Road Trip Across The Street

I can't believe I have to drive all the way to work on a Saturday!

A character gets in a car, or similar vehicle for long-to-medium-distance trips, but the trip doesn't even leave the street. Usually a comedy trope, as it's really hard to have a legitimate dramatic reason for it, unless a character is Too Important to Walk.

Not to be confused with driving because a poorly planned road makes it more dangerous to go on foot.

The phone version of this is the Short-Distance Phone Call.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • There was an advertisement for the lottery that had a man kiss his wife goodbye from his car as he went "to work", he drove around his circular driveway to pick up his check from the mailbox, then drove back. After being about 10 seconds around the driveway, she asks "How was your day?"
  • An ad discouraging drunk driving has Allison Brie leaving a party at Adam Scott's house by getting in a limo (thereby avoiding drunk driving) and being driven to her house... across the street. She even waves to Adam as she walks from her driveway to her front door.

    Comic Strips 
  • Baby Blues: The kids want to drive to their mailbox, so they can get in the car.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Penguins of Madagascar, after mistaking Shanghai for Dublin, the penguins mail themselves to Shanghai, where they think Dave will strike next. The mail truck picks them up and drives off... then drives back and drops the penguins back where they started.
  • In Toy Story 2, Al lives in an apartment right across the street from his toy store, and still drives there. And he gripes all the way about having to drive to work on a Saturday!

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Leonard of Leonard Part 6 going to his ex-wife's house.
  • LA Story: Steve Martin gets in his car to go and visit a friend, drives for about the length of three cars, and get out again.
  • In,Not Another Teen Movie some kids announce they are going on a road trip to the party, which is down the block.
  • Steve Martin's character Navin in The Jerk hitchhikes to the end of the block.
    Navin: Thanks for the company. I hope I can repay you someday!
  • The opening to The Gods Must Be Crazy has a wealthy South African using their car to post a letter in the mailbox just down the street.
  • In The Diamond Arm the protagonist supposedly visiting a bakery on a taxi (in USSR, no less) is vaguely suspected by his nosy house-manager — after all, he got a broken arm, not a leg. But that's just a very clumsy cover-up for meeting with a police operative.
  • In Casino Royale, James Bond gets in a car in front of a hotel with a Bond Girl, telling her that his place is very close. He takes off and stops 10 seconds later... at the same place. The valet's non-plussed "Good evening, sir, and welcome back," is priceless.
  • Early in Bang Boom Bang, Keek gets into his 1970s Ford Taunus and drives to the video rental store. The video rental store is about 100 meters down the same street as his place.
  • In the 2004 film version of The Phantom of the Opera musical, the Phantom places Christine on the back of a horse and uses it to carry her the length of a short corridor before abandoning it again. This a reference to the original novel.
  • An extreme example turns up in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. It's not just that the tour party travels down a modest corridor to the Wonkavision room via the Wonkamobile — a curious car-like contraption. It's also that, while supposedly powerful, it moves no faster than walking pace and leaves everyone Covered in Gunge until they pass through the Hsaw Aknow ("Wonka Wash" spelled backwards). Upon disembarking, Mike asks Wonka if they couldn't have just walked and his reply is "If the good Lord had intended us to walk, he wouldn't have invented roller skates."
  • In Dumb And Dumber To, Lloyd and Harry ride the bicycle to visit Harry's parents he hasn't been in many years. On The Road Again song was played, but cut short when they stop at the second house down the street..

