Created By: Escher on October 30, 2012 Last Edited By: Escher on February 22, 2017

Interrupted Bath

Phone calls, uninvited guests, murderers... it's really hard to actually finish a bath.

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This is based on a discussion in the TRS, to make Candlelit Bath into Exactly What It Says on the Tin and create a new trope for when a bath turns fatal (candlelit or not).

While developing Deadly Bath, we realized there's another missing trope here for when there's an interruption that is NOT fatal.

Up for Grabs

It seems to be really difficult for people in entertainment media to actually finish a bath or shower. The phone or doorbell rings, somebody bursts in on them, or they die.

In part, this is due to the Law of Conservation of Detail. The only reason to show somebody doing something as mundane as bathing is because something narratively important is going to happen during that bath -- unless it's just for the Fanservice.

This trope is usually played for laughs when it's not a Deadly Bath; a bath is supposed to be relaxing and being naked is embarassing, which makes the addition of stress and/or visitors all the more annoying for the character (and therefore funnier for the audience).

This trope often coexists with the Candlelit Bath, since the extensive setup increases the comedy or drama value of ruining the whole thing.

Subtrope of the Bathtub Scene or Shower Scene. The "Psycho" Shower Murder Parody is an extremely common subtrope of the Interrupted Bath.

Examples of fatal bathtime interruptions can go on Deadly Bath. The rest go here.
Community Feedback Replies: 15
  • October 30, 2012
    Nyarko San has two examples with the same characters. Mahiro is taking a bath when Nyarko bursts in wanting to have sex with him, and he angrily beats her away. It's part of the Gender Flip running through the whole series. When it happens for the second time, they have swapped bodies. I'm not sure how to enter this example.
  • October 30, 2012
    One of the Foundation stories starts with a man aboard a starship receiving a call while showering, followed by a comment that this trope works anywhere.
  • October 30, 2012
    • Asterix and the Olympic Games: Chief Vitalstatistix is in his bath when a Roman centurion comes to call. Unwilling to get out when he just got in, he has his bearers put the tub on the shield and carry him before the centurion. The centurion thinks this a Gallic custom, so when Vitalstatistix comes to the camp, he finds the centurion ready to parley in his own tub.
    • Averted in one Judge Dredd story: two criminals break into an apartment, only to realize it's Dredd's, who's in the bath. He proceeds to neutralize them without getting out of the tub, because it's been far too long since he had one (as opposed to a shower).
  • October 30, 2012
    • In one Street Fighter OVA back in the 90's, Chun-Li finds her shower interrupted by a surprise attack by Vega (Balrog to the Japanese).
  • October 30, 2012
    • The Allo Allo episode "The Nicked Knockwurst" opens with a scene with the main character taking a bath that is interrupted over and over again, much to his growing annoyance.
  • October 30, 2012
    A Running Gag on Blondie is Dagwood being interrupted while he's in the tub, usually by phone calls, repairmen, or neighbor kid Elmo.
  • October 30, 2012
  • February 21, 2017
    Films- Animated

    Live Action TV
    • Zoey 101: In "Webcam", the girls get back at Logan for secretly taping them by staging a scene where they knock out Kazu. When Logan sees the scene on his computer, he retrieves Dean Rivers from his shower and takes him to the scene, only to see that everything's fine and that he just exposed his scheme. An infuriated Rivers then takes him to his office for interrupting his shower for nothing.

    Western Animation
    • House Of Mouse: In the short "Hydrosquirter", Ludwig Von Drake modifies his shower and accidentally turns it into a teleportation machine, resulting in an awkward situation when he hears a truck horn outside the tub and walks out to find himself in the middle of a busy street intersection.
      Von Drake: I heard of home delivery, but I didn't know they drove right into your home.
    • Looney Tunes: Porky Pig has such a moment in Porky's Pooch.
    • The Simpsons: In "Bart Gets Famous", Bart wanders off from a field trip, and Principal Skinner calls Marge at home, causing her to run to the phone dripping wet in a towel. When she doesn't answer on time, he calls Homer at work, where, for some reason, he also runs for the phone after a shower.
      Homer: You'll have to speak up, I'm wearing a towel.
  • February 21, 2017
    Allow me to build upon Tropers.Tony G's example:

    Newspaper Comics
    • Blondie
      • After launching her catering business, even Blondie herself suffers this when an arrogant bridezilla charges into the Bumstead home to make changes to the reception menu while Blondie is naked and aghast in the tub.
  • February 21, 2017
    • Sponge Bob Square Pants, in an episode where Gary was missing, Spongebob and Patrick searched everywhere within the vicinity. Squidward sees them and shrugs off and continues bathing. Then Spongebob and Patrick opens the door, and Squidward screamed for ten seconds.
  • February 22, 2017
    Video Games
    • In Dishonored, one of the women from the loyalist conspiracy takes a bath at one point. The door isn't locked, so if you so choose, you can just barge right in and endure her "What The Hell Hero" reaction.
  • February 22, 2017
    Comics Book
    • In Tintin, Captain Haddock once had to answer a phone call while in his bath. Hearing the ringing, he first put the shower on his ear like a receiver.
    • In Andy Capp, An angry neighbor of his once ran out of his house wearing a towel, rushed to Andy's bathroom, and told the later the phone just rang at his home while he was in his bath. It was a mistake, the calling person wanted to speak to Andy. "Tell him to call later", answered Andy, "I'm in my bath".
  • February 22, 2017
    Anime & Manga
  • February 22, 2017
    Often combined with Inconvenient Summons (as, indeed, the image for that page demonstrates).
  • February 22, 2017
    This has been around since 2012. Just Launch It Already.