Follow TV Tropes


Long Speech Tea Time

Go To

Old Bailey Judge: The Defence's argument is entirely reasonable. How do you respond, Lord van Zieks?
Barok van Zieks: ... Pray forgive the discourtesy if my mind has wandered. I was considering what cuisine would compliment the contents of my hallowed chalice this luncheon.

A character giving a long and involved explanation or speech glances over and notices his audience is distracted and busy doing something else, sleeping, or just deliberately waiting until the speaker shuts up. This mostly tends to happen when the Big Bad is all excited about telling the heroes his "evil" plan, only to find out that nobody cares or being interrupted and attacked.

Named for the typical gag shot of this trope, where the ignoring characters sit down and have some tea.

In America, you're likely to hear Chirping Crickets instead. In comic format, likely to involve the Wall of Blather. Related "eating while something is happening" tropes are Pass the Popcorn (where the audience finds someone else's trouble entertaining) and The Snack Is More Interesting (where someone is directly involved, but acts strangely unconcerned).

For speakers who are so boring they put their audience to sleep, see Nap-Inducing Speak.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Occasionally happens on Pokémon: The Series, usually when the Team Rocket trio are reciting their motto. In one case, the main characters even twigged that they could use this time to rescue the Mons.
  • Naruto: Kakashi's typical response to Gai's impassioned declarations of rivalry is to glance up from his copy of Icha Icha Paradise and ask "Hmm? Were you saying something?"
  • In an episode of Psychic Squad, Mio called a Long Transformation Sequence Tea Time.
  • An episode of Ouran High School Host Club had the St. Lobelia girls making an impassioned speech... pan to the Host Club sitting on the couch, utterly bored. One of the twins is playing on a Nintendo DS.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie, Dr. Robotnik/Eggman gives a speech about how his robot generator is going to blow up if the heroes don't do something about it, then notices that everyone in the room, including Sonic, Tails, and even his own robots have fallen asleep.
  • In the last season of Sailor Moon a villain once escapes during the titular character's In the Name of the Moon speech, after getting frustrated from its length.
  • In Dragon Ball Z when Gotenks is fighting Super Buu inside the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, he spends a great deal of time giving a speech to his kamikaze ghosts. Piccolo then informs Gotenks of Buu, who is very nonchalantly sipping on an impressive looking drink while reading a magazine.
  • Used to mock a villainous In the Name of the Moon speech in the third episode of Black Lagoon, where Revy casually reloads her guns and lights a cigarette while on of the Neo-Nazis brags about how awesome his gun is.
  • Happens repeatedly in Ranma ˝. Particularly effective in the first Non-Serial Movie, where it's basically a character trait (and Berserk Button) of the Chinese girl Lychee to deliver a heartfelt, sobbing tale of woe only to be summarily ignored.
    Lychee: Hey! I talking here!
  • In One Piece's Fishman Island arc, Jimbei spouts out about 7-chapters long Exposition about the Fishmen in the past and, namely, Queen Otohime and Fisher Tiger (2 fish people notable on their crusade against racial oppression) to the Straw Hats. While the others listen carefully, Luffy just fell asleep. Cue Jimbei's Wild Take.
    • Later on, Jimbei gives a much shorter speech on the changes that went on following the Paramount War... only to learn that Luffy is more interested in eating his meat than listening to exposition.
    • Luffy seems to just have an aversion to listening to exposition in general. Way back in the Arlong Arc, when Nojiko is about to reveal Nami's backstory, Luffy falls asleep before she even starts talking.
    • In the Enies Lobby arc, Spandam is busy gloating about the power of the World Government, while Luffy starts picking his nose.
  • Exaggerated in Oh, Suddenly Egyptian God. The gods were having a banquet party and the god Ra is set to open the party with a speech. However, his speech ends up being so long that the gods decided to move on with the rest of the events anyway, while he's still talking. He only finishes his speech just as the party's about to wrap up and end.

    Audio Play 
Another Monty Python Record: When the Spanish Inquisition crashes the architect interviews, Cardinal Ximinez gives a typical Disorganized Outline Speech, during which his junior cardinals and the architects go off together for some tea. And this lovely chocolate cake with little silver balls...

    Comic Strips 
  • In a Peanuts comic, Charlie Brown has the baseball team at his house for a meeting because it's raining out. He begins by running through their signals, but ends up launching into an inspiring speech about team spirit and the interest the players show in the game, only to turn around and find that everyone is watching his TV. The dialogue from the strip, slightly altered, was used for a better-known gag in A Charlie Brown Christmas.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • From The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp:
    Clive Candy: The Kaiser spoke, and the Prince of Wales spoke —
    Barbara Wynne: Spoke about what?
    Clive Candy: Nobody could remember.
  • In the sequel to This is Spın̈al Tap, the rest of the band is shown leaving the stage when Nigel starts one of his guitar solos. The rest of the scene intersperses shots of Nigel playing the solo with the other band members wandering around town, having dinner, getting a shave, etc.
  • The after credits sequence of Iron Man 3 reveals that Banner was listening to Tony tell him the story of the movie and fell asleep ten minutes in.

  • In the Doctor Who Eighth Doctor Adventures novel Sometime Never, Sabbath talks for a whole four-page chapter. While he's talking, the Doctor and his daughter (adopted... or is she?) have started trying to reassemble a device the Doctor dropped in surprise when said daughter showed up, while the Doctor's granddaughter watches, and only one other person understood what the heck Sabbath was even talking about anyway. Since he apparently needs a page or so to recharge his vocal chords, Sabbath lets them puzzle it out on their own.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel:
    • In "Shells", Angel's speech about the virtues of humanity and how he'll fight to defend each and every one is interrupted by Wesley shooting Knox, the human who brought back Illyria. Angel turns and asks him "Were you even listening?"
    • When Lindsey tries to justify being evil in "Blind Date", Angel thinks he's so long-winded that he dozes off. Lindsey gets his own back in "Not Fade Away", where he's the one not paying attention to Angel's speech.
  • A version on Boardwalk Empire. Nucky is reflecting on his life in a speakeasy in Florida, while the speak's owner Sally looks incredibly bored and pours herself a drink. Finally she gets so frustrated she straight up punches Nucky.
  • In Season 7 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy's tendency to give a Rousing Speech is a Running Gag. In "Storyteller", Andrew ducks out of the room when Buffy starts going into another soliloquy, noting that they can go on for some time. A few minutes later he looks to see if Buffy has finished — she's still going on and even Willow is trying to hide a yawn. When Andrew himself tries to give a speech in "Chosen", Anya curtly tells him to shut up: "Nobody cares."
  • Doctor Who: In "Planet of the Ood", when Donna steps out of the TARDIS and sees the awesome snowy vistas of the Oodsphere, her first impression is that it's bloody freezing. The Doctor encourages her to see the wider picture, appreciate the incredible views, consider how amazing it is that an average woman from Chiswick who was getting up, working, coming home, watching telly and going to bed is now travelling across space and time to land on alien worlds... and finds she's gone back into the TARDIS to get a coat.
  • In the Frasier episode "Ask Me No Questions", Frasier is speaking to Martin, who gets up, leaves the apartment to fetch the paper, and returns just in time to absent-mindedly agree with whatever Frasier had been talking about, all without Frasier realizing. Later, the same thing happens when he's speaking with Daphne (she goes to catch up with friends and buy some coffee). Frasier is completely oblivious.
  • In season 4 of Hell's Kitchen, when Jen is first nominated for elimination she launches into a very long speech of why she should stay. Ramsay face palms and hangs one at the end.
    Jen: May I say one more quick thing chef?
    Ramsay: Oh fuck me.
  • In Top Gear (UK), the characters had bought tractors and were having The Stig race them around the track to see which was slowest. They try to commentate on it for a minute or two, realize the futility of it all, and then give up to go have a tea break and discuss the weather.
  • This happens all the time to The Vicar of Dibley's Frank Pickle, who is quite possibly the most boring man on earth. People tend to fall asleep when he starts talking about something, and it is implied that he bored his parents to death (though Frank will remind you that it was never proven).
  • Yes, Prime Minister. The funeral of a former British prime minister leads to various heads of government flying in to pay their respects and at the same time engage in politicking because unlike a formal political conference they're not under pressure to get politically-acceptable results. Prime Minister Hacker is shown arranging to discuss NATO bases with the US Vice-President in Westminster Abbey while the funeral service is on.
  • The Professionals. In "The Female Factor", Bodie and Doyle are making out with their girlfriends and smirking over how they snuck out on one of Cowley's speeches.

  • From [title of show]:
    Hunter: I mean I don't want this to be just sketches and novelty songs linked together. I want there to be substance, not just fluff. Not that there's anything wrong with fluff, but I wanna strive for something that makes people really pay attention. You know what I mean?
    Susan: Uh... I totally stopped listening.

    Video Games 
  • Kael'thas Sunstrider in World of Warcraft. Players died because they didn't realize he'd finally finished his speech and had started attacking them again.
    • This happens often enough that one of the more common mods has a timer to show how long until they shut up and fight. One of the bosses gained a common nickname; Lady Deathwhisper became Lady Talkstoomuch, for her two minute speech, which she gives while the party is pulling trash.
  • In Shadow Hearts: Covenant, one of the villains is giving a monologue about how the party is doomed, etc. However, he's doing this while sitting on a floating pillow, leading to the party discussing how the pillow floats. When he finishes, Yuri has only one question: "Where can I get one of those pillows?"
    • Yuri has a habit of interrupting people's monologue, usually to insult them.
  • In Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, Luigi not paying attention during some of the longer speeches was a Running Gag. He even drinks tea on several occasions.
  • Mario falling asleep in the Paper Mario series during long speeches is a Running Gag as well. Even his partners get in on the act in the sequel.
  • In Metal Gear Ac!d 2, before the boss battle with Metal Gear, Dr. Kopplethorn starts on a long, technical speech about how its nuclear missile works. Meanwhile, Snake tells Venus (and the player) what he's noticed about Metal Gear's weapons and how he thinks they should fight it, in speech bubbles rather than the standard text boxes. Once they've finished, Venus interrupts Kopplethorn with a lampshadey joke about the long speeches in the series, enraging him.
  • Amaterasu, the easily-bored wolf heroine of Ōkami, will lie down and take a nap at any idle moment, even if there's important Exposition going on. It really annoys Waka.
  • In Suikoden II, a rare variant of Riou and Nanami's Unite attack has Nanami sit down for a cup of tea and so on whilst Riou does all the fighting, becoming more and more exhausted-looking as the attack sequence plays out. This can be a preferred outcome: the damage is similar, and instead of losing her next turn, Nanami gets a regen buff.
  • In Tales of Symphonia there's a scene where the party is discussing matters after a plot twist reveals some shocking information. After a few moments Presea sits down on the ground and Sheena starts fidgeting. Weirdly, this is the only time something like this happens (and the conversation is relatively short). Justified in that the plot twist in question is at the top of a very tall climb (hence Presea resting her legs) and the conversation involves planning a frontal assault on a city of angels (hence Sheena's nervousness).
  • In the Pajama Sam games, the titular character frequently dozes off during the often lengthy—but optional—Edutainment segments.


    Web Original 
  • A ways into the S season in Shadowjack Watches Sailor Moon, Kaolinite distracts The Professor by mentioning the Grail, sending him into his Once an Episode speech about his evil plan and heading him off from noticing her mounting failures.

    Western Animation 
  • Charlie Brown attempting to direct his actors in A Charlie Brown Christmas, only to find out that they've headed off to dance on the stage.
  • Dr. Drakken gloats over his plan to lure out Kim Possible and blast her with his latest device, but then notices Shego leafing through the cable TV guide. "Trap for Miss Perfect, got it."
    • Shego does this all the time. It's not so much "getting distracted" as "not listening in the first place".
  • In The Simpsons:
    • In "Trash Of The Titans", Homer interrupts a U2 show to promote his campaign for Springfield's sanitation commissioner, which makes Bono go into his own speech about sanitation, prompting The Edge and Larry Mullen, Jr. (but not Adam Clayton) to slip out to Moe's during the speech, making it back by the time Bono's done with his speech.
    • In "Poppa's Got a Brand New Badge", Homer lists all the jobs he's had up to that point, all while Marge gets all her curlers into her hair.
  • In the first episode of Futurama, Leela lists that Fry's distant relative in 2999 is his "great-great-great...". While that happens, Fry starts getting dressed and then crossfades to him finishing up before Leela finishes her sentence.
  • In the Count Duckula episode "Igor's Busy Day", engaged American couple Scott and Laura have taken refuge from a storm in Castle Duckula, and have joined the Count for dinner. While Scott spends the entire meal reciting the digits of Pi, Laura talks at length about how she and Scott met and about her very large family. The thoroughly bored Duckula tries to keep himself occupied by balancing the contents of the fruit bowl on top of each other, firing a pea from his knife at the oblivious Scott, and sculpting a castle out of mashed potato before dozing off and falling face first into it. Meanwhile, Igor and Nanny have long since fallen asleep at the far end of the table.

    Real Life 
  • In the early days of TV in the 50s-70s, a common trope in Third World "republics" with leaders of questionable democratic legitimacy was that the leader was usually a bit of a windbag and could—and did!—interrupt prime-time programming for hours on end with a long speech about nothing in particular, during which the preferred activity of the people (those who had TVs, anyway) was to eat dinner or have some kind of snack. Kenneth Kaunda, President of Zambia 1964-1991 and one of the more benign examples of this kind of leader, was still famous for being so long-winded he could speak for five hours without stopping, during which the people would typically have him on as background noise while they ate dinner, read the paper, and put the children to bed.