Follow TV Tropes


Disorganized Outline Speech

Go To

Don Pedro: Officers, what offence have these men done?
Dogberry: Marry, sir, they have committed false report; moreover, they have spoken untruths; secondarily, they are slanders; sixth and lastly, they have belied a lady; thirdly, they have verified unjust things; and, to conclude, they are lying knaves.

Welcome to TV Tropes. The two things to remember are: There Is no Such Thing as Notability, "X. Just X." won't cut it, beware duplicate tropes... Oh, Crap!. START over! Welcome to TV Tropes. The three things to remember are: There Is no Such Thing as Notability, "X. Just X." won't cut it, beware duplicate tropes, be careful if a topic might be Flame Bait... START OVER! Welcome to TV Tropes. The four, no, AMONGST the things to remember are: There Is No Such Flame As Thingability, Trope Just X won't cut... I'll come in again.

A character tries to present things in some kind of organized fashion, but they screw up or change their mind about the organization partway through.

This is almost inevitably played for comic effect. Often it is used to portray a character as being A. Pompous, IV. Both. 2. Absentminded or

Compare Metaphorgotten.


    open/close all folders 

    Comic Books 
  • Everett K. Ross from Black Panther seems constitutionally incapable of telling a story in a linear fashion.

    Fan Works 

    Film — Animated 
  • Big Hero 6: Cass gets lost in her scolding after picking up Hiro and Tadashi from the police station.
    Aunt Cass: Have I been perfect? No. Do I know anything about children? No. Should I have picked up a book on parenting? Probably! Where was I going with this? I had a point.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Lex's speech at the Library Gala. It starts off well but soon becomes derailed as Lex's own philosophical musings and psychosis begin to rear their head, causing Lex to quickly cut himself off.
    Lex Luthor: Books are knowledge. And I am... No. I, emm, no, what am I? What was I saying? No. The bittersweet pain among men is having knowledge with no power... because that is PARADOXICAL! And, uh... (nervous laugh)... thank you for coming.
  • From the Dudley Do-Right film:
    Dudley: I should just go down there and arrest them all!
    Darling: I'll give you three reasons why you shouldn't! ...and I'd like to start with the second one first, if that's alright with you.
  • Col. Chamberlain in Gettysburg, not so much for comedic effect, as it is also an effective Rousing Speech, but to hammer home just how awkward and out of place he is.
  • The Godfather has Luca Brasi's speech expressing his gratitude to Don Vito Corleone. He's so nervous he's seen rehearsing it beforehand, and still fumbles over it when he actually speaks to Vito.
  • Home Alone:
    Megan McCallister: You're not at all worried that something might happen to Kevin?
    Buzz McCallister: No, for three reasons: A, I'm not that lucky. Two, we use smoke detectors and D, we live on the most boring street in the whole United States of America, where nothing even remotely dangerous will ever happen. Period!

