited by: Arivne (last reply: 2014-07-20 04:43:58)

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Sometimes a person is so boring or unintersting that other people listening to them can't stay awake.

This trope is used to drive home just how boring this person (for convenience's sake, let's call her Sandy) is being. It's often played for laughs, especially when Sandy fancies herself to be interesting or profound. It usually, but not always, occurs when Sandy is delivering a long monologue.

In general, Sandy isn't aware that people are falling asleep on her at first. Sometimes this fact will be revealed to the audience but not to Sandy, so the audience will be clued in that Sandy's words are unimportant. Other times, Sandy and the audience will discover the listeners' sleepy state together (often in the form of a sudden loud snore).

Upon discovering what has happened, Sandy may magnanimously cover her sleepy victim with blanket or tuck them into bed.

Sandy is oftentimes Windbag Politician. Can result in Asleep in Class. Related to Long Speech Tea Time, but this trope is about characters unintentionally falling asleep on the speaker rather than deliberately ignoring them.

This trope is not the same thing as lullaby, which is a deliberate attempt to lull someone to sleep (and thus carries none of the embarrassment for the singer that this trope carries for Sandy).


Anime and Manga
  • In One Piece, when Jinbe tells Luffy and co a 7-chapters long Exposition, Luffy (in his usual fashion) is revealed to be sleeping at the end.
  • In Scrapped Princess, this happens when Zeferis tries to explain the reasoning behind her and Natalie's actions against Shanon and the others, and her resulting conflict of interests, to Pacifica who just doesn't get it. This is because her explaination consisted of Techno Babble set to holographic imagery, so Pacifica fails to understand any of it. Instead, it causes her to nod off and fall asleep. Zeferis even has to tell her to wake up so she can repeat it; this time, in simpler terms that Pacifica can understand.
  • In the Sonic the Hedgehog OVA, Dr. Robotnik's long-winded speech about how the Robot Factory in The Land of Darkness needs to be shut down or there will be a massive explosion puts everyone (The President, Princess Sara, Sonic, Tails, even his own robots) to sleep. He wakes them up by popping his demonstration orb.

  • In After Hours, Kiki falls asleep and starts snoring while Paul is rubbing her shoulders and telling her a story about being burned.
  • Inverted in The Big Green: During one of Miss Montgomery's lessons, the class decides to show her she's wasting her time trying to teach them by all of them faking snoring sounds.
  • Blazing Saddles. After Bart finishes telling Jim his life story, Jim snores because he's fallen saleep. Bart says "Always like to keep my audience riveted."
  • The stinger in Iron Man 3 revealed that Tony Stark had been unburdening himself by narrating the entire story to Bruce Banner—and that Bruce had been asleep through most of it.
  • In Mrs. Doubtfire, a cameraman filming a children's television show begins nodding off (and the screen shifts for a second) because the host is so boring.
  • Michael Jordan delivers a never-say-die speech to the morose Looney Tunes at halftime of the Ultimate Game in Space Jam. The result puts every 'toon to sleep except Bugs Bunny, who remarks, "Great speech, Doc. You had them riveted."

  • Harry Potter: Professor Binns, the History of Magic teacher, is so boring that students routinely sleep during his class. He can't remember his students' names, and he doesn't even seem have noticed that he's dead, continuing to lecture as a ghost. He's thus really surprised when Hermione actually asks him a question in the second book, as it's the first time in a while that he's seen a student react to anything he's said.

Live-Action TV
  • Inverted on at least two occasions on M*A*S*H:
    • In, "Henry, Please Come Home", Henry gives an impromptu acceptance speech after being awards the Special Citation of Merit for the efficiency rate at the 4077th cracking 90%. Hawkeye pretends to nod off during Henry's speech, though Trapper still nudges him.
    • In, "O.R.", Frank goes into another one of his little mini-rants, to which Trapper remarks, "Keep talking, Frank. I could use the sleep."
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Schisms", Riker interrupts Data's poetry reading "Ode to Spot" with a snore.

Newspaper Comics
  • Inverted in one Calvin and Hobbes strip. Calvin decides to count all the rocks he can find. Next panel he's up to a billion and one. Then he wakes up since it was All Just a Dream.
    Calvin: Wow, I bored myself awake.

  • A Running Gag in the Paper Mario series, where Mario will always fall asleep during the extended explanation of some plot critical detail (the player always hears the important parts). To date, only one speaker actually realized he fell asleep.
  • There is an old woman in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask who tells Link one of two stories, but Link is not able to remain awake for it unless he is wearing the All-Night Mask. This can be used by the gamer to quickly jump ahead a day or two.
  • In Neverwinter Nights 2, when you first travel to the Old Owl Well, you encounter Grobnar Gnomehands, a recruitable gnome bard who is first seen singing and dancing in the middle of an open field in an attempt to get the attention of so-called "Wendersnavens", creatures that - according to him - are invisible and immaterial, and are "everywhere and nowhere". He then goes on to introduce himself, eventually trailing off into a long-winded story from his past. As you can guess, as soon as he gets into the details, the entire party falls asleep and wakes up a couple of hours later, just in time to see Grobnar finish his story. He remarks that you seemed very concentrated on the story, although the sounds you were making were rather strange, almost like snoring...

