An Escort Distraction is a type of Room Shuffle that involves one character inviting another to go out as a ploy for a third character to set their own plans in motion in the absence of the other character, for whatever reason. Perhaps that third character wanted to do a Zany Scheme that the other one doesn't approve of, such as playing matchmaker with a crush, or something against the law, or anything really if that character is a stick in the mud that doesn't approve of anything zany. Perhaps the third character is actually setting up a Surprise Party for the other character, or is setting up anything to surprise Bob with.
Whatever the case is, the goal is for the first character to distract the second one by escorting them to any place they like, and keep them away from the third character's scheme as long as possible.
Of course, while the Escort Distraction can be a pretty serious ploy in certain cases, when it's a zany scheme in itself, expect a variety of potential things that can go wrong to pop up. Perhaps the third character has to go out of town because he forgot something crucial for his plan to work. Perhaps the second character forgot to bring his wallet and has to go back home. Perhaps the third character reveals later that he needs a little more time for his scheme to finish. Whatever the case is, the other character comes incredibly close to finding out about the third character's plans, and the first character has to distract or stall the second one before it's too late.
It is possible that neither escorter nor escortee are aware of what the third character is planning, meaning that the escorter has no idea he was meant as a distraction for the escortee until later. It is also possible for the audience to be unaware of that an Escort Distraction is in play until it is revealed so in the end.
Compare and contrast Go Look at the Distraction, in which a character gets sent away without an escort.
This isn't about using multiple escorts to distract potential assaulters - that's Decoy Convoy. This isn't about distracting the escort from the escortee either (unless it's by means of escorting them out/having them escort another person). This is also not about that kind of "Escort" Distraction either, Get Your Mind Out of the Gutter!
Examples:Anime & Manga
- Dragon Ball Z: When Super Buu arrives unexpectedly early for the match he had been promised, Piccolo eventually gives in to his demands and guides him on his way to the location of the Room of Spirit and Time/Hyperbolic Time Chamber. This is to actually stall him in order to give Goten and Trunks as much time as possible to prepare for their eventual confrontation.
- In the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex episode "Jungle Cruise", Section 9 is trying to break into the CIA's online archives regarding an American Imperial Navy op in South America during World War III known as "Project Sunset". The problem is that a CIA liaison officer was present in their net dive room, so the Major gets him out of the room by informing him that Niihama Prefectural Police were able to find evidence of a murder and they need to watch it. This gives Ishikawa enough time to break into the CIA archives and determine if Project Sunset is connected to Batou's time as a JGSDF Ranger.
- Tsukipro The Animation has a really cute one. The characters think Shiki and Shu are fighting, so they plan a party to make them get along. They have Eichi take Shu out while they set up, and Eichi and Shu have a nice emotional talk... and when they get back, it turns out that the idea that they're fighting was all a prank - it was actually Eichi that they wanted to get out of the way, because they were planning a surprise party for his birthday.
- In the opening of Identity Crisis, Sue Dibney sends Ralph off on patrol with Firehawk so that she can wrap up his anniversary present without him seeing.
- My Little Pony: The Movie: A slight variation occurs when Twilight, believing friendship won't save the day this time, tasks her friends with taking Queen Novo out and showing her "the best time ever" so she can steal her pearl without either party knowing. Ironically, the gang's friendly actions were about to convince the Queen to help them save Equestria until she caught Twilight in the act.
- The Dark Knight has a weird variation where the escortee is the distraction, rather than the escorter. Harvey Dent pretends to unmask himself as the Batman and is taken into custody, knowing that the Joker will try to kill him during the transport. This allows the real Batman to go after the Joker and protect Dent long enough for a disguised Lieutenant Gordon to capture the clown before the Batman can be unmasked for real.
- Sherlock Holmes: In "The Retired Colorman", Holmes takes on a retired painter's case, who wants to know where his wife has gone. A telegram comes from a tiny village in the middle of nowhere, so Holmes dispatches Watson and the painter there. However, when they arrive it turns out the message was faked, forcing them to stay the night before returning to London. At the denouement it turns out Holmes was the one who sent the telegram, so as to ensure the painter wouldn't be at home for a full day, allowing Holmes to discover the painter had murdered his wife and her lover by locking them inside a gas chamber.
