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WikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotesBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extension.gifPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifier.pngAnalysisPhoto link.pngImage LinksHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconic

TG: like hey mom dad theres a dinosaur or a ghost or whatever in my room. 'yeah right junior go back to bed'

TG: just once id like to see dad crap his pants when a kid says theres a vampire in his closet

Dave Strider, Homestuck

The kind of thing useless adults will say to a Kid Hero or child who has some rather urgent news. This pint sized Cassandra will be shooed away from grownup company for being "Just a Kid" before even getting one word out. This isn't necessarily limited to just children either; a pretentious character can silence a friend or underling in this manner, or a grown woman when the men don't take women seriously. This can also be used as a put down to annoying characters when two more powerful/important characters are discussing something. The kid will get interrupted after the word "but".

Exasperatingly, the shusher may even scold the shushee later for not speaking up!

Usually, the very thing the child/friend/underling was trying to say turns out to be significant or important, and the hero will regret having brushed it off. In darker examples the brush-off leads the hero into greater danger by blundering directly into the situation he could've been aware of in advance; or worse, the person making the warning is put in grave danger (or killed) since he or she was asking for help.

See also Cassandra Truth, when the warning is heard but often sounds incredible and is subsequently dismissed until it's too late; Crying Wolf, when the warning is heard but dismissed because of the prankish messenger; and Evil-Detecting Dog, when the warning is made by an animal (and may be either recognized or dismissed). A subtrope of Poor Communication Kills.

Examples of Not Now, Kiddo include:


  • Used in a commercial for Toyota's "Now's The Time" sale. "Not now, sweetie, Mommy's talking."

Anime and Manga

  • Detective Conan: Initially, Conan, stuck in the body of a kid, has to overcome the problem that nobody ever listens to kids. Early on, he has to use Professor Agasa's voice-changing necktie just to tell the police to look under a table. Averted as time goes by in that most of the police inspectors eventually learn to pay attention to Conan's observations. [1]
  • In One Piece, whenever Kumacy tries telling anyone that the pirates they're looking for are hiding inside him, Perona tells him to shut up because she hates his voice.
  • In Princess Tutu, Ahiru--a duck that can turn into a girl--accidentally changes into her duck form when she's startled to see Mytho with a girl that's not his girlfriend. When she sees Mytho's girlfriend, Rue, walking in his direction, Ahiru is afraid she'll be upset by seeing what looks like Mytho cheating and desperately tries to tell Rue to stop by squawking and flailing. Rue responds simply by laughing and continuing down the path. Ahiru then rushes to water (the key to change back into a human) to become a girl again then attempts to tell her to stop, only this time the other girl and Mytho are standing right behind her. However, Rue doesn't react--she knows that Mytho does whatever anyone tells him to do because he's missing his heart.

Film - Animated

  • The Incredibles has the titular family captured and restrained by Syndrome. While Mr. Incredible has an epiphany for his family, Violet uses her force field to partly free herself. When Dash tries to tell his parents about this, Elastigirl shushes him to hear more of Mr. Incredible's apology. Violet/Dash get their rightful reaction from their parents when Violet proudly intones, "Well, I think Dad has made some excellent progress today, but I think it's time we wind down now." as she releases them all.
  • Disney's Tarzan: The elephant herd and young Tantor.

Film - Live Action

  • Dangerous Minds: A tweaked version of this occurs in: One of the characters "pushes" his way into the principal's office to try and explain that some violence is going to happen. The principal, who has very strict rules about knocking, dismisses the student, who ends up getting shot.
    • To specify, the student was trying to tell the principal that there was an insane student who was a drug addict wanting to kill him. He had been banking on the principal acting on the information and having the drug addict student sent to detox and thus prevent the attack.
  • The Enforcer: Inspector Harry "Dirty Harry" Callahan is talking to Lieutenant Bresler regarding the group that has kidnapped the mayor, when (female) Inspector Moore comes up to tell Harry something, but is shushed - twice - by Lt. Bresler, who clearly sees Inspector Moore as an inexperienced rookie in a skirt. When she gets a chance to speak, she mentions she spotted a man they're looking for, and Harry asks her why she didn't speak up. She doesn't fold, but responds right back by asking him why he didn't ask her what she saw.
  • In Galaxy Quest, the narcissistic main character speaks to the enemy on the spaceship's screen and surrenders. After he finishes the conversation, he spells out his plot to defeat him. His team member keeps trying to catch his attention, but he blows her off. Turns out she was trying to tell him that the connection with the enemy hadn't been cut.
  • In Star Trek II the Wrath of Khan, Spock brushes off Lt. Saavik as she is about to remind Admiral Kirk to raise the Enterprise's shields in response to the approach of the uncommunicative Reliant, making it a rare case of both Kirk and Spock hoisting the Idiot Ball. To his credit, Kirk openly admits his mistake.

