Keep Away

The game of tossing an object around in a group to keep it away from someone else.

In one scenario, the heroes are trying to keep the MacGuffin away from the villain or villains. Said villain is so focused on the item that they're not fighting the heroes who don't have it.

The answer is to throw the MacGuffin from hero to hero, with the villain being frustrated as he barely misses it each time. If there's a group of villains, expect multiple "yoink!" moments as the groups intercept it from each other.

In another scenario, the protagonist might be quietly minding his own business on the schoolyard when a group of bullies come up and take something of his, then pass it around to another one whenever he gets close.

If he can make a plausible threat of getting them in trouble, expect them to transparently lie and claim that it was only a game; otherwise, they might just keep the MacGuffin. One way or another, the protagonist will need to find an effective way to deal with the bullies.

Polar opposite of the MacGuffin Delivery Service and Hot Potato.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • One Piece:
    • Luffy, having extendable rubber arms, is able to perform this trope all by himself to keep Usopp from drinking the group's water supply (and even names it as a technique: the "Gomu Gomu no Dame Da"; Dame Da roughly means "No Way" or "Stop That").
    • Around the time the Straw Hats depart Water 7, as part of their plan to recruit an unwilling Franky into the crew, they lure him to where the Sunny is docked by having the Franky Family steal his speedo, and passing it from person to person. Franky only gets it back after he joins.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!:
    • In chapter 166 (the No Dialogue Chapter), several of Negi's students play keep away with his ring-wand (they're 14/15, he's ten, teasing him is their favorite sport) until Akira, who was helping him look for it in the first place, brings it to a surprisingly abrupt end.
    • It is also done several chapters later with Negi's unconscious body at a sleepover. Boy's a deep sleeper.
  • There is a Pokémon episode where the heroes and villains fight over the then unhatched Togepi egg while maneuvering through Weezing's smoke. Pikachu ultimately catches it before it could shatter, but Misty's the main mom to it.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Jonouchi/Joey and Honda/Tristan throw around a piece of Yugi's Millennium Puzzle before Joey tosses it into a pool. Later on, when Yugi stands up for the two of them, Joey gives the piece back.
  • In one of the animated adaptations of Higurashi: When They Cry, Satako and a couple other students do this with one of Rika's books. Cue Rika beating the stuffing out of Satoko with a chair.
  • Ranma ˝: In the manga, Ranma, Genma, and Sōun toss Happōsai between the three of them in order to keep him away from Pantyhose Tarō. The Dirty Old Man takes it in stride, even calmly smoking his pipe during those antics. Ranma even says:
    Ranma: Keep passing the pervert around!

