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Not So Great Escape

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We've all been there: You're pulling off a cookie heist after your parents have gone to bed, you're making out with your grounded teenage significant other, you're sneaking into your boss's office to read that mean co-worker's personnel file.... and someone comes in the room! If you're discovered, you're sure to be in big trouble! How will you get out of this scrape? It's time to hide behind a well-placed counter, or bed or desk, and pray for the right moment when you can crawl or hop or lunge to safety. Let's hope the audience is finding your fear and discomfort hilarious!

Often used in Animated Shows and lighter comedies. Sometimes the moment will pass with the interloper leaving before the exit is required, but that's usually reserved for more dramatic shows. More often, it's fifty/fifty if the escape attempt will succeed or fail. Beware especially of the Ill-Timed Sneeze.

If it succeeds, there's a high probability that exiting the danger area will be associated with some piece of physical comedy - falling out a window, tripping over a mop, falling down a garbage chute, etc. If this exit creates a large amount of noise, there's a possibility that the whole escape attempt could be blown... or the characters nearby could decide that it's only the cat.

Compare Fake-Out Make-Out.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Takeru narrowly avoids social death at the candy shop in And Yet the Town Moves.
  • Soul Eater: Free originally let himself be imprisoned because he wanted to try to dig his way out of a prison with a spoon, like in the movies... Unfortunately, all the meals were served with chopsticks. Later, when Eruka got him out of jail and he was still restrained. He talked pretty darn loud. The guards found out and surrounded them. He then kills them all in about thirty seconds. Helps that he is quite literally immortal. As in cannot die, and not via some stupid phylactery thing.