 "Sir, you did it."

"I did nothing, except get caught with my britches down. I must be going senile. Mr Saavik, you go right on quoting regulations!"

  • In The Music Man Marian is dismissed by the mayor right before she is able to reveal that she has found out the truth about Harold Hill.
  • In The Empire Strikes Back, Threepio is repeatedly shushed by Han while attempting to warn them that the hyperdrive is offline. Given how useless most of Threepio's worries and objections tend to be, Han's initial reaction is probably understandable.
    • The same exact thing happens towards the end between Threepio and R2, as R2 tries to tell Threepio about the offline hyperdrive.
  • In the 2008 remake of Get Smart

 Kid in Minivan: [sees Max dangling outside the window] Mom! Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom!

Mom in Minivan: Sean, Sean, Sean, Sean, Sean! You see how annoying that is?

  • In the film version of Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets, Harry is so interested in what Aragog, a giant spider, has to tell him, he continually shushes Ron, who's trying to tell him that Aragog's children are moving toward them in massive numbers. This scene is absent in the book, and was added for comic effect. Slightly different since Harry and Ron are the same age.
    • And in Deathly Hollows Part 2, while Harry is trying to find the tiara, Luna is chasing after him to tell him something important about said treasure. At first this trope seems to be played straight, with Harry repeatedly brushing Luna off, telling her 'not now' and so on, before Luna finally stops dead and yells out, "HARRY POTTER!" which gets Harry to turn around and actually listen to her, in an absolutely beautiful subversion of the trope.
  • In Aliens, Spunkmeyer discovers some Xenomorph slime around the Drop Ship's ramp and tries to tell Ferro, but he gets told to just get onboard. End result: a Xenomorph kills Ferro and Spunkmeyer, and makes the Dropship crash and burn.
  • Bruce to Vicki in Batman '89: "You're a real nice girl, and I like you a lot, but right now? Shut up." In this case Bruce was trying to tell Vicki that he was Batman, but Vicki kept talking over and interrupting him.
  • Ty and Gemma in Dark Life find out some important news about the outlaws everyone is trying to find, and take it straight to the Sea Ranger...of course, he doesn't believe them and won't check out their story.
  • Speed 2 Cruise Control: "Mommy, there's a big boat!" "There are a lot of big boats here, honey." Poor kid doesn't know enough English to say, "Yeah, but most of them aren't smashing through the pier straight at us!"
  • In Super 8, after Joe rescues Alice, the woman in curlers, and Sheriff Pruitt, Pruitt orders them to follow him out. When Joe points out that he and Cary had come from the other direction, Pruitt overrules him with the woman's support.


  • The former Trope Namer is David McKee's Not Now, Bernard: Bernard can't get any of the grownups to pay attention to a monster that's menacing him. Then the monster eats him. Then the monster can't get the grownups to pay attention to it, either.
  • In The Dresden Files, Harry has a bad habit of saying "not now" when those around him are trying to give him vital information. He inevitably regrets not listening.
    • He tells Bob "not now" as Bob is trying to warn him of a greater danger: the NeverNever and certain denizens after him being closer than originally believed.
    • He tells Michael "not now" when his lover, Susan, calls him on the phone saying she needed urgently to speak with him. This results in Susan stealing an invitation to a supernatural party of vampires, who then turn her to get back at Harry for interfering in their business. Harry took her back, resulting in a war between wizards and vampire.
      • In his defence, he was rather busy at the moment. He had lost some of his magic power and was thus weakened, but he was still attempting to call a dead demon from the NeverNever. Not only was the being resisting, something was helping it. Also, it wasn't even a demon that he was calling, so it was extra hard to do it. And Susan called during the hardest part. On the other hand, this doesn't excuses him for not simply telling Michael "I'll call her back in a couple of minutes". It would have saved him a lot of trouble.
  • The short story "Inappropriate Behavior" has a girl trying to tell her therapist, who's supposed to be helping her improve her communication skills, about an injured man she's found stranded on a beach. (Everybody lives.)
  • Ray Bradbury story "The Screaming Woman" revolves around a young girl trying to warn anyone who'll listen about the woman she can hear screaming for help under the ground. She fears foul play, but everyone ignores her or, naturally, makes her take enormous waste-of-time detours and then brushes her off again. She's only believed when the woman stops screaming and starts singing to herself, a song only she and the girl's father have ever known, which gets him to start digging.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, eight-year-old Arya Stark tries to warn her father that she overheard men discussing a plot to kill him. Eddard did actually stop and listen to his daughter, but she was so flustered her explanation came out as complete gibberish about monsters.
  • In the Timothy Zahn novel Heir to the Empire, this happens to Threepio, who is only able to get their attention at the last possible second.
    • This isn't the first time this has happened to the poor droid, either...remember The Empire Strikes Back and the hyperdrive malfunction as they're blasting off from Hoth?
    • Threepio has the same problem in James Luceno's Millennium Falcon.
  • In the climactic battle of Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series, Smart Guy Father Strangyeard gets brushed off by Duke Isgrimnur when Strangyeard attempts to warn him that the tunnels the heroes used to infiltrate the enemy castle could also be used by the Norns to counter-ambush them. Needless to say, the warning isn't received in time.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events plays this one for all its worth with Mr. Poe.

