"Why would you want to watch TV when you can watch a snail crawl for hours on end?"This is when a character or group is easily amused by a game, pastime, or hobby that would normally be considered boring and lame. It is usually used to show that these characters are idiots, immature, dull people, weird, or just because it's funny. Compare A Good, Old-Fashioned Paint Watching, Fun for Some and the Museum of Boredom. Related to Nerds Love Tough Schoolwork. Not to be confused with Incredibly Lame Pun.
— Sinclair, Futurama, "Obsoletely Fabulous"
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- Shinryaku! Ika Musume has Ika with ants. The hard work, the bullying from other ants, feeling sadness for the ant and yelling at kids that were destroying the ant's house so that the ant can return to its colony. Before she knew it, it was already sunset.
- Also with umbrellas and anything ordinary that amazes her.
- North Kai, Dragon Ball's lord of worlds, enjoys counting individual blades of grass and driving an admittedly robust Chevrolet in a complete circle. Following the Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods reveal that Kai have the ability to restore planets, Whis and Goku point out he never uses these powers to undo the damage Goku and Beerus do to the planet the kai himself resides on, to which he replies(under his breath) that patching things together by hand passes more time.
- In The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye
- Ultra Magnus considers several months of "cripplingly intense" study (his words) fun. Or would, if he could actually say fun. At a later point, he tries to join in a casual conversation, starting by mentioning his love of statistics (Swerve was quoting Blurr's track records).
- The Scavengers have precisely three forms of entertainment on their ship: playing nerf gun battles (which is actually pretty awesome), watching recordings of former Decepticon-turned-stand-up-comic Skullcruncher's routines, and playing Jenga with a set that's missing pieces.
- In Judge Dredd, the horribly overpopulated Mega-City-One has at worst 98% unemployment rate. Its people have found some utterly asinine ways to pass the time, such as pointlessly washing dishes, catching eggs launched at themselves, trying to grow the biggest nose in the city, or eating.
- In The Silmarillion fanfic A Boy, a Girl and a Dog: The Leithian Script, the Captain prefers to watch water freezing than play chess. It isn't that he dislikes chess; it's he thinks the former activity is genuinely entertaining.
Beren: I thought you liked kingstone, sir.
Captain: Oh, as a diversion it's all right. But it isn't my preferred diversion, if others are to be had. Like watching ice form, for one.
Beren: Oh. — That boring, huh?
Captain: Ice crystals are quite fascinating, the way they sheet over a pond.
Beren: Yeah, but you usually watch stuff like that when you're waiting for something to actually happen.
Films — Animated
Films — Live-Action
- The TV show from RoboCop (1987). The person watching the movie might find the show's humor asinine; the characters in the movie watching the show find it hilarious.
Dave: I'd buy that for a dollar!
- The movie Ass in Idiocracy won multiple awards. It is just a close-up of some guy's ass with the occasional fart sound effect. The filmgoers laugh uproariously. Actually based on a real movie, "Taylor Mead's Ass", by Andy Warhol.
- Trolls gamble by tossing something up and then betting on whether or not it will come down. To be fair, there's definitely some parts on the Disc where it's a legitimate toss-up.
Troll gambling is even easier than Australian gambling.
- In The Last Continent it's mentioned that the young Ponder Stibbons was the only child in history who actually got hours of fun out of a mix-and-match picture book promising hours of fun.
- Trolls gamble by tossing something up and then betting on whether or not it will come down. To be fair, there's definitely some parts on the Disc where it's a legitimate toss-up.
- The Wonder Spot:
Over Christmas, she took a trip to India, and now she’s in love with what she calls the simple life. She gets serene talking about it; her speech slows and her eyes glisten when she describes an Indian boy who amused himself for hours with a piece of string.
I nod, but I think, You watched somebody play with a piece of string for hours?
- The Star Trek novel "Immortal Coil" expounds on what the android Ruk (from one Original Series episode) was doing during its long time alone: picking up two rocks of similar composition, putting one in each hand, and squeezing until one is reduced to powder, then adding a point for that specific hand. When plot starts happening, Ruk had reached the point of considering removing a finger from the hand that had won the most often as a handicap.
- Lampshaded numerous times on MST3K, most notably shorts such as "What to Do on a Date" that suggests awesome events like weenie roasts and taffy pulls. Also "Uncle Jim's Dairy Farm" where the fun activities amount to little more than back-breaking chores.
