Pass the Popcorn

I'm gonna need more popcorn!

When a character is treating a certain scene as pure entertainment, they will often be shown eating popcorn or other stereotypical movie-theater food. Where they get it from is a mystery. Usually the scene will be something like a fight or a private conversation between lovers, that generally isn't intended for anyone's amusement (at least not in-universe). Almost inevitably, the character will be too fixated on the entertainment to actually look at what he's eating.

This is always used for humor; it often indicates that the character in question is callous enough that they are deriving amusement from someone's anguish or anger rather than offering to help. It may also indicate that the character in question has no stake in the outcome. Alternatively, perhaps he does have a stake in the outcome, and is confident that somebody he doesn't like is about to receive a well-deserved comeuppance. Sometimes the character becomes an Audience Surrogate, giving an in-universe voice to the audience's feelings towards the scene.

This is ubiquitous enough that "*eats popcorn*" and similar remarks are a common response to Internet flamewars.

Compare and contrast Long Speech Tea Time (where the audience has a Spot of Tea or something because they're bored) and The Snack Is More Interesting (where someone is involved, but acts strangely unconcerned). Come to Gawk is often an element. If the situation is in really bad taste, the spectator is probably a Nightmare Fetishist.


    open/close all folders 

  • In an ad for Progressive Insurance, the two guys from the competition break into the Progressive Store Mission: Impossible style to steal the Progressive Price Gun. Flo and her sidekick are watching all this on security cameras, while eating snacks. The sidekick wonders if they should call the police while Flo says "Nah, this is just getting good."

    Anime & Manga 
  • During the climactic battle near the end of the first half of Slayers Revolution, Xellos can be seen on the sidelines eating popcorn.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima! has a large-scale version happen during the Battle of Mahora: Evangeline and the Principal spend the entire time sitting on the sidelines and watching while drinking sake. The Principal did attempt to intervene when things got really serious, but Eva stopped him.
  • That one scene in Noir (you know, the one where Kirika uses popcorn to detect the current squad of mooks...) is quite possibly a tribute, or parody, or something of this phenomenon, if not outright breaking the fourth wall.
  • In an episode of Ninin Ga Shinobuden, resident tsundere Miyabi is talking to a boy on the way home from school. Meanwhile, Shinobu, Onsokumaru and several ninja are watching in the bushes eating various snacks.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena
    • Although it's obvious someone is watching each duel, Nanami's last duel hangs lampshade on it. While Nanami and Utena duel, Touga (who otherwise had a reason to be part of the duel) slips away and joins Akio on the viewing platform. And they give exposition. Lounging on a bed.
    • During the last duel, the Student Council has nothing they can do. They idle around the Student Council balcony, dropping vague symbolism, backstory, and ultimately cooking potatoes over a campfire, while they await the outcome.
  • This happens in Ranma ˝ when Ryōga is trying to build up the courage to kiss Akari. Ranma proceeds to sit right next to them while munching on potato chips. Ryōga is not pleased.
  • In the Tenchi Muyo! episode, Here Comes Jurai!, Funaho, Lady Musaki, Ryoko, Ayeka, Washu, Sasami, and Ryo-Ohki, while watching the duel between Tenchi and Seiryo, play this trope out, complete with a Spot of Tea.

    Comic Books 
  • Siege: Storming Asgard, a lead-up profile special for the Marvel event, mentions a potential battle between Ares (of the Dark Avengers) and Tyr (Asgardian war god). The note from the compiler of the profiles? "Check on our stocks of popcorn in case this happens."
  • In the JLA vs. the Crime Syndicate of Amerika arc of JLA, the Justice League's evil counterparts from a Mirror Universe (the Crime Syndicate of Amerika) end up in the "good" universe while the Justice League takes on the Void Hound, a mechanical creature easily capable of destroying planets. True to form, instead of helping out, they relax in comfortable chairs provided by the Power Ring (the alternate universe's Green Lantern) and eat popcorn... also provided by the Power Ring. As he says, "It's kind of tasteless, but hey, it's lo-cal."
  • In the John Byrne run of The Fantastic Four, a weakened Galactus lands in New York and attempts to eat the Earth's lifeforce. The FF, The Avengers, and Doctor Strange join forces against him. Spider-Man is about to join the fray when Daredevil stops him, saying the two of them would only get in the way. Spider-Man accepts this but says that he wishes he had some popcorn.
  • In Don Rosa comic Sign of the Triple Distlefink, as Donald and Gladstone are racing to be the one to get hit by lightning:
    Scrooge: I wonder what will be more potent? Gladstone's luck, or Donald's eternal tendency towards self-destruction? One thing is certain! This should be a good show! Pass the lemonade!
  • In Gotham Knights #9, Dick Grayson and Tim Drake (Nightwing and Robin, respectively) have this conversation. A later panel shows that they actually followed through on it.
    Tim: Did you see that? We don't even have our costumes here — what're we gonna do?!
    Dick: What are we gonna do? Batman is fighting Hugo Strange on the roof of Wayne Enterprises. We're gonna get popcorn!
  • Invoked in Young Justice #7: During a meeting of YJ's parents and guardians, Arrowette's mom starts a fight with Wonder Girl's, and Dubbilex asks Max Mercury if they shouldn't be doing something.
    Max: Dubbilex, when you've been around as long as I have, you'll know the only worthwhile things you can bring to a catfight are popcorn and a drink.
  • It's easy to miss, but in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW) issue #6 Spike offers Princess Luna some popcorn while Pinkie Pie faces her fears.
  • In Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog Issues #178-179, thanks to some mounting tensions, Sonic and Tails end up trading blows in the middle of a prison cell block. Naturally, the prisoners, who are members of Sonic's Rogues Gallery, watch with sadistic joy, with Mogul and Bean even taking bets on who will win.
  • Marvel Adventures - Avengers: After meeting superheroes for the first time, Loki turns an ordinary crook into the Wrecker just to see what happens when a different sort of mortal is given powers. He spends the rest of the issue enjoying the show, complete with a tub of popcorn as the Wrecker tussles with Spider-Man.
  • In the Original Sin tie-in for Loki: Agent of Asgard (Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm) Old!Loki can't help themself but meddle to see a fight between Thor and Angela. They even pause the scrying spell to conjure up popcorn for the occasion.

