"Shh, shh—the grown-ups are talking, honey."The kind of thing useless adults will say to a Kid Hero or child who has some rather urgent news. This pint sized Cassandra will be shooed away from grownup company for being "Just a Kid" before even getting one word out. This isn't necessarily limited to just children either; a pretentious character can silence a friend or underling in this manner, or a grown woman when the men don't take women seriously. This can also be used as a put down to annoying characters when two more powerful/important characters are discussing something. The kid will get interrupted after the word "but". Exasperatingly, the shusher may even scold the shushee later for not speaking up! Usually, the very thing the child/friend/underling was trying to say turns out to be significant or important, and the hero will regret having brushed it off. In darker examples the brush-off leads the hero into greater danger by blundering directly into the situation he could've been aware of in advance; or worse, the person making the warning is put in grave danger (or killed) since he or she was asking for help. See also Cassandra Truth, when the warning is heard but often sounds incredible and is subsequently dismissed until it's too late; Crying Wolf, when the warning is heard but dismissed because of the prankish messenger; and Evil-Detecting Dog, when the warning is made by an animal (and may be either recognized or dismissed). See also, Glad I Thought of It. A subtrope of Poor Communication Kills. If the kid in question is mistakenly thought to be dead, that's the subtrope Not Now, We're Too Busy Crying over You.
— The Simpsons, "Homer Vs. Dignity"
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- Used in a commercial for Toyota's "Now's The Time" sale. "Not now, sweetie, Mommy's talking."
- Used in a commercial for Clorox Bleach, where a father is more interested in talking about a minivan with another dad than whatever his young son is trying to draw his attention towards.
Anime and Manga
- Detective Conan: Initially, Conan, stuck in the body of a kid, has to overcome the problem that nobody ever listens to kids. Early on, he has to use Professor Agasa's voice-changing necktie just to tell the police to look under a table. Averted as time goes by in that most of the police inspectors eventually learn to pay attention to Conan's observations. note
- This is actually key in the episode A June Bride Murder Case where the Victim of the Week was targeted because her father, a police officer, invoked this trope on the episode's villain when he was a child. As the father was too busy chasing down a suspect, he said this page's trope verbatim to the boy, and as a result his mother died.
- In One Piece, whenever Kumacy tries telling anyone that the pirates they're looking for are hiding inside him, Perona tells him to shut up because she hates his voice.
- In Princess Tutu, Ahiru—a duck that can turn into a girl—accidentally changes into her duck form when she's startled to see Mytho with a girl that's not his girlfriend. When she sees Mytho's girlfriend, Rue, walking in his direction, Ahiru is afraid she'll be upset by seeing what looks like Mytho cheating and desperately tries to tell Rue to stop by squawking and flailing. Rue responds simply by laughing and continuing down the path. Ahiru then rushes to water (the key to change back into a human) to become a girl again then attempts to tell her to stop, only this time the other girl and Mytho are standing right behind her. However, Rue doesn't react—she knows that Mytho does whatever anyone tells him to do because he's missing his heart.
- Done by the younger Digidestineds/Chosen Children to their youngest member Cody/Iori in Digimon Adventure 02 with almost alarming frequency. This is particularly weird on the part of TK/Takeru and Kari/Hikari who went through the exact same thing in the previous series and are doing in spite of the fact that Cody/Iori is older than they were in their first adventure. Cody/Iori eventually gets sick of this treatment and screams "WOULD YOU ALL BE QUIET?!" during a particularly annoying argument.
- In Happiness Charge Pretty Cure, this is practically the reason Hime gives Iona for why she never told her she was tricked into opening the Axia Box: she tried to, but every time she opened her mouth, Iona started bitching her out, blaming her for having her sister captured. Iona's quite ashamed at the fact that a lot of trouble would have been done away with if she hadn't spent that time vilifying Hime.
- In Umi Monogatari, Urin suffers this as Marin talks more to Kanon, which causes a rift between them.
- Inverted in the remake of Houkago No Pleiades. Hikaru leaves a note on the family whiteboard saying she's going to the moon after school. She didn't expect her parents to take it seriously, because they don't know she's a Magical Girl. But they decide it must be true, because she's never lied to them before, and they transmit her father's piano piece (which she helped write) towards the moon in hopes that she'll hear it. Thanks to magic radios or something, she does.
- In CrossGen's series Crux, child Seer Verityn can literally see his parents' marriage falling apart, and the underlying miscommunication causing it. When he tries to convince them to talk, he gets hit with this trope. As a result they divorce, his father departs for another plane of existence, and Verityn and his mother are trapped in the cataclysm that destroyed Atlantis.
- Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness Act IV: In chapter 24, Astreal reveals that Apoch's Laser Blade is able to penetrate Jovian and Jacqueline's supposedly unbreakable barriers. When asked why they didn't tell them earlier, Astreal points out that they tried to, but the others insisted that they could handle it and explicitly told the Ezranas not to bring it up again.
- Alicornundrum: In chapter 10, while Twilight is holding court (alongside Celestia), one of the petitioners is representing Cloudsdale and protesting their city's being passed over to host the Equestria Games, since they'd need to cast special cloudwalking spells on most of the normally ground-bound species who would want to attend, but can't afford the massive cost. Nyx, who is also in attendance (it's "Take Your Foal to Work Day") comes up with an idea, but Twilight just shushes her, and finally asks her to just hold onto her question and ask it later. To her credit, when she later gets a note from Nyx with a basic solution to the problem (casting the cloudwalking spell on the clouds), she not only realizes her earlier mistake even before reading it (and does apologize to her daughter), it forms the basis of a permanent solution: converting the unicorn enchantment into a potion - with Zecora's help - that can be sprayed on clouds for temporary work, or added to the cloud mixer so it lasts as long as the cloud does.
Film — Animated
- The Incredibles has the titular family captured and restrained by Syndrome. While Mr. Incredible has an epiphany for his family, Violet uses her force field to partly free herself. When Dash tries to tell his parents about this, Elastigirl shushes him to hear more of Mr. Incredible's apology. Violet/Dash get their rightful reaction from their parents when Violet proudly intones, "Well, I think Dad has made some excellent progress today, but I think it's time we wind down now." as she releases them all. Although Elastigirl may have known what Violet was up to, she just wanted to hear the whole apology.
- Disney's Tarzan: The elephant herd and young Tantor.
- It happens among kids in Peter Pan; Michael sees the Indians hiding in the woods but can't get the attention of the older children until it's too late as the Indians ambush and capture them
- Lord Portley-Rind in The Boxtrolls who ignores his daughter in favour of cheese or his white hat.
- In The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, SpongeBob tries to tell Mr. Krabs and others that Plankton didn't steal the formula this time, but they don't even bother listening to him.
