Follow TV Tropes


Inconvenient Summons

Go To
"Never fails. You get in the bath, and there's a rub at the lamp."note 

"Now, Twilight, you know Celestia told you to give me a heads up before summoning me with that little spell she gave you."
Discord (while he was taking a shower), My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, "Princess Twilight Sparkle, Part 1"

You know how phone calls can come at the most inopportune times? Well, imagine instead of just ringing, it physically teleported you mid-action to the location of the caller. You'll be lucky to be fully clothed, and that's ignoring what dull or dire situation the caller wants you to help them solve.

This is the case of the Inconvenient Summons. The summoned character may be a genie with an impressively well stocked lamp/home, a summoned entity with his/her/its own life on their home plane, or even a human courtesy of some kind of Teleportation / magic.

Potential interrupted activities can be anything, but a few common ones include:

  • Sleeping — Expect the summoned to be in a nightgown and cap.
  • A romantic date — The summoned will usually be about to kiss.
  • Eating — Situations vary whether the meal comes with them or not.
  • At a party — Will be holding a cocktail or hors d'oeuvre, probably halfway to their mouth.
  • The shower — Usually some amount of strategically placed soap bubbles/shower curtain also come along. Or worse, the toilet.
  • Reading — Usually just when they got to the good part.
  • Something vitally plot important — Yeah, Nice Job Breaking It, Hero

This trope is a leading cause in summoned sidekick snarkery. For some reason the reverse is rarely true — that the summoned character gets pulled out of a sticky situation. This trope can be seen as something of a deconstruction of the idea that the summoned character has no life or existence while un-summoned. Unless the character is literally created from nothing, or taken from/put in an empty timeless void, they've got to be up to something all that time.

For a (slightly) less annoying badly-timed communications, see Kinda Busy Here. Can also overlap with Interrupted Bath, where your basic shower/bath gets interrupted by an event.


    open/close all folders 

  • State Farm Insurance has several commercials where customers can summon their insurance agents by singing the company's jingle. One offers a Perspective Flip where the agents are shown around the office, working, talking with friends or about to blow out the candles on their birthday cake, only to suddenly disappear because of a customer in need. Unlike the fair number of parodies depicting this, the agents are shown taking it much more in stride.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Happens early on in Bokurano. One girl is playing video games on her father's antique NES and the teleportation cuts off the controller and brings it with her. Another is taken in the middle of masturbating.
  • In Dragon Ball Z, Vegeta has just come back to life and is about to shoot Freeza, when Dende wishes everyone except Freeza and Goku to Earth.
    Vegeta: Oh really, can a ghost do this, Freeza? [disappears]
  • Fairy Tail:
    • Whenever Lucy summons Aquarius, she'll complain that she was on a date or otherwise busy. Aquarius is annoyed enough by this to try and kill her at some points.
    • A variant: when Lucy tries to summon Leo to save them in Edolas, since he was on a date at the time, he sends Virgo, who is utterly useless in the fight for some reason (as Virgo is normally an Action Girl).
    • The series tries to defy this, as Celestial Wizards are supposed to work out contracts with their spirits to determine the proper times a spirit can be summoned. This is sometimes used to put Lucy in trouble (or keep her out of it) because she can't call on a spirit that would otherwise easily end the situation.
  • This happens for anyone on their second or later mission in Gantz, though at least they got a sort of warning in the form of a tingle on the back of their neck. When the main character is transported for the second time (the first one being when he died), he's in the middle of changing.
  • Naruto:
    • Gamabunta seems to view most any summon as inconvenient. When summoned, he has a habit of grousing at his summoner for getting him mixed up in some dangerous situation.
    • Manda is much the same. Orochimaru has to promise human sacrifices to avoid being killed and get Manda focused on the battle.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • Early on, Negi summons Asuna to apologize to her... but she is in the shower at the time. Making matters worse, he has just been talking to the teacher she has a crush on.
    • Later, during the Magic World arc, a magical copy of Evangeline is similarly summoned from her scroll... and she appears naked on a couch, nibbling on crisps and playing a video game. She isn't bothered at all.
  • The second episode of Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt has Garterbelt summoning Panty and Stocking while they're respectively lounging on the bed and sitting on the toilet.
  • This was the early plot of Psyren: after answering a ringing payphone, and receiving what looks like a phonecard, Ageha keeps getting summoned to a wasteland by his cellphone, as do all the other players.
  • In the first Tenchi Muyo! movie, Kiyone is teleported to Washu's laboratory... while Kiyone's taking a bath. She's thrown a towel to cover herself as a half-hearted apology.
  • A flashback in chapter 44.5 of To Love Ru Darkness shows Yui been the victim of this due to one of Lala's inventions; she is accidentally summoned by Rito while she is naked in the bath.
  • Yo-Kai Watch:
    • Happens often in the anime, but the most striking example is the human-dog-yokai Manjimutt, who got arrested for a few minor offenses. However, he eventually ends up getting thrown into Alcatraz because Nate kept summoning him from Jail, much to Manjimutt's annoyance, which the police mistook for him trying to break out. After Nate summons him for the third time, only for his summon to bring not only Manjimutt but his entire cell, he realizes that it's probably best to not summon him again until he's finally out of prison.
    • The manga also does this. Nate summons Jibanyan at the worst times. Sometimes he's pulled out of a concert, or starving to death, or he just lost another fight with a truck, and so on.
  • In You Are Being Summoned, Azazel, demons are often in the middle of something when they get summoned, such as sitting on the toilet or having sex.

