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Skewed Priorities

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"We could all have been killed — or worse, expelled."

Common sense tells us that tasks and goals which have severe consequences if they are ignored — such as avoiding death, obtaining food and shelter, taking care of your spouse and children, or not getting fired from your job — are more important than optional desires such as looking fashionable, not missing your favorite television program, obtaining some rare collectible, or saving a trivial amount of money. If there's some kind of emergency, you're supposed to drop everything and deal with it because nothing else is that important. Except there are certain people who seem to have it all backwards, ignoring serious problems while spending their effort on things that are relatively meaningless. They might risk their lives by running back into a burning building to save some easily replaceable possession, spend the money that they need for dialysis treatments on a flatscreen TV, or drive a hundred miles out of their way to fill up at a station where fuel is only ten cents cheaper. Usually, this is to underscore how obsessed they are with a particular object or subject, and it tends to be Played for Laughs as long as their foolishness only backfires on them. It's more difficult to laugh about when the character's skewed priorities cause permanent injury to another innocent person.

Can result in Disproportionate Retribution, And Then What?, or I'm Thinking It Over!. Compare with Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking. See also Honor Before Reason, Always Save the Girl and I Broke a Nail. Major Injury Underreaction and Comically Missing the Point could overlap with this (same can be said for Dramatically Missing the Point and Minor Injury Overreaction). Compare Bystander Syndrome, where everyone has Skewed Priorities. Compare This Is No Time for Knitting, where someone's apparent Skewed Priorities turn out to be on the right track after all, as well as Worrying for the Wrong Reason, where one character expresses some concern about a situation and another corrects them with a new concern. Advertising likes this trope, poking fun at the idea that their product is so awesome you should abandon everything else in favor of it. For when a character thinks social media is more important than safety, see Social Media Before Reason. The Indy Hat Roll is a high-speed example, if the item reached back for isn't actually vital. When the police do this, it's The Lopsided Arm of the Law.

This trope is a favourite of the Cloudcuckoolander, though anyone can be prone to it. See also Worst News Judgment Ever, for when it applies to the media.

Obviously Truth in Television, though due to how often it can happen, No Real Life Examples, Please!

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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  • An old cell phone commercial has a dad being more concerned about his kids running up their phone bill than he is about them getting an A on a test or accidentally backing the car into the garage.
    Dad: Ten calls in ONE DAY?
  • In a 90s ad from the Partnership For A Drug Free America starring Penny, Penny's biggest concerns about being imprisoned for drug charges are that you can't watch TV or eat pizza in jail.
  • A Bud Lite ad has a man and a woman driving down an empty road at night and spotting a hitch-hiker with a six-case of Bud and an axe.
    Man: Hey, that guy has Bud Lite!
    Woman: And an axe!
    Man: But he has Bud Lite!
    Woman: ...and an axe.
    Man: I'm sure he has a good reason. [pulls over] Hey man! What's with the axe?
    Axe Murderer: It's a, uh... bottle opener.
    Man: Cool man, hop in!
    [advertisement proper plays]
    [see a hitch-hiker with a six-case of Bud and a chainsaw]
    Man: Hey, that guy has Bud Lite!
    Axe Murderer: And a chainsaw!
  • Subverted in a radio commercial for Jimmy John's sandwiches. A man orders Jimmy John's, and when the deliveryman arrives, points out that the house is on fire. The first man hands the deliveryman a bucket. Other Jimmy John's delivery people arrive, and they put out the fire together. When a fireman shows up, he asks the first man why he didn't call the fire department first. Except he did call the fire department first; Jimmy John's is just that fast.
  • In this ad directed by Zack Snyder, a woman in prison takes the keys from the sleeping guard using a broomstick, then opens... a freezer in front of her cell that contains Magnum ice cream bars, then eats one with much delight. The ad ends with the phrase "Life is all about priorities."
  • Mighty Mouse appeared in a commercial for the National Cheese Board in which he nonchalantly tells the imperiled citizens of a city getting decimated by an alien attack to wait until he finishes his cheese snack. It was quickly pulled after 9/11 happened.
  • This 1999 ad from Sprite's Obey Your Thirst campaign has a bunch of film studio executives gathered around discussing the marketing campaign for their upcoming Summer Blockbuster Death Slug (a parody of the prior year's Godzilla (1998), which by then was already notorious for being an overhyped, overmarketed dud). They've got merchandise, kids' meals, and a tie-in rap single called "Slug Slam" all lined up. As for the actual movie...
    Well, we don't have a script yet, but we can bang one out by Friday.
  • This State Farm commercial features a woman who's very dedicated to their safe driving discount, even insisting on following it when late for a business meeting, trying to get home so she and her son can use the bathroom, and even while in labor.
  • Supercuts commercials often involve people delaying vitally important work, from delivering a verdict as a juror to playing as a timpanist in an orchestra to diverting an asteroid, so they can get a haircut with Supercuts. The implication is not only that the haircut is good enough for you to drop everything for it, but it's done so quickly you don't have to worry about being away at a crucial time.

  • In Cubix: Robots for Everyone, after Dondon is knocked out.
    Mong: Hey, if it kicks, don't trash it. I could use those circuits.
    Abby: Take that back, Mong!
    Mong: Well, I could.
  • In the Noonbory and the Super 7 episode "Problem Peach", Rosygury is more upset over her pink lilies getting crushed than she was worried that she was almost crushed by the oncoming giant peach.
  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Joys of Seasons episode 71, when Paddi wakes up and finds the others have been taken by Wolffy, he worries since... nobody saw him beating the record for longest sleep. An imaginary Mr. Slowy appears to him and is surprised that that's all Paddi cares about.