  • In this A Modest Destiny strip, an intruder is momentarily bored to sleep by an evil snake god's "who dares" speech.
    Zonkafth: I am all knowing! All powerful! All...hey, are you listening to me?
  • The Order of the Stick
    • Happens early when Vaarsuvius is telling a roomful of goblins how powerful she is and how thoroughly she will destroy them. The other members of his party actually decided that she must have been casting an extremely powerful area-effect sleep spell.
    • After Redcloak finishes his long explanation of his battle strategy he finds Xykon has fallen asleep -though it's largely implied Xykon was faking it to make a point.
    Xykon: Oh, sorry I just fell asleep right in the middle of that.
    Redcloak: You're a lich. You're actually physically incapable of sleeping.
    Xykon: Which should just emphasize how boring that was!


  • In the Adventure Time episode "Card Wars", Finn can't quite stay awake through Jake's explanation of the rules of Card Wars. Understandable since this takes hours.
  • In the Arthur episode, "Dear Adil", Arthur gets a Turkish penpal named Adil, however, after their first exchange of letter, Arthur has an Imagine Spot, where he believes his response letter to Adil will be so boring that not only does Adil fall asleep, but so does his father, his camel, and the entire city of Istanbul (to be fair, Arthur is under the wrong assumption that life in Turkey is like depicted in fiction, and that Adil owns a camel and lives in a tent). In fact, at one point, Arthur reads over a draft of one of his letters to Adil, and remarks, "Even I'm boring myself to sleep!" D.W. even cruely remarks that Arthur read her one of the letters he was writing, and it put her to sleep.
  • In the Dexter's Laboratory episode, "Last But Not Beast", Dexter and his family have difficulties figuring out what to do to stop a giant monster from destroying Tokyo. Toshi (whom Dexter was part of a foreign exchange student program with) appears before them to tell them the story of a boy who defeated a giant monster, not be fearing it, but because of the power of his heart, which brought other people together in love, repelling the monster away. Dexter, Mom, and Dad are moved by Toshi's story, and decide they need to work together to rid Tokyo of the giant monster... all the while Dee Dee had fallen asleep.
  • In the The Fairly Oddparents episode, "Future Lost", Timmy and Cosmo fall asleep whenever Wanda tries to teach them a lesson about doing the right thing. She does this to herself at the end of the episode after Timmy and Cosmo both fall asleep again.
  • A framing device in the I Am Weasel episode, "I.R. Wild Baboon" has Weasel defending himself with a reporter over a prison phone about how he was trying to film a documentary on Baboon's peculiar and constant migration habits (it turns out Baboob was annoyed by Weasel following him and was trying to get away from him). After Weasel finishes his story, Red Guy, as the reporter, wakes up.
    Red Guy: Huh? Oh, I'm so sorry, I FELL ASLEEP! (Starts jotting notes) Now, you say it all started seventeen years ago?
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle: Happens quite a few times, but a couple of specific examples are as follows:
    • At one point in the, "Jet Fuel Formula" story arc, Boris, (posing as a hypnotist), manages to put Bullwinkle under in order to get from him the recipe for Grandma Moose's Fudgecake recipe, which also happens to be the world's most powerful rocket fuel, however, Boris makes the mistake is asking Bullwinkle to tell him everything he knows... Bullwinkle does just that, and tells him everything he knows, nonstop for twelve hours; Boris, Natasha, and Rocky fall asleep while listening.
    • In the, "Topsy Turvey World" story arc, Rocky, Bullwinkle, and Captain Peachfuzz are in a plane that's losing fuel, and altitude, that is until Rocky finds a particular book on a shelf, "Hokey smokes! I'm looking a the Congressional Record! We have enough gas in here to fly us around the world!" Sure enough, a makeshift microphone is connected to the fuel line, and Bullwinkle basically reads the entire book into the mic, refueling the plane, and in the process, putting everyone in the plane - including the narrator - to sleep.
  • In The Simpsons, Principal Skinner's morning PA announcements have been shown on one occasion to put the kids in class to sleep. Mrs. Krabappel uses firecrackers to wake them up.
  • In South Park, the test for determining whether a child has ADD is to read The Great Gatsby to them, aloud, and then ask questions about it. Everyone who listens falls asleep, so they're diagnosed with ADD and get put on Ritalin to "cure" it.
    In Chapter 12, what kind of bottles did Miss Van Campen talk about? Anybody? Anybody?? My God, these children all have ADD! [scribbles onto his notepad quickly]
  • Exaggerated on the Sponge Bob Square Pants episode "Naughty Nautical Neighbors", when Squidward plays his clarinet for Patrick. Patrick falls instantly asleep after the first note.
  • Taz-Mania: After running out of orange juice, Hugh drives himself, Taz, and Uncle Drew to the store to get some more; along the way, he goes into detail about how orange juice is made, complete with a visual aid. Taz and Uncle Drew have fallen asleep by the time Hugh finishes his story.
  • Tuff Puppy
    • A Running Gag in the episode "Bored of Education" has Kitty putting everyone to sleep whenever she talks about proper health. At one point, Keswick uses this on a bear neighbor of his so she can hibernate and he can use her pool.
    • Another episode has Keswick continually putting the other agents to sleep with his long boring technobabble speeches. Taken Up to Eleven when Keswick starts to give a long speech about why he isn't boring and promptly puts himself to sleep.

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