Subtrope of Poor Communication Kills
Often, a written message only makes sense if it is read all the way through. However, not everyone has the patience to finish reading. They'll fasten on the part of the message they saw first, and act upon it, not realizing that there is more important information in the rest. Often justified in fiction by the writer of the message using poor syntax, or "burying the lead" so that the most important information is on the next page.
Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!
characters are prone to this.
Not to be confused with It Gets Better
, when the audience stops following a story too soon.
Anime and Manga
- In Love Hina Christmas Special: Silent Eve, Su and Sara find Naru's letter to Kintaro and only bother to read one word in the middle of the page (love) before jumping to conclusions, setting off the whole Idiot Plot.
- In Bakuman。, both the protagonists stop reading only a few pages into the book Iwase gave Takagi, one because he doesn't like the genre she wrote in, and the other because it was too "deep" for him. Thus they both miss the message she inserted between pages about halfway through the book.
- Hellboy: a variation; Abe Sapien reads off the description for the Hellhound from a book to Hellboy. Hellboy supposedly kills the hellhound before Abe finishes, after which he mentions the last few sentences about resurrection.
- In The Incredible Journey a housekeeper finds only one page of a two-page note. This leads to confusion about who is going to be taking care of three pets for two weeks. This sets the plot in motion- the pets escape and have adventures before anyone realizes they're gone.
- There's the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Fear Itself" where Giles reads the information on Gachnar but doesn't read the inscription with its 'actual size' caption. Buffy also fails to let him finish reading later on before she breaks the seal and summons Gachnar on accident.
- On American Dad! a guy stopped reading Carrie, literally in the middle of a sentence. Thus, he dropped pigs from the ceiling onto Stan at the prom instead of pigs' blood.