    Comic Books 
  • The Action Comics arc "Escape from Bizarro World" featured a Bizarro World counterpart to Hal Jordan who tries to aid Bizarro in fighting Superman before his power ring whisks him away to participate in the "Sinestro Corps War" arc that was occurring in Geoff Johns' run on Green Lantern.
  • Happens a lot of the time in the original Adam Strange stories; after an adventure is over, Adam and Alanna would have a romantic moment and the Zeta Beam that brought him to Rann wears off and he is immediately returned to Earth.
  • Veronica in Archie Comics once hatched an idea for a strange costume party. The hitch would be that the invited has to arrive wearing whatever they were wearing when she called them for the invitation, and even has a trophy to give to the most peculiar-dressed. Betty was in the middle of a workout routine, so she's in a leotard; Moose and Midge, who were painting the latter's house, are in coveralls, paint stains and all, etc.; and Archie thinks he got the worst out of the lot, since he answered Veronica's call after stepping out of the shower, so he's wearing nothing but a towel. He didn't get the award only because it was Veronica herself (with the "help" of her mother, so Veronica wouldn't bow out of the humiliation) who has the strangest getup: she had her hair disheveled and her face covered in facial mud.
  • The series Black Magick opens with a Wiccan ceremony being interrupted when one of its members gets a call on her cell phone. Unlike most instances of the trope, though they resent the hassle that will come from needing to redo all the rituals and set-up, when Detective Rowan Black later explains that the call was from an active hostage situation that she was being called to, the other Wiccans understand the urgency.
  • Part of what made the odd pairing of Cable & Deadpool a possibility is that after a mishap that mixed their genes, Cable's teleporter identifies the two of them as the same person, so whenever Cable teleports somewhere he not only brings Deadpool along for the ride no matter where he is and what he is doing, but the process physically merges them. Luckily they both possess Deadpool's Healing Factor, so separating is unpleasant but non-lethal.
  • This is the basic plot of a The Defenders story arc, where Doctor Strange, Silver Surfer, Namor the Sub-Mariner, and the Incredible Hulk are cursed to assemble whenever one of them discovers a threat to the planet. Their frustration and anger at the situation is increasingly Played for Drama, until they get sick of it and decide to take over the world to ensure its safety.
    • Defenders (2021) and Defenders: Beyond continue the tradition, with Betty Ross in the former and Tigra in the later being summoned entirely against their will by a magic spell.
  • Happens to Professor Stein a few times in Firestorm when Ronnie initiates the change at an inconvenient time. It also happens the other way around in Legends, when Stein summons Raymond when he is the middle of a shower so they can deal with Brimstone as Firestorm.
  • In Loki: Agent of Asgard, the All-Mother of Asgard has a habit of calling on Loki whenever they're doing something, like trying to socialize with their human neighbors, playing video-games, or taking a shower.
  • In a story from Monica's Gang, a man summons the Devil in order to sell his soul for money, only to find him with an apron. When asked, the Devil said he was doing the dishes.
  • The Sandman (1989):
    • The whole plot of the series is kicked off by this, as Dream is summoned in place of Death right after he was returning home from doing battle in another realm. The fight left him weak, or he would never have been so easily captured or held for so long.
    • Played very much for drama: Nuala picks an awfully bad time to use her crystal to summon Morpheus. However, the later discovery that Morpheus was likely a Death Seeker who set up the situation so that he could be "forced" into certain death without explicitly abandoning his responsibilities would avert this trope. Notably, when she contacts him and asks him to come, while he does say that the timing is "exceedingly inconvenient", and "most earnestly beseech(es)" her not to demand his presence (which he could technically refuse, but never would because he gave his word) he doesn't actually tell her that obeying her summons could kill him until after he arrives, even though he had time to do so and she would certainly have relented if he had.
  • Issue 56 of The Superman Adventures has Nyjl Fomalhaut XIV summon Lobo while the Main Man was taking a shower, resulting in the Czarnian bounty hunter appearing on Earth with nothing but a towel on him.
  • Inverted in Weapon Hex when Laura uses her Hexagone ability to teleport Hellhound out of the room and into the cold weather outside.
    Hellhound: You magicked me to the #$&#@#$ turrets? You know how cold it is up there? RRRRR!

