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"Oh look, is that a reason to leave?"
Jeff Winger, Community

A type of Room Shuffle where one character actively wants another character out of a room so they can discuss something in private. They'll usually either come up with some absurd reason for the character to go to the kitchen or across the hall or whatever--something along the lines of "Hey, did you know one of the bathroom floor tiles looks just like a map of Tanzania? Go have a look!"--or they say something that they know will make that specific character clear out, like "You know Greg, I was just talking to Bill across the hall and apparently his favorite thing is interminable circus anecdotes."

They may send the character on a search for some item, which may or may not actually exist.

Often the comic potential of this is stretched by having the departed character reappear at an inopportune time (and just after the audience has forgotten about them). "You know, you don't even have tiles in your bathroom... what are you doing?"

I Need to Go Iron My Dog is the inverse of this, where the character offers some excuse for their own departure. Compare and contrast with Look Behind You!.

Examples of Go Look At the Distraction include:


Anime and Manga

  • Tokyo Mew Mew has this little gem in episode seven, at least in the Japanese version -- Ichigo yells "It's a flying huge radish!" and actually throws a radish from one of her shopping bags into the air, in order to distract Bu-Ling. It doesn't work very well.
  • Beyblade Metal Fusion: Done by Tetsuya while he was in an Austin Powers-esque disguise to learn more about a new device Madoka created. "Hey look, are those rainbow colored crabs in the sky?" Subverted, as he ended up pointing to multi-colored crab balloon-banners actually floating in the air behind them.

Comic Books

  • In one Knights of the Dinner Table strip, Dave is sent on an elaborate and extremely convoluted snack run to get him out of the house while the others eat a pizza in his absence.
  • A Running Gag in Nodwick, employed whenever Arthax and Yeagar needs to get Piffany out of the way so they can do something horrid to Nodwick behind her back.


Fanfiction

Film

  • Shrek
    • After Shrek is... uh, wounded by an arrow, Fiona tells Donkey to get blue flowers with red thorns so he would leave them alone. Donkey then stumbles upon a field chock full of blue flowers with red thorns... and subsequently complains that his task would be easier were he not colorblind.
    • In Shrek the Third, Shrek badly insults Artie so that he angrily leaves the room, stopping Charming from killing him.
  • The Producers: Used at the beginning of the most recent version. Max tells Leo to use the bathroom while he deals with the octogenarian nymphomaniac at his door. Leo uses the bathroom but gets done before Max can get rid of the old bat. Leo then comments on how sorry he was to interrupt him 'feeling up the old lady'.
  • In the film Old Yeller, when the mother is treating Old Yeller for an injury from a wild boar, she claims that she needs a horned toad and asks the younger brother to go get one.
  • Used in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the movie), when the love interest distracts a vampire with, "Look, air!"
  • A Few Good Men has this exchange:

 Capt. West: Commander Galloway, why don't you get yourself a cup of coffee.

Galloway: Thank you sir, I'm fine.

Capt. West: Commander, I'd like you to leave the room so we can talk about you behind your back.

Galloway: Certainly, sir.

  • In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Dumbledore points out various pieces of landscaping to Fudge in order to keep him from noticing Harry and Hermione sneaking behind him to rescue Buckbeak.
  • In Gray Matters, when it's in the middle of the night and Sam tries to get Gray to go to bed so that he can be alone with Charlie:

 Sam: Don't you have that big meeting in the morning to get to?

Gray: What big meeting?

Sam: The big meeting in the morning that you have to get to? That big meeting?

Gray: Oh, that big meeting!

  • In the 2009 Sherlock Holmes movie, Sherlock sends the policemen inside the recently deceased Sir Thomas's home to look for bath salts while he continues searching by his lonesome for a secret compartment where Thomas kept his occult paraphernalia.

