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
Film — Animated
Film — Live-Action
- From Birds Of Prey:
: You drive. I call shotgun. Gypsy
: But Shiva's already in that seat... Lady Blackhawk
: No. I mean
— I call shotgun
- 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!"
- 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.
- 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, 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.
- 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.
- 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:
Grif: Shotgun! Fuck!
- 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!"
- 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!'"