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Morning Routine

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Tumble out of bed and I stumble to the kitchen
Pour myself a cup of ambition
And yawn and stretch and try to come to life
Dolly Parton, "9 to 5"

Wake up. Take shower. Comb hair. Brush teeth. Trim nosehair. Get dressed. Eat breakfast. Miss bus.

Look familiar? It should. Sequences that show a character following their average Morning Routine are incredibly common. It's a standard story opener, for several reasons: it's a way to introduce a character immediately, it shows the normal routine (to better contrast when wackiness ensues), and it's something we're all pretty familiar with—even those of us who rue mornings.

This can also be used as an Establishing Character Moment — we know a character is Obsessively Organized if they follow a strict schedule down to the minute, and a slob if they sniff their armpit and decide they can skip the shower.

Like the White Void Room, it's something of a cliche and is commonly perceived as an opening that serves until the plot takes hold. Then again, like all tropes, it can be used to great effect — for instance, the opening sequence of Dexter. Surprisingly, Slice of Life works can avoid this for quite some time — mainly because there's a choice of other routines.

Using the toilet is usually conspicuously absent from the routine, because in fictionland Nobody Poops.

Synchronized Morning Routine is a subtrope. Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World isn't. See also Day in the Life. Compare Easing into the Adventure, Good Morning, Crono. Often ends with the character Late for School or work.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Azumanga Daioh: In Chiyo-chan' Day in the Limelight, it's shown how she gets up early so she can prepare her lunch and then goes to wake up her parents.
  • Chainsaw Man: Aki wakes up, grinds and brews coffee, and reads the newspaper while smoking on the balcony, all before Denji wakes up (and Power moves in).
  • Free! Dive to the Future: The third episode shows Rin waking up, making breakfast, and jogging from his apartment to the Sydney Aquatic Center.
  • From Up on Poppy Hill: Umi is introduced doing her morning routine of making food for the family and hissing the flags. This routine is shown or varied several times again.
  • Fruits Basket: At the beginning of the manga, Tohru Honda is shown waking up, admiring the beauty of the day, and then saying goodbye to the photo of her mother and taking a walk before she goes to school.
  • Girls und Panzer: After the Action Prologue that takes place a few episodes after the start of the show, the first scene is of Miho, the main character, waking up in the morning, and hastily going through her daily routine before realizing that she's not at home anymore.
  • Goblin Slayer: The titular character wakes up before dawn, puts on his armor, and inspects the farm's perimeter. After, that he trains until the sun comes up, then uses the light to do maintenance on the defenses. He sits for breakfast with Cow Girl, then goes into town. If he were to ever find a skulking goblin, he would kill it with 100% certainty.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Diamond is Unbreakable: Rohan's routine before drawing manga is stretching his arms while opening and closing his fingers.
    • The JoJoLands: Dragona goes jogging on the beach every morning after eating a watermelon for breakfast.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha: In the first episode, Nanoha is shown waking up and getting ready for school. The same scene plays out in her first scene of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, but with indications that Nanoha is eagerly awaiting the day she can see Fate in person again. 14 in-universe years later, the first episode of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid would have a similar scene following Nanoha's adopted daughter Vivio as she gets ready for her first day of fourth grade.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: In "A Human Work", this is done to compare Misato's slobbish ways with Shinji. Then the same sequence happens again but with Musicalis Interruptus and a mutual Jaw Drop from Shinji and Pen Pen as Misato exits her room done up neatly in her uniform because she's attending a conference. She might be a slob at home but not at her job.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The first episode shows Madoka's morning routine, starting with her waking up from a strange dream, waking up her family members, getting dressed, eating breakfast; all sorts of everyday normal activities. Used to show Madoka's roots in normality, and provide contrast for the changes that come.
  • Sailor Moon: Some episodes tend to start this way, usually as a setup to a "Usagi is late" joke.

    Asian Animation 
  • Simple Samosa: In the morning, the alarm clock wakes up Samosa and he gets out of bed, brushes his teeth, and takes a shower. This is shown in the episodes "Sumo Momo" and "Pimple Samosa".