  • Solomon's list of seven things God hates in The Bible (Proverbs 6:16-19) begins:
    "Six things the LORD hates; seven are an abomination to Him."
  • In Lawrence Block's The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian Carolyn tries listing points while under the influence.
    Bernie: In the third place, you're still drunk.
    Carolyn: In the third place, I was drunk before I drank your booze in the first place. Or should that be the fourth place, Bernie? I don't know. It's hell keeping track of all these places. In the fifth place I was drunk when I got back to my place, and then I had a drink before I came up to your place, so that makes me—
    Bernie: Out of place.
  • Benedict Cumberbatch's introduction to the Tie-in Edition of Sherlock's Hound of the Baskervilles:
    "Was that all right? Can I do it again? What do you mean it's not like filming...? OH!"
  • Skulduggery Pleasant:
    • Skulduggery insists he used to be a great speaker, but the only speeches we ever hear from him either fail, or fail epically.
      "I seem to have lost track of this speech, I'm not sure where it's going, but I know where it started and that's what I want you to remember. Has anyone seen my hat?"
    • Vaurien Scapegrace is also bad at speeches, but he's a comic relief character, so that's to be expected.
      "I have looked into the eyes of our foes! Do you know what I have seen? Faces and eyes, gentlemen. Faces... and eyes."
  • The title alone of Steve Martin's book, The Ten, Make That Nine, Habits of Very Organized People. Make That Ten.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: the Tenth Doctor does this periodically:
    • "Human Nature" has one of these. In the extended version of the scenenote , the Doctor spends part of it babbling about irrelevant things. The part used in the episode, while on-topic, is still something of a mess, complete with a numbering error:
      The Doctor: Martha, before I change here's a list of instructions for when I'm human. One, don't let me hurt anyone. We can't have that, but you know what humans are like. Two, don't worry about the TARDIS, I'll put it on emergency power so they can't detect it, just let it hide away. Four – no, wait a minute, three. No getting involved in big historical events.
    • "Blink" gets it down to basics:
      "Listen, gotta dash. Things – happening. Well – four things. Well – four things and a lizard."
    • "Voyage of the Damned":
      The Doctor: First things first. One: We are going to climb through this ship. B ... No. Two: We are going to reach the bridge. Three, or C: We are going to save the Titanic. And, coming in a very low four, or D, or that little (iv) in brackets they use in footnotes: Why?
  • Lilly gives one of these in Hannah Montana during a Bizarro Episode where she and Miley aren't friends:
    "Okay. First, Miley? Stupid name. B, I've already got friends and cuatro, why don't you go back to the trailer park, unhitch and drive away?"
  • In The IT Crowd, when everyone thinks Jen has died, Denholm pulls one when giving a eulogy:
    Denholm: God I miss Jen. She reminded me of me at her age. (Beat) I mean, when I was her age, she reminded me of her age. (beat) She reminded me of my age at her age. (beat) When I was her age, she was reminded of me?
  • Mad About You had a recurring joke where Paul would make a rambling speech where he would make his points as "Okay, A... and 2..."
  • One of the central jokes in the Spanish Inquisition sketch on Monty Python's Flying Circus:
    "Our chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise.... our two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency.... Our three weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.... Our amongst our weapons.... amongst our weaponry...are such elements as fear, surprise.... I'll come in again."
  • Sports Night played with this trope:
    Casey: How am I conversationally anal-retentive?
    Dana: Let me answer that question in four parts, with the fourth part first and the third part last. The second part has five subjects —
    Casey: All right, all right.
  • The Stargate Atlantis episode "Letters from Pegasus" has various characters' funny, tear-jerking and heartwarming letters intercut with Rodney McKay sleep-deprived and babbling about who knows what. Every few sentences he'll stop and tell Ford (who was editing the videos they were sending home) to cut whatever he'd just said and start over. In the very end, he remembers his sister and gets his act together long enough to send a really touching message to her. He keeps percolating back to "Where was I? Oh yes...leadership."
  • Ricky in the Trailer Park Boys episode "Take Your Little Gun and Get Out of My Trailer Park" gives this quick breakdown of the situation to the documentary crew:
    Ricky: Me and Julian can definitely take care of the Cyrus thing, it's just like number one: we're on probation. I don't really think that it's a big deal, but I just don't want to go back to jail again. And number two or three or whatever number I'm on: I'm not going back to jail for Julian because I don't even hang around with him anymore.
  • In Whose Line Is It Anyway?:
    • During a playing of the Millionaire Show game, Greg Proops accidentally messes up when giving out the multiple choice answers:
      Greg: When you eat pig, it is called A: Pork, B: That farshtunken neighbor of mine, 3:... [Pause.] Sometimes I change from C to 3.
    • Another playing of the same game has Colin listing the choices under A, C, C and D. Ryan does not let this go without comment.

  • On Peter, Paul and Mary in Concert their rendition of "Puff the Magic Dragon" is prefaced by Paul giving a pompous pretend speech about dragons. After stumbling and starting over several times, he ends up referring to dragons as having "four separate and distinct nostrils and one monstrous scale...with thousands of tiny legs?"

  • In William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, Act V Scene 1, Dogberry has an extremely convoluted version of this, crossed with Shaped Like Itself:
    Dogberry: Marry, sir, they have committed false report; moreover, they have spoken untruths; secondarily, they are slanders; sixth and lastly, they have belied a lady; thirdly, they have verified unjust things; and, to conclude, they are lying knaves.
  • In The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), one of the players literally gets his outline (in this case, speech cards) disorganized. He starts off giving historical information about a play... and ends up giving the life story of Adolf Hitler.
  • Sganarelle has trouble presenting a persuasive argument several times over the course of Moliere's Don Juan. One of his longer speeches comes near the end, when Don Juan has finally crossed the line and Sganarelle is desperate to convince him to repent (this is paraphrased from memory):
    Sganarelle (grasping for a way to put it): Man is in the way like... a bird on a branch. The branch is attached to the tree. Whoever attaches himself to the tree follows good precepts. [and a long speech later] The old love riches. Riches make one rich. The rich are not poor. The poor know desperation. Those who are desperate act like brute beasts. You, sir, act like a brute beast, and because of that you'll be damned to all the devils in Hell!
    Don Juan looks on amusedly.
    Sganarelle: If you don't repent after all that, I don't know what I can say to convince you.
  • Into the Woods: In the "Your Fault" number, the characters' arguments get increasingly confused as the song goes on:
    Jack: But without any beanstalk,
    Then what's queer
    Is how did the second Giant get down here
    In the first place?

    Second place...

    Video Games 
  • Robin & Orchid:
    Casey: No wait, I've got one more thing to say. Make sure you take lots of pictures, obviously. It's your job. That's one. Um, it's more fun if you run off by yourself, so make sure you get Sharon off your back. That's two. And keep an open mind. I mean, just because you don't believe in ghosts doesn't mean you're not gonna see one.
    So, yeah. That's three things.