  • Rowan Atkinson's "Fatal Beatings" sketch, wherein he (as headmaster of a school) is describing the way he beat a parent's son to death.
    "I find this morbid fascination with your son's death quite disturbing. What I am talking about is his attitude."
  • John Mulaney has called out the witnesses in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit for this. Continuing to go about their business, as they're being questioned by detectives like it's no big deal.
    "Some of my personal favorites? There's guy-who-while-being-questioned-by-homicide-detectives-will-not-stop-unloading-crates. Doesn't matter to this guy! Double rape and murder? Naaaaaah. He's gotta unload that van!"
  • Jerry Seinfeld accuses the scientists who developed seedless watermelon of this. He comments that while other scientists are working on trying to cure AIDS or cancer, these guys are trying to develop a watermelon that doesn't have seeds.
    Sure thousands are dying needlessly, but this? (Poot) That's gotta stop!
  • Christopher Titus admitted he came very close to suicide while going through his divorce. Not caring that his wife would get everything. The house, and the kids, all of it and was fine with that... until he realized that included his sports cars.
  • A murderer is standing trial. The judge opens with "You stand accused of killing your wife with a lawnmower-" when someone in the crowd yells "You utter bastard!". Order is restored, and the judge continues with "with a lawnmower, then your mother-in-law with the same lawnmower-" "You son of a bitch!" The judge orders the heckler to the front. "Sir, I will not have you interrupt the trial again. Obviously the victims meant a lot to you, but-" "Victims? Who cares about them? I've been this asshole's neighbor for ten years now, and every time I asked to borrow his lawnmower he told me it was in the shop!"

    Comic Books 
  • Knightfall: When Abattoir targets his second cousin Graham, Graham's incarcerated father Henry is less concerned with the fact that his son might fall victim to a sadistic Serial Killer than with the fact that Graham's murder will cause his trust fund to revert back to the state, while Henry will have a chance to reclaim it in the future if Graham stays alive. Henry's attorney lampshades how Henry has never been one for fatherly concern.
  • From an article in Marvel Year in Review 1993 (which was entirely a parody) on the Darker and Edgier trend in comics:
    And it's getting harder and harder to remember a time when heroes-gone-hardcore such as Phoenix and Yellowjacket had to be brought to heel for their less-than-heroic actions. Today, they'd be headlining two books apiece, with guest appearances galore. Think about it: cosmic genocide and spousal abuse pale in comparison to the ever-present threat of street hoods with guns.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW):
    • Apple Bloom is more upset about not getting her cutie mark before she is (presumably) to be killed by Queen Chrysalis. Lampshaded by Scootaloo.
    • Everypony is awed, impressed, and somewhat scared when a magically-uber Twilight takes out the side of the castle wall. Rarity is furious that she ruined the curtains made of the finest silk.
    • Surprisingly in the second story-arc of, Apple Bloom actually has the sense to point out to Scootaloo that a potential Nightmare invasion may not be the best time to think about their cutie marks, though she does briefly indulge Scootaloo's thought.
  • One Garth Ennis WWII Comic following Nick Fury has an officer who saw the concentration camps and seemed to be horrified (and who is briefly hoped to have joined the plot to kill Hitler as a result) walking away from that feeling more determined to fight for the Nazis in order to prevent Germany and its people from suffering reprisals at the hands of the Allies (particularly the Soviets).
  • Issue 18 of The Powerpuff Girls (DC run), "The Trouble With Bubbles," has the girls battling a monster caterpillar in a lucha libre get-up. Bubbles misses her turn in the routine because she was too busy protecting a little butterfly from getting its wings wet, leading to her being ostracized by everyone for it. She eventually wins everyone over again when she uses this knowledge to defeat the monster when it turns into a brutal butterfly.
  • Shazam!: In issue 15 of the original DC run, Lex Luthor was transported to Earth-S and the first person he met was Tawky Tawny. In response to Luthor's stated disbelief, Tawny assumes that Luthor is impressed with his snazzy plaid suit, and runs off. Luthor, who has just seen a talking tiger for the first time, says aloud "It's just not possible! He CAN'T like that suit!" (he does comment on Tawny being a tiger but it comes second to the fact that Tawny enjoys his suit).
