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A character tries to present things in some kind of organized fashion, but they screw up or change their mind about the organization partway through.

This is almost inevitably played for comic effect. Often it is used to portray a character as being A. Pompous, IV. Both. 2. Absentminded or

Compare Metaphorgotten.

Examples of Disorganized Outline Speech include:



  • Everett K. Ross from Black Panther seems constitutionally incapable of telling a story in a linear fashion.


 Megan McCallister: You're not at all worried that something might happen to Kevin?

Buzz McCallister: No, for three reasons: A, I'm not that lucky. Two, we use smoke detectors and D, we live on the most boring street in the whole United States of America, where nothing even remotely dangerous will ever happen. Period.

  • Col. Chamberlain in Gettysburg, not so much for comedic effect, as it is also an effective Rousing Speech, but to hammer home just how awkward and out of place he is.


  • In Skulduggery Pleasant, Skulduggery insists he used to be a great speaker, but the only speeches we ever hear from him either fail, or fail epically.

 "I seem to have lost track of this speech, I'm not sure where it's going, but I know where it started and that's what I want you to remember. Has anyone seen my hat?"

 "Was that all right? Can I do it again? What do you mean it's not like filming...? OH!"

Live-Action TV

  • In Doctor Who, the Tenth Doctor does this periodically:
    • In "Human Nature":

 Doctor: Martha, before I change here's a list of instructions for when I'm human. One, don't let me hurt anyone. We can't have that, but you know what humans are like. Two, don't worry about the TARDIS, I'll put it on emergency power so they can't detect it, just let it hide away. Four -- no, wait a minute, three. No getting involved in big historical events.

      • Even better is the extended version when David Tennant just babbles on, managing to stay completely in character...even though he starts talking about pears.
    • In "Voyage of the Damned":

 Doctor: First things first. One: We are going to climb through this ship. B ... No. Two: We are going to reach the bridge. Three, or C: We are going to save the Titanic. And, coming in a very low four, or D, or that little (iv) in brackets they use in footnotes: Wine.

    • "Blink" gets it down to basics:

 "Listen, gotta dash. Things -- happening. Well -- four things. Well -- four things and a lizard."

 "Our chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise.... our two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency.... Our three weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.... Our amongst our weapons.... amongst our weaponry...are such elements as fear, surprise.... I'll come in again."

 "Okay. First, Miley? Stupid name. B, I've already got friends and cuatro, why don't you go back to the trailer park, unhitch and drive away?"

 Casey: How am I conversationally anal-retentive?

Dana: Let me answer that question in four parts, with the fourth part first and the third part last. The second part has five subjects --

Casey: All right, all right.

  • The Stargate Atlantis episode "Letters from Pegasus" has various characters' funny, tear-jerking and heartwarming letters intercut with Rodney McKay sleep-deprived and babbling about who knows what. Every few sentences he'll stop and tell Ford (who was editing the videos they were sending home) to cut whatever he'd just said and start over. In the very end, he remembers his sister and gets his act together long enough to send a really touching message to her.
  • Mad About You had a recurring joke where Paul would make a rambling speech where he would make his points as "Okay, A... and 2...".
  • In Whose Line Is It Anyway:
    • During a playing of the Millionaire Show game, Greg Proops accidentally messes up when giving out the multiple choice answers:

 Greg: When you eat pig, it is called A: Pork, B: That farshtunken neighbor of mine, 3:... [Pause.] Sometimes I change from C to 3.

    • Another playing of the same game has Colin listing the choices under A, C, C and D. Ryan does not let this go without comment.
  • Ricky in the Trailer Park Boys episode Take Your Little Gun and Get Out of My Trailer Park gives this quick breakdown of the situation to the documentary crew:

  Ricky: Me and Julian can definitely take care of the Cyrus thing, it's just like number one: we're on probation. I don't really think that it's a big deal, but I just don't want to go back to jail again. And number two or three or whatever number I'm on: I'm not going back to jail for Julian because I don't even hang around with him anymore.


 Dogberry: Marry, sir, they have committed false report; moreover, they have spoken untruths; secondarily, they are slanders; sixth and lastly, they have belied a lady; thirdly, they have verified unjust things; and, to conclude, they are lying knaves.

  • In The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), one of the players literally gets his outline (in this case, speech cards) disorganized. He starts off giving historical information about a play... and ends up giving the life story of Adolf Hitler.
  • Sganarelle has trouble presenting a persuasive argument several times over the course of Moliere's Don Juan. One of his longer speeches comes near the end, when Don Juan has finally crossed the line and Sganarelle is desperate to convince him to repent (this is paraphrased from memory):

 Sganarelle (grasping for a way to put it): Man is in the way like... a bird on a branch. The branch is attached to the tree. Whoever attaches himself to the tree follows good precepts. [and a long speech later] The old love riches. Riches make one rich. The rich are not poor. The poor know desperation. Those who are desperate act like brute beasts. You, sir, act like a brute beast, and because of that you'll be damned to all the devils in Hell!

Don Juan looks on amusedly.

Sganarelle: If you don't repent after all that, I don't know what I can say to convince you.

Web Original

  • Necro Critic states three things that could've been done to fix Spider-Man 3 (paraphrased)

 1: Use any villain other than the Sandman.

B: Stop focusing on Uncle Ben.

Finally: Save Venom for the sequel.

In fact he's been doing the "1, B,..." thing in a lot of his videos.
  • Spencer in the Lonelygirl15 episode "What Up Blogosphere!":

 "First of all, thank you for flooding my account with hundreds of emails. This sparked the attention of the I.T. department at Neutrogena, who said those emails blocked up our server. Last night, upper level management fired me. Just kidding. Hehehe... dry wit. Um... so, B: yes, I saw the video with you and my dad's 'friend'. Go Dad! Just kidding. Three, ah, I'm sympathetic to your need to find this Bree girl, but honestly, I can't help you. I don't know who her dad is, and my father never discussed his work with me. And, although I'm a scientist like him, I have no idea what compound you guys are talking about. So, D, and last but not least: everyone. Stop. Trying. To contact. Me!"

Western Animation

 The Red Guy: What do I know about Supercow? A: She's a superhero. 2: She speaks Spanish...

    • Note that Sokka is meant to be outlining a specific battle plan, but resorts to 'explaining from the beginning', literally, when he gets confused. His dad then 'clarifies' the plan.
    • And by "explaining from the beginning", we mean he gave a (pretty succinct) recap of the first six episodes, with all signs pointing to him reciting all 49 if he hadn't been interrupted.
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