Created By: mtlwriterguy on September 10, 2011 Last Edited By: Arivne on April 19, 2017

Three Minute Class

Students file into class, teacher provides info-dump to move the plot forward, bell rings, students file out.

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Trope
High school students or college undergrads troop into class and sit down. The teacher or professor will provide a necessary info-dump to move the plot forward, or there will be a bit of characterization business: The main character has forgotten to do her homework because she was too busy fighting vampires, the dreamy kid isn't paying attention and can't answer the teacher's question, the bitchy rival to the heroine humiliates her in front of everyone, the super-smart but borderline-autistic kid invents cold fusion on the blackboard, etc.

As soon as the necessary business is done, the bell rings or the professor dismisses the students, usually with an admonition to read chapters 3 and 4 of the textbook for tomorrow's three minute-long class.

Related to Law of Conservation of Detail and Traveling at the Speed of Plot. Primarily a TV and movie trope for obvious reasons, though it does occasionally happen in prose fiction and comics too.


Examples:

Live-Action TV

Film

Community Feedback Replies: 28
  • September 11, 2011
    Stratadrake
  • September 11, 2011
    Kattie
    • High School Musical, to the max. The students would just walk in to class, talk, and the bell would ring.
  • September 11, 2011
    SevenDeadPineTrees
    Persona 3 and 4, video game examples. Most of the time, if you actually sit in on a lecture, it's because there's some information or foreshadowing being dropped. Justifiable in that it's a video game, who the hell wants to play a video game about actually going to class.
  • September 11, 2011
    unclerupee
    Harry Potter's magic lessons, in both the books and the films.
  • September 11, 2011
    Stratadrake
  • September 11, 2011
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    agree with Stratadrake: this is just because showing a full 40 minute class would be tedoius, boring, expensive, and nobody would see a movie or show with realistic class times. The Suspension Of Disbelief is in effect; the assumption is the class took the whole 40 mins, but we just didn't see it all on camera.
  • September 11, 2011
    MorganWick
    Coulda sworn we already had this one. Maybe just because I saw it on some cliche list.
  • September 11, 2011
    randomsurfer
    It's been on ykttw before but I don't think it was launched, and I can't find it.
  • September 12, 2011
    Arivne
    I found the previous YKTTW: It was called One Minute Class.
  • September 12, 2011
    Falco
  • September 12, 2011
    randomsurfer
    IMO this is a trope.
  • September 12, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    The most tropable version of this is still a Subtrope of Law Of Conservation Of Detail.

    I'm on the fence. A lot of bright people think this is Law Of Conservation Of Detail, but on the other hand, this happens a lot. Almost half of Anime and Western Animation takes place in a school setting, and none of that 23 minutes is edutainment. This happens so often that the concept can be Lampshaded. (I want to say I saw this on either Invader Zim or The Simpsons).

    Anyway. Show us the best possible version of this trope, and then we'll decide if this is unique enough to be its own concept.
  • December 27, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Anyone care to work on this one?
  • December 27, 2012
    spacemarine50
    Two problems:

    • 1 Any class seen that has a cut anywhere can be this trope.
    • 2 I rarely see an In Universe reason for it.

    I see this either as Law Of Conservation Of Detail, or People Sit On Chairs. Rarely happens in real ife.
  • December 27, 2012
    Stratadrake
  • March 31, 2015
    DAN004
    Bump, sounds tropable
  • April 1, 2015
    Chabal2
    Time Skip should be mentioned.
  • April 1, 2015
    bitemytail
    @Stratadrake:

    I disagree.
    • Half days are often like this. By the time the teacher has taken attendance and collected homework, the shortened class is almost over, so teachers often don't teach a lesson on those days.

    It's not exactly 3 minutes, but it does fit the "show up to class only briefly and nothing interesting happens"
  • April 1, 2015
    lexicon
    If this was tropeworthy the examples would have context.
  • April 17, 2017
    lakingsif
    It is a response to The Law Of Conservation Of Detail, but it is a trope nonetheless. Maybe note that it is not when only part of a class is shown, but when what is provided appears to be the entire class, but it takes barely a few minutes. This includes convenient excuses to leave, when a teacher frequently is called away and dismisses the class, as that serves the same purpose.
  • April 17, 2017
    Jokubas
    If you see the beginning of class, there's some editing to show the passing of time (like a close-up on a clock), and then the class ending, it's not a trope.

    If there are examples where there is a clearly unbroken chain of events from the start of the class to the end (even if that means comparing it to concurrent events that it might cut away to) and it's still only a few minutes, then I think that can be a trope.
  • April 17, 2017
    Getta
    Law Of Conservation Of Detail is a broad supertrope. Why do we suddenly act as if we don't need any more subtropes?
  • April 18, 2017
    Arivne

    Zero Context Examples have been marked as such. They need more information to show how they fit the trope. Please don't remove the marking unless you add enough context.
  • April 19, 2017
    Arivne
    Remember, in order to qualify for this trope the scene must show the entire class - from the students sitting down to the final bell ringing - as only taking a few minutes.
    • If the scene starts in the middle of the class and then ends, it is not this trope.
    • If the scene shows the class beginning but not the final bell, it is not this trope.
    • If the camera cuts away from the class and time could pass in the class while it's gone, it is not this trope.

    This means that most of the examples given are WRONG.
  • April 19, 2017
    MetaFour
    Agreed with Jokubass: If we can get enough examples where there aren't any edits or time compression, then it's worth splitting off Law Of Conservation Of Detail.

    Sorta related: I could have sworn we had a very similar trope page about music concerts. We see the musician walk on stage, to the cheers of their adoring fans, then they perform a single song, and then the concert ends. But now I can't find the page.
  • April 19, 2017
    Getta
    "If the camera cuts away from the class and time could pass in the class while it's gone, it is not this trope."

    Then it means the class is literally (in universe) three minutes long. Which is not exactly what this trope is aiming at. It really is about "time-compressed class".
  • April 19, 2017
    TrueShadow1
    ^ And that's already covered by Law Of Conservation Of Detail. The actual class is not important to the plot, so the viewers don't need to see it.

    It's the same whether this is "Three Minute Workday" or "Three Minute Plane Flight". The core idea is we skip the unimportant bits. What's being skipped is irrelevant.

    For it to be a subtrope, it needs to have a distinct meaning to the supertrope. I can't find any and nobody pointed out any yet.
  • April 19, 2017
    TrueShadow1
    Actually while writing the above, I get the idea that maybe we can expand this to "anything that takes a long time in real life is time-compressed to only show the important bits".
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