- The Simpsons:
Krusty: Can you imagine a world without television? I think the survivors would envy the dead!
- In "Lisa the Simpson", Dr. Nick was called in to advise when Jasper froze himself alive inside the Kwik-E-Mart's freezer.Dr. Nick: Well, we better leave him in there. Moving him now could kill him. And tire us out.
- In "Lisa's Date with Density" Homer runs a telemarketing scam that promises to give people eternal happiness if they send him one dollar. When the exceedingly wealthy Mr. Burns gets this message, he responds:"One dollar for eternal happiness? ...I'd be happier with the dollar."
- This is common for Homer. In "Dial Z For Zombies" of "Treehouse of Horror III":Lisa: Dad, we did something very bad!
Homer: Did you wreck the car?
Homer: Did you raise the dead?
Homer: But the car's okay?
Homer: All right then.
- In "Homer's Triple Bypass", Marge learns of Homers heart attack and subsequent hospitalization and hurries out the door, leaving Patty and Selma behind. The twins, however, only have this reaction:Selma: Oh my God!
Selma: (points to a coupon) Five cents off wax paper.
Homer: I keep hearing this horrible irregular thumping noise.
- In the same episode, when Homer is driving to work and stops by a gas station on the way:
[thump thump thump]
Gas Station Attendant: It's your heart. And I think it's on its last thump.
Homer: Whew! I was afraid it was my transmission. [drives off]
- In "Deep Space Homer" after Homer broke the handle off the hatch, he grabs a support rod to hit one of the other astronauts. The rod catches in the door and when it is pointed out that could allow them to return safely, he tries to remove the rod so he can continue the attack.
- In "Burns' Heir" he noted that Bart being abusive to the family is one thing, but he would not stand idly by and watch him feed a hungry dog.
- "The Joy of Sect":Jane: Would you rather have beer, or complete and utter contentment?
Homer: ...What kind of beer?
- In "Treehouse of Horror XVI" he is possessed by the devil but is unconcerned about that because that means he doesn't have to go to work.
- In the Hansel and Gretel spoof from "Treehouse of Horror XI", when Marge's character finds out Homer left the children in the forest (because they couldn't afford to feed them) she is enraged. They could have sold them.
- In "Marge vs. the Monorail", Marge and Sebastian Cobb arrive back in Springfield too late to stop the unsafe monorail from making its maiden voyage. Cobb then apologises, saying they might have been able to stop it if he hadn't stopped to get a haircut on the way.
- In "Sideshow Bob's Last Gleaming", Bob acquires a nuclear device and threatens to destroy Springfield unless television is outlawed. Most of the town reluctantly agree to the ban, but Krusty puts the town at risk by continuing to broadcast, believing he'll get a ratings windfall from being the only show on air.
- In "Lisa the Simpson", Dr. Nick was called in to advise when Jasper froze himself alive inside the Kwik-E-Mart's freezer.
- On Futurama:
- In "Why Must I Be a Crustacean in Love?" when a member of Zoidberg's species has sex they die immediately afterward. When Fry learns that Zoidberg has to choose between a life without sex or a gruesome death, he says, "Tough call."
- From "Crimes of the Hot", when they discover that Halley's comet is out of ice:Bender: This could mean the end of the banana daiquiri as we know it. (Everybody looks at him.) Also, life.
- Similarly, in "Benderama":Professor: In a matter of hours, there won't be no more fresh water on Earth! (Dramatic musical sting)
Bender: Oh no! What will I mix with my scotch?
- In "The Deep South":Bender: People, it's far, far worse than we thought; my fish got away.
- In "How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back", Hermes sings about how he first showed the makings of a bureaucrat:When I was four there was a hurricane in Kingston Town
With a foot-and-a-half of water
Everyone was all right, but I cried all night;
It blew my alphabet blocks out of order
- In "Brannigan, Begin Again":Bender: Leela, save me! And yourself, I guess! And my banjo! [Beat] ...And Fry.
