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Alice and Bob are having a conversation. During the conversation, Bob says or does something that you'd think would set Alice off; however, she goes right on with the conversation as if it never happened. Until 30 seconds or so later...
Alice just had a Delayed Reaction. Basically, her brain somehow took longer to make a connection that the audience makes right away. Doesn't always have to be something designed to anger people, though those work best. Bonus points if the character walks off-screen, then yells something said out loud and races back.
Anime & Manga
- One Piece recently did this with a character's connection to Luffy's father (who, for context, is the world's most wanted criminal, and only a handful of people in the world are even aware that Luffy is related to him). Luffy remarks "Oh... you mean my dad?" and the person he's speaking to goes through an entire speech before jumping back in shock, yelling "YOUR FATHER?!"
- In Harukanaru Toki no Naka de - Hachiyou Shou OAV episode "Omoi no Arika", Akane, Tenma and Shimon discover a letter—the audience is aware that it's from Kotengu, who wants to challenge Yasuaki to a duel. Apparently, Kotengu's handwriting is too fancy for them to understand, so they have one of the locals, Tomomasa, read said letter to them aloud. After he finishes, Akane and Shimon are amazed by the fact Tomomasa could read that, saying they are so glad they know now what the letter says, as they could never imagine that it's a challenge... Cue a short pause, with a still shot of the two smiling happily and a dot-by-dot Visible Silence above them... after which both yell in horror: "A challenge?!"
- The first episode of Harukanaru Toki no Naka de - Shiroki Ryuu no Miko OAV ends with Karin being told that she is the titular Miko; Karin's first reaction is a happy smile... then, a few seconds later, the smile disappears as it finally dawns on her what these words mean: "Eeeh?! Me?!"
- In one episode of Nerima Daikon Brothers, the characters are eating ramen together. Hideki asks Ichirou if he shouldn't be getting to work, and Ichirou replies that he's going to Kabuki-chou (Tokyo's infamous red-light district) tonight instead. The others continue to eat for a few seconds before spit-taking the ramen.
- In The Weatherman Is My Lover the main characters have a Manzai dynamic on-screen which mostly entails Amasawa making inappropriate or awkward remarks and Koganei not reacting to them at all. Amasawa manages to catch him offguard twice, leading to noticeably long delays before Koganei resumes reporting-as-usual. The viewers go wild over this.
- In Soul Eater, Asura awakens after centuries of sleeping in a bag made from his own skin and barely displays any awareness of his surroundings. While blindly walking around, he bumps into Eruka, who's slumped on the ground and too terrified of him to even move. He then bends down and opens his eyes for the first time to look at her while she's still paralyzed in fear. After ten seconds of staring, he starts a Reactive Continuous Scream. Why? Because he was startled by her.
- In an episode of Ultimate Girls, the main girls are in various states of dress and undress when the word "monster" gets thrown out. Cue Makoto, resident Kaiju obsessed journalist and Camera Fiend, barging into the room, taking several photos, reloading his camera, and taking more photos before realizing his mistake and walking out of the room in disappointment. Seconds go by before the first girl screams in embarrassment.
- Mikado from Durarara had a very funny delayed reaction in episode 3 when Izaya was hit by a vending machine. To be fair, the vending machine was going very fast.
- Yuuichi and Makoto from Kanon share a delayed reaction after Yuuichi, naked, walks in on her bath accidentally; it's so sudden the music cuts instantly for maximum effect. It lasts for almost half a minute.
Makoto: *Blank Stare*
- In K-On! each of these bits of bad news take a few seconds to sink in:
- Nodoka mentioning the upcoming midterms to Yui.
- Yui saying she's banned from club activities since she has to take a make-up exam.
- Tsumugi telling Yui their club is not officially recognized, and their request to use the use the gym is denied.
- Lagann-hen has a hilarious moment when the Chouginga Gurren Lagann warps into Anti-Spiral territory and the Big Bad sends a huge wave of what looks like water at them.
- From Broom-Hilda, the titular witch is in a rage, complete with moons, stars, swirls, pound signs, and everything else used to cover up what she's really saying. Another character chides her, saying that "swearing is a childish way to assert one's masculinity". It doesn't occur to her until the next panel what the word "masculinity" means.
- Used as a Running Gag in Groo the Wanderer
Someone: Groo, you can not understand this, since you are slow of mind.
- This happens in one scene in the movie House Party (Note that there are scripts of this movie online, but the dialogue in the actual movie seems to be adlibbed somewhat. This is from the movie, not the script):
Thug 2 (saying this while being handed a baseball bat) Alright cool...Finally, a program I'm with. Whatever this is, I'm with it. (While thug 1 picks up a can of gasoline) Oh I hear that, I hear that. We gonna bust their ass as they come runnin out of the burning house.
- From the Sesame Street movie Big Bird In China, Big Bird needs to find a camel. That's all he knows. Naturally, there are no camels in China, so he goes sightseeing in a sculpture garden...
Big Bird: "Oh, look, there's an elephant. And there's a camel. And there's an orangutan. My these sculptures are pretty..." He walks off-screen, then... "A CAMEL?!?"
- In the Russian film Father Frost, there's a group of girls picking giant mushrooms in a forest. They see a bear, but it takes them almost 20 seconds to run away. Mike Nelson refers to it as "Delayed reaction syndrome".
- In the 80s Vietnam flic, "Hamburger Hill," a radio operator survives a nearby explosion. When the smoke clears, he is still doggedly trying to use his set, until he turns his head to discover that he's lost an arm. Disturbingly, he mutters "Oh." upon seeing his injury.
- Charlie in "Mystery Team". He is the last person to connect the dots, attacks Jason ten seconds after realizing it was him, and understands a pun the group made eleven years prior.
- Referenced in a Discworld story when Nanny Ogg tells Casanunda that she "nearly fell off her broom from laughing" when she saw a burial mound from the air. Said burial mound is two circular mounds connected to one end of a long barrow mound, so...
- Another example is in "Jingo" where Leonard of Quirm very briefly mentions in the middle of a long rambling conversation full of useless information that many years ago he did some sketches of an island that has supposedly only appeared recently. The person he's talking to doesn't realise the implications of this until he's left the room, at which point he quickly comes back to ask for clarification. Two things are notable about this example: 1. The person he's talking to is Lord Vetinari, who is normally very quick to notice important details, making it particularly funny that he should be a victim of this trope, and 2. Unlike many uses of this trope, the relevant information actually is quite easy to miss if you're not paying attention, and the reader may end up doing exactly what Vetinari did.
- In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Arthur sees several big yellow bulldozers outside his window, but he's so hung over that only pieces of the concept register at first, one at a time. It takes several minutes for him to realize they've come to knock his house down.
The word bulldozer wandered through his mind for a moment in search of something to connect with.
- From an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, featuring Troi, her mother, Worf, and his son. After hearing that Worf and the boy are "having trouble [drafting a] contract", Mrs. Troi goes doting on the boy:
Mrs. Troi: Why of course he's unreasonable, he's a child! And such a child! You know, making children reasonable only gives them pimples!
- Also from TNG, Star Trek Generations has Data first use his emotion chip, which sets off the galaxy's biggest delayed reaction ever as he finally understands a joke Geordi made seven years earlier.
- Appears in a Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch involving a series of police inspectors with strange names. When one introduces himself as "Lookout, of the Yard," one of the other characters asks "What will we see?" The inspector starts laughing about 30 seconds later, as he finally gets the joke, when he's in the middle of talking about the murder case.
- The short-lived sitcom "Oliver Beene" had an interesting take on this one. In the middle of a game of charades featuring Oliver's parents, the Dad explodes in fury at his wife, and calls her stupid. She calmly smiles, and offers her guests dessert. The narrator (Oliver) states that for his mother, her anger was like a giant casserole. It's made, and then baked in the oven for an uncertain amount of time. Two scenes later... "Remember that giant casserole of anger? It's done...right...about...now." *DING*
- Father Ted: "THOSE WOMEN WERE IN THE NIP!!!"
- "HE DID KICK ME UP THE ARSE‼"
- In The West Wing when Leo offers a job to Ainsley Hayes:
Ainsley: I'll ask again: for what purpose was I brought here today?
- ICarly: Used a bunch of times throughout the series, usually by Freddie and Spencer.
- In iMust Have Locker 239, Freddie negotiates with Sam about getting her half of the locker as Sam mentions that her mom is driving a car to fetch her just after having an eye surgery. Freddie still goes on his negotiation until Sam's statement sinks in.
- In iHurt Lewbert:
Carly: Lewbert got hurt, which brought out your mom's motherly instincts.
- Joey in Friends generally takes about a minute more than it takes anyone else to figure something out. The most notable example occurs in "The One With The Red Sweater". Monica, Phoebe and Joey are trying to figure out who impregnated Rachel.Their only clue: a man's sweater left behind in mommy's apartment a month ago. While the three of them are discussing this, Ross walks in, talks with them for a bit, and then says, "Oh, hey, my sweater! I've been looking for this for like, a month!" Cue Eye Take from the girls, while Joey just sits there. Ross leaves, and then Joey freaks out.
