Created By: BoukenDutch on March 8, 2017 Last Edited By: BoukenDutch on March 11, 2017
Troped

Waiting Skeleton

Quick gag involving the skeletal remains of someone who apparently has been waiting a very, very long time.

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http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/waiting_on_a_woman.jpg
Lets give her 5 more minutes
A common gag used to demonstrate waiting time in a place can be rather long. Common example: Bob arrives in a building (like a hospital or government building), and is told at the reception desk that he has to wait his turn. As he sits down in the waiting room, he notices a skeleton sitting in the chair next to him and realizes he might be here for a very long time.

The same gag is also usable to demonstrate that a place is not visited very often, and/or that somebody has been trapped or locked in there till he died.

Compare Dem Bones for when the skeleton in question is still alive.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • The Castle of Cagliostro: When Lupin and Zenigata are dropped into the oubliette, they discover a Japanese spy that been waiting for centuries, leaving behind a uniformed skeleton.

Comic Strips

Literature
  • Dave Barry once riffed that Customer Service must be filled with corpses since nobody's ever been able to get through to one. Therefore the obvious solution is to transfer the guys over from Telemarketing (who everyone hates anyway) and make them answer the Customer Service phones instead.

[[AC:Film - Animation

Film - Live Action
  • Airplane II: The Sequel: This film continues its predecessor's Running Gag of Ted's boring stories making people kill themselves with his gag; after Ted tells an old woman a story, we see that she's now a skeleton.

Live-Action TV
  • The Benny Hill Show: One episode, after fleeing from a room, Benny finds himself on a ledge outside a window, with no way to go back since a woman locks the window behind him. He then notices a skeleton standing on the same ledge and tears up at the thought of being stranded here forever.
  • In one episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Zelda recalls how she was a teacher once, but got so fed up by the students she fled the classroom, leaving them behind. She wonders what became of them. The scene then cuts to said classroom, where only 2 (now very old) students are still alive and waiting while the others have turned into skeletons.
  • Referenced in an episode of Top Gear; when recalling their biggest blunders of the past season, Jeremy recalls how after test driving a new car he left it in the care of 4 crew members who were supposed to bring the car back, only to realize much later that he forgot to give them the keys. He proceeds to tell the audience that if they want the car, it's probably still on the hill where he left it, guarded by 4 skeletons.

Video Games
  • In Bloodborne, the entrance to the Forbidden Woods is guarded by an apprentice of Provost Wilhelm, who is waiting for someone who knows the password to let them through. When you finally obtain the password, and the doors open, you find the apprentice's skeletal remains behind them—apparently, he died while waiting to fulfill Provost Wilhelm's last orders, and you have been (apparently) talking to his ghost.
  • Lucky Tower: In Lucky Tower II, Von Wanst ends up as one of these if he falls into a deep pit that he cannot climb out of.

Web Comics
  • One story arc in Nodwick features a time traveller from the past (the "present" in the comic being After the End for him). He eventually finds himself in an ancient waiting room, where the skeletons of his peers have been left (along with an Apocalyptic Log lamenting the idiot who caused The End of the World as We Know It by travelling through time), watched over by an undead receptionist who doesn't realise they've become the dead dead sort of skeleton while waiting for her.

Web Original
  • This joke is used in JonTron's Starcade Episode 3, when Jon has to play through the incredibly slow Star Wars Chess game.
  • In the Super Mario Logan episode, "Joseph's House!", Joseph invites Bowser Junior and Cody into his run-down house when Bowser has his apartment fumigated for termites. Joseph's Mom is revealed to have died on October 31, 2015, and he has left his Mom's corpse in the place she died, which has decomposed into a skeleton when he introduces Junior and Cody to her.
  • The Waiting Skeleton is a popular Memetic Mutation.
  • In his "A Date With Markiplier" Choose Your Own Adventure series of videos, Markiplier encounters one of these in the cell he and his date can find themselves imprisoned in.

