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Schedule Fanatic

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Some part has malfunctioned and must be replaced. It will require at least an hour. This sends Effie into a state. She pulls out her schedule and begins to work out how the delay will impact every event for the rest of our lives.

This is a character who has to do everything according to precise schedule, every day of their lives. You could set your watch by them. This is often portrayed as being unhealthy and/or tied in with some kind of mental condition. Obviously, watching someone go about things the same way for the entire story would get very dull, so the plot generally forces them to break this schedule at some point. Obsessively Organized characters can get very stressed when someone messes with their schedule.

See also Clock King, someone who knows not only their own schedule but also everyone else's. Compare Obsessed Are the Listmakers, where a character shows fanaticism towards some other organized list, or Clockwork Prediction, where a character can predict what will happen and when due to knowing someone or something well enough.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Heath Grice in Black Clover times every one of his and other people's actions. He gets serious against Asta once he realizes that fighting him has taken up exactly 25 seconds of his time. His character profile states his favorite things are punctuality and being on schedule.
  • Masao from Crayon Shin-chan is one of these, an attitude he got from his mother. With a Running Gag in the anime being that his daily schedule repeatedly gets interrupted either by Shin-Chan or Nene.
  • Mikami Teru from Death Note was so constant in his conduct that it was the breaking of his routine that allowed Near to make one of his final deductive leaps. There's also another sense in which he's a fanatic.
  • In Legend of the Galactic Heroes, it is revealed in a backstory episode that Otofried I, the fourth kaiser of the Galactic Empire, was so bound to his daily schedule that he once dismissed an emergency report on a serious accident that caused thousands of casualties, declaring that it is not part of his schedule to attend to such a report.
  • Saga from A Little Snow Fairy Sugar lives her life under a very rigid schedule, and gets completely cheesed off at Sugar for turning her life upside down with assorted antics and misadventures, at least in the beginning.
  • Kashmir from Overman King Gainer was obsessed with making sure that the Siberian Railway's schedule was perfectly followed, becoming irritated if it was even half a minute off.
  • One episode of Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei has Chiri writing a giant book of a schedule for a field trip.

    Comic Books 
  • Skalman from Bamse is a very meticulous man (erh, anthropomorphic turtle) who loves eating and sleeping almost as much as he loves reading and thinking. His own favorite invention is his "food-and-sleep-alarm-clock" who calls many times a day to announce time for various snacks and naps (presumably to make the sleeping and eating more efficient). He is so disciplined to it that a "naptime" signal can call him to sleep in the middle of, say, fighting in a tournament. Likewise, once he starts sleeping, it is almost impossible to wake him up. When he once felt he had to work non-stop on an invention (being deeply distressed) he turned off the clock and didn't sleep or eat until done (when he collapsed).
  • In a Looney Tunes comic book story, Elmer Fudd becomes fanatical about following schedules after reading a self-help book: "I made dinner, then I thwew it out and washed the dishes. I wish I'd wemembered to put 'Eat dinner' on the wist. I'm hungwy, but I'm on schedule!" Bugs Bunny, naturally, exploits Elmer's obsession by switching his schedule with one that requires him to do bizarre and humiliating things.

    Fan Works 
  • A Different Beginning:
    Sirius: My grandparents are probably asleep by now, but even if they're still awake they have set meal times, and dinner is already long past. They're sticklers for their schedules. I swear the house could be burning down and they'd sit down to dinner at six o'clock regardless.
  • Twilight Sparkle shows signs of this in Twilight's List, freaking out when everything doesn't go perfectly on the date, believing that anything going wrong will ruin the whole thing. Rainbow Dash helps break her out of it.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The eponymous Mad Scientist in Blood Waters of Dr. Z has every stage of his Evil Plan on a huge chart on his wall. When he has completed each phase he crosses it out.
  • Clockwise: Brian, played by John Cleese, is a strictly punctual headmaster who holds everyone else to his own exacting standards. The whole plot of the movie is how a misunderstanding leads to him missing his train to an important event and how his life slowly unravels as he tries desperately to get there on time. In the end he arrives exactly on time but with his life utterly ruined. Brian was chronically late and disorganized when he was younger, so his insane devotion to punctuality is likely overcompensation.
  • An Invoked Trope in I Am Legend, where virologist Robert Neville keeps to a strict daily routine to keep himself focused on his research and not go crazy in a city where he appears to be the Sole Survivor of a Zombie Apocalypse.
  • Mr. Banks in Mary Poppins:
    I run my home precisely on schedule.
    At 6:01, I march through my door.
    My slippers, sherry, and pipe are due at 6:02.
    Consistent is the life I lead!
  • Duncan from The Odd Way Home lives by a series of alarms on his watch, determining everything from when he makes lunch to when he goes to the bathroom.