- In "Future Stock", Fry meets "That Guy", an 80's businessman who was dying of boneitis and cryogenically frozen until a cure could be developed. In his own time, there was only one company working on a cure, but he bought and liquidated it before the cure could be finished in order to make a quick profit for himself.
- In Bender's Big Score, Bender was sent to kill Fry while Brainwashed and Crazy and believes himself to have succeeded. As he's grieving, Fry appears, very much alive. Bender's delight at his survival doesn't stop him from immediately trying to kill him again: "I don't want people to say I'm incompetent."
- In "A Farewell to Arms," Earth is seemingly about to be destroyed by a solar flare. Bender is getting ready to board Earth's only operational ship with his friends when he finds out about the "mayhem" that's due among those left behind and happily remains on the doomed Earth to loot.
- In the Ed, Edd n Eddy episode "Smile for the Ed", none of the school staff seem to care about the students harassing Eddy into a nervous breakdown in the cafeteria, yet they punish Eddy when they mistakenly believe he impersonated the principal (which was actually Edd's doing).
- Thomas the Tank Engine:
- In the episode "Thomas Comes to Breakfast", Thomas loses control and crashes into the stationmaster's house. The stationmaster's wife seems far more annoyed that Thomas ruined their breakfast and that she'll have to cook it again than she does at the fact that a steam engine just plowed through the wall of her house.
- Similarly, in "A Close Shave", Duck crashes into a barbershop, nearly destroying it. However, the barber is more upset at the fact that Duck frightened his customers.
- In the The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh episode "Luck Amok", Tigger, thinking he caused all the bad luck throughout the episode, packs up "seven years' worth of stuff" and goes away.Pooh: We can't let him leave, not for seven years! He'll miss my birthday.
- My Little Pony:
- My Little Pony 'n Friends: In "The Quest of the Princess Ponies, Part 2", when Lavan orders them thrown into a lava pit, one of the princess ponies complains that this will ruin her complexion.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic uses this for the occasional gag:
- In "Dragonshy", Rarity foregoes on a protective helmet and picks a chic hat instead, because the helmet didn't look as good. Also, her skewed priorities is put on full display when she is shown to be more concerned about getting some of the dragon's stash of jewels than she is about getting rid of the dragon itself.
- "The Return of Harmony The Return of Harmony": Exaggerated. Pinkie doesn't care about eternal chaos, as long as she gets chocolate milk rain and Rarity wants the box the Elements of Harmony are in, instead of the Elements themselves. Keep in mind that this is before they're brainwashed by Discord.
- "Lesson Zero":
- Twilight spends the episode looking for someone with a problem she can solve so she can write her usual letter to Princess Celestia about it. Seeking out the timid Fluttershy as a likely source she witnesses her beat down and Neck Snap a bear (actually part of a massage) and her response is to lament that she doesn't have any friendship problems, and walk off without a second thought.
- Rarity forgot to bring plates to a picnic, but she certainly didn't forget her fainting couch to lament that fact afterwards.
- In "Ponyville Confidential", the Cutie Mark Crusaders lament that, having made themselves pariahs throughout town and alienated everypony (including their own families and Rainbow Dash), they still didn't get their cutie marks. This is standard behavior most other times too — no matter how convoluted their plan, disastrous their failure, or devastating the outcome, especially if they could have shattered their damn skulls, their top priority is finding out if they have their cutie marks.
- "A Canterlot Wedding Part 2": After the changelings reveal themselves, Rarity, once again, is more focused on catching the dresses the others threw off than going to get the Elements of Harmony. The rest of the group lampshades this by yelling "Rarity" in unison.
- In "Magic Duel", Twilight could give Pinkie back her mouth after Trixie has been rendered harmless and defeated, but shes too busy explaining how the elaborate ruse was pulled off, and then performing for the Saddle Arabians.