    Film — Animated 
  • Takes on a pronounced zig zag through the beginning of The Road to El Dorado: Miguel and Tulio avoid arrest through impressive Flynning only to fall into a bull pen. They make a dramatic exit with the bull mowing down some of their pursuers, jumping off of a high wall into open barrels full of water to elude the others. They pull the lids over themselves, only to be hoisted aboard a ship bound for the New World and have a large, heavy chest piled on top to keep them from getting out. At sea, the chest is removed, and they emerge dramatically in full view of the crew, promptly locked in irons for an involuntary audience with Cortez. They are thrown in the brig as stowaways and presumably flogged, eventually sneaking out in the dead of night with the help of Altivo's fetching skills. After another dramatic escape when Altivo jumps overboard, all three wind up at sea in a rowboat, dying of starvation and thirst. Fortunately, they miraculously beach themselves a stone's throw away from a landmark in their map to El Dorado.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In one scene of Seems Like Old Times, the main character Nick, chased by the police for a crime he was forced to commit and seeking help from his ex-wife, has to hide under a bed when the ex-wife's husband comes to confront her about the recent strange occurrences. He'd do just fine if the husband didn't stand on his fingers.
  • InThe Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Walter gets stuck underneath an executive's desk while the two executives are talking. Further upping the comedic antics, one of the executives starts scratching Walter's leg, thinking it to be his own. Walter, of course, starts scratching the executive's leg in time. The other executive starts tapping on Walter's leg. He does the same to the executive. This whole thing falls apart, of course, as Walter starts getting confused as to who's doing what to whom, leading to the panicked retreat.
  • In French Kiss, the lead uses a dessert cart and people's legs to hide herself as she beats a disorderly retreat. It's not pretty, but it works.
  • Back to the Future Part II:
    • Marty finds himself trapped in Strickland's office while trying to retrieve the almanac and has to desperately hide beneath the desk and in other spots to avoid being discovered; including getting his hand crushed by Strickland's chair.
    • In the unused script, old Doc Brown travels to the sixties and has to avoid being seen by young Doc Brown. So he hides behind an empty mirror frame.
      Young Doc Brown: Great Scott! I look terrible!
  • In Mustang, Lale searches a safe. When her grandmother enters to room, she must hide behind the bed.
  • In The Con is On, Harry and Peter are in Jackie's bedroom, trying to get the ring off her finger after Slipping a Mickey in her drink. However, they are having a hard time because of Jackie's reaction to the drug. Jackie gets tangled up with Harry and then passes as with the the two of them on the floor. The Gabriel and Vivienne enter and start making out on the bed. Jackie wakes up and then passes out again on the bed, shocking Gabriel and Vivienne. Harry and Peter are left to crawl out of the room before anyone notices them.
  • In Tiger House, Kelly hides under Mark's bed when the crooks invade the house, then becomes trapped there when Shane is badly wounded and his comrades lay him down on the bed. She eventually uses an alarm clock to distract Shane and Callum long enough to make it the few feet from the bed to the door.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Lampshaded in 30 Rock when Liz Lemon tries to escape inconspicuously from Jack's office by crawling across the floor after his ex-wife bursts in. When she opens the door and everyone turns around to stare at her, Liz drags herself out of the room muttering, "This would have worked on Ugly Betty."
  • On Seinfeld, George builds an elaborate sleeping space under his desk. Later, Steinbrenner (his boss) comes looking for him and, not seeing him sleeping under the desk, spends the afternoon waiting for George to "come back." George eventually gets out of it by calling in a bomb threat. Later in the episode (after George is out), Steinbrenner hears George's ticking alarm clock in the desk and calls the bomb squad.
  • Friends:
    • Ross does this several times in one episode. When he is in a secluded log cabin waiting for his girlfriend, Elizabeth, to get back from the shop Elizabeth's dad, Paul, turns up with Rachel. Ross, with his trousers around his ankles hides under the couch. Later he is discovered by Rachel, who covers for him and gets Paul to leave the room. Ross takes the opportunity to move to another room, which turns out to be Paul's bedroom. When Paul comes in later Ross hides behind the door, then falls to the floor and crawls under the bed, where he witnesses Paul's embarrassing routine in front of the mirror. When Paul leaves Ross begins to climb out of the window, but is discovered when he is half way out.
    • Then in another episode, Ross breaks into his ex-girlfriend's apartment to retrieve his favourite pink salmon sweater and is inside when aforementioned girlfriend comes home with a date. He is then forced to hide under the couch that they are currently making out on. Eventually he gets bored and starts reading a magazine.
  • Cheers:
    • An episode featured Norm being hired to paint the bedroom of Rebecca's millionaire crush Evan Drake while the latter is away on a business trip. Rebecca then convinces Norm to let her tag along for her to "see where he sleeps". Unfortunately, Drake returns early leaving only enough time for Rebecca to hid in the closet, making Norm go to increasingly ludicrous attempts to make the exhausted Drake leave the room (since he would probably find Rebecca in the morning), culminating in Norm convincing Drake to help him carry out his "fantasy" of "carrying a rich man across the lawn in his pajamas".
    • Also happened with Diane during the 3 part season 4 finale, when she hides under Sam's desk in his office. Woody realized what was going on and covered for her, but actually assumed she just had a knee jerk addiction to eavesdropping.
  • Happens to Elliot in Scrubs when she tries to dodge Kelso after accidentally revealing his age.
  • Veronica Mars: Veronica often gets caught during her investigations, hiding once in the leg space of a desk and another time in a closet.
  • In the first episode of The Worst Year of My Life, Again, Alex ends up hiding in Mr Norris' contraband cupboard and then attempting to escape while Norris has his back turned. Unfortunately, his back has seized up from being cramped in the cupboard.
  • Agatha Raisin: "Agatha and the Wizard of Eveshem" has a scene that starts like this. Agatha is searching Johnny's house for evidence when the real killer arrives. Agatha starts scuttling around the house on her hands and knees, hiding behind furniture and ducking in and out rooms in an effort not to be seen. However, it turns serious when the killer decides to burn the house down to destroy any evidence, and Agatha finds herself trapped in a storeroom.

    Western Animation 
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: In "Hostage Crisis", Anakin is spending the first bit of his two-week leave flirting with his secret wife Padmé in her office at the Senate only for Bail Organa to interrupt, so Anakin has to hide beneath her desk to avoid detection.


Video Example(s):


A child gets killed by Angler

In the opening cutscene of Mrs. Puff's Boating School, a trapped student tries to sneak past the Angler to escape, but is caught and killed.

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Main / NotSoGreatEscape

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