    Fan Works 
  • In The Bridge, Twilight, Luna, and Mothra summon all the main characters, and get Rarity while she was showering.
  • Thor's habit of beaming up Colonel O'Neill at inopportune moments is taken to its logical extreme in the Stargate SG-1 fic Dr. Jackson's Diary: Jack is beamed up while having sex.
  • Likewise, time agent Daniel's tendency to do this to Captain Archer in the Star Trek: Enterprise fanfic Farce Contact. Archer physically assaults Daniels when he's teleported just as he's about to make First Contact with a hot space babe. Later Daniels has Archer teleported from the toilet to his captain's chair, just after he's dropped his pants.
  • A major gripe of the four at the beginning of The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World is that they've been whisked to C'hou again without any warning. They've all got instructions for their people in case it happened, but John was snatched in the middle of a vacation on a boat, and he frets about whether the crew will really believe he was picked up in the middle of the ocean.
  • In Kyon: Big Damn Hero, Yuki teleports Mikuru twice to her apartment just after Mikuru took a bath, Modesty Towel and all. After complaining about being teleported in the nude, the next teleport was while she was eating.
  • In Opening Dangerous Gates, a few of the Bleach characters, like Hitsugaya and Grimmjow, are annoyed that Lucy called them to another world and they have to obey her.
  • Happens to Misty's Poliwhirl in A Pikachu in Love. After returning from a midnight swim she calls it out of its Pokéball to help track down where Pikachu darted off to. Of course, being midnight, Poliwhirl ends up falling face-first on the ground due to being asleep when it happens.
    Misty: Oops, sorry Poliwhirl. I forgot that some of my Pokémon actually need their beauty sleep...
  • In The Royal Protector Star casts a Summon Everyman Hero spell while Marco is being yelled at by Brittney Wong at a party just as she wishes he would be swallowed by a black hole, the crowd accuse her of being a witch and attack her.
  • In Spirits of the Blitz, an occultist summons Crowley while he's sleeping, so he shows up in a dressing gown and asks for coffee.
  • The Transcendence AU sees some use of this gag with Alcor, including the mid-shower summoning.
  • Vow of Nudity: The first time Spectra gets unexpectedly summoned by Hiyeth, she was in the middle of having sex with two of her clients.
  • In With Strings Attached, the four certainly find being summoned to C'hou inconvenient, especially since they have no idea what's going on. They also experience two inconvenient summonses during the Vasyn quest: right after they're told about the first piece, they're whisked away while John is practically naked, and right after they're told about the third piece, where John at least gets to retrieve his cloak, but Paul is fast asleep and impossible to wake up for a few hours.

    Films Animation 
  • Disney's Aladdin provides the page image. Aladdin is kidnapped and thrown into the ocean to drown. His unconscious body rubs the lamp and summons the Genie, who is in the middle of taking a bath. Or claims to be, anyway; given his Rapid-Fire Comedy style, it's entirely possible (and probably makes more sense) that this was just another gag for the sake of a Big Entrance before realizing it's no time for jokes.
  • The Emperor's New Groove parodies this with Kronk's Shoulder Angel belatedly appearing at a moment of moral crisis, sitting under a hairdryer.

    Films Live-Action 
  • Works the other way around in Bedazzled — Stanley, given seven wishes by George the Devil, can terminate the wish and get transported to wherever George is by blowing a raspberry. Doing so, he gets zapped into very disconcerting places — up on the London Post Office Tower, up a telephone pole, in scuba gear underwater...
  • Happens to Jim Ferguson in Biggles: Adventures in Time when he is spontaneously transported through time to 1917. The second time this happens, he has just stepped out of the shower and is wearing a towel and holding an electric shaver.
  • Played for Drama in The Frighteners: hero Frank Bannister has temporarily put himself in a death-like state, so that his ghost can find the supernatural killer wreaking havoc. He's revived an hour later — had it been any later, his body would have undergone permanent, irreparable damage — but since his ghost was halfway across town at the time, has unmasked the killer, and is very close to defeating him before being yanked back to the land of the living, the timing of his revival counts as this trope.
  • A straight-up Fan Disservice example in From Hell when Anne and Albert are taken away by gang men right in the middle of sex. They are packed into a cab in the middle of the street with only bed sheets concealing their modesty.
  • Horrific: In Masters of Death, the six strangers all experienced a mental compulsion to abandon what they were doing an travel to the cabin in the woods. One of the girls mentions that she was taking an exam and just stood up and walked out.
  • In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Kirk and McCoy get caught escaping from a Siberian prison camp — oops — Klingon prison colony and are about to be executed...
    Kirk: "Killed while trying to escape."
    McCoy: Damned clever if you ask me.
    Kirk: It's a classic.
    Klingon Commandant: That's what he wanted.
    Kirk: Who? Who wanted us killed?
    Klingon Commandant: Since you're all going to die anyway, why not tell you? His Name Is...
    [transporter beam]
    [phaser fire]
    Kirk: Son of a... Couldn't you have waited two seconds?
    Spock: Captain...?
    Kirk: They were just about to tell us the whole thing!
    Chekov: You want to go back?
    McCoy: Absolutely not!
    Kirk: It's cold!