  • There is an old Soviet joke where a man purchases a new dishwasher from a store and is told that it will be delivered in ten years. The man asks, "Will it be in the morning or afternoon?" The sales clerk retorts, "What difference does that make? It's in ten years!" The man replies, "It's just that I have a plumber scheduled for that morning."

  • Alex Rider: The opening scene of Point Blanc is about a slightly paranoid American electronics billionaire named Michael J. Roscoe, who follows the same routine every day as part of the layers of security he's built up around himself. At the same time every morning he goes to his sixty-storey headquarters building and gets on a private lift, which takes him directly to his office on the top floor. Before doing anything else, he drinks a double espresso coffee. Access to him is mediated by hand-picked staff and security guards, so that it can take up to three months to make an appointment with him. Nevertheless, an assassin known as The Gentleman manages to get inside the building and hack Roscoe's lift while he's still in his office, sending it to the top of the shaft and setting up a holographic projection in its place. When it's time for Roscoe to take the elevator back down, he realizes too late that he's stepping into thin air and falls down the empty shaft to his death.
  • The white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, who checks his wristwatch and frets that he's running late for something.
  • In Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days, Phileas Fogg is this trope in action. Fogg was actually a Flanderized version of Verne's father, who often acted like this in Real Life.
    "At exactly half-past eleven Mr. Fogg would, according to his daily habit, quit Saville Row, and repair to the Reform... He breakfasted and dined at the club, at hours mathematically fixed... and went home at exactly midnight, only to retire at once to bed."
  • Fay Weldon's Darcys Utopia—the main character leaves her husband for another man (or at least has an affair with him while the lovers stay in a hotel). Main character learns her husband is having an affair with a Kirsty Bull. At the end, the main character returns to her husband—Kirsty Bull says, in effect, "I can't stand your husband, he's crazy, he does everything on a schedule, even sex, you can have him."
  • The post office cat in Going Postal walks the exact same route every day, not even bothering trying to circumvent people standing in his way. If a door on the cat's route is closed, he will stand in front of it until somebody opens it, then continue the route.
  • Harry Potter: Hermione turns into this when exams are nigh, making timetables for Ron and Harry, much to their amused exasperation. Goes even further in the third book, when Ron points out her schedule has an error, having two classes during the same period on several occasions. She's using Time Travel to go to both.
  • Effie Trinket in The Hunger Games trilogy, who, as Katniss admits, was "the only reason we got anywhere on time in the Capitol".
  • The Mer: When Val was a human, she carried her day planner everywhere she went and liked to have every minute planned out. After her transformation into a Mer, the lack of a schedule is one of the things she finds hard to deal with.
  • Nero Wolfe might have one of the most famous schedules in all of mystery fiction. Every day almost without fail, he will have breakfast in bed, spend the hours of 9-11am in his greenhouse with his orchids, have lunch at 1.15pm (with plenty of time afterwards for digestion), spend another two hours in the greenhouse between 4-6pm, have dinner at 7.30pm (again with digestion time afterwards), with 11am-1pm, 2-4pm and after dinner given over to reading (or, if he can't get out of it, the trivial little business of solving murders). And if you do anything that will cause him to interrupt this schedule, he'll make you regret it.
  • In the Red Dwarf novel, it's explained that Rimmer routinely fails the officer's exam because he spends so much time color-coding his study schedule he falls way behind in his studies and has to color-code an emergency study schedule. By the time he's done with that, it's time to take the test.
  • Harlan Ellison's "Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman depicts a future where everyone is a schedule fanatic because if they aren't, the Ticktockman deducts their time late from their lifespan and kills them if it runs out. After the Harlequin is captured and "dealt with", the sign that his actions have left a lasting effect is that the Ticktockman himself starts running late.
  • The book Triplets by Joyce Rebeta-Burditt has one of the triplets like this, which puts her in contest with the protagonist, who is usually late.
  • The One State in We is a Planet of Hats of schedule freaks — it's part of the effort to maintain their Assimilation Plot. All "for their own good".

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon (with his OCPD) takes this to the extreme. When one of his three friends doesn't come to their weekly Thai dinner, he is unable to order anything because it would disrupt the routine - an order of dumplings comes with four and he refuses to cut up a dumpling or give someone an extra one. His issues with the main course are more complex.
  • An episode of Bones had a character who was obsessed with his schedule because he believed that if he didn't stick to it, the person nearest to him would die.
  • Annie in Community is shown to be one in an online webisode. She forces the entire study group to take a 90-second study break every thirty minutes.
  • An episode of Corner Gas had Hank come into possession of an electronic organizer, and use it to obsessively plan every minute of the day. While drinking at the bar, he even has an alarm go off every minute or so to tell him when to take a drink. Keep in mind Hank is the perpetually unemployed town layabout who has been seen with a job in maybe three or four episodes out of the whole series.
    Hank: I got my whole day mapped out! 1 PM: Hang out at Corner Gas. 2 PM: Eat chips. 4 PM: Hang out at Corner Gas.
    Wanda: Can you rebook to 5? That's when I get off.
    Hank: [looking directly into the camera] I don't think it's a good idea to keep bouncing Corner Gas around the schedule.
  • Special Agent Frank Lundy in Dexter is a minor example in that, no matter what he happens to be doing at the time, he will always have lunch at one o'clock.
  • This is the central defining character trait for Martin Bryce in Ever Decreasing Circles.
  • In Friends, Ross exhibits this tendency in "The One Where No One Is Ready". He invited his friends to an event related to his job that he was going to get honors for, but everyone was taking their sweet time and/or taking longer than it was needed to get ready, which caused Ross to get more frantic as time passed; Joey and Chandler were childishly fighting over who got to sit in a chair, Monica was obsessed with finding out if her ex-boyfriend wanted to get back with her, and Phoebe and Rachel took an extremely long time to decide what they wanted to wear. Oh, and Ross' watch stopped working.
  • Rory in Gilmore Girls gets this way approaching exam time.
  • An episode of Home Improvement dealt with Tim's trying to adhere to a rigid schedule, while Jill espoused the virtues of being more flexible. They each had a dream of a future where they were awesome because they were consistent/flexible, while the other was demented/weak because of over-reliance on a schedule/being too easily pushed around.
  • A character in one Kids in the Hall sketch has "seven things to do today", and won't deviate from his schedule even when taken hostage by bank robbers (he just adds it to the list).

  • Jacob from Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues, as a result of his abusive mother forcing him into a routine in order to try and make him perfect. He follows his schedule to the dot and becomes distressed if it's interrupted in any way.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Rparrah in Astra are a whole cult of Schedule Fanatics. They believe that they can learn to control time by being precisely aware of it.
  • Dungeons & Dragons adventure OA7 Test of the Samurai. The Big Bad Za-Jikku has a rigid schedule which he never varies from. At 5:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. he eats, at 6:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. he soaks in his herbal pool, and the rest of the time he spends in his meditation room.