- "Keep Calm and Flutter On": Pinkie criticizes Discord for making chocolate milk rain... because he didn't also provide whipped cream.
- "Princess Twilight Sparkle Part 1": Pinkie's priorities are clearly off, as she becomes more focused on thinking about cake frosting than reassuring Twilight about their friendship, and again when she gets more focused on coloring than helping find out what's happening in the Everfree Forest.
- In "Make New Friends but Keep Discord", when The Smooze starts overflowing the Gala, Rarity screams, "My shoes will be ruined forever!" Applejack replies, "That's what you're worried about! Really?"
- "Non-Compete Clause": After the canoe crashes, Rainbow Dash is less concerned about the students' safety than the fact that she missed the canoeing speed record. Also, throughout the episode, she and Applejack are more concerned about getting Teacher Of The Month than, you know, actually managing and coordinating their field trip. A fact that the six students repeatedly lampshade. After Applejack and Rainbow Dash call for help after trapping themselves in a stick and vine cage, for example:Ocellus: Uh, at least now they're agreeing on something.
- In Jackie Chan Adventures, Uncle often accuses Jackie of having skewed priorities, but in reality this is because Uncle tends to look at the big picture and he does not give a crap about Jackie's personal problems. For example, in one episode, when Jade's horseplay breaks a statue Jackie and Uncle were examining:Jackie: When the museum finds out about this, my career will go down the drain!
Uncle: (Dope Slaps Jackie) Your career's not important! The statue had inscriptions on it! Knowledge has been lost forever!
- Lampshaded in Dragons: Riders of Berk, when Hiccup gets distracted from pursuing an agent of the Outcasts who has stolen the Book of Dragons, by Astrid's technique for speeding up Stormfly:Hiccup: Was that... chicken? Is that what you've been-
Astrid: Really? You wanna talk about that now?!
- In Winx Club, Stella considers shopping and fashion to be more important, and saving the world from evil as a minor subject. While on a mission, she opted to go to a mall first before their actual mission.
- In The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!, Maria Hill is determined to force the Avengers to join S.H.I.E.L.D. directly instead of being independent. Even when HYDRA and AIM are busy blowing up half of New York and fighting over a device which could rewrite reality, she is busy siccing S.H.I.E.L.D. jet troopers to attack Iron Man and Wasp. Yes, she is called out on this by Iron Man and Wasp.
- In the episode "Daylight Savings" of The Powerpuff Girls, after the girls get caught sleeping in class and the Professor has a meeting with Ms. Keane, she lampshades that education is more important than saving Townsville. And the Professor agrees with her, and decided he would rather watch Townsville burn than let the girls stay up late.
- The Fairly OddParents:
- In the episode "Vicky Gets Fired", Timmy's parents couldn't care less about the video evidence of Vicky torturing their son, but when they see she erased the video they were using to tape their reality show, they're horrified and immediately fire her. Mr. Turner even admits that they consider the tape the most important thing in their lives, as opposed to their only child.
- In an earlier episode, they hire Vicky to watch their Priceless Ming Vase, with Timmy being an afterthought.
- In "Class Clown", Trixie Tang considered her "seemingly harmless plant" more important than Timmy, who killed it, and dumps him, despite the fact that he saved her life.
- Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja: Averted. A teacher wasn't gonna let Randy get his backpack during a drill. Even if he's standing very close to it.
- Played straight in "Randy Cunningham: 13th Century Ninja", out of fear McFist was implementing another evil plan, Randy and Howard decided to sneak away from the tour at McFist Industries. When a student reported them to Principal Slimovitz, Slimovitz ignored them and had the other students do the same and keep their eyes on the "tattle-tale" because he hates tattle-tales more than he hates troublemakers. Not knowing it'd somehow result in the Sorcerer being free does not excuse him.
- In one episode of Hey Arnold!, Big Bob suffers a heart attack (actually only gas) and the last thing he says before passing out is "I won't catch the Wheel of Fortune".
- In Not Without My Handbag, Auntie seems to think that it's worse to leave her handbag at home than to die or go to hell.
- The Amazing World of Gumball:
- In the episode "The Job", Richard gets a job as a pizza delivery guy, and the fabric of reality starts to come apart as a result. The rest of the family drag his boss, Larry, along with them to stop Richard from delivering his first pizza, but Larry explains that destroying the universe isn't a good enough reason to fire him. Then Larry fires Richard on the spot when the customer sees he ate some of the pizza and tried to hide it, narrowly averting The End of the World as We Know It.
- In "The Box," while pondering the contents of the titular box, Nicole has an extended Imagine Spot of it being $1 million, further positing that it's owned by a criminal who will send hitmen after them to reclaim the money for the rest of their lives. Nicole doesn't care; as long as they're still rich, it's all Worth It.
- The DC Nation version of Animal Man displays this, as he is obsessively focused on protecting animals while totally indifferent to everything else. When Darkseid invades Earth and makes fire rain from the sky, Animal Man is the guy you can trust to leap into action and berate someone for forgetting he left his dog tied to a post while he fled for his life.
- In an episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987), the Turtles are trying to get into the warehouse where Shredder is holding April hostage — like he always is — when Michelangelo gets the munchies and suggests stopping for a pizza break. The others are noticeably upset at him, but it does give them an idea on how to get in.
- DuckTales (2017): In "The Day of the Only Child!" Huey had to consider if it was worth getting a badge by getting dangerously close with the infamous Beagle Boys.Huey: Possible death, definite badge? Possible death, definite badge? Definite badge. Definite badge.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): In "Karai's Vendetta," upon finding out that Karai is attacking April, Donnie is fully prepared to drop their mission to destroy the Kraang's Underwater Base and go save her. The others get him back on track by reminding him that if they leave now, the Kraang will contaminate the water supply and poison everyone in New York, including April.
- Total Drama
- Courtney desperately wants to win, and will do anything to achieve that, even if it means endangering her own friendships if it is convenient to her plans. Ironically, it's the fact that she places such little value on the well-being of her teammates that she ultimately screws herself over in the game, as her aggressive attitude and selfishness inevitably leads to her fellow competitors rallying against her every time victory seems within reach.
- Downplayed and Deconstructed in All-Stars. Although Duncan is determined to stop Mal, he also wanted to prove he was still a bad boy, so he blew up Chris's "cottage", which got him booted from the competition and sent to jail.
- In one episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender, the Gaang stops at a town where they get their fortunes told. When the woman tells Aang's fortune, she takes in a shocked breath and tells him quite dramatically that he will be the crux of an enormous battle that will decide the fate of the entire world! Aang's response?Aang: Yeah, yeah, I know all that already. Did it say anything about a girl?
- The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley: The cops don't care about a citizen's stolen car because they're busy looking for Ed's fish. Ed reassures the car's owner that if it wasn't a cartoon, the cops would be looking for the car.
- In the Ever After High episode "Driving Me Cuckoo", Baba Yaga is happier that her student is finally acting 'properly' than she is mad that said student crashed her mobile house into several walls and nearly destroyed it.
- Zim from Invader Zim is this trope incarnate. He gets a huge warmech that can solo whole armies if powered properly and the first thing he does with it is try to beat up Dib, an eleven-year-old kid. He builds massively advanced Lotus Eater Machines, than uses them for winning a school fundraiser and finding out who threw a muffin at him during lunch. An explosion threatens to destroy the city and his base, and the main thing he's worried about is what his bosses will think if they call before it destroys everything. Word of God notes that this is Zim's Fatal Flaw. He's not stupid, he just has the worse sense of priorities ever.
- The reason why Marceline of Adventure Time hates her father is because he ate her fries, and not because he's an Eldritch Abomination that eats people's souls and is most likely Satan.
- A Pup Named Scooby-Doo: Daphne once refused to be saved from a fall because the helicopter Jenkins brought doesn't match her dress.
- A few examples in Samurai Jack:
- In the episode "XLVI: Scotsman Saves Jack — Part 2," Jack takes the time to change his clothes back to his regular clothes when he regains his lost memories...while the Scotsman is about to get eaten by the monster the Sirens morphed into.
- When Jack and Ashi end up trapped in the belly of the beast in XCV, Ashi was solely focused on killing Jack rather than their predicament, forcing Jack to keep her in chains.
- While it was understandable that Jack didnt want to be embarrassed by Ashis nudity in episode 8 of season 5, he took the time to use his gi to cover her, rather than to concentrate on defeating Lazarus 92, which was a danger to his and Ashis lives.
- Star vs. the Forces of Evil: In "Gift of the Card", Miss Heinous orders her servant to use the last of their money to buy hair dye instead of food, even though they were starving.
- On Family Guy:
- In their self-titled episode, Brian and Stewie are locked in a bank vault and Stewie's cell phone has just enough battery life for one call. He uses it to return a $3000 sweater (it was the last day Stewie had to return the sweater for a refund).
- In "Hot Shots", Peter tells Lois that he'll support her anti-vaccination protest just as soon as he finishes getting the word out about the one thing more important. We then see Peter some time later, running around Quahog shouting that the brothers who made The Matrix are ladies now.
- The Mask:
- The Mask says he's going to stop the villains but first he decide to have fun first or going after a woman he has seen or both but he does get himself back on track eventually and stop the bad guys.
- Eve also likes to spend her time trying to kiss someone she cares about and loves like Stanley even though she should stop the bad guy who is Pretorius which she does and, when Stanley tells her to stop that comet from destroying Earth, Eve decide to tell him to say that again in french which though she would have done anyway it was the last straw for Stanley as he decide to take her face off because of it.
- In the episode "Let's Play Red Light, Green Light", during a game of Red Light, Green Light, Mr. Cat fires a missile from a bazooka, and Quack Quack just stands in the path of the missile instead of running away like Kaeloo and Stumpy, because the rules of the game dictate that he shouldn't move.
- "Let's Play TV News" suggests that Mr. Cat would prefer getting beaten up by Bad Kaeloo to losing TV ratings.
- In the episode "Let's Play Market Vendors", Stumpy offers various gifts to anyone who is willing to buy apples from him, such as a magic hat with himself inside, and even a car, but he doesn't want to give away is his collection of comic books.
- In "Let's Play Treasure Hunt", the main four go camping. Kaeloo checks the supply pack and realizes that the sleeping bags, flashlights and all other necessary equipment is gone. Stumpy reveals that he unpacked everything because there wasn't enough room to pack his comic books.
- In Episode 77, Pretty is upset when she hears that the world will be destroyed...because she doesn't know what to wear for the explosion.
- In Episode 98, Stumpy is sitting on the couch playing video games when aliens drag him into their spaceship using a tractor beam. He starts to panic, not because he's being abducted by aliens, but because he didn't save his video game score.
- In Episode 102, Mr. Cat and Stumpy beat up Kaeloo and turn Quack Quack into an Eldritch Abomination. Kaeloo sees what they did to Quack Quack and is horrified...because during the chaos, she was reading a book and lost her page.
- In Episode 105, when the planet gets destroyed, Stumpy rejoices because he doesn't have to go to school anymore. And then he finally panics, because he realizes that there's no phone signal and he can't contact his girlfriend.
- In one episode, Kaeloo must make a choice between using her Super Strength to either beat up Mr. Cat for being a pervert towards her, or save Stumpy and Quack Quack, who are trapped in a burning building. She chooses the first option.
