A Truce While We Gawk

There's a climactic battle going on all around. Suddenly, something happens and both sides turn and stand around watching in horror or surprise. They may even exchange glances, shrug, or give up fighting altogether.

The results of this trope are usually Delayed Reaction, a resumption of hostilities, or total embarrassment.

Supertrope of Battle Halting Duel. See also Mid-Battle Tea Break. Can result in a Pass the Popcorn moment.

Note: this trope tends not to cover arguments but does cover fights of all other kinds.


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  • In a Volkswagen commercial, a pair of praying mantises halt their fight to watch a beetle (representing the VW Beetle) cruise by.

    Anime And Manga 
  • In Sora No Woto, "Amazing Grace" is all that is needed to stop the Helvetican and Roman armies from charging at each other.
  • Issei in High School DXD somehow manages to summon the freaking breast god. EVERYONE stops fighting and turns to look at him like he was going crazy.
  • Mummymon, Arukenimon, Tapirmon and Digitamamon's reaction to Azulongmon appearing in Digimon Adventure 02.
  • One Piece:
    • Towards the conclusion the Marineford arc, everyone pauses to watch and listen to Koby's desperate plea to stop all the fighting.
    • For a more humorous example, Luffy and Whitebeard exchange words after the former arrives at Marineford. To Ivankov and Buggy's disbelief, Luffy loudly declares to the world's strongest man that he's going to be the Pirate King, not Whitebeard. Cue a collective Jaw Drop from all the Marines and pirates in the vicinity as they raise their hands in shock.

    Comic Books 
  • In one Archie Comics episode, Archie and Reggie are judging a boxing match, proud that they're too civilized to do anything so vulgar as box. They start arguing, and the last panel is the two boxers watching Archie and Reggie beating the crap out of each other.
  • A one-shot page in a furry comic had the Godzilla fight going on outside a skyscraper window coming to a halt while they ogle the female skunk in the room as she's disrobing and presenting them with a perfect view of her backside in the process.
  • In the horror miniseries North Forty, a small rural town in the American South has been cut off from the rest of reality and a number of its inhabitants either turned to monsters or granted superpowers (the line can be blurry). The local sheriff (unmutated) is facing a clan of hostile trailer trash (several mutated, including one who made a Hulk-like transformation, but retained his normal - which is to say, sub-standard - intelligence). Both groups are attacked by a scrap-metal construct built by a third party. The Hulk-like character tries to attack the construct, only to be sent flying. The Sheriff and the leader of the trailer trash pause in their dispute to watch him fly by.

  • In chapters 93-95 of A Growing Affection, everyone in a certain large battle stops to stare when Minato (or rather his soul that Orochimaru accidentally summoned) announces that he is Naruto's father.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness Act III: In chapter 8, Dark is outright trying to murder Tsukune, convinced that Tsukune can't be trusted to keep the ghoul contained, with Mizore and Felucia agreeing with him and fighting Moka and Kokoa to prevent them from intervening. All fighting stops when the edge of the cliff Dark and Tsukune are fighting on gives way, forcing the four girls to drop everything to pull the boys back up... which leads to Dark, Mizore, and Felucia seeing just how durable the Holy Lock is and accepting that the ghoul is indeed sealed away.

    Films — Animated 
  • In the Fox and the Hound sequel, Cheif and Todd pause their chase to watch Amos Slade, who has wound up on the back of a cow, in his underwear, covered in mud and with a beehive on his head. Copper joins them to watch the spectacle, all of them sharing glances and a simultaneous "Uh Oh."

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Gangs of New York when the Navy starts firing on the gangs. This time the distraction pretty much ends the conflict.
  • In Children of Men, the climactic battle grinds to a halt when the combatants hear the cry of the first child born in two decades. As soon as the child is safely away, the fighting starts again. With a rocket launcher no less.
  • In The Naked Gun 2, Drebin is fighting an assassin in Jane's bathroom, then they notice Jane in the shower and both stop to gawk at her.
    • In the first one, the "hill of beans" speech.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest - Pintell and Ragetti snatch the chest containing Davy Jones's heart while Jack, Will and Norrington have their Mle Trois. Then they run into Elizabeth, go "Ello, poppet," and advance on her - only to pause as Will and Norrington roll past on a dislodged waterwheel (still dueling), with Jack running after them. Ragetti stares at Pintel, who just shrugs, and they go back to business - until Davy Jones's crew shows up. Then they give Elizabeth their swords and run.
    • A little later in the battle, there was another pause when the wheel - now containing Norrington and Will - came crashing on the beach. Even Davy Jones's men paused to gawk at the sight.
    • At the beginning of the third movie, Captain Barbossa and an Army mook briefly gape with swords crossed when a firework shoots directly between them. Barbossa snaps out of it first and runs the man through.
  • Undercover Brother. While the title character is fighting a couple of mooks, Sista Girl and White She-Devil start ripping each others' clothes off and end up showering together. UB and the mooks stop fighting, sit down together and enjoy the show.
  • In the first climax of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Knives dives into the scene to attack not Gideon, but Ramona, for breaking Scott's heart. Scott and Gideon just stop to watch them fight for a few moments before resuming their own fight.
    Gideon: You gotta admit I put on a good show.
  • In the film adaptation of The Indian in the Cupboard, Patrick uses the cupboard to animate several iconic pop-culture plastic figures, including a Jurassic Park T-rex and Darth Vader, before Omri can stop him. When the cupboard is opened, we see the characters engaged in combat... until they notice the comparatively giant-sized boys standing there, stop fighting, and stare. Omri quickly changes them back before anything happens.
  • In Hot Shots! Part Deux, Topper is having a shootout with a Mook when they both pause and look over as the Energizer Bunny enters the battlefield. After a moment, they open fire on the Bunny, celebrate for a moment, then Topper kills the Mook.
  • In Armor of God II this is a running gag. One time, Elsa attempts to distract the bad guys by whipping off Ada's Modesty Towel. Rather than taking advantage of the opportunity to knock the guy out, Jackie and the gunman both stare.