    Video Games 
  • Shirogane Sakuya, in Hatoful Boyfriend, is not apparently bothered by unscheduled disruptions and events. An aristocrat is flexible, after all. However, he does also have his schedule planned down to the second. If he wants to meet you at exactly three and you show up at three and nineteen seconds, he starts chiding you for lateness.
  • King's Quest III: To Heir Is Human. The wizard always does things at specific times and takes the same amount of time to do things, which allows Gwydion to know how long he has to carry out certain necessary tasks.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Postman from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. It gets rather sad on the Final Day after he finishes his normal daily routine. You can find him in the Post Office on his hands and knees, crying. He desperately wants to escape from the doomed town, but he feels as though he can't because "escape from falling moon" is not on the schedule. If you have him deliver the Priority Letter to Kafei's mother (who is also his boss) rather than delivering it yourself, she will permit him to abandon his schedule and leave. Talk to him afterwards and he says "I'm free! Now I can set my own schedule!".
    • A postman in Oracle of Ages needs a clock because he can't follow his schedule without a way to tell time.
  • Time Man, one of the two new Robot Masters from Mega Man Powered Up, is obsessed with schedules, to the point where he berates others for being late or slowing him down (ironic, in that his special ability is to slow down time). This is also prevalent in his appearance in the Archie comics series, when he complains about having to revise his plans to rescue Dr. Wily multiple times on account of Oil Man messing him up.
  • Meredith Huxley in Mystery Case Files 14: Broken Hour has been like this since the death of her children, to the point where if guests in her hotel don't keep to the schedule themselves, she kills them.
  • Played for laughs in Touhou Project supplemental material by Renko Usami, who can and will be late to events, but can tell to the second how late she was.

  • Mikey from The Class Menagerie, though apparently it's to distract him from his sexuality.
  • The Order of the Stick: Redcloak tortures a character who is immune to fear, even though he doesn't expect it to work, purely because it's written on his schedule. He had to pretend to Xykon that it might work, in order to keep them at their current location for long enough for him to do what he wanted, which was not connected to their overall plan.
  • Leela from PVP schedules time for small talk. She's a workaholic financial auditor.
  • Subverted in xkcd's Time Management:
    7:00AM: Wake Up
    7:15AM-8:00AM: Post on productivity blogs about my schedule
    8:00AM-Whenever: Fuck around
  • Dorothy in Dumbing of Age likes schedules. In one Patreon strip, Becky tells her she can't schedule everything, and knocks her schedule out of her hand to prove it. Exactly as scheduled.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • A joke during the third season has Sokka constructing a huge, complex, and somewhat squickily detailed schedule so they can arrive in time to carry out the invasion of the Fire Nation during a rare solar eclipse. For some odd reason, the suggestion about eating and going to the bathroom at the same time wasn't well received.
    • "Sokka's Master" raises the valid point that he's nowhere near as useful as the other members of the Gaang (even the animals can at least fly). His usefulness is limited to... making schedules, without which the Gaang are apparently unable to function normally.
  • Temple Fugate, a.k.a. the Clock King in Batman: The Animated Series. The one time he did break his routine, things went pretty wrong.
  • In the Bob's Burgers episode "Mazel-Tina", when the coordinator for Tammy's bat mitzvah quits in the middle of the party, Tina is forced to take over her duties, the most important of which is to keep the party running on schedule. When Tammy goes missing, Tina continues to make sure the party continues according to the schedule, filling in for Tammy in all the activities and leading the dances, which makes Tina the new center of attention and it quickly goes to her head. When she finally finds Tammy and hears her cries for help, she ignores her, preferring to keep the party on schedule per Tammy's orders, although this is just an excuse to lead the upcoming ladies' choice dance in Tammy's place.
  • For one episode in Danny Phantom, Danny does exactly this. The schedule itself is written on his friend's PDA, but later gets stolen and used by Skulker who's unfortunately stuck with the strict schedule against his will. At least he knows it works!
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends:
    • The episode "Foster's Goes To Europe" had Herriman be one of the many delays to the group setting out on their trip because he insisted on making them a schedule and repeatedly making adjustments for things like time zones.
    • The episode "Let Your Hare Down" (from which the picture above is sourced) opens with Herriman going through his day precisely on schedule, much to the annoyance of the others.
  • Gertie in Henry Hugglemonster. She plans out her whole day, even when playing with her friends.
  • Lorenzo in Hey Arnold! was this in the episode "Rich Kid", although it was mostly enforced by his overbearing mother. Much of the episode has Arnold and the rest of the kids trying to teach him how to have fun without sticking to a tight schedule.
  • Exaggerated in an episode of Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi, where Yumi, tired of Ami's constant scheduling, sets her clock back by five seconds and everything Ami does is delayed by five seconds, from laughing at a joke to crossing the street. When Yumi tries to correct the time, she sets the clock back years behind and Ami starts acting like a baby, and an old lady when she sets it forward.
  • Russell from Littlest Pet Shop (2012) is like this. Given his personality, this is inevitable.
  • In the The Loud House episode "Party Down", Lori tries hosting a sophisticated party based on her teen magazine.
  • Amanda Lopez from Milo Murphy's Law has a schedule detailed enough that it includes the exact amount of time for her to peel and eat an orange.
  • Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is like this at times:
    • "Lesson Zero" involved Twilight struggling to write something for her weekly friendship report to Princess Celestia. Her inherent perfectionism and insistence that the report needs to be sent that very day causes magic-induced mass hysteria when she tries to "make" a friendship lesson instead.
    • In "It's About Time", she nearly has a breakdown when she realizes her schedule for this month doesn't include enough time to make a schedule for next month.
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Bubble Boys", Baljeet tried this. It didn't work out so well.
  • Menlo from Recess. In one episode he temporarily turns Mikey into this too.
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Party Pooper Pants" features SpongeBob planning a party that follows a strict schedule in an attempt to keep it from going out of control, saving the actual fun parts for later. Of course, nobody wants to follow the schedule, and they lock SpongeBob out of his house as soon as he leaves.
  • Total Drama's Courtney reveals, in a Season 2 confessional spot, that she schedules ordinary daily activities years in advance.

    Real Life 
  • Immanuel Kant. Interesting in that people actually did set their watches by him, or at least the village clock. When he got caught up reading an interesting book, people were late all over town.
  • People with OCPD or OCD tend to be this.
  • People who rely on public transit, whether they want to or not.
    • Public transit, and railways in particular, are the reason standard time exists. Before the railway, you could set your clock by the sun and a few minutes' difference from one town to the next didn't matter. Enter the railway: in addition to needing to catch a train on time, train crews need to follow a schedule to the minute to avoid a collision. Even a couple minutes' difference one way or the other can spell disaster. The "railroad standard watch" existed for a reason. So important was this to the railway that in the Golden Age of American Rail, train conductors were forbidden from winding their own company issued watches. If a conductor's watch stopped, he had to take it to a special company worker whose sole job was maintaining conductor's watches, so they could set it to the railway clock.
  • And people who are expecting an important package.
  • Hell, practically everyone in the industrialised world; just a few centuries ago, it would have been mad to try and plan anything more precisely than 'morning', 'noon' or 'afternoon'! But with the Industrial Revolution, precise round-the-clock factories meant a finer degree of time precision was necessary. Watches were more of a luxury for the aristocracy until the nineteenth century, at which point demand for cheaper timepieces rose; people actually needed them to be sure they weren't late for their shifts.
  • Most military personnel. It's understood that when someone says, for example, oh-eight-hundred hours, they mean when the second hand goes by the twelve. Wristwatches were first popularized in WWI, where being one minute early while attacking an enemy trench means running straight into your own artillery barrage.
  • Some smartphone navigation apps such as Google Maps and Waze have a feature to send you a "time to leave" notification so you can arrive at your destination at the desired time down to the minute.
  • Doug Walker, according to both Doug and his brother Rob in their vlog for the Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "The Painted Lady":
    Doug: (about Sokka in that episode) "Well, maybe we can do it, maybe we can combine eating and going to the toilet at the same time..." I'm just thinking, "Oh, my God, this is me..."
    Rob: I think you tried that on the set once, actually...


Video Example(s):


Rabbit's Schedule

Rabbit enlists Pooh, Tigger, and Piglet to follow his schedule for a party.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / ScheduleFanatic

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