- On Top Gear, while reviewing a Lamborghini Reventon (the Spanish 'v' is pronounced like a 'b'), Jeremy Clarkson makes a sly comment that owning one would get you "a lot of badge." At least a full second goes by before his co-presenter Richard Hammond gets the joke.
- The IT Crowd: Roy rants that Jen knows nothing about computers and will someday slip up in something she says or does. Moss cuts in to say that the computer Jen is pretending to use isn't plugged in. Roy continues to rant and storms out. Moss says "He'll realise in a moment." He does.
- In the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode Prince of Space:
Tom: Talking like what?
- Doctor Who:
- In the episode "The Lazarus Experiment", at the beginning of the episode, as the Doctor is planning to leave, he hears a scientist on television talking about how he's going to "change what it means to be human." He takes little notice of it as he sets off, and the TARDIS fades... and then slowly reappears. The Doctor pops his head back out and says "I'm sorry... did he say 'change what it means to be human?'"
- The Doctor gets another one in "The Pandorica Opens" with regards to the reappearance of Rory Williams.
- Whose Line Is It Anyway? has Delayed Reaction Man.
- In an episode of Coupling Jane tells Oliver not to worry about his brain, saying "Many plants don't have brains, have you thought about that?" It takes him almost a minute to realize the absurdity of that implication and correct her.
- Sanctuary: Nikola Tesla drops one of these on Helen Magnus when he looks her up after about, oh, fifty years.
Tesla: I brought you here for two reasons - because only you can help me finish what I'm working on and because I love you.
- Kenan and Kel- In the episode "Get The Kel Outta Here," revolving around a joke about a sculpture of Kel's head that Kyra has made for school.
Kenan: What are y'all studyin', nasty freak monsters?
Kel: Ha ha ha! YEAH! Ha ha... ha... hey... that's about me... with the freak monster...
- A real-life example: on the first episode of Season 2 of The Voice, one of the people auditioning was Tony Lucca, who was a Mouseketeer with coach Christina Aguilera ... and she didn't realize that until he'd already finished his audition and left the stage.
- Done more than once on F Troop, with O'Rourke's comment to Agarn "I don't know why people say you're so dumb", followed up several minutes/scenes later with Agarn's "Who says I'm dumb?!"
- Cat Valentine in Victorious. A notable example occurred in "Freak the Freak Out". While Jade, Beck and André figured out that Jade and Cat lost the karaoke contest because their rival's father owned the club, Cat takes about ten extra seconds. And even then she's only pretty sure of it.
- In two consecutive strips of Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin remarks that he's "Not playing with a full deck [of cards]" and that he's "Lost his marbles [and hopes someone finds them]," to which Hobbes replies, "Everyone suspected as much." It is at night, in bed, when Calvin starts up and yells "HEY!"
- Happens a lot when Calvin claims to be a genius. In one strip, he loudly declares his ridiculously high intelligence, and Hobbes immediately asks him how he walked to the bus stop with both legs in one pant leg. Calvin replies that he fell down a lot, then a panel later, asks what Hobbes is implying.
- The Pokémon Slowpoke. As described in the Pokedex, "It takes 5 seconds for it to feel pain when under attack." This actually has an in-game benefit as it generally translates into a larger than is typical amount of HP.
- On the Internet, it translated to a meme in which a person masquerading as Slowpoke responds in a delayed way, such as "Am I too late for 5 Million?" on the 6,000,001st post of a forum, or reporting on the death of Elvis Presley days after the death of Michael Jackson.
- The funniest of these was someone posting on an Image Board about a plot reveal in Code Geass. The first response was someone stating that "I don't have a Slowpoke slow enough to respond to this, so I'll wait 2 years and do it then." Cut to 2 years later...
- At the beginning of the first Mega Man Battle Network game Yai has one when Dex calls her a shrimp. (The dialogue is as follows)
Dex: Aww stuff it! You sure got a big mouth for such a shrimp! We're not bothering anyone are we Lan?
- In Undertale's Pacifist Route, Undyne gets to be present for not only a roundabout anguished declaration of love from the royal scientist, but a Motor Mouth confession to everything she's ever lied to her about. (She has a manipulative streak, and it's hard to say how far it would've gotten if Undyne hadn't interrupted.) Seeing each other in a changed light, Dr. Alphys... ends up momentarily handed off to an enthusiastic third party for a training regimen that sort of makes sense in context, and by the time they both leave, Undyne's theme music kicks up frantically when she finally makes the connection that anime isn't real.