Film — Live-Action
- Dangerous Minds: A tweaked version of this occurs in: One of the characters "pushes" his way into the principal's office to try and explain that some violence is going to happen. The principal, who has very strict rules about knocking, dismisses the student, who ends up getting shot.
- To specify, the student was trying to tell the principal that there was an insane student who was a drug addict wanting to kill him. He had been banking on the principal acting on the information and having the drug addict student sent to detox and thus prevent the attack.
- The Enforcer: Inspector Harry "Dirty Harry" Callahan is talking to Lieutenant Bresler regarding the group that has kidnapped the mayor, when (female) Inspector Moore comes up to tell Harry something, but is shushed—twice—by Lt. Bresler, who clearly sees Inspector Moore as an inexperienced rookie in a skirt. When she gets a chance to speak, she mentions she spotted a man they're looking for, and Harry asks her why she didn't speak up. She doesn't fold, but responds right back by asking him why he didn't ask her what she saw.
- In Galaxy Quest, the narcissistic main character speaks to the enemy on the spaceship's screen and surrenders. After he finishes the conversation, he spells out his plot to defeat him. His team member keeps trying to catch his attention, but he blows her off. Turns out she was trying to tell him that the connection with the enemy hadn't been cut.
- Star Trek:
- In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Spock brushes off Lt. Saavik as she is about to remind Admiral Kirk to raise the Enterprise's shields in response to the approach of the uncommunicative Reliant, making it a rare case of both Kirk and Spock hoisting the Idiot Ball. To his credit, Kirk openly admits his mistake.
Saavik: Sir, you did it.
Kirk: I did nothing, except get caught with my britches down. I must be going senile. Mr. Saavik, you go right on quoting regulations!
- Downplayed in Star Trek when Kirk barges onto the bridge to warn them about the Romulans. At first everyone's ignoring him, but he finally gets them to shut up long enough to hear him out, and both Spock and Uhura back him up to some degree once they hear what he has to say. Good thing, too.
- But played straight again in Star Trek Into Darkness when Kirk realizes Harrison bombing the Kelvin Memorial Archive doesn't make any sense, foreshadowing both that the building was not what it appeared and that the attack was a Batman Gambit on Harrison's part. Kirk attempts to point this out but is quickly silenced by Pike. Admiral Marcus does eventually let Kirk speak, but only in time for him to put Harrison's plan together right as it's set into motion.
- In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Spock brushes off Lt. Saavik as she is about to remind Admiral Kirk to raise the Enterprise's shields in response to the approach of the uncommunicative Reliant, making it a rare case of both Kirk and Spock hoisting the Idiot Ball. To his credit, Kirk openly admits his mistake.
- In The Empire Strikes Back, Threepio is repeatedly shushed by Han while attempting to warn them that the hyperdrive is offline. Given how useless most of Threepio's worries and objections tend to be, Han's initial reaction is probably understandable. The same exact thing happens towards the end between Threepio and R2, as R2 tries to tell Threepio about the deactivated hyperdrive.
- In the 2008 remake of Get Smart:
Kid in Minivan: [sees Max dangling outside the window] Mom! Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom!Mom in Minivan: Sean, Sean, Sean, Sean, Sean! You see how annoying that is?
- Harry Potter:
- In the film version of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry is so interested in what Aragog, a giant spider, has to tell him, he continually shushes Ron, who's trying to tell him that Aragog's children are moving toward them in massive numbers. This scene is absent in the book, and was added for comic effect. Slightly different since Harry and Ron are the same age.
- And in Deathly Hollows Part 2, while Harry is trying to find the tiara, Luna is chasing after him to tell him something important about said treasure. At first this trope seems to be played straight, with Harry repeatedly brushing Luna off, telling her "not now" and so on, before Luna finally stops dead and yells out, "HARRY POTTER!" which gets Harry to turn around and actually listen to her, in an absolutely beautiful subversion of the trope.
- In Aliens, Spunkmeyer discovers some Xenomorph slime around the Dropship's ramp and tries to tell Ferro, but he gets told to just get onboard. End result: a Xenomorph kills Ferro and Spunkmeyer, and makes the Dropship crash and burn.
- Bruce to Vicki in Batman '89: A response to this kind of treatment is "You're a real nice girl, and I like you a lot, but right now? Shut up." In this case Bruce was trying to tell Vicki that he was Batman, but Vicki kept talking over and interrupting him.
- Ty and Gemma in Dark Life find out some important news about the outlaws everyone is trying to find, and take it straight to the Sea Ranger...of course, he doesn't believe them and won't check out their story.
- Speed 2: Cruise Control: "Mommy, there's a big boat!" "There are a lot of big boats here, honey." Poor kid doesn't know enough English to say, "Yeah, but most of them aren't smashing through the pier straight at us!"
- In Super 8, after Joe rescues Alice, the woman in curlers, and Sheriff Pruitt, Pruitt orders them to follow him out. When Joe points out that he and Cary had come from the other direction, Pruitt overrules him with the woman's support.
- In The Snowball Express, John Baxter (Dean Jones) spends a whole day trying, with no success, to rent a bulldozer to haul the ski lift motor up the hill to his ski lodge. His son spends the entire time trying to get his attention, only to get this response. After the boy goes to bed, John gets a handwritten letter from him. Feeling guilty over brushing the boy off all day, Dean sits down and reads the letter: "Dear Dad, If the ski lift can pull hundreds of skiers up the hill, why can't it pull itself up?" The next day, the ski lift is up the hill and installed.
Beautifully subverted later in the same movie when John and the villainous banker, who wants to foreclose on the property, are arguing and lawyering up. The boy tries to interrupt, John starts to tell him "not now—" then remembers what happened the last time. He stops and lets the boy speak his piece: turns out that there is a massive loophole in the deed to the property and the property covering half the town, including the bank and that they have the bank owner completely over a barrel without even knowing it.
- Terminator 2: Judgment Day. While John Conner is talking to his foster mother Janelle on the phone, their dog Max is barking like crazy outside. John's foster father Todd yells at Max to shut up. A few seconds later we find out why Max was barking: Janelle reveals herself to be the T-1000 pursuing John and stabs Todd through the head to shut him up.
- After the race ends in The Little Rascals, Spanky decides to offer a Heman Woman Haters Club membership to Waldo. Alfalfa keeps trying to tell Spanky something, and when Spanky finally listens, Alfalfa explains that "that's not Waldo!" (it was Darla, who was paired with Waldo, wearing a racing suit and mask).