    Web Original 
  • Necro Critic states three things that could've been done to fix Spider-Man 3 (paraphrased)
    1: Use any villain other than the Sandman.
    B: Stop focusing on Uncle Ben.
    Finally: Save Venom for the sequel.
In fact he's been doing the "1, B,..." thing in a lot of his videos.
  • Spencer in the lonelygirl15 episode "What Up Blogosphere!":
    "First of all, thank you for flooding my account with hundreds of emails. This sparked the attention of the I.T. department at Neutrogena, who said those emails blocked up our server. Last night, upper level management fired me. Just kidding. Hehehe... dry wit. Um... so, B: yes, I saw the video with you and my dad's 'friend'. Go Dad! Just kidding. Three, ah, I'm sympathetic to your need to find this Bree girl, but honestly, I can't help you. I don't know who her dad is, and my father never discussed his work with me. And, although I'm a scientist like him, I have no idea what compound you guys are talking about. So, D, and last but not least: everyone. Stop. Trying. To contact. Me!"
  • In Lovely Little Losers, Balthazar can't tell a concise story to save his life. In particular, the video "Relatives and Reunions" is just two minutes of Balth telling a rambling story to Ben, to make the mildly interesting point that he is (kind of) related to Beatrice.
    Balthazar: Do you need me to explain it again?
    Ben: No!

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • In "The Day of Black Sun, Part 1", Sokka's attempt at outlining a specific battle plan goes so poorly that he gets confused, tries to start over "from the beginning" and starts recapping the entire series from the beginning instead of describing the plan, and finally is cut off by his father clarifying the actual battle plan.
    Sokka: Um... so, as you know today we're invading the Fire Nation. I mean, I know you know that. Because otherwise why else would you be here? Anyway... the Fire Lord's palace is here. Uh no, wait, wait, wait. It's here. And uh there's an eclipse today and Aang's going to fight the Fire Lord and the firebenders won't have any fire to use so that's good for us and uhm... I'm sorry, let me start at the beginning. (composes himself, then speaks very quickly.) Katara and I discovered Aang frozen in an iceberg. Now I didn't like Aang at first but I grew to love him over time. Then we went over to the Southern Air Temple where Aang used to live and then we met Suki, who is a Kyoshi warrior. She dressed me like a woman and then she kissed me and then Aang's friend was a crazy old man and then Katara got Haru arrested and then now he's grown a mustache and if you look in the front row you can see it...
    • In "The Western Air Temple", Zuko tries to outline his reasons for approaching the main protagonists. Emphasis on tries. His rehearsal is intensely awkward to begin with, and when he talks to them for real, his nervousness means that his already-awkward speech goes sideways immediately.
    Zuko: Hello. Zuko here. Hey, I heard you guys flying around down there so... I just thought I'd wait for you here. I know you must be surprised to see me here.
    Sokka: Not really, since you've followed us all over the world!
    Zuko: Rrrrright. Well, uh... anyway, what I wanted to tell you about is that I've changed. And I uh... I'm good now. And- well I think I should join your group. Oh! And I can teach firebending. To you.
  • Shows up once or twice in Cow and Chicken.
    The Red Guy: What do I know about Supercow? A: She's a superhero. 2: She speaks Spanish...
  • In The Spectacular Spider-Man, Flash Thompson does the usual A-then-2 speech to Peter Parker when convincing him to help him get a girl to notice him.

  • Roger Ebert does one (probably unintentionally) in this review of Rango.
    "Rango" loves Westerns. Beneath its comic level is a sound foundation based on innumerable classic Westerns, in which (a) the new man arrives in town, (2) he confronts the local villain, and (3) he faces a test of his heroism.
  • One of Red Skelton's routines involves him playing a character who has to empty all the bottles of whiskey found in his cellar:
    I had 18 bottles of whiskey in my cellar, and was told by my wife to empty each and every one.
    I said I would, and proceeded with the unpleasant task.
    I took the cork out of the first bottle and poured the contents down the sink, with the exception of one glass, which I drank.
    I took the cork from the second bottle and did likewise, with the exception of the glass, which I drank.
    I then took the cork from the third bottle and poured it down the sink, which I drank.
    I pulled the bottle from the cork of the next, and one sink out of it, and threw the rest down the glass.
    I pulled the sink out of the next glass and poured the cork down the bottle.
    Then I corked the sink with the glass, bottled the drank, and drank the pour.
    When I had emptied everything, I steadied the house with one hand, counted the glasses, corks, bottle, and sinks with the other, which were 29.
    As the house came by, I counted them again, and finally had all the houses in one bottle, which I drank.
    Now I'm not under the affluence of incohol, as some tinkle peep I am. I'm not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don't know who is me. The drunker I stand here, the longer I get. Oh, me!
    • Edward Dziewoński did a Polish version of this monologue, titled "Dwanaście butelek" ("Twelve bottles"), complete with the counting at the end. We do not know who was first or whether both comedians simply had similar life experiences. But Dziewoński's version concludes with "I have the wifest bestie in the world!"
  • Throughout the German-speaking counties, the former Minister President of Bavaria Edmund Stoiber grew absolutely infamous for his propensity to horribly muck up his speeches (like this one, during which he tries to promote the expansive construction of a monorail linking Munich Central Station with Munich International Airport), born of an apparent lack of short-term memory in combination with an inability to shut up and severe Foot In Mouth Disease.

Alternative Title(s): Disorganised Outline Speech