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Door Focus

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When a character leaves a room and the focus stays on the door. Within seconds, the character comes charging back in for some unfinished business. Usually they have returned to collect a much-needed object left behind, or to deliver a funny line. Or maybe they need a new escape plan.

See also The Exit Is That Way.


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  • Flo forgets her phone in a Progressive commercial showing what she uses on the job.


  • Famously used in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, as we see Indy's fedora fly off as he rushes through a closing door, then his hand comes back into view as he snatches the hat and pulls it through just before the door slams shut.
  • It occurs in The Waterboy as Bobby Boucher lashes out against his overprotective mother:
    Bobby: I like school! And I like football! And I'm gonna keep doing both because they make me feel good! [slams the door, then opens it] And alligators get ornery because of their medulla oblongatas! [slams door again, then opens it again] And I like Vicky! And she likes me! And she showed me her boobies, and I like them, too! [slams door for the last time]
  • It's a Wonderful Life: After a heated argument, George Bailey leaves Mary's house only to return because he forgot his hat. A little more yelling later, smoochies ensue.
  • Airplane!: Used for a famous Running Gag
    Rumack: I just want to tell you both good luck. We're all counting on you.
  • A Shot in the Dark spoofs this trope. Inspector Clouseau tries to pull it off, but he left the door open when he walked out, and as he turns to walk back in someone tries to close it — which means he puts his outstretched hand through the frosted-glass window.

     Live Action TV  

  • On Seinfeld, Kramer yells at Jerry about him wanting to reclaim a phone number of a woman he was trying to stop seeing. Kramer storms out and slams the door and a beat later he comes back in to grab the cereal and milk he was borrowing off of Jerry's counter. Then he leaves again.
  • In Black Books, Fran says to Bernard that she never wants to see him again and storms out. Seconds later she comes back, her hand covering her eyes, saying "Forgot my purse".
  • iCarly: Carly and Sam get into a fight, which ends when Carly leaves the apartment, slamming the door behind her. A beat passes before Carly opens the door again and tells Sam to get out instead, as the apartment is her house.
  • Used at least five times per Friends episode.
  • Get Smart: Maxwell Smart would usually do this, after forgetting an important item for his mission or the directions to his destination.
  • The series finale of The Golden Girls uses the trope as a Bittersweet Ending. Dorothy, who just got married, is moving out and after saying her goodbyes to her friends, she walks out the door. Everyone is focused on the door as they take in the fact that Dorothy is now gone, but she comes back for another round of hugs and goodbyes before leaving again. Dorothy comes back yet again, this time through the patio/back door before leaving again once more. The girls look around the room expecting Dorothy to come back in some other fashion, but she doesn't return.

     Western Animation  

  • The Simpsons:
    • Frank Grimes storms out of the Simpsons' house after delivering his "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Homer. He then pops his head back in to give a perfunctory courtesy to the rest of the family.
    • Reverend Lovejoy leaves from the same door, exclaiming "See you in hell!" He reenters with an afterthought: "...from heaven!"
  • The Flintstones: Trying to escape the lair of Dr. Sinister, Fred and Barney run through a door and shut it behind them. (Beat.) Then they run back out, slamming the door to keep the snarling crocosauruses from catching them.


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