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Closed Door Rapport
aka: Discussion Through The Door

Please, I know you're in there
People are asking where you've been
They say, "have courage" and I'm trying to
I'm right out here for you
Just let me in
We only have each other
It's just you and me
What are we gonna do?
Anna, Frozen

In fiction one great way to up either the drama or comedy of a conversation is to have it occur through a door. One party shuts the other out in attempt to avoid the confrontation while the other desperately tries to communicate in spite of the obstructive barrier.

This setup is useful in providing physical distance between characters to mirror psychological separation, and for its flexibility in resolution. This distance may just as easily be broken down by the opening of the door as suspended indefinitely by the character choosing not to emerge. Usually the character behind the door is the more emotionally closeted of the pair while the character on the outside is more honest and straightforward, having to persuade the other that opening the door is not a bad thing.

Most commonly portrayed with romantic relationships and between parents and children who don't see eye-to-eye. Occasionally accompanied by the stock phrase "let me in," providing a deliberate ambiguity between "let me into the room" and "take me into your confidence."

Sister Trope to Separated by the Wall. Locked In The Bathroom can show up as a comedic variant.


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • In The Weatherman Is My Lover Koganei goes to Amasawa's apartment when he skips out from work and they have a heart-to-heart on opposite sides of door, culminating with Koganei's request, "Won't you let me in? Let me into your heart, Amasawa." Amasawa decides to take his chance.
  • In Junjou Romantica when Nowaki confronts Hiroki about their breakup at Hiroki's workplace, Hiroki runs back to his office and locks Nowaki out causing a bit of a scene. He is not persuaded to open the door.
  • In Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, this happens when Sakura hides into her room leaving Shaoran outside in the chess world.
  • ef - a tale of memories has Hiro and Kei separated by a door as they work out her unlucky childhood friend status.
  • Episode 3 of Suite Precure used this for one of the show's most emotional scenes (so far). The lock broke just before Kanade came to confront Hibiki face-to-face and would have done so otherwise.
  • In Kimi ni Todoke Sawako and Kazehaya finally clear things up during the School Festival with a conversation behind the classroom's door.

Fan Works
  • In A Robust Solution, at first Fluttershy won't let Rarity into her cottage after Fluttershy's Freak Out, and Rarity has to talk to her through a closed, locked and barred door.

Film
  • In Love Actually Liam Neeson's character often talks to his step-son through the door, as Sam hardly leaves his room after the death of his mother. Sam mainly responds by leaving notes on the door itself.
  • The Negotiator milks this for all it's worth—both Danny Roman and Chris Sabian are introduced doing this. Roman is talking with a gunman. Sabian is talking with his wife.
  • Across the Universe had this for one of their musical numbers. Prudence, who had a crush on Sadie, locks herself in a closet after she realizes that Sadie and Jojo are now a couple. So the gang (minus Sadie and Jojo, incidentally, who have a thing they have to get to) sing "Dear Prudence" to convince her to come out of the closet, get out of her funk, and see the world for how wonderful it is.
  • In Beauty and the Beast, Belle and the Beast have an angry discussion through her door when she refuses to come to dinner.
  • In the first and third Back to the Future movies, Doc runs into another room in disbelief of Marty's statements that he's from the future.
  • The Aviator between Howard Hughes and Katharine Hepburn. Hughes has locked himself in his room because of his fear of disease, and former Love Interest Hepburn turns up to rally his spirits.
  • The basic idea behind Frozen's song "Do You Wanna Build A Snowman?"; Anna repeatedly goes to her sister Elsa's door and asks her to play with her. In turn, Elsa, who is terrified of hurting Anna with her powers, repeatedly shuts her out. The song eventually culminates in the deaths of their parents, and even then Elsa is too afraid to let Anna in.

Literature
  • Invoked by Jesus in the Book of Revelation: "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." (Rev 3:20, NIV).
  • After Betsy the Vampire Queen, possessed by the Book of the Dead, attacks Jessica and nearly kills her, Jessica locks herself in her room. Betsy (full of remorse) leaves her a baby monitor and communicates with her via it for most of the book. Jessica doesn't respond.

Live-Action TV
  • In the episode "Dinner at Eight-ish" on Cheers, Lilith, Frasier, and Diane each retreat into the bathroom after different arguments over their relationships. Discussions continue through the door for the rest of the episode.
  • Doctor Who: This happens between the Tenth Doctor and Jack Harkness, and it's lampshaded in a commentary that the two of them can only be open and honest with each other when one of them is trapped in a room full of deadly radiation and there is a giant, closed door between them.
    • A truly heart-breaking example in "The Girl Who Waited", when older Amy sits outside the TARDIS door, telling her younger self to have the life with Rory she could not have with him.
  • Inverted in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode "Repairs". Hannah is haunted by a malicious entity, which she believes is God's punishment for her sins. The agents confine her in the Cage, which is shielded in such a way that the entity cannot reach her. Sitting against the door, Hannah begs them to let her out before the entity hurts someone, and Skye, on the outside, talks her out of it.
  • The fourth season premiere of Once Upon a Time has a scene where Emma tries to reach out to Regina through a closed door. Regina is sitting slumped against the door, refusing to answer Emma's pleas as she blames her for robbing her of her happy ending with Robin Hood by bringing Marian back to life. Not coincidentally, this is the same episode that introduced Elsa and Anna to the series.

Music
  • The J-pop song "Laugh Maker" by Bump of Chicken is about the titular character trying to convince someone who's been crying alone to let him in so he can cheer them up. The person eventually gives in, but discovers that the door is stuck and Laugh Maker has seemingly abandoned them. Just as they start to give in to despair, Laugh Maker breaks in through the window.
    • The Touhou-based spinoff "Locked Girl" features Marisa repeatedly urging Patchouli to open the library door and come with her. Patchy's a bit too reluctant to try, so Marisa eventually resorts to using the Master Spark to blow the door to pieces so she can finally get through.

Theatre

Video Games
  • Done in Silent Hill 2's "Born from a Wish" scenario, where Maria only converses with the side-story's sole NPC through a closed door. Given the game, it should be no surprise when the camera reveals that the room beyond is empty.

Web Comics
  • In The Meek, Phe locks her husband Luca out of their bedroom after a heated argument got out of hand and gives him an ultimatum; he can have his revenge, or her, but not both. It's not until Luca apologises does Phe open the door and drag him inside for make-up sex.

Western Animation
  • In Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile, the HBO Storybook Musical version of The House on East 88th Street, Lyle locks himself in the closet when his old owner arrives to take him away from his new family, and Joshua sings to him through the door.
  • When Sponge Bob Square Pants takes Pearl to her prom, she gets humiliated by his behavior, declaring the night ruined - and he breaks down crying and shutting himself in the girls' room. Pearl tries to console him through the door, and he replies in incoherent hysterical sobs.


Was It All a Lie?Romance ArcDead Sparks
Clint SquintSublime RhymeConjunction Malfunction
Cliché StormDialogueCluster F-Bomb
Bucket Booby-TrapDoor TropesDangerous Key Fumble
Junjou RomanticaImageSource/Anime and MangaKamen no Maid Guy

alternative title(s): Discussion Through The Door
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