- Lampshaded in the 2002 Spider-Man movie. Spider-Man and the Green Goblin are trying to have an I'm-Badder-Than-You conversation in J. Jonah Jameson's office, and Jonah simply will not shut up. Spider-Man sticks his mouth shut with webbing and says, "Hey, kiddo. Let Mom and Dad talk for a minute, will ya?"
- In Tora! Tora! Tora!, when the USS Ward sinks an invading Japanese submarine attempting to sneak into the Pearl Harbor base and radios the base about the incident, a captain refuses to believe it and refuses to pass it on because the Ward's captain was very young and new. Lampshaded in the base commander, Admiral Kimmel, is furious that he didn't get the report right away.
- In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), April, seen as a puff-piece reporter but attempting to break into serious journalism, is brushed aside by her superiors when she attempts to get a camera crew sent to a Foot Clan robbery in progress.
- In Dark Star, when Talby finds out about the laser malfunction, he tries to communicate this to his crew members Doolittle, but the latter is too busy with a detonation maneuver that he decides to cut the communication line to Talby. Disaster ensues.
- The former Trope Namer is David McKee's Not Now, Bernard: Bernard can't get any of the grownups to pay attention to a monster that's menacing him. Then the monster eats him. Then the monster can't get the grownups to pay attention to it, either.
- In The Dresden Files, Harry has a bad habit of saying "not now" when those around him are trying to give him vital information. He inevitably regrets not listening.
- He tells Bob "not now" as Bob is trying to warn him of a greater danger: the NeverNever and certain denizens after him being closer than originally believed.
- He tells Michael "not now" when his lover, Susan, calls him on the phone saying she needed urgently to speak with him. This results in Susan stealing an invitation to a supernatural party of vampires, who then turn her to get back at Harry for interfering in their business. Harry took her back, resulting in a war between wizards and vampire.
- In his defense, he was rather busy at the moment. He had lost some of his magic power and was thus weakened, but he was still attempting to call a dead demon from the NeverNever. Not only was the being resisting, something was helping it. Also, it wasn't even a demon that he was calling, so it was extra hard to do it. And Susan called during the hardest part. On the other hand, this doesn't excuses him for not simply telling Michael "I'll call her back in a couple of minutes". It would have saved him a lot of trouble.
- The short story "Inappropriate Behavior" has a girl trying to tell her therapist, who's supposed to be helping her improve her communication skills, about an injured man she's found stranded on a beach. (Everybody lives.)
- Ray Bradbury story "The Screaming Woman" revolves around a young girl trying to warn anyone who'll listen about the woman she can hear screaming for help under the ground. She fears foul play, but everyone ignores her or, naturally, makes her take enormous waste-of-time detours and then brushes her off again. She's only believed when the woman stops screaming and starts singing to herself, a song only she and the girl's father have ever known, which gets him to start digging.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, eight-year-old Arya Stark tries to warn her father that she overheard men discussing a plot to kill him. Eddard did actually stop and listen to his daughter, but she was so flustered her explanation came out as complete gibberish about monsters.
- Ignoring the Evil-Detecting Dog also happens to both Robb and Jon, who ignore their direwolves acting aggressively towards people, chalking it up as respectively spending too much time in battle and smelling boar in the area. It gets Robb killed, and Jon stabbed at least four times, possibly fatally.
- Star Wars Legends:
- In the Timothy Zahn novel Heir to the Empire, this happens to Threepio, who is only able to get their attention at the last possible second.
- Threepio has the same problem in James Luceno's Millennium Falcon.
- As well as in Tatooine Ghost.
- Early books of Galaxy of Fear have people listening to whichever kid saw something unbelievable, but then brushing it off and telling them they must have seen something else. By the end of the series everyone has wised up, and this trope is replaced, at times, by them not getting the chance to say it.
- In the climactic battle of Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series, Smart Guy Father Strangyeard gets brushed off by Duke Isgrimnur when Strangyeard attempts to warn him that the tunnels the heroes used to infiltrate the enemy castle could also be used by the Norns to counter-ambush them. Needless to say, the warning isn't received in time.
- A Series of Unfortunate Events plays this one for all its worth with Mr. Poe.
Mr. Poe: You're so paranoid about Count Olaf. Remember at Professor Mongomorey's house? You were convinced a visiting scientist was Olaf.
Violet: But he was Olaf!
Mr. Poe: That's not the point!
- Ironically, in this particular instance, he turns out to be to be right.
- Everyone is like this to the kids. It backfires spectacularly when, during a reunion of everyone in the series, they refuse to believe the building they are in is on fire.
- This is even lampshaded in the movie, when Count Olaf seemingly has succeeded in his plan and married Violet, leading him to mock everyone with the knowledge that the children repeatedly tried to warn them but "no one ever listens to children!"
- Return to Labyrinth: This happens in Tokyopop's manga series, when Moppet tries to tell Mayor Spittledrum that Jareth wants to see him but Spittledrum interrupts her saying that even if the Goblin King himself were here to see him, he was busy right now and the guest will have to wait.
- Terry Brooks example, The Elfstones of Shannara: although Wil Ohmsford doesn't say the trope name, he does ignore poor little Wisp, who keeps trying to tell him something—but he's so set on getting the Elfstones back from Mallenroh so he can prove himself Amberle's protector that he doesn't even pay attention to the hysterical shrieking. Cue Eretria finally grabbing his arm and jerking him back, revealing that the box the Elfstones were in was trapped with a deadly viper inside:
- Eretria: He was trying to warn you! [She] pointed to Wisp. The little fellow had collapsed in tears.
- Visser 3 from Animorphs brings this trope Up to Eleven with his manner of maiming or even executing minions who would interrupt him in the middle of an important matter with some hogwash. Naturally it dishes him:
- In "The Secret" skunk-morphed Cassie sprays Visser 3 and the Animorphs give him the remedy for the smell in exchange for Yeerks cancelling an operation. Unfortunately for him they tell him it's GRAPE juice, not tomato juice, that gets rid of the smell. This has the added hilarity of turning him a lovely shade of purple. One of the Controllers apparently knows of the actual remedy but Visser 3 won't allow him to speak.
- At one point some Controllers make a correct guess that the "Andalite bandits" (as Visser recognizes the morphing-able guerillas) are possibly humans. But none of them dare to advise their dreadful leader that he could be wrong.
- Every now and then, the kids themselves are guilty of this as well. In the book where they time travel, Ax spots the Hessians about to assassinate George Washington, but everyone brushes him off, even though he clearly thinks that there's something wrong.
- Nicely subverted in one book. The Animorphs are in dolphin morph and are looking at the Yeerk undersea base. Ax comments that a large school of fish are approaching. Rachel blows him off, but Marco recognizes Ax's tone and asks for Ax to clarify. It's a school of hammerhead sharks. And they're being controlled by the Yeerks.