- Little Sebastian the miniature horse on Parks and Recreation is treated like a celebrity by the townsfolk of Pawnee, Indiana. It's lampshaded by one character from out of town who doesn't understand the appeal; everyone else treats him like he's crazy and he eventually resigns himself to faking it in order to avoid conflict.
- From the same show, this is why Jerry keeps coming out or retirement and later gets a job in the National Parks service. The tedious grunt work like filing and stuffing envelopes that nobody else can stand is the part of the job he loves. In the last season he becomes a notary public as a hobby and is utterly giddy about it.
- On Stella, when the boys can't go to the amusement park, they decide to improvise fun rides with what they had at their home; naturally, their alternatives don't quite match up to the real thing, but they make do.
- The State had a sketch where two characters play strip poker. Since they're both male and straight, they don't find it all that interesting.
- The crew of Red Dwarf have been stranded in space long enough to have some very odd ideas of how to kill time.
- Rimmer was apparently always that boring, enjoying such hobbies as Hammond Organ music, morris dancing, studying 20th century telegraph poles, and recounting the events of his Risk game move-by-move.
- The others have engaged in such pastimes as watching laundry spin (it was Kochanski's, so this is the closest any of them has to a sex life).
- Kochanski herself had a rather sheltered upbringing, with perfect computer generated friends, so her idea of a fun game is humming the various arias of The Magic Flute, and guessing what song it is.
- Kryten is a cleaning mechanoid, so he sees laundry and vacuuming as enjoyable activities.
- The Cat plays with his food. And by that, we mean pretends his food is alive and he's playing with it like a cat with a mouse.
- But the king of this has to be Lister, who spent days crossing the huge ship to get some tomatoes, because he's allergic to them and eating them makes him sneeze, which allowed him to use his snot to iron laundry in order to gross out Rimmer. All that work just to get a ten second rise out of someone. In fairness, they've been stuck on the ship long enough that there probably isn't a whole lot else to do by that point.
- JD and Turk of Scrubs have some odd hobbies, like playing "Finger or Toe" in which one of them closes their eyes, the other sticks a finger or toe under their nose, and the first must guess which it is. They also considered switching chairs at their apartment at set intervals to be a major event.
- Stargate SG-1. When Jonas Quinn arrives on Earth, he becomes fascinated by the Weather Channel and watches it for hours, to which Carter responds that there are at least five hundred other channels.
- Game of Thrones,=:
- The idiot Orson Lannister and his pastime of squishing bugs.
- Daario and Grey Worm's contest of holding swords on outstretched arms.
- In the Frasier episode "The Placeholder," Frasier was making an unusually big deal about the vegetable soup he was going to cook that evening. On the other hand, it was to illustrate how out-of-touch Frasier was getting no thanks to his dating dry spell.
- The Golden Girls: Dorothy just doesn't understand why her students don't find diagramming sentences as fun as she does. Sophia is quick to suggests that this is why she doesn't have many second dates.
- "Weird Al" Yankovic's song "Hardware Store" is a song about someone being super-excited about the opening of a new hardware store.
TV announcer: Welcome to Watching Paint Dry Theater!Jon: It's a rerun.Garfield: Don't tell me how it turns out!
- Occasionally used to show how boring a life Jon's family has in the countryside, since the most mundane things excite them such as watching the washing machine instead of the TV ("Here comes the red sock again!"), counting every brick in the wall of the house, taking a trip to see the new water tower, going to the airport to watch the planes take off, etc. This extends to stupid and dangerous things; Jon and his brother Doc Boy mention that one of their favorite games as a kid was called "Touch It, You Wimp!" and involved touching an electric fence.
- Garfield and Jon are not immune to this, since their lives are pretty boring too. In one strip, he is watching television when the announcer says, "And now we present, Watching Paint Dry!" Garfield responds with, "Rats! They cancelled Watching Grass Grow!"
- In a later strip:
Jon: Watching the paint dry, Garfield?Garfield: I hope he doesn't think that my life is so totally devoid of excitement that I am reduced to that. I'm waiting for it to peel.
- In another strip:
Jon: I've got an idea, Garfield! I stuff my face full of bananas... then you tickle me!Garfield: We are the bored.
- Jon makes toast... for fun. *pop* "Yee Haaww!"
- Calvin and Hobbes: Calvin's Dad deliberately chooses vacations and hobbies that BUILD CHARACTER.
- Sesame Street has Bert, who loves all sorts of boring pastimes such as watching pigeons and collecting paperclips. He even likes to read books like Boring Stories.
- Fraggle Rock features the character of Boober Fraggle, whose favorite pastimes include laundry and watching paint dry ...
- One episode of Dinosaurs has Grandma Ethyl literally sitting around and watching the grass grow...on television. Subverted in that it's not because she's enjoying it, but because the episode wants to emphasize she's wasting what's left of her life.
- Quasar in Mass Effect is an incredibly dull adding game with two buttons, yet it has entire casinos dedicated to it. It owes a lot to its parent Pazaak from Knights of the Old Republic. Which is exactly as much fun as Quasar.
- Both are variants on Blackjack, so obviously there is fun to be had there.
- At the end of the wild version of the party in the third game's Citadel DLC, the player can stumble upon Tali and Samantha Traynor reciting the periodic table of elements. When they get distracted and Garrus points out that element 69 is thulium, Tali calls him a nerd.
- Also in the Citadel's video arcade is the Towers of Hanoi. Shepard flat out refuses to play it.
- A troll in Ultima Underworld II plays "White Rock Black Rock," in which the object is to correctly pick the white rock. From a pair of rocks in plain sight of both players.
- The demo for The Stanley Parable contains the "eight game". You push a button labeled "8", several screens light up with "8", and a voice says "eight". You can do this repeatedly, and the Lemony Narrator will get mad at you.
- Homestar Runner:
- In the Strong Bad Email "extra plug", Strong Bad finds his brothers, the Cheat, and Homestar amusing themselves during a blackout by watching "a picture of Andy Griffith's head taped to the TV".
- According to "slumber party", the only video game Homestar is allowed to play is "Clapping Party", which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Inverted by the Easter Egg, where you can unlock Blistergeist Mode,
- In the short "79 Seconds Left", Homestar and Strong Sad amuse themselves as members of the "Wet Knee Gumption Club" by pouring water on their knees.
- Hannelore in Questionable Content thinks that she'd probably find watching paint dry fascinating. Hanners is a certified mega-genius, so big surprise about that whole rant she runs through there.
- Scarlet in Sequential Art enthusiastically played noughts-and-crosses with herself and watched for hours how a washing machine works, before "setting sockies free", not that she wasn't established as a Cloud Cuckoolander already.
- xkcd: A character in strip #324 finds that tapping different parts of a desk results in different pitches. "So what did you do all afternooon?" "Hung out."
- Subverted in the Title Text. "Sometimes the best fun looks like boredom."
- If Belkar of The Order of the Stick was speaking the truth, the hobbits in his village played games like "throw the stick", "throw the rock" or "Throw the rock and then the stick shortly thereafter".
- A slight jab at canonical D&D halflings there; rock-skipping is apparently a major sport among them.
- A website dedicated to identifying recurring patterns in storytelling and then cataloging their use across all media.
- In the Chigüire Bipolar entry Driver that kept behind an ambulance returned earlier to his sad life includes playing FIFA Soccer 2007 as part of his patheticness.
- SpongeBob SquarePants:
- At the start of "Squidward the Unfriendly Ghost", SpongeBob and Patrick play a game that consists of doing, well, whatever non-sequitur goes through their minds.
- In "Mid-Life Crustacean", Mr. Krabs hangs out with SpongeBob and Patrick because he feels old. They end up going to the laundromat, reading at the library, sitting in a kiddie pool, et cetera. Of course this is subverted at the end when they suggest a panty raid. But it turns out to be Mr. Krabs' mother's undergarments...
- In "The Idiot Box", SpongeBob and Patrick buy a large TV so they can play inside the box. They use their imagination to enjoy it so much, Squidward wants in.
- Subverted on another occasion; SpongeBob gets a "useless" piece of paper from Squidward and then uses it to play all sort of games, plus swimming/flying around.
- One reason SpongeBob wants to come back to work at the Krusty Krab — he misses the sound of two pickle slices rubbed together. By show's end he's rubbing two pickle slices together and looks ecstatic.
- The Simpsons:
"I got a pogo stick!" "I got a hula hoop!"
- Homer Simpson does this a lot, like playing with the adjustable hospital bed in "Homer's Triple Bypass": "Bed goes up, bed goes down! Bed goes up, bed goes down!"
- Milhouse with the cup and ball. A joke Family Guy then did years later.
- Marge actually gets thrills out of monotonous activities such as household chores and evening walks (of which she tends to prefer the dullest route). She once imagines herself being as flexible as a Cirque Du Soleil acrobat... and using that flexibility to clean hard-to-reach spots on her bathroom. On the episode Itchy and Scratchy Land, the family trip she had already planned for the family involved going to some bird sanctuary just because a new feeder had been installed (this actually made Bart and Lisa look at her in horror... and later on we find out that it's a good thing they didn't went to the sanctuary even when Marge thinks otherwise, because the birds escaped and rampaged in a manner similar to The Birds). The family actually tend to find doing Marge's ideas of fun more unbearable than Homer or Bart's troublemaking (and a chunk of Marge's "Day in the Limelight" episodes are her rallying against other people's ideas of entertainment because she cannot find the fun in it, so she won't let anybody else enjoy it).
- Lisa's idea of "fun" involves expanding her mind and her culture and standing for her beliefs (so we are talking Nerds Love Tough School Work, going to museums, watching documentaries and going to protests, for example). Even Marge has a hard time stomaching this, occasionally.
- Seymour Skinner is this trope personified. When Bart forgets his field trip permission slip, he has Bart lick envelopes all day and suggests to make a game out of it by counting how many he can lick in an hour and then try to beat that record. It's so dull that it makes time go slower and skip backwards one second.
- Bart can get in on it as well. He considers visiting a screen door factory to be a fun thing to do in Delaware.
- And of course, Ned Flanders has made his kids enjoy all sorts of lame things like sitting quietly during trips, clapping with songs and watching bread. They also showed a huge ammount of joy at having a Christmas with imaginary presents.
- In the South Park episode "Here Comes The Neighborhood", while the rich kids play polo, the "normal" kids amuse themselves by running around and kicking each other in the balls.
- Dexter's Laboratory:
- In "Old McDexter", Dexter visits an Amish community. When he tries to explain "fun", the Amish lads can't think of anything more exciting than the butter churn. When DeeDee (who got to go to Space Camp) arrives, she adds insult to injury by agreeing that churning butter really is the best thing ever.
- "911" centers on Dexter's TV show being interrupted by an emergency test pattern and trying to solve every possible emergency to get rid of it. Whenever he comes back to his house, he finds Deedee (and at one point his parents) completely absorbed in what seems like various TV programs, but is actually still just the test pattern.
- Fanboy and Chum Chum: In the "Night Morning" episode, Fanboy invites his whole class to watch Chum Chum do his morning routine... AT NIGHT!
- Invader Zim: GIR enjoys a lot of activities others wouldn't. Like hiding inside a cooked turkey for hours.
- Phineas and Ferb: The title characters' activities are usually the exact opposite of this trope, but in "Phineas and Ferb Interrupted" they get hit with Doofenshmirtz's "Dull-and-Boring-inator" and spend most of the rest of the day doing stuff like playing with lint rollers and watching grass grow.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- Twilight Sparkle considers things such as shelving library books or "a crazy weekend of studying" to be the height of entertainment. In "Lesson Zero" it's revealed that her favorite toy growing up was a "Smarty Pants" doll, which comes with accessories like a notebook and pen so you can pretend that she's studying. Twilight considers this the most awesome toy ever. In particular, the plot of "What About Discord?" is kicked off by the fact that Twilight holes herself up in her house for three days to re-organize her books rather than spending that time with her friends.
- Maud Pie, sister of Pinkie Pie, is only interested in rocks. This, combined with her perpetual Dull Surprise expression, makes it incredibly difficult for Pinkie's friends to bond with her.
- Numbuh Four of Codename: Kids Next Door loves getting buried up to his head at the beach. He even has a little song for it. And when his dad gets him a pool for the backyard, he ends up filling it with sand (the fact that the pool was a portal to a mirror universe and that Numbuh Four can't swim also helps).
- Kaeloo: A lot of Kaeloo's games are seen as "boring" by her friends, who would much rather watch TV or play video games.