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The Coolest Club Ever must have a line outside composed of people yearning to be found cool enough to enter; alas, they're Not on the List. This is the Wannabe Line. Its main purpose is to be there for our hero to be whisked past, so we may know that our hero is cool. Alternatively, our hero may be trapped there with everyone else, to remind us that, althalthough we know they're cool, no one else does. In Real Life, the Wannabe Line is usually for clubgoers who lacked the foresight to get there before the club reached capacity, and coolness or lack thereof doesn't enter the picture as often as TV Land would have us believe.
Banishment to the Wannabe Line is always adjudicated by a team of monstrous Bouncers.
- Goodfellas illustrates the benefits of Mafia life when Henry and Karen are whisked past the line to enter the club through the back entrance.
- In The Mask, the Coco Bongo has one.
- In L.A. Story, Harris can only get a reservation to the new trendy restaurant by being approved by The Fourth Reich Bank.
Mr. Perdue: "You think with a financial statement like this you can have the duck?!"
- The Black Sun in Snow Crash had a crowd of wannabes outside. Being as it was in virtual reality, there was no bouncer, as either you were allowed to walk in or you'd run into an invisible wall.
- There were bouncers, but they were just there to throw people out.
- The Mysterioso in Moon Over Soho is an attempt at recreating the atmosphere of a Soho jazz club in The Sixties. With this in mind, The Management hire the toughest bouncers they can find, and basically tell them to let people in based on personal whim. At 11:45, the Wannabe Line is still going on forever.
- Subverted in Queer as Folk. After Brian takes over Babylon, a rival club opens that steals business. He ends up getting renewed interest in the club by establishing a Wannabe Line and only letting attractive young men is. The club is actually completely empty and the ones let in are models Brian hired.
- Showed up in How I Met Your Mother in the episode "No Tomorrow" with a twist: the Bouncer was only letting guys in, because there were so many women already inside that "people are going to think it's a lesbian bar." Ted and Barney immediately ditch their dates to get whisked past the line.
- Showed up earlier in the first season episode "OK Awesome", with three nerdy side characters stuck outside the club as Robin is able to whisk her friends right past them and step outside to make phone calls because she was on the VIP list (until the shift change for the bouncer means that the new guy doesn't recognize her so she gets stuck outside too).
- That 70s Show had this as an A plot, where Eric, Donna, Hyde and Fez try to get into a Studio 54 knock off in Chicago. Donna as the designated hot girl gets in right away but the boys take longer. Fez gets in with his dance moves, Hyde with his anti-conformity speech, and Eric simply because he is Donna's boyfriend (the bouncer couldn't believe she was dating him, and thought they were siblings).
- In Home Improvement, Tim and Jill go to a club to search for Wilson's niece and the bouncer lets Jill in but not Tim because he's not cool enough. Tim then becomes obsessed with trying to get in. However, said club wasn't a Coolest Club Ever, it was a fairly normal looking club.
- The Afterlife club on Omega in Mass Effect 2 features a small line of would-be patrons. Shepard goes right in.
- Played straight in the Hamburg night club mission of No One Lives Forever, with Cait sneaking in by having a friendly patron distract the bouncer so she can climb in through a window.
- The Hive from Deus Ex Human Revolution has a small line, Jensen has other ways of getting in though, including the vents, the sewers and decking the bouncer.
- Subverted in an episode of Mission Hill: frustrated at waiting in line for hours to get in Coolest Club Ever only to be turned away at the door, Andy has his revenge by setting up a fake club front in an abandoned building across the street and letting no one in at all, except for his friends, who are all in on it. Pretty soon, the steep exclusivity factor draws a Wannabe Line that rivals the real club's, until he fakes a fire gutting the place and ruining him (just before anyone got TOO wise).
- The entire point of an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, where he tries to prove himself "Tough enough" to enter the club. On the plus side, the line's apparently either very short or very fast, because he gets to make half a dozen attempts to get past the bouncer.
- Truth in Television. Many clubs in Real Life maintain lines like this, whether they're full or not, just to create the impression that they're cool. And some people do, for various reasons (they're famous, they know the owner, they've paid for the privilege, etc.) get whisked past all that.