    Comic Strips 
  • Dilbert
    • When Dilbert attempts to clone his boss, and mentions that it will cause pain, his coworkers immediately appear to watch, with Wally eating popcorn.
    • Dogbert once becomes a driver's ed instructor and shows a student videos of horrific car crashes to supposedly scare him into learning to drive safely. The kid watches it while eating popcorn and responds, "Really? This is supposed to shock people?"
      Dogbert: I'll be following your car in a helicopter.
  • Zits has a Sunday cartoon that had the family arguing about Jeremy holding up a departure sans dialogue. The last panel showed some neighbors watching and sharing popcorn.

    Fan Works 
  • A Crown Of Stars: In chapter 33, while Asuka is sparring verbally with Misato and Hikari, Daniel and Rayana pick up a bowl of popcorn and munch on it as they watch the fun.
    “Ladies, please! Wait!” Daniel interrupted. He reached behind the couch he and Rayana were sitting on and retrieved a large bowl of popcorn. He placed it in his lap and Rayana took a handful. “Alright, continue.”
  • In the YuYu Hakusho fanfic Of Snowballs, Cellphones, and Homicide, while much of the main cast is going through an impressive series of Disaster Dominoes, Kurama notices that Shizuru and Kaito are munching on popcorn.
  • In the Tin Man fanfic series The Gulchverse, most of the Royal Guards (and Dawkins especially) treat most of the actions involving the princesses, Cain, Gulch, and any other bystanders as the ultimate entertainment. They literally had popcorn and sold tickets to a meeting where the aristocrats were to be informed that one of the princesses that they've been trying to court for political reasons is going to marry a commoner.
  • In the Harry Potter fanfic Fallen Angel, one line states: "If Bellatrix ever fell apart, people would just stand there and watch. Katherine would probably bring popcorn."
  • Hogyoku Ex Machina involves several characters watching parts of Ichigo's life via projections of his memories (which they had permission for) and with hidden security cameras (...which they did not). At one gathering, they comment on how entertaining his life is, some bring popcorn and Coke (Rukia told them it was a tradition), and everyone, even Ishida and Yamamoto, ends up treating it like a movie night.
  • Hobbes does this twice in Calvin and Hobbes: The Series, and invokes it in another:
    "Hello? Socrates? Meet me down at the park. And bring popcorn."
  • On this blog, two bloggers roleplayed as Glee's Blaine and Cooper and answered questions that people submitted. One person asked what Blaine would do if Sebastian started hitting on Blaine's boyfriend, Kurt. Blaine's answer: "Get out of the firing line. Buy popcorn. Bring seats."
  • In Thanks Kyubey, Madoka wonders if she should turn into a Puella Magi to help the others out in their battle against Walpurgisnacht. Homura hands her popcorn and a soda and tells her to enjoy the show.
  • Invoked in Escapism: After Snake Eyes is captured by Cobra, the Joes hack the security cameras.
    Stormshadow: Now, just wait. Unless someone wants to go make some popcorn.
  • Done a few times in The Somewhat Cracked Mind of Uchiha Itachi.
    • Notably, Itachi specifically refers to this as this ("I'm in a pass-the-popcorn mood")
    • Chiyo, in chapter 42, does it only because Kankuro mentioned that Temari thought she was going to do it.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic, An Unepic Pony War In The Non-Distant Future, Cadance abandons the royal dueling circle and chows down on a bag of popcorn after Rainbow Dash et al. accuse Twilight of being Nightmare Sparkle. Her husband (and Twilight's brother) helps himself to a bit of popcorn as well.
  • In the Horseshoes and Hand Grenades side story Month of Sundays, Damballa is eating through a 'never-ending box' of popcorn while he watches Mari, Miura and Yayoi fight off Haruto Souma, transformed into a large cloth doll with a 5-year-old mentality.
  • Families: Celestia helps herself to popcorn while watching Olive Branch realize that his plans against her are dissolving completely. This is an in-universe invocation of the trope, as Celestia is actually stated to hate the taste of popcorn but feels that it's the best way to get across the message of how badly Olive has screwed up.
  • Queen Of All Oni: Right and Hebi help themselves to some popcorn while watching Hak Foo Freak Out over the apparent uselessness of the Mini Khan he's now stuck commanding.
  • Jane eats some popcorn that Darcy managed to find in Tony's New Assistant while they watch Tony yell at Loki for introducing Hammer to Victor von Doom.
  • The Rise Of Darth Vulcan: When Eiderdown and her friends agree to serve the titular Villain Protagonist as payment of their debt to him, he quickly tags onto the fact that his Number Two, Artful Dodger, has developed a crush on her... and is woefully, utterly inexperienced with mares. So, Troll that he is, he assigns Eiderdown to work for Dodger, then retreats to his personal chambers with a bowl of nachos to watch things play out on his magical surveillance system.
