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Calling Shot Gun
Simmons: Shotgun!
Grif (a split-second late): Shotgu— Fuck!

Simply put, a character sees a Cool Car that he knows he will never get to drive and will do the next best thing: He calls shotgun! (The front seat, for those unfamiliar with the metaphor) Bonus points if he beats out another character by a fraction of a second.

Here be the official rules concerning the etiquette and conduct when calling shotgun.

The term "riding shotgun" comes from the days of stagecoaches in the Old West. A stagecoach had a crew of two. One drove while the other protected the cargo and passengers with a short shotgun called a coach gun. While the term was never actually used in the Old West, it was first popularized by the movie Stagecoach. When the transition from stagecoaches to automobiles was made has never been determined.

A typical way to play with this trope is to have the passenger actually carry a shotgun.


Examples:

Comics
  • From Birds of Prey:
    Lady Blackhawk: You drive. I call shotgun.
    Gypsy: But Shiva's already in that seat...
    Lady Blackhawk: No. I mean I call shotgun.

Fanfic
  • In the fanfic Gunpowder and Lead a character refers to the passenger-seat position in the urban tank used to batter down doors in a raid as "riding widowmaker", using the name for the specific Justice-Department issue shotgun in the setting.

Film — Animated

Film — Live-Action
  • Blades of Glory
    Chazz: I permanently call shotgun.
    Jimmy: You do not get shotgun every time!
  • Dazed and Confused
    Slater: Shotgun! [repeated line]
  • Hot Fuzz
    Danny Butterman: [running to police car] I'll drive!
    Nicholas Angel: Shotgun!
  • Malibu's Most Wanted
    B-Rad: [on being kidnapped and shoved into the trunk of a car] Shotgun!
  • Transformers (2007)
    Miles: Hey, I called shotgun! Bros before hoes, man!
  • Serenity. River Tam slips into the co-pilot's seat next to Captain Mal.
    Captain Mal: So, you gonna ride shotgun with me, help me fly?
    River Tam: That's the plan.
  • Undercover Brother. As the B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D. agents run to the hovercraft so they can escape The Man's island, Conspiracy Brother calls out "Shotgun!"
  • Mystery Men
    Spleen: Shotgun!
    Blue Raja: Yes, well, I already called it, didn't I?
  • The Hire. A Visual Pun in "Beat the Devil". James Brown and Clive Owen must win a drag race with the Devil (played by Gary Oldman) who's seated next to Danny Trejo as his driver. Oldman starts the race by firing a shotgun out the sunroof of his Cool Car.

