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 Court says a hundred and fifty feet, woman. A HUNDRED AND FIFTY FEET.

Like many Real Life conventions, a restraining order in fiction is only as effective as the Rule of Drama or Rule of Funny need it to be.

So you've slapped your Stalker with a Crush with a restraining order? Guess what -- it won't do a thing to protect you. So you're a Heroic Comedic Sociopath who's been told never to go in that bar again (don't ask -- it involved noodles)? You'll be shot on sight if you go anywhere near it.

Unfortunately, even in Real Life restraining orders work on the honor system (much like the Amish computer virus, in fact). A restraining order cannot physically separate one person from another; it just means the other person can call the police and have them arrested on sight if they're violating it. Also while restraining orders in TV usually require the person to maintain a minimum distance from another, in reality restraining orders usually order the person to refrain from contacting, harassing, following or stalking the other person, something that often doesn't deter a determined stalker.

One comedy gag involving a restraining order is for the person to be dog-piled by an army of police officers the very microsecond they cross some invisible line in the sand and gets "too close" to the person in question.

See also Persona Non Grata.

Examples of Hollywood Restraining Order include:

Comic Books

  • In a Mad Magazine article about student athletics, one suggestion is made that football field yard lines can be used as measurement for a restraining order. A police officer, using this method, finds that one parent who holds a sign saying "Go Artie! Die Coach!" is not violating the order.

Fan Works

 Shawn: I only have eyes for you, Lassypants. Well, you and Val Kilmer, and he's not returning my phone calls. Although I have been getting letters from his lawyer. How far away is 150 yards?

Film

  • Die Hard 2. The reporter Holly punched out in the first movie has a restraining order against her: she's not allowed to be within 50 yards of him. Too bad they're on a plane together.
  • Played for laughs in National Security. The white cop who got jailed for beating up a black man (long story, there was a bee) gets hit with a restraining order when he leaves prison, saying he can't get within a hundred feet of the black man. For most of the film, the black man is following the white cop around, trying to help him solve his partner's murder. When the white cop gets angry about something, the black man responds: "Need I remind you that you are currently in violation of a legally binding restraining order?"
    • The latter later asks a police captain if he could "hook a brother up with another restraining order" after remembering that he left a girl chained to a ceiling pipe in the warehouse (they were in the middle of foreplay).
  • In Next Friday, Day-Day has one for a thousand feet on a woman who's been going around saying she's pregnant with his kid (it's suggested that it's not his). Of course she regularly ignores this, routinely damaging Day-Day's property and showing up at his work to harass him. The vandalism she causes forces this into Values Dissonance, as she's not punished in any way for it.
  • In Anger Management, towards the end of the film Buddy ends up dating Dave's girlfriend, Linda and the court issues a restraining order so that Dave can't come within 500 feet of either of them. Played for Drama.

Live Action TV

  • Referenced in Friends. Ross gets Phoebe tickets to see Sting; she has to ask him, "Will these seats be within 50 yards of Sting or any member of his family? Then that's not illegal!"
  • On The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon gets a restraining order from Stan Lee, which he plans to put next to the one he got from Leonard Nimoy.
  • Josh Groban got one against Sandy Ryerson on Glee. Which he ah, announced to Sandy in person.
  • In one episode of House, the title character has a restraining order put on him for violating a DNR. He has the patient moved to a room directly above the clinic so he doesn't have to do clinic duty.
  • In Community, Professor Duncan gets one against Chang, and uses it to chase him around, keep him in the back of the classroom, and prevent him from getting lunch. He refers to it as his Chang-repelling force-field. Chang later gets a restraining order against him for his use of the original restraining order to harass Chang.
  • The Drake and Josh episode "Josh Runs Over Oprah" has the titular TV personality put a restraining order out on Josh for running her over, then trying to get into her hospital room to apologize. He's handed the restraining order at the end of the episode and is despondent...until Drake reveals that Oprah herself signed it.
  • In NCIS, Abby got a restraining order against her stalker ex-boyfriend, which he repeatedly violated over the course of the episode. Toward the end, while he's sitting in an interrogation room and waiting for Gibbs to come in, he starts complaining that what NCIS is doing to him qualifies as harassment, and that maybe he should file a restraining order against them. Abby, who's watching him through the two-way mirror, mutters sarcastically about how that tactic "worked wonders" for her.

Music

  • In the Dixie Chicks song "Goodbye Earl," when Wanda filed for divorce against her eponymous abusive husband, she had a restraining order put out against him. It didn't do a thing, as Earl "walked right through" it and sent her to the hospital. When Mary Ann, her best friend and Blood Sister hears of this, she drops everything to be at Wanda's side, and they decide to get together and kill him.

Professional Wrestling

  • In one storyline, Stephanie McMahon took out a restraining order against the Undertaker. However, there was no restraining order against Kane...
  • In another storyline, Owen Hart took out a "TRO" (Temporary Restraining Order) against Steve Austin.
  • Booker T finished his feud with The Boogeyman when he revealed he and his wife Sharmell had taken a restraining order against Boogeyman.

Web Comics

  • In Ctrl+Alt+Del, Lucas takes one out against his first girlfriend (who was starting to get a little creepy, may or may not have ran him over with her car to meet him and was showing Yandere tendancies). Oddly enough, she's never seen again (apart from once as a hallucination).
  • In Order of the Stick, Miko Miyazaki gets the lawyer Mr. Rodriguez to get a restraining order put on Belkar so he'll stay away from her horse, who he has a deep-seated hatred towards. The problem? Belkar's Chaotic.
  • Xkcd gets creative with it.
  • In Homestuck, John points out that Cirque de Soleil got a restraining order against his dad due to what can only be considered a Noodle Incident. This may however be a simple ruse on Mr. Egbert's part as he's not that serious about the clowns.
  • In General Protection Fault, Mercedes de la Croix, Trent's lawyer, puts a restraining order on Fred, forcing him to work tech support from home while he's on trial for libel against Trent. When Dwayne hands out bonuses, Fred has to come to work to get one (apparently no direct deposit system exists at GPF), and while there, uses his remote control ability to force Trent to do humiliating things and get arrested.
  • In Sam and Fuzzy, Earl gets a restraining order against Fuzzy. And a can of bear repellent just in case.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • In one CartoonNetwork short, Mr. Jinx from The Huckleberry Hound Show is handed a restraining order (or rather, he gets it pinned to his chest) that reads "Whosoever wears this order is not to stand within three feet of Pixie and/or Dixie." Every time he does he's beaten up by cops in a Big Ball of Violence. Jinx resolves the situation by unpinning the restraining order and sticking it on a grandfather clock in the Wraparound Background, letting the cops have at it.
  • In The Simpsons, episode "On A Clear Day I Can't See My Sister," Lisa gets a restraining order on Bart that is physically enforced with a giant pole. Lisa, of course, quickly abuses this and begins moving closer to Bart, which forces him to move further away and out of the house.
  • In Futurama, Bender says "I'm going to go get Calculon's autograph! To hell with that restraining order!"
  • Timmy Turner got had one against his Stalker with a Crush Tooty in one episode. He tore it up by the end of the episode, though.
  • Samurai Jack provides the page quote.
  • In King of the Hill, Dale gets a fifty feet restraining on Hank after his finger was accidentally sawed off as a result of his goofing around. The judge also forced Hank into anger management class.
  • The Family Guy parody of Star Wars reimagines Obi-Wan Kenobi as an elderly pedophile (namely, Herbert) and Darth Vader as a toddler (namely, Stewie). Just before their lightsaber duel, "Vader" reminds "Kenobi" that there's a restraining order in effect against him.
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