- "Tikki Tikki Tembo" is a book set in ancient China. There are two brothers. The eldest, in accordance with alleged tradition, is given a ridiculously long name; Tikki Tikki Tembo No Sa Rembo Chari Bari Ruchi Pip Peri Pembo. The younger, Unfavorite was named Ping. When the eldest tried to say that his brother had fallen in the well, his parents immediately listened. But when Ping tried to tell them the same situation with his brother, they rebuked him for mispronouncing the name and wouldn't let him speak until he got it right. Why he didn't just say "my older brother"...
- Could be that they'd made a point of ignoring him/rebuking him if he didn't use the name, previously.
- Codex Alera: Bernard does this in the second book. He's talking about trying to find out what the Vord Takers look like so they can find them and keep them away, and it takes several tries for a subordinate to get him to stop brushing him off and listen to the fact that they have one caught under a cup.
- In The Wheel of Time many Aes Sedai dismiss Egwene's Dream that the Seanchan will attack the White Tower soon on account of her not being (at least, not to them) a full Aes Sedai. Bad move.
- Nobody Listens to Andrew: This children's book tells the story of a boy named Andrew who keeps trying to get the attention of various adults to alert them to the presence of a bear down the street. Nobody listens to him for quite a while.
- Averted in the Circle of Magic books. The quartet's teachers take any strange things the children see or hear seriously and encourage them to report such happenings. Notably in Tris's book where Tris hears how two pirates blow up the watch towers, Daja spots a hidden scout vessel, and later Tris figures out that the pirates are using a storm to hide their fleet
- Liam: Played terrifyingly straight. The titular character runs to warn his newly fascist father that he is planning to throw a molotov cocktail at a rich Jewish family's home with Liam's sister/Dad's daughter inside without knowing that she's there. Too bad Liam has a stuttering problem. Dad pushes Liam away again and again as his friends light it, and just as they throw it, Liam screams out his sister's name. A second too late.
- The Nanny Diaries: Played quite literally (and tragically), where the authors coin the term "spatula reflex" to describe the way Mrs. X is constantly brushing off Greyer every time he wants his mother for something.
- Lampshaded in The Lancelot Closes at Five, when Hutch and the narrator are hiding under the bed of the eponymous model home, and a small boy sees them and yells "Girls under bed!" Hutch says its nothing to worry about, it happens all the time on TV, and no one believes the kid.
- It happens to Peter in the last chapter of Superfudge, when Fudge and his friend Daniel go missing. All his suggestions to the adults are met with "Peter, please...", until the end, when he suggests the two lose their bikes for a month, and the adults think it's a good punishment.
- In More Adventures of The Great Brain, Tom fakes monster tracks to scare another boy away from Skeleton Cave, but the adults fall for them as well. Tom never really expected this, and tries to tell Papa and Uncle Mark, but Mama won't let him, saying they have more important things to worry about right now.
- This is one of the problems facing Harry in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, where every attempt he makes to communicate with Dumbledore results in the latter brushing him off and getting away. This is because Dumbledore is afraid that Voldemort is trying to possess Harry, so he's trying to keep his distance from the protagonist. He admits to holding the Idiot Ball on this one and apologizes at the end.
- Harry gets a government-wide version of this after he tries to warn everyone that Voldemort has come back. Fudge is afraid of the wizarding world being thrown into another war, so he decides that the best course of action is to launch a smear campaign that goes along the lines of "Harry is a confused Attention Whore."
- There's also the case in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets when Ginny is about to confess her secret. Her older brother Percy interrupts her because he thinks Ginny wants to say something about his girlfriend.
- Happens to Garion once or twice in the Belgariad, but it doesn't take his aunt and grandfather long to realize that Garion's uncanny eavesdropping skills mean he usually has something worth saying.
- In Labyrinths of Echo "Master Hearing" once jawed a police-lady for ignoring the testimony of hide'n'seeking kids about thieves "disappearing into nowhere" upon taking a supposedly worthless chest (the event he correctly identified as impending headache being multiplied):
Kofa Yokh: What, do these kids have no eyes? I don't get why children's tales need to be met with such a total distrust. By the way kids frequently are much more observant than adults and also don't drink alcohol. So kiddies make excellent witnesses...
- In the Dale Brown novel A Time for Patriots, a civvie pilot keeps holding off on listening to his son even after the son has proven that his observations are correct. It doesn't end well for the family.
- In Fablehaven: Grip Of The Shadow Plague, Seth is playing chess with Tanu when he sees a mysterious 3D shadow come into the yard. Tanu looks up, sees nothing...and immediately tells him to get into the house where there's stronger magical protections.
Tanu: Just because I don't see it doesn't mean you don't.
- In Rachel Griffin, the second book has a sterling example: Rachel knows the keyword to shut down demonic Big Bad currently on a rampage—but when she tries to explain this to the nearest adult, her older sister, her sister jinxes Rachel's voice to make her stop distracting the adults during the fight.
Live Action TV
- In the Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue and Power Rangers Lost Galaxy Crossover episode, there was a woman who told a child "There's no such thing as monsters." This led to Linkara dubbing her the dumbest person ever in Power Rangers.
- The Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode "Don't Interrupt" revolved around this. A child who constantly interrupts is bribed by his parents with a silver dollar if he'll stay silent while a stranger tells his story. The story is that the man was trapped outside in the snow and his life was saved only because someone looked outside the window and spoke up. And of course, the situation's repeating itself outside, and the kid's the only one facing the window...They still gave him the silver dollar in the end, even though he interrupted a few times...
- Doctor Who
- In the episode "Silence in the Library", Evangelista, who has a reputation as a ditz tries to catch the attention of the others, while they are discussing what to do about escaping the horrible monsters that live in shadows. When they tell her "Not now," she actually tries again with "Actually, this might be important," but is brushed off again. She investigates on her own and promptly dies. Naturally, the crew regret brushing her off. And to twist the knife deeper, in the next episode, she gets a huge intelligence boost to a genius after being saved to the Library while dying, causing the equivalent of bit errors—a decimal point jumped in her I.Q. and made her smart to the point where she's the only person who can tell Donna the world she's living in is not real.
- In "Forest of the Dead", "Other" Dave's admonitions that "We should go now, Doctor!" were repeatedly ignored by the Doctor, until too late. With "Other" Dave though, it's unclear how many times it was actually him trying to get the Doctor's attention, and how many times were an echo. In fact, it's unclear if he even got to say them, because by the time the Doctor looked back, Other Dave was a jangling skeleton. Subverted later in the same episode: Anita's initial attempts to alert the party to her predicament were ignored, but her remark that she had two shadows drew their immediate and total attention.
