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Something We Forgot

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Don't you just hate when your friends make plans and leave you hanging?

"Hang on a minute, girls. You have a busy day ahead of you. You need to keep track of your time and your things."
Mrs. Mouseling, Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps

So the adventure's over, the team beat the enemy or found the treasure and got out alive, and it's finally time to relax, say their goodbyes, and head home. And someone says, "I've got this nagging feeling that there's Something We Forgot."

Cut to a major MacGuffin that got left in the dungeon. Or an ally who got trapped and is still waiting for them to get back. Etc. An Oh, Crap! is likely to occur by the character having this realization. Another stock version of this is a parent or guardian—inattentive or overworked at best or neglectful at worst—having forgotten to pick their child up from school, a sports game, a club activity, or similar.

Related to Brick Joke and Locked Up and Left Behind. Often deployed as The Stinger. Contrast What Happened to the Mouse?, in which a dropped plot element does not get another mention, and Offscreen Inertia, when the audience is left to assume that whatever was forgotten will stay in that state permanently.



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    Films — Animation 
  • Abis Mal in The Stinger of The Return of Jafar.
    Abis Mal: [still dangling from a tree branch] Does this mean I don't get my third wish?
  • In Big Hero 6, Hiro has a major falling-out with his teammates and flies off on Baymax, forgetting that Baymax is their only ride home. Fortunately, Fred's family is rich enough to afford a private helicopter and a butler with a pilot's license.
  • In The Stinger of Megamind, the original, dehydrated-into-a-small-cube-early-on-and-then-forgotten-about Bernard only returns to normal because Minion didn't empty Megamind's pockets before doing the laundry.
  • Strange Magic: Marianne is so focused on lecturing her sister Dawn after she was attacked by a lizard that Marianne forgets that Sunny was knocked into the forbidden Dark Forest by said lizard. Thankfully, she remembers just in time to save him from being attacked by goblins.
  • At the end of The Rescuers Down Under, Bernard, Bianca, Cody, Jake, and Marahute fly triumphantly into the sunset. The movie then cuts to Wilbur the albatross, who was left to guard Marahute's eggs, realizing that he was left behind and starts wondering what's taking everyone so long. And then the eggs start to hatch.
    Wilbur: HELP! Anybody! Bernard! Bianca! WHERE ARE YOU?!? Okay, that's it! I'm outta here, this is ridiculous! You can't leave me here alone! (laughs) I'm gone! I am GONE! (the eggs start hatching) Aww, no! Stay in those eggs! That's a direct order!'re kinda a cute little feller, coochy coochy...YOW! WHOA! (groans)
    [cue credits]
  • Double subverted in Toy Story 3. When Woody, Buzz and the gang are taken to the dump in the garbage truck, Barbie gets left behind. The characters are then tossed into the trash compactor and nearly roasted alive in the furnace before being rescued by the Martians (in what amounts to a Brick Joke 15 years in the making, believe it or not). After surviving, Woody and the rest of the toys return home and are donated by Andy to a neighbor's young daughter as he is leaving for college. Throughout all this time, none of the toys notice that Barbie is no longer with them. But then, as the end credits are rolling, the toys receive a postcard from Barbie telling them what is happening at the day-care center, where she decided to stay.

  • The Action Figure File Card for Sneak Peek, recon specialist of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, provides an example.
    Sneak Peek is a legend in the Ranger recon battalions. They tell of one mission where his control unit got overrun. In the ensuing confusion, Sneak Peek was never recalled. He stayed put, observing enemy activity, taking notes and sketching maps for two weeks until somebody remembered he was out there and sent him the signal to return!

    Web Animation 
  • The trope is lampooned in an episode of Bonus Stage. It was along the lines of:
    Joel: Oh no! We forgot Jessica!
    (Jessica appears behind him)
    Joel: Oh. Man, we missed out on a hilarious cut away sequence.
    (back on the planet)
    Mr. Malice: Guys?
  • Mega Man Dies at the End: In the last episode of Season one, Mega Man is relived all their troubles are over, until Wily reminded him they are still wanted fugitives and nearly recalls something they've forgotten. Namely, Fake Man, who's on the active hunt for them and bursts into Wily's castle.
  • In Sonic Zombie, at the end of the Space video, Blaze furiously kicks the group out of her ship and speaks aloud that she'll be glad to never deal with them again. Suddenly, Shadow remembers that he forgot something back on his bed, which turns out to be an active bomb that immediately destroys the entire ship.


    Real Life 
  • POWs that continue to be held long after a conflict ends — for example, Americans who continued to be held in Vietnam, or even North Korea — are a grim real-life example. One could also say the same of the children of local women impregnated by soldiers of occupying armies during wartime.
  • When Julius Caesar marched on Rome on his return from the Gallic wars, Pompey's government fled into exile — leaving the entire contents of the national treasury behind them. D'oh!
  • David Bowie once gave a live stage performance, at the end of which, during his final number, he was picked up, in his chair, by a "cherry Picker" and swung out over the audience; at the end of the number, the lights went out, with Bowie still in mid-air, as the audience got up and went home; the theatre crew locked up and went out to a bar; it was only after several drinks that they realised that Bowie was still in the theatre, in his chair, at the end of the cherry picker arm, fifty-plus feet above the floor of the auditorium; "Were you going to leave me up here all night, you bastards?" was his first question as they frantically returned to the theatre.
  • Similarily to the above example, one scene in the Doctor Who-episode "Mark of the Rani" required Colin Baker (who played the Doctor) to be tied to a large pole for a Tribal Carry in the middle of a forest. However, because Baker wore a support harness, untying him every time they reset the stage proved too time-consuming, so the crew just laid him down on the forest floor between takes. When it started to rain, the crew packed up and left to film a different scene in another location...only to realize after half an hour that they'd left Baker behind in the forest, still tied to the pole!
  • Apparently, My Chemical Romance has occasionally left their guitarist Ray Toro at truck stops while on tour.
    Ray: And the band's kinda driven a couple miles down the road, and I'd have to call them on my cellphone and it's like, "hey...what's up?" And they're like, "hey, how's it going man?" I'm like, " notice something's missing from the van?" And they kinda look around and go, "ahh, shit."
  • In Empire of Dreams: The Making of the Star Wars Saga, Kenny Baker recounted that, while filming, the cast and crew would on rare occasions forget he was inside the R2-D2 outfit (which could not be taken apart from the inside) and leave to take their lunch breaks. But, he said, someone would usually remember he was in there and come back to let him out.
  • Every summer, babies and pets get rescued from the backseats of hot cars because their caregivers forgot they were there. Such rescues aren't always on time.


Video Example(s):


Abis Mal

After the end credits, Abis Mal is stuck in the tree and lamenting he never got his third wish.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

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Main / TheStinger

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