Created By: JBK405 on April 23, 2012 Last Edited By: JBK405 on May 1, 2012

Not stopping for the ads

The action does not stop even though the show is actually on a commercial break.

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Needs More Examples

Many shows cut away to a commercial break right when a show gets to the good part, but sometimes they do not give us the courtesy of waiting until we reurn before resolving the dispute. When we return, instead of taking care of the problem very quickly, the problem has already been taken care of during the break and we follow the characters as they deal with the next problem.

While we were clicking through different chanels, or patiently waiting for the ads to end, the heroes were taking the fight to the enemy because, for them, time did not stop. We might simply never learn the details of what, exactly, happened during this break, or it might be deliberaely obscured in order to come out later in the story. It might also have been used to keep the crew from needing to figure out how to show what happened.

Often used by works set in Real Time, where the commercial break is used to cover up some mundane activity (Going to the bathroom, driving a car, etc.) that they did not want waste time focusing on. Related to The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You, as the story shows a shocking disregard for obeying the accepted rules of fiction.


[[foldercontrol]] [[folder:Live Action TV]]
  • The timer in 24 includes the time that elapses during commercial breaks.
  • Seinfeld's famous "The Chinese Restaurant" episode was in real time. The commercial break is spanned by a Long List that Jerry rattles off.
  • In Frasier's season one episode "My Coffee With Niles" the real time continues during the commercial break, as Frasier goes to the bathroom just before the break and returns straight afterward.
[[/folder]] [[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
  • All the time in professional wrestling, although they do show it afterward while the match is continuing live.
[[/folder]] [[folder:Western Animation]] The first season finale of Young Justice reveals that, in the earlier episode "Targets," Red Arrow had been "activated" by the code-phrase "Broken Arrow," which placed him in a trance where he gave informaion to the team's enemies and received subconscious instructions. This occured during the commercial act-break, where the show went to commercial mmediately after Sportsmaster said "Broken Arrow" and returned after Red Arrow was re-activated, so the viewer had no idea that any time had elapsed. [[/folder]]
Community Feedback Replies: 12
  • April 23, 2012
    All the time in professional wrestling, although they do show it afterward while the match is continuing live.
  • April 23, 2012
    The timer in Twenty Four includes the time that elapses during commercial breaks.
  • April 23, 2012
    Apparently I'm doing the folder markup incorrectly...what am I getting wrong here?
  • April 23, 2012
    You're not doing anything wrong, but folders don't show up in YKTTW.
  • April 23, 2012
    Ah, thanks, I was a bit confused there (With about five edits as I kept trying to find the misplaced '/' or open bracket).
  • April 27, 2012
    DO we have any more examples? I don't think three occurrences quite counts as a trope.
  • April 28, 2012
    From the Real Time page, the Seinfeld, Frasier, and possibly the Babylon 5 examples there seem to fit this trope.
  • April 28, 2012
    Some sporting events do this, while others avert it. For example, one of the reasons Soccer was until recently not broadcast much in the US is because there's no time to stop the action for ads. Then they decided to do that window-in-window thing where an ad will appear in one part of the screen while the action will continue to be shown in another part. Auto Racing used to not pause for ads but now they do that same window-in-window thing.
    Contrast baseball, football, basketball, etc., there are many time-outs and end of quarter/inning/etc. moments to put ads in.

    Also, the Professional Wrestling general example is egregious because until the age of the Monday Night Wars most broadcast wrestling events weren't live, but they acted as if they were.
  • April 29, 2012
    I added Seinfeld and Fraiser (Not B5, since that seems to be more "time passes" during the break, like with any scene change and not that something specifically happened during those sixty seconds).
  • April 30, 2012
    ^ It is important to note that examples where a show uses commercial breaks as an opportunity to switch scenes do not count. But then, what does?
  • May 1, 2012
    I'm still trying to hammer out the details (hence why I haven't launched the trope), but the idea I was trying to cover was when the commercial was in Real Time, or near enough; sixty seconds (Or two minutes, or however long the commercial is) passed during the commercial. The idea is that unlike a scene break, which can cover gaps of hours or days (Or moths with a Time Skip), something happened exactly as if the show was still being aired, but we just didn't see it.
  • May 1, 2012
    Needs a better name. It could be confused for people doing something In Universe when they are watching TV.

    • Hey Dude would often have action that happened during the commercials, such as rounding up loose horses.