Holding The Floor


(permanent link) added: 2010-02-01 16:41:45 sponsor: MartineBrooke (last reply: 2010-02-01 16:41:45)

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Note:I came across Character Filibuster when looking for this trope. How Did We Miss This One??

Whereas in Character Filibuster the author puts a speech in Bob's mouth to make a point, in Holding the Floor Bob must perform a filibuster for in-universe reasons.

Perhaps he is a politician and must perform a literal filibuster. Perhaps he's been cornered by the Big Bad and is pretending to surrender in the hope that the Big Damn Heroes or The Cavalry will turn up to rescue him. Perhaps The Hero is doing something critical in the next room and Bob has offered to hold the bad guys off or at least hold the attention of the audience. Perhaps two groups in the room each know One Side of the Story and he simply can't let them talk to each other. Perhaps Alice is on next and she hasn't turned up yet, but Bob knows she will if he can hang on for a bit.

Either way, Bob is screwed and his only option is to stand up and talk. And talk. And talk.

What Bob says might be a Character Filibuster but more often he's making it up as he goes, spouting exposition, telling Blatant Lies or rambling. May be a Multitasked Conversation. If Bob pulls it off, may become a Crowning Moment Of Awesome. Bonus points if Bob can't or won't lie.


Examples:

Film
  • Mr Smith in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington filibusters in front of the Senate
  • 10 Things I Hate About You: Kat tries to distract Mr. Chapin so Patrick can escape detention. She rambles on about soccer tactics for several minutes. Patrick has almost made to the window when Kat's ingenuity begins to run out. In desperation, she begins talking about misdirection, using..."THESE!" (and lifts her shirt up).
Patrick: I thought for sure I was busted when I was climbing out that window, I tell you. So, how did you keep him distracted?
  • Akeelah And The Bee: Akeelah leaves the spelling bee for several minutes and Javier stalls spelling his word ("ratatouille") to give her time to get back.
  • Our Man Flint. The U.S. President is on television and about to surrender to the GALAXY organization. Derek Flint contacts his boss Lloyd Cramden and gives him the location of GALAXY Island, which will allow the U.S. to launch a counterattack. Cramden contacts the President:
Cramden: Are you there, sir? Sir, stall! Stall, dammit! Flint is alive!
President: Uh, no, uh, no great decision...

Literature
  • The Ur Example: in Arabian Nights, Scheherezade tells the sultan stories night after night, always stopping at a Cliffhanger so that he won't execute her until he hears the end. It saves her life.
  • In Dead Famous by Ben Elton, Inspector Coleridge talks on television for five and a half minutes to delay the end of the show so his colleagues can arrive with faked evidence to prompt a confession from the murderer.
  • Senator Seab Cooley's filibuster in Allen Drury's A Shade of Difference.

Live-Action Television
  • It happened in Criminal Minds once, where Hotch and Reid are locked in a room with a serial killer and the guards won't be back for fifteen minutes. Hotch attempts to threaten the guy, but then Reid, true to his nature, starts babbling about all of the possible factors contributing to the killer's sociopathy. For fifteen minutes.
  • In iCarly, Carly and Spencer take turns giving speeches at a man's funeral (with hilarious results) so Sam and Freddie can search his computer for his legendary pie recipe.
  • In The West Wing episode "The Stackhouse Filibuster" a senator filibusters a health care bill. The staff spend the episode trying to work out why. Turns out the senator's grandson has autism, which he regards as not adequately funded.
C.J.: If you ever have a free two hours and are so inclined, try standing up without leaning on anything and talking the whole time. You won't make it. I wouldn't make it. Stackhouse wasn't supposed to last 15 minutes. He's 78 years old. He has a head cold. This bill is going to pass. Well, somebody forgot to tell Stackhouse, Dad, cause he just went into hour number eight.
  • In Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Enterprise Incident", when Kirk steals the Romulan cloaking device, Spock demands the Right of Statement to buy Scotty enough time to install it on the Enterprise.
  • In the season 7 premiere of NCIS, Tony is captured by terrorists, goes through a rough interrogation under the effects of a truth serum, swearing his captor will die. Despite being forced to tell the terrorists everything, he stalls by telling them about the NCIS team one by one until Gibbs turns up to rescue him.
Tony: "You have 30 seconds to live Salim."
Terrorist: "You are still bound! You are lying!"
Tony: "I can't lie, remember? And I never said I would be the one to kill you. You know how I told you my boss was a sniper?"

Western Animation
  • In Kim Possible Kim is late to the school's talent show, so Ron goes on stage with an improvised act to buy some time before she can turn up. He wins.
Ron: But what am I supposed to do?
Rufus: Wing it!
  • On King of the Hill episode "Flush with Power" Hank filibusters at a school board meeting in order to make the board members use the restrooms in the school in order to make them realize the terrors of the lo-flow toilets that were recently installed. He reads two years' worth of newspaper opinion columns.

Needs More Examples
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