"The reason we're gathered here on our God-given, much-needed day of rest is that we have a Polish hostage."
Our main character's had enough of their subpar job and has taken a day off so they can have some downtime. But things go haywire at work and they get called in anyway.
Compare Busman's Holiday
where the character does successfully take a vacation, but ends up spending it doing what they do for work. May overlap with When You Coming Home, Dad?
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- In The Wrong Reflection Eleya actually managed to attend the event she had gotten a few days' leave for (that being her sister's wedding), but she gets called in to deal with a spate of mirror universe incursions when she still had a day and a half left before she had to go back to duty.
- The opening of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier has the main characters called back from their vacation in order to deal with a hostage situation on another planet.
- S.W.A.T.: The day after the team passes the SWAT test, they get the day ostensibly off work. However, they're still on call and end up getting paged to come in and deal with a "Polish hostage" who's randomly firing shotgun blasts out his front door.
- Clerks: The entire film is the story of a day in the life of Dante, a convenience store clerk. It opens with him being called into work on his day off, and the rest of the film is a chronicle of Dante's misadventures during the day.
- Ray Owens is the only sheriff of the small Arizona town of Sommerton Junction in The Last Stand. Naturally, the one day he has a vacation, a drug lord steals a Corvette C6 ZR1 and makes a break for Mexico, his path taking him right through Sommerton. Lampshaded by Owens in their final confrontation: "You fucked up my day off."
- Spock's World has the Enterprise yanked from shore leave when Vulcan decides to discuss secession.
- The aptly-named short story "Day Off" in The Dresden Files sees Harry having all manner of Busman's Holiday style mayhem descend on him during his one day off—beginning with a Big Bad Wannabe, continuing with a pair of werewolves suffering from spectral fleas, and culminating with his apprentice smoking out the whole apartment.
- In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Defiant", Gul Dukat laments to Ben Sisko that, rather than spending the day trying to stop the hijacked USS Defiant from attacking Cardassian space, he was supposed to be taking his son to an amusement park for his eleventh birthday.
Dukat: He always wanted to go, but I never had the time. I told him, "This year will be different, Mekor. This year I will make the time."
Sisko: I had the same experience with Jake. At that age, they never understand, do they? You just hope that, one day later, they'll look back and say, "Now I understand. Now I know why he did that."
Dukat: When my son looks back on this day, the only thing he'll remember is that a Federation officer, on a Federation ship, invaded his home, and kept his father away from him on his eleventh birthday, and he won't look back with understanding. He'll look back with hatred, and that's sad.
- Barney Miller: The detectives walk off the job as a part of a citywide police protest, but a call comes in and Barney is suddenly overworked because it's just him, Inspector Luger and Officer Levitt holding down the fort. So Wojo goes out on the call, telling the other guys he'd just do this one. After getting back now Wojo has to process the perp. Another call comes in about a grocery store holdup in progress. They all decide they all need some groceries right now, and if they "happen" across any crime they can make a citizen's arrest.
- One episode of Blue Bloods has Danny's Body of the Week drop right when he's about to go out to Long Island for the weekend with his wife Linda. He ends up trying and failing to juggle both, with her letting him out of a play they had nonrefundable tickets to by calling a friend.
- On Justified US Marshal Raylan Givens is taking the day off to go house hunting with his pregnant ex-wife/girlfriend Winnona when he gets a call about a problem in Harlan County. Raylan is the only one who can properly resolve it so he apologizes to Winnona and leaves. Winnona seems to be fine with this but it is actually the final confirmation for her that Raylan has not changed and will not prioritize her and their child over his job. Soon after she breaks off the relationship and leaves.
- On Brooklyn Nine-Nine Peralta causes everyone at the precinct to have to abandon the rest of their day off and work a case all night long and the next morning, all because he screwed up. Everyone hates him for it.
- The Scrubs episode "My Way Home" has two examples as JD is paged by an intern on his day off of work. What follows is a Whole Plot Reference to The Wizard of Oz where JD gets constantly assigned tasks that prevent him from returning home. This in turn is revenge by Doctor Cox who has orchestrated this for all the times that JD called him in on his days off.
- In the Stargate SG-1 episode 'Nemesis' the team gets some leave courtesy of Daniel (and his actor) coming down with appendicitis. Teal'c goes offworld to visit his family, Carter is fiddling with a naquadah reactor, and Jack is about to leave to go fishing when out of nowhere Thor arrives in orbit and beams him up to his ship to fight Replicators.