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: As revealed in chapter 20 of the sequel Picking Up the Pieces, Blazen Sun's day starts with his awakening exactly at sunrise, and then performing his morning meditations before eating and reporting to work.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • All That Jazz: Joe Gideon's morning routine includes Vivaldi's "Concerto Alla Rustica" on cassette tape, eyedrops, smoking in the shower, taking pills with Alka-Seltzer, and finally declaring into a mirror: "It's showtime, folks!"
  • American Psycho opens with Patrick Bateman's everyday morning routine, showing the materialistic and sociopathic nature of our Villain Protagonist, who is putting on his Mask of Sanity.
  • Electra Glide in Blue opens with Frank's routine, which involves putting on some music, cooking two pork chops, and cleaning his dentures, before he's murdered. We then see Wintergreen's routine, which involves having sex with his girlfriend Jolene, working out, and putting on his uniform.
  • Godzilla vs. Kong opens with a rather humorous sequence showing Kong waking with a yawn, taking a leisurely stroll through his (at this point danger-free) territory, washing his head in a waterfall with a relaxed groan — hearing "Over the Mountain (Across the Sea)" by Bobby Vinton further sells it. And then we see Kong fashioning a tree into a spear and hurling it at the containment dome's fake sky in anger, with a later scene in the film showing he's made several more identical impacts during the time skip.
  • Hairspray (1988) opens with Tracy waking up, coiffing her hair with copious amounts of hairspray, and preparing for school, all while singing and dancing.
  • Hairspray (2007) opens with Tracy waking up to her alarm clock, getting up and getting ready for school, then walking there while singing, dancing, and greeting people who, judging by their reactions, appear to be used to seeing her every morning.
  • The Ipcress File opens with Palmer calmly getting out of bed and going through his morning rituals of getting dressed and having breakfast—all to the tune of John Barry's insanely cool theme music.
  • Legally Blonde opens with two stories during the opening credits: Elle's friends delivering a letter to her, and Elle getting ready in the morning.
  • Mishima A Life In Four Chapters starts when its protagonist wakes up for the last time. The prologue is over by the time he's dressed and out the door.
  • Oblivion (2013) interweaves Jack's morning routine with his voice-over about the end of civilization. He takes off for work in his Bubble Ship, and then the movie's title card is shown.
  • Pee-wee's Big Adventure details Pee-Wee's morning routine, particularly the whimsical Rube Goldberg Device he uses to prepare breakfast.
  • Shaun of the Dead: The beginning shows the protagonist going to the store across the street to get a Coke. Later on, when the Zombie Apocalypse comes, the exact same routine is repeated... except now there are zombies and bloody traces around, which Shaun fails to notice and just grabs a Coke as usual.
  • Trading Places opens with Louis Winthorpe's morning routine: getting served breakfast in bed by his butler Coleman, who shaves him with a straight razor, gets him dressed, and then drives him to work at Duke & Duke Commodities Brokers.
  • Turner and Hooch: The opening scene shows Turner's morning routine which establishes his character as an absolute neat freak.
  • Zodiac: Complete with the child of the cartoonist confessing to swallowing his toothpaste. The sense of panic among the populace over the school bus threat is reflected in the cartoonist taking his kid away from the bus at the last minute and driving him to school.