- Used almost verbatim with K9 in the Fourth Doctor serial "The Pirate Planet":
K9: Master—The Doctor: Not now, K9. Now, as I was saying...
- And again, in "The End of Time" as the Doctor is flying the ship towards the house where the Time Lords are materialising in front of the Master clones:
Master #2: I think I should warn you—Master #1: Not now!
- In "The Pandorica Opens", while the Doctor is rambling on about how he's missing the obvious that's right in front of his nose, he pulls a Not Now, Kiddo by name on Rory. Who had previously died and been erased from existence. Rory simply waited relatively patiently for the Doctor's mind and memory to catch up with his mouth.
- Also occurs in "The Name of the Doctor" during the Conference Call, by Vastra to Jenny when the latter realizes that she hadn't locked the door. The Whispermen had entered the room and stopped Jenny's heart.
- Teen Wolf: Stiles gets this a lot. In "Night School", while the rest of the group are barricading the door from the Alpha, HE is trying to point out the 20-foot windows.
- The Kids in the Hall has a sketch with a delightfully over-the-top example; in the sketch "Stereo Bargaining," the titular negotiations are interrupted by a pitiful old man shuffling onto the sales floor. The clerk's response is
Dave: What, Murray? Not now, Murray! Can't you see I'm doing business, Murray? Not now, Murray! Not now, Murray! Not now, Murray! Not now, Murray!
- Star Trek: The Next Generation:
- In the episode "Datalore", acting Ensign Wesley Crusher is the first to suspect that Lore is posing as Data. When he suggests this to the captain, Picard's response is "Shut up, Wesley." Chief Medical Officer Crusher (Wesley's mother) takes Picard to task for dismissing a member of his bridge crew so callously, when Wesley tries to interrupt again. Dr. Crusher then cuts her son off with another "Shut up, Wesley." This was after Picard had ordered Wesley to keep an eye on Lore and investigate Data's strange behavior, so it really made no sense to dismiss him. Especially notable as Tasha Yar had asked if Data himself could be trusted. Picard assured her that he could, but then tells everyone that it was right to raise the concern except to make Wesley look better for standing up to him. However, since Wesley is quite The Scrappy, viewers still lauded and frequently quote the "Shut up, Wesley!"
- In the episode "Where No One Has Gone Before", Wesley tries to tell Riker twice that Kosinski wasn't the one responsible for getting the Enterprise to a different galaxy. Riker cops to his mistake later on.
- In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Progress", Quark does this twice to Nog ("Go sweep the floor!) as he tries to tell him about a business proposition regarding the sale of land that Quark wants (so he can sell it to the Bajoran government). The third time, Nog manages to get his attention, and Quark realizes who this "Noh-Jay Consortium" really is.
- Yes, Minister loves this trope, embodied in the character of an unfortunate secretary who is regularly shouted down by the other two protagonists, usually when he is attempting to point out to them that they are about to commit a grave mistake. That his name is actually Bernard, meaning that the exact phrase is used, is just the icing on the cake. Sometimes he's pointing out a grave mistake. Mostly he's just quibbling over a mixed metaphor.
- One episode of NewsRadio had Matthew being a particular Jerk Ass after he punched Bill in the face. He starts treating everyone as an inferior being including Joe, whom he interrupts with "The grown-ups are kind of talking right now..."
- The original Battlestar Galactica had a Cylon trying to get Baltar's attention during a battle. Baltar told it to shut up; he was enjoying watching the destruction of the battlestar. The Cylon finally managed to say, "Sir, I really think you should take a look at the other battlestar," as the Pegasus attacked.
- The Stand: In Stephen King's miniseries, Randall Flagg does this to his second-in-command Lloyd when he tries to tell him about the third spy.
- Lexx: Stanley tended to brush off the Lexx's warnings that it was starving or otherwise endangered until it was too late to avoid disaster.
- Johnny and the Sprites: This is done to Root, which is rather amusing when you consider that none of the main Sprite characters are intended to exactly represent adults. In "Spritesgiving," Root is the first to notice that something has gone wrong with the vegetables (they've been hit with the "forgetful fungus.") He repeatedly tries to point it out to Basil, but Basil is in the middle of a song number about how wonderful Spritesgiving is going to be, so he just keeps brushing Root off.
- Father Ted: A variation on this occurs. Ted has been called in to bail out Father Jack and Mrs Doyle, but claims he doesn't have any money and that they'll have to spend the night in the cells. Dougal starts trying to get his attention, but Ted brushes him off, assuming Dougal is trying to "remind" him about the money he won earlier in the episode. After a few seconds of Dougal repeating "Ted...", Ted snaps and hands over the bail money, going on a rant about how the police were once friends of the church, and how Dougal has made him look a complete eejit in front of real people.
Dougal: To be honest Ted, I forgot you had the money. I was just going to tell you your fly's open.
- In That '70s Show, Kelso tells Jackie to watch him drink his eggs. Jackie tries to tell him something, only for Kelso to keep shutting her up, saying that whatever it is can wait till after he has drunk his eggs. She does so and after he has drunk his eggs, he asks her what was so important. She reminds him that he is allergic to eggs.
- Happens to Ted in How I Met Your Mother.
"NOT NOW TED"
- How everyone responds to a distraught Chiana in an episode of Farscape, kicking off the plot.
- In the finale episode of Blake's 7, Slave repeated tries to warn the crew that the ship is about to be attacked, but Orac keeps telling him to shut up. The computer turns on the Red Alert to finally get a word in edgewise.
- Heartbreakingly used in the Stargate SG-1 episode "The Gamekeeper." The titular character has Daniel relive his parents deaths repeatedly so he can try and change the outcome. Mr. and Mrs. Jackson keep dying, though, because they ignore Daniel's attempts to help them, assuming he's just trying to get attention.
- In one episode of The Muppet Show, as Kermit and Gonzo use a train cart to get back to the train station they were doing the show at (It Makes Sense in Context) Gonzo tries to tell Kermit something but Kermit interrupts with a "not now". Subverted in that afterwards Gonzo says it's important and Kermit agrees to listen then. the important thing is that a train is headed towards them.
- A semi-frequent occurrence on Doc Martin is for a child in the village to display either symptoms or strange behavior, while the adults (parents or teachers or other minders) brush it off as a minor matter or simple misbehaving. This progresses until it becomes a serious emergency and Martin has to make a mad dash across the village or beyond.
- In the Poirot episode "The Clocks", the slightly vacuous young secretary Nora repeatedly tries to tell the officer in charge of a murder investigation that somebody was lying during the inquest. A jerkass junior officer first blocks her from speaking to the senior officer six feet away and later refuses to forward her call when she telephones the police station. Then she's murdered in the same phone booth.
