Shut Up and Save Me!

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Aang: Hey, you did the Water Whip!
Katara: I couldn't have done it without your help!
Sokka: [being restrained by three pirates] Will you two quit congratulating each other and help me out?!

Instead of providing rescue to another character, this one is distracted by something. The rescue is Played for Comedy; subverting the Big Damn Heroes by having heroes not awesome during the rescue. They may seem completely oblivious to the danger their friend/ally is in, allowing for a completely different sort of rescue to occur.

This can also be the Inverted Trope of two other rescue tropes; Refuse to Rescue the Disliked (which involves the hero deliberately choosing not to rescue on the basis of personal dislike) and Unwanted Rescue (which involves the character being rescued trying to ignore or prevent the hero's attempts).

For the opposite (where a character would prefer another character stop trying to "save" them), see Unwanted Assistance.


Examples:

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    Films — Animation 
  • In Monsters, Inc., Sully is being throttled by Randall when Mike shows up. Since Randall is invisible, Mike doesn't notice at first that Sully is in trouble, and he keeps talking for a minute or two before he notices that Sully's not being very attentive. And then Mike gets mad and throws a snowball at him, hitting Randall in the face by mistake (showing Sully where Randall's head is).
    Sulley: [is fighting the invisible Randall when he is hit with a snowball] Mike?
    Mike: Look, it's not that I don't care about the kid.
    Sulley: Mike, you don't understand.
    Mike: Yes, I do. I was just mad, that's all. I needed some time to think, but you shouldn't have left me out there.
    Sulley: I'm being attacked!
    Mike: No, I'm not attacking you. I'm trying to be honest, just hear me out. You and I are a team. Nothing is more important than our friendship. [Boo approaches Mike, frightened] I-I-I know, kid. He-he's too sensitive. [Sulley is being strangled] Come on, pal. If you start crying, I'm gonna cry, and I'll never get through this. I'm sorry I wasn't there for you, but I am now. Hey, Sulley, I am baring my soul here. The least you can do is pay attention! [throws snowball; it hits Randall, making him visible enough for Sulley punch him in the face] Hey look, it's Randall— ohhhhhh...
  • Flushed Away: Rodney plays the part of Big Damn Heroes, but starts by apologizing profusely for his earlier behavior. Rita suggests they talk about this after he's rescued her.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Hancock: After "sensitivity training", to make Hancock a more politically correct sort of superhero, he's faced with rescuing a wounded policewoman. He's so overly careful and political correct that she tells him to just get on with it.
  • James Bond film Licence to Kill: The Dragon is holding Bond at the end of a Conveyor Belt-O-Doom over a cocaine grinder. Pam, the Action Girl, turns up in time to shoot the Dragon (and he happens to drop into the grinder), but Bond is still attached to the machine. This leads to this classic exchange:
    Pam: Are you okay?
    Bond: SWITCH THE BLOODY MACHINE OFF!
  • After the Flying Monkey attack in The Wizard of Oz, the Scarecrow reacts this way when the Tin Man and Lion make jokes while he's lying on the ground in pieces.
    Scarecrow: Don't stand there talking — put me together!