- The Big Bang Theory: In "The Peanut Reaction", Howard has to take Leonard out so the others can plan a birthday party for him. To do this, Howard fakes an allergic reaction so they have to go to the hospital, and when he can't hold Leonard away any longer, he incurs an actual allergic reaction by eating a candy bar with peanuts.
- Lieutenant Uhura from Star Trek episode "Mirror, Mirror" gets slinky-minky with Mirror!Sulu on the bridge so that Mirror!Sulu won't notice a warning light on his com panel. Engineer Scott is disabling the ship's phasers and bypassing transporter protocols in an effort to return the away team to their correct universe. Once the tampering alert stops flashing, Uhura curtails the snugglies.
- Schitt's Creek: David takes his mother out to dinner at the cafe so she won't know that Patrick and Stevie are getting private dance lessons for Moira's production of Cabaret. Moira starts to worry that David's boyfriend and best friend are avoiding him, and she insists on stopping by city hall only to witness Patrick and Stevie performing The Money Song. She is thrilled, and she never realizes David was in on the distraction.
- Minuet from Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "11001001" is a chanteuse created by the Bynars to keep both Captain Picard and Commander Riker captivated on the holodeck while the Bynars hijack the Enterprise for their own purposes. She succeeds long enough for the starship to attain the Bynar homeworld.
- In Yandere Simulator, making friends or having a high seduction stat allows you to ask this of other students. Asking a student to "Distract" another character causes the student to pull the other character into a conversation about romance, clearing the way for whatever illegal activities Yandere-chan might need to perform in that area.
- Sword Art Online Abridged: Heathcliff sends the recently-married Kirito and Asuna off to an isolated floor while he's conducting negotiations with the King of Ashes for safe passage to the final boss, out of fear that Kirito will pull an "Ass" in Ambassador and rekindle hostilities, a sentiment Asuna agrees with (he tells them to think of it as a honeymoon). It's all for naught anyway, as Kirito manages to piss off the King offscreen.
Kirito: Ohhh, I see, so you need me at the table, cracking jokes and breaking the ice. I gotcha.
Heathcliff: HA HA HA No!! God no! I need to hide you under the biggest rock I can find!
Kirito: Excuse me?
Heathcliff: Hmm, how do I put this delicately... [smacks lips] Ah. I'm afraid you'll piss someone off and kill thousands.
Asuna: Yeah, I could see that.
Asuna: I'm sorry, honey. If it means avoiding the deaths of innocent players, I think the least you can do is sit this one out.
Heathcliff: I'm also going to need you to stay behind and guard him, Asuna.
Asuna: Oh, screw that noise! I'm coming too!
- Chowder: In the episode The Flibber Flabber Diet, Mung Daal has Chowder take Truffles around town so that he and Schnitzel can remodel the kitchen, in a ploy to trick her into thinking she has lost weight.
- In Gravity Falls episode "Double Dipper", Dipper and his clone Tyrone decide to create two more Dipper clones, and task them to distract Robbie by stealing his bike, so Dipper would be able to spend time with Wendy.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: When her friends learn that Twilight doesn't like living at her castle because she misses the treehouse, they decide to spend a day decorating it so she can be happy. Spike gets the job of taking Twilight around Ponyville while the others work.
- Phineas and Ferb: "Dude, We're Getting The Band Back Together" has Phineas and Ferb attempt to recreate the First Kiss between Linda and Lawrence at a Love Handel concert. To do this they have to get the band to reunite, so as they're running around Danville and the Fireside Girls are building the stage, Candace is taking her mother around town to keep her distracted. Hilarity Ensues when they both end up at a hair salon owned by a former band member.
- There has been a legend during the Time of Troubles in Tsarist Russia about a peasant named Ivan Susanin. According to the tale, a Polish army has invaded Susanin's village with the intent to assassinate Tsar Mikhail Romanov. Ivan Susanin offered them to lead the army to the Tsar's hiding place, but Susanin actually mislead them into a forest, with neither him nor the army to be seen again, so the Tsar could escape. The tale gained enough traction for Ivan Susanin to be regarded as a national hero, with the tale adapted into poems and operas like Mikhail Glinka's A Life for the Tsar.