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Captive Date
Ironically, they're watching The Escapist.

Ah, a romantic evening! Lighted candles, soft music, one person (usually the woman) tied up and possibly gagged...

This trope normally follows these conventions:
  1. The forced date is an entirely innocent attempt by one party (with terrible social skills) to relate to someone he loves. In this case, the guy (and it is usually a guy doing the tying up) probably won't be able to put together what's wrong with that situation.
  2. The abductor turns violent if confronted, though may not harm his victim even if she attacks him.
  3. Conversely, the date may presage bad things for the tied-up partner, either death or rape.
  4. The date is simply a chance to toy with a mortal enemy.
  5. The victim's friends are racing to find her, and will teach the guy a violent lesson... even if the abductor genuinely means no harm, and a good sit down and chat (preferably with a good psychologist) would be far more effective in the long run.

Compare No, Mister Bond, I Expect You To Dine for when a captor treats his victim in a more platonic manner. Not to be confused with Shotgun Wedding.

Note: The victim doesn't need to be tied up, but must be held captive.


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  • The Joker and Vicki Vale, in Batman.
  • Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!: A recently released psychiatric patient kidnaps an actress in order to make her fall in love with him. He believes his destiny is to marry her and father her children.
  • Type 4 in Van Helsing, in which Dracula takes Anna to his masquerade ball and forces her to dance with him while waiting for Van Helsing to arrive. No ropes used, but it's clear he's using some kind of mind control or muscle control.
  • The premise of the film P2 revolves around this idea. After refusing to join a security guard named Thomas for a small Christmas dinner, Angela is kidnapped by him, chained to a chair, and forced to dine with him. She escapes shortly afterwards, and the action moves to the underground parking lot she's trapped in. It is later revealed that Thomas had been watching and stalking Angela for some time and seems to have developed affections for her. He even goes so far as recording himself dressing her.
  • Happens in the Spanish film The Last Circus.
  • After Marion is kidnapped in Raiders of the Lost Ark, Belloq, tries to be civil, bringing her a nice dress and then talking to her over wine; unfortunately, the far less civil Toht comes in and breaks this up.
  • The Aussie horror film The Loved Ones is about a teenage girl, with help from her dad, kidnapping her high school crush so that she can have the perfect prom with him.
  • Darkness has a coerced dinner with Lili in the 1985 film Legend.
  • Dr Lecter does this with Clarice Starling in Hannibal. Clarice is free, but drugged. It doesn't help when Lecter starts cutting open the skull of his other guest and eating his brain.

    Live Action TV 
  • Criminal Minds:
    • One episode focuses on a killer who treats his victims to a romantic evening complete with rose petals, though they're not tied down. He means no harm until they turn him down once they reach the bathtub part of the date. The rest fits to a T though.
    • In another episode, a guy was stalking a woman and ended up kidnapping her. One scene shows them sitting at a table and talking, until the woman raises her hands and it's revealed that she's tied up.
  • Sos Mi Vida provides a male example. Incapable to get the love of Martín Quesada, and on the run from the law for attempting to kill Esperanza, Barbara kidnapped Martín and tied him to a bed... and attempted to begin a romantic setting. Martín resists until Esperanza comes to the rescue.
  • Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined): Starbuck is held captive by Leobin during New Caprica's occupation. It's a nice house and all, and she does kill her captor, but he's a Cylon and just comes back the next day (or earlier). She can't escape, though, because he has her daughter, from when she was captured on Old Caprica and forced into a "medical" facility and possibly impregnated.
  • Heroes has an incredibly creepy example between Eric (who can move other people like puppets) and Meredith.


  • A creepy take on this can be found in Terrence McNally's Sweet Eros. The typical staging features soft candlelight, fine music ... and a young woman who's been bound to a chair and gagged, by a young man obsessively searching for his perfect lover. His bizarre efforts to win her affection, even as he's cutting her clothes off and preparing to rape her, create a surreal and uncomfortable atmosphere. It's made even stranger as she appears to return the "affection" in the end, though it may be up to the director and audience to decide how free her choice was.

     Video Games 

    Western Animation 
  • In X-Men: Evolution, Jean Gray is held captive by the Blob, who thinks she's his girlfriend. He falls into type 1, though ends up violent.
  • In The Simpsons, Patty and Selma have been known to engage in this (for example, a tech guy who was lured over to "fix" their television).
    Patty: We have a gentleman caller.
    Tech Guy: Hey, this TV ain't broke. It's just been unplugged. What th-
    [Patty slams the door shut.]
    • The same thing when they kidnapped Richard Dean Anderson.
  • Family Guy: Meg does this to Brian when she falls for him.
  • In Teen Titans, Killer Moth threatens the city with destruction unless Robin takes Killer Moth's Bratty Teenage Daughter, Kitten, to the prom. Robin complies, much to his chagrin.
  • One Pepe Le Pew cartoon ends with Penelope shackled to him, desperately trying to saw herself free. All Played for Laughs, of course.
  • In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Mad as a Hatter", Jarvis Tetch tries to win his co-worker Alice's heart after her recent breakup. She is charmed by Jarvis but mistakes his romantic overtures as attempts to cheer her up and she later reconciles with her boyfriend. Jarvis then uses his Mind Control technology on her and takes her on a "date" at a Wonderland-themed amusement park.
  • On Jimmy Two-Shoes, when Beezy is under the influence of a Love Sweater meant for Jimmy, he drags Heloise on a date, and ends up wrapping her in a straitjacket to enjoy a candlelight dinner.
  • The Ice King does this on occasion with a princess since he's trying to woo them, but always fails.
  • The Fairly OddParents: when Timmy's parents ignored his birthday for Chip Skylark, he wishes for the worst nonlethal thing to happen to him, which is: he is trapped by Vicky. But Timmy soon gets to know Chip, and realizes he's really an ok guy, and decided to free him from Vicky's clutches.

  • In Threading, it's not clear yet if Nina is one of the Good Goys or the Bad Guys, but she's got Deirdre handcuffed during their Reunion Kiss.

Caper RationalizationDrama TropesCasualty in the Ring
Bruce Wayne Held HostageI Have Your IndexThe Captivity Narrative
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Baka and Test: Summon the BeastsImageSource/Anime & MangaGender Reveal

alternative title(s): Shotgun Date
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