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Failed Dramatic Exit
"The meeting ended with Trotsky being ordered to make a public statement admitting and apologizing for crimes against the workers' state. Trotsky jumped from his seat and tried to slam the door of the throne room at the Kremlin. The hall door is massive, Trotsky pulled it with all his strength, but it was dead slow to open. In his fury he did not notice and made repeated attempts to bang it shut. Thus instead of witnessing a dramatic gesture indicating a historic breach, we watched a sorry figure struggling with a door."

Bob and Alice are arguing, screaming at each other at the top of their lungs. Finally Bob says something that really ticks Alice off. "I'm outta here!" She yells. She leaves, slamming the door shut behind her. Two seconds later she returns...because she forgot her coat. She leaves again, slamming the door behind her again. She returns again.... She forgot her keys...

Generally a comedy tropes, Failed Dramatic Exit is when a character's dramatic exit is foiled by them returning for whatever reason. Subtrope of Failed Attempt at Drama. Supertrope of House Amnesia, as when the character leaves dramatically, but returns when they realize that they're at their own house. Compare also to The Exit Is That Way in which a character storms off but is then told that they are going in the wrong direction.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime/Manga 
  • In an early episode of Pokémon, a gym leader asks Ash for help attacking a rival gym. Ash refuses, tells the guy off, turns around and slips on some ketchup and falls on his face. The two gyms were more interested in money than anything else, so Ash wanted to break the stalemate and shut them both down after said ketchup trip.
    Ash: [in his head] That was dramatic... (slips on ketchup, falls face-down) [out loud] That was pathetic!
  • In an early chapter of Fairy Tail, Loke talks to Lucy but freaks out when he finds out that she is a Celestial Spirit mage. He runs off in fear, but soon, he comes running back with an equally fearful expression because Erza has returned.

    Comic Strip 
  • In one Peanuts comic strip, it shows Lucy threatening to make a dramatic exit, saying she's going to run away, and join a roller derby. But as Linus points out, she'll find that rather difficult to do... with ICE skates.

    Film 
  • In The Campaign, after Marty annouces he will run against Cam, he makes a dramatic exit out of the room, the music swells,... and he can't get the door open. This becomes a bit of a Running Gag.
  • In Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, after being told to go wash, Grumpy crossly storms out on the Princess... and walks straight into a door.
  • Here's what happens to Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady trying to end an argument by delivering a dramatic speech and then storming out of the room:
    Henry Higgins: Damn Mrs. Pearce; and damn the coffee; and damn you; and damn my own folly in having lavished MY hard-earned knowledge and the treasure of my regard and intimacy on a heartless guttersnipe! (in exiting, he crashes into a phonograph, which starts emitting silly bleating vowel sounds he had recorded earlier)