 Mr. Poe: You're so paranoid about Count Olaf. Remember at Professor Mongomorey's house? You were convinced a visiting scientist was Olaf.

Violet: But he was Olaf!

Mr. Poe: That's not the point!

    • Ironically, in this particular instance, he turns out to be to be right.
    • Pretty much everyone is like this to the kids. It backfires spectacularly when, during a reunion of pretty much everyone in the series, they refuse to believe the building they are in is on fire.
    • This is even lampshaded in the movie, when Count Olaf seemingly has succeeded in his plan and married Violet, leading him to mock everyone with the knowledge that the children repeatedly tried to warn them but "no one ever listens to children!"
  • Return to Labyrinth: This happens in Tokyopop's manga series, when Moppet tries to tell Mayor Spittledrum that Jareth wants to see him but Spittledrum interrupts her saying that even if the Goblin King himself were here to see him, he was busy right now and the guest will have to wait.
  • Terry Brooks example, The Elfstones of Shannara: although Wil Ohmsford doesn't say the trope name, he does pretty much ignore poor little Wisp, who keeps trying to tell him something--but he's so set on getting the Elfstones back from Mallenroh so he can prove himself Amberle's protector that he doesn't even pay attention to the hysterical shrieking. Cue Eretria finally grabbing his arm and jerking him back, revealing that the box the Elfstones were in was trapped with a deadly viper inside:

 Eretria: He was trying to warn you! [She] pointed to Wisp. The little fellow had collapsed in tears.

  • Visser 3 from Animorphs brought this trope Up to Eleven with his manner of maiming or even executing minions who would interrupt him in the middle of an important matter with some hogwash. Naturally it dished him:
    • In "The Secret" skunk-morphed Cassie sprays Visser 3 and then Animorphs give him the remedy for the smell in exchange for Yeerks cancelling an operations. Unfortunately for hime they tell him it's GRAPE juice, not tomato juice, that gets rid of the smell. This has the added hilarity of turning him a lovely shade of purple. One of the Controllers apparently knew of the actual remedy but Visser wouldn't allow him to speak.
    • At one point some Controllers made a correct guess that the "Andalite bandits" (as Visser recognized the morphing-able guerillas) were possibly humans. But none of them dared to advise their dreadful leader that he could be wrong.
  • "Tikki Tikki Tembo" is a book set in ancient China. There are two brothers. The eldest, in accordance with alleged tradition, is given a ridiculously long name; Tikki Tikki Tembo No Sa Rembo Chari Bari Ruchi Pip Peri Pembo. The younger, Unfavorite was named Ping. When the eldest tried to say that his brother had fallen in the well, his parents immediately listened. But when Ping tried to tell them the same situation with his brother, they rebuked him for mispronouncing the name and wouldn't let him speak until he got it right. Why he didn't just say "my older brother"...
    • Could be that they'd made a point of ignoring him/rebuking him if he didn't use the name, previously.
  • Codex Alera: Bernard does this in the second book. He's talking about trying to find out what the Vord Takers look like so they can find them and keep them away, and it takes several tries for a subordinate to get him to stop brushing him off and listen to the fact that they have one caught under a cup.
  • In The Wheel of Time many Aes Sedai dismiss Egwene's Dream that the Seanchan will attack the White Tower soon on account of her not being (at least, not to them) a full Aes Sedai. Bad move.
  • Nobody Listens to Andrew : This children's book told the story of a boy named Andrew who kept trying to get the attention of various adults to alert them to the presence of a bear down the street. Nobody listens to him for quite a while.
  • Averted in the Circle of Magic books. The quartet's teachers take any strange things the children see or hear seriously and encourage them to report such happenings. Notably in Tris's book where Tris hears how two pirates blow up the watch towers, Daja spots a hidden scout vessel, and later Tris figures out that the pirates are using a storm to hide their fleet
  • Liam: Played terrifyingly straight. The titular character runs to warn his newly fascist father that he is planning to throw a molotov cocktail at a rich Jewish family's home with Liam's sister/Dad's daughter inside without knowing that she's there. Too bad Liam has a stuttering problem. Dad pushes Liam away again and again as his friends light it, and just as they throw it, Liam screams out his sister's name. A second too late.
  • The Nanny Diaries: Played quite literally (and tragically), where the authors coin the term "spatula reflex" to describe the way Mrs. X is constantly brushing off Greyer every time he wants his mother for something.
  • Lampshaded in The Lancelot Closes at Five, when Hutch and the narrator are hiding under the bed of the eponymous model home, and a small boy sees them and yells "Girls under bed!" Hutch says its nothing to worry about, it happens all the time on TV, and no one believes the kid.
  • It happens to Peter in the last chapter of Superfudge, when Fudge and his friend Daniel go missing. All his suggestions to the adults are met with "Peter, please...", until the end, when he suggests the two lose their bikes for a month, and the adults think it's a good punishment.
  • In More Adventures of The Great Brain, Tom fakes monster tracks to scare another boy away from Skeleton Cave, but the adults fall for them as well. Tom never really expected this, and tries to tell Papa and Uncle Mark, but Mama won't let him, saying they have more important things to worry about right now.
  • This is one of the problems facing Harry in Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix, where every attempt he makes to communicate results in the latter brushing him off and getting away. This is because Dumbledore is afraid that Voldemort is trying to possess Harry, so he's trying to keep his distance from the protagonist. He admits to holding the Idiot Ball on this one and apologizes at the end.
    • Harry gets a government-wide version of this after he tries to warn everyone that Voldemort has come back. Fudge is afraid of the wizarding world being thrown into another war, so he decides that the best course of action is to launch a smear campaign that goes along the lines of "Harry is a confused Attention Whore".
  • Happens to Garion once or twice in the Belgariad, but it doesn't take his aunt and grandfather long to realize that Garion's uncanny eavesdropping skills mean he usually has something worth saying.
  • In Labyrinths of Echo "Master Hearing" once jawed a police-lady for ignoring the testimony of hide'n'seeking kids about thieves "disappearing into nowhere" upon taking a supposedly worthless chest (the event he correctly identified as impending headache being multiplied):

 Kofa Yokh: What, do these kids have no eyes? I don't get why children's tales need to be met with such a total distrust. By the way kids frequently are much more observant than adults and also don't drink alcohol. So kiddies make excellent witnesses...


Live Action TV

  • In the Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue and Power Rangers Lost Galaxy Crossover episode, there was a woman who told a child "There's no such thing as monsters." This led to Linkara dubbing her the dumbest person ever in Power Rangers.
    • In Power Rangers SPD, Jack is too busy complaining about how boring things are to listen to Bridge (and later Syd) try to alert him to an emergency. Naturally, once they get his attention, he scolds Bridge for "waiting until the last minute" to tell him.
  • The Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode "Don't Interrupt" revolved around this. A child who constantly interrupts is bribed by his parents with a silver dollar if he'll stay silent while a stranger tells his story. The story is that the man was trapped outside in the snow and his life was saved only because someone looked outside the window and spoke up. And of course, the situation's repeating itself outside, and the kid's the only one facing the window...They still gave him the silver dollar in the end, even though he interrupted a few times...
  • Doctor Who
    • In the episode "Silence in the Library", Evangelista, who has a reputation as a ditz tries to catch the attention of the others, while they are discussing what to do about escaping the horrible monsters that live in shadows. When they tell her "Not now," she actually tries again with "Actually, this might be important," but is brushed off again. She investigates on her own and promptly dies. Naturally, the crew regret brushing her off.
    • In "Forest of the Dead", "Other" Dave's admonitions that "We should go now, Doctor!" were repeatedly ignored by the Doctor, until too late. Subverted later in the same episode: Anita's initial attempts to alert the party to her predicament were ignored, but her remark that she had two shadows drew their immediate and total attention.
    • Used almost verbatim with K9 in the Fourth Doctor serial "The Pirate Planet":

 K9: Master--

The Doctor: Not now, K9. Now, as I was saying...

    • And again, in "The End of Time" as the Doctor is flying the ship towards the house where the Time Lords are materialising in front of the Master clones:

 Master #2: I think I should warn you-

Master #1: Not now!