- The Harry Chapin song "The Rock" is about a boy who foresees a rock hanging over his town falling, but can't get anyone listen to his warnings. He ends up trying to stop the rock from falling by himself, and finally manages to do so by throwing himself under it as it's rolling. In the end, however, his efforts only brought the town a short reprieve: "High up on the mountain, when the wind is hitting it / If you're watching very closely, the rock slips a little bit."
- Calvin and Hobbes:
Calvin: MOM! HEY, MOM!
Calvin's Mom: Calvin, stop yelling across the house! If you want to talk to me, walk over to the living room, where I am!
Calvin: I stepped in dog doo. Where's the hose?
- An Author's Note in the anniversary edition stated simply "Right lesson — wrong time."
- Calvin calls Dad at work. Dad says he's very busy and tells Calvin to hang up unless he's calling about something really important. Calvin obediently hangs up, without telling Dad that there's a Man-Made House Flood going on in the kitchen.
Calvin: (Watching the water slowly rising in the house) This oughta qualify as "important" in a few minutes.
- In Death of a Salesman, Bernard is a nerdy kid who repeatedly tries to warn both Biff and Willy that Biff needs to get serious about his education or else he'll fail. Biff and Willy both brush him off, and Biff ends up failing high school and completely loses his confidence and self-esteem. Bernard, on the other hand, becomes a successful lawyer and even gets to argue a case in front of the Supreme Court.
- That's not really the reason; his loss of confidence is more due to finding out that his father, a person Biff has always idealized and considered a hero, is having an affair.
- In The Music Man Marian is dismissed by the mayor right before she is able to reveal that she has found out the truth about Harold Hill. To add to the enormity of this mistake, the events that take place in the five minutes before he remembers her are what dissuade her from blowing the whistle.
- In Jak And Daxter The Lost Frontier, Daxter tries to tell Jak about his new Superpowered Evil Side, but Jak shushes him.
- In Resident Evil 2, Claire, who never stops, and Ada, at least at first, repeatedly talk over, shush, or flat out ignore Leon.
- Played straight in Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth case 4, in which Detective Badd and Gumshoe continuously shush only recently made prosecutor Edgeworth and 13 year old Franziska von Karma.
- In Parasite Eve, when geeky scientist Maeda tries to give Aya the bullets that can kill Eve and her offspring and Daniel keeps shooing him away. This may be due to how Maeda forced some good luck charms onto Aya (2 of them you can give to Wayne to hold with your other items and the 3rd charm cannot be removed from your inventory), which Daniel naturally assumed what Maeda was trying to give Aya before the finale of the game.
- In Day of the Tentacle, Bernard needs Dr. Fred to sign a contract in order to receive millions of dollars necessary for Bernard's save-the-world plans. Dr. Fred, however, refuses to sign, as he is too busy trying to think of a way to save the world.
- In Psychonauts, Sasha ignores Raz when he tried to tell him about Oleander's psychic death tanks because he and the other teachers were in a hurry due to an emergency Psychonaut meeting... which turned out to be a trap laid by Oleander to kidnap the teachers so that they wouldn't interfere with his plans.
- In Brain Dead 13, it happens in Vivi's Funeral Salon, when Vivi asks Lance if he's in a hurry and he answers, "Yeah, lady, there's this freak of nature chasing me and—" but she shushes him by wrapping the spider web barber cloth around him and telling him to wait until later. Just then, Fritz, whom Lance referred to as the "freak of nature" who's coming after him, stumbles into the same salon, catching Lance's and Vivi's attention.
- In an early chapter of La Pucelle Tactics, no one believes Culotte when he tries to tell them that he saw some kind of large monster outside his window, telling him that it may have been a tree or a dream, or dismisses it with "Everyone makes mistakes". Note that they are living in a world threatened by demons and odd monsters, and Culotte, despite his age, is a professional demon hunter. And yes, there is a giant monster.
- In the final chapter of the normal campaign of Card Hunter, Gary is stressed out looking for the final boss' game piece (which his brother Melvin has specifically said was needed for the battle to become "official" to win two tickets to a gaming convention), his mother keeps calling down to him...and he keeps telling her "not now, Mom". Before the final battle, he finally relents and asks his mom what she wants...only for her to tell him she found his "yellow dinosaur figure" in the laundry...which turned out to be the very game piece Gary was looking for.
- The Wotch: Magicians, not adults
- Heroes of Lesser Earth hangs a lampshade on it in this page.
- Hilariously played in this Darths & Droids comic.
Anakin: Greedo started it! He punched first!
Mace Windu: Quiet youngling. I'm speaking to the grown ups. Obi-Wan?
Obi-Wan: I... wasn't there, so I didn't actually see anything.
Anakin: I definitely didn't kill him!
Mace Windu: Hmm...
Anakin: He deserved it anyway!
Mace Windu: Be quiet, boy!
Anakin: Nobody ever listens to me! I hate you all! I'll kill you! I've done it before and I'll do it again!
- Black Mage of 8-Bit Theater says this to a lich that later conquered hell while discussing plans with the rest of his team to kill his son. Right in front of him. And Black Mage doesn't even bother to LOOK at said Lich while they're doing so.
Black Mage: You shut the GODDAMN HELL UP, super monsters.
- Also showed up in episode 152, in which the highly-competent Princess Sara volunteers to help the heroes defeat a random encounter. She does not take their response very well.
Red Mage: Please, Princess Sara. The Light Warriors are talking now.
- Also showed up in episode 152, in which the highly-competent Princess Sara volunteers to help the heroes defeat a random encounter. She does not take their response very well.
- The Order of the Stick
- Roy Greenhilt, eager to get back to his body, brushes off a deva trying to give him some plot-critical advice in this strip. He assumes that she's trying to warn him about his Chaotic Evil teammate, when it's actually one of the ones he trusts who's decided to go sledding down the slippery slope in his absence.
- Also played with in this strip where Nale exploits this to get away with pretending to be Elan.
- The Crossoverlord: In this episode, Ultra's attempt to warn Mindmistress is taken for "pleasantries".
- Discussed and then defied in Homestuck. When John texts Dave saying he thinks there are monsters in his house, Dave immediately believes him, adding:
TG: skepticism is the crutch of cinematic troglodytes
TG: like hey mom dad theres a dinosaur or a ghost or whatever in my room. "yeah right junior go back to bed"
TG: fuck you mom and dad how many times are we going to watch this trope unfold it wasnt goddamn funny the first time i saw it
TG: just once id like to see dad crap his pants when a kid says theres a vampire in his closet
TG: "OH SHIT EVERYONE IN THE MINIVAN"
TG: be fuckin dad of the year right there
- The Dreamland Chronicles:
- Bob and George Just because someone wants to be in the Quirky Miniboss Squad is no excuse to ignore him.
