Created By: Chabal2 on October 12, 2017 Last Edited By: Chabal2 on October 21, 2017
Troped

Annoying Background Event

An event in the background that annoys nearby characters.

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trope
A repetitive event in the background that slowly drives characters up the wall. May involve a Most Annoying Sound.

Compare Funny Background Event, Meaningful Background Event.

In-Universe Examples Only.


Examples

Comic Books
  • One Titeuf strip has the kids make weird faces for the whole strip, before the last panel reveals they're doing this in front of a window to distract one of their friends who's giving a violin recital.

Film
  • Iron Man 2 has an Annoying Foreground Event during the scene where Tony is trying to apologize to Pepper. He's continuously distracted by the motions of a kinetic sculpture on the desk, eventually interrupting himself and moving so he can't see it. At the end of the scene, he tries to stop it from moving... and fails.

Literature
  • Discworld:
    • Lord Vetinari's antechamber has a specially designed clock that ticks irregularly. By the time he lets his visitors in, they're severely stressed by the unrewarded anticipation of a tick that always come a fraction of a second too late or too early.
    • Reaper Man: While having tea with Mrs. Flitworth, her clock's ticking irritates Death to the point where he asks her to make it stop.

Live-Action TV
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: At the beginning of the cheeseshop sketch, we see two men dancing in the shop accompanied by a bouzouki, occasionally visible in different camera shots. As Cleese's patience slowly erodes due to the lack of cheese in the shop, he finally snaps at them to stop the music.
  • In Dead Like Me, Team Dad Rube and Team Cloudcuckoolander Mason are stuck in an airport with a crying baby in the background. It's complicated by Mason smuggling a (leaky) package of cocaine up his rear end and Rube attracting attention from security when he cracks a bit and mutters that he wants to "kill that fuckin' baby."
  • In an episode of Mythbusters, Adam and Jamie are testing whether a person wearing a latex mask of another person would pass scrutiny. While Jamie is explaining their testing procedure to a camera, Adam (dressed as Jamie) is in the background doing a bizarre dance. Jamie glares at Adam when he finishes the piece to camera. Adam hastily stops dancing and innocently puts his hands in his pockets.
  • The Office: While Michael is giving a presentation, everybody's attention is fixated on the screensaver behind him, all of them hoping this will finally be the day they see the logo bounce right into the corner instead of just missing it. Naturally, every near miss corresponds with Michael making a suggestion, so he mistakes their frustration for actual criticism. Finally it goes in the corner and the meeting breaks up, Michael rejoicing in his newfound teamleading skills.

Web Original
  • This Touhou fanvid has Patchouli's reading constantly interrupted by Koakuma dancing in the background.

Western Animation
Community Feedback Replies: 7
  • October 12, 2017
    TonyG
    In the Fosters Home For Imaginary Friends episode "Mac Daddy", Mac and Bloo discuss what to do about Cheese, while Cheese is playing with a toy horse just off frame. Eventually, Bloo gets sick of Cheese's horse and yells at him to cut it out.
  • October 12, 2017
    intastiel
  • October 12, 2017
    MetaFour
    A bit of pedantry: In the Monty Python "Cheese Shop Sketch", that's a bouzouki, not a guitar.
  • October 14, 2017
    intastiel
    Just added a word that I'd left out of the Dead Like Me example.
  • October 16, 2017
    WaterBlap
    I think the name needs to be changed. It sounds like it would attract entries that basically say "This troper thinks the background event is annoying."
  • October 18, 2017
    Chabal2
    Any suggestions? I put it as In Universe Examples Only.
  • October 18, 2017
    bitemytail
    • In an episode of Mythbusters, Adam and Jamie are testing whether a person wearing a latex mask of another person would pass scrutiny. While Jamie is explaining their testing procedure to a camera, Adam (dressed as Jamie) is in the background doing a bizarre dance. Jamie glares at Adam when he finishes the piece to camera. Adam hastily stops dancing and innocently puts his hands in his pockets.
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