    • In "The Pandorica Opens", while the Doctor is rambling on about how he's missing the obvious that's right in front of his nose, he pulls a Not Now, Kiddo by name on Rory. Who had previously died and been erased from existence. Rory simply waited relatively patiently for the Doctor's mind and memory to catch up with his mouth.
  • The Kids in The Hall has a sketch with a delightfully over-the-top example; in the sketch "Stereo Bargaining," the titular negotiations are interrupted by a pitiful old man shuffling onto the sales floor. The clerk's response is

  Dave: What, Murray? Not now, Murray! Can't you see I'm doing business, Murray? Not now, Murray! Not now, Murray! Not now, Murray! Not now, Murray!

  • In Star Trek the Next Generation,
    • In the episode "Datalore", acting Ensign Wesley Crusher is the first to suspect that Lore is posing as Data. When he suggests this to the captain, Picard's response is "Shut up, Wesley." Chief Medical Officer Crusher (Wesley's mother) takes Picard to task for dismissing a member of his bridge crew so callously, when Wesley tries to interrupt again. Dr. Crusher then cuts her son off with another "Shut up, Wesley." This was after Picard had ordered Wesley to keep an eye on Lore and investigate Data's strange behavior. It should be pointed out though, that seeing Wesley being treated as anything other than a Creator's Pet earned the adults in this situation quite a bit of respect from the fans.
    • In the episode "Where No One Has Gone Before", Wesley tries to tell Riker twice that Kosinski wasn't responsible for getting the Enterprise to a different Galaxy.
  • In the Star Trek Deep Space Nine episode "Progress", Quark does this twice to Nog ("Go sweep the floor!) as he tries to tell him about a business proposition regarding the sale of land that Quark wants (so he can sell it to the Bajoran government). The third time, Nog manages to get his attention, and Quark realizes who this "Noh-Jay Consortium" really is.
  • Yes Minister loves this trope, embodied in the character of an unfortunate secretary who is regularly shouted down by the other two protagonists, usually when he is attempting to point out to them that they are about to commit a grave mistake. That his name is actually Bernard, meaning that the exact phrase is used, is just the icing on the cake. Sometimes he's pointing out a grave mistake. Mostly he's just quibbling over a mixed metaphor.
  • One episode of News Radio had Matthew being a particular Jerkass after he punched Bill in the face. He starts treating everyone as an inferior being including Joe, whom he interrupts with "The grown-ups are kind of talking right now..."
  • The original Battlestar Galactica Classic had a Cylon trying to get Baltar's attention during a battle. Baltar told it to shut up; he was enjoying watching the destruction of the battlestar. The Cylon finally managed to say, "Sir, I really think you should take a look at the other battlestar," as the Pegasus attacked.
  • The Stand: In Stephen King's miniseries, Randall Flagg does this to his second-in-command Lloyd when he tries to tell him about the third spy.
  • Lexx: Stanley tended to brush off the Lexx's warnings that it was starving or otherwise endangered until it was too late to avoid disaster.
  • Johnny and the Sprites: This is done to Root, which is rather amusing when you consider that none of the main Sprite characters are intended to exactly represent adults. In "Spritesgiving," Root is the first to notice that something has gone wrong with the vegetables (they've been hit with the "forgetful fungus.") He repeatedly tries to point it out to Basil, but Basil is in the middle of a song number about how wonderful Spritesgiving is going to be, so he just keeps brushing Root off.
  • Father Ted: A variation on this occurs. Ted has been called in to bail out Father Jack and Mrs Doyle, but claims he doesn't have any money and that they'll have to spend the night in the cells. Dougal starts trying to get his attention, but Ted brushes him off, assuming Dougal is trying to "remind" him about the money he won earlier in the episode. After a few seconds of Dougal repeating "Ted...", Ted snaps and hands over the bail money, going on a rant about how the police were once friends of the church, and how Dougal has made him look a complete eejit in front of real people.

 Dougal: To be honest Ted, I forgot you had the money. I was just going to tell you your fly's open.

  • In That 70s Show, Kelso tells Jackie to watch him drink his eggs. Jackie tries to tell him something, only for Kelso to keep shutting her up, saying that whatever it is can wait till after he has drunk his eggs. She does so and after he has drunk his eggs, he asks her waht was so important. She reminds him that he is allergic to eggs.
  • Happens to Ted in How I Met Your Mother.




  • The Harry Chapin song "The Rock" is about a boy who foresees a rock hanging over his town falling, but can't get anyone listen to his warnings. He ends up trying to stop the rock from falling by himself, and finally manages to do so by throwing himself under it as it's rolling. In the end, however, his efforts only brought the town a short reprieve: "High up on the mountain, when the wind is hitting it / If you're watching very closely, the rock slips a little bit."

Newspaper Comics


 Calvin: MOMM! HEY, MOM!

Calvin's Mom: Calvin, stop yelling across the house! If you want to talk to me, walk over to the living room, where I am!