- Rhapsodies: Not now Kevin!
- Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger had the crew of a strangely shaped flying (er... mostly flying) conversion bomb (that is, Enterprise expy) doing this (repeatedly) with acting ensign Dweebley. It doesn't help that he seems to be the Only Sane Man there.
- In No Rest for the Wicked, the mother dismisses the child's claims about Red with a comment about how she hasn't time for nonsense.
- In Thunderstruck, Muggles can see and interact with the supernatural, but the Weirdness Censor (with a side of some active enforcing of the Masquerade) makes them forget the experience and/or pass it off as something else. Children lack the censor, to the point of being drawn to the supernatural... and causing the adults to dismiss children as having an overactive imagination.
- Red vs. Blue: In Episode 25 of the web series, Caboose tries to warn Church of the Reds who are approaching from behind him, which Church responds:
Damnit, Caboose! In the short time I've known you, you've managed to call my girlfriend a slut, blow me up with a tank, shoot me in the head and now paralyzed me from the waist down. So I hope it's not too much for me to ask, just for once, if you'd SHUT YOUR FREAKIN' MOUTH!
- Jeremy tries and fails to warn Chad Vader that the laser checkout system is not working.
- Rugrats had an amusing bit where Angelica tried to tell her parents that the babies had gone missing, but was rebuffed with this phrase. Then, when the parents finally let her speak, they do rebuke her for not telling them sooner!
Angelica: Aunt Didi, Aunt Didi...Drew: Now, honey, Daddy and Aunt Didi are talking.Angelica: I know, but...Drew: And when grown-ups are talking, little boys and girls are supposed to wait quietly.Angelica: I know, but...Drew: Then when the grown-ups say it's okay for you to talk, then you can say whatever you want.Angelica: I know, but... [Drew puts his finger over her lips]Drew: Now, honey, calmly, what was it you wanted to tell Aunt Didi?Angelica: The little kids have gotten away!Didi and Hector's Mom: [panicked] Oh no! [they run after the children]Drew: You know, honey, these are the kinds of things you should really tell the grown-ups right away.Angelica: RRRRGH!!!
- The Simpsons
- This is frequently said by Homer to Lisa, to the point that "Quiet, Honey, the grownups are talking" is a catchphrase in any episode that features the pair extensively. Eventually, in one of the halloween episodes, he just outright tells her to shut up.
- Also the exchange from "Bart Carny" where Bart tries to explain to an oblivious Homer that Chief Wiggum's attempting to solicit a bribe, only to be told "Not now, Bart; Daddy's talking to a policeman."
- In the same episode, Chief Wiggum tells Homer to wait for Detective Like-I-Give-A-Damn. Homer thanks him profusely, and then shushes Lisa when she tries to point out the obvious.
- In "Homer's Enemy", Frank Grimes slaps a beaker of corrosive liquid out of Homer's hand to prevent him from drinking it, dissolving a large hole in the wall in the process. When Grimes is called into Mr Burns' office to be rebuked for this damage, Burns refuses to listen to his attempts to explain the situation.
- In Disney's The Legend of Tarzan, Abby calls "Daddy" and begins tugging at the fingers of Marco, her father. Marco gently says, "Not now, Abby" because he's discussing how to cure a disease sweeping the jungle. She continues tugging at his fingers until she collapses at his feet, overtaken by the very disease he's been discussing.
- The Fairly Oddparents: A tweaked example occurs in "School's Out: The Musical". Flappy Bob is pondering whether he's made choices that led him down the wrong path in life. HappyPeppyBetty and HappyPeppyGary interrupt him with their theme song, and he not only shouts "Not now!" but he drops them through a trapdoor.
- Ben 10 "The Ultimate Weapon": Grandpa Max is in an obsessive state over an important artifact. When Ben offers up helpful clues from an artifact already in their possession, Max brushes Ben off with "Not now, Ben."
- Ben 10: Alien Force "What Are Little Girls Made Of": Verdona does this just because Kevin annoys her.
Verdona: He was a lot like your little friend...Curtis.Kevin: [coldly] Kevin.Verdona: Energy beings talking here.
- Inverted in Lilo & Stitch: The Series: Lilo calls Jumba to ask about Experiment 062, but he's in the middle of a presentation. When he finally takes the call, he is the one giving Lilo the warning that the alien in question is going to try to eat her.
- In the Sealab 2021 episode "No Waterworld", Debbie is repeatedly silenced by being told "The men are talking!" as a Running Gag.
- A frequent feature of South Park plots is that the kid heroes know what is going on, but the adults are too oblivious or side-tracked to pay attention to their warnings, forcing the kids to resolve the problem themselves.
- In TaleSpin, often the bane of Molly Cunningham's life, particularly where her mother Rebecca is concerned.
- Played with in "It Came From Beneath The Sea Duck", when Kit is being chewed out by Rebecca for supposedly letting Molly out of the house (for rather convoluted reasons in reality), the more Genre Savvy Baloo interjects and suggests she actually lets Kit explain what's happened. He ends up getting shushed as well.
- In The Bots Master first episode (?), the protagonist is worried about security bots coming to his (house? office?), but disregards the interruption of his personal bot coming to warn him. Then he responds in full trope faction:
"What? Security bots? On their way here? Why didn't you say so? All right, all right, I'm sorry I didn't listen to you!"
- At least he admits he should have listened, unlike the other examples on this page.
- Quite frequently said to Meg in Family Guy whenever she has something important to say, variations include "Meg shut up" or "Meg please".
- In one episode of Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Wheeler has a dream that he is married with children with Linka. In one part, his daughter tries to get his attention, but he brushes her off. She ends up wetting her pants.
- After Black Adam hypnotized Mary Marvel into being his bride, Captain Marvel gets an idea and plants a treasure chest ahead of them. Adam opens it and reads from the scroll within aloud.
Mary: Master, something is wrong.Black Adam: QUIET! Let's see... "To whom it may concern. SHAZAM" Oh no! [struck by the magic lightning and reduced to a pile of dust]
- Sometimes happens with Chu-Chu on The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan, he'll start barking or chewing on someone's pant legs to get their attention and they'll respond with "This isn't playtime, Chu-Chu". Fortunately the kids catch on pretty fast, saving the use of this trope from being a more annoying instance.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Apple Bloom ran into this problem during "Bridle Gossip" when her big sister Applejack was so focused on 'protecting' her from a perceived threat that she completely ignored everything Apple Bloom tried to do or say... only noticing whenever she got frustrated enough to leave.
