[[quoteright:350:[[Series/TwentyFour http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/The_Kimberly_9891.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Kim Bauer in her natural habitat.]]

A subplot (usually in a drama) that is so disjointed from the main plot that you can't figure out why anyone would care about it, when the fate of the world is being decided elsewhere.

There are several reasons why this might happen. Maybe the author has introduced LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters and doesn't want people asking WhatHappenedToTheMouse. Maybe he doesn't want a new character to come out of nowhere. Maybe a comic relief character keeps getting scenes during a dramatic or serious portion of the plot, causing MoodWhiplash. Maybe the principal character is just a CreatorsPet, and you can't get anyone to care about it, meaningful or not. Or maybe the writers just needed to fill up time somehow.

This trope is named for Kim Bauer and her escapades in season 2 of ''Series/TwentyFour''. Whereas Kim was integral to the storyline of the first season, by season 2 the show had Creator/ElishaCuthbert under contract and no way to work her character into the main plot. This resulted in a series of B-stories where Kim is chased by her employer's homicidal husband, briefly detained after said employer's corpse is found in the trunk of her stolen car, causes an auto crash that severs her boyfriend's legs, gets lost in the wilderness, is caught in a bear trap and surrounded by mountain lions (thus the trope name), held prisoner by a lonely mountain man who tricks her into thinking the world has ended, becomes a hostage in a liquor store holdup, and is menaced by the husband ''again'' when she goes to his house to get her stuff and he somehow manages to kill the trained law enforcement professionals escorting her. Meanwhile in the actual, interesting main plot, her father tries to locate and defuse a nuclear bomb that's fallen into the hands of terrorists while a conspiracy within the government abuses the situation to make a power-grab. (It was a busy day.)

Of course, this trope can be justified, and in many instances is wrongly invoked when what the writers are doing is too subtle for the audience. For instance, the side plot can be a step towards resolution of an inner problem of a character, without which they would be unable to solve an outer problem later. And, of course, it can be straight up CharacterDevelopment.

Compare WackyWaysideTribe, where the entire cast is involved and there is no [[TwoLinesNoWaiting A-story]]. See also DeusExitMachina, {{Filler}}, {{Padding}}, and BigLippedAlligatorMoment. RomanticPlotTumor is a subtrope of this, as is {{Wangst}}. Compare TheGreatestStoryNeverTold and RedSkiesCrossover.


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Most scenes with Bulma during the Frieza Arc of ''Anime/DragonBallZ''; she needed to be there because nobody else could fly the spaceship, but after that her importance was non-existent. As a result, there are several episodes that cut away from the main plot to show Bulma reading magazines, hiding from Freeza soldiers, fighting giant crabs in the ocean, etc. Amusingly enough, there's one segment in the show where Krillin and Gohan hear her screaming in the distance and wonder if she really was ''literally'' Trapped By Mountain Lions (to which Krillin responds "I'd feel sorry for the lion.") Interestingly, while ''Anime/DragonBallKai'' excises most of the filler from ''DBZ'', it leaves in the sub-plot where Captain Ginyu briefly [[FreakyFridayFlip body-swaps]] with Bulma[[note]]Due to some scenes using dialogue from the manga with Piccolo, Gohan, and Krillin featuring Bulma[=/=]Ginyu appearing in them, it had to be left intact, but was still otherwise trimmed down as much as possible.[[/note]]; it's also referenced in ''Anime/DragonBallSuper'' when Ginyu appears and both Bulma and Piccolo mention the body-swap.
** ''Anime/DragonBallZTheTreeOfMight'' spends about half its runtime cutting away from or ignoring the kinda-neat plot of Earth being invaded by SpacePirates so we can get scenes of Gohan playing with his new pet dragon.
* For most of ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam00'''s first season, civilian teens Saji Crossroad and Louise Halevy seemed to serve no purpose at all. Until a WhamEpisode comes [[spoiler: as it makes them innocent victims of war, with Saji losing his sister Kinue ''and'' with Louise being orphaned and mutilated]]. In the second season, then, [[spoiler:Saji becomes the main character Setsuna's partner and co-pilot of sorts, and Louise is an artificially enhanced enemy soldier]].
** The second season had shades of this trope as well, with side characters such as Graham Aker (under the guise of one "Mr. Bushido"), Marina Ismail, Wang Liu Mei, Nena Trinity and Ali al-Saachez carrying on with their own stories without much relevance to the larger outcome of the story.
* At one point in ''Anime/CodeGeass'', Ohgi, Viletta, and Sayoko are at the top of a waterfall. Sayoko tries to kill Viletta, and Ohgi jumps in the way. He falls off the waterfall toward some sharp rocks. This scuffle was never mentioned again, and didn't have anything to do with what was going on.
* In ''Anime/DanganRonpa3'', ''Side:Future'' has several scenes where [[ButtMonkey Yasuhiro Hagakure]] tries, and fails, to reenter the Future Foundation building after he is trapped outside. These scenes never amount to anything plotwise, but in a case of TropesAreNotBad, they provide some badly-needed comic relief in an otherwise dark plot.
* Many plotlines in ''Anime/YuGiOh'' series that don't involve a Duelist tend to get this response. In particular, Honda/Tristan gets a subplot added to Duelist Kingdom of him trying to rescue Mokuba that [[{{Filler}} wasn't in the manga]] and could have been cut without affecting much of anything. The Otogi/Honda/Shizuka love triangle also had a lot of time dedicated to it in both the blimp arc and the Virtual World arc (both added for the anime); it was never given any resolution, and it mostly just consisted of the two of them somewhat creepily mooning after her and fighting each other.

* Y'know what was going on at the same time as CrisisCrossover ''Comicbook/CivilWar''? ''Comicbook/{{Annihilation}}'', aka the event where Annihilus killed Quasar and the all of Nova Corps (except Nova himself), stole the Quantum Bands thus making himself invincible, and then lead a Negative Zone army on a warpath, trying to slaughter all life in the ''galaxy''. This was a threat so big that almost every space superhero, villain, and alien race up to and including ''Galactus'' teamed up to stop it. Compared to that the events in ''Civil War'' seem incredibly pointless. Not to mention [[Comicbook/WorldWarHulk the Hulk was on his way back to rain holy hell on the superheroes]]. Lampshaded by a ''What If?'' Issue where Nova calls out Iron Man and Captain America on wasting everyone's time like this when a ''galaxy-destroying army of bugs'' is on the way.
* In ''Comicbook/CrisisOnInfiniteEarths'', the reader is enticed to forget about the fate of the multiverse and enjoy the adventures of Wildcat.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* Parodied in ''Disney/TheEmperorsNewGroove''. Because the movie is full of UnreliableNarrator, at the start he's narrating events he couldn't possibly have witnessed, then his own narration gets sidetracked by the chimp (actually a monkey, not a chimpanzee) and the bug ("Wwwwhat's with the chimp and the bug? Can we get back to ''me''?"), and then later, Kuzco-as-narrator briefly converses with Kuzco-as-character. Kuzco-as-narrator also tries to claim that spending plot-time with Pacha and his family is an example of this trope. Fortunately, there's [[NoFourthWall very little fourth wall]] in this film.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/IceAge'' movies, the small clips of Scrat constantly trying to grab a hold of a sole acorn have aspects of this. [[spoiler:Subverted at the end of the second film, when his eventual retrieval of the acorn ironically saves everyone from TheGreatFlood.]] Though it must be considered that [[EnsembleDarkhorse Scrat's the most beloved part of the series]] despite having little to no bearing to the main plot; his scenes are almost entirely just there for comic relief, and for the most part, it [[TropesAreTools works fairly well]].
* ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerry'' crossover movies like ''Tom and Jerry and The Wizard of Oz'', where they have Tom and Jerry getting up to their own antics while the main plot goes on around them and they barely interact with the main characters. Probably the most infamous of the bunch in this day and age is ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerryWillyWonkaAndTheChocolateFactory''.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Everything dealing with former reporter [[NamesTheSame Steve Martin]] (played by Raymond Burr) and the American army in ''Film/TheReturnOfGodzilla''. These scenes were filmed and written specifically for the American cut of the film, mimicking the original importation of ''[[Film/GodzillaKingOfTheMonsters1956 Godzilla: King of the Monsters!]]'', where Burr's character was much better integrated into the plot, mostly by essentially taking the narrative place of Hagiwara, a major character in the Japanese cut. But in ''Return'', none of the American characters actually ''do'' anything, so we're left watching other people effectively watching the movie with us from within the movie.
* The lengthy "Broadway Ballet" sequence in ''Film/SinginInTheRain'' seems to divide fans on the question of whether it is entertaining enough to justify leaving the plot on hold for over ten minutes.
* Ditto the long ballet segment in the middle of (the uncut version of) Ken Russell's ''Film/TheBoyFriend''.
* The second half of ''Film/ADayAtTheRaces'' has an extended musical interlude which starts with Allan Jones singing "Tomorrow Is Another Day," which is followed by Harpo using his flute to summon a black chorus which sings "Blow That Horn, Gabriel" and "All God's Chillun Got Rhythm." (The chorus has nothing else to do in the movie except reappear to sing the finale.) Many Creator/MarxBrothers consider this sequence as objectionable on an EthnicScrappy level, while some say it's [[FairForItsDay not really that bad by itself]] and the choir are very good, but it just stops the plot dead and its earnestness clashes painfully with the Marxes' usual slapstick and wisecracks.
** There's also the water ballet sequence, which even the film historian on the DVD commentary advises you to skip!
** Pretty much all of the MGM Marx Bros. movies have a disposable musical number or two - ''Races'' at least has the exceptional talents of Ivie Anderson and Whitey's Lindy Hoppers on full display. The funny thing is that these moments weren't so much filler as they were a throwback to old vaudeville variety shows, but it can be fairly jarring for modern audiences.
* The ''Film/TransformersFilmSeries'' has a lot of this. The [[Film/{{Transformers}} first movie]] has a subplot involving hackers that, in retrospect, does absolutely nothing to move the plot forward. (It didn't help that the scenes were a little boring and featured some spectacularly bad HollywoodHacking.) The RomanticPlotTumor in both movies tends to fit the "Why should we care?" aspect due to how jarring it is next to the action that everyone came to see.
* The original ''Film/TheLastHouseOnTheLeft'' would occasionally cut away from the main plot to show the antics of a pair incompetent cops trying to get back to the Collingwood house.
* In ''Film/TheMatrixRevolutions'', the machines are plotting to destroy Zion. They have done this six times before, and there is nothing special about this Zion. The only hope is that Neo can stop the machines at the source. This does not change that about 60%-70% of the movie is about the battle at Zion, with Neo's adventure as almost an afterthought.
* The subplot with the teenage couple in the car in ''Film/ManosTheHandsOfFate'' is completely irrelevant to what's going on with the rest of the cast. It briefly appears to have gained a shred of relevance when the couple points the police in the direction of where the main characters are. The police go to investigate and even hear a gunshot... and then immediately give up ("Sound does travel a long way at night. It could be clear over in Mexico, for that matter.") thus making the subplot entirely pointless again.
* In ''Film/{{Stealth}}'', after Jessica Biel's character gets shot down, she manages to safely land in North Korea, meaning the audience has to be repeatedly subjected to scenes of her attempting to flee the North Korean army. The main plot of the film ([[AIIsACrapshoot about an AI fighter jet which goes rogue and attempts to instigate nuclear war]]) is pointlessly and awkwardly dropped off [[MalignantPlotTumor so that the climax of the film can be about saving her from North Korea]].
* According to Creator/RogerEbert, ''Film/PearlHarbor'' is about how on December 7th, 1941, the Japanese forces staged a surprise attack on an American [[RomanticPlotTumor love triangle]]. Especially baffling because none of the main characters are present for the initial attack.
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgYhLIThTvk According to]] Creator/KevinSmith, during the initial writing for a ''{{Film/Superman}}'' film that never got made, [[ExecutiveMeddling Jon Peters]] demanded a scene about Brainiac fighting a polar bear, just to add another "action beat" to the movie.
* The cop subplot (if you can even call it that, considering how thin it is) from the original version of ''Film/TheAmityvilleHorror1979''.
* The excuse for the stunt flying competition in ''Theatre/StateOfTheUnion'' is that the protagonist is an airplane tycoon. It's still strikingly irrelevant sequence for a political comedy, especially one based on a play.
* ''Film/FromRussiaWithLove'' has a ''lengthy'' subplot where [[Film/JamesBond Bond]] has to aid his friend Kerim Bay against an assassin making an attempt on his life. [[Literature/FromRussiaWithLove The original novel]] had this as well.
* The main plot of ''Film/TheLedge'' deals with a love triangle between a Christian, an atheist and the former's wife. However, for some reason there is also the sub-plot of the cop discovering that his children are not his.
* Several scenes in Creator/DarioArgento's ''Film/DeepRed'' focus on Rome's police department dealing with an officer's strike. While partially explaining why the protagonist must investigate the murders himself, these scenes are handled so perfunctorily they add nothing to the film.
* The film ''Film/SSTDeathFlight'' (one of the first films to be riffed by ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'') is exceptionally guilty of this. The main plot is about a commercial plane suffering engine trouble with a contagious disease stored onboard, but there are ''innumerable'' subplots that have almost '''nothing''' to do with this: a guy and a wife discuss his possible job change, a woman and her lover (Creator/JohnDeLancie) meet her ex (Creator/PeterGraves) and [[TheMissusAndTheEx tension ensues]], a consultant on the plane has an old grudge against the pilot, a beauty contest winner doing PR work has gotten knocked up by the company's [=PR=] manager, the consultant has a budding romance with one of the stewardesses.
* ''Film/{{Hollywoodland}}'' is about a fictionalized investigation into the (real life) suicide of George Reeves (the star of ''The Adventures of Superman''), but approximately half the run-time is devoted to the investigator's troubled family life and another botched case that ends with a client shooting his wife -- none of which has anything whatsoever to do with George Reeves's death.
* ''Film/{{Interstellar}}'''s climax centers around the main character entering a black hole, which will either lead to an unparalleled discovery or a relatively exotic death. At the same time, the movie insists on focusing on the main character's daughter trying to sneak past her [[ConflictBall suddenly irrationally hostile]] but never actually dangerous brother into their family home.

* Subversion: In the second book of the second ''Literature/WarriorCats'' arc, the protagonists are heading home after a long journey, but get abducted by the Tribe of Rushing Water who want them to fight a mountain lion for them. However, the Tribe of Rushing Water become important later on, when [[spoiler:they give shelter to the Clans who have left their forest forever after its destruction.]]
* During his ''[[Literature/TheMalloreon Malloreon]]'' series, David Eddings would frequently insert a chapter which revealed what minor characters from all over the world were doing. These were semi-interesting but ultimately had little bearing on the real plot (other than the ones [[spoiler:with the ride off the island at the end]]).
** It did help to alleviate the "''Literature/{{Dragonlance}}'' syndrome" where the hero party seems to be walking through an {{RPG}} world where nothing happens if they are not directly involved. Eddings used it far more successfully in the ''[[Literature/TheBelgariad Belgariad]]'', though, where the war in the south was far more interesting than the walkabout of Garion, Belgarath, and Silk.
* The ''Franchise/StarWars: Literature/LegacyOfTheForce'' books are plagued by this, from Jaina's unending [[TokenRomance token]] LoveTriangle to the Mandalorian subplots in Karen Traviss books, which are notably being ignored by the other two writers. Guess the main plot, with Jacen Solo and his quest to become [[TheDarkSide a Sith Lord]], is just that irrelevant.
** The Black Fleet Crisis is even worse, with two entirely separate stories, having no connection except that they take place at the same time and end up with characters in the same star system after everything has been resolved, and one of them serving no purpose except to include Lando in the book.
* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'' is a strange case when it comes to this - due to the books' sprawling, as-yet-vague MythArc, relatively slow pace and LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters, people have accused both the currently-central gritty civil war & politics plot and the currently-in-the-background more fantastical elements (Daenerys' and Jon's plots specifically) of being this, although both camps could be seen as missing the point of the series.
** Then came ''A Feast For Crows'', which features Brienne [[spoiler: looking for Sansa and Arya Stark, who by this point the readers know are finally relatively safe and near impossible for her to find, following numerous leads that the readers know are false and finally getting herself hanged]] and lots of new POV characters in parts of the setting a long way away from the established centre of the conflict - Dorne and the Iron Islands. Lots of people found the new plots to be a case of Trapped By Mountain Lions, which was exacerbated by the fact that the book didn't include roughly half of the older POV characters. It's easy to see that the new [=POV=]s might intersect with the established plotlines, but ''A Feast For Crows'' did little more than set things up... which is in keeping with the author's description of it as "scene one of act two".
** ''A Dance with Dragons'' has a major Trapped By Mountain Lions plot, [[spoiler: the infamous Meereenese knot]]. One could argue that this plot will have an impact in the overall arch of the series but, since no closure is given after roughly a thousand pages, it definitely feels like this trope.
** For those unfamiliar with the series: The first three novels covered characters and events over a very large geographical area, roughly in chronological order. Book four was mostly written in the same manner, but eventually the author split it into two books based on geographical area - ''A Feast for Crows'' was released in 2005 and ''A Dance With Dragons'' in 2011, after its release date had been pushed back multiple times. At the conclusion of ''A Feast for Crows,'' three major plot threads still going at the ends of the previous volume, ''A Storm of Swords'', were left unaddressed. While two characters, [[spoiler: Jon and Danerys]], saw some level of resolution in the end of ''A Storm of Swords'' and weren't in any immediate danger since last we saw them, [[spoiler: Tyrion]] had been last seen fleeing for his life and the cliffhanger established in the previous book wasn't resolved until the publication of ''A Dance With Dragons'' - more than 10 years after ''A Storm of Swords'' was released.
* Any chapter containing the character Fletcher Kale in Creator/DeanKoontz's ''Literature/{{Phantoms}}''. It's made even worse by the fact that, with the exception of the first chapter he appears in and the final epilogue chapter, he never interacts with any of the other main characters at all, and nothing else in the story would have been affected if his character had been cut. It's hard to find the escape of a murderer sociopath the least bit compelling, or find the character the least bit menacing, given the EldritchAbomination everyone else is dealing with several dozen miles away.
* A large amount of [[Creator/IainBanks Iain M. Banks]]'s ''[[Literature/TheCulture Look to Windward]]'' is concerned with a subplot in which a character discovers what is happening in the main plot and tries to warn or help. However, because of the timing and the huge distances involved between the locations of the two plots, it is obvious from the beginning that nothing he does will be able to have any effect on the main plot, and though the subplot runs through the entire novel, it never makes contact with the main plot.
* In the Literature/InheritanceCycle, Nasuada's chapters in the second book, ''Eldest'', which were primarily centered around solving disputes and economic problems within the Varden while Roran and Eragon follow much more meaningful plots. In ''Brisingr'', Roran's chapters can also be considered this, as his role and importance are reduced and he spends most of his chapters fighting inconsequential battles against small numbers of Imperial forces, wrestling down a troublemaking urgal, and spending time and dealing with the matters surrounding [[spoiler: his newly-wed and pregnant wife]], while Eragon is, as usual, doing more important things. Saphira's chapters are also generally negatively considered, as they only serve to show how arrogant she is, the fact that she misses Eragon, and that her inner-monologue has a bizarre use of adjectives that never turns up in her telepathic speech.
* The necromancers Bauchelain and Korbal Broach in ''Memories of Ice'', the third book in the ''Literature/TheMalazanBookOfTheFallen''. They travel to a city that later comes under siege, interact with various of the main characters, but contribute nothing at all to the overall story. (They do get a series if spin-off novellas, though).
* Dear Lord, the "Perrin rescues his [[spoiler: kidnapped]] wife" subplot in ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime''. It wasn't remotely interesting in the first place, and the sheer number of books through which it managed to drag on -- keeping Perrin perpetually mopey and unable to do anything cool -- was simply infuriating.
** Everyone agrees, Mat Cauthon is [[EnsembleDarkhorse the best]] of the Two Rivers characters. Robert Jordan remedied this by having him spend an entire book unconscious, and when he finally wakes up spend ''another'' book, nearly ''one thousand pages,'' as sex-slave to a deranged queen through blackmail and threat of force, while the supporting characters actively encouraged it. And he's ''sad'' to leave (Rape Is Okay When It's Female on Male). A man with the power to attract evil like a beacon and BadassNormal fighting skills, the memories of a thousand conquerors trapped in his brain... and his entire role in that book was to have chapter after chapter dedicated to describing the pink frills he was forced to wear.
*** Luckily Robert Jordan realized that the one character people actually liked was shut away in a closet somewhere (almost literally) and Mat spends the next book showing everyone just how badass a FourstarBadass can really be. And then he got about 3 chapters in the book after that. Figures.
** Averted in ''Knife of Dreams''. [[spoiler:At the end, when Tuon finds out she is the new head of the Seanchan, she kisses Mat and rides off to claim her throne.]] Normally, this would have been at least a books worth of writing. Thankfully, it is cleaned up by the Epilogue.
* The original novel of ''Film/TheGodfather'' contains two sub-plots which were cut from the movie for their total irrelevance to the main plot. One of the sub-plots involves [[strike:Frank Sinatra]] Johnny Fontane and his buddy in Hollywood; the other follows the adventures of Sonny's mistress in Las Vegas and contains, among other things, no less than ''twenty pages'' on the subject of women's reproductive health. Presumably the author felt that this was [[SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped an anvil that badly needed to be dropped]] on 1950s America, but still...
* The Waterloo sequence in ''Literature/LesMiserables''. Several other chapters qualify, but Waterloo gets the mention because it's 60 pages long and only the last 2 are at all relevant to the rest of the plot. That said, it is brilliantly written.
* Theo Willoughby's whole plotline in Kate Furnivall's ''The Russian Concubine''. Why do we care that the heroine's high school teacher is being blackmailed by his girlfriend's father into participating in the drug trade? Much less his sexual exploits with said girlfriend?
* [[SubvertedTrope Subverted]], interestingly enough, in Ian Irvine's ''Literature/TheThreeWorldsCycle'', with the inclusion of various plotlines that, while all containing major characters, are usually completely separate from each other. Then, just as it looks like a Trapped By Mountain Lions moment, the plot strands all come together to form a major twist. Though this arguably happens in every book in the series (and this is literally eleven books already), the best example from the first StoryArc (the first quartet in the Cycle) would be in The Tower On The Rift, where the main heroes are essentially split into three groups. One group is [[HeroesWantRedheads Karen]] and [[GrumpyOldMan Shand]] who seem to be making their way across a desolate wasteland desert for no reason except that Karen has a 'feeling' that her lover is in the random fortress in the dead centre (that has blatantly been placed there for no other reason than to extend the series by one extra book). Guess where the [[UltimateShowdownOfUltimateDestiny Big Showdown]] takes place...
* The adultery and organized crime subplots in Literature/{{Jaws}}. It's utterly obvious why those plots didn't make it into the movie.
* The crazy state trooper subplot from ''[[Literature/TalesFromCampCrystalLake Friday the 13th: Road Trip]]'', and everything involving the two FBI agents from ''Literature/FridayThe13thHateKillRepeat''.
* The FBI's search for the terrorists who caused the subway bombing in ''Literature/FinalDestination: Destination Zero''; it eventually culminates in an abrupt yet brief GenreShift from horror to action, involving stuff like a warehouse shootout and a high speed chase through the city during rush hour.
* In ''Literature/TheLordOfTheIsles'' series, at least two out of the four main characters are Trapped By Mountain Lions for a significant portion of each book, after the first novel.
* Really, several parts of ''Literature/{{Twilight}}''. Even when there's this huge vampire war looming, the focus of the book is still on the relatively shallow romance between the two main characters.
** Creator/StephenieMeyer released a few scenes cut from the book. It's clear why her editor nixed them--one interrupted the whole "fleeing from a psychotic vampire" plot so that [[TheFashionista Alice]] could take Bella shopping for expensive clothes, while another one, set after the battle, had them and Edward randomly stop to gamble in Vegas on the way back to Forks.
** In ''[[Literature/{{Twilight}} Eclipse]]'', right at the final battle, Edward and Jacob decide to take Bella away from it to keep her safe. The battle is almost completely ignored so that we can focus on Bella (predictably) choosing Edward over Jacob.
* In the ''Literature/CodexAlera'' book ''Furies of Calderon'', two characters spend a while being pursued by Kord, a creepy rapist who seems more interested in creepy slave rape than he does in the fact that Calderon is currently being invaded. However, in later books in the series the abuses of the Aleran slave system and characters working against it will become a significant plot point, and the sadistic High Lord who is the ultimate backer of the slave trade will become a major villain; Kord's character exists to set this all up for the reader.
* The ''Literature/{{Redwall}}'' series: If a novel doesn't involve the BigBad trying to take over Redwall, but there is still a Redwall subplot involved, it probably falls under this trope. Some examples include...
** The Ironbeak subplot in ''Mattimeo'', which has nothing to do with Matthias' journey to rescue Mattimeo and slay Slagar.
** The Dryditch Fever subplot in ''Salamandastron''.
** The Slipp and Blaggut subplot in ''The Bellmaker''. But since this subplot involves Blaggut, the first vermin who isn't truly evil or a {{Jerkass}}, [[SubvertedTrope you'll probably find yourself drawn into it]].
** Veil Sixclaw's ''entire'' subplot from ''Outcast of Redwall'' is this. Considering Veil is ''the title character'' (It's called "Outcast of Redwall", not "Sunflash Kicks Ass") that's quite an achievement.
** Inverted in ''The Legend of Luke''. It is ''because'' of the WackyWaysideTribe subplots that the novel didn't become extremely short and/or boring.
* The subplot in Neil Gaiman's ''Literature/{{Stardust}}'' about the princes Primus and Septimus trying to kill each other isn't very well integrated with the main plot about Tristran and Yvain. The main characters briefly meet Primus and never meet Septimus, who ends up getting anticlimactically killed by the BigBad. To be fair, it reads less like clumsy plotting and more like Gaiman was deliberately working against readers' expectations.
** This was re-written a bit for the movie, with Septimus being given a more active role, and he and the hero meet during the climax.
* ''She is the Darkness,'' the eighth book of ''Series/TheBlackCompany'', has the wizard Goblin on a secret mission for most of the novel, with the narrator occasionally checking in on him via DreamSpying. It's revealed late in the novel that the purpose of this secret mission is [[spoiler: to keep Goblin's ongoing squabble with another wizard from complicating matters during this critical junction in the war]].
* ''Literature/TalesOfTheCity'' has a few of these kind of plots:
** In ''More Tales'', while Mary Ann tries to discern how Burke lost his memory, Michael finds the love of his life and decides to come out of the closet, and Mona discovers a big secret about the identity of her father, Brian engages in voyeuristic games with a mysterious woman (who turns out to be [[spoiler:Mona's mother.]])
** In ''Further'', there is the active plot of Mary Ann and [=DeDe=] desperately chasing after the man who kidnapped [=DeDe=]'s children, and Prue Giroux's arc of being completely oblivious to the fact that her new boyfriend's a psychopath... and then there is Michael's arc, which involves him going off and having sex with an unnamed celebrity.
** In ''Sure of You'', as Mary Ann and Brian's marriage falls apart and Michael finds himself stuck right smack in the middle, Mona goes off on a quest to get laid.
* ''China Mountain Zhang'' by Maureen [=McHugh=] focused on the titular protagonist but 3 of the 5 POV characters had little or no connection to the protagonist. Two of them were staying in a Martian commune where the protagonist never visited but he became an online tutor for one of the POV characters there while other one is an acquaintance to his friends and only had one encounter with him. However, these characters provided different perspectives of the political and cultural setting where the protagonist lived in.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* The trope-naming incident involving Kimberly in ''[[Series/TwentyFour 24]]''. Kim Bauer and her father interact so little throughout the entire series that it's clear her role exists only due to contract requirements and her ability to fill a wet T-shirt.
** This was so derided that it was brought up in Elisha Cuthbert's next series, ''Series/HappyEndings.''
--->'''Penny''': What if you were, like, stuck in a trap in the woods and, like, a cougar was trying to eat you? Would you date then?\\
'''Alex''': That's insane, why would that even happen?\\
'''Penny''': I have no idea, forget that, cause maybe your dad is the head of some elite counter-terrorist unit and he has 24 hours to - I don't know! The point is, would you date?
** The show's first season was originally going to have Teri Bauer falling asleep for a few episodes (thanks to the show's RealTime format), since her storyline ended once she escaped from the terrorists that had captured her. However, the producers demanded that she stay in the show and so she ended up contracting amnesia and walking around not doing much for a few hours instead.
** The sixth season's story arc regarding Morris's alcoholism has similarly been identified as pointless by some fans.
** Every season of 24 has at least one of these. It's almost unavoidable. Sometimes the plot threads get tied back into the main thrust of the story. Even the villain of season 3 calls out Jack's heroin addiction, saying it's completely irrelevant to the story.
** The 'redneck' subplot from the start of season 8 annoyed many. Made even more annoying by revelations later in the season proving the actions of a certain character COMPLETELY out of character.
** This is subverted in season 5 when a seemingly pointless subplot involving Lynn's drug addict sister ends up causing his keycard to fall into enemy hands, which in turn allows them to attack CTU.
** One aspect of sequel series ''24: Live Another Day'' that's been particularly praised is the fact that this trope is overall largely averted. Its shorter episode count allowed the writers to focus primarily on the main plot at hand.
** The [[Series/TwentyFourIndia Indian adaptation]] has one in the first season itself. Because Kim's story is split between Kiran and Veer, we have Veer needlessly fooling around escorting an unknown girl home, getting lynched by drug traders, caught in a drug bust and starting a fight in captivity, only to be released with help from his military school major- when he becomes relevant to the plot.
* From Season 2 onwards, most of the scenes in ''Series/KyleXY'' which do not concern the eponymous protagonist or the central plot-line can come across as this. When Kyle is frequently being hunted down by a MegaCorp and developing his mental abilities, it can seem a little strange when he receives less screen time than the other main characters' love lives.
* Thanks to the 2008 writer's strike, the second series of ''Series/{{Heroes}}'' was massively shortened and ended up having several plotlines that never tied to the main plot: [[TheScrappy Maya and Alejandro Herrera]] smuggling Sylar to the US[[note]]Maya was apparently supposed to be instrumental to dealing with the virus, among other things.[[/note]], Claire's relocation and meeting West, Micah living with Monica in foster care, and Bennett's standalone plot. Even Peter's amnesia while stuck in Ireland never fully tied to the main story. Tim Kring had to write a public apology for how unfinished Season 2 was.
* ''Series/{{Lost}}'' has this sometimes, from little-importance {{Flash Back}}s to stupid subplots just to give some characters screentime (Sawyer crossing a jungle to kill a tree frog comes to mind). Part of the problem may have been that, when the series first started, it got a lot of praise for the flash backs as a storytelling device, so the writers felt like they had to shoehorn one into every episode.
** Nobody ''cared'' how Jack got his tattoos. Not when there are bigger questions involving Smoke Monsters. Nobody except the writers, apparently, who weren't as willing as the audience to accept that they belong to the actor, not the character. So we got an entire episode of an origin story for Jack's tats.
** Yes, Sayid is guilty of war crimes in the service of his nation. We got this in season 1. No really. While it's fun to see him tied up we did not need a whole episode of it.
** Though largely avoided in seasons 4 and 5, there is one instance where this is used subversively. [[spoiler: In any episode featuring {{Flash Forward}}s to Sun giving birth, there are concurrent flashes to Jin rushing to buy a toy and get to the hospital while avoiding comical setbacks. It's edited to make it seem, at first glance, like the two stories are concurrent; only at the end is it revealed that Jin's story was an irrelevant and inconsequential anecdote from many years earlier. His flashback was included ''specifically'' to mislead the viewer and disguise that, at the time of Sun giving birth, he had been left behind and is presumed dead.]]
** To some fans, the flash-sideways. Sometimes (most blatantly in "Recon") they just recycled plot threads from years ago. They also, by the halfway point of the season, had yet to cross over with the main plots or have any clear relevance to them. Just one hint from the premiere that they mean anything. And they take up as much of each episode as flashbacks or flash-forwards did, while not resolving any questions or developing any characters outside of the ones in its own arc.
*** As shown in the series finale, [[spoiler: the 'flash sideways' was shown to be a kind of purgatory and the characters all met because they meant so much to one another and were destined to spend eternity together.]] So, while it could be considered a waste of time showing action that wasn't answering questions about the show's many mysteries, it was still important for the characters' arcs.
* ''Series/TheTudors'': Sir Thomas Wyatt is a main character for the first two series of the show, and interacts regularly with the other main characters, and asks about and discusses current plot events with them. He has next to no impact on them himself, however, either in terms of acting or being acted upon. Wyatt lampshades this, noting that despite not really doing anything politically, he is appointed to the King's Privy Council.
** The closest Wyatt comes to genuinely playing a part in the plot is when he is one of five arrested for committing adultery with Anne Boleyn. Unlike the other four (who have been set up by the King and Cromwell to bring down Anne), Wyatt actually ''is'' guilty - nevertheless, he is the only one not found so. Again, Wyatt lampshades the ridiculous nature of this.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'': Exploited in an ADayInTheLimelight "The Zeppo" following Xander as he finds himself in a comical series of completely unrelated misadventures while his friends are off literally preventing the apocalypse and fighting the greatest battle of their lives. The episode title is a reference to Zeppo of Creator/TheMarxBrothers, who was used as a {{foil}} for his more talented brothers.
* Pretty much all of the Gibby only sub-plots in Season 4 of ''Series/ICarly''. One example being his attempt to get a $5 bill out of a tree.
* In the final season of ''Series/TheShield'', there's a subplot about Sgt. Danny Sofer gradually losing her gung-ho desire to be a street cop, and wanting to settle down with a desk job and her new baby. This would ordinarily be a fine end to her character, but meanwhile Vic, Shane, Ronnie, and Aceveda are all busy scheming and manipulating international drug cartels, federal law enforcement, and each other to escape their fates. It comes off as incredibly small-time by comparison.
* Kate from ''Series/RobinHood'' had several of these. She was always getting captured or injured, but special notice has to be made of the episode ''Something Worth Fighting For.'' In it, Isabella manages to plant one half of a broken locket in Robin's belongings, leading Kate to believe that Robin is cheating on her. She bursts into tears and runs back to her mother, [[{{Wangst}} wangsting]] all the while about how she thought she loved him. No one cared. What makes this ''really'' grating is that this is the second to last episode of the entire series, and most of it is wasted on the RomanticPlotTumour, to the point where a beloved character's death scene is completely short-changed. It's technically meant to be part of the general theme that the outlaws are being torn apart right before the big battle, but what the writers don't realize is that the outlaws are ''better off without Kate''. When she does return after realizing that she's been tricked, she doesn't actually accomplish anything except sabotage a peaceful protest that Tuck and Little John are staging, and then stand around telling the more competent characters to "hurry up".
* ''Series/SonsOfAnarchy'' has this with Gemma (and, to a lesser extent, Tara) in Season 3. They into a series of largely self-contained misadventures that don't relate to the main plotline of the season, Abel's abduction.
* The "New Cap City" storyline of ''Series/{{Caprica}}'' was accused of this, being less interesting than other plotlines that were stalled at the time and home to some strange FridgeLogic as well. However, some interesting ideas ''were'' introduced- such as "New Cap City" being a BlackBox of unknown purpose- and Tamara and Joseph received significant CharacterDevelopment. It may prove to [[InnocuouslyImportantEpisode have been significant]] later on.
* ''Series/OnceUponATime'':
** Season 2 has Regina brainwashing Belle and giving her false memories. It was easily resolved by the finale and had no bearing on the main plot.
** Season 3's "The New Neverland" features a rather tacked-on flashback sequence set during Snow and Charming's honeymoon - where Snow decided to hunt down Medusa to use against Regina. They don't learn a plot-relevant Aesop as a result of the quest and it's already a ForegoneConclusion that Regina won't get turned to stone.
** "Breaking Glass" has a rather pointless subplot about Snow and Charming going out hunting for Will Scarlett after he breaks out of jail. Snow finds Will and assumes Charming let him out as a way of giving her a confidence boost. She later finds out that this isn't the case and nothing more is said on the matter.
** Likewise Belle's romance with Will in Season 4 [[StrangledByTheRedString comes out of nowhere]], has no bearing on the plot and in the finale Belle says that she doesn't love him. Her story with Gold could have been exactly the same had she not been seeing Will.
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'''s season 2 episode "Dear Boy" counts if the viewer has already watched the parent show. It features a couple of flashbacks to when Angelus sired Drusilla - that don't actually have anything to do with the episode's main plot. Of course for people who only watched ''Angel'', the flashbacks are there to foreshadow that Drusilla would later appear on the show.
* The Bryce-Keiko subplot on ''[[Series/FlashForward2009 FlashForward]]''. Although it had one or two heartwarming moments, the bottom line was that it was a subplot about the main character's estranged wife's coworker (who also has terminal cancer, which is rarely mentioned) and his futile search for the [[GirlOfMyDreams Girl Of His Dreams]] who lives in Japan, but then she leaves to find him, and they continue [[MissedHimByThatMuch to have a series of near-misses in LA]], eventually leading to Bryce having a relationship with the main character's daughter's babysitter while Keiko works in an auto shop and then gets arrested by the INS. Then in the season finale, they finally meet, at the exact moment prophesied by the flashforwards, meaning they needn't have bothered spending months looking for each other. [[ShootTheShaggyDog And then the show got cancelled.]] The subplot is clearly [[TheArtifact an artifact]] of a version of the show with a more widespread, interconnected cast [[FollowTheLeader a la]] ''[[FollowTheLeader Lost]]'' and a less-focused plot. Except that it sticks out like a sore thumb when it was the only unconnected subplot, while the rest of the show was about the FBI investigation and related conspiracies.
* In ''Series/{{Dexter}}'''s fourth and fifth seasons, Angel Batista and Maria [=LaGuerta=]'s romance has absolutely nothing to do with the show's main arc, and many viewers find the banality overwhelming. The same goes for Deb and Quinn's romance in Season 5 and 6, which mostly just distracted from Deb's own development.
** Season 8 was particularly criticized for this, with subplots focusing on Quinn's (failed) attempts at becoming a Sergeant and an odd amount of time spent on Masuka's daughter.
* In ''Series/{{Chuck}}'' especially in the later seasons any Buy More employees subplot is at serious risk of falling into this. While sometimes they tie back to the main plot in an interesting manner or manage to stand on their own, often they're just there, because the show's always been set in Buy More and so they have to have Buy More subplots. One example is [[Creator/SummerGlau that week's]] [[TheNthDoctor Greta]] being stalked by Jeff and Lester. Morgan tells them off, they don't stop, she threatens them, Morgan has to intervene, she tells him that their operation is unprofessional. Casey steps in to defend Morgan, giving their relationship a tiny bit of development that could have been gained by any other method, and she leaves. Jeff and Lester's behavior doesn't affect the main characters. Greta's presence has nothing to do with the main plot.
* ''Series/TrueBlood'''s third season suffers a bit from this with many characters being disconnected from the main plot and having nothing to do and even more infuriating is that at the end of the season none of the subplots are tied up in the slightest and seemingly hinting at new Mountain Lion traps for the future including [[spoiler: Andy]]'s sudden dependence on V. Ultimately, by the beginning season 4, a few of these are revealed to have been subtle build up to the season's main plot. However, a few- namely the aforementioned V dependency, Sam's storyline involving his brother (which ultimately dove tails into an equally extraneous and yet to be resolved love triangle with his shifter girlfriend and her werewolf baby daddy) and Jason's subplot with werepanthers in Hot Shot- have all been resolved or dropped without ever really affecting the main plot in any meaningful way.
* During ''Series/BabylonFive'', a recurring subplot in season 3 dealt with Dr Franklin's struggle with a stim addiction, and his quest to eventually find himself and pull himself together. Now there's nothing wrong with a bit of character development... if it weren't for the fact that this plot occurs at the crossroads of two major plotlines with galaxy-wide implications (The Shadow War and Babylon 5's secession from the Earth Alliance.). This particular arc felt rather minor and unimportant in the face of the others, and like a diversion from more important events. That said, Franklin's "walkabout" ended with [[spoiler:a hallucination of himself chewing him out for [[LampshadeHanging being a selfish ass and running off to "find himself" while his friends are fighting a war and putting their lives on the line for the greater good]].]]
* In the fourth season finale of ''Series/{{Merlin}}'' Morgana takes over Camelot (again) and proceeds to do absolutely nothing of importance. Having locked the knights in the dungeons, she forces Gwaine to fight her mercenaries for bread to feed his imprisoned friends, resulting in a completely plot-less sequence of scenes that add absolutely nothing to the more important activities that are occuring outside Camelot.
** On the other hand, this is rather consistent about her characterisation after she became evil. On both occasions when Morgana manages to take over Camelot, it becomes quickly apparent that she's spent so much time devoted to scheming how to seize the throne, that she never stopped to realise she has utterly ''no idea'' what to do [[VictoryIsBoring once she actually has it]].
* ''Series/{{Arrow}}'' has Thea, Ollie's CanonForeigner sister [[spoiler: ''orrrrrrr is she?'' Her nickname "Speedy" seemed to just be a ShoutOut at first, but her full name proves to be Thea Dearden Queen]]. While she interacts with the rest of the cast more than such examples, her appearances are usually scenes having nothing to do with the rest of the story, in which she gets bailed out of something by Ollie and then gives him a speech that basically amounts to "[[HardDrinkingPartyGirl My lifestyle]] [[NeverMyFault is all your fault]] for having been trapped on a deserted island for years, then having the gall to [[ItsAllAboutMe have a life outside me]] once you got back." She's getting some CharacterDevelopment and working alongside Laurel now, so it seems she's getting better. However [[spoiler: the arrival of Roy Harper]] makes it seem she still won't be joining in her bro's line of work any time soon.
** No longer the case as of Season 3. At the beginning of the Season she is revealed to have become an ActionGirl during her time with [[spoiler: her dad, Malcolm Merlyn.]] Then it is revealed in the midseason finale "The Climb," that she was [[spoiler: brainwashed into killing Sara in the Season premiere.]] In Season 3 Episode 13, "Canaries," Oliver reveals to her that he is the Arrow and responds with nothing but [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming gratitude at the lives he saved.]] In the [[spoiler: next episode [[InternalReveal she learns that she was brainwashed into killing Sara]].]] By the end of Season when Roy has left Starling City, she has joined her brother's line of work by embracing the identity of Speedy, thus leaving this trope once and for all.
* There are a couple of episodes of ''Series/{{House}}'' ("Wilson" and "5 to 9") where the focus is on a member of the supporting cast. We ''occasionally'' see The Team in isolated snippets where the episode's viewpoint character happens across them, usually doing something nonsensical and potentially lethal to a patient, with the implication being that this is what ''all'' House's cases look like to people who aren't on The Team.
* The episode of ''Series/TheWorstWitch'' "Monkey Business" has the caretaker Mr Blossom trying to deal with fungus growing in the castle using some kind of extreme spray. This plot point is not relevant to any other part of the episode. While he does foreshadow that Enid has brought a monkey to school, it is Mildred who lets it out and Mr Blossom has nothing to do with anything else in the episode.
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'':
** Theon's subplot in season 3, in which he pops up in several episodes simply to be tortured some more, with no forward progress being made in his story until the season finale, and even then that didn't involve him at all but his sister. This is because in the source material the character is largely off-screen, but the show-runners had to give the actor something to do. This resulted in a new low of gratuitous, even ''tedious'' torture, even for a show like Game of Thrones.
** However the worst storyline is generally agreed to be the Dorne subplot in Season 5. The cause was the same: two popular characters in the source material weren't doing much (the stuff they did at this time in the source material having been moved to the next season), so the show-runners had to give them something to do, concocting a caper-rescue-buddy-cop adventure which turned out to be utterly pointless. This is the same plotline that featured the "Sand Snakes" - originally hyped as strong, formidable female characters they turned out to largely be used for sex-appeal with some of the most ridiculous dialogue in the series.
*** The show almost had another Sand Snakes "Trapped By Mountain Lions" story in Season 6, but managed to avoid it. The Sand Snakes show up in the first episode to assassinate the Prince of Dorne and plunge the kingdom into open rebellion, and then disappear completely until literally the final minutes of the season finale. It seems no matter what they do, viewers and TV critics agree that the Dorne arcs are the weakest points of the show. [[spoiler: The negative fan reaction could be the reason why, early in season 7, most of the Sand Snakes are unceremoniously murdered by Euron Greyjoy. Ellaria and Tyene survive and are taken hostage, only for Cersei to poison Tyene and make Ellaria watch her die, and they are never mentioned again.]]
** Arya's two-season trip to Braavos could be argued to be an example of this.
** Averted with the absence of Bran in season 5; we were spared seeing him Trapped By White Walkers.
** Daenerys' entire storyline can be argued to be this, with her having no impact on the major plotlines of Westeros due to being on a different continent until the final scene of season 6.
* On ''Franchise/PowerRangers'', Bulk and Skull's antics could sometimes feel this way - while the Power Rangers are fighting the MonsterOfTheWeek, they're doing something completely separate from the plot. For example, in the four-parter "Ninja Quest," the Power Rangers are searching for new powers and fighting the new villain Rito Revolto, while Bulk and Skull are training with the Angel Gove junior police department. Other times, they were busy trying to find out the identities of the Power Rangers, engaging in antics that never even brought them close to the Rangers. Mostly, they were pretty transparently just there for comic relief, though.
* [[InvokedTrope Invoked]] and ultimately [[SubvertedTrope subverted]] in ''Series/BreakingBad'' by Skyler's affair with Ted. At first, it seems like just an escape, between having to hide the truth about the situation from Junior, Hank and Marie, and dealing with Walt's increasingly erratic behavior. [[spoiler:[[FromBadToWorse And then she gives Ted all of Walt's money...]]]]
* ''Series/BetterCallSaul'' can come off a bit like this. The show is as much about Jimmy [=McGill=]'s descent into Saul Goodman as it is Mike Ehrmantraut's rise to Gus Fring's enforcer. Although both plots are well-received, they also rarely interact with each other.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'' was forced to use a lot of {{Padding}} in earlier seasons, a lot of which can come off as this:
** "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS2E2TheDalekInvasionOfEarth The Dalek Invasion of Earth]]" has a filler episode which, instead of focusing on Barbara's plan to destroy the Daleks, mostly followed Susan making her way through a sewer pipe and getting attacked by alligators [[StockFootageFailure played by some rather ropey stock footage]], and Ian fighting a rather unconvincing [[PeopleInRubberSuits rubber suit monster]] which is supposedly a Dalek pet, comes from nowhere and is never seen again (especially annoying when what makes Daleks so effective is that they have ''never'' looked like people in rubber suits).
** The early Creator/PeterDavison stories occasionally suffered from this. Having populated the TARDIS with the trio of Adric, Nyssa and Tegan, it was obvious that most of the script authors then struggled to find useful things for these people to do. Adric perhaps came out worse out of this situation, changing from a mathematical genius when first introduced the season before to one that spent large amounts of most episodes assaulting a buffet table.
* In ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'', this is part of the divisiveness among fans about the character of Vic Fontaine, a sentient hologram that takes the form of a 60's Vegas lounge singer. With the Dominion War and the fate of the entire galaxy and trillions of people resting on the main character's shoulders, many fans found themselves increasingly frustrated with how often the important War arc would be diverted into a pointless subplot involving Vic, often just to have him sing a swing number; twelve of them, in full, over less than two seasons, to be precise. This was also particularly jarring as characters began to frequent Vic's lounge more than Quark's bar, the ''real'' bar that they would have had to pass through in order to get into the holosuite.
* In ''Series/RoyalPains'', Evan is not a doctor, and thus each episode usually has him doing something that is completely unrelated to the episode at hand. In earlier seasons, sometimes these subplots involved him wooing some new potential client for [=HankMed=], and sometimes whoever he was interacting with would require medical attention from Hank and/or Divya. But ever since he married Paige, their subplots have usually involved their constant marital issues.
* Although ''Series/DowntonAbbey'' is full of subplots that involve LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters, stories involving Denker and Spratt often fall into this category. As the servants of the Dowager Countess they seldom leave her home or interact with anyone but each other, and as such their stories feel completely inconsequential to the greater ensemble cast.
* Cleverly subverted in ''Series/TheFlash2014''. In the first few episodes of season 2 a subplot is introduced involving Iris' mother Francine arriving in Central City. It doesn't get a lot of focus and seems irrelevant next to the main story arc involving Professor Zoom sending an army of supervillains after Team Flash... until it's revealed [[spoiler: Francine had a son while she was away; Wally West, the boy who's destined to become the Flash's sidekick. Thus the seemingly unimportant story has major consequences for the cast.]]
* In ''Series/{{Colony}}'', there is Will's efforts to ingratiate himself with the collaborators in the hopes of getting his son back, Katie's efforts to ingratiate herself with the resistance in order to keep them from killing Will... and then there's Maddie trying to ingratiate herself with a cultural minister in order to get insulin for her son.
* ''Series/Daredevil2015'' season 2 has a lengthy case of this. Once Elektra is introduced, Matt moves into her plot line, leaving Karen and Foggy to keep the Punisher storyline going. But there's very little interaction between the two plotlines, outside of Madame Gao (retroactively as of ''Series/IronFist2017'') and a retroactive one through Wilson Fisk, causing this trope.
* ''Series/ThePunisher2017'':
** Subverted with the storyline of Lewis Wilson, an ex-Army veteran with a bad case of PTSD. The storyline is virtually unrelated to the ongoing storyline of Frank hunting down the people who killed his family, other than Lewis being in Curtis Hoyle's support group and Billy Russo later turning Lewis down for a job at Anvil on Curtis's request. Then in episode 10, the events that unfold as Frank arrives at the hotel to stop Lewis as he conducts an assassination attempt on Karen Page and Senator Ori leads to Frank and Dinah Madani learning that Russo is a traitor (the former) and killed Sam Stein (the latter).
** Incidentally, outside of Frank pulling her from her car, Dinah Madani's storyline has almost no interaction with Frank's storyline until the hotel episode.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'''s Weatherlight Saga has a couple of these:
** ''[[Literature/MasqueradeCycle Prophecy]]''. Smack-bang in the middle of the Saga (which is, as a reminder, an epic story about the crew of the flying ship ''Weatherlight'' who travel to another world to rescue their captain and end up defending their world from an AlienInvasion), we get a set and accompanying novel about the Keldons invading Jamuraa. It does involve a few characters from the Saga, but they proceed to do almost nothing for the entire novel.
** The rise of the primevals in ''[[Literature/InvasionCycle Planeshift]]''. How much impact does the rise of five ancient dragon gods have on the main storyline? Just enough to be defeated after a single battle, after which they are never heard from again.
* ''Everyone'' in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}''. And that's not just a jab at the franchise being a CosmicHorrorStory. The "main plot" that will decide the future of the galaxy is Abaddon's 13th Black Crusade to destroy Terra and conquer the galaxy in the name of Chaos, but Games Workshop [[StatusQuoIsGod has absolutely no intention of actually resolving that story, ever.]] As such, everything that the players can do with their minis, as well as almost all the stories in the army supplements, are taking place right as the Black Crusade is being put together, but will almost certainly have no impact on it (at least, not directly). [[BrokenBase This has intrigued many fans and pissed off just as many]].
** In 2016 the plot actually advanced enough to alter the status quo in preparation for the 8th edition.

* The Shriners ballet in ''Theatre/ByeByeBirdie''.
* "The Small House of Uncle Thomas" from ''Theatre/TheKingAndI'' is a ShowWithinAShow that runs on for 15 minutes, with only AnAesop near the end linking it to the plot. The ballet music is unmelodic and represents more the work of an arranger than of Richard Rodgers.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/KatamariDamacy'' there are cutscenes in between every few levels and after you create a new constellation when some Lego-looking kids comment on the [[spoiler: stars being gone/coming slowly back]]. It has no bearing on what little plot there is, especially since nobody listens to them anyway.
* Rose, the AnnoyingVideoGameHelper girlfriend from ''VideoGame/{{Metal Gear Solid 2|SonsOfLiberty}}'', won't stop calling and insisting on talking about her relationship with Raiden. Even though he's, you know, in the middle of a highly-dangerous mission all by himself.
* Because the students got separated when they were pulled into the evil Heavenly Host school in ''VideoGame/CorpseParty'', there were multiple sub-plots as each chapter focused on different characters. Most of these involved trying to find a way out, dodging sadistic ghosts, getting possessed, being brutually murdered ... and in the case of [[VanillaProtagonist Satoshi]] and Yuka, [[PottyEmergency trying to find a working toilet so she could go potty]]. It dragged on for a ridiculous amount of time, tracking down various toilets only to move on because they were damaged, blocked by gaping holes in the floor, or [[spoiler:full of hanged girls]], to the point that any normal person would have just peed in the corner and been done with it. It got worse when it tied into a "Find Yuka" sub-plot, simply because they got separated when she tried peeing outside (and she still didn't end up doing it).
* ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'' already suffers from [[KudzuPlot too many plot threads]], but one that stands out as particularly pointless is the [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII Cloud vs. Sephiroth]] subplot. Aside from fighting Sephiroth [[BonusBoss for no real reason]], Sora, Donald and Goofy do literally ''nothing'' in it except watch as Cloud, Tifa and Sephiroth talk about things that neither they nor the audience are privy to.
* Some installments of the ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'' series fall victim to this as a result of having LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters:
** ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2006'' suffers from this. While Sonic is attempting to rescue Princess Elise, who ''[[DamselScrappy never stays put]]'', Shadow and Silver are doing much more plot-critical activities, such as attempting to figure out the identity of Mephiles the Dark or preventing the BadFuture.
** Half the alternate characters' quests in ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure'' are rather disconnected from the main story involving Chaos and Tikal's resurrection, making the latter teleporting them to their backstory seem a questionable resort. Amy and Big are only connected via a single emerald their animal companion is holding (which in Amy's case is lost halfway through the story). E-102 Gamma serves Eggman at the start of the game, but as a more menial minion than Chaos, after which he resorts to finding his E-Series brethren who are even more disconnected from the main story.
* The ''VideoGame/BlazBlue'' series most definitely, particularly in [[VideoGame/BlazblueCalamityTrigger the first game]]. Each cast member has their own story path, but only about 4 or 5 of them have anything to do with the overall plot. The sequels handle this slightly better by intersecting the plots of the many characters and giving the lesser ones more focus. [[VideoGame/BlazBlueChronoPhantasma The third game's]] kind of JustForFun/{{egregious}} as its narrative only focuses on the main characters, leaving a lot of supporting characters in the dust and their plot threads hanging. It gets a bit better in [[VideoGame/BlazBlueCentralFiction the fourth game]] where while the focus is still primarily on the main characters, there are sub-scenarios that wrap up a lot of supporting plot threads.
* Very much subverted within ''VideoGame/MassEffect2''. The main story revolves around going for a SuicideMission into the lair of the Collectors. But a bunch of the gameplay revolves around each party members' personal issues, coined as "Loyalty Mission," such as Miranda worrying of the safety of her sister, or Garrus' grudge against a traitor that cost him his team. Not one of these has anything to do with the main plot. However, if you treat them like some insignificant side-missions and want to just focus on the "main, most important mission"... well, the party members who are not loyal will deliver sub-par performances (because the unresolved problems still linger in their heads), possibly killing them or even someone else (and in the worst case, making the mission end in a PyrrhicVictory with Shepard perishing, too). In other words, this game encourages you to deal with those trapped by mountain lions instead of ignoring them, or you'll be punished for it. Unfortunately, the main plot of the game fell prey to this retroactively. Several {{Caustic Critic}}s have pointed out that the Collector plot is ultimately pointless to the overarching goal of stopping the Reapers as ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' failed to capitalize on anything from it. [[RuleOfCautiousEditingJudgement Some fans disagree and the quality of the main story is still a point of contention with fans to this day.]]
* In ''Noir: A Shadowy Thriller'' (the last game created by Cyberdreams before they collapsed), the player is a HardBoiledDetective assisting a fellow detective with some cases. Most of the cases are pretty important stuff like murders and Nazi plots, but one involves helping some rich lady find her missing dog, which even your fellow detective lamphades is a waste of time. Inexplicably, [[SkewedPriorities the missing dog case gets more focus than any of the others]] and retrieving the dog through a simple puzzle serves as the game's climax (which comes ''after'' the player has beaten Nazi spies and sunk a Japanese freighter). When ''WebVideo/{{Retsupurae}}'' riffed the game, they noted how the detective seems far more intrigued by a terrier getting kidnapped than he did by fighting mobsters and murderers.

* Invoked in ''Webcomic/TheAdventuresOfDrMcNinja'' a few times, such as the incident where dinosaur Yoshi steals ape receptionist Judy's hotdogs, while the Doctor is getting killed as part of a plot to conquer the US.
* ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' parodies this with the Viceroy Bubbles Von Salamancer subplot made to spite Vriska for wanting more screen time in the comic. It lasts only a few pages, and ends up having no pull on the plot, but it's funny nonetheless.
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick''
** Vaarsuvius [[DefiedTrope preemptively takes steps]] to avoid being Trapped By Mountain Lions in [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0595.html this]] ' strip.
--> '''Kubota:''' My trial will last a few weeks, at most, and when it is over Hinjo will look like an out-of touch buffoon for even bringing up charges against me -- a beloved pillar of the community -- while his people waste away at sea. Now, come along. Bring me before your master so that we may begin the Trial of the Century.\\
'''Elan:''' Yeah, well, we'll see what they believe. The Katos and I will testify against you and then--\\
'''Vaarsuvius:''' [[OneHitKill Disintegrate]]. [[NoBodyLeftBehind Gust of Wind]]. Now can we PLEASE resume saving the world?
** The frost giant arc on the ''Mechane'' during the trip to the dwarven capital. It was a roughly forty strips longs arc, that, because of the way the strip updated, it took place for nearly a year, disappointing many fans. With an apocalyptic deadline looming in the background, readers found a plot about a glorified random encounter to be really underwhelming. Coupling this was a lack of the comic's trademark humor, zero CharacterDevelopment, an {{Anvilicious}} and disjointed diatribe about women in the workplace, and the primary focus on two bit part characters with paper-thin characterization who were mostly disliked by the fanbase as it was.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The ''Pooh's Adventures'' videos ultimately lead to this, since the imported footage is usually very disjointed and overall irrelevant to the movie involved.
* ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'' falls into this from time to time. It's been [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] more than once that The Blues tend to get the more plot focused stuff while the Reds just provide comedy. This is specially bad in season 9, where the meat of the season is flashbacks to Project Freelancer and Church is in a world based off his own memories. So the action will cut away to the antics of Church's memories of the Red team every so often.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}:'' The fourth film "Into The Wild Green Yonder" has Leo Wong planning to blow up a large percentage of the Milky Way, and Fry learning about the threat of a mysterious "Dark One" that only he can stop. Meanwhile, the first act has Bender having an affair with the Donbot's wife which has nothing to do with anything else in the film.
* Season 3 of ''WesternAnimation/TheAnimalsOfFarthingWood'' devoted a lot of time to the pointless antics of Weasel, Measley and their children after they leave White Deer Park and cause all sorts of trouble on a farm.
* In the second episode of a ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' three-parter, Stewie sees a man on TV and becomes convinced that he's Stewie's real father and, as such, sets out on a cross-country trip with Brian and Quagmire to find him. Oh, and Peter and Lois are teaching Meg and Chris about how to appeal to other people. That subplot, however, is dropped by the third episode.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/GeneratorRex'' episode "Breach," in which Rex wakes in a creepy abandoned town and must figure out where he is and how to get back to headquarters, Six and Bobo are Trapped by Scorpions.