    Live Action Television 
  • Happens twice in an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond, where Ray accidentally humiliated one of kids' friend's dad to his child. Ray tries to correct his mistake, but the guy says to just forget it. They leave Ray's house, but have to return because the child forgot his retainer. Ray's attempts to apologize then snowball into a situation in which the whole Barone family describes times they have said and done incredibly dumb and/or said offensive things to people. Things just grow more and more awkward before the man and his kid leave again. Ray then notes that the man forgot his keys...
    • The episode tag has Amy entering the room saying that the man asked for her to get the keys he's left.
  • Community Has a few examples. In the Bottle Episode Britta tries to leave the study room, but quickly returns after being insulted. Later in the episode Shirley gets a straighter example. She tells everyone to burn in hell and tries to leave, but no one allows her to until they find Annie's pen.
    • In a later episode the group is arguing in the study room all night. Finally Jeff basically says "Screw you guys, I'm going home!" and then leaves the room. A second later he swivels around and heads back into room because they now have class in fifteen minutes.
  • The King of Queens: averted and lampshaded in an episode when Carrie angrily storms out of her office and the elevator arrives as soon as she presses the button rather than leaving her standing around waiting.
    Carrie: Boy, am I glad that came fast.
    • Speaking of elevators, there's also a scene in the episode "Strike Too" where Doug and Carrie have an argument over whether or not Doug's union strike is having a negative effect on him. Doug angrily walks into the elevator behind them and press the button to go down; however, the elevator does not go down immediately. To make matters worse, when the elevator is finally about to close, another man presses the button to get in. Doug is left staring at Carrie, who is trying her best not to laugh.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer has variation in Doppelgangland: Willow storms off after an argument with Buffy and Xander; but Buffy goes after her.
    Willow: *gently* Buff, I'm storming off. It doesn't really work if you come with me.
    • In the episode "Gone", the Trio attempt to make a dramatic escape from Buffy under the cover of a smoke bomb, but they can't get the door open in time, and the smoke clears to reveal them still fiddling with it before they finally manage to get out. It happens again in "Seeing Red" — after Buffy has defeated Warren and Andrew, the former escapes using a Jet Pack. Andrew reveals that he has a jet pack as well, and tells Buffy that it's not over, and they will meet again...before jetting into an overhanging roof and knocking himself unconscious.
  • Miranda is quite tall and awkward so she has a habit of tripping over or bumping into things, so when she's angry and tries to leave dramatically, she often ends up pratfalling
  • On The Golden Girls, when Dorothy finds out her boyfriend is married, she tries to storm out of the hotel room, except;
    Dorothy: Oh God, I'm storming out into the bathroom!
  • In the iCarly episode "iSaw Him First", Carly and Sam get obsessed with Shane, a member of Freddie's A.V. club, and the obsession caused them to have an argument, but when Sam broke the straw on the camel's back by mentioning Carly wearing a support bra, Carly, fed up, leaves. Two seconds later, she comes back in because it's her apartment room.
  • Used in The George Lopez Show after George's mom gets arrested for helping with a robbery thirty years ago. Because George wouldn't say anything to exonerate her, as she is taken away by the police she shouts "I never want to see you again!" George responds by saying "But how are you going to get bail?" She stops, comes back in (with the police officer still holding on to her) and says "I'll see you one last time!"
  • In Boy Meets World Cory attempts the dramatic exit, but ends up going through the wrong door and into a closet. He saves it by saying "And I'm taking back my sweater!"
  • On 30 Rock, Josh attempts to overturn the table and storm out angrily. Unfortunately, he can't lift the table, leaving the others staring at him.
    Liz: Well, help him, nerds! And lift with your legs!
  • Drake & Josh
    • When they have an argument and Josh trips on his way out of the room. "I may have stumbled, but that does not lessen the significance of this departure!"
    • The scene is referenced again in a later episode when a crappy TV show is made about Drake and Josh Expies Drew and Jerry. Drake and Josh watch a scene of the Drew and Jerry Show, and in it the Jerry character says "I may have tripped, but that does not diminish the impact of this exit!" This prompts Josh to wonder why they made Jerry such a dork, only to realise the reason and hang his head in shame.
  • Frasier
    • When Frasier tells Roz that Bulldog only wants her to produce his show to get her into bed. Her sprained ankle and crutches cause her dramatic exit to be painfully slow, and it only gets worse when she reaches the door, tells him that she is out of his life for good, and realizes she has to turn back and get her purse.
    • Also when Frasier made a big dramatic speech to his building's board about how they're all a bunch of petty tyrants, and as he leaves, his briefcase opens and spills his papers onto the floor, forcing him to pick them up and ruining his dramatic exit.
    • Also after Daphne has an argument with Martin and Frasier about something. She tells them off and storms off to her room, but as Frasier points out to Martin, "That would have been very effective—if her room were on that side of the apartment." Followed by a mortified Daphne slowly slinking her way back across the hallway to her room, refusing to make eye contact with them.
    • Another that occurs off-screen with Niles storming out of Maris' mansion after an argument, and his failed attempt to close the massive front doors.
    Niles:...it was that fourteenth-century Bavarian cathedral door, so I had to get two of the servants to help me slam it. But what it lacked in spontaneity, it made up for in resonance!'''!
  • In Black Books, Fran and Bernard have a fight. Fran storms out of the bookshop, coldly informing Bernard that she doesn't think they should see each other for a while. She then immediately reenters, announces "I forgot my bag!" in an embarrassed sing-song tone and flounces out again once she's picked it up.
  • In the That '70s Show episode "The Third Wheel", Eric and Hyde both storm out of a bowling alley after a fight, then return to take off their bowling shoes.
  • In the Friends episode "The One with the Jellyfish", Phoebe meets her real mother, and gets mad at her, because she never tried to contact her. She shouts "I don't ever want to see you again!", and storms out, than returns for her purse, covering her eyes with her hand.
  • An episode of Will and Grace has Jack storm out of their apartment only to have his suitcase caught on the door.
    Jack: Do you mind, I'm trying to be dramatic.
  • Rachel Berry's multiple attempts to storm out of the Glee club often fall into this, including when she was in a wheelchair and she tried to storm out, only to wheel herself into the doorframe.
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun:
    Dick: Fine! We can tell when we're not wanted!
    (he storms out of the room, but the rest of the family doesn't move; after a beat, Dick runs back in)
    Dick: We're not wanted.
    Harry: Oh!
    (the rest of the family follows Dick out of the room)
  • In an episode of How I Met Your Mother, one of Barney's coworkers quits spectacularly while his boss is chewing him out during a meeting, shouts to everyone that he just made a load of money in the stock market and doesn't need this job anymore, and then gets up on the conference table yelling "Here's what I think of this stupid company!" and attempts to pee on it...but has a shy bladder and can't get the stream going. His meek "Could everyone turn away for a minute?" and everyone's polite acquiescence makes it even lamer.
  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Jenice Manheim calls the trope out by name when she tries to sweep out of the holodeck and finds the door isn't there.
    Jenice: Well, so much for my dramatic exit.
    [The computer reacts to the keyword 'exit' and reveals the door.]
  • One episode of the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers features Baboo as the villain, and his Monster of the Week is Terror Toad. After Terror Toad is destroyed however, Baboo's makes his exit in this style.