- Also shows up in "Griffon the Brush-Off", where Pinkie Pie tries to get the attention of Rainbow Dash, who is in a hurry to get somewhere and keeps brushing Pinkie off... only to fly into the side of the mountain Pinkie was trying to warn her about.
- Speaking of Pinkie Pie, a similar problem occurs in "Swarm of the Century," where her friends are all too busy trying (and failing miserably) to deal with the parasprite menace to pay attention to her efforts to put together a one-pony band. Turns out she was the only pony in town who had seen a parasprite before, and knew that they'll line up and follow anyone playing music.
- Of course, they might have realized she knew what she was doing had she actually bothered to explain herself to them. It's also only fair to note that one of those plans worked, but a single overlooked parasprite set them back at square one, and another plan only failed because of Pinkie's antics.
- Max gets this from Ruby quite often on Max and Ruby.
- This is what ultimately caused Deirdre, a Starlight Girl, to run away in the two part Jem episode, The Music Awards.
- In the Hanna-Barbera TV movie Yogi's Ark Lark, Yogi and company go on a journey to find a place that's not polluted or otherwise disturbed by man. Boo Boo has the correct solution right from the start, but no-one listens to him until the end after visiting many different places.
- Cubbi Gummi from Adventures of the Gummi Bears also suffers from this trope from time to time; most notably in the episode, "The Fence Sitter", when he came up with a good idea to get rid of the bird that was threatening to gobble up the entire Gummiberry crop.
- Super Friends. This happened on a regular basis in the 1973/74 season. About every other episode Wendy or Marvin would try to get the attention of one of the superheroes, usually when they were talking to someone else, and the hero would tell them to wait. They would sometimes give Wendy or Marvin a chance to speak once they were done discussing the more important matter, but not always.
- "The Baffles Puzzle". When Wendy and Marvin try to tell Robin about Wonder Dog sneezing at the museum, he brushes them off.
- "The Fantastic Frerps". When Marvin tries to tell the Super Friends about his strange adventure with the disappearing shack, Superman tells him to wait till later as they have an emergency.
- "The Menace of the White Dwarf". Wendy and Marvin's bicycle disappears while they're at a gas station. When they try to tell Superman about it, he tells them to hold it a minute.
- "To Hot To Handle". When Wendy tries to tell Superman that she and Martin have discovered a man who is turning up at the site of heat wave disasters, he tells her to wait because Professor von Knowalot is talking.
- An episode of The Beatles has John, Paul and George repeatedly dismissing Ringo (and finally singing the song "Don't Bother Me") while they're on a car trip; he's just trying to tell them about the two thieves attempting to kill them and steal their book of unreleased music. Finally he gives up and just starts foiling the thieves himself.
- On Goof Troop, Pete never listens to PJ's warnings or points. Sometimes this will result in PJ resigning quietly and nothing else happening, but more often than not it ends up leading to disaster. And though he does so less frequently with her, he has also done it with his daughter, Pistol, like one time when there's a dinosaur in the house.
- In the Rocky and Bullwinkle storyline "The Treasure of Monte Zoom", after Rocky and Bullwinkle find the treasure, Rocky tries to figure out a way to open the chest. Bullwinkle keeps trying to suggest something, only for Rocky to keep interrupting, though instead of "not now" responses, he keeps listing ways Boris and Natasha had tried and failed to get it open. Rocky eventually asks Bullwinkle what he thinks, to which he says "if you'd just let me talk I'll tell you", and Rocky explains that he was just trying to build some suspense.
- In Sym-Bionic Titan, a witness is describing Octus' father disguise to Detective Blutosky. Octus, standing nearby, alters his appearance to make him appear different from the description. A child sees Octus' face morphing and tries to get the attention of his mother. The mother, not having seen him before he morphed, tells him not to stare.
- Trying to deliver news in The Legend of Korra, Kai is brushed off despite just having saved Tenzin and three-quarters of Team Avatar, though he stubbornly keeps trying despite several interruptions and brush-offs. When he's gotten to say his piece Mako chastises him for not saying this earlier, to Kai's irritation.
- On the night before D-Day, the commander of the Panzer reserves that could have reinforced the Normandy defenses was suffering from insomnia and, thus, took a sleeping pill and gave strict orders that he was not to be disturbed for any reason. By the time he woke up, Normandy had been taken.
- Adolf Hitler
- Was asleep when D-Day began and his aides refused to wake him up, giving the Allies valuable time to advance while German troops couldn't move without Hitler's approval.
- During the mid-to late 1930s, Hitler was so convinced (after signing a treaty with the United Kingdom concerning limitations on German warship production) that there would never be another Anglo-German war, at least "not before 1944!" that the German high command was forbidden to even think about hostilities with Britain. By the time this policy was reversed, the war was only months away.
- Gave his guards standing orders never to wake him. When he had a stroke in the night, it took them all day to work up the courage to check on him. He died shortly afterwards. Might also count as The Dog Bites Back since people were really hoping the crazy bastard would die before he decided to take everyone down with him via surprise poisoning or death warrants.
- The several months leading up to Barbarossa. Everyone, from the Western Allies, to the Soviet spies within German command, to his own super spy man in Japan, Richard Sorge, was telling him that the German assault would begin, even providing the precise day. The reports were either not believed, were filed away within the massive Soviet bureaucracy doing nothing, or simply were not acted upon. To add insult to injury, when the Germans and their Eastern European allies DID cross the frontier, Stalin was asleep and it took HOURS before anyone woke him out of sheer, crazed fear at how he would react.
- During The American Revolution Colonel Johann Rall, leader of the Hessian mercenary garrison at Trenton, was playing either chess or cards on Christmas Eve. A loyalist farmer came to him with urgent news, but he refused to be drawn away from his game. The farmer wrote him a note, which was passed to the Colonel - and ended up in his pocket, unread. Shortly thereafter an unexpectedly large force of revolutionaries attacked, butchering the Hessians and fatally wounding Rall. The loyalist had been trying to tell him about a large group of armed people crossing the Delaware River, which as every American schoolchild knows was commanded by George Washington. The engagement proved a morale-boosting victory for the rebels, one which meant that the British didn't have the manpower to garrison and police the Pennsylvanian countryside - which was effectively left to the rebels. Accordingly, they drew their troops back into the city of Philadelphia itself to await reinforcement.
- A 4 year old boy spent five hours trying to tell his parents that Grandma had fallen over in the backyard and broken her hip.
- A much less serious, but more common, example that many of us have committed ourselves. Some computer programs cause the same dialog boxes to appear so often that users can get into the habit of clicking away every box without thinking, even ones with important new information. (Not helped by the frequency of pop-up ads designed to imitate those boxes.)