  • Happens two-fold in Ichigo, Meet Ichigo. When Ichigo loses a bet and has to have dinner with Zaraki, the captains and lieutenants gather around a large screen television with drinks and popcorn at the ready, while Urahara hijacks their security camera signal so he and the Vizards in the human world can watch as well, also with refreshments.
  • In Chapter 6 of Mutual Marriage, Obi-Wan and Siri are mentioned to be eating popcorn while watching Anakin and Padme argue.
  • In This Means War, during an Order of the Phoenix meeting where Harry and his friends argue in favor of their inclusion, Sirius conjures some popcorn and shares it with Remus and Snape.
  • In Black & Black Luna slaps Ginny for having sent Harry anti-gay letters under Ron and Hermione's names, which amuses Harry's husband.
    Draco: Oooh,'s getting good, do we have popcorn love?
  • In The Sorting Hat's Stand Harry idly wishes he had some popcorn when Amelia Bones and several aurors come to arrest Gilderoy Lockhart - and the house elves immediately supply him with some.
  • In Harry Potter and the Prince of Slytherin Harry wishes he had some popcorn while watching a confrontation between his estranged twin brother James Jr. and Draco Malfoy.
  • In Total Pokémon Redux, Krookodile eats some rotten tomatos while watching a challenge. He also eats some popcorn from an abandoned popcorn cart while he and the other players watch Cacturne and Trevenant fight.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • When Inara makes a video call to Mal in Serenity, the rest of the crew taps into the call and watches it with popcorn, complete with groaning and tossing it at the screen when they inevitably begin dancing around each other.
  • The chick-fight scene from Undercover Brother. The men sit on sofas and eat popcorn as the women fight.
  • In The Parole Officer, the title character is hiding in a nightclub's storeroom and witnesses a corrupt police officer committing murder. As he watches, he reaches for a bag of crisps and starts eating them as silently as he can. Justified as he is later revealed to be hypoglycemic.
  • In at least one Marx Brothers movie, Groucho is seen selling popcorn and other treats to spectators during a dramatic confrontation scene.
  • The opening scene of Dogma has Matt Damon, as a fallen angel, convert a nun to atheism while Ben Affleck's character watches with a bag of popcorn — he actually brought it for the Hallmark Moments that inevitably come at an airport, but one show is as good as another.
  • In Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, when Augustus gets stuck in the pipe, Wonka is seen eating a handful of candy stuff while watching.
    Wonka: The suspense is terrifying. I hope it'll last.
  • Hot Shots! Part Deux has a limousine driver eating popcorn and using 3D glasses during a parody of the "sex in the back of a limousine" scene of No Way Out.
  • Happens in Die Hard with a Vengeance when a group of office workers begin eating popcorn while staring at the giant smoking crater in the middle of Wall Street.
  • During the final opera scenes in Repo! The Genetic Opera, Luigi Largo can be seen stealing someone's box of popcorn to enjoy the show. Of course, when Rotti announces Shilo is his heir, the popcorn goes flying to great comedic effect.
  • When Robin Hood woos Maid Marion in Robin Hood: Men in Tights, the merry men set out some benches and gather to watch, and a couple of the villagers are eating popcorn, right off the cob, on a stick.
  • S.W.A.T. ( 2003 ): TJ quite literally when Boxer and Street argue about Boxer's sister.
  • King of Kings (1927) includes a woman gleefully eating popcorn while observing the Crucifixion.
  • Philo does this in UHF when he pirate-broadcasts Fletcher's rant. He's eating it out of a beaker.
  • In 2 Fast 2 Furious Brian O'Conner goes to get his friend Roman, they end up getting into a fight with FBI agent Bilkins sitting on a folding chair and eating popcorn.
  • A more sadistic example in Pitch Black, where Riddick is seen casually drinking some liquor while watching another man get gunned down by a Zeke, who thought the innocent man was Riddick.
  • Jurassic World has Hoskins taking Lowery's drink and sipping on it while he watches the Indominus Rex rampage.
  • The early Tom Hanks comedy The Burbs has various eccentric or downright crazy people living on the same street, including a deranged Vietnam vet and a slightly deformed family of serial killers. A teenager finds all this amusing, and even brings some of his friends to gawk at all the insanity. Even at the very end of the movie, after the police and an ambulance have shown up, he still doesn't seem to understand what's really going on:
    Kid: God, I love this street!

  • On at least one occasion in The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Bartimaeus comments, "All I need is some popcorn," as he watches Nathaniel get himself in trouble.
  • In Peter David's novel Q-in-Law, a Q-empowered Lwaxana Troi is beating unholy hell out of Q. (He deserved it.) Also, Lwaxana's manservant enjoying his popcorn while watching her play handball with Q... as the ball.
  • In the Ciaphas Cain novels:
    • Cain mentions he has a couple of enemies that he "would sit back and roast caba nuts" while watching them be burned to death.
    • And also in another novel, where he makes a quiet remark akin to "Did anyone forget the caba nuts?" during a Mission Briefing.
  • In Discworld, the citizens of Ankh-Morpork tend to treat anything interesting happening in the street as a spectator sport, and Mr Dibbler will inevitably show up with his tray of "sausages" if it lasts long enough.
  • Lampshaded in The Dresden Files novel Turn Coat, where Murphy and Harry are interrogating Binder in the police station, and Harry is beating the crap out of Binder, while grizzled old police officer Rawlins is watching. Binder declares that what Harry is doing is illegal and it'll all be caught on tape, to which Rawlins cuts in over the intercom that they should wait a moment, as he's got popcorn cooking.
  • Rayford Steele and the surviving remnant of Petra in Glorious Appearing from the Left Behind series was like Praise The Lord And Pass The Popcorn while he was watching the Antichrist's armies getting decimated by Jesus Christ. In the Dramatic Audio presentation, he even mentions that all he needs is the popcorn.
  • In the Felicia Sorceress of Katara novella "The Last Homely House of Honeypot Bruin" there is a scene where Felicia and Benja Bruin are watching an army of ghosts walk past. Benja is scared nearly to death, Felicia makes popcorn.
  • Dora Wilk Series plays it for, oddly enough, drama:
    'I could either try to act or summon myself a pack of popcorn and watch that beast kill my friend.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Hush", Anya reacts this way to Giles' mimed overhead-projector lecture about the Gentlemen.
  • In the Red Dwarf episode "Thanks for the Memory", the crew are watching a surveillance recording of the four days erased from their memories. When Rimmer learns what Lister did during those four days, he is aghast:
    Rimmer: How could you do this to me?! It's the most heartbreakingly tragic thing it's ever been my misfortune to witness!
    Cat: Popcorn?
  • In Hannah Montana, Jackson and Lilly both share a bowl of popcorn while watching Mamaw and Aunt Dolly have a brutal catfight.
  • Jon Stewart occasionally does this on The Daily Show, when the news gets really interesting. This is usually followed with Jon hilariously saying "Go oooooooooon!" Sometimes he'll also do a Spit Take.
  • Nahum, the janitor in Slings and Arrows, watches the show's production of Macbeth on a backstage monitor with popcorn.
  • On Mystery Science Theater 3000, Mike briefly leaves the theater during the opening of Wild World of Batwoman and returns with popcorn and other snacks.
  • Seinfeld
    • The Junior Mint episode takes this farther than it may have ever gone before in Kramer's reactions to observing surgery. Before he even gets there he's worried about people telling him what happens, he complains to one of the surgeons who's blocking his view, and of course he brings in a box of Junior Mints and tries to get Jerry to take one, with predictably unfortunate results.
    • Similar occurrence in "The Mango" when George orders a chocolate milkshake and a slice of cake upon discovering that Elaine "faked" with Jerry.
  • An episode of The West Wing opens with Sam getting his head handed to him by Blonde Republican Sex Kitten Ainsley Hayes on a live television show. As the show goes to break, Sam mutters "please, oh please, don't let them be watching". Smash Cut to:
    Josh: Toby, come quick! Sam's getting his ass kicked by a girl!
    Toby: Ginger, get the popcorn!
  • In Friends, Rachel gives Ross permission to hit on Isabella Rosselini when she comes into the coffeehouse:
    Monica: Rach, are you really gonna let him do this?
    Rachel: Honey, he's about to go hit on Isabella Rosselini. I'm just sorry we don't got popcorn.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "The Unicorn And The Wasp" Donna can't stop munching on grapes and enjoying the hell out of the Doctor's and Agatha Christie's explanation of their solving of the murder mystery du jour.
    • Also, during The Sound of Drums, The Master and Lucy sit back, smirk and share sweets just as the President is about to make first contact;
      Master: [turning to Lucy] Jelly baby?
  • The detectives on The Closer (justifiably) consider watching Chief Johnson in the interrogation room to be a spectator sport, often involving snacks (including popcorn) and witty commentary.
  • In an episode of Will and Grace, Grace discovers that she can hear her downstairs neighbors perfectly through the floor vent. She and Will spend the rest of the episode ignoring everything else so they can catch the soap-opera-like show (wife arguing with husband, cheating on him with his brother, etc.).
  • Mash: Margaret steals Hawkeye's and B.J.'s clothes while they are showering. The two are forced to walk back to their tent naked, wherein they find the nurses staked out, waiting for them (with popcorn).
  • Done hilariously in Power Rangers RPM. Ziggy and Dillon are both in prison, being interrogated, and the scene switches between the two. Dillon's is very serious — they think (justifiably) that he's a spy. Ziggy, meanwhile, is telling his life story (with diagrams on a dry-erase board). Each time they switch to Ziggy, there are more guards there listening. By the time he reaches the part where he accidentally went to school without any pants on (not a dream!), at least one guard has spontaneously produced a tub of popcorn.
  • An earlier example is from Power Rangers Time Force. Though in this one, Jen is lecturing three Rangers on some recent fights while said Rangers are secretly passing around a bowl of popcorn before Jen figures out what's going on.
  • Still earlier; in the Power Rangers Turbo episode "Bicycle Built for the Blues" Divatox makes microwave popcorn (apparently using Porto as a microwave; she took it out of his faceplate) before watching the Rangers fight the Monster of the Week. (Unfortunately for her, as is often the case, the plan doesn't work as she intended it too.)
  • Earlier yet: In "Good as Gold", the final episode of Power Rangers Zeo, Rita and Zedd sit on the sidelines enjoying sodas (or possibly cocktails, it's hard to tell because of the colored drinking glasses) as they watch the giant King Mondo and giant Power Rangers duke it out. Unlike the Divatox example, they're actually cheering for the Rangers because they hate King Mondo.
  • In Corner Gas:
    • In one episode, Oscar and Emma are having another one of their arguments over who owns $90, with Brent and Wanda eating chips on the sidelines.
    • After Lacey confronts Karen about having just borrowed her house to watch a scary movie in, Brent comments on how there should be some scary movie playing. Emma and Lacey, who already had popcorn because they were watching the movie, watch the standoff and eat some popcorn.
  • In the CSI episode where Hodges presents the "Lab Rats" board game, one scenario has him committing an overly elaborate suicide on video. There is a scene with the whole lab and field team watching the video, eating popcorn, and cheering when the bullet hits.
  • Castle does this a few times.
    • In one episode, Castle remarks, "a wife and fiancée catfight? Please tell me we can stop for popcorn along the way."
    • In an earlier episode, the beat cops are chasing around a whole mess of crazies run around in the precinct, Castle is munching on popcorn, and Beckett is calmly doing paperwork.
  • The Father Ted episode "Night of the Nearly Dead" has Ted, Dougal, and Patsy all frantically trying to beat the horde of middle-aged women off Eoin McLove. Father Jack pulls up a chair and a drink.
  • Leverage:
    • Eliot is on a date (as part of a con) with Nate's ex-wife Maggie, and the rest of the team is watching via video surveillance. Sophie even has popcorn. Maggie makes a series of disparaging comments about Nate, then reveals that she knew he was watching all along.
    • Later in the same episode, Nate is munching what looks like popcorn while watching museum security work themselves into a lather over several false leads.
  • A Monkees episode has three band members robbing a bank after being tricked into thinking they're making a movie. When the police present them with the film from the surveillance cameras as evidence, they treat it as an actual movie, complete with being critical about their performance and popcorn.
  • Abed on Community not only does this (with Rasinettes), but even gives cues to the players so they know how to proceed cinematically.
  • In The IT Crowd episode "Something Happens", Moss is quite visibly seen eating popcorn while listening to Douglas's stories of how Spaceology works for him. Later, he brings out the popcorn when Roy discusses a problem with a masseuse.
  • NCIS
    • The team members, Tony in particular, tend to treat any suspect interrogation as a show that they watch from behind the tinted glass — especially when done by Gibbs. Including one episode where Ziva is tasked to bring the popcorn, although she's late.
    • Abby is also seen sitting before the screen of her face-recognition software and watching it work with popcorn and caffeinated drink.
      Abby: That's the best part.
    • In one season twelve episode, the whole team gathers to watch Gibbs in the interrogation room with his ex-wife and her lawyer, who is also her fiance, who also happens to be the guy Gibbs caught her in bed with when they were married. Palmer brings candy.
  • In the first season of How I Met Your Mother, Ted gets drunk and everyone tries to find out what the hell he did that night. Marshall gets so excited he has to go make popcorn.
  • In Century City, Lee May is researching a marriage contract, which her associate Darwin negotiated 8 years ago. His hair is ridiculous, he's enthusiastic, and he cares about the couple he's negotiating with. Cue the next scene being the entire law firm eating popcorn while watching the video.
  • An episode of Degrassi Junior High has Dwayne tell Joey that he's going to beat him up after school. Most of the students show up to watch the fight and even sell ice cream.
  • In the iCarly episode iStill Psycho, Freddy's mom goes into Mama Bear mode and fights the insane psycho fan Nora and her mother to save her son and his friends. While she's sword fighting them both at once, Sam just makes herself a hamburger and enjoys watching Mrs. Benson clean house.
    Freddy: You made a hamburger?
    Sam: Your mom's got this.
    Freddy: *Shrugs and nods*
  • In an episode of Zoey 101, Quinn and Lola get into a wrestling match on the floor. Quinn's boyfriend Mark sits back in his chair with a bowl of popcorn.
  • Game of Thrones Season 3 has an example that's played for horror; during the Red Wedding massacre, Lord Walder Frey eagerly watches every moment while quaffing wine, and generally looks thoroughly entertained by what he's seeing. He also pauses the massacre out of curiosity to see whether Robb Stark will make it back to his feet after being shot with crossbows and what he will do next, and empties another cup when Catelyn loses her mind with the trauma and cuts his own wife's throat.
  • Dani's Castle: While on the phone to Katelyn, Dani adds as she hangs up 'Ooh! And bring popcorn!'.
  • On Wings, Brian and Alex's romantic getaway is interrupted by a stranded Joe and Helen. When Brian and Alex begin to argue, the heretofore uncomfortable Joe nudges Helen and tells her, "Pay attention, this is getting good." As things worsen, he then tells her, "We should have brought popcorn."
  • One episode of Married... with Children has the entire Bundy clan gleefully watching a brawl next door that Al deliberately instigated, complete with binoculars, video camera and popcorn.
  • In the last episode of Series 4 of Not Going Out, Lee and Lucy wake up in bed together after getting drunk and believe they may have made a sex tape. When they sit down to watch the tape and find out just what happened, Lee has a bowl of popcorn.
  • In one Gilmore Girls episode, Lorelai and Rory show up to their weekly dinner with Lorelai's parents and walk into the middle of an argument.
    Rory: Wow, this is bad.
    Lorelai: I know. I wish we had popcorn.
    Rory: Mom!
  • In the U.S sixth season of Master Chef, after Nick pairs up chefs that don't like each other for an elimination challenge, as he heads up to the lobby, he comments "Give me some popcorn and a six-pack; I can't wait to watch this."

  • Alanis Morissette's "Front Row" makes a reference to this in the song's chorus:
    I'm in the front row
    the front row
    with popcorn
    I get to see you see you close up.
  • Aesop Rock's "Gun For The Whole Family" makes frequent reference to simply sitting back idly while two sides of a conflict kill each other. Exactly how big those two sides are varies from verse to verse, but frequent references are made to viewing the whole spectacle, rooting for neither side in particular and, yes, doing so while eating popcorn. A small excerpt:
    And I was overly engrossed from a very locked door
    with a couple Milk Duds and buckets of popcorn.

    New Media 
  •'s humor section, Page 2, has taken a single comment made by Terrell Owens that seemed to reference this trope and put it through Memetic Mutation, culminating in a faux A Day In The Life article in which his meals all had something to do with either "pop" (Pop Rocks, for example) or "corn". (Surprisingly, the breakfast section of this omitted the cereal "Corn Pops".)
  • Some forums have a :popcorn: smilie. It is used almost exclusively in response to someone posting a controversial thread or by witnesses to an intense on-forum argument.

    Pro Wrestling 

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • In one routine Dane Cook describes the joy he gets from watching loveless couples in public fight "about absolutely nothing." While watching a couple fight in the supermarket over jelly, he gets so excited he opens a box of Entenmann's cookies and begins eating them while he eavesdrops.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Many Shadowrun sourcebooks are framed as in-universe on-line documents, usually posted on a "site" called Shadowland, and as such are invariably annotated with discussions about the "main" text by and among various readers/site-members. In the third-edition sourcebook Cyberpirates, for instance, one such discussion degenerates into a lengthy argument (and finally a testosterone-induced challenge) between two posters; when site-admin Captain Chaos promptly disconnects them both so others can keep reading in peace, a third poster cries out "Hey, frag off, CC: I'm selling tickets to that show!"

    Video Games 
  • In Kid Icarus: Uprising, as they are watching Pit face Hades in the final battle, Viridi tells Palutena she brought the popcorn.
  • In Dragon Age II, if the player is a mage and on friendly terms with Anders, he'll talk about how Hawke's the kind of leader the mages of Kirkwall need during Act 2. Snarky-Hawke's response is "Who said anything about leading? I was going to watch...with snacks."
  • In World of Warcraft, Ragged John, a dwarf with no lack of subtlety to his character, offers to tell you about the time he and his friend fought off incrementally larger hordes of orcs. Naturally, you egg him on with this line:
    Ragged John: Let me grab the popped corn kernels, sire.
  • In Bioshock Infinite, you'll find a bag of popcorn in one of the viewing rooms in the tower on Monument Island which show films of Elizabeth on what she does in the rooms she is imprisoned in.

    Visual Novels 
  • Bernkastel and Lambdadelta are often seen eating popcorn in Umineko no Naku Koro ni, particularly in the core arcs. Subverted a few times by Lambdadelta, as she uses the popcorn to influence certain fights, despite having to stay neutral.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • One episode of Batman: The Animated Series has a huge fight break out in a Bad-Guy Bar, complete with gunfire. In the background you see The Bartender casually dodge a chair, roll his eyes and lean lazily on the counter, and drag a bowl of peanuts closer to watch the show.
  • Futurama:
    • Happens in "Parasites Lost". When Zoidberg investigates Fry's bowels with a surgical camera, everybody goes into a side-room with a video-screen and two-way mirror and... eats popcorn.
      Hermes: It's nauseating, mon! (takes another handful of popcorn)
    • Also, Bender remarks at Zoidberg's Supreme Court trial in "A Taste of Freedom" that "Court's kinda fun when it's not my ass on the line. Nachos?"
    • "Roswell that Ends Well" actually works the popcorn in as a plot point. Fry goes to microwave the popcorn for everyone to eat while they watch the supernova. The radiation from the microwave interacts with the radiation from the supernova and creates a time hole.
    • In "Stench and Stenchtability", a little girl named Tonya ends up having a "cute little heart attack". Unbeknownst to anyone but Bender, she's actually a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, so while everyone else is watching her being resuscitated with worried expressions, Bender's watching while leaning back in a chair and munching on a hotdog.
    • In "The Late Philip J. Fry", Fry, Bender and Prof. Farnsworth are stuck in a time machine that only goes forwards, so they decide to just sit back and watch the end of the universe while downing a few beers.
  • Done a few times in Ed, Edd n Eddy:
    • When Double-D and Eddy find Ed raiding another kid's fridge while sleepwalking. Double-D even asks, "Are you going to share those?"
    • And of course, Eddy's memetic "Popcorn Fairy" line.
    • And in the season 5 finale, where Eddy is eating a series of hot dogs whilst watching a match between Double-D and Jimmy, eventually even throwing them at Jimmy. Johnny and Plank are watching and commenting on the scene at one point, with both of them wondering where Eddy gets all the hot dogs from.
  • In the "Arabian Desert Danger" episode of The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, the Hooded Claw eats popcorn while watching Penelope get wrapped up like a mummy.
  • Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law: Phil Ken Sebben, while watching Birdman being strapped into the electric chair, casually eats popcorn and even feeds a piece to his arm-candy ladyfriend. Though sort of justified in that Harvey's trial, imprisonment, and pending execution are all part of the set-up for his surprise party, though his in-prison marriage to Magilla Gorilla is not. But honestly, Phil would have had the popcorn at a real execution. That's who he is.
  • In Family Guy, Stewie goes upstairs to give Lois and Brian some privacy. He then returns to sit at the top of the stairs, watching through the bars of the bannister, munching snacks, and injecting comments like, "Oh, my God, no way!" and "Ooh, bitch, you got jacked, bitch!"
  • In the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode "Challenge of the Superfriends", Eduardo mostly follows the action with a bowl of cereal. He even speaks surprisedly to the camera after the Twist Ending.
  • Justice League:
    • At one point, the Joker eats popcorn, and offers a captive Batman some, while he waits for their headquarters to blow up. He does it again in "Wild Cards" — fitting, since he was broadcasting the episode's events as his own Show Within a Show.
      Joker: There's a surprise hidden in your little clubhouse, and when your chums get there - KABLOOEY! Popcorn?
      Batman: ...
      Joker: Oh, well. More for me.
    • Maid of Honor has Diana and Bruce both ducking off to get ready for battle when terrorists abduct the princess of Kaznia from a charity benefit. Diana gets into action first (not bothering to change out of her street clothes), and Bruce just sits back and picks at the catering while she trounces the terrorists single-handedly.
  • The Fairly OddParents:
    • The Pixies have done it when their plans were succeeding and Timmy was miserable. However, considering their anti-fun natures, it came out weird.
      HP: Hi Turner. Don't mind us. We're just here for the show.
      Sanderson: Your misery is like going to the movies for us. Want some popcorn?
      HP: It's unsalted and unbuttered, right?
      Sanderson: And unpopped.
    • Also:
      Timmy: Look, a child in pain!
      Crocker: Where!? (Sits in a chair facing the direction Timmy pointed and starts eating popcorn.)
  • The Titans East manage to produce some hammerspace popcorn for Control Freak's rant in Teen Titans. In a later episode, Kid Flash eats a hoagie and a bag of potato chips (which he stole from Mammoth) while watching the Hive Five argue with each other. What makes it even better is that Kid Flash was in a cage at the time. While the Hive Five were arguing, he ran out of the cage to get the hoagie, and then got back into the cage so that he could watch the argument. And then did it again to get the bag of chips.
  • On an episode of Batman Beyond, Terry argues with his girlfriend. A couple of their friends eat snacks and watch.
  • South Park, in "Jared has Aides", Cartman covers for Butters (who was grounded but was forced to leave the house) and while there answering regular phone calls from Butters' parents (being able to convincingly imitate Butters), proceeding to insult Butters' parents. Eventually Butters returns just in time and Cartman leaves. After that he sets up a lawn chair and grabs a drink and some popcorn and sits on the front lawn as Butter's parents get home and storm in, so he can listen to them giving Butters a royal beatdown. And remarks that if he were older, he would "totally start jacking off right now."
  • Spongebob Squarepants
    • In one episode Squidward tells SpongeBob a ghost story. Instead of popcorn, SpongeBob uses his own arms in an exaggerated form of Rapid-Fire Nail Biting.
    • Another episode has Squidward cause an argument between SpongeBob and Patrick. He then sits on a lounge chair with a souffle he was preparing and watches the two friends yell at each other.
  • The Simpsons
    • In episode "'Round Springfield", Homer has hot dogs while watching a surgery, and later a funeral. The hot dog man admits that he's following Homer around.
      Hot Dog Vendor: Hot dogs! Get your hot dogs here!
      Homer: Woohoo!
      Marge: Are you following my husband around?
      Hot Dog Vendor: Lady, he's putting my kids through college!
    • In "Rosebud", Maggie doesn't want to give Bobo away, so Homer won't give the teddy bear back to Mr. Burns. He is later watched at work by three men. The first mentions they wanted to see the geek who valued the happiness of his children more than money. The second is disappointed his head isn't the size of a baseball. The third just eats his popcorn.
  • In G.I. Joe, when Cobra Commander's sillier-than-usual mechanical sea serpent scheme goes awry, Tomax, Xamot, Destro, and The Baroness are munching on fresh fruit and drinking milk as they are watching the whole ridiculous crisis on TV as they discuss how they are going to respond. They agree to hang back, let GI Joe and its related organizations hopefully exhaust themselves bringing the machine down, and then move in.
  • In the hour-long special for Total Drama Island Josh and Blaineley are eating popcorn while watching the Total Drama cast on their inherently deadly quest to beat the Total Drama Dirtbags' bus to Orpah's studio.
  • In the Tiny Toon Adventures episode "Music Day", everyone is accusing each other of farting and a food fight starts. Buster and Babs just sit back, share a bag of popcorn, and watch the hectic scene.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Mai watches an epidemic erupting in the city of Omashu and offers fireflakes to her dad (who is supposed to run the city).
  • Used in an episode of Chowder. While Mung gets chewed out for forgetting his wedding anniversary, Shnitzel sits down on a stool in the background with a bag of popcorn, enjoying the show. He even interjects with an "OOH! Radda!"
  • The Superhero Episode of Jimmy Two-Shoes has Jimmy, Beezy, and Heloise all having a fight over who gets to save Lucius from the monster beating him. The resulting conflict is so entertaining that Lucius and said monster stop fighting and enjoy it over popcorn.
  • Phineas and Ferb: In "Phineas and Ferb Get Busted", Baljeet munches popcorn while watching a propaganda film designed to brainwash kids into behaving themselves, and says "The book was so much better."
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
    • In "Applebuck Season", Rarity and Fluttershy nervously watch Applejack try to stop a stampeding herd of cows, but the happy-go-lucky Pinkie Pie just munches popcorn and says "This is the best rodeo show I've ever seen!"
    • In the second season premiere, "The Return of Harmony", the Chaos God Discord sits in a theater seat with a bag of popcorn to watch Twilight Sparkle's brainwashed friends bickering. For bonus points, there's actually a reasonable explanation for where he got them.
    • In "The Cutie Pox", Spike eats popcorn as he watches Apple Bloom compulsively perform various talents (thanks to the eponymous "Cutie Pox").
    • In "Too Many Pinkie Pies", Spike grabs some popcorn and sits back to watch the Pinkie Pie clones try to watch paint dry. He ends up slumped over his stool, having eaten all his popcorn, before anything interesting happens.
    • In "Princess Twilight Sparkle, Part 2", Discord takes some popcorn while watching Twilight under the influence of a potion.
  • On a Very Special Episode of Clone High, Ponce de Leon dies in a tragic litter related accident. His best friend, JFK, falls apart during his speech at Ponce's funeral. It is so dramatic, the other attendees watch silently and intently, with Julius Caesar breaking out a bag of popcorn.
  • On the Ben 10: Ultimate Alien episode "Prisoner #775 Is Missing", as Rath is ranting at a ship that's flying away with him clinging to the underside:
    Kevin: You know, Rath is the only alien that makes me want to get a box of popcorn, kick back, and just watch.
    Gwen: Kevin, this isn't the time for... okay, me too.
  • Gunther from Kick Buttowski does this in Box Office Blitz... during the commercials before the movie even starts. Long before it even starts.
  • In the ReBoot episode "The TIFF", a group of binomes watch Bob and Dot having an argument, and one of them is eating popcorn.
  • Devil Smurf in The Smurfs episode "It's a Smurfy Life" is seen eating popcorn after watching Angel Smurf reveal to Handy what life in the Smurf Village would be like if he never existed.
  • In the episode "When Lightning Strikes" of Dragons: Riders of Berk, Tuffnut and Ruffnut eat nuts and watch as the entire village is being set ablaze by a lightning storm.
  • In the Garfield and Friends episode "Binky Goes Bad," Garfield munches on a bag of popcorn, slurps a soda, and even eats steak while Binky the Clown is on trial for grand theft.
  • During a hostage standoff at the bank in Bob's Burgers, Mr. Fischoder sets up a lawn chair on the sidewalk and watches the action with a drink on his hand.
  • The Tom and Jerry cartoon "The Mouse From H.U.N.G.E.R." has secret agent Jerry entering a mouse-sized theater where he screens his assignment. He breaks out a bag of popcorn as he watches.
  • Bakshi's Mighty Mouse reboot had "Mighty's Tone Poem," where Mighty Mouse forces four of his arch foes (through an agreement with the prison) to watch his home movies (consisting of clips of the show from season one). Ink-Suit Actor versions of Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel suddenly enter to give their take on the films, and they break out a bag of popcorn.
  • In the Adventure Time episode "The Pajama War", the candy people panic and start a riot when Finn and Princess Bubblegum go missing, but Jake just sits back with some nachos and watches the chaos.
  • Littlest Pet Shop (2012):
    • In the episode "The Secret Recipe," Zoe is eating a bag of popcorn while listing to Blythe's song. She then offers some to Penny Ling, who grabs every single piece from the bag in just one handful.
    • In "The Sister Story," Vinnie and Sunil are eating a bag of popcorn while watching Roger meditate. Then Minka swipes the whole bag.
  • In an episode of Franklin Franklin is putting on a circus for his friends. While watching it, Bear is seen eating some popcorn. Beaver wonders how he got it while Fox asks Bear to give him some.

    Real Life 
  • During the height of the Rod Blagojevichnote  hoopla, both Anderson Cooper and Rachel Maddow broke out the popcorn on their respective shows while airing clips of a press conference.
  • During the First Battle of Bull Run/Manassas, a number of people from the nearby towns brought picnic baskets to watch the battle. They started running once the Union soldiers ran right into them trying to escape the pursuing Confederates.
  • The tradition continues with bread sellers vending snacks to the Turks watching the Kurds battling with ISIS in Kobane.
  • The Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta, after hearing he's leading the elections against the German candidate for Presidency with a comfortable lead, and around 40% in opinion polls, said that he will “sit back with a bag of popcorn” in the first round of the election on November 2nd and "watch his challengers debate". Ironically enough, the Romanians were so pissed by this statement and his seemingly endless narcissism that they decided to choose the non-Orthodox non-ethnically-Romanian as president. Romania is one of the most conservative societies in Europe. Go figure.