  • The Smurfs: When the river starts drying up during The Betrayal of Smurfblossom, Smurfstorm is outraged by Smurfwillow's decision to focus on that over giving an official ruling on how her contest with Hefty ended. All the more so because she wants Willow to declare that she won, rather than tying like Smurfblossom suggests.
  • Issue 42 of The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye features semi-invisible monsters that attack Transformers, able to use 'perceptive' camouflage to be effectively ignored by their victims. Nightbeat and Getaway are two of the first ones attacked on the Lost Light by the monsters after discovering clues to their existence that could not be ignored. Nightbeat narrates his explanation of the events aloud (as is typical of him given his Holmesian vibe), which causes Getaway to be sarcastic in response given how they're being attacked even as Nightbeat exposits. The two of them then proceed to spend the entire rest of their time bickering with each other rather than, y'know, calling for help and sounding the alarm.
    • Emphasized by the fact that the monster infestation is ultimately resolved by a couple of nameless extras, who had deduced their existence and figured out how to destroy them much sooner than the main characters explicitly because they weren't distracted by pointless interpersonal drama.
    • Thunderclash, at one point in the same story arc, has to send a coded message via his medical equipment by modulating his life-signs. He makes sure it's perfectly punctuated, even though this will significantly shorten his life.
    • Played for Drama with Ultra Magnus, at least once Cerebus Syndrome kicked in; Magnus's clenched-jaw insistence on absolute correctness in the tiniest details and attempts to arrest people for punctuating signs incorrectly came about from a nervous breakdown he was suffering at the time.
    • The Scavengers have a particular knack for this. Their misadventures have included a jailbreak that went awry because Misfire stopped in the middle of the escape for snacks, and an incident where Crankcase decided that taking part in a Nerf war with the other Scavengers was more important than landing the ship safely.
  • Ultimate Marvel:
    • Ultimate Origins: The president wants a real super soldier, not just a good soldier in a visible suit. To get a military advantage over the enemy? No: because "this is a war of images".
    • The Ultimates: Captain America has been found, and he's somehow still alive. Nick Fury is glad because it will be a great adding for the Ultimates program... and Tony because he has the trademark rights.
    • Ultimate X Men: Nick Fury arrives in New Dehli, ready for a top-secret spy mission... and the first thing he asks is "Does anyone knows any good Indian restaurants around here?"
  • In V for Vendetta, Lewis Prothero ran a concentration camp where people were routinely experimented on, tortured and killed. He never shows the slightest guilt but is horrified when V threatens to destroy his prized doll collection. V naturally calls him out on this.
  • The Wallace & Gromit comic book Anoraknophobia has Wallace encounter a gang of criminals, the von Strudels, who are engaged in Operation SPARROW: attempting to Steal, Pilfer And Recklessly Requisition Other People's Work. The part of this Wallace really feels the need to get into and drill down on? The fact that SPARROW only has one P in it, and so the acronym doesn't work.
  • When the Wind Blows: Mostly due to an extreme misunderstanding of the severity of a nuclear attack, Hilda worries more about the laundry getting dirtied by the blast and the cake in the oven getting burnt than the fact World War III has started.
  • In Wild's End the group is being pursued by a giant alien robot and have discovered an entire town in ruin. But hey, at least the local bar is still standing!
  • Wonder Woman (1942): When Steve Trevor and Wonder Woman are ferrying the people the Saturnians had imprisoned back to Earth after stopping the planned large scale invasion and destroying much of the Saturnians' military infrastructure Diana worrying about her missing boots makes Steve laugh uncontrollably, as a woman being worried about shoes is so stereotypical and they're still in the process of escaping from an evil Emperor.
  • Wonder Woman (1987):
    • In the last issue of "The Contest", Cassie Arnold's camerawoman is irritated about Diana's new costume being black since it messes with her exposure, even though she's in the middle of a dangerous metahuman fight and should be running for her life.
    • Hermes reacts to Ares and Diana teaming up to rescue him from Hades, and Ares killing Hades to become the new ruler of the underworld with a cheerful "What took you so long?" before immediately paying more attention to Pegasus than anything else. His reaction to Athena having usurped Zeus is to ask what happened but be far more interested in playing with Athena's computer than hearing the answer to his question.

