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Boys - Wake up. Push up. Take a bath. Dry. Choosing Clothes. Choosing Cap. Brush Teeth.

Baby Sophia - Wake up. Drink Milk. Eat Rice. Take a bath. Choosing Clothes. Brush Teeth. Watch Ryan

Look familiar? It should. Sequences that show a character following their average Morning Routine are incredibly common. It's a standard story opener, for several reasons: it's a way to introduce a character immediately, it shows the normal routine (to better contrast when wackiness ensues), and it's something we're all pretty familiar with--even those of us who rue mornings.

This can also be used as an Establishing Character Moment-- we know someone is Super OCD if he follows a strict schedule and a slob if he sniffs his armpit and decides he can skip the shower.

Like the White Void Room, it's something of a cliche and is commonly perceived as an opening that serves until the plot takes hold. Then again, like all tropes, it can be used to great effect-- for instance, the opening sequence of Dexter. Surprisingly, Slice of Life works can avoid this for quite some time -- mainly because there's a choice of other routines.

Synchronized Morning Routine is a subtrope. Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World isn't. See also A Day in The Life. Compare Easing Into the Adventure, Good Morning, Crono. Often ends with the character Late for School or work.

Examples of Morning Routine include:


  • In the beginning of Fruits Basket Tohru Honda is shown waking up, admiring the beauty of the day, and then saying good bye to the photo of her mother and taking a walk before she goes to school.
  • Some Sailor Moon episodes tend to start this way, usually as a set up to a "Serena is late" joke.
  • Azumanga Daioh had this with Chiyo-chan in the episode that was focused on her.
  • Episode one of Puella Magi Madoka Magica shows Madoka's morning routine, starting with her waking up from strange dream, waking up her family members, getting dressed, eating breakfast; all sorts of everyday normal activities. Used to show Madoka's roots in normality, and provide contrast for the changes the come.
  • In the first episode of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Nanoha is shown waking up and getting ready for school. The same scene plays out in her first scene of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha As, but with indications that Nanoha is eagerly awaiting the day she can see Fate in person again.


  • Legally Blonde opens with two stories during the opening credits: Elle's friends delivering a letter to her, and Elle getting ready in the morning.
  • The Devil Wears Prada offers not just Andy's morning routine but the routine of about a dozen other women as well, to contrast the way she gets ready to the way the other women do.
  • The beginning of Tangled.
  • Stranger Than Fiction begins this way.
  • The film Zodiac has this, complete with the child of the cartoonist confessing to swallowing his toothpaste. The sense of panic among the populace over the school bus threat is reflected in the cartoonist taking his kid away from the bus at the last minute and driving him to school.
  • The opening scene of Turner And Hooch shows Turner's morning routine which establishes his character as an absolute neat freak.
  • Up had one of these with Carl after the death of Ellie.
  • The film version of Grease begins with an animated montage of all of the main characters going through their morning routine to get ready for school.
  • Hairspray opens with Tracy waking up, coiffing her hair with copious amounts of hairspray, and preparing for school, all while singing and dancing.
  • "A dream is a wish your heart makes when you're fast asleep..."
  • Shaun of the Dead had one of these at the beginning, showing the protagonist going to the store across the street to get a Coke. Later on, when the Zombie Apocalypse comes, the exact same routine is repeated... except now there are zombies and bloody traces around, which Shaun fails to notice and just grabs a Coke as usual.
  • Shrek starts out with what presumably is how every ogre spends their morning.
  • Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters starts when it's protagonist wakes up for the last time. The prolouge is over by the time he's dressed and out the door.


  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy starts this way, with Arthur Dent getting out of bed and starting his routine before being interruped by a bulldozer trying to tear his house down.
  • The first Harry Potter book starts off by showing the Dursleys' morning routine. ("Mr. Dursley hummed as he picked out his most boring tie for work.") Although the second chapter takes place on Dudley's birthday, it's apparently a fairly typical morning for Harry as he's woken up by Aunt Petunia and forced to make breakfast.

Live Action TV

  • The Dexter opening sequence is this, but shot so that his normal morning routine reminds viewers at every turn of who he really is; his floss becomes a garrotte, him pulling on his shirt becomes a sheet laid over the face of a corpse, and so on. It's very effectively creepy, and won an Emmy.
  • The Cold Open for the first episode of the second season of Lost is a wake-up sequence for Desmond.
  • Skins, both UK and US, have this is in the first episode.
  • Monk did this in the opening credits for the first season. Adrian Monk's morning routine serves to demonstrate his OCD tendencies: his closet is full of identical suits, he disinfects his toothbrush with boiling water before brushing his teeth, etc.
  • Given an interesting twist at the very beginning of The West Wing. We see Sam wake up in the morning. Next to a prostitute. Who is asking who POTUS is - and why he has such a funny name. It's the President of the United States.


  • In Rebecca Black's infamous Friday music video, she sings about getting up, getting fresh, and eating cereal. Although she does none of this.
  • The Beatles, "A Day In The Life".

 Woke up, fell out of bed

Dragged a comb across my head

Found my way downstairs and drank a cup

And looking up I noticed I was late

  • This also happens at the beginning of Kesha's "Tik Tok."
  • Jewel's "You Were Meant For Me"

 I hear the clock, it's six a.m.

I feel so far from where I've been

I got my eggs I got my pancakes too

I got my maple syrup, everything but you.

I break the yolks, make a smiley face

I kinda like it in my brand new place

I wipe the spots off the mirror

Don't leave the keys in the door


Newspaper Comics

  • A regular gag in Blondie is for Dagwood to oversleep then run out of the house to his carpool. Hilarity Ensues.

Video Games

  • Heavy Rain lets you play through such a routine as a twisted Tutorial Level of sorts.
  • The main character of the Gamecube Custom Robo gets up to go to work each morning. Getting dressed takes three seconds. But whether he gets woken up by his landlady, by cellphone, or by himself carries some amusement.

Western Animation

  • Many a SpongeBob episode begin with him getting up to his blasting foghorn alarm clock and ready for work.
  • In the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode, "Busted", Bloo wants to get up and start his day with Mr. Herriman, but he has to go pee and use the bathroom quickly, along with brushing teeth and making his bed.

Wait, why do they brush their teeth before they have breakfast? Food tastes better that way.