    New Media 

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • Dimitri Martin quipped in a special that it is quite difficult to be manly or punctuate a conversation if when you're struggling to open or close particularly heavy doors.

    Video Games 
  • Sonic The Hedgehog Triple Trouble introduces the villain, Nack the Weasel as a special mini-boss that appears in all of the special stages. After you beat him, his usual response is to get out of there, but not without tripping over himself.

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 
  • When Arby 'n' the Chief introduces Greg the Spider, Chief's initial reaction is to slowly crawl away from him, and then get out of dodge, but not without fumbling in the process.

    Western Animation 
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, this happens in both of Trixie's appearances. In "Boast Busters", she tries to dramatically disappear in a cloud of smoke, but her smoke bomb dissipates too quickly and everyone sees her running away. At the end of "Magic Duel", she tries the same trick again, and she trips and falls on her face as she exits.
  • American Dad!, where Stan shouts "I'm the one who made the decisions that kept this family on track for twenty years. I deserve a little respect!" and storms off into the pantry by mistake.
  • Family Guy, "Brian Wallows and Peter's Swallows": Brian runs into door lock problems after yelling at Pearl; after getting the door open with her help, he calmly calls back his earlier outburst: "Oh yeah, and drop dead."
  • In an episode of The Weekenders Tino and Carver have an argument which ends with Carver calling Tino a whimp. Tino replies with "Well this whimp is through being your best friend." He then goes to leave, only to trip on his own shoelace and falls into a photo booth that takes pictures of him falling. Tino then looks at the audience and claims that he is "not good at dramatic exits."
  • In Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, when Bloo comes across a man in a cell phone costume, Bloo mistakes him for an imaginary friend and thus takes him with him back home to Foster's in hopes of rescuing him. All throughout the episode, the poor guy goes through a series of painful events due to Bloo's ignorance until Frankie and Mr. Herriman finally point out to Bloo of the truth, to which the man gets the hell out of dodge, and promptly fumbles over himself.

    Real Life 
  • The page quote is a statement by Boris Bazhanov, Stalin's former secretary. The Russian edition of his memoirs says it in somewhat different words, but the principle is the same - once Trotsky saw everyone was against him, he left, but his struggling attempts to slam a door too heavy to do that sort of deflated any dramatic tension he was aiming for.
  • During the filming of Chinatown, Jack Nicholson wanted to wrap filming for the day because there was a basketball game on, while Roman Polanski wanted to get the scene perfect. Finally, when they got a completed take of the last scene, Nicholson intentionally messed up the set dressing that Polanski had spent half an hour arranging. Polanski responded by trying (and failing) to smash the tv in Nicholson's trailer. This sparked an argument that culminated in Nicholson tearing off his costume and storming off the set, then realizing that his trailer was attached to the set and having to slink back on in his underwear.


Door FocusThis Index Has Left the BuildingThe Exit Is That Way
The Dragons Come BackReturn of the IndexHeel Face Return
Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!Alice and BobFan-Preferred Couple
Failed Attempt at DramaComedy TropesThe Exit Is That Way

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