    Comic Strips 
  • When Dilbert's employer posts a loss so large that the number has no name, a committee is assembled to address the problem. Not the problem of losing money, no; the problem of needing a name.
    Boss: Let's have a show of hands for "frooglepoopillion".
  • In a For Better or for Worse comic when Anne's house was broken into (it was actually John setting off the burgular alarm after getting inside her house to get her youngest child's potty seat, because he wouldn't use any potty except his own) she was more concerned that she hadn't done the dishes yet.
    • In another story arc, Michael is more concerned about getting good photos after a car accident than who the victim of the accident was (it turned out to be Deanna Sobinski, his future wife)
    • In the story arc about Michael and Deanna's apartment catching on fire, Michael is more concerned about getting his laptop in said fire than his wife and 2 small children outside in the cold.
  • FoxTrot:
    • While storyboarding a Slug Man cartoon (Slug Man being his own creation) and trying to fit in more action figures, playsets and merch (each dutifully trademarked), Jason wonders if it's customary to approach toy companies or TV networks first.
    • One arc has Jason create a strip for submission to the school newspaper. Asked for his opinion, Peter thinks the writing isn't good, that the art isn't good either...
      Jason: But, will it sell T-shirts?
      Peter: My, but you do have pure motives...
  • Garfield:
  • In a strip of the Swedish comic Lilla Berlin (Little Berlin), the main characters, a group of hipsters, are approached by someone with a petition against the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar (for some of the reasons why, see here), but nobody even bats an eye. What really gets their attention is the fact that the games are scheduled for the winter months since it's too hot to play in the summer, ruining the characters' summer soccer plans.
  • Peanuts, this happens most during the sandlot ball games:
    • In one strip where it starts to rain, Lucy suggests that Charlie Brown call it because her cake's getting wet.
    • In another, Snoopy goes to the mound to request a time out because a bug is crossing the infield.
    • And of course, Lucy comes to the mound a lot to make rather silly suggestions or questions, like making a hopscotch team or to ask why they don't have astroturf.
  • The Far Side:
    • As pointed out by Gary Larson in The Prehistory of the Far Side, in one strip where the gag is that the witch a couple hired as the babysitter has cooked and eaten the children, the father mostly seems ticked off that the witch ate both.
    • One strip has a fisherman, seeing mushroom clouds in the distance, conclude that this means "no size restrictions and screw the limit."
    • Another strip has two men dying of dehydration in the desert find a water fountain...but one of them refuses to drink because the other put his mouth on it.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Boxtrolls: Lord Portley-Rind uses civic funds to commission a massive wheel of cheese instead of building a children's hospital. In fact, his obsession with cheese puts a serious cramp in his relationship with his daughter Winifred, and at one point blinds him to the fact that she's trying to warn him of the Big Bad's evil plan.
  • The Emperor's New Groove: Yzma's first plan to get revenge on Kuzco was to turn him into a flea, stick him in a set of nesting boxes, mail the boxes to herself, and then smash the boxes with a hammer. The reason she changes her scheme? She wanted to save on postage. Since she had to be reminded that revenge was an option in the first place, it's not terribly surprising she fell victim to this trope.
  • The Incredibles:
    • Violet and Dash discuss their mother going off to find their father, who's in danger on Syndrome's island. It's strongly implied that Helen suspects if Bob isn't in some kind of dangerous situation, his unexplained absences may be the result of him having an affair.
      Violet: Mom and dad's lives could be in danger! Or worse, their marriage.
    • In the climax, Lucius "Frozone" Best sees the Omnidroid wreaking havoc and goes off to help Bob and his family fight it. Unfortunately, he's missing his super-suit, and asks his wife where it is.
      Lucius (Frozone): Honey?
      Honey: What?
      Lucius: Where's my super suit?
      Honey: What?
      Lucius: Where — is — my — super — suit?
      Honey: I, uh, put it away.
      [Helicopter explodes outside]
      Lucius: Where?
      Honey: Why do you need to know?
      Lucius: I need it!
      Honey: Uh-uh! Don't you think about running off doing no derrin'-do. We've been planning this dinner for two months!
      Lucius: The public is in danger!
      Honey: My evening's in danger!
      Lucius: You tell me where my suit is, woman! We are talking about the greater good!
      Honey: "Greater good?" I am your wife! I'm the greatest good you are ever gonna get!
  • Isle of Dogs: While the five main dogs talk about their woes, King explains of how he used to star in twenty-two consecutive Doggy Chop dog food commercials. He follows it up by lamenting, "Look at me now; I can't even land an audition!"
  • Kung Fu Panda 2: A flashback scene shows how Mr. Ping found baby Po abandoned in a (now empty) box of radishes. So Mr. Ping makes a decision that will change his life make his soup without radishes. And raise Po as his son.
  • Paranorman: Features a man who is torn between fleeing from the approaching zombie horde and waiting for the vending machine to deliver the snack he just bought. When the zombies are almost upon him he finally flees, only to come back when the snack arrives. Fortunately, the zombies were never interested in hurting him.
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie:
    • When King Neptune freezes Mr. Krabs, Squidward says, "Oh, no! This is terrible! Who's gonna sign my paycheck?" This becomes a Brick Joke later on in the movie where he confronts Plankton upon finding out that he is responsible for Krabs' freezing and says that messing with his paycheck was his fatal mistake rather than saying that framing Krabs was.
    • Neptune is more concerned about covering his bald patch than the fact that Plankton enslaved all of Bikini Bottom.
  • Strange Magic: The Bog King's minions tend to have this.
    Minion: Uh sire, I forgot to mention you forgot your weapon upstairs. But I found your boutonniere!
  • Tangled:
    • Flynn Ryder is on the run being pursued by palace guards, after having stolen the crown (something he can get death sentenced for if caught). When he comes across a "Wanted" poster with his face drawn on it, instead of running on he takes the time to take the poster in his hands and exclaim:
      Flynn: No no no no no no no, this is bad, this is very, very bad... this is really bad! [Beat] They just can't get my nose right!
    • This is a Running Gag when other people actually recognize him from the "Wanted" poster, and Flynn instead of having an Oh, Crap! reaction to being about to be handed over to the authorities:
      Vladimir: [pointing to Flynn with one hand while a finger of his other hand covers up the nose on the poster] Is this you?
      Flynn: [moves Vladimir's finger off of the poster's nose, and sees that his nose is even more badly drawn than on the first poster] Ow... Now they're just being mean.
  • Turning Red: Even though Meilin Lee is dealing with a supernatural blessing/curse causing her to regularly shapeshift into an eight-foot panda, her biggest concern for most of the movie is whether or not she'll be able to attend the 4*Town concert. This is somewhat justified, as by this point, her mother has publicly humiliated her twice, failed to warn her about the panda situation, and then did very little to help her through the process after promising that she would. Not allowing her to see 4*Town was basically the straw that broke the camel's back, causing Mei to view the concert as an opportunity to gain independence from her mother.
  • In Wish (2023), after the climax, King Magnifico is imprisoned in the castle dungeon and is horrified...because it smells really bad.

