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Wannabe Line

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Carl: Hi, Mr. and Mrs. Neutron.
Judy Neutron: My goodness! You boys have turned this place into quite the hot spot.
Carl: Yup— hope you enjoy it. Um... hold up, Mr. Neutron.
Hugh Neutron: What... I'm with her.
Carl: Whoa, whoa, whoa— back it up, chief. Hmm... yeah... nope, sorry, not feeling it.
Hugh: What do you mean?
Carl: Look don't make me spell it out, Mr. N., but your outfit just isn't saying McSpanky's to me.
Hugh: Oh, really? Well, maybe because it's too busy saying, "Step aside, Mr... Sassy mouth before I tell your parents!"
Carl: Go ahead— I turned them away two hours ago.
Hugh: That's just terrible. How could you... Hey, look, a famous movie star!
Carl (as everyone in line starts sneaking inside): Where? Where?

The Coolest Club Ever must have a line outside composed of people yearning to be found cool enough to enter; alas, they're Not on the List. This is the Wannabe Line. Its main purpose is to be there for characters to be whisked past (often dropping a Pretender Diss along the way), so we may know that they're cool / hot / important enough not to have to wait. Alternatively, they may be trapped there with everyone else, to remind us that, although we know they're cool, no one else does, or that they are, in fact, losers.

Banishment to the Wannabe Line is always adjudicated by a team of monstrous Bouncers, whom the people in the Wannabe Line have to somehow convince to let them in, either via persuasion or bribery. A common occurrence is for a group to go to the club, only for just the cool/hot ones to be let in, while the others are barred. Sometimes the person let in can convince the bouncer to let in the others by telling them that "they're with me," but the characters barred may still be offended by the initial rebuff.

In Real Life, the Wannabe Line is usually for clubgoers who lacked the foresight to get there before the club reached capacity, and coolness (or lack thereof) doesn't enter the picture as often as TV Land would have us believe.

Compare Favors for the Sexy for characters being treated differently because of their appearance, No Fame, No Wealth, No Service when a character is denied service for not being important and Uninvited to the Party for when a character isn't invited to a major social event for a range of reasons. See Right on Queue for gags involving the people trapped in the Wannabe Line.


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    Comic Strips 
  • In a Pearls Before Swine strip, Rat, Zebra, and Pig go to a nightclub and get in line. Rat and Zebra got in; Pig, who'd recently visited a vet instead of a doctor and been given a cone to wear, was not so lucky.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • GoodFellas illustrates the benefits of Mafia life when Henry and Karen are whisked past the line to enter the club through the back entrance.
  • Knocked Up has something of a deconstruction. Allison and Debbie are trying to have fun for once at a nightclub and the bouncer refuses them entry. Debbie goes on a wicked rant about him not thinking they're "slutty" enough and how pathetic he is. He responds that he hates his job and finds them both immensely attractive, but states that they are still considered too old, and having a pregnant woman (Allison) in the club is preposterous.
  • In Krush Groove, The Fat Boys keep trying to get into the club but are turned away because they are too young. At the end, they are welcomed in, because they win the rap contest.
  • In L.A. Story, Harris can only get a reservation to the new trendy restaurant by being approved by The Fourth Reich Bank. Roland, meanwhile, gets immediate reservations.
    Mr. Perdue: You think with a financial statement like this you can have the duck?!
  • In The Mask, the Coco Bongo has a huge crowd of people waiting outside, but the Mask manages to get in by making a Big Entrance in a comically large limo and just bribing the bouncer by throwing a huge sum of money into the air.
  • Half of the plot of A Night at the Roxbury revolves around getting past the tremendous line in front of the eponymous club.
  • A Deleted Scene in Zoolander features a long sequence in which the titular character elbows his way through multiple lines and into progressively smaller and more exclusive VIP sections before finally reaching rival Hansel to deliver a zinger.

  • The Mysterioso in Moon Over Soho is an attempt at recreating the atmosphere of a Soho jazz club in The '60s. With this in mind, The Management hire the toughest bouncers they can find, and basically tell them to let people in based on personal whim. At 11:45, the line is still going on forever. Peter (not wanting to panic the staff and clientele by saying "PC Grant, here on a case") gets through by namedropping his dad, the legendary trumpeter "Lord" Grant.
  • The Black Sun in Snow Crash had a crowd of wannabes outside. Being as it was in virtual reality, there was no bouncer, as either you were allowed to walk in or you'd run into an invisible wall. (There were bouncers, but they were just there to throw people out.)

    Live-Action TV 
  • Dark Angel: In "Gill Girl", Max has to get inside a strip club to rescue someone inside, and since she's Not on the List the only way in is to pretend to be one of the working girls to do, but there are actually quite a lot of girls waiting to be judged by Bouncer before they're allowed to work inside. But Max simply walks past the waiting girls while doing a Supermodel Strut and taking off her jackets in a sensual manner, and the bouncer is so taken by her that he lets her in without a word, ignoring the other girls as they complain to him.
  • In the Home Improvement episode "Desperately Seeking Willow", Tim and Jill go to a club to search for Wilson's niece and the bouncer lets Jill in but not Tim because he's not cool enough. Tim then becomes obsessed with trying to get in. However, said club wasn't a Coolest Club Ever, it was a fairly normal-looking club.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • In "OK Awesome", three nerdy side characters are stuck outside the club as Robin is able to whisk her friends right past them and step outside to make phone calls because she was on the VIP list (until the shift change for the bouncer means that the new guy doesn't recognize her so she gets stuck outside too).
    • In "No Tomorrow", the Bouncer was only letting guys in because there were so many women already inside that "people are going to think it's a lesbian bar." Ted and Barney immediately ditch their dates to get whisked past the line.
  • In The Librarians, Jake and Ezekiel end up in one of these. Needing to get inside to save the world, Jake starts to do the usual tough-guy routine with the bouncer, but the confrontation morphs into a conversation about British vs. American authors, which distracts the bouncer enough for Ezekiel to slip inside.
  • The Nanny: Fran and Valerie usually spend their nights off at one of those lines to see celebrities entering. One day, feeling Maxwell needed to get out more, Fran invited him along. Because Fran and Valerie didn't want to drive away potential boyfriends, they asked him to pretend he didn't know them. It backfired on them when he was let in.
  • Subverted in Queer as Folk (US). After Brian takes over Babylon, a rival club opens that steals business. He ends up getting renewed interest in the club by establishing a line and only letting attractive young men in. The club is actually completely empty and the ones let in are models Brian hired.
  • Scrubs: One episode had Turk and JD denied entrance to a club because the Bouncer thought they were acting uncool. They were only allowed in when Carla said they were with her.
  • That '70s Show had this as an A plot, where Eric, Donna, Hyde and Fez try to get into a Studio 54 knockoff in Chicago. Donna as the designated hot girl gets in right away but the boys take longer. Fez gets in with his dance moves, Hyde with his anti-conformity speech, and Eric simply because he is Donna's boyfriend (the bouncer couldn't believe she was dating him, and thought they were siblings).
  • Two and a Half Men: In "Young People Have Phlegm Too", Charlie and Alan are having a middle-age crisis, and to prove they're not too old they go with Charlie's Girl of the Week to Coolest Club Ever. But while the Bouncer lets the pretty girls in, he blocks the two of them. Charlie even tries to bribe the bouncer, but to no avail, and is about to kick them out when the Girl of the Week comes back and tells the bouncer to let them in because "they're with me".

  • Cinderella's video for "Shake Me" shakes up the Cinderella Plot by showing the wicked stepsisters gloating to the Cinderella character that they're seeing the band while she has to stay home. After they depart, the Cinderella character's poster of the band comes to life and transports her to their show, where she's wearing an 80s version of a Little Black Dress and has a front row seat. Meanwhile, the stepsisters are stuck waiting outside since the show has sold out and they unsuccessfully try to woo the bouncer before they watch the Cinderella character ride off with the band in their limo.
  • The point of the Eagles of Death Metal song "Silverlake", which has a recurring refrain of someone trying to get in.
    Don't be uncool man, 'cos the owner's like my best friend.
    Make sure you tell him girl, just how important that I am
    I am from Silverlake and therefore I don't give a damn
    Don't you know who I am
    Don't you know who I am
    So if you date this guy he's gonna let us in
    Don't be uncool baby, you know you are my everything.
    Make sure you tell him, girl, just how important that I am
    I am from Silverlake and I am in a "cool band"
    OK, I'm not the guy
    I might have said I am
    Its almost closing time c'mon, man
    Please just let me in.
    Can you not the see the style of hipster
    I most surely am
    I'm trying twice as hard as anyone you just let in.
  • The music video "Whistle While I Work It" (feat. Chester See, Tobuscus, and Wayne Brady) has a group of friends try to get into a club past the line using a flyer, despite the fact that they're a group of dudes without any girls with them. The doorman waves them off in annoyance, and they're forced to go to the back of the long line, with Chester See singing that he "[knows] somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody who knows..." They manage to get in hours later, but one of them is not let in, as he's wearing flip-flops. The whole song is about a typical Real Life club-goer (expensive valet parking, long lines, overpriced drinks, dirty bathrooms, too loud to talk, too crowded to dance). Even someone like Wayne Brady ends up being barred from the VIP room despite being recognized.

    Video Games 
  • The Hive from Deus Ex: Human Revolution has a small line, but Jensen has other ways of getting in, including through the vents, through the sewers, and through the bouncer.
  • In front of the Paris dance club in KickBeat. The canon male hero is turned away at the door after implausibly presenting himself as a "friend of the owner" and resorts to a diversion to get in, quickly resulting in a huge fight in the club. Later, the canonical heroine walks past the same line accompanied by admiring comments and is immediately beckoned in by the bouncers. Promptly subverted; the bouncers recognized her as "that troublemaker's partner" and club security is waiting in ambush inside.
  • The Afterlife club on Omega in Mass Effect 2 features a small line of would-be patrons. There is one patron heard constantly making threats/pleas to the Elcor bouncer to be let in whenever you walk past. Shepard, of course, goes right in.
  • The Hamburg night club mission of No One Lives Forever, with Cait sneaking in by having a friendly patron distract the bouncer so she can climb in through a window.

    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Animated Series: Penguin's club, The Iceberg Lounge, has such a line. In "Joker's Millions", Barbara and Dick get in by Barbara mentioning her father as the Penguin is walking by. Bruce Wayne is seen in the Lounge later.
  • Disenchantment: When Luci and Bean go to the gates of hell in "Stairway To Hell", the demon guards let Bean in without issue, but detain Luci at the gate for not having wings. Bean has to come back for him and convince the guards to let him in because he's her "emotional support demon".
  • Subverted in an episode of Mission Hill: frustrated at waiting in line for hours to get in the Coolest Club Ever only to be turned away at the door, Andy has his revenge by setting up a fake club front in an abandoned building across the street and letting no one in at all, except for his friends, who are all in on it. Pretty soon, the steep exclusivity factor draws a line that rivals the real club's, until he fakes a fire gutting the place and ruining him (just before anyone got too wise).
  • Sheep in the Big City: General Specific and his soldiers cannot get in the clubs his cousin enters. When Sheep got in, General Specific asked his cousin to held a party at his base to attract Sheep and told his cousin to tell the bouncers to let his friends in. However, the bouncer was told to let "General Specific's friends" but wasn't told to let "General Specific" in.
  • Parodied in South Park's "Vaccination Special", in which the "club" happens to be a Walgreens with COVID-19 vaccines, and the ones waiting in line are people in the lower vaccine priority groups.
  • The entire point of the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "No Weenies Allowed", where SpongeBob tries to prove himself "tough enough" to enter the Salty Spitoon. On the plus side, the line's apparently either very short or very fast, because he gets to make half a dozen attempts to get past the bouncer.
  • In Superman: The Animated Series, the annual gala of the Metropolis Yacht Club is exclusive enough to have a gaggle of tuxedo-wearing people held at bay by the rope and bouncer.


Video Example(s):


Max Gets Past The Bouncer

Max does a confident strut to get inside a club, going past all the other girls waiting and trying to get past the bouncer, just because of her sex appeal.

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