  • Calvin does*

Calvin: I stepped in dog doo. Where's the hose?

An Author's Note in the anniversary edition stated simply "Right lesson — wrong time."


  • In Death of a Salesman, Bernard is a nerdy kid who repeatedly tries to warn both Biff and Willy that Biff needs to get serious about his education or else he'll fail. Biff and Willy both brush him off, and Biff ends up failing high school and completely loses his confidence and self-esteem. Bernard, on the other hand, becomes a successful lawyer and even gets to argue a case in front of the Supreme Court.
    • That's not really the reason; his loss of confidence is more due to finding out that his father, a person Biff has always idealized and considered a hero, is having an affair.

Video Games

  • In Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier, Daxter tries to tell Jak about his new Super-Powered Evil Side, but Jak shushes him.
  • In Resident Evil 2, Claire, who never stops, and Ada, at least at first, repeatedly talk over, shush, or flat out ignore Leon.
  • Played straight in Ace Attorney Investigations case 4, in which Detective Badd and Gumshoe continuously shush only recently made prosecutor Edgeworth and 13 year old Franziska von Karma.
  • In Parasite Eve, when geeky scientist Maeda tries to give Aya the bullets that can kill Eve and her offspring and Daniel keeps shooing him away. This may be due to how Maeda forced some good luck charms onto Aya (2 of them you can give to Wayne to hold with your other items and the 3rd charm cannot be removed from your inventory), which Daniel naturally assumed what Maeda was trying to give Aya before the finale of the game.
  • In Day of the Tentacle, Bernard needs Dr. Fred to sign a contract in order to receive millions of dollars necessary for Bernard's save-the-world plans. Dr. Fred, however, refuses to sign, as he is too busy trying to think of a way to save the world.
  • In Psychonauts, Sasha ignores Raz when he tried to tell him about Oleander's psychic death tanks because he and the other teachers were in a hurry due to an emergency Psychonaut meeting... which turned out to be a trap laid by Oleander to kidnap the teachers so that they wouldn't interfere with his plans.

Web Comics


 Anakin: Greedo started it! He punched first!

Mace Windu: Quiet youngling. I'm speaking to the grown ups. Obi-Wan?

Obi-Wan: I... wasn't there, so I didn't actually see anything.

Anakin: I definitely didn't kill him!

Mace Windu: Hmm...

Anakin: He deserved it anyway!

Mace Windu: Be quiet, boy!

Anakin: Nobody ever listens to me! I hate you all! I'll kill you! I've done it before and I'll do it again!

    • Also showed up in episode 152, in which the highly-competent Princess Sara volunteers to help the heroes defeat a random encounter. She does not take their response very well.

 Red Mage: Please, Princess Sara. The Light Warriors are talking now.

  • Order of the Stick
    • Roy Greenhilt, eager to get back to his body, brushes off a deva trying to give him some plot critical advice in this strip. He assumes that she's trying to warn him about his Chaotic Evil teammate, when it's actually one of the ones he trusts who's decided to go sledding down the slippery slope in his absence.
    • Also played with in this strip where Nale exploits this to get away with pretending to be Elan
  • The Crossoverlord: In this episode, Ultra's attempt to warn Mindmistress is taken for "pleasantries".
  • Averted and discussed in Homestuck, as quoted at the top of the page. When John texts Dave saying he thinks there are monsters in his house, Dave immediately believes him, adding:

 [[color:red:TG: skepticism is the crutch of cinematic troglodytes

TG: like hey mom dad theres a dinosaur or a ghost or whatever in my room. "yeah right junior go back to bed"

TG: fuck you mom and dad how many times are we going to watch this trope unfold it wasnt goddamn funny the first time i saw it

TG: just once id like to see dad crap his pants when a kid says theres a vampire in his closet


TG: be fuckin dad of the year right there]]


Web Original

  • 'Red vs. Blue: In Episode 25 of the web series, Caboose tries to warn Church of the Reds who are approaching from behind him, which Church responds:

 Damnit, Caboose! In the short time I've known you, you've managed to call my girlfriend a slut, blow me up with a tank, shoot me in the head and now paralyzed me from the waist down. So I hope it's not too much for me to ask, just for once, if you'd SHUT YOUR FREAKIN' MOUTH!

  • Jeremy tries and fails to warn Chad Vader that the laser checkout system is not working.

Western Animation

  • Rugrats had an amusing bit where Angelica tried to tell her parents that the babies had gone missing, but was rebuffed with this phrase. Then, when the parents finally let her speak, they do rebuke her for not telling them sooner!

 Angelica: Aunt Didi, Aunt Didi...

