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Human Traffic Jam

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A group of people are walking in a straight line. Suddenly, the person at (or near) the front of the line stops walking for whatever reason. This causes everyone behind the person to bump into one another. This gag is mostly seen in Western Animation.

Compare Cliff Stack for where a human traffic jam can occur, Motorcycle Dominoes for another instance of a row toppling over, and Watch Where You're Going! for when the people colliding are going in opposite directions.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Princess Princess: The three princesses have been on the stage and are leaving it for a scene change. Mikoto is at front but suddenly stops which cause Tohru and Yuujirou to bump into him and another. The reason to stop: outside the stage waits Mikoto's sister and girlfriend, the last two persons he want to see him in girl's clothes and who he actually have asked to go home to prevent it. Mikoto then blacks out.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex episode "Ag2O". While the Tachikomas are rolling along a corridor, the one in front stops to speak to Batou and the others run into it.

    Comic Strips 
  • Beetle Bailey: Sarge orders a group of men marching in a line to stop hurriedly, and they all "plong" into each other.

    Films — Animation 
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This happens to the dwarfs while they're marching along.
  • The Jungle Book: Happens twice, both times to Colonel Hathi and his elephant brigade.
    • While Hathi is scolding his son for wandering off, he forgets to say "Halt!" and causes the other elephants to pile up on him from behind. This is actually Recycled Animation of a similar gag from Disney's Goliath II.
    • The second time is when Bagheera tries to get their attention so he ask them to help search for Mowgli.
      Bagheera: Stop! W-Wait a minute... HAAAAAALT!!!
      (the other elephants stop and crash into Hathi)
      Hathi: Who said "Halt"?! I give the commands around here! Now, speak up! Who was it?!
      Bagheera: Oh, it was me, Colonel!
      Hathi: What do you mean, sir, taking over my command? Highly irregular, you know.
  • The Jungle Book 2 continues with this gag, this time with Hathi and his herd fleeing from a group of humans and attempting to hide in a cave. In this case, the traffic jam is caused when Hathi gets stuck trying to enter the cave, only for the rest of his herd to come crashing into him and forcing each other inside.
  • The Sword in the Stone. Merlin uses his "Higitus Figitus" spell to put his belongings in a traveling bag. After a sugar bowl cuts in line, it stops the other items behind it from moving forward and they run into it.
  • The hyenas in The Lion King (1994). Bonus points for one of them getting bumped off the edge of a cliff into brambles as a result.
  • Mulan: In the Training Montage, when the soldiers are jumping along some poles jutting upwards in a line, Chien Po falters and stops moving forward. Shang, coming behind him, defies the trope by stopping in a controlled manner before running into him, but that just makes the jam form behind him when everyone else fails to do the same.
  • An American Tail: As the Mousekewitzes board the boat to America, Fievel keeps stopping to ask questions, causing the mice behind him to crash to a halt, eliciting cries of "Keep walking!"
  • A Bug's Life when a falling leaf blocks the path.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • If The Three Stooges never used this, they'd miss the boat.
  • Happens in the The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, when the Hobbits are running away from Farmer Maggot.
  • Time Bandits. When the title characters steal Emperor Napoleon's wealth, they are pursued by the French Army troops guarding him. After they go through a time hole and it disappears, the troops come to a stop where the time hole was, with the troops behind running into the troops in front.
  • Disney's Mary Poppins. While the penguins are dancing with Bert in the painting, at one point they are running along, one after the other. When they suddenly stop, they run into each other.

  • Mentioned in Jingo. Vimes, at the head of a procession, spaces out and begins slowing down and finally comes to a halt, and the entire procession does the same, with jostling and bumping for those slow to keep up with events.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Seen in the Walt Disney Presents episode "Mars and Beyond", during the "typical science-fiction story" sketch, while the secretary is being pursued by the Martian leader and his minions. After she changes into her superhero costume, she holds up her hand to stop the leader and his minions slam into him.
  • One episode of Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide had an episode partially centered around this, with Cookie broadcasting traffic updates through student's cell phones to avoid things like overturned AV Carts; meanwhile, Moze is trying to spend time with her boyfriend at his locker, but is diverted by a broken pipe, and a lot of the alternate routes she takes are suggested by Cookie, leading to her constantly getting trampled. And Ned was put in by Mr. Sweeney as the new Hall Monitor, and no one's listening to him. It all collides — quite literally, as Cookie's update makes a large crowd head up to the second floor, right into the "hall party" Ned was failing to contain; resulting in a huge pile-up of "overturned" students on the floor.
  • The Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs example is referenced in Psychoville, where the dwarfs are told when they go on stage and see Snow White for the first time, they stop and tumble over. It's supposed to prompt the audience to laugh.

    Video Games 

    Western Animation 
  • In the All Grown Up! episode "Interview With a Campfire", Dil, Howard, Stu and Charlotte were walking until they stop at a dead end before they turn and see the big rock.
  • The Magic School Bus of all places. Twice, in "In A Beehive". Wanda calls Tim out of stopping like that the second time it happens.
  • Inverted on Danny Phantom. The girls in the pageant are all walking with books on their heads. Sam is at the back of the line reading hers, so she doesn't realize the line is moving at a different speed than she's walking; she bumps into the last girl in front of her and starts a chain reaction.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Occurs in the second episode, with Pinkie Pie in the lead and stopping abruptly when they encounter a roiling river, causing the others to bump into each other.
    • A variation shows up in "Dragonshy", where Fluttershy slips while climbing down a rocky slope, sending her hurtling down into the other ponies in front of her, which sends them all down.
  • Occurs in the twenty-fifth episode of Code Lyoko, with Jérémie in the front. Jim gets in front of him. He stops, then Yumi crashes into him, Ulrich crashes next, and Odd at the end. Comically, a brake screech sound effect is heard.
  • Combined with Distracted by the Sexy on Futurama; In one episode, Leela gets plastic surgery to make it look like she has two eyes. While walking down the street, she ends up causing this trope to the Sons of Mom, who are Stooge expies.
  • Happens in the Donald Duck cartoon "Good Scouts". Donald is leading his nephews on a hike. He orders a stop, but the last nephew is distracted and knocks the others over like dominoes.
    • Also in another Donald Duck cartoon "Tea for Two Hundred" when the ants make an order to stop.
  • Ready Jet Go!:
    • In "Mindy Turns Five", the gang is about to go to the moon but Jet is distracted by Mitchell and stops in his tracks, causing the others to bump into him.
    • In "Try and Try Again", the kids are walking home and Jet suddenly gets an idea, which makes him stop and causes the others to fall like dominoes.
  • Molly of Denali: In "Heat Wave," while the kids are on their way to the library, Auntie Midge calls out to them, causing Tooey to pause and the others to bump into him.

    Real Life 


Video Example(s):


Two-Eyed Leela

Two-Eyed Leela briefly causes Mom's sons to become a Human Traffic Jam when she passes them on the street.

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Main / DistractedByTheSexy

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