  • Early in Appointment with F.E.A.R., your character - a superhero - randomly pets a stray cat, just as a maniac armed with a chainsaw shows up and begins attacking nearby citizens. The book then throws in a bizarrely weird choice: do you 1.stop the maniac who's threatening the old lady with his weapon, or 2.bring the cat you're petting to an animal shelter?


  • In the title track of Alice's Restaurant, singer Arlo Guthrie ends up convicted of littering, fined fifty dollars, and forced to pick up his garbage in the snow. Later in life, he ends up in the draft for the Vietnam War but is deemed morally unfit to serve because of this charge. Arlo points out that the army has "a lot of damn gall" to ask if he's moral enough to "burn women, kids, houses, and villages after being a litterbug."
  • At the end of "Ridin'" by Chamillionaire, Chamillionaire and Krayzie Bone crash their car. Krayzie Bone is clearly terrified and freaking out about their situation, while Chamillionaire just complains that his drink was spilled.
  • The Bernard Cribbins song "Right, Said Fred" (not to be confused with the one who was too sexy for his shirt) ends with a pair of inept piano movers having tea immediately after their foreman accidentally kills himself.
  • Mark Dinning's Teenage Death Song "Teen Angel" is a skewed priority if ever there was one. The girl puts herself in the path of a speeding train because she wants to retrieve her boyfriend's high school ring.
  • "Harold the Barrel" by Genesis involved the titular character threatening suicide, and the crowd eventually called up his mother.
    67-year old Ms. Barrel: Come off the ledge — If your father were alive he'd be very, very, very upset.
    You just can't jump, you just can't jump.
    Your shirt's all dirty. There's a man here from the BBC.
    You just can't jump.
  • Don Henley's song "All She Wants To Do Is Dance" has the singer go to another country with his lady. Apparently, a coup ends up taking place but amidst all the chaos, his girl just wants to dance. (As if the title didn't tell you.)
  • In Lady Gaga and Beyoncé's video for "Telephone", Gaga is killing her boyfriend while Beyonce watches him die. After that, Beyonce's acting all upset about using the word "motherfucker", which was beeped out while she's putting her finger on her lips.
  • Several of the jokes in the Ninja Sex Party song "Rhinoceratops versus Superpuma" involve this:
    • When Danny and Brian get a call from the President of Space, pleading with them to save Earth from the titular Kaiju:
      "You're the only hope to save billions of lives!"
      I said "I'm making baked potatoes and I'm about to add the chives
      We could be there in an hour if we really really tried"
      But we didn't, so they ate France. Sorry if you died.

      A couple hours later NSP hit the scene
      We know we could have been there sooner but we stopped for ice cream
      "Where have you been?" screamed the president. "We're all under attack!"
      "I had a craving for pistachio, get off my fuckin' back!"
    • Danny is also frequently more annoyed at minor property damage the Kaiju have inflicted on him—such as stepping on his lawn or scratching his car—than by all the carnage they've caused.
      I would be lucky if I live to see dawn
      They killed a million people and they just stepped on my lawn
      Danny: Fuck! I just had that re-sodded. That's gonna be like twenty-five dollars... at least. Damn it.

      Choose sex over murder even if you're from the stars
      Or you might kill a planet and also scratch my car
      Danny: Son of a bitch! I'm gonna have to lightly buff that out.
  • The Red Elvises song "My Love Is Killing Me" (which appears on the soundtrack of Six String Samurai, though this part doesn't actually make it into the movie) has a recurring bridge like this; the injuries get more risqué as the song progresses:
    I can forgive you the damage to my lips
    I can forgive you the bite marks on my hips
    But there is one thing I can't stand:
    Don't call me Chris; my name is Elvis.
  • Jim Steinman's monologue "Love and Death and an American Guitar", released on the Meat Loaf album Back Into Hell as "Wasted Youth": the narrator beats people to death with his guitar, and is about to do the same to his parents "when my father woke up screaming 'Stop! Wait a minute! Stop it, boy! That's no way to treat an expensive musical instrument!'"
  • The Velvet Underground's "Sister Ray" involved a heroin-fueled orgy, where one of the participants took out a gun and killed another participant. All that the narrator was concerned about was that the blood of the victim was staining the carpet.
  • The Weird Al song "Why Does This Always Happen To Me?" is all about the narrator encountering horrific situations, only to be frustrated by the minor inconveniences they cause for him. News coverage of an earthquake leaving tens of thousands of people dead makes him mad because they interrupted an episode of The Simpsons to talk about it, a massive car accident leaving dozens dead makes him mad because it's blocking the road and making him late for work as well as preventing a now-deceased friend from repaying him five bucks, and murdering his boss for telling him one too many times to go buy toner for the photocopier makes him mad because the tip of his knife got slightly bent during the stabbing and now it isn't as sharp anymore.
    • "A Complicated Song" has the singer get decapitated in a roller coaster incident, and he treats it as a big inconvenience since now he can't do various things that require a head, such as belching, yodeling or blowing his nose.

  • Binary Break: When Cate lands in the Digital World and meets her partner Aomon, her confusion quickly fades and she spends a long while explaining to him all her middle-school drama, and then tries to teach him soccer. He actually doesn't get a chance to give her her D-Coder until the middle of a battle.
  • In one episode of the GURPS podcast Cautious Optimism, after their starship suffers a particularly rough landing, the engineer complains that the coffee has spilled; the captain reminds him that not only is the ship not aerodynamic, but it currently has a giant hole in the side. His response: "...Captain, I don't think you realize just how good this coffee is."
  • In the Firefly game of Cool Kids Table. When the group sees A shuttle piloted the Hands of Blue headed towards their ship while they're still on the refueler, Mickey and Roc are more concerned with their coats and hats than their lives.
  • Episode 8 of Disc Only Podcast has Stephen drive through flooding rains to have shrimp at his parents' place. The rain nearly drowned his car on the trip back.
  • In Past Division, after Herbert apparently destroys Carrok City with a magical runestone, the team has a moment like this.
    Lucky: Ah, shit. Cleaning duty!
  • In Episode 61 of Welcome to Night Vale the town is plagued by the sun in the sky multiplying exponentially, from one to two, then two to four. Cecil spends most of this potential apocalypse complaining about the radio station not getting any water.
  • Well There's Your Problem: During the episode on the Three Mile Island accident, Justin began listing the effects once the reactor went into actual meltdown, including that melting fissile material now began contaminating the reactor coolant. British co-host Alice's immediate concern was that this meant that the coolant was no longer suitable for teanote .