  • Another Fine Myth: Magicians Aahz and Garkin have a deal where they summon each other as "horrible demons" to impress the other guy's apprentice of the moment, and start engaging in an Escalating War where they do the summonings to be as embarrassing and inconvenient as possible. This leads to Aahz losing his powers for the rest of the Myth-Adventures series.
  • At one point in The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Bartimaeus is summoned OUT of trouble, trapped in a silver soup pot, INTO trouble, facing the person who put him there in the first place. "There's nothing worse than escaping death at the hands of your arch-enemy, only to find yourself facing them again. Even a different arch-enemy is preferable."
  • Chrestomanci:
    • A running joke with is the number of times the Chrestomanci has been summoned somewhere in his dressing gown. (Fortunately, he habitually wears very impressive dressing gowns.) Or, in The Sage of Theare, where he says he's just gone to bed with flu.
    • A slightly more sinister example would be Gabriel telling Christopher off when he lost one of his lives because he had been called away from nearly catching the Wraith.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia:
    • In The Magician's Nephew, Helen, the first queen of Narnia, is brought there from London in the middle of doing laundry. Sort of a subversion, though, because the narration notes that if she had known she was about to be summoned she would have tried to dress up in her best clothes and hat, which would have looked tacky and ruined her natural prettiness.
    • Prince Caspian even discusses the trope in-universe when the Pevensie kids talk about how they were summoned immediately without having a choice, and then mention how in fairy tales nobody ever thinks about how inconvenient it is for the fairy, genie, etc.
  • In Chris Lester's short story "The Dark Lord Steve" a fantasy world treats people from "this" world as demons, granting them limited Reality Warper powers when summoned by a wizard. And the first three times Steve is summoned it's at an inconvenient time; the first time he was settling down to watch a movie, the second time he was showering (and slips on the soapy water before using his powers to warp away the water and concussion and dress himself), and the third time he was stuck in rush hour traffic.
  • A Running Gag in the Discworld series is Death (or those filling in for him) being summoned by the Wizards at an inconvenient time when they invoke the Rite of Ashk Ente. In The Light Fantastic, for example, they briefly pull him out of a party, though in that case it's not a huge deal, since he thinks it's going to go downhill around midnight. "It's when they think I'll be taking my mask off."
  • The Dresden Files: In Cold Days, Harry is in dire need of help, so he summons Mother Winter, one of the oldest and strongest Fae. Unfortunately, she had recently lost her walking cane, making long journeys a pain for her. So, she reverses the summons and draws Harry to her... with the intent to eat him as punishment. In that case, the being summoned implied it was also a test.
  • In Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion stories, the Champion is always summoned to perform some heroic feat of combat, regardless of how happy he is where he is. He has no choice but to be teleported to the world where he was requested.
  • In the George and Azazel stories by Isaac Asimov, Azazel almost always bitches about what he was doing when George summoned him. The only exceptions are if it got him out of an awkward situation or, on one occasion, when it let him gloat for even longer over a successful poker hand.
  • A Running Gag in I've Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level when Azusa summons Beelzebub. The summoning isn't that inconvenient, it's just that every time she summons her, she lands in the bathtub. Beelzebub eventually starts to get used to it after a while.
  • Left Behind:
    • In the book Glorious Appearing, with Jesus summoning the last remaining quarter of humanity to the Valley of Jehoshaphat for judgment (who at that point are mostly Global Community and Nicolae Carpathia loyalists), some are pulled out of various things they were doing just for the sake of being judged.
    • For that matter, the Rapture itself during the first book and The Rapture (as well as any form of fictional work it appears in) could be considered this, as Christians are pulled out of whatever they were doing at that moment to be with the Lord, and in certain cases inadvertently putting other people into danger. In Left Behind (2000), this results in a multi-vehicle accident on the road when a tractor trailer truck driver, who is a Christian, is suddenly taken up. In Left Behind (2014), this results in Rayford Steele suddenly losing his co-pilot in midflight from New York to London.
    • Which leads to the bumper sticker slogan: "In case of Rapture, this car will be unmanned."
  • In The Tamuli, an argument with a coalition of obstructionist priests led one of the characters to replace a priest with his god... who had been in the middle of a bath. Why a god needs to bathe is not explored.
  • Young Wizards: In Deep Wizardry, in a moment of despair, Nita calls out to one of her mentors, Carl, and his partner Tom is teleported out of the shower because he's taking Carl's calls. Note that it wasn't involuntary; it's more that Tom is such a nice guy that he'll literally drop everything to help one of his wizards.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrowverse, "Crisis on Infinite Earths: Hour One": Harbinger pulls Batwoman to Earth-38 just as she was interrogating a Wonderland mook for the location of Alice. She's not happy with her about it and punches her once the surprise of the teleportation wears off.
  • Babylon 5:
    • In an inversion, Sheridan is interrupted unexpectedly by the sudden holographic projection of other characters in his private quarters twice: first by DRAAL while he is in the shower, and later Commander Ivonova (using DRALL's equipment) when the Political Officer is trying to seduce him.
    • When played straight, this trope becomes a sort of Running Gag later in Sheridan's life, particularly at the hands of Galen, who tends to drag Sheridan's consciousness away to some sort of dreamstate in order to give him cryptic warnings about the future. It gets to the point where Sheridan doesn't even miss a beat when it happens anymore.