- In Castle, the episode "In the Belly of the Beast" opens with Detective Beckett giddily about to enjoy a rare and much-earned day off, when Captain Gates calls her in to help out with an undercover operation. Things go From Bad to Worse.
- Mac has had a few of these on CSI: NY. Two were supposed to be spent with his then-girlfriend, Peyton.
- One episode of WKRP in Cincinnati has the staff called into the station for an emergency weekend meeting, revealing outfits such as Jennifer's formal horse-riding togs and Venus's Scoutmaster.
- The Power Rangers S.P.D. episode "Stakeout" has Syd about to take off for her birthday when a situation arises, and Jack assigns her the duty because she's the most experienced of the team at stakeouts ("And besides, you said it's not a big deal." "I lied!"). Part of the problem is that, as he admits later, he had spent most of his life homeless so he doesn't know when his own birthday is and doesn't understand why they're such a big deal.
- At the end of Act I of the Republic Trooper's storyline in Star Wars: The Old Republic, the Trooper is given an extended shore leave after successfully tracking down the Havoc Squad traitors, but it is cut short almost as soon as you land back on Coruscant—there is a new Imperial superweapon in the making and the command wants you to take it out.
- Trauma Team opens Maria's story with her being needed on her day off due to high load.
- The 1996 release of Duke Nukem 3D opens with the eponymous hero grousing, "Someone's going to pay for screwing up my vacation." Duke loads and cocks a pistol vengefully.
- In the backstory of the original Carmen Sandiego game, you are just about to leave on a well-deserved trip to a tropical beach when you get a phone call from the Chief. All vacations are canceled because Carmen has escaped from prison.
- In the Timon & Pumbaa episode, "Zazu's Off Day Off", Zazu tries to enjoy his day off, but Gopher continually interrupts it to tell him that the river has dried up and the animals are dying of thirst. Jumbo Jumbo, a stubborn elephant, is sitting in the middle of the river and refuses to move. At the end of the episode, it is revealed that Jumbo Jumbo was only sitting in the river because he thought it was his day off, and promptly moves when he realizes his mistake. Then Gopher tells Zazu that tomorrow is Jumbo Jumbo's ''real'' day off.
- In the Thomas the Tank Engine episode, "Thomas' Day Off", Sir Topham Hatt gives Thomas a day off and sends a diesel engine named Dennis to do his work for him. However, Dennis is a lazy diesel and lies about having something wrong with him to get out of doing his work. Thomas is still happy to help Dennis despite wanting to enjoy his day off, even when Dennis actually does have something wrong with him.
- A subversion occurs in the Spongebob Squarepants episode, "Bubble Buddy". Squidward tries to enjoy SpongeBob's day off, but SpongeBob comes into work anyway to show Squidward his new friend, Bubble Buddy. He also makes Squidward make Bubble Buddy one of everything on the menu, with various alterations to suit Bubble Buddy's needs.
- Robot Chicken had a Final Fantasy VII parody set at a fast food joint. Sephiroth the manager arrives, complete with Ominous Latin Chanting, and tells Cloud that he needs to come in on Saturday, but Cloud has Lakers tickets! In the ensuing battle, Sephiroth hits Cloud with the Unpaid Overtime attack and Cloud levels the restaurant with a meteor.
- On the Looney Tunes short "Boston Quackie", Daffy Duck plays a detective on vacation with his girlfriend when his boss Porky Pig comes in with an urgent assignment. Daffy sarcastically thanks him for the Busman's Holiday.
- The aptly-titled episode of Sofia the First, "Baileywick's Day Off". Baileywick is the butler that ensures everything in the castle runs smoothly. To show how much they appreciate him, the royal family asks that he take his birthday off with his brother Nigel to go fishing. However, problems arise that Baileywick is called to help solve and he insists on helping, so the royal family give him a do-over day off afterward.
- In an episode of Salty's Lighthouse, the Cut-and-Paste Translation of TUGS, Bluenose makes Grampus work at the Naval Yard on his day off. When Grampus tells him that it's his day off, Bluenose reminds him that all days off can be cancelled without notice.
- In one episode of The Simpsons, Groundskeeper Willie, who is cleaning a large puddle of vomit, asks himself why he chose to work on his day off.