Literature

Live-Action TV
  • Psych episode "Rob-a-Bye Baby":
    Burton Guster: Blimp rides!
    Shawn Spencer: Shotgun.
    Burton Guster: You can't call shotgun on a blimp!
    Shawn Spencer: You can call shotgun anywhere except a crowded movie theater.
    • It becomes somewhat of a running joke. In the episode "Earth, Wind and...Wait for It" Shawn attempts to call shotgun on a fire station pole. Also in the episode "Truer Lies" Shawn again tries to call shotgun - this time on a hot air balloon. Both instances also follow up with Gus's "You can't call shotgun on X, Shawn."
  • The Sarah Connor Chronicles episode "Queen's Gambit":
    Sarah Connor: Field trip.
    John Connor: I call shotgun.
    Cameron Phillips: I call 9 mm.
  • Angel episode "The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco":
    Wesley Wyndam-Pryce: Yeah, remind me again how you ended up in the front seat.
    Spike: Called shotgun, mate.
    Wesley Wyndam-Pryce: Oh. I thought we were doing a weapons check.
  • That '70s Show episode "Nobody's Fault But Mine":
    Michael Kelso: Fine, Shotgun!
    Steven Hyde: There's only two of us, you moron!
  • In My Name Is Earl, Randy initiates his abortive romance with Catalina by calling "dibs".
  • Michael Scott does this in The Office (US), even though they're taking Dwight to the hospital and he really should be in the front. Michael then explains the sanctity of the rule of shotgun and how it can't be questioned.
  • Hank does it during a ridealong on Corner Gas, causing Karen, the actual policewoman, to ride in the back of the car.
    • Later in the episode, Karen tries calling shotgun, but is told to grow up.
  • A variant from Friends. Joey and Chandler have traded apartments with Rachel and Monica, and they're moving in. While carrying something into their new place...
    Joey: I call Monica's room!
    Chandler: You can't just call Monica's room.
    Joey: Sure I can. Standard shotgun rules: I'm in sight of the room and I call it.
    Chandler: Damn!
  • How I Met Your Mother: Immediately after chastising Ted for buying a new car, Barney calls shotgun for all eternity, which he and Robin then argue about. It comes up again later when he (unsuccessfully) tries to enforce it and he and Robin get back into the argument.
  • Inverted in the season two finale of Person of Interest. When Reese and Shaw steal a sports car, Shaw hands Reese her shotgun so he won't feel inadequate while she drives.
  • Used several times for comedic effect in The Inbetweeners.
    • In the episode where Simon gets his car, the boys are going to Thorpe Park, and he picks up Will first. Will naturally sits on the front seat, and when they stop to pick up Jay, Simon and Will both get out of the car to greet him. When Will is about to get back to the front seat, Jay instantly calls shotgun. Will has not heard of shotgun before, and it is explained to him, after which Jay and Simon insist he should sit at the backseat. Cue one of Will's usual "unwritten rule I have never about heard before or just don't like" rants.
    • In a later episode, Simon lets his own girlfriend sit in the backseat, in the uncomfortable space between Will and Jay, just because Neil called shotgun, and she does not manage to change his mind. While Simon is often the Only Sane Man, he certainly has a noticeable quirk in how he follows the shotgun rules like they are laws with capital punishment for breaking them.

Machinima
  • Red vs. Blue characters, typically the Red Team, routinely call dibs and shotgun on any new vehicle. Generally it's Grif winning against Simmons, unless Simmons winning can be used as a punchline. For example:
    Simmons: Shotgun!
    Grif: Shotgun! Fuck!
    Donut: Shotgun's lap!
    Simmons: Fuck!
    • It's worth pointing out that the Reds generally have a system that works for them already in place for the Warthog/Puma/Chupathingy. Grif drives, Simmons takes the mounted turret gun, and Sarge rides shotgun (and he does, in fact, carry one).
      • And then Sarge turns it into a codeword so Simmons and Grif can generally do something awesome with it.

Video Games
  • Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal
    Captain Qwark: [flying toward nefarious secret base in the shuttle] Shotgun!
  • In Half-Life 2: Episode 2, Alyx Vance playfully calls "Shotgun!" before she and Gordon Freeman go riding in a dune buggy-like car.
  • Halo. Friendly human NPCs will often call out 'shotgun' while you or another character is driving a vehicle and the gunner position is already taken.

Web Comics

Western Animation
  • Futurama: When the crew need to go inside Fry's body with a miniature Planet Express Ship, both Bender and Zoidberg yell out, "Shotgun!" Bender beats Zoidberg to it.
  • Mrs. Avery does this in The PJs...with an actual shotgun.
  • In an episode of Family Guy, Peter befriends Bill Clinton. When about to enter the former President's limo, Peter pauses momentarily to express his awe before calling shotgun.
  • In South Park when Cartman and his friends are on a trip to Nebraska, he called shotgun but Kenny is already sitting on the front. He tells Kenny to get out multiple times, but ignores. Until Cartman throws a dollar and Kenny leaves.
  • In Ben 10: Alien Force, Manny calls out "Shotgun!" repeatedly, even though he's already in the front seat. He says it's just fun to yell it.
  • In the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Menace of the Madniks!", when Batman, Booster Gold and Blue Beetle are taking the Bug to Hub City Penitentiary, Booster says "Road trip! I call shotgun!" Gilligan Cut to Bats and Beetle in the front seats, while Booster sits in the back, protesting "I totally called shotgun!"

Other
  • Mitch Hedberg:
    • "Last time I called shotgun we had rented a limo, so I fucked up!"
    • His buddy Dwayne would call shotgun even if he and Mitch were being forced into a car at gunpoint. "I'd be riding in the backseat with the other kidnapper going: *shrug* 'He called it!'"

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