Pocket Dial YKTTW Discussion

Pocket Dial
Accidentally dialing a cell phone when sitting down.
Needs Examples Better Name
(permanent link) added: 2012-12-29 20:27:06 sponsor: chicagomel edited by: Kartoonkid95 (last reply: 2016-01-15 21:55:51)

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Alternate titles: Pocket Dial, Accidental Cell Phone Dial

Many people these days carry their cell phones with them everywhere. When they aren't using them, they often shove them into a back pocket of their pants, other garment or possibly a backpack. The trouble with this is that accidental pressure on the phone, like sitting down, can inadvertently dial the thing without the user even realizing it.

There are three likely outcomes to a character receiving a butt dial: one is that the dialee will simply hang up (as is usually the case in real life), in comedic works the dialee will have a "conversation" with the caller's butt, or they will hear something they weren't supposed to which is often highly embarrassing when the user on the other end hears something the phone owner didn't want heard. Another result can be a long voicemail full of nothing.

People with names beginning with A are more likely to have it happen, as they're at the top of their friends' or family's call list.

Can be Mistaken for Prank Call if the person on the other end doesn't realize what happened.

Please have links for real life stuff.



  • In Zits, Jeremy's dad once found that not only was he doing this, but also the phone would call different people he knew depending on how he sat.
    Walt: My butt knows more about my phone than I do.

Live-Action TV
  • How I Met Your Mother
    • Ted keeps pocket-dialling his friend Marshall when he's drunk at Saint Patrick's Day party. Marshall's phone actually records scraps of Ted's evening, and those scraps speak badly about Ted as a person. For example, he was making out with a married woman or drank champagne, exploiting somebody else's bill. Marshall feels very uneasy and anxious about Ted's character and thinks Ted has not been himself lately.
    • Played With in the episode with Marshal's dad funeral. Everybody of the Eriksen family shares their last moments with him and everybody has something very heart-warming to tell, except for Marshall. His father's last words to him were that he should watch a surprisingly good Crocodile Dundee III. However, he later finds a voice message from his father on his cell. He listens to it, but it's just a pocket dial, which makes Marshall even more depressed. However, as he listens to it, it's revealed that he actually found out that he was making a pocket phone call and said a couple of nice words, though of course he didn't know they would his last to Marshall. For the funeral speech, Marshall decides to go with the Dundeee story to make people smile and laugh tearfully, and he keeps his story about the pocket dial to himself and his closest friends.
  • Leslie does this on Parks and Recreation while making out with Ben. Ron Swanson later plays back the recording for an embarrassed Leslie.
  • Inverted in an episode of Babylon 5 while Sheridan is talking to a terrorist with his link active in his back pocket so the crew can listen in accidentally shuts it off when he sits down, and alerts the terrorist that he's been broadcasting their conversation.
  • Good Luck Charlie
    • An entire episode revolved around various family members "butt-dialling" (their words) each other and accidentally revealing secrets to them.
    • In another episode Teddy and Bob get stuck in a tube at a children's restaurant. Bob purposely tries to butt-dial the house, which is second only to a pizza restaurant on the speed dial, and eventually he does. Because Gabe and Amy are engaged in an intense video game match, Charlie is left to answer the phone, and being two years old at the time, she doesn't take the situation seriously and hangs up.
  • Psych. Shawn's father learned that Shawn is considering confessing his feelings to to Juliet when Shawn butt dialed his father in a Red Robin bathroom.
  • Subverted on Arrow where Oliver's friends receive a call from him and assume that he butt-dialed them because they hear him having a conversation with his mother and another person. Then Sara recognized the other voice as belonging to Slade Wilson and realizes that it is actually a call for help and Oliver and his family are in grave danger.
  • An episode of Castle has him go on a date with a woman trying to get information from her, who starts to get a little frisky with him, and accidentally calls Beckett on his phone. She hears things that make her think Castle is in trouble and rushes over to his place, where she finds him with his date in her underwear on top of him.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: In the book The Nitpicker's Guide for Next Generation Trekkers'' (1991) the author makes note of Commander Riker's habit of sitting on the touchscreen control panels, which means that either Riker is randomly pushing buttons with his butt or they have a special "Riker's ass" sensor which lets them know not to activate anything. However, as of 2014 (let alone in the 24th century) almost all touchscreens have capacitive sensors, meaning that you have to touch with a finger or a specially engineered pen or glove; just pressure isn't enough.
  • The Good Wife episode "The Missing" revolves around Alicia mistakenly believing her daughter is missing due to a series of ambiguous phone messages, which turn out to have been pocket dials.

  • Detailed in Beware by Big Sean:
    Third row is when you call, I hit cancel/ Really? I hit answer, fuck I hate when that happens/Phone in my pocket for the whole night/And you heard bitches screamin' til my phone dies

  • One episode of Wait Wait Dont Tell Me had a report wherein a thief was caught after butt-dialing the police department while talking about his latest escapade.
  • In one episode of "Guy Noir: Private Eye" on A Prairie Home Companion, Guy gets a huge phone bill because he's been unknowingly "butt-dialing" somebody in Norway for months.

Western Animation
  • In the Family Guy episode where Mort burned down his pharmacy for the insurance money with Peter and Quagmire's help, Joe caught them because Peter butt-dialed him while talking about their plans.
    • In another episode, appropriately titled "Hot-Pocket Dial" Quagmire accidentally pocket dials Peter and leaves a message on Peter's voicemail while talking with his parent about the fact that he's in love with Peter's wife Lois.
  • In the Sonic Boom episode, "Guilt Tripped", when Sonic and Tails finally get home from the Gogoba Village, they find four messages on their answering machine, all of which are from Dr. Eggman, who is planning to blow up the dam. However, one of those messages was revealed to have accidentally been butt-dialed.
  • In Sixteen, season 3 "Oops, I Dialed It Again", Caitlin gives her friends new cell phones to test out and it leads to several misunderstandings. When Nikki starts admiring and complimenting the customers at her work so she can earn more money to buy Jonesy new skates, she accidentally pocket dials Jonesy during her work and he thinks Nikki is cheating on him. Later in the episode, when Jonesy is trying to build himself up, he accidentally pocket dials Caitlin and she thinks that he's hitting on her.

Real Life
  • In a story profiled on a "real life dumb 911 calls" show, one guy did this to 911-while on a crime spree in a stolen car. The police tracked him down by tracing the call.
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