  • Cabin Pressure: Captain Martin Crieff can land here sometimes, often because he's obsessive about obeying the rules and utterly terrible in a crisis. For example, during an imaginary scenario about how many otters can be stored on their plane (well, "plane") Martin refuses to accommodate them on the flight deck because it violates airline rules despite, as co-pilot Douglas notes, there not being much about the whole "cram the plane full of otters" idea the FAA are going to like anyway.
  • In a classic Jack Benny bit, in response to a robber saying "Your money or your life," Benny replies "I'm Thinking It Over!"

  • Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues:
    • Because of his heavily stringent upbringing, Jacob's priorities are very off-kilter from everyone else's:
      • His reaction when he hears other students screaming is to leave the building. Not because he fears what might be causing the screams, but because they're too distracting for him to study properly.
      • The stress of seeing Benjy's monstrous form causes him to short-circuit and complain that Benjy doesn't look like the description Jacob had been given.
      • When over-exerting his powers leads to Jacob getting a Psychic Nosebleed, he's more concerned about the blood getting on his clothes (which would earn the wrath of his mother) than his physical well-being.
    • Mirielle, being a borderline cloudcuckoolander, also showcases some strange priorities:
      • During the empowering incident, while everyone else is panicking and/or trying to escape, she sets about making bread. Granted, she's doing so because she believes food will calm everyone, but it's still very jarring and weirds out the other characters.
      • When Harriet breaks down Sebastian's door and nearly skewers Jacob, Mirielle's first instinct is to offer her fondue. She gets called out for it by Jacob:
        Jacob: I almost died because of her! Don't just go offering food!
    • When the kids all meet up to discuss their powers, Rose is more concerned with finding out what everyone can do than the fact that David tried to murder Irene with no provocation. Finn, of all people, calls her out on her indifference to the attempted murder.
    • Played for Laughs in one instance with Ivy. Crispin's conspiracy theory, the exploded nurse's office, and everything else to do with the superpowers falls to the wayside once she realises the worst problem of all- her mom will be mad at her if she doesn't know where Ivy is.
    • Also lampshaded by Ivan, when he realises that he's taking a chess game far too seriously when there's a superpowered mystery afoot.

  • From A Midsummer Night's Dream:
    Oberon: Hast thou the flower there? Welcome, wanderer.
  • Evil Dead: The Musical: Shelly got possessed by a demon and is ready to attack Ash and Scotty. Scotty orders Ash, who's holding the shotgun, to kill the deadite Shelly. But Ash refused stating that Shelly is a friend of theirs. Scotty shouts at him saying that he picked Shelly up drunk in a bar two days ago, he rips the shotgun out of Ash's hands and shoots her with it.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney
    • In Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, the Judge briefly puts the second day of the third trial on hold until Apollo can figure out the magic trick used in the performance at the time of the murder.
      Klavier: Objection!... Put that forehead of yours to work on this illusion first.
      Apollo: Objection! Hold on! Don't you think the identity of the killer is a little more important, don't you?
      Judge: Bangs gavel Importance Shmortance! Objection overruled! Tell us about the illusion!
      Trucy: No use trying to avoid the problem at hand, Apollo.
      Apollo: (Trying to avoid the problem? This is a murder trial, the killer's the problem!)
    • The same case has Klavier acting far more upset about his keys going missing and his bandmate missing a cue during their concert than he is about a murder happening at said concert. At one point during the first day of investigation, he refuses to discuss the murder with Apollo and Trucy until they can prove that Daryan missed the cue. All this information eventually becomes relevant to solving the case- Daryan tried to steal Klavier's keys to get the cocoon he was smuggling in Klavier's guitar and missed the cue because he dislocated his shoulder after using a powerful revolver to shoot the victim- but Klavier still comes off as having a poor sense of priorities.
    • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies: The third case sees Klavier do it again, being just as upset about somebody sabotaging his concert by breaking statues and tearing down a Gavinners banner as somebody murdering his beloved mentor. Though once again he turns out to be right as the two things are connected ( the murderer used the banner as a sheet to disguise the victim's corpse as one of the statues), so maybe it's just that he has trouble explaining the connections his Hyper-Awareness makes.
    • In the first case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice, the judge of the Khur'ain court wants to wrap up the trial as quickly as possible, because he's going to be late for a dahmalan class he's attending with his wife. This is in spite of the fact that it's a murder trial with a 9-year-old boy as a defendant, accused of murder and stealing a national treasure, charges that will result in the defendant being executed if he's convicted.
    • The Great Ace Attorney 2: Resolve: Harebrayne's priority during the first half of his trial is to protect his hypothesis rather than actually trying to defend himself which almost gets him guilty of murder, with Ryunosuke having to completely destroy his theory to not let that happen. When Harebrayne gets angry at him for this, the lawyer rightly calls him out, reminding him that a man died.
    • Played for Laughs in the next chapter. If the player shows Barok the Red-Headed League Article while he's in jail, he apparently gets annoyed at Ryunosuke since his hair is not red then say that if it was about a Black-Headed League article he wouldn't hesitate to show him, then lamenting that he doesn't have black hair. Barok stays silent for a bit before asking himself which colored league should he join.

    Web Animation 
  • DarkMatter2525:
    • The video If Hitler Never Existed, a parody of It's a Wonderful Life, is about a man who wishes that Hitler had never existed, only for "the Gestapo Angel" to appear before him, to show him what the world would really be like if Hitler had never existed. The man is then brought to a futuristic utopia, which appears to be perfect - until the man sees his alternate self arguing with someone on the Internet, and being completely unable to demonize him; he can't compare him to Hitler, he can't call him a Grammar Nazi, and he can't Photoshop Nazi imagery onto his picture. The man quickly begs the Gestapo Angel to take him back to the real world.
    • In "God is Punishing Us!", When Jeffrey is put in charge of punishing sinners on Earth while God goes on vacation, he uses natural disasters to target only sinners for actual wrongdoing (bank robbers, pedophiles, etc). Not only does this make crime go down, but conversion to legitimate theism skyrockets because the events could only be possible by God's existence. When God finds out, he is pissed at Jeffrey for not enacting random disasters onto people for petty, unrelated reasons because he is being "obvious" about it and not "hella mysterious".
  • FreedomToons:
    • "Defusing Radical Islam": Seamus is frantically trying to defuse a home-made suicide vest after punching out a Muslim jihadist, but the "SJW" is more interested in virtue signaling to social media and trying to change the topic to Christian extremists (read: cardboard sign protestors) and/or historical colonialism/the crusades. Eventually, they all get blown up because Seamus cut the wrong wire.
    • "The Never Trumper" mocks people who are more offended by Donald Trump's tweets than by government corruption.
  • Craig and Todd from Dinosaur Office don't want to leave the office during a volcano drill. Why? Because they want to continue their conversation.
  • Lifty and Shifty from Happy Tree Friends die often because of skewed priorities. They prioritize stealing over surviving.
  • Hello Kitty and Friends Supercute Adventures: Kuromi's birthday is October 31st. She isn't a Birthday Hater, but she does consider Halloween to be more important, by her own words in "Hello-Ween ".
  • Kurzgesagt: From "What If Earth got Kicked Out of the Solar System? Rogue Earth", it's mentioned that the red dwarf Glise 710 is headed directly for our solar system, and will pass through the Oort Cloud (a collection of icy objects on the outer edge of the solar system) in about a million years. The red dwarf's gravity could disrupt the orbits of many objects in the Oort Cloud, potentially hurling them at the inner planets. To quote the narrator: "The larger ones could cause dinosaur-level mass extinctions and would be bad for the stock market."
  • Meta Runner: Evelyn Claythorne is the kind of person that would help a deranged Mad Scientist kill hundreds of people and trap their souls in his Lotus-Eater Machine if it meant proving their superiority to one person.
  • Sock Series:
    • Despite all the terrible supernatural things happening to him, Sock's owner is more concerned about getting a snack.
    • At the end of Empire, Sock's owner is looking in his house's wreckages for Sock's receipt, all while sporting a mildly annoyed expression, despite the fact that the city he lives him just got completely destroyed by a demonic hamster, an army of monsters from Hell, and three gods. He's even happy to finally find the receipt, as if bringing back his evil hamster to the pet shop would change anything.
  • An old Something Awful cartoon called "Dracula is Coming" has a scene where an army officer tells a soldier that they only have two hours to get ready to fight Dracula. The soldier asks if he has time to watch the new Star Wars DVD. The officer thinks about it and decides that yes, he definitely has enough time as long as it's not the four-disc DVD collection.
  • In Yu-Gi-No, Yugi begins a duel by declaring that he summons Yugi and attacks Kaiba's life points directly, then kicks Kaiba in the face. A heavily-bruised Kaiba protests, because you can't attack on your first turn.

    Web Videos 
  • Act Promptly: Batman becomes more focused on the Joker's podcast and the fact that he wasn't invited than the people he's plotting to dip in molten cheese.
  • Anna Akana's "Pokémon GO Ruins Lives" demonstrates some of the dangers of placing catching Pokémon as the utmost importance.
  • In To Boldly Flee, That SciFi Guy's house is blown up and he is presumed dead. When The Stinger shows him alive, he looks around the blown up and burning house and worries more about how pissed the landlord is going to be.
  • In the pilot episode of Brains, a clip is shown of a female blogger who warns her male viewers not to act like heroes and get themselves killed by zombies... so that she won't lose subscribers.
  • The Call of Warr:
    • Gravesite begins to care more about his script-writing than the actual Warr or his soldiers, causing Prince to strip him of his command, and sentence him to die as per the Laww.
    • When Durkin went missing, Ashes' main concern was that he never told her if he had a girlfriend or not. When he's freaking out on the floor and shouting oddities, she just says she "likes the thing" he's doing.
  • In the animation "Celebrities babysitting Olivia Rodrigo" by Darianas Eggs, baby Olivia walks into a bar and orders a drink. Taylor, the bartender, seems a lot more bothered that the drink is being ordered at 7 AM than that it's being ordered by a baby.
  • Double Life SMP: In a Deadly Game of a series where his partner is dedicated to building bases, getting good gear, and monopolizing server resources, Scar is more preoccupied with building a reservation and petting zoo for his retextured Jellie Pandas.
  • In the Dream SMP, during the finale of Season 1, Technoblade names one of the Withers he lets loose on the ruins of L'Manburg "Subscribe to Technoblade". What qualifies it for this trope is that he is heard saying "This is the most important part!" while naming the Wither, as if he pulled a Face–Heel Turn just to plug his channel one last time.
  • Empires SMP Season 1: After first hearing about Xornoth's existence, Scott isn't as concerned over the fact that there's a demon on the server, as he is with the fact that they have a Scottish accent, and that's his thing!
    Scott: There's very few things I have, being gay and Scottish are two of them, do not take that from me.
  • H.Bomberguy's parody of anti-feminist YouTubers in "ThunderF00T vs. FemiNAZI Ghostbusters: A Measured Response" exhibits this while going on the run from The Feminists, also allowing a sideswipe at fake-skull-owning white supremacist Davis Aurini in the process:
    Parody: Take only what's important! [grabs trilby and skull and runs]
  • Mario Teh Plumber is known for caring more about the character design in a video game than the actual gameplay. Although, since he's a Troll, this is likely not what he believes in Real Life.
  • When Jesse is kicked out of the house in Mc Juggernuggets and lives in a tent in the yard, apparently he finds it more important to get video games and set up a TV with his Xbox on it than things like insulation or waterproofing.
  • MikeJ: In his review of the Fridge Locker, a product designed to protect your food, the commercial showcased a live bear being unable to access the food inside the product.
    Anthony Sullivan: I just hope you don't have a bear in your house!
    Mike: Not at the moment, but if it did happen, at least my eggs would be safe.
  • In Noob, the Serious Business with which some characters treat MMORPG can be summed up by this line:
    Arthéon: Because of [Tenshirock], some players committed suicide, or, worse, some quitted playing Horizon.
  • Obscurus Lupa when reviewing Charmed tends to highlight what issues the Charmed Ones are putting off, ignoring, or outright refusing to do anything about because they're distracted by their jobs, relationship issues, or how one of their sisters is dealing with their own relationship issues. Given the nature of the show, the danger starts with a demon trying to kill defenseless innocents and goes up from there.
    Phoebe: I have to go to, y'know, work.
    Obscurus Lupa: The universe is going to end!
  • Outside Xbox:
    • In one of their Oxventure Dungeons & Dragons adventures, they're trying to sell a haunted manor. When they're escorting a family of four around, and a toy chest turns out to be a Chest Monster, the parents' reactions are a study in contrasts. Julia, naturally, screams, picks up her children, and runs away. Claude... starts trying to negotiate a lower price for the house. It gets him eaten.
    • In "Showdown of the Weekend 2018" there's a round where the questions consist of a list of three facts about each participating presenter, only one of which is true. When one such possible fact is "Ellen Rose once had a small dog thrown at her", Luke's first thought is that Ellen would have specified the breed.
  • Party Crashers: In "Mario Party 2 is more TOXIC than I remember...", Nick decides to order Chinese food just before playing their final minigame of the session. Sophist is (understandably) baffled by the decision, stating how he could just wait until after they finish the minigame to do this. Nick on the other hand claims that now is the best time, stating how the order will arrive the moment they finish their game.
  • Pirates SMP:
    • According to Sausage's recounting of Scar's backstory, he cared more about saving his hat collection (and his pet cat, Jellie) than his crew when it came down to fitting one or the other into the lifeboat.
    • While on a server-wide quest to investigate the Whirlpool on Day 36, Acho asks Scott to lasso star while star goes down to investigate and loot it, so that star can be pulled back up. Scott's first reaction sounds like something out of typical sibling banter.
      Scott: I feel like I would lose my lasso. And my brother.
      Acho: That's what you're concerned about?!
    • Later on Day 36, Owen gets distracted by the unique lighting in the underground city and takes the time to collect a lamp… in the middle of an earthquake, while everyone is fleeing the city ruins. To everyone else's credit, a few people yell at him that it's not the time.
  • Quinton Reviews:
    • In "That Time the World Ended", Quinton mocks a doomsday preparation video for saying that coffee is almost a necessity in a post-apocalyptic world.
      Quinton: I hear that! 90% of humanity is dead, but as long as I got my coffee, who gives a damn?
    • In "Bad Nazi Documentaries", Quinton lambasts several Nazi documentaries for focusing on something like "were the Nazis obsessed with the occult?" or "was Hitler gay?" while barely mentioning their crimes.
  • Solid jj: After Jimmy Neutron's literal Brain Blast in "Jimmy's Last Brain Blast", Hugh is more concerned about Jimmy's blood getting all over his ducks than his son's head having just exploded.
  • In The Unlucky Tug and friends' Gag Dub of "Munitions", Ten Cents' reaction to Big Mickey's death is to say that Big Mickey owed him money.
  • Weird school rules in Hong Kong:
    • In Episode 2, one of the skits examines a rule prohibiting glasses with frames that are not pure black in colour. A student with glasses of such frames, Yan-yan, tries to protest this by saying she can't see the blackboard without her glasses, but the teacher brushes it off, saying that she could go a day without seeing the blackboard. In other words, the teacher cares more about the rules than whether a student can learn effectively in the classroom, and in "normal school" circumstances in real life, the teacher would let Yan-yan wear her non-authorized glasses for the rest of the school day at the very least.
    • In Episode 19, the teacher stops the students from forming a human chain — not because he didn't support the protest movement for human rights (the human chain was done in support of the movement), but because "boys and girls cannot be so intimate" as to hold hands, even in a protest for human rights. The students had to resort to holding tape or footballs in between them.


Helga's worried

Helga Velvet's worried about being killed by the Executioners after they launched their coup. She couldn't find a good boyfriend.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / SkewedPriorities

Media sources: