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Last Resort Takeout

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"Oh egads, my roast is ruined! But what if... I were to purchase fast food and disguise it as my own cooking?"

So you have plans for supper. Problem is, nothing's going right. Either the oven's broken, the food is frozen or inedible, no pans are available, and/or you're pressed for time. No need to fear; there's always at least one restaurant nearby to resolve this plight so no one goes hungry! There are two types: openly taking guests to the restaurant or discreetly buying the restaurant food and serving it on your own plates, to trick the guests.

This is not uncommon for Real Life families to do this when dinner plans don't go the way they should, making this Truth in Television.

May be used as an alternative for a Masochist's Meal. Compare Convenience Store Gift Shopping, which can involve gifts bought when pressed for time. See also Peking Duck Christmas.



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  • One ad for Raising Cane's has a family prepare a meal for watching a football game, only for the stove to burn. The mom decides to stop by Raising Cane's to pick up the meal in time for the game.
  • One ad for Foodpanda features a man being so distracted playing a video game that he forgets he invited company over to watch the game. They are naturally not happy that the man forgot about the visit and thus didn't have any food prepared for the guests either. Fortunately, his significant other suggests using Foodpanda to quickly order food and have it delivered to them.
  • In an ad for Heineken, a couple prepares a meal for the holidays. During cooking, the smoke alarm goes off. Cut to the family having burgers accompanied with the advertised beverage.
  • A commercial for Hardee's from 1987 has a father cook dinner for his two children because his wife is working late. He ends up burning dinner, so his children suggest that he go to Hardee's to get them Children's Meals.

  • In Anya's Ghost, Anya deliberately ruins the dinner her mom made because Emily (after being exposed as a murderer) had put rat poison in it to frighten Anya into doing what Emily wants and instead offers to pay for pizza.

    Comic Strips 
  • Invoked in a Dennis the Menace (US) strip, in which Dennis deliberately ruined the turkey for Thanksgiving dinner so the family can order pizza.
  • Garfield:
    • One strip had Jon measure chili powder for a dish. He has a heaping pile in a measuring cup, and asks Garfield if it's enough. Garfield okays it, causing the mixture to explode as the chili powder is poured in. Garfield then tells Jon to ditch it out and order pizza.
    • Another has Jon prepare a lasagna dinner for Liz. Off-strip, Garfield, who loves lasagna, gets to it first, so the two decide to eat out.
    • A strip from July 2018 has Garfield dance because Jon burned dinner so he's ordering pizza.
  • This strip from Luann displays a step-by-step guide to enjoy a summer barbecue. However, the meat didn't thaw out enough, and the propane tank was empty. The last panel shows the family ordering burgers from a drive-thru.
  • FoxTrot:
    • Andy ruins Thanksgiving dinner due to trying too hard to make it better than the Thanksgiving dinners her mother (whom she has always felt overshadowed by due to her mother being The Ace) makes. After they resolve the issue (by her mom revealing that she had a similar relationship with her mother) the family orders pizza.
    • Another has Jason reveal he's secretly rigged the stove to flare up by remote control, ensuring their mother's latest horrible health food concoction is ruined and they have to order pizza.
    • Another has a pizza guy showing up at the door, Roger claiming they didn't order any, then paying for it and telling Andy the forces of fate have ordered dinner for them (and it's apparently not the first time).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Happens at the end of A Christmas Story. After the Christmas Turkey gets ravaged by the Bumpus' dogs, the family resorts to eating at the local Chinese restaurant.
  • Happens in The Santa Clause. Scott has his son Charlie over for Christmas Eve, and decides to treat him to a nice turkey dinner. However, the turkey burns, and the boys end up going to eat at a Denny's, where they run into a bunch of fathers and children in the same situation.
  • Mrs. Doubtfire is also forced to resort to this after an attempt to cook dinner goes terribly wrong.

  • In Nanny Ogg's Cookbook, Leonard of Quirm's Recipe for a Grilled Cheese Sandwich is a long list of tangents involving the invention of various devices based on the ingredients of the sandwich, with the last step being "Send out for pizza."
  • Judith Kerr's book The Tiger Who Came to Tea has Sophie's Dad suggest that they go out to a cafe after the eponymous character eats everything in the house including the food that Sophie's Mum was cooking for dinner.
  • James Herriot described a case in his books when Tristan had to be the cook for a week or so. He turned out to be a One-Note Cook, which was naturally taken rather badly by the others. The chapter ends with Siegfried stating he will have lunch in a nearby pub (after being served potato mash which was half charcoal).
  • Mr. Men: After Little Miss Princess messes up cooking dinner for her and Mr. Bump, Mr. Bump suggests that she simply order pizza.
  • Speak: After Melinda's parents both fail at preparing a Thanksgiving turkey and soup, they give up and order double-cheese double-mushroom pizza while Dad buries the soup in the backyard next to the grave of the family's dog.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Life with Derek:
    • "The Wedding": Casey ends up canceling the Caterer for the wedding due to the fact that the food they were gonna prepare was hotdogs, mini-pizzas and ice cream. Derek then calls a friend or fellow student to get his dad's Greek restaurant to provide the food last-minute.
    • "Dinner Guest": Casey is desperately trying to prepare a fancy meal for her dad's visit that night and it gets wrecked due to both falling on the floor and the red peppers in a paper bag in the oven catching on fire. They all order pizza shortly after that.
    • "A Very Derekus Christmas": Given the size of the two quails that are cooked aren't enough to feed the whole family, Derek has a delivery guy with four-wheel drive deliver Chinese food in the snowstorm.
  • In a Thanksgiving Episode of Mad About You Jamie tries to make a turkey but the dog eats it, so she buys a precooked turkey from the local deli. She then has to buy several more because they keep getting destroyed, including one that gets thrown out of the window when her in-laws almost catch her bringing it in.
  • General Hospital. A disastrous Thanksgiving at the Quartermaines has become so standard that everyone knows it expects that they'll be ordering pizza before the night over. The worst example had to be estranged son Jason showing up with a turkey to replace the one that had been destroyed—looking like for once they'll have a traditional dinner—only to have that one get ruined as well when a pair of burglars runs out of the house.
  • The first Thanksgiving Episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine has Boyle ordering various takeout meals from restaurants from various cultures when all the squad's other Thanksgiving dinner plans bottom out (most notably Amy Santiago's atrocious cooking).
  • Alex Rider: How cooking works in the world of Jack Starbright: 1) Order Chinese. 2) Get a pan out. 3) Wipe a little sauce inside the pan so it looks like you cooked. Ian's amusement when he thanks her for cooking suggests he knows exactly what's up.
  • In the Fawlty Towers episode "Gourmet Night", the chef gets too drunk to cook (or stand up), so out of desperation Basil calls a local restaurant to provide the duck dinners. Of course, getting the dinners from the restaurant back to the hotel turns out to be impossible despite several attempts.

  • In "Trapped In The Drive-Thru", "Weird Al" Yankovic and his wife mull their options for dinner. After ruling out leftovers, delivery, and several restaurants, they go to the drive-through.

    Theme Parks 
  • In the Carousel of Progress: After the father burns the turkey in a voice-controlled oven, daughter Patricia asks, "Anyone for pizza?"

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 

    Web Video 
  • Part of the flashback story in He Said. She Said., told by one of the male characters. He was supposed to cook for his girl friend but forgot to pay the electricity bill. With the power gone, he decided to take her out instead but then the trouble starts.
  • Thanksgiving With the Kranzes is a spoof of Apollo 13, where Thanksgiving dinner is nearly ruined, because it turns out Gene Kranz's family bought a defective oven for their kitchen. Still Kranz salvages the dinner with a similar speech to the one he gave in the actual movie, ending with "Take out is not an option!".

