The main character has always loved or lusted for another character on the show. He gets his courage up to go tell her. Music swells, he takes a breath...

And somehow the whole thing gets derailed. Either he chickens out, she asks him a question about this hot guy she's been chasing, or she runs off to go fight vampires, or someone else [[ChandlersLaw barges into the room]] and [[MomentKiller destroys the opportunity entirely]].

This can be a highly effective writing technique for a couple of episodes, but the writers typically find that it's impossible to maintain forever. Eventually, the character will tell the object of his affections, and the plot will move on...or the viewers will.

Name comes from the American football term when an offensive lineman moves before the snap (when the ball is put in motion).

Compare to WillTheyOrWontThey See also RedHerringTwist and CanNotSpitItOut.



[[folder: Anime & Manga]]
* YuppieCouple Menko ("Miss Noodle") and Shiruo ("Mr. Soup") in ''Anime/UruseiYatsura'' are eternally on the verge of declaring their love for each other when the current episode's lunacy literally runs them over.
* Watanabe in ''Manga/ExcelSaga'' runs into out-of-left-field calamities every time he tries to get somewhere with "Miss Ayasugi" (Hyatt).
** The most devastating of which was, after they got engaged and are finally about to have sex, [[spoiler: Il Palazzo appears and restores Hyatt's memory, and she leaves Watanabe]]. This ends up driving Watanabe insane.
* A random schoolboy in ''Manga/RozenMaiden'' is constantly interrupted by the cast from confessing to Jun's sister Nori.
* This happens to Momoka on ''Manga/SgtFrog'' all the time.
* ''Manga/VideoGirlAi'' has a moment where Yota and Moemi are out shopping and Yota seems to have gotten up his courage and a soft speechbubble appears with the words I love you... and it turns out he was just thinking it and Moemi is embarrassed cause he's just standing there with his mouth open.
* Kaorin of ''Manga/AzumangaDaioh'' has this problem through the ''entire series''. Any time she tried to work up the nerve to even ''talk'' to Sakaki, she fell to pieces in increasingly amusing and neurotic ways.
* In ''LightNovel/ShakuganNoShana'' (at least in the second season), any movement towards resolving the LoveTriangle is rudely interrupted by the sudden arrival of the next overpowering BigBad.
* Happens a few times in ''Manga/AhMyGoddess'', usually thanks to Skuld providing the interruption.
* One episode of ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' features this one in regards to Nodoka's feelings for Negi. [[spoiler:She still manages to tell him by the end of the episode.]]
* Happens to Miroku and Sango several times in ''Manga/InuYasha'', mostly because ''both'' of them are inveterate {{Moment Killer}}s.
* ''Manga/ToLoveRu'' does this a lot. In the first episode alone the main character tries to confess to his love interest and is stopped in order by a soccer ball to the head, a flower pot to the head, [[OverlyLongGag a garbage truck, a herd of rampaging elephants, and finally a crashing alien spaceship]].
* Pretty much what happened constantly in the second arc of ''Manga/CardcaptorSakura'' with [[spoiler: Syaoran trying to confess his love for Sakura.]]
** Also done with Touya and Yukito, with a few twists: [[spoiler:Touya was trying to tell Yukito that Yukito was dying, and all the interruptions caused by Nakuru were deliberate.]]
* In ''Manga/DNAngel'' this happens to Daisuke when he tries to confess his love for Risa in the first anime episode. (In the manga he managed to tell her, but she flat-out rejected him.)
* In ''Anime/{{VanDread}}'', a nervous Hibiki gets out an "I like y--"/'omae ga su---' to Dita, before the attack alert sirens go off.
* Ushio of ''Anime/YuGiOh5Ds'' is smitten with his lovely co-worker Mikage, but the moment he chose to make his feelings known to her unfortunately turned out to be the moment when she was having a rather intense conversation with Jack Atlas, which made it clear that she was in love with him. Either because Ushio knows that he can't compete with the younger, more glamorous, and better-looking Jack, or because he [[IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy just wants her to be happy]], he drops the attempt and apparently never works up the courage to try again.
* Happens to Kosuda a few times in ''Manga/BGataHKei'', including having getting his head caught in the door of a departing train while trying to confess his feelings to protagonist Yamada.
* In ''Manga/HayateTheCombatButler'', Hinagiku asks Hayate how he feels for Athena. While he's struggling to try and figure out his feelings, she decides to try confessing, which he interrupts with the answer to the question, causing her for forget what she was about to say[[spoiler: , and then sends him off to his own attempted confession]].

[[folder: Comic Books]]
* Gwen and Evan share a [[spoiler:catastrophic first date]] in ''ComicBook/TwelveReasonsWhyILoveHer.''

[[folder: Fan Works]]
* In ''Fanfic/ADelicateBalance'', [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic Twilight]] spends five chapters waffling over whether or not to tell Applejack about her crush on her. When she finally gets up the courage to do so, [[MomentKiller Apple Bloom]] appears out of nowhere to mess it up.
* In "Fanfic/TheShoeboxProject" part sixteen, Sirius, overdramaztizing that he and Remus are going to die, says he has a confession. [[spoiler: He ends up confessing to getting chocolate on Remus' favorite sweater.]]

