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Obsessed Are the Listmakers
Paris and her faithful whiteboards.

Twilight: The problem is I just finished planning my schedule for the month, but I forgot to leave time to plan for next month! Don't you see? There's no time in my schedule to put together another schedule!

So you've got things you want to do. Whether it's the laundry, the dishes, or your latest Evil Plan to dominate the universe, you have to keep track of them all. A checklist is a nice, handy, quick way... most of the time.

Some people take their listmaking just a little too seriously. They may plan every tiny part of the day on a list, right down to the things most people won't even bother with because they're just that obvious, such as "go to sleep". Or they may start to see completing the list as a goal in itself, have already completed all of the tasks except one, and spend extenuating effort trying to complete that last one. This tendency is obviously Truth in Television for many.

This is usually Played for Laughs in fiction, especially with comic villains.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Film - Animated 
  • Bowler Hat Guy in Meet the Robinsons loves checklists and is often seen ticking off items in his, such as "Steal time machine", "Ruin science fair", and "Get that [comic book swearing symbols] boy". This leads to a rather tragic moment after his Evil Plan leads the world to be taken over by evil bowler hats in one alternate future. After fixing it, Lewis find his checklist and he has crossed out all of the Evil Plan items and added a new one: "?" It shows that he literally had no life apart from his petty desire for revenge on Cornelius Robinson for a minor childhood event.

    Literature 
  • In one of the Frog and Toad children's books by Arnold Lobel, Frog and Toad make a list of everything they plan to do on a trip. Unfortunately, while on the trip, they lose it, and feel as if they literally couldn't do anything now because the list is gone. Just when night is falling, one of them suddenly remembers the last item on the list: "Go to sleep". So they write it on the ground, cross it out, and go to sleep right there.
  • The first Red Dwarf novel described Arnold Rimmer doing this repeatedly when he tried to take the officers' exams: he would meticulously create his study plan in such great detail that he ended up spending most of his time on it, then had to revise it for the time left, with the same effects until he had no time left for the actual studying. This is fleshed out from a gag in the third episode of the first season of the television show. It gets revisited in the final episode of Red Dwarf X, with his "Battleplan Timetable".
  • In Palimpsest November makes lists about anything and everything, not all of them categories most people would even think of.

    Live Action Television 
  • Gilmore Girls: Both Paris and Rory are sometimes seen writing excessive and very elaborate lists with carefully planned activities.
    • Rory is making a list before graduating from Chilton, planning specific times for signing year books, writing a speech, visiting her grandparents and most importantly, studying for her finals.
    • Paris covers four big whiteboards before graduating from Yale. They concern job fairs, scholarship opportunities and meeting with useful people. She also has several pieces of paper with either the same version of the list or with its variant.
  • Emma from Glee has made a giant list of everything she needs for her upcoming wedding, including "purchase unmentionables" and "check for spotting on silverware". Interestingly enough it doesn't include anything about hiring wedding singers; it probably goes without saying that the glee club will fill that niche.
  • Red Dwarf: Rimmer keeps spending all his time making study timetables instead of actually studying. See the Literature entry for more.
  • When the obsessive Monica is appointed Pheobe's wedding planner in Friends she acquires a radio headset and starts treating the wedding plan like a battle plan, complete with codenames and military time. She also has Chandler "scheduled for nudity at 2300 hours".
    Monica: Groomsman, where is your bridesmaid? Broken arrow! We have a bridesmaid down! Oh, that's me!

    Webcomics 
  • In Kevin & Kell, Candace is really strict about procedures. In one story arc, Candace and her husband adopt a child, whose morning rituals, such as getting out of bed, brushing teeth and getting dressed, become strictly listed and timed. There are even lines on the floor of the child's bedroom detailing where to go in fulfilling the tasks! Granted, the adoptive parents in question are border collies, thus strongly oriented toward herding (and the adopted child is a lamb, thus what they're strongly oriented towards herding).

    Western Animation 
  • In the Aladdin animated series, the recurring villain Mechanikles is found to have a checklist with items like "Do dishes, do laundry, destroy world". The heroes even comment: "Boy, is he serious". Later, he adds "Destroy Aladdin" to the list, and wonders to himself whether he should do the dishes before or after he destroys the world. Taking his obsession Up to Eleven, he writes "Retreat" into his list before retreating.
  • Kim Possible's Arch-Enemy Dr. Drakken dreams up a great plan to Take Over the World, but later forgets it. To avoid this happening again, he starts writing everything he plans to do on note-cards. This bites him when he forgets to write down a crucial step of his next plan and so misses it out, fatally endangering himself, his sidekick Shego, Kim and Ron. At this point, Shego bails out and leaves him to it.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In the episode "Winter Wrap-Up", there's Twilight Sparkle's checklist for preparing for Winter-Wrap Up:
      Twilight Sparkle: Scarf, check! Saddle, check! Boots, check! Spike refusing to get up and going back to sleep, check! It's a good thing I'm so organized.
    • Shown to a great degree in "Look Before You Sleep", where Twilight is determined to throw her first slumber party literally by the book. It gets to the point where she is completely sidetracked when a tree falls into her house, trying to find out whether that's supposed to happen.
      Twilight Sparkle: We'll do everything by the book. And that will make my slumber party officially fun!
    • "Lesson Zero" opens with Twilight creating a checklist of the things she needs to make a checklist. Then the first thing she puts on her "to do" list for the day is to make said "to do" list. The final item on the day's "to do" list:
      Spike: Triple-check checklist to make sure we didn't miss anything when we double-checked the checklist!
    • In "It's About Time", Twilight starts panicking when she realises that she scheduled her next month so thoroughly she left no room to schedule the month after that.
    • In "Spike at your Service", some of this seems to have rubbed off on Spike, as he's made a list of things to do on his free day. Although the list only contains three entries which he works off in a minute (leaving several yards of blank paper).
  • In the Gravity Falls episode "Double Dipper", Dipper compiles a long list mapping out a twenty-step plan to ask Wendy to dance. His photocopy-clones eventually lock him in a closet when he tries to deviate from the plan.
  • Baljeet from Phineas and Ferb is like this, at least once pointing out how the titular boys' project du jour would interfere with his schedule.

    Real Life 
  • Pianist Richard Clayderman has admitted in an interview that he needs to write down his entire schedule for the day in a notebook, with a typical entry reading something like "Rise 5.30, breakfast 6.30, piano 8.30". He even ticks all the items off and makes a new list at the end of the day.

Must... add... more... examples...
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Higher Education Is for WomenImageSource/Live-Action TVGlee
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