    Western Animation 
  • Rugrats:
    • "Chuckie Gets Skunked": When Chuckie ends up bathing in Grandma Minka's Borst she and Grandpa Boris brought over for dinner—which ends up getting rid of the skunk smell, Stu says he'll go pick up pizzas to replace it.
    • "The Turkey Who Came to Dinner":
      • While it's not takeout, given it's decided the Turkey will live because they befriended the babies and the other food was destroyed when the microwave overheated, the adults settle for serving Reptar Cereal instead.
      • The fact that the Turkey doesn't arrive soon enough to begin with and everyone can't agree on how they want to make said Turkey prompts a bunch of them to travel to a supermarket that actually happens to be opened to see what they can all get their hands on.
    • "Discover America": When all the food for the cookout ends up wrecked, pizza is once again the substitute used to replace it.
  • The Simpsons
  • The Teen Titans pilot had the Titans get into an argument over what they should have for dinner, interspersed with Starfire discovering that whatever leftovers they had have now evolved into a higher life-form. Finally Robin suggests, "Maybe we should just go out for pizza." Cut to the pizzeria, and now they're arguing about toppings.
  • In the Mickey Mouse cartoon "Mickey's Birthday Party", Goofy tries to bake Mickey's birthday cake, but every cake he makes gets ruined. Finally he has to buy one from the bakery. He trips and drops it on the birthday boy.
  • Invoked in The Loud House episode, "Fed Up", where Lincoln and his sisters get tired of Lynn Sr. making them the same seven meals every week, so they work together to sabotage his every attempt to make dinner so they can order pizza.
  • A particularly infuriating example comes from Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, where Bloo and a new imaginary friend eat all of the food that was supposed to go towards making dinner for the house. When this is discovered Frankie decides to order some takeout, but she's forced to go out again to get more food to actually make something. Cue her coming back to see that the house ordered pizza while she was out, making her entire second trip useless.
  • Horrid Henry: After his mother’s plan to go to a girly shopping centre goes awry (due to the car running out of fuel) and his dad’s fishing goes wrong (case in point, the poles are set on fire and his clothes are stolen by a trash man), Henry reveals that he has a voucher for a fast-food restaurant, which the actually decide to take him up on.
  • King of the Hill: In "Happy Hank's Giving", after a Thanksgiving that goes humiliatingly From Bad to Worse (including being trapped at the airport and Hank's smoked turkey being detonated by a bomb squad when the security dog goes crazy and it's mistaken for a bomb), the Hills and their friends try to make do with a dinner at the airport's food court.
  • In The Wild Thornberrys episode "Dinner with Darwin", a native tribe tries to fatten up Darwin for dinner. When the Thornberrys find them and explain that Darwin is part of their family, the tribe chieftain (who can speak perfect English thanks to language tapes) laughs it off in good nature. He then calls a friend on his cell and tells him that they aren't having monkey for dinner so they should drive into town to pick up steaks.
  • Animaniacs: One short is a take on the famous "Witch's scene" from Macbeth, in which the three witches (played here by Dot Warner, Hello Nurse and Slappy Squirrel) recite the lines from the same scene in the play, while Yakko translates it into something the audience will understand. His version makes it sound like they're just trying to cook dinner (with Wakko throwing in assorted odd ingredients as they name them), and at the end he hops into the scene to ask what they're actually cooking up. Even the "witches" aren't sure, until their brew summons forth Mr. Director, to their great horror. After trapping him back in the cauldron and sending it blasting off, Yakko suggests that they just send out for pizza.

    Real Life 
  • On January 14, 2019, as the White House kitchen was not operating due to the partial U.S. federal government shutdown, President Donald Trump served the national college football champions, the Clemson Tigers, a buffet of McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, and Domino's Pizza in the State Dining Room.

Video Example(s):


Steamed Hams

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