[[folder: Film -- Live Action]]
* ''Film/BackToTheFuture''
** George [=McFly=] with Lorraine Baines in 1955 before they're married.
* Pretty much what ''Film/{{Bedazzled 1967}}'' is built around - very early on we see Stanley screwing up the courage to ask Margaret out, and then folding. When the Devil offers him seven wishes, he uses them all trying (and failing) to create a relationship with her.

[[folder: Live Action TV]]
* See early ''Series/{{Friends}}'' and Ross' unrequited love for Rachel.
* Early ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' was full of False Starts.
* ''Series/{{Frasier}}'' pushed this trope about as far as possible with Niles. For several seasons, Niles struggles between lusting after Daphne and keeping his composure as she remains seemingly oblivious. The sheer number and intensity of the false starts is staggering, including several completely legitimate proclamations of love that are mistaken for something else. Most viewers agree that these were done well enough and kept far enough apart for the whole thing to work very well.
* Happens a lot between Sam Tyler and Annie Cartwright in ''Series/{{Life On Mars|2006}}''; [[spoiler: they finally get it together in the finale.]]
* Happens to Chase a few times in ''Series/{{Zoey 101}}'': he first tries to tell Zoey on a date (in which she shows up with her roommates, thinking it was just a friendly hangout), then he tries to tell her by sending her a text message only to have Zoey's phone get left by a fountain and fall in.
* A variation appears on ''Series/GossipGirl''. Chuck and Blair are both well aware that the other one loves them, but both refuse to date the other until s/he says those words out loud. Eventually Blair decides to say those words to Chuck but right before she meets up with him Dan tells her she's crazy if she thinks anything good can come out of saying those words to Chuck Bass. So she ends up chickening out, Chuck gets really mad and by the end of the episode they both agree that while the feelings between them are real they shouldn't be together at present.
* Happens quite a few times in ''Series/{{Psych}}'' between Shawn and Juliet. In one season finale, the almost kiss becomes "close talking" as they have a full conversation with their lips a few centimeters apart. Then there was the time when Juliet went to ask him out but he was on a date with another girl. In another episode, Shawn goes off on a tangent about cereal boxes and toys until Lassiter comes in.
** To be fair, in that last example, the cereal box toys conversation was directly related to their situation, he just went on a little too long.
** And then there was the [[spoiler:BigDamnKiss during the mid-season 5 finale, while ''Juliet has a boyfriend''.]]
* In the ''Series/{{Alias}}'' season 2 episode "The Counteragent," Vaughn pursues Sydney after a tender moment is interrupted; however, Sydney is nowhere to be found.
* Danny and Lindsay on Series/{{CSINY}};their romance was interrupted at first by Lindsay's trouble dealing with her turbulent past.
* This happens a lot on ''Series/HouseOfAnubis'' where everything from important information to kisses are interrupted on almost a daily basis, and the characters are forced to try again later, often to the same result.
** Most notably when Fabian kept trying to ask Nina to the prom. He got interrupted about four times before finally managing to ask at breakfast (once Nina told him to hurry and ask before something else stopped it from happening)

[[folder: Web Comics]]
* Turned UpToEleven in [[Webcomic/SamAndFuzzy Sam Logan]]'s [[ guest strip]] for ''Webcomic/QuestionableContent''.
* Peanut of ''Webcomic/{{Housepets}}'' attempts to confess his feelings to his long-time friend Grape by presenting her with a dead chicken ([[TheMatchmaker on the advice of another dog]]) as a token of affection; before he gets the chance, however, he overhears her on the phone arranging a date with [[LoveTriangle another guy]]. [[LoveHurts Ouch]].
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'': Haley's LastSecondWordSwap is enough to completely throw Elan off the track.
-->'''Haley:''' Elan... I think I'm in love with y--\\
'''Durkon:''' Cure Critical Wounds!\\
'''Haley:''' --ukuleles.

[[folder: Western Animation]]
* Used so much in ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor'' for Numbuh Four's crush on Numbuh Three that even most [[{{shipping}} shippers]] got tired of it.
** And Numbah Three's ObfuscatingStupidity definitely didn't help matters.
* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' uses it a couple of times. The most noticeable example is ''The Earth King'', when [[MomentKiller Sokka interrupts Aang's confession]].
* ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom'' had Danny trying to ask his crush [[RichBitch Paulina]] out to the dance, but [[JerkJock Dash]] interrupts him by violently shoving him into a locker. He succeeds afterward through a [[ClothesMakeTheManiac magical pendent]] (though he didn't know it was magical at the time).
* ''WesternAnimation/CodeLyoko'' actually has an episode with this title. Jérémie has finally brought his beloved Aelita into the real world...only to find out she has to return back to her virtual one, for the moment at least.
* On ''WesternAnimation/SuperRobotMonkeyTeamHyperforceGo'', this happened several times regarding Sprx trying to confess his feelings for Nova -- either [[MomentKiller something would interrupt]], or [[CantSpitItOut he'd chicken out]] at the last moment. [[spoiler: In the end, ''she's'' the one who confesses first, [[ThePowerOfLove which is enough to free him]] from his BrainwashedAndCrazy state in the final episode.]]