"Some part has malfunctioned and must be replaced. It will require at least an hour. This sends Effie into a state. She pulls out her schedule and begins to work out how the delay will impact every event for the rest of our lives."
This is a character who has to do everything
according to precise schedule, every day of their lives. You could set your watch by them. This is often portrayed as being unhealthy and/or tied in with some kind of mental condition. Obviously, watching someone go about things the same way for the entire story would get very dull, so the plot generally forces them to break this schedule at some point.
See also Clock King
, someone who knows not only their own schedule but also everyone else's, and Super OCD
, which this can be a part of.
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Anime and Manga
- Mikami Teru from Death Note was so constant in his conduct that it was the breaking of his routine that allowed Near to make one of his final deductive leaps. There's also another sense in which he's a fanatic.
- Kashmir from Overman King Gainer was obsessed with making sure that the Siberian Railway's schedule was perfectly followed, becoming irritated if it was even half a minute off.
- Saga lives her life under a very rigid schedule, and gets completely cheesed off at Sugar for turning her life upside down with assorted antics and misadventures, at least in the beginning.
- One episode of Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei has Chiri writing a giant book of a schedule for a field trip.
- Skalman from Bamse is a very meticulous man (erh, anthropomorphic turtle) who loves eating and sleeping almost as much as he loves reading and thinking. His own favorite invention is his "food-and-sleep-alarm-clock" who calls many times a day to announce time for various snacks and naps (presumably to make the sleeping and eating more efficient). He is so disciplined to it that a "naptime" signal can call him to sleep in the middle of, say, fighting in a tournament. Likewise, once he starts sleeping, it is almost impossible to wake him up. When he once felt he had to work non-stop on an invention (being deeply distressed) he turned off the clock and didn't sleep or eat until done (when he collapsed).
- In a Looney Tunes comic book story, Elmer Fudd becomes fanatical about following schedules after reading a self-help book: "I made dinner, then I thwew it out and washed the dishes. I wish I'd wemembered to put 'Eat dinner' on the wist. I'm hungwy, but I'm on schedule!" Bugs Bunny, naturally, exploits Elmer's obsession by switching his schedule with one that requires him to do bizarre and humiliating things.
- Raymond Babbitt in Rain Man, as a result of his condition.
- Harold Crick in Stranger Than Fiction is a slightly less extreme version.
- The Serial Killer Lucas in Mindhunters.
- Mr. Banks in Mary Poppins:
At 6:01, I march through my door.
My slippers, sherry, and pipe are due at 6:02.
Consistent is the life I lead!
- Clockwise. Just...Clockwise. Brian, played by John Cleese, is a strictly punctual headmaster who holds everyone else to his own exacting standards. The whole plot of the movie is how a misunderstanding leads to him missing his train to an important event and how his life slowly unravels as he tries desperately to get there on time. In the end he arrives exactly on time but with his life utterly ruined. Brian was chronically late and disorganized when he was younger, so his insane devotion to punctuality is likely overcompensation.
- The eponymous Mad Scientist in The Blood Waters of Dr. Z has every stage of his Evil Plan on a huge chart on his wall. When he has completed each phase he crosses it out.
- In Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days, Phileas Fogg is this trope in action.
"At exactly half-past eleven Mr. Fogg would, according to his daily habit, quit Saville Row, and repair to the Reform...He breakfasted and dined at the club, at hours mathematically fixed...and went home at exactly midnight, only to retire at once to bed."
- Fogg was actually a flanderized version of Verne's father, who often acted like this in Real Life.
- The autistic hero of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
- Fay Weldon's Darcy's Utopia—the main character leaves her husband for another man (or at least has an affair with him while the lovers stay in a hotel). Main character (I forget her name) learns her husband is having an affair with a Kirsty Bull. At the end, the main character returns to her husband—Kirsty bull says, in effect, "I can't stand your husband, he's crazy, he does everything on a schedule, even sex, you can have him."
- The man at the start of Alex Rider novel Point Blanc, which leads to his death when he steps into an empty liftshaft.
- The rabbit from Alice in Wonderland.
- The One State in We is a Planet of Hats of schedule freaks — it's part of the effort to maintain Instrumentality. All "for their own good"...
- The post office cat in Going Postal, walks the exact same route every day, not even bothering trying to circumvent people standing in his way.
- Harlan Ellison's "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman" depicts a future where everyone is a schedule fanatic, because if they aren't, the Ticktockman deducts their time late from their lifespan and kills them if it runs out. After the Harlequin is captured and "dealt with", the sign that his actions have left a lasting effect is that the Ticktockman himself starts running late.
- While not quite the same thing, in the Red Dwarf novel, it's explained that Rimmer routinely fails the officer's exam because he spends so much time color-coding his study schedule he falls way behind in his studies and has to color-code an emergency study schedule. By the time he's done with that, it's time to take the test.
- But unless the syllabus changes very frequently, surely he can just re-take the exam using the original schedule he created?
- The book Triplets by Joyce Rebeta-Burditt has one of the triplets like this, which put her in contestation with the protagonist, who was usually late.
Live Action TV
- An episode of Bones had a character who was obsessed with his schedule because he believed that if he didn't stick to it, the person nearest to him would die.
- An episode of Home Improvement dealt with Tim's trying to adhere to a rigid schedule, while Jill espoused the virtues of being more flexible. They each had a dream of a future where they were awesome because they were consistent/flexible, while the other was demented/weak because of over-reliance on a schedule/being too easily pushed around.
- In The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon takes this to the extreme. When one of this 3 friends doesn't come to their weekly Thai dinner, he is unable to order anything because it would disrupt the routine - an order of dumplings comes with 4 and he refuses to cut up a dumpling or give someone an extra one. His issues with the main course are more complex.
- Special Agent Frank Lundy in Dexter is a minor example in that, no matter what he happens to be doing at the time, he will always have lunch at one o'clock.
- This is the central defining character trait for Martin Bryce in Ever Decreasing Circles.
- In Friends, Ross exhibits this tendency in "The One Where No One Is Ready". He invited his friends to an event related to his job that he was going to get honors for, but everyone was taking their sweet time and/or taking longer than it was needed to get ready, which caused Ross to get more frantic as time passed; Joey and Chandler were childishly fighting over who got to sit in a chair, Monica was obsessed with finding out if her ex-boyfriend wanted to get back with her, and Phoebe and Rachel took an extremely long time to decide what they wanted to wear. Oh, and Ross' watch stopped working.
- Annie in Community is shown to be one in an online webisode. She forces the entire study group to take a 90 second study break every thirty minutes.
- Gary from Alphas. Justified in that he's autistic.
- The Rparrah in Astra are a whole cult of Schedule Fanatics. They believe that they can learn to control time by being precisely aware of it.
- The postman from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. He at one point breaks into tears because he wants to evacuate the doomed city, but can't because escape from falling moon is not on the schedule, and near the end of the three-day cycle, says something to the effect of "I'm free! I can set my own schedule!"
- A postman in Oracle of Ages needs a clock because he can't follow his schedule without a way to tell time.
- Time Man, one of the two new Robot Masters from Mega Man Powered Up, is obsessed with schedules, to the point where he berates others for being late or slowing him down (ironic, in that his special ability is to slow down time). This is also prevalent in his appearance in the Archie comics series, when he complains about having to revise his plans to rescue Dr. Wily multiple times on account of Oil Man messing him up.
- Played for laughs in Touhou supplemental material by Renko Usami, who can and will be late to events, but can tell to the second how late she was.
- Shirogane Sakuya, in Hatoful Boyfriend, is not apparently bothered by unscheduled disruptions and events. An aristocrat is flexible, after all. However, he does also have his schedule planned down to the second. If he wants to meet you at exactly three and you show up at three and nineteen seconds, he starts chiding you for lateness.
- Mikey from The Class Menagerie, though apparently it's to distract him from his sexuality.
- The Order of the Stick: Redcloak tortures a character who is immune to fear, even though he doesn't expect it to work, purely because it's written on his schedule.
- Though it was still on his schedule because he had to pretend to Xykon that it might work, in order to keep them at their current location for long enough for him to do what he wanted, which was not connected to their overall plan.
- This creepypasta is an extreme example.
- In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Bubble Boys", Baljeet tried this. It didn't work out so well.
- Temple Fugate, AKA the Clock King in Batman The Animated Series. The one time he did break his routine, things went pretty wrong.
- For one episode in Danny Phantom, Danny does exactly this. The schedule itself is written on his friend's PDA, but later gets stolen and used by Skulker who's unfortunately stuck with the strict schedule against his will. At least he knows it works!
- The episode "Foster's Goes To Europe" in Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends had Herriman be one of the many delays to the group setting out on their trip because Herriman insisted on making them a schedule and repeatedly making adjustments for things like time zones.
- The Disney version of Winnie the Pooh's Rabbit is sometimes like this.
- A joke during the third season of Avatar The Last Airbender has Sokka constructing a huge, complex, and somewhat squickily detailed schedule so they can arrive in time to carry out the invasion of the Fire Nation during a rare solar eclipse. For some odd reason, the suggestion about eating and going to the bathroom at the same time wasn't well received.
- Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is like this at times.
- In "It's About Time", she nearly has a breakdown when she realizes her schedule for this month doesn't include enough time to make a schedule for next month.
- An earlier episode, "Lesson Zero", involved Twilight struggling to write something for her weekly friendship report to Princess Celestia. Her inherent perfectionism and insistence that the report needs to be sent that very day causes magic-induced mass hysteria when she tries to "make" a friendship lesson instead.
- Exaggerated in an episode of Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi, where Yumi, tired of Ami's constant scheduling, sets her clock back by five seconds and everything Ami does is delayed by five seconds, from laughing at a joke to crossing the street. When Yumi tries to correct the time, she sets the clock back years behind and Ami starts acting like a baby, and and old lady when she sets it forward.
- Gertie in Henry Hugglemonster She plans out her whole day, even when playing with her friends.
- Immanuel Kant. Interesting in that people actually did set their watches by him, or at least the village clock. When he got caught up reading an interesting book, people were late all over town.
- People with autism and/or OCD tend to be this.
- So do people who rely on public transit.
- And people who are expecting an important package.
- Hell, practically everyone in the Industrialised world; just a few centuries ago, it would have been mad to try and plan anything more precisely than 'morning', 'noon' or 'afternoon'!