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone starts off by showing the Dursleys' morning routine. ("Mr. Dursley hummed as he picked out his most boring tie for work.") Although the second chapter takes place on Dudley's birthday, it's apparently a fairly typical morning for Harry as he's woken up by Aunt Petunia and forced to make breakfast.
  • Haze: Seb has a strict routine that involves lying in bed for exactly four minutes after his alarm goes off. If his routine is off by even a minute, the whole day feels wrong.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy starts this way, with Arthur Dent getting out of bed and starting his routine before being interrupted by a bulldozer trying to tear his house down.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: In "Making Friends and Influencing People", we see Simmons' morning routine now that she's left SHIELD. It includes her getting up, exercising, choosing her outfit, going to work, and saying hello to a friendly security guard at the HYDRA lab she now works at.
  • Angel: Harmony's A Day in the Limelight episode, "Harms Way", shows her morning routine with a uniquely vampiric twist—she vamps out so she can brush her teeth easier (not easy to do when you can't see yourself in the mirror) and uses her Super-Strength to pick up a dresser to retrieve her shoe.
  • Arrow: The episode "The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak" opens with a Training Montage of Oliver Queen training Roy Harper, Laurel Lance learning boxing from Ted Grant, and Malcolm Merlyn teaching Thea Queen, causing Thea to wonder what normal people do in the morning. Answer Cut to Felicity Smoak doing sit-ups before a workout video and brushing her teeth.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The morning after demons steal everyone's voices in "Hush", Buffy goes through her morning routine in the fraternity dorm, noting only a distraught woman rushing past. It's only when she tries to talk to Willow that she realises something is very wrong.
  • Daredevil (2015):
    • "Shadows in the Glass": Wilson Fisk's morning routine is done as a Rule of Threes, showing his luxurious but lonely life. The third time is different as Vanessa is now living with him.
    • "The Perfect Game": Agent Poindexter's morning routine reflects his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Along with Undercrank to make his movements look alien and robotic, the opening scene underscores how odd Dex is by showing how everything in his apartment has to be absolutely perfect. When he's done reading the newspaper, he puts it on a perfectly squared pile of other newspapers. He rinses his coffee cup, puts it on a rack to dry, then makes sure the handle is perfectly aligned with its neighbor. When he closes the door to his apartment it causes a framed photo to fall off-kilter, so he opens the door back up to fix it.
  • Dexter: The opening sequence is Dexter's typical morning, but shot so that his normal morning routine reminds viewers at every turn of who he really is; his floss becomes a garrotte, him pulling on his shirt becomes a sheet laid over the face of a corpse, and so on. It's very effectively creepy, and won an Emmy.
  • For All Mankind:
    • The Establishing Character Moment of Margo Madison has her waking up and going through her morning routine in her own office, showing how she is Married to the Job.
    • Recycled In Space when Edward Baldwin is shown going through his daily routine while alone on the Moonbase. This suggests that he's holding it together despite everything that's happened, but unwanted interruptions to his routine (like a Soviet cosmonaut infringing on 'American' territory) soon bring out the worst in him.
  • Good Morning, World: This 1967 Carl Reiner sitcom is about two morning DJs for an LA radio station. It starts with a kind of stop-motion animated photo montage of Dave's alarm clock going off at 4:30, his eyes opening, stumbling around, shaving, pulling on (mismatched) socks and a suit & tie, driving (still dark out), arriving at the station, putting on a record and hailing "Good Morning, World!" into the microphone. (This was based on writers Bill Persky, Sam Denoff, and William B. Williams' personal experiences on WNEW. Williams used to say "Hello, world!")
  • The Good Place: "Don't Let The Good Life Pass You By" opens with a montage of Doug Forcett going about his morning routine set to the Mama Cass song of the same name. The editing and choice of music are a reference to the Lost episode mentioned above.
  • Lost:
    • In the first episode of season two, a stranger (later revealed to be Desmond) is going about his routine until he hears an explosion. The shock reveal is that his seemingly normal living space is actually inside the hatch that the main characters just blew up
    • In Season 5, Pierre Chang's morning routine occurs as a member of the Dharma Initiative.
  • Monk: The opening credits of the first season show Adrian Monk's morning routine. It serves to demonstrate his OCD tendencies: his closet is full of identical suits, he disinfects his toothbrush with boiling water before brushing his teeth, etc.
  • The West Wing: We see Sam wake up in the morning. Next to a prostitute. Who is asking who POTUS is—and why he has such a funny name. It's the President of the United States.

  • Rebecca Black: In the infamous "Friday" music video, she sings about getting up, getting fresh, and eating cereal. Although she does none of this.
  • The Beatles: "A Day In The Life".
    Woke up, fell out of bed
    Dragged a comb across my head
    Found my way downstairs and drank a cup
    And looking up I noticed I was late
    Found my coat and grabbed my hat
    Made the bus in seconds flat.
  • This also happens at the beginning of Kesha's "Tik Tok."
  • Jewel's "You Were Meant For Me"
    I hear the clock, it's six a.m.
    I feel so far from where I've been
    I got my eggs I got my pancakes too
    I got my maple syrup, everything but you.
    I break the yolks, make a smiley face
    I kinda like it in my brand new place
    I wipe the spots off the mirror
    Don't leave the keys in the door
  • System of a Down: "Chop Suey!" starts out referencing this:
    Wake up!
    Grab a brush and put on a little makeup!
  • Jill Scott, "The Way"
    Woke up this morning
    With a smile on my face
    Jumped out of bed
    Took a shower, dressed
    Cleaned up my place
    Made me some breakfast, toast, two scrambled eggs, grits
    Grabbed my keys, grabbed my purse, grabbed my jacket off to work
    Beaming all the way down 3rd
  • Dolly Parton, "9 to 5":
    Tumble out of bed and I stumble to the kitchen
    Pour myself a cup of ambition
    And yawn and stretch and try to come to life
    Jump in the shower and the blood starts pumpin'
    Out on the street the traffic starts jumpin'
    With folks like me on the job from nine to five