Drew: Now, honey, Daddy and Aunt Didi are talking.

Angelica: I know, but...

Drew: And when grown-ups are talking, little boys and girls are supposed to wait quietly.

Angelica: I know, but...

Drew: Then when the grown-ups say it's okay for you to talk, then you can say whatever you want.

Angelica: I know, but... (Drew puts his finger over her lips)

Drew: Now, honey, calmly, what was it you wanted to tell Aunt Didi?

Angelica: The babies are getting away!

Drew: You know, honey, these are the kinds of things you should really tell the grown-ups right away.

  • The Simpsons
    • This is frequently said by Homer to Lisa, to the point that "Quiet, Honey, the grownups are talking" is a catchphrase in any episode that features the pair extensively. Eventually, in one of the Halloween episodes, he just outright tells her to shut up.
    • Also the exchange from "Bart Carny" where Bart tries to explain to an oblivious Homer that Chief Wiggum's attempting to solicit a bribe, only to be told "Not now, Bart; Daddy's talking to a policeman."
    • In the same episode, Chief Wiggum tells Homer to wait for Detective Like I Give A Damn. Homer thanks him profusely, and then shushes Lisa when she tries to point out the obvious.
  • In Disney's The Legend of Tarzan, Abby calls "Daddy" and begins tugging at the fingers of Marco, her father. Marco gently says, "Not now, Abby" because he's discussing how to cure a disease sweeping the jungle. She continues tugging at his fingers until she collapses at his feet, overtaken by the very disease he's been discussing.
  • The Fairly Odd Parents: A tweaked example occurs in "School's Out: The Musical". Flappy Bob is pondering whether he's made choices that led him down the wrong path in life. HappyPeppyBetty and HappyPeppyGary interrupt him with their theme song, and he not only shouts "Not now!" but he drops them through a trapdoor.
  • Ben 10 "The Ultimate Weapon": Grandpa Max is in an obsessive state over an important artifact. When Ben offers up helpful clues from an artifact already in their possession, Max brushes Ben off with "Not now, Ben."
  • Ben 10 Alien Force "What Are Little Girls Made Of"

 Verdona: He was a lot like your little friend...Curtis.

Kevin: Kevin.

Verdona: Energy beings talking here.

  • Inverted in Lilo and Stitch The Animated Series: Lilo calls Jumba to ask about Experiment 062, but he's in the middle of a presentation. When he finally takes the call, he is the one giving Lilo the warning that the alien in question is going to try to eat her.
  • In the Sealab 2021 episode "No Waterworld", Debbie is repeatedly silenced by being told "The men are talking!" as a Running Gag.
  • A frequent feature of South Park plots is that the kid heroes know what is going on, but the adults are too oblivious or side-tracked to pay attention to their warnings, forcing the kids to resolve the problem themselves.
  • In Tale Spin, often the bane of Molly Cunningham's life, particularly where her mother Rebecca is concerned.
    • Played with in "It Came From Beneath The Sea Duck", when Kit is being chewed out by Rebecca for supposedly letting Molly out of the house (for rather convoluted reasons in reality), the more Genre Savvy Baloo interjects and suggests she actually lets Kit explain what's happened. He ends up getting shushed as well.
  • In The BOTS Master first episode (?), the protagonist is worried about security bots coming to his (house? office?), but disregards the interruption of his personal bot coming to warn him. Then he responds in full trope faction:

 "What? Security bots? On their way here? Why didn't you say so? All right, all right, I'm sorry I didn't listen to you!"

    • At least he admits he should have listened, unlike the other examples on this page.
  • Quite frequently said to Meg in Family Guy whenever she has something important to say, variations include "Meg shut up" or "Meg please".
  • In one episode of Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Wheeler has a dream that he is married with children with Linka. In one part, his daughter tries to get his attention, but he brushes her off. She ends up wetting her pants.
  • After Black Adam hypnotized Mary Marvel into being his bride, Captain Marvel gets an idea and plants a treasure chest ahead of them. Adam opens it and reads from the scroll within aloud.

 Mary: Master, something is wrong.

