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 Mugger: Don't make a move, this is a stick-up. ...Now, come on--your money or your life.

Jack Benny: (long pause)

Mugger: Look, bud! I said your money or your life!

Jack: I'm thinking it over!

A character displays uncertainty in a situation that you wouldn't expect to call for it. Usually, this takes the form of giving too much consideration to a "choice" that isn't really supposed to be one.

Sometimes, the choice the character is put before offers something s/he wants or needs, but accepting it would mean breaking some sort of a personal rule (like agreeing with the stupid member of the party). Or the character is just tired of being Surrounded by Idiots and the option of being killed sounds oddly inviting.

This situation is always spawned by Skewed Priorities, and often implies or results in the character being Too Dumb to Live. But more often than not it is a Crowning Moment of Funny.


Examples:

Anime and Manga

  • In an early episode of Rio Rainbow Gate, Howard is threatened with death if he does not allow Rio to wager ownership of his casino resort. He gives Rio several conflicting answers as the Death Trap gets closer and closer to killing him before Rio decides to go through with the wager.

Film

 Mrs. Curtis: What did they ask for? Whatever it is, they can have it.

Police officer: They want your case of Wonka Bars. [Mrs. Curtis says nothing] Mrs. Curtis, did you hear me? It's your husband's life or your case of Wonka Bars!

Mrs. Curtis: How long will they give me to think it over?

 Cop: Now look, pal: you can either go back to Punxsutawney, or you can freeze to death. It's your choice!

Phil: I'm thinking...

Literature

  • In Discworld, it's mentioned that anyone wanting to pose the question "Your money or your life?" to a dwarf should pack a lunch and a long book.

Live Action TV

  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer the episode "Inca Mummy Girl" gives us a unique exchange where a person needs time to answer their own 'question'.

 Willow: I have a choice. I can spend my life waiting for Xander to go out with every girl in the world until he notices me, or I can just get on with my life.

Buffy: Good for you.

Willow: Well, I didn't choose yet.

  • The Scrubs episode "My New Role" had Eliot talking to a group of nurses who've frozen Carla out because she hangs out with the doctors so much.

 Eliot: You can either use her relationship with us doctors to start a dialogue and make things better, or ignore me, stay pissed and hold me down in the parking lot tonight while Barb stomps on my face.

[The nurses keep drinking their coffee without reacting at all]

Eliot: You're taking a pretty long time thinking about it...

  • Bester was REALLY asking for it in Babylon 5.

 Bester: If you weigh the momentary pleasure of blowing me out of the sky against a ilfe of never knowing what brought me here, I assure you, you'll make the right choice.

Sheridan: I'm thinking it over.

Bester: Oh... good.

  • In Stargate SG-1 the team have a friendly but annoying AI called Urgo implanted in their brains.

 Urgo: You have to decide. Me.... or death.

[long pause]

Urgo: Well?!

Jack O'Neil: We're thinking.

  • Leonard in Big Bang Theory spends a little too long contemplating laser surgery as an alternative to just going to get his spare glasses from his apartment, because Sheldon's in there with a cold.

Radio

  • The famous The Jack Benny Program bit quoted above. The routine first appeared on the March 28, 1948 broadcast, in which Jack was robbed of Ronald Colman's Oscar after borrowing it. (His uncertainty stems from the character's well-known stinginess: during the pause, the audience was already laughing at the thought of Jack having to make such a difficult decision.)

Web Comics

 Mynd: Will you stand aside and let me deal with the imposter, or do you want to die too?

(Beat Panel)

Mike/Proto Man: George!

George: What?! I'm thinking!

  • In Van Von Hunter, Van and his sidekick escape their first adventure after having been sentenced to death. When confronted by the choice of accompanying Van or returning to face certain death, the sidekick says she'll have to think about it. Even after their foes launch a B-2 bomber at them out of a catapult (It Makes Sense in Context ... kinda) she still isn't certain.
  • In the second strip of Order of the Stick the party is split into two teams, by the traditional method of Roy and Haley taking turns choosing someone. Eventually, Elan is the only one left, and it's Roy's turn to choose.

 Elan: Ooh! C'mon! Pick me!

Durkon: Are ye gonna...

Roy: I'm thinking.

Western Animation

  • An episode of Futurama has most of the cast travel to a parallel universe inside a small box. Hermes, not knowing the situation, has been told to throw the box into the sun. He flies into space, puts the box into an airlock, and is just about to launch it into space when the other characters emerge. They shout for him not to push the button and kill them all, and he thinks carefully for a moment, looks back and forth between the button and Prof. Fonsworth, before giving a halfhearted "Okay".
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