Literature

  • In Heidi there is a scene where Mr. Sesemann wants to speak about Heidi with his daughter Klara, so he (somewhat clumsily) makes up an excuse by asking Heidi to bring him a glass of water. This errand turns then into a real adventure for Heidi.
  • Harry Potter
    • Several adults commit variations of this throughout, with several less than comic results in the 5th and 7th books respectively.
    • Subverted in Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban when Mr.Weasley pulls Harry aside to tell him that Sirius Black is after him after Mrs.Weasley's attempts to hide this tidbit from him.
    • And in Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, Luna does this in the Great Hall to let a fatigued Harry, along with Ron and Hermione, to slip out of the room to be by themselves after Voldemort is defeated.
  • In "The Tower of the Elephant" (a Conan the Barbarian story) Taurus sends Conan to check whether there are guards in the garden. Conan suspects this, but obeys. Taurus shuts the door and gets killed.
  • At least one Discworld novel has someone throwing an object into the air, then gutting the other person whilst they look at it.
    • This happened in Interesting Times. Cohen the Barbarian and his Silver Horde is being threatened by several samurai. One of them throws a handkerchief in the air and cuts it in two with his sword, which is sharp and looks like new. Cohen's sword, in contrast, is rusted and chipped, despite being very sharp, and the samurai aren't exactly impressed with it. Cohen asks for another handkerchief, throws it up in the air...then slits the throats of three samurai while they're looking up at it.
  • The Supernaturalist had a character toss an 'ID card' [1] into the air, then shooting (nonlethally) the bad guys when they watched it go. Crosses with Hey, Catch!.
  • Once in The Dresden Files, Harry needs to pick a lock. Since Fair Cop Murphy is there, he tells her to "look at that zeppelin." Subverted in that Murphy knows exactly what he's doing, but complies anyway so that she doesn't actually see him doing anything illegal.

Live Action TV

  • Friends
    • In one episode, Phoebe uses the word "Crummies" to make Chandler flee the room.
    • A slight subversion where Ross distracts Rachel, despite having nothing made up to distract her with. After a short time of Ross trying to think of a conversation, Rachel assumes that he wants to get back together with her.
  • In Titus, when the titular character is being annoyed by his less-than-smart brother during a car ride, he shouts, "Dave, cow!", causing Dave to look frantically for the cow and moo at it. Later in the same episode, the same trick is tried, and Dave replies, "That doesn't work every time, you know", before surreptitiously looking out the window for the cow.
  • Scrubs
    • In one episode, JD wants to talk to Elliot, but The Todd is in the room. To get rid of him, JD mimes throwing a ball into the hallway. Todd, naturally, goes to find it then, inexplicably, returns after JD and Elliot's conversation and hands JD a tennis ball.
    • He tries it again with the Janitor. The Janitor asks what he's doing as the Todd runs past, looking for the ball.
    • Doctor Cox Gets the best one, though: "Oh my god, is that guy on fire?" *Runs*
  • The IT Crowd: Subverted multiple times in episode four. Roy at one point gets stuck under a desk, with no way to escape because the employee to whom the desk belongs has returned to it. Moss is called in to distract said employee using this trope, but he fails miserably at it because his attempt is only slightly better than literally just saying "Go look at the distraction!". Eventually, Jen successfully pulls it off by claiming that there's a shirtless construction worker outside, a sure distraction for the all-female employees on the floor... and it turns out there really was a shirtless construction worker, but hardly an attractive one.
  • ICarly
    • In iOwe You, Sam tells Freddie his relative got hurt, sending him running back to his apartment, so she could cry to Carly without him seeing.
    • In iQuit iCarly, Sam distracts Carly's group by calling out Ryan Seacrest. They fall for it, prompting Sam to occupy the scaffolding they both wanted to shoot a video from first.
  • In an episode of Even Stevens, Louis shouts "Look! A diversion!" to a security guard.
  • News Radio: Dave helps Lisa get rid of a Japan-obsessed Matthew: "Do you know anyone who knows how sushi is made? Because Joe was wondering..."
  • In Due South, Fraser distracts Ray from the fact that he's about to push him out of a plane by saying "Look, Ray! Turtles!" Oddly, it works, even though they're flying over the Arctic tundra at the time...
  • In Murder Most Horrid episode "A Determined Woman", Dawn French's character, who has travelled back in time to prevent herself killing her husband, sends him out of the house on errands for random implausible items (a specific sort of string and soup from Uruguay). These items of course turn out to be somewhat less than random as they are all present in the house already and his presenting them to the wrong version of her is part of what leads to his murder in the first place.
  • Frasier: When Niles is dueling his wife's German fencing instructor, he points offscreen and yells some German-sounding nonsense to buy some time.
  • Used a couple of times in Mystery Science Theater 3000, though it usually amounts to "Look, a huge distracting thing!"
  • Merlin has the most common variant of this trope be asking someone to "go get some water".
  • On El Chavo Del Ocho had a little conversation that ended outsmarted.

 Not Actual Quote

Don Ramon: Why don't you see the hour at the Big Ben Clock.

Chavo: It is 2:30

Don Ramon: Reaallly?

Chavo: If you don't believe me, go yourself.

  • In Lois and Clark, a temporarily blinded Superman is staying with Lois, who doesn't know his secret yet. When Jonathan and Martha Kent show up at Lois's apartment (greeting their son with an awkward "Hello, Superman"), Superman suddenly requests oolong tea. Jonathan takes the hint and ushers Lois out to the store for tea so that Superman can be alone with his mom.
  • Community: Oh, look, is that a reason to leave? And Chang falls for it.
  • Red Dwarf

 "Excuse me, could I please just distract you for a brief moment?"


Tabletop Games

  • In the Dungeons and Dragons tabletop roleplaying game, characters who are lawful and/or good tend to be especially susceptible to this... especially Paladins or Monks, who MUST keep to the straight and narrow or lose their powers. Often, the player will realize it is in their best interests to be easily distracted when their friends want to do something immoral that will benefit them in some way, leading to a sort of selective ADD.
  • Played with in Gamers 2: Dorkness Rising -- played straight early on, with the party distracting their paladin so the rest of the group can do some Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique on a captured badguy. Later, after learning to trust the players a bit more, the DM has his paladin wander off intentionally to allow the party free rein.

    When he comes back to find that a demon they'd been interrogating had "inexplicably" had the holy water they'd had him bless dumped over its head, he says, "I feel dirty."

Video Games

  • In Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Eli Vance sends his daughter Alyx to make some tea for him, so that he can privately talk to Gordon Freeman about their "mutual friend," the G-Man. Unfortunately, just when it looks like we're coming up on The Reveal, Alyx comes back with the tea, and Eli promises Gordon that they'll talk more later. "Later" never comes, as the next time we see Eli, he's rather unpleasantly killed by a Combine Advisor.
  • Monkey Island
    • A series-wide Running Gag is the well-traveled excuse "Look behind you! A three-headed monkey!" Success is mixed, but notably, Guybrush once tries this on the cannibals on Monkey Island. It doesn't work, but as they lead him to his jail cell, an actual three-headed monkey follows behind them.
    • In episode 2 of Tales of Monkey Island, Guybrush shouts "Look! A distraction!" to a pair of pirates, one of whom replies with, "Oooh! What's it distracting?"
  • In a Hannah Montana game for the Nintendo DS, Oliver is blocking the way somewhere, and you have to choose the right things in a conversation so he'll move. One of the choices is, "Oh, look, a distraction!" It doesn't work.
  • In Chrono Trigger, there is a point where your party meets Dalton on an icy plain. Your party blocks his fireball, but engages in extreme Cutscene Incompetence when they look behind them, at his request. Cue the party being captured.
  • In Tales of the Abyss, when the group is looking for more information on Largo possibly being Natalia's father, they plan on keeping her out of the loop at the moment, and claim that they're going to Chesedonia to investigate the fake Scorer. When the fake Scorer (Sync) greatly upsets Anise by reminding her of her responsibility for Ion's death, using Ion's voice, the party has Natalia accompany Anise around the marketplace. They notice that Anise is somewhat upset at being used as the bait.
  • In "Dragonball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 3", Qui's UB attack involves him looking past his opponent and proclaiming, "Ah, Lord Frieza!". When his opponent turns, he unleashes a torrent of energy blasts.
  • In the first season of Tell Tale's Sam and Max, Max is asked by Sam to distract a body guard so Sam can assault the president. One of Max's distractions involve shouting "hey, look at Sam!"

Webcomics

  • Seen in the webcomic Narbonic during the "Lovelace Affair" storyline.

  Dave: I'm back. Artie, can you explain why we need vegan burritos right now?

 Bob: Look! A distraction!

Eddie: Ooh! Where?! I collect those!

 Florence: Helix! Look! It's an obvious distraction!

Helix: Where?! I don't see any obvious distraction.

  • Mac Hall. "Quick, run home! Your mother is on fire!"
  • In Chirault, at one point Astrid sends Teeko to go collect some water from upstream, leaving him and Kiran alone for some interrogation.
  • El Goonish Shive: "Hey, is that a demonic duck of some sort?"
  • In General Protection Fault, Fooker, wanting to greet the apparently beautiful woman who comes to his apartment first, tells Chuck that someone is keying his car. He immediately comes to regret it when it turns out to be Trudy.
  • "Look!! A talking raccoon!!!" yelled by the talking raccoon Woo to distract a hunter in Sandra and Woo.
  • Whenever Captain SNES needs to distract someone, the go-to fake-out is, apparently, a three-headed monkey.


Web Originals

 Haku: Um, look over there!

Kakashi: What are you- Oh hey, a tree.

 Yusuke: Alright, plan B, look a distraction

Rando: What, where, man, what the hell you talking about, there ain't nothing there.

Yusuke: Really, I could've sworn it was right there, wait a minute I was supposed to do something, run that was it, aw f$%k, I don't suppose you'll fall for that again would you?

  • The Legend of Neil has a drunken Neil distract some moblins by pointing behind them and shouting, "I'm disctracting you!". It works.
  • Webtoon Krentz and The Hand of Shame 3 has one character simply shout, "Diversion!" to get out of an awkward conversation. It works because as she says that an airplane walks by. Yes, 'walks'.
  • Linkara has his method of going "Look at the pretty bunny! Look at the pretty bunny!" while waving an adorable rabbit sculpture in front of the camera whenever the logic in the terrible comic he's reviewing falls apart.


Western Animation

  • The Simpsons
    • Reverend Lovejoy once got Ned Flanders to leave by telling him there was an oil stain in the parking lot that looked just like St. Barnabus.
    • Bart gets the Red Hot Chili Peppers out of Moe's by telling Moe to look at a wall. Moe does so and isn't sure what it is he is supposed to be seeing, but continues looking regardless. He even charges Homer to do the same.

 Milhouse: Hey look its Bart! And he's doing stuff!

Bart: Hey, look at me! [dances around]

Skinner Bart! Stop creating a diversion and get out of here!

    • After receiving a hospital bear, Homer shouted about a bear and tried to run away. He didn't go far, given the reason he needed medical help in the first place. There really was a bear.
  • Family Guy
    • Lois gets Brian to leave the room by throwing a ball through the doorway. Brian's a dog.
    • In "Wasted Talent", in order to win a piano competition Lois takes Peter drinking at a teenager's house, when the cops catch the two of them.

 Cop: Aren't you two a little old to be underage drinking?

Peter: Uh... uh... Lois! Look over there! (to cops) Run!

[Cops run away]

      • Doubly funny in that they weren't doing anything illegal.
  • In A Pinky and The Brain Christmas, Pinky shouts "Look! A decoy!" to Shotzy.
  • In Beavis and Butthead, Butt-head unsuccessfully tries to get Beavis off the couch so he can sprawl out on the couch by himself. When Beavis refuses to leave, Butt-head tells him "Hey Beavis, my uncle was over earlier, and he left a 6-foot poop in the toilet, and didn't flush". Beavis goes to check it out, Butt-head sprawls out on the couch.
  • Invader Zim
    • In one episode Dib shouts "Hey! Look at that garbage can!". Zim turns, while Dib rams an Incredibly Obvious Bug into Zim's computer. The bug then activates a noisy drill to insert itself, leaving a huge hole. Zim: "Yes. It is rather impressive, that can."
    • Dib's method of distracting the Pig-thing in "Gaz: Taster of Pork": "Hey! Look! It's something a Pig-thing would like!"
  • From Phineas and Ferb: "Hey Ferb! It's a Red Herring! I say we follow it and see where it leads us..."
  • From The Tick: "Hi, I'm Arthur, and this is my diversion."
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:

 Azula: Ahem! Zuko, could I have a word with you?

Zuko: Can't you see we're busy?

Azula: Oh, Mai... Ty Lee needs your help untangling her braid.

Mai: (completely deadpan) Sounds pretty serious.

To clarify, even as she lampshades it, Mai leaves, because Azula was basically reminding her that she is her commander.
    • Also lampshaded and parodied in "The Ember Island Players."

 Not!Azula: "Look Zuko! It's your honor!"

Not!Zuko: "WHERE!?"

  • On Jimmy Two-Shoes, Jimmy is about to discover one of Heloise's Jimmy dolls. In order to distract him, she quickly shouts "Look, a meteor!" It works.

Notes

  1. a blank piece of laminated cardboard
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