Leonard: ...Can you do that?
Sheldon: "Cathedra mea, regulae meae" - that's Latin for "My chair, my rules"
A character is extremely territorial about where he sits: a favourite chair, spot on The Couch, park bench, or whatever. Either they never sit anywhere else, no one else is allowed to sit there, or often both.
Alternatively it can be an ordinary character trait, possibly a kind of Security Blanket for a character with Super OCD. In a military (or Mildly Military) setting, the commanding officer ordering someone out of his chair can serve as an assertion of authority.
If the character dies, do not expect that chair to be filled any time soon.
Not to be confused with This Is My Side, a stock sitcom plot where a shared space is split down the middle. Should the two tropes ever meet, expect the chair's owner to find himself cut off from using it (or to try declaring it an enclave within his enemy's territory).
- Candidate for Trope Namer is the mentally insane Jeffrey Goines in 12 Monkeys, who reacts like the loon he is when he sees another patient seated in his favorite chair.
- A Crowning Moment of Funny when Kirk sits in the Captain's chair of the Enterprise in Star Trek... when he's still a Space Cadet.
Spock: *Irritated* Out of the chair.
- By that point, Pike had already promoted him to First Officer (while Spock is the Acting Captain). Still not a reason to sit in the captain's chair while Spock is on the bridge.
- Inverted in the sequel, where Sulu is reluctant to sit in the chair when given temporary command. He does prove himself to be capable.
- In Star Trek Beyond Kirk is thrown off when Jaylah flops into the captain's chair of the Franklin before he can take it. The ship has been her "house" for years, so it's unsurprising she made herself at home.
- In The King's Speech speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) disrespectfully sits on the Coronation Throne in order to provoke stuttering King George VI (Colin Firth) into an outburst of indignation.
- In The Hateful 8, one of the threads that Warren notes about the four residents of the lodge is how people are sitting in Sweet Dave's chair, who he claims would rather bring the chair with him rather than let anyone else sit in it.
- In Men of the Otherworld, Clay always kicks Logan out of Jeremy's chair, since Clay feels that respecting the Alpha's chair is a symbol of respecting the Alpha's territory and Clay is Jeremy's dragon. It's a longstanding issue between the two of them, to the point where Logan will vacate the chair as soon as Clay enters the room.
- Septimus Heap: Marcia Overstrand is very vocal at insisting that her chair in the Wizard Tower is in fact hers.
- Played with in the Novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture in regards to the officer's lounge that Kirk, Spock, and McCoy meet in before they reach the probe. While said lounge is technically open to any Starfleet personnel, the text explains that out of respect and tradition, only the officers are allowed use of the lounge.
- Similar to the Star Trek novelization, The Ghost Brigades presents the Generals' Mess as an example of this, a small dining area with a spectacular view which is strictly speaking open to all Colonial Defense Forces personnel, but out of tradition, only Generals may actually dine there. A running gag is made of a beleaguered Colonel being repeatedly invited to have lunch with various generals there (they eat deliciously described food, he drinks a glass of refreshing water which he privately admits to himself isn't all that refreshing). One of the generals decides to use the Colonel as a pawn to break what he sees as a stupid tradition by ordering him to eat a cookie.
- In Snuff, Sam Vimes tries to find a place to sit at the local pub in the Shires, only to run afoul of hot-headed young blacksmith Jethro, who tries pulling this with every place Sam tries to sit to make it clear that he's not welcome.
- In the pilot of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the fandom rejoices as Capt Picard yells at Wesley to "Get out of my chair!" Reportedly, Patrick Stewart would behave in a similar manner towards reporters and others who sat in the captain's chair on the Bridge set without invitation.
- (According to Wil Wheaton this was more a matter of respect than one of interdiction.)
- This is deliberately averted on a couple of occasions; Q sits in the Captain's Chair as a sign of his own ego and contempt for humanity, and Picard has to stop his bridge crew who instinctively move to throw the omnipotent prankster off it. After Picard is assimilated by the Borg, Riker becomes captain. He's in the ready room looking at Picard's chair and wondering "What would you do?" Guinan then enters the room and sits in the chair, making the point that he's got to forget Picard and start thinking what should Captain Riker do.
- On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Worf designates one particular seat in the mess hall of the Defiant as his. Bashir sits in it at one point and gets a Death Glare.
- And then there's Morn's barstool, which is so connected to him that whenever he's not around, Quark projects a hologram of him just so it looks like his unofficial mascot is still there.
- As mentioned, the Central Perk sofa on Friends. One storyline even revolved around a pair of bullies kicking Ross and Chandler off it.
- Another example is Chandler's single-episode Compressed Vice of getting extremely territorial over chairs he's recently got up from.
- Another episode of Friends had Phoebe and Rachel forced to sit by the window because somebody got to their normal seat first, Rachel was quite angry. Of course this was a set up so the pair could see Ross "attacking" two women.
- One episode's Couch Gag has the group walk in the Central Perk, find the sofa is already occupied and decide to simply leave.
- Sheldon's "spot" on The Big Bang Theory - see the page quote.
- To the extent that whenever he has to sit somewhere he has never been before (and isn't obliged to sit on a given place), his first move is trying to find The Spot.
- And in another episode, Leonard treats Penny's suggestion of having sex in The Spot (when Sheldon is away) as if it were incredibly kinky and sexy.
- Here's a compilation
- Martin is very attached to his recliner on Frasier, though luckily, no one else wants to sit in it. When Frasier thoughtlessly replaces it and loses the old one, Martin gives a very heartfelt speech about why it's so important to him:
Frasier: Oh Dad, I don't know why you're carrying on this way. We are, after all, talking about a twenty-five year-old, broken-down chair. If you don't like this chair, I'll get you another one. Any chair you want!
Martin: Really? Okay, I'll tell you what chair I want. I want the chair I was sitting in when I watched Neil Armstrong take his first step on the moon. And when the U.S. hockey team beat the Russians in the '80 Olympics. I want the chair I was sitting in the night you called me to tell me I had a grandson. I want the chair I was in all those nights when your mother used to wake me up with a kiss after I'd fallen asleep in front of the television. You know, I still fall asleep in it. And every once in a while, when I wake up, I still expect your mother to be there, ready to lead me off to bed... Oh, never mind. It's only a chair.
- Kelso's lunch bench on Scrubs - at least, according to a single episode.
- Archie Bunker on All in the Family. So much that when Mike and Gloria moved out to the house next door and Archie came to visit, Mike had a Crowning Moment of Awesome:
Arch, I been waiting five years to say this: Get outta my chair!
- Said chair later officially becomes "Archie's chair" when he's at the Stivics' house. For exceptionally noted house guests (Sammy Davis Jr., for example) Archie insists that they sit in his chair and he takes Edith's, relegating her to the sofa. Archie's chair is now in the Smithsonian Institution. It was sent there after CBS ended the series the first time — the producers then had to re-create the chair when they decided to continue, at the cost of hundreds of dollars. (The original was purchased from a thrift store for a few bucks.)
- How I Met Your Mother: The main characters always sit in the same table in the bar they always visit, so much so that it is "their" table and the bartender once threatened a group of extras who unknowingly sat there. A one-off gag has the gang walking in to find people sitting there;
Ted: Get out of our booth! Go!
- The Royle Family:
- Jim always sits in the armchair opposite the TV, Denise and Dave on the sofa next to Barbara, and Anthony on a chair.
- If Twiggy's round, he's in Anthony's chair, if Nana's round, she's next to Barbara. They even always sit in the same places at the dinner table. Not out of OCD or pure comedic purposes of any kind, the show just emulates the completely standardised ways that families interact with each other.
- Cheers: Norm Peterson always sits on the same stool at the end of the bar. All of the regulars respect his claim to it (although Cliff calls dibs on it one time when it looks like Norm might not be coming to the bar any more), but in one episode some people new to the bar sit in Norm's spot and the stool next to it.
Norm: Um, excuse me, I was sittin' there...Man: Oh, there was no one here when we came in.Norm: No, I mean yesterday...and really since the Ford administration...Man: We're just waiting for our table up at Melville's.Norm: So you'll move?Man: Look, there's lots of other stools.Norm: (starting to show signs of distress) Um...look, uh...um...sounds kind of s-...I'm, I'm Norm.Man: I'm Jeffrey, and this is Hillary.Woman: Nice to meet you. What do you do, Norm?Norm: I sit there.Woman: Well...nice meeting you...(Norm starts to cough and seems to have trouble breathing.)Cliff: Look, uh...this is, this is...we're running out of time here, he's already two stages beyond anything I've seen before, so I... I think you better give him the stool.Man: I'm... I'm sorry, we're sitting here.(Norm suddenly seems to pass out and collapses to the floor. Everybody rushes over to see if he's okay, including the couple he'd been talking to...at which point he gets up and sits on his stool)
- Babylon 5:
Ivanova: Mr. Garibaldi, you are at my station using my equipment. Is there a reason for this, or should I just snap your hands off at the wrists?
- Captain Sheridan in one episode came upon a Psi Cop of ill repute among station personnel sitting in the White Star's command chair, and told him to "Get the hell out of my chair!"
- Similarly, in the first episode of the show, Garibaldi is using Ivanova's workstation to do research on various merchant ships that have been hit by Raiders.
- One of the main jokes on Kingswood Country. Ted Bullpit does not allow anyone to sit in his armchair. "Outta the chair! Outta the chair!" nearly counts as a catchphrase for the show.
- Shawn Spencer in Psych meets Juliet when she sits in his chair. At first she thinks he's one of those types who could only sit in a certain chair, but he actually had been sitting there and already had his stuff there. He decides to let her keep it and starts flirting with her.
- Catherine has the four main guys going the same bar (The Stray Sheep) every night and sitting at the same table. They even sit in the same spots at that table.
- Done hilariously in the first part of the endgame in Mass Effect 3. The Illusive Man's response to finding Shepard sitting in his office, after the latter has just destroyed his entire base of operations?
Illusive Man: Shepard. You're in my chair.
- In Courage the Cowardly Dog, Eustace always sits in his armchair and in a few cartoons would refuse to get off it and would get mad at anyone who tried to sit in it. His catch phrase eventually became the trope name, "This is my chair." To the point that in the episode "Klub Katz," Muriel suggests a vacation and Eustace refuses to get out of his chair. Gilligan Cut to Eustace on a cruise ship, still in the chair. Even when the ship is rocked by a wild storm he doesn't leave his chair. Even as his chair is flying in the air, he doesn't leave his chair. After being turned into a crane-operated wrecking ball by Katz to fight for the latter's amusement, he discovers that Katz is sitting in his chair and promptly goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against him.
Eustace: Nope. Not gettin' outta this chair.
- The Simpsons, especially in the episode where the carnies steal their house, but also lampshaded/parodied in various opening credits.
Homer: Marge, he's messing up my ass-groove! It took me years to get that groove right!
- South Park: Any time the kids gather at Cartman's house to watch a TV show, one kid (usually Clyde) will be kicked out of "Cartman's seat".
- An Animaniacs cartoon had the Warner siblings stopping to eat at an Italian restaurant. The booth they sit at however happens to be the private booth of a local mobster who tells them so. Thus the conflict commences.
- The C-plot of the Gravity Falls episode 'The Deep End' has Stan and Gideon fighting over the best chair at the pool. To be fair, the chair has a lot going for it: it's equal distance from the restrooms and snack bar, has just the right amount of sun and shade, and is also pointed away from where Old Man McGucket lotions himself.
- An episode of Dexter's Laboratory begins with Dexter and Dee Dee fighting over a chair. They then fight over everything else in the house until their parents return.
- The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: (actually Grim turned mortal) for sitting in his chair.
- Family Guy: The B-plot for "Herpe the Love Sore" has Peter and his friends fighting with a gang of tough bullies who have taken their booth at the Drunken Clam. It wasn't going to be for long anyway, since they're actually Army soldiers on leave.
- Brandy & Mr. Whiskers: In "Lack of Brains vs. Brawns", Whiskers relaxes on a rock on the beach as Ed warns him not to. When Whiskers asks why not, Lester the gorilla shows up to answer his question for him.
- This is formalised in traditional restaurants and bars in Germany and Austria, where a "Stammtisch" is a table permanently reserved for a specific group of regulars.
- Pet owners have long known that their dog or cat will claim a favorite chair and get very indignant about sharing it.