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Missed the Recital

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When a character who is performing at a concert, recital, School Play, or other event, needs the support of their best friend or close family member, that supporter will make every effort to be there in the audience. Due to circumstances beyond their control, the character will be faced with various obstacles as they desperately make their way to the show. But despite their valiant efforts to overcome these hindrances, they still won't make it to the auditorium until the show's over.

Usually, they will burst into the hall to find the seats empty, lights off, and a cleaner sweeping up. The character will be distraught to discover all their efforts were in vain, and they will be forced to face the friend that they've disappointed. The other party's reaction may vary — usually, they're deeply hurt that the character didn't show. Other times, it could lead into a Milholland Relationship Moment where they're not too upset and appreciated the effort they took to get there.

Almost always a Sub-Trope of Daddy Didn't Show.


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    Films - Animation 
  • Gru is faced with a dilemma in Despicable Me when his long-anticipated heist is scheduled for the same day as his adoptees' dance recital. He attempts, but fails, to make it to the recital in time after the heist.

    Films - Live Action 
  • The overworked protagonist in Jingle All the Way tries to rush to his son's karate tournament after work in a desperate attempt to avert Daddy Didn't Show. After he tries to bypass a traffic jam by driving on the shoulder of the highway, he's stopped by a cop, and all the delays cause him to miss the tournament.
  • In La La Land, Sebastian has a photo shoot that prevents him from making it to Mia's one-woman show until after it's over. She's furious when she sees him, and breaks up with him.
  • Spider-Man 2: Part of the strain on Peter and MJ's relationship is that his double life as Spider-Man makes him late for a play she's starring in. Though he doesn't technically miss the play entirely. He arrives at the theatre shortly after the play has started, but the theatre's policy is not to open its doors after the curtain goes up, so he's stuck in the lobby. MJ doesn't accept that distinction and is furious over his flakiness.

  • In Leia, Princess of Alderaan, after two years of being her father Bail's intern in the Imperial Senate a now sixteen-year-old Leia becomes a Junior Senator in the Apprentice Legislature, tackling real if minor issues and marking her intention to go into politics. Bail is not there on her first day. Leia is not surprised, given how distant and harried he's been, and tells herself he probably wasn't even on Coruscant that day. But the next morning they're each surprised to see each other at breakfast in their Coruscant apartment, and when he's told why she's there Bail realizes that her first day had gone by and he'd missed it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 2point4 Children: In the episode "Seven Dials", Bill and Ben try to make it to David's acting competition. However, they are held up by a number of strange things (for Bill, it's coming across a warehouse full of Shirley Bassey's dresses, and for Ben, it's becoming part of a Homage to The Prisoner (1967)). As such, by the time they return home, the competition is already over, although Davin doesn't hold it against them.

    Video Games 
  • Done very darkly in Devil Survivor. Supporting character Yasuyuki Honda is primarily driven by his desire to escape the lockdown in time to be with his son during a crucial operation. Tragically, Honda doesn't make it out until his son is already dead on the table, causing Honda himself to either cross the Despair Event Horizon (on Amane's route) or go completely off the deep end (on Yuzu and to a lesser extent Naoya's routes).

  • Batman: Wayne Family Adventures: The "Family Ties" two-parter sees Bruce barely miss Cassandra's dance recital after a long night of crime-fighting. He's devastated that he missed it and, after a heart-to-heart with Alfred, rents out the theater so she can have a do-over with him in the audience.

    Western Animation 
  • When Wyatt performs a song in front of the entire mall in 6teen, he expects all 5 of his friends to be there. However, each member of their group becomes distracted by other events and all of them justify their absence with the expectation that the others will be there to support Wyatt. After Wyatt sees none of them in the audience, he changes the lyrics to a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to all of them.
  • One episode of Foofur had the group befriend a puppy with a habit of lying. He claims his owner abandoned him, but they later discover he ran away from obedience school. They take him back and help with with the final course. After he finishes, all of the audience members have picked up their pets and left, but his owner is nowhere to be seen. He laments that he's been abandoned for real, then his owner comes racing up. The owner tries to make excuses in the same manner the puppy uses when he lies.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Ice Cream of Margie (with the Light Blue Hair)", Homer becomes an ice-cream man and tries to make it to Marge's exhibition of popsicle stick sculptures at his house. Unfortunately, he ends up crashing his truck into the yard and destroys the sculptures.
    • "Lisa's Pony" deals with Homer becoming The Atoner after a particularly brutal incident of this—he was not only supposed to attend but was supposed to bring Lisa a replacement for her saxophone reed, and when he lost track of time grabbing a drink at Moe's (the tavern being next to the music store), his lateness caused her to butcher her performance.
  • Inverted in the Sonic Boom episode, "Planes, Trains, and Dude-Mobiles". Tails takes Sonic and Knuckles on a road trip, as he booked a gig for Dude-itude, their rock band. After a hellish road trip which includes having to deal with an escaped criminal and a cop who mistakes them for criminals, Team Sonic arrive at their destination only to find the stage empty, save for a janitor sweeping it. When Tails asks the janitor if they missed they concert, the janitor tells them that they're a whole month early. Sonic and Knuckles glare angrily at Tails, who nervously tells them that he must have been so excited, he didn't pay attention to the date.
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Best Day Ever", SpongeBob is denied entry to Squidward's clarinet recital due to not having a ticket. It's ultimately discovered that SpongeBob was on the VIP list, but by the time he gets in, Squidward's recital is over.