  • Bewitched: Doctor Bombay is always in the middle of some Noodle Incident or other when he's summoned.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Trial of a Time Lord": In "Mindwarp", the Doctor is in the middle of helping the slaves of Thoros Beta to overthrow their rulers, and attempt to save Peri from having an alien consciousness inserted into her brain (which would kill her own consciousness), when the Time Lords forcefully teleport him out to their space station courtroom for the eponymous trial. Luckily the revolt and the rescue of Peri succeed as planned in his absence.
    • "Voyage of the Damned": The Doctor is teleported back to the starship Titanic while in the middle of reassuring newspaper seller Wilfred Mott that nothing weird is going to happen in London this Christmas.
      The Doctor: I was in mid-sentence!
    • In series 6-7, the Doctor has a habit of materializing the TARDIS around Amy and Rory when they're at home without prior warning. In "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship", he does this while Rory's father is over and they're busy installing a light bulb.
  • Father Ted: Ted Crilly always rings one Butt-Monkey of a fellow priest at the worst possible time. When he is being lifted by British soldiers on the border and is seen reaching inside his jacket as the phone rings, for instance. Or in the company of twelve barely biddable Rottweiler dogs who are startled by the noise. All this is lost on the oblivious Ted who remarks that he must have his phone switched off, or something.
  • LazyTown has this modified, where the "evil dude" often talks to Bill while Bill is in the shower, but hides in a zone where he can't be seen. This also happens with other characters.
  • Massive Monster Mayhem: The Clip Show episode starts out with the monsters using their teleportation beam on the two hosts, who show up in pajamas and brushing their teeth. The stay in pajamas for the whole episode (although they are still wearing their headsets).
  • Red Dwarf:
  • On Roswell, Kyle has to answer a sudden knock at the door just as he's about to get lucky with Tess. His reaction, including an unvoiced word that starts with F, is priceless.
    Liz: Hi.
    Kyle: Well, you here for a reason, or you just rushed right over 'cause you sensed I might be experiencing some actual joy?
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • Thor has made a regular habit out of doing this to O'Neill. The first time, Jack is in the middle of giving a speech when he is teleported to a ship full of Replicators. Oddly enough, Thor himself is never in the middle of something when summoned.
    • One episode makes a running gag of this, with one of Earth's ships beaming Daniel Jackson on board from a planet's surface, usually right in the middle of him trying to explain to some villagers that there is no magic, he is not a god, etc.
      Daniel: Boy, my timing is off, today.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • The episode where Picard and the Captain of metaphor/allegory-speaking aliens are isolated on a hostile planet together. Picard and the alien captain are fighting a large hostile native predator together when the Enterprise is finally able to break through the interference and beam him out, leaving the alien captain to face the beast alone. In the seconds it takes for the captain to get himself beamed back down, the predator has done some serious damage to his new buddy.
    • In another episode Picard's alleged son is beamed aboard while on a spelunking adventure of his own.
    • An example occurs when Deanna and her mother are transported to a Ferengi ship without their clothes. This is a subversion; they weren't actually doing anything except waking up from unconsciousness, and their clothes disappeared when they were again transported into the Ferengi captain's cabin (done on purpose; women don't wear clothes in Ferengi society).
    • Discussed in "The High Ground", when Picard considers beaming Dr Beverly Crusher out of a very unsafe situation planetside despite the good doctor being up to her eyeballs in casualty triage at the time. Riker's response is a deadpan "I wouldn't wanna be in the transporter room to greet her." It gets Crusher captured and held hostage for her troubles, though being Beverly Crusher she likely wouldn't have left even if she'd known what was coming.
  • Supernatural:
    • Inverted in "The End". Castiel wants a meeting with Dean, who rather testily informs him that as a mortal he needs to sleep, say for four hours. Exactly four hours later Cas teleports Dean to his location, just as he was about to be killed by Zachariah.
      Dean: Cas, don't ever change.
    • A variation in season six. The Winchesters "summon" Castiel multiple times when it's not especially convenient (he's fighting a civil war in Heaven), but the summonings are merely requests for help through prayer and don't force Castiel to show up — he just chooses to help them. Occasionally the reason they call him down even ends up helping him with the war effort. One notable inconvenient instance, however, is Sam calling him down while he's in the middle of a battle, getting him to show up by lying to him, and essentially wasting his time while they argue. In Sam's defense, he doesn't have his soul at the moment, so his judgement is rather impaired.
    • A hybrid of convenient/inconvenient occurs in the season six episode "Frontierland". Castiel sends Sam and Dean back in time so they can acquire phoenix ashes, which they need to kill Eve, the Mother of Monsters, then plucks them back several hours later, noting that they have a limited time window because if they're gone too long, he won't be able to get them back. Unfortunately for them, they are just about to get their hands on the ashes when Castiel grabs them — fortunately for them, Castiel grabs them in time to avoid losing them in the timestream. Also fortunately, Samuel Colt got a hold of the ashes for them and left orders for them to be stored over the next century and delivered to the Winchesters the same day they return.
  • True Blood: Whenever a maker summons his or her progeny, they have to respond instantly to the summons from whatever it is they're doing. In the season 6 premiere, when Billith is summoning Jessica, Jessica collapses and begins vomiting blood when Sookie and the others try to keep her from going to him, forcing Sookie to drive Jessica to him.
  • Somewhat reversed in an episode of Wizards of Waverly Place when Jerry, Harper and Max get stuck on top of a ferris wheel. Alex needs Harper's help and transports her to their school. At the end of the episode, after everything has been taken care of, Alex sends Harper back to the top of the ferris wheel where Jerry and Max are still stuck because she was mad about the three of them going somewhere she wasn't allowed to go to get away from her.