Undyne: OH MY GOD!!! She was kidding, right? Those cartoons... those comics... Those are still REAL, right? ANIME'S REAL, RIGHT?!?!
- In Shikkoku no Sharnoth Angie is introduced to celebrity aristocrat Viola Baskerville and is so nonchalant about it that Mary is surprised. A few minutes later, she realizes who she's been making friends with and momentarily stops in shock... but then quickly continues making friends, reasoning there's no reason to start treating her differently now.
- Whenever a girl is over at Shirou's house in Fate/stay night or just near him, Taiga will end up greeting them and chatting for a bit. After a minute or two she generally blows up.
- Seen in this Arthur, King of Time and Space strip. No, sorry, this one.
- A few instances of this occur in Exterminatus Now - like triggering the decoy Self-Destruct Mechanism.
Doyt: Severe [brain damage] as in stupid? Or severe as in dead?
- A running gag on Atop the Fourth Wall: Linkara will read a character saying a stupid plan or inaccurate statement, summarize it in a triumphant tone of voice, and then go "Wait..." with confusion in his voice.
- American Dad! demonstrates this trope in the episode "Francine's Flashback" where Stan, after having forgotten his wedding anniversary the year past, lies low on the anniversary of a big fight that he and Francine had over this. Bullock actually shuts Jackson up to see how delayed the reaction is.
- One U.S. Acres segment from Garfield and Friends dedicated to discussing animation tropes had the ultimate example of this. Laidback sheep Bo walks past a friend of his, who declares that the farm is being invaded by aliens resembling dishwashing liquid. He does not react, instead heading into his pen and sleeping away the entire winter. Three months later, he steps outside, stretches... and then shouts "Dishwashing liquid?! Head for the hills!" and runs away.
- Happens often with Tom in Tom and Jerry, which makes him realize too late that he's carrying a bomb, about to get hit, or that Jerry is right in front of him.
- Played with in The Simpsons where it appears that time is passing normally for the audience, whilst it is revealed that Homer's brain is actually working at the speed of dumb. "Something said, not good."
- "Secrets of a Successful Marriage" had Homer respond to a taunt hours later.
- In "The Springfield Files", when Mulder and Scully are examining Homer, he reacts quite a while after Scully taps his knee to test his reflexes.
- In "A Star Is Burns", Jay Sherman refers to the McBain films as "reprehensible". Days later, this clicks in Wolfcastle's head and he prepares to kill Sherman. To escape, Sherman lies that Wolfcastle's shoes are united, escaping when the actor leans down to check. It's only when night rolls around that Wolfcastle sees that he's wearing loafers.
- One episode of Futurama stuck Fry between a jealous Zoidberg and a lovestruck cephalopodian alien.
Dr. Zoidberg: Fry. I challenge you to "clawplach".
- Though that one's less a delayed reaction and more weighing which option would be the Lesser of Two Evils and realizing neither one's good.
- George of the Jungle - more than once, George would suddenly laugh at a joke he'd heard minutes, maybe hours, before.
- In an episode of Kim Possible Ron tries tries to rush Kim and her temporarily-good nemesis to a movie:
Kim: Tempting, but I promised Shego we're go get our eyebrows waxed.
Peter: So did your therapist figure out what the problem was?
- In "Nanny Goats", Babs notes that Lois has "four children". Peter laughs and laughs about this for at least a day before realizing that he's been insulted.
- On Jimmy Two-Shoes, when Lucius wakes up after a day where everyone was pulling revenge pranks, he concludes that everything is back to normal. Then a talking bird greets him through the window with a pleasant "Good morning." Lucius returns it and walks off...then dashes back to the window when he realizes how wrong that is in Miseryville.
- In Dan Vs. "The Animal Shelter," Chris picks at a meatloaf Dan made while Dan describes why he needs to take revenge on an animal shelter. When Dan mentions it involves a poisoned meatloaf, Chris continues to eat the meatloaf for three more beats before what Dan just said sinks in.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Fluttershy has this when she sees Princess Luna (formerly Nightmare Moon) on Nightmare Night.
Twilight: Fluttershy, it's me, Twilight.
- Classic one done in Frosty the Snowman, with the traffic cop that meets Frosty...
Cop: Dumb snowmen. When they first come to life, they don't know nothin.
- Done again in the sequel, where the same cop seems to be used to Frosty, and then meets his new wife...
- The Guinness Book of World Records lists the man with the slowest reaction speed ever recorded: 20 seconds. He demonstrated on TV by being punched in the face. Twenty seconds later, he felt the pain and reacted accordingly.
Groo: What did he mean, slow of mind?