    Newspaper Comics 
  • The Far Side by Gary Larson has one where two sides of a battle stop to wait for a hornet to calm down.
    • Even better? The "battle" is Little Big Horn.

  • In the Doctor Who story Battlefield, the King Arthur one, there's a moment in Mordred and Ancelyn's final duel where they break apart for a moment — and the Doctor walks right between them, casually tipping his hat as he passes, on his way to his own final confrontation with Morgaine. Mordred and Ancelyn stare after him for a moment before remembering that they were in the middle of fighting to the death.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Anne", Buffy's fight with the demons is interrupted by the head demon holding a knife to Lilly. He announces that their fight is lost and he'll kill Lilly to make an example. Lilly kills him instead. A beat later, the main fight resumes.
  • In Band of Brothers, when Spiers makes a suicidal run through Foy to make contact with I Company, both sides stop firing for a brief moment simply because they couldn't believe what they were seeing.
  • There's a scene in The Wire where Chris and Snoop, the most lethal enforcers for the Stanfield gang that owns West Baltimore, come to intimidate the leader of a rival gang into becoming part of their organization. In the middle of this, a sixth grader suddenly rides past in an expensive SUV that he carjacked, music blaring from the windows. Everyone takes a couple of moments to stare before getting back to business.

    Video Games 
  • In Halo: Combat Evolved, if you finish the final level on Legendary you are treated to a marine sergeant and an elite grappling over a rifle... till the Pillar of Autumns generators go up. The two fighters simply break apart and stare, before hugging each other.
    Johnson: This is it, brother. Hold me.
  • The various mutant gangs of Bulletstorm will more than happily fight each other on the occasions you meet them together, but pulling off a particularly brutal skillshot will cause them all to stop and stare at the carnage for a moment.
  • Mortal Kombat: Armageddon kicks off with the final battle between every good and evil character introduced in the series up to that point. Out of nowhere the Pyramid of Argus rises from the battlefield leaving everyone to stop and stare as if mesmerized. Stryker punches out Mileena who was still gawking and begins the mad rush to the top to claim the ultimate power. An interesting question is how did any of the present fighters know what was at the top?
  • Happens to a combating Orc and Human in this Warcraft III intro... Until they're both killed by what they're gawking at.
    • And again in the trailer for World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria(About 2:25), when Chen Stormstout interrupts the fight.
  • Happens in the opening FMV of Pac-Man World 2. The ghosts are playing with the Golden Fruit (which they just plucked off the tree), then the fun and games turns to an argument, then horseplay...then Clyde just stands there, eyes and mouth wide with terror, as Spooky emerges from under the tree. The rest of the ghosts stop fighting and gawp, paralyzed with fear.
  • Happens toward after the final fight of Jak 3 where Vegar and Jak gawk at the revelation that the Precursors are actually ottsels. The fight does not restart.
    Jak: Oh my God.
  • In Kid Icarus: Uprising, the air battle consists of surviving a war between the Underworlders, led by Thanatos, and the Forces of Nature, led by Phosphora. Although for the part, the Mooks are all "out for blood - each other's AND [Pit's]," about halfway into Pit's flight segment, you can see a trio of Monoeyes and a trio of Nutskis stop firing and just watch the flirty lightning chick and the glow dragon trade the last few blows. This makes them easy picking if you can shoot them before Phosphora finishes off Thanatos. note 

  • Girl Genius: Mid-combat, when the circus wagons come to life, there's a good pause where Wooster and Dupree just gawk.
  • An early Sluggy Freelance arc is titled "Game Called On Account Of Naked Chick," which starts when a fight between Torg and Bun Bun comes to an abrupt end when they stumble into a lake where Oasis is bathing.
  • Homestuck: In [S] Caliborn: Enter, PM and Jack Noir stop for a moment to survey the foreboding cracks in reality.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In an episode of Phineas and Ferb, a fight between fantasy and sci-fi enthusiasts at a Fan Convention gets momentarily derailed as they all stop and stare at Candace, who is wearing a full body Ducky Momo costume, as she awkwardly waddles and quacks her way through the middle of the melee.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
    • In the "Return to New York" arc, Baxter Stockman shows up in a Humongous Mecha during the confrontation between the turtles and Splinter, and Shredder's forces. He takes a ludicrous amount of damage, but just keeps coming back, leading to this exchange:
      Leonardo: What do we have to do to stop this guy?
      Shredder: I have asked myself that question many times...
    • Another instance of this (between the turtles and the Kraang) occurs in the 2012 series, when Spider Bytez makes his debut.

    Real Life 
  • When a total eclipse of the sun occurred while Lyda and Media were fighting a battle in ancient times, both commanders recognized the wrath of the gods when they knew it. They signed a peace treaty, went home and never waged war against each other again. This is actually the earliest historic event that can be dated to an exact day: it was May 28, 585 B.C.
  • One source claims that in an aerial battle over Germany, a B-17 pilot attempted to bail out. His parachute got snagged in an aircraft and he was basically being dragged behind the plane. The writer recalls the entire battle coming to a stop while people stared in horror, until a fighter pilot put him out of his misery.
  • The Mount Vesuvius Eruption of March 1944. Fighting (at least on the ground) came to a halt as both sides watched the event.

Alternative Title(s):

A Truce While We Gawp