  • Random Assault:
    • Mitch has said that he can be summoned very much like Candyman, where if his name is uttered into a mirror a number of times, he will be summoned to that person.
    • It is implied that Slabflapper also is summoned this way. Although, it more resembles Beetlejuice's rules. (No need for a mirror; say his name enough times in a row and he'll appear.)

    Tabletop Games 
  • Alternity has an ability for summoning your Alternate Self from another timeline. If you roll well, you get to choose a timeline where your alternate has the particular extra skills you could use right about now. If you crit fail, you get summoned to help an Alternate Self instead. No time passes in your home timeline while you're dealing with the alternate's situation, but all the health, energy, and bullets that you expend over there are still expended when you return — and you still have to deal with your own situation. Alone.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The spell summon monster summons a creature from another world and compels it to fight for the caster for the duration, sending it back (unharmed — it is stuck in transmission and "projected" into our world) when the spell ends. With the abundance of dimensional travel, it is possible for a mage to meet the same creature later, and it is unlikely to be happy. More amusingly, since the spell always summons from worlds other than the one it is cast in, and always combat-capable creatures, a mage from another world may well end up summoning the PCs' party.
    • AD&D spell succor enchants a statuette in the caster's likeness so that when it breaks the caster is immediately summoned. A great, if obviously double-edged commodity.
    • Canonically (by Planescape rules), the other end of extraplanar summoning spells is visible and called "spell crystal" for distinctive look. Non-eligible beings can simply grab one and later throw it at someone else, but planars (including planar PCs) tend to scatter and run away if they see any, because very few can tell to what sort of creatures the spell is attuned, let alone the circumstances on the other end. One of few advantages Primes (normal mortals) have is being non-summonable except via strong individual link.
    • In Al-Qadim, genies can be summoned and charmed to service mortals, but must use the target's personal item in addition to the summonee's debt on a Magically-Binding Contract with geniekind — that is, it's limited almost exclusively to sha'ir, and relatively few sha'ir at that.
    • Adventure S4 The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth. The demon lord Graz'zt was at a crucial moment in a battle against a group of monsters in the Abyss when he was summoned to the Prime Material Plane by the archmage Iggwilv. He battled free at the cost of being confined to his home plane for a century.
    • Baleful blink spell from 3.5 edition Players Handbook II uses this to cause inconvenience. It's much like a normal blink, but makes the target trying to do anything rapidly shift to border Ethereal plane and back, so that half of the time spells (except force-based or cast on oneself, of course) go off at the wrong plane and weapons move right through where the foes stood.
    • One version of the spell refuge enchants an item so that the caster is teleported to it when the item is broken. The caster gets no choice in the matter.
  • Exalted averts the trope. Powerful elementals have underlings which they can send as proxies to a summoner (though it's not stated if the underlings might be in the middle of anything), and Yozis can explicitly appear in two places at once.
  • Stormbringer supplement The Second Stormbringer Companion, adventure "The Velvet Circle". The PCs meet a strange man named Ovamilyon, who was summoned to the Young Kingdoms plane while writing a love ballad for a woman. He says that this sort of thing has happened to him many times over the years.

    Theme Parks 
  • As in the Aladdin movie, in the live-action play (at California Adventure), the Genie is summoned mid-shower.

    Video Games 
  • Ace Online permits "summoning" in form of M-Gear's "Call of Hero". This allows the M-Gear to summon any member of his/her formation teammates. 7/10 times, this is useful, since either: A) both players agreed in advance on where/when he/she is going to be teleported, and B) the summon gives a dialog box so the to-be summoned player can refuse said call. That last point is also its weakness: someone accomplishing something important is requested to be summoned, but he refuses, and it turns out the summoner also needs critical help. The inconvenience only comes from lack of communication and is otherwise convenient to teleport in firepower or teleport teammates away from danger.
  • In Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal, the Spirit of Fate can summon companions for you from the main game in case your party is empty. Should you summon Edwin, he'll be highly annoyed and not-so-subtly imply he was in the middle of hiring a prostitute.
  • In EverQuest, higher level boss monsters (for a time) had an annoying habit of "summoning" players with high threat to their feet and Single Shotting them. At first this action had no warning or graphic, leading to confusion. In time, developers added a "shout" effect to a boss that performed this summon.
  • League of Legends:
    • A lot of the alternate skins imply this. Such as Morgana the Fallen Angel being summoned while she's baking, creating the "Sinful Succulence" Skin (her intro image shows the summoning caused her to burn her cookies), and Twisted Fate and Evelynn's Tango skins are apparently them being summoned while out on a date with each other.
    • In Ezreal's early lore, he never officially joined the League of Legends. He was there only because his amulet was linked to summoning magic, meaning he could get yanked from whatever he was doing without warning. (He chose to keep it anyway, since it let him use his own undeveloped magic power).
  • Averted in Mabinogi, with summoning requiring the permission of the summoned party, and completely unavailable during certain actions.
  • Ragnarok Online has a marriage system where one of the few powers couples share is the ability to summon one another to anywhere from anywhere. It's often used by couples to annoy each other.
  • In Sonic and the Black Knight, Sonic is summoned into the world of King Arthur by Merlina while in the middle of a chili-dog feast. He manages to eat one of the chili-dogs that comes with him, but loses the other one with a Big "NO!" as he and Merlina teleport away.
  • When summoned using an Assist Trophy in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Mr. Resetti may complain about being summoned without warning and will even tell you that his lower half, which is underground, only has a towel wrapped around it thanks to this trope.
  • In World of Warcraft, many of the Warlock's summoned demons imply that they have much better things to be doing than attacking on the Warlock's behalf. Warlocks can also summon other players, though the inconvenience is lost as the player in question must accept the summon. The demonic minions' opinions of their summoning tend to differ, however. Some minions, like the Wrathguard, are soldiers who are trained to follow commands. Others, like the Voidwalker and Voidlord, are stoic and take their summoning in stride (though they are visibly relieved when you send them back). Yet others, like the Fel Imp, seem to actually enjoy the summons, since it's like spending quality time with "their favorite warlock" (Of course, this is likely just flattery, since they've realized that the faster they cooperate, the faster they'll be returned).

    Web Animation 
  • In Bad Days, Stan Lee gets summoned by Thanos toying with the Infinity Gauntlet, while wearing a nightshirt, nightcap and carrying a lantern. Apparently, that's not the first time.
  • In Hazbin Hotel, Alistor summons the demon Husk to work in said hotel. Husk was pulled away from a poker game just as he was about to play a winning hand and take the jackpot. He's understandably upset with the Radio Demon for that.

  • In Cthulhu Slippers, summoning Hastur before he's had his morning coffee for any reason is a very bad idea. The cultist who was ritually sacrificing Mal to ask for a promotion is messily killed.
  • In one Freefall strip, Florence is about to take a shower when the Mayor calls. Due to Florence's safeguards and the Mayor's position, she's incapable of refusing the summons.
  • Grrl Power: Sydney's first attempts at summoning Parfait (Dabbler's half-sister) is a resounding success, since it results in the young succubus popping out... straight out of the bath, naked save for a few soap buds. Parfait isn't much bothered by it, though — like her sister, she's a Shameless Fanservice Girl. She later specifies she can't be summoned against her will and guessed it was Sydney.
  • Parley from Gunnerkrigg Court discovered the ability to teleport only to suffer from Power Incontinence. She usually ends up in the vicinity of the boy she likes.
  • Magick Chicks has Professor Leandro teleporting Faith in while not in full uniform. See the next page as to just how much this was inconvenient, though not for herself.
  • This strip from Nedroid has Beartato being summoned away to be a spirit guide to some guy named Eddie. It turns out more inconvenient for Reginald in the end, who was telling a story to Beartato before the summons and he ends up annoyed.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • In a Dragon #343 strip, a celestial dog is summoned just before it could finish the cure for all diseases.
      Elan: Are you sure it's OK to summon celestials just to fight goblins?
      Durkon: It's just a dog. It be no harm, no foul.
      Fiendish Rat: [summoned by the goblin cleric] Darn it! I can't believe this guy summoned me RIGHT when I was alphabetizing my spice rack!
    • While Roy is fishing with his grandfather in the Lawful Good afterlife, the fish suddenly disappears off his hook. Roy's grandfather explains that it was summoned, and remarks that "someone must be having an underwater adventure".
    • Haley summons Celia (unintentionally) while she is sleeping. She is angry at first because she thinks that it's her mother asking why she isn't married yet, but when it turns out to be Haley, that's OK with her.
    • Played seriously with V's deal with the Three Fiends, combined with Your Soul Is Mine!. They claim temporary ownership of V's soul equal to the duration of the Soul Splice as part of the deal. What they don't tell is that they can claim V's soul anytime, even before death, allowing them to interrupt V's action at a critical moment, for their own agenda.
      CCC: Try not to stress too much about when we might call you down again. Sure, it'll probably be right in the middle of something super-important. But what're you gonna do, never do anything important again?
    • The prequel story "How the Paladin Got His Scar" featuring O-Chul's backstory features a group of Sapphire Guard paladins summoning a planetar (think a D&D version of a warrior angel), to aid them. Said planetar is less than pleased at being summoned, as she was in the middle of a date.
  • In RPG World, Cherry attempts to summon an Ifrit Expy while he's bathing, and a Shiva Expy while she's detained (the former actually shows up with a towel wrapped around him; the latter has an intern summon take her place.)
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Onni gets called to help in a battle far away, and comes to help as his spirit self. Meanwhile, his physical body, which is for all intents and purposes unconscious, is in the same room as the three children he has been supervising. The children in question like "playing hairdresser salon".
  • In one strip of Val and Isaac Isaac's sister summons him to save her from a bandit, and he arrives wearing a wet towel complaining about the timing of those bandits.
  • A strip of Virtual Shackles shows us what happens to Charmander when he's summoned from his Pokéball.
  • In Wapsi Square, Bud summons Tepoz, the Aztec god of alcohol, to quickly sober up Jin. He was in the bath at the time. A rubber duck was included.
  • Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic: When Slissybus the Succubus learns of her adventuring party's destination, she helpfully teleports everybody there. Problem is, two couples had already retreated in their tents for the night, and were starting to get lovey-dovey, resulting in a few naked and embarrassed adventurers. Naturally, coming from a succubus, that was probably entirely on purpose.

    Web Original 
  • Rhysel of the Elcenia universe is summoned from her home planet of Barashi while A) asleep, and B) when she has a funeral to attend the next morning. This starts the story off. Fortunately, due to being too exhausted to change before going to sleep she was at least fully dressed. Oh, and C) the summoning spell was co-cast by two children who don't have the channelling capacity to do it on their own — but spell reversals cost the same as the original spell, and can't be co-cast. Meaning she's stuck in Another Dimension until someone finds a way around that.