Black Adam: QUIET! Let's see... "To whom it may concern. SHAZAM" Oh no! (struck by the magic lightning and reduced to a pile of dust)

  • Sometimes happens with Chu-Chu on The Amazing Chan and The Chan Clan, he'll start barking or chewing on someone's pant legs to get their attention and they'll respond with "This isn't playtime, Chu-Chu". Fortunately the kids catch on pretty fast, saving the use of this trope from being a more annoying instance.
  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: Apple Bloom ran into this problem during "Bridle Gossip" when her big sister Applejack was so focused on 'protecting' her from a perceived threat that she completely ignored everything Apple Bloom tried to do or say... only noticing whenever she got frustrated enough to leave.
    • Also shows up in "Griffon the Brush-Off", where Pinkie Pie tries to get the attention of Rainbow Dash, who is in a hurry to get somewhere and keeps brushing Pinkie off... only to fly into the side of the mountain Pinkie was trying to warn her about.
    • Speaking of Pinkie Pie, a similar problem occurs in "Swarm of the Century," where her friends are all too busy trying (and failing miserably) to deal with the parasprite menace to pay attention to her efforts to put together a one-pony band. Turns out she was the only pony in town who had seen a parasprite before, and knew that they'll line up and follow anyone playing music.
  • Max gets this from Ruby quite often on Max and Ruby.
  • This is what ultimately caused Deirdre, a Starlight Girl, to run away in the two part Jem episode, The Music Awards.
  • In the Hanna-Barbera TV movie Yogi's Ark Lark, Yogi and company go on a journey to find a place that's not polluted or otherwise disturbed by man. Boo Boo has the correct solution right from the start, but no-one listens to him until the end after visiting many different places.
  • Cubbi Gummi from Adventures of the Gummi Bears also suffers from this trope from time to time; most notably in the episode, "The Fence Sitter", when he came up with a good idea to get rid of the bird that was threatening to gobble up the entire Gummiberry crop.
  • Superfriends. This happened on a regular basis in the 1973/745 season. About every other episode Wendy or Marvin would try to get the attention of one of the superheroes, usually when they were talking to someone else, and the hero would tell them to wait. They would sometimes give Wendy or Marvin a chance to speak once they were done discussing the more important matter, but not always.

Real Life

  • On the night before D-Day, the commander of the Panzer reserves that could have reinforced the Normandy defenses was suffering from insomnia and, thus, took a sleeping pill and gave strict orders that he was not to be disturbed for any reason. By the time he woke up, Normandy had been taken.
  • Hitler
    • Was asleep when D-Day began and his aides refused to wake him up, giving the Allies valuable time to advance while German troops couldn't move without Hitler's approval.
    • During the mid-to late 1930s, Hitler was so convinced (after signing a treaty with England concerning limitations on German warship production) that there would never be another Anglo-German war, at least "not before 1944!" that the German high command was forbidden to even think about hostilities with Britain. By the time this policy was reversed, the war was only months away.
  • Stalin
    • Gave his guards standing orders never to wake him. When he had a stroke in the night, it took them all day to work up the courage to check on him. He died shortly afterwards. Might also count as The Dog Bites Back since people were really hoping the crazy bastard would die before he decided to take everyone down with him via surprise poisoning or death warrants.
    • The several months leading up to Barbarossa. Everyone, from the Western Allies, to the Soviet spies within German command, to his own super spy man in Japan, Richard Sorge, was telling him that the German assault would begin, even providing the precise day. The reports were either not believed, were filed away within the massive Soviet bureaucracy doing nothing, or simply were not acted upon. To add insult to injury, when the Germans and their Eastern European allies DID cross the frontier, Stalin was asleep and it took HOURS before anyone woke him out of sheer, crazed fear at how he would react.
  • During The American Revolution, Colonel Johann Rall, the leader of the Hessian mercenaries at Trenton, was playing either chess or cards on Christmas Eve. A loyalist farmer came to him with urgent news, but he refused to be drawn away from his game. The farmer wrote him a note, which Rall put in his pocket. Pretty soon, the Revolutionaries struck, soundly beating the Hessians, and Rall was fatally wounded. The note? Mentioned that the loyalist had seen George Washington cross the Delaware River. The end result was an important, morale-boosting victory for the Americans. It meant that the British could not post small groups of soldiers about Pennsylvania, for fear they would be wiped out, and so concentrated them all in Philadelphia, which meant they effectively controlled only Philadelphia.
    • Some historians believe that if Rall had acted, the capture of George Washington and his men would have meant the end of The American Revolution. The United States as we know it might not exist today if Rall hadn't ignored the note.
  • A 4 year old boy spent five hours trying to tell his parents that Grandma had fallen over in the backyard and broken her hip.
  • A postsecret card contains the confession of someone who glared at a group of kids to get them to leave him alone, and as a result got there too late to save the little girl they'd been trying to get help for.
  • A much less serious, but more common, example that many of us have committed ourselves. Some computer programs cause the same dialog boxes to appear so often that users can get into the habit of clicking away every box without thinking, even ones with important new information. (Not helped by the frequency of pop-up ads designed to imitate those boxes.)
  1. Inspector Sato and Inspector Takagi have actually started to bring him along when trying to solve cases; ditto for the FBI.