- In Guess Who?, Quack Quack does a cool trick but refuses to teach Stumpy how to do it. Later in the episode, Mr. Cat sets Quack Quack on fire For the Evulz. Stumpy refuses to help Quack Quack put the fire out until he teaches him the trick, because learning a new trick is clearly more important than saving your friend who is on fire.
- When there is a power outage, the fridge stops working. Quack Quack is worried that the food inside might get spoiled. What does he do? He builds a machine to generate electricity, but he needs something to put in the machine that is a good conductor of electricity. What does he use as a conductor? His good friend, Stumpy. It's perfectly fine to electrocute your friend as long as your food doesn't rot.
- In Pinocchio's Christmas, the main character steals a puppet from the puppet show he starred in, and Lady Azora ignores and instead sings a song of how he was wrong to work for money to buy Geppetto a Christmas gift and should just give his father love. Talk about Unfortunate Implications.
- Elena of Avalor: In "Royal Rivalry", Carla is upset at the Wanted Posters featuring her and Victor because her face appears smaller than his. It becomes a Brick Joke when she sees new posters at the end of the episode and is glad her face has the same size as his on them.
- In Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers, Gadget used to invent ground vehicles (fast ones even) without brakes. She thought they're kind of overrated. It's unclear whether she has meanwhile reconsidered, though.
- South Park: In the two-parter episode Pandemic, Randy was so obsessed with his video camera & recording everything he saw to the point that he prioritized recording everything over the fact that giant guinea pigs were attacking the city. Even when one guinea pig broke into his house (and despite Sharons constant protesting), he still wanted to record everything!
- Knock Out in Transformers: Prime cares just a little too much about looking good. At one point, during a big fight, he's rummaging through the ship's stores looking for polish.Knock Out: Guards! Help me extinguish this inferno before it scorches the project! And my finish!
- Ron Stoppable from Kim Possible lives and breathes this trope. Once he fixates on something, such as getting Kim elected Student Council President or making a home movie, he will pursue it even at the cost of the mission.
- Hercules: The Animated Series: Played for Drama. Cassandra tells Hercules she had a vision, and he assumes that it's something important only to be disappointed when Cassandra tells him her vision was of her kissing Icarus. Hercules still agrees to help her by talking with Icarus, only to make things worse by unintentionally making Icarus happy to learn he kisses Cassandra in the future. So Cassandra makes a deal with Hades to stop the kiss, for her soul on weekends. She makes it clear to Hercules she does not care for the consequences of her actions as long as she gets out of the kiss. Subverted as she draws a line at having Icarus hurt or killed. When it looks like Hades killed Icarus by blasting him with an energy bolt she is shocked and horrified, even saying that while she didn't want to kiss him, she didn't want him dead. When Hades reveals that he put him in an eternal sleep, and only a kiss can wake him up, she is willing kiss him to wake him up.
- She-Ra and the Princesses of Power:
- Entrapta is so focused on learning new things that she does some pretty goofy things, including keeping a dig going well past actually finding their objective, breaking into the Big Bad's lab, etc.
- Scorpia is so focused on her crush on Catra that at one point she assigns Kyle to the vitally important fortress defence role of...figuring out Catra's favorite colour. She also at one point stops in the middle of a fight with Seahawk to complain about her romantic troubles, leading to a bonding moment.
- Played for Drama with Catra's Villainous Breakdown. She becomes so obsessed with getting a "victory" that she tries to destroy the world on the grounds that Adora wants to save it. Queen Angella prevents Etheria from being destroyed but is trapped in a parallel dimension as a result. Catra's actions have burned her bridges with both Adora and Scorpia.
- Teen Titans Go!: The Teen Titans are incredibly selfish and immature, and often focus on inane things instead of stopping bad guys or saving the world.
- SpongeBob SquarePants: In "Dying For Pie", after Squidward explains to him about the exploding pie, the first thing Mr. Krabs comments on is twenty-five dollars Squidward spent on the pie.
Skewed Priorities / Western Animation