    Web Videos 
  • A video parody of the State Farm Insurance commercials shows the "Behind the Commercial" unfortunate life of a State Farm agent who can be teleported away at any time.
  • In Season 4 finale of Noob, Gaea gets on both side of this. Reaching level 100 lets her summon other players and she quite obviously interrupted the guy's own battle the first time she did it. Later, she decides to avoid a game-wide battle by staying away from its main location. However, one of her fanboys gets worried about her and decides to summon her to make sure she's alright... in the middle of the battlefield.
  • Sanders Sides: This happens a few times. At different points in the series, Logan gets summoned in an embarrassing unicorn onesie, Virgil gets summoned while still putting on his makeup, and Patton gets summoned with his pants off.

    Western Animation 
  • This happens occasionally in Aladdin: The Series, and most of the time it involves Genie. In the debut episode of Genie's Love Interest Eden, she and Genie are just about to kiss after their first date when she hears someone summoning her by rubbing the bottle she's bound to. And unfortunately it's not her master Dhandi, but Abis Mal, who had stolen her bottle.
  • In Batmite's introduction in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, he starts to summon supervillains for Batman to fight for his amusement. His first villain, Gorilla Grodd, drops into the scene with a look of confusion while holding an open book he was likely reading. At Batman's goading, Batmite later summons Calendar Man, who was busy writing in a notepad while thinking of his latest villainous scheme.
  • In a Beetlejuice animated episode, a netherworld crowd is chatting his name for a (supposed) heroic deed that he did, which "cancels out" Lydia's summoning for an actual emergency.
  • The Fairly OddParents!:
    • In "Eenie, Genie, Meiny, Moe", when Timmy wishes for a lawyer to help him beat Jerkass Genie Norm, the genie ends up summoning his rival Fairy Mason, who was in the middle of cheating at a card game with a hand of five aces.
    • In "The Terrible Twos", Wanda kept summoning Dr. Rip Studwell when he was in the middle of something which ironically wasn't his job as a doctor.
  • The Fanboy and Chum Chum episode "Excuse Me" has Kyle's Scrivener Elf annoyed that he is repeatedly summoned by Kyle, Fanboy and Chum Chum to write them more excuse notes. At one point, the Scrivener Elf is summoned while he's trying to take a bath.
  • The Ghost and Molly McGee: A side effect of the "curse" Scratch laid on Molly is that she can summon him by calling his name. Naturally this happens at inconvenient moments, like when he's taking a bath in "First Day Frights".
  • In Green Lantern: The Animated Series, Carol Ferris gets summoned through a portal by the Star Sapphires during her lunch break at a buffet. She is holding a plastic tray and a pair of tongs before realizing where she was.
  • In the Looney Tunes short "A Lad in His Lamp", Bugs Bunny finds Aladdin's Lamp, and keeps catching the genie at bad times (bathing, dining, on a date with a female genie...). Eventually he tells Bugs that if it happens one more time, he'll regret it — and Bugs, trickster that he is, hands the lamp over to the bad guy.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Princess Twilight Sparkle, Part 1" provides the page quote: Twilight summons Discord while he's showering, along with the shower (though knowing him he probably invoked it deliberately).
  • In the Pound Puppies episode "The Fairy Dogmother", the titular character is taking a bath when the Pound Puppies summon her.
  • In a Robot Chicken skit, Beetlejuice's marriage is on the rocks due to him having to appear every time Lydia shouts his name three times.
  • Biggie Smalls (The Notorious B.I.G.) from the "Hell on Earth 2006" episode of South Park. He keeps getting summoned through a Bloody Mary-type ritual, which prevents him from getting into Satan's exclusive party. At the end of the episode, Butters, who makes it to the party after Satan opens it to everybody, pulls out a hand mirror and summons Biggie so he can be there too.
  • In one episode of Spider-Man: The Animated Series during the "Secret Wars" arc, Spider-Man, having already gathered a few allies, is given the opportunity to call in additional reinforcement. He selects Black Cat, but unfortunately, she was in the middle of helping Blade and Morbius fight vampires. Black Cat's not very happy with Spidey for that for a good deal of the episode.
  • Totally Spies!:
    • The girls usually end up subject to this when called for a mission by the WOOHP.
    • Happens in The Amazing Spiez! too. In one episode, Lee, Megan and Tony are "WOOHP"ed and muse on the fact that Marc isn't with them. Cue Marc coming down a separate slide that connects to theirs and complaining about how unpleasant it is to be "WOOHP"ed through the library's return slot.

    Real Life 
  • According to legend, Sir Francis Drake was playing a game of bowls on Plymouth Harbour when the Spanish Armada was sighted invading England. He finished the game, before boarding his ship and beating the crap out of the invaders. However it's been pointed out by historians that Drake would have needed time to launch his fleet anyway as the currents were against them, so the delay might have had a more pragmatic cause.
  • The filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl was on vacation in 1933 and relaxing in the sauna with friends when she was told there was an urgent phone call for her. She left the sauna and, just as she was, took the call, only to find that it was her friend Hermann Göring informing her that her other friend Adolf Hitler was to be Chancellor of Germany. One of Riefenstahl's friends noted that Riefenstahl was probably the only person to be told about Hitler's accession of power while completely naked.


"The Turmoil of the Beehive"

Nope, he could not have waited just a BIT longer...!

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / InconvenientSummons

Media sources: