The washing machine?
I love entertainment
So long as it's clean.
It's time to do laundry again. T-shirts, pants, socks, small children, underwear... Yup, Bob tosses the usual hamper all in to clean. And while the rinse cycle goes on, it's time to... Sit down and watch it. Why? Maybe Bob is a Cloudcuckoolander or even The Ditz. Maybe he sees something shiny or important swirling around inside. Maybe he's just bored. Regardless, Bob decides it's worth his time to watch the washing machine do its job.
This is a fairly Discredited Trope but can still occasionally be seen at laundromats in Real Life. On the other hand, it's a bit of a Coconut Effect in the way that clear-front washing machines are not very common in laundromats as they are usually much newer (and why would a laundromat owner upgrade when their '80s/'90s machines work fine?).
Almost always Played for Laughs.
- Occurs in Yotsuba&!, when Yotsuba is helping the Ayases clean their house. She becomes intrigued by a washer with a door on its side (her Dad's was a top loader). A little latter, Yotsuba is standing and staring at the washer, thinking it fun.
- In a Garfield strip while Jon and Garfield were visiting Jon's family on the farm, Jon and Doc Boy were apparently watching some kind of program, which turns out to be the laundry getting washed in the washing machine. Doc Boy says with excitement, "There goes the red sock again!"
- Played very much for drama in Stuart Little. Stuart gets caught up in some laundry and ends up in the front-loading washing machine. Snowbell, the cat, comments, "Why would I turn it off? It's my favorite show." Adapted from the scene in the book where Stuart gets trapped in the latched refrigerator, which Snowbell nonchalantly kicks closed.
- The Mangler has a scene where two characters talk about The Mangler... While watching a washing machine spin their clothes around.
- Elmo's Wash and Dry is a Sesame Street bath book that shows Elmo doing this at a laundromat.
- Sam The Cat Detective: Street cat Oscar watches the machines from the laundromat window as entertainment. He considers it to be as good as television and especially likes the Soaps. Later on he walks about a tv show he saw where the police just chased a guy in circles until they all fell down and is reminded that was the rinse cycle.
- In the first episode of the television show version of The Odd Couple, Gwendolyn and Felix watch a washing machine this way during their double date.
- A sketch on The Benny Hill Show has a person watching his laundry at the laundromat, and actually switching channels somehow.
- The characters in Red Dwarf have been known to do this. Since it was Kochanski's laundry, this is the closest any of them have to a sex life.
- In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Mid-Life Crustacean", watching laundry at the laundromat is one of Spongebob and Patrick's ideas of a good time—much to the disappointment of tagalong Mr. Krabs, who was hoping for an exciting evening of debauchery to make him feel young again.
- In one Mr. Magoo cartoon, Magoo thinks the washing machine is a TV and that the long johns sloshing inside is some guy swimming the English Channel.
- The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy starts a two-part wishing episode off with Billy watching the washing machine, wishing he could be "in the show too". Mandy later throws him inside during the rinse cycle at the end of the show.
- Happens in Family Guy, with Peter watching the laundry being washed like a tv show. He even talks about Megs shirt having an affair with Chris socks and "how fun it is to watch rich people be naughty".
- In a much later episode, this is apparently how Lois entertains herself during housework. If a certain shirt goes around three times in view, she gets to have a diet Coke.
- The Rugrats episode "Wash/Dry Story" had the babies taken to the laundromat. Not only did they think the washing machines were TVs, they thought it was the best programme ever.
- Justified in "Down to Earth" from Care Bears: Adventures in Care-a-Lot. The mother of the boy that Funshine Bear is helping, Jake, tossed him in with the laundry, believing him to be a plush toy. Fortunately, this won't harm Funshine because he isn't a normal bear, something that he assures Jake of before actually going into the washing machine. At dinner, Jake has a bad case of the giggles because from his seat at the dinner table, he has a view of Funshine's antics in the washing machine— wearing goggles and a snorkel, as well as a bathing cap and scrubbing as if he's taking a bath.
- Parodied on The Simpsons on "King-Size Homer". While Homer was working from home due to his hyper-obesity, one of the packages in the mail contained FREE FABRIC SOFTENER! Immediately Homer used it to clean his hat (and only his hat), and one scene had him sitting in a lawn chair entertained watching the sole piece of attire spin round and round in the dryer.