    Literature 
  • The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn and Éowyn in "The Houses of Healing". Particularly infuriating as he's monologuing about all the additional names he's going to have once he's king. This is Tolkien — names are Serious Business.
  • In one of Aesop's Fables, a boy is bathing in a river, but walks out too far and starts drowning. A nearby man starts calling him a moron, and the boy screams at him to save him and then scold him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Cordelia comes across Willow locked in a cage in the school library, and instead of letting her out sits down with a cup of coffee and lectures Willow about stealing her boyfriend. Which is actually a good thing because, unknown to her, she's actually talking to Willow's Evil Twin — a psychotic vampire from an alternate dimension. In the spin-off series Angel Cordy is equally clueless when hunting through the sewers after a monster, and failing to notice it's strangling Doyle with a giant tentacle because she's too busy griping about how insensitive Angel is to the needs of his co-workers.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Rose": After Rose's boyfriend Mickey pretended to be attacked by a mannequin arm, when the Doctor is genuinely attacked by the same arm later on, Rose thinks he's messing around. He has to rescue himself before she realizes he was in any sort of danger.
    • "The Runaway Bride": The Doctor is listening at a door and talking at Donna; failing to notice the fact that she's been kidnapped by mooks for about half a minute. Amusingly, when the realization seems to sink in, he turns around to comment "and you have never been so quiet."
    • When the Eleventh Doctor and River Song are back-to-back in "Day of the Moon", Amy delivers this gem:
      Amy: Is this really important flirting? Because I feel I should be higher on the list.
  • In the Firefly episode "War Stories"; Mal is fighting Niska's henchman after being tortured; Jayne prepares to shoot the henchman when Zoe declares This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself. When Mal disagrees, they immediately kill the henchman.
    Zoe: Jayne, this is something the Captain has to do on his own.
    Mal: No! No, it's not!
    Zoe: Oh. [Zoe, Jayne, and Wash kill Niska's henchman]
  • An episode of Lois and Clark has a new superhero called Resplendent Man show up. He is as powerful as Superman, but will waste time demanding money from victims while they are still in danger.
  • In an episode of Scrubs JD goes to morgue for some reason and finds Dr. Cox there, Bound and Gagged and Stuffed into the Fridge by the angry janitors. JD realises he's got a unique opportunity to give voice to everything he ever wanted to say to Dr. Cox. Perry becomes so enraged by his yammering, he snaps the bounds on his hands and tackles JD.

    Video Games 
  • A scene in Broken Sword 2 has you find Nico tied to a chair. You can untie the rope or talk to her, but if you spend too long talking she gets a little annoyed...
  • Similarly, Tales of Monkey Island: Launch of the Screaming Narwhal lets the player ask Guybrush's wife Elaine how her day has been and if she needs anything to eat... while she's tied up on the deck of a zombie demon ghost pirate's ship.
  • A variation from Transformers: War for Cybertron; they aren't exactly dawdling, but the squad releasing Air Raid from his prison are encountering delays.
    Air Raid: You know, it was a lot quicker when I rescued you!
    Sideswipe: Can it, Air Raid; we're workin' here!

    Web Animation 
  • In Red vs. Blue, Simmons and Sarge just saw Grif go over a cliff and are debating on if they should bother checking if he's dead. Grif is suspended from a cliff by a gun he jammed into the side of the wall and shouts back to them that they need to help him back up.
    Grif: Oh, for God's sake, just look over the damn edge! I can't hold on for much longer!

    Web Comics 
  • The trope name comes from a Dominic Deegan strip, where the exact quote is, "Will you shut up and help me?!"
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Early on, when Roy is assaulted by a mind flayer, the other party members just stand there dumbfounded while Vaarsuvius rants furiously that s/he should be the one attacked, having the highest intelligence score.
      Roy: A little help here? No, seriously, guys.
    • In a filler strip, Haley and Roy spend two panels discussing gelatin desserts. The third panel then displays Elan and Belkar floating inside a Gelatinous Cube while Belkar demands they stop talking and work on rescuing.
      Belkar: Less talk, more slashing damage.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Gaang is being attacked by pirates, and Katara has just managed to perform the "water whip" correctly (she's been practicing it the whole episode). Aang and Katara immediately begin praising each other, until interrupted by Sokka, who has been taken prisoner.
    Aang: Hey, you did the Water Whip!
    Katara: I couldn't have done it without your help!
    Sokka: [being restrained by three pirates] Will you two quit congratulating each other and help me out?!
  • An episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold has Robin taking advantage of the fact Batman is tied up to a giant loom to rant to him about treating him like a kid. Batman turns this into a Redundant Rescue; freeing himself while Robin's back is turned.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • "The Mysterious Mare Do Well": At one point a hapless tourist pony in a runaway cart interrupts Rainbow Dash's Catch-Phrase to ask politely if she could save them first.
    • "Magical Mystery Cure": Twilight and Fluttershy start singing "A True, True Friend" and Rainbow Dash has to remind them that she's still tied up in a cooking pot.
  • In Teen Titans, during a fight with Trigon in Raven's mind, Cyborg has to remind Beast Boy and Raven that they're in battle and he's in danger.
    Raven: You stayed? I thought you didn't like me.
    Beast Boy: Thought you didn't like me.
    Cyborg: Yo, I like both of ya. Now get your butts over here!

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