Western Animation
  • Family Guy:
    • In "The Story on Page One", Peter tries to give Meg the pony she wished for when she was six. However, they end up discovering a horse skeleton in the closet,
    Peter: Oh...Oh God, that's right. Ponies...P-Ponies like food, don't they?.
    • In "PTV", after Lois decides she's had enough of the FCC and tells Peter that he was right all along, he presses a button that launches a "Peter's Right" party, which he claims he's been saving for 15 years, and wonders what happened to the clown. A few moments later, a skeleton with a rainbow wig falls from the ceiling.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: In "The House of No Tomorrow", the gang waits on a very long line at an amusement park, and a skeleton (not Grim) is seen as one of the people on line.
  • The Simpsons
    • In "Brother from the Same Planet", Homer forgets to pick up Bart from soccer practice and leaves him waiting for several hours. While taking a bath, Homer has a dream where he comes to the spot he said he's pick Bart up at and comes across a spiky-headed skeleton, which finally gets him to remember.
    • In the "Scary Tales Can Come True" segment of "Treehouse of Horror XI", Homer abandons Bart and Lisa in the woods and tells them to "Say hi to your other brother and sister". Bart and Lisa the notice a pair of skeletons resembling themselves.
    Lisa: Let's face it. They're not great parents.
    • In "Hungry, Hungry Homer", as Homer prepares to go on a hunger strike to protest the Isotopes' planned move to Albuquerque, he sees the skeleton of previous striker holding a sign reading "CLEAN THE LADIES ROOM".
  • Spongebob Squarepants: "Squid on Strike" ends with Mr. Krabs ordering Spongebob and Squidward to work for him forever. After a Time Skip, they have been reduced to nothing but skeletons, yet they're still working. A bit of Artistic License Biology going on, considering that sponges and octopuses are both invertebrates.

Community Feedback Replies: 28
  • March 8, 2017
    DrNoPuma
    Western Animation
  • March 8, 2017
    Drope
    • This joke is used in Jon Tron's Starcade Episode 3, when Jon has to play through the incredibly slow Star Wars Chess game.
  • March 8, 2017
    Bisected8
    It might be best to avoid using political cartoons for a page image?

    • One story arc in Nodwick features a time traveller from the past (the "present" in the comic being After The End for him). He eventually finds himself in an ancient waiting room, where the skeletons of his peers have been left (along with an Apocalyptic Log lamenting the idiot who caused The End Of The World As We Know It by travelling through time), watched over by an undead receptionist who doesn't realise they've become the dead dead sort of skeleton while waiting for her.
  • March 8, 2017
    Koveras
    • In Bloodborne, the entrance to the Forbidden Woods is guarded by an apprentice of Provost Wilhelm, who is waiting for someone who knows the password to let them through. When you finally obtain the password, and the doors open, you find the apprentice's skeletal remains behind them—apparently, he died while waiting to fulfill Provost Wilhelm's last orders, and you have been (apparently) talking to his ghost.
  • March 8, 2017
    Kartoonkid95
    • Family Guy:
      • In "The Story on Page One", Peter tries to give Meg the pony she wished for when she was six. However, they end up discovering a horse skeleton in the closet,
      Peter: Oh...Oh God, that's right. Ponies...P-Ponies like food, don't they?.
      • In "PTV", after Lois gives up and tells Peter that he was right all along, he presses a button that launches a "Peter's Right" party, which he claims he's been saving for 15 years, and wonders what happened to the clown. A few moments later, a skeleton with a rainbow wig falls from the ceiling.
    • The Simpsons
      • In the Scary Tales Can Come True segment of "Treehouse of Horror XI", Homer and abandons Bart and Lisa in the woods and tells them to "Say hi to your other brother and sister", and they then see a pair of skeletons resembling themselves.
      • In "Hungry, Hungry Homer", as Homer prepares to go on a hunger strike to protest the Isotopes' moving to Albuquerque, he sees the skeleton of previous hunger striker holding a sign reading "CLEAN THE LADIES ROOM".
  • March 8, 2017
    NateTheGreat
    Dave Barry once riffed that Customer Service must be filled with corpses since nobody's ever been able to get through to one. Therefore the obvious solution is to transfer the guys over from Telemarketing (who everyone hates anyway) and make them answer the Customer Service phones instead.
  • March 8, 2017
    NubianSatyress
    Seriously. Image has got to go.
  • March 8, 2017
    Lullabee
    Here's some apolitical cartoons: Cartoon 1 Cartoon 2

    "Waiting for reply": Image

    "Waitin' on a Woman": Image 1 Image 2

    Skeleton using laptop, vaguely looks like he died of boredom at work: Image

    Spongebob and Squidward as skeletons: Image

    IMO the first three are the best.
  • March 8, 2017
    BoukenDutch
    Thanks for the feedback and extra examples everyone. And yes, the first page image was not the best choice. I replaced it with another.
  • March 8, 2017
    NubianSatyress
    Gets my hat now! :)
  • March 8, 2017
    Drope
    Indexes include Skeletal Tropes and Comedy Tropes.
  • March 8, 2017
    FlyingDuckManGenesis
    Web Original
    • In the Super Mario Logan episode, "Joseph's House!", Joseph invites Bowser Junior and Cody into his run-down house when Bowser has his apartment fumigated for termites. Joseph's Mom is revealed to have died on October 31, 2015, and he has left his Mom's corpse in the place she died, which has decomposed into a skeleton when he introduces Junior and Cody to her.
  • March 8, 2017
    bitemytail
    The image looks like a single-panel comic, which means we'd need permission from the artist.
  • March 9, 2017
    BoukenDutch
    Doesn't usage on this site count as Fair Use?
  • March 9, 2017
    Arivne
    • Examples section
  • March 9, 2017
    Pagani800
    Current image has already been removed per an IP thread off another trope too. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=1454621298071257100
  • March 9, 2017
    BoukenDutch
    Alright, alright. I changed the image, again.
  • March 9, 2017
    Snicka
    Compare Dem Bones, when the skeleton is still alive.
  • March 9, 2017
    crazysamaritan
    • The Castle Of Cagliostro: When Lupin and Zenigata are dropped into the oubliette, they discover a Japanese spy that been waiting for centuries, leaving behind a uniformed skeleton.
  • March 9, 2017
    Drope
    Fixed caption size
  • March 9, 2017
    marcoasalazarm
    Think there is room for more "immediate" uses of the Trope—like someone who died (or is dying) while waiting and nobody notices/d until it's too late?
  • March 11, 2017
    Lawman592
    Compare with Time Passage Beard which is a related sight gag showing people who have been waiting for a long time with long—usually white—beards. In fact, sometimes the two gags are combined so that the skeleton will also have a Time Passage Beard.
  • March 9, 2017
    Getta
    A variant is a skeleton lying in a prison.
  • March 9, 2017
    Kooshmeister
    I think Spoony did this once.
  • March 9, 2017
    oneuglybunny
    Magazines
    • A single-panel cartoon done by Gahan Wilson for Playboy shows a skeleton seated in a restroom stall, while a custodian works on the door latch mechanism, and a supervisor comments, "About time you got around to fixing that lock." Wilson is known for having a morbid sense of humor.
  • March 10, 2017
    NateTheGreat
    Spoony used a similar gag at the end of his Akalabeth review. He altered the joke, of course. The game included the phone number at the end of the game so you could "report this amazing feat!" The game was made in 1979 by a company that doesn't exist anymore, so of course there wouldn't be anyone at the other end. The skeleton implies that someone was still at the boards waiting for players to call in. Spoony clip here.
  • March 10, 2017
    Omeganian
  • March 10, 2017
    DrNoPuma
    @Getta That reminds me!

    Film - Animated
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=ii85x4jsx1komb0ecvweyjs9