    Films — Animation 
  • At the end of The Incredibles, the heroes do this with Syndrome's remote control, keeping it away from the Omnidroid it controls.
  • Titan A.E. has a scene where some bat-like aliens do this with the protagonist as the "ball" to keep him safe. They're running away from the villains, and they're passing Cale to each other as they're shot down by the bad guys.
  • Mr. Toad and his friends Mole, Water Rat, and Angus MacBadger actually do this to the deed for Toad Hall at the end of The Wind in the Willows segment of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad in order to get rid of the evil innkeeper Mr. Winkie and his army of weasels, who have taken over the mansion after framing Toad for allegedly stealing a car. Toad complicates matters enormously during the scuffle by tossing out dozens of paper-airplane decoy deeds, confusing everybody.
  • Baloo and Bagheera actually do this with Mowgli near the middle of The Jungle Book in order to rescue him from King Louie and the other monkeys. Curiously enough, the animation for this scene was actually taken from the above film.
  • Aladdin: The Return of Jafar ends with Aladdin and his friends trying to get Jafar's lamp away from him and Abis Mal in order to destroy it, because according to Genie, the only way to kill a genie is to destroy his lamp before his summoner can wish him free (at which the genie becomes invincible afterwards). Jafar finds out about this, and as a result he traps the heroes in a pit of lava, with the lamp just out of reach. Fortunately, Iago the parrot shows up in time, grabs Jafar's lamp, and throws it into the lava. Cue Jafar getting electrocuted, turning into a skeleton, screaming throughout, and exploding violently.
  • The climax of Shrek 2 does this with the Fairy Godmother's magic wand.
  • In The Boxtrolls, Snatcher tries to take away Lord Portley-Rind's white hat when Winnie takes it and tosses it back and forth between the other good guys, as a distraction while the Boxtrolls dismantle Snatcher's machine from under him.
  • Toward the end of My Little Pony: Equestria Girls, the girls toss the crown of Princess of the Fall Formal between each other to keep Snips and Snails from grabbing it for Sunset Shimmer. It backfires when Twilight fails to check her throw.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 has the title turtles playing keep-away from the Foot with the last canister of mutagenic ooze. It eventually finds its way into Tatsu's hands when one of the defeated Foot lays a staff across the floor, causing Donatello to wipe out.
  • The climax to the second live-action Scooby-Doo movie features the gang trying to keep a piece of machinery away from a group of monsters.
  • The Black Comedy / Body Horror movie Street Trash does this with a homeless guy's severed penis.
  • The bullies in Beethoven do this to Ted with his glasses.
  • In the altered present in OOO, Den-O, All Riders: Let's Go Kamen Riders, Eiji and Ankh run into trouble with some kids, who proceed to steal Eiji's OOO Medals and pass them around in order to inconvenience poor Eiji. Later, in the climax of the film, those same kids steal the OOO Driver from the Shocker Greeed; the gathered crowd decide to help them out and join in the pass-around until the captive Riders are freed and the Driver is returned to Eiji.

    Literature 
  • In the Berenstein Bears chapter books, this is just one of the ways the bullies pick on Ferdy.
  • In The Eyes of Kid Midas, the schoolyard bullies Bertram and Hal play keep away with the protagonist's glasses. They break. Luckily, he gets a new pair.
  • In Judy Blume's Blubber, Jill joins the class Alpha Bitch and her crowd in a game of keep-away with Linda's notebook. Later on, when Jill herself becomes the target the same crowd plays catch with her math book before throwing it in the street.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Doctor and Ace with the Bow of Nemesis in the Doctor Who serial "Silver Nemesis".
  • On Power Rangers Zeo had an episode where Rocky was kidnapped by the Monster of the Week, with the villains confiscating his Zeonizer, only to drop it when the others appeared, leading to a game of Keep Away between them and the Cogs using carnival rides, ending with Tommy grabbing it and purposely letting the Monster grab him too so he and Rocky could blast their way out.
  • Power Rangers Ninja Storm has a memorable sequence of yoinks as the Wind and Thunder Rangers fight for the Wind Rangers' mentor, currently a guinea pig in a pet ball-sized force field.
  • Apparently Monk played this version right through College. It becomes useful.
  • Used as a spoof of Rugby in Maid Marian and Her Merry Men. Just to add to the spoof, they're using an actual egg.
  • Kenan & Kel try this with a remote control in "Foul Bull" when they attempt to stop the former's father from seeing that they have something to do with Ron Harper's injury. It ends quickly when Roger grabs on Kel to get the remote.
  • House of Anubis: In the season one finale, Sibuna does this...with a jar of deadly sandflies they had managed to get from Rufus following Fabian tackling him to the ground. Seeing that it was extremely dangerous, it also seemed like a game of Hot Potato as well; nobody wanted to hold it, they just didn't want to drop it, and they wanted to keep Rufus from getting it. Jerome soon solved the problem by throwing it at the ground near Rufus himself and bolting, allowing Sibuna to escape while Rufus was attacked by the swarm of sandflies.

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Great Muppet Caper has loads of fun with this in the heist foil scene; once that diamond starts getting tossed around the muppets start bragging about their throwing skills, the host of The Wide World of Muppet Sports shows up, theme music starts playing...

    Video Games 
  • Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric has Sonic and Knuckles doing this with the Radiant Crystal, with both Lyric and Eggman, respectively, attacking them in an attempt to get it. Deconstruction ensues when Lyric and Eggman call off their "partnership", Eggman's attempt to kill Lyric with Metal Sonic goes awry, and the latter razes half of Slowpoke Isle all because Sonic and company wanted to get them away from Bygone Island.

    Web Animation 
  • In the Gotham Girls web Flash animated series, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy try to keep their loot from Batgirl in this manner. Unfortunately for the crooks, Batgirl takes advantage of Harley's childish gullibility and calls to her to throw the item to her. Harley, caught up in the tossing, does so and realizes too late that she's suckered while Batgirl makes her getaway.

    Web Original 
  • One Rifftrax short features a young Woobie falling victim to this, courtesy of some neighborhood bullies. Riffer Bill Corbett notes that a game of "Monkey in the Middle" can quickly be ended by a good, swift crotch punch from the Monkey.

    Western Animation 
  • Justice League Unlimited does this in the episode "Kid Stuff" to keep the "Amulet of First Magic" away from Mordred.
  • Given the Gotta Catch Them All nature of Jackie Chan Adventures, it's little surprise this often happens. The second season opener subverts it: once the keep-away session (with the Talismans) is completed, Uncle angrily reveals that the heroes have gone after the wrong MacGuffin.
  • Kim Possible does it a few times.
    • In "A Sitch in Time", it's the head of the Tempus Simia idol. They also do the schoolyard version.
    • In "Adventures in Rufus Sitting", everyone's after the microchip that the token naked mole rat has swallowed.
  • Transformers:
    • This is directly used as a spoof of American Football in season 3 of Transformers Generation 1 as Blurr, Wheelie and the others throw Metroplex's conveniently egg-shaped Transformation Cog to one another while running. Indeed, the term "yoink!" in these moments is a sort of inside gag for Transformers fans, as it pops up in a lot of fan works.
    • In the pilot of Transformers Animated, the Autobots do this trying to keep the AllSpark away from Starscream.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: The Kids Next Door do this once with a football-shaped bomb.
  • The Batman has an episode where he and Batgirl keep getting snatched from them (or dropped) the antidote that will cure the three villains.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In one episode, the bullies do this with Bart's "Junior Campers" uniform. Bart actually wants to quit so he starts to walk away, telling them to keep it. Jimbo then tells him that he'd better pretend to want it back, or he'd be sorry. Bart complies.
    • Another episode has a group of girl bullies doing this with Lisa's shoes. They end up throwing them completely out of reach, forcing Lisa to walk home bearfoot, causing a social worker to think she was suffering from Barefoot Poverty.
  • In DuckTales, The Beagle Boys and the triplets Huey, Dewey and Louie ended up doing this with a bag of form-changing powder, while engaged in a Shapeshifter Showdown on top of that!
  • Near the end of one episode of Cyberchase, the kids toss the Sun...
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In "The Return of Harmony, Part 2", brainwashed Fluttershy leads this game to keep the Elements of Harmony Reference Guide away from Twilight.
    • In "Daring Don't", everypony but Rainbow Dash play this game to keep the Ring of Destiny away from the villains. Dash and Daring Do, meanwhile, use the distraction to sabotage the rest of the rings.
    • In "For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils", the Cutie Mark Crusaders play keep-away with the box containing the sabotaged headdress so Sweetie Belle can fix it before it ruins Rarity's reputation and career.
  • In the Celebrity Deathmatch fight between Ozzy Osbourne and Rob Zombie, Ozzy and Mills do this with Rob's brain. (It Makes Sense in Context, seriously. Nick Diamond calls it a "game of Hot Potato", but Ozzy is trying to keep it away from Rob, so it more fits this Trope.)
  • In "Toby Braves the Bully" from Sheriff Callie's Wild West, the bully, Bradley Bulldog, pulls this on Toby, taking his newspapers and taunting him with them, before throwing them all to the ground.
  • On an episode of Doug, Roger and his gang play keep-away with AV nerd Larry's hat. This kicks off the main plot; when the hat lands on Doug's pencil and he holds it up, Larry mistakes him for playing along with the game and lashes out at him.