    Video Games 
  • Custom Robo: The main character of the GameCube version gets up to go to work each morning. Getting dressed takes three seconds. But whether he gets woken up by his landlady, by cellphone, or by himself carries some amusement.
  • Heavy Rain: The game lets you play through such a routine as a twisted Tutorial Level of sorts.

    Web Animation 
  • Helluva Boss: A recurring element throughout "The Circus" is Stolas waking up in the morning to establish his mood and the current state of his life. He wakes up as a child in a bed full of toys, wakes up 25 years later groggy and alone, wakes up by being startled by Blitzo running away from a night of passion in bright daylight, and wakes up in the present day alone but in darkness.
  • Strong Bad Email: Strong Bad gets up at noon, answers an email, and keeps eggs on the couch.

  • El Goonish Shive: The Squirrel Prophet storyline ends with part of Sarah's morning routine.
  • Huckleberry: The first issue uses half a page to show the protagonist waking up, singing "awful shower songs", and having a big breakfast. The following issue also shows him waking up... then skips ahead to the actual plot.
  • Rain:
    • Chapter 1's page has Rain feeding her pet rabbit Puddle, taking a shower, drying her hair, putting on her bra falsies, and then applying makeup.
    • Mirrored and subverted by Gavin in the opening page of Chapter 3, where he barely does anything besides smashing his alarm clock. Heck, he only dresses up when his mother tells him it's time.
  • Sleepless Domain: Undine's morning routine is shown more than once throughout the series, subtly showing her progress as she tries to heal emotionally from a traumatic event. Just before leaving, she turns to look in the mirror and affirms to herself:
    "You are okay."
  • Yokoka's Quest: Grace is introduced with her morning routine: Her phone alarm going off (possibly for the 5th time), begrudgingly getting up, having a shower, drinking a coffee, getting dressed, and applying makeup. The first hint that she's not your average girl is the conspiracy board in the background as she's leaving the house.

    Western Animation 
  • Around the World with Willy Fog opens with Fog getting up on the morning of October 2nd, 1872. He is shown doing some stretching exercises, then making a cup of coffee and deciding (after one sip) that it needs "precisely two more drops of milk", which he promptly adds. (Normally, making Fog's morning coffee would be his butler's job, but Fog has just fired his butler, though he hires Rigodon as a replacement that very morning, unknowingly hiring Rigodon's friend Tico at the same time.) This scene establishes that Fog is very particular, especially when it comes to punctuality, and its very ordinariness provides a contrast with the adventure he will shortly be embarking on.
  • Looney Tunes: Ralph Wolf has his morning routine, from wake-up to clocking in for work, down to a Rube Goldberg science in one of Chuck Jones' wolf/sheepdog installments.
  • Molly of Denali: In "Porcupine Slippers," Molly tries to record her mom's morning routine of making coffee, despite the latter's objections.
    Layla: You know the rules. No videos of Mom before 9:00 a.m. on a Sunday.
  • My Gym Partner's a Monkey: In "The Morning Zoo", Principal Pixiefrog's daily routine includes him rummaging into the office, throwing his hat in Mrs. Warthog's face, and giving a completely disrespectful, apathetic announcement.
  • Rick and Morty: In "Final Desmithation", Jennith Chunt has a morning routine, consisting of... sleeping on a bed of loose grains and dragging herself across Chinese silver grass.
  • Spongebob Squarepants: Many episodes begin with him getting up to his blasting foghorn alarm clock and ready for work. "Rise and Shine" focuses on Patrick's morning routine. Hilarity Ensues.
  • TrollHunters: Jim's first appearance shows the busy morning routine of a homemaker. Waking up at 6 AM, he dashes around the house cleaning stains, changing light bulbs, expertly cooking breakfast and caring for his mother, packing lunches... and ends up being Late for School.

Wait, why do they brush their teeth before they have breakfast? Food tastes better that way.


Blu and Linda

The opening scene in the present day of the film shows Blu and Linda's morning routine.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / MorningRoutine

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