    Literature 
  • Bill Bryson brings up a few real life examples in Notes from a Big Country, one example involved some of his neighbours being invited to his house for dinner one day and despite living a short way down the street they drove there. Bryson mentions jokingly asking if they go shopping via light aircraft.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On a The Daily Show segment about gas prices and fuel guzzlers, Rob Corddry gets in a car to travel the distance from one end of stretch Hummer to the other.
  • A couple of times on Get Smart.
    • Once in The Pilot when Max drives from the concert hall to CONTROL HQ — he gets in his car, does a big U Turn, and stops in front of the building across the street (getting Rockstar Parking each time); this example made it to the opening credits.
    • In a later episode, where they get in a cab and tell the driver to go to X address: the driver pulls forward about 10 feet and says, "Here we are."
  • In How I Met Your Mother, Ted took Stella on a two minute date. This involved them getting in a taxi two separate times in order to go one building down the street.
  • This happens on The Andy Griffith Show when a famous musician returns home to Mayberry. Barney insists on giving him a police escort from the courthouse to his hotel—which is four doors down the block.
  • Combined with Short-Distance Phone Call in a sketch on You're Skitting Me. A schoolgirl calls her mother and begs to be picked up from school. When her mother finally relents, its revealed that their house is literally across the street from the school.

    Music 
  • "Pinch Me" by the Barenaked Ladies:
    There's a restaurant down the street
    where hungry people like to eat
    I could walk but I'll just drive
    It's colder than it looks outside!

    Western Animation 
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Zuko's Servants make him take the palanquin to Mai's house— which is less than twenty yards outside the palace wall— because they believe he's Too Important to Walk. Although he relents when he realizes it is a good way to get past the mob of Fangirls.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man: Harry insists on picking up Peter and his date for Flash's party, and then drives them all of half a block, having thought Peter was exaggerating how close the two lived.
  • The Simpsons
    • Bart, Lisa, and Maggie are taken away from Marge and Homer to live in a foster home. We see them driven away from the Simpson residence and taken... next door to live with the Flanders family.
    • Another time, Marge drives Bart and Lisa to school after missing the bus. She goes after the bus, but Otto thinks she want a race. It ends when Marge stops the bus just a few feet away from the school, but still wants her kids to be on the bus, admitting herself she won. Subverted when Otto forgot to pick up the new kid and drives back to pick her up.
    • Another variation showed Homer's commute to work; several miles over a heavily trafficed highway, a gridlocked detour, a huge, full parking lot with the only remaining space being at the very far end next to the chain-link perimeter fence...abutting his own backyard. Annoyed Grunt!
  • In Bobby's World an episode is dedicated to the drama of Bobby's family moving to a new house. When the time for the move actually happens, Bobby promptly states Are We There Yet? to his father, who immediately replies "Yes". Kind of begs the question why no one told this to Bobby until they were already packed up in the car, but eh, just roll with it.
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Pizza Delivery", SpongeBob drives Squidward back to the Krusty Krab after making a delivery right next door. This after having gotten lost for hours trying to make the delivery in the first place.
  • Occurs in an episode of Dave the Barbarian. The Narrator even lampshades this at one point.
    Narrator: And, so our heroes set forth on a long and perilous journey to find the Master of Evolution... Which was pretty stupid since he lived right next door.
  • In The Angry Beavers, Norbert gets in a boat along with Stump and a crapload of supplies in order to rescue Dagget from the female raccoons. It turns out the island on which their domain is located is... just three feet away from the Beavers' dam.
  • Implied on the Looney Tunes short Show Biz Bugs. Daffy Duck arrives to the theater on a cab and complains about how high the fare is. Said fare was 25 cents for one block.
  • An episode of Cow and Chicken has the family making a huge, tearful deal out of moving to a new house to escape an ant infestation. The new house is literally next door. The ants follow them, too.
  • An episode of The Get Along Gang had Bingo Beaver find out that he was going to be moving house. He spent the whole episode making the rest of the gang feel sorry for him, so they decide to throw him a big leaving party. Then they all turn up on the big moving day to wave him off, as his family get in the moving lorry and drive....about 3 houses down the road. The gang all has a go at him for the theatrics, but to be fair he didn't know (and using a moving lorry to shift furniture three houses down the street is logically a bit of a waste).
  • Hoodwinked appears to have this when the Wolf hails a taxi in order to catch up to Red after she runs away. The ride only lasts under fifteen seconds.
  • In The Fairly OddParents episode "Vicky Loses Her Icky", Timmy's parents decided to eat at a restaurant (without him) and drive there. As they leave the house, it's shown the place is, as the trope's name suggests, across the street. Literally.
  • In one Mickey Mouse cartoon, Goofy asks Mickey to take him to the airport early in the morning. After being driven bananas all night by the clock Goofy loaned him, Mickey arrives at his house...and finds out the airport is right next door. Mickey is not amused.
  • Speaking of Mickey, in one House of Mouse short, Pluto is chasing Mickey's Jerk Ass rival, Mortimer Mouse. Mortimer hails a taxi and tells the driver to take go "to the other side of town and step on it!" The Taxi moves about half a block, stopping at the intersection of "Other Side of Town St." and "Step On It Lane".
  • Inverted in one episode of Chowder. The catering team and Gazpacho make a delivery to Mr. Fugu who is down the street. However, due to unexpected work on Mr. Fugu's driveway, they're forced to take the long way around, turning it into an actual roadtrip, much to Chowder's enjoyment.

    Real Life 
  • Liberace once bought a Rolls Royce which his chauffeur only ever drove once — across the stage where Liberace was performing, in order to deliver the robe he wore for the next song. The car is now in the Liberace Museum in Las Vegas.
  • There is an occasional real life example not caused by laziness, but really long streets.
  • A woman saw her husband go out and get into the family car, which was parked on the street. She yelled at him to wait while she and the kids freshened up and joined him . . .only to have him drive into the garage.
  • Railroad transportation:
    • If you were to ride the Chicago 'L' around the central Loop and you entered at one Loop stop, then got off at another Loop stop, chances are this trope might play out. If you enter at State/Lake and get off at Clark/Lake one stop west, you've taken a train for the equivalent of 500 feet. If you got on at State/Lake and got off at the very next stop, Randolph/Wabash, you've gone about 600 feet, or the equivalent of one block east and one block south. However, the 'L' lines that service the Loop also avert this trope once they are in the Chicago suburbs, where the distance between stops is much greater, which is especially noticeable on the freeway sections of the Red and Blue Lines.
    • The London Underground has some central stations at similar intervals
    • Or, try going from Monument to Bank. This means 5 stops and 2 changes by the route plan. However they are actually directly above each other, with an escalator connection - but this was edited off during construction of the Docklands Light Railway in the 90s and some installations STILL don't show this as a result.
    • This phenomenon is likely to be endemic to municipal rail systems in general. The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, for example, has a light rail system with some ridiculously close stops, especially downtown; walking from the Santa Clara station to the St. James station doesn't take more than 30 seconds plus whatever time you spend waiting for the crosswalk signal to change. The BART stops in San Francisco aren't quite this close, but you can still walk from one to another in less time than it takes to wait for the next train.
    • The Washington Metro averts this in the suburbs, where there can be gaps of several miles between stops (especially on the Orange and Silver Lines), but it's played straight in central D.C. Most specifically, get on the Red Line at Metro Center and go one stop east to Gallery Place / Chinatown to transition from the Orange, Silver or Blue Lines to the Green and Yellow Lines. You've gone all of less than 1,000 feet.
  • This can be justified if you're trying to move a lot of stuff a short distance: If someone on your block is having a yard sale, and he's selling a large chair, do you carry it all the way home (which would probably take some extra minutes, given the weight of the chair) or try to put it in your car? Similarly, if you're trying to get from your house to your mother's house less than a quarter of a mile away (that's five minutes walking, tops), it may be worthwhile to take your car if (1) you have several bawling small children who are easier to keep in line for a 30-second car ride than a five-minute walk to visit Grandma; (2) are taking some food to a family dinner at Grandma's and would rather not risk dropping it in the middle of the street; or (3) it's really, really cold (or wet, or hot) out and you don't want to deal with the weather (it may also be a safety issue, especially if it's raining or if there's snow on the ground, especially if you are taking the aforementioned bawling small children).
  • One Man's 90-Foot Uber Ride
  • In the early days of Hollywood, there were actors/actresses who insisted on this because the car service was one of the perks in their contract, and if they didn't insist on using them, the studio would think they could pushed around.